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Romans 1:1
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Text:
Paul, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,
separated unto the gospel of God (Romans 1:1).
This time let us turn in our Bibles to Romans, chapter 1. Paul
opens his epistle to the Romans declaring:
Paul, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,
separated unto the gospel of God (Rom 1:1).
Twenty-five years before Paul wrote this epistle to the Romans
he was on the road to Damascus to imprison the Christians
there. When suddenly about noon there came a light brighter
than the mid-day sun and there the Lord said, "Saul, Saul why
persecute thou me?" And he answered and said, "Who art thou
Lord, that I might serve thee?" Now twenty-five years later Paul
writes, "Paul, a servant or a bond slave, of Jesus Christ."
Writing to the Philippian church concerning that same
conversion experience he said, "Those things which were gain to
me I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus
Christ for whom I suffered the loss of all things and do count
them but refuse that I may know Him" (1Co 3:7-8). What I am
seeking to point out is that the commitment that Paul had made
twenty-five years earlier was still being honored.
There are a lot of people who talk about past experiences, but
the past experiences have not been translated into the present
relationship, and thus, past experiences become null and void
unless they are translated into present relationships. Those
things which were gain to me I counted loss, twenty-five years
ago. "Yea doubtless I do count them," you see, it is still going
on. So past experience is only valid as it is translated into my
present walk and relationship. Twenty-five years ago, "Who art
thou, Lord, that I may serve thee?" Now twenty-five years later,
"Paul a servant of Jesus Christ."
We just finished the book of Acts, and to help place the book of
Romans, the writing of the book of Romans, into the study that
Romans 1:1
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we just had in Acts, if you will remember when Paul was in
Ephesus and Demetrius the silversmith created a big ruckus and
they brought all the people of the city into the arena and they
were chanting, "Great is Diana the Ephesus," and so forth. How
that at that point Paul said, "Well, I am going to go to
Macedonia and to Corinth and I am going to go to Jerusalem
and I must also see Rome." There Paul expressed his desire as
he left Ephesus going over to Macedonia and then to Corinth,
ultimately going on to Rome, "I must also see Rome." When he
got to Corinth, before going back to Jerusalem, it was from
Corinth that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome. That
will help you place it historically in the book of Acts. He wrote
the letter to the church in Rome from Corinth. As he got ready
to leave Corinth to go back to Jerusalem, he found out that
there was an assassination, a plot against him. They were going
to throw him overboard, and so instead of taking the ship from
Corinth, he went back north to Macedonia, crossed over to
Troas, and then made his way around the coast catching ships
back to Jerusalem. He gave up his hopes of being there for
Passover and intended to be there for the Feast of Pentecost. In
Jerusalem he was arrested, taken to Caesarea, held in prison for
two years. He appealed unto Caesar and now, of course, in the
book of Acts he was finally going to Rome. This was written
some two years, a little more than two years before Paul was
able to go to Rome, and he is going to express his desire to
come to Rome and the purpose for which he desired to go there.
"Paul, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle." The
Bible tells us that we should make our calling and election sure.
Paul said, "I was called to be an apostle." It is wrong for us to
classify callings of God as important or highest calling or
greatest calling or whatever. I don‘t know what God has called
you to be. But it is important that you realize that you can‘t be
any more than what God has called you to be. And we
oftentimes get into trouble trying to do more than God has
called us to do. Paul was called to be an apostle, then that is
great, Paul should be an apostle. If he said, "Paul, called to be a
tentmaker," then he should be a tentmaker. "Paul, called to be a
camel driver," then he should be a camel driver.
Romans 1:1
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Whatever God has called you to be that is the highest calling for
your life, because you can‘t be more than what God has called
you to be, and God only holds you responsible to be what He
has called you to be. We oftentimes are guilty of taking on
duties that God hasn‘t laid on us. Taking upon ourselves the
responsibility because we have a great desire to serve God in
some greater capacity, and thus, I launch into areas where God
has not called me and that can be disastrous. I would give you a
personal testimony, but we don‘t have time. I have tried to be
on occasions but God didn‘t call me to be. I always ended
disastrously. Sometimes our ambitions and our desires are
beyond the Lord‘s callings.
"Paul, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of
God," which, of course, the book of Romans is dedicated to that
subject.
Romans 1:1
Superscription (Rom 1:1, Rom 1:2)
Dr. Morison observes that the superscription is peerless for its
wealth of theological idea.
Paul ( λος)
A transcript for the Latin paulus or paullus, meaning little. It
was a favorite name among the Cilicians, and the nearest
approach in sound to the Hebrew Saul. According to some, both
names were borne by him in his childhood, Paulus being the one
by which he was known among the Gentiles, and which was
subsequently assumed by him to the exclusion of the other, in
order to indicate his position as the friend and teacher of the
Gentiles. The practice of adopting Gentile names may be traced
through all the periods of Hebrew history. Double names also,
national and foreign, often occur in combination, as
Belteshazzar-Daniel; Esther-Hadasa; thus Saul-Paulus.
Others find in the name an expression of humility, according to
Paul's declaration that he was ―the least of the apostles‖ (1Co
15:9). Others, an allusion to his diminutive stature; and others
again think that he assumed the name out of compliment to
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Sergius Paulus, the deputy of Cyprus. Dean Howson, while
rejecting this explanation, remarks: ―We cannot believe it
accidental that the words 'who is also called Paul,' occur at this
particular point of the inspired narrative. The heathen name
rises to the surface at the moment when St. Paul visibly enters
on his office as the apostle of the heathen. The Roman name is
stereotyped at the moment when he converts the Roman
governor.‖
A servant ( ο λος)
Lit., bond-servant or slave. Paul applies the term to himself, Gal
1:10; Php 1:1; Tit 1:1; and frequently to express the relation of
believers to Christ. The word involves the ideas of belonging to
a master, and of service as a slave. The former is emphasized in
Paul's use of the term, since Christian service, in his view, has
no element of servility, but is the expression of love and of free
choice. From this stand-point the idea of service coheres with
those of freedom and of sonship. Compare 1Co 7:22; Gal 4:7;
Eph 6:6; Phm 1:16.
On the other hand, believers belong to Christ by purchase (1Co
6:20; 1Pe 1:18; Eph 1:7), and own Him as absolute Master. It
is a question whether the word contains any reference to official
position. In favor of this it may be said that when employed in
connection with the names of individuals, it is always applied to
those who have some special work as teachers or ministers, and
that most of such instances occur in the opening salutations of
the apostolic letters. The meaning, in any case, must not be
limited to the official sense.
Called to be an apostle ( λ ς ολος)
As the previous phrase describes generally Paul's relation to
Christ, this expression indicates it specifically. ―Called to be an
apostle‖ (A.V. and Rev.), signifies called to the office of an
apostle. Yet, as Dr. Morison observes, there is an ambiguity in
the rendering, since he who is simply called to be an apostle
may have his apostleship as yet only in the future. The Greek
indicates that the writer was actually in the apostolate - a called
apostle. Godet, ―an apostle by way of call.‖
Romans 1:1
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Separated unto the gospel of God ( ος ς λ ο
ο )
Characterizing the preceding phrase more precisely: definitely
separated from the rest of mankind. Compare Gal 1:15, and
―chosen vessel,‖ Act 9:15. The verb means ―to mark off ( )
from others by a boundary ( πξς).‖ It is used of the final
separation of the righteous from the wicked (Mat 13:49; Mat
25:32); of the separation of the disciples from the world (Luk
6:22); and of the setting apart of apostles to special functions
(Act 13:2). Gospel is an exception to the almost invariable
usage, in being without the article (compare Rev 14:6); since
Paul considers the Gospel rather as to its quality - good news
from God - than as the definite proclamation of Jesus Christ as a
Savior. The defining elements are added subsequently in Rom
1:3, Rom 1:4. Not the preaching of the Gospel, but; the
message itself is meant. For Gospel, see on superscription of
Matthew.
Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ - To this introduction the
conclusion answers, Rom 15:15, &c. Called to be an apostle -
And made an apostle by that calling. While God calls, he makes
what he calls. As the Judaizing teachers disputed his claim to
the apostolical office, it is with great propriety that he asserts it
in the very entrance of an epistle wherein their principles are
entirely overthrown. And various other proper and important
thoughts are suggested in this short introduction; particularly
the prophecies concerning the gospel, the descent of Jesus from
David, the great doctrines of his Godhead and resurrection, the
sending the gospel to the gentiles, the privileges of Christians,
and the obedience and holiness to which they were obliged in
virtue of their profession. Separated - By God, not only from the
bulk of other men, from other Jews, from other disciples, but
even from other Christian teachers, to be a peculiar instrument
of God in spreading the gospel.
Rom 1:1
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle. In
Romans 1:1
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his salutations to the Philippians and to Titus also St. Paul calls
himself δουλος (i.e. "bondservant") of Jesus Christ; but usually
only απ ολος, or, as here, λ ος απ ολος, which is rightly
translated in the Authorized Version, "called to be an apostle,"
Divine vocation to the office being the prominent idea. St. Paul
often elsewhere insists on the reality of his vocation from Christ
himself to be an apostle to the Gentiles; and this with regard to
disparagement of his claim to be a true apostle at all on the part
of some (cf. 1Co 9:1; 2Co 11:5; 2Co 12:12; Gal 1:1, Gal 1:12;
Gal 2:8). It does not follow from his thus asserting his claim
here and afterwards in this Epistle that he was aware of any
disparagement of it at that time among the Roman Christians;
still less that he wrote his Epistle with a polemical purpose
against the Judaizers, as some have supposed. Still, he may
have suspected that some might possibly have been busy there,
as they were in other places; and, however that might be,
writing as he was to a Church not founded by, and as yet
unvisited by, himself, he might think distinct assertions of his
claim to be heard desirable. Separated (or, set apart) unto the
gospel of God; i.e. to the preaching of the gospel, not the
reception of it only, as is evident from the context. The word
α ος here, as well as the previous λ ος, is best
taken, in pursuance of the line of thought, as referring to the
Divine counsels, not to the agency of the Church. It is true that
the word is elsewhere used with the latter reference, as in Act
13:2, Α ο α δ ο α α α ο , Σαυλο ς ο
γο ο ππ ο λ α αυ ο ς, where the α ο ος spoken of
was subsequent to the Divine λ ς, and effected by human
laying on of hands. But we have also St. Paul‘s own words (Gal
1:15), Ο ος ο α ας ο λ ας ς ου α αλ ας
δ α ς ος αυ ου, where the α ο ος is that of God‘s
eternal purpose, and previous to the λ ς (cf. Act 9:15 and
Act 26:16, Act 26:17).Romans 1:1
To the Romans ( maious). This is the title in Aleph A B C,
our oldest Greek MSS. for the Epistle. We do not know whether
Paul gave any title at all. Later MSS. add other words up to the
Textus Receptus: The Epistle of Paul to the Romans. The Epistle
is put first in the MSS. because it is the most important of Paul‘s
Romans 1:1
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Epistles.
Paul (Paulos). Roman name (Paulus). See note on Act 13:9 for
the origin of this name by the side of Saul.
Servant (doulos). Bond-slave of Jesus Christ (or Christ Jesus as
some MSS. give it and as is the rule in the later Epistles) for the
first time in the Epistles in the opening sentence, though the
phrase already in Gal 1:10. Recurs in Php 1:1 and desmios
(bondsman) in Phm 1:1.
Called to be an apostle ( tos apostolos). An apostle by vocation
(Denney) as in 1Co 1:1. In Gal 1:1 tos is not used, but the
rest of the verse has the same idea.
Separated ( rismenos). Perfect passive participle of for
which verb see note on Gal 1:15. Paul is a spiritual Pharisee
(etymologically), separated not to the oral tradition, but to
God‘s gospel, a chosen vessel (Act 9:15). By man also (Act
13:2). Many of Paul‘s characteristic words like euaggelion have
been already discussed in the previous Epistles that will call for
little comment from now on.
Romans 1:1
I. The fact that a man like Paul, brought up as he was with such
a brain and such a heart, turned the wrong way at first, should
be capable of burning with such enthusiasm for a man of whose
history he knew very little that was real or true until he saw Him
in heavenly glory, that after that he should live to be the
rejoicing slave of Jesus Christ,—is it a wonder that such a fact
should weigh with me ten times more than the denial of the
highest intellect of this world who gives me, by the very terms
that he uses, the conviction that he knows nothing about what I
believe? He talks as if he did, but he knows nothing about it. St.
Paul knew the Lord Christ; and therefore, heart and soul, mind,
body, and brain, he belonged to Jesus Christ, even as His born
slave.
II. Let us try to understand what is meant by a slavery which is
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a liberty. There is no liberty but in doing right. There is no
freedom but in living out of the deeps of our nature—not out of
the surface. We are the born slaves of Christ. But then, He is
liberty Himself, and all His desire is that we should be such
noble, true, right creatures that we never can possibly do or
think a thing that shall bind even a thread round our spirits and
make us feel as if we were tied anywhere. He wants us to be
free—not as the winds, not to be free as the man who owns no
law, but to be free by being law, by being right, by being truth.
St. Paul spent his whole life, all his thoughts, all his energies,
simply to obey his Lord and Master, and so he was the one free
man—not the only free man: there were some more amongst
the apostles; and by his preaching here and there, there started
up free men, or, at least, men who were beginning to grow free
by beginning to be the slaves of Christ.
G. Macdonald, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvi., p. 108.
References: Rom 1:1.—G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p.
254; Clergyman’s Magazine, vol. i., p. 75; H. E. Lewis,
Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxi., p. 220. Rom 1:1-4.—A. M.
Fairbairn, The City of God, p. 215. Rom 1:1-7.—Ibid., pp. 41-
9; Expositor, 1st series, vol. ix., p. 105; vol. xi., pp. 309,
458; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. vi., p. 108; J. Vaughan,
Sermons, 6th series, p. 37; W. B. Pope, Sermons, p. 175; W.
J. Knox-Little, The Mystery of the Passion, p. 123. Rom
1:2.—Fletcher, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 1. Rom
1:2-5.—Preacher’s Monthly, vol. ii., p. 253. Rom 1:3, Rom
1:4.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. x., p. 149.
Romans 1:1
CRITICAL NOTES
Rom 1:1. Paul.—In Latin Paulus, and equals little. Chosen,
perhaps, for humility. Name of illustrious Roman family. Saul
among Jews. Afterwards Paul. Very common for Jews to accept
a second name of Greek origin bearing resemblance in sound.
So Σαῦλξς, Παῦλξς Servant.—Common word of slaves.
Bondmen, in contrast to freemen. Paul claims to be heard as
δξῦλξς, bondman of Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:1
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MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Rom 1:1
A glorious inscription.—It is not perhaps too much to say that
the most glorious time of the Church‘s history was the first
three hundred years of its existence. Much of the romance and
chivalry of Christianity disappeared when the fires of
persecution were extinguished, when the stake and the faggot
were displaced by the sceptre of authority, when riches instead
of poverty became the reward of the Christian profession and it
became the pathway to positions of worldly influence. Stirring
times were those, and in them appeared the mightiest of the
race. A bright galaxy of great men—great in intellect as well as
in spiritual power—flourished in the first days of the Christian
era. Those were the days of Peter, John, Paul, Barnabas,
Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenæus, and many others of whom the
world was not worthy,—men who were driven from earth and
found a home in heaven; who were dishonoured in their own
time and glorified in after time; whose writings, sayings,
histories, and characters have been both the study and the
admiration of the men of profoundest intellect and widest
erudition who have followed. Rising high above all these great
men, as King Saul, physically, above his fellows, as the
mountain peak above adjacent high-lying lands, is the great
apostle of the Gentiles. Paul was not great physically; but he
was better, being great both intellectually and spiritually. The
greatest merely human hero of Christianity, the noblest man of
all time, was ―Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an
apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.‖ Let us consider the
inscription and the description which he gives of his own claim
to speak with authority.
I. The human name is changeable, while the spiritual
relationship is abiding.—Many guesses are given as to the
reason why the name was changed in this instance. Dr.
Wordsworth assigns no less than eight reasons for the change of
―Saul‖ into ―Paul.‖ We need not here give them; and some are
rather fanciful. We cannot presume to decide where learned
men differ. Surely it is a matter of small importance. Authentic
history simply records the change of the name. In our days we
have had names changed. Some have cast off their surnames
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and have taken fresh ones in order to increase their worldly
goods, or to heighten their worldly position. What will become of
earthly names in the spirit world? Are our names left behind on
the tombstone where they are inscribed? Is it possible to have
distinguishing names amongst the multitude which no man can
number? Surely the individuality of the redeemed is not
dependent upon the denoting power of a name. The names of
Abraham and of Lazarus are mentioned in the parable of the
rich man. But this is necessary to the carrying out of the
parabolic picture. There must be in heaven many Abrahams,
and many Pauls, and many Peters, by this time. Perhaps the
human names will pass away like other things of earth. Names
change as time advances. Names die because the things or
persons denoted have passed into oblivion; but the spiritual
relationship is abiding. Greater and more permanent than the
name ―Paul‖ is the title ―servant of Jesus Christ.‖ A servant,—
yea, a slave of Jesus Christ. The bondman of Him who came to
give the highest freedom. A bondman whose price was not silver
or gold, but the precious blood of Christ. A bondman who wears
the easy yoke of love and carries the light burden of devoted
service. The slave of Jesus Christ is free and restful as the child
in a mother‘s arms. This slave will not take any discharge. He
serves on earth, and he serves as a king and a priest in heaven.
It is a spiritual relationship, firm and lasting as the throne of
God.
II. The human name separates, while the spiritual title
unites.—Human names separate. They are given for this very
purpose. The human name Paul not only denotes a certain
physical form, a small stature, sparkling eyes, and aquiline
nose, with Jewish and Grecian type of features; but to us it also
connotes certain mental and moral features. It makes us think
of a different man from St. Peter or St. John. The name Paul so
sets off and separates the apostle of the Gentiles that if any
other Paul is mentioned there must be appended some other
name. Our earth names are separating attributes, while the title
―a servant of Jesus Christ‖ is a uniting term. ―A servant of Jesus
Christ‖—and thus a brother to all the Lord‘s followers. We may
not be great either socially or intellectually, but we march in the
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same noble company with St. Paul and the other great ones of
time, for we are all servants of Jesus Christ. One touch of nature
makes the whole world kin. There is a sweet touch of spiritual
nature which makes the whole family of Christ one. How
beautifully and yet how incidentally St. Paul refers to the uniting
force! He seems to say, I speak not merely as Paul, but as your
brother, your fellow-servant to Jesus Christ.
III. The human name is an outward mark, while the
divine call sets an inward seal.—The name brings before us
the mental and moral characteristics of the man simply by
reason of the working of the law of association. The name does
not make the manhood. It is the manhood which makes the
name. In itself the name Milton is a mere outward sign and
mark. It has no creative force, and does not work inwardly. It is
by what it suggests that we think of Milton the blind poet, and
are led to wonder at the sublimity of his imagination. The name
is an outward mark, while the divine call sets an inward seal.
This call is: 1. Discriminating. God had need of Paul, of his
learning and his wisdom, and He called him into His service. 2.
Changing. Saul and Paul are the same, and yet so changed by
the divine call as to be different. Saul the persecutor had the
same intellect as Paul the writer of this epistle, and yet so
changed that Paul rises above Saul by infinite degrees. God‘s
spiritual changes amount to new creations. 3. Elevating. It was
an upward movement when Saul was called to be an apostle.
Elevation of the moral nature is the enlargement and
improvement of the mental nature. We are told that the great
artist must be pure in nature and in aim. Only the good man can
be the truly successful orator. Saul would have taken a good
place amongst his fellows, but he would never have risen to the
heights of Paul. We cannot be apostles, but by God‘s help we
can be good, and thus in our measure great.
IV. A noble life-purpose alone immortalises a human
name.—The men of one idea are the rulers of the race. Paul
was a man of one idea. It was—For the gospel of God. He
believed it with all his heart as the good news from heaven. He
was separated to it as good news for his own soul—good news
for a fallen race. In these days some speak of the gospel as an
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old-fashioned word, but such words are the most influential. The
old gospel is ever new. Paul would have gloried in the gospel
had he lived to the end of time, and would have laboured more
abundantly than all for its spread. His noble purpose, resolutely
followed, has written his name in undying characters on the
annals of time. Being the lover of Christ and His gospel, he
became the true lover of his fellows,—Paul the greatest
philanthropist of all men. Our names may die, but our noble
purposes, resolutely achieved, cannot die. The record is in
heaven. We shall be known by our purposes and by our efforts
to give them fulfilment. Let us seek the immortality of
goodness. Let us pray for God‘s grace to separate us to His
gospel.
SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON Rom 1:1
The meaning of ―apostle.‖—The name ―apostle,‖ which properly
means a person sent, is sometimes applied in Scripture
generally to any of those messengers who were sent by the
Almighty to declare His will. Hence our blessed Saviour is called
the ―Apostle and High Priest of our profession.‖ But in its most
common use in the New Testament it is limited to the twelve
who were chosen by our Lord to be the witnesses of His life,
and, after His ascension into heaven, to publish His religion to
the world. St. Paul was not indeed of this number, but he was
invested with the full authority belonging to the apostolical
office, being called by the special nomination of Christ to be an
apostle. This remark he introduces to show how completely he
was distinguished from the Judaising teachers who were not
called to the office which they had undertaken, but assumed it
of themselves, and without any authority. He was also
separated unto the gospel of God, chosen from among the rest
of mankind, and devoted to the service of the gospel, that he
might spread the knowledge of it in the world.—D. Ritchie, D.D.
Called to be an apostle.—Let the disciples of Christ remember
that they are all His servants; and, what department soever of
that service they are called to fill, whether more public or more
private, let them cherish the same spirit with Paul, counting it
their honour, and feeling it their pleasure, to serve such a
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Master. The more highly we think of the Master whom we serve
(and in the present instance the more highly the more justly,
the glorious reality ever remaining far above all our loftiest
conceptions of it), the more honourable shall we deem His
service; and the deeper our sense of obligation for His kindness
and grace, the more ardent will be our delight in the doing of
His will, and the more active and unremitting our zeal in the
advancement of His glory. But Paul served Christ in a special
capacity. He subjoins to his general designation his more
appropriate one: ―called to be an apostle, separated unto the
gospel of God.‖ The office of an apostle was the highest among
the offices of the Christian Church. In every enumeration of
them this stands first: ―When He ascended up on high, He led
captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And He gave some,
apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and
some, pastors and teachers‖ (Eph 4:8; Eph 4:11). And His thus
―giving‖ them implies His bestowing upon them whatever
qualifications were necessary for the due discharge of their
respective functions. This the connection intimates. ―Unto every
one of us,‖ the apostle had just said, ―is given grace, according
to the measure of the gift of Christ.‖ He, by the endowments,
ordinary and extraordinary, of the Holy Spirit, fitted each class
of these spiritual functionaries for the execution of their
respective trusts. In a larger enumeration, given elsewhere,
apostles still hold the first place: ―God hath set some in the
Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments,
diversities of tongues‖ (1Co 12:28).—Wardlaw.
Paul.—A little man, it should seem by his name, such as was
James the Less: but as the Church of Philadelphia, though she
had but a little strength, yet had a great door set open; and as
Bethlehem was the least, and yet not the least, among the
princes of Judah; so was this apostle the last (and perhaps the
least in stature), as one born out of due time. But God (who
loves to be maximus in minimus) had designed him to great
services, and gifted him accordingly, so that he was no whit
behind the very chiefest of the apostles; and for painstaking he
laboured more abundantly than they all. Hence Chrysostom
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calleth him insatiabilem Dei cultorem, an insatiable servant of
Christ. And himself seems as insatiable an encomiast of this
apostle (the apostle he commonly nameth him ―by an
excellency‖), for he hath written eight homilies in his
commendation. And if any think he hath said too much, it is
because either they have not read him or cannot judge of his
worth. Qui tricubitalis cœlos transcendit (as the same Father
saith): little though he were, yet he got above the heavens.
―A servant of Jesus Christ.‖—This is a higher title than monarch
of the world, as Numa, second king of Rome, could say.
Constantinus, Valentinus, and Theodosius, three emperors,
called themselves Vasallos Christi, the vassals of Christ, as
Socrates reporteth.—Trapp.
Change of names.—It was common among the Jews and other
Oriental nations to change the names of individuals on the
occurrence of any remarkable event in their lives, as in the case
of Abraham and Jacob. This was especially the case when the
individual was advanced to some new office or dignity. Hence a
new name is sometimes equivalent to a new dignity. As Paul
seems to have received this name shortly after he entered on
his duties as an apostle, it is often supposed, and not
improbably, that it was on account of this call that his name was
changed. Thus, Simon, when chosen to be an apostle, was
called Cephas or Peter. Since, however, it was very common for
those Jews who associated much with foreigners to have two
names, one Jewish and the other Greek or Roman (sometimes
entirely distinct, as Hillel and Pollio; sometimes nearly related,
as Silas and Silvanus), it is perhaps more probable that the
apostle was called Saul among the Jews and Paul among the
heathen. As he was the apostle of the Gentiles, and all his
epistles, except that to the Hebrews, were addressed to
Churches founded among the heathen, it is not wonderful that
he constantly called himself Paul instead of Saul.—Hodge.
Slave.—The original word, δξῦλξς, properly signifies a slave.
Here it is a name of honour. For, in the East, the chief ministers
of kings were called δξῦλξι, slaves. In this sense Moses is called
δξύλξσ Θεξῦ, the slave or servant of God. This honourable name,
Romans 1:1
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therefore, denotes the high authority which Paul possessed in
the kingdom of Christ as one of His chief ministers.
Romans 1:1
Paul. See Gen. Introd., § 1, and Acts throughout.
A servant of Jesus Christ. The word ‗servant‘ here means
‗bondman,‘ expressing the fact that Paul personally belonged to
Jesus Christ, rather than the idea of service in His behalf.
Another word conveys the latter sense. Any unpleasant thought
connected with the former idea is removed by the character of
the Master, Jesus Christ. This term of humility and dependence
is the most honorable of all titles.
Called to be an Apostle. Here he simply asserts the fact of his
apostolic dignity and authority; in writing to the Galatians, he
was forced to defend his apostleship (comp. the enlarged
description of the word in Gal 1:1). He received the call on the
way to Damascus (Act 9:15; Act 26:17); his call coincided with
his conversion; it was confirmed in the temple at Jerusalem (Act
9:28; Act 22:17-21). His setting apart at Antioch (Act 13:2-3)
was not the call, but a formal recognition of the call on the part
of the Church there, and for a special mission. The title is an
official one, and while it might at first refer to any messenger, in
the early Church it was soon restricted to the Twelve and to
Paul, as chosen witnesses of the resurrection, selected to lay the
foundation of the Christian Church. Paul was not one of the
Twelve, but represented the independent apostolate of the
Gentiles (Gal 2:9). As preachers and missionaries the Apostles
must have successors, but as inspired and authoritative
witnesses for Christ, called directly by him for the whole world,
they have none.
Set apart. This explains the apostleship. Paul was selected from
the world, singled out, consecrated to, and destined for the
gospel service. In one sense this took place at is birth (comp.
Gal 1:15, where the same word occurs); but the reference here
is probably to the call to be an Apostle, especially as the tense
used is not the same as in Galatians, but points to a past act
with a continuous result.
Romans 1:1
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Unto the gospel of God. This was that for which he was set
apart. The gospel is ‗of God,‘ having Him as its author; it is
about Christ (Rom 1:3-4).
Romans 1:1
Address and Greeting
The Apostle conforms to the usage of his time, beginning his
letters with his own name, followed by a designation of the
persons addressed, to which a greeting is added. But he usually
describes himself as related to Jesus Christ, indicates the
character of those he addresses, and gives a distinctively
Christian salutation. The most usual designation of himself is ‗an
Apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God‘ (so 2 Cor., Eph.,
Col., 2 Tim.); in 1 and 2 Thess. no designation is added;
‗prisoner,‘ ‗servant,‘ etc., occur in other Epistles. But here and in
Galatians the description is more full, in view of the thoughts
which are to follow. (Compare also the full designation in Tit
1:1-3.) He begins the address here, by describing himself as ‗a
servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle;‘ he then
particularizes his relation to the gospel (Rom 1:1); but
designing to treat quite fully of evangelical truth, he enlarges
upon these relations, introducing: (1) the connection of the
gospel with the Old Testament, Rom 1:2; (2) the divine-human
Person of Christ, who is the subject of this gospel, Rom 1:3-4;
(3) his call to the apostleship of the Gentiles (Rom 1:5), which
gives him the right to address the Roman Christians, Rom 1:6.
Then follows the usual apostolic greeting, Rom 1:7. The fulness
of this address shows the importance which the Apostle
attached to the fundamental thoughts of this Epistle, since they
suggest themselves at the very outset, and are interwoven with
what would ordinarily be merely the conventional beginning of a
letter.
The greeting found in Rom 1:7 occurs in this form (with trifling
variations) in most of Paul‘s letters. It is partly Greek, partly
Hebrew, in its origin, but wholly Christian in its sense. (On the
words ―grace‖ and ―peace,‖ see Rom 1:7.) The Pastoral Epistles
(with the exception of Titus, according to the correct text)
Romans 1:1
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contain the form, ―grace, mercy, and peace,‖ the word ―mercy‖
being probably derived from the Greek version of the priestly
benediction, Num 6:25. The Apostle Peter in his Epistles, and
the Apostle John in the Apocalypse, join together ―grace and
peace‖ in their greetings, while in Jud 1:2 we find ― mercy,
peace, and love.‖
The whole section shows Paul to be a model for the Christian
minister, in his humility and dignity, in the sense of dependence
on the personal Lord Jesus Christ which underlies his
authoritative utterances, as well as in his devotion to this great
personal theme of the gospel which he so earnestly desires to
preach everywhere.
Romans 1:1
Introduction.
Paul — (See on Act 13:9).
a servant of Jesus Christ — The word here rendered ―servant‖
means ―bond-servant,‖ or one subject to the will and wholly at
the disposal of another. In this sense it is applied to the
disciples of Christ at large (1Co 7:21-23), as in the Old
Testament to all the people of God (Isa 66:14). But as, in
addition to this, the prophets and kings of Israel were officially
―the servants of the Lord‖ (Jos 1:1; Psa 18:1, title), the apostles
call themselves, in the same official sense, ―the servants of
Christ‖ (as here, and Php 1:1; Jas 1:1; 2Pe 1:1; Jud 1:1),
expressing such absolute subjection and devotion to the Lord
Jesus as they would never have yielded to a mere creature.
(See on Rom 1:7; see on Joh 5:22, Joh 5:23).
called to be an apostle — when first he ―saw the Lord‖; the
indispensable qualification for apostleship. (See on Act 9:5; see
on Act 22:14; see on 1Co 9:1).
separated unto the — preaching of the
gospel — neither so late as when ―the Holy Ghost said,
Separate me Barnabas and Saul‖ (Act 13:2), nor so early as
when ―separated from his mother‘s womb‖ (see on Gal 1:15).
He was called at one and the same time to the faith and the
Romans 1:1
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apostleship of Christ (Act 26:16-18).
of God — that is, the Gospel of which God is the glorious
Author. (So Rom 15:16; 1Th 2:2, 1Th 2:8, 1Th 2:9; 1Pe 4:17).
Paul. Instead of subscribing a name at the end of a letter, the
custom was to introduce it at the beginning. See other Epistles
of Paul; also Act 23:26. For a sketch of Paul, see Introduction;
also see notes in Vol. I. on Act 13:9.
Called to be an apostle. "To be" is not in the original. Paul
simply states that he is "a called apostle," not one appointed by
men, but called by Jesus Christ. He was called when he "saw the
Lord," an essential to apostleship. See notes 1Co 9:1; also Act
26:16. His setting apart at Antioch (Act 13:2) was not this call,
but it came direct from Jesus Christ. As some Judaizing teachers
tried to destroy his apostolic authority, he found it necessary on
several occasions to show that his commission was directly from
the Lord.
Separated. Set apart to the work of the gospel. Christ set him
apart, and his whole life was consecrated to his divine glory.
Romans 1 - The Human Race Guilty Before God
A. The importance and impact of Paul’s Letter to the
Romans.
1. The impact of Romans on Augustine.
a. In the summer of 386, a young man wept in the backyard
of a friend. He knew his life of sin and rebellion against God
left him empty and feeling dead; but he just couldn‘t find the
strength to make a final, real decision for Jesus Christ. As he
sat, he heard children playing a game and they called out to
each other these words: ―Take up and read! Take up and
read!‖
b. Thinking God had a message to him in the words of the
children, he picked up a scroll laying nearby and began to
read: not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery
and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on
Romans 1:1
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the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to
gratify its desires (Rom 13:13 b-14). He didn‘t read any
further; he didn‘t have to. Through the power of God‘s Word,
Augustine gained the faith to give his whole life to Jesus
Christ at that moment.
2. The impact of Romans on Martin Luther.
a. In August of 1513, a monk lectured on the Book of Psalms
to seminary students, but his inner life was nothing but
turmoil. In his studies he came across Psa 31:1 : In Thy
righteousness deliver me. The passage confused Luther; how
could God‘s righteousness do anything but condemn him to
hell as a righteous punishment for his sins? Luther kept
thinking about Rom 1:17, which says, the righteousness of
God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ―He
who through faith is righteous shall live.‖
b. Luther the monk went on to say: ―Night and day I
pondered until... I grasped the truth that the righteousness
of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and
sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Therefore I felt myself
to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into
paradise... This passage of Paul became to me a gateway
into heaven.‖ Martin Luther was born again, and the
Reformation began in his heart.
3. The impact of Romans on John Wesley.
a. In May of 1738, a failed minister and missionary
reluctantly went to a small Bible study where someone read
aloud from Martin Luther‘s Commentary on Romans.
b. As Wesley, the failed missionary, said later: ―While he was
describing the change which God works in the heart through
faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did
trust in Christ, Christ alone, for my salvation, and an
assurance was given me that he had taken my sins away,
even mine.‖ John Wesley was saved that night in London.
4. Consider the testimony of these men regarding Romans:
a. Martin Luther praised Romans: ―It is the chief part of the
Romans 1:1
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New Testament and the perfect gospel... the absolute
epitome of the gospel.‖
b. Luther‘s successor Philip Melancthon called Romans, ―The
compendium of Christian doctrine.‖
c. John Calvin said of the Book of Romans, ―When anyone
understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to
the understanding of the whole Scripture.‖
d. Samuel Coleridge, English poet and literary critic said
Paul‘s letter to the Romans is ―The most profound work in
existence.‖
e. Frederick Godet, 19th Century Swiss theologian called the
Book of Romans ―The cathedral of the Christian faith.‖
f. G. Campbell Morgan said Romans was ―the most
pessimistic page of literature upon which your eyes ever
rested‖ and at the same time, ―the most optimistic poem to
which your ears ever listened.‖
g. Richard Lenski wrote that the Book of Romans is ―beyond
question the most dynamic of all New Testament letters even
as it was written at the climax of Paul‘s apostolic career.‖
5. We should also remember the Apostle Peter’s words about
Paul’s letters: Also our beloved brother Paul, according to the
wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his
epistles... in which are some things hard to understand (2Pe
3:15-16).
a. The Book of Romans has life changing truth but it must be
approached with effort and determination to understand what
the Holy Spirit said through the Apostle Paul.
B. Introduction.
(1) Paul introduces himself to the Roman Christians.
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an
apostle, separated to the gospel of God
a. Paul: The life and ministry of the Apostle Paul (also known
as Saul of Tarsus) is well documented in Acts chapters 8
Romans 1:1
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through 28, as well as Galatians 1, 2, and 2 Corinthians 11,
12.
i. It is almost universally agreed that Paul wrote Romans
from the city of Corinth as he wintered there on his third
missionary journey as described in Act 20:2-3. This is
based on Rom 16:1; Rom 16:23 along with 1Co 1:14. A
variety of commentators pick the date of writing anywhere
from 53 to 58 A.D.
ii. When Paul wrote the Book of Romans, he had been a
Christian preacher for some 20 years. On his way to
Jerusalem, he had three months in Corinth without any
pressing duties. He perhaps thought this was a good time
to write ahead to the Christians in Rome, a church he
planned to visit after the trip to Jerusalem.
iii. As Paul endeavored to go to Rome, the Holy Spirit
warned him about the peril awaiting him in Jerusalem (Act
21:10-14). What if he were unable to make it to Rome?
Then he must write them a letter so comprehensive that
the Christians in Rome had the gospel Paul preached,
even if Paul himself were not able to visit them.
iv. Because of all this, Romans is different than many of
the other letters Paul wrote churches. Other New
Testament letters focus more on the church and its
challenges and problems. The Letter to the Romans
focuses more on God and His great plan of redemption.
v. We know the Letter to the Romans was prized by the
Christians in Rome; Clement of Rome‘s letter in 96 A.D.
shows great familiarity with Paul‘s letter. It may be that
he memorized it and that the reading of it became a part
of virtually every meeting of the Roman church. As well,
many scholars (Bruce and Barclay among them) believe
that an edited version of Romans - without the personal
references in Romans 16 - was distributed widely among
early churches as a summary of apostolic doctrine.
b. A bondservant... an apostle: Paul‘s self-identification is
important. He is first a servant of Jesus Christ, and
Romans 1:1
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secondcalled to be an apostle.
i. There were several ancient Greek words used to
designate a slave, but the idea behind the word for
servant (doulos) is ―complete and utter devotion, not the
abjectness which was the normal condition of the slave.‖
(Morris)
ii. ―A servant of Jesus Christ, is a higher title than
monarch of the world.‖ (Poole)
c. Separated to the gospel of God: The idea of being an
apostle is that you are a special ambassador or messenger.
Paul‘s message is the gospel (good news) of God. It is the
gospel of God in the sense that it belongs to God in heaven.
This isn‘t a gospel Paul made up; he simply is a messenger of
God‘s gospel.
i. Separated unto the gospel: ―St. Paul may here refer
to his former state as a Pharisee, which literally signifies a
separatist, or one separated. Before he was separated
unto the service of his own sect; now he is separated unto
the Gospel of God.‖ (Clarke)
ii. ―Some think he alludes to the name of Pharisee, which
is from separating: when he was a Pharisee, he was
separated to the law of God; and now, being a Christian,
he was separated to the gospel of God.‖ (Poole)
d. The gospel of God: Other New Testament letters focus
more on the church and its challenges and problems;
Romans focuses more on God. ―God is the most important
word in this epistle. Romans is a book about God. No topic is
treated with anything like the frequency of God. Everything
Paul touches in this letter he relates to God. In our concern
to understand what the apostle is saying about
righteousness, justification, and the like we ought not to
overlook his tremendous concentration on God.‖ (Morris)
i. The word ―God‖ occurs 153 times in Romans; an
average of once every 46 words - this is more frequently
than any other New Testament book. In comparison, note
Romans 1:1
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the frequency of other words used in Romans: law (72),
Christ (65), sin (48), Lord (43), and faith (40). Romans
deals with many different themes but as much as a book
can be, it is a book about God.
ii. There are many important words in the vocabulary of Romans
we must understand. Bruce quotes Tyndale‘s preface to
Romans: ―First we must mark diligently the manner of speaking
of the apostle, and above all things know what Paul meaneth by
these words - the Law, Sin, Grace, Faith, Righteousness, Flesh,
Spirit, and such like - or else, read thou it ever so often, thou
shall but lose thy labor.‖Romans 1:1
Called to be an apostle, or a called apostle. That is, not only
having the name of an apostle, but having a his call to this high
function, and his mission from God. --- Separated unto the
gospel of God. He means that he was separated from others,
and appointed by the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel, as we
read Act 13:2 when the Holy Ghost to those of the Church at
Antioch, said, Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work
unto which I have taken them. (Witham)
In this paragraph we have,
I. The person who writes the epistle described (Rom 1:1): Paul,
a servant of Jesus Christ; this is his title of honour, which he
glories in, not as the Jewish teachers, Rabbi, Rabbi; but a
servant, a more immediate attendant, a steward in the house.
Called to be an apostle. Some think he alludes to his old name
Saul, which signifies one called for, or enquired after: Christ
sought him to make an apostle of him, Act 9:15. He here builds
his authority upon his call; he did not run without sending, as
the false apostles did; tos apostolos - called an apostle, as if this
were the name he would be called by, though he acknowledged
himself not meet to be called so, 1Co 15:9. Separated to the
gospel of God. The Pharisees had their name from separation,
because they separated themselves to the study of the law, and
might be called rismenoi eis ton nomon; such a one Paul had
Romans 1:1
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formerly been; but now he had changed his studies, was
rismenos eis to Euangelion, a gospel Pharisee, separated by the
counsel of God (Gal 1:15), separated from his mother's womb,
by an immediate direction of the Spirit, and a regular ordination
according to that direction (Act 13:2, Act 13:3), by a dedication
of himself to this work. He was an entire devotee to the gospel
of God, the gospel which has God for its author, the origin and
extraction of it divine and heavenly.
Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ - The word δξσλξς, which we
translate servant, properly means a slave, one who is the entire
property of his master; and is used here by the apostle with
great propriety. He felt he was not his own, and that his life and
powers belonged to his heavenly owner, and that he had no
right to dispose of or employ them but in the strictest
subserviency to the will of his Lord. In this sense, and in this
spirit, he is the willing slave of Jesus Christ; and this is,
perhaps, the highest character which any soul of man can attain
on this side eternity. ―I am wholly the Lord‘s; and wholly
devoted in the spirit of sacrificial obedience, to the constant,
complete, and energetic performance of the Divine will.‖ A
friend of God is high; a son of God is higher; but the servant,
or, in the above sense, the slave of God, is higher than all; - in
a word, he is a person who feels he has no property in himself,
and that God is all and in all.
