1:1 Paul, 1 a 2 a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an b apostle, c separated unto the gospel of God,
(1) The first part of the epistle contains a most profitable preface down to verse six. (2) Paul, exhorting the Romans to give diligent heed to him, in that he shows that he comes not in his own name, but as Godís messenger to the Gentiles, entreats them with the weightiest matter that exists, promised long ago by God, by many good witnesses, and now at length indeed performed.
1:3 3 Concerning his d Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was e made of the seed of David f according to the flesh;
(a) Minister, for this word "servant" is not taken in this place as set against the word "freeman", but rather refers to and declares his ministry and office.
(b) Whereas he said before in a general term that he was a minister, now he comes to a more special name, and says that he is an apostle, and that he did not take this office upon himself by his own doing, but that he was called by God, and therefore in this letter of his to the Romans he is doing nothing but his duty.
(c) Appointed by God to preach the gospel.
(3) By declaring the sum of the doctrine of the Gospel, he stirs up the Romans to consider well the matter about which he is entreating them: so then he shows that Christ (who is the very substance and sum of the gospel) is the only Son of God the Father, who with regard to his humanity is born of the seed of David, but with regard to his divine and spiritual nature, by which he sanctified himself, is begotten of the Father from everlasting, as also manifestly appears by his mighty resurrection.
1:4 And g declared [to be] the Son of God with h power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
(d) This is a plain testimony of the person of Christ, that he is but one, and also a testimony of his two natures, and their properties.
(e) Who received flesh from the virgin who was Davidís daughter.
(f) As he is man: for this word "flesh", by the figure of speech synecdoche, is taken for man.
(g) Shown and made manifest.
1:5 i By whom we have received k grace and apostleship, for l obedience to the faith m among all nations, for his name:
(h) The divine and mighty power is set against the weakness of the flesh, for it overcame death.
(i) Of whom.
1:6 Among whom are ye also the n called of Jesus Christ:
(k) This marvellous, liberal, and gracious gift, which is given to me, the least of all the saints, to preach, etc.; see (Ephesians 3:8).
(l) That men through faith might obey God.
(m) For his nameís sake.
(n) Who through Godís goodness belong to Christ.
1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: o Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(o) Godís free good will: by "peace" the Hebrews mean a prosperous success in all things.
1:8 4 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is p spoken of throughout the q whole world.
(4) He obtains their favourable patience, in that he points out what it is that they can be praised for, and his true apostolic good will toward them, confirmed by taking God himself as witness.
1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my r spirit in the s gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
(p) Because your faith is such that it is spoken well of in all churches.
(q) In all churches.
(r) Very willingly and with all my heart.
1:12 That is, that t I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
(s) In preaching his Son.
(t) Though Paul was ever so excellent, yet in teaching the church, he might be instructed by it.
1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at u Rome also.
(u) He means all those who dwell at Rome, though some of them were not Romans; see the end of the epistle.
1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: 5 for it is the x power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the y Greek.
(5) This is the second part of the epistle, until the beginning of chapter nine. Now the whole end and purpose of the discussion is this: that is to say, to show that there is but one way to attain unto salvation (which is displayed to us by God in the gospel, and that equally to every nation), and this way is Jesus Christ apprehended by faith.
1:17 6 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from z faith to faith: 7 as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
(x) Godís mighty and effectual instrument to save men by.
(y) When this word "Greek" is contrasted with the word "Jew", then it signifies a Gentile.
(6) The confirmation of the former proposition: we are taught in the gospel that we are instituted before God by faith, which increases daily, and therefore also saved.
1:18 8 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against a all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the b truth in unrighteousness;
(z) From faith, which increases daily. (7) The proof of the first as well as of the second proposition, out of Habakkuk, who attributes and gives to faith both justice and life before God.
(8) Another confirmation of the principal question: all men being considered in themselves, or without Christ, are guilty both of ungodliness and also unrighteousness, and therefore are subject on condemnation: therefore they need to seek righteousness in someone else.
1:19 9 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in c them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.
(a) Against all types of ungodliness.
(b) By "truth" Paul means all the light that is left in man since his fall, not as though they being led by this were able to come into favour with God, but that their own reason might condemn them of wickedness both against God and man.
(9) By their ungodliness he proves that although all men have a most clear and evident mirror in which to behold the everlasting and almighty nature of God, even in his creatures, yet they have fallen away from those principles to most foolish and stupid ideas of their own brains, in their worship of God and of what God requires of them.
1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being d understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
(c) In their hearts.
(d) You do not see God, and yet you acknowledge him as God by his works; Cicero.
1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they e glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became f vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(e) They did not honour him with that honour and service which was appropriate for his everlasting power and Godhead.
1:22 g Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
(f) As if he said, became so corrupt in themselves.
(g) Or, thought themselves.
1:23 And changed the glory of the h uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
(h) For the true God they substituted another.
1:24 10 Wherefore i God also k gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that l recompence of their error which was meet.
(10) The unrighteousness of men he sets forth first in this, that following their lusts, even against nature, they defiled themselves one with another, by the just judgment of God.
(i) The contempt of religion is the source of all evil.
(k) As a just judge.
(l) An appropriate reward and that which they deserved.
1:28 11 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a m reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
1:31 Without understanding, n covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
(11) He proves the unrighteousness of man by referring to many types of wickedness, from which (if not from all, yet at the least from many of them) no man is altogether free.
(m) To a corrupt and perverse mind, by which it comes to pass that the conscience, having been removed by them, and they having almost no more remorse for sin, run headlong into all types of evil.
(n) Not caring if they keep their covenants and bargains.
1:32 Who knowing the o judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but p have pleasure in them that do them.
(o) By the "judgment of God" he means that which the philosophers called the "law of nature", and the lawyers themselves termed the "law of nations".
(p) Are companions and partakers with them in their wickedness, and beside that, commend those who do wrong.