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To the Romans (προς Ρωμαιους). This is the title in Aleph A B C, our oldest Greek MSS. for the Epistle. We do not know whether Paul gave any title at all. Later MSS. add other words up to the Textus Receptus: The Epistle of Paul to the Romans. The Epistle is put first in the MSS. because it is the most important of Paul's Epistles.
Paul (Παυλος). Roman name (Παυλυς). See on Ac 13:9 for the origin of this name by the side of Saul.
Servant (δουλος). Bond-slave of Jesus Christ (or Christ Jesus as some MSS. give it and as is the rule in the later Epistles) for the first time in the Epistles in the opening sentence, though the phrase already in Ga 1:10 . Recurs in Php 1:1 and δεσμιος (bondsman) in Phm 1:1 .
Separated (αφωρισμενος). Perfect passive participle of αφοριζω for which verb see on Ga 1:15 . Paul is a spiritual Pharisee (etymologically), separated not to the oral tradition, but to God's gospel, a chosen vessel (Ac 9:15 ). By man also (Ac 13:2 ). Many of Paul's characteristic words like ευαγγελιον have been already discussed in the previous Epistles that will call for little comment from now on.
He promised afore (προεπηγγειλατο). First aorist middle of προεπαγγελλω for which verb see on 2Co 9:5 .
By (δια). Through, by means of, intermediate agency like Mt 1:22 which see.
In the holy scriptures (εν γραφαις αγιαις). No article, yet definite. Perhaps the earliest use of the phrase (Sanday and Headlam). Paul definitely finds God's gospel in the Holy Scriptures.
Who was declared (του ορισθεντος). Articular participle (first aorist passive) of οριζω for which verb see on Lu 22:22; Ac 2:23 . He was the Son of God in his preincarnate state (2Co 8:9; Php 2:6 ) and still so after his Incarnation (verse 3, "of the seed of David"), but it was the Resurrection of the dead (εξ αναστασεως νεκρων, the general resurrection implied by that of Christ) that definitely marked Jesus off as God's Son because of his claims about himself as God's Son and his prophecy that he would rise on the third day. This event (cf. 1Co 15 ) gave God's seal "with power" (εν δυναμε), "in power," declared so in power (2Co 13:4 ). The Resurrection of Christ is the miracle of miracles. "The resurrection only declared him to be what he truly was" (Denney).
According to the spirit of holiness (κατα πνευμα αγιωσυνης). Not the Holy Spirit, but a description of Christ ethically as κατα σαρκα describes him physically (Denney). Hαγιωσυνη is rare (1Th 3:13; 2Co 7:1 in N.T.), three times in LXX, each time as the attribute of God. "The πνευμα αγιωσυνης, though not the Divine nature, is that in which the Divinity or Divine Personality Resided " (Sanday and Headlam).
Jesus Christ our Lord (Ιησου Χριστου του κυριου ημων). These words gather up the total personality of Jesus (his deity and his humanity).
Unto obedience of faith (εις υπακοην πιστεως). Subjective genitive as in 16:26, the obedience which springs from faith (the act of assent or surrender).
Called to be Jesus Christ's (κλητο Ιησου Χριστου). Predicate genitive after κλητο (verbal adjective from καλεω, to call), though it is possible to consider it the ablative case, "called of (or from) Jesus Christ."
In Rome (εν Ρωμη). One late uncial (G of tenth century) and a cursive omit these words here and one or two other late MSS. omit εν Ρωμη in verse 15. This possibly proves the Epistle was circulated as a circular to a limited extent, but the evidence is late and slight and by no means shows that this was the case in the first century. It is not comparable with the absence of εν Εφεσω in Eph 1:1 from Aleph and B (the two oldest and best MSS.).
Beloved of God (αγαπητοις θεου). Ablative case of θεου after the verbal adjective like διδακτο θεου (taught of God) in Joh 6:45 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 516).
From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (απο θεου πατρος ημων κα κυριου Ιησου Χριστου). "St. Paul, if not formally enunciating a doctrine of the Divinity of Christ, held a view which cannot really be distinguished from it" (Sanday and Headlam). Paul's theology is clearly seen in the terms used in verses 1-7.
First (πρωτον μεν). Adverb in the accusative case, but no επειτα δε (in the next place) as in Heb 7:2 or επειτα as in Jas 3:17 follows. The rush of thoughts crowds out the balanced phraseology as in Ro 3:2; 1Co 11:18 .
Through (δια). As the mediator or medium of thanksgiving as in 7:25.
For (περ). Concerning, about.
That (οτ). Or because. Either declarative or causal οτ makes sense here.