Called to be an apostle - The word α ξρςξλξς, apostle, from
α ξρςελλειν, to send, signifies simply a messenger or envoy; one
sent on a confidential errand: but here it means an
extraordinary messenger; one sent by God himself to deliver
the most important message on behalf of his Maker; - in a word,
one sent by the Divine authority to preach the Gospel to the
nations. The word κληςξς, called, signifies here the same as
constituted, and should be joined with α ξρςξλξς, as it is in the
Greek, and translated thus: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
constituted an apostle, etc. This sense the word called has in
many places of the sacred writings; e. g. Behold what manner
of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be
Romans 1:1
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called, κληοτμεν, Constituted, or made the sons of God. As it is
likely that no apostle had been employed in founding the Church
of Rome, and there was need of much authority to settle the
matters that were there in dispute, it was necessary he should
show them that he derived his authority from God, and was
immediately delegated by him to preach and write as he was
now doing.
Separated unto the Gospel - Set apart and appointed to this
work, and to this only; as the Israelites were separate from all
the people of the earth, to be the servants of God: see Lev
20:26. St. Paul may here refer to his former state as a Pharisee,
which literally signifies a separatist, or one separated. Before he
was separated unto the service of his own sect; now he is
separated unto the Gospel of God. On the word Gospel, and its
meaning, see the preface to the notes on St. Matthew; and for
the meaning of the word Pharisee, see the same Gospel, Mat
3:7 (note).
Romans 1:1
Paul, (1) a (2) (a) servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an (b)
apostle, (c) separated unto the gospel of God,
(1) The first part of the epistle contains a most profitable
preface down to verse six. (2) Paul, exhorting the Romans to
give diligent heed to him, in that he shows that he comes not in
his own name, but as God's messenger to the Gentiles, entreats
them with the weightiest matter that exists, promised long ago
by God, by many good witnesses, and now at length indeed
performed.
(a) Minister, for this word "servant" is not taken in this place as
set against the word "freeman", but rather refers to and
declares his ministry and office.
(b) Whereas he said before in a general term that he was a
minister, now he comes to a more special name, and says that
he is an apostle, and that he did not take this office upon
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himself by his own doing, but that he was called by God, and
therefore in this letter of his to the Romans he is doing nothing
but his duty.
(c) Appointed by God to preach the gospel.
Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,.... The name of the author of
this epistle is Paul, who formerly was called Saul. Some think
his name was changed upon his own conversion; others, upon
the conversion of the Roman deputy Sergius Paulus, Act 13:7;
others, that he was so called from the littleness of his stature;
but rather it should seem that he had two names, which was
usual with the Jews; one by which they went among the
Gentiles, and another by they were called in their own land; See
Gill on Act 13:9. "A servant of Jesus Christ"; not a servant of
sin, nor of Satan, nor of man, nor of Moses and his law, nor of
the traditions of the elders, but of Jesus Christ; and not by
creation only, but by redemption, and by powerful efficacious
grace in conversion; which is no ways contrary to true liberty;
nor a disgraceful, but a most honourable character; and which
chiefly regards him as a minister of the Gospel:
called to be an apostle: an apostle was one that was
immediately sent by Christ, and had his authority and doctrine
directly from him, and had a power of working miracles from
him, in confirmation of the truth of his mission, authority, and
doctrine; all which were to be found in the author of this epistle,
who did not thrust himself into this office, or take this honour to
himself, of which he always judged himself unworthy, but was
"called" to it according to the will, and by the grace of God:
separated unto the Gospel of God. This may regard either
God's eternal purpose concerning him, his preordination of him
from eternity to be a preacher of the Gospel, to which he was
separated from his mother's womb, Gal 1:15; or the separation
of him to that work made by the order of the Spirit of God, Act
13:2. The phrase used is either in allusion to the priests and
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Levites, who were separated from their brethren the children of
Israel, to their sacred employments; or rather to the apostle's
having been ‫פרוש‬, "a Pharisee", which signifies "one separated",
as he was now; only with this difference, before he was
separated to the law, but now "to the Gospel", to preach and
defend it, which he did with all faithfulness and integrity; the
excellency of which Gospel is signified by its being called "the
Gospel of God": he is the author of it; his grace is the subject of
it; and he it is who commits it to men, qualifies them for the
preaching of it, and succeeds them in it.
Romans 1:1
Paul - The original name of the author of this Epistle was
―Saul.‖ Act 7:58; Act 7:1; Act 8:1, etc. This was changed to
Paul (see the note at Act 13:9), and by this name he is
generally known in the New Testament. The reason why he
assumed this name is not certainly known. It was, however, in
accordance with the custom of the times; see the note at Act
13:9. The name Saul was Hebrew; the name Paul was Roman.
In addressing a letter to the Romans, he would naturally make
use of the name to which they were accustomed, and which
would excite no prejudice among them. The ancient custom was
to begin an epistle with the name of the writer, as Cicero to
Varro, etc. We record the name at the end. It may be remarked,
however, that the placing the name of the writer at the
beginning of an epistle was always done, and is still, when the
letter was one of authority, or when it conferred any special
privileges. Thus, in the proclamation of Cyrus Ezr 1:2, ―Thus
saith Cyrus, king of Persia,‖ etc.; see also Ezr 4:11; Ezr 7:12.
―Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest,‖ etc. Dan 4:1.
The commencement of a letter by an apostle to a Christian
church in this manner was especially proper as indicating
authority.
A servant - This name was what the Lord Jesus himself
directed His disciples to use, as their general appellation; Mat
10:25; Mat 20:27; Mar 10:44. And it was the customary name
which they assumed; Gal 1:10; Col 4:12; 2Pe 1:1; Jud 1:1; Act
4:29; Tit 1:1; Jas 1:1. The proper meaning of this word servant,
Romans 1:1
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δξῦλξς doulos, is slave, one who is not free. It expresses the
condition of one who has a master, or who is at the control of
another. It is often, however, applied to courtiers, or the officers
that serve under a king: because in an eastern monarchy the
relation of an absolute king to his courtiers corresponded nearly
to that of a master and a slave. Thus, the word is expressive of
dignity and honor; and the servants of a king denote officers of
a high rank and station. It is applied to the prophets as those
who were honored by God, or especially entrusted by him with
office; Deu 34:5; Jos 1:2; Jer 25:4. The name is also given to
the Messiah, Isa 42:1, ―Behold my servant in whom my soul
delighteth,‖ etc.; Isa 53:11, ―shall my righteous servant justify
many.‖ The apostle uses it here evidently to denote his
acknowledging Jesus Christ as his master; as indicating his
dignity, as especially appointed by him to his great work; and as
showing that in this Epistle he intended to assume no authority
of his own, but simply to declare the will of his master, and
theirs.
Called to be an apostle - This word called means here not
merely to be invited, but has the sense of appointed. It
indicates that he had not assumed the office himself, but that
he was set apart to it by the authority of Christ himself. It was
important for Paul to state this,
(1) Because the other apostles had been called or chosen to
this work Joh 15:16, Joh 15:19; Mat 10:1; Luk 6:13; and,
(2) Because Paul was not one of those originally appointed.
It was of consequence for him therefore, to affirm that he had
not taken this high office to himself, but that he had been called
to it by the authority of Jesus Christ. His appointment to this
office he not infrequently takes occasion to vindicate; 1Co 9:1,
etc.: Gal 1:12-24; 2Co 12:12; 1Ti 2:7; 2Ti 1:11; Rom 11:13.
An apostle - One sent to execute a commission. It is applied
because the apostles were sent out by Jesus Christ to preach his
gospel, and to establish his church; Mat 10:2 note; Luk 6:13
note.
Romans 1:1
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Separated - The word translated ―separated unto,‖ ξπ τ
, means to designate, to mark out by fixed limits, to
bound as a field, etc. It denotes those who are ―separated,‖ or
called out from the common mass; Act 19:9; 2Co 6:17. The
meaning here does not materially differ from the expression,
―called to be an apostle,‖ except that perhaps this includes the
notion of the purpose or designation of God to this work. Thus,
Paul uses the same word respecting himself; Gal 1:15, ―God,
who separated me from my mother‘s womb, and called me by
his grace,‖ that is, God designated me; marked me out; or
designed that I should be an apostle from my infancy. In the
same way Jeremiah was designated to be a prophet; Jer 1:5.
Unto the gospel of God - Designated or designed by God that
I should make it ―my business‖ to preach the gospel. Set apart
to this, as the special, great work of my life; as having no other
object for which I should live. For the meaning of the word
―gospel,‖ see the note at Mat 1:1. It is called the gospel of God
because it is his appointment; it has been originated by him,
and has his authority. The function of an apostle was to preach
the gospel Paul regarded himself as separated to this work. It
was not to live in splendor, wealth, and ease, but to devote
himself to this great business of proclaiming good news, that
God was reconciled to people in his Son. This is the sole
business of all ministers of ―religion.‖
Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ — Though once a bitter
persecutor; called to be an apostle — And made an apostle by
that calling. The Greek, κληςξς α ξρςξλξς, is literally, a called
apostle, or an apostle called, namely, expressly, as the other
apostles were. When God calls he makes what he calls. The
name apostle was sometimes given to different orders of men,
Rom 16:7, but in its highest sense it was appropriated to the
twelve, whom Christ appointed to be with him, Mar 3:14, and
whom, after his resurrection, he sent forth to preach the gospel.
As the Judaizing teachers disputed his claim to the apostolical
office, it is with great propriety that he asserts it in the very
entrance of an epistle wherein their principles are entirely
Romans 1:1
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overthrown. And various other proper and important thoughts
are suggested in this short introduction: particularly the
prophecies concerning the gospel; the descent of Jesus from
David; the great doctrines of his Godhead and resurrection; the
sending the gospel to the Gentiles; the privileges of Christians;
and the obedience and holiness to which they were obliged, in
virtue of their profession. Separated unto the gospel of God —
Namely, to preach and propagate it. Separated by God, not only
from the generality of other men, from other Jews, from other
disciples, but even from other Christian teachers, to be a
peculiar instrument of God in spreading the gospel. It is said,
Act 13:2, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work
whereunto I have called them. But, this being nothing but a
separation of Paul from the teachers at Antioch, to go and
preach to the Gentiles, the higher separation, mentioned Gal
1:15, is here intended. The gospel is here said to be God’s,
because it is good news from God, than which a greater
commendation of it cannot be conceived. Which he had
promised afore — Of old time, frequently and solemnly: and the
promise and accomplishment confirm each other. The promise
in the Scriptures, that the gospel should be preached to the
Gentiles, is taken notice of by the apostle, to convince the
unbelieving Jews that in preaching to the Gentiles he did not
contradict, but fulfil the ancient revelations.
Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.
Authentication and salutation
I. The apostle.
1. Paul was not the name by which he was always known,
but was assumed shortly after the commencement of his
mission to the Gentiles. The practice of assuming a Gentile,
in addition to the original Hebrew name, was then common,
and indicated a loosening of the bonds of religious
exclusiveness.
2. Servant of Jesus Christ. Not a hired servant (μ ροιξς
Romans 1:1
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μιροτπ ς), nor a voluntary attendant ( ηπ ςης), nor a
subordinate officer ( ηπ ςης), nor a ministering disciple
(δι κξνξς); but a slave (δξῦλξς). Yet the title is very far from
denoting anything humiliating. That, indeed, it must do if the
master were only human. Even though the slave should be
promoted as minister of state, the stigma of servitude was
not removed; for the despot might, at any moment, degrade
or destroy him. We may therefore rest assured that to no
mere man, however exalted, would St. Paul have willingly
subscribed himself a slave. But to be the bondmen of the
Lord Jesus Christ, whose property he was both by right of
creation and redemption; all of whose requirements were
known to be in absolute accordance with truth and
righteousness, and to all of which his own renewed heart
responded with most lively sympathy, was the truest liberty
and the highest dignity.
3. This dignity St. Paul participated in common with every
other disciple; but, unlike many others, he had been called to
the office of an apostle. Those thus called were constituted
―ambassadors for Christ,‖ being chosen, qualified, and
deputed by Him to transact business with their fellow men in
respect to His kingdom. The twelve had been chosen by the
Master during the days of His flesh, and had companied with
Him during His earthly ministry (Act 1:21). St. Paul had not
enjoyed this advantage. Nevertheless, he, too, was an
apostle by Divine call (Gal 1:1). True, he was confessedly,
because of the lateness of his call, ―as one born out of due
time‖ (1Co 15:8); but his call was not the less real or
effectual. And in all that was requisite, he was ―not a whit
behind the very chiefest apostles‖ (2Co 6:5; 2Co 12:12).
4. He had not only been called, but specially ―separated unto
the gospel of God.‖ Like Jeremiah (Jer 1:5), so, too, St. Paul
was ―separated from his mother‘s womb‖ (Gal 1:15). His
parentage, birth, endowments, education, etc., had been so
arranged by God as to constitute him ―a choice vessel‖ for
this very work (Act 26:16-19; Act 13:1-3).
II. The gospel to publish which he had been separated.
Romans 1:1
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1. It had been ―promised afore by the prophets in the Holy
Scriptures; so designated because they were written for holy
purposes, by holy men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and
developed holy fruits.‖
2. This gospel was ―concerning His Son‖ [Divine dignity]
―Jesus Christ‖ [the personal name and official designation]
―our Lord‖ (absolute right of property and dominion).
(1) He was, as to His human descent, of ―the seed of
David‖ (Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4-5; Heb 2:14). His ―flesh‖ is His
complete human nature, in respect of which it is said that
―He increased in wisdom,‖ etc. (Luk 2:52).
(2) He had also a higher nature, here distinguished as
―the Spirit of holiness,‖ in respect to which He was not
made, not born, but instated with power in His proper
glory as the Son of God, by His ―resurrection from the
dead.‖ In order to estimate the full force of the apostle‘s
statement, it ought to he remembered that men—the
Jewish rulers—had denounced Him as a blasphemer (Joh
19:7; Joh 5:18; Joh 10:33). They could not endure that
He, being manifestly a man, should make Himself God,
But the ―resurrection‖ was God‘s answer to their derision.
That act proclaimed, in reply to all that man had done,
―This is My beloved Son, hear Him.‖
III. The object, extent, and result of His commission. He had
received ―grace and apostleship.‖
1. To promote ―obedience to the faith‖: i.e., first of all, men
must be taught the faith—i.e., the things to be believed (Mat
28:19). It is a mistake to suppose that Christian men are
called upon to believe they know not what, nor why (2Th
2:13; Joh 8:32). Now these things, proposed to faith not only
bring to us the tidings of peace and of new life in Christ, but
they propose to us a course of life to be pursued. They
require belief, in order to obedience; and make it plain that a
faith which does not result in obedience is a dead thing (Mat
28:20; Rom 16:26).
2. The apostle had received authority to promote this
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obedience of faith amongst ―all nations.‖ The Gentiles had
never grasped the truth of the universal brotherhood of man;
while the Hebrews, though very strictly separated from all
others, not only possessed the thought, but were preparing
the way for a reign of grace in which all the nations should be
blessed. That was the purport of the promise made to
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and confirmed to David and his
son. Therefore the prophets sang triumphantly of one whom
the Gentiles should seek (Isa 11:10). The nation did not
indeed admit Gentiles on equal terms. They required that
these should assume the yoke of the Mosaic law. But now the
obedient to the faith from amongst all nations were to
constitute the true Israel of God.
3. The whole result was to be for the glory of ―His name,‖ by
whom our redemption has been accomplished. It was not for
the glory of Israel, nor of the apostles, nor of any number of
men (1Co 1:27-29; 2Co 4:6-7).
IV. The formal address and salutation. The things to be noted
are—
1. That the blessing sought for the saints was the grace of
God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, so manifested as
to insure peace.
2. The specially Christian conception of God as our Father.
3. The significant association of God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ as the common object of prayer and the
common source of grace and peace. (W. Tyson.)
The opening address
I. The author.
1. Paul, once called Saul, of Tarsus, a citizen of no mean city,
a Benjamite, of pure Hebrew extraction, well trained in a
knowledge of the Scriptures, a free citizen of the Roman
empire, acquainted with the literature of Greece, by nature
endowed with great force of intellect, passion, and
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resoluteness, of bold and ambitious spirit, a Pharisee of the
austerest type, zealous for the law, and hating its enemies,
real or supposed.
2. Yet a servant of Jesus Christ, by a free, rational
subjection. He stood before his Lord, like the angels which
stand before the throne of God, or like nobles in the court of
a mighty prince. How was this?
3. He received grace for his own salvation‘s sake; and
apostleship to bring about the salvation of others.
4. He was an apostle to the Gentiles: while Peter and the
other eleven were apostles to the Jews.
II. The persons addressed. The letter was written in 58. Think
what Rome was at that period—much like London at the close of
the last century, only without its Christianity. Its population
exceeded two millions, half of whom were slaves. Many families
were amazingly rich and luxurious: but far more, among the
freemen, were as lazy as they were proud, and as poor as they
were lazy. The population was low sunk in misery and sensual
degradation. In religion, the vulgar were besotted polytheists
and the philosophers avowed atheists. The Jews occupied a
quarter apart from the rest of the city. It is not known by whom
that Church was founded, but probably by some of the strangers
from Rome who were in Jerusalem at Pentecost, and was
composed principally of Gentile converts. To these would be
added such Jewish converts as had effectually separated
themselves from the synagogue. The Church seems to have
been one of singular purity, spirituality, and strength. Its
disciples were ―beloved of God‖; His ―chosen saints.‖ And the
Church needs to be built up in its holy faith. It is not enough to
hear of Christ and believe in Him; to be converted and witness a
good confession; but to be fully instructed in the apostle‘s
doctrine, and to continue in it, that we may grow up to the full
stature of a perfect man in Christ.
Romans 1:1
Paul. Paul‘s name heads all his Epistles, except Hebrews.
Romans 1:1
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servant. Greek. doulos. App-190. Compare 2Co 4:5. Gal 1:1,
Gal 1:10. Php 1:1, Php 1:1. Tit 1:1.
Jesus Christ. App-98. XL
Called. Literally a called apostle; called at his conversion (Act
26:17, Act 26:18).
apostle. App-189.
separated = set apart. Greek. aphorizo. Compare Act 13:2; Act
19:9. 2Co 6:17. Gal 1:1, Gal 1:15; Gal 2:12. Note the three
stages in Paul‘s "separation" for God‘s purpose: birth (Gal 1:1,
Gal 1:15, Gal 1:16); conversion (Act 9:15); work (Act 13:2).
unto. Greek. eis. App-104.
the gospel of God: i.e. the "gospel of the grace of God" (Act
20:24. Compare Act 15:7), not the "gospel of the kingdom".
See App-140. .
God. App-98.
Romans 1:1.
Paul identified himself first as a servant of Christ Jesus.
―Servant‖ (doulos) means slave, a person owned by another.
Paul wore this title gladly (Gal. 1:10; Titus 1:1), reveling in the
Old Testament picture of a slave who in love binds himself to his
master for life (Ex. 21:2-6).
Paul also identified himself as an apostle—one sent with
delegated authority (cf. Matt. 10:1-2)—a position to which he
was called. (Lit., the Gr. is, ―a called apostle.‖) This calling was
from God (Acts 9:15; Gal. 1:1), though it was acknowledged by
men (Gal. 2:7-9). It involved being set apart (from aphorizō;
cf. Acts 13:2) for the gospel of God, the message of good
news from God that centered on ―His Son‖ (Rom. 1:2, 9) which
Paul was ―eager to preach‖ (v. 15) without shame (v. 16). This
cf. confer, compare
Gr. Greek
v. verse
Romans 1:1
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setting apart did not keep Paul from making tents to support
himself and his companions (Acts 20:34; 1 Thes. 2:9; 2 Thes.
3:8) nor from mingling freely with all levels of pagan society. It
was a setting apart to something—a commitment and
dedication, not from things in isolation like the Pharisees.
(Interestingly the word ―Pharisee‖ means ―separated one‖ in the
sense of being isolated and segregated.) 1
He Presented His Credentials (Rom. 1:1–7)
In ancient days, the writer of a letter always opened with his
name. But there would be many men named Paul in that day, so
the writer had to further identify himself and convince the
readers that he had a right to send the letter. What were Paul‘s
credentials?
He was a servant of Jesus Christ (v. 1a). The word Paul
used for servant would be meaningful to the Romans, because it
is the word slave. There were an estimated 60 million slaves in
the Roman Empire; and a slave was looked on as a piece of
property, not a person. In loving devotion, Paul had enslaved
himself to Christ, to be His servant and obey His will.
