Romans 1:1-7, Part II:
The Greeting

Marrieds with a Ministry Sunday School Class
Two Rivers Baptist Church
Nashville, TN, USA

For Sunday, 04 November 2001

Handout: Romans 1:1-7, Part II


Bright blue: word from text of Scripture (to be defined)

Green: on hand-out

Ink: words to be filled in on hand-out


Romans was written to address conflict between Jewish and Gentile Christians. The Roman church had a mix of Jews, Greeks, Barbarians - all races and social classes.

Paul has the darnedest way of introducing himself. There's more great content in his greeting than in many sermons.

I. Understanding the purpose of the greeting

In the first sentence, Paul accomplishes several things at once:

  1. Explains why he in particular should address the issues in this letter
  2. Lays a solid foundation for everything he's going to say
  3. Gains a rapport with those addressed
  4. Confers a blessing on them

All the while he's introducing himself to them, he maintains his focus on God.

II. Understanding the structure of the greeting

From: Paul

  • a bond-servant of Jesus Christ - doulov Ex. 21:1-6; Lev. 25:39-42
  • called to be an apostle - klhtos = chosen, appointed, invited
  • set apart for the gospel - aforidzo implies special purpose within boundaries
    • of God (not our invention, He orginated it, He owns the copyright on it)
    • promised long ago through prophets in Holy Scripture - continuity with OT
    • about His Son
      • born of David's seed (Jewish royal line)
      • declared through the power of resurrection to be the holy Son of God - "spirit of holiness" may also refer to Holy Spirit, recognizing Trinity
      • Jesus Christ our Lord (cf. v. 1a)
      • Source of grace and apostleship
        • For bringing the elect among all ethnicities to the obedience of faith
          • You at Rome who are called by Jesus Christ

To: all of you at Rome whom God in His love has chosen to call to be holy ones.

Jesus Christ, who called you, also called me. He who is your Lord is also my Lord. He called you to be his holy ones. He called me to be his apostle with the special mission of delivering His gospel to the Gentiles. My service to our Lord is to make sure you understand His Gospel. It is about his incarnation, holy life, death, resurrection, and reign. It was promised and fulfilled through the Jews, but it is to people of all ethnicities. He sent us on the mission to take His gospel to people of all races and social classes.

Paul's assessment of the nature of their conflict: the problem is you don't have the gospel right.

III. Understanding the meaning of the greeting

Paul tells us what the gospel is and, by implication, what it isn't.

The Gospel
verse is... is not...
1 of God of man, not even the church
2 promised by God the Father new to the New Testament
3 about God's Son about our experience
4 by the power of God's Spirit by clever techniques, programs, or methods
5a ordained by God the power of persuasion
5b for the glory of God for meeting our needs
6 accomplished by God dependent on man
7 because of the love of God because of our goodness

In this one remarkable sentence, Paul not only succeeds at the four things mentioned under I. above, but alludes to at least 16 major Christian doctrines, including the Five Solas of the Reformation!

16 doctrines referred to in the greeting
verse terms doctrine
1 bond-servant Redemption
1 called Divine Vocation / Sovereignty
1 apostle Apostleship
1 gospel The gospel
2 promised Covenant
2 prophets / Scripture Authority of Scripture - Sola Scriptura
3 His Son Deity of Jesus Christ - Solus Christus
3 seed of David Humanity of Jesus Christ
4 spirit of holiness role of Holy Spirit
4 resurrection Resurrection
1-4 God, Son, Spirit Trinity
4 Lord Lordship of Christ
5 obedience of faith Salvation by faith - Sola fide
5 among the nations (ethnos - Gentiles) Worldwide scope of God's redemptive plan
5 for His name['s sake] The purpose of God's redemptive plan - Soli Deo Gloria
6-7 called...beloved of God, called Election - Sola gratia

Now that's a fine "Howdy-do"!

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David J. Finnamore
Orlando, FL