THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS - Part 4 of 15 – Romans 1:7-17
Review of Part 3:
From the first six verses of the book of Romans we understand the following:
1. Paul was sent as an apostle (messenger) of Jesus Christ
2. That his message is the gospel of God concerning Jesus Christ
3. That this gospel is to be made known to all the nations for the purpose of the compliance and partnership with God that issues from “the faith”.
Upon the foundation of this introduction we will now take up our study of the main body of the letter.
The boldface print below is primarily from the ASV version of Bible. All else are commentator’s notes.
“To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (RSV)
“beloved” is greatly loved, dear to one
"called" is invited, summoned, addressed, named, appointed
"saints" worthy of reverence, holy ones, sacred ones, sanctified ones; standing in special relation to God. See Psalm 16:3
Every one of Paul’s letters to the churches opens with a phrase similar to this one:
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 1:7, 1Corinthians 1:3, 2Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2
Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1Thessalonians 1:1, 2Thessalonians 1:2
This grace and peace which comes to us from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ is exclusive from all other kinds. The book of Romans elaborates on this type of grace and peace.
“8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers 10 making request, if by any means now at length I may be prospered by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 that is, that I with you may be comforted in you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (and was hindered hitherto), that I might have some fruit in you also, even as in the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.” (ASV)
v. 8 “your faith” (your belief system) What is the faith according to the context?
v. 9 “in the gospel of his Son,”-- How does Paul serve God in his spirit (his life)?
v. 11 “spiritual gift”-- What is this that establishes God’s people? See Romans 16:25.
v. 12 “That is, that”-- could be translated In order that, as Williams and Weymouth translate it. This further explains verse 11.
v. 12 “Faith”-- according to what by the context?... the gospel.
v. 13 “Fruit”-- comes from seed planted and cultivated. What is the seed in the context?
vs. 14-15 “Preach the gospel”-- is one word in the Greek, the verb form of “gospel.” See part 2 of this series.
v. 16 “gospel”-- What is this "gospel" according to the previous verses? (see parts 1 and 2 of this series)
v. 16 "It"-- is referring to this same gospel, that…
v. 16 “is the power of God unto salvation”-- (deliverance, wholeness, security, safety) to everyone who believes.
It is the same gospel that:
- was in the beginning with God (John. 1:1-2)
- was promised to Abraham (Galatians 3:8)
- was preached to the nation of Israel(Romans 10:16-19 and Psalms. 19:1-6)
- Christ began to preach before his crucifixion (Mark 1:1)
- he trained his apostles in after his resurrection (Acts 1:1-3)
- endures forever (1Peter 1:25)
- is the everlasting gospel (Revelation 14:6)
- Paul was sent with as an apostle (Romans 1:1, 1Corinthians 1:17)
- is given by God to be man’s standard (Romans 2:16, 2Corinthians 5:7)
- is like seed to produce fruit of its own kind in our lives (Colossians 1:5-6)
…because IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO OUR WHOLENESS (wholeness also translated "salvation". See Romans 1:16, 1Corinthians 1:18)
v. 16 “to every one that believeth”-- Those who believe are those who obedience is produced in by hearing the faith. Believing is obedience.
v. 16 “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”-- The gospel was to be preached to the nation of Israel first, then to the rest of the world. This pattern is seen in many places in the Bible.
- Christ wasn’t even sent to the rest of the world, but only to Israel (Matthew 10:6, 15:24-27, Romans 15:8
- Christ trained his apostles to preach in a certain pattern geographically Acts 1:8
- The believing Jews were even surprised when the same gift of holy spirit was poured out to the Gentiles also – Acts 10:44-45, 11:14-18
- Paul and Barnabas followed the same pattern – Acts 13:45-47
v. 17 “For therein is revealed a righteousness of God”-- Not our own righteousness (See Romans 10:3-4 & Phil. 3:9).
v. 17 "from faith to faith"-- from the faith of Jesus Christ (the faith of the gospel) unto our faith. In other words, that “the faith” of the gospel would produce faith in us accordingly.
v. 17 “But the righteous shall live by faith.”-- The way this reads says that if we are the righteous ones, then we will be living by faith. This has been grossly mistranslated out of religious influence. The meaning is something like this:
The ones who are righteous/justified out from the faith in Christ, shall be living.
Literally translated from the Greek this reads: "The just out from faith, shall live."
Here are some samples of other translations of Romans 1:17b:
- The Message: "The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives."
- Newell:“The righteous on the principle of faith, shall live.”
- Young’s Literal Translation.: “And the righteous one by faith shall live,”
- The New American Bible: “The one who is righteous by faith shall live.”
- The Concordant Literal: “Now the just one by faith shall be living.”
- Wuest:“The one who is just on the principle of faith shall live.”
- RSV: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live."”
In this fourth part of our study on Romans, we have again seen that God’s concern is the gospel. The gospel in this section states that we are the beloved of God, appointed as saints, and that the grace and peace that is from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ would be ours. The gospel is to be so ministered to the saints that their faith might increase by spiritual gifts being imparted for the purpose of each being established by this gospel. The apostle re-emphasizes the importance of the gospel, stating that it is the power of God unto our wholeness because in it a righteousness of God is revealed.