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Finding (& Sharing) Jesus on the Romans Road to Salvation

a bible open over a road representing the romans road to salvation

When I was sixteen, a youth ministry challenged me to share my faith with my family and classmates. I had grown up in and out of church and didn’t know much of the Bible beyond the epic Sunday school stories most people with some church background know. But God was working in me. I wanted to be obedient to him. The youth ministry taught me the Romans Road to Salvation, and I used it to share the gospel with my best friend.

My friend didn’t give his life to Jesus at that time, but the Romans Road gave me the confidence to share with him the hope I found in Christ.

What is the Romans Road to Salvation? It is an evangelistic tool based upon five or six verses in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Used together, these verses walk people through the good news about Jesus’s free offer of salvation.

In this article, I will help you understand more about the Romans Road to Salvation, learn about the key verses included, and provide some simple tips for using them to share the gospel.

What is the Romans Road to Salvation?

The Romans Road consists of Bible verses from the New Testament epistle to the Romans that explain the plan of salvation through faith in Jesus. Usually, it consists of five specific verses:

  1. Romans 3:23
  2. Romans 6:23
  3. Romans 5:8
  4. Romans 10:9–10
  5. Romans 10:13
  6. (Sometimes Romans 5:1, 8:1, and 5:12 are added to the list)

Taken together, the five verses walk people through their eternal separation from God, the consequences of human sin, the substitutionary death of Jesus, the human response to God’s offer of salvation, and a description of salvation’s availability.

Jack Hyles, the (in)famous twentieth-century independent Baptist pastor, claimed to have invented the system in a 1970 sermon. This can’t be verified. At any rate, because the verses were short, easy to memorize, and expressed such a compact description of salvation, the Romans Road to Salvation spread quickly as a tool for Christians to share their faith.

Key Bible verses in the Romans Road

Before the popularity of the Romans Road evangelism system, these verses in Romans were some of the more recognizable in the New Testament. Today, they are some of the most memorized verses in the Bible. They describe key theological concepts at the heart of the Christian message.

These five verses represent the most common stops on the Romans Road to Salvation.

1. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

First, we’re told that all of us are sinners. God intended for each of us to live in perfect relationship with him, but every person who has ever lived has broken God’s commands. The Bible teaches later on in Romans (5:12–21) that sin entered the world through the first man, Adam. Because of Adam’s sin, we’re all incapable of meeting God’s standards. Sin isn’t just something we do. It’s our nature.

2. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23)

This defines the consequences of our sin, which are twofold: Because of our sin, our earthly lives are destined to end. But more importantly, our sin leads to eternal death, which is eternal separation from God. This verse ends with good news, however. We’ve earned death. It’s what we deserve. But we’re offered a free gift that we don’t deserve—“eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

3. “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8)

After we’ve established our sinfulness, the consequences of our sin, and the hope of eternal life, Romans 5:8 paints a vivid picture of God’s love for us even when we’re at our worst. God’s love for us isn’t an abstraction. He loves us so much that even when we were sinners (or enemies of God, as Paul describes us two verses later), he gave his Son to die for us. This arguably is the clearest, most powerful, most explicit description of God’s love ever written.

4. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation” (Rom 10:9–10)

With Romans 10:9–10, Paul tells us how we can respond to the gospel affirmatively and accept God’s free offer of salvation. Paul has already told us that we cannot do anything to earn God’s gift. So we shouldn’t think of confessing and believing as a “works” but as a faithful response to the offer of salvation.

5. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13)

Finally, Paul reminds us that the offer of salvation is for everyone. No matter where we’re from, what we’ve done, how intelligent we are, or what socioeconomic class we’re in, God’s offer of salvation is for us.

Other verses occasionally used

Sometimes the Roman Road gets a bit longer. Depending on who is using it (or who the recipient might be), one or more of the verses may be added. Each emphasizes something a little different about the conversion process or the abundant life Jesus offers.

6. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1)

Sometimes, this verse replaces Romans 10:13. Other times, it’s just added to the end. Romans 5:1 can be a good option when you’re sharing your faith with those who are struggling to find peace in their lives. The traditional Romans Road experience ends at conversion. This verse describes the peace we receive after our decision to follow Jesus.

7. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1)

This verse also emphasizes the post-conversion experience of new believers. Because so many people in today’s world struggle with feelings of shame, it’s a particularly poignant verse in a journey through Romans. It also makes a nice bookend with Romans 3:23 and 6:23. You start by reminding persons that they are sinners who deserve eternal death. You end by describing the condemnation-free life offered through Christ.

8. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned” (Rom 5:23)

When we use this verse, we usually insert it after 3:23. It helps us show the origin of sin and its pervasiveness throughout the world.

