Part I: The Letter Opening (1:1-17)

The main body of Romans is a treatise on Paul's gospel, bracketed by an epistolary opening (1:1-17) and conclusion (15:14-16:27). These opening and concluding statements have many similarities, not the least of which is the emphasis on the gospel. (Eight of the 11 occurrences in Romans of euangelion ["gospel"] and euangelizomai ["to evangelize"] are in these passages.) Paul's special relationship to this gospel, a relationship that encompasses the Roman Christians, both opens and closes the strictly "epistolary" introductory material in this section (vv. 1-5, 13-15).

A. Prescript (1:1-7)

1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, The order Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ is attested in only three Greek MS(S)S P10, the primary Alexandrian uncial B, and the secondary Alexandrian 81. All the other MS(S)Shave the order Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. But, while its external testimony is slim, the reading adopted here has strong internal support: this is the order of terms that Paul almost always uses in these kinds of context (see n. 9 below). called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which was promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his son, who came from the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness on the basis of the resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we received grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, 6 among whom you also are called of Jesus Christ, 7 to all of you in Rome, The omission of ἐν Ῥώμῃ in G, 1739mg, and a few other MS(S)Shere and in 1:15 is almost certainly a later attempt to "universalize" Romans by ridding it of its specific destination. See the Introduction, pp. 5-9. beloved by God, called to be saints. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The letters of Paul must have been greeted with considerable perplexity by their first-century recipients. To the extent that this perplexity was due to the theological complexity of the letters, contemporary readers can share the reaction of their first-century counterparts. But the very form of the letters would have been further grounds for puzzlement to the early Christians. Paul's letters are far longer than most first-century letters—so long that they make exact literary classification difficult. And Romans, with 7,114 words, is the longest of Paul's letters. Fittingly, Romans also has the longest prescript. The typical Greek letter began simply with a one-sentence identification of the sender and recipients, and a greeting: A to B, "greetings" (chairein; Acts 15:23; 23:26; Jas. 1:1). Paul expands this form considerably in all his letters but nowhere more than in Romans. Michel and Käsemann, following E. Lohmeyer ("Probleme paulinischer Theologie. 1 Briefliche Grussüberschriften," ZNW 26 [1927], 158-73), suggest that the lengthier form of prescript employed by Paul may be derived from a Jewish-oriental model of letter writing (cf. 2 Macc. 1:1-6). This is, however, contested by O. Roller (Das Formular des paulinischen Briefe. Ein Beitrag zur Lehre vom antiken Briefe [BWANT 4.6; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1933], pp. 213-38) and Cranfield. The superscription, or identification of the sender, is particularly long, occupying the first six verses.

Paul introduces himself by stating his divine call (v. 1), the message that he has been called to proclaim (vv. 2-4), and the specific task with which he is occupied (vv. 5-6). Finally comes the address in v. 7a, followed by the usual Pauline salutation in v. 7b. The length and theological orientation of this prescript are due mainly to the fact that Paul was introducing himself to a church that he had neither founded nor visited. He wanted to establish his credentials as an apostle with a worldwide commission to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Whether this elaborate prescript had a polemical motive (as, e.g., Murray thinks) is not clear.

1 Paul The name Παῦλος is likely to have been Paul's Latin cognomen (Cranfield; Bruce, Paul, p. 38) rather than a special Christian name or a name taken from his first famous convert, Sergius Paulus (cf. Acts 13:9), as Lagrange suggests. introduces himself to the Roman church with three parallel designations that, respectively, identify his master, his office, and his purpose. All three lack articles, a style typical of the introductions of letters. "Slave of Christ Jesus" is patterned on the familiar OT phrase "slave," or "servant," of Yahweh. The phrase connotes total devotion, suggesting that the servant is completely at the disposal of his or her Lord. That great honor attaches to the service of so exalted a master is of course true, and many commentators stress this side of the title in Paul's application of it to himself. But the connotations of humility, devotion, and obedience are never absent from the OT phrase and are surely primary here also. Indicative of Paul's high Christology is the fact that he replaces the "Lord" of the OT phrase with "Christ Jesus." The order of the titles may be significant. Unlike the rest of the NT authors, who prefer Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ to Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (47 times to 7), Paul prefers the order Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (80 times to 25). This significant difference in word order suggests that—contrary to the opinion of some—Paul uses Χριστός as a title with important theological meaning: "the Messiah, Jesus." But there may be further significance to the order. Paul tends to use "Christ Jesus"—rather than "Jesus Christ"—in two contexts: in descriptions of his apostolic services (as here) and after the prepositions εἰς ("into") or ἐν ("in"), to denote his characteristic motif of incorporation into Christ. See esp. Wright, "Messiah and People of God," pp. 19-31; also Schlier. W. Kramer (Christ, Lord, Son of God [SBT 50; London: SCM, 1966], pp. 203-6) suggests that Paul may have put Χριστός first to indicate the grammatical case of the phrase, but more is needed to explain the variety of Paul's order. M. Hengel, on the other hand, doubts whether the order of the titles has any significance ("Erwägungen zum Sprachgebrauch von Χριστός bei Paulus und in der 'vorpaulinischen' Überlieferung," in Paul and Paulinism: Essays in Honour of C. K. Barrett [ed. M. Hooker and S. G. Wilson; London: SPCK, 1982], p. 137). The sequence "Christ Jesus" draws particular attention to the Messiah Jesus and may also suggest the corporate and universal significance of this Messiahship.

