THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS - Part 3 of 15 - Romans 1:1-6

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REVIEW of Part 1:

  • Paul was sent as an apostle by the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver the gospel message to the nations of the world. He left us nine letters which are written to the church. These letters, called epistles, comprise the full curriculum for every born again one. Romans is the beginning of this education.
  • Jesus Christ said that all the truth was not yet here but that it was coming (John 16:13). Paul said that he fully preached the word of God (Colossians 1:25). Now we have the full message.

REVIEW of Part 2:

  • Romans 1:1 tells us 1) who sent the message, 2) who sent Paul with the message, 3) his title as messenger and 4) what the message is.
  • The gospel is the one message that ties the whole Bible together. It is the message of eternity past – present - future. The gospel was “in the beginning with God” (John 1:2) and it “endures forever.” 1Peter 1:25. Pieces of it were “preached to Abraham” (Galation 3:8), and to all of Israel (Romans 10:16-18). Christ sent Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles to “preach the gospel,” (1Corinthians 1:17). It is the power of God which makes us whole (Romans 1:16). It is “that form of doctrine unto which we were committed” (Romans 6:17). It is the “everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6).

In this session, Part 3, we will be studying the introduction to the book of Romans:

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; [even] Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake; 6 among whom are ye also called [to be] Jesus Christ’s:” (Romans 1:1-6 ASV)

The boldface text below are the words from the ASV transaltion of these verses. All else are commentator’s notes.

VERSE 1

Paul

Who is this Paul? Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-31, 21:40 – 22:21, 26:1-23, 12:25 to the close of Acts. As Acts 1:8 states the progression of the gospel of Jesus Christ geographically, so also is the transition in the Book of Acts from Peter to Paul in that Paul was chosen to be the apostle to the Gentiles: Romans 11:13, Galatians 2:7-8, 1Timothy 2:7. 2Timothy 1:1. The Book of Acts is the history of the Church from Jesus giving his last words to the apostles (Acts 1:1-3) to the Apostle Paul carrying out those commands of our Lord in the last record of his life in Acts 28:30-31. Our Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry was not to the Gentiles/nations, but only to Israel: Matthew 10:5-6, 15:24-27, Romans 15:8. Paul was chosen by God to reach the nations of the world with the powerful gospel of Christ. His ministry carries on still today via the revelation of the same gospel communicated throughout his letters.

a servant of Jesus Christ

"Servant", Slave, Bondman:

  • On-Line Bible Program: “metaphorically it is one who gives himself up to another’s will, whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his (Christ’s) cause among men. Devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests” .
  • E.W. Bullinger: “…used of the lowest scale of servitude, but when transferred to Christian service it expresses the highest devotion of one who is bound by love.” Compare with Exodus 21:2-6. also compare Ephesians 3:1 & 4:1 “prisoner”.

called to be an apostle

Apostle” one sent; a messenger, ambassador, envoy. A delegate, one sent forth with a message. See John 13:16. Christ is called an apostle in Hebrews 3:1. Jesus Christ chose twelve apostles in Luke 6:13. Later Paul is called as an apostle here in Romans 1:1, 1Corinthians 9:1, 15:7-9 and 1Timothy 2:7. Others called apostles: Philippians. 2:25, 2Corinthians 8:23, 1Thessalonians 2:6 (1:1). Revelation 2:2 tells us of a litmus test for true apostleship. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 The test is in what their message is about. Is it the gospel? If they are sent ones with a message, then who sent them? See Galatians 1:1 and 1:11-12. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles: Romans 11:13, Galatians 2:7-8, 1Timothy 2:7. 2Timothy 1:1.

separated

Set apart for the purpose of something, appointed for a purpose.

unto

Towards, showing purpose.

the gospel of God

God’s joyous tidings, good news (See note below on v. 3 concerning his Son”. This is another title for the New Covenant truths, the blessings of God gratuitously poured out to mankind through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

VERSE 2

which

Referring to the gospel

he promised before through his prophets in the holy scriptures

Cross references (see also The Promised Good News): Michah. 7:18-20, Genesis 12:2,3 17:7,8, Habakuk 2:4, Psalms 32:1-2, Psalms 19:1-6, Psalms 105:8-10, Isaiah 59:20-21, Isaiah 65:17-25, Joel 2:28-32, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:22-38, Isaiah 27:9, Acts 3:20-21, Titus 1:2, Luke 24:27 “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Acts 10:43 “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Titus 1:2 “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” Romans 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”

VERSE 3

concerning his Son

“concerning” is peri in the Greek, meaning about, around, centered in or regarding, as in periscope or perimeter. These “glad tidings” are about God’s Son, Jesus Christ, NOT about us: what we do or don’t do. See the epistle of Galatians which addresses the genuine glad tidings and false ones in 1:1-12. All false messages center on you and your work. The genuine gospel is centered on Christ and his work.