He was an apostle (v. 1b). This word means ―one who is
sent by authority with a commission.‖ It was applied in that day
to the representatives of the emperor or the emissaries of a
king. One of the requirements for an apostle was the experience
of seeing the risen Christ (1 Cor. 9:1–2). Paul saw Christ when
he was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–9), and it was then
that Christ called him to be His apostle to the Gentiles. Paul
received from Christ divine revelations that he was to share with
the churches.
He was a preacher of the Gospel (vv. 1c-4). When he was
a Jewish rabbi, Paul was separated as a Pharisee to the laws
and traditions of the Jews. But when he yielded to Christ, he
was separated to the Gospel and its ministry. Gospel means
―the Good News.‖ It is the message that Christ died for our sins,
was buried and rose again, and now is able to save all who trust
Him (1 Cor. 15:1–4). It is ―the Gospel of God‖ (Rom. 1:1)
1
John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of
the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 2:440.
Romans 1:1
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because it originates with God; it was not invented by man. It is
―the Gospel of Christ‖ (Rom. 1:16) because it centers in Christ,
the Saviour. Paul also calls it ―the Gospel of His Son‖ (Rom.
1:9), which indicates that Jesus Christ is God! In Romans
16:25–26, Paul called it ―my Gospel.‖ By this he meant the
special emphasis he gave in his ministry to the doctrine of the
church and the place of the Gentiles in the plan of God.
The Gospel is not a new message; it was promised in the Old
Testament, beginning in Genesis 3:15. The Prophet Isaiah
certainly preached the Gospel in passages such as Isaiah 1:18,
and chapters 53 and 55. The salvation we enjoy today was
promised by the prophets, though they did not fully understand
all that they were preaching and writing (1 Peter 1:10–12).
Jesus Christ is the center of the Gospel message. Paul
identified Him as a man, a Jew, and the Son of God. He was
born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18–25) into the family of
David, which gave Him the right to David‘s throne. He died for
the sins of the world, and then was raised from the dead. It is
this miraculous event of substitutionary death and victorious
resurrection that constitutes the Gospel; and it was this Gospel
that Paul preached. 2
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, a called apostle, one set
apart for the gospel of God …
This is the beginning of Paul‘s lengthiest opening salutation.
For a comparison note the following list which, in an ascending
series, indicates the number of words in the original for each
salutation:
I Thessalonians 19 II Corinthians 41
II Thessalonians 27 Philemon 41
Colossians 28 I Corinthians 55
Ephesians 28 (or 30) Titus 65
II Timothy 29 Galatians 75
Philippians 32 Romans 93
I Timothy 32
2
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, "An Exposition of the New Testament Comprising the Entire
'BE' Series"--Jkt. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996, c1989), Ro 1:1.
Romans 1:1
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As in his epistle to Titus so here in Romans Paul introduces
himself as a doulos (pl. douloi in Phil. 1:1) of Christ Jesus. As
the English equivalent of doulos some prefer—some even insist
on—slave. It must be granted that such traits as the slave‘s
required absolute submission to his master and thorough
dependence on him, as also the master‘s ownership of and
unrestricted authority over his slave, can be applied, though in a
far more exalted sense, to the relation between Christ and
believers. See, for example, I Cor. 3:23; 6:19b, 20.
Nevertheless, since with the concept slave we generally
associate such ideas as involuntary service, forced subjection,
and (frequently) harsh treatment, many have, probably
correctly, concluded that ―slave‖ is not the best English
equivalent in this context.
Besides, it should be borne in mind that Paul was ―a Hebrew
of Hebrews‖ (Phil. 3:5), thoroughly at home in the Old
Testament. Therefore when he calls himself ―a doulos of Christ
Jesus,‖ he is probably reflecting on passages in which Abraham
(Gen. 26:24), Moses (Num. 12:7), Joshua (Josh. 24:29), David
(II Sam. 7:5), Isaiah (Isa. 20:3), etc., are called Jehovah‘s
servants. Is it not even possible that the figure of the
wholeheartedly committed Servant described in Isa. 49:1–7;
52:13; 53:11 contributed to the meaning of the word doulos
here in Rom. 1:1?
Paul presents himself as a servant of Christ Jesus.14
The
personal name Jesus, meaning either ―he will certainly save‖ (cf.
Matt. 1:21), or ―Jehovah is salvation,‖ which ultimately amount
to the same thing, is preceded by the official designation Christ
(Anointed). Of this Christ Jesus, Paul is a servant, completely
surrendered to his Master.
This servant is at the same time ―a called apostle.‖
Now in the broadest sense an apostle (Greek apostolos, a
term derived from a verb which means to send, to send away on
a commission, to dispatch) is anyone who is sent or by whom a
message is sent; hence, an ambassador, envoy, messenger. In
classical Greek the term could refer to a naval expedition, and
―an apostolic boat‖ was a cargo vessel. In later Judaism
14
Why “Christ Jesus” instead of “Jesus Christ”? For a possible answer to this question see N.T.C. on I Tim. 1:1, p. 51.
Romans 1:1
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―apostles‖ were envoys sent out by the Jerusalem patriarchate
to collect tribute from the Jews of the Dispersion. In the New
Testament the term takes on a distinctly religious sense. In its
widest meaning it refers to any gospel-messenger, anyone who
is sent on a spiritual mission, anyone who in that capacity
represents his Sender and brings the message of salvation. Thus
used, Barnabas, Epaphroditus, Apollos, Silvanus, and Timothy
are all called ―apostles‖ (Acts 14:14; I Cor. 4:6, 9; Phil. 2:25; I
Thess. 2:6; cf. 1:1; and see also I Cor. 15:7). They all
represent God‘s cause, though in doing so they may also
represent certain definite churches whose ―apostles‖ they are
called (cf. II Cor. 8:23). Thus Paul and Barnabas represent the
church of Antioch (Acts 13:1, 2), and Epaphroditus is Philippi‘s
―apostle‖ (Phil. 2:25).
But in determining the meaning of the term apostle here in
Rom. 1:1 it will be far better to study those passages in which it
is used in its more usual sense. Occurring ten times in the
Gospels, almost thirty times in Acts, more than thirty times in
the Pauline epistles (including the five occurrences in the
Pastorals), and eight times in the rest of the New Testament, it
generally (but note important exception in Heb. 3:1 and the
exceptions already indicated) refers to the Twelve and Paul.
In that fullest, deepest sense a man is an apostle for life and
wherever he goes. He is clothed with the authority of the One
who sent him, and that authority concerns both doctrine and
life. The idea, found in much present-day religious literature,
according to which an apostle has no real office, no authority,
lacks scriptural support. Anyone can see this for himself by
studying such passages as Matt. 16:19; 18:18; 28:18, 19 (note
the connection); John 20:23; I Cor. 5:3–5; II Cor. 10:8; I
Thess. 2:6.
Paul, then, was an apostle in the richest sense of the term.
His apostleship was the same as that of the Twelve. Hence, we
speak of ―the Twelve and Paul.‖ Paul even stresses the fact that
the risen Savior had appeared to him just as truly as he had
appeared to Cephas (I Cor. 15:5, 8). That same Savior had
assigned to him a task so broad and universal that his entire life
was henceforth to be occupied with it (Acts 26:16–18).
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Yet Paul was definitely not one of the Twelve. The idea that
the disciples had made a mistake when they had chosen
Matthias to take the place of Judas, and that the Holy Spirit
later designated Paul as the real substitute, hardly merits
consideration (see Acts 1:24). But if he was not one of the
Twelve yet was invested with the same office, what was the
relation between him and the Twelve? The answer is probably
suggested by Acts 1:8 and Gal. 2:7–9. On the basis of these
passages this answer can be formulated thus: The Twelve, by
recognizing Paul as having been specially called to minister to
the Gentiles, were in effect carrying out through him their
calling to the Gentiles.
The characteristics of full apostleship—the apostleship of the
Twelve and Paul—were as follows:
In the first place, the apostles have been chosen, called, and
sent forth by Christ himself. They have received their
commission directly from him (John 6:70; 13:18; 15:16, 19;
Gal. 1:6).
Secondly, they are qualified for their tasks by Jesus, and have
been ear-and-eye witnesses of his words and deeds;
specifically, they are the witnesses of his resurrection (Acts 1:8,
21, 22; I Cor. 9:1; 15:8; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:2–8; I John 1:1–3).
Note: though Acts 1:21, 22 does not apply to Paul, the other
passages do apply to him. Paul too had seen the Lord!
Thirdly, they have been endowed in a special measure with
the Holy Spirit, and it is this Holy Spirit who leads them into all
the truth (Matt. 10:20; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7–14; 20:22; I
Cor. 2:10–13; 7:40; I Thess. 4:8).
Fourthly, God blesses their work, confirming its value by
means of signs and miracles, and giving them much fruit upon
their labors (Matt. 10:1, 8; Acts 2:43; 3:2; 5:12–16; Rom.
15:18, 19; I Cor. 9:2; II Cor. 12:12; Gal. 2:8).
Fifthly, their office is not restricted to a local church, neither
does it extend over a short period of time; on the contrary, it is
for the entire church and for life (Acts 26:16–18; II Tim. 4:7,
8).
Note ―a called apostle.‖ This surely is much better than either
―called an apostle‖ or ―called to be or to become an apostle.‖
What the original means is that Paul was an apostle by virtue of
Romans 1:1
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having been effectively called by God to this office. Similarly the
people he addresses were saints by virtue of having been called,
―saints by (divine) vocation.‖ See on verse 7.
As a called apostle, Paul had been ―set apart for the gospel of
God.‖ From the beginning he had been designed by God for the
proclamation of the gospel. Note especially Gal. 1:15, where the
apostle expresses himself as follows, ―… it pleased him who
separated me from my mother‘s womb and called me through
his grace, to reveal his Son in me, in order that I might preach
his gospel among the Gentiles.…‖
Paul speaks of ―the gospel of God‖ or ―God’s gospel.‖ And it is
indeed the God-spell, the spell or story that tells us what God
has done to save sinners. For that very reason it is an evangel
or message of good tidings. It is the glad news of salvation
which God addresses to a world lost in sin. Not what we must do
but what God in Christ has done for us is the most prominent
part of that good news. This is clear from the manner in which
the noun evangel and the related verb, to proclaim an evangel,
to bring good news, are used in the Old Testament. See LXX on
Ps. 40:9; 96:2; Isa. 40:9; 52:7; 61:1; and Nah. 1:15.
Here in Rom. 1 the term ―gospel of God‖ (verse 1) has two
modifiers, one in verse 2, the other in verse 3 f.
3
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle
and set apart for the gospel of God . . . . Here (see v. 5
also) Paul succinctly introduces himself to the Roman Christians
by describing himself in three important ways. Perhaps he felt
the need for this careful introduction because he had not yet
been to Rome and was not known personally to many of the
Christians there.
1. A Slave of Christ Jesus
3
William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 12-13, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of Paul's Epistle
to the Romans, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids:
Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 36.
Romans 1:1
42 wanderean ©2024
Paul describes himself first of all as a slave of Christ Jesus.
The NIV term ―servant‖ is too weak. The Greek word, doulos,
was almost always used of a true slave. The NASB term ―bond-
servant‖ is very close to this idea. ―Bondslave‖ (e.g., 1 Pet 2:16,
NASB) is redundant.
In the Greek world a slave was basically the property of an
owner and had no say with regard to his circumstances. He was
―in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will
altogether swallowed up in the will of the other‖ (Trench,
Synonyms, 30). The slave had no choice regarding his service,
―which he has to perform whether he likes or not, because he is
subject as a slave to an alien will, to the will of his owner.‖ The
term thus refers to ―a state of affairs which one cannot escape
and the consequences of which one must accept if one is not to
incur punishment‖ (Rengstorf, 261, 270).
At the same time the OT Law presents the possibility of a
person‘s entering such a state voluntarily. When the time came
for a temporary slave to be set free, he could willingly choose to
surrender himself back to his owner in a state of permanent
servitude. Such a decision was usually based on love for the
owner, or for family members that might be left behind if
freedom were chosen (Exod 21:5–6; Deut 15:12–17).
Paul applies this term to himself here and elsewhere (Gal
1:10; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:1). The NT applies it to other individuals
also (Phil 1:1; Col 4:12; 2 Tim 2:24; Jas 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; Jude
1). Some are called δουλος (syndoulos), or ―fellow-slave‖
(Col 1:7; 4:7). Sometimes Christians in general are described
by the term δου λος (doulos) (6:16; 1 Cor 7:22; 1 Pet 2:16).
Paul was not a slave to any human master; in fact, he was a
free-born Roman citizen (Acts 22:24–29). He tells us that he
was rather a slave ―of Christ Jesus.‖ This is how he thought of
his Christian existence first of all; this was the key to his self-
identity.
NIV New International Version
NASB New American Standard Bible
OT Old Testament
NT New Testament
Romans 1:1
43 wanderean ©2024
This is true of Christians in general: being a Christian means
being a slave of Jesus. This is a main implication of our
confession that ―Jesus is Lord‖ (10:9). His Lordship is his
ownership and authority over his property, his slaves. Thus in
our confession we acknowledge that Jesus is our owner and that
we are his property. We voluntarily surrender our wills to his
and put ourselves at his disposal. We accept this as our natural
state and commit ourselves to unconditional service solely for
the glory of God (Phil 2:11).
Such acceptance of the role of a slave is of course the very
antithesis of the sinful world‘s ideal of autonomy or total
freedom from authority. This was true in the ancient Greek
world, where such freedom was prized as the basis of personal
dignity. ―Hence the Greek can only reject and scorn the type of
service which in inner or outer structure bears even the slightest
resemblance to that of the slave‖ (Rengstorf, 261–262). The
same is no less true in the modern world, which is characterized
by the spirit of autonomy, lawlessness, and rebellion against
authority. Thus when we accept the basic role of ―slave of Christ
Jesus,‖ we are no longer conforming ourselves to the pattern of
this world (12:2).
All of this is involved in Paul‘s identification of himself as a
slave of Christ Jesus; he thought of himself as Jesus‘ property.
He felt himself to be under compulsion to obey Jesus and to live
out his calling. In a sense he had no choice; he was totally
under the authority of Jesus Christ. In this sense he calls
himself a ―debtor‖ (1:14, KJV) in reference to preaching the
gospel. ―I am compelled to preach,‖ he says. ―Woe to me if I do
not preach the gospel!‖ (1 Cor 9:16).
Yet at the same time, Paul the slave served Christ Jesus
willingly, from his heart. His compulsion was grounded in love,
not fear (2 Cor 5:14). Not only did he say, ―I am debtor‖ or ―I
am obligated‖ to preach (1:14), but he also declared ―I am
ready‖ or ―I am eager‖ to preach the gospel (1:15). His heart
was in it, and he would not have had it any other way. We may
note that Paul also calls himself a ―servant‖ (δ ο ος,
diakonos) of the gospel (Eph 3:7), and a ―minister‖ (λ ου γ ς,
KJV King James Version
Romans 1:1
44 wanderean ©2024
leitourgos) of Christ (15:16). These terms do not have the
connotation of compulsion or servitude, but focus on the fact
that the servant is doing a specific work on behalf of someone
else. The exact nature of Paul‘s work as a servant is given in the
two other ways he describes himself in this verse. 4
Romans 1:1.
Since Romans is a genuine letter, the TEV tries to indicate this
by beginning with from Paul (so also NEB and JB; Phillips begins
with ―this letter comes to you from Paul‖). It was quite
customary for a Jew of the first century A.D. to have both a
Roman name and a Jewish name (see Acts 13.9). Paul was the
writer‘s Roman and Saul his Jewish name, but he always refers
to himself by his Roman name, and Saul is used only in Acts.
In a high percentage of languages it is necessary to employ a
first person singular pronoun in relation to Paul. That is to say,
one must employ a phrase such as ―I am Paul‖ or ―I, Paul.‖ This
is simply because in many languages one cannot speak of
oneself in the third person, particularly not in this kind of
introductory statement. To insist on using merely the third
person in such languages could be quite misleading, since
readers might assume that Paul, as the presumed writer of this
letter, was speaking about some other Paul as an apostle of
Jesus Christ.
In most languages which must introduce the first person
singular pronoun, the normal practice is to say ―I am Paul‖ or ―I,
Paul, am a servant of Jesus Christ,‖ without making explicit
reference in verse 1 to a writing or a letter. However, in some
instances translators have taken a portion of verse 7 and
incorporated in into verse 1—for example, ―I, Paul, write to you
in Rome‖—since this is the normal manner in which, in the
4
Jack Cottrell, Romans : Volume 1, College Press NIV commentary (Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1996-c1998),
Ro 1:1.
TEV Today’s English Version
NEB New English Bible
JB Jerusalem Bible
Romans 1:1
45 wanderean ©2024
particular receptor language, letters may be introduced. If this
is done, some repetition of the reference to writing must usually
be included in verse 7, in order for the salutation to be properly
introduced.
Paul speaks of himself as a servant of Christ Jesus, a phrase
which appears in a number of translations as ―a slave of Christ
Jesus.‖ It is true that the Greek word itself more nearly means
―slave‖ in the modern sense of the word. On the other hand, it
is quite possible that Paul took the meaning of this term from
the Old Testament background where prophets, and sometimes
worshipers in general, are referred to either as ―servants of
God‖ or as ―servants of the Lord.‖
In a number of languages it is not possible to use a literal term
―slave,‖ since this often carries a very repugnant connotation,
and hence a more generic expression such as servant is
employed. In some languages, however, a clear distinction is
made between a person who works for fixed wages and one who
is a kind of ―personal retainer,‖ that is to say, a personal
servant who is supported by his master but who has no fixed
salary basis. It is this latter term which is to be preferred if a
distinction must be made. In some instances one can only
employ a generic expression such as ―works for‖—for example,
―I, Paul, work for Jesus Christ.‖ In still other instances the more
personal relationship is expressed by ―I am Jesus Christ‘s man.‖
This would imply a habitual servant of someone.
Some translators attempt to represent carefully the different
orders in the names ―Jesus Christ‖ and ―Christ Jesus.‖ However,
in a number of languages this cannot be done, and one order
must be selected to the exclusion of the other. Where
alternation is possible, the order in Greek can be followed; but
where differences of order may be clumsy or misleading, one
order must be employed throughout.
Paul further characterizes himself as an apostle, a term which is
used in its more specialized sense to refer to the twelve, who
were with our Lord during his earthly ministry (Luke 6.13),
though it may also be used in a broader sense to include others
(Acts 14.4, 14; Romans 16.7; 1 Corinthians 12.28; Ephesians
4.11). Although Paul is not one of the twelve, he considers his
apostleship as equal with theirs (see 1 Corinthians 9.1–2), in
Romans 1:1
46 wanderean ©2024
the same way that he understands his gospel to be as
authoritative as the message which they preach (see Galatians
1.11–12).
By the time one undertakes to translate the Letter to the
Romans, no doubt a decision has been made about the
appropriate equivalent for ―apostle.‖ However, in the case of
language which are only for the first time receiving a text of the
Scriptures, it is very important to check constantly upon the
appropriateness of such key terms as ―apostle,‖ ―disciple,‖
―prophet,‖ etc. Although some persons have preferred to
translate ―apostle‖ in a more of less literal form as ―one who is
sent,‖ it may be far more satisfactory to use some such term as
―special messenger.‖ Too often a phrase such as ―one who is
sent‖ simply implies ―one who is sent away.‖ The significance of
the term ―apostle‖ is that the individual has been sent with a
particular commission to announce an important message.
The TEV takes chosen and called as qualifiers of apostle, while a
number of translations understand ―chosen‖ (literally ―set
apart‖) as a third qualification of Paul himself, distinct from
servant and apostle. See, for example, the NEB ―servant of
Christ Jesus, apostle by God‘s call, set apart for the service of
the Gospel.‖ In Greek ―called‖ comes before ―apostle‖ (literally
―a called apostle‖), while ―chosen‖ comes immediately after
―apostle,‖ so that either of these alternatives is possible as far
as translation is concerned. The TEV understands ―chosen‖ (a
perfect participle in Greek) as action prior to ―called,‖ and for
this reason the sequence of two qualifiers has been changed.
From the context it is clear that the choosing and the calling
have come from God, and the TEV makes this explicit (see also
NEB).
In languages which employ primarily active expressions, one
may restructure the phrase chosen and called by God as ―God
chose and called me.‖ In some languages there are serious
problems involved in the proper selection of a term for ―called,‖
for the meaning must not be ―to yell at‖ or ―to call to.‖ A closer
equivalent in some languages is ―to commission‖ or even ―to
assign a task to.‖
To preach his Good News is literally ―for the Good News of God.‖
However, since God has been explicitly mentioned in the
Romans 1:1
47 wanderean ©2024
previous phrase, it is possible to refer back to him as ―his‖ in
this phrase. The phrase ―for the Good News‖ in the present
context evidently means ―for the sake of preaching the Good
News,‖ though in other contexts this phrase (literally ―Good
News of God‖) may refer to the content of the proclamation.
