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Paul is probably writing from Corinth during those three months which he spent in Greece (Ac 20:2f) just before sailing east. He mentions three places which he is intending to visit: Jerusalem (15:25ff), Rome (1:11ff; 15:23ff), and Spain (15:20, 24, 28). His most obvious purposes in writing were related to these three destinations. Paul thought of Rome, between Jerusalem and Spain, as a place of refreshment after Jerusalem and preparation for Spain. Jerusalem represented his commitment to the welfare of Israel and Spain that to the Gentile mission. Paul's visit to Jerusalem was with the purpose of taking with him the collection from the Greek churches for the poverty stricken Christians in Judea. This was more than an act of kindness; it was a symbol of Jewish-Gentile solidarity in the body of Christ, and a symbol of Gentiles sharing with Jews their material blessings, having first shared in their spiritual blessings (15:27). Paul was apprehensive. Many Jewish Christians regarded him with deep suspicion. Some condemned him for disloyalty to his Jewish heritage. For such Jewish Christians, to accept the offering which Paul was taking to Jerusalem would be tantamount to endorsing his liberal policy on matters of circumcision and law-observance. Paul requests prayer from Rome's mixed Jewish-Gentile Christian community.
Spain was part of the western frontier of the Roman Empire. Paul had evangelized the four provinces of Galatia, Asia, Macedonia and Achaia and set his sights on where Christ was not known. In writing to Rome he is inviting their fellowship and assistance (15:24) perhaps meaning their encouragement, financial support and prayers. As Antioch had been base camp in the East Mediterranean mission so Rome was intended to be base of operations in the Western Mediterranean.
The church at Rome possibly came into being through Jewish Christians who had returned home from Jerusalem after Pentecost (Ac 2:10). If Paul's policy was not to build on another's foundation, we can only guess that Rome was not regarded as any one person's territory. Or perhaps as the specially appointed apostle to the Gentiles Paul considered it appropriate for himself to minister in the metropolis of the Gentile world (1:11ff), albeit on a passing visit (15:24, 28). Paul writes to prepare them for his visit, to establish his apostolic credentials before church members who were not known to him. In doing so he also addresses his readers' concerns and responds to criticism. He asks three things for himself: prayer that the service in Jerusalem would be accepted, help on his way to Spain, and a welcome during his stopover in Rome. This was Paul's situation. The situation of the Roman Christians can be marked out in the following way. The church in Rome was a mixed community with a Gentile majority. There was considerable conflict between the Jews and Gentiles which was not so much to do with race and culture as to do with different convictions about the status of God's covenant and law, and so about salvation. Perhaps the 'disturbances' made by the Jews in Rome 'at the instigation of Chrestus' (Christ), mentioned by Suetonius (Life of Claudius, c.AD 120, 25.4), and which led to their expulsion from Rome in AD 49 by the Emperor Claudius (Ac 18:2), were due to conflicts between Jewish and Gentile Christians. The theological issue beneath the tensions between Jews and Gentiles in Rome could be related to the weak and strong divisions (chapters 14-15). The Jewish Christians were proud of their favoured status, and the Gentile Christians of their freedom, so that Paul saw the need to humble them both and make peace between opponents. He had himself had a foot in both camps (cf. 9:3 and 11:13) and so was well placed to be an agent of reconciliation. In this ministry Paul develops two paramount themes: the justification of guilty sinners irrespective of status or works; and the redefinition of the people of God, no longer according to descent, circumcision or culture, but according to faith. The single most important theme of Romans is the equality of Jews and Gentiles.
1 1Paul [Paulos]
The letter-writing convention in the ancient world was to reverse the order of address so that the writer addressed himself first and the correspondent next. Paul follows this convention but with an extended description of himself, in relation to the gospel. Perhaps Paul did not found the church in Rome, nor has he visited it, so feels the need to establish his credentials as an apostle. According to tradition, Paul was an ugly little guy with beetle brows, bandy legs, a bald pate, a hooked nose, bad eyesight, and no great rhetorical gifts (The Acts of Paul and Thecla). Cf. 2 Cor 10:10; Gal 4:13f.
'Slave'. For examples of the self-description of 'slave' or 'servant' of Yahweh in the OT, see Ps 116:16; Is 43:1,10.
Jesus himself chose this word as his designation of the Twelve and Paul claimed to have been added to their number (e.g., Gal 1:1). The qualifications of the apostles were that they were directly and personally called and commissioned by Jesus, that they were eye-witnesses of the historical Jesus, importantly of his resurrection (Ac 1:21-26; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8f), and that they were sent out by him to preach with his authority. The NT apostle resembled both the OT prophet, who was 'called' and 'sent' by YHWH to speak in his name, and the shaliach of rabbinic Judaism, who was a delegate or representative with legal powers to act on behalf of his principal.
