No One Is Righteous

Romans 3:9-10 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one 

‘What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise’ Paul states here clearly that the Jews do not have a better claim to the gospel than Gentiles. This is the last Jewish part of the dialogue of Romans 3:1-9. Paul answers that they have no more claim before God than Gentiles. The Jew has asked nine questions in this dialogue (3:1, 3, 5, 7, 9). Paul has answered them in verses 3:2, 4, 6, 8, 9.

‘Before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin’ in his last answer Paul comes back to the main subject of this section (Romans 1:18-3:20). The sum of the proof of world guilt: The 40 sins and the 20-fold apostasy of the Gentile world (1:18-32); an indictment of the self-righteous Jews who condemned the Gentiles, but were guilty of the same sins (2:1-2); impenitence of both Jews and Gentiles proved them sinners (2:3-6); the refusal of both classes in obeying the gospel (2:7-11); failure of both classes in walking in the light (knowledge of the Word) received (3:12-16); the Jews were exceedingly sinful because of their failure to live up to the law and superior advantages (2:17-29); the Jews were deeper sinners because of seeking excuses for their sinfulness contrary to the law and their own high profession of godliness (3:1-9).

‘Under sin’ sin is a real force that dominates and enslaves (5:12-21).

‘As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one’ this passage (3:10-18) is from several Old Testament books on the same subject. Romans 3:10-12 are from Psalms 14:2-3; 52:2-4; Ecclesiastes 7:20. Romans 3:13-18 are from Psalms 5:9-10; 10:7; 36:1-2; 140:3; Isaiah 59:7-8.

‘There is none righteous’ having stated (3:9) that he had already proved both Jews and Gentiles to be under sin, he now proceeds to clinch this argument by the Jewish Scriptures which they could not deny. ‘Righteous’ no one is righteous in himself.

Just Damnation

Romans 3:6-8 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God has more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. 

‘God forbid’ this answers the questions of Romans 3:5, that sin is not necessary to magnify God. If so, then God would be unjust Himself and could not rightly be justified in judging the world. “God forbid” is found 15 times in the New Testament (3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; Luke 20:16; 1Cor. 6:15; Gal. 2:17; 3:21; 6:14), and 9 times in the Old Testament (Gen. 44:7, 17; Jos. 22:29; 24:16; 1Sam. 12:23; 14:45; 20:2; 1Chron. 11:19; Job 27:5). Only in 1Chronicles 11:19 is it a literal translation of the original language. In all other places, it is a cultural idiom of the King James translators expressing a strong negative. Literally, may it never be.

‘For if the truth of God has more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner’ Resuming his argument (of Romans 3:5) if the truth of God is magnified through their lies, or if the faithfulness of God in showing mercy and keeping promises to their fathers is through their unfaithfulness, then why should they be condemned as sinners? Why should they be blamed for something that must contribute so much to the honour and glory of God? Paul questions the Jews way of thinking as most of them wanted to live in sin and justified this idolatry with Christ’s grace. ‘And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just’ the answer to Romans 3:7. And why do you not say, seeing you assume that sin is necessary to magnify God and His pardoning grace, that we will go along with the apostles and Christianity, for it has been reported that they teach the same doctrine of doing evil that good may come. If you believe this slanderous report of Christians, then why persecute them? Those who report such slander are liable to just damnation just as anyone today who claim that a Christian can continue in sin (1Jn. 3).

God’s Righteousness Upheld

Romans 3:1-5 What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou might be justified in thy sayings, and might overcome when thou are judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man) 

‘What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?’ Circumcision only profited if the law was kept (3:25).

‘Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God’ This answers the questions of Romans 3:1. Being entrusted with the oracles of God and all the external advantages were not sufficient to save the soul (3:21-31; 4:1-25; 8:3-4; Gal. 3:10-14).

‘For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?’ People’s unbelief cannot undo the effects of God’s faithfulness.

‘God forbid’ this answers the questions of Romans 3:3. “God forbid” is found 15 times in the New Testament (3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; Luke 20:16; 1Cor. 6:15; Gal. 2:17; 3:21; 6:14), and 9 times in the Old Testament (Gen. 44:7, 17; Jos. 22:29; 24:16; 1Sam. 12:23; 14:45; 20:2; 1Chron. 11:19; Job 27:5). Only in 1Chronicles 11:19 is it a literal translation of the original language. In all other places, it is a cultural idiom of the King James translators expressing a strong negative. Literally, may it never be.