Paul uses the word Good News (Greek euangelion) some sixty
times and the phrase Good News of God in 15.16; 2 Corinthians
11.7; 1 Thessalonians 2.2, 8, 9. Originally the Greek word
referred to a reward for bringing good news, but in the New
Testament the meaning is always good news itself and refers to
the salvation that God has made possible through Jesus Christ.
This salvation may be described as Good News, inasmuch as it
produces joy or happiness in those who receive it. In verse 16
the TEV translates this same word by the technical Christian
term gospel. For Paul the Good News is the message about
Jesus Christ, especially the message about his death and
resurrection.
Insofar as possible, it is useful to avoid a technical term for
preach which suggests merely formal sermonizing. A more
appropriate equivalent would be ―announce‖ or ―proclaim.‖
The phrase his Good News must be restructured in a number of
languages since one cannot ―possess‖ Good News. In this
context it is the Good News which comes from God, since he is
the source of it. In verses 2–3 it is clear that the Good News is
about Jesus Christ, but comes from God. At the same time, it is
impossible in some languages to speak of ―Good News coming
from God.‖ Only animate beings may ―come,‖ but Good News
may ―originate with‖ or ―be caused by.‖ 5
Romans 1:1.
A slave of someone in high position had more status, authority
and freedom than a free commoner; the emperor‘s slaves were
some of the highest-ranking people in the empire, as the Roman
5
Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Romans, Originally Published: A
Translator's Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Romans. 1973., UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (New York:
United Bible Societies, 1994), 5.
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
Romans 1:1 - Collection of Commentaries by wanderean
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  • 1. Romans 1:1 1 wanderean ©2024 Text: Paul, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God (Romans 1:1). This time let us turn in our Bibles to Romans, chapter 1. Paul opens his epistle to the Romans declaring: Paul, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God (Rom 1:1). Twenty-five years before Paul wrote this epistle to the Romans he was on the road to Damascus to imprison the Christians there. When suddenly about noon there came a light brighter than the mid-day sun and there the Lord said, "Saul, Saul why persecute thou me?" And he answered and said, "Who art thou Lord, that I might serve thee?" Now twenty-five years later Paul writes, "Paul, a servant or a bond slave, of Jesus Christ." Writing to the Philippian church concerning that same conversion experience he said, "Those things which were gain to me I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ for whom I suffered the loss of all things and do count them but refuse that I may know Him" (1Co 3:7-8). What I am seeking to point out is that the commitment that Paul had made twenty-five years earlier was still being honored. There are a lot of people who talk about past experiences, but the past experiences have not been translated into the present relationship, and thus, past experiences become null and void unless they are translated into present relationships. Those things which were gain to me I counted loss, twenty-five years ago. "Yea doubtless I do count them," you see, it is still going on. So past experience is only valid as it is translated into my present walk and relationship. Twenty-five years ago, "Who art thou, Lord, that I may serve thee?" Now twenty-five years later, "Paul a servant of Jesus Christ." We just finished the book of Acts, and to help place the book of Romans, the writing of the book of Romans, into the study that
  • 2. Romans 1:1 2 wanderean ©2024 we just had in Acts, if you will remember when Paul was in Ephesus and Demetrius the silversmith created a big ruckus and they brought all the people of the city into the arena and they were chanting, "Great is Diana the Ephesus," and so forth. How that at that point Paul said, "Well, I am going to go to Macedonia and to Corinth and I am going to go to Jerusalem and I must also see Rome." There Paul expressed his desire as he left Ephesus going over to Macedonia and then to Corinth, ultimately going on to Rome, "I must also see Rome." When he got to Corinth, before going back to Jerusalem, it was from Corinth that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome. That will help you place it historically in the book of Acts. He wrote the letter to the church in Rome from Corinth. As he got ready to leave Corinth to go back to Jerusalem, he found out that there was an assassination, a plot against him. They were going to throw him overboard, and so instead of taking the ship from Corinth, he went back north to Macedonia, crossed over to Troas, and then made his way around the coast catching ships back to Jerusalem. He gave up his hopes of being there for Passover and intended to be there for the Feast of Pentecost. In Jerusalem he was arrested, taken to Caesarea, held in prison for two years. He appealed unto Caesar and now, of course, in the book of Acts he was finally going to Rome. This was written some two years, a little more than two years before Paul was able to go to Rome, and he is going to express his desire to come to Rome and the purpose for which he desired to go there. "Paul, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle." The Bible tells us that we should make our calling and election sure. Paul said, "I was called to be an apostle." It is wrong for us to classify callings of God as important or highest calling or greatest calling or whatever. I don‘t know what God has called you to be. But it is important that you realize that you can‘t be any more than what God has called you to be. And we oftentimes get into trouble trying to do more than God has called us to do. Paul was called to be an apostle, then that is great, Paul should be an apostle. If he said, "Paul, called to be a tentmaker," then he should be a tentmaker. "Paul, called to be a camel driver," then he should be a camel driver.
  • 3. Romans 1:1 3 wanderean ©2024 Whatever God has called you to be that is the highest calling for your life, because you can‘t be more than what God has called you to be, and God only holds you responsible to be what He has called you to be. We oftentimes are guilty of taking on duties that God hasn‘t laid on us. Taking upon ourselves the responsibility because we have a great desire to serve God in some greater capacity, and thus, I launch into areas where God has not called me and that can be disastrous. I would give you a personal testimony, but we don‘t have time. I have tried to be on occasions but God didn‘t call me to be. I always ended disastrously. Sometimes our ambitions and our desires are beyond the Lord‘s callings. "Paul, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God," which, of course, the book of Romans is dedicated to that subject. Romans 1:1 Superscription (Rom 1:1, Rom 1:2) Dr. Morison observes that the superscription is peerless for its wealth of theological idea. Paul ( λος) A transcript for the Latin paulus or paullus, meaning little. It was a favorite name among the Cilicians, and the nearest approach in sound to the Hebrew Saul. According to some, both names were borne by him in his childhood, Paulus being the one by which he was known among the Gentiles, and which was subsequently assumed by him to the exclusion of the other, in order to indicate his position as the friend and teacher of the Gentiles. The practice of adopting Gentile names may be traced through all the periods of Hebrew history. Double names also, national and foreign, often occur in combination, as Belteshazzar-Daniel; Esther-Hadasa; thus Saul-Paulus. Others find in the name an expression of humility, according to Paul's declaration that he was ―the least of the apostles‖ (1Co 15:9). Others, an allusion to his diminutive stature; and others again think that he assumed the name out of compliment to
  • 4. Romans 1:1 4 wanderean ©2024 Sergius Paulus, the deputy of Cyprus. Dean Howson, while rejecting this explanation, remarks: ―We cannot believe it accidental that the words 'who is also called Paul,' occur at this particular point of the inspired narrative. The heathen name rises to the surface at the moment when St. Paul visibly enters on his office as the apostle of the heathen. The Roman name is stereotyped at the moment when he converts the Roman governor.‖ A servant ( ο λος) Lit., bond-servant or slave. Paul applies the term to himself, Gal 1:10; Php 1:1; Tit 1:1; and frequently to express the relation of believers to Christ. The word involves the ideas of belonging to a master, and of service as a slave. The former is emphasized in Paul's use of the term, since Christian service, in his view, has no element of servility, but is the expression of love and of free choice. From this stand-point the idea of service coheres with those of freedom and of sonship. Compare 1Co 7:22; Gal 4:7; Eph 6:6; Phm 1:16. On the other hand, believers belong to Christ by purchase (1Co 6:20; 1Pe 1:18; Eph 1:7), and own Him as absolute Master. It is a question whether the word contains any reference to official position. In favor of this it may be said that when employed in connection with the names of individuals, it is always applied to those who have some special work as teachers or ministers, and that most of such instances occur in the opening salutations of the apostolic letters. The meaning, in any case, must not be limited to the official sense. Called to be an apostle ( λ ς ολος) As the previous phrase describes generally Paul's relation to Christ, this expression indicates it specifically. ―Called to be an apostle‖ (A.V. and Rev.), signifies called to the office of an apostle. Yet, as Dr. Morison observes, there is an ambiguity in the rendering, since he who is simply called to be an apostle may have his apostleship as yet only in the future. The Greek indicates that the writer was actually in the apostolate - a called apostle. Godet, ―an apostle by way of call.‖
  • 5. Romans 1:1 5 wanderean ©2024 Separated unto the gospel of God ( ος ς λ ο ο ) Characterizing the preceding phrase more precisely: definitely separated from the rest of mankind. Compare Gal 1:15, and ―chosen vessel,‖ Act 9:15. The verb means ―to mark off ( ) from others by a boundary ( πξς).‖ It is used of the final separation of the righteous from the wicked (Mat 13:49; Mat 25:32); of the separation of the disciples from the world (Luk 6:22); and of the setting apart of apostles to special functions (Act 13:2). Gospel is an exception to the almost invariable usage, in being without the article (compare Rev 14:6); since Paul considers the Gospel rather as to its quality - good news from God - than as the definite proclamation of Jesus Christ as a Savior. The defining elements are added subsequently in Rom 1:3, Rom 1:4. Not the preaching of the Gospel, but; the message itself is meant. For Gospel, see on superscription of Matthew. Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ - To this introduction the conclusion answers, Rom 15:15, &c. Called to be an apostle - And made an apostle by that calling. While God calls, he makes what he calls. As the Judaizing teachers disputed his claim to the apostolical office, it is with great propriety that he asserts it in the very entrance of an epistle wherein their principles are entirely overthrown. And various other proper and important thoughts are suggested in this short introduction; particularly the prophecies concerning the gospel, the descent of Jesus from David, the great doctrines of his Godhead and resurrection, the sending the gospel to the gentiles, the privileges of Christians, and the obedience and holiness to which they were obliged in virtue of their profession. Separated - By God, not only from the bulk of other men, from other Jews, from other disciples, but even from other Christian teachers, to be a peculiar instrument of God in spreading the gospel. Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle. In
  • 6. Romans 1:1 6 wanderean ©2024 his salutations to the Philippians and to Titus also St. Paul calls himself δουλος (i.e. "bondservant") of Jesus Christ; but usually only απ ολος, or, as here, λ ος απ ολος, which is rightly translated in the Authorized Version, "called to be an apostle," Divine vocation to the office being the prominent idea. St. Paul often elsewhere insists on the reality of his vocation from Christ himself to be an apostle to the Gentiles; and this with regard to disparagement of his claim to be a true apostle at all on the part of some (cf. 1Co 9:1; 2Co 11:5; 2Co 12:12; Gal 1:1, Gal 1:12; Gal 2:8). It does not follow from his thus asserting his claim here and afterwards in this Epistle that he was aware of any disparagement of it at that time among the Roman Christians; still less that he wrote his Epistle with a polemical purpose against the Judaizers, as some have supposed. Still, he may have suspected that some might possibly have been busy there, as they were in other places; and, however that might be, writing as he was to a Church not founded by, and as yet unvisited by, himself, he might think distinct assertions of his claim to be heard desirable. Separated (or, set apart) unto the gospel of God; i.e. to the preaching of the gospel, not the reception of it only, as is evident from the context. The word α ος here, as well as the previous λ ος, is best taken, in pursuance of the line of thought, as referring to the Divine counsels, not to the agency of the Church. It is true that the word is elsewhere used with the latter reference, as in Act 13:2, Α ο α δ ο α α α ο , Σαυλο ς ο γο ο ππ ο λ α αυ ο ς, where the α ο ος spoken of was subsequent to the Divine λ ς, and effected by human laying on of hands. But we have also St. Paul‘s own words (Gal 1:15), Ο ος ο α ας ο λ ας ς ου α αλ ας δ α ς ος αυ ου, where the α ο ος is that of God‘s eternal purpose, and previous to the λ ς (cf. Act 9:15 and Act 26:16, Act 26:17).Romans 1:1 To the Romans ( maious). This is the title in Aleph A B C, our oldest Greek MSS. for the Epistle. We do not know whether Paul gave any title at all. Later MSS. add other words up to the Textus Receptus: The Epistle of Paul to the Romans. The Epistle is put first in the MSS. because it is the most important of Paul‘s
  • 7. Romans 1:1 7 wanderean ©2024 Epistles. Paul (Paulos). Roman name (Paulus). See note on Act 13:9 for the origin of this name by the side of Saul. Servant (doulos). Bond-slave of Jesus Christ (or Christ Jesus as some MSS. give it and as is the rule in the later Epistles) for the first time in the Epistles in the opening sentence, though the phrase already in Gal 1:10. Recurs in Php 1:1 and desmios (bondsman) in Phm 1:1. Called to be an apostle ( tos apostolos). An apostle by vocation (Denney) as in 1Co 1:1. In Gal 1:1 tos is not used, but the rest of the verse has the same idea. Separated ( rismenos). Perfect passive participle of for which verb see note on Gal 1:15. Paul is a spiritual Pharisee (etymologically), separated not to the oral tradition, but to God‘s gospel, a chosen vessel (Act 9:15). By man also (Act 13:2). Many of Paul‘s characteristic words like euaggelion have been already discussed in the previous Epistles that will call for little comment from now on. Romans 1:1 I. The fact that a man like Paul, brought up as he was with such a brain and such a heart, turned the wrong way at first, should be capable of burning with such enthusiasm for a man of whose history he knew very little that was real or true until he saw Him in heavenly glory, that after that he should live to be the rejoicing slave of Jesus Christ,—is it a wonder that such a fact should weigh with me ten times more than the denial of the highest intellect of this world who gives me, by the very terms that he uses, the conviction that he knows nothing about what I believe? He talks as if he did, but he knows nothing about it. St. Paul knew the Lord Christ; and therefore, heart and soul, mind, body, and brain, he belonged to Jesus Christ, even as His born slave. II. Let us try to understand what is meant by a slavery which is
  • 8. Romans 1:1 8 wanderean ©2024 a liberty. There is no liberty but in doing right. There is no freedom but in living out of the deeps of our nature—not out of the surface. We are the born slaves of Christ. But then, He is liberty Himself, and all His desire is that we should be such noble, true, right creatures that we never can possibly do or think a thing that shall bind even a thread round our spirits and make us feel as if we were tied anywhere. He wants us to be free—not as the winds, not to be free as the man who owns no law, but to be free by being law, by being right, by being truth. St. Paul spent his whole life, all his thoughts, all his energies, simply to obey his Lord and Master, and so he was the one free man—not the only free man: there were some more amongst the apostles; and by his preaching here and there, there started up free men, or, at least, men who were beginning to grow free by beginning to be the slaves of Christ. G. Macdonald, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvi., p. 108. References: Rom 1:1.—G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 254; Clergyman’s Magazine, vol. i., p. 75; H. E. Lewis, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxi., p. 220. Rom 1:1-4.—A. M. Fairbairn, The City of God, p. 215. Rom 1:1-7.—Ibid., pp. 41- 9; Expositor, 1st series, vol. ix., p. 105; vol. xi., pp. 309, 458; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. vi., p. 108; J. Vaughan, Sermons, 6th series, p. 37; W. B. Pope, Sermons, p. 175; W. J. Knox-Little, The Mystery of the Passion, p. 123. Rom 1:2.—Fletcher, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 1. Rom 1:2-5.—Preacher’s Monthly, vol. ii., p. 253. Rom 1:3, Rom 1:4.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. x., p. 149. Romans 1:1 CRITICAL NOTES Rom 1:1. Paul.—In Latin Paulus, and equals little. Chosen, perhaps, for humility. Name of illustrious Roman family. Saul among Jews. Afterwards Paul. Very common for Jews to accept a second name of Greek origin bearing resemblance in sound. So Σαῦλξς, Παῦλξς Servant.—Common word of slaves. Bondmen, in contrast to freemen. Paul claims to be heard as δξῦλξς, bondman of Jesus Christ.
