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Romans Summaries

Romans 1-4 Summary – Leaders

Synthetic Reading and Application Summary

Text: Romans 1-4

  • Paul was writing to the called of Jesus Christ, the beloved of God in Rome, called as saints (v.7)
  • Paul writes formal and lengthy intro where he introduces himself, (vs.1), he introduces his master (servant of Jesus), his office and position (an apostle), and his purpose (set apart for the gospel of God)
  • Paul summarizes the facts of the gospel (1:3-5) and declares his loyalty to it (1:16,17)
  • He hasn’t been able to go to Rome, although he has tried many times, and is now sending a message to them before his arrival (1:13). He is passionate about what he is doing and have a certain eagerness to reach the Romans.
  • He’s presenting an argument, he shows the foolishness of human argument.
  • You can tell he’s teaching and not just argument. He teaches theology in a conversational way.
  • He’s trying to connect the ground between Gentiles and Jews. He shows that Gentiles and Jews are not so different and shows the similarities. He unites the two different views under the truth of one God, one gospel, and one faith.
  • He’s trying to debunk certain misconceptions for those young or uncertain in the faith such as what constitutes being part of God’s righteousness and making sure all members are on the same page, trying to paint the picture of the true gospel.
  • He paints a bleak picture of human sin
  • There is confusion about what constitutes being part of God’s righteousness


  • What can we learn from Paul?- served the Lord wholeheartedly, prayed for his fellow brothers and sisters that were far away (at all times), desire to share spiritual gifts and teach to builds up his brothers and sisters, knowing it is his calling to preach to EVERYONE (1:14), he is not ashamed of the word of God, knowing the gospel message is the key to salvation for whoever believes. (don’t be ashamed of the word of God)
  • About God: 1) Reveals himself in his creation. He reveals his deity and power through the works of his hands. Men are without excuse of not knowing God. Can’t use it as an excuse for rejecting God. (1:19-20). He has made himself known and he can be seen everywhere. 2) His sovereignty over his people can be seen. It is not by accident that God let man fall to their sinful nature, he gave (intentionally) them over to their sinful desires, lust, and depraved (perverted, corrupted) mind because of their rejection of the truth and God. On the other hand God also have to power and authority to protect the way of his faithful people (Proverbs 2:7-8)
  • Although God reveals himself to the world, people are still blinded to the truth because of wickedness. EVERYONE knows God since he revealed himself but there is a choice after knowing God whether to accept or reject God (1:21)
  • Judgement
    • (2:1-3) Be careful of hypocrisy. When we judge others do we not do the same thing? Jesus told us not to judge because “we have a plank in our own eyes”.(Matt 7:1-5) Judgement means the condemnation of wrong, the decision (whether severe or mild) which one passes on the faults of others. God’s judgement is based on truth. When we “judge” do we even know the truth? Judging is different from correcting. If a brother or sister is in sin we are suppose to restore them gently (Galatians 6:1) which is not the same as condemnation. God’s word is available to us so that we may know the truth and only when we do know the truth and only on that basis should we correct one another. (2 Tim 3:16)
    • Purpose for God’s kindness with his righteous judgement is so we may repent and be closer to him. His patience and tolerance is not something to be taken advantage of or for granted. (2:4)
    • God’s Judgment is fair. He does not have favourites (2:11) Both Jews and Gentiles will be under same judgement.
  • Don’t just know the God’s word, and not obey it. (2:13,17-23) Also don’t be a hypocrite because it is not your name that will be blasphemed but God’s.
  • Characteristic of God
    • His faithfulness is independent of people’s faith (3:3)
    • God’s righteousness is also independent of his people. (3:5-6) We do not make God look better. He does not need us to enhance his truthfulness or glory. He is self-sufficient (Acts 17:24-25)
  • Righteousness

