Books of Bible
Summary of the Book of Romans
By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
A. The object of this letter is to present the gospel as the power of
God to save sinful man.
B. Salutation (1:1-7).
1. Paul, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ is the writer (1:).
2. The gospel (good news of salvation) promised through the
prophets and realized in Jesus (1:2-3).
3. His resurrection proves Jesus to be the Son of God (1:4).
4. Paul received grace and apostleship through the obedience of
5. The Roman saints received their calling and election by the
obedience of faith (1:6).
6. Paul prays from them to have grace and peace from God
C. Paul's personal feelings toward the church in Rome (1:8-13).
II. The gospel and its value.
A. The powerful gospel of salvation (1:14-17).
1. Paul considered himself to be a debtor to all men (1:14).
2. Paul was ready to preach the gospel in Rome (1:15).
3. For--here's why--Paul was not ashamed of the gospel (1:16-17).
a. It is God's power to save (1:16).
b. In the gospel is revealed the right doing that comes from
God because the just live by faith (1:17).
B. All sin and are liable to the wrath of God (1:18-3:19).
1. God hates ungodliness and unrighteousness (1:18).
2. Evidence of the existence of God is everywhere (1:19-20).
a. Still, men often choose to be ignorant of God (1:21).
b. People turn from a living God to serve dumb idols (1:23).
3. Many people reject God, and God rejects them (1:24-32).
a. Sins are listed: homosexuality leads the list (1:26-27).
b. Many other sins are listed (1:28-32).
4. Sinful people are inexcusable (2:1-16).
a. People do the very things they condemn (2:1-5).
b. Every man will be judged by his works (2:6).
c. The good will be saved, the wicked will be rejected
d. He who works evil shall receive tribulation and anguish
(2:9); he who works good receives glory and honor
5. The Jew was condemned a sinner because he violated the
law of Moses (2:17-3:8).
a. There is an advantage in being a Jew--given the law of
Moses and through Israel the gospel came (3:1-5).
b. If it is wrong for God to judge Israel, it is wrong for God
to judge the world (3:6).
c. If good (the gospel of salvation) came to the world
because Israel sinned and was rejected, is this saying, Let
us do evil that good may come? (3:7-8).
6. Paul reaffirms that all sin and fall short of God's glory
C. The place of law (3:19-31).
1. Not justified by works of law (3:19-20).
a. All the world is under the judgment of God (3:19).
b. Through law comes the knowledge of sin (3:20).
c. Therefore all the world is under law.
2. Apart from the law of Moses, the righteousness which is
from God is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the
a. The righteousness which is from God and revealed in the
gospel is for both Jew and Gentile (3:22).
b. This is the righteousness which comes through faith in
Jesus Christ (3:22).
3. All sinners--both Jews and Gentiles--can be freely justified
by the God's gift of redemption through Jesus (3:24-30).
a. Jesus' sacrifice causes God to be kindly disposed toward
all sinners...God passed over sins done before Jesus came
b. Now the passed over sins--and all sins--can be forgiven
because God justifies those who have faith in Jesus (3:26).
c. Human glorying is excluded...all sin and fall short of
God's grace, and all need his forgiveness and therefore
have nothing to brag about (3:27).
d. All men sin and therefore none can be saved by
law...violation of law condemns. If a person could never
sin and keep the law perfectly, he would be saved by
works. This is impossible, and it is therefore necessary for
sinful man to look in faith to God for justification (3:28).
e. Jehovah is everybody's God (3:29-30).
4. We do not make law of none effect through faith, but to the
profound reverse we establish the law principle (3:31).
D. Examples of Abraham and David (4:1-25).
1. Abraham did not keep law perfectly--he sinned and therefore
had nothing to brag about (4:1-2).
2. Abraham was saved by faith, but faith to save must obey
God (James 2:26).
3. Abraham obeyed God, going into a land appointed and
offering Isaac his son upon the altar (James 2:21-24;
a. If Abraham had never sinned, he would have been saved
by his own merit--as of debt (4:4)
b. All who do not keep law perfectly (all sin, so this includes
all) must rely on obedience of faith to be righteous.
4. David was not sinless (4:6-8) and therefore could not be
saved by works of law, but leaned upon the mercy of God.
5. The blessing of righteousness through faith came before
circumcision was commanded--the covenant of promise was
made and then circumcision was commanded as a sign of
that agreement (Gen. 17:12; Rom. 4:9-12).
