Romans 1:8-17

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

October 7, 1998


While Paul was visiting Corinth for the second time (Acts 20:3), he writes a letter to the Christians in Rome. This is considered Paul’s greatest work.

:8 that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

spoken ofkataggello – to announce, declare; to proclaim publicly

Word has gotten around about these Christians in Rome.

Jesus said,

(Mat 5:14-15 KJV) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. {15} Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

:9 For God is my witness,

God is the one who really knows just how much Paul prays.

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

:9 whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son

I servelatreuo – to serve for hire; to serve, minister to; to serve in a religious sense as the priests offering sacrifice in the temple.

:9 that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

without ceasingadialeiptos – without intermission, incessantly, without ceasing

mentionmneia – remembrance, memory, mention

lit, "I make a remembrance (or a memory) of you"

This is a very beautiful picture of prayer that Paul alludes to. It’s that of a priest offering sacrifices or incense to God, of a priest that is doing his job of bringing the people before the Lord.

It’s just like the work of the high priest.

On the shoulders of his garment there were two stones:

Exo 28:9-12 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: {10} Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth. {11} With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. {12} And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

Having these stones on the shoulders is a picture of bearing the weight of the people, of bearing their burdens before the Lord.

(Gal 6:2 KJV) Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

On front of his robes was a pouch with twelve different stones, called the breastplate of judgment, each stone with the name of one of the tribes:

Exo 28:29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.

Prayer isn’t just a burden though, it ought to be done in love as the people are carried over your heart.


Faithful prayer.

This is the foundation of true ministry. Bringing those you minister to before the Lord, "reminding" the Lord of these people.

This is for me the real thrust behind our church directory. It’s the list of names that we continue to remind the Lord over. This is what has been at the heart of the ministry of the elders and the Men’s Intercessory prayer meeting, bringing you in remembrance before the Lord.

Many of you have told me stories about your grandmother who used to pray for you every day. Ken has talked about his blind grandmother who would pray for each of her grandchildren.

May we be that next generation of grandparents who will faithfully pray for our kids and grandkids.

:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

making requestdeomai – to want, lack; to desire, long for; to ask, beg

have a prosperous journeyeuodoo – to grant a prosperous and expeditious journey, to lead by a direct and easy way

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure


Prayer and the will of God.

Paul’s not saying that he knows what the will of God is regarding his going to Rome.

But he’s still praying for it.

1) Ask

If you’re looking for the will of God in a particular area of your life, ask God. As long as you aren’t sure what God’s will is, keep asking.

2) Submit

The point of asking God for His will is so that you can submit to it, so that you can yield to it.

This is example that Jesus left us as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:

(Luke 22:42 KJV) Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

How did Paul’s prayer turn out?

Paul wrote this letter from Corinth (Acts 20:3). After having written this letter, he began his trip back to Jerusalem to deliver the gifts from the Gentile churches. All along the way Paul is warned by the Holy Spirit that he’s going to be arrested in Jerusalem. I wonder how that affected Paul’s desire to go to Rome?

Yet he stay determined to go to Jerusalem. He didn’t know for sure whether he was to go to Rome, though he had a desire to. Yet he knew he was supposed to go to Jerusalem. Did he get to Rome?

Yes, but not the way he thought he’d get there. After being arrested in Jerusalem, Jesus showed up to give him a message:

(Acts 23:11 KJV) And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Paul ended up in custody for two years in Caesarea, and finally was able to make an appeal to Caesar, and was transported under arrest to Rome.

Does it always turn out this way? No. Sometimes the things we desire are not what God desires for us. In Paul’s case here, it was.

Keep asking. Stay in submission to whatever God wants to do.

:11 For I long to see you

I longepipotheo – to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after

Paul could have been longing to see the great city of Rome with its great buildings. He could have longed to see the emperor or the great Roman Senate.

But he longed to see these fellow believers.

:11 that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

giftcharisma – a "grace", a gift you receive without having earned it.

spiritualpneumatikos – relating spirit, whether human, angelic, or Divine.

