Romans Part 5 – Greeting

by Dave on July 2, 2010

in Theology

Having gone quite slowly through the beginning of Romans, I am going to go quickly through this next section.

8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10in 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.

 11I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, 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.

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

In 8-15 Paul gives a warm greeting to his audience.  There are many who feel that people can not come to God on their own and Paul can be viewed as a supporter of this in verse 8.  He thanks God through Jesus (as in John 14:6 “no one comes to the Father except though me”) for all of them because of the report of their faith.  Now is he is he thanking God for their faith or for the reports of the faith?  It is not obvious to me which it is.  It may be both.

Toward the end of this passage, he clearly articulates that his preaching of the gospel is for everyone.  One of the interesting parts of this is that he says that it is to the wise and the foolish.  In Greek, the term translated as foolish is anohtoiv.  In this sense it seems to be someone without sense.  He also uses this term in several other letters and in those contexts it looks like he uses it to describe people who have not taken the advice that has been given to them.  Particularly people who once had faith but for some reason no longer do.  I feel this is important since it means that Paul’s mission is to continually reinforce the gospel preached.  There are some who say once someone “believes” then they are saved.  But Paul says that some can be “foolish” and turn away.

Next time, several key words including “salvation”, “righteousness of God”, and “Faith”.


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