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Using the Romans Road in evangelism

The Romans Road verses give us a simple way to tell others about our faith in Jesus, but a good evangelistic conversation is about so much more than spitting out some verses. It’s a conversation about eternal and very personal matters. Here are few reminders to consider before you share the good news through the Romans Road.

1. Pray

Only the Holy Spirit can draw people to himself. Prayer is an indispensable part of the evangelistic process. Ask God to give you opportunities to talk to people about Jesus. Pray for the wisdom you’ll need as you share. But most of all, pray for the person you’ll be sharing Jesus with. Ask God to draw him or her to the Lord. Ask him to clarify truth in the person’s life. The Bible promises in Isaiah 55 that his Word will never come back void. Begin to thank God for how he will work as you share his word.

2. Learn the verses

Many people choose to memorize the Romans Road verses. It’s always beneficial to hide God’s Word in your heart (cf. Ps 119:11), but it isn’t required. At least get familiar with the verses. Mark where you find the verses in the Bible. Make sure you understand what the verses mean. You don’t have to be prepared for every question. That’s impossible. Instead, trust that God will give you the right words at the right time.

3. Keep your eyes open for opportunities

If you’re asking God for opportunities, he will provide them. Be ready when God gives you those opportunities (1 Pet 3:15). Decide ahead of time that if you get the chance to share, you will.

4. Demonstrate care for the person

No one wants to listen to what you say about Jesus until they know you care for them. We’re not simply trying to add another notch to our belt. We want to see people find the abundant life that Jesus promises. Make sure those you’re sharing the gospel with understand this—this will be done in large part by the way you yourself demonstrate abundant love.

The Roman Roads to Salvation is just one evangelical method. However, it presumes certain things (e.g., salvation is important) that may themselves be questioned during a conversation. Anticipate these questions ahead of time.

1. Why is salvation important?

God loves every person on the planet. He created us and longs for us to flourish. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God wants “everyone to be saved.” But God is perfect and sinless (1 John 1:5), and we’re not. The Bible tells us that our righteousness is “like a polluted garment” (Isa 64:6). We can try for the rest of our lives and never be able to earn God’s approval.

Without God’s free offer of salvation, we face separation from God forever.

2. What purpose does the Romans Road to Salvation have?

The Romans Road is an evangelistic tool that makes it relatively easy to share the good news about Jesus with other people. The verses provide a step-by-step approach that explains why the good news about Jesus is necessary and how someone can accept it. Because the verses are all in the same book of the Bible and simple to understand, they make it possible for more people to share their faith in an engaging manner.

3. What was the significance of the original Roman roads?

The Roman road system refers to the extensive collection of roads that connected Rome to the furthest regions of the empire. In the beginning, these roads were largely built for military reasons, to march Roman legions to places where they were needed. By about AD 300, there were over 53,000 miles of roads throughout the Roman Empire.1

Roman roads were exceptionally well-built; some are still in use today! But what made them so effective was they did not weave around the terrain: instead, Roman engineers cut through the terrain so that all Roman roads were always straight, making them the most efficient road system of the ancient world.

These Roman roads played an integral role in the spread of early Christianity from Jerusalem, particularly during the Apostolic age. While the apostle Paul used sea travel as well, he often traveled via Roman roads. Many of the churches he started were on the major Roman roads.

You can also see the influence of the Roman road system in the description of the seven churches of Revelation in chapters 2 and 3. All these churches were accessible on the Roman road system.

It’s safe to say the gospel likely wouldn’t have spread nearly as far in the early days of the church without the elaborate system of Roman roads.

Your next step on the Romans Road

God has given each of us the opportunity to be a part of his mission to reconcile a lost world to himself. You may be in the same position I was when I first learned the Romans Road at sixteen. Maybe you don’t feel you know enough of the Bible to share the good news about Jesus with others.

Let the Romans Road of Salvation help. Learn the six Bible verses mentioned earlier. Ask God to give you opportunities to tell people about Jesus.

And then watch God do the impossible through you.

The Book of Romans: 2 Important Questions to Ask
Use Logos’s Passage List to Memorize Bible Verses
How to Create a Passage List from Search Results

Take Your Bible Study Deeper, Faster
  1. For more information see, for example, this entry on the Appian Way in the Lexham Bible Dictionary, a resource included within the free edition of Logos Bible Study App.
Written by
Tobin Perry

Tobin Perry has spent over 20 years as a writer and editor for faith-based audiences. He has written for Christianity Today, Baptist Press, Saddleback Church, the North American Mission Board, and more. He has also served as a lead pastor of a small church in Southern Indiana and a church planting intern in Seattle, Washington. Tobin has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary). He lives in Evansville, Indiana with his wife and three children.

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Written by Tobin Perry