Romans 1:8-15 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
‘Whole world’ showed to the Roman Empire here. This is a figure of speech, synecdoche: a whole is put for a part, as in Genesis 6:17; 2Samuel 6:5, 15; 1Kings 11:16-17; Daniel 2:37-38; 7:23; Matthews 3:5-6; Luke 2:1-3; Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:23 and Revelation 13:8, 16.
‘With my spirit’ we must serve God with spirit and soul, as well as with our bodies (1Cor. 6:19-20).
‘That I may impart unto you some spiritual gift’ Paul had the fullness of God (Rom. 15:29) and could impart spiritual gifts by the laying on of hands (1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 6:2). Not many in history can claims this even though so many false teachers/prophets (Matt. 7:15-20; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; 2Cor. 11:13; 1Tim. 4:1-2; 2Pet. 2:1; 1Jn. 4:1) deceive others very successfully without having the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and the qualifications as laid down in 1Timothy 3:1-13.
‘To the end you may be established’ the purpose of all spiritual gifts (1Cor. 1:7; 12:4-11, 28-30; 14:1-40; Rom. 12:3-8) is that God – and not man or institutions – may be glorified through the body of Christ (1Cor. 10:31; 12:12-27).
‘That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me’ be blessed through their establishment by spiritual gifts.
‘Now I would not have you ignorant’ six things are mentioned by Paul in his letters to the congregations wherein he did not want people to be ignorant of: Gospel responsibility (Rom. 1:11-18); God’s purpose for Israel (Rom. 11:25-32); God’s judgments on backsliders (1Cor. 10:1-13); Spiritual gifts (1Cor. 12:1-31); God’s faithfulness in trouble (2Cor. 1:8-10); The resurrection and future life (1Thess. 4:13-18).
‘Debtor’ [Greek: opheiletes] one under an obligation or bound to some duty (1:14; 8:12; 15:27; Matt. 6:12; 18:24; Luke 13:4).
‘Barbarians’ [Greek: barbaros] It does not mean that they were uncivilized, for Greeks called any people “barbarians” who did not speak the Greek language. Paul himself used the term of those whose language he did not understand (1Cor. 14:11). The Egyptians also called all “barbarians” who did not speak their language. ‘Unwise’ [Greek: anoetos] unintelligent.
‘Ready’ [Greek: prothumos] ready, willing. Paul was ready to do that what he was called for – to do the work of an apostle of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:2; 26:16-18; 1Tim. 1:11-12) – in order to complete the New Testament as we have it today. Many teachers and preachers make the same claim without having a personal calling from Christ.