ROMANS Chapter One|
Pronunciation guide for the Greek language.
1. The consonant sounds correspond with English.
ch = the hard sound as in character, and refers to the Xi.
xz = an English x and z pronounced together.
2. “a” = a as in pat, and refers to the alpha.
3. “e” = e as in get, and refers to the epsilon.
4. “A” = a as in late, and refers to the eta.
5. “i” = a short “I” sound, and refers to the iota.
6. “o” = o as in lot, and refers to the omicron.
7. “O” = o as in note, and refers to the omega.
8. “u” = u as in lute, and refers to the upsilon.
9. “ei” is a diphthong pronounced as a long a, as in fate.
10. “ai” is a diphthong pronounced as a long I, as in life.
11. “eu” is a diphthong pronounced as eu in feud.
12. “au” is a diphthong pronounced as ow in how.
13. "oi" is a diphthong pronounced as in oil.
14. “ou” is a diphthong pronounced as a long U, as in through.
15. "ui" is a diphthong pronounced kind of
like a "wee" sound
15. “AU” is a diphthong that combines the eta and the upsilon sounds which are
pronounced very rapidly together.
1. Human author: the apostle Paul under the principle of divine inspiration. 2
Peter 1:21 with 3:15-16
See Topic: Divine Inspiration
2. Time of writing: circa 58 AD and 4099 AH
A. 1 and 2 Thessalonians were written about 55-56 AD
B. 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians and Romans, in 58 AD.
3. Place of writing: From Corinth during Paul’s third visit. Acts 20:2-3
A. Paul is on his way to Jerusalem with the contribution for
the saints. Romans 15:25-26
B. He had just come from Macedonia where he wrote the book of
2Corinthians and picked up
the Macedonian offering. Acts
C. He then stopped in Greece for three months, and Corinth,
which was his third visit there.
2 Corinthians 13:1
1. While there, he picked up the
Corinthian contribution. 1 Corinthians 16:1-6
2. And wrote the book of Romans. This
is based on Romans 16:23.
a. Gaius: 1
b. Erastus: 2
D. After Greece Paul went to Syria via Macedonia again. Acts
4. Purpose: There is no stated purpose in this letter. It seems that Paul
simply begins writing and expounds on whatever comes to his mind as he
dictates to his assistant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The result is a BOLD (Romans 15:15) dissertation on all the major issues of
Christianity, giving a complete guide to understanding salvation, spiritual
growth, fellowship and service.
Verses 1-7: The salutation. This is the longest salutation of all the letters
and might be because Paul had never met them face to face.
1. Paul: Previously Saul of Tarsus, a zealous Pharisee and persecutor of the
early church prior to his conversion. The Greek, paulos, is actually a
transliteration from the Latin, and means LITTLE. It is a Gentile name adopted
by Saul sometime after his salvation, probably as a commemoration of God’s
grace from the genuine humility within his soul. Eph. 3:8; 1 Cor. 15:9-10.
The name also provides an initial rapport with Gentiles in order to fulfill
his apostolic commission “to the Gentiles.” Gal. 1:15-16; 2:7-8; Acts
See Topic: PAUL
2. A bond servant: doulos refers to an indentured slave who is such either by
force or by choice. When such servitude is by choice it reflects the devotion
and affection that the slave has for the master.
A. This title teaches the principle of true humility as we
recognize that God is the source and
provider of all things.
B. the example of being a bond servant is seen in Jesus.
C. Four principles pertaining to the bond servant.
1. A servant belongs to someone else.
2. He was purchased by someone else.
3. The buyer is responsible for the
care and protection.
4. The servant’s whole life is now
centered around serving and pleasing the master.
D. It is actually a change from one form of slavery to a different
form. In the case of the believer,
he has been positionally delivered from
bondage to darkness and sin and has
become a slave
to righteousness and a servant in the kingdom of God.
See Topic: Position in Christ
The believer in Jesus Christ has entered into a relationship of benevolent
The MASTER (God) has only the welfare
of his servants in mind.
As a bond servant the believer seeks
only what is beneficial to the master.
He seeks only to please God.
Acts 5:29, "We must obey God rather than men."
We are left here on earth to promote
the character and plan of God in our life and our message.
Paul clarifies that there is no room
for compromise in our servitude. Galatians 1:10
Religion and Christianity are
mutually exclusive. And only Christianity is pleasing to God.
And in fact, only true biblical
Christianity is pleasing to God.
So it is imperative that each
believer comes to terms with grace, faith, freedom
and true spirituality. And of course,
that is why there is so much debate and division.
See Topic: SERVING GOD
3. Of Christ Jesus: This is the one who purchased and owns the slave
A. Acts 20:28; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 7:23
B. Titus 1:1 and James 1:1 - servant of God
C. The order of words, “Christ Jesus” indicates an emphasis
in the mind of the writer. Paul
changes the order many times in
his writings and nothing is to be made of it except his own
personal focus at the time.
D. Christ: christos means anointed one, and refers to the
Messianic commission from
God the Father. Luke
4:18; Acts 4;27; Psalm 2:1 and Acts 4:26
1. The promise to Abraham: Gal. 3:16;
2. At Jesus’ birth: Luke 2:11
3. Simeon’s confession: Luke 2:25-32
4. John’s confession: John 1:19-20;
5. Jesus’ confession: John 4:25-26;
6. Peter’s confession: Mat. 16:15-16;
7. Apostle John’s statement: John
8. Paul’s conviction: Acts 9:22
9. Son of man title: John 9:35-38
10. The issue of the incarnation: 1 Jon. 2:22;
11. Fulfilled prophecy: Luke 24:25-27
E. Jesus: The name means “Yahweh saves,” or “savior.” The
emphasis is on his humanity and the
soul sacrifice required for the
redemption of mankind. Isaiah 53:10-11; John 1:14, 29, the
Lamb of God.
This originated from Gabriel at Mat.
1:21, where it is also explained. Luke 1:31 and 2:21
4. The status and attitude of the bond servant.
A. All believers have a servant status. 1 Cor. 7:23
B. All believers should live as a servant of Christ.
Eph. 6:6; 1 Pet. 2:16
C. A new believer is unable to fully orient to his servant
status and function, and must be taught
and equipped for service.
Eph. 4:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:15
D. As the believer learns more and more about the character
and plan of God, he comes to the
place where he accepts with humility,
confidence and joy his place as servant of Christ.
1 Peter 1:13-17
E. In secular society, the bond servant is characterized by
the CHOICE to stay in service after the
time of his indenturment has expired.
F. For the believer, the CHOICE to FUNCTION as a bond servant
is made on a daily basis
concerning values and
priorities in every area of life.
Mat. 6:24; 10:34-38; Luke 9:23;
G. The believer perpetuates his FUNCTION as a servant by
maintaining fellowship with God
through walking in the light by
the filling/control of the Holy Spirit and using Bible truth.
No man can serve two masters. The
believer will either be under the control of the sin nature
or under the filling/control of the
Spirit. Romans 6:12-20; Gal. 5:1, 13-17; Romans 13:17-18
H. To call oneself a servant of God, indicates that the
choice has been made to live under the
jurisdiction of God’s
authority, viewpoint and policy as found in the Bible.
I. If the confession is made without conformity to the
standards of Bible truth, then it is a false and
self-deceptive confession. In such a
case, the believer is out of fellowship with God but has not
lost his salvation. 1 John 1:5-10;
James 1:5-8, 21-27
However, such a one MIGHT not even be
a believer. Mat. 7:15-29
5. A called apostle: NOT - called as an apostle.
A. Apostle refers to the spiritual gift of apostle, which was
the highest authority in the church.
As an apostle, Paul not only has
great CARE for all the churches (2 Cor. 11:28), but he also
has authority to pass on DIVINE
viewpoint and policy.
1. Divine revelation claimed: Eph.
3:3; Gal. 1:11-12
2. Supported by Luke: book of Acts
3. Supported by Peter: 2 Peter
4. Supported by tradition: The church
Rome (95 AD), Ignatius (110 AD) and Polycarp (916 AD)
5. Supported by context
6. Using the argument of silence:
There are no dissenters.
John and by Jude
7. By the Jerusalem church: via Luke
at Acts 15.
B. The word called is the adjective, klAtos, and describes
the apostle. The word AS does not
occur here in the Greek. It is
a simple noun with a simple adjective before it.
What kind of apostle? A “called” one.
The exact same construction occurs in
verse 7, where the adjective “called” is placed in front of
the noun, “saints.” The correct
translation there is “called saints” and NOT “called AS saints.”
This is why in both phrases, the “as”
is in italics in most English translations; the word AS does
not occur in the Greek.
1. called: the adjective, klAtos,
means, called, invited, appointed. The verb kaleo means to call,
and appoint. The basic idea of the word is INVITE, but once someone has
invitation, he is now seen as one who HAS BEEN invited and who has accepted
invitation, and is therefore placed in the position that he was invited to.
Thus, the adjective,
now employed to describe this STATUS of being in the promised position.
In the case
of the apostle, the focus is on the apostolic commission that he has as an
factor to his
goes hand in hand with the word for ELECTION or CHOOSING. The word
to the invitation, the word ELECT (choose) refers to what God does after the
invitation is accepted.
(actually all) are called but few are chosen. All are invited, but only those
invitation are CHOSEN and PLACED into the plan of God.
In regard to
verse 7, every believer is a saint and every saint is one who has ACCEPTED
(invitation) to be saved. This one is now seen as invited AND chosen to be in
plan of God.
2. For details see Topic:
3. This invitation and choosing
involves three factors. Privilege, rank and function.
PRIVILEGE is always based on grace. The spiritual gift
is not earned or merited, but given by the sovereign decision
of the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. Paul realizes
that he is both SAVED and an apostle because of God’s gracious gift. Every
receives one spiritual gift at the point of salvation based entirely on grace.
1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:7-11; 1 Peter 4:10.
b. The RANK
is first a salvation issue. We are placed into the position of Divine royalty
Peter 2:9). Concerning the spiritual gift, each gift has a FUNCTIONAL rank
aspect to it.
every case, it is a function that has a special and unique purpose.
FUNCTION refers to the specific and unique divine ability that is inherent in
1 Pet. 4:10-11; Rom. 12:3-8
C. See Topic: Apostle
6. Set apart: the verb, aphoridzO occurs as a perfect passive participle and
means to separate, take away, set apart, appoint. It expresses the idea of
restriction and dedication to a specific purpose. That purpose is identified
as UNTO (eis) the gospel of God.
The perfect tense of the verb indicates something that has been completed in
the past and the results continue on into the present and future. It thus
views the action as a COMPLETED and PERMANENT condition.