‘Let God be true, but every man a liar’ let no man say that God has failed in keeping His word with any man. Let man examine himself and his ways to see if he has not failed to meet conditions so God can fulfil His promise. ‘That thou might be justified in thy sayings, and might overcome when thou art judged’ quoted from Psalm 51:4.

‘Thou are judged’ when God is judged or when He judges man by man, He always comes out justified because He is faithful in all His ways (Ps. 119:86, 138; Deut. 7:9; 1Cor. 1:9; 10:13). ‘But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? … for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather … Let us do evil, that good may come? … What then? are we better than they?’ Paul states that if their sins magnify the mercy and goodness of God then, the more wicked they are the more God can be glorified. If they thus glorify God, would He not be unjust in casting them off? It is only natural for Paul to reason this way for all his countrymen are involved. Typical how most people believe today: they think because Christ has died for their sin, they can continue therein. Nothing is more further from the truth, because Christ came to set us free from the bondage of sin not to provide a way for us to keep on living in sin (1Jn. 3).

Knowing the Judgment of God

Romans 1:29-32 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

‘Being filled with all unrighteousness …’ twenty stages of world apostasy: They did not glorify God, they became unthankful, they were vain in their imaginations and became dark in their hearts (1:21). They professed to be wise but they became fools (1:22). They changed God’s glory (1:23) and dishonoured their bodies (1:24). They changed the truth to a lie and worshipped creation as their god, serving creatures, not God (1:25). They submitted to vile passions: women with women (1:26) and men with men (1:27). They rejected the knowledge of God, became reprobate in mind and were completely perverted sexually (1:28). They were filled with iniquities (1:29-31). They despised the coming judgment and they gloried in wickedness (1:32).

‘Filled’ [Greek: pleroo] to fill up, complete. ‘Unrighteousness’ [Greek: adikia] every vice contrary to justice and righteousness. ‘Fornication’ [Greek: porneia] unlawful sexual sins of single and married people. ‘Wickedness’ [Greek: poneria] depravity; iniquity; wicked acting of the evil nature; criminal. ‘Covetousness’ [Greek: pleonexia] intense lust for gain. ‘Maliciousness’ [Greek: kakia] the vicious disposition and desires, rather than their exercise. ‘Envy’ [Greek: phthonos] to pine away; the pain felt and malignity conceived at the sight of the blessing of another. ‘Murder’ [Greek: phonos] murder (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21; 15:7; Gal. 5:21); slaughter (Acts 9:1) and also hating another (1Jn. 3:15).

‘Debate’ [Greek: eris] strife (13:13; 1Cor. 3:3); contention (1Cor. 1:11; Tit. 3:9); debate (1:29; 2Cor. 12:20); and variance (Gal. 5:20). It means to cause strife and discord. It is not the same as disputing for truth as in Acts 9:29; 15:2, 7; 17:17; 19:8-9. ‘Deceit’ [Greek: dolos] lying, falsity. From delo, to take with a bait. Translated “guile” (John 1:47; 2Cor. 12:16; 1Thess. 2:3; 1Pet. 2:1, 22; 3:10; Rev. 14:5); “deceit” (1:29; Mark 7:22;); craft (Mark 14:1); and “subtilty” (Matt. 26:4; Acts 13:10). ‘Malignity’ [Greek: kakoetheia]  a disposition producing evil habits. It means malignity of the mind, which leads its victim to put the worst construction on every action; ascribing to the best deeds the worst motives. ‘Whisperers’ [Greek: psithuristes] slanderers; those who pretend secrecy, and carry out accusations against people, whether true or false; blasting their reputation by clandestine gossip.