6. The Jewish law cannot save. Abraham was not promised a
blessing on the basis of keeping law, but through obedient
faith (Rom. 1:17; 4:13-14).
a. The law works wrath (4:15).
b. Where there is no law, there is no transgression (4:15).
7. Therefore the promised gift (grace) comes not through
keeping any law perfectly, but through submissive belief.
8. God fulfilled the promise to Abraham and made him a father
of many nations--Jewish nation, Arab nations, and all peoples
that walk in his footsteps of faith (4:16-25).
a. Abraham's obedient faith was put down to his credit--
reckoned unto him for righteousness (4:22).
b. Not to Abraham alone, but to all who through faith obey
God and receive this rich gift of salvation (grace) 4:23-
E. The blessedness of the saved (5:1-11).
1. Sinful man is justified by faith and has peace with God (5:1).
a. Paul was justified by faith and had peace with God.
b. When did Paul have peace? (Acts 9:1-19).
c. Paul's peace with God came when he by faith obeyed the
command to be baptized to wash his sins away (Acts
2. The blessing of peace with God comes when we, by faith,
obey the law of God to repent and be baptized to receive
remission of sins.
3. Forgiveness of sin brings the gift (grace) of the hope of
eternal life with God (Rom. 5:2).
4. The saved person also rejoices in affliction and tribulation
a. We have peace within, but without we have fears and
fighting (2 Cor. 7:5).
b. Even in persecution and affliction we have internal calm
"because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
through the Holy Spirit which was given to us."
5. Salvation has been brought down...while we were yet
sinners Christ died for us and we rejoice in our salvation
F. Adam and Christ contrasted (5:12-21).
1. Through Adam sin and death entered the world (5:12).
a. Death passed on all men, not by reason of Adam's sin but
because all sin (5:12).
b. Sin was in the world before the law of Moses was given.
When there is no law there is no sin. Therefore law was in
the world before the law of Moses was given (5:13).
c. Death, which is the wages of sin, was in the world from
Adam to Moses though there was no written law (5:14).
2. Sin and separation (death) made it obvious that man must
have the free gift (grace) of salvation (5:15-19).
a. The gift is greater than the penalty. Adam's sin brought
physical death upon all men. The obedience of Jesus
(righteousness--seeing that righteousness is obedience to
the law of God) covered not one, but many transgressions
b. The gift was greater than the penalty (5:17-19).
3. The law of Moses came in besides, and that increased law
and therefore increased sin (5:20).
4. Sin reigned in death, but the free gift of God reigns through
the keeping of the commands of God (righteousness) to
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (5:21).
a. Sin abounded.
b. Grace super-abounded.
G. The powerful gospel of God brings salvation (6:1-23).
1. Salvation comes to the penitent believer at the point of
a. The saved are not to continue in sin to get more grace
b. The saved are dead to sin and must not continue in sin
c. The saved have been baptized into the death of Christ
d. The saved were buried by baptism into Jesus' death (6:4).
e. The saved were resurrected from the burial of baptism to
walk in a new, victorious life (6:4-5).
f. In the act of baptism our old man was crucified with
Christ (6:6); the body of sin was done away (6:6); we are
no longer in bondage to sin (6:6); having died to sin and
our old man of sin buried in the water of baptism, we are
justified from sin (6:7).
g. If we died and were buried with Christ in baptism, we
shall also live the resurrected life with him (6:8); When
Jesus rose from the dead, death had no more power over
him (6:9); He died once to sin but now lives forever to
God (6:10); the saved person is to consider himself to be
dead to sin and alive to God (6:11).
2. Victory over sin (6:12-15).
3. Let not sin rule over you...if sin does rule over you it is
because you let it rule over you (6:12).
4. Do not present your body-parts as tools of sin, but present
them as tools of righteousness. You have the control (6:13).
5. If you allow the law of sin to rule over you, you are lost; do
not be under the law of sin, but under the rule of grace
(God's gift of salvation).
a. The saved person is under a principle of moral obligation-
-"as without law, not being without law to God, but under
law to Christ" (1 Cor. 9:20-21).
b. The saved person is not under the law as a curse, for
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having
become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). We are not under law
but under grace, that is, we are dead to sin and alive to
6. Shall saved people yield to the law of sin because they have
God's grace (gift) to save them? (6:15).