Only in the prescripts of Titus and Philippians (where Timothy is also mentioned) does Paul call himself a "slave." But the second designation in Rom. 1:1, "apostle," is used in every Pauline prescript except those in Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Paul occasionally uses "apostle" in a general way to mean simply "messenger" (Phil. 2:25; 2 Cor. 8:23), and more often to refer to accredited missionaries (e.g., Rom. 16:7). But here the title carries a stronger sense, marking Paul as one among that unique group appointed by Christ himself to have the salvation-historical role as the "foundation" of the church (Eph. 2:20). Since ἀπόστολος is not used in a technical sense in the LXX or in secular Greek, many interpreters have suggested as the background for the NT titular use of the word the Jewish-rabbinic use of שָׁלִיחַ ("one sent") to describe an authorized representative or messenger (e.g., K. H. Rengstorf, TDNT I, 414-20; see examples in Str-B, 3.2-4). But the late date of the sources in which the term is used, combined with the general lack of missionary emphasis in the rabbis, makes this suggestion questionable (cf. D. Müller, NIDNTT I, 134; cf., however, R. W. Herron, Jr., "The Origin of the New Testament Apostolate," WTJ 45 [1983], 101-31). On Paul's use of ἀπόστολος, see further the note on 16:7. For the risen Christ appeared to him (1 Cor. 15:8) and chose him for his special mission to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13; cf. 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11). This divine initiative in Paul's apostleship is made evident here by the verbal adjective "called." Gk. κλητός; cf. also 1 Cor. 1:1. What Paul intends by this is spelled out in the polemically oriented opening of Galatians: "Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead ..." (NIV). As is Paul's custom, then, he specifies at the very beginning of his letter that he writes not as a private individual, nor even as a gifted teacher, but as a "called apostle" whose words bear the authority of God himself. Any reading of this great theological treatise that ignores this claim to authority will fail to come to grips with the ultimate purpose of its writing.

Paul's final description of himself in v. 1, "set apart for the gospel of God," may allude to his being set aside for his great apostolic task even from "the womb of his mother" (cf. Gal. 1:15). See, e.g., Bruce, Cranfield. In the Galatians passage, Paul uses κλητός to refer to his calling on the Damascus Road and ἀφορίζω for his being "set apart" for this task even from his mother's womb (Paul here alludes to Jeremiah's famous description of his call; cf. Jer. 1:5). But the word order here makes it more likely that the "set apart" clause is simply a further definition of "called." The "effectual dedication that occurred in the actual call to apostleship" (Murray; cf. also Meyer). Some commentators (Zahn; Barrett; Nygren; Black; Fitzmyer) think the word ἀφορίζω may contain a play on the supposed root of "Pharisee," פָּרַשׁ: while thinking himself "separated" as a Pharisee, Paul now realizes that it is only in Christ that he has become truly "separated." But Cranfield is right to dismiss such an interpretation as improbable. Even less probable is the implicit law/gospel contrast Nygren sees in these words. The verb is used in the LXX of God's "separating" and calling of Israel from among other nations (Lev. 20:26) and in Acts 13:2 of the "setting apart" of Barnabas and Saul for missionary service. Similarly, Paul, as a "called apostle," has been set aside by God for a special purpose in God's plan for history. Paul here specifies this purpose with the words "for Gk. εἰς, with a telic sense. the gospel of God." "Gospel" here might denote the activity of preaching the gospel (cf. TEV: "called by God to preach the Good News"), or it might simply refer to the message of the gospel itself. Zahn; Murray. εὐαγγέλιον is a typically Pauline word—60 of the 76 NT occurrences are his. Since the LXX never uses the word with theological significance, some have argued that the NT usage must be derived from the use of the term in the imperial cult (e.g., U. Becker, NIDNTT II, 109). However, although the term may have had such allusions for Paul and his readers, its derivation from such a source is unlikely. Rather, the use of the term in the NT should be traced to the verb בָּשַׂר ("bring good news"), used in the OT to describe the eschatological victory of Yahweh (Joel 2:32; Nah. 1:15; Isa. 40:9; 42:7; 60:6; 61:1 [cf. Luke 4:18]) (see esp. P. Stuhlmacher, Das paulinische Evangelium. I: Vorgeschichte [FRLANT 95; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1968], pp. 152-53, 177-79, 204-6; also R. P. Martin, ISBE II, 530). The noun in the NT denotes the "good news" of the saving intervention of God in Christ, referring usually to the message about Christ (1 Cor. 15:1; Gal. 1:11; 2:2) and, by extension, to the act of preaching that message (1 Cor. 9:14 [second occurrence]; 2 Cor. 2:12; 8:18; Phil. 1:5[?]; 4:3[?]). What makes a decision difficult is that the dynamic sense fits well with v. 1 but badly with vv. 2-3, while the more static connotation suffers from just the reverse problem. Cranfield suggests that the word contains both connotations here. This is certainly on the right track, but perhaps we can refine this suggestion further. Paul uses "gospel" so generally in some contexts (cf. Rom. 1:9; Phil. 1:27; Eph. 3:6; 6:19) that it becomes functionally equivalent to "Christ" or God's intervention in Christ. In other words, Paul can sometimes expand the scope of "gospel" to include the very events of which the message speaks. God's sending his Son for the salvation of the world is itself "good news." Since the context makes it difficult to choose either the active or the static sense alone, there is good reason to adopt this broad meaning of the word here. In saying that he has been "set apart for the gospel of God," then, Paul is claiming that his life is totally dedicated to God's act of salvation in Christ—a dedication that involves both his own belief in, and obedience to, that message as well as his apostolic proclamation of it. With this meaning, "of God" probably can be paraphrased "sent by God." E.g., the genitive would be subjective. See Turner, 211; BDF 163; H. Schlier, "Εὐαγγέλιον in Römerbrief," in Wort Gottes in der Zeit (für K. H. Schelkle) (ed. H. Feld and J. Nolte; Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1973), p. 128. Close to this sense is the "source" genitive suggested by Murray and Cranfield. S-H argue for a "general" genitive, which would include "all aspects ... in which the Gospel is in any way related to God." This genitive addition should not be overlooked. As L. Morris has reminded us, Romans is ultimately a book about God: how he acted to bring salvation, how his justice is preserved, how his purposes are worked out in history, how he can be served by his people.