Jesus Christ’s credentials by the flesh and by the spirit:

who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh

The Christ was promised to be out of the loins of King David and would rule over all. See 2 Samuall 7:12-16, Psalms 132:11, John 7:42, Luke 1:31-33, Isaiah 11:1 (Jesse is David’s father), Revelation 22:16, Romans 15:12.


VERSE 4

who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead

It doesn’t say that he was declared to be the Son of God with power by all his miracles and signs, but by the resurrection from the dead. Others have been raised from the dead, but none to never die again until Jesus Christ. Now many of us have followed: Colossians 1:18, Romans 8:29, Rom.ans 6:4, Ephesians 2:5-6. See also Acts 13:34.

even Jesus Christ our Lord

Jesus Christ the Lord of us.


VERSE 5

through whom

our Lord Jesus Christ

we

Paul has to be referring here to himself numbered with the other apostles, not to all those who have believed on Jesus Christ. We have not been given the responsibility of apostleship, as some have assumed from personalizing scriptures which are written regarding the apostles and disciples. Yet, we are built upon their apostleships (Ephesians 2:20 & Philippians 1:7). Therefore, we have the privilege of carrying the message of Christ to others. But a privilege is vastly different from a responsibility. The saints in general don’t enter Romans until the next verse which puts the distinction between “we” and “you.”

received grace and apostleship

unto obedience of faith

Several translators incorrectly handle this phrase in Romans 1:5 as “for obedience to the faith.” This phrase is NOT to be rendered as if we are to be obedient to, as if to muster up obedience or produce obedience from within ourselves. “Faith” is in the genitive case. For the most part, the genitive is often viewed as the case of possession or origin. In more technical terms one noun in the genitive case by showing its "class" or ‘kind’ helps to qualify another noun. "obedience of faith" is better rendered "obedience which comes from faith" or "obedience from the origin of faith." Here are three different renderings from various translators: GWV "the obedience that is associated with faith". WILLIAMS: "obedience inspired by faith". WEYMOUTH: "obedience that springs from faith".

“Obedience” is compliance, submission. Literally submitting to what you hear. This emphasizes what is heard, which in context is the gospel. “The faith” has to be defined to understand this verse. It could be understood as “the category of correct beliefs.” The correct category is the main subject in the context – “the gospel of God concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.” See the close of Romans – 16: 25-26 where the same construction is used, “for obedience of faith among all the nations.”

among all the nations

This is God’s desire for all peoples everywhere. See 1Timothy 2:4, Titus 2:11, 2Peter 3:9, Mark 16:15.

for his name’s sake

In behalf of his name, in representation of him.

VERSE 6

among whom are ye also called to be Jesus Christ’s

"Invited to belong to Jesus Christ.


These six verses are the largest introduction to any of the epistles. These first six verses are an introduction, not only to the book of Romans, but to all of the Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches. The emphasis here is on the gospel, the glad tidings regarding Jesus Christ as Lord. For the purpose of understanding this gospel, the book of Romans was written. This same purpose will be the focus of our study.

I’ve crossed paths with very few “Christians” who didn’t think they understood the gospel. Yet, only a few of those who thought they understood it didn’t seem to have their waters of understanding muddied. Where are your waters of understanding muddied regarding the gospel? This book of Romans was written to clarify the far majority of our understanding of God’s gospel. Where we get clarity on the gospel we get clarity of God’s power unto our wholeness: for “the gospel is the power of God unto wholeness to everyone who believes…”


RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Keep reading the book of Romans, especially chapters 1-8.
  2. Review sections of our study, or whole lessons if you feel it is necessary. God, your Father, will be working in you for you to gain his insights into the gospel.


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