Romans 1:8-17 | Session 2 | Romans Rightly Divided .

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by Randy White Ministries Tuesday, Nov 1, 2022

Romans Verse-by-Verse

Session 2 | Romans 1:8-17

Romans 1:8-15 | The Apostle's Desire: A Spiritual Gift
Supplemental: Romans Graphically Presented, pg. 8
Romans 1:8 | Your Faith
Verse 8 - Black
Paul is most grateful to God for the Romans, especially that their faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. This dramatic phrase is restated in Romans 16:19. Could it be possible that the whole world knew and spoke about the faith of these Jewish Roman believers? I will simply take Paul at his word, believing that some course of events has taken place that brought this particular group of Messianic Jews into international prominence. This doesn't require that every person knows about the Roman believers, but certainly in every place there is some knowledge. Whatever the cause, Paul is grateful that their faith has come into prominence.
The prominence also makes this epistle all-the-more important at the time of writing. The Roman congregation of believing Jews is undoubtedly influential throughout both the Jewish and the Gentile world. What better group with whom to give a theological explanation of God's latest revelation?
Romans 1:9-10 | Paul's Testimony
Verse 9 -- Black
Paul joins with a worldwide audience to join in praise of the Roman congregation. He mentions, specifically, that he serves God with my spirit. This is not the Holy Spirit, but Paul's spirit. Paul used the same Greek phrase in 2 Corinthians 2:13 (I had no rest in my spirit). We might say, "I gave it my all," or "I serve with every breath I have."
“full-spirit" service is in the gospel of his Son. There is no reason to believe that this gospel is any different than in the previous verses, namely, the Kingdom Gospel.
Just as throughout the whole world (v. 8) can be taken literally without requiring inclusion of every individual, so without ceasing can be taken literally without including every moment. As Paul prayed, he always prayed for the Romans.
Verse 10 -- Black
Paul's never-ending request when he prays for the Romans is that he might be able to make a visit. Not making the visit, however, will not stop him from sharing the information concerning the mystery, for he shall share it in this epistle.
Romans 1:11 | A Spiritual Gift
Verse 11 -- Black
While Paul would rather share the information he is about to share in person, his desire to impart...some spiritual gift is so strong that he will do so by epistle.
This spiritual gift is one that will work to the end you may be established. And what might that spiritual gift be? It is of interest that Paul uses the same Greek word (στηρίζω [sterizo]) in Romans 16:25, speaking of him that is of the power to stablish you. This strength of standing would come according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery (Rom. 16:25).
Could it be that Paul is announcing that he wants to share the mystery given to him,* and that it is this message which would establish* them? This, of course, would imply that they did not yet know this message. Despite knowing about Jesus, believing Him to be the Christ, and likely even having experienced the Pentecostal work of the Holy Spirit, they are still Kingdom-only believers. Paul knows that they will be confused rather than established if he does not explain the new revelation.
It is my contention that such explanation is the purpose of the book of Romans. Furthermore, that unless one understands the mystery he or she is wandering in confusion. Today, we share the Pauline message so that those who hear us may be established.
If my contention is correct, then this would put the Roman believers in the same position as Apollos. He was mighty in the scriptures (Acts 18:24) but did not of the Pauline message. After learning this, he was able to be of great service to those which had believed through grace (Acts 18:27). If we use Usher's dating, this was about A.D. 56, with the writing of Romans just a few years later (A.D. 58-60). Such timing seems reasonable.
Romans 1:12-15 | The Desired Manifestation of Pauline Truth Worldwide
Verse 12 -- Black
Paul's desire is that the Romans would have a mutual faith, and so we must presume that at the time of the writing the faith was not held in common. The difference between his faith and the Roman's faith was not related to Jesus Christ, for they both believed Him to be the Messiah who had died, risen, and ascended to heaven to return someday. The difference was that the Romans only knew about the gospel of God (Rom. 1:1) whereas Paul also knew about the dispensation of the grace of God (Eph. 3:2), which Paul would later call my Gospel.
Verse 13 - Black
Paul desires that the Romans understand that oftentimes he had planned to make a visit but was let hitherto. The parenthetical phrase is difficult for modern ears. The Greek is κωλύω [kuluo], which means hindred. So why does the King James Bible use the word let? How can a word which means given permission come to mean not given permission? The Oxford English Dictionary has two entries for the verb let, “To hinder, prevent, obstruct, stand in the way of (a person, thing, action, etc.)." It is this archaic usage used in verse 13.
Paul's desire is to have some fruit among you, doubtless speaking of spiritual fruit. He claims that he has had fruit among other Gentiles“proof" that the Roman audience is not Jews, but Gentiles. However, one must remember that the Greek ἔθνος“among other nations." Even if taken to be the uncircumcised, this verse would not prove the uncircumcision of the Roman audience, only that Paul had had some fruit among an uncircumcised audience in other locations. Furthermore, Romans 2:17 would argue against any conclusion that said the recipients are uncircumcised.
Verses 14-15 -- Black
Paul claims to be a debtor to all, mentioning Greeks and Barbarians as well as wise and unwise. He likely mentions these social groups simply as a means of displaying his obligation to all people. And being a debtor to all, he is eager to go to Rome also.
Romans 1:16-17 | An Unashamed Apostle
**Supplemental: Romans Graphically Presented, pg. 9
Verse 16 -- Black
I am convinced that Paul is stating upfront that he is not ashamed of the Kingdom gospel. The gospel of Christ is the good news of the Messiah. It is this gospel (and only this gospel) that is to the Jew first. For how could a gospel in which there is neither Jew nor Greek (Gal. 3:28) have a need to go to the Jew first?
The Gospel of the Messiah was absolutely to go to the Jew first. See, for example, Acts 3:25-26. And Acts 13:46 says that it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you. The necessity was due to all the covenant promises and prophecies. So, to the Jew first is not just a kind word expressing what had happened but was expressing what must have happen. The nations would be blessed only through redeemed Israel.
After the Jewish nation rejected the gospel of Christ, the nation began a diminishing which took place over the course of the Pauline epistles, in which Israel had a diminishing role in the work of God. In our day, we *must not put anyone first* in priority to receive the Gospel (see Rom. 10:12).
Note: the modern versions omit the words of Christ. In doing so they make it more likely that the student of Scripture will misinterpret this passage.
Verse 17 -- Black
The word therein refers to the gospel of Christ. It is in this Messianic gospel that the righteousness of God is revealed.
The revelation happens from faith to faith. This is a difficult phrase, perhaps indicating that only those with faith will be able to see it.
The use of Habakkuk 2:4 indicates that the mystery message is not in view, as it was not known in Habakkuk's day. Rather, the context of Habakkuk 2 is the judgment taking place at the beginning of the Messianic age.

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