2 In a relative clause dependent on "gospel" (euangelion), Paul further defines the gospel as something promised in the OT. In a manner typical of Paul's emphasis throughout Romans, he draws a line of continuity between the new work of God in his Son, the content of the gospel (vv. 3-4), and the OT. By adding the redundant "ahead of time" to the verb "promise," In the Greek we have the rare compound verb προεπαγγέλλομαι (its only other NT occurrence is in 2 Cor. 9:5), where the prefixed preposition πρό accentuates the temporal priority connoted already by the simple verb. Paul emphasizes the temporal sequence of promise and fulfillment. He therefore touches on what will become two key themes in Romans: the promise (cf. Rom. 4), and the grounding of God's salvific revelation in his previous purposes and work. Greek words beginning with πρό are especially prominent in the book. The "prophets" through whom God promised the gospel include men like Moses (cf. Acts 3:21-22) and David (cf. Acts 2:30), in addition to those we would ordinarily classify as "prophets" per se. In Paul's perspective, as Luther puts it, "Scripture is completely prophetical." The phrase "holy Scriptures" Gk. γραφαῖς ἁγίαις. The phrase may correspond to the rabbis' כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ (Str-B, 3.14). The anarthrous phrase is not, of course, indefinite (one "holy Scriptures" as opposed to others) but continues the style employed in v. 1 (Cranfield). Others take the anarthrous construction to have a qualitative force (S-H; Murray). The tendency to omit articles after prepositions (cf. BDF 255) could also play a role. occurs only here in Paul. Paul uses the plural γραφαί ("Scriptures") four other times (Rom. 15:4; 16:26 [v.l.]; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4). It is doubtful whether Paul has any particular OT passages in mind here; his purpose is general and principial, to allay possible suspicion about "his" gospel as new and innovative by asserting its organic relationship to the OT.

3 Whether the prepositional phrase that introduces v. 3, "concerning his Son," depends on "promise ahead of time" in v. 2 or on "gospel" in v. 1, the meaning is much the same: the focus of the gospel is a person, God's Son. "Son of God" is a title not used often by Paul, but as M. Hengel notes, it is used in key places and assumes thereby an importance disproportionate to its frequency. As we would expect, the title focuses on Jesus' uniquely intimate relationship to God. Paul calls Jesus υἱός 17 times, his focus being particularly on Jesus' relationship to the Father and to those who belong to him. The former is evident from the use of the title to highlight God's sending of his Son (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4, 6) and his handing him over to death on our behalf (Rom. 5:10; 8:32; Gal. 2:20). Contrary to Dunn (Christology in the Making: A New Testament Inquiry into the Origin of the Doctrine of the Incarnation [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1980], pp. 38-45), several of these texts presume the preexistence of the Son. Paul also uses the title to express the fellowship between Christ and those who are God's "sons" in him (Rom. 1:9; 8:29; 1 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 4:13; Col. 1:13). The background for the title can be traced to the OT, where "Son" is used of the King and often with messianic significance (Ps. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14; though the rabbis did not use "Son" as a messianic title [Str-B, 3.15-20], 4QFlor attests continuing messianic interest in these OT "Son" passages; cf. also 4Q246 2:1). Ultimately, however, Jesus' own understanding of and teaching about his unique relationship to the Father decisively conditioned its meaning. In this context, the title bears not so much an official significance (as if "Son" were simply equivalent to "Messiah") as an ontological significance. On this, see further Hengel, Son of God; O. Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963), pp. 270-305; I. H. Marshall, The Origins of New Testament Christology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1976), pp. 111-29; Ridderbos, Paul, pp. 68-78. "His Son" is further defined in vv. 3b-4 with two parallel participial clauses. Their close parallelism is evident when they are set side by side:

"who has come" "who was appointed"
"from the seed of David" "Son of God in power"
"according to the flesh" "according to the Spirit of holiness"
"from the resurrection of the dead" Gk.:τοῦ γενομένουτοῦ ὁρισθέντοςἐκ σπέρματος Δαυίδυἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμεικατὰ σάρκακατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης———ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν.

