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The purpose of this paper is to explain the purpose of Israel in the book of Romans.

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Purpose of Israel in the Book of Romans

One of the significant topics apostle Paul explains in his epistle to the church in Rome is the role of the nation of Israel in the New Testament period. To realize the importance of this issue we need to look first at the historical context of the time period when the letter to the Romans was written. We also need to evaluate the complex relationship between Judaism and early Christianity. Finally, we need to appreciate the role of apostle Paul as one of the founders of Christianity as we know it today. Paul's position on the issue was fully reflected in his letter addressed to the important and growing church in the capital city of Rome.

Christianity initially emerged as a sect of Judaism and many early Christians (including some apostles such as Peter) tended to regard the new religion merely as an offshoot or an improved version of Judaism. Those Christians considered it highly important to adhere strictly to all Jewish religious customs and way of life. This included following the kosher diet, circumcision of male infants, keeping Sabbath and in general, observing all the commandments given to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament period. Many Jewish Christians saw Jesus first and foremost as the savior of the Jews and the restorer of Israel.

As the Gentiles started joining the church in growing numbers, a question arose whether new Gentile converts with no Jewish background needed to observe the Old Testament commandments. The first church council in Jerusalem recorded in the Book of Acts ruled to free the Gentile converts from all Jewish observances except a few very basic ones: “to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood”...
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