The Epistle of ROMANS*
Chapter One, Vs. 1-18
* Written to the Church of the Body of Christ -- born again believers. There are seven (7) Church Epistles written directly to born again believers today. This is the first of those epistles. Each epistle beginning with Romans is either a DOCTRINE, REPROOF, OR CORRECTION epistle. The epistle of ROMANS is a DOCTRINAL epistle written to present BASIC DOCTRINE -- right believing.
[ ** A prerequisite to understanding this teaching and the type of study pattern used makes it necessary for you to first study The Epistle of James Chapter One. Please read at least the first three paragraphs of the teaching "The Epistle of James Chapter One" before proceeding. ]
1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, unto the gospel of God.
Literal: Paul, a bondsman or doulos (servant) of Jesus Christ, a called, invited, welcome and chosen apostle (one sent, messenger, ambassador), separated or set apart to or for the gospel (good news, glad tidings) of God.
The word 'servant' is a slave or one bound to serve whose will and capacities are wholly at the service of another. For Christian service, it expresses the highest devotion of one who is bound by love - a doulos. Paul, a doulos of Jesus Christ, a chosen apostle set apart for the gospel of God. 'Gospel' in the New Testament refers to the promise or news of salvation in a special sense. An apostle is one sent forth by God to bring new light to a generation. It may be old light but it's new to that generation. God sets the stage for this basic doctrine by clearly laying down Paul's credentials and his relationship to Him. He is a doulos, totally dedicated to the Master and he, Paul, is an apostle sent by God to bring the light of the Word to the Romans. God is also showing that Paul is set apart or separated, he is sanctified. Remember our sonship right of 'sanctification' which sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are bought back, we are set apart, we are not of this world any more and neither do we belong to this world. We are sons of God and belong to Him.
2. (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures.)
Literal: (Which He before promised or announced His intentions through His prophets in the God-breathed Word [holy writings or holy scriptures]).
Remember, this is a parenthesis which is a figure of speech meaning it is an explanation. When you are doing work for God, He will separate you or set you apart so you can carry out His will. He will do His best, depending on your free will, to keep you away from the world and worldly influences that affect your believing in a negative manner. When God straightens out the handlebars, it feels unusual at first, since you are used to them being crooked. It's a new and better way of life. Have patience with yourself and with God. God will teach you new things if you do not faint in your mind. If you feel you lack wisdom or understanding in a particular situation, ASK GOD FOR WISDOM AND HE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU WILFULLY WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT.
Note: Before moving to verse 3, it should be pointed out that The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament places the phrase "Jesus Christ our Lord" at the end of verse 4. We will also do the same.
3. Concerning his Son, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh:
Literal: Concerning His Son who came into existence of the seed of David according to the flesh.
[Remember to read from the end of verse 1 directly to verse 3 to keep the logical thought content.]
4. And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead -- Jesus Christ our Lord.
Literal: And marked out, declared, or determined the Son of God with inherent power (dunamis) capable of anything, according to the spirit of holiness (anything held sacred; marking the condition), by the resurrection of the dead -- Jesus Christ our Lord.
This particular usage of the word 'spirit' above relates to the resurrected body where 'holiness' means 'marking the condition'. It was in the resurrection that Jesus Christ was marked out as the Son of God. The resurrection proved who he was beyond a shadow of a doubt. The 'spirit' of holiness can only be of or from God while 'holiness' marks the condition of something held sacred.
5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith for all nations, for his name:
Literal: By whom (Jesus Christ) we received (lambano -- into manifestation) divine favor and the mission and the office of an apostle unto the obedience of the faith in what we hear from God in His Word, among all the nations for his namesake or in behalf of his name.
6. Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
Literal: Among whom are you also the called, chosen, and invited of Jesus Christ.
7. To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Literal: To all those who are in Rome, beloved (dearly loved) of God, called saints (born again and belonging to the church of God): Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here we clearly see that the book of Romans is addressed to the church, to those who are born again. These believers who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and follow him as Lord in their life are referred to as saints. The word 'peace' in the above verse is 'peace or rest' in contrast with 'strife'. It denotes a state of health or well-being and a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being. This peace is the result of our enjoying our forgiveness. This peace must come to you as you continue to obey God. These verses are introductory to Romans and cover so many important and major points. It's easy to see how organized God is when He sets out to accomplish something such as establishing this basic doctrine.
8. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Literal: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith (firmly relying confidence in God and His Word) is proclaimed or announced in the whole world.
9. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you. **
** [ According to the Interlinear, the verse ends here. The words "always in my prayers" begin verse 10. --- REMEMBER, all punctuation was added by man and IS NOT part of the original God-breathed Word].
Literal: For God is my witness, whom I serve or worship in my spirit (the usage of 'spirit' here means heart in the sense of reality, truly, fervently, essentially) in the glad tidings or gospel of His Son, how unceasingly or without intermission I make mention (speak of, call to mind, remember) of you.
Paul is saying that he never stops praying for the believers and his prayers are from the heart.
I Thessalonians 1: 2 -- We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
10. Always in my prayers, making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
Literal: Always at my prayers to God making request or beseeching, if by any means or in any way now at length, I shall be led in a good way or prospered on my journey by the Will of God to come to you.
The word 'journey' is deleted in the Interlinear. Let me give you the translation from the Interlinear:
"Always at my prayers beseeching, if by any means now at length I shall be prospered by the will of God to come to you."
'At length' means 'at any time, when, or whenever.' Paul is saying to the Romans called saints that he prays to God that whenever he does visit them, that he is led by God and prospered by God on this trip. This subject continues in the next verse.
11. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.
Literal: For I long to see you, that I may impart or communicate to you a certain spiritual gift or favor of God's gracious working -- a positive blessing, with a view to or to the end you may be fixed firmly or established in the faith.
