Romans 1

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Romans 1
← Acts 28
Oxyrhynchus 209 (p10).jpg
Epistle to the Romans 1:1–7 in Papyrus 10, written about AD 316.
BookEpistle to the Romans
Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Bible part6
CategoryPauline epistles

Romans 1 is the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle, but written by an amanuensis, Tertius, while Paul was in Corinth, in winter of AD 57–58. Acts 20:3 records that Paul stayed in Greece, probably Corinth, for three months.


Cross references[edit]


The letter is addressed "to all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints" [4] but not to "the church in Rome" as such. Methodist founder John Wesley suggested that the believers in Rome "were scattered up and down in that large city, and not yet reduced into the form of a church".[5] As with many of the Pauline epistles, Paul's first thoughts are of thanksgiving:

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world (Romans 1:8).[6]

Verse 16[edit]

New Revised Standard Version

For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.[7]

Verse 17[edit]

King James Version

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.[8]

Citation from Habakkuk 2:4

  • "The just shall live by faith" (ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται).

The Septuagint has ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ζήσεται.

The phrase comprising the last three Hebrew words of Habakkuk 2:4 is cited in Greek three times in the New Testament, all in Pauline epistles — Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38 — "demonstrating its importance to the early church," asserted Dockery.[9]

Moody Smith, Jr. showed that in this verse, by exegesis of Galatians 3:11 (also quoting Habakkuk 2:4), Paul took the ek pisteos with the verb zesetai not by the subject of the sentence, ho dikaios.[10] This is supported by Qumran interpretation of the text, as well as Paul's contemporaries and more recent commentators, such as Lightfoot.[11]

God's Revelation in Nature[edit]

In verses 19-20, Paul writes:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.[12]

This is one of the important statements in the Bible relating to the concept of 'natural revelation': that other than revealing Himself in Christ and in the Scriptures, God reveals Himself to everyone through nature and history, and all human beings have the capacity to receive such revelation because they continue to bear the divine image.[13] It echoes what Paul and Barnabas has said to a crowd in Lystra in Acts 14:16-17:

The living God ... made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.[14]

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness[edit]

Paul begins to explain from verse 18 onwards why the gospel (Greek: το ευαγγελιον του χριστου) is needed: it is to save humankind, both gentiles and Jews, from the wrath of God (Greek: οργη θεου). The wrath of God is explained by Lutheran theologian Heinrich Meyer as "the affection of a personal God, ... the love of the holy God (who is neither neutral nor one-sided in His affection) for all that is good in its energy as antagonistic to all that is evil".[15]

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:[16]
  • "gave them up" (also in verse 24; "gave them over" in verse 28) is from the Greek word paradidomi, "hand over", refers to more than a passive withholding of divine grace on God's part, but as God's reaction to the people who turning from the truth of God and his moral requirements to their own gods and sinful ways (verses 23, 25, 27).[13]

Verse 27[edit]

New American Bible Revised Edition

and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.[17]
  • "the due", "which was meet" (KJV) or "was fitting" (King James 2000 Bible) (Greek: ἔδει, edei)

Equivalent to "was due" , which is better, though the word expresses a necessity in the nature of the case - that which must needs be as the consequence of violating the divine law.[18]

  • "penalty" or "recompence" (KJV) (Greek: ἀντιμισθίαν, antimisthian)

Greek concordance and lexicon define this word as: "a reward, recompense, retribution";[19] "remunerating, a reward given in compensation, requital, recompense; in a bad sense."[20] See also Epistle to the Romans#The judgment of God (1:18–32)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ List of manuscripts „Fortsetzung der Liste der Handschriften“ Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, Universität Münster. (PDF-file; 147 kB)
  2. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration (4 ed.). New York – Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-0-19-516122-9.
  3. ^ Percy Neale Harrison, Paulines and Pastorals (London: Villiers Publications, 1964), 80–85; Robert Martyr Hawkins, The Recovery of the Historical Paul (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943), 79-86; Alfred Firmin Loisy, The Origins of the New Testament (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1962), 250; ibid., The Birth of the Christian Religion (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1962), 363 n.21; Winsome Munro, Authority in Paul and Peter: The Identification of a Pastoral Stratum in the Pauline Corpus and 1 Peter, SNTSMS 45 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 113; John C. O'Neill, Paul's Letter to the Romans (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975), 40-56; William O. Walker, Jr., "Romans 1.18–2.29: A Non-Pauline Interpolation?" New Testament Studies 45, no. 4 (1999): 533–52.
  4. ^ Berean Study Bible, Romans 1:7
  5. ^ Wesley's Notes on the Bible on Romans 1, accessed 1 September 2016
  6. ^ See 1 Corinthians 1:4-5; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2 and 2 Thessalonians 1:3
  7. ^ Romans 1:16
  8. ^ Romans 1:17
  9. ^ Dockery, David S. “The Use of Hab. 2:4 in Rom. 1:17: Some Hermeneutical and Theological Considerations.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 22, no. 2 (September 1, 1987): 24–36.
  10. ^ Smith, D. Moody, Jr. "HO DE DIKAIOS EK PISTEOS ZESETAI". Second article in XXIX (Studies & Documents, ed. Jacob Geerlings), Studies in the History and Text of the New Testament in honor of Kennet Willis Clark, Boyd L. Daniels & M. Jack Suggs, eds., pp. 13-25.
  11. ^ Lightfoot wrote: "I cannot doubt that ek pisteos is to be taken with zesetai; and not with ho dikaios". Lightfoot, J.B. Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul, Bibliolife. 2010. p. 250. ISBN 978-1140434795.
  12. ^ Romans 1:19-20 (New Revised Standard Version).
  13. ^ a b New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition. Edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994. pp. 1121-1124. ISBN 9780830814428.
  14. ^ New King James Version
  15. ^ Meyer's NT Commentary on Romans 1, accessed 4 September 2016
  16. ^ Romans 1:26
  17. ^ Romans 1:27.
  18. ^ Vincent, Marvin R., Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, 1985.
  19. ^ Strong, J. The exhaustive concordance of the Bible: Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship. 1996.
  20. ^ Thayer, Joseph. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Coded with Strong's Concordance Numbers. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers. 1995. ISBN 9781565632097.

External links[edit]