  • 9. Romans 1:1 9 wanderean ©2024 MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Rom 1:1 A glorious inscription.—It is not perhaps too much to say that the most glorious time of the Church‘s history was the first three hundred years of its existence. Much of the romance and chivalry of Christianity disappeared when the fires of persecution were extinguished, when the stake and the faggot were displaced by the sceptre of authority, when riches instead of poverty became the reward of the Christian profession and it became the pathway to positions of worldly influence. Stirring times were those, and in them appeared the mightiest of the race. A bright galaxy of great men—great in intellect as well as in spiritual power—flourished in the first days of the Christian era. Those were the days of Peter, John, Paul, Barnabas, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenæus, and many others of whom the world was not worthy,—men who were driven from earth and found a home in heaven; who were dishonoured in their own time and glorified in after time; whose writings, sayings, histories, and characters have been both the study and the admiration of the men of profoundest intellect and widest erudition who have followed. Rising high above all these great men, as King Saul, physically, above his fellows, as the mountain peak above adjacent high-lying lands, is the great apostle of the Gentiles. Paul was not great physically; but he was better, being great both intellectually and spiritually. The greatest merely human hero of Christianity, the noblest man of all time, was ―Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.‖ Let us consider the inscription and the description which he gives of his own claim to speak with authority. I. The human name is changeable, while the spiritual relationship is abiding.—Many guesses are given as to the reason why the name was changed in this instance. Dr. Wordsworth assigns no less than eight reasons for the change of ―Saul‖ into ―Paul.‖ We need not here give them; and some are rather fanciful. We cannot presume to decide where learned men differ. Surely it is a matter of small importance. Authentic history simply records the change of the name. In our days we have had names changed. Some have cast off their surnames
  • 10. Romans 1:1 10 wanderean ©2024 and have taken fresh ones in order to increase their worldly goods, or to heighten their worldly position. What will become of earthly names in the spirit world? Are our names left behind on the tombstone where they are inscribed? Is it possible to have distinguishing names amongst the multitude which no man can number? Surely the individuality of the redeemed is not dependent upon the denoting power of a name. The names of Abraham and of Lazarus are mentioned in the parable of the rich man. But this is necessary to the carrying out of the parabolic picture. There must be in heaven many Abrahams, and many Pauls, and many Peters, by this time. Perhaps the human names will pass away like other things of earth. Names change as time advances. Names die because the things or persons denoted have passed into oblivion; but the spiritual relationship is abiding. Greater and more permanent than the name ―Paul‖ is the title ―servant of Jesus Christ.‖ A servant,— yea, a slave of Jesus Christ. The bondman of Him who came to give the highest freedom. A bondman whose price was not silver or gold, but the precious blood of Christ. A bondman who wears the easy yoke of love and carries the light burden of devoted service. The slave of Jesus Christ is free and restful as the child in a mother‘s arms. This slave will not take any discharge. He serves on earth, and he serves as a king and a priest in heaven. It is a spiritual relationship, firm and lasting as the throne of God. II. The human name separates, while the spiritual title unites.—Human names separate. They are given for this very purpose. The human name Paul not only denotes a certain physical form, a small stature, sparkling eyes, and aquiline nose, with Jewish and Grecian type of features; but to us it also connotes certain mental and moral features. It makes us think of a different man from St. Peter or St. John. The name Paul so sets off and separates the apostle of the Gentiles that if any other Paul is mentioned there must be appended some other name. Our earth names are separating attributes, while the title ―a servant of Jesus Christ‖ is a uniting term. ―A servant of Jesus Christ‖—and thus a brother to all the Lord‘s followers. We may not be great either socially or intellectually, but we march in the
  • 11. Romans 1:1 11 wanderean ©2024 same noble company with St. Paul and the other great ones of time, for we are all servants of Jesus Christ. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. There is a sweet touch of spiritual nature which makes the whole family of Christ one. How beautifully and yet how incidentally St. Paul refers to the uniting force! He seems to say, I speak not merely as Paul, but as your brother, your fellow-servant to Jesus Christ. III. The human name is an outward mark, while the divine call sets an inward seal.—The name brings before us the mental and moral characteristics of the man simply by reason of the working of the law of association. The name does not make the manhood. It is the manhood which makes the name. In itself the name Milton is a mere outward sign and mark. It has no creative force, and does not work inwardly. It is by what it suggests that we think of Milton the blind poet, and are led to wonder at the sublimity of his imagination. The name is an outward mark, while the divine call sets an inward seal. This call is: 1. Discriminating. God had need of Paul, of his learning and his wisdom, and He called him into His service. 2. Changing. Saul and Paul are the same, and yet so changed by the divine call as to be different. Saul the persecutor had the same intellect as Paul the writer of this epistle, and yet so changed that Paul rises above Saul by infinite degrees. God‘s spiritual changes amount to new creations. 3. Elevating. It was an upward movement when Saul was called to be an apostle. Elevation of the moral nature is the enlargement and improvement of the mental nature. We are told that the great artist must be pure in nature and in aim. Only the good man can be the truly successful orator. Saul would have taken a good place amongst his fellows, but he would never have risen to the heights of Paul. We cannot be apostles, but by God‘s help we can be good, and thus in our measure great. IV. A noble life-purpose alone immortalises a human name.—The men of one idea are the rulers of the race. Paul was a man of one idea. It was—For the gospel of God. He believed it with all his heart as the good news from heaven. He was separated to it as good news for his own soul—good news for a fallen race. In these days some speak of the gospel as an
  • 12. Romans 1:1 12 wanderean ©2024 old-fashioned word, but such words are the most influential. The old gospel is ever new. Paul would have gloried in the gospel had he lived to the end of time, and would have laboured more abundantly than all for its spread. His noble purpose, resolutely followed, has written his name in undying characters on the annals of time. Being the lover of Christ and His gospel, he became the true lover of his fellows,—Paul the greatest philanthropist of all men. Our names may die, but our noble purposes, resolutely achieved, cannot die. The record is in heaven. We shall be known by our purposes and by our efforts to give them fulfilment. Let us seek the immortality of goodness. Let us pray for God‘s grace to separate us to His gospel. SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON Rom 1:1 The meaning of ―apostle.‖—The name ―apostle,‖ which properly means a person sent, is sometimes applied in Scripture generally to any of those messengers who were sent by the Almighty to declare His will. Hence our blessed Saviour is called the ―Apostle and High Priest of our profession.‖ But in its most common use in the New Testament it is limited to the twelve who were chosen by our Lord to be the witnesses of His life, and, after His ascension into heaven, to publish His religion to the world. St. Paul was not indeed of this number, but he was invested with the full authority belonging to the apostolical office, being called by the special nomination of Christ to be an apostle. This remark he introduces to show how completely he was distinguished from the Judaising teachers who were not called to the office which they had undertaken, but assumed it of themselves, and without any authority. He was also separated unto the gospel of God, chosen from among the rest of mankind, and devoted to the service of the gospel, that he might spread the knowledge of it in the world.—D. Ritchie, D.D. Called to be an apostle.—Let the disciples of Christ remember that they are all His servants; and, what department soever of that service they are called to fill, whether more public or more private, let them cherish the same spirit with Paul, counting it their honour, and feeling it their pleasure, to serve such a
  • 13. Romans 1:1 13 wanderean ©2024 Master. The more highly we think of the Master whom we serve (and in the present instance the more highly the more justly, the glorious reality ever remaining far above all our loftiest conceptions of it), the more honourable shall we deem His service; and the deeper our sense of obligation for His kindness and grace, the more ardent will be our delight in the doing of His will, and the more active and unremitting our zeal in the advancement of His glory. But Paul served Christ in a special capacity. He subjoins to his general designation his more appropriate one: ―called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.‖ The office of an apostle was the highest among the offices of the Christian Church. In every enumeration of them this stands first: ―When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers‖ (Eph 4:8; Eph 4:11). And His thus ―giving‖ them implies His bestowing upon them whatever qualifications were necessary for the due discharge of their respective functions. This the connection intimates. ―Unto every one of us,‖ the apostle had just said, ―is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ.‖ He, by the endowments, ordinary and extraordinary, of the Holy Spirit, fitted each class of these spiritual functionaries for the execution of their respective trusts. In a larger enumeration, given elsewhere, apostles still hold the first place: ―God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues‖ (1Co 12:28).—Wardlaw. Paul.—A little man, it should seem by his name, such as was James the Less: but as the Church of Philadelphia, though she had but a little strength, yet had a great door set open; and as Bethlehem was the least, and yet not the least, among the princes of Judah; so was this apostle the last (and perhaps the least in stature), as one born out of due time. But God (who loves to be maximus in minimus) had designed him to great services, and gifted him accordingly, so that he was no whit behind the very chiefest of the apostles; and for painstaking he laboured more abundantly than they all. Hence Chrysostom
  • 14. Romans 1:1 14 wanderean ©2024 calleth him insatiabilem Dei cultorem, an insatiable servant of Christ. And himself seems as insatiable an encomiast of this apostle (the apostle he commonly nameth him ―by an excellency‖), for he hath written eight homilies in his commendation. And if any think he hath said too much, it is because either they have not read him or cannot judge of his worth. Qui tricubitalis cœlos transcendit (as the same Father saith): little though he were, yet he got above the heavens. ―A servant of Jesus Christ.‖—This is a higher title than monarch of the world, as Numa, second king of Rome, could say. Constantinus, Valentinus, and Theodosius, three emperors, called themselves Vasallos Christi, the vassals of Christ, as Socrates reporteth.—Trapp. Change of names.—It was common among the Jews and other Oriental nations to change the names of individuals on the occurrence of any remarkable event in their lives, as in the case of Abraham and Jacob. This was especially the case when the individual was advanced to some new office or dignity. Hence a new name is sometimes equivalent to a new dignity. As Paul seems to have received this name shortly after he entered on his duties as an apostle, it is often supposed, and not improbably, that it was on account of this call that his name was changed. Thus, Simon, when chosen to be an apostle, was called Cephas or Peter. Since, however, it was very common for those Jews who associated much with foreigners to have two names, one Jewish and the other Greek or Roman (sometimes entirely distinct, as Hillel and Pollio; sometimes nearly related, as Silas and Silvanus), it is perhaps more probable that the apostle was called Saul among the Jews and Paul among the heathen. As he was the apostle of the Gentiles, and all his epistles, except that to the Hebrews, were addressed to Churches founded among the heathen, it is not wonderful that he constantly called himself Paul instead of Saul.—Hodge. Slave.—The original word, δξῦλξς, properly signifies a slave. Here it is a name of honour. For, in the East, the chief ministers of kings were called δξῦλξι, slaves. In this sense Moses is called δξύλξσ Θεξῦ, the slave or servant of God. This honourable name,
  • 15. Romans 1:1 15 wanderean ©2024 therefore, denotes the high authority which Paul possessed in the kingdom of Christ as one of His chief ministers. Romans 1:1 Paul. See Gen. Introd., § 1, and Acts throughout. A servant of Jesus Christ. The word ‗servant‘ here means ‗bondman,‘ expressing the fact that Paul personally belonged to Jesus Christ, rather than the idea of service in His behalf. Another word conveys the latter sense. Any unpleasant thought connected with the former idea is removed by the character of the Master, Jesus Christ. This term of humility and dependence is the most honorable of all titles. Called to be an Apostle. Here he simply asserts the fact of his apostolic dignity and authority; in writing to the Galatians, he was forced to defend his apostleship (comp. the enlarged description of the word in Gal 1:1). He received the call on the way to Damascus (Act 9:15; Act 26:17); his call coincided with his conversion; it was confirmed in the temple at Jerusalem (Act 9:28; Act 22:17-21). His setting apart at Antioch (Act 13:2-3) was not the call, but a formal recognition of the call on the part of the Church there, and for a special mission. The title is an official one, and while it might at first refer to any messenger, in the early Church it was soon restricted to the Twelve and to Paul, as chosen witnesses of the resurrection, selected to lay the foundation of the Christian Church. Paul was not one of the Twelve, but represented the independent apostolate of the Gentiles (Gal 2:9). As preachers and missionaries the Apostles must have successors, but as inspired and authoritative witnesses for Christ, called directly by him for the whole world, they have none. Set apart. This explains the apostleship. Paul was selected from the world, singled out, consecrated to, and destined for the gospel service. In one sense this took place at is birth (comp. Gal 1:15, where the same word occurs); but the reference here is probably to the call to be an Apostle, especially as the tense used is not the same as in Galatians, but points to a past act with a continuous result.
  • 16. Romans 1:1 16 wanderean ©2024 Unto the gospel of God. This was that for which he was set apart. The gospel is ‗of God,‘ having Him as its author; it is about Christ (Rom 1:3-4). Romans 1:1 Address and Greeting The Apostle conforms to the usage of his time, beginning his letters with his own name, followed by a designation of the persons addressed, to which a greeting is added. But he usually describes himself as related to Jesus Christ, indicates the character of those he addresses, and gives a distinctively Christian salutation. The most usual designation of himself is ‗an Apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God‘ (so 2 Cor., Eph., Col., 2 Tim.); in 1 and 2 Thess. no designation is added; ‗prisoner,‘ ‗servant,‘ etc., occur in other Epistles. But here and in Galatians the description is more full, in view of the thoughts which are to follow. (Compare also the full designation in Tit 1:1-3.) He begins the address here, by describing himself as ‗a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle;‘ he then particularizes his relation to the gospel (Rom 1:1); but designing to treat quite fully of evangelical truth, he enlarges upon these relations, introducing: (1) the connection of the gospel with the Old Testament, Rom 1:2; (2) the divine-human Person of Christ, who is the subject of this gospel, Rom 1:3-4; (3) his call to the apostleship of the Gentiles (Rom 1:5), which gives him the right to address the Roman Christians, Rom 1:6. Then follows the usual apostolic greeting, Rom 1:7. The fulness of this address shows the importance which the Apostle attached to the fundamental thoughts of this Epistle, since they suggest themselves at the very outset, and are interwoven with what would ordinarily be merely the conventional beginning of a letter. The greeting found in Rom 1:7 occurs in this form (with trifling variations) in most of Paul‘s letters. It is partly Greek, partly Hebrew, in its origin, but wholly Christian in its sense. (On the words ―grace‖ and ―peace,‖ see Rom 1:7.) The Pastoral Epistles (with the exception of Titus, according to the correct text)
  • 17. Romans 1:1 17 wanderean ©2024 contain the form, ―grace, mercy, and peace,‖ the word ―mercy‖ being probably derived from the Greek version of the priestly benediction, Num 6:25. The Apostle Peter in his Epistles, and the Apostle John in the Apocalypse, join together ―grace and peace‖ in their greetings, while in Jud 1:2 we find ― mercy, peace, and love.‖ The whole section shows Paul to be a model for the Christian minister, in his humility and dignity, in the sense of dependence on the personal Lord Jesus Christ which underlies his authoritative utterances, as well as in his devotion to this great personal theme of the gospel which he so earnestly desires to preach everywhere. Romans 1:1 Introduction. Paul — (See on Act 13:9). a servant of Jesus Christ — The word here rendered ―servant‖ means ―bond-servant,‖ or one subject to the will and wholly at the disposal of another. In this sense it is applied to the disciples of Christ at large (1Co 7:21-23), as in the Old Testament to all the people of God (Isa 66:14). But as, in addition to this, the prophets and kings of Israel were officially ―the servants of the Lord‖ (Jos 1:1; Psa 18:1, title), the apostles call themselves, in the same official sense, ―the servants of Christ‖ (as here, and Php 1:1; Jas 1:1; 2Pe 1:1; Jud 1:1), expressing such absolute subjection and devotion to the Lord Jesus as they would never have yielded to a mere creature. (See on Rom 1:7; see on Joh 5:22, Joh 5:23). called to be an apostle — when first he ―saw the Lord‖; the indispensable qualification for apostleship. (See on Act 9:5; see on Act 22:14; see on 1Co 9:1). separated unto the — preaching of the gospel — neither so late as when ―the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul‖ (Act 13:2), nor so early as when ―separated from his mother‘s womb‖ (see on Gal 1:15). He was called at one and the same time to the faith and the
  • 18. Romans 1:1 18 wanderean ©2024 apostleship of Christ (Act 26:16-18). of God — that is, the Gospel of which God is the glorious Author. (So Rom 15:16; 1Th 2:2, 1Th 2:8, 1Th 2:9; 1Pe 4:17). Paul. Instead of subscribing a name at the end of a letter, the custom was to introduce it at the beginning. See other Epistles of Paul; also Act 23:26. For a sketch of Paul, see Introduction; also see notes in Vol. I. on Act 13:9. Called to be an apostle. "To be" is not in the original. Paul simply states that he is "a called apostle," not one appointed by men, but called by Jesus Christ. He was called when he "saw the Lord," an essential to apostleship. See notes 1Co 9:1; also Act 26:16. His setting apart at Antioch (Act 13:2) was not this call, but it came direct from Jesus Christ. As some Judaizing teachers tried to destroy his apostolic authority, he found it necessary on several occasions to show that his commission was directly from the Lord. Separated. Set apart to the work of the gospel. Christ set him apart, and his whole life was consecrated to his divine glory. Romans 1 - The Human Race Guilty Before God A. The importance and impact of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. 1. The impact of Romans on Augustine. a. In the summer of 386, a young man wept in the backyard of a friend. He knew his life of sin and rebellion against God left him empty and feeling dead; but he just couldn‘t find the strength to make a final, real decision for Jesus Christ. As he sat, he heard children playing a game and they called out to each other these words: ―Take up and read! Take up and read!‖ b. Thinking God had a message to him in the words of the children, he picked up a scroll laying nearby and began to read: not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on
  • 19. Romans 1:1 19 wanderean ©2024 the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Rom 13:13 b-14). He didn‘t read any further; he didn‘t have to. Through the power of God‘s Word, Augustine gained the faith to give his whole life to Jesus Christ at that moment. 2. The impact of Romans on Martin Luther. a. In August of 1513, a monk lectured on the Book of Psalms to seminary students, but his inner life was nothing but turmoil. In his studies he came across Psa 31:1 : In Thy righteousness deliver me. The passage confused Luther; how could God‘s righteousness do anything but condemn him to hell as a righteous punishment for his sins? Luther kept thinking about Rom 1:17, which says, the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ―He who through faith is righteous shall live.‖ b. Luther the monk went on to say: ―Night and day I pondered until... I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise... This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven.‖ Martin Luther was born again, and the Reformation began in his heart. 3. The impact of Romans on John Wesley. a. In May of 1738, a failed minister and missionary reluctantly went to a small Bible study where someone read aloud from Martin Luther‘s Commentary on Romans. b. As Wesley, the failed missionary, said later: ―While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for my salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken my sins away, even mine.‖ John Wesley was saved that night in London. 4. Consider the testimony of these men regarding Romans: a. Martin Luther praised Romans: ―It is the chief part of the
  • 20. Romans 1:1 20 wanderean ©2024 New Testament and the perfect gospel... the absolute epitome of the gospel.‖ b. Luther‘s successor Philip Melancthon called Romans, ―The compendium of Christian doctrine.‖ c. John Calvin said of the Book of Romans, ―When anyone understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.‖ d. Samuel Coleridge, English poet and literary critic said Paul‘s letter to the Romans is ―The most profound work in existence.‖ e. Frederick Godet, 19th Century Swiss theologian called the Book of Romans ―The cathedral of the Christian faith.‖ f. G. Campbell Morgan said Romans was ―the most pessimistic page of literature upon which your eyes ever rested‖ and at the same time, ―the most optimistic poem to which your ears ever listened.‖ g. Richard Lenski wrote that the Book of Romans is ―beyond question the most dynamic of all New Testament letters even as it was written at the climax of Paul‘s apostolic career.‖ 5. We should also remember the Apostle Peter’s words about Paul’s letters: Also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles... in which are some things hard to understand (2Pe 3:15-16). a. The Book of Romans has life changing truth but it must be approached with effort and determination to understand what the Holy Spirit said through the Apostle Paul. B. Introduction. (1) Paul introduces himself to the Roman Christians. Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God a. Paul: The life and ministry of the Apostle Paul (also known as Saul of Tarsus) is well documented in Acts chapters 8
  • 21. Romans 1:1 21 wanderean ©2024 through 28, as well as Galatians 1, 2, and 2 Corinthians 11, 12. i. It is almost universally agreed that Paul wrote Romans from the city of Corinth as he wintered there on his third missionary journey as described in Act 20:2-3. This is based on Rom 16:1; Rom 16:23 along with 1Co 1:14. A variety of commentators pick the date of writing anywhere from 53 to 58 A.D. ii. When Paul wrote the Book of Romans, he had been a Christian preacher for some 20 years. On his way to Jerusalem, he had three months in Corinth without any pressing duties. He perhaps thought this was a good time to write ahead to the Christians in Rome, a church he planned to visit after the trip to Jerusalem. iii. As Paul endeavored to go to Rome, the Holy Spirit warned him about the peril awaiting him in Jerusalem (Act 21:10-14). What if he were unable to make it to Rome? Then he must write them a letter so comprehensive that the Christians in Rome had the gospel Paul preached, even if Paul himself were not able to visit them. iv. Because of all this, Romans is different than many of the other letters Paul wrote churches. Other New Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems. The Letter to the Romans focuses more on God and His great plan of redemption. v. We know the Letter to the Romans was prized by the Christians in Rome; Clement of Rome‘s letter in 96 A.D. shows great familiarity with Paul‘s letter. It may be that he memorized it and that the reading of it became a part of virtually every meeting of the Roman church. As well, many scholars (Bruce and Barclay among them) believe that an edited version of Romans - without the personal references in Romans 16 - was distributed widely among early churches as a summary of apostolic doctrine. b. A bondservant... an apostle: Paul‘s self-identification is important. He is first a servant of Jesus Christ, and
  • 22. Romans 1:1 22 wanderean ©2024 secondcalled to be an apostle. i. There were several ancient Greek words used to designate a slave, but the idea behind the word for servant (doulos) is ―complete and utter devotion, not the abjectness which was the normal condition of the slave.‖ (Morris) ii. ―A servant of Jesus Christ, is a higher title than monarch of the world.‖ (Poole) c. Separated to the gospel of God: The idea of being an apostle is that you are a special ambassador or messenger. Paul‘s message is the gospel (good news) of God. It is the gospel of God in the sense that it belongs to God in heaven. This isn‘t a gospel Paul made up; he simply is a messenger of God‘s gospel. i. Separated unto the gospel: ―St. Paul may here refer to his former state as a Pharisee, which literally signifies a separatist, or one separated. Before he was separated unto the service of his own sect; now he is separated unto the Gospel of God.‖ (Clarke) ii. ―Some think he alludes to the name of Pharisee, which is from separating: when he was a Pharisee, he was separated to the law of God; and now, being a Christian, he was separated to the gospel of God.‖ (Poole) d. The gospel of God: Other New Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems; Romans focuses more on God. ―God is the most important word in this epistle. Romans is a book about God. No topic is treated with anything like the frequency of God. Everything Paul touches in this letter he relates to God. In our concern to understand what the apostle is saying about righteousness, justification, and the like we ought not to overlook his tremendous concentration on God.‖ (Morris) i. The word ―God‖ occurs 153 times in Romans; an average of once every 46 words - this is more frequently than any other New Testament book. In comparison, note
