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The Blue Letter Bible

Chuck Smith :: Study Guide for Romans

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The New Testament is divided into three categories. The first contains the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, which deal with the life of Christ. Next is the Book of Acts, which continues Christ's ministry through His apostles. The rest of the New Testament is made up of epistles, which are concerned with matters of doctrine. Romans is the first epistle. In determining scriptural conduct for the Church, we use hermeneutics, or scriptural interpretation, as our guide. If something was taught by Christ, practiced in Acts, and taught in the epistles, then we feel that it can be properly practiced by the Church.


v. 1 "Servant" means "bondslave." The slave was completely at his master's disposal. His one goal in life was to serve. "Apostle" means "one who is sent." Paul was called to be an apostle and sent by the Holy Spirit to witness to the Gentiles. "Gospel" means "good news."

v. 2 The message of the gospel was promised in the Old Testament.

v. 3 The name Jesus is the Greek word for Joshua, which in Hebrew means "Jehovah is salvation." Christ is Greek for the Hebrew word "Messiah" which means "Anointed One." Jesus is His name, Christ is His distinction, and Lord is His title, signifying our relationship with Him.

Mary was a descendant of David, to whom God had made the promise that Messiah would come through him.

v. 7 All those in the body of Christ are saints. After we experience the grace of God and make our peace with Him, we can know the peace of God in every situation.

v. 11 Paul's desire to go to Rome was to minister to the church there.

v. 14 "Barbarians" refers to those who didn't speak Greek. They weren't necessarily wild, coarse people as the name implies today.

v. 16 This verse speaks of the power of God.

v. 17 This verse speaks of the righteousness of God and introduces the theme of this epistle: righteousness comes by faith, not by works.

v. 18 This verse speaks of the wrath of God. Ungodly means "not in the right relationship with God." Unrighteous means "not in the right relationship with man." We cannot have the proper relationship with God and have the wrong relationship with man. Holding the truth in unrighteousness is believing that there is a God, yet living as though He didn't exist.

v. 20 We can see God in His creation.

v. 21 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 37:23, Romans 8:28.

v. 23 The idols which men create often look like grotesque forms of men and beasts.

v. 24-28 When men create their own god, they become like the god they serve and are rapidly degraded. God gives them up to their own base desire. Homosexuality is the result of moral depravity; people are not "born" homosexuals but have been given up to their own lusts.

v. 29-31 Our society has sought to rule God out of its conscience and now evidences the evils of reprobate minds.

v. 32 Movies and television programs that glorify lying, cheating, stealing, murder, and adultery can cause us to take pleasure in these sins and make us guilty.


v. 2 God will not only judge a person's actions but also his motivations. He knows the truth about each of us.

v. 4 People mistake God's mercy and long-suffering for weakness or indifference to their sin and rebellion. God's goodness, not the threat of judgment and hell, leads a man to repentance.

v. 6 We ask for God's mercy, not justice, for our sins deserve punishment.

v. 11 God will judge us without regard to our nationality.

v. 12-15 We'll be judged according to the knowledge that we have. God has given every man a conscience, so that he knows good and evil.

v. 17-29 Rituals will not save us if we're not walking according to God's will, whether we're circumcised, baptized, or members of a church. Obedience to God, not rituals, counts for salvation.


v. 2 The Word of God was given to the Jews, who preserved the Scriptures with diligence and accuracy.

v. 3 Our belief in God doesn't add to Him, nor does our unbelief detract from Him.

v. 5 Since God has said that all men have sinned, some people say they sin to prove that God spoke the truth. This is evil reasoning.

v. 7 Some people tell untrue stories to sway people's emotions and bring them to salvation, but this is wrong.

v. 10-18 Every man is guilty before God. There's not one man who dares to stand before God in his own righteousness.

v. 20 No man can be justified by keeping the law. The law was intended to show us our sin, not to justify us. "Justified" means "Just as if I'd never sinned."

v. 21-22 There was a righteousness apart from the law that was spoken of in the Old Testament. This righteousness was the justification through faith in God's grace and mercy. Our salvation is based on God's faithfulness rather than the variability of our goodness.

v. 23 We all have sinned, some more than others; but all of us have fallen short of the goal God has for us.

v. 24-26 God has a righteous basis for our justification through the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.

v. 27 All we have done to gain salvation is to believe in the salvation God provided for us.

v. 31 The law is established because it has done its work of showing us our sin and driving us to the redemption we have in Jesus.


v. 1 What did Abraham discover?

v. 2 Abraham didn't trust in his works to save him (Romans 7:18).

v. 3 God imputes righteousness to us when we believe Him.