The passive voice means that the subject receives the action. This is
something that has been done TO Paul rather than something that he has done to
or for himself.
The participle form gives the verb an adjectival function and is a further
description attached to the name, Paul.
Paul HAS BEEN and IS set apart by God for the specific purpose of promoting
the gospel in his life.
The gospel of God refers to the GOOD NEWS of God for the spiritual function of
the human race. This includes FIRST, the provision and mechanics for getting
saved from the eternal penalty of sin. SECOND, it includes the provision and
mechanics for HOW TO LIVE here on earth after salvation.
See Topic: The Gospel
A parenthesis to amplify the gospel
1. which He promised before: The verb is proepangellomai.
The BEFORE comes from the prefix, pro, and is simply referring to a time prior
to the historical arrival and work of the Messiah. The time is identified as
the time when the prophets wrote about it in the Scriptures, which refers to
Moses through Malachi. 1 Peter 1:10-11; Luke 24:25-27, 44
2. At Titus 1:2, the verb is epangellO, and the prefix is replaced by the
preposition form of "pro".
“The hope of eternal life which the not-lying God promised before the
In this case, it is referring to a specific promise at a specific time BEFORE
the historical time periods began. It must refer to the very FIRST salvation
promise which was given at Genesis 3:15 immediately after the fall of the Adam
It is then and because of that fall, that the AGES or DISPENSATIONS that God
would use to administer Man’s salvation, began.
At Ephesians 3:11, the administration of Man’s salvation is called “the plan
of the ages, which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
See topic: Dispensations
1. Concerning His Son: At the end of verse 4, this one is identified of
course, as Jesus Christ our Lord.
A. Jesus: again, focuses on the humanity of the Messiah and
the spiritual sacrifice that was made
on the cross.
B. Christ: And again, the anointed one. This title refers to
the Messianic commission given by the
Father to accomplish the final
victory over the forces of darkness.
C. Lord: kurios is a title of authority in general.
Specifically, it is a title that
indicates the possession of divine authority, which establishes the
deity of the one who has that
authority. John 5:17-27; Acts 2:36
2. Who was born: the verb is ginomai and means to become something you were
not before. In this case, then, to become or COME into existence, or to come
on the scene of human history. It is proper to translate it as BORN. At Gal.
4:4, the same word is used in “born of a woman,” but it is with the phrase
“when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son.”
So we have TWO ideas to focus on.
(1) God SENT the Son, and
(2) The Son was born.
The SENDING was the decision of the Godhead for the 2nd member of the Godhead
to enter into the human race as the Messiah-Savior.
The BIRTH was the mechanics of the arrival, prophesied at Isaiah 7:14
and stated as fulfilled at John 1:14.
The HISTORICAL details are found at Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-21
The TECHNICAL details are found at Philippians 2:6-8.
3. From the seed of David: This refers to the royal line of Israel and
specifically traces the birth of Jesus back to David’s genealogy.
See Topic: The Messianic Lineage
4. According to the flesh: According to the standard of human procreation and
See Topic: The Virgin Birth
1. Who was declared: the verb is horidzO, which means to define, mark out or
designate. As an aorist tense, it refers to a past specific point of time
which is identified in the sentence as the event of the resurrection.
The passive voice of the verb indicates that the Messiah RECEIVED this
designation from someone else. Of course it is the Father and the Spirit who
actively brought about the resurrection.
2. As the Son of God: The title is an indication of deity. The people knew
what the title meant as per John 5:17-18 and 10:30-39.
It is the resurrection that establishes the veracity of Christ’s claim to be
the Son of God. It is the resurrection that is the PROOF of the person and
work of Jesus as per Acts 17:31.
3. with power: dunamis, in this context indicates the supernatural activity
that produced the resurrection of Jesus.
4. By the resurrection from the dead: See Topic Resurrection: summary
5. According to the Spirit of holiness: this is the only place this noun,
hagiosunA, is used with the Spirit. Everywhere else it is the Holy (hagios,
which is an adjective) Spirit or even SPIRIT alone. However, there is no
difference in meaning. The focus is still on the fact that the Holy Spirit is
characterized by a uniqueness that is found only with God.
See Topic: The Holy Spirit - His person and
6. Jesus Christ our Lord: Establishes who Paul is talking about without any
1. Through Whom: The PROVISION of spiritual gifts is from Jesus through His
ascension to the right hand of the Father. Eph. 4:8
The MECHANICS are accomplished by the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:7-11
2. We have received: This is an aorist active indicative of lambanO and refers
to the specific POINT IN TIME that the spiritual gift of apostle was given,
which was the point of salvation for Paul.
3. Grace: charis, here, refers to all the grace resources for living the
Christian life and serving as an ambassador. They are not earned or merited in
any way; they are not sought for or asked for, but given to the believer at
the point of salvation. Specifically, the word GRACE refers to the PROVISION
of the spiritual gift, whereas apostleship refers to the ACTUAL gift.
4. and apostleship: The SPECIFIC area of service is the individual’s spiritual
gift, which in Paul’s case is the gift of apostle.
5. To bring about: The preposition, EIS, means unto or toward when it occurs
with the genitive case of the following noun, as it does here.
The purpose of the apostle gift is to communicate TRUTH and encourage a
positive response to that truth; whether it is gospel information or spiritual
growth information (2 Cor. 13:10, edification).
6. obedience of faith: hupakoA + pistis
Obedience refers to the positive response to the gospel of salvation.
2 Thes. 1:8; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 4:17; Acts 5:32; 6:7; John 3:36; Rom. 6:17;
The word, obedience, is used because the decision to BELIEVE in Christ is in
fact, an expression of obedience to the demand of the gospel invitation, which
occurs in the mood of command, the imperative mood. Acts 16:31;
2:38; Mark 1:15
7. Among all the nations: the principle of John 1:9-12 and Titus 2:11 and Acts
1:8 and Acts 17:30-31 and Matthew 28:18-20.
8. For His names sake: On behalf of His name. The word NAME has in view his
CHARACTER and not his appellation. The communication of the gospel is for the
promotion of God’s character and plan.
1. Among whom: Refers to all the nations and indicates that some of the ALL
MEN have made a volitional decision to trust in Christ.
2. you also are the CALLED of Jesus Christ: the adjective, klAtos, is used
again to indicate the STATUS of these believers. They are ones who have been
invited AND have accepted the invitation. Thus they are in the plan of God, in
the family of God, and in the kingdom of God. They are in a unique
relationship with both the Father and the Son. Here, the SOURCE of the
invitation focuses on Christ, and the OWNERSHIP of the one who has called
focuses on Christ. The genitive case construction, “called OF Jesus Christ,”
indicates this relationship. They are called THROUGH Christ and belong to
At verse 7, they are designated as, “called (klAtos) saints,” to further
emphasize the STATUS of their salvation relationship.
1. To all who are beloved by God: the adjective, agapAtos, indicates that
these believers are objects of God’s love. Of course, the whole world comes
under God’s love (John 3:16), but that is God’s universal desire to benefit
his creation based on His compassion and Mercy (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4).
Here, it is referring to RELATIONSHIP love. The specialized love that now
views the person as a favored (grace) child of God. Col.
3:12; Eph. 5:1
2. In Rome: The city had been previously evangelized, perhaps in a large part,
by Aquilla and Priscilla. Rom. 16:3-5
3. Called saints: this amplifies the relationship that Paul is describing. He
is using several terms to establish the FACT of their salvation-relationship
The word SAINTS, is the adjective, hagios, and indicates a condition of being
set apart as special; to be distinguished from others as being DIFFERENT. That
difference of course is the positional relationship of being in union with
See Topic: Position In Union With Christ
4. grace to you and peace: This is the standard apostolic greeting, and
expresses his desire AND exhortation that they experience the abundant life of
peace, joy and inner stability.
A. The word GRACE, refers to all o God’s resources that are
as per Rom. 8:32 (“freely give us all
things”), and 2 Peter 1:3-4
(“everything that pertains to life
and good worship”).
1. The resources are available, but
the believer must CHOOSE to use
provisions. Heb. 4:16; 1 Peter 5:12, “you stand firm in it.”
2. This then will result in soul
strength through character growth.
3. The maximum utilization of grace
resources is based on consistency in knowing and
love for God. Eph. 6:24; 3:14-19
B. And peace: the noun, eirAne, refers to perfect soul
relaxation; free from guilt and antagonism
1. It is the peace of the abundant
life as promised by Jesus. Jn. 14:27; 16:33
2. Paul describes it at Phil. 4:6-7.
3. Romans 15:13, peace, joy and
confidence. Joy and confidence go hand in hand to produce a
4. The peace of God is the RESULT of
using God’s grace resources to handle the pressures of
antagonistic environment in which we live.
environment is PHYSICALLY antagonistic to us because of the curse on the
environment is spiritually antagonistic to us because we live in the kingdom
darkness, and the darkness hates the light. Thus we come under attack from
Satan and his
angels (demons) and from the human citizens of this kingdom, the unbelievers.
environment is inherently antagonistic to us because we have the sin nature
still in our
mentality and it is inconstant conflict with the Holy Spirit and the Word.
Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:24; 1 Pet. 2:11
5. The mechanics of experiencing grace and peace is by knowing and using Bible
2 Pet. 1:2-4.
As we come to understand more and more about the character and plan of
from LEARNING what is revealed in the Bible, we gain capacity to USE that
understanding to access God’s GRACE resources and to experience true PEACE and
5. From God our Father:
A. Communicates personal relationship through the new birth.
B. Communicates authority and origin: Rom. 8:32
C. Communicates the SOURCE of our provisions.
D. At 2 Cor. 13:11, the Father is called, “the God of love
6. And from the Lord Jesus Christ: Since Jesus is the one who actually carried
out the plan by BEING the sacrifice on the cross, He too is the source and
example of many of our grace resources.
Heb. 2:14-18 and 4:14-16.
. A. Jesus:
The Greek, iāsous,
is simply the form for the Hebrew, Joshuah (yeshua) which means Yahweh saves
or simply “savior.” With this personal name assigned to
the Messiah, we see His first advent mission clearly proclaimed by Gabriel
"And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He
who will save His people from their sins."
The emphasis is on his humanity and the soul sacrifice required for the
redemption of mankind. Isaiah 53:10-11; John 1:14, 29, the Lamb of God.
B. Christ: christos means anointed one, and refers to
the Messiah (Hebrew, mishiyach - for anointed one) promised throughout the
It indicates that Jesus received the Messianic commission from God the
Father. Luke 4:18 ; Acts 4;27; Psalm 2:1 and Acts 4:26
C. Lord: kurios in
context gives even greater emphasis on the deity of Jesus. When used of God
and of Jesus the focus is on divine
It was established throughout the Old Testament that the Messiah would in
fact, be Yahweh come in the flesh Who will "dwell with us." Is. 7:14; Mat.
