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The Epistle to the Romans.
Introduction to the Study.
pp. 33 - 37
Perhaps no one book in the whole of the Scriptures may be considered to have a claim
upon all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, more than the Epistle to the Romans.
Where all exhibit the hall-mark of inspiration comparisons are odious, but inasmuch as a
building needs foundations as well as top stones, so we may speak of the epistle to the
Romans as essentially fundamental in character.
In this epistle Israel as well as Gentile, both in their sin and their salvation, are placed
in their true relation to the purpose of God. Here sin receives its fullest exposure and
here justification by faith its grandest exposition. Doctrinal, practical and dispensational
truth receive equal attention, and the whole argument is conducted upon a calmer level
than was possible when dealing with matters so personal as those which prompted the
epistles to the Galatians and Corinthians.
To those who are vitally concerned with the teaching of Ephesians,
Rom. 5: 12 - 8: 39 is of supreme importance, for Eph. 2: 1 proceeds upon the
assumption that Rom. 6: is practical truth. Philippians too does not teach but
assumes knowledge of justification by faith (Phil. 3: 9). (See Booklet "Romans Stones
for the Ephesian Temple").
The theme of the Epistle.
As we read the epistle it is very evident that the church at Rome contained a fairly
even mixture of Jewish and Gentile believers, and the necessity to adjust the differences
between them and both of them to the gospel is the motive that prompted the writing of
We must be on our guard against a too sweeping generalization in the attempt
to express in one line the teaching of this epistle. As Dean Farrar writes, "Who will
pretend to give in a few words the central conception of the 'Prometheus Vinctus' or of
'Hamlet'?" Much less can we hope to do so with such an epistle as that to the Romans.
The central feature of the epistle may well have been the dispensational passage
covering chapters 10: and 11:, for this touches the sore point of Israel's rejection. This
would necessitate not only a reference to Sinai and to the covenant made before that with
Abraham, but in virtue of Paul's apostleship to the Gentiles would demand a statement
that carried things as far back as Adam. This is indeed what we find. To the apostle Paul
we must look for information concerning the relation of Adam and the race, and to this
epistle in particular for its fullest exposition.