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Introduction to Romans

The book of Romans is perhaps our most complete example of a systematic doctrinal
statement in the New Testament. Whereas Paul writes others letters to a specific church
or to address specific problems, Romans was written to give a full understanding of
exactly what the gospel is.

There are several key verses in Romans, one of which is 1:16


Romans 1:16 ESV
(16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to
everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

In this one verse we have the power of God, salvation, faith and Paul’s mission statement
(to the Jews and to the Greeks).

The Author
The epistle to the church at Rome is almost universally ascribed to Paul, the missionary-
theologian of Tarsus. Altogether appropriate is the authorship of the most probing
theological treatise in Holy Scripture by one who was thoroughly trained in Greek
learning (cf. Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12, in which Paul quotes both well-known and
obscure Greek poets) and who received his theological education at the feet of the learned
Gamaliel in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3). Coupled with his academic preparation, Paul could
boast that he was a freeborn Roman citizen (Acts 22:28). Further enlightened by
extensive travel and consequent exposure to an almost infinite variety of people, the
apostle to the Gentiles was uniquely prepared to write the epistle to the church at Rome.
External testimony of the early church and internal evidence within the epistle (historical,
doctrinal, stylistic, and linguistic) overwhelmingly point to Paul as the author. Believer’s
Study Bible

Romans 1:1-7 ESV


(1) Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel
of God,

1:1 Apostle: The use here refers to the unique officers in the early church who had the
power to govern the churches with absolute authority (Gal. 1:8, 9; 1 Thess. 4:8; 2 Thess.
3:6, 14), and to speak and write the very words of God without error (2 Cor. 13:3; 1
Thess. 2:13; 4:15), words which would become part of Scripture itself (2:16; 1 Cor.
14:37; 2 Pet. 3:15, 16). The qualifications for being an apostle were: 1) having seen the
risen Christ with one’s own eyes (Acts 1:22; 1 Cor. 9:1); 2) having been commissioned
by Christ as an apostle (Matt. 10:1-7; Acts 1:24-26; 26:16, 17;Gal. 1:1).
In this founding sense, there are no more apostles today, for no one today can write
more Scripture. Paul considers himself the “last of all” the apostles to have seen the risen
Christ with his own eyes (1 Cor. 15:8).
Spirit filled life study Bible

G2822 - called
Κλητος klē tos
From the same as G2821; invited, that is, appointed, or (specifically) a saint: - called.

Having yet to visit Rome, Paul must establish the rights that he has to address doctrinal
issues. His right is his calling as an apostle. He then mentions that he is “set apart” or
separated for the gospel.

The phrase used is either in allusion to the priests and Levites, who were separated from
their brethren the children of Israel, to their sacred employments; or rather to the
apostle's having been ‫פרוש‬, "a Pharisee", which signifies "one separated", as he was
now; only with this difference, before he was separated to the law, but now "to the
Gospel". Gill

(2) which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,

Paul establishes his teaching on the written Scriptures and encourages his followers to
check up on him to see whether or not he is teaching correctly (Acts 17:11). Even though
an apostle, yet he is grounded in the word of God.

The apostle here declares that he was not about to advance anything new. His doctrines
were in accordance with the acknowledged oracles of God. Though they might appear to
be new, yet he regarded the gospel as entirely consistent with all that had been declared
in the Jewish dispensation; and not only consistent, but as actually promised there.
We may see here,
(1) The reverence which Paul showed for the Old Testament. He never undervalued it.
He never regarded it as obsolete, or useless. He manifestly studied it; and never
fell into the impious opinion that the Old Testament is of little value.
(2) If these things were promised - predicted in the Old Testament, then Christianity is
true. Every passage which he adduces is therefore proof that it is from God.
Barnes

(3) concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh

If Jesus were a mere man, there would be no need to say “according to the flesh” for that
is all any ordinary man is. Speaking of Jesus however, Paul gives us the definition of
Christ’s two natures in a parallel way:
According to the flesh – He is the son of David
According to the Spirit – He is the Son of God

Romans 1:3
In his earthly life (literally As regards the flesh): Paul often uses “flesh” (Greek sarx)
to refer to bodily existence in this world (e.g., 4:1; 8:3). • Paul refers to King David’s
family line because God promised that a descendant of David would be the Messiah
and would be given an eternal kingdom (2 Sam 7:13-16; see Isa 9:7; Jer 33:15).
Jesus was born into David’s line (Matt 1:6; Luke 1:27, 32), so he was qualified to
fulfill God’s promise. NLT Study Bible
(4) and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of
holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

G3724 - declared
οριζω horizō
From G3725; to mark out or bound (“horizon”), that is, (figuratively) to appoint, decree, specify: -
declare, determine, limit, ordain.

The resurrection vindicated every claim that Jesus made about being equal with God. It
is the proof of His divinity. Notice too, He was “declared to be”, it wasn’t something He
achieved through works or grew into.

1:4 The word translated declared means "designated." Jesus did not become Son of
God by the resurrection. Instead, the resurrection proved that Jesus was the Son
of God. NKJV Study Bible

When we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we mean that He is a Son like no one
else is. God has many sons. All believers are His sons (Gal. 4:5). Even angels are
spoken of as sons (Job 1:6; 2:1). But Jesus is God's Son in a unique sense. When
our Lord spoke of God as His Father, the Jews rightly understood Him to be claiming
equality with God (John 5:18). Believer’s Bible Commentary

(5) through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the
obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
(6) including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
(7) To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to
you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice how Paul repeats that we are “called”. This has the implication that God made
the first move toward us – He extended His hand toward mankind first – we have the
privilege of accepting His grace.

Paul’s characteristic greeting combines grace and peace. Grace (charis) is a Greek
emphasis, and peace (shalom) is the traditional Jewish greeting. The combination is
especially appropriate because Paul’s message tells how believing Jews and Gentiles are
now one new man in Christ.
The grace mentioned here is not the grace that saves (Paul’s readers were already
saved) but the grace that equips and empowers for Christian life and service. Peace is not
so much peace with God (the saints already had that because they were justified by faith)
but rather the peace of God reigning in their hearts while they were in the midst of a
turbulent society. Grace and peace came from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ, strongly implying the equality of the Son with the Father. If Jesus were only a
man, it would be absurd to list Him as equal with the Father in bestowing grace and
peace. It would be like saying, “Grace and peace from God the Father and from Abraham
Lincoln.”
Believer's Bible Commentary
Grace and peace to you too as we begin this study of Romans!