I. Letter Opening (1:1-17)

A. Salutation (1:1-7)


The salutation follows the normal letter pattern of “A (writer) to B (recipient), greeting.” Paul expands the writer section (1:1-6) considerably, most likely because he had neither planted the church nor visited it. He uses that section to introduce both himself and the gospel he proclaims. The recipient (1:7a) and the greeting (1:7b) sections are comparable to those in Paul’s other letters.

Παῦλος    δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ,

κλητὸς ἀπόστολος

διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ

ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις

περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ

τοῦ γενομένου

ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ

κατὰ σάρκα,

τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει

κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης

ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν,

πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ,

κλητοῖς ἁγίοις,

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη

ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Verse 1

Παῦλος δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ

On Παῦλος, see Longenecker (48-50). Δοῦλος (nom. sg. masc. of δοῦλος, -οῦ, ὁ, “slave”) stands in apposition to Παῦλος—as do κλητός and ἀφωρισμένος—and is best understood in the positive sense of one subject to a superior, especially God (BDAG 260b). Paul also introduces himself as δοῦλος in Philippians and Titus; the term suggests total ownership and obedience. The genitive phrase Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ modifies δοῦλος and is possessive (“belonging to”) as well as objective (“one who serves”). Χριστός Ἰησοῦς occurs fifteen times elsewhere in Romans (cf. thirteen times for Ἰησοῦς Χριστός and thirty-six times for Χριστός) and is best understood as a title, “Messiah Jesus” (Longenecker 52-53). Despite comparatively weak manuscript support (10, B, 81), UBS5 gives the reading a {B} rating (cf. Metzger 446), which agrees with Paul’s tendency to prefer Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (85 times) over Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (25 times). Among others, the LXX describes Moses (2 Kgs 18:12; Rev 15:3), Joshua (Josh 24:29), and David (Ps 35:1) as δοῦλος κυρίου.

κλητὸς ἀπόστολος

Κλητός, -ή, -όν designates “God’s gracious call to life and salvation, which is always at the same time a call to faith, obedience, service” (Cranfield 51). Dunn (and most EVV) understand κλητὸς ἀπόστολος as “called to be an apostle” (8); Porter suggests “a called apostle” (84). God issues the divine summons (1 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:15; 2 Tim 1:9). Paul uses ἀπόστολος with three nuances: (1) a messenger sent on a specific task (Phil 2:25), (2) a commissioned missionary (Rom 16:7), and (3) one of the Twelve called directly by Christ (1 Cor 15:7). Here, Paul aligns himself with the third group as one who saw the risen Christ (cf. 1 Cor 9:1-2), received his commission directly from Christ (cf. Gal 1:1), and had his ministry validated by the signs and wonders of an apostle (cf. 2 Cor 12:12). “Apostle” is the most common self-designation in Paul’s salutations (1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 1 Tim 1:1; 2 Tim 1:1).

ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ

The substantival participle ἀφωρισμένος (nom. sg. masc. of pf. pass. ptc. of ἀφορίζω, “set apart”) further explains Παῦλος as “one who has been set apart” (divine pass.) for the work to which he was called (Gal 1:15; cf. Acts 13:2). In the LXX, God set apart both the Levites and Israel for special service (Num 8:11; Lev 20:26). The specific purpose (εἰς + acc.) for which Paul has been set apart relates to the εὐαγγέλιον (acc. sg. neut. of εὐαγγέλιον, -ου, τό, “gospel”) that originates with (gen. of source) and is about (obj. gen.) θεοῦ (Schreiner 37). Cranfield suggests that εὐαγγέλιον includes both the message of the good news and the activity of preaching that message (54 n. 2). Prepositional phrases commonly omit the article when the object is sufficiently definite (cf. BDF §255).

