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Saturday, May 18th, 2024
Eve of Pentacost
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 1

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1:1 Rom 1:1. Paul first mentions his relation as a servant of Christ, which means "one who gives himself up wholly to another's will." He next refers to his position as apostle, and says he was called to that office. The word is from KLETOS which Thayer defines at this place, "called to some their inherent virtues (since all have office, which he explains to mean "divinely selected and appointed." Separated unto the Gospel means he was appointed to the work. sinned and come short of the glory of God), but that it was through the abundant mercy of the Lord that any man in the world could be saved at all. This is a fundamental key to many passages of this book, and the reader should note the passage for reference, as the notes will not be repeated in full. Comments by Moses E. Lard: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ respect­ing you all, that your belief is spoken of in the whole world. The meaning is not that Paul thanked God in their be­half, as helping them. His thankfulness respected them, as they were the occasion of it. Their belief was spoken of in the whole world. It was this fact especially that caused him to be thankful. With the mention of their belief would circulate the name of Christ in whom they believed. This always gave the Apostle joy. The phrase “the world” means the world as known to the people of that day, and not the whole globe.

Verse 2

1:2 Rom 1:2. Which has reference to the Gospel which had been predicted in old time. This fact is referred to in Gal 3:8 and 1Pe 1:10. When God told Abraham (Gen 12:3) that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him, He was meaning the Gospel that was to be given to the world through Christ. Saints is from HAGIOS, and means a person "set apart for God, to be, as it were, exclusively his." Thayer. This setting apart is accomplished by obedience to the Gospel. In the New Testament the terms Christians, disciples, saints, brethren and children of God, are used interchangeably, and are applied thus to the same people because they possess the qualifications that are denoted by the terms. They are called saints for the reason just stated; disciples means learners or followers; brethren means they have a common relation to the Father; children because they have been begotten of Him, and Christians because they wear the name of Christ.

Verse 3

1:3 Rom 1:3. The promise was first given to Abraham, but it was to be fulfilled through the lineage of one of his great descendants, David. Made is from GINOMAI which means "caused to be." This part of the great promise pertained to the fleshly nature of Christ.

Verse 4

1:4 Rom 1:4. It became generally known that Jesus was a descendant of David as to his fleshly or human relationship, but some special event was necessary to declare or prove him to be also the Son of God. That was accomplished by his resurrection from the dead, for God would not have raised him had he been an impostor.

Verse 5

1:5 Rom 1:5. By we Paul includes himself with the other apostles, and he regards the appointment as grace or divine favor. For is from EIS, and it means the apostleship was in order to call men of all nations to believe on the name of Jesus.

Verse 6

1:6 Rom 1:6. Ye means the brethren to whom the apostle was writing this epistle.

Verse 7

1:7 Rom 1:7. To all that be in Rome applies to all the disciples of Christ, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. The church in that city was composed of both, and that must be remembered throughout the study of this epistle, in order to grasp the purpose of much of the apostle's reasoning. The Jewish brethren admitted that the Gentiles were their equals as far as the chances of salvation were concerned, yet they still had a feeling of superiority because of having been God's special people for so long. On the other hand, the Gentile brethren had the attitude of persons who had been underestimated, but whose real merits had finally been recognized by the Lord so that He had admitted them to the benefits of the Gospel because of those merits. Paul will show in various passages that God had never favored either Jews or Gentiles by reason of

Verse 8

1:8 Rom 1:8. World is from KOSMOS and means the people of the earth. Rome was a center of population, being the capital of the Roman Empire. People coming and going to and from this capital would learn of the church and would carry the information back home.

Verse 9

1:9 Rom 1:9. God is my witness. Since God knows the hearts of all, He knew that Paul's service was from the heart, and for that reason_ the prayers of the apostle would be heard.

Verse 10

:10 Rom 1:10. Having been faithful to the service of Christ elsewhere, Paul prayed trustingly for the opportunity of preaching the Gospel in Rome.

Verse 12

:12 Rom 1:12. The motive for this wish of Paul was not far the sake of glory, but he longed for the comfort that comes from association with those of like faith.

Verse 13

:13 Rom 1:13. Let is an old word that means to hinder. For some reason which he does not state, he had been hindered from coming to Rome. Other Gentiles shows that the church in Rome had Gentiles in it as well as Jews.

Verse 14

:14 Rom 1:14. Debtor means one who is under obligation to another, and Paul means he has the obligation to preach the Gospel to these classes mentioned. A barbarian is one who speaks a foreign language, and the word is used in contrast with the Greeks because they were the native people of Greece and also recognized the people of Italy as their equals socially. The wise refers to those skilled in the philosophy of the time in contrast with those who were not.

Verse 15

:15 Rom 1:15. The foregoing considerations made Paul feel obligated to preach the Gospel to the people of Rome to the extent of his ability.

Verse 16

:16 Rom 1:16. Paul had been persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, yet he was not ashamed of it. The reason for his attitude was the great truth that it is the power of God unto salvation. Power is from DUNAMIS, which is one of the strongest words in the Greek New Testament for the thought of what may bring about a desired result. But it has such an effect only on those who believe it. Jew first . . . Greek. That denotes the Gospel was offered to the Jews before it was to the Greeks (or Gentiles).