Has the same root meaning as pharisaios, 'Pharisee', cf. Phil 3:5.
The OT background to this is found in the LXX of Isaiah 40-66 where this noun or its cognate verb euangelizomai is used of the proclamation of Zion's impending release from exile
Does not really or usually mean 'declare'. It is properly rendered 'appoint', or 'marked out', as in Ac 10:42; 17:31. The translation must not imply that the resurrection made a difference to Jesus' appointment as the Son of God for this he always has been.
Some have thought that the these verses here (4 and 5) are fragments of an early creed on account of the carefully constructed parallelism. The Christ and Lord references would have had significance for Jewish and Gentile Christians respectively.
The Greek greeting was Chaire, which literally means 'Rejoice!'. The Jew said Shalōm which was sometimes amplified to 'Mercy and peace' (as in 2 Baruch 78:2). Paul takes over the amplified form, but in place of 'mercy' he habitually uses 'grace'.
In the following clause Paul indicates that the Christians in Rome were predominantly Gentile.
Rome was the eternal city which had given peace to the world. Rome was the fount of law, the centre of civilization, the Mecca of poets and orators and artists and simultaneously a home of every kind of idolatrous worship. Rome was the symbol of imperial pride and power. People spoke of it with awe. Everybody hoped to visit Rome at least once in their lifetime, just to look and stare and wonder.
Compared to the beautiful and well-planned cities of the Greek world, Rome appeared a backward and ramshackle place. Rome was a city of hills and deep valleys, attics teetering over the streets, cramped back-alleys, but it was a free city. Its climate was temperate, there were hills that could be easily defended; a river which led to the sea; springs and fresh breezes. However the Tiber was prone to violent flooding, and the valleys of Rome were rife with malaria.
The streets of Rome had never had any kind of planning imposed upon them. That would have taken a design-minded despot, and Roman magistrates rarely had more than a single year in office at a time. As a result, the city had grown chaotically, at the whim of unmanageable impulses and needs. Stray off one of Rome's two grand thoroughfares, the via Sacra and the via Nova, and a visitor would soon be adding to the hopeless congestion. A contractor, hot and sweaty might be maneuvering mules and porters, stone and timber might dangle on the rope of a giant crane, funeral mourners might jostle with well-made carts, mad dogs might slope about. Even citizens found their city confusing. The only way to negotiate it was to memorise notable landmarks: a fig-tree, a market's colonnade, a temple large enough to loom above the maze of narrow streets. As Rome was a devout city, temples abounded. The Romans' reverence for the past meant that ancient structures were hardly ever demolished, not even when the open spaces in which they might once have stood had long since vanished under brick. Temples loomed over slums or meat markets, they sheltered veiled statues whose very identities might have been forgotten, and yet no one ever thought to demolish them.
Shanty-towns stretched along the great trunk-roads. The dead were sheltered here as well, and the necropolises that stretched towards the coast and the south, along the great Appian Way, were notorious for muggers and cut-rate whores. But not every tomb had been left to crumble. As the traveler approached Rome's gates he might occasionally find the stench from the city ameliorated by myrrh or cassia, perfumes borne to him on the breeze from a cypress-shaded tomb. Such a moment, the sense of communion with the past, was a common one in Rome.
'Saints' or 'holy people' was a regular OT designation of Israel. Now Gentile Christians in Rome were called 'saints'. The absence of any reference to church here may point to the fact of the Christians meeting in several house groups.
The thought behind this picture is of a gathering of fruit, not of bearing it.
Should properly be translated, 'I am (a) debtor' (AV) in the sense of being entrusted with something of great worth.
Lit. 'barbarians'. Barbaroi probably imitated the unintelligible sound of foreign languages.
In Paul's exposé of the depravity of Gentile society there are parallels with the Genesis account of the fall of Adam and with the Hellenistic Jewish polemic against pagan idolatry in the book of Wisdom, especially chapters 13-14.
Lit, 'being understood are perceived', where the former verb refers to intelligence and the latter to physical sight.
Found elsewhere only in Jude 6 could mean everlasting to distinguish it from the commoner aiōnios, 'eternal'.
Only NT instance of theiotēs, 'divinity', 'divine nature'.
According to nature means according to God's intentions. Physis means God's created order.
The opposition of 'natural' and 'unnatural' was frequently used as a way of distinguishing between heterosexual and homosexual behaviour. Differentiating between sexual orientation and sexual practice is a modern concept.
