Who wrote Romans?

How would you answer this person who is promoting the “LGBTQI” lifestyle on Fr James Martins twitter feed?

I had posted some sacred scripture (Romans) and was quickly rebuked, and then came this…
Here’s their post…

“Actually if you knew anything about authorship of Scripture we can confidently only subscribe one epistle to Paul written with his own hand, the Letter to Philomen the others were either dictated or third party copies. St. Paul’s theology, very dubious to say the least”

How would you respond?

For a start, here is the list of the epistles generally accepted as “authentically Pauline,” and the others, the so-called “deutero-Pauline epistles,” that seem to have been written by people closely associated with Paul.

Authentic: Romans, 1 & 2 Cor., Gal., Philippians, 1 Thess., Philemon.
Deutero-Pauline: Eph., Col., 2 Thess., 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews.

The second point is that a letter dictated to a secretary is still an authentic letter. The “author” of the letter is the one who dictated it, not the secretary.

Different academics may disagree about the status of one or two of the letters, but as far as I know, nobody has ever doubted the authenticity of Romans.

If @billsherman sees this, I expect he will be able to tell you much more.


Thank you, B. Very helpful.

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You’re welcome! As I said, @billsherman is the expert here. He’s a professor of early church history. His work keeps him very busy and he sometimes goes quite a long time without showing up at CAF.


The quote in the first post about the letters being dictated makes no sense. It doesn’t matter if he dictated them and someone else wrote it down. As I understand it was common at the time to dictate to secretaries who would write it down. Also Paul might have had bad eyesight and had difficulty writing. At the end of Galatians he writes that he is writing in large letters in his own hand, the implication being someone else wrote most of the letter dictated by Paul. Earlier in the letter there is a cryptic reference to possible bad eyesight.


‘The denial of Paul’s authorship of Romans by such critics … is now rightly relegated to a place among the curiosities of NT scholarship. Today no responsible criticism disputes its Pauline origin. The evidence of its use in the Apostolic Fathers is clear, and before the end of the second century it is listed and cited as Paul’s. Every extant early list of NT books includes it among his letters. The external evidence of authenticity could indeed hardly be stronger; and it is altogether borne out by the internal evidence, linguistic, stylistic, literary, historical and theological.’ - Cranfield, C. E. B. The Epistle to the Romans 1–8 (Vol. 1), International Critical Commentary Series.


Why does it matter who the author is ?


Because the actual text of the document claims that Paul wrote it. If that is incorrect, then there is a lie in Sacred Scripture :open_mouth:



I would say, “I don’t subscribe to the modern secular re-writing of history. The infallible Catholic Church says they were written or dictated by St. Paul. And the infallible Catholic Church says that the entire Bible is without error. I believe the Catholic Church.”


That and what it teaches can be dismissed as not authentic.


I read many historical critical scholars and don’t recall a single one ever stating that Romans was written by anyone other than Paul.


[/quote]I don’t know if I would call it a lie but would it no longer be an expression of Truth inspired by the Holy Spirit?

[quote=“Fauken, post:10, topic:564236”]
That and what it teaches can be dismissed as not authentic.
[/quote]Wouldn that also mean the authority that chose and teaches it is not authentic?

Paul dictated a lot, because he had bad eyes.

Who wrote Romans ? St Paul. It’s pretty much scientific consensus.

Specifically, here are a few of the criteria historical critical research uses for establishing authenticity : internal evidence (the author provides autobiographic details and/or cross-references his own work), external evidence (other early authors confirm the provenance of the text), characteristic expressions and language, doctrinal coherence, common themes and the way they are treated, evidence of historical setting. To the best of my knowledge, the authenticity of Romans has never been seriously challenged.

Using a secretary to dictate letters was common practice in Antiquity, although we have no idea of how much St Paul’s secretary interfered in the writing process (was he passively writing or actively discussing, contributing, maybe sometimes even modifying what was being dictated ?).

I (among many others) find the word “authenticity” a bit misleading. Pseudepigraphy, the practice of writing something under someone else’s name, was not uncommon in Antiquity. It was not a way to induce others into error by producing a “false” document, but a way of honoring a teacher by keeping his teaching alive. It was not meant as a “lie”.

Specifically, some Pauline epistles in the New Testament were probably written, according to modern research, by St Paul’s disciples rather than by St Paul himself (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews).