This parallelism, coupled with the presence of several words and phrases unique or unusual in Paul, πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, σπέρματος Δαυίδ. raises the possibility that Paul is here quoting from, or adapting, an earlier tradition. Such use of traditional material is unobjectionable in itself, paralleled in other Pauline texts, and entirely appropriate as a means to establish some common ground with the unfamiliar Roman church. Nevertheless, we should be cautious about drawing exegetical conclusions from this necessarily uncertain hypothesis. The meaning of these verses, then, is to be determined against the background of Paul and his letters, not against a necessarily hypothetical traditions-history. That Paul in vv. 3-4 is quoting an early Christian tradition, or hymn, or creed is widely held, but considerable uncertainty attaches to the original form and meaning of the tradition. Most are convinced that the creed originated in the early Jewish church and that it had a distinctly "adoptionist" tone. Paul would then have added περὶ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ and ἐν δυνάμει in order to remove this element of adoptionism. Much of the debate has focused on the two κατά phrases, which some take to be Pauline additions (e.g., K. Wengst, Christologische Formeln und Lieder des Urchristentums [SNT 7; Gütersloh: Mohn, 1972], pp. 112-14), while an increasingly large majority attribute them to the original creed (see esp. E. Schweizer, "Röm. 1:3f, und der Gegensatz von Fleisch und Geist vor und bei Paulus," in Neotestamentica [Zürich/Stuttgart: Zwingli, 1963]; note also P.-E. Langevin, "Une Confession prépaulinienne de la 'Seigneurie' du Christ. Exégèse de Romains 1, 3-4," in Le Christ hier, aujourd'hui, et demain [ed. R. Laflamme and M. Gervais; Quebec: Université Laval, 1976], pp. 284-91; P. Stuhlmacher, "Theologische Probleme des Römerbriefpräskripts," EvT 27 [1967], 382; I. Dugandzic, Das 'Ja' Gottes in Christus. Eine Studie zur Bedeutung des Alten Testaments für das Christusverständnis des Paulus [FzB 26; Würzburg: Echter, 1977], pp. 137-42; van der Minde, Schrift und Tradition, pp. 40-43). Still others posit a three-stage development, with the κατά phrases being added in a second, but still pre-Pauline, stage (R. Jewett, Paul's Anthropological Terms: A Study of Their Use in Conflict Settings [AGJU 10; Leiden: Brill, 1971], pp. 136-38; note also his later "The Redaction and Use of an Early Christian Confession in Romans 1:3-4," in The Living Text: Essays in Honor of Ernest W. Saunders [ed. D. E. Groh and R. Jewett; Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985], pp. 99-122).
     However, some questions must be raised about this process of reconstruction. The current trend in scholarship is to find many pieces of tradition in the NT, but the criteria by which they can be identified are not accurate enough to allow for much confidence in the process. In this case, while the evidence that Paul is using traditional language is strong, it is not clear that he is quoting a set creed or hymn (see V. S. Poythress, "Is Romans 1:3-4 a Pauline Confession after All?" ExpTim 87 [1975-76], 180-83; J. M. Scott, Adoption as Sons of God: An Exegetical Investigation into the Background of ΥΙΟΘΕΣΙΑ in the Pauline Corpus [WUNT 2.48; Tübingen: Mohr, 1992], pp. 227-36). Methodologically, it is necessary at least to maintain that whatever Paul quotes, he himself affirms (see Wright, "Messiah and People of God," pp. 51-55).

The first participial clause (v. 3b) focuses on the Son of God coming into human existence. This clause assumes the preexistence of the Son. How specifically Paul may allude to the incarnation depends on the meaning to be given the word genomenon, "has come." Although it is not the usual word for "give birth," γεννάω is the usual Greek word for "give birth to"; it is found here in a poorly attested variant. it can sometimes take this meaning, and some argue for it here. Cf., e.g., BAGD; Godet. Note the somewhat parallel use of the word in Gal. 4:4: "God sent forth his Son, born [γενόμενον] of a woman, born [γενόμενον] under the law." But this probably reads too much into the verb. Perhaps Paul uses the more general term to suggest that more than a simple "birth" was entailed in the "becoming" of the Son; a change in existence also took place. This appearance of the Son on the human scene is qualified as being "from the seed of David," a clear allusion to the messianic stature of the Son. Finally, this "coming" of the Son is qualified as being "according to the flesh." "Flesh" (sarx) is a key Pauline theological term. It refers essentially to human existence, with emphasis on the transitory, weak, frail nature of that existence. Paul never uses σάρξ in its simplest meaning: the soft tissues of the human body. As in secular Greek, however, Paul can use the word to refer to the human body as a whole (e.g., 1 Cor. 5:5[?]; 6:16; 2 Cor. 7:1; 12:7; Gal. 4:13; Eph. 5:31) but more often of the person generally (e.g., Rom. 3:20; Gal. 1:16—this usage arises from equivalence with the Heb. בָּשָׂר). Paul's more theologically significant uses of the term occupy a spectrum of meaning from a rather neutral use, designating human nature or existence as such (e.g., Rom. 4:1; 8:3; 9:8; 1 Cor. 1:29; 15:50), to a much more negative (or ethical) meaning: human life, or the material world considered as independent of, and even in opposition to, the spiritual realm (e.g., Rom. 7:5; 8:8; 13:14; Gal. 5:13-18—see esp. J. D. G. Dunn, "Jesus—Flesh and Spirit: An Exposition of Romans I.3-4," JTS 24 [1973], esp. 44-51). T. Laato helpfully contrasts these two main emphases: the human person in distinction from God; the human person in contrast to God (T. Laato, Paulus und das Judentum: Anthropologische Erwägungen [Åbo: Åbo Academy, 1991], p. 95). See, further, for Paul's teaching about the flesh, A. Sand, Der Begriff 'Sarx' in den paulinischen Hauptbriefen (Biblische Untersuchungen 2; Regensburg: Pustet, 1967); E. Brandenburger, Fleisch und Geist. Paulus und die dualistische Weisheit (WMANT 29; Neukirchen/Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1968); W. D. Stacey, The Pauline View of Man in Relation to Its Judaic and Hellenistic Background (London: Macmillan, 1956), pp. 154-80; E. Schweizer, TDNT VII, 99-124. "According to the flesh," used 21 times in Paul, denotes being or living according to the "merely human." Neutral in itself, the phrase nevertheless suggests that only one perspective is being considered and that other aspects must be taken into account to get the whole picture. The phrase here, then, while obviously far toward the neutral end of the spectrum, also suggests that we have not arrived at a full understanding of Jesus if we look at him only from the standpoint of "the flesh." Verse 4 goes on to fill out this picture of Jesus by looking at him from another perspective.