1. The promise to Abraham: Gal. 3:16; Rom. 9:4-5
2. At Jesus’ birth: Luke 2:11
3. Simeon’s confession: Luke 2:25-32
4. John’s confession: John 1:19 -20; 3:27 -36;
5. Jesus’ confession: John 4:25-26; Mat. 26:63-66
6. Peter’s confession: Mat. 16:15 -16; Acts 2:36
7. Apostle John’s statement: John 20:30-31
8. Paul’s conviction: Acts 9:22
9. Son of man title: John 9:35-38
10. The issue of the incarnation: 1 Jon. 2:22; 4:2; 5:1
11. Fulfilled prophecy: Luke 24:25-27
See topics on Christ's deity.
Verses 8-15, Paul’s unseen affection for the Roman believers.
1. First I thank: The verb eucharisteO means to express GOOD (eu) grace (charis).
It is an attitude that is usually manifested in the giving of thanks. In view
of the backdrop of spiritual reality, the normal idea of giving thanks takes
on a much deeper meaning when we understand that everything we have in Christ
is because of God’s grace. Thus, when the believer is giving thanks to God, it
is a clear recognition of His grace that has provided everything we need for
both salvation, and for living in this world after salvation.
2. my God: Notice again, Paul’s very PERSONAL relationship with God, Whom he
recognizes as both the source and the initiator of the plan of the ages.
3. Through Jesus Christ: Although God the Father is the actual SOURCE for all
spiritual blessings, He has made them available to us BECAUSE OF Christ’s
victory on the cross. As Paul acknowledges at 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, without
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross AND the resurrection of Christ, there would be
no deliverance from sin and darkness.
4. for you all: The Roman believers whom he has never seen face to face, but
has heard of, and on that basis has developed a great spiritual affection for
5. Because your faith: THE faith of yours is hoti + THE pistis.
It refers to the function of faith in two categories. Col. 2:6
A. Saving faith: “Therefore, AS you received Christ Jesus the
We receive Him by faith. John 1:12
B. Living faith is the consistent application of Bible truth
in every area of life. “so be walking in
Him.” LIVING FAITH is the
subject of Hebrews 11, where we are shown examples of
believers who LIVED by faith in
the face of the many and varied pressures they encountered.
C. Together, a consistent testimony has been established
which has spread all throughout the
6. Is being proclaimed: The verb is katangellomai and as a present passive
indicative shows the ONGOING testimony that has been established and
communicated to others.
7. throughout the whole world: en holos + kosmos.
Wherever the gospel has gone, throughout the entire Roman empire, the
testimony of these Roman believers has gone with it.
It is probably best to take, “whole world” as referring to the lands of the
Roman empire and even at that, most likely hyperbole to emphasize that the
testimony has indeed reached an extensive audience, rather than every single
inhabited corner of the land areas involved.
Wuest agrees, so we know at least that there are reputable scholars who so
understand the expression. “This is a popular hyperbole speaking of general
diffusion throughout the Roman empire.” Romans, page 20.
The other places this terminology occurs are likewise, best taken as hyperbole
rather than precisely literal.
Acts 17:6, “These men who have upset the world . . .”
Colosians 1:6, “the gospel, which has come to you just a in all the world.”
Colosians 1:23 is different and more specific, but can still be understood as
hyperbole rather than absolutely literal.
Paul's consistent prayer ministry for them is evidence of his thankfulness.
1. For: the explanatory GAR, explains the extent of his grace expression.
2. God: Reference to God the Father as the ultimate recipient of our worship
and service. Although Christ is the recipient of worship, every aspect of
Christianity is geared to glorifying and promoting the character of God the
3. Whom I serve: The verb, latreuo emphasizes a spiritual, priestly service as
at Acts 24:14; 2 Tim. 1:3 and Roman 12:1
4. in my spirit: Preposition, EN, plus the pneuma of me. This refers to the
human spirit as that which reflects the inner character and devotion of the
soul. Romans 12:11, “fervent in the spirit.”
A. First recognize that the soul and spirit are two separate
entities within the structure of man.
1 Thes. 5:23
B. Pneuma occurs as a summary word for the inner life at 2
Cor. 7:1 and 1 Cor. 7:34.
C. And yet since the spirit functions as the reflector of the
soul, the two entities are intricately
connected to express man’s character and emotion.
Luke 1:46-47; Ex. 35:21; Job 15:12-13; Ps. 34;18; Prov.
15:13; Is. 26:9
D. Thus, Paul is communicating the genuineness of his service
devotion to God by using the
phrase, “in my spirit.”
5. In the gospel of his son: euangellion, refers to the GOOD NEWS about both
salvation and Christian living information. Paul’s service to God revolves
around the gospel. It is the content of the gospel that teaches us WHO God is,
WHAT He has accomplished for us, and WHAT He wants us to do while here on
6. For God is my witness: God as a martus does not inherently establish the
veracity of the statements that are made, but this is still a claim to honesty
and objectivity before God.
A. He is saying that God knows this to be true.
B. He is not saying it so they will be convinced. Although
Paul’s apostolic status lends credibility
to this statement, just because
someone says, “As God is my witness,” it does not establish the
veracity of the statements that
attend the claim.
C. Paul’s intent is to demonstrate the intensity of his
affection and devotion to them.
7. How (by unvarying practice): the adverb, adialeiptOs, is better
translated as, “how consistently.”
The mandate for consistency in prayer is seen at 1 Thes. 5:17.
The word expresses consistency as in what would be seen with a hacking cough;
a cough that does not seem to go away. Thus, it is not a constant, nonstop
idea, but a consistent, whenever-I-think-about-it idea.
8. I make remembrance of you: poieO + mneia. The present middle indicative
amplifies the word, consistently, above, and the word, ALWAYS, below. The
present tense communicates a continuous practice, which is now defined as
EVERY TIME that Paul prays.
1. Always: pantote to indicate, every time that Paul prays.
2. in my prayers: The noun, proseuchA, refers to prayer in general and
indicates both attitude and practice. But what IS prayer?
The word is comprised of the preposition, PROS, which means in very close
proximity and thus, is a great word to express intimacy and works well with
the idea of prayer. The other word, in its verbal form, is euchomai, which
basically means to DESIRE or WANT something. It is used secularly in greetings
such as, “I desire for you to greatly rejoice.”
Prayer then, is the expression of our DESIRES to God. But not just “what I
want,” but rather ALL the desires, needs, concerns and feelings of the soul.
This is seen more completely at Philip. 4:6-7, where the placement of ALL
CONCERNS is put into the Father’s hands through faith.
Of course, any part of prayer is asking FOR things as Paul does here with his
desire to visit the believers in Rome.
3. Making request: The present middle participle of deA, relates the specific
issue in Paul’s expression of DESIRE toward God and FOR the Roman believers.
4. If perhaps now at last: ei pOs AdA pote,
communicates a long standing desire.
5. I may succeed: The verb, euodoO, literally means to be led down a
good ROAD, and then to have a good journey. In general, and the way it is
usually used, it means to have success at something.
6. In the will of God: The word, thelAma refers to what is in line with the
plan and character of God. This reflects the humility attitude that seeks
permission from God rather than attempting to pursue one’s own viewpoint and
course of action.
This, of course is the attitude of the servant. James 4.13-17
7. To come to you: The verb erchomai, as an aorist active infinitive refers to
a a specific point of time in the future.
Verses 11-12 - The reason for Paul’s desire to see them
1. For I long to see you: epipotheO as a present active indicative + horaO as
an aorist active infinitive.
This expresses a very strong desire as used by Peter at 1 Peter 2:2.
2. In order that: hina + subjunctive introduces his purpose for wanting to see
3. I may give to you: metadidomi means to share something you have with
others. The aorist active subjunctive refers to the specific time PERIOD that
Paul will be with them.
4. Some spiritual gift: charisma pneumatikos are only used together at this
place. The indefinite pronoun, TIS, occurs to indicate something that cannot
be SPECIFICALLY identified.
This is a non-specific provision that is given to the entire local church
body. Therefore this does not refer to the functional gifts of the Spirit
which are given to individuals for the benefit of the local body as at 1 Cor.
12:4-11 and at Romans 12:4-8
5. This refers to some grace ministry of sharing something Paul has with them
to enhance their spiritual growth and fellowship consistency.
6. so that: The preposition, eis, indicates direction or reason for the
7. You may be established: the verb stAridzO, in the passive voice
means the subject receives the action of the verb. It means to be strengthened
and stabilized. It is the second stage in the process of growing up
spiritually as seen at 1 Peter 5:10. It is the supply of ENCOURAGEMENT (paraklAsis)
doctrines and viewpoint to help the believer ENDURE as he begins to learn and
absorb the fundamentals of Bible truth (edification doctrines).
8. DOCTRINE OF SUPPORT GRACE
1. That is: amplifies his purpose for wanting to see them by stating one of
the results of stabilizing grace.
2. To be mutually encouraged with you: this is the triple compound verb,
A. sum = with
B. para = beside
C. kaleo = speak
Thus, to speak something BESIDE (closeness) WITH mutual benefit.
It shows that support grace activity provides encouragement and motivation as
the fundamentals of Bible truth are solidified in the believer’s soul.
The aorist passive infinitive indicates still the SAME point of time that Paul
would minister to them when he visits. The passive voice, again indicates that
believers RECEIVE the benefits of support grace activity.
3. Through the faith of one another, yours and mine: dia + pistis
The respective application of faith in focusing on the various promises
of God, which will result from successfully utilizing stabilizing grace
provides for mutual motivation.
As believers interact with one another and fellowship around the
applicability of God’s word - His viewpoint; His promises and His
policy - there is a mutual encouragement. We are encouraged as we see
how others use God’s word to deal with the various pressures in life.
Verse 13 personal background to Paul’s desire to visit them
1. And I don’t want you to be unknowing: The verb, agnoeO, is used a few times
by Paul, although usually in reference to knowledge of specific spiritual
truth (Rom. 11:25; 1Cor. 10:1; 1Cor. 12:1; 2Cor. 1:8; 1 Thes. 4:13). Here, He
uses it to refer to his own personal motivations and history in reference to
his intent to visit them. They don’t know the details, so he wants to reverse
a present knowledge deficiency concerning his personal desire about them.
2. That many times I planned: The verb, protithAmi, means to put or place
before hand. Thus, the idea of putting into place a course of action that one
wants to do. It is not DOING it, but rather PLANNING to do it.