Verse 2

ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις

The relative clause introduced by (acc. sg. neut. of rel. pron. ὅς, ἥ, ὅ) further describes εὐαγγέλιον. The prefix προ- and the indirect middle make προεπηγγείλατο (3 sg. aor. mid. indic. of dep. προεπαγγέλλομαι, “promise from the beginning”) doubly emphatic (“he himself promised ahead of time”); the only other NT occurrence is in 2 Corinthians 9:5. The agents (διά + gen.) God used to “pre-promise” the gospel were τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ (“his prophets”). The article points to the prophets as a class (generic); αὐτοῦ is possessive (“belonging to”) as well as subjective (“sent by”). These prophets are the OT writers, because the means (ἐν + dat.) by which the promise was recorded is γραφαῖς ἁγίαις (“the holy Scriptures”). This verse is Paul’s only use of the full phrase, although γραφαῖς (dat. pl. fem. of γραφή, -ῆς, ἡ, “writing”) occurs elsewhere (Rom 15:5; 16:26; 1 Cor 15:3, 4). The absence of the art. might be qualitative (Murray 4) or, more likely, continues the style of 1:1 (Cranfield 56 n. 8).

Verse 3

περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ

The gospel concerns (περί + gen.) God’s Son. The article identifies the Son as one-of-a-kind (monadic); αὐτοῦ is anaphoric, referring back to θεοῦ (1:1). Paul calls Jesus υἱός 17 times, using various modifiers; “his Son” (Rom 1:3, 9; 5:10; 8:29; 1 Cor 1:9; Gal 1:16; 4:4, 6; Col 1:13) and “his own Son” (Rom 8:3, 32) are the most common. The focus is on the close relationship between God and Jesus (Dunn 11). See 1:4 on the title “Son of God.”

τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα

The adjectival participle τοῦ γενομένου (gen. sg. masc. of aor. mid. ptc. of dep. γίνομαι, “be, exist, come into being”) modifies υἱοῦ. The repetition of the article is common with the attributive participle (cf. R 778) and places emphasis on it (cf. BDF §270). Γίνομαι is more general than γεννάω (“to give birth”) and highlights the state of being rather than the event of giving birth (Dunn 12). In one respect (κατά + acc.), Jesus’s origin was human, with σάρκα (acc. sg. fem. of σάρξ, σαρκός, ἡ, “flesh”) indicating human lineage (cf. Rom. 4:1; 9:3, 5, 8; 11:14), not human nature that is hostile to God (cf. Rom 8:4, 5, 12, 13). Specifically, he was a descendant (ἐκ σπέρματος) of Δαυίδ (indecl. gen.) and, therefore, in the messianic line (2 Sam 7:12-16; cf. John 7:42). Longenecker notes that the connection between Christ and David is rare in Paul’s letters (65).

Verse 4

τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ

The participle τοῦ ὁρισθέντος (gen. sg. masc. of aor. pass. ptc. of ὁρίζω, “appoint, determine”) is parallel to τοῦ γενομένου and, therefore, adjectival. Elsewhere in the NT, ὁρίζω consistently means “to appoint, determine” (Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; 10:42; 11:29; 17:26, 31; Heb 4:7). The anarthrous phrase υἱοῦ θεοῦ (“Son of God”) is monadic. Υἱοῦ is a predicate genitive, and θεοῦ is a genitive of relationship. Paul uses the full title “Son of God” four other times (2 Cor 1:19; Gal 2:20; Eph 4:13; 1 Thess 1:10). Jewett designates it a royal title and proposes that both υἱός θεοῦ and ὁρίζω are derived from the royal decree language of Psalm 2:7 (104).

ἐν δυνάμει

Although Jewett links ἐν δυνάμει to ὁρισθέντος as instrumental (107), most other commentators link it to υἱοῦ θεοῦ (Cranfield 62; Dunn 14; Longenecker 69; Schreiner 42). Cranfield notes that elsewhere in the NT the phrase has the sense “invested with power” (62); Dunn suggests “in executive authority” (14). The preposition ἐν designates state/condition and could be translated “clothed with” (cf. BDAG 327b); the absence of the article makes δυνάμει (dat. sg. fem. of δύναμις, -εως, ἡ, “power”) qualitative. The noun itself carries the sense of might that works wonders (BDAG 262d) and is also used to describe Jesus’s earthly ministry (Acts 10:38). When the prepositional phrase is linked with ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ, it highlights the power inherent in Jesus’s enthronement as messianic king.

κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης

The parallel between this phrase and κατὰ σάρκα (1:3) has been understood as a contrast between Jesus’s human and divine natures, a contrast between Jesus’s outward qualifications and inward perfection, or a contrast between Jesus’s preresurrection (physical) and postresurrection (spiritual) modes of existence. Each of these interpretations sees πνεῦμα (acc. sg. neut. of πνεῦμα, -ατος, τό, “spirit”) as referring to Jesus’s personal spirit, with ἁγιωσύνης (gen. sg. fem. of ἁγιωσύνη, -ης, ἡ, “holiness”) attributing that quality to his spirit (e.g., Longenecker 72-75, “his spirit of holiness”). Since πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης is a literal translation of the Hebrew ruach qodesh (MT, Ps 51:13; Isa 63:10-11), however, it should be understood as a reference to the Holy Spirit (cf. Cranfield 62-64). When taken with the preceding phrase’s reference to power and the following phrase’s reference to the resurrection, therefore, the contrast is between Jesus’s humiliation in taking on “flesh” and his exaltation as the one with all power who sends the Holy Spirit.

ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν

Having previously referred to Jesus’s human birth (1:3), Paul now refers to his resurrection. (Note the parallel with ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυίδ.) Ἐκ + genitive marks temporal sequence (Schreiner 44; cf. BDAG 297d) and may be translated “at the time of.” Even without the article, ἀναστάσεως (gen. sg. fem. of ἀναστάσις, -εως, ἡ, “resurrection”) is definite (cf. Longenecker 76). The genitive νεκρῶν indicates separation—“out of, from among dead ones”—and is comparable to the more common ἐκ νεκρῶν (cf. Rom 4:24; 6:4, 9; 7:4; 8:11; 10:7, 9). Jesus’s resurrection inaugurates his exaltation and marks the key turning point in salvation history.

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (gen. sg. masc.) is in apposition to τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ (1:3) and frames the extended description of Jesus. Τοῦ κυρίου (gen. sg. masc. of κύριος, -ου, ὁ, “lord”) is in apposition to Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ and serves as the concluding title in Paul’s list. The article identifies Jesus Christ as the only κύριος worthy of consideration (par excellence). The personal pronoun ἡμῶν denotes those who are subject to Jesus (gen. of subord.). LXX regularly translates the divine name using κύριος (TDNT 3.1058-59). Paul calls Jesus κύριος 200+ times and incorporates it into the longer title frequently, using both the word order here (cf. 5:21; 7:25) and different word order (e.g., 6:23; 8:39). Cranfield says it “designates the glorified Christ, the incarnate Son of God, placed close to the Father and at the right hand of His majesty, to whom His believers render adoring worship” (65).

Verse 5

δι’ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν

Christ (antecedent of οὗ, gen. sg. masc. of rel. pron. ὅς, ἥ, ὅ) is also the agent (διά + gen.) “through whom” Paul received his role as an apostle. Ἐλάβομεν (1 pl. aor. act. ind. of λαμβάνω, “receive”) is an epistolary aorist and refers to Paul alone (cf. Rom 3:8-9; 1 Cor 9:11; 2 Cor 1:12; 1 Thess 3:1-2); the aorist tense is constative and refers to the event as a whole. Schreiner translates the compound direct object χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν as “gracious apostleship” to reflect the hendiadys (33; cf. BDF §442.16). A parallel construction in Romans 15:15 suggests “grace given in order to become an apostle” (cf. Jewett 109). Ἀποστολή, -ῆς, ἡ is the office of an apostle/special emissary (BDAG 121d); it is also a “ministry” (cf. Acts 1:25). See 1:7 for χάρις.

εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως

The purpose (εἰς + acc.) for which Christ placed Paul in the office of apostle relates to “the obedience of faith” (elsewhere only in Rom 16:26). Cranfield lists seven possible interpretations of ὑπακοὴν πίστεως (66). Most commentators lean toward a combination of genitive functions for πίστεως (gen. sg. fem. of πίστις, -εως, ἡ, “faith”). A “plenary genitive” (both subj. gen. and obj. gen.) understanding might be best: “obedience to the call of faith (the gospel) that results in a lifestyle of faithful obedience” (cf. Wallace 119-21). The ambiguity honors both Jewish (obedience) and Gentile (faith) concerns in Rome (Jewett 110). By repeating the same phrase in 16:26, Paul creates an inclusio that frames the letter (Longenecker 82).

ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ

The sphere (ἐν + dat.) of Paul’s ministry is “among all the Gentiles.” Πᾶσιν (dat. pl. neut. of πᾶς, πᾶσα, πᾶν, “all”) highlights universal scope; τοῖς points to the class (generic) of non-Jewish groups within Rome and the empire (Jewett 111); ἔθνεσιν (dat. pl. neut. of ἔθνος, -ους, τό, “nation, people”) occurs twenty-nine times in Romans and is best translated “Gentiles” (cf. Rom 11:13; Gal 1:16; 2:8). Paul ministers “for the sake of” (ὑπέρ + gen.) Jesus’s name, which Dunn equates with his “reputation” (18) and Cranfield equates with his “glory” (67). Paul’s perspective is a reminder that all ministry has God’s glory as its focus.

Verse 6

ἐν οἷς ἐστε καὶ ὑμεῖς κλητοὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

The relative pronoun οἷς (dat. pl. neut. of rel. pron. ὅς, ἥ, ὅ) refers back to the ἔθνεσιν “among whom” the readers are included. Most commentators see an indication that the Roman church is predominantly Gentile (e.g., Schreiner 36; contra Cranfield 68). Ἐστε (2 pl. pres. act. indic. of εἰμί, “be”) is a simple equative; καί is adjunctive (“also,” cf. R 1180); ὑμεῖς (“you”) adds emphasis. See 1:1 for κλητός. The genitive Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ denotes possession (“belonging to Jesus Christ”) rather than source “because God the Father always issues a divine call” (Longenecker 83; contra Cranfield 68). The expressed agent who calls is Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Cranfield notes that this verse is parenthetic but allows Paul to remind the Roman church that they are also within the scope of his apostolic ministry (67).

Verse 7

πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ

The dative phrase πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν identifies the recipients. Placing πᾶσιν first makes it emphatic and includes both the Gentile and Jewish Christians in Rome. The article is generic and is best understood with οὖσιν (masc. pl. dat. of pres. act. ptc. of εἰμί, “be”), although Jewett takes it with ἀγαπητοῖς (113). Ἐν Ῥώμῃ identifies the readers’ location. Metzger gives the reading an {A} rating, attributing the variant either to an accident in transmission or to a deliberate omission to show the general application of the letter (446).

ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις

Paul adds two appositives to describe the recipients. Ἀγαπητοῖς (dat. pl. masc. of ἀγαπητός, -ή, -όν, “beloved”) is a verbal adjective of ἀγαπάω and denotes those who are dearly loved (BDAG 7b); θεοῦ is a genitive of agency (BDF §183) as seen in the fuller construction with a passive participle elsewhere (Col 3:12; 1 Thess 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13). See 1:1 for κλητός. Ἁγίοις (dat. pl. masc. of ἅγιος, -α, -ον, “holy”) is also a verbal adjective that pertains to being separated or consecrated to the service of God (BDAG 11c) and is best translated “saints.” Paul uses it elsewhere in reference to believers as a whole (Rom 8:27; 12:13; 15:25); LXX uses it in reference to those who have been specially chosen and set apart (Ps 15:3; 33:10; Isa 4:3; Dan 7:18; 8:24).