7. Of course not. Because if we give ourselves to sin, we are the
slaves of sin, and if we give ourselves to righteousness, we
are the slaves of righteousness (6:16-23)
a. The saved were once under the law of sin, but now are
under the rule (law) of righteousness by obeying--
obedience suggests law--the form (pattern, blueprint, rule)
of teaching to which they were delivered (6:17).
b. You either serve sin or righteousness--having been made
free from sin by obedience to the form of teaching to
which you were delivered, you must not live in sin
c. Weakness of the flesh causes people to serve sin instead
of serving righteousness (6:19).
d. When you serve sin, you are not righteous (6:20).
e. When you were servants of sin, you did things that now
cause you shame and the result is spiritual death (6:21).
f. Having obeyed the law of God (the form of doctrine to
which you were delivered), you are now free from sin and
serving righteousness and the result is eternal life.
g. Sin brings death but God's free gift (grace) brings eternal
H. The law of sin and death (7:1-25).
1. When law is binding (7:1-6).
a. Law binds for all of life (7:1).
b. Example from the law of the husband: the wife is bound
by the law of the husband while the husband lives, when
the husband dies, the wife is free from that law (7:2-3).
c. In Christ you were made dead to the law of the flesh
d. When sin ruled over you, you were dead to God (7:5).
e. Saved people are free from the law of sin, having died to
it, but they are alive to God and serve not the oldness of
the letter of the law of sin, but in the newness of the spirit
of the law of life in Christ (7:6).
f. Law binds while there is life--being dead to the law of sin
it is no longer binding on the saved person, but the saved
is alive to God and therefore bound by his law.
2. The relation of the law to sin (7:7-12).
a. Law instructs the conscience and give an awareness of sin
and death. Still, the law is not sin, but it does give a
knowledge of sin (7:7).
b. Paul did not know coveting is sinful until the law told him
(7:1). The command not to covet caused him to covet:
without law there is no sin (7:8).
c. The law made Paul aware of his sinfulness (7:9).
d. The purpose of the command was to keep one sinless and
alive in the spirit, but instead produced sin (7:10-11).
e. Law is necessary and good, but brings a knowledge of sin
and death (7:12).
3. Conflict between flesh and spirit (7:13-25).
a. Man is a dual being, having both body (outward being)
and spirit (inward being). The moral law conflicts with the
desires of the outward man, but is approved by the desires
of the inward man. The law is good, but when violated
brings death (separation from God). Does that which is
good produce death? Of course not. It is sin, which is a
violation of law (good), that brings death and that proves
how very sinful is sin (7:13).
b. The moral law appeals to the holy desires of the spirit but
men are fleshly and sinful (7:14).
c. My inward man desires to do right things, my outward
man longs for sinful things. I want to do right, but the
flesh overpowers me and I often do wrong things (7:15).
d. When I do things I know to be wrong, I confirm the
rightness of the moral law (7:16).
e. My inward man (spirit) is not doing the sin, but my
outward man is causing me to sin (7:17).
f. It is not good to follow the leading of the flesh (7:18).
g. The good my spirit wants to do my flesh prevents and
causes me to do evil instead (7:19).
h. It is not my spirit but my flesh that leads to sin (7:20).
i. The law of sin and death in my flesh causes me to do bad
things when my spirit within me longs to do right things
j. My spirit takes pleasure in the moral law of God (7:22).
k. There is a different law in my flesh that fights against the
law of my mind (spirit) and brings me under bondage to
sin and sin brings separation (death) (7:23).
l. How can a sinful man be made free from the law of the
flesh that brings sin and death? (7:24).
m. Thank God! Jesus can free me from the law of sin and
death. My mind (spirit) serves the law of God and my
flesh (body) wants to serve the law of sin (7:24).
I. Blessings to those who, in Christ, are made free from sin and
1. There is no condemnation to those in Christ (8:1).
2. The Law of the Spirit of Live makes us free from the law of
sin and death, which is the law of the flesh (8:2)
3. What the law of Moses could not do, Jesus accomplished by
overcoming sin in the flesh (8:3).
