Among the apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans is considered his masterpiece, an abridged presentation of the Christian faith. This article is an introductory Romans Bible study guide that you can use in your personal study, family study, or Sunday school classes.
The following questions will help you explore the main themes of this beloved book of the New Testament. Get ready to dig deep into the Word of God.
Question #1: What was Paul’s main petition to God regarding the Romans? Why did he want that?
Paul prayed that, if it was God’s will, he would visit the church in Rome (verse 10), which was the recipient of this letter. He said he wanted to impart to them spiritual gifts to strengthen them (verse 11), so they all could be mutually encouraged by their faith (verse 12). Paul also wanted to preach the gospel there (verse 15).
Note: Scholars believe that Paul didn’t know who founded the church in the city of Rome, so he wasn’t sure if they were properly taught about the gospel of Christ. Therefore, the book of Romans is a profound book that covers the main themes about the gospel of the Kingdom of God and the key doctrines of salvation. He wanted to present a complete discussion of fundamental Christian doctrines to them before he could be there in person.
Question #2: Why did Paul say he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel?
Paul said he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes in Jesus. This is something we should be thankful for, not ashamed of. Also, God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel (the good news) through faith in Christ. That’s why it was written in the Old Testament, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17 KJV, quoting Habakkuk 2:4). So, we are made righteous through faith, not works.
Note: It was Romans 1:17 that brought an awakening to the reformer Martin Luther that triggered the events that culminated with the Reformation.
Question #3: Why does God consider humans who reject Him without excuse for doing so? Can they justify rejecting Him out of ignorance if they’ve never heard the gospel?
Paul argues that the creation reveals the eternal power of God, so people cannot claim to ignore His existence (verse 20). Despite knowing creation, those people didn’t glorify God as He deserved (verse 21). They could have sought Him but, instead, they turned to creation itself and worshipped the creature, not the Creator (verses 23-25). That’s why they are without excuse (verse 20) and why God delivered them to their wickedness (verses 28-32).
Question #4: What are the verdicts that God will deliver in His final judgment, and who will receive them?
Paul stated that, on the day of the judgment of God, He will give what each person deserves:
Eternal life to those who “by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality” (Romans 2:7 KJV); glory, honor, and peace to those who do good things (verse 10).
Indignation and wrath to those who “are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (Romans 2:8 KJV); tribulation and anguish to those who do evil deeds (verse 9).
Paul says that God will give each one their deserved pay, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Then, in verse 11, he says that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11 KJV). He meant that God, who was known as the God of the Jews, will not show any favoritism towards them. A person will get what they deserve no matter their ethnicity.
Question #5: According to Paul’s arguments, can anyone be justified by their own merit (through good works)?
Paul begins this Bible passage by declaring that both Jews and Gentiles are under sin (verse 9). Then, he quotes several passages from the Old Testament to show that everyone is a sinner (see verses 10-18). Then, in verse 20, he concludes that no one can be justified (declared to be a righteous man or woman) in God’s sight through their works, so no one can earn it by merit. There is no such thing. The Law of God made us aware of our sin, but it cannot free us from it.
Question #6: Why does a person need to be justified by God? How does it work?
To be justified is to be declared righteous by God. Paul wrote, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NKJV). That’s why all human beings need to be justified: because all have sinned. And none can pay for their sins on their own.
Therefore God, by His grace, presented Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to pay for our sins. Through His blood, there is remission of sins for anyone who believes in Him. So, those who believe are justified through faith (verses 22 and 26).
Question #7: How was Abraham justified? Was justification different in the Old Testament compared to the New Testament?
In the previous section of Romans, Paul argued that God saves people through faith, not through their good works. In chapter 4, to prove that justification was the same since the Old Testament, Paul used the example of Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel. He said, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3 KJV, quoting Genesis 15:6).
Then he concluded that Abraham didn’t do any work to be justified by them, but his faith in God was credited as righteousness (verse 5). In other words, Abraham was saved the same way we are today, by grace through faith (see also Romans 4:20-25 and Ephesians 2:4-9).
Question #8: What is the result of being justified by faith in Christ Jesus?
Paul said that when we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who gave us access to this grace from the Father. “Peace with God” means that we are free of condemnation from our sin (Romans 8:1). There is no more separation between us and God (Romans 6:23). We can live with God now and forevermore, which means we have eternal life with Him (Romans 6:22-23).
