1 Paul, a (a)bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative), set apart for [preaching] the (b)gospel of God [the good news of salvation], 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures— 3 [the good news] regarding His Son, who, as to the flesh [His human nature], was born a descendant of David [to fulfill the covenant promises], 4 and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated to be the Son of God with power [in a triumphant and miraculous way] by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 It is through Him that we have received grace and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the Gentiles, 6 and you also are among those who are called of Jesus Christ to belong to Him;
7 [I am writing] to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called to be saints (God’s people) and set apart for a sanctified life, [that is, set apart for God and His purpose]: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith [your trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] is being proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit by preaching the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how continuously I mention you 10 in my prayers; always pleading that somehow, by God’s will, I may now at last come to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift, to strengthen and establish you; 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, (c)brothers and sisters, that many times I have planned to come to you, (and have been prevented so far) so that I may have some fruit [of my labors] among you, even as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I have a duty to perform and a debt to pay both to Greeks and to barbarians [the cultured and the uncultured], both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am ready and eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The Gospel Exalted
17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.”(A)
Unbelief and Its Consequences
18 For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them.
Unbelief and Its Consequences
20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.(B) 21 For even though (d)they knew God [as the Creator], they did not (e)honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for (f)an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.(C)
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading and vile passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural [a function contrary to nature], 27 and in the same way also the men turned away from the natural function of the woman and were consumed with their desire toward one another, men with men committing shameful acts and in return receiving in their own bodies the inevitable and appropriate penalty for their wrongdoing.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, 29 until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree and His judgment, that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but they even [enthusiastically] approve and tolerate others who practice them.
a. Romans 1:1: I.e. a person in bondage. One who belongs to another.
b. Romans 1:1: In ancient Greece the word translated as “good news” or “gospel” was used to denote, among other things, success in a battle.
c. Romans 1:13: Lit brethren, includes all born-again believers: men, women, and children.
d. Romans 1:21: Anyone who attributes the existence of the world to chance or to a different creator is already guilty of deliberately rejecting God, because to deny the true God one must set aside common sense.
e. Romans 1:21: Lit glorify.
f. Romans 1:23: Paul’s indictment of idolatry (images) is logical and devastating. He emphasizes that idols are essentially copies of living creatures, whether in human form (as, for example, in ancient Greek myth) or otherwise (as in Egyptian idolatry and metaphysics). These lifeless images are clearly powerless, and even the living creatures which they supposedly represent are either nonexistent hybrids and monsters, or else ordinary creatures on earth who could hardly create so much as a grain of sand.