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The Problem:

Many articles written on Romans 1, found in 'ATLA Religion Database 1996', focus on Romans 1:18 or later, discussing the literary structure, the natural revelation and homosexual behavior. It is strange that very few articles are written on 1:1-17. Only a handful of the articles study the relation of these verses in relation to the whole book or its life situation, others focus on a few verses, one verse or even one phrase in a particular verse. This part of Romans (Rom. 1:16-18) has not received much attention. Romans 1:16-17 has been widely accepted as the theme of the book for many years, but the role of v.18 and the detailed relationship of the theme to the whole book are seldom scrutinized. Very few articles have revisited this theme in recent decades. I propose that:

  1. the epistolary form reveals the sociolects of Christian communities in the N. T. times and the purpose and audience of Romans;
  2. this part (Rom. 1:1-18) shows the theme of the whole book and there is a transfer model which reveals the thematic linkage.



The Christians in the earliest Christian Churches have developed some peculiar forms and vocabularies in communicating among themselves. These special uses of the Greek language are a kind of sociolects. According to the Encarta 97 , "Sociolects are dialects determined by social factors rather than by geography. Sociolects often develop due to social divisions within a society, such as those of socioeconomic class and religion." Due to the progressive oppositions from the Jews and the Roman government, the Christians have finally developed a system of code language, similar to argot and jargon. According to the Encarta 97 ,

"Argot refers to a nonstandard vocabulary used by secret groups, particularly criminal organizations, usually intended to render communications incomprehensible to outsiders. A jargon comprises the specialized vocabulary of a particular trade or profession, especially when it is incomprehensible to outsiders, as with legal jargon."

As Stowers rightly points out the onset of the Christianity among the Roman empire is demanding a self-understanding among others.

The self-definition of Christian movement has developed a sociolect for itself, revealing itself in the use of peculiar epistolary forms and style with peculiar vocabularies. In the first part of this thesis we will strive to find the peculiar epistolary forms in the Romans 1:1-18. The style with peculiar vocabularies in light of Sociolinguistics is a complex work which is beyond the scope of this thesis. Besides, the material cannot be reach by the writer.

  1. Methodology and the theses used


We will first look at the sketch of the epistolary forms and styles of the Pauline letters in contrast to the NT letters and that of the apostolic fathers. Then we will compare these findings with that of the Greek letters, with peculiar attention to the Romans 1:1-18. The epistolary approach and rhetorical approach cannot reveal the deeper intention of the author. The disputed classifications of the passages on the Romans are setbacks of these two approaches. (The rhetorical approach has much more methodological problems , I will not use this approach in my thesis.) To supplement this weakness, I propose to use structural analysis to help in this "expedition" for fuller understanding the texts.

The theses used in this study are:

  1. The epistolary approach is adopted with the support of the rhetorical categories. Paul may have learnt the Greco-Roman rhetoric, but uses it as a natural mean of communication, rather than fixed rules of persuasive artistry. I am against White and Doty, who holds that rhetorical categories are of secondary applicability to the epistles. Neither do I accept Kennedy's position, which advocates that epistles are basically speeches with epistolary openings and closings attached. It is rejected because the genuine epistolary features have been found in the epistles in recent researches. The combination of the epistolary forms and rhetorical categories is not easily discernible without careful analysis.
  2. The authenticity of the epistles will not be studied. The pastoral epistles that are taken by some scholars as non-authentic. Even though they are right, the styles in these letters will certainly reflect "Pauline styles" from the perspectives of the imitators. This shows the Pauline style inside the Christian circle especially the Pauline communities. This argument is also evident for the Catholic letters. Since I approach the issue from the sociolect of the Christian communities, the "authenticity" in the styles are assumed. For simplification sake, I will use the name of the author assumed by the traditional view to denote the author of the letters. For example, the author of the Hebrew is assumed to be "Paul" which may refer to the "real Paul the apostle" or an imitator of Paul who strive to preserve Paul's style.


II. Form: Epistolary analysis

A. Analysis on Pauline epistles, other NT letters and selected letters of the apostolic fathers

The analysis of Pauline letters is in ( ), while the other NT letters in [ ] and, that of the apostolic fathers are in { }.

(1)The analysis on the opening formulae

a) The Identification of Sender (i. e. Subject section or Sender formula)

(Ą)Name of sender:

    1. A person: "Paul" [ Simon/Peter; Jude; the elder; James] {Ignatius; Polycarp}
    2. The sender is a church:
    3. "The church of God which sojourns in Rome" {1 Clem.}

      "The church of God which sojourns at Smyrna" {The martyrdom of

      Polycarp}. The recipient is also a church.

    4. The name of sender is not mentioned:
    5. [none in 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and in the epistle in Rev. 2-3, but all letters use peculiar description on the sender.]

      {the epistle to Diognetus and the epistle of Barnabas. }


      (i) Usually: "apostle" (1Cor. 1:1; 2Cor. 1:1; Gal.1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 1Tim.1:1;

      2 Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:1) [1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1]

      (ii) Sometimes: "slave" (Romans1:1; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1)

      [2 Peter 1:1; James 1:1; Jude 1:1]

      (iii) Only once: "Set apart" (Romans 1:1)

    6. "the elder": [2 John, 3 John]
    7. No title and description: (1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians)
    8. No title but with description: {All letters of Ignatius, opens with "Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus (God-bearer)."}

(ƒ×) Short descriptive phrase, indicating source of title (slave / apostle of Christ Jesus)

(These particles are not found in 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians.)

