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Romans 1:1

The Epistle of Romans   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Study of Paul's Doctrine found in Romans 1:1 of his greeting to the Church in Rome

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NASB
1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake,
6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
These first seven verses are one complicated sentence in Greek (Paul often uses such long, complicated sentences) Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 36). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 36). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

Paul - means little

Born Roman Citizen
Grew up in Tarsus, one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire
Grew up around & exposed to Graeco-Roman customs, religions, and philosophies, and he apparently became fluent in Greek.
Often quotes Greek philosophers of his day, Aratus (), Menander (), and Epimenides ()
Paul’s expertise in Jewish law and thorough understanding of Greek and Roman culture made him ideally suited to proclaim the gospel among the Gentiles (non-Jews). Born a Roman citizen (), Paul grew up in Tarsus, one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire (located in the southeastern region of modern-day Turkey). In Tarsus, he was exposed to Graeco-Roman customs, religions, and philosophies, and he apparently became fluent in Greek. Paul’s quotations of thinkers like Aratus (), Menander (), and Epimenides () are evidence of his knowledge of Greek philosophy.
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Bond-servant: doulos slave

Sense: Slave - a person who is legally owned by someone else and whose entire livelihood and purpose was determined by their master.
The NT variously defines servant as a hired servant or hireling (; , ; ), more widely as slave (; , ; , ; ; , ; , , , ; ; ; ; ; ), and also as a domestic servant ()—such a person could not serve two masters (; ).
Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Trades and Occupations. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 2090). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Idea behind bond-servant found in NASB
“But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.
6. Bring him to God: that is, to the sanctuary (to render ‘to the judges’, with some editors, is explanation, not translation). The approach to the sanctuary is presumably to make a solemn declaration (swearing by YHWH), in the presence of witnesses, as to the status of the slave. Whether the doorpost is that of the sanctuary or of the home is, however, disputed. The latter seems preferable, in view of the nature of the ceremony, which made the slave a permanent member of the household. To bore the ear is probably to earmark as private property (as with animals today). There is, however, no clear ancient evidence that a pierced ear as such denoted slavery. The other possible connotation seems to be that of obedience (). On consecration, the priest’s right ear was smeared with blood, presumably with much the same significance ().
Cole, R. A. (1973). Exodus: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 173–174). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Idea of obedience NASB - this idea is carried on in verse 5
6 aSacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8 I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
The Psalmist uses the expression about his ears to denote that he is a servant of God, ready to do his will, as he further declares in verse eight. He seems to have in mind the ceremony by which a Hebrew servant, if desiring to stay with his master, might be bound to him for life: “if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life” (, see also ). This custom was observed not only by the Jews but also by many other ancient nations.
Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 318). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
The second line is difficult: lit., ‘ears thou hast dug for me’. Since ‘dug’ may mean ‘pierced’ (cf. 22:16, Heb. 17) it could allude to the ceremony of making a slave his master’s for ever (, using a different word). But the plural, ‘ears’, is a difficulty, and few accept this view. More probably it is a forceful parallel to the expressions used in .; ‘he wakens my ear’, ‘the Lord God has opened my ear’; speaking of the Servant’s training in perception and obedience. lxx, quoted by , has ‘a body hast thou prepared for me’. Whatever the origin of this reading, it carries forward the sense of dedication implied in the Hebrew text, and it is worth noting that in .
Kidner, D. (1973). : an introduction and commentary (Vol. 15, p. 177). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
The Popularity of this terms use among Christians:
Slave. Five NT authors called themselves “slaves [or servants] of Jesus Christ” (; ; ; ; Tm 2:24; ; ; ; ; ). In many cases the term is a synonym for “Christian.” Why would such a term become a name for Christians? In the OT God was viewed as a great king; the subjects of kings were their slaves, since a king could do with them as he liked. The people of Israel saw themselves in the same relationship to God: they were his slaves.
Often the title “slave of the king” meant that the person was an officer in the king’s service; it was a title of honor. In Jewish literature Moses and others were called slaves of God (, ; ).
The term “slave” was thus a title both of honor and of subjugation; in the NT it is hard to know which sense is intended. Certainly subjection was often meant (; ), but when applied to the apostolic writers the term probably suggested their honored position in God’s household. At the same time it indicated their obedience to Christ: he commanded and they obeyed. Since obedience was characteristic of all Christians, “slaves of Christ” became a title for members of the young church.
Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Christians, Names For. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 433). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Paul introduces himself as a "Servant of Christ."
As the Christians used it, the term conveys the idea of complete and utter devotion, not the abjectness which was the normal condition of the slave
