Romans 1

DISCOURSE UNIT: 1:1-17 [BECNT, NAC, NICNT, St, WBC; CEV]. The topic is the letter opening [NICNT], the introduction [NAC], introduction, greetings, and statement of the letter’s theme [WBC], Paul and the message of good news [CEV], God’s uprightness revealed through the gospel [BECNT], the gospel and Paul’s desire to share it [St].

DISCOURSE UNIT: 1:1-15 [AB, Gdt, ICC1, Mor, TNTC; REB, TEV]. The topic is introduction [AB, ICC1, Mor], introduction and theme [TEV], preface [Gdt], prologue [TNTC], the gospel of Christ [REB].

DISCOURSE UNIT: 1:1-7 [AB, BECNT, GNT, Ho, ICC1, ICC2, Mor, Mu, NTC, SSA, St, TNTC, WBC; CEV, GW, NET, NIV, NLT, TEV], The topic is salutation [GNT, Ho, ICC1, Mor, Mu, NAC, NTC, TNTC, WBC; NET], salutation; the gospel concerning his son [BECNT], the Apostolic salutation [ICC1], prescript [NICNT], superscription, address, and salutation [ICC2], address and greetings [AB], introduction and greetings [WBC], greeting [GW], address and salutation [ICC2], the address [Gdt, HNTC], opening and blessing [SSA], greetings from Paul [NLT], Paul and the gospel [St], this division with no heading given [CEV, NIV, TEV].

1:1 Paul, a-slavea of-Christ Jesus,

TEXT—Instead of Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ ‘Christ Jesus’, some manuscripts have Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ‘Jesus Christ’. GNT selects the reading Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ ‘Christ Jesus’ with a B rating, indicating that the text is almost certain. The reading Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ‘Jesus Christ’ is read by KJV, NLT, and NRSV.

LEXICON — a. δοῦλος (LN 87.76 ) (BAGD 4. p. 206): ‘slave’ [AB, BAGD, BECNT, HNTC, ICC2, LN, NICNT, WBC; NET, NLT], ‘servant’ [NTC; CEV, GW, KJV, NCV, NIV, NRSV, REB], ‘bond servant’ [NASB].

QUESTION—What is the significance of the word order Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ‘Christ Jesus’?

  1. The order ‘Christ Jesus’ is a reference to Jesus’ role as Messiah [BECNT, Gdt, ICC2, NICNT, NTC, WBC], When using both terms, Paul prefers ‘Christ Jesus’ (80 times) much more than ‘Jesus Christ’ (25 times), and uses it more than other NT writers. For Paul, the order highlights the fact that Jesus is the Messiah [NICNT],
  2. Paul uses the combination as a proper name, not a title [AB, Mor].

QUESTION—What is meant by δοῦλος ‘slave’?

The use of the term is probably patterned on the Old Testament phrase ‘servant of Yahweh’ [AB, BECNT, HNTC, Ho, ICC2, Mu, NAC, NICNT, NTC, TH, WBC]. Paul may be affirming that he stands in the true succession of the prophets, since this term was applied to Abraham, Moses, and the OT prophets from the time of Amos on [Mor], The term carries some sense of special office, service, and authority [HNTC, Ho, ICC2]. It indicates a special ministry, though one that exhibits the submission that all believers owe the Lord [Gdt]. It expresses Paul’s absolute submission to the authority of Christ [Ho]. The term emphasizes total submission, commitment, obedience, and humility [AB, Ho, ICC2, NICNT], complete and utter devotion [Mor], as well as God’s absolute ownership [ICC2].

(a) calleda apostleb


  1. κλητός (LN 33.314, 33.312) (BAGD p. 436): ‘called’ [LN, NTC], ‘called (to be)’ [AB, BAGD, BECNT, LN, NICNT, WBC; GW, KJV, NASB, NET, NIV, NRSV], ‘called (as)’ [NASB], ‘called by God (to be)’ [BECNT; REB], ‘God called me (to be)’ [NCV] ‘God chose me (to be)’ [CEV], ‘chosen by God (to be)’ [NLT], The phrase κλητὸς ἀπόστολος ‘a called apostle’ is translated ‘by divine call an apostle’ [HNTC], ‘apostle by God’s calling’ [ICC2], ‘an apostle chosen (to preach)’ [TEV].
  2. ἀπόστολος(LN 53.74) (BAGD 3. p. 99): ‘apostle’ [AB, BAGD, BECNT, HNTC, ICC2, LN, NICNT, NTC, WBC; all versions].

QUESTION—Who κλητὸς ‘called’ Paul?

