The book of Romans begins the section of the New Testament called the Pauline Epistles. An epistle is “more than a letter; it is a formal teaching instrument” (Bible Dictionary, “epistles,” 667). Paul wrote his epistles to Saints in faraway places to counsel and comfort them as the Church grew. For more information about the Pauline Epistles, see “Previewing the New Testament—The Table of Contents” in this manual (p. 8) and “Pauline Epistles” in the Bible Dictionary (pp. 743–48).
When Was Romans Written?
The Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans before the end of his third missionary journey (around A.D. 57–59; approximately twenty-five years after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ). He was in Corinth at the time and had not yet made his last trip to Jerusalem. For more information and an outline of Romans, see the section on the epistle to the Romans in “Pauline Epistles” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 745).
Who Were the Romans Paul Wrote To?
Rome was the largest city and the capital of the Roman Empire (see Bible map 8). Paul was not writing to all Romans but to the members of the Church in Rome, who were baptized, given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and had an understanding of basic gospel principles. The subjects Paul wrote about would have been difficult and confusing to people outside the Church. The book of Romans is still a source of doctrinal misunderstanding among Christian churches today. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, recognize Romans as a treasure of gospel teachings and wise counsel because they have the gift of the Holy Ghost and the inspired guidance of ancient and modern prophets.
Some Important Teachings from Romans
Romans contains some of Paul’s finest doctrinal teachings. Much of it is Paul’s persuasive argument against Jewish Christians who believed that it was necessary to live the law of Moses. He taught that the law of the gospel replaced the law of Moses and explained that if it were required that everyone keep the full law in order to receive God’s blessings, then everyone would fall short. No one, except Jesus Christ, has lived or will live a sinless life.
Paul pointed out that the only way to become right with the law (he used the word justified) is to exercise faith in the Lord, repent of our sins, and strive to keep the commandments. Paul included his testimony that through the power and grace of Jesus Christ, each of us can become clean and worthy and become joint-heirs with the Savior, receiving all that Heavenly Father has.