Book of Romans unique in New Testament

Nov. 26—Considered one of the great works of world literature, the Book of Romans combines deep theology with a clear-cut path for mankind to obey the Gospel and seek salvation.

Scholars say the Apostle Paul wrote it in Corinth, Greece, during the six months he lived there from late 55 A.D. to early 56 and he addressed it to the new Christian church in Rome.

Ministers Hector Aguilar and Leslie Boone say the book emphasizes the importance of faith. "For several reasons, it is one of the most profound books in the New Testament," said the Rev. Aguilar.

"Chapter Five is very powerful because it talks about how death came through Adam, but life came through Christ: 'For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!'

"It's basically the nuts and bolts of the Gospel."

Aguilar said Romans 9, 10 and 11 "are difficult to grasp" because they deal with God's acceptance of the Gentiles through their faith in Christ and his complex relationship with Israel, all of which, according to Romans 11:25-32, will be saved at the end of time.

"It says that for now they will continue in their unbelief, but in the end they will come to believe," he said.

Boone, minister of Andrews Church of Christ, said Romans deals with the principles of faith rather than the problems that some early Christians were having.

"He is reminding them of the common bond they have together," Boone said. "It's like writing to somebody you have a lot in common with.

"I love Romans 5:8-10: 'God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Because we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

"It's the key point of the entire New Testament and a good summary of what putting our faith in Christ is about," Boone said.

He said the last chapter, 16, is noteworthy because Paul commends 26 Roman Christians by name, "which means he is not writing a generic letter, he is talking about specific people and how they are meaningful to him.

"No matter how many times you read it, you can go through and find things you didn't see before," he said. "There is so much meaning all the way through."