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (pp. 36–37). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
The word here rendered “servant” means “bond-servant,” or one subject to the will and wholly at the disposal of another. In this sense it is applied to the disciples of Christ at large (), as in the Old Testament to all the people of God (). But as, in addition to this, the prophets and kings of Israel were officially “the servants of the Lord” (; , ), the apostles call themselves, in the same official sense, “the servants of Christ” (as here, and ; ; ; ), expressing such absolute subjection and devotion to the Lord Jesus as they would never have yielded to a mere creature
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 223). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
I think Vincent hits the nail on the head by combining both the idea of servanthood and sonship below:
The word involves the ideas of belonging to a master, and of service as a slave. The former is emphasized in Paul’s use of the term, since Christian service, in his view, has no element of servility, but is the expression of love and of free choice. From this stand-point the idea of service coheres with those of freedom and of sonship. Compare ; ; ; .
On the other hand, believers belong to Christ by purchase (; ; ), and own Him as absolute Master.
Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 3, p. 2). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
8:15 Adoption
Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Among the Greeks and Romans, when a man had no son, he was permitted to adopt one even though not related. He might, if he chose, adopt one of his slaves as a son. The adopted son took the name of the father, and was in every respect regarded and treated as a son. Among the Romans there were two parts to the act of adoption: one a private arrangement between the parties, and the other a formal public declaration of the fact. It is thought by some that the former is referred to in this verse, and the latter in verse 23, where the apostle speaks of “waiting for the adoption.” The servant has been adopted privately, but he is waiting for a formal public declaration of the fact.
After adoption, the son, no longer a slave, had the privilege of addressing his former master by the title of “father.” See .
Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 537). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
Christ Jesus Christ means Messiah, but it seems clear that Paul uses it as a Proper name for Jesus Jesus means Savior
The probability is that he here calls his Savior Christ Jesus (though some hold that the order of the words should be reversed). “Christ” of course means “Messiah”, and many think that Paul normally uses the term as a title.14 But Vincent Taylor argues convincingly that we should usually understand the word as a proper name in Paul. This is supported both by the way Paul uses it and the frequency with which he employs it. In all Paul uses the term 379 times out of its 529 New Testament occurrences (65 in Romans). The highest total in any non-Pauline writing is 25 in Acts. It is thus to Paul that we owe our habit of calling our Lord simply “Christ”. The Gospels show that during his lifetime the title was used of him but rarely and that Jesus himself preferred “the Son of man”. In the other non-Pauline writings “Christ” is used on occasion, but some other name is more usual. But Paul habitually used the term, and from him it has passed into the common Christian vocabulary. This does not mean that he has forgotten that it is a title with the meaning “Messiah”; sometimes he uses it in the strict sense. But usually we cannot press it. Jesus, the human name, of course, means “Savior”. Paul uses it 37 times (38 if 16:24 be accepted) in Romans and 213 (214) times in all (John with 237 references is the only writer with more). While he does not employ it as frequently as Christ, clearly Paul loves the human name. When he combines the two he prefers the order “Christ Jesus” to “Jesus Christ” by a margin of 73 to 18 (omitting 24 cases where the MSS are divided). But if he includes “Lord” the order is reversed, with “Jesus” coming first 49 times and “Christ” eight times.
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (pp. 37–38). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
Called as an Apostle
Called: Invited (to a banquet), called A. invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ B. called to (the discharge of) some office divinely selected and appointed Sense: summoned - denoting someone whose participation or presence has been officially requested (for something); especially a request to which refusal is not an option. Greek word occurs 10x's in the NT, Paul uses it 4x's in Romans & 7/10 in the NT. , , , , , , , , , .
The idea of a divine call is important for Paul, as we see from the fact that he uses the adjective called in seven of its ten New Testament occurrences. It stresses the priority of the divine (“neither self-appointed nor chosen by men”, Hodge). We should notice that for Paul the idea of call includes the notion of response. The “called” are those who have not only heard but have obeyed the divine call. Paul thinks of an “effectual call”. In stressing the thought of call Paul is not making an innovation. Many Old Testament worthies were called by God, such as Abraham (), Moses (.), Jeremiah (.), Amos (), and especially Isaiah (). Paul sees his task in life (like theirs) not as self-chosen, nor as mapped out for him by men (cf. ), but as God’s own call.
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 38). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
Apostle: sense: apostle-an envoy of Jesus Christ commissioned directly by Him or by other apostles normally someone who has been taught directly by Jesus and who is invested with the authority to speak on His behalf
The word means “someone who is sent, a messenger”.
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 39). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
apostle A person designated and sent to speak and act with special authority. Paul regularly introduces himself as an apostle in his letters (e.g., ; ; ). Paul’s use of the title “apostle” highlights that his authority was equal to that of the 12 apostles and that his commission was from Christ (compare ; ).