I do not believe Paul is talking strictly about what we call "spiritual gifts" (ie. prophecy, word of knowledge, tongues, etc.). I don’t think he’s been thinking, "Gee, these people could sure use the gift of tongues …" They may be a part of what he has in mind, but I think he’s talking in a broader sense here. He’s simply talking about the idea of giving a gift, but rather than a physical gift he wants to give a gift that’s spiritual in nature.

The word for gift (charisma) is used by Paul six times in Romans (1:11; 5:15; 5:16; 6:23; 11:29; 12:6) and only once is he talking specifically about what we refer to as "spiritual gifts". In one place (6:23) Paul calls eternal life the "gift of God".

Also, it is not Paul who gives "spiritual gifts" (tongues, prophecy, etc.), it is the Holy Spirit (1Cor.12:11).

establishedsterizo – to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix; to strengthen, make firm

:12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

comforted togethersumparakaleo – to call upon or invite or exhort at the same time or together; to strengthen (comfort) with others

Romans 1:12 (NAS) that is, that I may be encouraged together with you [while] among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.

Paul’s desire is not that he be the big apostle coming to bless these poor little Christians in Rome, but that he’s expecting them to encourage him with their faith as well.


Need ministry? Then minister.

Paul knows that when he gets together with the church to share with them, that he will receive as much building up as they will.

Don’t let yourself sit in a corner, waiting for others to minister to you. Get to know other people. Reach out. Share with others. You’ll find yourself blessed too.

:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,)

was letkoluo – to hinder, prevent forbid

Paul had apparently tried going to Rome, but was somehow hindered.

:13 that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Paul wants to minister in Rome. He longs to see people in Rome come to Jesus. He longs to see the Christians in Rome built up.

:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

Barbariansbarbaros – one whose speech is rude, rough and harsh; used by the Greeks of any foreigner ignorant of the Greek language

Paul is referring to the whole world here, from a Greek point of view. The Greeks viewed the world in two groups: Greeks and Barbarians. The Jews also viewed the world in two groups: Jews and Gentiles.

debtoropheiletes – one who owes another, a debtor; one held by some obligation, bound by some duty; one who has not yet made amends to whom he has injured:


Who do you owe?

Paul sees himself as owing the whole world something. He owes them the message of Jesus Christ.

He sees the entire world dying from a horrendous disease. He has the antidote that can save them.

:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

readyprothumos – ready, willing


Blunt common sense always characterized Mr. Moody. Once a man rose in one of his meetings to give his experience. "I have been for five years on the Mount of Transfiguration," he said.

Instantly Mr. Moody interrupted him by the sharp question, "How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?'

"Well, I don't know," answered the surprised man.

"Have you led any?" then came sternly from the preacher.

"I-ah-don't know that I have," said the man.

"Then," snapped Mr. Moody, still more sternly, "we don't want that kind of mountaintop experience. When a man gets so high that he can't reach down and save poor sinners, there is something wrong."

:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ

ashamedepaischunomai – to be ashamed; from aischuno, to disfigure, to dishonour


Worth The Risk!

I read a tear jerker of a story about a man who worked for McDonald’s, playing one of their "Ronald McDonalds". Part of his duties included going to various hospitals visiting sick kids. They had two restrictions in their job. First they were never to go anywhere alone, second they were never to touch a child.

This man shares:

Toward the end of my fourth year of "Ronald Days," as I was heading down a hallway after a long day in grease paint and on my way home, I heard a little voice. "Ronald, Ronald." I stopped. The soft little voice was coming through a half-opened door. I pushed the door open and saw a young boy, about five years old, lying in his dad's arms, hooked up to more medical equipment than I had ever seen. Mom was on the other side, along with Grandma, Grandpa and a nurse tending to the equipment. I knew by the feeling in the room that the situation was grave. I asked the little boy his name---he told me it was Billy---and I did a few simple magic tricks for him. As I stepped back to say good-bye, I asked Billy if there was anything else I could do for him. "Ronald, would you hold me?"