    1. of Christ Jesus: (1Cor. 1:1; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 1Tim.1:1;

2 Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:1; Romans1:1; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1; "through Christ Jesus"


(ii) of Jesus Christ: [1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; James 1:1; Jude 1:1]

(ƒÔ) Mentioning companion: (the following list arranged according to the date of the

letters, except Phlm. and Col.).

    1. "Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy": (1 Thess. 1:1, 2 Thess. 1:1)
    2. "and all the brethen who are with me": (Gal. 1:1)
    3. "and brother Timothy": (2 Cor. 1:1, Col. 1:1, Phlm. 1:1)
    4. "and brother Sosthenes": (2 Cor. 1:1)
    5. No mentioning of any companion: (Romans 1:1) [c.f. all other NT letters don't mention their companion also!].
    6. "and slave of Christ Jesus Timothy": (Phil. 1:1)
    7. "and the presbyters with him": {The letter of Polycarp to the Philippians}
  1. Reader section(=Recipient formula)

(Ą) Identification of recipient:

    1. Usually: the church of certain place: ( ekklesia; ekklhsia)
    2. (1Cor. 1:1; 2Cor. 1:1; Gal.1:1 "churches" ; 1 Thess. and 2 Thess.)

      {1 Clement; all letters of Ignatius except his letter was written to Polycarp;

      the letter of Polycarp to the Philippians}

    3. Sometimes: "to the saints" -- (Phil. 1:1; Romans 1:7; Col. 1:2; Eph. 1:1)
    4. Sometimes: individuals -- (Phlm. 1:1-2; 1Tim.1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:1)
    5. [3 John 1:1; "the angel of the church in a place" Rev. 2:1]

      {letter of Ignatius written to Polycarp; the epistle to Diognetus}

    6. only geographic reference: [1 Peter 1:1; James 1:1]
    7. No name and geographic reference:

[2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; "you" 1 John 1:4; "wife and children" 2 John 1:1;]

{"sons and daughters" the epistle of Barnabas}

(ƒÒ) Short phrase, positively describing the recipients' relationship to God

"In God (Our) Father and Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1)

"in Christ Jesus"(1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1)

  1. Greeting formula

(ƒÑ) Greeting¡G "grace and peace"

(ƒÒ) Recipient¡G "to you"

(ƒ×) Divine source¡G "from God Our Father and Lord Jesus Christ"

(2) The Analysis on the Thanksgivings

On the Pauline Thanksgivings, Jervis has found five units (for Rom. 1:1-18):

  1. "I give thanks to" ('eucharisto) (1:8a),
  2. Manner of Thanksgiving (1:8b,9),
  3. Cause (1:8c),
  4. Explanation (1:11-12,13b-15),
  5. Concerns for Readers/Prayer Report (1:10, 1:13a).

Unit C is generally used by Paul to establish a sense of personal relationship with the readers is very brief and formal in the Romans. Paul's cause for thanksgiving rests on the general knowledge on the faith of the Roman believers is being reported all over the world. In Unit B, Paul stresses his apostolic role and his commission to preach the gospel (1:9b), rather than affirming his love for him. Unit D and Unit E use a twofold repetition pattern to show Paul's intention to preach the gospel to his Roman readers (1:15). Therefore, "A visit to them (the Roman Christians) is vital for him because he longs to be able to exercise his apostolic obligation by preaching to them as he has preached to 'the rest of the Gentiles' (v.13b). That Paul expresses a desire to preach to the Roman believers does not imply that the thought he would be preaching to the unconverted. Rather, in the context of having affirmed his respect for their faith, he is expressing a desire that these Roman believers would hear his preaching of the gospel." Jervis rightly shows Paul's desire to visit for his presentation of his gospel, but the hint of "world mission" (1:8) seems to be over-looked by her.

Unit E is intertwined with unit D. It has been a 'preface' to unit D. In each section of unit E (1:10, 1:13a), Paul's desire to meet the Roman Christians is repeatedly stated. The corresponding explanations of this desire are twice expressed in unit D (1:11-12; 13b-15). Paul wish to impart some spiritual gift to them(1:11), encouraged them in faith(1:12), obtain some fruit among them(1:13b), and preached the gospel to them(1:15). His mission to the Greeks is clearly stated in 1:14. Paul wish to establish the Roman Christians and they was well-trained in his gospel. His desire to evangelize Spain by the support of the Romans are suspended until chapter 15. This may be Paul's tactic to motivate a community which he did not know much. Paul has written with a familiar tone to the addressees which developed a sense of warmth. Though the purpose of writing Romans is only partly revealed but the theme of Romans, his gospel, is immediately stated in 1:16-18. In light of this, Paul may try to persuade the Roman Christians to follow his gospel in order to establish their faith in it. Thus they will eventually support him in his mission to Spain.