  • 23. Romans 1:1 23 wanderean ©2024 the frequency of other words used in Romans: law (72), Christ (65), sin (48), Lord (43), and faith (40). Romans deals with many different themes but as much as a book can be, it is a book about God. ii. There are many important words in the vocabulary of Romans we must understand. Bruce quotes Tyndale‘s preface to Romans: ―First we must mark diligently the manner of speaking of the apostle, and above all things know what Paul meaneth by these words - the Law, Sin, Grace, Faith, Righteousness, Flesh, Spirit, and such like - or else, read thou it ever so often, thou shall but lose thy labor.‖Romans 1:1 Called to be an apostle, or a called apostle. That is, not only having the name of an apostle, but having a his call to this high function, and his mission from God. --- Separated unto the gospel of God. He means that he was separated from others, and appointed by the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel, as we read Act 13:2 when the Holy Ghost to those of the Church at Antioch, said, Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work unto which I have taken them. (Witham) In this paragraph we have, I. The person who writes the epistle described (Rom 1:1): Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ; this is his title of honour, which he glories in, not as the Jewish teachers, Rabbi, Rabbi; but a servant, a more immediate attendant, a steward in the house. Called to be an apostle. Some think he alludes to his old name Saul, which signifies one called for, or enquired after: Christ sought him to make an apostle of him, Act 9:15. He here builds his authority upon his call; he did not run without sending, as the false apostles did; tos apostolos - called an apostle, as if this were the name he would be called by, though he acknowledged himself not meet to be called so, 1Co 15:9. Separated to the gospel of God. The Pharisees had their name from separation, because they separated themselves to the study of the law, and might be called rismenoi eis ton nomon; such a one Paul had
  • 24. Romans 1:1 24 wanderean ©2024 formerly been; but now he had changed his studies, was rismenos eis to Euangelion, a gospel Pharisee, separated by the counsel of God (Gal 1:15), separated from his mother's womb, by an immediate direction of the Spirit, and a regular ordination according to that direction (Act 13:2, Act 13:3), by a dedication of himself to this work. He was an entire devotee to the gospel of God, the gospel which has God for its author, the origin and extraction of it divine and heavenly. Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ - The word δξσλξς, which we translate servant, properly means a slave, one who is the entire property of his master; and is used here by the apostle with great propriety. He felt he was not his own, and that his life and powers belonged to his heavenly owner, and that he had no right to dispose of or employ them but in the strictest subserviency to the will of his Lord. In this sense, and in this spirit, he is the willing slave of Jesus Christ; and this is, perhaps, the highest character which any soul of man can attain on this side eternity. ―I am wholly the Lord‘s; and wholly devoted in the spirit of sacrificial obedience, to the constant, complete, and energetic performance of the Divine will.‖ A friend of God is high; a son of God is higher; but the servant, or, in the above sense, the slave of God, is higher than all; - in a word, he is a person who feels he has no property in himself, and that God is all and in all. Called to be an apostle - The word α ξρςξλξς, apostle, from α ξρςελλειν, to send, signifies simply a messenger or envoy; one sent on a confidential errand: but here it means an extraordinary messenger; one sent by God himself to deliver the most important message on behalf of his Maker; - in a word, one sent by the Divine authority to preach the Gospel to the nations. The word κληςξς, called, signifies here the same as constituted, and should be joined with α ξρςξλξς, as it is in the Greek, and translated thus: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, constituted an apostle, etc. This sense the word called has in many places of the sacred writings; e. g. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be
  • 25. Romans 1:1 25 wanderean ©2024 called, κληοτμεν, Constituted, or made the sons of God. As it is likely that no apostle had been employed in founding the Church of Rome, and there was need of much authority to settle the matters that were there in dispute, it was necessary he should show them that he derived his authority from God, and was immediately delegated by him to preach and write as he was now doing. Separated unto the Gospel - Set apart and appointed to this work, and to this only; as the Israelites were separate from all the people of the earth, to be the servants of God: see Lev 20:26. St. Paul may here refer to his former state as a Pharisee, which literally signifies a separatist, or one separated. Before he was separated unto the service of his own sect; now he is separated unto the Gospel of God. On the word Gospel, and its meaning, see the preface to the notes on St. Matthew; and for the meaning of the word Pharisee, see the same Gospel, Mat 3:7 (note). Romans 1:1 Paul, (1) a (2) (a) servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an (b) apostle, (c) separated unto the gospel of God, (1) The first part of the epistle contains a most profitable preface down to verse six. (2) Paul, exhorting the Romans to give diligent heed to him, in that he shows that he comes not in his own name, but as God's messenger to the Gentiles, entreats them with the weightiest matter that exists, promised long ago by God, by many good witnesses, and now at length indeed performed. (a) Minister, for this word "servant" is not taken in this place as set against the word "freeman", but rather refers to and declares his ministry and office. (b) Whereas he said before in a general term that he was a minister, now he comes to a more special name, and says that he is an apostle, and that he did not take this office upon
  • 26. Romans 1:1 26 wanderean ©2024 himself by his own doing, but that he was called by God, and therefore in this letter of his to the Romans he is doing nothing but his duty. (c) Appointed by God to preach the gospel. Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,.... The name of the author of this epistle is Paul, who formerly was called Saul. Some think his name was changed upon his own conversion; others, upon the conversion of the Roman deputy Sergius Paulus, Act 13:7; others, that he was so called from the littleness of his stature; but rather it should seem that he had two names, which was usual with the Jews; one by which they went among the Gentiles, and another by they were called in their own land; See Gill on Act 13:9. "A servant of Jesus Christ"; not a servant of sin, nor of Satan, nor of man, nor of Moses and his law, nor of the traditions of the elders, but of Jesus Christ; and not by creation only, but by redemption, and by powerful efficacious grace in conversion; which is no ways contrary to true liberty; nor a disgraceful, but a most honourable character; and which chiefly regards him as a minister of the Gospel: called to be an apostle: an apostle was one that was immediately sent by Christ, and had his authority and doctrine directly from him, and had a power of working miracles from him, in confirmation of the truth of his mission, authority, and doctrine; all which were to be found in the author of this epistle, who did not thrust himself into this office, or take this honour to himself, of which he always judged himself unworthy, but was "called" to it according to the will, and by the grace of God: separated unto the Gospel of God. This may regard either God's eternal purpose concerning him, his preordination of him from eternity to be a preacher of the Gospel, to which he was separated from his mother's womb, Gal 1:15; or the separation of him to that work made by the order of the Spirit of God, Act 13:2. The phrase used is either in allusion to the priests and
  • 27. Romans 1:1 27 wanderean ©2024 Levites, who were separated from their brethren the children of Israel, to their sacred employments; or rather to the apostle's having been ‫פרוש‬, "a Pharisee", which signifies "one separated", as he was now; only with this difference, before he was separated to the law, but now "to the Gospel", to preach and defend it, which he did with all faithfulness and integrity; the excellency of which Gospel is signified by its being called "the Gospel of God": he is the author of it; his grace is the subject of it; and he it is who commits it to men, qualifies them for the preaching of it, and succeeds them in it. Romans 1:1 Paul - The original name of the author of this Epistle was ―Saul.‖ Act 7:58; Act 7:1; Act 8:1, etc. This was changed to Paul (see the note at Act 13:9), and by this name he is generally known in the New Testament. The reason why he assumed this name is not certainly known. It was, however, in accordance with the custom of the times; see the note at Act 13:9. The name Saul was Hebrew; the name Paul was Roman. In addressing a letter to the Romans, he would naturally make use of the name to which they were accustomed, and which would excite no prejudice among them. The ancient custom was to begin an epistle with the name of the writer, as Cicero to Varro, etc. We record the name at the end. It may be remarked, however, that the placing the name of the writer at the beginning of an epistle was always done, and is still, when the letter was one of authority, or when it conferred any special privileges. Thus, in the proclamation of Cyrus Ezr 1:2, ―Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia,‖ etc.; see also Ezr 4:11; Ezr 7:12. ―Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest,‖ etc. Dan 4:1. The commencement of a letter by an apostle to a Christian church in this manner was especially proper as indicating authority. A servant - This name was what the Lord Jesus himself directed His disciples to use, as their general appellation; Mat 10:25; Mat 20:27; Mar 10:44. And it was the customary name which they assumed; Gal 1:10; Col 4:12; 2Pe 1:1; Jud 1:1; Act 4:29; Tit 1:1; Jas 1:1. The proper meaning of this word servant,
  • 28. Romans 1:1 28 wanderean ©2024 δξῦλξς doulos, is slave, one who is not free. It expresses the condition of one who has a master, or who is at the control of another. It is often, however, applied to courtiers, or the officers that serve under a king: because in an eastern monarchy the relation of an absolute king to his courtiers corresponded nearly to that of a master and a slave. Thus, the word is expressive of dignity and honor; and the servants of a king denote officers of a high rank and station. It is applied to the prophets as those who were honored by God, or especially entrusted by him with office; Deu 34:5; Jos 1:2; Jer 25:4. The name is also given to the Messiah, Isa 42:1, ―Behold my servant in whom my soul delighteth,‖ etc.; Isa 53:11, ―shall my righteous servant justify many.‖ The apostle uses it here evidently to denote his acknowledging Jesus Christ as his master; as indicating his dignity, as especially appointed by him to his great work; and as showing that in this Epistle he intended to assume no authority of his own, but simply to declare the will of his master, and theirs. Called to be an apostle - This word called means here not merely to be invited, but has the sense of appointed. It indicates that he had not assumed the office himself, but that he was set apart to it by the authority of Christ himself. It was important for Paul to state this, (1) Because the other apostles had been called or chosen to this work Joh 15:16, Joh 15:19; Mat 10:1; Luk 6:13; and, (2) Because Paul was not one of those originally appointed. It was of consequence for him therefore, to affirm that he had not taken this high office to himself, but that he had been called to it by the authority of Jesus Christ. His appointment to this office he not infrequently takes occasion to vindicate; 1Co 9:1, etc.: Gal 1:12-24; 2Co 12:12; 1Ti 2:7; 2Ti 1:11; Rom 11:13. An apostle - One sent to execute a commission. It is applied because the apostles were sent out by Jesus Christ to preach his gospel, and to establish his church; Mat 10:2 note; Luk 6:13 note.
  • 29. Romans 1:1 29 wanderean ©2024 Separated - The word translated ―separated unto,‖ ξπ τ , means to designate, to mark out by fixed limits, to bound as a field, etc. It denotes those who are ―separated,‖ or called out from the common mass; Act 19:9; 2Co 6:17. The meaning here does not materially differ from the expression, ―called to be an apostle,‖ except that perhaps this includes the notion of the purpose or designation of God to this work. Thus, Paul uses the same word respecting himself; Gal 1:15, ―God, who separated me from my mother‘s womb, and called me by his grace,‖ that is, God designated me; marked me out; or designed that I should be an apostle from my infancy. In the same way Jeremiah was designated to be a prophet; Jer 1:5. Unto the gospel of God - Designated or designed by God that I should make it ―my business‖ to preach the gospel. Set apart to this, as the special, great work of my life; as having no other object for which I should live. For the meaning of the word ―gospel,‖ see the note at Mat 1:1. It is called the gospel of God because it is his appointment; it has been originated by him, and has his authority. The function of an apostle was to preach the gospel Paul regarded himself as separated to this work. It was not to live in splendor, wealth, and ease, but to devote himself to this great business of proclaiming good news, that God was reconciled to people in his Son. This is the sole business of all ministers of ―religion.‖ Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ — Though once a bitter persecutor; called to be an apostle — And made an apostle by that calling. The Greek, κληςξς α ξρςξλξς, is literally, a called apostle, or an apostle called, namely, expressly, as the other apostles were. When God calls he makes what he calls. The name apostle was sometimes given to different orders of men, Rom 16:7, but in its highest sense it was appropriated to the twelve, whom Christ appointed to be with him, Mar 3:14, and whom, after his resurrection, he sent forth to preach the gospel. As the Judaizing teachers disputed his claim to the apostolical office, it is with great propriety that he asserts it in the very entrance of an epistle wherein their principles are entirely
  • 30. Romans 1:1 30 wanderean ©2024 overthrown. And various other proper and important thoughts are suggested in this short introduction: particularly the prophecies concerning the gospel; the descent of Jesus from David; the great doctrines of his Godhead and resurrection; the sending the gospel to the Gentiles; the privileges of Christians; and the obedience and holiness to which they were obliged, in virtue of their profession. Separated unto the gospel of God — Namely, to preach and propagate it. Separated by God, not only from the generality of other men, from other Jews, from other disciples, but even from other Christian teachers, to be a peculiar instrument of God in spreading the gospel. It is said, Act 13:2, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. But, this being nothing but a separation of Paul from the teachers at Antioch, to go and preach to the Gentiles, the higher separation, mentioned Gal 1:15, is here intended. The gospel is here said to be God’s, because it is good news from God, than which a greater commendation of it cannot be conceived. Which he had promised afore — Of old time, frequently and solemnly: and the promise and accomplishment confirm each other. The promise in the Scriptures, that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, is taken notice of by the apostle, to convince the unbelieving Jews that in preaching to the Gentiles he did not contradict, but fulfil the ancient revelations. Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ. Authentication and salutation I. The apostle. 1. Paul was not the name by which he was always known, but was assumed shortly after the commencement of his mission to the Gentiles. The practice of assuming a Gentile, in addition to the original Hebrew name, was then common, and indicated a loosening of the bonds of religious exclusiveness. 2. Servant of Jesus Christ. Not a hired servant (μ ροιξς
  • 31. Romans 1:1 31 wanderean ©2024 μιροτπ ς), nor a voluntary attendant ( ηπ ςης), nor a subordinate officer ( ηπ ςης), nor a ministering disciple (δι κξνξς); but a slave (δξῦλξς). Yet the title is very far from denoting anything humiliating. That, indeed, it must do if the master were only human. Even though the slave should be promoted as minister of state, the stigma of servitude was not removed; for the despot might, at any moment, degrade or destroy him. We may therefore rest assured that to no mere man, however exalted, would St. Paul have willingly subscribed himself a slave. But to be the bondmen of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose property he was both by right of creation and redemption; all of whose requirements were known to be in absolute accordance with truth and righteousness, and to all of which his own renewed heart responded with most lively sympathy, was the truest liberty and the highest dignity. 3. This dignity St. Paul participated in common with every other disciple; but, unlike many others, he had been called to the office of an apostle. Those thus called were constituted ―ambassadors for Christ,‖ being chosen, qualified, and deputed by Him to transact business with their fellow men in respect to His kingdom. The twelve had been chosen by the Master during the days of His flesh, and had companied with Him during His earthly ministry (Act 1:21). St. Paul had not enjoyed this advantage. Nevertheless, he, too, was an apostle by Divine call (Gal 1:1). True, he was confessedly, because of the lateness of his call, ―as one born out of due time‖ (1Co 15:8); but his call was not the less real or effectual. And in all that was requisite, he was ―not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles‖ (2Co 6:5; 2Co 12:12). 4. He had not only been called, but specially ―separated unto the gospel of God.‖ Like Jeremiah (Jer 1:5), so, too, St. Paul was ―separated from his mother‘s womb‖ (Gal 1:15). His parentage, birth, endowments, education, etc., had been so arranged by God as to constitute him ―a choice vessel‖ for this very work (Act 26:16-19; Act 13:1-3). II. The gospel to publish which he had been separated.
  • 32. Romans 1:1 32 wanderean ©2024 1. It had been ―promised afore by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures; so designated because they were written for holy purposes, by holy men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and developed holy fruits.‖ 2. This gospel was ―concerning His Son‖ [Divine dignity] ―Jesus Christ‖ [the personal name and official designation] ―our Lord‖ (absolute right of property and dominion). (1) He was, as to His human descent, of ―the seed of David‖ (Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4-5; Heb 2:14). His ―flesh‖ is His complete human nature, in respect of which it is said that ―He increased in wisdom,‖ etc. (Luk 2:52). (2) He had also a higher nature, here distinguished as ―the Spirit of holiness,‖ in respect to which He was not made, not born, but instated with power in His proper glory as the Son of God, by His ―resurrection from the dead.‖ In order to estimate the full force of the apostle‘s statement, it ought to he remembered that men—the Jewish rulers—had denounced Him as a blasphemer (Joh 19:7; Joh 5:18; Joh 10:33). They could not endure that He, being manifestly a man, should make Himself God, But the ―resurrection‖ was God‘s answer to their derision. That act proclaimed, in reply to all that man had done, ―This is My beloved Son, hear Him.‖ III. The object, extent, and result of His commission. He had received ―grace and apostleship.‖ 1. To promote ―obedience to the faith‖: i.e., first of all, men must be taught the faith—i.e., the things to be believed (Mat 28:19). It is a mistake to suppose that Christian men are called upon to believe they know not what, nor why (2Th 2:13; Joh 8:32). Now these things, proposed to faith not only bring to us the tidings of peace and of new life in Christ, but they propose to us a course of life to be pursued. They require belief, in order to obedience; and make it plain that a faith which does not result in obedience is a dead thing (Mat 28:20; Rom 16:26). 2. The apostle had received authority to promote this
  • 33. Romans 1:1 33 wanderean ©2024 obedience of faith amongst ―all nations.‖ The Gentiles had never grasped the truth of the universal brotherhood of man; while the Hebrews, though very strictly separated from all others, not only possessed the thought, but were preparing the way for a reign of grace in which all the nations should be blessed. That was the purport of the promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and confirmed to David and his son. Therefore the prophets sang triumphantly of one whom the Gentiles should seek (Isa 11:10). The nation did not indeed admit Gentiles on equal terms. They required that these should assume the yoke of the Mosaic law. But now the obedient to the faith from amongst all nations were to constitute the true Israel of God. 3. The whole result was to be for the glory of ―His name,‖ by whom our redemption has been accomplished. It was not for the glory of Israel, nor of the apostles, nor of any number of men (1Co 1:27-29; 2Co 4:6-7). IV. The formal address and salutation. The things to be noted are— 1. That the blessing sought for the saints was the grace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, so manifested as to insure peace. 2. The specially Christian conception of God as our Father. 3. The significant association of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as the common object of prayer and the common source of grace and peace. (W. Tyson.) The opening address I. The author. 1. Paul, once called Saul, of Tarsus, a citizen of no mean city, a Benjamite, of pure Hebrew extraction, well trained in a knowledge of the Scriptures, a free citizen of the Roman empire, acquainted with the literature of Greece, by nature endowed with great force of intellect, passion, and
  • 34. Romans 1:1 34 wanderean ©2024 resoluteness, of bold and ambitious spirit, a Pharisee of the austerest type, zealous for the law, and hating its enemies, real or supposed. 2. Yet a servant of Jesus Christ, by a free, rational subjection. He stood before his Lord, like the angels which stand before the throne of God, or like nobles in the court of a mighty prince. How was this? 3. He received grace for his own salvation‘s sake; and apostleship to bring about the salvation of others. 4. He was an apostle to the Gentiles: while Peter and the other eleven were apostles to the Jews. II. The persons addressed. The letter was written in 58. Think what Rome was at that period—much like London at the close of the last century, only without its Christianity. Its population exceeded two millions, half of whom were slaves. Many families were amazingly rich and luxurious: but far more, among the freemen, were as lazy as they were proud, and as poor as they were lazy. The population was low sunk in misery and sensual degradation. In religion, the vulgar were besotted polytheists and the philosophers avowed atheists. The Jews occupied a quarter apart from the rest of the city. It is not known by whom that Church was founded, but probably by some of the strangers from Rome who were in Jerusalem at Pentecost, and was composed principally of Gentile converts. To these would be added such Jewish converts as had effectually separated themselves from the synagogue. The Church seems to have been one of singular purity, spirituality, and strength. Its disciples were ―beloved of God‖; His ―chosen saints.‖ And the Church needs to be built up in its holy faith. It is not enough to hear of Christ and believe in Him; to be converted and witness a good confession; but to be fully instructed in the apostle‘s doctrine, and to continue in it, that we may grow up to the full stature of a perfect man in Christ. Romans 1:1 Paul. Paul‘s name heads all his Epistles, except Hebrews.
  • 35. Romans 1:1 35 wanderean ©2024 servant. Greek. doulos. App-190. Compare 2Co 4:5. Gal 1:1, Gal 1:10. Php 1:1, Php 1:1. Tit 1:1. Jesus Christ. App-98. XL Called. Literally a called apostle; called at his conversion (Act 26:17, Act 26:18). apostle. App-189. separated = set apart. Greek. aphorizo. Compare Act 13:2; Act 19:9. 2Co 6:17. Gal 1:1, Gal 1:15; Gal 2:12. Note the three stages in Paul‘s "separation" for God‘s purpose: birth (Gal 1:1, Gal 1:15, Gal 1:16); conversion (Act 9:15); work (Act 13:2). unto. Greek. eis. App-104. the gospel of God: i.e. the "gospel of the grace of God" (Act 20:24. Compare Act 15:7), not the "gospel of the kingdom". See App-140. . God. App-98. Romans 1:1. Paul identified himself first as a servant of Christ Jesus. ―Servant‖ (doulos) means slave, a person owned by another. Paul wore this title gladly (Gal. 1:10; Titus 1:1), reveling in the Old Testament picture of a slave who in love binds himself to his master for life (Ex. 21:2-6). Paul also identified himself as an apostle—one sent with delegated authority (cf. Matt. 10:1-2)—a position to which he was called. (Lit., the Gr. is, ―a called apostle.‖) This calling was from God (Acts 9:15; Gal. 1:1), though it was acknowledged by men (Gal. 2:7-9). It involved being set apart (from aphorizō; cf. Acts 13:2) for the gospel of God, the message of good news from God that centered on ―His Son‖ (Rom. 1:2, 9) which Paul was ―eager to preach‖ (v. 15) without shame (v. 16). This cf. confer, compare Gr. Greek v. verse
  • 36. Romans 1:1 36 wanderean ©2024 setting apart did not keep Paul from making tents to support himself and his companions (Acts 20:34; 1 Thes. 2:9; 2 Thes. 3:8) nor from mingling freely with all levels of pagan society. It was a setting apart to something—a commitment and dedication, not from things in isolation like the Pharisees. (Interestingly the word ―Pharisee‖ means ―separated one‖ in the sense of being isolated and segregated.) 1 He Presented His Credentials (Rom. 1:1–7) In ancient days, the writer of a letter always opened with his name. But there would be many men named Paul in that day, so the writer had to further identify himself and convince the readers that he had a right to send the letter. What were Paul‘s credentials? He was a servant of Jesus Christ (v. 1a). The word Paul used for servant would be meaningful to the Romans, because it is the word slave. There were an estimated 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire; and a slave was looked on as a piece of property, not a person. In loving devotion, Paul had enslaved himself to Christ, to be His servant and obey His will. He was an apostle (v. 1b). This word means ―one who is sent by authority with a commission.‖ It was applied in that day to the representatives of the emperor or the emissaries of a king. One of the requirements for an apostle was the experience of seeing the risen Christ (1 Cor. 9:1–2). Paul saw Christ when he was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–9), and it was then that Christ called him to be His apostle to the Gentiles. Paul received from Christ divine revelations that he was to share with the churches. He was a preacher of the Gospel (vv. 1c-4). When he was a Jewish rabbi, Paul was separated as a Pharisee to the laws and traditions of the Jews. But when he yielded to Christ, he was separated to the Gospel and its ministry. Gospel means ―the Good News.‖ It is the message that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, and now is able to save all who trust Him (1 Cor. 15:1–4). It is ―the Gospel of God‖ (Rom. 1:1) 1 John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 2:440.