3. to come to you: To visit the believers in Rome
4. And have been prevented thus far: The verb, kOluO, means to hinder, which
of course, effectively prevents the intended course of action.
The cause of the hindrance is indicated at Romans 15:18-22 as being the
BUSYNESS of Paul in the proclaiming of the gospel in other places. He is
especially reticent to take the gospel to places that have already been
reached (verse 15:20), and that is the reason he has delayed his journey to
Rome. This seems then, to be a conscious choice by Paul in the routine of his
ministry, although he is quick to indicate reliance on the will of God as at
verse 15:32, “so that I many come to you in joy BY the will of God.”
He thus, does not divorce his decisions from what he perceives to be the
guidance of God.
As zealous as this seems, it is not a truly reliable statement, as WE look
back through history and observe Paul’s inconsistency.
Later, Paul ignores the clear guidance of God, “not to go ot Jerusalem.” and
pursues his own desire (Acts 21:4). However, God will use even this rebellion
of Paul to actually fulfill his desire to get to Rome (Acts 21:10-11).
When it is God’s intent to USE someone, He will do it no matter what kind of
person he is or what decisions he makes. Observe God’s intent with the Pharaoh
of the Exodus at Ex. 9:16. “For this cause I have allowed you to remain in
order to show you my power and to proclaim My name through all the earth.”
Paul gets out of fellowship with God by ignoring the leading of the Holy
Spirit. He then makes it worse by attempting to offer an animal sacrifice
(Acts 21:26-27). But God has a plan for him when he gets over his misguided
zeal and is ready to listen again. And that plan just happens to be in Rome.
That plan is realized at Acts 28:30-31 about 3 years later.
This letter was written about 58 AD and Paul experienced the two years of his
first Roman imprisonment in 61-63 AD.
5. In order that: hina + subjunctive mood indicates the reason for Paul’s
desire to visit the Roman believers.
6. I might have some fruit among you: both exhortation and evangelistic fruit.
8. Just as also among the rest of the Gentiles: First evangelistic production
and then exhortation.
Acts 13.46-49; 14.21-22; 15.41; 16.4-5; 18.8-11; 19.8-10
Verses 14-17 The 3 “I ams” of
V. 14 - The first “I am” is the OBLIGATION of service
1. I am under obligation: Literally this is, I am a debtor. It is eimi, as a
present indicative plus the noun, opheiletAs. The present tense communicates
not only Paul’s service obligation, but the obligation that every believer has
as a member of the family of God and an ambassador for Christ.
This refers to the 3rd principle of service humility: We are here to serve
others. 1 Cor. 10.32-33; Romans 13.8; 15.1-3; Gal. 5.13-14; phil. 2.1-5
A. The 1st principle of service humility: Service requires
relationship with God.
B. The 2nd principle of service humility: We are here to
glorify God 1 Cor. 10.31; Romans 14.8
C. The third principle: we are here to serve others
D. The 4th principle: Service requires fellowship
Rom. 8:8; Gal. 6:1)
E. The 5th principle: Service requires preparation. 2 Tim.
2. Both to the:
A. Greeks and barbarians: A barbarian is one outside the
parameter of the Greek language. IE,
the jurisdiction of the Roman
empire. This indicates that there are no linguistic or social limits
to Paul’s service
B. To the wise and unwise: the Greek is sophos and anoAtos.
This indicates that there are no
academic or philosophical limits.
Verse 15 The 2nd “I am” of service: the DESIRE of service.
This attitude recognizes the 2nd and 3rd principles of service humility.
1. Thus, for my part: Each believer can only speak for himself, but this
reflects the general attitude that any believer should have toward others.
2. I am eager: kata + mA = according to me, or, as for me + the adjective,
prothumos. The prefix, PRO, means before or out in front. The word, THUMOS,
means passion. The combination indicates, passion out in front, which equals a
strong desire and eagerness.
The intensity of Paul’s evangelistic zeal, which is not be limited to
evangelism, but includes edification ministry as well, is fueled by his
dedication to the law of LOVE. This dedication to OTHERS is expressed at 1
Corinthians 9:11-23 and 10:33 from a PRINCIPLE perspective. It is expressed
from an emotional perspective at 1 Thessalonians 2:5-12.
3. To proclaim good news: The verb is, euangelidzomai, which is transliterated
into English as EVANGELIZE, but means to announce good news.
It primarily refers to salvation information, but includes edification
information as well.
4. Also to you who are at Rome: Since these addressed in this letter are
already believers, the GOOD NEWS that Paul is talking about would be
EDIFICATION information, but of course, not be limited to it.
When Paul finally does get to Rome, although as a prisoner of Caesar, he has a
ministry of both as is indicated at Acts 28:30-31.
Verse 16 - the 3rd “I am” of service: the CONFIDENCE of service.
This attitude indicates the fulfillment of the 5th principle of service
humility. Service Requires PREPARATION, and it is efficient preparation that
produces the attitude of confidence; confidence in God, Himself, and
confidence in the content of the message.
1. For I am not ashamed of the gospel: the verb is epiaischunomai, and
indicates as is translated, to be ashamed or embarrassed either in proclaiming
the gospel or being associated with it.
But when the believer KNOWS and understands the true nature of the word of
God, his focus is taken off of SELF, which is where shame and embarrassment is
centered, and instead, directed on GOD’s character and plan.
2. for it is the power of God: The present indicative of EIMI establishes the
constant and continuous power of the word of God.
A. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is “living and
energizing.” This means that by its SUPER NATURAL nature, it causes
things to happen in the soul of the hearer.
B. It is further stated to be “an evaluator of the
motivations of the heart.” This means that it
EXPOSES the true nature of man and convicts,
which further causes things to happen in the soul.
1. Acts 2:37, “when they heard this they were
pierced to the heart.”
2. Acts 5:33, “But when they heard this, they
were being cut through in their hearts.”
3. Acts 7:54, “Now when they heard this, they
were being cut through in their hearts.”
C. At 1 Thes. 1:13, the Word of God “energizes itself” in the
believers. This refers to both the
SAVING work of the Word as well as its production
of righteousness in the growing believer.
D. At Romans 10:10 tells us that “faith comes through
hearing, and hearing through the word of
Christ.” This means that it is the content of the gospel
message that produces faith as it convicts
the soul of “sin, righteousness, and judgment” through
the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:9-11).
3. unto salvation: The supernatural POWER of God’s word brings about salvation
in the hearers as it exposes and convicts them of their NEED, and of God’s
SOLUTION. But their is ONE condition. Although the WORD truly exposes and
convicts, ONLY those who believe will be saved.
4. for everyone who believes: The verb, pisteuO occurs as a present active
participle, to express the PRINCIPLE of how one is saved.
The salvation invitation is extended to everyone, but only those who CHOOSE to
accept the provision will experience that provision.
5. to the Jew first and also to the Greek: This does not express a superiority
distinction or a functional distinction. It simply indicates that the
salvation message of Christ’s PRESENCE on the earth and His victory on the
cross, is extended to HIS people first; the Jews.
The Messianic promise and presence came through them (John 4:22), and needed
to be presented to them first (Acts 13:46).
It is a TIME factor ONLY as can be seen at Acts 3:26.
“For you first, God raised up His servant and sent Him to bless you by turning
every one of you from your wicked ways.”
However, even though Jesus was sent FIRST to the Jews, “the lost sheep of
Israel” (Mat. 15:24), he ministered as well to Gentiles in various situations.
Mat. 15:21-28; John 12:20-36
It was necessary for the promise of salvation to be offered to the Jewish
nation first, because, as a national priesthood established by God, it was the
official evangelistic agent to bring the Messianic promise to others (Ex.
It was only AFTER the nation OFFICIALLY rejected the Messiah, that God took
away from them the role of evangelistic agent and established a new agent
through the church. Mat. 21:33-45.
Yet, this is only a temporary replacement, for God will once again restore the
nation of Israel as the evangelistic agent when His plan for the Gentiles is
completed. Romans 11:25-29
This begins immediately after the rapture of the church with the conversion of
144,000 Israelites, who will then function as BOND SERVANTS of God.
Explains the POWER of the gospel by relating it to CONVICTION
1. For in it: the gospel
2. The righteousness of God is revealed: The verb occurs as a present passive
indicative to express a continuous idea. The righteousness of God is
CONSTANTLY being revealed through the gospel and through those who respond to
This relates back to what Jesus taught about the convicting ministry of the
Spirit at john 16:9-11.
He will convict the world of “sin, righteousness and judgment.”
The issue of righteousness is that man’s righteousness is exposed as
inadequate and useless in relating to God. It is only God’s own righteousness
that solves the sin problem of the human race.
The power of the gospel is that it exposes man’s righteousness and offers
God’s righteousness to those who believe. This is developed by Paul in the
rest of this letter. Romans 3:21-26; 2 Cor. 5:21
Isaiah 64:6, “all of our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.”
Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and are deficient of God’s glory.”
3. from faith to faith: Literally, “out from (ek) faith UNTO (eis) faith.”
This little formula indicates that FAITH continues to be the coin of the realm
for all Christian activity.
A. The FIRST stage is when we are saved by faith and receive
which is called JUSTIFICATION.
B. The SECOND stage is after salvation. Here on earth we
continue to live BY faith as we learn
more and more about God’s
character and plan and allow the Spirit through the word to
produce within us EXPERIENTIAL
1. Gal. 2:20. “I have been crucified
with Christ.” This is the STAGE ONE.
“And the life that we NOW live (STAGE TWO - after salvation) in the flesh
(here on earth), we live by continued faith in Christ.
2. Gal. 5:5. As we live here on
earth, we are living by faith as we wait IN EXPECTATION for
completion of our justification, which shall be realized in STAGE THREE, when
face upon physical death. The third stage is when we are given our
first stage is the imputation of divine righteousness to our account at the
moment of time
trust in Christ as savior.
3. Col. 2:6. In the same way (faith) that
we received Christ the Lord (for salvation - STAGE
ONE), so also are
we to NOW (here on earth after salvation - STAGE TWO) live as
Christians. It is
still by faith.
4. As it is written: This is a reference to the Old Testament at Hab. 2:4
5. The righteous one shall live by faith. This is not referring to a salvation
factor, but a way of life factor.
The prophet is contrasting TWO ways to live.
(1) to live according to your own sinful inclinations
(2) to live by faith in the character and plan of God; His authority,
viewpoint and policy.
The contrast is made with, arrogance, drunkenness, theft, oppression, murder,
deception, and idolatry.
It is the believer who lives according to God’s moral standards who realizes
that it is by FAITH that really pleases Him.
6. Paul is quoting this to explain the SECOND item here, UNTO FAITH.
The first item, “out from faith” is referring to salvation, but the second one
refers to living the Christian life after salvation.
