Lesson 2


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you always in my prayers, 1:10 requesting, if by any means now at length I may be prospered by the will of God to come to you. 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established; 1:12 that is, that I with you may be comforted in you, each of us by the otherís faith, both yours and mine. 1:13 Now I donít desire to have you unaware, brothers, that often I planned to come to you, and was hindered so far, that I might have some fruit in you also, even as in the rest of the Gentiles. 1:14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish. 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.


 Today's Lesson 

After the blessing of verse 7, Paul desires to tell the Romans what he had heard of them. He tells them that he thanks God that their "faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world." Rome was the center of the world in this day. There is no present day analogy to the position that Rome held. The Mediterranean world was ruled by the military might of the Roman legions. News of the happenings in Rome flowed out with military and governmental dispatches. People flowed from one metropolitan area to another at a hitherto unprecedented rate.

 

Paul was telling these Roman Christians that he had heard of their faith through these social channels. The church of Rome, however small it might have been, was making an impact on the Roman world. This might well be one of the primary reasons why the letter was being written at this time. Paul, knowing the importance of a Christian enclave in the capital of the known world, might desire to assure that such a church be inclined to support his vision of a church open to all peoples.

 

Paul wants them to know that he prays "unceasingly" that God would allow him to come to Rome. He wants them to know that he prays that it is God's will that he should come to them. Paul is a veteran in the field by this time. He had many times made plans to go to this place or that only to see God change his plans. There is a famous story in Acts 16 that tells of the time when Paul had made plans to go north and east from Galatia into the area of Bithnia. But, the text in Acts tells us that "the Spirit of Jesus" would not allow Paul and his companions to enter Bithnia. Instead, they were sent to Troas where Paul was given a vision of a man of Macedonia calling him to come and preach in Macedon. So, it is significant that Paul not only wants to go to Rome, but even more importantly, that it is God's will that Paul should go to Rome.

 

He longs to see them so that he might impart to them the spiritual gifts that have been given to him by God. He knows that if he were to come to them he might comfort them in their faith and believes that they will be a comfort to his own faith. He wants them to be established in their faith. Paul's desire for all men is that they be rooted firmly in their faith in God. He spent his life in the attempt to lead all men to faith in Christ Jesus his Lord. He had been working in all the Gentile countries in the east and had "fruit" in all of these areas. Now, his desire is to come to Rome that he might have "some fruit in you also."

 

Paul wrote, "I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish." Just as Christ set aside heavenly glory and rewards to be a servant to men, Paul would set aside all apostolic prerogatives to serve mankind. In Christ we are freed of debts and yet Paul says, "I am debtor." Only when Christ frees us from our indebtedness can we comprehend its magnitude. For Paul, the freedom that was his in Christ produced in him an indebtedness to serve the Lord in the propagation of the gospel. And the goal that he sought, the prayer of his heart to God was that he might preach the gospel of Christ in Rome.

 

You too, if you have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, have been given freedom in Christ. What will you do with your freedom? What is the prayer of your heart for God?

 

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