If this is true, these disciples weren’t trying to introduce errors into the New Testament, or confuse future readers. They were trying to upheld and maintain St Paul’s teaching and authority, helping them to authentically live on in the new situations they confronted, expressing St Paul’s “spiritual testament” as best as they could.


It’s usually seven that are undisputed. 1 Thessalonians is usually regarded as the earliest letter. Romans is not one of the disputed ones.
Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon are rarely contested as Paul being the author.
Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus are more disputed.

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As usual, BartholomewB is right on the money. While there have been some spirited debates over the last century or so about the authorship of, well, pretty much the whole Bible, scholars have broadly settled on the above consensus.

The only changes I would make to it, is that many scholars wee 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus as less likely to have been written by Paul than Eph, Col., and 2 Thess. And that very few scholars believe Hebrews was written by him. They are what are called pseudoepigraphical, that is written by someone else, but attributed to him. Many works in the first couple of centuries of Christianity fall into this category.

It is very important to recognize, though, that this does not mean they are fake, or forgeries, or made to fool you into believing something you already know to be true. Rather, they were probably either incorrectly attributed by error, or attributed to Paul as a form of homage by a follower. The Epistle of James falls into the same category, virtually no scholar believes it was actually written by James. Rather it was almost certainly written by a follower of James and attributed to him after his death.

The Church is perfectly ok with the idea of pseudoepigraphical works. And I think that makes a lot of sense. In most cases, books of the Bible aren’t signed, so authors were attributed by later scribes. They did their best, but were sometimes in error. That doesn’t mean the content of the books is wrong, just the attribution.

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but I was distracted! I hope this is helpful.


How about the Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude. Are they similar to James in this way?

You think this is worth replying to? A Christan who has gone beyond Sola scriptura to “Sola whatever my conscience tells me” as this person seems to frankly isn’t worth your time, at least not in an online setting. I would leave it at something like “I’m not going to have a discussion about what the Christian position on a topic should be with someone who rejects sacred scripture.”

Also, who give a rip if he dictated it??? I don’t get the relevance of that comment at all. St. Paul is one of my favorite saints so this burns me up in a particular way. Maybe remind them that without St. Paul we (gentiles) might still all be worshiping false Gods. If it weren’t for his “theology” many, many more souls would be in peril of hell.

Respectfully seeking word…gentile…means… nation does it not?
The word gentile is an English word is it not?

Word …gentile is used in the 2,000 old Greek (now called Septuagint ( Latin word is it?) to translate the…
Hebrew word…goy (strong#1471) which means …nation

Greek word used …ethnos…(strong#1484) literally means …nation…translation from Hebrew to Greek right?

A nation is any group of people living working under one rule, is this the correct meaning?

There were many nations in the bible mentioned correct? Cannities? Egyptians? Moabites? Arameans?
Even Israel is called a… Nation right?
Genesis 12:2? Acts 10:22?

St Paul… preached to all the Nations (gentles) did he not?
James 1:1…also mentions this also…did he not?

Hebrew word… goy
Greek word… ethnos…literally means nation, is used 30 times in OT…is it not?

Word Hebrew word…goy…means nation
Greek word…ethnos literally means nation
English word translated goy and ethnos …as… gentile… is this correct…
Used 91 times in NT is this correct?

12 lost tribes?
Jesus came to gather them back into the Nation ( goy or ethnos) of Israel?

Who wrote Romans scholars have determined not all were written by St Paul right? Why? How did they determine this?

Then there is our church answers to and teaching on this question…Who wrote Romans?..CC answer to this is what I accept and go by and in following the church teaching on!! :slightly_smiling_face:

For one only… it is important to get the true meaning of the words and original meanings… in their own original language words they used in the Bible and in the time of Jesus.
…to help understand their words and their original meanings in their time is helpful to understand, comprehend what Jesus is teaching us, would it not?..just an opinion

Jesus commanded did he not as written to his Apostles?..Go out into all Nations (goy? ethnos?) spread the good news?

English translated
Hebrew word goy ( means nation) and Greek word ethnos ( literally means nation)… into the English word… gentile… would this be true?

Peace :heart:


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I would respond by Romans chapter 1. The argument they give is old and tired. I would make them sell it with real historical facts rather than liberal critism learned in College.

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