4 Although the claim that v. 4 sets forth "the whole message of the epistle in a nutshell" (Nygren) may be exaggerated, the verse is theologically important. But its meaning is debated and can be determined only after answering three basic exegetical questions. First, what is the meaning of the word we have translated "designated"? Some think it should be translated "declared": the resurrection declared that Jesus was "Son of God." E.g., BAGD; Chrysostom; S-H. The verb ὁρίζω means, basically, to "mark out" or "fix" a boundary (cf. LXX Num. 34:6; Ezek. 47:20). But the verb does not appear to have this meaning in first-century Greek. In its seven other NT occurrences, the verb means "determine, appoint, fix," and we must assume that the word has this meaning here also: the Son (the subject of the participle; cf. v. 3a) has been "appointed" Son of God by God the Father The passive ὁρισθέντος has God as its implied agent (Fitzmyer). by virtue of his resurrection.

This notion appears at first sight to be theologically troublesome (is the eternal sonship of Christ being denied?), but several considerations remove any difficulty. The idea that the resurrection caused Jesus to be, in some sense, appointed Son has parallels elsewhere in the NT. See, particularly, Paul's proclamation to the synagogue worshipers in Pisidian Antioch: "this ['what God promised to the fathers'] he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, 'Thou art my Son, today I have begotten Thee' " (Acts 13:33). Rom. 1:4 probably alludes to this Psalm verse (2:7), which speaks of the coronation of the Davidic messianic King (cf. also Heb. 1:5). In speaking this way, Paul and the other NT authors do not mean to suggest that Jesus becomes the Son only at the time of his resurrection. In this passage, we must remember that the Son is the subject of the entire statement in vv. 3-4: It is the Son who is "appointed" Son. The tautologous nature of this statement reveals that being appointed Son has to do not with a change in essence—as if a person or human messiah becomes Son of God for the first time—but with a change in status or function.

At this point we must consider the second key exegetical issue in this verse: the function of the phrase "in power." Gk. ἐν δυνάμει. The phrase could modify either "declared"—"declared with power to be the Son of God" (NIV)—or "Son of God"—"declared Son-of-God-in-power." But the need to demarcate the second occurrence of "Son of God" from the first—"his Son" in v. 3—strongly favors the latter connection. See especially the extensive discussion in Langevin, "Confession," pp. 298-305. Mark 9:1 may feature a parallel construction (and concept): Jesus proclaims, "There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power" (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐληλυθυῖαν ἐν δυνάμει; cf. Michel). What Paul is claiming, then, is that the preexistent Son, who entered into human experience as the promised Messiah, was appointed on the basis of (or, perhaps, at the time of ἐξ is probably causal (see below), but it could have a temporal reference (Lietzmann; Käsemann; Cranfield); some suggest both (Beasley-Murray, "Romans 1:3f," p. 153; Kuss).) the resurrection to a new and more powerful position in relation to the world. By virtue of his obedience to the will of the Father (cf. Phil. 2:6-11) and because of the eschatological revelation of God's saving power in the gospel (1:1, 16), the Son attains a new, exalted status as "Lord" (cf. v. 4b). Son of God from eternity, he becomes Son of God "in power," "able [dynatai] for all time to save those who draw near to God through him" (Heb. 7:25, RSV). The transition from v. 3 to v. 4, then, is not a transition from a human messiah to a divine Son of God (adoptionism) but from the Son as Messiah to the Son as both Messiah and powerful, reigning Lord.

This brings us to the third and most difficult question: What is the meaning of "according to the Spirit of holiness"? This phrase is the antithetical parallel to "according the flesh" in v. 3. We may then explore this question by assessing the meaning of the contrast. Although a bewildering variety of views are found, A useful classification is found in B. Schneider, "Κατὰ Πνεῦμα Ἁγιωσύνης (Romans 1,4)," Bib 48 (1967), 369-70. they fall into three basic categories.

The first understands "flesh/spirit" to suggest a contrast between Jesus' human and divine natures. It is because of Jesus' human descent that he is "seed of David"; and because of "the divine nature, or Godhead, that dwelt in Jesus Christ" he is the Son of God. While having a respectable pedigree, this interpretation suffers from fatal objections. Not only must it take horizō to mean "demonstrate" or "manifest," which we have seen to be unlikely, but it also gives to "spirit" a connotation unexampled elsewhere in Paul.