‘Backbiters’ [Greek: katalalos] evil speakers; false accusers; slanderers of absent people. ‘Haters of God’ [Greek: theostuges] hateful to God; atheists; condemners of sacred things; despisers of providence; scorners of good. ‘Despiteful’ [Greek: hubristes] insolent; stormy; boisterous; abusing the characters and persons of those under them; scornful; hateful. ‘Proud’ [Greek: huperephanos] to indulge in pride or self-gratulation; be exalted; elated; glory in self; display or strut self before others; an undue sense of superiority; unnatural self-esteem; arrogance; wishing all people to receive their sayings as oracles. ‘Boasters’ [Greek: alazon] self-exalted, vain, and arrogant braggarts. ‘Inventors of evil things’ [Greek: epheuretes] originators of wicked, immoral, and sinful customs, rites, and fashions; inventors of the abominable religious orgies of Bacchus, and every other form of entertainment rooted in horror, cruelty and base immorality. ‘Disobedient to parents’ rebellious against parents; indifferent to rule and order; irreverent.

‘Without understanding’ ignorant and destitute of capacity for spiritual things; stubborn. ‘Covenant-breakers’ [Greek: asunthetos] not morally bound to any agreement; not dependable; treacherous to covenants; faithless to promises; false to trusts. ‘Without natural affection’ destitute of natural affection; that is, filled with desire for unnatural affection experiences and other sexual deviation sins of Romans 1:24-28.

‘Implacable’ [Greek: aspondos] without libation (which accompanied a treaty). Greeks used it to appease the angry gods and reconcile them to the contracting parties. A person who would not pour libation was at deadly enmity with the other one and showed the highest pitch of an unforgiving spirit. He could not be placated, appeased, or pacified by God. ‘Unmerciful’ [Greek: aneleemon] pitiless; destitute of all benevolence to the needy; cruel; merciless; irreconcilable; severe; unappeasable; unforgiving; unyielding.

‘Not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them’ giving approval and or acceptance to the noted sins of Romans 1:24-28 in the lives of others make one just as guilty as the partakers thereof. Even though it’s not our duty to reprove others of their sin, but the Holy Spirit’s (John 16:8), we are to withdraw from those who sin, lest we fall into the same temptation (Ps. 1:1; 1Cor. 5:9-13; 2Cor. 6:17 – 7:1; 2Jn. 1:10-11).

A Reprobate Mind

Romans 1:26-28 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 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 recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient 

‘For this cause God gave them up’ because of the apostasy of Romans 1:21-25. ‘Vile’ [Greek: atimia] vile (1:26); shame (1Cor. 11:14); reproach (2Cor. 11:21); and dishonour (9:21; 1Cor. 15:43; 2Cor. 6:8; 2Tim. 2:20). ‘Affections’ [Greek: pathos] affections (1:26; Col. 3:5) and lusts (1Thess. 4:5). Vile affections are passions of infamy and shame. ‘Natural use into that which is against nature’ this is lesbianism – unnatural, homosexual relations between women.

‘Leaving the natural use of the woman’ this is sodomy or homosexuality (Gen. 8:21; 19:5; Lev. 20:13; Deut. 23:17; 1Kin. 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2Kin. 23:7; Joel 3:3; Eph. 5:4; 2Tim. 3:3, 13; 2Pet. 2:7-22; Jude 1:7-19).

‘Burned in their lust’ [Greek: ekkaiomai] were inflamed. Most people see lust or attraction to another person as love. It is not, it is an attraction of lustful spirits which roam in individuals minds as they succumb to evil thoughts (2Cor. 10:3-6).

‘Unseemly’ [Greek: aschemosune] indecent. ‘Receiving’ [Greek: apolambano] receiving back in full. ‘Recompense’ [Greek: antimisthia] retribution. ‘Error’ [Greek: plane] wandering – the wrong action, wickedness. Both men and women weakened and debilitated their bodies by unnatural prostitution, so that they received in themselves (mostly sickness in mind and body) the penalties of their wickedness.

‘God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient’ three things God gave them up: To dishonour their bodies (1:24); to vile affections in their souls (1:26); to reprobate minds (1:28).

‘Reprobate’ [Greek: adokimos] reprobate (1:28; 2Cor. 13:5-7; 2Tim. 3:8; Tit. 1:16); rejected (Heb. 6:8); and castaway (1Cor. 9:27). Christ is not in reprobates.

