Structure of Romans 3:1-4:25

This is part of a series of posts on Romans. Click here for the contents page.

Having considered the structure of Romans 1:16-2:29 (the B1 section), we will now move on to Romans 3:1-4:25 (the C1 section). Here is a structure for this section:

Structure of Romans 3v1-4v25.PNG

The relationship between the sections is not as clear as in some other parts of the letter. I have chosen this structure mainly due to the internal structure of each section, explained below. There seem to be more similarities between the first two sections and between the final two sections.

We will now consider the internal structure of each section, beginning with the C1-A1 section (3:1-18):

Structure of Romans 3v1-18.PNG

“Law” is not mentioned in 3:1-18, but is mentioned numerous times before and after this section. The word “Jew” appears only in the C1-A1-A sections.

This section has a continued Jewish focus. Paul sets up various questions, which he will return to in chapter 9.

Here is a structure for the C1-B1 section (3:19-28):

Structure of Romans 3v19-28.PNG

The central C1-B1-C section summarises the key point that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, as all have sinned. The C1-B1-B sections summarise the key point that righteousness is by faith. These are probably the two main points of the whole of the C1 section of Romans.

This structure can be seen in more detail here:

Structure of Romans 3v19-28 detail.PNG

Verses 21-24 are punctuated differently in different English translations. I think the best punctuation highlights verses 22b-23 (the central C1-B1-C section) as shown here:

“[21] But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, [22] even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe – for there is no distinction; [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – [24] being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”

Verses 22b-23 are a highlighted statement in the middle of the paragraph. The remaining wording would make sense even if the highlighted statement were not present (i.e. skipping from 22a to 24). ‘Being justified’ in verse 24 refers to ‘all those who believe’ in verse 22.

Here is a structure for the C1-B2 section (3:29-4:12):

Structure of Romans 3v29-4v12.PNG

Circumcision is not mentioned between the C1-B2-A sections, but is mentioned 14 times in these sections. The C1-B2-A sections develop the key point from the centre of the previous section (i.e. 3:22b-23) that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile.

In the C1-B2-B sections, Paul uses the examples of Abraham and David to show that faith is credited as righteousness both to ethnic Israelites (the circumcised) and Gentiles (the uncircumcised). These examples demonstrate the other main point from the previous section (i.e. 3:21-22a and 3:24-26) that righteousness is by faith.

The central C1-B2-C section provides teaching on the nature of righteousness by faith – that it is a gift, rather than being owed like a wage.

The C1-B2-A2 section (4:9-12) has a structure of its own:

Structure of Romans 4v9-12.PNG

Here is a structure for the C1-A2 section (4:13-25):

Structure of Romans 4v13-25.PNG

The structure can be seen in more detail here:

Structure of Romans 4v13-25 detail.PNG

In the next post, we will spend some more time in the C1 section of Romans (3:1-4:25), considering in particular its content that is relevant to understanding Romans 9-11.

 This was first published at the Predestination Station, where comments can be made.



5 thoughts on “Structure of Romans 3:1-4:25

  1. Pingback: Romans blog series – Contents | The Predestination Station

  2. Pingback: Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 3:1-4:25 | The Predestination Station

  3. Pingback: Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25 | The Predestination Station

  4. Pingback: Structure of Romans 1:16-2:29 | The Predestination Station

  5. Pingback: Romans 10:4-13 – Who is salvation for? Is it possible? | The Predestination Station

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