Question #9: How did God, the Father, show His love for us?
Paul’s answer is that God showed His love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners (verse 8). He provided the means for our justification by offering His own son’s life when we were His enemies (verse 10). He saved us through Christ Jesus even though we didn’t deserve it. Instead of receiving God’s wrath (verse 9), those who believed in Jesus receive God’s salvation. Only a loving God would do that.
Question #10: What were the consequences of Adam’s sin and Jesus’s death to human beings?
When Adam sinned, all human beings were condemned. His disobedience made everyone sinners before God. However, when Jesus died, He provided a way for those who believed in Him to be made righteous in God’s sight. Christ provided the free gift of salvation to them, and His obedience allowed them to be justified and free from sin.
Question #11: What does the baptism represent for us, believers, regarding the death of Jesus Christ? How does that affect our lives?
The baptism represents our death with Christ Jesus (verses 3 and 4). It also represents our resurrection with Him for a new life, in which we are no longer slaves to sin (verse 6). Now, after we were baptized, we are dead to sin. We live our lives for our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 11). Therefore, we can no longer live for sin but for God, to do His will (verses 12 and 13).
Question #12: What is the consequence of sin? And what is the free gift of God for those who were made free from sin by Him?
The consequence of sin is death (separation from God). The free gift that God gives to everyone who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and was freed from sin is eternal life.
Question #13: How is the struggle that Paul describes of a sinner who knows the Law of God but still sins?
The sinner who knows the Law of God is aware of what they must do to please God. They also know what they shouldn’t do, that is, the things that God disapproves of. However, sin makes them do the things that they know they shouldn’t do and prevents them from doing the things they should do. In their minds, they know what is right, but they cannot do it because of their sinful nature.
Question #14: Who is free of condemnation? Why?
Those who are “in Christ Jesus” are free of condemnation. The Lord Jesus Christ made what the Law of the Old Testament was incapable of doing, which is to free people from sin. The Law showed us our sin, but it could only condemn us, not free us (see Romans chapter 7). Jesus paid for our sin with His own life, so the demands of the Law could be met. Those who are “in Christ” no longer live in sin, but they live after the Spirit of God.
Note: Being “in Christ” means to become a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17) that has a new identity: child of God (Galatians 3:26). They have died to themselves and now live for Christ (Colossians 3:3).
Question #15: What does the Holy Spirit do for the children of God?
In these Bible passages, Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit of God:
- gives us life (verse 13)
- leads us (verse 14)
- identifies the children of God (verse 14)
- adopt us (verse 15)
- gives us access to the Father (verse 15)
- bares witness to us that we are children of God (verse 16)
- helps us in our weakness (verse 26)
- intercedes for us with “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26 KJV) according to the will of God (verse 27)
- searches our hearts (verse 27)
Question #16: What do those verses teach us about God’s purpose for us?
Paul said that all things work together for our good (those who love God and who are called according to his purpose). It doesn’t mean that only good things, in our opinion, will happen to us. It means that God works in all circumstances to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ (verse 29). Therefore, even suffering is good if it helps us become more like Jesus.
Question #17: After we are justified by God, can anyone still bring a charge against us? Can anyone or anything separate us from the love of Jesus Christ?
Paul affirms that no one can bring any charge against us because it was God Himself who justified us (verse 33). He also said that no one could condemn us because it was Jesus Christ Himself who died for us, resurrected, and intercedes for us (verse 34).
Paul also said that nothing at all can separate us from the love of Jesus. He wrote an impressive list of items to emphasize the idea that there is no power in creation capable of snatching us from the love of God (see verses 35, 38, and 39).
Question #18: What do those verses teach us about the sovereignty of God?
God is sovereign. He doesn’t depend upon any other power to do what He will. He decides, and He does what He wants to do. Human beings cannot question His decisions regarding what He chose to do with them. We are His creatures. We are incapable of understanding His plans (Isaiah 55:8-9). So, we need to trust Him, knowing that He is good, wise, almighty, and He always does what is best (Romans 8:28).
Question #19: How can anyone receive the saving faith and believe in Jesus?
