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Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 1

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-24

1 Paul dates his apostleship from the commission he received at Antioch ( Act_13:2 ) when he was severed from the rest to preach the evangel of God to the nations. Hitherto only Jews and proselytes like Cornelius heard the evangel. Now Paul is called to preach justification to the other nations. This evangel was promised before. It is in contrast to that secret evangel ( Rom_16:25-27 ) which was never before revealed, but which is first set forth in the fifth to the eighth chapters, called "the conciliation."

3 The evangel is not concerning the sinner but concerning God's Son. Like all men, He was a union of two elements, flesh and spirit. As to His flesh He was a descendant of David, but as to His Spirit, He was from God. This is powerfully evidenced by the fact that His Father had given Him life in Himself ( Joh_5:26 ) so that He never entered the presence of death without vanquishing it. The fact that He raised Jairus' daughter ( Mar_5:35-42 ) , the widow of Nain's son ( Luk_7:11-16 ) , and Lazarus ( Joh_11:44 ) proves conclusively that He is the Son of God.

5 Paul had obtained this unparalleled grace from the risen Son of God when he met Him on the road to Damascus and, later, was given a distinct commission, in accord with this grace, to evangelize all the nations, to whom the twelve apostles were not sent ( Gal_2:9 ). James and Peter wrote to their Jewish brethren among the nations, but none of the Circumcision, not even Christ Himself, ever went to any nation but Israel. Paul alone, of those whose writings we have, was the minister of Christ Jesus to the nations ( Rom_15:16 ).

8 The emphasis on faith is characteristic of this and its companion epistles. The Circumcision mixed faith and works, but Paul insists on sheer, unassisted faith, on which alone can be founded the pure, unadulterated grace which he is dispensing.

9 Cut off, in large measure, from the ceremonial worship of his nation at Jerusalem, Paul carries it on where ever he is, in spirit, by the proclamation of this evangel, for the exaltation of Christ's sacrifice in the evangel is a far sweeter fragrance to God than the literal offerings of the law.

14 The "Greek" must not be confounded with the so-called "gentile", or man of the nations. The Greek is the cultured, refined person, sometimes in contrast with the Jew, the religious man, but here in contrast with the uncultured or "barbarian".

14 "Barbarian" seems to be the only available term in English for this Greek word. It denoted especially one who did not speak Greek, the language which nearly all the world spoke at that time.

16 The evangel is God's power for salvation- nothing else can take its place . There is no other power in the universe which can turn men to God. All the modern substitutes and expedients, sanitary or social, impassioned oratory or emotional excitement, cannot save or make men right before God. The evangel alone, without any additions or apologies, is able to justify anyone who believes.

17 This evangel imparts God's own righteousness to those who accept it. This is unspeakably more than the pardon or forgiveness proclaimed at Pentecost by the twelve apostles.

17 When the law failed utterly, and Israel was far gone in apostasy, the prophet fell back upon God's unconditional promises, and made the memorable statement "The just by faith shall live" ( Hab_2:4 ). Now that Israel is again apostate, this rule once more supersedes the law.


18 The apostle now takes up the conduct of those of mankind who had no written revelation. Nature alone ought to teach them much about the Deity. His attributes are in some degree revealed in His works in creation.

21 Such a knowledge of God called for worship and thanksgiving. Instead, they degraded His glory by making images of Him like themselves or even the lower orders of creation. Idols may be nothing in themselves, but, as they are supposed to represent the Deity, it is of the utmost importance that they do not suggest false ideas about Him. Hence He abhors all images and would not allow His people to harbor them. Christ is the One Image that truly represents Him.

24 There is no surer road to degradation than to degrade the object of our worship.

Verses 25-32

The Conduct of Mankind

25 There may be an allusion here to the prevalent custom of worshiping the Roman emperor. It has often occurred that, when men have attained to great eminence, they have demanded and received divine honors. Alexander the Great claimed such homage.

26 The prevailing immorality in ancient times was largely attributable to the character of the gods they worshiped. The younger race of gods who held sway on Olympus were usurpers who had murdered the older gods, and were guilty of innumerable deeds of violence and full of sensuality and injustice. If their gods behaved so, it was not difficult for men to emulate their example and endorse such actions in others as well.

The failure of Christendom is largely due to the fact that God is unknown, and His place filled by a fierce, vindictive caricature, who is restrained from his thirst for vengeance by the intervention of an effeminate mediator who takes the place of the Christ of God.

1 The argument here is inexorable. The man who judges others must be prepared to submit to the same judgment himself. There is no surer way of condemning himself than by sitting in judgment on those who commit the sins of which he is guilty. In the day of judgment there will be little need to call witnesses against mankind, for their own reasonings among themselves and the standards of justice, however low, which they apply to their neighbors, are sufficient to condemn all. The constant effort to uplift humanity ignores the true cause of human depravity. These things are the result of refusing to recognize God. One of the most alarming signs of modern times is the increasing desire to eliminate all reference to God in every sphere of life. Education must be strictly Godless, business has no place for the Deity, society shuns all mention of Him, and even many of the so-called churches have little more than a formal recognition of an unknown God. We must be prepared for more and more of the crime waves which periodically surge over the earth, as well as the complete break-down of the moral fibre of so-called civilization.

3 Is it not most unreasonable for the sinner to suppose that God's judgment of him will be less searching than his condemnation of the sins of his fellow men? The fact that His judgment is delayed and that He continues to give the blessings of creation with a bountiful hand should lead to reconsideration and amendment.

6 It is well to consider the basis on which the judgment of mankind will proceed. It is not all one-sided. God will not only sentence the evil, but reward the good-if such there be. That there are none to claim His rewards does not alter the great fact which is here laid down as the just basis of God's dealings with mankind. He will be paying each one according to his acts. No one can say this is not just and right. He is just as ready to reward the good as to punish the bad. All that is needed is someone to live up to the standard, and He will give such a one life for the eons-the same life which those who believe get through Christ as a gratuitous gift. To say that it is idle to speak thus, since no one can possibly claim such an award, betrays a misapprehension of the underlying purpose of judgment. This is not, as commonly supposed, the condemnation of wrongdoers, but rather the payment of what is due, good as well as bad, that so the justice of God's character may be revealed. Judgment, as a revelation of God, would be most misleading if it made no provision for reward as well as punishment. If no one is able to claim the reward it will not change the essential fact that such a righteous foundation underlies God's throne.

11 Law does not exempt from judgment: it only fixes the standard of judgment. Knowledge of the law only incriminates more deeply those who break it.

14 Human nature, or instinct, is not corrupt. It is in line with God's law and conscience ( Rom_2:27 ). It is against sin ( Rom_1:26 ). The heart of humanity is corrupt. By following their nature it was quite possible for men to do by instinct what was later inscribed in the written code. Men's acts are unnatural.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Romans 1". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/romans-1.html. 1968.
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