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη

The conventional greeting in Greek letters was χαίρειν (“to wish well, greeting,” BDAG 1075b). Paul replaced χαίρειν with χάρις (nom. sg. fem. of χάρις, -ιτος, ἡ, “grace”) and added εἰρήνη (nom. sg. fem. of εἰρήνη, -ης, ἡ, “peace”) to it. Both are nominative absolutes found in introductory material. The personal pronoun ὑμῖν (dat. pl.) is anaphoric, pointing back to πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν. Robertson suggests that the optative verb εἴη (“be”) has dropped out (396); πληθυνείη (“be multiplied”) occurs in 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2; Jude 2. In general, χάρις connotes a benevolent disposition toward someone (BDAG 1079b); the NT use focuses on divine unmerited favor, encompassing both an event and a state (TDNT 10.393-99). Εἰρήνη corresponds to the Hebrew shalom and connotes a state of well-being and wholeness (BDAG 287d). The combination χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη, therefore, incorporates both Greek and Hebrew concepts.

ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

The sources (ἀπό + gen.) of grace and peace are the Father and the Son (cf. Cranfield 72; Longenecker 89). God is specifically designated πατρὸς ἡμῶν (“our Father”)—Jesus’s own way of addressing the Father (Matt 6:9; Luke 11:2; cf. Rom 8:14-17)—and occurs regularly in Paul’s salutations (1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3-4; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1, 3; 2 Thess 1:1-2; Phlm 3). The connective καί (“and”) places Jesus on an equal level with God the Father. The title κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ differs only in form from the similar title in 1:4.

For Further Study

1. Slave and Slavery (1:1)

Bartchy, S. S. ABD 6.65-73.

Bradley, K. Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A Study in Social Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Byron, J. Slavery Metaphors in Early Judaism and Pauline Christianity. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003.

Combes, I. A. H. The Metaphor of Slavery in the Writings of the Early Church from the New Testament to the Beginning of the Fifth Century. Sheffield: Sheffield University Press, 1998.

Glancy, J. Slavery in Early Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Harril, J. A. Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006.

Harris, M. J. Slave of Christ: A New Testament Metaphor for Total Devotion to Christ. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001.

Lyall, F. Slaves, Citizens, Sons: Legal Metaphors in the Epistles. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.

________. “Roman Law in the Writings of Paul—The Slave and the Freedman.” NTS 17 (1970-71): 73-79.

Rengstorf, K. TDNT 2.261-80.

Rupprecht, A. W. “Attitudes on Slavery among the Church Fathers.” Pages 261-77 in New Dimensions in New Testament Studies. Edited by R. N. Longenecker and M. C. Tenney. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974.

________. DPL 881-83.

Russel, K. C. Slavery as Reality and Metaphor in the Pauline Letters. Rome: Catholic Book Agency, 1968.

Westermann, W. L. The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1955.

Wiedemann, T. Greek and Roman Slavery. London: Croom Helm, 1981.

2. Apostle and Apostleship (1:1)

Agnew, F. H. “On the Origin of the Term Apostolos.” CBQ 38 (1976): 49-53.

________. “The Origin of the New Testament Apostle-Concept: A Review of Research.” JBL 105 (1986): 75-96.

Ashcraft, M. “Paul’s Understanding of Apostleship.” RevExp 55 (1958): 400-12.

Barnett, P. W. DPL 45-51.

Barrett, C. K. The Signs of an Apostle. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1972.

________. “Shaliaḥ and Apostle.” Pages 88-102 in Donum Gentilicum: New Testatment Studies in Honor of David Daube. Edited by E. Bammel, C. K. Barrett, and W. D. Davies. Oxford: Clarendon, 1978.

Brown, S. “Apostleship in the New Testament as an Historical and Theological Problem.” NTS 30 (1984): 474-80.

Buhner, J.-A. EDNT 1.142-46.

Clark, A. C. “Apostleship: Evidence from the New Testament and Early Christian Literature.” EvRevTh 13 (1989): 344-82.

Dorsey, D. “Paul’s use of Ἀπόστολος.” ResQ 28 (1986): 193-99.

Gavin, F. “Shaliach and ApostolosAThR 9 (1927): 250-59.

Geldenhuys, J. N. Supreme Authority. London: Marshall, 1953.

Kirk, J. A. “Apostleship since Rengstorf: Towards a Synthesis.” NTS 21 (1974-1975): 249-64.

