Author: Ron Graham


Threads in Romans
—Charting the Tapestry of Paul’s Teaching

In Paul's writings, there are certain threads of thought woven together into a marvelous tapestry of truth.

God’s love God’s severity
God’s grace God’s law
Faith Works
The heart The flesh
Righteousness Sin
Inward peace War within
Reconciliation Enmity
Holiness Depravity
Humility Boasting
Serving God Serving creature
God’s truth Man’s Lie
Justification Imputation
Blessing Wrath
Forgiveness Condemnation
Free gift Wages deserved
Life Death
Ingrafting Cutting off
Glory Corruption
Enrichment Loss
Freedom Bondage
Renewal Oldness
Strength Weakness
Christ Self
Sacrifice Selfishness
Promise Circumcision
Spirit Letter
Mercy Hardening
Victory Tribulation


Each thread usually has a contrasting counterpart, however the contrast is not necessarily good versus bad.

For example the contrasting threads of faith-works,or of grace-law, or of heart-flesh, obviously have a tension, but it is not a tension between good and bad.

Other pairs, such as righteousness-sin, life-death, reconciliation-enmity, obviously do represent a contrast of good versus bad.

Beyond the simple contrasting of pairs, the threads of Paul's thinking are often linked in more wonderful ways. For example, a tapestry of the threads of grace, glory, righteousness, the flesh, and serving God, can be seen in Romans 6:13, Romans 12:1, and 1Corinthians 6:20.

It is instructive and edifying to meditate on the tapestry of Paul's thinking, and to observe the individual threads that he weaves together. The chart on this page provides many of these threads, combined as contrasting pairs.

note The chart will do you very little good unless you are willing to read at least some portions of Paul's letter to the Romans and try to identify some of the threads. Then you will begin to understand the letter much better.