Your faith (η πιστις υμων). "Your Christianity" (Sanday and Headlam).
Is proclaimed (καταγγελλετα). Present passive indicative of καταγγελλω, to announce (αγγελλω) up and down (κατα). See also αναγγελλω, to bring back news (Joh 5:15 ), απαγγελλω, to announce from one as the source (Mt 2:8 ), προκαταγγελλω, to announce far and wide beforehand (Ac 3:18 ).
I serve (λατρευω). Old verb from λατρον, hire, and λατρις, hireling, so to serve for hire, then to serve in general gods or men, whether sacred services (Heb 9:9; 10:2 ) or spiritual service as here. Cf. Ro 12:1; Php 3:3 .
Always (παντοτε). One might think that Paul prayed for no others, but he uses both adverbs in 1Th 1:2 . He seems to have had prayer lists. He never omitted the Romans.
If by any means now at length (ε πως ηδη ποτε). A condition of the first class in the form of an indirect question (aim) or elliptical condition like Ac 27:12 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1024). Note the four particles together to express Paul's feelings of emotion that now at length somehow it may really come true.
I may be prospered (ευοδωθησομα). First future passive indicative of ευοδοω for which verb see on 1Co 16:2 .
By the will of God (εν τω θεληματ του θεου). Paul's way lay "in" God's will.
That is (τουτο δε εστιν). "An explanatory correction" (Denney). The δε should not be ignored. Instead of saying that he had a spiritual gift for them, he wishes to add that they also have one for him.
That I with you may be comforted (συνπαρακληθηνα εν υμιν). "My being comforted in you (εν υμιν) together (συν-) with you," a mutual blessing to each party (you and me).
And was hindered (κα εκωλυθην). "But was hindered," adversative use of κα.
That I might have some fruit (ινα τινα καρπον σχω). Second aorist (ingressive), active of εχω, to have, and here means "might get (ingressive aorist) some fruit."
debtor (οφειλετης) see Ga 5:3 .
Both to Greeks and to Barbarians (Hελλησιν τε κα βαρβαροις). The whole human race from the Greek point of view, Jews coming under βαρβαροις. On this word see Ac 18:2,4; 1Co 4:11; Col 3:11 (only N.T. instances). The Greeks called all others barbarians and the Jews termed all others Gentiles. Did Paul consider the Romans as Greeks? They had absorbed the Greek language and culture.
So as much as in me is I am ready (ουτω το κατ' εμε προθυμον). Literally, "Thus the according to me affair is ready" (προθυμος, old adjective, προ, θυμος). It is an awkward idiom like to εξ υμων in 12:18. The plural τα κατ' εμε we find in Php 1:12; Col 4:7; Eph 6:21 .
It is the power of God (δυναμις θεου εστιν). This Paul knew by much experience. He had seen the dynamite of God at work.
To the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Ιουδαιω τε πρωτον κα Hελλην). Jesus had taught this (Joh 4:22; 10:16; Lu 24:47; Ac 1:8 ). The Jew is first in privilege and in penalty (Ro 2:9f. ). It is not certain that πρωτον is genuine, but it is in 2:9f .
For therein (γαρ εν αυτω). In the gospel (verse 16) of which Paul is not ashamed.
A righteousness of God (δικαιοσυνη θεου). Subjective genitive, "a God kind of righteousness," one that each must have and can obtain in no other way save "from faith unto faith" (εκ πιστεως εις πιστιν), faith the starting point and faith the goal (Lightfoot).
Is revealed (αποκαλυπτετα). It is a revelation from God, this God kind of righteousness, that man unaided could never have conceived or still less attained. In these words we have Paul's statement in his own way of the theme of the Epistle, the content of the gospel as Paul understands it. Every word is important: σωτηριαν (salvation), ευαγγελιον (gospel), αποκαλυπτετα (is revealed), δικαιοσυνη θεου (righteousness of God), πιστις (faith) and πιστευοντ (believing). He grounds his position on Hab 2:4 (quoted also in Ga 3:11 ). By "righteousness" we shall see that Paul means both "justification" and "sanctification." It is important to get a clear idea of Paul's use of δικαιοσυνη here for it controls the thought throughout the Epistle. Jesus set up a higher standard of righteousness (δικαιοσυνη) in the Sermon on the Mount than the Scribes and Pharisees taught and practised (Mt 5:20 ) and proves it in various items. Here Paul claims that in the gospel, taught by Jesus and by himself there is revealed a God kind of righteousness with two ideas in it (the righteousness that God has and that he bestows). It is an old word for quality from δικαιος, a righteous man, and that from δικη, right or justice (called a goddess in Ac 28:4 ), and that allied with δεικνυμ, to show, to point out. Other allied words are δικαιοω, to declare or make δικαιος (Ro 3:24,26 ), δικαιωμα, that which is deemed δικαιος (sentence or ordinance as in 1:32; 2:26; 8:4 ), δικαιωσις, the act of declaring δικαιος (only twice in N.T., 4:25; 5:18 ). Δικαιοσυνη and δικαιοω are easy to render into English, though we use justice in distinction from righteousness and sanctification for the result that comes after justification (the setting one right with God). Paul is consistent and usually clear in his use of these great words.
