Romans 1:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 1:14, NIV: "I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish."

Romans 1:14, ESV: "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish."

Romans 1:14, KJV: "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise."

Romans 1:14, NASB: "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to the uncultured, both to the wise and to the foolish."

Romans 1:14, NLT: "For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike."

Romans 1:14, CSB: "I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish."

What does Romans 1:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has given several reasons for why he wants so badly to come to Rome. He wants to strengthen the believers there with a spiritual gift (Romans 1:11). He wants to be mutually encouraged, along with them, about each other's faith in Christ (Romans 1:12). In addition, he wants to lead many more people to faith in Christ, both among this group of readers and among other Gentiles: the non-Jewish people of the world (Romans 1:13).

Paul describes himself as being under obligation not just to Christ, but also to the people Christ has sent him to reach with the gospel. So Paul understands himself to be obligated both to Greeks—meaning those who speak Greek and fit into Greek culture—and to barbarians—meaning everyone else. In general, Greek civilization classified other cultures as "barbarians," considered less sophisticated and educated than the Greeks. Perhaps that's why Paul adds that he is under obligation both to the wise and to the foolish.

Paul himself, though Jewish by birth, was also a product of the Greco-Roman culture. He was educated, articulate, and possessed all the rights of a Roman citizen. It would not be unusual for someone with his background to look down on those thought of as "barbarians." Paul didn't take that view. He believed himself to be obligated to all people groups, everyone "loved by God and called to be saints" (Romans 1:7).

The bustling metropolis of Rome likely contained representatives of all the known people groups in the world. No wonder Paul longed to reap a harvest in that city. He imagined he could continue to carry out his evangelism mission on a large scale and with great, lasting impact.