Romans summary (N.T. Wright)

The Righteousness of God (Rom 1:17, Douglas Moo).

From the NIB (New Interpreter's Bible)
  • Chapters 1-4: The faithfulness of God. God's gospel unveils the fact that in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, the God of Israel has been true to the covenant established with Abraham and has thereby brought saving order to the whole world. In the face of a world in rebellion and a chosen people unfaithful to their commission, God has, through the surrogate faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah, created a worldwide--that is, a Jewish and Gentile--family for Abraham (chap. 4; Genesis 15), marked out by the covenant sign of faith.
  • Chapters 5-8: God has thereby done what the covenant was set up to do: to address and solve the problem expressed in biblical terms as the sin of Adam. In the Messiah, Jesus, God has done for this new people what was done for Israel of old in fulfillment of the promise to Abraham: Redeemed from the Egypt of enslavement to sin, they are led through the wilderness of the present life by the Spirit (not by the Torah), and they look forward to the inheritance, which will consist of the entire redeemed creation. This is how the creator will finally put the whole world to rights. All this is the result of God's astonishing, unchanging, self-giving covenant love expressed completely and finally in the death of Jesus.
  • Chapters 9-11: This section highlights the peculiar tragedy of the gospel's revelation of God's righteousness--namely, the ironic failure of Israel to believe in the Messiah. This, too, however, turns out to be held within the strange purposes of God, whereby Israel's fall, acting out on a grand scale the death of Jesus, is the means by which salvation can extend to the whole world. This cannot mean that Jews themselves are thereby forever debarred from participating in the covenant blessing; Paul himself is a counter example, and God desires that even now, by recognizing that it is indeed their promised blessings that the Gentiles are enjoying, more of Paul's fellow Jews will come to share in the new covenant membership. Gentile Christians, therefore, are warned severely against anti-Jewish arrogance. This section ends with a paean of praise for the strange but glorious purposes of God.
  • Chapters 12-16: The community that is created by this gospel must live as the true, renewed humanity, in its internal and external life. In particular, it must reflect God's intention that Jew and Gentile come together as one worshiping body in Christ. Paul's own plans are bent to this end, and his greetings to different groups in the Roman church may indicate his desire to bring together disparate groups in common worship and mission.