God called Paul [AB, Gdt, HNTC, Ho, ICC1, ICC2, Mor, NAC, NICNT, NTC, TH]. It means that Paul’s appointment to be an apostle took place at God’s initiative, and thus his teachings bear the authority of God [AB, HNTC, ICC1, NAC, NICNT]. He was called, chosen, and appointed by God, not by men, to this sacred office [Ho, NTC]. This word is used by Paul of those whose lives and purposes have been determined by the power of God’s summons [WBC], It expresses God’s initiative and choosing as opposed to self-appointment or choice by other men [Gdt, Ho, ICC1, ICC2, Mor, NAC], In Galatians 1:1, Paul says that he was sent be both by Jesus Christ and God the Father. Some commentaries relate the calling to Jesus’ appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus [Ho, St, WBC], Paul was set apart and commissioned by virtue of his conversion on the Damascus road and the agent is presumably Christ whom he saw then [WBC],

QUESTION—What is meant by ἀπόστολος ‘apostle’?

The word is used to designate someone sent to deliver a message or to act as an authorized representative [AB, BAGD, NTC], It designates those commissioned by Christ [AB, ICC2], sent to bear witness or preach in his name [AB], It is someone chosen and commissioned by Christ himself to proclaim in his name the message of salvation [Ho], Apostles are those appointed by Christ to be his messengers or witnesses [Ho, NICNT, NTC, St, TH, WBC], It is sometimes used elsewhere to designate a larger group of ministers of the gospel [ICC1, ICC2, NICNT, NTC, TH, WBC],

having-been-set-aparta forb (the) gospelc of-God,


  1. perf. pass. participle of ἀφορίζω(LN 37.97) (BAGD 2. p. 127): ‘to be set apart’ [AB, BAGD, BECNT, HNTC, ICC2, LN, NICNT, NTC, WBC; NASB, NET, NIV, NRSV, REB], ‘to be appointed’ [BAGD, LN; CEV, GW], ‘to be separated’ [KJV], ‘to be sent out’ [NLT], ‘to be called’ [TEV]. This passive participle is translated as an active verb phrase: ‘God chose me’ [NCV].
  2. εἰς (LN 89.57) (BAGD 4.d. p. 229): ‘for’ [BAGD, BECNT, HNTC, ICC2, NICNT, NTC, WBC; NASB, NET, NIV, NRSV, REB], ‘unto’ [KJV], ‘for the purpose of’ [LN], ‘for the service of’ [REB], ‘to preach’ [CEV, NLT, TEV], ‘to tell’ [NCV], ‘to spread’ [GW].
  3. εὐαγγέλιον (LN 33.217) (BAGD 2.b.β. p. 318): ‘gospel’ [AB, BAGD, BECNT, LN, NICNT, NTC, WBC; KJV, NASB, NET, NIV, NRSV, REB], ‘good news’ [BAGD, LN; CEV, GW, NCV, NLT], ‘Good News’ [HNTC; NLT, TEV], ‘message of good news’ [ICC2]. The phrase εἰς εὐαγγέλιον ‘for the gospel’ is translated ‘for the work of proclaiming the gospel’ [ICC2].

QUESTION—What is the relationship between the phrase ἀφωρισμένος εἰς ‘set apart for’ and the term κλητὸς ‘called’?

This phrase ‘set apart for’ functions as a further definition and explanation of what it means to be called [BECNT, Ho, Mu, NICNT, WBC]. These two phrases are parallel and belong inseparably together since as an apostle it was Paul’s task to proclaim the gospel [ICC2, Mu, St]. There is perhaps an allusion to the calling of the OT prophets [BECNT, HNTC], or to the separating of Israel from among the nations [AB, ICC2, Mor, NICNT, St]. By the use of ἀφωρισμένος ‘having been set apart’ Paul may be alluding to his being chosen for this task ‘from the womb’ (Gal 1:5) [Gdt, HNTC, Ho, ICC1, ICC2, Mor, NAC, NTC, TNTC, WBC].

QUESTION—What is meant by being set apart εἰς ‘for’ the gospel?

It indicates the purpose for which Paul was set apart, namely the special purpose and activity of proclaiming the gospel [AB, BECNT, Gdt, HNTC, Ho, ICC1, ICC2, Mor, NAC, NICNT, NTC, SSA, St, TH, TNTC, WBC; NCV], the good news about salvation made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ [TH]. The word ‘gospel’ here may mean more than just a message proclaimed, that the gospel itself is part of the event or operation through which God brings salvation [HNTC], Paul is saying that he is dedicated to a life of believing in, obeying, and proclaiming God’s act of sending his son for the salvation of the world [NICNT], that he is called to a way of life, not just proclaiming a message [Mor], that the gospel was the dominant focus of his life [WBC].

