What does Romans 1:1 mean?
ESV: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
NIV: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--
NASB: Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
CSB: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--
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.
KJV: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Romans 1:1–7 begins Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome with an introduction of himself as a servant and apostle of Jesus. He has been set apart to preach the gospel, or good news, about Jesus. Paul interrupts his own introduction by immediately beginning to teach the gospel, that Jesus Christ our Lord is the Son of God who was resurrected from the dead. He addresses his letter to those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints. This would include all the believers in Jesus.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 1 introduces Paul and his purpose in writing this letter to the Christians in Rome. As servant and apostle of Jesus, Paul's mission in life is to preach the gospel of Jesus to all people groups, both Jews and Gentiles. He hopes to do so in Rome soon. Paul is not ashamed of the gospel. It is God's power for the salvation of all people by faith in Christ. We need to be saved because God is angry with us. Because of our sin, humanity has rejected Him as creator and provider. We worship created things, instead. In response, God has given us over to indulge in all kinds of sinful practices that lead to misery now and His angry judgment later.
Chapter Context:
Romans 1 begins with Paul's introduction of himself and his mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. After telling the Christians in Rome that he is eager to come see them and preach the gospel there, Paul declares that the gospel is God's power to save everyone who believes in Jesus. We need to be saved, because our sin has earned God's wrath. As a whole, humanity has rejected God as creator and provider. We worship creation instead of Him. In response, He has given us over to the full indulgence of our sinful desires. We are guilty and deserve His judgment.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 4/18/2024 6:53:54 PM
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