Mosbech, H. “Apostolos in the New Testament.” Studia Theologica 2 (1948): 166-200.

Müller, D. and C. Brown. NIDNTT 1.126-37.

Rengstorf, K. H. TDNT 1.407-47.

Schmithals, W. The Office of Apostle in the Early Church. Translated by J. E. Steely. Nashville: Abingdon, 1969.

Schnackenburg, R. “Apostles Before and During Paul’s Time.” Pages 287-303 in Apostolic History and the Gospel. Edited by W. W. Gasque and R. P. Martin. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970.

3. Gospel (1:1)

Becker, U. NIDNTT 2.107-15.

Broyles, C. C. DJG 282-86.

Burrows, M. “The Origin of the Term ‘Gospel.’” JBL 44 (1925): 21-33.

Dodd, C. H. The Apostolic Preaching and Its Developments. London: Hodder, 1936.

Fitzmyer, J. A. “The Gospel in the Theology of Paul.” Pages 149-161 in To Advance the Gospel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Friedrich, G. TDNT 2.707-36.

Jervis, L. A., and P. Richardson. Gospel in Paul: Studies on Corinthians, Galatians and Romans for Richard N. Longenecker. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994.

Luter, A. B. DPL 369-72.

Martin, R. P. ISBE 2.529-32.

Spallek, A. J. “The Origin and Meaning of Euangelion in the Pauline Corpus.CTQ 57 (1993): 177-90.

Stagg, F. “Gospel in Biblical Usage.” RevExp 63 (1966): 5-13.

Stuhlmacher, P. “The Pauline Gospel.” Pages 149-72 in The Gospel and the Gospels. Edited by P. Stuhlmacher. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.

4. Resurrection (1:4)

Adams, E. W. EDBT 593-97.

Callan, T. Dying and Rising with Christ: The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2006.

Charlesworth, J. H., C. D. Elledge, and J. L. Crenshaw. Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Biblical Doctrine. New York: T&T Clark, 2006.

Dunn, J. D. G. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.

Faw, C. E. “Death and Resurrection in Paul’s Letters.” JBR 27 (1959): 291-98.

Gaffin, R. B. The Centrality of the Resurrection: A Study in Paul’s Soteriology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978.

Glasson, T. F. “Dying and Rising with Christ.” London Quarterly and Holborn Review 186 (1961): 286-91.

Grundmann, W. TDNT 7.781-97.

Harris, M. J. Raised Immortal: The Relation Between Resurrection and Immortality in New Testament Teaching. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.

Kreitzer, L. DPL 805-12.

Longenecker, R. N. Life in the Face of Death: The Resurrection Message of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Meyer, B. F. “Did Paul’s View of the Resurrection of the Dead Undergo Development?” TS 47 (1986): 363-87.

Nickelsberg, G. Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.

Stanley, D. M. Christ’s Resurrection in Pauline Soteriology. Rome: Pontifico Instituto Biblico, 1961.

Tannehill, R. C. Dying and Rising with Christ: A Study in Pauline Theology. Berlin: Töpelmann, 1967.

Wilson, W. E. “The Development of Paul’s Doctrine of Dying and Rising Again with Christ.” ExpTim 42 (1930-31): 562-65.

Wedderburn, A. J. M. Baptism and Resurrection: Studies in Pauline Theology against Its Graeco-Roman Background. Tübingen: Mohr, 1987.

5. Gentiles (1:5)

Boers, H. The Justification of the Gentiles: Paul’s Letters to the Galatians and Romans. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.

Brown, R. E. “Not Jewish Christianity and Gentile Christianity but Types of Jewish/Gentile Christianity.” CBQ 45 (1983): 74-79.

Campbell, W. S. Paul’s Gospel in an Intercultural Context: Jew and Gentile in the Letter to the Romans. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1991.

Chae, D. J.-S. Paul as Apostle to the Gentiles: His Apostolic Self-Awareness and Its Influence on the Soteriological Argument in Romans. Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1997.

de Lacy, D. R. DPL 335-39.

Donaldson, T. Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle’s Convictional World. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1997.