As you can expect, the man faced a decision of whether to risk losing his job, or walk away without holding little Billy. He decided to hold Billy. As you can imagine, Billy dies. The man had left the family his name and phone number and the mom gave him a call:

She informed me that Billy had passed away. She and her husband simply wanted to thank me for making a difference in their little boy's life. Billy's mom told me that shortly after I left the room, Billy looked at her and said, "Momma, I don't care anymore if I see Santa this year because I was held by Ronald McDonald."

If this guy is willing to risk his job for McDonald’s, what are we willing to do for Jesus Christ?

:16 for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;

It’s the gospel that saves people when they believe.

salvationsoteria – deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation

Salvation from what?

1) Past: From the penalties of sins I’ve committed in the past (Luke 7:50; Eph. 2:8)

2) Present: From the power of sin in my daily life (Rom. 5:10)

3) Future: From the actual presence of sin in the future, in heaven. (1 Cor. 3:15; 5:5).

Salvation comes when a person believes.

It doesn’t come when you learn to jump over some goal, it comes when you believe.

It doesn’t come when you achieve victory over a particular sin in your life. It comes when you believe.

:16 to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Paul’s ministry in a city always started by preaching to the Jews. They are God’s chosen people. Jesus was their Messiah. It was after the Jews had an opportunity to receive Jesus that Paul would turn and preach to the Gentiles.


In his book The Crisis in the University, Sir Walter Moberly cites the failure of evangelicals to penetrate university campuses with the gospel. To those who claim to follow Christ he says, "If one-tenth of what you believe is true, you ought to be ten times as excited as you are."

Do we really believe this?

:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed

the righteousness of God – lit., "a God kind of righteousness"

God’s kind of righteousness, His standard of righteousness is revealed in the gospel.

revealedapokalupto ("apocalypse") – to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up

It’s in the gospel of Jesus Christ that we understand that God’s standard for man is perfection, a perfection that none of us can attain to:

As Paul will show us,

(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Because God demands perfection from us in order to have fellowship with us, and since we cannot produce that kind of perfection, then God has sent His own perfect Son to pay the price of our unrighteousness and in turn give us His own righteousness.

(2 Cor 5:18-21 KJV) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; {19} To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. {20} Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. {21} For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

:17 from faith to faith

Faith is where this thing called salvation starts, and faith is where it ends.

I think Paul is talking about the process of how a person is saved, how it starts with the faith that one person has in trusting in Jesus, and how they share what they believe with another person, and that other person then starts to believe.

It’s not that I give you some quantity of a substance I own called faith.

It’s that when you see how I am trusting in Jesus, it stirs up something inside of you to want to trust in Him too.


In the 1930s in Stavropol, Russia, Stalin ordered that all Bibles be confiscated and Christian believers be sent to prison camps. Ironically, most of the Bibles were not destroyed, yet many Christians died as "enemies of the state."

With the recent dissolution of the U.S.S.R., a CoMission team arrived in Stavropol in 1994 for ministry. Their request to have Bibles shipped to Moscow was being held up. But someone told them about a warehouse outside of town where confiscated Bibles were still stored. Remarkably, the team was granted permission to distribute them. Hiring several local Russian workers, they began to load their trucks.

One young man, a hostile agnostic, came only for the day's wages. But not long after they had started, he disappeared. He was found in the corner of the warehouse, weeping, a Bible in his hands. Intending to steal it for himself, he had picked his own grandmother's off the shelf! Her signature was on the front page. Today, that young Russian is in the process of being transformed by the very Bible that his grandmother was persecuted for, but still held dear. -- Ken Taylor, Christian Reader, Vol. 33, no. 5.

From the faith of his grandmother to himself.

:17 as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Paul is supporting what he’s saying by quoting from

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

The meaning is this: The one who is just (the one who is right before God) will live (be saved and not die) by faith (it’s his trust in God that gives him life).