Literature / Book of Romans

The sixth book of the New Testament and the first letter of the Pauline epistles. The Apostle Paul writes to the Roman Empire that salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


  • Ancient Rome: The original recipients of the letter.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Regarding about humanity being morally flawed, Romans 6:23 states that "the wages of sin is death" unless if they repent and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Subverted in Romans 11:6 in regards to doing good deeds to go to Heaven. No matter how hard a person works, they can't earn their way up there, but because Jesus died for humanity's sins, all we have to do is to accept Him as our savior to make it up to Heaven.
  • God Is Good: Many of the verses focus on God's love and He will forgive us if we repent.
  • Good Needs Evil: Romans 6:1-2 defies this against people who use this as an excuse to do things that they know are sinful.
    "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Paul deconstructs the idea that it's possible to earn your way into God's grace with good works rather than faith. Imperfect people can't keep the perfect Law, and anyway God's grace is a gift and gifts can't be earned.
  • Heel Realization: The experience of struggling with sin as described in Romans 7:
    "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
  • Holier Than Thou: Deconstructed in the beginning of Chapter 2, when, after listing several obvious sins in the previous chapter, Paul continues by pointing out that if you're inclined to judge those sinners, that shows you're just as guilty.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Many verses focus a lot on this, most commonly Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.".
  • Hypocrite: After Listing The Forms Of Degenerates in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 promptly turns the tables on any readers who are inclined to be judgmental toward those sinners, calling them out as hypocrites since we're all sinners.
    "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things."
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Paul describes NayTheists this way, since they know God exists but reject Him for idols as a pretext for immorality. "Professing to be wise, they became fools."
  • Listing The Forms Of Degenerates: Romans 1:29-31 notes a list of unrighteousness of the reprobate mind that God gives non-believers over to:
    "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful..."
  • Misery Builds Character: Discussed in Romans 5:3-5 where Paul notes that suffering builds endurance, endurance builds character, and character builds hope. Considering the time period, he and many of the other Christians that were physically tortured and martyred for their faith knew what they were talking about from many experiences they could count by the lashes on their backs.
  • Nay-Theist: Paul accuses the atheists of really being this in the first chapter, which declares that the existence of God is entirely evident and undeniable.
  • The Pollyanna:
    • Romans 12:12 insists followers pray and hope during their time of tribulation.
    • Romans 8:28 says that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him.
  • The Power of Love: Chapter 8 concludes with an extensive list of things, ultimately concluding with "any created thing," that are powerless to separate us from the love of God.
  • Sequel Hook: Towards the end of the book, Paul announces his intention to visit Rome before going to Spain. However, the sequel was apparently never written. Luke makes no mention of a trip to Spain in the Book of Acts, and Paul appears not to have made it out of Rome alive after a subsequent visit there. Most scholars agree he never went to Spain. If he did, either he never wrote about it, or his writing did not survive to be compiled with the rest of the New Testament.
  • Sinister Minister: In the final chapter of the book, Paul warns the Romans about to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that they have been taught, and to avoid them. "For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive." (Romans 16:18)
  • Terror Hero: Those in high authority ordained by God are described as this in Romans 13:3-4 as it concerns to keep its subjects from doing evil.
    "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Romans 12:17-21 implies this. However, even though we have to forgive our enemies, it's only God Himself who will repay them back.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Scholars have observed that this is the only New Testament epistle that seems to be constructed specifically as a theological treatise, rather than a personal letter about specific concerns in the Early Church. Theological commentaries on it can run to multiple volumes. This is amusingly referenced in The Bible itself, when Peter in his own second epistle remarks on Paul's letters: "His letters contain some things that are hard to understand..." (2 Peter 3:16).
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Paul deconstructs this in Romans 3:8 (NKJV):
    "And why not say, 'Let us do evil that good may come'? - as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Paul chews out his readers for actually using this trope to others for doing the same thing they did in Romans 2:
    "And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?"