QUESTION—What is the meaning of the genitive phrase εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ ‘gospel of God’?

It indicates that God is the source of the gospel [AB, Gdt, HNTC, Ho, ICC1, ICC2, Mor, Mu, NAC, NICNT, SSA, St, TH, WBC]. It is the gospel revealed by God [St], set forth by God [HNTC], sent by God [NICNT]. It is God’s good news, and it is revealed and entrusted to the apostles by God himself [St]. The source of the gospel is God’s eternal purpose and his concern for his people, and his will to save them [Mor]. It speaks of the divine origin and character of the gospel, God’s message of salvation to lost men [Mu], Or, the gospel is both from God and about him [BECNT]. It is the gospel about what God has done [Mor, NTC], It is about God and how he has revealed himself in his son [BECNT],

1:2 which he-promised-beforehanda throughb his prophets inc holyd Scripturese


  1. aorist mid. (deponent = act.) indic. of προεπαγγέλλομαι(LN 33.287) (BAGD p. 705): 'tο promise beforehand’ [BAGD, BECNT, ICC2, LN, NTC; NASB, NET, NIV, NRSV], 'tο promise already’ [GW], 'tο promise long ago’ [AB; CEV, NCV], 'tο promise in the past’ [HNTC], 'tο promise afore’ [KJV], 'to announce beforehand’ [REB], This active voice is also translated as a passive: ‘promised long ago by God’ [NLT, TEV], ‘which was promised beforehand’ [NICNT, WBC].
  2. διά with genitive object (LN 90.4) (BAGD A.III.2.a. p. 180): ‘through’ [AB, BECNT, HNTC, ICC2, LN, NICNT, NTC, WBC; all versions except CEV, KJV], ‘by’ [BAGD, LN; KJV], ‘by (what his prophets said)’ [CEV], ‘by means of [LN].
  3. ἐν with dative object (LN 83.13): ‘in’ [AB, BECNT, HNTC, ICC2, LN, NICNT, NTC, WBC; all versions except TEV], ‘as written in’ [TEV]
  4. ἁγίαις (LN 88.24) (BAGD 1.A.α. p. 9): ‘holy’ [BECNT, HNTC, ICC2, NICNT, WBC; all versions except REB], ‘sacred’ [AB, BAGD, NTC; REB]. This term emphasizes the divine origin and authority and trustworthiness of these writings [Gdt, ICC1, Mor, Mu, TH].
  5. γραφαῖς‘Scriptures’ (LN 33.54) (BAGD 2.b.α. p. 166): ‘the Scriptures’ [AB, BECNT, ICC2, NICNT, NTC, WBC; all versions], ‘the sacred writings of the OT’ [LN], ‘writ’ [HNTC].

QUESTION—What is the point of reference in time indicated by ‘promised beforehand’?

Paul means that the gospel was promised in the OT [Ho, ICC2, Mor, Mu, NAC, NICNT, TH], and the gospel is a fulfillment of OT promises [BECNT, ICC2].

QUESTION—Who were the prophets referred to here?

The prophets are all those whom we would normally designate by that term [AB, BECNT, Ho, ICC2, Mor, Mu, NICNT, NTC, St, TH], and also men like David and Moses [ICC2, Mor, Mu, NICNT, NTC, TH]. It refers to all OT writers and not just those strictly designated prophets [Ho, Mor]. The use of this phrase may indicate Paul’s wish to emphasize God’s personal involvement and authority behind the message of these prophets [WBC], and the close relation between a prophet and God [Gdt],

QUESTION—What are the writings being referred to by the phrase γραφαῖς ἀγίαις ‘holy scriptures’?

The phrase ‘holy scriptures’ is meant to designate all of the OT Scriptures [BAGD, ICC2, Mor, NICNT, St, TH, WBC]. Paul wants to stress that the gospel is the fulfillment of those scriptures [AB, Gdt, HNTC, Ho, ICC2, Mor, Mu, NAC, NICNT, NTC, St, WBC]. These scriptures should not be limited to some specific portion of the OT, but understood to mean that all of the OT is prophetic [NICNT], Paul may have been particularly thinking of passages dealing with the glorious future of Israel since he uses the term εὐαγγέλιον ‘gospel’ to refer to the promises of salvation to Israel in the OT being fulfilled in the gospel [BECNT],

1:3 concerninga his Son