7. The writer of Hebrews at 10:32-39, quotes the verse to confirm the
mechanics for living the Christian life; it is by faith. The ones who do not
live by faith, come under the RUIN (destruction) of divine discipline (Heb.
12:4-11). The ones who do live by faith are “of those who are of faith to the
possession of the soul” (Heb. 10:39). The possession that is mentioned is not
talking about preserving salvation, but rather to the experience of fully
living the abundant life. This experience is show cased by the Hall of Fame
detailed in chapter 11.
8. However, at Galatians 3:11, Paul quotes Hab. 2:4 in a salvation context.
But I suggest that this is done only to establish that FAITH is where it all
begins by attaining salvation forgiveness. We are saved by faith not by works;
we are PRESERVED by that ONE act of faith, and not by works.
Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6
Verses 18-32 The consequences of rejecting God’s revelation
1. For: The explanatory GAR, is used to develop the consequences of NOT living
by faith. That is, by not adjusting to God on HIS terms for salvation. God is
JUST in judging whether this failure to have faith is at the point of God
consciousness or the point of hearing the gospel.
And God is JUST in the WHEN and HOW he expresses His wrath.
2. The wrath of God: This is God’s perfect righteousness and justice
expressing itself in judgment on members of the human race who choose to live
contrary to the righteous standards of God.
This is not ETERNAL judgment that is in view, but judgment expressed here on
earth as NATURAL consequences, and sometimes, APPLIED consequences for
violating divine morality.
3. is revealed from heaven: the verb, apokaluptO as a present passive
indicative shows us that this is an ONGOING expression of judgment.
It could be rendered, “is being revealed from heaven.”
4. Upon all ungodliness: The word asebeia refers to a condition of having no
worship attitude toward God. It is rejection of God’s authority, viewpoint and
policy because it shows no acknowledgment or respect of Him.
It indicates that the person either has no relationship with God, or is
failing to express that relationship. In this context, it is referring to
those who do not have a relationship with God because they have chosen to
reject His revelation about Himself.
The word is a combination of sebO which means to bend the knee in respect or
worship, and the prefix, “a”, which is a negative. Thus, it is one who has no
reverence or worship toward God. But the translation, ungodliness, is not
This word also combines with the prefix, EU, which means good, and is
consistently translated as godliness. This too is inaccurate for the issue in
the word is not character reflection, but rather the attitude of reverence
toward God. It should be translated as “good worship” or simply “divine
reverence.” The reason that “godliness” is used is because in the New
Testament, the object of this reverence is GOD. However, to reflect that
factor, the translation should be, “divine reverence.” The term, “godliness”
suggests God LIKENESS, as in character reflection. But someone can reverence
God and not have consistent character reflection. It is best just to keep the
reverence and worship idea in focus for the translation of this word group.
God’s wrath is expressed toward those who PRACTICE irreverence toward Him.
The NATURE and DEGREE of that irreverence will be developed.
5. and unrighteousness of men: the word, adikia indicates again, a negative
factor with the prefix, “a”. The word, dikia, refers to God’s standards of
morality, which He designed as the way of life for all members of the human
race. The main result of asebeia (irreverence toward God) is a rejection of
what is divinely RIGHT in human relations.
We learn later in Romans that there is a divine moral DESIGN built into the
soul of every man, that he can either cultivate and function under, or reject
and violate. Romans 2:14-15 and Ec. 7:29.
See Topics on MORALITY in Archive M
That NATURAL design is reflected in the last 6 of the ten commandments which
(5) rebellion against parents
(9) false accusations
(10) coveting what belongs to someone else
Basically, it is doing NO HARM to another (Romans 13:8). This is a natural
design in the soul that cultivates order, stability and freedom within
Of course, the sin nature is the NATURAL antagonist to fulfilling that design
and usually only very rigid societal controls will limit the overt violation
of those standards.
True character transformation into conformity to Christ’s righteousness can
only come through spiritual growth.
See Topic: SPIRITUAL GROWTH
6. who hold down the truth in unrighteousness:
The word, hold down, is katechO, which means to restrain or suppress.
The CHOICE is from the HEART, the mentality of the soul. But because of the
presence of the sin nature in the physical mentality genes (Romans 7:18; Psalm
51:5), and its influence and power, the CHARACTERISTIC attitude and expression
of the heart is HARMFUL (evil) toward self and others.
This is determined by studying all that the Bible has to say about the sin
nature; especially Romans 7:14-22.
Based on this, the New Testament writers use TWO terms to refer to the sin
(1) THE sin, with the definite article and sin in the singular.
(2) THE flesh, SINCE the sin nature is located in the body (flesh) and not the
Thus, Romans 6:12, “Therefore do not let THE sin (nature) reign in your mortal
body with the result that you obey its lusts.”
And Romans 7:17, “So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but THE sin
(nature) which indwells me (in my flesh).”
And Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit
(lusts) against the flesh . . .”
And Colossians 2:23, “These are matters which . . . are of no value against
the passion of THE flesh.”
And Hebrews 3:13, “. . . lest any of you become hardened by the deception of
THE sin (nature).”
And 1 Peter 2:11, “I urge you . . . to abstain from the FLESHLY lusts which
wage war against the soul.”
See Topic: The sin nature
In actuality, the heart, which is the mentality of the soul is NEUTRAL and can
lean toward good or evil (harm). But the influence of the EVIL (harmful) sin
nature is so strong that the heart is CHARACTERISTICALLY evil (harmful), and
yet it is REALLY the sin nature that is this way.
Thus, Jeremiah 17:9, “the heart is more deceitful than anything, and is sick;
who can understand it?”
And Genesis 8:21, “the inclination of man’s heart is harmful from his youth.”
And Genesis 6:5, “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only
And Ec. 9:3, “the hearts of the sons of men are full of harm, and insanities
are in their hearts all their life.”
And Mark 7:21, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the harmful
(evil) thoughts . . .”
It is the CHOICE then of the heart under the influence of the sin nature, that
rejects the revelation of God, whether it be the NATURAL revelation mentioned
in this context, or more specific WRITTEN or VERBAL revelation communicated by
And it is the CHOICE of the heart that adopts and practices the behavior
philosophies that are in opposition to God’s authority, viewpoint and policy.
Then through their CHOSEN immoral life style (unrighteousness), they prevent
truth from having an influence in their soul and in the society where they
reside. This is then, an issue for them personally as well as others whom they
influence. The perfect example of this is seen with Sodom at Genesis 19.
The way they do this is explained in verses 22-25.
Verses 19-23 explain the details of their irreverence and unrighteousness.
V. 19 - Because (dioti)
1. That which may be known of God: This is THE plus gnostos in the singular
and means, “the known thing” of God. But the singular is used for a general
reference to what God has revealed about himself to the human race. This
KNOWLEDGE is summed up by the two terms, “His eternal power and divine
2. is manifest in them: the verb IS, is eimi as a present indicative, to
indicate a CONTINUOUS effect. With it is the adjective, phaneros, which means,
visible, clear, plainly seen, evident.
Notice that this says IN them. The preposition EN, requires this
understanding, rather than a “to them” idea.
The main issue here is a knowledge of God’s existence and basic nature.
There is a convicting influence produced in the soul of man through SEEING the
awesomeness of the physical universe.
3. for God has showed it to them: Here we have the VERB form of “manifest,” (phaneroO).
It is manifested WITHIN them because God Himself has manifested it TO them.
Verse 20 The mechanics of manifestation
1. For the invisible things of Him: that which cannot be PHYSICALLY perceived.
That which is of a spiritual and divine nature.
2. From the creation of the world: this takes us back to the beginning and
thus includes all mankind, without exception.
3. are clearly seen: the verb is kathoraO as a present passive indicative.
It means o perceive or to see, and is used only here in the New Testament.
This PERCEPTION factor is mental. Thus, what cannot be seen physically, can
and IS perceived mentally THROUGH that which CAN be seen.
The word, clearly, is not necessary in the translation, for the contrast is
established simply by “are seen.”
4. By being understood: this is a present passive participle in the
instrumental case. The verb is noeO, which means to mentally perceive.
Thus, “by being mentally perceived” is a better translation.
5. through the created things: the noun is poiAma, as a neuter plural, and
refers to the physical universe. At Psalm 19:1-3, it is the HEAVENS that
communicate the existence and nature of God.
This appeals to NATURAL logic. The very nature and existence of the physical
universe demands one conclusion; the existence of a Creator. Only through
rationalization does one arrive at the opposite conclusion.
Rationalization through -
(1) scientific arrogance: theory and empiricism is more real than the logical
conclusion that the universe leads me to.
(2) emotional arrogance: How and what I FEEL is more real than the logical
conclusion that the universe leads me to.
6. that is, His eternal power and divinity:
The word for eternal is aidios and accurately describes the extent and
duration of God’s power. In this case, the CREATIVE power of God is evidenced.
Divinity is expressed by the word, theiotAs. It means divine nature or
essence. Thus, the physical creation reveals not only the FACT of God’s
existence AS GOD (divinity), but also reveals the awesomeness of His divine
This is the issue of GOD CONSCIOUSNESS.
7. so that they are without excuse: the present infinitive of eimi (to be)
indicates the universal application to all members of the human race. There
are no exceptions. The word, anapolgAtos, is an adjective that indicates full
and total responsibility for their present status of being under divine
condemnation. But the only way to “take responsibility” for themselves is to
accept the revealed knowledge about God and then trust in His policy for
attaining to spiritual life; faith in Christ.
But apart from that, there is no APOLOGY or EXCUSE that will give them any
reprieve from divine judgment; either in time or in eternity. They have been
given what they need and are accountable for failure to accept it.
SUMMARY: God consciousness
God consciousness is when a person becomes aware of the existence of God. He
may not know what to call him, but in his own thinking, he becomes aware of
the existence of a superior and powerful being who orders and controls the
world around him. There are several ways a person can be made aware of God,
but perhaps the most obvious is through the existence and order of the
(Psalm 19:1-3; Rom. 1:19-20).
This is called the cosmological approach to awareness of God. Another way, the
religiological approach, recognizes the very real possibility of the existence
of God because of the prevalence of “god worshippers” within his society. And
still a third way is called the ontological approach which accepts the
existence of God because man’s soul conceives of such a being and because
within the soul of man is a “feeling” or “need” that such a being must indeed
The only time when mankind was “right” with God was in the garden of Eden
before Adam’s sin of disobedience. It is at that time after Adam’s sin, that
mankind lost any “connection” with nature and God’s presence. But that very
nature is the thing that has always been a beacon of testimony to the
existence and power of God.