Verse 17

:17 Rom 1:17. Righteousness of God means the system of life that will produce a state of righteousness acceptable to God. That system is revealed in the Gospel (not in the law of works in the Mosaic system). The original for from is Fa which denotes the source of something or the means by which it is accomplished. Hence the thought is that the system of God's righteousness is revealed by means of the faith (in Jesus), and not by the works of the law. To faith. The first word is from EIS and is defined "in order to," and as applied here it means that this system of God's righteousness is revealed "in order to" produce faith in the hearer. The just shall live by (the) faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law. The Judaizers were trying to force the Christians into observing the works of the law as the proper system of righteousness.

Verse 18

:18 Rom 1:18. The Gospel not only reveals God's system of righteousness, but it also tells of the divine wrath against all ungodliness. Hold means to hold back or restrain. The unright-eousness of men is a hindrance to the spread and reception of the truth.

Verse 19

:19 Rom 1:19. From here to the close of the chapter the apostle deals with the corruptions of the heathen or Gentile world. Those people did not have the law of Moses, but they did have the principles of righteousness that nature offered them, and they refused to abide by them. In them means the evidences of God's goodness were visible to them.

Verse 20

:20 Rom 1:20. This verse corresponds in thought with Psa 19:1, meaning the evidences in nature of the existence of a Supreme Being. The invisible things of him are His eternal power and Godhead. Though invisible to man, yet the evidences of them are clearly seen in the world that was created and whose objects "declare the glory of God" (Psa 19:1). This leaves the heathen without excuse for their unbelief.

Verse 21

:21 Rom 1:21. The heathen did not live up to the information offered them by the things in creation. They did not respect God as he deserved, but estimated Him on the basis of their foolish imaginations, which are described in verse 23.

Verse 22

:22 Rom 1:22. When a man professes to be wiser than a Being who can create the universe, he becomes the most deplorable of fools.

Verse 23

:23 Rom 1:23. This verse outlines the idolatry of the heathen, and shows why Paul applied the term "fools" to them. They were bound to know that the brute creatures of the earth could not originate anything, yet they pretended to represent the Creator by making images of these dumb animals and calling them gods.

Verse 24

:24 Rom 1:24. The original Greek for gave them up is defined by Thayer, "To give over into (one's) power or use." Robinson's definition is virtually the same. When men persist in going contrary to the light and information in their reach, He will abandon them and suffer them to go full length into their preferred practices. They dishonored their own bodies by the unnatural immoral practices to be considered at verses 26, 27.

Verse 25

:25 Rom 1:25. The truth of God cannot actually be changed into a lie, for divine truth is eternal. The definitions of Robinson and Thayer of the word for changed are the same in thought, but the former is more direct which is, "To exchange one thing for another." The heathen gave up the truth of God and accepted the lie of idolatry in exchange. Served the creature more [marginal "rather"] than the Creator. See verse 23.

Verse 26

:26 Rom 1:26. Gave them up is explained at verse 24. Vile affections is defined "depraved passion" by Thayer. Change means the same as in verse 25. The iniquity of which these women were guilty is called "homosexuality" in Webster's Dictionary. Liddell and Scott's Greek lexicon defines such a woman as one "who practices lewdness with herself or with other women."

Verse 27

:27 Rom 1:27. The common name for the iniquity referred to in this verse is sodomy. It is the sin meant in 1Co 6:9, last sentence. A case of it is that predicted in Dan 11:37, and the man was a Syrian king by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes. The historical fulfillment of that prediction is recorded in Prideaux's Connexion, year 175. Recompence of their error. This is not described in any work that I have seen, but the circumstances indicate it refers to some physical derangement of the organs involved in the shameless act. We know that the promiscuous intimacies between the sexes has produced the well-known "social disease," and in a similar manner some terrible disorder was the result of the horrible practice of sodomy, which is the unnatural immorality between men and men.

Verse 28

:28 Rom 1:28. This is the same as verse 24.

Verse 29

:29 Rom 1:29. The "reprobate mind" in the preceding verse would crave and secure the evils named here, many of which are general in their meaning and do not require extended comments. Fornication is unlawful intimacy between the sexes. Covetousness the unlawful desire for the belongings of another. Maliciousness is a desire and determination to do injury to another. Envy is a feeling that regrets seeing someone enjoying a favor. Debate as used here means wrangling or quarreling. Deceit is an effort to mislead another to his injury. Malignity is virtually the same as maliciousness. Whisperers are "secret slanderers" according to Thayer.

Verse 30

:30 Rom 1:30. Backbiters means about the same as "whisperers" in the preceding verse; those who would Blander you "behind your back." Haters of God is proved by their worship of false gods. Despiteful is similar to mali cious, and such characters also will show their pride. Boasters are those who love to practice those evils and want others to know about it. Inventors of evil things. They not only follow in the steps of wicked persons, but also devise evil ways of their own. Disobedient to parents means they have repudiated the rightful authority of their father and mother.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Romans 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/romans-1.html. 1952.
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