  • 37. Romans 1:1 37 wanderean ©2024 because it originates with God; it was not invented by man. It is ―the Gospel of Christ‖ (Rom. 1:16) because it centers in Christ, the Saviour. Paul also calls it ―the Gospel of His Son‖ (Rom. 1:9), which indicates that Jesus Christ is God! In Romans 16:25–26, Paul called it ―my Gospel.‖ By this he meant the special emphasis he gave in his ministry to the doctrine of the church and the place of the Gentiles in the plan of God. The Gospel is not a new message; it was promised in the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 3:15. The Prophet Isaiah certainly preached the Gospel in passages such as Isaiah 1:18, and chapters 53 and 55. The salvation we enjoy today was promised by the prophets, though they did not fully understand all that they were preaching and writing (1 Peter 1:10–12). Jesus Christ is the center of the Gospel message. Paul identified Him as a man, a Jew, and the Son of God. He was born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18–25) into the family of David, which gave Him the right to David‘s throne. He died for the sins of the world, and then was raised from the dead. It is this miraculous event of substitutionary death and victorious resurrection that constitutes the Gospel; and it was this Gospel that Paul preached. 2 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, a called apostle, one set apart for the gospel of God … This is the beginning of Paul‘s lengthiest opening salutation. For a comparison note the following list which, in an ascending series, indicates the number of words in the original for each salutation: I Thessalonians 19 II Corinthians 41 II Thessalonians 27 Philemon 41 Colossians 28 I Corinthians 55 Ephesians 28 (or 30) Titus 65 II Timothy 29 Galatians 75 Philippians 32 Romans 93 I Timothy 32 2 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, "An Exposition of the New Testament Comprising the Entire 'BE' Series"--Jkt. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996, c1989), Ro 1:1.
  • 38. Romans 1:1 38 wanderean ©2024 As in his epistle to Titus so here in Romans Paul introduces himself as a doulos (pl. douloi in Phil. 1:1) of Christ Jesus. As the English equivalent of doulos some prefer—some even insist on—slave. It must be granted that such traits as the slave‘s required absolute submission to his master and thorough dependence on him, as also the master‘s ownership of and unrestricted authority over his slave, can be applied, though in a far more exalted sense, to the relation between Christ and believers. See, for example, I Cor. 3:23; 6:19b, 20. Nevertheless, since with the concept slave we generally associate such ideas as involuntary service, forced subjection, and (frequently) harsh treatment, many have, probably correctly, concluded that ―slave‖ is not the best English equivalent in this context. Besides, it should be borne in mind that Paul was ―a Hebrew of Hebrews‖ (Phil. 3:5), thoroughly at home in the Old Testament. Therefore when he calls himself ―a doulos of Christ Jesus,‖ he is probably reflecting on passages in which Abraham (Gen. 26:24), Moses (Num. 12:7), Joshua (Josh. 24:29), David (II Sam. 7:5), Isaiah (Isa. 20:3), etc., are called Jehovah‘s servants. Is it not even possible that the figure of the wholeheartedly committed Servant described in Isa. 49:1–7; 52:13; 53:11 contributed to the meaning of the word doulos here in Rom. 1:1? Paul presents himself as a servant of Christ Jesus.14 The personal name Jesus, meaning either ―he will certainly save‖ (cf. Matt. 1:21), or ―Jehovah is salvation,‖ which ultimately amount to the same thing, is preceded by the official designation Christ (Anointed). Of this Christ Jesus, Paul is a servant, completely surrendered to his Master. This servant is at the same time ―a called apostle.‖ Now in the broadest sense an apostle (Greek apostolos, a term derived from a verb which means to send, to send away on a commission, to dispatch) is anyone who is sent or by whom a message is sent; hence, an ambassador, envoy, messenger. In classical Greek the term could refer to a naval expedition, and ―an apostolic boat‖ was a cargo vessel. In later Judaism 14 Why “Christ Jesus” instead of “Jesus Christ”? For a possible answer to this question see N.T.C. on I Tim. 1:1, p. 51.
  • 39. Romans 1:1 39 wanderean ©2024 ―apostles‖ were envoys sent out by the Jerusalem patriarchate to collect tribute from the Jews of the Dispersion. In the New Testament the term takes on a distinctly religious sense. In its widest meaning it refers to any gospel-messenger, anyone who is sent on a spiritual mission, anyone who in that capacity represents his Sender and brings the message of salvation. Thus used, Barnabas, Epaphroditus, Apollos, Silvanus, and Timothy are all called ―apostles‖ (Acts 14:14; I Cor. 4:6, 9; Phil. 2:25; I Thess. 2:6; cf. 1:1; and see also I Cor. 15:7). They all represent God‘s cause, though in doing so they may also represent certain definite churches whose ―apostles‖ they are called (cf. II Cor. 8:23). Thus Paul and Barnabas represent the church of Antioch (Acts 13:1, 2), and Epaphroditus is Philippi‘s ―apostle‖ (Phil. 2:25). But in determining the meaning of the term apostle here in Rom. 1:1 it will be far better to study those passages in which it is used in its more usual sense. Occurring ten times in the Gospels, almost thirty times in Acts, more than thirty times in the Pauline epistles (including the five occurrences in the Pastorals), and eight times in the rest of the New Testament, it generally (but note important exception in Heb. 3:1 and the exceptions already indicated) refers to the Twelve and Paul. In that fullest, deepest sense a man is an apostle for life and wherever he goes. He is clothed with the authority of the One who sent him, and that authority concerns both doctrine and life. The idea, found in much present-day religious literature, according to which an apostle has no real office, no authority, lacks scriptural support. Anyone can see this for himself by studying such passages as Matt. 16:19; 18:18; 28:18, 19 (note the connection); John 20:23; I Cor. 5:3–5; II Cor. 10:8; I Thess. 2:6. Paul, then, was an apostle in the richest sense of the term. His apostleship was the same as that of the Twelve. Hence, we speak of ―the Twelve and Paul.‖ Paul even stresses the fact that the risen Savior had appeared to him just as truly as he had appeared to Cephas (I Cor. 15:5, 8). That same Savior had assigned to him a task so broad and universal that his entire life was henceforth to be occupied with it (Acts 26:16–18).
  • 40. Romans 1:1 40 wanderean ©2024 Yet Paul was definitely not one of the Twelve. The idea that the disciples had made a mistake when they had chosen Matthias to take the place of Judas, and that the Holy Spirit later designated Paul as the real substitute, hardly merits consideration (see Acts 1:24). But if he was not one of the Twelve yet was invested with the same office, what was the relation between him and the Twelve? The answer is probably suggested by Acts 1:8 and Gal. 2:7–9. On the basis of these passages this answer can be formulated thus: The Twelve, by recognizing Paul as having been specially called to minister to the Gentiles, were in effect carrying out through him their calling to the Gentiles. The characteristics of full apostleship—the apostleship of the Twelve and Paul—were as follows: In the first place, the apostles have been chosen, called, and sent forth by Christ himself. They have received their commission directly from him (John 6:70; 13:18; 15:16, 19; Gal. 1:6). Secondly, they are qualified for their tasks by Jesus, and have been ear-and-eye witnesses of his words and deeds; specifically, they are the witnesses of his resurrection (Acts 1:8, 21, 22; I Cor. 9:1; 15:8; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:2–8; I John 1:1–3). Note: though Acts 1:21, 22 does not apply to Paul, the other passages do apply to him. Paul too had seen the Lord! Thirdly, they have been endowed in a special measure with the Holy Spirit, and it is this Holy Spirit who leads them into all the truth (Matt. 10:20; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7–14; 20:22; I Cor. 2:10–13; 7:40; I Thess. 4:8). Fourthly, God blesses their work, confirming its value by means of signs and miracles, and giving them much fruit upon their labors (Matt. 10:1, 8; Acts 2:43; 3:2; 5:12–16; Rom. 15:18, 19; I Cor. 9:2; II Cor. 12:12; Gal. 2:8). Fifthly, their office is not restricted to a local church, neither does it extend over a short period of time; on the contrary, it is for the entire church and for life (Acts 26:16–18; II Tim. 4:7, 8). Note ―a called apostle.‖ This surely is much better than either ―called an apostle‖ or ―called to be or to become an apostle.‖ What the original means is that Paul was an apostle by virtue of
  • 41. Romans 1:1 41 wanderean ©2024 having been effectively called by God to this office. Similarly the people he addresses were saints by virtue of having been called, ―saints by (divine) vocation.‖ See on verse 7. As a called apostle, Paul had been ―set apart for the gospel of God.‖ From the beginning he had been designed by God for the proclamation of the gospel. Note especially Gal. 1:15, where the apostle expresses himself as follows, ―… it pleased him who separated me from my mother‘s womb and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, in order that I might preach his gospel among the Gentiles.…‖ Paul speaks of ―the gospel of God‖ or ―God’s gospel.‖ And it is indeed the God-spell, the spell or story that tells us what God has done to save sinners. For that very reason it is an evangel or message of good tidings. It is the glad news of salvation which God addresses to a world lost in sin. Not what we must do but what God in Christ has done for us is the most prominent part of that good news. This is clear from the manner in which the noun evangel and the related verb, to proclaim an evangel, to bring good news, are used in the Old Testament. See LXX on Ps. 40:9; 96:2; Isa. 40:9; 52:7; 61:1; and Nah. 1:15. Here in Rom. 1 the term ―gospel of God‖ (verse 1) has two modifiers, one in verse 2, the other in verse 3 f. 3 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God . . . . Here (see v. 5 also) Paul succinctly introduces himself to the Roman Christians by describing himself in three important ways. Perhaps he felt the need for this careful introduction because he had not yet been to Rome and was not known personally to many of the Christians there. 1. A Slave of Christ Jesus 3 William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 12-13, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 36.
  • 42. Romans 1:1 42 wanderean ©2024 Paul describes himself first of all as a slave of Christ Jesus. The NIV term ―servant‖ is too weak. The Greek word, doulos, was almost always used of a true slave. The NASB term ―bond- servant‖ is very close to this idea. ―Bondslave‖ (e.g., 1 Pet 2:16, NASB) is redundant. In the Greek world a slave was basically the property of an owner and had no say with regard to his circumstances. He was ―in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will altogether swallowed up in the will of the other‖ (Trench, Synonyms, 30). The slave had no choice regarding his service, ―which he has to perform whether he likes or not, because he is subject as a slave to an alien will, to the will of his owner.‖ The term thus refers to ―a state of affairs which one cannot escape and the consequences of which one must accept if one is not to incur punishment‖ (Rengstorf, 261, 270). At the same time the OT Law presents the possibility of a person‘s entering such a state voluntarily. When the time came for a temporary slave to be set free, he could willingly choose to surrender himself back to his owner in a state of permanent servitude. Such a decision was usually based on love for the owner, or for family members that might be left behind if freedom were chosen (Exod 21:5–6; Deut 15:12–17). Paul applies this term to himself here and elsewhere (Gal 1:10; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:1). The NT applies it to other individuals also (Phil 1:1; Col 4:12; 2 Tim 2:24; Jas 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; Jude 1). Some are called δουλος (syndoulos), or ―fellow-slave‖ (Col 1:7; 4:7). Sometimes Christians in general are described by the term δου λος (doulos) (6:16; 1 Cor 7:22; 1 Pet 2:16). Paul was not a slave to any human master; in fact, he was a free-born Roman citizen (Acts 22:24–29). He tells us that he was rather a slave ―of Christ Jesus.‖ This is how he thought of his Christian existence first of all; this was the key to his self- identity. NIV New International Version NASB New American Standard Bible OT Old Testament NT New Testament
  • 43. Romans 1:1 43 wanderean ©2024 This is true of Christians in general: being a Christian means being a slave of Jesus. This is a main implication of our confession that ―Jesus is Lord‖ (10:9). His Lordship is his ownership and authority over his property, his slaves. Thus in our confession we acknowledge that Jesus is our owner and that we are his property. We voluntarily surrender our wills to his and put ourselves at his disposal. We accept this as our natural state and commit ourselves to unconditional service solely for the glory of God (Phil 2:11). Such acceptance of the role of a slave is of course the very antithesis of the sinful world‘s ideal of autonomy or total freedom from authority. This was true in the ancient Greek world, where such freedom was prized as the basis of personal dignity. ―Hence the Greek can only reject and scorn the type of service which in inner or outer structure bears even the slightest resemblance to that of the slave‖ (Rengstorf, 261–262). The same is no less true in the modern world, which is characterized by the spirit of autonomy, lawlessness, and rebellion against authority. Thus when we accept the basic role of ―slave of Christ Jesus,‖ we are no longer conforming ourselves to the pattern of this world (12:2). All of this is involved in Paul‘s identification of himself as a slave of Christ Jesus; he thought of himself as Jesus‘ property. He felt himself to be under compulsion to obey Jesus and to live out his calling. In a sense he had no choice; he was totally under the authority of Jesus Christ. In this sense he calls himself a ―debtor‖ (1:14, KJV) in reference to preaching the gospel. ―I am compelled to preach,‖ he says. ―Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!‖ (1 Cor 9:16). Yet at the same time, Paul the slave served Christ Jesus willingly, from his heart. His compulsion was grounded in love, not fear (2 Cor 5:14). Not only did he say, ―I am debtor‖ or ―I am obligated‖ to preach (1:14), but he also declared ―I am ready‖ or ―I am eager‖ to preach the gospel (1:15). His heart was in it, and he would not have had it any other way. We may note that Paul also calls himself a ―servant‖ (δ ο ος, diakonos) of the gospel (Eph 3:7), and a ―minister‖ (λ ου γ ς, KJV King James Version
  • 44. Romans 1:1 44 wanderean ©2024 leitourgos) of Christ (15:16). These terms do not have the connotation of compulsion or servitude, but focus on the fact that the servant is doing a specific work on behalf of someone else. The exact nature of Paul‘s work as a servant is given in the two other ways he describes himself in this verse. 4 Romans 1:1. Since Romans is a genuine letter, the TEV tries to indicate this by beginning with from Paul (so also NEB and JB; Phillips begins with ―this letter comes to you from Paul‖). It was quite customary for a Jew of the first century A.D. to have both a Roman name and a Jewish name (see Acts 13.9). Paul was the writer‘s Roman and Saul his Jewish name, but he always refers to himself by his Roman name, and Saul is used only in Acts. In a high percentage of languages it is necessary to employ a first person singular pronoun in relation to Paul. That is to say, one must employ a phrase such as ―I am Paul‖ or ―I, Paul.‖ This is simply because in many languages one cannot speak of oneself in the third person, particularly not in this kind of introductory statement. To insist on using merely the third person in such languages could be quite misleading, since readers might assume that Paul, as the presumed writer of this letter, was speaking about some other Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ. In most languages which must introduce the first person singular pronoun, the normal practice is to say ―I am Paul‖ or ―I, Paul, am a servant of Jesus Christ,‖ without making explicit reference in verse 1 to a writing or a letter. However, in some instances translators have taken a portion of verse 7 and incorporated in into verse 1—for example, ―I, Paul, write to you in Rome‖—since this is the normal manner in which, in the 4 Jack Cottrell, Romans : Volume 1, College Press NIV commentary (Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1996-c1998), Ro 1:1. TEV Today’s English Version NEB New English Bible JB Jerusalem Bible
  • 45. Romans 1:1 45 wanderean ©2024 particular receptor language, letters may be introduced. If this is done, some repetition of the reference to writing must usually be included in verse 7, in order for the salutation to be properly introduced. Paul speaks of himself as a servant of Christ Jesus, a phrase which appears in a number of translations as ―a slave of Christ Jesus.‖ It is true that the Greek word itself more nearly means ―slave‖ in the modern sense of the word. On the other hand, it is quite possible that Paul took the meaning of this term from the Old Testament background where prophets, and sometimes worshipers in general, are referred to either as ―servants of God‖ or as ―servants of the Lord.‖ In a number of languages it is not possible to use a literal term ―slave,‖ since this often carries a very repugnant connotation, and hence a more generic expression such as servant is employed. In some languages, however, a clear distinction is made between a person who works for fixed wages and one who is a kind of ―personal retainer,‖ that is to say, a personal servant who is supported by his master but who has no fixed salary basis. It is this latter term which is to be preferred if a distinction must be made. In some instances one can only employ a generic expression such as ―works for‖—for example, ―I, Paul, work for Jesus Christ.‖ In still other instances the more personal relationship is expressed by ―I am Jesus Christ‘s man.‖ This would imply a habitual servant of someone. Some translators attempt to represent carefully the different orders in the names ―Jesus Christ‖ and ―Christ Jesus.‖ However, in a number of languages this cannot be done, and one order must be selected to the exclusion of the other. Where alternation is possible, the order in Greek can be followed; but where differences of order may be clumsy or misleading, one order must be employed throughout. Paul further characterizes himself as an apostle, a term which is used in its more specialized sense to refer to the twelve, who were with our Lord during his earthly ministry (Luke 6.13), though it may also be used in a broader sense to include others (Acts 14.4, 14; Romans 16.7; 1 Corinthians 12.28; Ephesians 4.11). Although Paul is not one of the twelve, he considers his apostleship as equal with theirs (see 1 Corinthians 9.1–2), in
  • 46. Romans 1:1 46 wanderean ©2024 the same way that he understands his gospel to be as authoritative as the message which they preach (see Galatians 1.11–12). By the time one undertakes to translate the Letter to the Romans, no doubt a decision has been made about the appropriate equivalent for ―apostle.‖ However, in the case of language which are only for the first time receiving a text of the Scriptures, it is very important to check constantly upon the appropriateness of such key terms as ―apostle,‖ ―disciple,‖ ―prophet,‖ etc. Although some persons have preferred to translate ―apostle‖ in a more of less literal form as ―one who is sent,‖ it may be far more satisfactory to use some such term as ―special messenger.‖ Too often a phrase such as ―one who is sent‖ simply implies ―one who is sent away.‖ The significance of the term ―apostle‖ is that the individual has been sent with a particular commission to announce an important message. The TEV takes chosen and called as qualifiers of apostle, while a number of translations understand ―chosen‖ (literally ―set apart‖) as a third qualification of Paul himself, distinct from servant and apostle. See, for example, the NEB ―servant of Christ Jesus, apostle by God‘s call, set apart for the service of the Gospel.‖ In Greek ―called‖ comes before ―apostle‖ (literally ―a called apostle‖), while ―chosen‖ comes immediately after ―apostle,‖ so that either of these alternatives is possible as far as translation is concerned. The TEV understands ―chosen‖ (a perfect participle in Greek) as action prior to ―called,‖ and for this reason the sequence of two qualifiers has been changed. From the context it is clear that the choosing and the calling have come from God, and the TEV makes this explicit (see also NEB). In languages which employ primarily active expressions, one may restructure the phrase chosen and called by God as ―God chose and called me.‖ In some languages there are serious problems involved in the proper selection of a term for ―called,‖ for the meaning must not be ―to yell at‖ or ―to call to.‖ A closer equivalent in some languages is ―to commission‖ or even ―to assign a task to.‖ To preach his Good News is literally ―for the Good News of God.‖ However, since God has been explicitly mentioned in the
  • 47. Romans 1:1 47 wanderean ©2024 previous phrase, it is possible to refer back to him as ―his‖ in this phrase. The phrase ―for the Good News‖ in the present context evidently means ―for the sake of preaching the Good News,‖ though in other contexts this phrase (literally ―Good News of God‖) may refer to the content of the proclamation. Paul uses the word Good News (Greek euangelion) some sixty times and the phrase Good News of God in 15.16; 2 Corinthians 11.7; 1 Thessalonians 2.2, 8, 9. Originally the Greek word referred to a reward for bringing good news, but in the New Testament the meaning is always good news itself and refers to the salvation that God has made possible through Jesus Christ. This salvation may be described as Good News, inasmuch as it produces joy or happiness in those who receive it. In verse 16 the TEV translates this same word by the technical Christian term gospel. For Paul the Good News is the message about Jesus Christ, especially the message about his death and resurrection. Insofar as possible, it is useful to avoid a technical term for preach which suggests merely formal sermonizing. A more appropriate equivalent would be ―announce‖ or ―proclaim.‖ The phrase his Good News must be restructured in a number of languages since one cannot ―possess‖ Good News. In this context it is the Good News which comes from God, since he is the source of it. In verses 2–3 it is clear that the Good News is about Jesus Christ, but comes from God. At the same time, it is impossible in some languages to speak of ―Good News coming from God.‖ Only animate beings may ―come,‖ but Good News may ―originate with‖ or ―be caused by.‖ 5 Romans 1:1. A slave of someone in high position had more status, authority and freedom than a free commoner; the emperor‘s slaves were some of the highest-ranking people in the empire, as the Roman 5 Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Romans, Originally Published: A Translator's Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Romans. 1973., UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 5.