Psalm 19:1 says that, “the heavens are telling of the glory of God and their
expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”
This indeed provides a “knowledge” of God which must be addressed by every
human soul which is exposed to it. Paul writes that because of this
“testimony,” mankind is “without excuse” in regard to accountability to God.
Romans 1:19-20, “Because what is known about God is evident among them; for
God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, His
invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly
seen by being understood through what has been made, so that they are without
Paul then describes this as “knowing God” in v. 21, “For even though they knew
God. . .”
The validity of any interaction with God is established on God’s terms; terms
which God has faithfully provided for mankind in the bible. Any attempt to
“interact” with God apart from first dealing with the sin problem the way God
demands for that problem to be dealt with, falls far short of spiritual
This “knowledge” of God is not gospel information about entering into a
spiritual relationship with Him, but its information that points to the
existence of God and reminds man of his inner need for God. It is then at this
point that each person must make a personal decision concerning this universal
and “natural” revelation of God. He must decide whether to “honor him as God”
or not. Paul continues at Rom. 1:21, “For even though they knew God, they did
NOT honor Him as God or give thanks (express a recognition of God’s grace).”
When a person DOES express this honor-attitude toward God, it is then God’s
responsibility to get to that person the specific gospel information they need
to enter into a “saving” relationship with God, which is necessary because all
mankind is born in sin and under spiritual death, separated from God.
That gospel information has always been basically the same since it was first
given to Adam and Eve after they sinned. Ie, God would provide a savior who
would defeat Satan and pay the just penalty for sin on behalf of all mankind.
This is taught by understanding the meaning of Gen. 3:15 and the significance
of the animal sacrifices which God instituted at Gen. 3:21 compared with Gen.
The difference before and after the cross is simply the specifics of that
salvation promise. Before the cross, one must trust in God’s promise of a
coming savior. After the cross, one must trust in the fact that God kept that
promise and provided the savior in the person of Jesus Christ.
However, if upon arriving at “God consciousness,” anyone decides not to honor
him as “nature” logically dictates that He should be honored, then his soul
will begin seeking a “replacement” to God. This is where idolatry and religion
comes from. (True Christianity is not a religion; it is a personal
relationship with God based on forgiveness of sins and the imputation of
divine righteousness to that person. Religion, on the other hand, is man
trying to “find” God or appease God or gods on man’s terms. Religion is always
a work-based philosophy and always results in oppression and slavery.)
Again, Paul discusses this at Rom. 1:21-23, “. . .but they became empty in
their reasonings and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves
to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible
God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and animals and
V. 25, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and
served the creature rather than the creator.”
But no one can learn about JESUS without a “proclaimer” (Rom. 10:14-15). That
proclaimer can be a book, a person, an audio, etc.
But it is NOT received “naturally,” nor does God “zap” someone with the
information he needs to be “saved.”
All cultures have been exposed to the truth of the gospel at some point in
their history (starting back from the time of Babel). As these individual
societies moved further and further away from God’s message of salvation, they
adopted idolatry to replace the “inner” need all men have to “relate” to God.
Then as various individuals are raised in that society, each one must face the
issue of God Consciousness personally.
If they reject the “revelation” of God as He is proclaimed in “the heavens”
(the natural creation), then they continue in the idolatry of their culture
(or even advance on it). In such situations, the “decision” toward God has
already been made and God is under no obligation to provide the specifics of
the gospel. But if any person “seeks for God” (Acts 17:24-27) after arriving
at this consciousness, then God will SOMEHOW get him the gospel information he
needs to trust in Christ. This is based on God’s character.
1. God’s love for all: John 3:16. Love is the attitude that seeks what is best
for His creatures. He wants what is best for them, but will not force himself
2. God’s desire based on his love: 1 Tim. 2:4, “who desires all men to be
3. God’s righteousness and justice prevent Him from ever being unfair.
Verse 21 The FAILURE that perpetuates the “no excuse” status
1. Because (dioti) even though they knew God:
The word for knew, is ginOskO, as an aorist active participle. The participle
gives us a TIME factor; “having come to know” or “when they came to know.” The
aorist tense expresses a specific POINT OF TIME that they reached this
awareness. This is not a RELATIONSHIP knowledge, but according to the context,
is referring specifically to the two factors mentioned in verse 20. This is
the point of God consciousness explained above.
However, the following details relate the experiential results of rejecting
this knowledge that occur progressively in one’s personal life and within
2. they did not glorify Him as God: The verb, doxadzO, means to recognize and
accept the person of God. This is the required response when one becomes aware
of the existence of God. With the NEGATIVE, it indicates that they made a
decision AGAINST the divine revelation and against God.
The POSITIVE of giving glory to God is necessary before one can advance to
where they will accept the actual gospel of salvation.
Accepting the GOSPEL involves THREE factors.
(1) Repentance toward God: This refers to a change of mind. It does not mean
to change one’s life or to STOP doing something. It means to change the mind
about one’s viewpoint toward God. It is a change from a negative disposition
to a positive disposition. This constitutes a humility recognition of God as
the Creator and Provider. It is expressed by the attitude of REVERENCE, which
is indicated in the Bible by the word FEAR of the Lord, and indicates
submission to the AUTHORITY of God.
This first factor is seen at:
Matthew 3:2, “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Mark 1:15, “repent and believe the gospel”
Acts 20:21, “testifying . . . about repentance toward God and faith. . .”
(2) Glorify God: This means to recognize and embrace the Deity essence and
power of God that also necessarily rejects one’s present belief system.
This is submission to the VIEWPOINT of God for salvation.
(3) Worship God: This is submission to the POLICY of God that extends
rejection of one’s previous belief system to a total embracing of God’s system
This corresponds with TRUST in Christ as Savior, for this is the ONLY policy
for entrance into a salvation relationship with God.
To PROPERLY worship God, one must embrace Jesus Christ as God’s appointed
This issue of salvation is seen at Psalm 2:10-12, where the invitation is
extended to the rebellious nations of the world.
Verse 10: show discernment; have wisdom. This corresponds with a
change of mind and giving of GLORY, which is what WISDOM would produce.
Verse 11: Worship Yahweh with REVERENCE (fear), which is the humility
attitude that accepts Divine authority, viewpoint and policy for
Verse 12: Worship the Son. Actually, KISS the Son, but the idea is a
spiritually intimate acceptance of the Son as God’s appointed Savior.
The gospel invitation that is proclaimed during the Day of the Lord judgments
includes these THREE factors. At Rev. 14:7, the message is -
(1) fear God: This refers to the humility recognition of the existence of God
and a desire to submit to His authority, viewpoint and policy.
(2) and give Him glory: This is the acknowledgment of His power and divinity
that rejects one’s previous belief system.
(3) and worship Him: Worship is the acceptance of His policy for attaining
spiritual life reality. It is initiated by trusting in Jesus as the
Messiah-Savior. Without that acceptance, EVERYTHING else expressed toward God
is useless and unfruitful. According to Romans 8:8, “they that are in the
flesh (the unbeliever) cannot please God.”
In Romans one, Paul is discussing the failure to “fear God and give Him
glory,” and the consequences of this failure.
3. neither were thankful: This corresponds with “fear God” at Revelation 14:7
and Acts 10:35. This factor PRECEDES “giving God glory.” The issue here is
that (1) they did not give God glory NOR or NOT EVEN (2) did they reverence
Fearing God is the humility attitude of recognizing that God has the authority
over mankind. Giving God the glory extends that humility to a recognition that
God has authority to set the policy for life and worship.
The giving of thanks precedes giving God glory and is the expression of
humility that constitutes being POSITIVE to God upon the occasion of God
Consciousness. It is at this time that God’s character and plan places the
self-imposed burden upon Him to bring the gospel to the positive person.
However, just as at Acts 10:35, this attitude of REVERENCE (being thankful),
or giving glory and even “doing good,” does not SAVE the person from sin, nor
give him spiritual life (Acts 10:35 with 11:14).
However, in this case, the general indictment is on those who have not
expressed POSITIVE volition at God consciousness. Therefore, instead of
becoming the object of a special gospel message, their negative attitude
escalates and leads to the darkening of the soul.
4. But they became empty in their thought patterns: the conjunction, alla, is used
to indicate the strong contrast between the POSITIVE response and the
consequences of the NEGATIVE response.
The verb, mataioO, mans to be empty or useless. It occurs as an aorist passive
indicative to indicate the PASSIVE effect that results from negative volition
toward God’s natural revelation.
Thought patterns is the noun, dialogismos, which means calculation,
reasoning, logic, or simply, THOUGHT PATTERNS. Their thought patterns became
occupied with EMPTINESS; anything that is opposite to divine viewpoint.
In essence, the PERSONAL logic of the person fabricates and adopts HIS OWN
REALITY; a PSEUDO REALITY that satisfies his scientific and/or emotional
This pseudo reality is called FOOLISHNESS, which is described by the term
foolish heart. When the soul rejects divine truth in any format, it begins to
THINK according to the standards of creature independence and embraces a
FOOLISH PSEUDO REALITY. This foolishness then produces a darkness (blindness)
of the soul and leads to
(1) moral arrogance: Personal standards take priority over the viewpoint and
policy of God for proper interaction between humans.
(2) religious arrogance: Personal standards take priority over the viewpoint
and policy of God for proper worship activity.
5. and their foolish heart became darkened: The verb for darkened, is skotidzO
as an aorist passive indicative, that further shows these things as happening
TO the soul. The passive voice of the verb receives the action, that is, these
are things that are CAUSED to happen because of the initial expression of
negative volition toward God’s truth.
The foolish heart is, asunetos, which means, unenlightened, ignorant and
foolish. They are IGNORANT because they have rejected divine viewpoint
standards. They are FOOLISH because they now begin to replace those standards
with DARKNESS viewpoint. This is viewpoint that is opposite to and contrary to
the moral and spiritual standards of God’s viewpoint; the LIGHT SYSTEM.
A. Their heart is called FOOLISH because the heart is what rejects divine
Volition functions FROM the heart; the mentality of the soul.
B. After the heart becomes foolish, by rejecting divine viewpoint, then their
base of logic (the
dialogismos - thought patterns) becomes distorted and
neutralized by EMPTINESS (human
and/or satanic viewpoint).
C. In the sphere of that emptiness or VACUUM, they fabricate a PSEUDO REALITY
satisfies their own scientific and emotional arrogance,
D. The result of this is that the heart becomes darkened. It becomes BLACKED
OUT or scarred
over; blurred, clouded, insensitive and blind. Basically, a
total loss of discernment, because they
have divorced themselves from TRUE
E. This DARKNESS condition is described at Ephesians 4:18 as, “being darkened
understanding” and at verse 19 as “having become scarred.”