Paul wrote that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 KJV). Working backward into Paul’s discourse that led to this conclusion, we can say that:
- First, a believer is sent to preach the gospel (verse 15)
- Then, non-believers hear their preaching (verse 14)
- From hearing, some of them believe in Jesus (verses 14 and 17)
- Then, those who believed call on Him whom they believed (verse 14)
- Finally, the promise from the Word of God is fulfilled: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 KJV, quoting Joel 2:32).
Paul also said that to be saved, we need to confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead (verse 9).
Question #20: What did the casting away of the unbelieving Jews from Israel mean for the Gentiles? Explain the illustration of the olive tree.
When Jews rejected Jesus, the gospel of salvation was made accessible to the Gentiles (verse 11,15). Paul uses the illustration of the olive tree to represent how salvation worked for Jews and Gentiles. First, we have the original “olive tree”, which represents God (the root) and his people (the branches). It was originally composed of “natural” branches, who were the Jews, descendants of Abraham. But, because of their unbelief, some of those natural branches were broken off (verse 17).
Then comes the Gentiles, represented by the wild olive tree shoots. When they believed, they were grafted in among the natural branches. Now, they are attached to the olive tree as the natural branches are, and they all receive nourishing from the same root (from God). That teaches us that both Jews and Gentiles can become children of God, not because of their ethnicity, but because they believed in Jesus Christ, the son of God.
Question #21: What kind of sacrifice should we present to God? And how can we prove the will of God?
In reference to the Old Testament’s sacrifices, Paul tells his readers to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. The holy and acceptable sacrifices back then were dead sacrifices. In contrast, Paul urges us to be “living” sacrifices. We don’t need to die because Jesus has already died for us. Therefore, we offer our own lives as a sacrifice of worship (service) to Him.
To do that, we need to be transformed by renewing our minds, instead of being conformed to (taking the form of, or imitating) this world. That’s how we can prove the will of God, which Paul describes as good, acceptable, and perfect (verse 2).
Question #22: What does Paul mean when he compares believers to members of a body? What does it have to do with the gifts God gives us?
Paul used the analogy of the body to represent the Church on several occasions (see Ephesians 4:12,16 and 5:29-30; 1 Corinthians 6:15, 10:17 and 12:12-31; Colossians 1:18,24 and 3:15). He argues that we are members of the body of Christ. We are connected to each other, and each one of us has a different function within the body. Then, in verses 6 to 8, he lists different gifts that God gives us to serve the body, that is, the Church.
Therefore, we need to use our gifts the same way the members of a physical body need to perform their function to bless the whole body. This analogy shows how we are dependent on each other and how we need to care for each other for the good of the whole body.
Question #23: How should a Christian deal with the civil government and authorities?
Paul argues that the civil government and authorities are established by God. So, we need to submit to them because of our obedience to God’s Word. That’s the right thing to do. God has given them authority to punish evil. Paul argues that we also need to pay our taxes. Keep in mind that the civil authorities back in Paul’s days were representatives of the Roman Empire, which was a pagan government. Therefore, he is not talking about Christian authorities only, but any civil authority.
Romans 14:1-23 and 15:1-2
Question #24: Regarding Christian liberty, what are Paul’s instructions to the weak brother and the strong brother in faith?
Romans chapter 14 and the first verses of chapter 15 explained how we should live together in a Christian community, where people may have different opinions regarding non-essential issues. Paul explained how a strong brother (the one who believes he has more liberty) should treat the weak brother (the one who believes that some things are not allowed when it comes to food, drink, observance of days, etc.).
Paul wrote that both should make every effort to respect each other’s opinions and not impose on one another. Also, the strong brother must be careful not to use his liberty and make his weak brother sin by judging him. Thus, even though he may believe that he can eat a certain food, he shouldn’t eat it if that can cause his brother to be grieved or to sin.
Question #25: What was Paul’s plan regarding going to Rome? Did he make it?
Paul’s plan was to go to Rome on the way to Spain. First, he would go to Jerusalem to deliver the offerings he had collected, and then he would head their way.
However, the Holy Scriptures tell us that he got imprisoned after he arrived in Jerusalem (see the book of Acts 21:27-39). He did go to Rome, but as a prisoner (Acts 28:11-16). It was not what he had originally planned, but it was God’s plan.
There are many different ways to do a Bible class study. These free Romans Bible study questions will help you learn the important things you need to know from Paul’s letter. Introductory studies like this one will guide you to pursue the knowledge of God and a righteous living in your Christian life.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.