The second interpretation avoids the latter problem by understanding "spirit of holiness" as the obedient, consecrated spirit that Jesus manifested throughout his earthly life. The contrast in vv. 3-4 is that between the outward and physical, by virtue of which Jesus is qualified as "seed of David," and the inward, spiritual perfection, which qualifies Jesus to be the Son of God in power. S-H; Meyer; Lagrange; O. Pfleiderer, Paulinism: A Contribution to the History of Primitive Christian Theology (2 vols.; London: Williams & Norgate, 1891), 1:126-27; S. L. Johnson, "The Jesus That Paul Preached," BSac 128 (1971), 128, 134; Schweizer, "Röm. 1,3f," pp. 187-89, and esp. Dunn, "Jesus—Flesh and Spirit," pp. 49-57. Langevin ("Confession," pp. 310-15) argues that ἁγιωσύνης should be given a dynamic sense: it is Christ's Spirit that sanctifies people. While suffering from fewer difficulties than the first, this interpretation is open to the objection that it does not give to the "flesh/spirit" antithesis the meaning it most often has in Paul.

The contrast of "flesh" and "Spirit" is part of Paul's larger salvation-historical framework, in which two "aeons" or eras are set over against one another: the old era, dominated by sin, death, and the flesh, and the new era, characterized by righteousness, life, and the eschatological gift of the Holy Spirit. The third interpretation of the contrast takes its starting point from this framework and is thereby to be preferred. See esp. Nygren and Vos, "Eschatological Aspect," pp. 103-5; in addition Murray; Schneider, "Κατὰ Πνεῦμα Ἁγιωσύνης," p. 386; Käsemann; Barrett; Bruce. In Jesus' earthly life (his life in "the realm of the flesh"), he was the Davidic seed, the Messiah. But while true and valuable, this does not tell the whole story. For Christians, Jesus is also, in "the realm of the Spirit," the powerful, life-giving Son of God. In Christ the "new era" of redemptive history has begun, and in this new stage of God's plan Jesus reigns as Son of God, powerfully active to bring salvation to all who believe (cf. 1:16). This approach is able to maintain what seems to be the intentional parallelism between κατὰ σάρκα and κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης and gives κατά its natural meaning, "according to." Similarly, ἐκ/ἐξ will denote in both verses the origin of the respective stages of the Son's existence. The major objection to this interpretation is that "spirit of holiness" is never used of the Holy Spirit in the NT; indeed, the phrase is found only here in biblical Greek. ἁγιωσύνη is found only five times in the LXX and two other times in the NT (2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 3:13), both with reference to the sanctification of believers. However, the Semitic-flavored expression may reflect traditional language. The Greek is a literal translation of Heb. רוּחַ קֹדֶשׁ; cf. Ps. 51:11; Isa. 63:10, 11; 1QS 4:21; 8:16; 9:3; 1QH 7:6, 7; 9:32; cf. T. Levi 18:7. The genitive may be objective: "the Spirit who gives/supplies holiness" (G. D. Fee, God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994], p. 483). As is usual in Paul, the inauguration of this new age is attributed to Christ's resurrection. ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, lit. "out of resurrection of dead persons." While the plural νεκρῶν has been taken to indicate the eschatological idea of the general resurrection that Jesus' resurrection initiates (e.g., S. H. Hooke, "The Translation of Romans 1.4," NTS 9 [1962-63], 370-71; Nygren), the plural form is, in fact, usual when describing Jesus' resurrection (cf., e.g., Rom. 4:24). The genitive is partitive: "resurrection from among dead persons."

With "Jesus Christ our Lord," Paul returns to the beginning of v. 3: "his Son," the inner content of the gospel, is now finally and climactically identified. This identification builds on the christological formula of vv. 3b-4, since Jesus' lordship is linked to his investiture in power after and because of his resurrection (Phil. 2:6-11; Acts 2:31-36). For Paul, "Lord," expressing both Jesus' cosmic majesty and his status as master of the believer, is the single best title to express the true significance of Jesus. Verses 3-4 leave the reader, then, with an impressive accumulation of christological titles: Son of God, Seed of David, Messiah, and Lord. Here, Paul makes clear, is the heart of the gospel that he will be setting forth in great detail for the Romans. Since Christology does not, apparently, figure in the issues with which Paul and the Romans are concerned, Paul provides no detailed attention to Christology per se in the rest of the letter. But these verses remind us that the gospel cannot be understood without reference to the person of Christ, whose resurrection ushers in the new age of redemption.

5 Paul's description of himself, interrupted by the theologically loaded excursus about the gospel to which he has been dedicated (vv. 2-4), continues in this verse with an indication of the purpose of his apostolic call. "Jesus Christ our Lord" (v. 4b) is the mediator διά, "through." of this apostleship. Paul may use the plural "we received" Gk. ἐλάβομεν. because he includes other Christians as recipients of grace or because he includes his fellow apostles. But it is better, since the description of mission in the rest of the verse is so typical of Paul's conception of his own call, to view the plural as editorial. What Paul has received is "grace and apostleship." "Grace" (χάρις) is, of course, common in Paul; but ἀποστολή ("office of apostle") occurs only here and in 1 Cor. 9:2; Gal. 2:8 (see also Acts 1:25). Paul may have in view two separate things, but it is more likely that the second term explains the first: Paul has received the special gift of being an apostle. See Z-G; Michel; Käsemann; Cranfield. For Paul's use of χάρις in this sense, see esp. Rom. 12:3; 15:15; cf. 1 Cor. 3:10; 15:10.