In the Gospels, the apostles exercise their office by proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, casting out demons, and performing healings—actions that express and extend Christ’s ministry (; ; ; ). In the book of Acts, Jesus commissions the apostles to be His witnesses to the end of the earth (). The apostles express this witness through their ministry of teaching, miraculous acts (), and planting of Christian communities (). The Church is built on the work of the apostles and prophets ().
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Set apart
Set apart for the gospel of God, that is, for the ministry of the gospel, long before his conversion; cf. , where he says that he was divinely set apart for this purpose before his birth. All the rich and diversified gifts of Paul’s heritage (Jewish, Greek and Roman), together with his upbringing, were foreordained by God with a view to his apostolic service. Cf. the risen Lord’s description of Paul as ‘a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles …’ ()
Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, pp. 77–78). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
set apart The Greek word used here, aphorizō, describes setting something or someone apart for a particular function or task. God set Paul apart to proclaim the gospel message about Jesus Christ. Like the prophet Jeremiah, Paul considered himself set apart before he was born (compare ; ).
God describes Paul as being set apart twice in Acts. After Paul’s conversion, God describes him as “my chosen instrument” (). Before Paul’s first missionary journey, the Holy Spirit instructs the church at Antioch to “set apart” (aphorizō) Paul and Barnabas for the work (). Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Gospel of God
the gospel of God Refers to the good news of Jesus coming to save humanity.
In this context, the Greek word for the gospel (or good news), euangelion, refers to a message—the good news about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It also might refer to the events that brought about salvation. When these two ideas are taken together, the gospel is the revelation of God’s righteous deeds that put people in right relationship with Himself. Being “of God,” the gospel and its promises depend upon God, not human effort—an important theme in this letter ().
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Word Study Euangelion
Definition
a proclamation of good news or a message of good news
English Translation
Versions
gospel
leb; nasb; esv; kjv
good news
niv; nlt
New Testament Occurrences
Gospels
12
Acts
2
Paul’s Letters
60
General Letters
1
Revelation
1
Total nt Uses
76
The term euangelion in the New Testament always means either the content of the good news that is being proclaimed or the act of proclaiming it. The New Testament does not use euangelion in the sense of the literary genre of “Gospel.”
The Gospel of Mark seems to open with a declaration of the content of the euangelion. It reads, “The beginning of the euangelion of Jesus Christ” (). This announcement could refer either to the good news “about” Jesus Christ or the good news proclaimed “by” Him. In the Gospel of Matthew, euangelion is clearly used in the latter sense, where the teachings by Jesus are called “the gospel of the kingdom” (; ). Mark’s phrase likely implies that Jesus is both the one who proclaims the good news and the very content of the news He proclaims.
Luke recounts Jesus saying that He was compelled by the Spirit of the Lord to preach the euangelion to the poor, providing release to the captives and sight for the blind ().
Paul is more explicit about the content, saying he preached the euangelion and the message was that Christ died for sins, was buried, and arose on the third day ().
Paul had to defend his euangelion against the attacks of those who were teaching “another euangelion” (). Opponents of Paul were teaching that outside the Torah there was no salvation. In order to obtain righteousness in the eyes of God, they were requiring that gentile Christians be circumcised and fulfill additional requirements of the Jewish law. If any euangelion was declared contrary to his, Paul threatened a curse on those proclaiming it ().
Seal, D. (2012, 2016). Euangelion. In Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Paul's Gospel
Gospel is a definitely Pauline word (60 times in Paul out of its 76 New Testament occurrences; nine times in Romans and Philippians is the most in any one book). It is found in every Pauline writing except Titus. The word basically means “good news”.23 In a Christian context there is no good news to compare with the news of what God has done in Christ for man’s salvation. It is this for which Paul is set apart. Some understand this to mean “set apart to preach the gospel”. It certainly includes this, but it is surely more. It means to be a gospel man, to live the gospel. Preaching is important, but then so is living. Paul’s call was to a way of life as well as to a task of preaching.
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 40). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
Paul on the Gospel
The ‘gospel of God’, his euangelion, is the joyful proclamation of the death and resurrection of his Son, and of the consequent amnesty and liberation which men and women may enjoy through faith in him.
Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, p. 78). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
The Old Testament background of the New Testament use of euangelion is found in the lxx of (especially ; ; ; ),
Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, p. 78). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
The Key Word in Romans "GOD"
God is the most important word in this epistle. Romans is a book about God. No topic is treated with anything like the frequency of God. Everything Paul touches in this letter he relates to God. In our concern to understand what the apostle is saying about righteousness, justification, and the like we ought not to overlook his tremendous concentration on God. There is nothing like it elsewhere.27
Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 40). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
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