The first two chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans are theologically loaded, not only because they represent an essential contribution to Paul’s argument as he begins to teach the gospel message, but also because they have generated much dogmatic reflection and debate on subjects such as General and Special Revelation, the project of Natural Theology, apologetic methodology, the noetic effects of sin, as well as cultural themes related to the suppression of God’s truth (most prominently today, homosexuality). From the First Century to the Twenty-First, this passage has articulated the antithesis between the believing and unbelieving community and has drawn dividing lines among various theological distinctives. More importantly, it has provided the necessary foundation for the church to engage the world with the good news of Christianity.
This essay will be an exegetical-theological reflection on the text, seeking to outline the development of Paul’s thinking and engage some of the discussion that has arisen from his statements. Exhaustive with respect to neither exposition of the passage nor interaction with the secondary literature, this is a modest attempt to present the most salient issues.