O'brien has suggested that the thanksgiving paragraphs have four functions: epistolary function, pastoral and apostolic concern for the addresses, didactic function, and paraenetic purpose. He stated, "With the possible exception of Rom. 1:8ff. (where, however, theological themes are certainly prefigured), Paul's thanksgiving periods have a didactic function." The theological themes can be clearly seen in 1:16-18, and the didactic function of Rom. 1:8ff is doubtful. This means Paul may have tried a different approach in writing Romans in contrast to other Pauline writings.

The end of thanksgiving and the beginning of the body-opening may have three alternatives:


end of thanksgiving

beginning of the body-opening










In option A, 1:13 is taken as the transitional formula for the body-opening, but 1:11-12 is not a typical conclusion for a thanksgiving. Option C is supported by Schubert's contention that 1:16-17 functions as an eschatological conclusion for the thanksgiving. In this option, 1:18 is taken as the beginning of the body-opening. But this verse is grammatically dependent on the preceding verses.

In option B, 1:16-17 serves suitable letter-body opening. It introduces the theological themes in Romans and it uses the first person singular which is widely used in other Pauline letters. J. M. Bassler suggests 1:16-2:10 shows some characteristics of a Ringkomposition. Since 1:18 is grammatically dependent on 1:16-17 and it can serves both as a part of the letter-body opening and a transition to the letter-body. Detailed discussion on that will be found in the next part of this thesis (Part III. A. 2.) The thanksgiving of Roman is 1:8-15, but the beginning of the letter-body opening is 1:16-18.

B. Comparative analysis of Greek and Christian epistles with special attention to Romans 1:1-18


(1)The analysis on the opening formulae

  1. The Identification of Sender:
  2. The sender of the Greek letters usually writes his/her name before the recipient. Though the sender's inferiority of the status may affect the sender to put the recipient's name before his/her own name, but it is not compulsory. Paul and the earliest Christian letter-writers follow this style.

    In the Greek epistles, the title of the sender is not mentioned, in contrast to consistent use of Pauline epistles. This feature may increase the credibility of the sender and enhances the recipients' acceptance of the message embedded in the letter. The title is critically challenged by the opponents of Paul in Galatians. Paul wrote, in Gal. 1:1, "Paul, an apostle (not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)," (NASB). The re-affirmation of this title is strongly felt. This emphasis on the title is not widely used among the other Christian letters even down to the period of the apostolic fathers. This is clearly a "Pauline" feature that is used to establish Paul's own credential. The three-fold titles, including the rare title "set apart," in Roman 1:1, show the strong emphasis on the credibility. This is easily understood as Paul has never visited the Roman Christians. The titles are designated by Paul may show different natures of the leadership in the early churches. They are "apostles, servants (doulos), and brothers." The apostleship of Paul is continually challenged by his contemporaries even among the Jewish Christians.

  3. Designation of Recipient
  4. The recipients of Pauline letters, other NT letters, and letters of the apostolic fathers are mainly a church, or a group of people. Paul does not use the word ƒÕƒÛƒÛƒÜƒØƒãƒÙƒÑ to describe the Romans Christians in Rom. 1:7; but uses it in the house-church around Aquila and Prisca (Rom. 16:5). Besides this group, there are four other groups mentioned in Rom. 16:10,k 11, 14. If the other 14 persons mentioned do not belong to any of these groups, Peter Lampe proposes that there are 8 small group churches in Rome. The word "church" is absent in Romans 1:7, but it appears in 16:5 when describing the house-church around Aquila and Prisca. This may imply the division among other congregations is unacceptable to Paul and he admires only that of Aquila.


    The phrase ƒÕƒÚƒÞƒnƒáƒÕƒçƒuƒ}ƒnƒàƒÑƒäƒâƒÙƒnorƒnƒÕƒÚƒÞƒnƒ³ƒâƒÙƒãƒäƒçƒuƒ} is a common expression in Pauline letter which may show the recipients„C good standing in the faith, but it is absent in Philemon and Romans. The omission is linked to the absence of the ƒÕƒÛƒÛƒÜƒØƒãƒÙƒÑƒ|ƒnThis may due to Paul's concern over the dissonance between their faith and practice. ƒnThe Roman Christians are "called to be holy" (ƒÛƒÜƒØƒäƒßƒÙƒuƒpƒnƒÑƒºƒ×ƒÙƒæƒßƒÙƒpƒwƒ|ƒnThis is comparable with the usage in 1 Corinthians where the Corinthians Christians show problems in holy lives demanded by the gospel.

    Though it is a divided church, Paul calls them, "beloved" by God (ƒÑƒÚƒ×ƒÑƒàƒØƒäƒßƒÙƒuƒpƒnƒáƒÕƒßƒåƒu). This term is not used in Pauline letter to describe the recipient individually, except that the use on Philemon personally beloved by Paul. This may be a tact to establish the bridge between Paul and his readers.

  5. Greeting

The greeting unit of the Pauline opening formula begins usually with ƒÓƒÑƒæƒâƒÙƒpƒnƒåƒºƒÝƒÙƒuƒÞƒnƒÛƒÑƒÙƒ«ƒnƒÕƒÙƒÚƒâƒØƒæƒÞƒØ. In contrast to the standard "Writer to Recipient, Greetings!(chairein)" , Paul's usage is unique. Scholars cannot be sure that Paul was self-consciously playing on words when he used "Grace (charis)¡Kand Peace¡K!" to replace "greeting (chairein)". Doty suggests that "Peace!" (shalom) is a standard element of Jewish letter greetings and Paul is likely consciously using his Jewish heritage. In support of this, Doty gives an example of the two-part salutation in Jewish letters, which add a prayer for peace and other blessings to the formal address from the sender to the reader. For example in Apoc. Bar. 78:2, "Baruch the son of Neriah to the brethren carried into captivity: Mercy and Peace!".

