Romans 1:1-7

Romans 1:1-7
Advent A4


Paul,A a servantB of JesusC Christ,D calledE to be an apostle,F set apartG for the gospelH of God,I 2 which he promised beforehandJ through his prophetsK in the holyL scriptures,M 

Notes on verses 1-2

A “Paul” = paulos. From Latin Paulus (small, little). This is Paul or Paulus, meaning little.
B “servant” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay of debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
C “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
D “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
E “called” = kletos. 11x in OT. From the same as klesis (calling, invitation; always refers to a divine calling in the New Testament); from kaleo (to call, summon, invite, name, call forth; properly, to call aloud); related to keluo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is called, invited, a calling. In the New Testament, it is a summoning by God to a particular office or to salvation in general.
F “apostle” = Apostolos. From apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); [from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for).] This is a messenger – someone sent out on a mission as an envoy or delegate. It can also refer to someone set at liberty. Generally, this is a messenger who is meant to be a representative of the one who sent them. They are thus, set apart on a mission literally or figuratively.
G “set apart” = aphorizo. 10x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + horizo (to mark off boundaries, determine, separate, appoint, designate; properly, setting limits; literally determining the horizons; to predetermine, ordain, or decree); from horos (boundary, limit). This is to set apart, separate, ostracize, sever, exclude. This is where the word “horizon” comes from.
H “gospel” = euangelion. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel) [from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (to bring, lead, carry, guide).] This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.
I “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
J “promised beforehand” = proepagello. 2x in NT. Related to “gospel” in v1. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + epaggellomai (to proclaim, promise, profess) [from epi (on, upon, on the basis of) + aggello (see note H above)]. This is to announce before, promise beforehand, or a promise from long ago.
K “prophets” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view). Phemi is from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is a prophet or poet. One who speaks with inspiration from God
L “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
M “scriptures” = graphe. From grapho (to write). This is writing generally, but always used of scripture in the New Testament.

3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended fromN DavidO according to the fleshP 4 and was declaredQ to be Son of God with powerR according to the spiritS of holinessT by resurrectionU from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,V 

Notes on verses 3-4

N “descended from” = ginomai + ek + sperma. Literally “came from the seed of.” Ginomai refers to something coming into being, happening, or being born. Sperma is from speiro (to sow a seed, spread, scatter); may be from spao (to pull, to pull as when one draws out a sword). This refers to a thing that is sown so a literal seed or offspring, descendants. This is where “sperm” comes from.
O “David” = dauid. From Hebrew David (David); from the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
P “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refer to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
Q “declared” = horizo. 8x in NT. Related to “set apart” in v1 From the same as horion (boundary; so, districts, a region, or territory); from horos (boundary, limit). This is to mark off boundaries, determine, separate, designate, declare, predetermined. This word also literally means to determine horizons and is related to the word “horizon.”
R “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
S “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
T “holiness” = hagiosune. 3x in NT. Related to “holy” in v2. From hagios (see note L above). This is holiness, sanctification, sacredness. A holy or sanctified state – sacredness as a quality.
U “resurrection” = anastasis. From anitstemi (to raise up, rise, appear; to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect); from ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is literally standing up or standing again. It is used figuratively for recovering a spiritual truth. It can be raising up, rising, or resurrection.
V “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

5 through whom we have receivedW graceX and apostleshipY to bring about the obedienceZ of faithAA among all the GentilesBB for the sake of his name,CC 6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

7 To all God’s belovedDD in Rome,EE who are called to be saints:FF Grace to you and peaceGG from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notes on verses 5-7

W “received” = lambano. This does not describe passive receive, but active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered. The word emphasizes the choice and action of the individual.
X “grace” = charis. This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
Y “apostleship” = apostole. 4x in NT. Related to “apostle” in v1. From apostello (see note F above). This is apostleship, the duty of an apostle, a commission.
Z “obedience” = hupakoe. 15x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + akouo (to hear, listen, understand). This is literally hearing under – as listening to one who has charge over you. So, this is obedience, compliance – responding to someone speaking with attentive action.
AA “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.
BB “Gentiles” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.
CC “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
DD “beloved” = agapetos. From agape (love, goodwill, benevolence, charity, divine love); from apgapao (to love, wish well, take pleasure in, long for; love or reason, esteem). This is beloved, loved, dear. It is used as an address to Christians and also as a title of the Messiah. This is a personal experience of God’s love.
EE “Rome” = rhome. 8x in NT. From Latin Roma (Rome); perhaps from rumon or rumen (a name for the river Tiber; meaning to flow) OR from Etruscan ruma (teat – referring to the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus or the shape of some hills) OR from Greek rhome (strength). ​(“Rome” 2019)​
FF “saints” = hagios. Same as “holy” in v2.
GG “peace” = Eirene. Perrahps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony, felicity. Peace was used as a greeting and farewell for Jews (shalom), which included a wish of well-being of the whole self, mind, body, and soul. So, this is wholeness as the state when everything is working together in the right way. So, it is peace literally or figuratively and prosperity by implication. (Note, prosperity here is not meant in the sense of extreme or extravagant wealth. Prosperity would have been the state of non-calamity, of not worrying about having enough to eat, have good relationship with neighbors, etc.)

Works Cited

  1. “Rome.” 2019. Wikipedia. 2019.

Image credit: “The Apostle Paul,” Rembrandt, 1633

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply