Romans – The Overall Chiasm and Some Lesser Chiasms

Return to Index or Epistles as Homilies before Eucharist

Note: You may wish to read Chiastic Structuring: An Introduction first.

1.    Overall Chiasm: Romans 1.1-8.17 x 8.18-15.33; 16.25-27
2.    1.17a-d x 1.17e-18
3.    1.21-25c x 1.25d-28
4.    1.18-2.1b x 2.1c-9
5.    5.11-16a x 5.16b-21
6.    5.11b-6.8 x 6.9-23
7.    14.1-11a x14.11b-23
8.    14.5-8 x 14.9-12


1.    Overall Chiasm: Romans 1.1-8.17 x 8.18-15.33; 16.25-27

1.1-6 (Paul and Gospel of God) 16.25-27 (Recapitulation of 'my gospel')
  .7b Peace from God our Father 15.33 The God of peace be with you all.
  .7b To all in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints     .31 That my ministration for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints.
  .9  I mention you unceasingly in my prayers.     .30 Strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.
  .12 That I with you may be comforted    .24 I shall have been satisfied with your company.
  .13a Oftentimes I purposed to come to you [and was hindered]    .22   I was hindered coming to you.
  .13b To have fruit in you as in rest of Gentiles    .18 Things Christ wrought through me for obedience of Gentiles.
  .14 I am debtor to Greeks, barbaraians, wise and mindless    .17 My glorying in Christ Jesus
  .16 The Gospel: the power of God unto salvation.    .16 The Gospel of God … sanctified by  Holy Spirit.
1.18 Ungodliness, unrighteousness of men, hold down the truth. 15.14 You are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to admonish one another.
  .19-25 [Failure of Gentiles to follow God’s Wisdom in Creation]    .9-13  Mercy to Gentiles.
  .25c   The Creator who is blessed for ever. Amen.     .6  With one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  .27  Lust one toward another      .5 Be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus.
  .28 Refused to have God in knowledge    .4 Things written aforetime written for our learning.
  .29-31 [Vice list] 15.1-3 & 14.17-23 Pleasing neighbour, not oneself, as Christ pleased not himself.

 Follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another.

    .18 Well-pleasing to God and approved of men.
    .17 The Kingdom of God
  .32a Knowing the ordinance of God     .14 I know … in the Lord Jesus nothing is unclean of itself.
  .32b Worthy of death     .15b Destroy not him for whom Christ died.
1.32c Consent with them that practice them.  14.13 Let no man put a stumbling-block in his brother’s way.
2.1 Where in thou judgest the other 14.13

Let us not therefore judge one another any more.

  .2  The judgement of God.     .12

Each one of us shall give account of himself to God.

  .3 The judgement of God .     .10  We shall all stand before the judgement-seat of God.
  .4 The riches of his goodness, forbearance, long-suffering … leading thee to repentance.     .9 To this end Christ died and lived … that he might rule both the dead and the living.
  .5-13 God’s coming judgement of each man according to his works [v. 6]     .1-8 We are the Lord’s [v. 8], do not judge the household servant of another [v. 4]: varieties of ways of honouring the Lord.
  .14  The Gentiles without the Law do the things of the Law and thereby show the work of the Lord written in their hearts. 13.14 Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the desires thereof.
2.16 In The Day [of judgement] when God shall judge. 13.13  In The Day [of Salvation] … the night is far spent, The Day is at hand.
  .19 Light (φῶς), darkness (σκότος)     .12  Darkness (σκότος), light (φῶς)
  .21-22 stealing (κλέπτειν), adultery (μοιχεύειν), idols     .9 Covet, steal (κλέπτειν), kill, adultery (μοιχεύειν)
  .23a Glorifying in the Law     .8c fulfilling of the Law.
  .23b Transgression of the Law     .8b love of neighbour is the
  .25 A doer of the Law      .8a Love one another, for
  .27 Shall not the uncircumcision, if it fulfil the Law, judge (κρινεῖ) thee?     .4-5   An avenger for wrath (ἔκδικος εἰς ὀργὴν)
2.29  Whose praise (ἔπαινος) is not from men but from God     .3d Thou shalt have praise (ἔπαινος) from him [i..e. God’s ruling minister]
3.5 God visits with wrath (ὀργή) 13.2 They that withstand [God’s ordinance] shall receive judgement (κρίμα)
  .8  Let us do evil … that good may come?  12.21 Overcome evil with good.
  .19 The judgement of God     .19 Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, says the Lord.
  .24-25 Redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth an expiation through faith by his blood to show his righteousness. 12.1-2  Present your bodies a living sacrifice
  .27 Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. 11.36 To him the glory for ever. Amen.
  .29 God of Jews, God of Gentiles also.     .25-26 Fullness of Gentiles come in, and so all Israel shall be saved.
4.1-25 [To Jews:] Abraham our forefather according to the flesh – justified by faith in uncircumcised state – father of nations    .13-24 [To Gentiles:] about standing by faith, grafted in
5.2  Through whom also we have had our access into this grace wherein we stand.     .11 By their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles.
  .10 We shall be saved in his life. 11.3 They seek my [= Elijah’s] life.
  .12 Through one man sin entered the world … all sinned. 10.21  A disobedient and gainsaying people.
5.21 Even so might grace reign through righteousness unto life eternal      .9 Because if confess with thy mouth Jesus Lord and shalt believe in thy heart
(5.21) through Jesus Christ our Lord (10.9) that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
6.1 What shall we say then?    .8 What does it say?
  .8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.     .4 Christ is the end/goal of the Law unto righteousness to every one that believes.
  .11 Alive unto God in Christ Jesus 10.3 Subject selves to righteousness of God.
  .21b Ashamed   9.33 Not be put to shame.
  .21c The end of those things is death.    .28 Lord will execute his word upon the earth, finishing it and cutting it short.
6.22 Slaves to God     .26 Sons of the living God.
7.1a Are you ignorant      .23  That he might make known
Men that know the Law    .22 To make his power known.
  .1-5 1: Law (bis) [Pentecost and Sinai]; 2: Law (bis); 3: Law; 4: Law; 5: Law    .18 [Exod. 4.20 and Deut. 2.20 echoed]
  .6a The Law    .17 The Scripture [Exod. 9.16 quoted]
  .6b The letter    .15 He saith to Moses [Exod. 33.19 quoted]
  .7 What shall we say then? … God forbid!    .14 What shall we say then? … God forbid!
  .15 What I hate     .13 Esau I hated
  .22 Delight in the Law of the Lord    .4  The giving of the Law
  .23 Warring in my members    .5  Flesh (σάρξ)
  .24 O wretched man that I am    .3-2 I could wish myself were anathema
Great sorrow and unceasing pain
  .25a I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord     .5b God blessed for ever. Amen.
7.25c Flesh (σάρξ)    9.3 Flesh (σάρξ) 
8.1 No condemnation to them in Christ Jesus   8.39 Nothing separates us from love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  .2 Made me free from Law of sin and death    .35-38 [List of powers from which we are unshackled.]
  .3a What the Law could not do, weak through the flesh.    .33-34  God justifies; Christ Jesus that died, was raised, exalted; interceding for us. 
  .3b-4a  God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the ordinance of the Law might be fulfilled in us.    .31-32 God is for us; he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.
  .4b-5 Walk not after flesh but after Spirit    .30 Foreordained, called, justified, glorified [i.e. temporal sequence]
  .6b Mind of Spirit is life and peace.    .29 Conformed to the image of his Son
  .7-8 Law of God: cannot please God     .27c-28 According to God; love God; his purpose
  .9 If one has not Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.    .27b The Spirit makes intercession for the saints.
  .10  Body is dead because of sin -- .    .26 Spirit helps our infirmity [of body].
  .11 Shall quicken your mortal bodies    .24-25 Hope – not yet seen.
  .12-13 If by Spirit you mortify deeds of body you shall live.    .22-23  We and creation groan … having firstfruits of Spirit … redemption of our body.
  .14 Led by Spirit: sons of God.    .21b Liberty of glory of children of God.
  .15a Not spirit of bondage.    .21a Bondage of corruption.
  .15b Abba, Father    .19  Waiting for the revealing of the
  .16-17a Children, children, heirs of God,  sons of God.
  .17b Suffer [Isaac typology]……………. glorified {Adam typology]    .18 Sufferings [Isaac typology] ……….. glory [Adam typology

Note: This overall chiasm indicates that Romans 16.1-24 is not part of the original letter. Furthermore, since 16. 25-27 stands in relation to 1.1-6, and the former is generally recognised as being of anti-Marcionite origin, so it calls into question how much of the contents of the credal material of 1.1-6 originate directly from Paul.