For the wrath of God is revealed (αποκαλυπτετα γαρ οργη θεου). Note in Romans Paul's use of γαρ, now argumentative, now explanatory, now both as here. There is a parallel and antecedent revelation (see verse 17) of God's wrath corresponding to the revelation of God's righteousness, this an unwritten revelation, but plainly made known. Οργη is from οργαω, to teem, to swell. It is the temper of God towards sin, not rage, but the wrath of reason and law (Shedd). The revelation of God's righteousness in the gospel was necessary because of the failure of men to attain it without it, for God's wrath justly rested upon all both Gentiles ( 1:18-32) and Jews ( 2:1-3:20).
Ungodliness (ασεβειαν). Irreligion, want of reverence toward God, old word (cf. 2Ti 2:16 ).
Unrighteousness (αδικιαν). Lack (α privative and δικη) of right conduct toward men, injustice (Ro 9:14; Lu 18:6 ). This follows naturally from irreverence. The basis of ethical conduct rests on the nature of God and our attitude toward him, otherwise the law of the jungle (cf. Nietzsche, "might makes right").
Hold down the truth (την αληθειαν κατεχοντων). Truth (αληθεια, αληθης, from α privative and ληθω or λανθανω, to conceal) is out in the open, but wicked men, so to speak, put it in a box and sit on the lid and "hold it down in unrighteousness." Their evil deeds conceal the open truth of God from men. Cf. 2Th 2:6f. for this use of κατεχω, to hinder.
Because (διοτ). Gives the reason (δια, οτ like our "for that") for the revelation of God's wrath.
That which may be known of God (το γνωστον του θεου). Verbal adjective from γινωσκω, either "the known" as elsewhere in N.T. (Ac 1:19; 15:18 , etc.) or "the knowable" as usual in ancient Greek, that is "the knowledge" (η γνωσις) of God. See Php 3:8 . Cf. same use of the verbal χρηστον in Ro 2:4 , αμεταθετον in Heb 6:17 .
Manifest in them (φανερον εν αυτοις). In their hearts and consciences.
God manifested (ο θεος εφανερωσεν). First aorist active indicative of φανεροω. Not mere tautology. See 2:14-16.
The invisible things of him (τα αορατα αυτου). Another verbal adjective (α privative and οραω, to see), old word, either unseen or invisible as here and elsewhere in N.T. (Col 1:15f. , etc.). The attributes of God's nature defined here as "his everlasting power and divinity" (η τε αιδιος αυτου δυναμις κα θειοτης). Αιδιος is for αειδιος from αε (always), old word, in N.T. only here and Jude 1:6 , common in Philo (ζωη αιδιος), elsewhere αιωνιος. Θειοτης is from θειος (from θεος) quality of θεος and corresponds more to Latin divinitas from divus, divine. In Col 2:9 Paul uses θεοτης (Latin deitas from deus)
deity , both old words and nowhere else in the N.T. Θεοτης is Divine Personality, θειοτης, Divine Nature and properties (Sanday and Headlam).
Since the creation of the world (απο κτισεως κοσμου). He means by God and unto God as antecedent to and superior to the world (cf. Col 1:15f . about Christ).
Are clearly seen (καθορατα). Present passive indicative of καθοραω (perfective use of κατα-), old word, only here in N.T., with direct reference to αορατα.
Being perceived (νοουμενα). Present passive participle of νοεω, to use the νους (intellect).
That they may be without excuse (εις το εινα αυτους αναπολογητους). More likely, "so that they are without excuse." The use of εις το and the infinitive (with accusative of general reference) for result like ωστε is reasonably clear in the N.T. (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 219; Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003). Αναπολογητους is another verbal with αν from απολογεομα. Old word, in N.T. only here and Ro 2:1 ("inexcusable" here).
Because that (διοτ). As in verse 19.
Knowing God (γνοντες τον θεον). Second aorist active participle of γινωσκω, to know by personal experience. Definite statement that originally men had some knowledge of God. No people, however degraded, have yet been found without some yearning after a god, a seeking to find the true God and get back to him as Paul said in Athens (Ac 17:27 ).
