INTRODUCTION TO BOOK OF ROMANS
Romans is the most famous letter in history and the most written about. It influenced Christendom dramatically, at times changing the course of church history
· Paul was a Jew, spoke Hebrew, and was a Roman citizen who grew up in a Greek culture
· Romans was written from Corinth in 57AD before returning to Jerusalem with monetary gifts. He then hoped to go to Rome on his way to Spain so he is introducing himself to the Christians in Rome.
· He finally went to Rome 3 years later as a prisoner.
· Paul’s experiences of Romans:
- in living in Roman colonies
- working with Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth
· Roman Empire - Like any imperial system: about power, economics, military structures legitimised by cultural and religious stories
· IRIS - Story about social divides in Rome
What enabled the empowered rich to give the lowly commodity classes a voice and access?
Why could people from different religious groups now eat together?
Why were the rich helping the dispossessed, homeless and unemployed?
What was the catalyst which shattered the social divides?
Words and phrases in Romans meant different things to different readers at the time because the church held so much diversity. Knowing this adds more meaning as we read.
eg: gospel = a political term meaning imperial victory; good news from Caesar
… but Paul uses it as God’s good news and victory; not Caesar’s - a tad seditious!!!
What is the catalyst that created so much social upheaval? ….