When I undertake the study of any New Testament book, after several readings I sometimes attempt to generate a view of the book in sections. It is not something I insist others accept. It is a personal device to help me navigate the book. Often, the theme emerges from this assembled sectional structure. I am sometimes asked to share it. Here is what I see when reading Romans. The alliteration may seem forced at first, but it has become a useful memory device for me.
The PROBLEM is the unrighteousness of men. SIN is our problem; that is, not living as God wants us to live (1:1-3:20). Whether Gentile or Jew, the problem is the same, the guilt is equal (3:23).
The PROVISION of righteousness in Christ. God, in His grace and love for us, provided a way for us to be saved – to be righteous people (3:21-5:21). It should not be described merely as a plan or system or set of conditions. While it was planned, it is systematic and there are conditions, it is about the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the Provision. We respond by the activity faith to accept what God has provided.
The POWER of righteousness is about keeping sin out of your life; walking in newness of life and embracing the hope and promises of God (6:1-8:39). Chapters six through eight might be considered “post baptism living.” The power for that kind of living is from God and described in this section.
The PREDICAMENT is a section in Romans that deals with the difficulties that arose between Jews and Gentiles (9:1-11:36). This was the cultural divide of the first century. And it presented temptations and conflict for both Jews and Gentiles. Paul, in this section, shows how God was just in all that He did and His sovereignty should be accepted by all.
Then, the final section of Romans is about the PRACTICE of righteousness – the obligations, relationships and principles that must operate in the lives of Christians on a daily basis (12:1-16:27). Again, but now in more specific terms, this is post-baptism living.
This may help you in your study of Romans. Or, perhaps better, you may want to craft your own navigation tools and memory devices as you read this superb book of what God has provided for us to know Christ, serve Him and go to heaven.