Paul's letter to the 'saints' in Rome is often seen as the most challenging and important of the Pauline epistles. This unit will provide you with tools to address the challenges involved in interpreting the content of the letter, so that you can assess its importance and relevance. In particular, the unit will explore the relationship between Paul's argument in the letter, the theological convictions that are articulated in that argument, and the social/cultural/political context of Paul's day. This will involve consideration of a variety of approaches to studying Paul, including historical-critical, rhetorical, and ideological perspectives. Given the importance of Romans in the development of later Christian theology, the unit will help you to answer the question of whether, and how Romans might continue to be formative text for thinking about contemporary Christian faith and practice.

Unit code: BN3060P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: New Testament

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Critically engage with key exegetical, theological, and contextual questions relating to the interpretation of Romans


Articulate, with exegetical support, the nature of Paul's argument in Romans and its relationship to Paul's theology and the letter's social and cultural context


Compare and assess key hermeneutical approaches to Romans and their relationship to issues of contemporary contextual relevance

Unit sequence

Prerequisite: 18 Points in New Testament studies


Lectures (pre-recorded and live) Exegesis Seminars Tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  1. Bird, Michael F., Romans. Story of God Bible Commentary, 6. Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan, 2015. [EBOOK AVAILABLE]
  2. Byrne, Brendan, Romans. Sacra Pagina 6. Collegeville MN: Liturgical, 2007. [EBOOK AVAILABLE]
  3. Elliott, Neil, *The Arrogance of Nations : Reading Romans in the Shadow of Empire. Minneapolis, MN.: Fortress, 2010. [EBOOK AVAILABLE]
  4. Esler, Philip F, Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul's Letter. Minneapolis MN: Fortress, 2003
  5. Gaventa, Beverly Roberts, When in Romans : An Invitation to Linger with the Gospel According to Paul. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2016. [EBOOK AVAILABLE]
  6. Grieb, A. Katherine, *The Story of Romans : A Narrative Defense of God's Righteousness. Louisville KY.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. [EBOOK AVAILABLE]
  7. Haacker, Klaus. The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  8. McKnight, Scot. Reading Romans Backwards. Waco TX: Baylor University Press, 2019
  9. Oakes, Peter, Reading Romans in Pompeii : Paul's Letter at Ground Level. London: SPCK, 2009. [EBOOK AVAILABLE]
  10. Reasoner, Mark. Romans in Full Circle: A History of Interpretation. Louisville KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005.
  11. Wright, N. T. “The Letter to the Romans: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.” Pages 394-770 in The New Interpreters' Bible. Volume 10. Nashville: Abingdon, 2002.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Exegetical Essay

Exegetical Essay (2000 words)

2000 40.0
Essay - Thematic Essay

Thematic Essay (3000 words)

3000 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 17 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-17 12:04:57 +1000