By Andrew E. Courtis
There is something very exciting when we hear people say “I have good news!” However, as exciting as the “good news” may be, no news begins to compare with the good news found in Romans. This introductory passage contains rich truths concerning the gospel that set the tone for this amazing letter.
Study Summary: In this passage Paul reveals three aspects of the gospel, which motivate his readers to be eager in knowing and sharing the gospel
1. THE PROMISE OF THE GOSPEL (1:1-7)
It was Paul’s customary style to begin his letters with a greeting. Romans 1:1-7 is by far the longest greeting in all of his letters. After opening his greeting with reference to his apostolic authority (1:1), Paul proceeds to reveal the promise of the gospel. The gospel was not a modern invention created by the early church. Rather, it is a message centred on the person of Jesus Christ, which was promised in the Old Testament Scriptures (1:2-4).
2. THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL (1:8-15)
Paul now expresses his thanksgiving to the Lord for the Roman believers (1:8-10) and his longing desire to see them (1:11). This longing desire was driven by his plan to enjoy mutual fellowship, however this had not been possible due to circumstances (1:12-14). Because the gospel is promised (1:2-4) and powerful (1:16), Paul is eager to preach the gospel among the Romans (1:15), which is the second aspect of the gospel in this passage.
3. THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (1:16-17)
The two verses (1:16-17) of this passage provide us with the theme of the book of Romans. The reason why Paul was so eager to proclaim the gospel everywhere is because of its power. Though Christians may at times feel the heat of hostility in this world and become reluctant to share the gospel, Paul tells his readers why the gospel is nothing to be ashamed of. The powerful effects of the gospel are seen in what it does (1:16b) and what it reveals (1:17). What does it do? The gospel message is accompanied with the power of God that brings sinners to salvation. What does it reveal? It shows us that the only way to have a righteous standing before God is through faith.
1. What is the gospel? Why is it good news?
2. According to verses 1-4, what did God promise in the OT and how did Jesus fulfil it?
3. Why did Paul want to visit Rome? See 1:8-15
4. Why was Paul not ashamed of the gospel? See 1:16-17. If we take time to carefully understand the gospel, how will this help us not be ashamed?
5. How can we be more effective in being a gospel witness in your region?