Paul then draws attention to three aspects of his apostleship in prepositional phrases. Michel views the three prepositional phrases in this verse as parallel to the three qualifications of υἱὸς θεοῦ in v. 4 and finds in this an example of Paul's rhetorical artistry. It is questionable, however, whether the parallelism is intentional. First, Paul's purpose in his apostolic ministry is to bring about The εἰς denotes purpose. "obedience Half of Paul's uses of ὑπακούω and ὑπακοή are found in Romans. The terms are used of Christ's willing commitment to his destiny (5:19), of the commitment to God generally that should characterize believers (1:5; 16:19), of the initial act of submission to the gospel (10:16), and, with particularly high density, of the call for Christians to live out the victory over sin won for them by Christ (6:12, 16 [3 times], 17). of faith." Scholars debate the exact relationship of these two words. Many think that Paul intends to present faith as the basis for, or motivating force of, obedience: "obedience that springs from faith." That is, πίστεως would be a source or subjective genitive. See, e.g., Lagrange; Bruce; Black; Hendriksen; G. N. Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans: A Study in Romans 1-4 (JSNTSup 39; Sheffield: JSOT, 1990), pp. 25-30. D. Garlington argues that the phrase picks up concepts found widely in the OT and Judaism and that it denotes fidelity to the covenant. No longer, Paul suggests, is covenant fidelity tied to the law; it is now "transferred" to the realm of Christian faith and available for all (D. B. Garlington, "The Obedience of Faith": A Pauline Phrase in Historical Context [WUNT 2.38; Tübingen: Mohr, 1991], esp. pp. 242-48, 254; cf. also idem, Faith, Obedience, and Perseverance: Aspects of Paul's Letter to the Romans [WUNT 79; Tübingen: Mohr, 1994], 10-31). This rendering places the emphasis on postconversion commitment: the obedience of the Christian that is to follow and be the fruit of faith. The other major option A few scholars have suggested that πίστεως might denote a body of doctrine that one is to obey (objective genitive; cf. Kuss) or that is to be preached (G. Friedrich, "Muss ὑπακοὴ πίστεως Röm 1.5 mit 'Glaubensgehorsam' übersetz werden?" ZNW 72 [1981], 118-23). Neither option is lexically probable. is to take "faith" as a definition of "obedience": "the obedience which is faith." In support of this last interpretation can be mentioned the numerous places where obedience and faith occur in parallel statements, as well as those instances where Paul speaks of "obeying" the gospel. However, this view, by evaporating "obedience" into faith, gives insufficient emphasis to this part of Paul's ministry. But by effectively putting faith into a subordinate position, the first option illegitimately downplays the priority of evangelism in Paul's apostleship. Paul saw his task as calling men and women to submission to the lordship of Christ (cf. vv. 4b and 7b), a submission that began with conversion but which was to continue in a deepening, lifelong commitment. This obedience to Christ as Lord is always closely related to faith, both as an initial, decisive step of faith and as a continuing "faith" relationship with Christ. See esp. Leenhardt and Dunn; note also the discussions in W. Mundle, Der Glaubensbegriff der Paulus. Eine Untersuchung zur Dogmengeschichte des ältesten Christentums (rpt.; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche, 1977), pp. 29-34; W. Wiefel, "Glaubensgehorsam? Erwägungen zu Röm. 1,5," in Wort und Gemeinde. Festschrift für Erdman Schott zur 65. Geburtstag (Berlin: Akademie, n.d.), pp. 137-44; R. Dabelstein, Die Beurteilung der 'Heiden' bei Paulus (BBET 14; Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1981), pp. 109-11. In light of this, we understand the words "obedience" and "faith" to be mutually interpreting: obedience always involves faith, and faith always involves obedience. They should not be equated, compartmentalized, or made into separate stages of Christian experience. Paul called men and women to a faith that was always inseparable from obedience—for the Savior in whom we believe is nothing less than our Lord—and to an obedience that could never be divorced from faith—for we can obey Jesus as Lord only when we have given ourselves to him in faith. Viewed in this light, the phrase captures the full dimension of Paul's apostolic task, a task that was not confined to initial evangelization but that included also the building up and firm establishment of churches.

The second prepositional phrase specifies the arena of Paul's apostolic labors: "among As often, ἐν followed by a plural object means "among." all the Gentiles [ethnesin]." The word ethnē could mean "nations" in a strictly geographical sense, but this would run contrary to the semantic focus of the term in Paul when it is used of the sphere of his apostolic work. See Rom. 15:16, 18 [in light of 15:9-12, 25-29]; Gal. 1:16; 2:1-11; Eph. 3:1, 6, 8; 1 Thess. 2:16; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 4:17; see esp. Godet. Paul's only uses of the singular ἔθνος come in a single OT quotation (Rom. 10:19 [= Deut. 32:21]). While the plural ἔθνη can mean "nations," including the Jews (1 Tim. 3:16; probably Rom. 4:17, 18), the vast majority of occurrences clearly designate "Gentiles" as opposed to Jews (Rom. 2:14, 24; 3:29 [twice]; 9:24, 30; 11:11, 12, 13 [twice], 25; 15:9 [twice], 10, 11, 12 [twice], 16 [twice], 18, 27; 16:4, 26 [v. 1.]; 1 Cor. 1:23; Gal. 1:16; 2:2, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15; 3:8 [twice], 14; Eph. 2:11; 3:1, 6, 8; 1 Thess. 2:16). Even some references that are unclear because of the OT context (particularly Rom. 15:11 and Gal. 3:8) are best taken as narrowly focusing on Gentiles (cf. K. L. Schmidt, TDNT II, 369-70). By extension from the typical Jewish perspective, Paul can also use ἔθνη to refer to those outside the Christian community (1 Cor. 5:1; 12:2; 2 Cor. 11:26; Eph. 4:17; Col. 1:27; 1 Thess. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:17). This dominance of the meaning "Gentile as opposed to Jew" suggests that we should take ἔθνη in the sense "non-Jews" unless context demands otherwise. Paul's call was not so much to minister in many different nations as it was to minister to Gentiles in distinction from Jews.