If Paul is addressing only to the Gentiles, then why a Jewish greeting is used by this apostle to the Gentiles? If Doty is right, then Paul is attempting to speak to both the Jews and the Gentiles who seems to be addressed in Romans. J. M. Lieu proposes that the peculiar usage reflect Paul's apostolic goal for his readers. He assumes the letter is read before the gathered congregation. Then Paul is trying to communicate to a congregation that is mixing the Jews with the Gentile. The portrait of Paul in Acts has been rejected by many scholars as the real Paul, but I propose that it sheds some lights on the unknown Paul. Paul was striving to witness to the Jews and the Gentiles in the synagogues, and he went to a place of prayer (if there is no synagogue) in Philippi. He went to the people who had the OT background and many are Jews. He witnessed only to the Gentiles after he was entirely rejected by the Jews. The continual double greetings both to the Jews and the Gentiles reflected his double concerns.

Paul greets consistently, except in 1 Thessalonians , with ƒÓƒÑƒæƒâƒÙƒpƒnƒåƒºƒÝƒÙƒuƒÞƒnƒÛƒÑƒÙƒ«ƒnƒÕƒÙƒÚƒâƒØƒæƒÞƒØ by supplementing it with the prepositional phraseƒnƒÑƒàƒßƒ«ƒnƒáƒÕƒßƒåƒuƒnƒàƒÑƒäƒâƒßƒ«ƒpƒnƒØƒºƒÝƒçƒuƒÞƒnƒÛƒÑƒÙƒ«ƒnƒÛƒåƒâƒÙƒæƒßƒåƒnƒnƒÚƒ¹ƒØƒãƒßƒåƒuƒnƒ³ƒâƒÙƒãƒäƒßƒåƒuƒ|ƒnThe Romans "greeting" unit is standard.

L. Ann Jervis has studied the opening formulae (Romans 1:1-7) in Pauline Epistles. Comparing them with the Romans, she suggests that the ill-proportioned length of the 'identification of sender' unit reveals Paul's intention:

"Here Paul defines his apostolic role by emphasizing that he is both a slave of Christ Jesus and that he is set apart for the gospel of God. Paul evidently considers that such a self-identification is insufficient of itself and so incorporated a credal statement (1.3-4) that is placed in direct relationship to his commissioning on behalf of the gospel. He gives an apologetic, as it were, for his apostolic credibility by affirming the creed that he shares with his readers. In so doing he creates a bond between himself and his readers. Then he returns to a description of his apostolic commission (v.5), in the process making it clear that he considers his addressees to be among his charges." (Bold and italic mine.)


(2) The Analysis on the Thanksgivings

Paul's thanksgiving has been assumed to follow form of contemporary "epistolary introductory thanksgiving." Peter Arzt has re-visited this assumption and proposes an opposite view. The so-called formula valetudinis or health wish with a motif of thanks to the god occurs in the main clause seems to be limited to the third century B.C.E. This is not a common convention in Paul's times. But the report of a prayer is used in numerous papyrus letters in some Pauline epistles (Rom.; Phil.; 1 Thess.; Phlm.). In Greek papyrus letters this report acts as an extended version of the formula valetudinis and is found in both the beginning and at the end of the letters. In contrast to that, Paul's prayer reports refer to the "well-being" of the addressees' Christian life, and are mostly placed in the beginning. Therefore he proposes that "the combination of a report of a prayer and/or the ƒÝƒÞƒÕƒÙƒÑ-motif with a thanksgiving to God for the addressees derives from Paul's personal intention and not from a common epistolary convention." Paul's practice does not seem to influence other Christian communities. This practice is found in some Pauline epistles only (Eph.; Col.; 2 Thess.; 2 Tim.), and not found in other early Christian epistles.

III. Structure:

We will analyze the ways to determine the structure of Romans in section A, then I will propose an outline with attention to the transfer model which is embedded in the structure of Romans.

I will not use the rhetorical analysis of the Pauline epistles as the backbone of this analysis due to its methodological weakness.

A. Structure Analysis

The following discussion will first use the help from epistolary analysis, then the literary and theological analysis to determine the structure of Romans.

  1. Form : Epistolary analysis
  2. Structure: Literary and Theological analysis

1. Form : Epistolary analysis

When we analyze the ancient letters, we will find most of them have the following structure:

Opening: Name of sender, name of recipient, and greetings

Thanksgiving, often ending with a transition to the letter-body


Final greetings and blessing.

Martin Luther Sitrewalt, Jr. has proposed a possible genre of Greek letter-essay. He analyzes fifteen documents: the philosophic Letters of Epicurus, the Letters of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, selections from the works of Plutarch, 2 Maccabees, and the Martyrdom of Polycarp, and proposes the following structure:


Epistolary introduction

Transition from introduction to body



Though Paul's letters reflect similar formal structures, but there are some distinct structures can be seen in Paul's letters. The body of the letter often includes or is followed by ethical instructions (i.e., parenesis). In the closing, Paul always shows his wish to visit the audience (usually called 'apostolic parousia' by scholars). The letter-closing is also sometimes expanded in length to include a prayer for peace, personal greetings, and a doxology or benediction.