There is no hint in the text here that Paul is only thinking of pederasty as if that was the only form of male homosexuality in the Greco-Roman world.
"Counterfeit"; lit. 'unapproving'. There is a play on words between worthwhile and depraved. A translation which captures this might be, 'since they did not see fit to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to an unfit mind'.
Technical term of Stoic philosophy, 'kathēkonta' denoting actions that were 'fitting'. A similar expression is used in Eph 5:4, of things 'which are not fitting' (ha ouk anēken).
Catalogues of vices were not uncommon in those days and have been found in Stoic, Jewish and early Christian literature. Even here is Paul's list of twenty-one vices, the picture is not as dark as that painted by the most distinguished Greek and Latin authors. Paul was not making anything up.
One who behaves with humiliating and unconscionable arrogance to those who are not powerful enough to retaliate.
Paul now imagines an interlocutor who represents the position against which he argues in the well established tradition of the Greek philosophical 'diatribe'. Perhaps the kind of person that Paul has in mind is a follower of the moral leader Seneca, a contemporary of Paul, a Stoic moralist and tutor of Nero. He exalted the great moral virtues, exposed hypocrisy, preached the equality of all humans, acknowledged the pervasive character of evil, ridiculed vulgar idolatry and believed in daily self-examination.
Would normally refer to storing up precious treasure.
Derived from erithos, 'hireling'. Its meaning tended to be assimilated to that of eris, 'strife' ('faction', 'contention'). The term was used by Aristotle of 'a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means'.
A word not current in classical Greek but belonging to the vernacular; it attained literary status only a short time before the beginning of the Christian era. It meant 'consciousness of right or wrong doing', but Paul uses it (and perhaps he was the first to do so) in the sense of an independent witness within, which examines and passes judgement on one's conduct.
Paul anticipates Jewish objections to what he has written which could run along such lines as these: 'You can't treat us as if we were no different from Gentile outsiders?' 'Haven't we been given the law and circumcision?' 'Have you overlooked the fact that these three privileges (covenant, circumcision and law) are tokens of the greatest privilege of all - being chosen by God to be his special people?' 'Don't these blessings immunize us from God's judgement?'.
Means primarily 'things that differ' and then also 'things that differ from others by surpassing them'. The same phrase appears in Phil 1:10.
Reckoned a most heinous crime; in Ac 19:37 Paul and his associates are declared to be not guilty of it in relation to the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Robbing temples may refer to the misappropriation of funds intended for the temple, since Josephus tells the story of just such a scandal (Josephus, 18:81f), but Paul is more likely to be thinking of pagan temples. Jews recoiled from idolatry in horror. They would not dream of going anywhere near an idol temple - except for the purpose of robbery. A contemporary of Paul's, Rabbi Jochanan ben Zakkai, lamented in his day the increase of murder, adultery, sexual vice, corruption in businesses and the courts, bitter sectarian strife, and other evils.
The Jews had an almost superstitious confidence in the saving power of their circumcision expressed in rabbinic epigrams which read, for example, 'Circumcised men do not descend into Gehenna,' and 'Circumcision will deliver Israel from Gehenna'. In Mishnah Sanhedrin it is stated that, 'all Israelites have a share in the world to come'. But cf. Jesus' teaching in Mt 21:28ff and John the Baptist before him (Mt 3:7f); also Paul, (Gal 5:3).
'In the open' or 'visibly'.
Here Paul develops the diatribe genre. His imaginary opponent need not be thought of as fictitious, however, since Paul had encountered plenty of Jewish objections to the gospel in his evangelism in the synagogues. Perhaps he is reconstructing real-life arguments which the Jews had flung at him. Or perhaps here Paul the Pharisee and Paul the Christian are in debate with each other, as in Phil 3.
The word play in verses 2 and 3 around the root word for faith could be put as follows: 'If some to whom God's promises were entrusted did not respond to them in trust, will their lack of trust destroy God's trustworthiness?'
A violent riposte.
i.e., the OT in general.
Lit. 'within the law'.
These words evoke the picture of the accused who, given opportunity to speak in defense, is dumbfounded because of the weight of evidence which has been brought against him.
There is debate as to whether works of the law would include not only cultural-ceremonial (rules about circumcision, Sabbath observance, dietary regulations and ritual purity), but also moral (obeying God's commandments). The traditional understanding of 'works of the law' was taken to refer to acts of righteousness and philanthropy that were regarded as earning merit before God. Certainly Paul is opposed to Jewish exclusivism, especially the notion that the Jews' favoured status automatically exempted them from judgment. In any case, salvation by works of the law also tended to bolster pride and privilege; salvation by faith abolished them.