4. The ordinance of the law of Moses, which is righteousness,
is realized in all who walk not after the flesh but after the
a. Those who follow flesh are controlled by the flesh, but
those follow the inward man are controlled by the spirit
b. The outward man brings death and the inward man brings
c. There is strife between flesh and spirit (8:7).
d. Following the outward man does not please God (8:8).
e. Following the longing of the inward man proves you are
being guided by the Holy Spirit through the revealed word
5. If Christ lives in you by faith (Eph. 3:17), the outward man is
dead and the inward man is alive (8:10).
6. If the Holy Spirit lives in you through the gospel, the
triumphant God gives you life (8:11).
7. In view of this, do not follow the flesh (outward man) but
follow the spirit (inward man) and you shall live (8:12-13).
8. To follow the leading of the Spirit is to be a child of God
a. Saved people are free from the bondage of fear and look
to Jehovah as their heavenly father (8:14-15).
b. The Holy Spirit, through the revealed word, bears witness
with our human spirit that we are children of God (8:16).
c. If we live for Christ in this life, we shall reign with him
J. The hope of eternally glory supports the saved through all
earthly trials (8:18-30).
1. The coming glory makes present suffering bearable (8:18).
2. We await the final redemption of God's children (8:19).
3. The created world is groaning and in birth pangs over its
increasing evil and expected destruction (8:20-22).
4. Children of God also groan within themselves as they look
on the world's decadence and coming devastation (8:23).
5. In the midst of all this misery we look up to God and live in
hope of eternal glory (8:24-25).
6. Man is distressed and his inward man (spirit) makes
intercession for the outward man with groaning that cannot
be put into language (8:26).
7. Jesus, as intercessor and mediator, knows the meaning of
the groaning of the human spirit and intercedes between the
saved and Jehovah (1 John 2:1-2; Rom. 8:27; 8:34).
a. Therefore everything will work out right for the child of
b. God has called us by the gospel to salvation and will save
us because of his son if we follow the instructions of
the Holy Spirit given in the New Covenant (8:29-30).
M. The victory of the obedient believer (8:31-39).
1. No power outside ourselves can defeat our holy ambitions
(8:31-39). The only thing that can defeat us is our own fear
N. The condition of the Jewish nation (9:1-11:36).
1. Paul's sympathy with the Jews (9:1-5).
2. Israel's lost condition is not inconsistent with God's promises
(9:6-13), justice (9:14-24), or prophecy (9:25-29).
3. The cause is the fault of the Jews themselves (9:30-10:21).
a. Salvation offered to all on feasible terms--same conditions
apply to all (10:1-13).
b. The disobedient, whether Jew or Gentile, was left without
4. They are not all rejected--some of them were saved and rest
were rejected because of their blindness (11:1-10).
a. Salvation is by the grace of God and therefore not from
keeping the law without fail (11:6).
b. Israel's rejection of the gospel caused them to be hard of
heart in rejecting the commands of God (11:7-10).
5. Israel was rejected that the Gentiles might be saved
a. If Gentiles are not faithful to God, they will be rejected
just as were the Jews (11:20-24).
b. Israel fell and the Gentiles were saved by the revealed
mystery of the gospel--God was in Christ reconciling the
world to himself (11:25).
c. Israel, like all people, are to be saved by the gospel,
seeing there is no other saving power (11:26).
6. God still loves Israel--and all the world--and whosoever will
has the power to believe, obey and be saved (11:27-32).
a. God's wisdom transcends all human understanding
III. Exhortations and Conclusion (12:1-16:27).
A. Various practical duties (12:1-13:14).
1. In view of all this, consecrate yourself to God (12:1-2).
2. The saved are the body of Christ and each member must
function in his assigned place to fulfill the will of God
3. Treat all the saints with preference and love (12:9-16).
4. Be honorable in your treatment of all men (12:17-21).
5. Need for government among men and duty of obedience to
civil authorities (13:1-7).
6. Keep the moral law (13:8-10).
7. Every passing day brings us closer to the final judgment
therefore we must be holy (13:11-14).
B. Mutual toleration (14:1-15:14).
1. In matters of opinion, where no divine law is involved, treat
each other with respect and forbearance (14:1-12).
2. Do not judge each other in matters of indifference, but help
and encourage one another (14:13-23).
3. Treat each other as brothers who have the same heavenly
father and who ought to love each other because God loves
C. Paul's account of his work among the Gentiles and his plans
1. Greetings to Christians at Rome and warning (16:1-20
a. Greetings from Corinth (16-21-24).
b. Conclusion (16:25-27).