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Socio-Historical Context of the Book of Romans

Paul wrote to the church in Rome when Jews were coming back to the city after their expulsion. A new emperor had assumed control of the empire, replacing the one who had dismissed the Jewish leaders. Besides, the Gentiles became in charge of the church’s leadership and changed the practices, for example, not observing the Judaic laws on food and worship.

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Thus, they divided the house of prayer based on tribe and cultural background. Paul also writes after he has completed his missions in Asia and wanted their help in his next tasks (DeSilva, 2018). Knowledge of this background helps readers understand the rhetoric Paul uses while talking about transgression and salvation. They can understand why he goes to a great length trying to bring together the two groups – to win their loyalty and get help.

The text appeals to cultural concerns such as social roles by dictating the expected behavior of a believer. As Paul writes, a Christian cannot live in sinful ways but they should do it righteously as Christ. Additionally, it calls upon the parish to obey God as slaves obey their masters. Moreover, he challenges the temple to retain purity since they have received their salvation from the death of Jesus. Thus, the writing stands in tension with the traditions and beliefs of the sanctuary.

Furthermore, the Jews believe their salvation comes from observing Judaic laws, while the Gentiles disdained all the rules. Lastly, the factions did not think of themselves as similar, especially not as sinners (Ryliškytė, 2019). Therefore, Paul’s message saying they have been united in sin and can receive salvation equally by grace is not in line with their usual perceptions.

References

DeSilva, D. (2018). An introduction to the New Testament (2nd ed.). InterVarsity Press.

Ryliškytė, L. (2019). God’s mercy: The key thematic undercurrent of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 81(1), 85−105. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Socio-Historical Context of the Book of Romans." July 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/socio-historical-context-of-the-book-of-romans/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Socio-Historical Context of the Book of Romans." July 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/socio-historical-context-of-the-book-of-romans/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Socio-Historical Context of the Book of Romans'. 10 July.

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