Glorified not as God (ουχ ως θεον εδοξασαν). They knew more than they did. This is the reason for the condemnation of the heathen ( 2:12-16), the failure to do what they know.
Their senseless heart (η ασυνετος αυτων καρδια). Καρδια is the most comprehensive term for all our faculties whether feeling (Ro 9:2 ), will (1Co 4:5 ), intellect (Ro 10:6 ). It may be the home of the Holy Spirit (Ro 5:5 ) or of evil desires ( 1:24). See Mr 7:21f. for list of vices that come "out of the heart." Ασυνετος is a verbal adjective from συνιημ, to put together, and α privative, unintelligent, not able to put together the manifest evidence about God (verse 20). So darkness settled down on their hearts (εσκοτισθη, first aorist ingressive passive of σκοτιζω, to darken).
Professing themselves to be wise (φασκοντες εινα σοφο). Σοφο is predicate nominative with εινα in indirect discourse agreeing with φασκοντες (old verb, from φημ, to say, rare in N.T.) in case and number according to regular Greek idiom (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1038).
Became vain (εματαιωθησαν). Ingressive first aorist passive indicative of ματαιοω from ματαιος (empty). Empty reasonings as often today.
Became fools (εμωρανθησαν). Ingressive first aorist passive of μωραινω, to be a fool, old word from μωρος, a fool. An oxymoron or sharp saying, true and one that cuts to the bone.
For the likeness of an image (εν ομοιωματ εικονος). Both words, "a likeness which consists in an image or copy" (Lightfoot). See Php 2:7 for "likeness of men" and Col 1:15 for "image of God." Paul shows indignant contempt for these grotesque efforts to present pictures of a deity that had been lost (Denney). Why is it that heathen images of gods in the form of men and beasts are so horrible to look upon?
God gave them up (παρεδωκεν αυτους ο θεος). First aorist active indicative of παραδιδωμ, old and common verb to hand over (beside, παρα) to one's power as in Mt 4:12 . These people had already wilfully deserted God who merely left them to their own self-determination and self-destruction, part of the price of man's moral freedom. Paul refers to this stage and state of man in Ac 17:30 by "overlooked" (υπεριδων). The withdrawal of God's restraint sent men deeper down. Three times Paul uses παρεδωκεν here (verses 24,26,28 ), not three stages in the giving over, but a repetition of the same withdrawal. The words sound to us like clods on the coffin as God leaves men to work their own wicked will.
That their bodies should be dishonoured (του ατιμαζεσθα τα σωματα αυτων). Contemplated result expressed by του (genitive article) and the passive infinitive ατιμαζεσθα (from ατιμος, α privative and τιμος, dishonoured) with the accusative of general reference. Christians had a new sense of dignity for the body (1Th 4:4; 1Co 6:13 ). Heathenism left its stamp on the bodies of men and women.
Exchanged (μετηλλαξαν). First aorist active indicative of μεταλλασσω, old word for exchanging trade, only here and verse 26 in N.T. What a bargain they made, "the truth of God for (εν) the (τω) lie." "The price of mythology" (Bengel).
Worshipped (εσεβασθησαν). First aorist passive (used transitively) of σεβαζομα, old verb, used in late Greek like σεβομα, to worship.
Rather than the Creator (παρα τον κτισαντα). Placed side by side (παρα, the Creator and the creature, κτισις) they preferred the creature.
Who is blessed forever. Amen (ος εστιν ευλογητοσ. Αμην). One of Paul's doxologies which may come at any moment when he is greatly stirred, as in 9:5. Ευλογητος is verbal of ευλογεω.
Unto vile passions (εις παθη ατιμιας). Unto passions of dishonour. Παθος, old word from πασχω, to experience, originally meant any feeling whether good or bad, but in N.T. always in bad sense as here, 1Th 4:5; Col 3:5 (only N.T. examples).
That which is against nature (την παρα φυσιν). The degradation of sex is what Paul here notes as one of the results of heathenism (the loss of God in the life of man). They passed by the Creator.
Turned (εξεκαυθησαν). First aorist passive indicative, causative aorist, of εκκαιω, old verb, to burn out, to set on fire, to inflame with anger or lust. Here only in N.T.
Lust (ορεξε). Only here in N.T.
Unseemliness (ασχημοσυνην). Old word from ασχημον (deformed). In N.T. only here and Re 16:15 .
Recompense (αντιμισθιαν). See on 2Co 6:13 for only other N.T. instance of this late Pauline word, there in good sense, here in bad.