v. 4-5 If we try to approach God on the basis of our works, we nullify His grace. When we have a right relationship with God, our natural response that flows from our hearts is to do anything He wants us to. Our works are thus motivated by love (2 Corinthians 5:14).

v. 7 "Blessed" means "Oh, how happy!"

v. 9-11 God considered Abraham righteous before he had ever been circumcised.

v. 13-14 Abraham was accounted righteous before the law was ever given

v. 15 There is no way to break a law before it exists.

v. 16 Our salvation is not variable, i.e., dependent on our works, but is as sure as God's promise to us.

v. 17 God talked about Abraham's son as if Isaac existed before he was even conceived.

v. 18-21 The four keys to Abraham's faith:

(1) Abraham ignored the human possibilities and trusted God to keep His promises (Isaiah 55:8, 9).

(2) Abraham did not stagger at the promises of God (Philippians 4:19).

(3) Abraham praised God before the evidence was there

(4) Abraham believed God was able to do what He had said He would (Isaiah 40:15, Ephesians 3:20).


v. 2 We have access to the Father any time our righteousness is based on faith. When our righteousness is based on our keeping the law, access to the Father depends on our works.

v. 3 The trials that come into our lives promote spiritual growth.

v. 6-8 Christ died for sinners, not "righteous" people (Mark 2:17).

v. 9-10 Christ died for us when we were sinners and reconciled us to God. Now He establishes our relationship with God through His life.

v. 11 The word "atonement" in the Old Testament meant "covering." The blood of the sacrifices was to cover the sins of the people, but it couldn't put away their sins. In the New Testament, "atonement" means "at one-ment," because Christ's death put away our sins and made us one with Him.

v. 12-14 When Adam sinned he brought sin into the world, and every man after him was born a sinner.

v. 15 One man brought sin into the world, and one Man died for the forgiveness of the world's sins.

v. 18 Adam's sin brought condemnation on us; Christ's death bought justification for us.


v. 2 "God forbid" means "perish the thought." When we're born again, our spirits are put in control of our bodies and minds. In the spiritual dimension we fellowship with God and are conscious of Him.

v. 3-4 We buried the old flesh-dominated nature in baptism, and the new creature is free from sin.

v. 6 "Destroyed" is katargeo which means "to put out of business."

This should read in the past tense, "Our old man was crucified."

v. 11 God didn't intend for our bodily appetites to rule over us, but, as long as we're in these bodies, we'll have a struggle with the flesh. We must daily go before God to reckon our old nature dead and by faith to claim the victory (Galatians 5).

v. 12-13 We don't have to sin anymore. We now have the choice to yield to the flesh or to God.

v. 14-17 We've been freed from being servants of sin. Now that we're free from the bondage of sin and are under grace, it doesn't make sense to sin. Instead, we can yield ourselves to God as His instruments for righteousness.

v. 21 The fruit (or product) of sin is death.

v. 22-23 The fruit of holiness is eternal life.


v. 1 When Paul uses the word "brethren" he's referring to his Jewish brothers. The principle Paul begins to establish here is that death brings freedom from the law.

v. 4-6 The Jews who had become Christians thought they still had to keep the law. So, Paul explained that they had died in Christ. Once freed from the law, we can serve God from the motivation of love.

v. 7 Paul here states that the purpose of the law was to show men their sins.

v. 14 We're in agreement with the law because it is good and just. Our problem is that the law is spiritual and we are carnal. Jesus explained God's intention when He gave the law, because the Pharisees had misinterpreted it (Matthew 5-7). The new covenant we have with God depends upon our belief in His righteousness. The old covenant depended on our righteousness in keeping the law.

v. 15 This is the struggle Paul had before he realized that the law was spiritual.

v. 17-20 Only the Christian has this conflict between the flesh and the spirit. The non-Christian lives in harmony with the desires of his flesh, but we Christians are trying to bring our flesh into conformity with the will of God. Now our will and desire is to serve God. So, when we sin, it's because we still have the sinful nature.

v. 22 My spiritual, inward self loves God's law and wants above all to obey Him.

v. 23 Our flesh always seeks to gratify itself and struggles with our spirit to bring it under the control of sin.

v. 24 We're dragging the body of our dead man (our flesh) around with us, hoping for the day when we'll be released.

v. 25 With God's help through Jesus, there's a way that we don't have to continue to be defeated by the flesh.


v. 1 Because in our hearts we desire to serve God, He doesn't condemn us when we fail.

v. 2 The law of sin and death is still in effect, but the new law of life in Christ Jesus supersedes the old law.

v. 3-4 The law of sin and death couldn't make us righteous, but the new law of life is fulfilled in us by Christ (not by us) as we walk after the Spirit. Through Him we're accounted righteous.

v. 5 The main concerns of the flesh are: What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?

v. 6 The mind of the flesh is death; the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.

