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Rom 1:8-17 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. (9) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, (10) making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. (11) For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established; (12) that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. (13) Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. (14) I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. (15) So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
Romans 1:8-17 sets the tone of Paul's letter to the Roman church. In this passage, he reveals his desire to go to Rome and exactly why he wanted to visit there. Although this may seem to be unimportant information, Paul introduces the main topic of the letter, which is his gospel, and the key verse in 1:16.
From verse sixteen on, Paul spend the rest of his epistle fleshing out the gospel that he preached everywhere, and its repercussions for believers.
Verse 8: He thanked God for their faith; it was significant that the Christian faith had followers even in Rome, the capital of the Empire.
Verse 9: Paul served God with his spirit. In other words, Paul didn't serve just as a matter of obligation, but from his heart. Compare this with observation on serving what Paul says about giving in 2 Cor 9:7.
Verses 11-13: The answer is threefold, and one of mutual benefit. First, he wanted to impart to them some spiritual gift. Second, he expected himself (as well as them) to be encouraged by each other's faith. Third, he expresses his desire to be fruitful. The important thing to notice is that he didn't desire to see them just so he could get something from them, which is what often happens in the attitudes of Christians towards church today.
Verse 15: He wanted to preach the gospel to the Romans.
Verse 16: He was unashamed of the gospel. He preached the gospel with boldness. Compare this with what Christ said in Matthew 10:32-33about admitting to being a Christian.
Verse 16: Paul understood that the gospel is God's power for bringing salvation to the lives of those alienated from God, a salvation that is available to anyone who believes, no matter who they are.
Verses 16-17: It brings salvation only to those who believe. God's righteousness is revealed "from faith to faith". In other words, not only does the person who preaches have faith in their preaching of the gospel, but it is essential for the hearer to receive the gospel message with genuine faith, so it is from faith and to faith. Without faith, the gospel message will have no effect.
Do you serve God with your spirit, or is it just something you feel obligated to do? If you are serving Him from obligation only, what can you do to change that?
Paul wanted to be a blessing to the Roman church. How can you best be a blessing to your church?
Are you ashamed of the gospel? Are you embarrassed to own up to being a Christian? When was the last time you shared your faith?
Do you really believe in the power of the gospel? If so, how has it affected your life? How bold are you in preaching that same gospel?
If you like these Expository Bible Studies, don't forget to check out our Topical Bible Studies too.