Romans 1:8-15

New International Version

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

This passage provides a glimpse into the heart and mind of the Apostle Paul as he writes to the Roman Christian community. Through expressions of gratitude, persistent prayer, and a deep desire to visit and preach the gospel in Rome, Paul’s character and commitment to his ministry are evident.

Thanksgiving and Praise

The passage begins with Paul expressing his deep gratitude to God for the faith of the Roman Christians. He acknowledges the widespread reputation of their faith, emphasizing the positive impact it has had (Romans 1:8). This act of thanksgiving was a central aspect of Paul’s religious experience, reflecting his personal relationship with God.1 Paul’s thanksgiving is rooted in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, underscoring the crucial role of Christ in conveying God’s grace to humanity.2

Furthermore, Paul reveals his continuous prayers on behalf of the Roman believers. Despite not having personally met them, he consistently remembers them in his prayers, emphasizing the intensity of his intercession (Romans 1:9-10). Paul’s prayers extended beyond his immediate circle of personal acquaintance and apostolic responsibility. Paul’s commitment to prayer is depicted as the foundation of his ministry, with preaching being a result of his life of prayer.3

Paul’s Desire to Visit Rome

Paul’s yearning to visit the Roman Christian community is a central theme in this passage. He expresses his desire to impart spiritual gifts to them, with the goal of strengthening their faith (Romans 1:11). These spiritual gifts are not limited to those listed in 1 Corinthians 12 but encompass any insight or gift received from the Spirit, intended to establish the Roman believers in their faith.4

Moreover, Paul emphasizes his eagerness to mutually encourage one another through this visit (Romans 1:12). He underscores the reciprocity of the relationship, where both he and the Roman Christians will find encouragement and strength in each other’s faith.

Paul’s longing to visit Rome is not a recent desire but one that he had harbored for a long time. He mentions that he had often planned to visit them but had been hindered until then (Romans 1:13). The exact reasons for these hindrances are not specified in the text, leaving room for interpretation. Possibilities include the expulsion of Jews from Rome in AD 49, the pressing needs of other churches, Satanic opposition, or organizational tasks.5

Obligation to Preach the Gospel

Paul’s sense of obligation to preach the gospel to various groups is a central theme in the concluding verses of this passage. He articulates his duty to Greeks and non-Greeks, wise and foolish, highlighting his commitment to share the message of Christ with people from diverse backgrounds (Romans 1:14). The distinction between Greeks and non-Greeks transcends racial boundaries, encompassing those who have been influenced by Greek culture and thought.6

Paul’s eagerness to preach the gospel in Rome stems from his transformed experience on the Damascus road and his realization that he is privileged to share the good news (Romans 1:15). He eagerly anticipates the opportunity to fulfill this obligation, emphasizing the joyous nature of his commitment.7

Notes

  1. Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 64–70. ↩︎
  2. Mounce, Romans, 64–70. ↩︎
  3. F. F. Bruce, “Romans: An Introduction and Commentary,” Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, vol. 6 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 81-82.  ↩︎
  4. Mounce, Romans, 64–70. ↩︎
  5. Mounce, Romans, 64–70. ↩︎
  6. Bruce, Romans, 81-82. ↩︎
  7. Mounce, Romans, 64–70. ↩︎