As we allow the Spirit to govern our minds, we think in conformity to the

v. 7-8 The flesh is in rebellion to God's laws, so we cannot please God as long as we're in the flesh.

v. 9 We're not in the flesh when we allow God's Spirit to dwell in us.

v. 11 The Holy Spirit brings us into the resurrected life of Christ.

v. 12 We don't owe the flesh anything!

v. 13 Through the power of the Spirit, we're enabled to put to death the deeds of the flesh.

v. 15 "Abba" means "Father."

v. 17 Matthew 25:34.

v. 18 2 Corinthians 4:17.

v. 19 All of creation waits expectantly for the redemption of our bodies when we'll finally be in a body that is in harmony with our spirit.

v. 20 "Vanity" means "emptiness."

v. 23 "They" refers to the world around us.

v. 24-25 Our hope is for that new body from God.

v. 26-27 "Infirmities" means "weaknesses." The purpose of prayer is never to get our will done, but to get God's will done. It's a waste of time to pray for things that are contrary to God's will. Sometimes we don't know God's will in a certain situation; then the Holy Spirit interprets our groanings and intercedes with God for us, according to God's will.

v. 28 This beautiful verse sustains us in times of painful trials.

v. 29 God predestined those He knew would respond to His love and grace. When God watches our lives, it's as if He were watching a rerun, because He knows what we would do (Psalm 90:9). Christ was the first-born.

v. 30-31 God chose us, called us, justified us, and glorified us. He is for us. The world, the flesh, and the devil are against us, but they're no match for God.

v. 33 Satan accuses us, but God justifies us.

v. 34 The difference between Satan's condemnation and the Holy Spirit's conviction is that the condemnation makes us want to pull away from God, because we feel unworthy, while the conviction makes us want to go to God to make things right. Jesus doesn't want to condemn us. He pleads our case for us.


v. 1-3 Paul continually sorrowed that the Jews didn't accept Jesus as the Messiah.

v. 4 God adopted the children of Israel as His special people. The glory of God's presence filled the tabernacle and the Temple. God made a covenant with the people that He would be their God and they would be His people. God gave the law and the order for service to Him (Leviticus). God gave numerous promises to Israel, some that are still in effect today.

v. 5 The great patriarchs belonged to Israel.

This text should read "...Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever." Jesus is God (Titus 2:13)

v. 6-9 Paul here demonstrates that not all of the children of Israel were acknowledged by God as His people.

v. 10-13 God had chosen Jacob, because He knew that Jacob would be a spiritual man and Esau would be a fleshly man.

v. 14 The choices God has made haven't closed the door to one individual. He loves and accepts all who come to Him.

v. 15-18 Since God is supreme, He can choose and act as He pleases. His ways are beyond our human understanding.

v. 24 God has called us (the Church) out from among the Jews and Gentiles that He might display His mercy through us.

v. 27 Only a remnant of Israel will be saved, so being Jewish doesn't guarantee salvation.

v. 30 The Gentiles, who didn't follow the law, gained righteousness through faith.

v. 31-33 Jesus was the stumbling stone. The idea of righteousness by faith was difficult for the Jews to accept after the years they'd spent seeking righteousness by the law.


v. 1-3 Paul wasn't bitter against the Jews for fighting his attempts to bring Christ to them. He was longing to release them from their futile attempts to become righteous by following the law.

v. 4 Christ brings an end to the law for those who believe.

v. 5 The righteousness of the law is based on man's doing; the righteousness of faith is based on the work Christ has done.

v. 8-10 We only have to speak and believe the words of faith in Jesus to attain all His righteousness.

v. 11-13 God delights to show mercy and will not turn away any who come to Him. He doesn't take more pleasure in a Jew coming to salvation than a Gentile.

v. 14-15 This passage contains the reason we send missionaries out.

v. 17 This "word" refers to the spoken word.

v. 18 Psalm 19:4. Nature testifies to God's existence.


v. 1-4 God hasn't cast off Israel. He defended them when Isaiah complained to Him.

v. 5 God has a remnant among the Jews today who believe in Jesus as their Messiah.

v. 6 We're accepted by God either by our works or by grace; it cannot be

v. 7-8 God has blinded those who reject His grace.

v. 11 Through the cutting off of the Jews, an opening was made for the Gentiles.

v. 12 When God restores the Jews to His favor, the Kingdom Age will begin.

v. 17 The Gentiles are the wild olive tree grafted into the good olive tree of the Jews, with the blessings of the covenant and the promises.

v. 20-21 God grafted us by our faith in Christ. The Jews were cut off because of their unbelief, not merely to make room for us.