The third modifier of "grace and apostleship" is "for the sake of his name." The phrase expresses the ultimate focus of Paul's ministry: the name of Jesus his Lord. The antecedent of αὐτοῦ must be Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν in v. 4b. As generally in Scripture, "name" connotes the person in his or her true character and significance. Ultimately, Paul ministers not for personal gain or even the benefit of his converts, but for the glory and benefit of Jesus Christ his Lord.

6 This verse, inasmuch as it characterizes the readers before Paul actually addresses them in v. 7, is somewhat parenthetical. It is connected grammatically to "Gentiles" in v. 5 by the relative pronoun "whom" and is most naturally punctuated, as Godet shows, with a comma after "you": "among whom also are you, [you] who are called of Jesus Christ" (cf. NRSV, as opposed to NASB and NIV). We may also follow Godet in identifying the purpose of this remark: to show the Roman Christians that they belong within the sphere of Paul's apostolic commission. Paul is sent to "all the Gentiles"; and the Romans are "among" the Gentiles. They are thereby subject to his authority, as mediated in the letter that follows and in his personal presence when he visits them. Greater difficulty attaches to the exact meaning of the phrase "among the Gentiles." Cranfield argues that Paul is simply identifying the Romans as living in the midst of Gentiles. He bases his conclusion on Paul's use of the preposition ἐν rather than ἐκ. See also Schlatter; Schlier; Käsemann; Wilckens; Watson, 103; W. Bindemann, Die Hoffnung der Schöpfung: Römer 8,18-27 und die Frage einer Theologie der Befreiung von Mensch und Natur (Neukirchener Studien 14; Neukirchen/Vluyn: Neukirchener, 1983), pp. 55-66; Kettunen, Abfassungszweck, pp. 40-43. On this view, the verse would imply nothing about the Roman Christians' national origin. This interpretation has the advantage of leaving open the vexing question of the makeup of the Roman church (see the Introduction), but it must be rejected. The argument from the use of ἐν rather than ἐκ is weak since Paul is not stressing the origin of the Roman Christians but the category to which they belong. Further, the καί ("also") is difficult on Cranfield's view, implying as it does that the Roman Christians are part of—not just "in the midst of"—the Gentiles of v. 5. We take it, then, that Paul designates the Roman Christians to whom he is writing as (at least mainly) Gentile. This interpretation also agrees with the most natural reading of v. 13 (see below).

More important than the Roman Christians' ethnic origin is their spiritual destination. They have been "called to belong to Jesus Christ." Taking the genitive Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ with predicate force: cf. Z-G, 457; Murray; Feuillet, "La vie nouvelle," pp. 8-9. As Paul has been "called" to be an apostle (v. 1), so the Roman Christians have been "called" to be people who name Jesus as Christ and Lord. "Call" and its cognates are used by Paul to express an "effectual" calling. What is meant is not an "invitation" but the powerful and irresistible reaching out of God in grace to bring people into his kingdom. See W. W. Klein, "Paul's Use of Kalein: A Proposal," JETS 27 (1984), 53-64.

7 With v. 7 Paul finally returns to the standard letter opening begun in v. 1 and identifies those to whom the letter is being written: "to all in Rome." Not much should be made of Paul's failure to address himself to the "church" in Rome, since Paul does not consistently use the word in his letter openings. But its absence may reflect the fact that the Roman Christians met in several house churches.

In designating the Roman Christians as "beloved by God" and "called to be saints," Paul implies that they are God's chosen people; for both phrases echo OT designations of Israel. Schlier; Deidun, 4-8. κλητοῖς ἁγίοις resembles the OT מִקְרָא קֹּדֶשׁ = LXX κλητὴ ἁγία (O. Procksch, TDNT I, 107). In so transferring language used of Israel in the OT to Christians, Paul initiates an important theme of the first eight chapters of the letter. In addition, these two descriptions remind the readers that who they are depends on God's love and call. Paul uses "saints" at least 38 times to designate Christians (four other times in salutations), the focus being not on behavior but on status: Christians are those who have been sanctified "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11).

As we noted in commenting on v. 4, the importance of Christology in this opening paragraph should not be missed. Paul shares with his Roman audience the conviction that Jesus is the heart of the gospel. He is the promised Messiah of Israel ("seed of David"), the Son of God, the Lord. Confessing the gospel in our own day requires that we subscribe to Paul's exalted view of Jesus; it is failure to do so that spawns many heresies. But Paul's attention, as we have also seen, is especially on the activity of this Jesus: his coming to earth as the Messiah; his exaltation through resurrection to Lord of all; his dispensing power as the Son of God. It is what Jesus has done, not just who he is, that makes the gospel the "good news" that it is. But make no mistake: what Jesus has done cannot be severed from who he is. Ours is an age not too much interested in theology; but correct theology—in this case, the person of Jesus—is vital to salvation and to Christian living.