Analysis of Romans 5:12 – 8:17 Assignment Instructions. Paul’s letter to the Romans is perhaps the most logical and systematic of his letters in terms of the presentation of a biblical theology. As a result, the letter requires detailed study. Careful study of Scripture in its context leads to much better results than simply looking for material taken out of context to support a preconceived doctrine. So, the good student of Romans will first analyze Scripture, but always with a view to learning the theological point. An effective way to learn Romans, then, is to select a section of Romans in which one conducts scholar-level research and analysis and then explain the flow of the development of Paul’s point in that section. For this assignment, the student will perform research and analysis on Romans 5:12-8:17.


Content: As noted in the above overview, the assignment should analyze the thought flow in Romans 5:12-8:17. The paper, however, should be more than a summary of the passage. The assignment should identify the main points in the flow of the argument in that section and should be supported by the subpoints. Detailed analysis cannot be done on all issues, but the student should identify points that need the most attention. At a minimum, the assignment should include the following:

  • An introduction to the issues to be discussed in the assignment. The last sentence of the introduction should include a well-written and clearly stated primary thesis that sets forth the point that the paper will support as the main point of Romans 5:12-8:17.
  • A topic sentence at the beginning of the discussion of each section of the paper showing the overall topic of that portion of Romans 5:12-8:17.
  • In each section, the paper should identify the specific intended audience, i.e., Jews, Gentiles, or both.
  • A conclusion setting forth how the topic sentences work together to support the primary thesis of the paper.

The paper should be written in standard paragraph format (not bullet points). It should show knowledge of key areas where scholars disagree or where questions exist about Paul’s usage. The following are examples that should be addressed, but this is not intended as an exhaustive list:

  • Briefly explain the relationship between sin and death in Romans 5:12-14.
  • Explain the concept of the law coming in to increase trespass.
  • What is the function of baptism in Rom 6:1-4?
  • What did Paul mean by the newness of life in 6:4?
  • Explain the relationship of powers that reign in 5:12-7:6. Keep in mind the concept may appear where the word “reign” does not.
  • What did Paul mean by “I” in chapter 7?
  • What are the law of the Spirit of Life and the Law of Sin and Death?
  • What does it mean to walk according to the Spirit?

Similar issues should be identified and addressed in all of Romans 5:12-8:17.

The above are examples to be addressed in varying detail. In all cases, the paper should demonstrate knowledge of teaching in the course textbooks. One may disagree, but if so, the reasons should be briefly stated, based on an analysis of Scripture and not personal doctrine.

The paper should demonstrate substantial knowledge of Romans and of the points made in the textbooks. Other sources should be used to supplement that understanding, but knowledge of the textbooks is primary.

Length Requirement: The assignment should be completed as Word document, consisting of 2000-2500 words. The paper should include a title page and a bibliography, but neither should be included in the overall word count. Neither an outline nor an abstract should be included. Subject headings are useful, but not required. The student should carefully observe both the minimum and maximum word counts. While one might think more space would be needed, conciseness and focus are hallmarks of good writing and analysis. It is often the case that the student who has the best grasp of the material will be able to address it most concisely.

Papers should be written according to the most recent Turabian style guide. The use of footnotes is required. The School of Divinity has provided a very good resource, including an example paper, that covers the necessary issues. Please see the link in Course Syllabus and Schedule. With this excellent resource available, students should succeed in good style usage.

Research: Consult and interact with at least six published scholarly sources, two of which must be the textbooks. Only published sources may be used. Unpublished Internet sources are not research-level sources and may not be used for this paper. Published material that is located on library sites, Google Books, etc., is useful. The Holy Bible, dictionaries/lexicons, and concordances must be utilized, but they are not counted in the minimum number of sources. These are simply understood components of research. These types of sources need to be included in the bibliography but do not count toward the required number. Cite Bible references parenthetically within the body of the paper following the quotation, paraphrase, summary, or allusion. Cite reference works in footnote citations.

Structure/Organization: The paper should be well-organized. The student may use subheadings to indicate major topics, but they are not required. Build the paper on topical paragraphs. Paragraphs must be coherent and lead to the overall cohesiveness of the paper, building upon one another and leading to a strong/persuasive conclusion.

Grammar/Mechanics: This includes sentence fluency; sentences must be coherent, unified, and varied. Be sure your sentences are complete and make use of excellent grammar. Also, vary sentence style so that the paragraphs are not wooden, stiff, and monotonous. Be aware of verb-noun agreement, tense agreement, etc. Be sure spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct and consistent. Students whose writing skills need improvement are welcome to consult the LUO Writing Center prior to submitting the assignment.