F. This “scarred” condition then results in application of one’s PSEUDO
REALITY into every
area of life and produces assertions of false, illogical
concepts and theories, and the attendant
behavior patterns in two categories.
(1) religious arrogance
The expression of
religious arrogance leads to idolatry; creating a substitute god.
(2) moral arrogance
The expression of moral arrogance is called “sensuality for the expression of
all uncleanness with
greediness,” at Ephesians 4:19. And here, at verse 24,
“to impurity in the sphere of the lusts of
their hearts,” and at verse 26 as
SEE: Ephesians 4:17-19
Verse 22 THE EXPRESSION OF THE DARKENED SOUL
1. Asserting themselves to be wise:
The word for assert is phasko as a present active participle. The present
participle indicates an established and constant attitude of arrogant
presumption. It is the presumption of wisdom. The adjective, sophos, in this
case refers to a self-proclaimed wisdom.
In actuality, however, their reality is quite the opposite.
2. they became fools: The verb is morainO as an aorist passive indicative.
This verb indicates a total deficiency of any common sense; a common sense,
though, that is defined by divine viewpoint and not man’s. It is a common
sense that comes from the NATURAL moral design that is in the soul. The verb,
then, indicates that they are now functioning in total opposition to that
natural moral design and have established their own human viewpoint as the
standard for relating to other people and the world around them.
And according to that human viewpoint, they reject the reality of THE ONE TRUE
GOD, and replace HIM with other religious ideas. These substitute ideas range
from worshipping the heavenly bodies, to animals, to man in general, or even
to SELF. Paul focuses on idolatry in general and the various aberrant behavior
that subsequently results.
Verse 23 One’s PSEUDO REALITY leads to RELIGIOUS ARROGANCE
SUBSTITUTES FOR GOD
1. And exchanged: The Greek word, allassO, as an aorist active indicative,
describes the characteristic historical reversion into idolatry. Once again,
since they have rejected truth, the soul has become a VACUUM that sucks in
replacement viewpoint. Since there is a NATURAL NEED for the soul to relate to
a deity IDEA, the replacement viewpoint fulfills that need, and finds a
substitute deity or deities.
2. the glory of the incorruptible God:
This is what is revealed through the physical creation. They have PERCEIVED
His eternal power and divine nature, but having now rejected that revelation,
they TRANSFER the deity-idea into something else.
The word incorruptible is aphthartos, and means unable to rot or be
diminished. God does not and CANNOT diminish or change, but they have replaced
Him with something that can and does diminish, change, and eventually will rot
3. into an image of the appearance:
The word image, is homoiOma, and means, copy or likeness.
The word appearance is eikOn, and refers to an outward form.
Thus, “a copy of the appearance of” is more precise, for that is exactly what
an idol is.
4. of corruptible (creatures): In stark contrast with God whose GLORY, cannot
diminish, idolatry embraces that which is inferior in both power and in
essence. The word, phthartos, refers to that which is mortal and does diminish
The list of these substitute images includes, man, birds, four-footed animals,
and crawling creatures. This probably refers to insects, as many were idolized
in the manner spoken of in this passage; the most common one perhaps being the
scarab beetle of Egypt.
The worship of idols is the worship of the demon agent(s) behind each specific
belief system. Paul tells us at 1 Corinthians 10:20 that, “the things which
the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God.”
And the result is a wide variety of deviant behavior; everything from sexual
immorality to religious asceticism. Rom. 1:26-27; Col. 2:8, 20-23
When the soul becomes darkened, it becomes enslaved to the distortions from
the sin nature that seeks to replace God with something else; anything from
money, sex, food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, pleasure, power - or simply
NOTHING, which is asceticism.
As already noted, this CONDITION and way of life is not limited to the
unbeliever, but the believer can likewise imitate any one of these areas of
indulgence and be similarly enslaved.
The only thing that can offset this soul slavery is response to truth; whether
it be the gospel for the unbeliever, or the issues of fellowship and growth
for the believer.
Verse 24, now explains HOW the wrath of God is manifested in the world.
It is through “turning over” the offenders to the condition they are in and
the consequences of the life style they have chosen.
1. Therefore, God also gave them up: The verb is paradidomi as an aorist
active indicative, which refers to the POINT OF TIME that someone reaches his
condition of a darkened soul. The verb means to give over, hand over.
God “handed them over” to something or “turned them over” to something.
2. to uncleanness: The word is akatharsia and refers to anything that is
contrary to HEALTHY attitudes and living. It is anything that is contrary to
the DESIGN that God put into place to govern human interactions.
In this context, the specific focus is on homosexuality, but it is not limited
to that. It is the same word and same subject mentioned at Ephesians 4:19,
“for the practice of every kind of akatharsia in the sphere of greediness
(seeking self pleasure).” This word, pleonexzia (greediness) corresponds with
LUSTS here at Romans one.
3. in the sphere of the lusts of their hearts: This is the locative case of
epithumia, and should be rendered “in the sphere of.” It refers to the
influence and authority of the sin nature dictating to and controlling the
mentality of the soul; the heart, for the fulfillment of self pleasure.
As discussed above, the LUSTS are actually OF and FROM the sin nature but
dictate to the heart in such a way that when the volition of the heart accepts
those lusts, it can then be said that they are OF the heart.
4. with the result that their bodies are dishonored among them:
This is an awkward infinitive construction. The idea here is one of RESULT
rather than purpose. In other words, God has turned them over to their lusts
WITH THE RESULT that those lusts cause a dishonoring of their bodies.
God has NOT turned them over SO THAT the bodies might be dishonored.
The dishonoring is a RESULT rather than the INTENT of God’s action.
God has turned them over to their lusts and they live the way they want to.
And the result of that is that they suffer the consequences of both physical
and mental misery.
The Greek verb, atimadzO, means as translated, to bring dishonor to something;
to remove the natural VALUE of something. The dishonoring of their bodies
refers to the practice of that which is NOT natural according to God’s design.
It rejects the natural, proper and RIGHT function of the body and embraces
that which is UNNATURAL and therefore dishonoring, and will result in much
physical and mental misery.
The principle is that anything apart from God’s design will lead only to
physical and mental misery. God turned them over to this principle. This is
the manifestation of God’s wrath in this context; the judgment that is
revealed from heaven.
God provides happiness and blessing and contentment based on conformity to His
design. Apart from HIS design one comes under the principle of misery and
For the unbeliever, it is from the NATURAL law of the principles involved.
Although sometimes God will DIRECTLY physically judge a person or society.
For the believer, it is from both principles and DIRECT divine discipline.
People in the world today are miserable, unhappy, frustrated and hopelessly
without God. But it is because they have chosen it that way. God has given
everyone the chance they need to accept His gracious provisions of eternal
Verse 25 Repetition of the pattern for emphasis and amplification
A. RELIGIOUS ARROGANCE leads to a SUBSTITUTE GOD or gods
B. IDOLATRY leads to MORAL ARROGANCE and IMMORALITY
Part One of the Pattern: RELIGIOUS ARROGANCE leads to idolatry
1. Such ones exchanged the truth of God for the lie:
This verse does not begin with a FOR (as with the NASB). Better is the NIV,
(They). It is the pronoun, hostis, and can be rendered here as either WHO, or
SUCH ONES. However, since this begins a new and separate clause, SUCH ONES is
to be preferred.
The word for exchange, is metallassO, as an aorist active indicative, which
continues the simple narrative of what has happened within the human race
throughout its history. This verb describes the SUBSTITUTION that was already
mentioned in verse 23.
Here TRUTH is contrasted with THE lie (the definite article is present), which
refers to THE specific rejection of God’s GLORY and replacing it with
something that has no glory, but instead is laughably inferior to God,
“worshipping and serving the creature.”
2. and worshipped and served the creature:
Worship (sebadzomai) refers to the attitude of the idolater that HONORS the
Serve (latreuO) refers to the overt ritual and activities that the idolatrous
religion demands of its followers.
3. instead of the Creator, who is the object of praise forever; amen:
The adjective, eulogAtos, means to be spoken well of or about. It comes form
the verb, eulogeO, does not mean to bless or blessed. It is the combination of
the prefix, eu, which means good, and the verb, logeO, which means to speak.
Together it means to speak good about someone or to someone. When it is used
for what God does, it is usually the idea of speaking good FOR or ABOUT
someone, although sometimes, PRAISE can be the focus. But when used of others
FOR God, then it is always the idea of speaking well ABOUT, or praise.
God cannot be BLESSED by humans. God is INHERENTLY blessed; happy, content and
fulfilled. The God-worshippers RECOGNIZE that God is the only one who is truly
worthy of praise, and should so honor Him.
Verse 26 Part two of the Pattern - immorality
MORAL ARROGANCE leads to rejection of what is NATURAL
1. Because of this God turned them over to dishonorable passions:
The verb, paradidomi, is repeated to amplify the expression of God’s wrath.
The nature of the immorality is also amplified.
The adjective, atimia, means that which is dishonorable. In this case, it
refers to social activity that is opposite to the divine design. It is
contrary to what is NATURAL and HONORABLE.
The activity in view is called, passions. The word, pathA, indicates intense
emotional and physical feelings. Passion is not a bad word, in and of itself,
but when coupled with the lusts of the sin nature, they are dishonorable.
Paul focuses on the dishonorable and aberrant behavior of homosexuality
since it was very common in the idolatrous cults of the day.
2. Female Homosexuality
The women: It is interesting that Paul uses the Greek word for FEMALE,
rather than for woman (gunA). He uses, thAlus, which stresses the physical
form and function.
They exchanged the NATURAL design for that which is against nature.
The word for natural is pusikos, and refers to the CREATED design for the
function of sex in the human race, which is one man and one woman.
The word, USE, is crAsis, and indicates a FUNCTION. Thus we have the natural
function of the woman which was designed by God.
The word for unnatural, is the preposition, para with the noun, phusis.
Para, means beside or up against, depending on context. Here the idea is that
of difference and conflict. Thus, “against nature” or “unnatural.”
Since God is the CREATOR, He knows what is best. It is His wisdom that has
established the NATURAL FUNCTION for men and women. To violate that design is
to rebel against the Creator and to place oneself under a COUNTER-LAW that
causes both soul and physical harm to the violators.
Verse 27 Male Homosexuality
1. And in like manner, the males also: Paul uses arsAn which like thAlus
focuses on the physical bodies and the expressions of sex in relation to those
2. abandoning the natural function of the female:
The verb, abandon, is a an aorist active participle that expresses the
attitude and action of REJECTING the divine design for human sexuality.
The repeat of psusikos crAsis indicates that God has a specific design for
human sexuality which provides the basis for TRUE human happiness in this
area. To ABANDON the divine design rejects a NATURAL law and puts one under a
COUNTER-LAW that causes both soul and physical harm.