If we apply the insights gained from the epistolary analysis on Romans, we may gain this provisional outline:

Opening (1:1-7)

Sender (1:1-6)

Addressees (1:7a)

Greeting (1:7b)

Thanksgiving (1:8-15)

Transition to body and body-opening (1:16-17)

Letter-body (1:18-11:36)

Parenesis (12:1-15:13)

Apostolic Parousia (travel plans, intention to visit 15:14-32)

Closing (15:33-16:27)

Peace wish (15:33)

Greetings (16:1-15, 21-23)

Blessing / Doxology (16:25-27)

2. Structure: Literary and Theological analysis

There are several questions needed to be solved before we gain a better understanding of the structure of the epistle to the Romans.

  1. What are the functions and roles of the opening section and thanksgiving?
  2. What are the extent, theological connections and functions of the theme (1:16-17/18)? How is it related to the whole book?
  3. What is the relationship of chaps. 1-8, and 9-11?
  4. What is the relationship of chaps. 1-4, and 5-8? How they are connected?
  5. How the parenesis is structured and its relationship with the other parts of the book?

If we can solve the above questions, then the structure will emerge.

The first question can be solved by the form analysis in Part I of this thesis. In short, these two sections establish the relationship between the writer and the recipient by means of their spiritual relationship to God and one another. These sections reveal the purpose of the epistle and foreshadow the theme of the letter.

The extent of the theme of Romans is usually delimited as 1:16-17 by scholars. But many scholars do not discuss the arguments supporting this classification. Dunn touches lightly on supporting arguments:

Vv 16-17 is clearly the thematic statement for the entire letter. As such it is the climax of the introduction: note the deliberative buildup in the talk of ƒÕƒåƒÑƒ×ƒ×ƒÕƒÜƒÙƒßƒÞ/ƒÕƒåƒÑƒ×ƒ×ƒÕƒÜƒÙƒêƒÕƒãƒáƒÑƒÙ (vv 1, 9, 15, 16) and of ƒàƒÙƒãƒäƒÙƒp/ƒàƒÙƒãƒäƒäƒÕƒåƒÕƒÙƒÞ (vv 5, 8, 12, 16, 17).

At most it can suggest the relationship between 1:16-17 with the preceding passages (1:1-15), but it excludes 1:18 from the theme. This exclusion causes some problems:

1) Firstly it cannot explain the wrath of God in 1:18-3:20. Nils A. Dahl saw 1.16-18 as three thematic statements:

    1. The gospel is God's power for salvation, for Jews and for Greeks.
    2. In the gospel God's righteousness is being revealed, 'from faith to faith'.
    3. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of the human race.

2) The unity of 1:15-18 is over-looked. Nils A. Dahl has noticed the parallelism between v.17 and v.18 and proposed v.18 as one the themes of Romans. The three verses after v.15 is providing a warrant for the statement of v.15. Besides, this parallel structuring of vv. 17 and 18, is also emphasized by James Dunn. He even says, "But the ƒßƒÚƒâƒ×ƒØƒ«ƒnƒáƒÕƒßƒåƒuƒnƒÕƒÚƒàƒÙƒ«ƒnƒÑƒÚƒÔƒÙƒÛƒÙƒæƒÑƒÞƒnas against the ƒÔƒÙƒÛƒÑƒÙƒßƒãƒåƒæƒÞƒØƒnƒÕƒÙƒÚƒpƒnƒàƒÙƒæƒãƒäƒÙƒÞ (v.17) strongly suggests that the connection is as much of contrast as of cause." In v.16-18, there are four consecutive use of "ƒ×ƒÑƒâ" (therefore), the themes may lie in these hints. The first one is related to the Paul's attitude towards the gospel that is clearly the theme of Romans. The other three occurrences may show the content of this gospel, namely, God's saving power for all with Jews' 'primacy', God's righteousness and His wrath revealed. The last "ƒ×ƒÑƒâ" may serve two functions: the theme of Romans and the transition to the letter body. The "wrath of God" is taken as main theme in chapters 1-4 , but actually it extends to chapter 12. Scholars usually accept 1:18-3:20 as a unit, but some will extend to 4:25 (Cranfield). Clearly it connects to this part with certainty, but the relationship to other parts of the book is not emphasized by scholars. As Calvin L. Porter point out, "The transition from ƒÔƒÙƒÛƒÑƒÙƒßƒãƒåƒÞƒØƒnƒáƒÕƒßƒåƒnrevealed in the gospel (1.16-17) to ƒßƒâƒ×ƒØƒnƒáƒÕƒßƒå revealed from heaven (1.18) raises a major theological conundrum, the relationship of God's righteousness to God's wrath." I propose that 1:18 is the description of the old epoch, in which all men including the Jews are under the wrath of God. The remedy of this is the righteousness of God revealed in 1:17, which makes the new epoch. The process of this transfer is explained in 1:16, salvation to everyone through faith. This new process is compatible to old one expressed by the Law, implicitly expressed by "to the Jew first and also to the Greek(1:16)." This explains the priority of the Jews, the promises to the Jews, high occurrences of the Law and the plenty discussion about Judaism in Romans.

