Monday, January 16, 2017

The Roman Road to Salvation

What is the Roman Road (or Romans Road) to salvation? According to, “The Romans Road to salvation is a way of explaining the good news of salvation using verses from the Book of Romans.” This is a popular method used by Christian witnesses to “lead the lost down the Romans Road map to salvation.” The method is a basic presentation using, usually, six or seven texts from the book of Romans.

The “Roman Road” verses, as often presented:
  • We are all sinners (Romans 3:10,23).
  • The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
  • Jesus paid for sin on the cross (Rom. 5:8).
  • Salvation comes by faith, confessing with our mouths and believing in our hearts (Romans 10:9,10).
  • Call on the Lord/pray for salvation and get saved (Romans 10:13).
I recently noticed someone call attention to the fact that this “Roman Road” method was created and coined by Fundamental Baptist pastor Jack Hyles. In his June 1970 sermon There Remaineth Yet Very Much Land to Be Possessed Hyles recalls it this way:
“By the way, you folks who don’t come on Wednesday night don’t know this, but about twenty-two years ago, in a little East Texas Church, I came up with a little plan of presenting the plan of salvation called ‘The Roman Road’ whereby you take Verses contained in Romans and show people how to be saved using Romans 3:10, and Romans 3:23, and Romans 5:12, and Romans 5:8, and on and on. I termed it, ‘The Roman Road,’ and from the ‘Roman Road’ I wrote the little book, Let’s Go Soul Winning. Over one hundred and thirty-five thousand copies of that book have been printed. It has been translated into several foreign languages: Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, French, and others, and has literally gone around the world.”
He further stated, “Just before he left Japan and retired, Douglas MacArthur got a copy of the ‘Roman Road to Salvation’ that we started in 1948 or 1949 in East Texas…”

I have searched and as yet have not found any reason to doubt Jack Hyles’s claim that he came up with the “Roman Road” plan of presenting the plan of salvation. As best I can determine, Hyles must have been attending East Texas Baptist University in Marshall and pastoring Grange Hall Baptist Church at the time this happened.* It also appears accurate that he based the plan in his book Let’s Go Soul Winning on “The Roman Road”. Here is part of what he writes:
I contend that you can be a soul winner if you don’t know a single verse of Scripture, if you can draw a map in your Bible to tell yourself where to go. All you need do is find Romans 3:10 and you won’t have to know a single verse of Scripture. Right beside Romans 3:10, write the next verse to tell you where to go in your Bible. Actually what you do is draw yourself a little road map in your Bible to explain where to go next.
First, turn to Romans 3:10. That is all you have to remember. Underline the verse. Beside it write 3:23. After you have read Romans 3:10, it tells you where to go next. Now turn to Romans 3:23. Underline that verse and beside that write 5:12. Turn to 5:12 and underline 5:12 and write beside it 6:23. Underline 6:23 and beside it write 5:8. Underline 5:8 and write beside it 10:9-13.  Now that is a map for you. You don’t have to know a single verse of Scripture to be a soul winner if you draw a map in your Bible. You follow the map until you learn the Scriptures. Of course, as you go along, you will learn many other Scriptures that will help, but these are the basic ones.
Let’s Go Soul Winning: Step-By-Step Lessons in How to Win a Soul to Christ by Jack Hyles (First Printing: April, 1962; First Electronic Printing: May, 1994)
All the verses used in the “Roman Road” are Bible truths. The tactics used by certain soul-winners when presenting the “Roman Road” are unethical at best and fiendish at worst. Nevertheless, I thought it interesting to find this tidbit of history concerning the beginning of “The Roman Road to Salvation.” If anyone knows of this method and name occurring before Jack Hyles, I would be glad to know of it.

* Note: Jack Hyles’s pastorates in East Texas were Marris Chapel Baptist Church (aka Morris Chapel) of Bogata, Texas, Grange Hall Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas, and Southside Baptist Church of Henderson, Texas. The latter two still exist as Southern Baptist churches. I am not sure about the first. From what I found online, 1949 seems to be about the time he was at Grange Hall.

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