“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…”
– Romans 1:1
Have you ever gotten a text, email, voicemail, or call from someone who failed to identify themselves? When we don’t know who is speaking, it is hard to know exactly what they mean. The same thing is true when we begin to study a book of the Bible. For starters, we know that God is the divine Author. If we can also determine the human author, understanding the meaning of their message is easier.
Thankfully, the New Testament book of Romans starts with, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…” Peter also mentions Paul’s “letters” which would include Romans that are sacred “Scriptures”, “our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters…There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:15-17)
After surveying the major arguments for and against Paul being considered the human author of Romans, a Bible Dictionary concludes, “Although Paul’s authorship of several letters has been contested, the evidence for his authorship of Romans is so strong that only the most radical have challenged it.”1
As we get to know Paul through the letter he wrote to the Romans, it is important to get some perspective on this magnitude of this man in human history. He wrote 13 or 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament (there is a debate about the unnamed author of Hebrews). Paul wrote over a period of at least 15 years, to at least seven different churches, and also to two individual church leaders.
Paul wrote more New Testament books than any other author, and Luke contributed the largest amount of content for the New Testament with his historical books of Luke and Acts. Paul was Luke’s pastor and Luke was Paul’s doctor. They travelled and ministered together. Additionally, the history of Acts 13-28 focuses mainly on Paul which, combined with the books he wrote and influence he had on Luke, means that the majority of the entire New Testament is written by Paul, written about Paul, or written by someone working closely with Paul.
Paul’s incredible intelligence includes studying under the renowned rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) as being fluent in the languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and possibly Latin. In his letters, Paul used more than one hundred Old Testament quotations in addition to innumerable echoes and summations of biblical themes and terms, perhaps all from memory as he was often traveling by foot, and often in jail during his ministry.
To find the free Romans study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.
- Charles L. Quarles, “Romans, Letter to The,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1409.