Vain in Their Imaginations

Romans 1:21-25 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 

‘Knew’ [Greek: ginosko] to know by experience (John 1:48; 1Jn. 5:20; Eph. 5:5). ‘They glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations’ they made God a mystery and gave the people images of all kinds (Rom. 1:23). ‘Imaginations’ [Greek: dialogismos] reasonings. Substituted foolish concepts of God, and fooled themselves.

‘Uncorruptible’ [Greek: aphthartos] immortality, meaning “deathlessness” and “immortality.” It is used of God being immortal in body and of the bodies of the saints in the resurrection (1Cor. 15:53-54; 1 Tim. 6:16). Twice this word is used of man’s future immortal body (1Cor. 15:53-54), and once of God being the only immortal one (1Tim. 6:16). This does not mean that He is the only one who has immortality of body, but that He is the Source and Giver of all such life to others. Angels have immortal bodies. Christ and the saints that have been resurrected with Him received immortal bodies (Matt. 27:52-53; 1Cor. 15:20-23; Php. 3:20-21; Rev. 1:18). All men will be raised from the dead to live conscious lives forever, both the righteous and the wicked (John 5:28-29).

‘Corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things’ images of people, birds, cattle, dogs, crocodiles, frogs, and snakes are common among all idolaters. Such idolatry has been the root of all the abominable immoralities of the heathen. The idols have been the patrons of licentiousness (Rom. 1:23-32). When they formed their gods in human shape they endowed them with passions and represented them as slaves to disgraceful sexual perversions and as possessing unlimited powers of sexual gratification.

‘Gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves’ – God permitted them to give themselves over to homosexual sins and similar perversions.

‘Uncleanness’ [Greek: akatharsia] a scriptural term for homosexuality and other sexual perversions of men and women (Rom. 1:24; 2Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Thess. 4:7; cp. 2Pet. 2:10).

‘Changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator’ established idolatry for the true worship; a lie for the truth; and worshiped creatures more than the Creator. Idols are called “lies” in Isaiah 44:20; Jeremiah 10:14; 13:25.

The Wrath of God

Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven’ – the wrath of God is also revealed in the gospel as part of God’s righteousness.

‘Wrath of God’ this phrase is found ten times in Scripture (1:18; Ps. 78:31; John 3:36; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; Rev. 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1).

‘Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men’ this is what God’s wrath is against. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul proves the utter ungodliness of the Gentile world and its deserving God’s wrath. In Romans 2:1-3:8 he proves that the Jews are also ungodly and deserving of God’s wrath. In Romans 3:9-20 he sums up the case of both Jews and Gentiles, proving the whole world guilty.

‘Ungodliness’ [Greek: asebeia] impiety; no reverence for God or sacred things; irreligious (2Tim. 2:16; Tit. 2:12; Jude 1:18). ‘Unrighteousness’ [Greek: adikia] all wrongdoing; immorality; wickedness of heart and life (1:18, 29; 2:8; 6:13; Luke 18:6). ‘Hold the truth in unrighteousness’ hold down, suppress; imprison or bridle.

‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made’ Romans 1:20 explains 1:19. All invisible things, even the eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen by the visible things of creation. Deuteronomy 29:29 says: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

‘Eternal’ [Greek: aidios] ever-during (forward and back-ward, or forward only): – eternal, everlasting. ‘Godhead’ [Greek: theiotes] Deity. ‘Without excuse’ no excuse for people to be ignorant of the invisible things.

Salvation

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 

‘Ashamed’ [Greek: epaischunomai] Paul here fulfils Isaiah 28:16: “he that believes shall not make haste” – he that confides and trusts in the sure foundation is secure and will not make haste or be ashamed (Rom. 9:33; 1Pet. 2:6).

‘Gospel of Christ’ another term for “gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1). ‘Power’ [Greek: dunamis] inherent power; the ability to reproduce itself, like a dynamo. The Gospel is God’s power: To produce the new birth (1Pet. 1:23); to give salvation (1:16; Eph. 1:13); to impart grace (Acts 20:24); to establish people in the faith (16:25); to generate faith (10:17); to set free (John 8:31-36); to nourish spiritual life (1Pet. 2:2); to cleanse the church (Eph. 5:26); to search the life (Heb. 4:12); to make partakers of Christ (Eph. 3:6); to impart immortality (2Tim. 15:29).