Downs, D. J. “‘The Offering of the Gentiles’ in Romans 15.16.” JSNT 29 (2006): 173-86.

Gathercole, S. J. “A Law unto Themselves: The Gentiles in Romans 2.14-15 Revisited.” JSNT 85 (2002): 27-49.

Hengel, M. Jews, Greeks, and Barbarians: Aspects of the Hellenization of Judaism in the pre-Christian Period. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980.

Kaylor, R. D. Paul’s Covenant Community: Jew and Gentile in Romans. Atlanta: John Knox, 1988.

Lieu, H. Neither Jew nor Greek? Constructing Early Christianity. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2002.

Stendahl, K. Paul Among Jews and Gentiles. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976.

Stowers, S. A Rereading of Romans: Justice, Jews and Gentiles. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.

Watson, F. Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.

6. Grace (1:7)

Breytenbach, C. “Charis” and “Eleos” in Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Leuven: Peeters, 2009.

Conzelmann, H., and W. Zimmerli. TDNT 9.372-402.

Doughty, D. J. “The Priority of Charis: An Investigation of the Theological Language of Paul.” NTS 19 (1972-73): 163-80.

Eastman, B. The Significance of Grace in the Letters of Paul. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.

Esser, H.-H. NIDNTT 2.115-24.

Hardman, O. The Christian Doctrine of Grace. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

Harrison, J. R. Paul’s Language of Grace in its Graeco-Roman Context. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003.

Lieu, J. M. “‘Grace to you and Peace’: The Apostolic Greeting.” BJRL 68 (1985): 161-78.

Luter, A. B. DPL 372-74.

Manson, W. “Grace in the New Testament.” Pages 33-60 in The Doctrine of Grace. Edited by W. T. Whitley. London: SCM, 1932.

Moffatt, J. Grace in the New Testament. New York: Long & Smith, 1932.

Smith, C. R. The Bible Doctrine of Grace and Related Doctrines. London; Epworth, 1956.

Torrance, T. F. The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959.

Homiletical Suggestions

Introductory Salutation (1:1-7)

  1. The writer: the apostle Paul (1:1-5)
  2. The recipients: the saints in Rome (1:6-7a)
  3. The greeting: grace and peace (1:7b)

Paul, the Gospel, and Jesus (1:1-5)

  1. Paul: a slave, separated for the gospel, an apostle to the Gentiles (1:1, 5)
  2. The gospel: concerning Jesus, promised by the prophets, recorded in the Old Testament (1:2)
  3. Jesus: Davidic Messiah, Son of God, our Lord (1:3-4)

B. Thanksgiving (1:8-12)


The thanksgiving section consists of both the thanksgiving proper and a prayer report. The thanksgiving proper includes the expression of thanksgiving (1:8a) and the reason for it (1:8b). The prayer report includes the expression of prayer (1:9a-b), the content of the prayer (1:9c), and Paul’s desire for a visit as the reason for the prayer (1:11-12).

Πρῶτον μὲν εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου

διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν

ὅτι ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν καταγγέλλεται ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ.

ἐπιποθῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς,

ἵνα τι μεταδῶ χάρισμα ὑμῖν πνευματικὸν

εἰς τὸ στηριχθῆναι ὑμᾶς

τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν συμπαρακληθῆναι ἐν ὑμῖν

διὰ τῆς ἐν ἀλλήλοις πίστεως ὑμῶν τε καὶ ἐμοῦ.

Verse 8

Πρῶτον μὲν εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου

Used as an adverb of time, πρῶτον (neut. sg. acc. of πρῶτος, -η, -ον, “first”) marks the first item in a sequence and may be translated “to begin with” (BDAG 893d). Jewett’s suggestion that it denotes Paul’s main purpose in writing seems unlikely (117). The postpositive particle μέν without δέ following adds emphasis (BDAG 630c; cf. Rom 3:2; 1 Cor 11:18). Εὐχαριστῶ (1 sg. pres. act. indic. of εὐχαριστέω, “give thanks”) is a customary present denoting an action that happens on a regular basis; it takes a dative direct object (BDAG 415d). The definite article is monadic denoting “one of a kind.” Cranfield notes that Paul uses τῷ θεῷ μου comparatively rarely (74; cf. 1 Cor 1:4; 2 Cor 12:21; Phil 1:3; 4:19; Phlm 4). The genitive pronoun μου denotes personal devotion rather than ownership or possession (cf. Dunn 28).

διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν

The phrase διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ denotes the agent (διά + gen.) through whom Paul gives thanks and highlights his apostolic authority (Schreiner 49). It displaces the adverb πάντοτε, which subsequently appears in verse 10. He gives thanks “on behalf of” (περί + gen.) all the Roman believers (cf. BDF §229.1). Πάντων (gen. pl. masc. of πᾶς, πᾶσα, πᾶν, “all”) echoes 1:5 and 1:7 and highlights Paul’s inclusive focus (Longenecker 105).

ὅτι ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν καταγγέλλεται ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ

Ὅτι introduces the reason for Paul’s thanksgiving. The definite article frequently precedes abstract nouns. Some aspect of the recipients’ faith is a common element in Paul’s thanksgiving sections (cf. Eph 1:15-16; Col 1:3-4; 1 Thess 1:2-3; 2 Thess 1:3-4). Here, it is both the Romans’ initial exercise of faith and their faithful lifestyle (cf. 1:5) that is repeatedly (iter. pres.) being proclaimed (3 sg. pres. pass. indic. of καταγγέλλω, “proclaim, announce”). The sphere (ἐν + dat.) in which that proclamation occurs is ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ. Ὅλος, -η, -ον (“whole, entire, complete”) regularly occurs before nouns with the art. (BDAG 704b). Although Cranfield views the phrase as hyperbolic (75 n. 2), Jewett notes that events in Rome were commonly reported throughout the empire (120). Schreiner suggests either the Pauline churches (cf. Rom 16:19) or the area from Jerusalem to Illyricum (Rom 15:19) as options (49).

Verse 9

μάρτυς γάρ μού ἐστιν ὁ θεός

As further explanation (γάρ) of his interest in the Romans, Paul describes his prayers for them. Paul uses similar “witness formulas” (Moo 58) when he is particularly concerned to attest to the truth of what he is saying (cf. 2 Cor 1:23; Phil 1:8; 1 Thess 2:5, 10). Placing μάρτυς (nom. sg. masc. of μάρτυς, -υρος, ὁ, “witness”) first makes it emphatic. Μου (obj. gen.) indicates that God testifies on Paul’s behalf. The article marks θεός as the subject of εἰμί.

ᾧ λατρεύω ἐν τῷ πνεύματί μου ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ

The relative pronoun (dat. sg. masc.) introduces a parenthetical comment about Paul’s devotion to God. Λατρεύω (1 sg. pres. act. indic. of λατρεύω, “serve, worship”) often describes the act of carrying out religious duties (TDNT 4.59-61) and includes Paul’s prayers for the Romans within the scope of his apostolic ministry (cf. Rom 15:16). The manner (ἐν + dat.) by which Paul serves is τῷ πνεύματί μου (“by/with my spirit”). The definite article occurs regularly with the possessive pronoun Cranfield notes that πνεύματι (dat. sg. neut. of πνεῦμα, -ατος, τό, “spirit”) can be understood in at least seven ways (76). Paul’s own spirit is more likely than the Holy Spirit (e.g., KJV, RSV, NASB, NEB; contra Jewett 121); Schreiner understands it as “wholehearted service with all his being” (51; cf. Longenecker 110; cf. GNB, NIV, CEV). The sphere (ἐν + dat.) of that service is τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ (R 589). The definite article is anaphoric, pointing back to 1:1 where εὐαγγέλιον is anarthrous. Τοῦ υἱοῦ is an objective genitive (“about”); see 1:3 for “his Son.”

ὡς ἀδιαλείπτως μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιοῦμαι

μάρτυς (BDAG 1105c; cf. Phil 1:8; 1 Thess 2:10) and is equivalent to