1:1-17 is generally accepted as the opening formula, and the theme is believed to be in 1:16-17. The book can also be divided in 9:1-1:36 and 12:1-15:13. The section 1:18-8:39, according to Cranfield's survey on the scholars' ideas, can be sub-divided into two parts, which is varied among the scholars. Cranfield divides it into 1:18-4:25 and 5:1-8:39, but Dunn divides into 1:18-3:20, 3:21-5:21, and 6:1-8:39. Clearly the problem lies in the relationship of 3:21-5:21 with the previous section and chaps. 6-8. Dunn explains his divisions as follows:

"Not least do we need to recall the integration provided by Paul's own personal and spiritual pilgrimage and by his commission as Jewish apostle to Gentiles, taking to the non-Jewish world the message of God's promises to Abraham as fulfilled in and through Messiah Jesus, It is precisely the tension between "Jew first but also Greek" (1:16), which Paul experienced in his own person and faith and mission, which also provides an integrating motif for the whole letter. First he argues that Jew as much as Greek is in need of God's eschatological grace (1:18-3:20). Then he spells out the means by which Jew as well as Gentile, the "many," the "all," are brought within the experience of that grace (3:21-5:21), and explains how these blessings, characteristically understood as belonging to Israel, work out in the present for each of the "many," the "all (chaps. 6-8)."

The lexical relationship between 5:12-21 and chaps. 6-8 is played down by Dunn's division. The words like, sin, death and law are used abundantly in these sections. Besides, the "ƒÞƒåƒÞ" pattern which emphasized the before-and-after conversion is a mark of transition from old epoch to new. This word is used in 3:21, 26; 5:9,11; 6:19, 21; 8:1,18,22; 11:5,30,31, 13:11, 16:26. This pattern starts at 3:21 after the confirmation of the sinfulness of all humankind who is then under the wrath of God (1:18). The "ƒÞƒåƒÞ" pattern stresses the arrival of the new epoch. But in some way, it is eschatological; the present ruling power of sin in the flesh of man (7:7-25) demands a realized triumph of Christ in the end of the world. Therefore I propose that the new epoch is connected to the revelation of the righteousness of God beyond the law(3:21, 1:17), while the old epoch is connected to the wrath of God (1:18). 4:1-25 is the re-interpretation of the old epoch to meet the "faith" principle of the new epoch and 5:1-11 is the interpretation of the new epoch. The tension between the two epochs and the meaning and details of the two epochs are discussed in 5:12-8:17. These passages can be sub-divided into 5:12-31, 6:1-14; 6:15-23; 7:1-6; 7:13-25; and 8:1-17. They discuss different aspects of the transition of the two epochs. A transfer model consists of the elements in the old epoch, the transfer process, and the elements in the new epoch can be seen in these passages. If we compare this with Wedderburn's proposal on the structure of Romans as follows,

1.15: Paul is eager to preach the gospel in Rome,

  1. for he is not ashamed of this gospel, for it is God's power for saving all (1.16)
  2. [B] for in it God's righteousness is being revealed (1.17),

    for [C] in it God's wrath is being revealed against all humanity,

    both Jews and gentiles (1.18-3.20/23).

    (2.17-3.8: are the Jews privileged?)

    [B] (3.20-4.25) The revelation of God's righteousness.

    (3.31-4.25: the Law is not abrogated by this message, for it testifies to

    justification by faith in the case of 'righteous' Abraham.)

    [A] 5.1-8.39: Paul's gospel does not put the one who believes to shame.

    (6.1-7.6: the Christian should not continue in sin, but has broken with it.

    7.7-25: the Law is not sinful.)

    [B] 9.1-11.36: God has dealt righteously with Israel, both in the past and in

    the present, and Israel still has a special place in the divine


    The part [C] is the theme, which Wedderburn has not taken as a theme, in 1:18 - the wrath of God. This is the old epoch. The part [B] is the new epoch, revealed in 1:17, and explained in 3:21-5:11. Part [A] is the process of transfer (1:16), which is explained in 5:12-8:39. But this is appended by "to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (1:16). This theme is a part of [A], which is wrongly taken as [B] by Wedderburn. The so-called new transfer model expressed in 1:16 must be compatible to the promises of God in the old testament. If not the faithfulness of God is at stake. Paul elucidates this in chapters 9-11. We will re-examine the structure of Rom. 1:16-18 in order to show its relationship with the structure of the whole book.

    In 1:16a, Paul says, he is "not ashamed of the gospel." This may be a standard rhetorical device (litotes) which uses the double negative to produce a positive emphasis. This means Paul is proud of the gospel. These "boasting" motifs are found in 2:17,23; 3:27; 5:2,3,11 too. The rest of the thematic statement (v.16b-18) is the grounds of this boasting. I propose the themes as follows:

    for he is not ashamed of this gospel, (1:16a)

    [A] for it is God's power for salvation

    to everyone who believes, (1:16b)

    to the Jews first and also to the Greek (1:16c)

  3. for in it, God's righteousness is being revealed (1:17),
  4. through faith for faith;

    as it is written, He who through faith is righteous shall live."

