Updated: May 11, 2020
The book of Romans provides a general outline of the gospel. These are the essential elements of the message of the gospel that must be communicated, translated into other languages, and illustrated in beginning stages of evangelism in another culture.
1. The Gospel belongs to the One True God. “the Gospel of God”. Romans 1:1 – the gospel is first of all, “God’s gospel” – the message of the one true creator God, who is a Trinity. Romans 1:1. This necessitates teaching on the character and attributes of God and what the Bible teaches about God’s nature. (The doctrine of the Trinity is suggested by Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14 – the three persons of the Trinity are mentioned; and is fully taught by sound hermeneutics and proper theology of all the relevant passages of Scripture that relate to the issues of the Doctrine of the Trinity.
See also this other article on the Trinity.
2. Secondly, it was promised in the OT Scriptures (Romans 1:2). The gospel affirms the OT as God-breathed Scripture. (2 Timothy 3:15) I would argue that it also means that the NT is God-breathed – the “all” of verse 16 of 2 Timothy 3, expands it to the NT from the OT in verse 15. 2 Timothy 3:15 is about the OT, and 2 Timothy 3:16 is about the NT also; even though a few books were yet to be written at the time that Paul wrote 2 Timothy. ( 1 Timothy 5:18 shows Paul put the NT on same par as Scripture as the OT; and 2 Peter 3:16 show that Peter affirms all Paul’s letters as God-breathed Scripture.)
3. Thirdly, it includes the teaching of the two natures of Christ. Romans 1:3-4. That Christ is 100% God and 100% man. That includes the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. (Luke 1:26-35; Matthew 1:18-25; Isaiah 7:14; Hebrews 2:17)
4. The gospel is meant to be preached to all the nations, by the goals of discipleship and church planting. (Romans 1:5) The “obedience of faith” includes more than just “professions of faith”, but relational discipleship with the goal of seeing churches planted in their culture, with elders from their particular culture. (see also Luke 24:46-47; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5)
The “for” of Romans 1:18 causes us to see the connection to 1:16-17 and connects the rest of chapter 1 through chapter 5 to the gospel and begins a long explanation of sin, condemnation, God’s wrath, the propitiation of the cross (Romans 3:25-26), justification by faith alone (Romans 4), and the substitutionary nature of the atonement. (Romans 5)
5. The gospel focuses on the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross, His burial and His resurrection ( 1 Cor. 15:1-9; Romans 5). This includes an explanation of what we are “being saved from” (1 Cor. 15:2) and what sin is. “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3) necessitates explanations of the nature of sin. (Mark 7:18-23, Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 5:21-30)
6. Since it is “good news”, it presupposes understanding the bad news first, that we are all sinners, guilty, condemned, lost, under the just wrath of God, already on our way to hell (Mark 9:48; Matthew 5:21-30) without Christ, and without hope without Him. (John 3:18; Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3; John 3:36) This necessitates teaching on repentance from sin.
(Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8, Acts 3:19; Acts 26:20; Luke 13:1-5; 2 Cor. 7:7-10)
7. The gospel also includes the teachings of salvation by grace alone and justification by faith alone, explained for us in Romans chapters 1-5, among other passages. (Galatians 2:16; Romans 1:16-17; 3:28; 4:1-16; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9; John 20:30-31; 3:15-18; Acts 16:31; Acts 13:38-39)
Romans 4:16 shows us that salvation by grace alone necessitates justification by faith alone.
8. Preaching the gospel in the context of discipleship, and gathering believers into a local church necessitates teaching on sanctification and the role of the law and the ministry of the Holy Spirit and God’s sovereign plan. (Romans chapters 6-8) This then feeds into questions about God’s Sovereignty and the Jewish people (Romans chapters 9-11); and then discipleship continues in teaching about church life and behavior (Romans chapters 12-16.)