Could mean God's approval or praise, which all have forfeited (cf. Jn 12:43) but probably refers to his image or glory in which all were made (cf. 1 Cor 11:7) but which all fail to live up to.
A legal term borrowed from the law court.
As a gift, gratuitously.
A commercial term borrowed from the marketplace. The redemption or ransom is the buying of a slave out of bondage in order to set him free. In LXX this word and its cognates are frequently used of redemption by one who is under a special obligation because of kinship or some comparable relation to the person redeemed, e.g., Lv 25:47-49. So it referred to the buying back of slaves whose freedom was purchased by ransom money. It was also used metaphorically of the people of Israel who were 'redeemed' from captivity first in Egypt (Ex 15:13) then in Babylon (Is 43:1), cf. Mk 10:45.
'Set forth' or 'display publicly'.
The commonest LXX usage is as the equivalent of Hebrew kappōreth (the place where sins are atoned for, or blotted out). There are twenty references in the Pentateuch referring to the golden slab or 'mercy seat' which covered the ark in the holy of holies, and five references in Ezekiel 43:14, 17, 20 which refer to the 'ledge' round the altar of burnt-offering in Ezekiel's temple. The form hilastērion is related to the verb hilaskomai, which in pagan Greek means 'placate' or 'make gracious', but in LXX takes on the meaning of Hebrew kipper ('make atonement') and cognate words, among which is included kappōreth ('mercy-seat'). It is used in connection with the mercy-seat in LXX and in Heb 9:5. However, Jesus was not being compared to a piece of temple furniture by Paul and neither is he simultaneously the victim whose blood was shed and sprinkled and the place where the sprinkling took place. In secular Greek the verb hilaskomai means 'placate' (a god or human). Its object in LXX is not God but sin. It is not to 'propitiate' God but to 'expiate' sin, i.e., to remove guilt or remove defilement, to have the action of a 'disinfectant'. The context here seems to point towards a reference to propitiation though the Christian doctrine of propitiation is totally different from pagan or animistic superstitions. Pagans would say that propitiation was necessary because the gods are bad-tempered, subject to moods and fits, and capricious. The Christian would say that propitiation was necessary because God's holy wrath rests on evil. Pagans believe that since we have offended the gods, we must appease them. The Christian says that we cannot placate the righteous anger of God. Pagans say that to appease the gods we have to bride them with sweets, vegetable offerings, animals and even human sacrifices. The OT and Christian view of propitiation differs in that God himself has made provision for atonement.
The Jews were immensely proud of their privileged status as the chosen people of God. They imagined that they were heaven's protected favourites (cf. 2:17, 23). But external privileges were not the only object of Jewish boasting, since Jews were also proud of their personal righteousness. Paul bracketed his Jewish inheritance with his individual attainment as that which he put his confidence in until his boasting in Jesus replaced his self-confidence (cf. Phil 3:3ff). Boastfulness was not limited to the Jews either (1:30), for it is the language of fallen self-centredness.
The Mosaic legislation, i.e., the Pentateuch. Sometimes, however, because the word torah was derived from the verb 'to instruct', they extended its meaning to embrace the whole of OT Scripture, conceived as divine instruction.
'According to the flesh', omitted in NIV. Abraham was Israel's most illustrious patriarch and he is supplemented by David, Israel's most illustrious king, cf. Mt 1:1. There seem to have been two reasons for the choice of Abraham. The first is that he was the founding father of Israel (cf. Is 51:1f) and favoured recipient of God's covenant and promises (e.g., Gn 12:1ff; 15:1ff; 17:1ff). The second reason is that Abraham was held in the highest esteem by the Rabbis as the epitome of righteousness and even the special 'friend' of God (2 Ch 20:7; Is 41:8; Jas 2:23). They took it for granted that he had been justified by works of righteousness (cf. Jubilees 23:10, 'Abraham was perfect in all his dealings with the Lord'). They quoted the Scriptures in which God promised to bless Abraham because he had obeyed him (Gn 22:15ff; 26:2ff), without observing that these verses referred to Abraham's life of obedience after his justification. They even quoted Ge 15:6 in such a way as to represent Abraham's faith as being meritorious, cf. 1 Macc 2:52.
Means 'to credit', 'count' or 'reckon'. When used in a financial or commercial context, it signifies to put something to somebody's account, as when Paul wrote to Philemon about Onesimus (Phm 18). There are, however, two ways in which money can be credited. One is as wages (earned) and the second as a gift (unearned). The verb can be translated 'to impute' in which case the imagery is legal. Whether a financial or a legal context, both mean to 'reckon something as belonging to someone', but in one case this is money, and in the other innocence or guilt.