12. That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Literal: That is, to be comforted together in or among you through faith in one another (mutual faith) both yours and mine.
13. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
Literal: But I do not wish you to be ignorant (lacking understanding or comprehension) brethren, that many times I purposed or proposed to come to you, and was hindered until this present time, that some fruit or results I might have among you could be manifested as also among the other nations.
Paul is telling the saints here that he would like to visit them but he is constantly hindered from doing so even at the present time. He would like to see them so that he could then share more of God's Word with them and they too can bear more fruit and in turn, produce more results in their lives and the lives of others such as has been the case with many other nations.
Romans 15: 22 -- For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
14. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
Literal: Both to the Greeks (Gentiles) and to the barbarians or foreigners (strange to Greek manners and language), both to the wise, clever and skilful, and to the unwise or unintelligent, a debtor I am.
The word debtor involves the idea that one must expiate (pay or suffer for) his guilt. Maybe the word 'guilt' isn't very applicable here but the word 'obligation' is more applicable. The following verse in Acts helps to better understand what Paul is saying:
Acts 28: 2 -- And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.
Apparently, Paul was thankful and felt an obligation to many different groups and types of people regardless of their social standing because these people helped him in his movement of the Word of God. This is a good example of not respecting persons but conditions only.
15. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Literal: So as to me, I am willing and eager to proclaim the divine message of salvation also to you who are in Rome.
16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Literal: For I am not ashamed of the gospel or glad tidings: for it is the power (dunamis - inherent power) of God unto salvation (safety) to everyone that believes, both to the Judean first and then to the Gentile.
'Salvation' is preservation from danger or destruction. By believing Romans 10: 9, 10 we have this salvation which is eternal life as we hope for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is a Scripture in the center reference that may be helpful here -- it is marked with a small 'g '.
I Corinthians 1: 18 -- For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Those who do not believe are those that perish; they believe that preaching the Word is foolishness. The Word was written and is written for the believer, not for the unbeliever. Just remove yourself from a situation where there are unbelievers who are not going to believe -- ask God what to do. You've got to be sharp in this situation so that you do not waste your time and become frustrated. You and God make a majority in every situation. When it comes to the integrity of God's Word, you do not have any friends. You must get to the point in your renewed mind that if every friend you ever had forsook you, you would continue to stand on God's Word. God needs people with that type of commitment and dedication.
17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [pistis - believing].
Literal: For in it is the righteousness of God revealed or made manifest by faith to the faith of Jesus Christ: according as it has been written, but the just (those who conform to God's Will) shall live by faith - by believing God's Word.
Remember that the righteousness of God is the doing or being what is just and right; the character and acts of man commanded by and approved of God, in virtue of which the man corresponds with Him and His Will as His ideal and His standard; it signifies the sum total of all that God commands and approves. It is what He gives to man which is appropriated (to take for one's own or exclusive use) by faith, believing; it is a state called forth by God's act of justification, by judicial deliverance from all that stands in the way of being righteous. This is one of our sonship rights and when not realized results in spiritual defeat because of sin-consciousness. RIGHTEOUSNESS is the God-given justification whereby a person stands in the presence of God without any consciousness of sin, guilt or shortcomings; it is something God imparts (give a share or portion of; make known; reveal); it is something God gave to you when you were born again. You cannot work for righteousness -- it is obtained from God through the faith of Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 5: 21 -- For he (God) hath made him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The sin problem was settled in Jesus Christ. As a son of God, you must renew your mind to no longer worry, fear or feel unworthy. No fear, worry and guilt can frustrate and defeat you. There is no want, no poverty, no sickness when you have confidence toward God.
I John 3: 20, 21 -- For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
If your heart is condemning or accusing you, you will not get answers to prayer because you do not have confidence toward God. You have no reason to fear but to have confidence toward God and therefore think and live victoriously. Just keep renewing your mind and God will take care of the rest. Do your best and keep your head in the Word. You should read this page over and over again until you master the meaning of 'righteousness'.
The latter part of this very important verse first appears in the Old Testament in Habakkuk.
Habakkuk 2: 4 -- Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith (a firmly relying confidence and trust in God and His Word).
18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [suppress] the truth in unrighteousness;
Literal: For the wrath of God (intense anger especially for punishment or vengeance) is revealed or made manifest from heaven upon or against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who have and hold fast the truth in unrighteousness.
First of all, you know that God is all light and in Him is no darkness at all so the term 'wrath of God' must be a figure of speech since God cannot have wrath. Since God is a just God, He allows this to happen. 'Ungodliness' is a lack of reverence for God (impiety), godlessness. 'Unrighteousness' is what is not conformable to right; what ought not to be because the truth of the Word says the opposite; wrong; a contradiction of the truth in the Word whether obvious or subtle. God is saying that major problems will be allowed to happen to people who lack a reverence for Him and for those who do not conform to what is right as set by the standards of the Word of God. This phrase "hold the truth in unrighteousness" is most interesting. You can know the truth of the Word and you can hold it fast in your heart but you do not live and apply the principles in a godly manner. You preach what you do not study and hardly know to others. You are not conforming to the Word as God intended and you are not doing what you should be doing with this knowledge. It's easy to know much of the Word through only the teachings of others. You can be doing this for many years when the Holy Spirit is urging you to study on your own and make the Word your own. Sure, we all need a teacher, but God also expects us to learn on our own to the best of our ability. If you put on a good front by going to fellowships and taking bible classes but you are not STUDYING the Word diligently on your own, seeking out the promises, you are not having proper, genuine respect for God and His sacred Word. You are a hearer and not a doer, believing but not taking action, however, giving the appearance of a righteous and godly person. This is ungodliness in one way.
This concludes Part One of Chapter One of the Epistle of Romans.