On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, we will resume our weekly Bible Study as we begin the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. The study will be held on Zoom at 7:00pm and is open to all parishioners and friends.
The letter to the Romans was written by Saint Paul from Corinth sometime at the end of the fifties of the first century. It is one of the most formal and detailed expositions of the doctrinal teaching of Saint Paul that we have. It is not one of the easier parts of the scripture to understand without careful study.
In this letter, the apostle Paul writes about the relationship of the Christian faith to the unbelievers, particularly the unbelieving Jews. The apostle upholds the validity and holiness of the Mosaic law while passionately defending the doctrine that salvation comes only in Christ, by faith and by grace. He discourses powerfully about the meaning of union with Christ through baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. He urges great humility on the part of the gentile Christians toward Israel, and calls with great pathos and love for the regrafting of the unbelieving Jews to the genuine community of God which is in Christ Who is Himself from Israel “according to the flesh” (9.5) for the sake of its salvation and that of all the world.
The end of the letter is a long exhortation concerning the proper behavior of Christians, finally closing with a long list of personal greetings from the apostle and his co-workers, including one Tertius, the actual writer of the letter, to many members of the Roman Church, urging, once more, steadfastness of faith.
The letter to the Romans is read in the Church’s liturgical lectionary during the first weeks following the feast of Pentecost. Selections from it are also read on various other liturgical occasions, one of which, for example, is the sacramental liturgy of baptism and chrismation (6.3–11).