‘Salvation’ [Greek: soteria] translated “salvation” 40 times; “saved” (Luke 1:71; Rom. 10:1); “deliver” (Acts 7:25); “health” (Acts 27:34); and “saving” (Heb. 11:7). Salvation is the all-inclusive word of the gospel, gathering into itself all the redemptive acts and processes. It is used 119 times in the Old Testament. There are 7 Hebrew and Greek words for “salvation.” They are used 388 times and are translated by 23 English words, some with various endings, which mean salvation, deliverance, save, health, help, welfare, safety, victory, Saviour, defend, avenge, rescue, and preserve.

Salvation is used of: Deliverance from danger (Ex. 14:1-31); victory over enemies (1Sam. 14:1-52); healing of the body (Acts 3:6; 4:12); forgiveness of sin (Luke 19:9; Rom. 10:9-10; Ps. 38:18-22; 51:1-13; 79:9); freedom from prison (Php. 1:19); deliverance from captivity (Ps. 14:1-7); deliverance from wrath (1Thess. 5:9).

Salvation from sin comes through: Confession (Rom. 10:9; 1Jn. 1:9); grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9); sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2Thess. 2:13); godly sorrow (2Cor. 7:10); faith in His blood (Rom. 3:25); faith in His name (Acts. 4:12).

‘For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith’ God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel on the ground of faith as the absolute condition of salvation, and is only effective in those who believe.

‘The just shall live by faith’ quoted from Habakkuk 2:4. It means that the just must live by continued faith, and go from faith to faith (grow in trust) as light (knowledge) is received (1Jn. 1:7).

Be Established

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.

The Gospel of God

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God

‘Paul’ we can see his history written in Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 9:1-30; 11:25-30; 12:25; 13:1-28:31; Galatians 1:1-24; Philippians 3:1-21; 1Timothy 1:1-20 and 2Corinthians 11-12. His name heads up all of his epistles (except Hebrews). ‘Servant’ [Greek: doulos] bond-slave; one who is the entire property of another (1Cor. 6:19-20; 2Cor. 4:5).

‘Called’ [Greek: kletos] called. Here, called to an office and divinely selected and appointed to fill it (Rom. 1:1; 1Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:15). Believers can’t claim that they have the same calling as Paul (and the other apostles) had, because they were called to preach what they learnt (Gal. 1:17-18) from Jesus Christ as they wrote to the believers from various congregations.

‘Apostle’ [Greek: apostolos] a delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. Twenty-four apostles are recorded of which the first twelve were Jesus’ disciples: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas (Matt. 10:3); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4). Then there was Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts. 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas and Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Titus (2Cor. 8:23);  Epaphroditus (Php. 2:25); Paul (Gal. 1:1; 2:8), and Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1)

‘Separated’ [Greek: aphorizo] set apart. Three stages of Paul’s separation: At birth, in God’s mind (Gal. 1:15); at conversion, from Judaism to the gospel (Acts 9:15-16; 1Tim. 1:15-16); at his commission, from secular work to the work of God (Acts 13:2; 26:16-18; 1Tim. 1:11-12)

‘The gospel of God’ the gospel of God (Acts 1:1-5) can be summarized as follows: The gospel defined (Acts 10:15); fulfilment of the promises (Acts 1:2); a revelation (Gal. 1:11-12, 16); historical and prophetic facts of the gospel (Luke 24:44; 1Cor. 15:1-23); a manifestation of: (1) God’s creation (Acts 1:20; Eph. 3:9), (2) Man’s rebellion (Acts 1:21-3:23), (3) God’s love, mercy, and grace (John 1:17; 3:16; Tit. 2:11-12; 3:5), God’s wrath (Rom. 1:18-32),  (5) God’s salvation (Rom. 1:16; 3:24-31; John 3:16; 1Jn. 1:9), (6) God’s plan (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 8:19-25; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 21-22), (7) Man’s destiny: rebels (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15); the saved (John 14:1-3; Rev. 5:10; 21:1-22:5); confirmation of the gospel (Mark 16:15-20; Rom. 15:18-29; Heb. 2:1-4); ordinances of the gospel: (1) water baptism (Matt. 28:19) and (2) the Lord’s Supper (1Cor. 11:19-34).