2.    Romans 5.11-16a x 5.16b-21

.11b through our Lord Jesus [Christ] through whom we now received redemption .21b grace reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our lord
.12 death through sin  .21a sin reigned in death
.13 law .20 law
.14 Adam a figure of him to come .19 as through one man’s disobedience … so through obedience of one
.15a trespass .18 one trespass
.15b the grace of God and the gift in grace by the one man Jesus Christ .17b the grace and the gift … through the one Jesus Christ
.16a The judgement from (ἐξ) one unto (εἰς) condemnation .16b    the free gift from (ἐκ) many trespasses unto (εἰς) justification.


3.    Romans 1.21-25c x 1.25d-28

.21 knowing (γνόντες) God, they glorified him not .28  And even as they did not approve to have God in knowledge (ἐν ἐπιγνώσει)



vain in reasoning, senseless heart darkened

.27b working dis-order-liness (ἀσχημοσύνην)
.22 professing themselves to be wise (σοφοὶ), they became fools
.23 .23 changed (ἤλλαξαν) glory* of incorruptible God for the likeness* of corruptible man … .26b changed (μετήλλαξαν) the natural use into  that which is against nature
.24a Wherefore God gave-them-up (παρέδωκεν) in lust of hearts that their bodies* should be dishonoured (ἀτιμάζεσθαι .26a For this cause God gave-them-up (παρέδωκεν) unto passions of  dishonour (ἀτιμίας)
.25a for that they exchanged () .25f   who is blessed for ever. Amen.


the truth of God  .25e rather than the Creator
.25c for a lie .25d and worshipped and served the creature
[*N.B.: combination of ‘glory’, ‘likeness’ and ‘body’ (=image of Gen. 1.27-28)]


4.    Romans 1.18-2.1b x 2.1c-9

1.18a wrath from heaven revealed 2.8d-9  wrath … on every soul of man that works evil
 .18b against all ungodliness and unrighteousness ( ἀδικία , bis)  .8c obey unrighteousness (ἀδικία )

 .8ab to those that …


truth (ἀλήθεια )  .8b truth (ἀλήθεια )
 .19 that which may be known of God is manifest in them  .7 to them that … seek for glory (δόξα ) and honour and incorruption (ἀφθαρσία )
 .23 glory (δόξα ) of incorruptible (ἄφθαρτος ) God
 .24  God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts (καρδία   .6  who will render to every man according to his works


exchanged (ἀλήθεια) truth for lie … vile passions … lust  .5c and revelation of the righteous judgement of God
 .27c receiving … due recompense of error  .5b treasures up wrath in day of wrath
 .28a and even as they refused to have God in [their] knowledge  .5a thy hardness and impenitent heart (καρδία )
 .28b God gave them up unto a reprobate mind  .4c goodness of God leads thee to repentance
 .29-31 VICE LIST (contrasted to:)  .4ab the riches of his [i.e., God’s] goodness, forbearance, longsuffering
 .30b haters of God   .4a despise the … of God
 .32a the ordinance of God   .3 the judgement of God
 .32b that they which practice (πράσσοντες) such things  .2c against that that practice (πράσσοντας) such things
 .32c are worthy of death  .2b   is according to truth
 .32d not only do the same but  .2a And we know that the judgement of God
 .32e   also consent with them that practice (τοῖς πράσσουσιν) them  .1f   dost practice (πράσσεις) the same things
 .1e for thou that judgest (κρίνων)
2.1a Thou art without excuse  .1d   thou condemnest thyself
 .1b whoever thou art that judgest (κρίνων)    .1c for wherein thou judgest (κρίνεις) another


