The Righteousness of God: Guide
9.12.21 ONE gospel Romans 1:1-17
The Righteousness of God
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed . . .” (v.16).
William Tyndale (ca. 1494-1536), the Bible translator who first put the Hebrew and Greek texts into English, urged those who read his version of the New Testament to pay special attention to Romans. In a prologue to the epistle, he urged that it be learned by heart. “The more it is studied, the easier it is,” he wrote. “The more it is chewed, the pleasanter it is.” Today, let’s set the stage for our study of the letter.
Romans has been called “the Bible in microcosm” – the full gospel story in abridged form. It is Paul’s testimony to the gospel of God’s grace. On Paul’s view, the gospel extols the “righteousness of God” (i.e., God covenant-faithfulness in keeping his promise to Abraham, Gen 12:2-3) and calls men and women to trust what God has done through Christ for our salvation.
Pagan philosophies and Greco-Roman religions laid out mandates for rituals and behaviors that would earn the favor of their gods. The Christian faith reverses that by calling on people to trust what God has done for us already to be all that is necessary for human salvation. How does Romans 1:16-17 affirm this radical difference between paganism and Judeo-Christian faith?
What do you know about Rome around the time (A.D. 56/57) Paul wrote this epistle? This is a good place to use your Study Bible or a good Bible Dictionary.
With this much information about Rome, how might the first 17 verses of this letter have sounded to the people living in that situation? What might have stood out to them about this gospel message?
What do you know about the founding of the church in Rome? Still have your Study Bible handy?
What obstacles do you suppose this early church in Rome was facing because it was in the Capital City of the world’s greatest empire? Paul said he was “not ashamed of the gospel.” Why might a Christian in Rome have been tempted to be ashamed of the gospel? Are we ever in danger of such a feeling today?
What do you think Paul means by the words “salvation to everyone who believes”? (v.16). How was the “righteousness of God” revealed in the gospel? (v.17). How might these things have sounded to people in Rome? How might it sound to people living in this part of the world today? What does it mean to you?
What goal(s) are you willing to set for yourself during this three-month study? (E.g., read each week’s text thoughtfully, hear either Jason or Rubel’s sermon from each Sunday, use each week’s Life Group Discussion Guide to reflect over the reading and sermon, pray for understanding, etc.?)
Our study of the Epistle to the Romans will continue through the month of November. In each week’s discussion guide, we will identify the topic and text for the coming Sunday. That will allow you to read ahead and think about what will be discussed. We want this to be a participatory study that you and your Life Group can enjoy together. We will work through every chapter and all the key themes of this marvelous epistle. Let it nourish your faith and bond you more closely to one another as we study