Which was due (ην εδε). Imperfect active for obligation still on them coming down from the past. This debt will be paid in full (απολαμβανοντες, pay back as in Lu 6:34 , and due as in Lu 23:41 ). Nature will attend to that in their own bodies and souls.
And even as they refused (κα καθως ουκ εδοκιμασαν). "And even as they rejected" after trial just as δοκιμαζω is used of testing coins. They tested God at first and turned aside from him.
Knowledge (επιγνωσε). Full knowledge (επ additional, γνωσις). They had a dim memory that was a caricature.
Unto a reprobate mind (εις αδοκιμον νουν). Play on ουκ εδοκιμασαν. They rejected God and God rejected their mental attitude and gave them over (verses 24,26,28 ). See this adjective already in 1Co 9:27; 2Co 13:5-7 . Like an old abandoned building, the home of bats and snakes, left "to do those things which are not fitting" (ποιειν τα μη καθηκοντα), like the night clubs of modern cities, the dives and dens of the underworld, without God and in the darkness of unrestrained animal impulses. This was a technical term with Stoics (II Macc. 6:4).
Being called with (πεπληρωμενους). Perfect passive participle of the common verb πληροω, state of completion, "filled to the brim with" four vices in the associative instrumental case (αδικια, unrighteousness as in verse 18, πονηρια, active wickedness as in Mr 7:22 , πλεονεξια, covetousness as in 1Th 2:5; Lu 12:15 , κακια, maliciousness or inward viciousness of disposition as in 1Co 5:8 ). Note asyndeton, no connective in the lists in verses 29-31. Dramatic effect. The order of these words varies in the MSS. and πορνεια, fornication, is not genuine here (absent in Aleph A B C).
Full of (μεστους). Paul changes from participle to adjective. Old adjective, rare in the N.T., like μεστοω, to fill full (only in Ac 2:13 in N.T.), stuffed full of (with genitive). Five substantives in the genitive (φθονου, envy, as in Ga 5:21 , φονου, murder, and so a paronomasia or combination with φθονου, of like sounding words, εριδος, strife, as in 2Co 12:16 , κακοηθιας, malignity, and here only in N.T. though old word from κακοηθης and that from κακος and ηθος, a tendency to put a bad construction on things, depravity of heart and malicious disposition.
Paul changes the construction again to twelve substantives and adjectives that give vivid touches to this composite photograph of the God abandoned soul.
Whisperers (ψιθυριστας). Old word from ψιθυριζω, to speak into the ear, to speak secretly, an onomatopoetic word like ψιθυρισμος (2Co 12:20 ) and only here in N.T.
Hateful to God (θεοστυγεις). Old word from θεος and στυγεω. All the ancient examples take it in the passive sense and so probably here. So στυγητος (Tit 3:13 ). Vulgate has deo odibiles.
Insolent (υβριστας). Old word for agent from υβριζω, to give insult to, here alone in N.T. save 1Ti 1:13 .
Haughty (υπερηφανους). From υπερ and φαινομα, to appear above others, arrogant in thought and conduct, "stuck up."
Boastful (αλαζονας). From αλη, wandering. Empty pretenders, swaggerers, braggarts.
Inventors of evil things (εφευρετας κακων). Inventors of new forms of vice as Nero was. Tacitus (Ann. IV. ii) describes Sejanus as facinorum omnium repertor and Virgil (Aen. ii. 163) scelerum inventor.
Without understanding (ασυνετους). Same word in verse 21.
Covenant-breakers (ασυνθετους). Another paronomasia or pun. Α privative and verbal συνθετος from συντιθημ, to put together. Old word, common in LXX (Jer 3:7 ), men "false to their engagements" (Sanday and Headlam), who treat covenants as "a scrap of paper."
Without natural affection (αστοργους). Late word, α privative and στοργη, love of kindred. In N.T. only here and 2Ti 3:3 .
Unmerciful (ανελεημονας). From α privative and ελεημων, merciful. Late word, only here in N.T. Some MSS. add ασπονδους, implacable, from 2Ti 3:3 . It is a terrible picture of the effects of sin on the lives of men and women. The late Dr. R. H. Graves of Canton, China, said that a Chinaman who got hold of this chapter declared that Paul could not have written it, but only a modern missionary who had been to China. It is drawn to the life because Paul knew Pagan Graeco-Roman civilization.
The ordinance of God (το δικαιωμα του θεου). The heathen knows that God condemns such evil practices.
But also consent with them (αλλα κα συνευδοκουσιν). Late verb for hearty approval as in Lu 11:48; Ac 8:1; 1Co 7:12 . It is a tragedy of American city government that so many of the officials are proven to be hand in glove with the underworld of law-breakers.
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