5.    Romans 5.11-16a x 5.16b-21

.11b through our Lord Jesus [Christ] through whom we have now reconciliation .16b grace reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord
.12 death through sin  .21a sin reigned in death
.13 law .20 law
.14 Adam a figure of him to come .19 As through one man’s disobedience … so through obedience of one
.15a trespass .18 one trespass
.15b the grace of God and the gift in grace by the one man Jesus Christ .17b the grace and gift … through the one Jesus Christ
.16a   The judgement from (ἐξ) one unto (εἰς) condemnation .16b the free gift from (ἐκ) many trespasses unto (εἰς) justification


6.    Romans 5.11b-6.8 x 6.9-23

5.11b   our Lord Jesus [Christ] 6.23b Christ Jesus our Lord
 .12 sin … death   .23a   The wages of sin is death
 .12-14 Through one man sin entered the world-- … all sinned, death reigned  .20-21  When you were slaves of sin
 .15-16 The free gift: justification  .19 So now present your members as servants to righteousness unto justification.
 .17d The gift of righteousness  .18b You became slaves of righteousness
 .17e Reign in life through the one, Jesus  .17 That pattern of teaching whereunto you were delivered.
 .18 One act of righteousness.  .16d Obedience unto righteousness.


Obedience of the one.  .16a Slaves to obedience.
(.20-21 Law … sin … grace .14c-15  sin … grace … law)
6.1 What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin?  .15a What then, shall we sin?
 .1b that grace may abound  .14c under grace
 .2b We died to sin    .14a Sin shall not have dominion over you
how shall we any longer live therein?  .13b  

Present yourselves as instruments of righteousness to God

  .3 We were baptized into Christ Jesus, into his death  .13a   Present yourselves to God as alive from the dead.
 .4a Buried with him through baptism into death  .12b Not obey the desires [of mortal body] 
 .12a Therefore let not sin reign in your mortal body
[6.4-8 We: baptized into Christ’s death, may live with him, shall be raised 6.9-11 Christ died and was raised]
 .4bc Christ raised, glory of the Father  .11c To God in Christ Jesus
walk in newness of life  .11b but alive
 .5 Likeness of his death, united  .11a Reckon selves to be dead to sin
[by likeness] of his resurrection  .10d he lives to God
 .6  Our old man crucified with him  .10c the life he lives
body of sin done away    .10b   He died to sin once
no longer in bondage to sin    .10a The death he died
 .7 He that has died is justified from sin  .9c Death has no more dominion over him
 .8 But if we died with Christ,    .9b dies no more
we believe that we shall also live with him.    .9a Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead,


7.    Romans 14.1-11a x 14.11b-23

.1 Faith .23 Faith
.3 Not Judge .22b Judge not self
.4a Judging servant of another [i.e. God's] .22a Have faith to self before God
.4b He shall be made to stand .21 Whereby thy brother stumbleth
.5 One man esteems .20 That man who eats with offence
.6 Regard day to Lord, eat with thanks to God .19 Follow things that make for peace
.7 None lives to self .18b approved of men
.8 Live and die to Lord as Lord's .18a Serve Christ. well-pleasing to God
.9 To this end Christ died to be Lord .15c him for whom Christ died
.10a Judge thy brother .15ab If by meat thy brother grieved, thou walkest not in love
.14  Nothing unclean but to whom unclean
.10b Set at nought thy brother .13 No man stumbling block to brother
.10c Judgement seat of God .12 Account of self to God
.11a Every knee bow to Lord .11b Every tongue confess to God


8. Romans 14.5-8 x 14.9-12

.5b  Let each man  .12  So then each one of us shall give account to God.
.6a Regardeth day to Lord .11 As I live, saith Lord, to me every knee 
.6bc Eat to Lord, not eat to Lord    shall bow and every tongue confess to God
.6d Giveth God thanks .10c We stand before judgement seat of God
.7a None liveth to self .10b Why set at nought thy brother
.7b  None dieth to self   .10a Why judge thy brother
.8a To Lord—we live—we live                    and living
.8b To Lord—we die—we die           dead
.8c We are the Lord’s—we die—we live .9c Lord of
.9a   For to this end .9b Christ died and lived