Romans 1:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 1:1, NIV: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--"

Romans 1:1, ESV: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,"

Romans 1:1, KJV: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,"

Romans 1:1, NASB: "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,"

Romans 1:1, NLT: "This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News."

Romans 1:1, CSB: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--"

What does Romans 1:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Romans is inspired Scripture, but it is also a letter from Paul to the Christians living in Rome. It follows the custom of the time for the opening of a letter, identifying who it is from, who it is written to, and a formal greeting.

Paul begins by identifying himself. First, he understands himself to be a servant of Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here for servant is doulos. A doulos in Greek culture was a "bondservant," someone who had sold himself into slavery to another person either for a specific amount of time or indefinitely. Paul considered himself to be owned by Christ.

Paul next calls himself an apostle. The word apostle means "a person who is sent by another to represent him and his authority." In the New Testament, the apostles of Jesus Christ were considered to speak with the authority of Christ Himself. The 12 disciples of Jesus became known as His apostles. Paul became an apostle later when Christ revealed Himself to Paul and called him to fill that role (Acts 9:15). Later, the other apostles of Jesus confirmed that was Paul's calling (Galatians 2:7–9).

So Paul begins his letter by making it clear to his readers that he is both servant and representative of Jesus Christ. What he tells them in this letter will carry the authority of Christ Himself.

Finally, Paul identifies the mission Christ has given to him. He understands himself to be "set apart" for the gospel—the "good news"—of God. This letter to the Roman Christians, in fact, is a thorough and carefully-constructed presentation of exactly what the gospel is and why it is so significant.