o Righteousness is the proper intention of God for humanity

o Unrighteousness and ungodliness is improper

  • Everyone has sinned
    • Sin: failure to conform to the moral laws (in nature, attitude and action), refusing to do God’s will and failing to do all that God wants.  Our nature is to disobey God and our sin cuts us off from God, causing us to want to live our own way rather than God’s way.  Because God is morally perfect, holy, righteous, just and fair, He is right to condemn sin
    • Each person has sinned, either by rebelling against God or by ignoring his will (2:13).  No matter what our background or how hard we try to live good and moral lives, we cannot earn salvation or remove our sin, only Christ can save us (3:28)
  • Propitiation (3:25)
    • The removal of God’s punishment for sin through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ
    • God’s wrath is right because he is good, just, righteous and holy.  His wrath is diverted, taken away even though it is only against Him that we have sinned (Psalm 51:4).  Jesus rescues us from the coming wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 John 4:10)
    • God declares Christ’s death as the appropriate, designated sacrifice for our sin, and he completely satisfies God’s demands.  His sacrifice brings pardon, deliverance and freedom.
  • Redemption (3:24)
    • Jesus Christ has paid the price so we can go free (penal substitutionary atonement: punishment, substitution, removal of sin)
    • Redemption refers to Christ setting sinners free from slavery to sin.  Christ purchased our freedom and the price was his own life (1 Peter 1:18-19, Ephesians 1:7)
  • Justification (4:25)
    • God’s act of declaring us “not guilty” for our sins
    • The great exchange, the act of God where He declares the believing sinner righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross.  Declares us, not makes us.  It is a legal matter.
    • The source of our justification is God and His grace (24)
  • You’re not saved by what you do, don’t try to look good.
  • Purpose of the law (3:20)- Not a way of measuring righteousness but a way to help us become aware of our sins. Scripture is not there to make us right with God, it is there to show us the truth.
  • Abraham is the father for both the Jews and Gentiles. They were not related because of circumcision but due to having the same faith as Abraham. (4:10-12)
  • Abraham’s strong faith- he did not waver through unbelief, and fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.
  • The relationship between works/salvation:
    • Why works does not justify or ‘save’ us (3:27-31)
    • Why works still matters (2:7,10,13)
  • Grace of God:
    • Romans 3:24 states we are justified by grace
    • Romans 4 mentions the phrase ‘counted to him’ many times – implication of this ‘righteousness’ as not rightfully or deservedly belonging to Abraham (and as an extension: Jews & Gentiles alike)


  • What happens on judgement day?

o Romans 2:7,10 – Renders to each person according to his deeds (2 Cor. 5:10) Paul is struggling to do good with the power of the Spirit working within him (Col 1:29, 1 Cor. 15:10).

Cross References:

  • 3:4 – cf Psalm 51:4 was helpful in understanding. In the Psalm, David admits his sin before God so that he may be forgiven by God. He recognizes that God is justified when He speaks and blameless when He judges him because he has wronged God.
  • 3:10-18 – cf Psalm 14:1-3 & Psalm 53:1-3, you get a hint at what is going on. Both Psalms begin with “the fool in his heart said there is no God” which would cause these verses. This is the belief of every sinner.

Personal Application

  1. Principle: (2:28) A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.

Contemporary Situation: For me, a modern parallel to the Jewish rite of circumcision would be the act of going to church.  If I go to church and someone does not, I assume that I am better than the other just because of my ritual of going to Sunday school and service.

Application: I should not be holding rituals in such high esteem and use them as a measuring stick because God measures on a completely different standard.

  1. Principle: (3:10-18) No one is righteous and we are just bad people.

Contemporary Situation: We are still human, descendants of Adam, we do have a sinful nature.

Application: Knowing that we have a sinful nature I should strive to understand, seek God, turn to God, watch my tongue, peace and to fear the Lord. Don’t let my sinful nature to be an excuse for my foolish ways, instead strive to pursue  the opposite of our human nature.

  1. DON’T BE ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL! For it is so precious and powerful!
  2. Abraham’s faith was so strong, can I also say I am fully persuaded that God has the power to keep his promises?
  3. I know if I really believe, I am justified. Shouldn’t it be such a great joy to know God has presented his Son as a sacrifice to justify us! PLUS its FREE. Its not earned but given! (3:24).  Am I living out a life that really reflect my understanding of how significant Christ’s death and resurrection is.?


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