  5. for in it, God's wrath is being revealed (1:18)

from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men

who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

Its relationship to the whole book is as follows,

  1. is mainly related to 3:21-8:31 (1:16b) and 9-11 (1:16c)
  2. is mainly related to 3:21-8:31 (1:17)
  3. is mainly related to 1:18-3:20 (1:18)

The relationship between the 1-4, 5-8, and 9-11 is the key to internal relationship of Romans.

Before the so-called "new perspective" is raised, it is generally accepted that the doctrinal heart of Romans lies in chapters 1-8 and 9-11 as the appendix to it. K. Stendahl advocates an opposing view. He proposes that chapters 9-11 are the main concern of the book, chapters 1-8 are only an introduction to it. It is the extension of 1:16c (to the Jews first and also to the Greek) . In Rom. 3:1-2, Paul has only dealt with the hand-over of the Law to the Jews, but the problem of God's promises has not been solved. Chapters 9-11 is an apology for God's faithfulness to the Jews and His trustworthiness. The problem of this interpretation is the over-emphasis on chapters 9-11. It would be a too long introduction (chaps. 1-8) to chaps 9-11, and the salvation for all has been down-played by this interpretation. I propose that the overall theme is in 1:16 which reveal the salvation for all with special attention to Jews' position due to God's promises to them.

Chapters 1-4 and 6-8 are usually taken as two separate parts. According to personae analysis, the former is mainly third person, while the latter is either first person or second person. Continually references to the Jews (1:16) and the Gentile (1:5) in chapters 1-4 are absent in the later parts. pistis and orge are frequently used in the former chapters while zoe and pneuma are abundant in the later parts. Traditionally, 5:21 and 6:1 are the boundary of these two parts. But Dahl has done a synopsis of 5:1-11 and 8:1-39, in which the later one is a full development of themes of the former. Matthew Black divides Romans at 5:11-12. The theme of 'justification' that reappears at different positions in the later chapters (e.g., 8:1) is central to the former section: 1:17-5:11. The Adam-Christ typology (5:12-21) is the foundation for the doctrine of the Christian life (6:1-8:39). If we follow the questions posted by Paul in Romans, as Boers claims, we will find a thematic unity from chapter 3 to 11. All of them deal with problems of the Law and Israel (the Jews). They discuss the election and rejection of the Jews which is related to the Law (3:9, 27a, 31; 6:1, 15; 7:7 and 13), circumcision (4:1, and 9), and the salvation of the gentiles in relation to that of the Laws (9:30-32a; 11:7 and 19). Along with these questions, the relationship of the Jews with the Law is discussed in the questions in chapter 2 (2:3, 4, 21-23 and 26). The role of the Jews and the Law is closely connected and it may reflect the theme in 1:16c. The saving way of the old testament, through Abraham, is re-interpreted by Paul in chapter 4 and ends in 5:11. It is compatible with the salvation in Christ. In 5:12-21, Paul explains the salvation for everyone in term of universal perspective. He starts the contrast between Adam and Christ. This lays the foundation for two different epochs. Sin, activated by the Law, entered the world through Adam while grace came through Christ. The two distinct pictures of mankind coexist in the following chapters (5-8). Paul puts the epoch under the Law as the actual starting point of the old epoch. For he says, in 5:13-14, "for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." (NASB) The centrality of 5:1-11 and 5:12-21 is remarkable. The former is the conclusion of the previous sections, especially 3:21-4:25. The "salvation" language reappears in vv.9-10 reflects the connections with 1:16. Starting from 5:12 the cosmic focus appears and carries up to chaps. 8. The "already but not yet" tension can be seen in 5:1-11 and becomes the marks of chaps. 6-8. Dunn suggests that 6:1-8:39 as the outworking of the gospel in relation to the individual believer, and 9:1-11:36 as the outworking of the gospel in relation to the election of grace . This suggestion cannot explain the sudden change from individual perspective to Jewish national view. Rom. 5:1-11 says Christ's death, as revelation of God's love (5:5,8), saves men from the wrath of God. According to this grace (5:2) which comes through faith (5:1), Christian has received reconciliation with God (5:11). I propose that the transfer from the situation under the wrath of God to the righteousness is by faith as a gift given to men due to God's Love. This is mediated through justification by faith (5:1). This is a new model of salvation as contrasted to that which is through the Law. The contrast between the old model (under the Law) and the new model (under Christ) is discussed in 5:12-21. Close examination on Rom. 5:9 gives us some insight on the pattern used on the coming chaps. 6-8. It says,

"Since, therefore (ƒßƒåƒÞ), we are now (ƒÞƒåƒÞ) justified by his blood,

much more shall we be saved from the wrath of God."

The first part corresponds to 1:17 (Righteousness of God), while the later part reflects the language of 1:18 (wrath of God). The wrath of God is directly referred to in 2:5 (twice), 2:8; 3:5; 4:15; 9:22 (twice); 12:19. It appears in chaps.2 and 3:5 as the "reaction" to men's sins. In 4:15, Paul says, "For the law bring wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression." (RSV) According to the hints from Rom. 5:12-21, it means the Law has activated Sin and caused the wrath of God. In 9:22-23, the contrast between God's wrath and his mercy on the elect is seen. The last occurrence refers to Christians' forbearance because our belief in God's final wrath on the sinners. Not just the wording of God's wrath runs through the whole book, also the related concepts are abundant. For example, in Rom. 8:8, it says, "and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (RSV) On the contrary, the righteousness of God is transferred to believers, due to Christ's works that is a manifestation of God's love. This is described by love (5:8 agape) and mercy (9:23 eleous, 12:1 oiktirmon) of God. This forms the foundation for God's salvation and Christians' reaction to it (responsible holy living; 12:1).

The paranesis section (12:1-15:13) deals with the new living standard (love) when the old one (the Law) is superseded. The basis of the paranesis is God's mercy as stated in 12:1-2. These two verses are seen by scholars as the introduction to the rest of the paranesis. The later part has a very complex structure:

12:3-8 Love inside the Church: The use of spiritual gifts

12:9-13 Love inside the Church: to Christians and God

12:14 Love outside the Church: bless the enemies

12:15-16 Love inside the Church: to Christians

12:17-21 Love outside the Church: return good for evil

B. Structure of Roman: a proposal


I. Introduction (1:1-17)

  1. Introductory Statement and Greetings (1:1-7)
  2. Thanksgiving with Personal Expectation (1:8-15)
  3. Summary Statement of the Letter's Theme (1:16-18)

for he is not ashamed of this gospel, (1:16a)

[A] for it is God's power for salvation

to everyone who believes, (1:16b) [new transfer model]

to the Jews first and also to the Greek (1:16c) [old transfer model]

[B] for in it, God's righteousness is being revealed (1:17), [new epoch]

[C] for in it, God's wrath is being revealed against all humanity, [old epoch]

both Jews and gentiles (1:18).

Its relationship to the whole book is as follows,

  1. is mainly related to 3:21-8:31 (1:16b) and 9-11 (1:16c)
  2. is mainly related to 3:21-8:31 (1:17)
  3. is mainly related to 1:18-3:20 (1:18)

II. The Wrath of God on Man's Unrighteousness (1:19-3:20) : The Old Epoch

A. God's Wrath on Humankind - from a Jewish Perspective (1:18-32)

B. God's Wrath -- on Jew First as well as Gentile (2:1-3:8)

C. Conclusion: God's Judgment on All without Exception (3:9-20)

  1. God's Saving Righteousness through Faith (3:21-5:11)

: The New Epoch, by means of New Transfer model

  1. New transfer model: Faith in Christ Jesus (3:21-31)
  2. Re-interpretation of the old model: Abraham as a proof (4:1-25)
  3. Conclusions: New epoch is established and the pass-away of the old epoch (5:1-11)

IV. The Tension between the two epochs (5:12-8:39)

  1. General introduction: The new model: from Adam to Christ (5:12-21)
  2. Problem 1: Sin : Baptism Analogy: Problem of Continual sinning (6:1-14)
  3. Servant Analogy: Problem of Occasional sinning (6:15-23)
  4. Problem 2: The Law : Marriage Analogy: Problem of the Law (7:1-6)
  5. Laws Analogy: Problem of Controlling power (7:7-25)
  6. Problem 3: Flesh: Wars Analogy: Problem of Flesh (8:1-30)
  7. Conclusion: Problems finally solved

- His Faithfulness and the Assurance of Faith (8:31-39)

V. The New model with compatibility with the old: God's faithfulness: The Gospel in relation to Israel (9:1-11:36)

  1. What Then of Israel? Paul's Concern for His Kinspeople (9:1-5)
  2. The Call of God? (9:6-29)
  3. The Word of Faith (9:30-10:21)
  4. The Mystery of God's Faithfulness (11:1-32)
  5. A Concluding Hymn of Adoration (11:33-36)

VI. The redefined God's people's lives in everyday terms (12:1-15:13)

  1. The Basis for Christian's Worship/Living: God's mercies (12:1-2)
  2. Love inside the Church: (12:3-8)
  3. Love as the Norm for Social Relationships (12:9-21)
  4. Love beyond the Church: Live as Good Citizens (13:1-7)
  5. Love of Neighbor as the Fulfillment of the Law (13:8-10)
  6. The Imminence of the End as Spur (13:11-14)
  7. Love towards the non-Christian Jews (14:1-15:6)
  8. Concluding Summary: God's Mercy and Faithfulness - Jew First, but also Gentile (15:7-13)

VII. Conclusion (15:14-16:27)

A. Apostolic Parousia: Paul's Mission and Travel Plans (15:14-33)

B. Final Greetings (16:1-23)

C. Concluding Doxology (16:25-27)

IV. Conclusion


The purpose for Paul to write the Romans is many. The main concern is on his mission to Spain. He hopes to prevent adverse opponents to influence the Roman Christians and helps them to unify the Christians groups in Romans. The structure of is related to chapter 1. Its theological linkage is based on the importance of Jewish tradition, the Righteousness of God and His wrath. I propose that Paul may have used a "transfer" model to describe the two epochs. This model has unified the whole picture of Romans. The Jews who are using the method in old epoch are still under the wrath of God. If they join the Gentile Christians who enjoy the new way in the new epoch, then they will have the fellowship with each other. The evangelism toward the Jews outside the Roman Christian community is a must which is resolved in Roman 14-15.