Studying the recipients (and their behaviors) that Paul aimed to address in his letter enhances our understanding of the clarity of Paul’s epistle to the Romans.
Within this letter, he imparts teachings about justification through Christ, emphasizes the importance of baptism, and underscores the alignment of our inner disposition with our outward conduct.
Click the links below to continue your study:
Paul’s Use of the Word “Grace,” by Brent J. Schmidt, from Relational Grace: The Reciprocal and Binding Covenant of Charis (published by BYU Studies)
When Paul writes “grace,” he invokes the social system in which a benefactor gives something of value to another, and the receiver is obligated to give thanks, service, allegiance, and lesser value back to the benefactor. Scholars beginning in the fifth century changed the meaning of this word to mean something given with nothing required in return, but this is not what Paul and other NT authors intended. This book examines the meaning of “charis,” grace, in ancient and modern times.
“Understanding Christian Baptism through the Book of Mormon,” by Noel B. Reynolds, BYU Studies Quarterly 51, no. 2
In Romans 6, Paul uses the symbol of death and resurrection to describe baptism. But baptism also has other symbols and interpretations. Latter-day Saints can turn to the Book of Mormon to learn more about baptism’s meaning: that it is an action to represent someone’s repentance and covenanting with God.
“The Occasional Nature, Composition and Structure of Paul’s Letters,” by Eric D. Huntsman, in How the New Testament Came to Be: The Thirty-fifth Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium
“Paul’s letter to the Romans … was partially intended as a letter of introduction in which he hoped to familiarize the Roman congregation with ‘his’ gospel, perhaps recognizing that his views had been incorrectly represented to the Roman Saints by others (see Romans 3:8). … He provides a masterful survey of many of the issues he treated in earlier letters to other congregations, producing in the process what is perhaps his most systematic treatment of the issue of justification by faith (see Romans 1:16–8:39).”
Recommended for purchase:
The Life and Teachings of the New Testament Apostles: From the Day of Pentecost to the Apocalypse, edited by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment, Deseret Book, available in print and e-book
This book includes chapters on cultural situations of the early church, the oral origins of the NT texts, the creeds and councils, the beasts of Revelation, and much more.