3. were sexually inflamed in their lust for one another: This states
specifically that UN-natural sexual activity is in view. The verb, ekkaiO, is
used only here in the New Testament, and indicates sexual heat. The noun,
lust, is orexzis, and is also used only here.
Josephus uses this noun for the strong sexual lust of Amnon who raped his
sister. (Antiquities of the Jews, 8.1).
4. male with male: arsAn with arsAn once again focuses on the physical.
5. expressing outwardly the shameless deed: The verb is a present middle
participle of katergadzomai, and means to express something from the INSIDE to
the OUTSIDE. It is commonly used to express the idea of living out something
that is in the soul, or something that is otherwise invisible. At Philip.
2:12, “work out your own salvation,” means to live to the outside the reality
of your salvation which you possess.
Here, they are DOING what is in the soul. They are living to the outside the
UNNATURAL attitude and character that they have developed because of the
rejection of divine truth, and the adoption of their own PSEUDO REALITY for
The shameless deed is THE aschAmosunA, and means something that is opposite
and contrary to what is DESIGNED; what is of proper form. Since it is contrary
to what is of proper form, it is indecent and disgraceful. In English we use
the word shameless to indicate this idea. They have NO SHAME, no guilt or
conviction as to the true nature of their unnatural behavior.
6. and receiving in themselves the penalty which is necessarily consequent for
The noun, penalty, is antimisthia, and means a negative reward, thus penalty.
It is followed by a relative pronoun, WHICH IS, and the verb, dei. This verb
means to be necessary. It is something that MUST take place. In this case, it
is something that MUST OCCUR as a consequence of action that violates an
established spiritual or moral LAW. When ABSOLUTE laws are broken there are
The word error, is planA, and in the New Testament, means to wander from
truth. Thus, deception and error are common translations.
Both ideas express the deviant activity that is described here.
It is ERROR because it is contrary to the truth.
It is DECEPTION because it comes from the religious and moral arrogance which
is based on one’s PSEUDO REALITY that he has fabricated as a result of
The NECESSARY CONSEQUENCES include the personal soul slavery; the physical
diseases; and the sometimes DIRECT judgment from God, as in the case of Sodom
See Topic: Homosexuality
The GENERAL and CHARACTERISTIC attitudes and actions of the spiritual rebel.
1. And just as they did not approve:
The verb is dokimadzO and means to approve of something after evaluation. With
the negative (not), it indicates that they had perceived and evaluated the
facts of divine revelation in the natural creation, and had DISAPPROVED of
those facts which resulted in rejection of God’s essence and power.
2. to hold onto THE God in the sphere of full knowledge:
The verb is echO and means to possess or hold onto something.
They could find nothing of God’s revelation about Himself to personally
APPROVE of, so they did not approve to hold onto Him in the sphere of the
knowledge of His revelation.
The noun epignOsis occurs to indicate knowledge that goes beyond the simple
facts of perception, but is accepted and embraced. The translation, FULL
KNOWLEDGE should be consistently used and not TRUE knowledge. It is not
talking about what is TRUE in contrast to what is false, but what is FULLER
than simple academics or natural perception.
These CHOSE not to hold onto God and the full knowledge that such acceptance
would have brought to them.
Because of that, they fabricate their own FALSE reality and express both
RELIGIOUS and MORAL arrogance. This leads to IDOLATRY and IMMORALITY.
God’s part at this point is simply to TURN THEM OVER to a disapproved mind
that thinks and does the things that are not PROPER.
3. God turned them over to a disapproved mind:
The same verb is repeated, paradidomi, and indicates that God basically, “lets
go” and allows the natural results of their adopted system of PSEUDO REALITY
to be expressed.
The DISAPPROVED mind is the adjective form of the verb we saw above, dokimadzO.
It is adokimos and means something that is NOT approved.
In this case, it is God who has expressed HIS disapproval. He has examined
their MIND (nous) and found them deficient, and thus turns them over to the
CHARACTER and ACTIONS that come from that mind, as well as the natural
consequences of their chosen pathway.
The things that are not proper is the participle of kathAkO, which means to be
according to an established FORM or PATTERN or DESIGN. The ESTABLISHED form is
what God has designed for the proper function of the human race.
The NOT indicates contrary to and opposite to the things that are PROPER.
The list that is then given shows us attitudes and actions that are contrary
to the divinely established DESIGN.
1. being filled: This is a perfect passive participle of plAroO, and indicates
being filled up to the brim and overflowing. Thus, the word expresses a total
The perfect tense refers to something that has occurred in the past and its
results continue on indefinitely. We thus see the idea that a SATURATION of
SINFULNESS has become that which CHARACTERIZES these people in everything they
ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS is the overall GENERAL description of what follows.
It picks up from verse 18, where the general indictment is against the
unrighteousness of men.
It is pas adikia. It is that which is contrary to God’s standards of
RIGHTEOUSNESS or WHAT IS RIGHT.
Everything that follows is UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
2. But first we have THREE general categories of unrighteousness.
A. ponAria (malignity): This word focuses on the CHARACTER of doing HARM,
which seeks to influence and dominate others. The adjective, ponAros, refers
to an INFECTIOUS, “conquering” type of evil. It is difficult to find one
English word that describes this idea. Malignity fits best. Webster defines
this as, “having an evil influence, wishing evil, very harmful.”
This then, is the MENTAL ATTITUDE of wickedness.
B. pleonexzia (covetousness): this word describes a passion for material
things, which frantically pursues happiness through the possession of THINGS,
even and especially, things that belong to others.
C. kakia (malice): the focus here is on OVERT wickedness. The DOING of
anything and everything to AFFLICT others maliciously. Webster defines malice
as “active ill will.”
At James 1:21, it is seen as an “overflow of malice.”
At 1 Peter 2:16, we are exhorted not to use our freedom as a covering for
malice, but use it as bondservants of God.
3. Then the specifics are introduced by FULL OF, which is the adjective,
mestos, and functions as a natural break to introduce a list of several items
that fall under one or more of the just mentioned three categories.
Godet wants to break this long list into 3 subsections (Romans, pp. 110-111),
but I see no NATURAL indication for that as there is between the first and
second groupings. It is best to simply see now, a lengthy list of evil
(harmful) expressions that emanate from one or more of the three categories
that precede the list.
Of course, not everyone does all of these things, but the list gives us in
general the aberrations of character and behavior that result from rejecting
1. phthonos: Envy, falls under category Covetousness
2. phonos: Murder, falls under all three categories
3. eris: discord, strife, quarrels - falls under all three
4. dolos: deceit, treachery, unfaithfulness (mental attitude hypocrisy)
Falls under categories one and two.
5. kakoAtheia: Malignant suspicions. While occurring several times in the Maccabbees and the
classics, we find it only here in the New Testament. Trench provides perhaps
the most detailed analysis of the word, but still leaves us without a good
English equivalent. He concludes it to be, "that peculiar form of evil which
manifests itself in a malignant interpretation of the actions of others, a
constant attribution of them to the worst imaginable motives," (Synonyms of
the New Testament, page 37). It means to ever suspect and see evil in others; to think
the worst of others. Thus, the term malignant suspicions or even
6. psithuristAs: gossipers. The word means a whisperer. Private maligning.
1. katalalos: slanderers. Public maligning.
2. theostugAs: God haters. Antagonism toward any idea of religion.
3. hubristAs: insolent, boldly disrespectful and critical of others.
4. huperAphanos: arrogant. Overt rejection of established authority.
5. aladzOn: boastful. This one boasts of qualifications that are not true.
6. epheuretAs kakos: inventors of evil. Ones who continually plan and look for
occasions to bring evil on others.
7. goneusis apeithis: disobedient to parents. Total rejection of parental
1. asunetos: foolish. As above in verse 21, foolish indicates the deficiency
of divine viewpoint, and the consequent inability to have a proper perception
2. asunthetos: untrustworthy, undependable, faithless.
3. astorgos: without natural affection. Unable to express the natural
affections within normal human relationships.
4. aneleAmon: Unmerciful. These are unconcerned about the needs and sufferings
THE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN and
indifference to the wages of sin
1. Who knowing the ordinance of God:
There is no AND here as in several translations.
It is the relative pronoun, hostis; “such ones who.”
The word, ordinance, is dikaiOma, and refers to the righteous standards that
God has designed for the orderly and MORAL function of the human race. It is
also the basis for establishing the general sinfulness and depravity of the
Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.”
Knowing is the aorist active participle of epiginOskO, and refers to an
awareness of the righteous standard of God. This awareness is FIRST from the
natural moral design in the soul.
Romans 2:14-15, “they do by nature the things of the law,” and “show the works
of the law written in their hearts.”
Ecclesiastes 7:29, “God has created man UPRIGHT.”
It is then confirmed through the teachings of society and the affirmation made
This KNOWING also refers to an awareness of the divine indictment on the human
race for violation of that righteous standard, that places all under the
authority of spiritual death.
2. That: hoti - introduces the fact that they not only know the RIGHTEOUS
STANDARD, but they also know that violation of that standard rightly deserves
3. those who do such things are worthy of death: the verb prassO as a present
active participle embraces all the sins listed - for ONE and ALL place man
under the indictment from God’s justice.
Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death.”
The verb, prassO, does NOT mean to practice. It occurs without distinction
from poieO, which also means TO DO.
4. not only DO the same thing: Here, the verb is poieO.
So many commentators try to make a distinction between prassO and poieO, but
to no avail. It just does not bear with close examination, whether here or in
the book of 1 John.
What then is the significance in using the two words?
The verb, prassO, is used to speak of the PRINCIPLE of violation.
The verb, poieO, is used to speak of the ACTUAL violation.
“Those who do such things” is stating the principle of violation.
“Not only DO the same,” is stating the specific ACT of violation.
You see, the THEY of verse 32 is the SAME they in view back at verse 18.
5. but approvingly agree with those who do them:
The verb here is suneudokeo. It means -
to think: dokeo
along with someone: sun
Thus, to approvingly agree with.
Now, once again, the THEY is the same they of verse 18 and all throughout the
passage. The “ones who do such things” refers to the principle.
However, it then becomes an agreement among themselves, that they are
acceptant of one another’s behavior and are totally indifferent to the threat
of divine retribution.
Paul has gone to great lengths to establish the general sinfulness of the
With the result that THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE.
He will continue to amplify this in chapters 2 and 3.
In chapter two, Paul immediately makes application to EVERYONE and espcially
to that category of people who JUDGE others as being deficient and
unacceptable to God.
“Therefore, you who judge another are WITHOUT EXCUSE.”