v. 25 The "fullness of the Gentiles" indicates that there are a number of Gentiles who will be saved, after which God will turn back to Israel, drawing His people unto Himself.

v. 28 God calls the Jews His "elect" (Matthew 24).

v. 32 The Jews are now in unbelief of God, so that He can extend His mercy to them.

v. 33 God doesn't ask us to reconcile the various truths about His relations with man. He only wants us to believe, trusting Him with simple faith.

v. 36 Everything is centered around God.


v. 1 "Reasonable" means "logical." It makes sense to let God direct our lives.

v. 2 God leads us in very natural ways when we make ourselves available to Hi m.

v. 3 1 Corinthians 4:7, Ephesians 2:8,9.

v. 6 God gives us a gift suitable for our ministry in the Body.

v. 8 The exhorter gives us a little shove in the right direction.

v. 9 Show love without partiality; love all equally.

v. 10-21 These verses are exhortations from Paul on the way we should live as Christians.

v. 20 Heaping coals of fire on someone's head refers to the fact that people often carried coals in packs on their backs and were given live coals by friends. It was a gracious act.


v. 1 Sometimes God ordains an evil ruler, because He plans to bring judgment on a country.

v. 3-4 People who obey the law need not fear the police. They're here to protect us, and we should have an appreciative attitude toward them.

v. 6-7 "Tribute" means "taxes."

v. 8-10 Love for one another sums up the law and makes it a positive command, rather than a list of negatives.

v. 13 This verse names the works of darkness we're to cast off.

v. 14 This verse tells us that the armor of light is Jesus Christ.


v. 1 We shouldn't judge those who are weak in faith but accept them with love.

v. 2-3 Paul here talks of vegetarians who were weak in the faith because they felt convicted about eating meat.

v. 5-6 Others who were weak in the faith felt that there were certain days when the Lord should be worshipped.

v. 7 Paul encouraged the Christians to allow each other their personal convictions without trying to put them on every one else.

v. 10 To "set at nought" a brother is to say that he isn't a Christian.

v. 11-12 When we stand before God for judgment, it won't be to determine our salvation, for that is already secure. He'll judge our works and the motivation behind our works, then give us our place in His kingdom (Philippians 2:10, 11).

v. 13-15 Paul here warns against enjoying our freedom in Christ to the detriment of our weaker fellow-Christians.

v. 18 God accepts us and men approve us if we're walking in the Spirit.

v. 20 We shouldn't destroy the work of God in a person's life because we disagree about eating meat. We can do something that isn't wrong in itself but is evil because it offends someone else.

v. 22-23 It's wrong to try to argue someone out of his convictions, because his conscience will condemn him if he does something he believes is a sin.


v. 1 We that are strong in the faith should be helping the weaker brothers to stand.

v. 3 Christ took reproaches on Himself that were aimed at God, because He didn't live to please Himself.

v. 5-7 We should seek unity in the Body, accepting one another.

v. 8 Jesus ministered to the Jews, the "circumcision," because He came to fulfill God's promises to the Jews.

v. 9-12 Paul gives the Scriptures that prophesied the inclusion of the Gentiles in God's grace.

v. 13 Paul here begins an extended benediction and series of prayers to close the epistle.

v. 16-19 Paul says his ministry to the Gentiles was proper because the Holy Spirit ordained it.

v. 22-24 Paul hadn't visited the church in Rome before.

v. 26 The saints in Jerusalem were poor, because they had sold their possessions to share everything in common.

v. 30 Paul asked the Christians to strive and persevere in their prayers for him-interesting words relating to prayer.

v. 31-32 Paul asked them to pray for three things:

(1) that he be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea,

(2) that the offering would be accepted by the Jerusalem church,

(3) that he could visit Rome with joy and be refreshed.


v. 1-2 "Servant" here means "deaconess". Phebe carried this epistle from Paul to Rome.

v. 3-5 Paul met Priscilla and Aquila when he first went to Corinth. Wherever they lived, they opened their home for Bible studies and helped to establish new believers.

v. 7 Junia is a feminine name and, apparently, she was a woman apostle.

v. 17-18 Differences over doctrinal matters were too dangerous to overlook. Paul warns the Christians to take note of those who brought divisions into the Church and to avoid them.

v. 19 Their obedience to Christ was well-known. Paul wanted the Christians to be wise in spiritual things but unlearned in evil things.

v. 20 Genesis 3:15.

v. 25 "Mystery" refers to something now revealed that had previously been unknown, not something that couldn't be known.

Used With Permission

© The Word For Today. We thank Chuck Smith, The Word For Today and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for their permission to utilize this work.

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