Begin the journey with us through the book of Romans, verse by verse!
- Author: Paul the Apostle
- Date of Writing: Around A.D. 57
- Place of Writing: At Corinth in Gaius’ house (Romans 16:23)
- Theme: The Gospel (Romans 1:16)
- Occasion: Paul is writing a letter to the Jewish and Gentile Christians living in Rome to address their theological issues.
- Establishment: It was most likely not established by any apostle, but by the preaching of converted Jews from Pentecost around 30 A.D. Roman Catholic tradition believes that Peter eventually went to Rome and became its “first Bishop,” read here to learn more about their take on church history.
- The Roman Christians: (a) They were both Jew and Gentile, (b) they met in small congregations, and (c) they had some divisions among them.
- Jewish Persecution: In 19 A.D. and 41-54 A.D. Jews were expelled from Rome, it caused people like Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:1-2) to move to Corinth.
- The City of Rome: (a) The capitol city of the Roman Empire, (b) had over 1 million citizens, (c) it was multi-racial, (d) pagan in religion, and (e) the center of the Roman world for over 1,000 years. More on Ancient Rome.
OUTLINE OF ROMANS
- The Letter Opening: Paul’s Call to Serve the Gospel (1:1-17)
- The Heart of the Gospel: Justification by Faith (1:18-4:25)
- The Assurance Provided by the Gospel: The Hope of Salvation (5:1-8:39)
- The Defense of the Gospel: The Problem of Israel (9:1-11:36)
- The Transforming Power of the Gospel: Christian Conduct (12:1-15:13)
- The Letter Closing: Those Who Serve Alongside of Paul with the Gospel (15:14-16:27)
Romans 1:1-7: The Gospel Regarding God’s Son & Greetings
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
v. 1: Paul describes himself as a servant (Gk “doulas“ – “slave”) completely at his master’s call and service. He is set apart for the gospel (Gk “euangelion” – “good news”). The Greek word for “gospel” is similar to “basar” in Hebrew as found in Isaiah 52:7, “glad tidings” and is used in the LXX (Greek translation of the Old Testament translated around 132 B.C.).
v. 2: The gospel Paul is preaching had been promised by such prophets as Isaiah in Isaiah 40:9, 52:7, 60:6, 61:1 and in Nahum 1:15. Also, from the prophets as a whole when they point to Jesus and His work as the Messiah.
vs. 3-4: Jesus came in the flesh as a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:13-14 & Matthew 1:1-17), but was shown to be the Son of God by the Spirit of holiness in His resurrection (Psalm 110:1 & Acts 13:32-33). Jesus is our Lord (Gk “kurios” – “master/boss”), thus Paul was stating Jesus should be obeyed by all. And in Romans 10:9-13 to confess Jesus as Lord is to say He is God, Yahweh (Joel 2:32).
v. 5: Paul declares that through Jesus he has been given grace (Gk “charis” – “gift”) to be an apostle, (Gk “apostole” – “sent one”) to call or preach to people to have obedience that comes from faith (Gk “pistis” – “trust in God”).
v. 6: Paul specifies that his audience, the gentile Christians in Rome, are apart of the those “who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” This shows that the people had heard the Gospel “call” (Gk kletos – “they were invited”) and they accepted the invitation by faith, thus they now are saved or belong to Jesus (Matthew 22:14 KJV).
v. 7: Paul now opens the letter to everyone, both Jew and Gentile, and declares they are “loved by God” and “called to be saints” (Gk “hagios“ – “holy ones”). Paul gives his standard greeting “grace and peace” (Gk “charis” & “eirene“ – “favor” & “well being”).
Romans 1:8-17: Personal Remarks & The Gospel Described
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)
vs. 8-10: Paul states that is thankful for the faith the Romans have because it is being “reported” (Gk “kataggellō” – “published”) all over the world (1 Thessalonians 1:8) and he “constantly” “remembers” them in his prayers “at all times.”
vs. 11-13: Paul declares he “longs” (Gk “epipotheō” – “to pursue with love”) the holy ones of Rome to give them a “spiritual gift” (Gk “pneumatikos charisma” – “divine extraordinary power”) to make them “strong” (Gk “stērizō” – “firmly established”). He also shares that he had tried to come to them, but had been prevented. This could have been because of the expulsion of the Jews in 49 A.D.
vs. 14-15: Paul shares his call to preach to all people in any condition of mind or spiritual state (“wise” or “foolish”). He also makes his passion known to come and preach in the phrase, “I am so eager to preach“ (Gk “prothymos euaggelizō” – “ready and willing to announce God’s glad tidings”).
v. 16: Paul boldly declares he is not “ashamed of the Gospel” because he believes it is the “power of God” (Gk “dynamis theos” – “the limitless resource and strength of God”) to save the Jew and Gentile through believing, (i.e., “trusting in God”).
v. 17: Paul states that “in” the gospel a “righteousness from God is revealed” (Gk “dikaiosynē theou” – “right standing with God’s divine justice”) that is received by faith. The ground work for the message of faith for all mankind’s salvation is based in the OT; especially in Habakkuk 2:4.
Romans 1:18-32: God’s Wrath Against Sinners
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
vs. 18-23: “Wrath” (Gk “orgē” – “anger exhibited in punishment”). God is presently punishing the sins of the wicked with anger because they are suppressing the truth, they are holding truth down and choosing to live in godlessness and wickedness.
Reason for God’s wrath in Romans 1:19-23:
- vs. 19-20: What was known about God was plain to them
- v. 21: They knew God but did not glorify him or give him thanks
- v. 22: They became fools in their thinking
- v. 23: They exchanged the glory of God for images
- General Revelation: Truth given by nature to all men (v. 20). Learn about Paul’s usage of Genesis in this passage.
- Special Revelation: Truth given by direct contact with God or with His messages to others (Romans 10:14-17)
Result of God’s Wrath in Romans 1:23-32:
- vs. 24-25: God gave them over to sinful desires, which resulted in idolatry and “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”
- vs. 26-27: God gave them over to “shameful lusts” (Gk “atimia pathos” – “vile afflictions of the mind”) which resulted in homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13 & 1 Corinthians 9:11). For more depth visit Dr. James White’s site.
- vs. 28-32: God gave them over to a “depraved mind” (Gk “adokimos nous” – “failed understanding”) which resulted in being filled with every kind of wickedness and approving the acts of wickedness.
Living for Jesus is all about living for the gospel!