Thematic Analysis

The Gospel: A Righteousness of/from God

Most commentators have said that verses sixteen and seventeen of chapter one are a concise summary of the content of the epistle. However, C. K. Barrett (Commentary on Romans, 27) goes a step further to say that it is not wrong to see in them a summary of Paul’s theology as a whole.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” (Rom 1:16-17 NIV).

The Letter of Romans is one of three NT books based on “the righteous will live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4), each emphasizing one phrase:

righteous faith

The thematic theme of “a righteousness of/from God” unfolds in the letter; it is:

1. Displayed in Creative Order and the Law, 1:1-3:20
2. Imputed through Christ, 3:21-5:21
3. Imparted by the Holy Spirit, 6:1-8:39
4. Enacted in Israel and the Church, 9:1-8:3
5. Reproduced in the Believer, 12:1-16:27

Two significant subordinate themes are:

1. Salvation for everyone who believes—Jew and Gentile (Romans 1:16-17 —> Chapters 9-11)
2. Justification/Righteousness by Faith (1:17; 3:21-30; 4:5, 9, 11; 5:1; 9:30; 10:6)

Theologically, this book divides into two major sections: (1) doctrinal, which built around the themes of
faith, and hope and (2) practical, which is built around the theme of love.


Remember that the Chapters and verses in the Bible are not the natural divisions of the letter, but were added to provide points of reference for those who study Scripture. In general, this book teaches:

Chapter 1 All men are without excuse because they have the testimony of creation
Chapter 2 All men are without excuse because they have knowledge of good and evil
Chapter 3 Israelites are without excuse because they have the oracles of God declaring the righteousness of God
Chapter 4 The righteousness of faith is revealed and found by men
Chapter 5 Men are justified only on the principle of faith
Chapter 6 Joined to Christ in his death, we died to sin and should no longer walk according to its dictates
Chapter 7 The relationship of the believer to the Law
Chapter 8 In Jesus Christ we are outside the bounds of condemnation and on the ground of peace with God
Chapter 9 Israel, God’s earthly people, is vastly different from Spiritual Israel, the company of redeemed separated unto God in Christ
Chapter 10 Christ the total source of our life
Chapter 11 God is not through with Israel and will return to dealing with them, ultimately to His glory
Chapter 12 Believers as one body, the Body of Christ
Chapter 13 The Believer’s relationship to the world’s authority and institutions
Chapter 14 Christian liberty, mercy and grace toward the members of the Body of Christ
Chapter 15 Unity of the Spirit to the glory of God
Chapter 16 Commendations to the Saints

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