'According to debt'.
The Rabbis taught that Abraham submitted to circumcision first and so achieved righteousness. Paul stresses that he was already justified when he was circumcised. His justification is recorded in Ge 15 and his circumcision in Ge 17, and at least fourteen years (even twenty-nine years according to the Rabbis) separated the two events. Abraham's circumcision, though not the ground of his justification, was nonetheless its sign and seal.
In the Genesis text Abraham was promised Canaan (Gn 13:12,14,17 but cf. Gn 12:3; 18:18; 22:18). This promised multiplication of Abraham's descendants led the Rabbis to the conclusion that God would 'cause them to inherit from sea to sea, and from the River unto the utmost part of the earth' (Ecclus. 44:21. See also Jubilees 17:3; 22:14).
Lit. 'has been destroyed' or 'rendered ineffective'.
Here, as in 5:13 ('sin is not counted where there is no law'), Paul appears to be enunciating a current legal maxim (like the Roman maxim, 'nulla poena sine lege').
Or be 'at odds with himself'.
'Delivered up' occurs twice in the LXX version of Is 53 - verses 6 and 12. Cf. 8:32.
Occurs in NT only here and in Eph 2:18 and 3:12. 'Introduction' instead of access here would acknowledge that entry is not by our own initiative but our reliance upon someone to bring us in. The Greek has a slight formality about it and the imagery could be either be of a person being brought into God's sanctuary to worship or into a king's audience chamber to be presented to him.
Lit. 'pressures' referring in particular to the opposition and persecution of a hostile world. [Thlipsis] was almost a technical term for the suffering which God's people must expect in the last days before the end, cf. Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22.
The quality of a person who has been tested and has passed the test, the veteran as opposed to the raw recruit.
A metaphor is painted here of a cloudburst on a parched countryside.
Or 'proves'. For a citizen of Rome, there could be no more unspeakable humiliation than to owe one's life to the favour of another. Cf. Mt 27:54, Lk 23:47.
Cf. 3:23. For the use of Adam in the contemporary literature of Judaism, see e.g., 2 Esdras 4:30; 7:118.
As a king rules; to exercise authority.
In Greek writing polloi is 'exclusive', referring to the many or the majority as opposed to all, whereas in Hebrew and Jewish Greek literature polloi is 'inclusive', meaning 'the many who cannot be counted', 'the great multitude', 'all'.
Dikaiōma is used in a variety of senses - 'justification' in verse 16, 'decree' in 1:32 (cf. 'precept' in 2:26); 'just requirement' in 8:4.
Or acquittal. Paul might have repeated dikaiōma used at the end of 5:16 but the use of this word earlier in 5:18 in the sense of 'righteous act' may have moved him to use dikaiōsis here instead.
Since this was a favourite self-description of devout Jews, Paul may be applying it to 'the many' to reinforce his point that those acquitted will include Gentiles as well.
Lit. 'came in beside'. Used in Gal 2:4 of the 'false brethren' who 'slipped in' or 'infiltrated' as spies into the apostolic company.
The superlative 'to abound' is not enough for Paul so he doubles it. Whether he is picturing the ample provision of the harvest, or the abundance of rain, or a river bursting its banks, Paul uses the description of Christ's work.
Lit. 'with him in the likeness of his death'.
Not the 'sinful body' (RSV), implying that the human body is contaminated or corrupt, as was taught by the Gnostic philosophers.
The tense here means 'has been justified'. There is slight evidence that dikaioō could mean to 'make free or pure'. But if this were the case Paul could have used the term eleutheroō, as in vv18 and 22. In the fifteen occurrences of dikaioō in Romans and in the twenty-five times in the NT, dikaioō always means to 'justify'.
This adverb is often applied to Christ's atoning death in the NT; e.g., He 7:27; 9:12,26,28; 10:10; 1 Pe 3:18.
Likely to be various limbs or organs (eyes and ears, hands and feet), although probably including our human faculties or capacities.
A general word for tools, implements or instruments of any kind, though some think sin is personified here as a military commander to whom it would be possible to offer our organs and faculties as 'weapons', cf. 13:12; 2 Cor 6:7; 10:4.
There was such a thing as voluntary slavery for people in dire poverty who could offer themselves as slaves to someone in order to be fed and housed. Not all Roman slaves were captured in war or bought in the marketplace. Paul's point is that those who thus offered themselves invariably had their offer accepted. They could not hand themselves over to a slave-master and at the same time hold on to their freedom.
Elsewhere called 'the tradition(s)' - 1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thes 2:14; 3:6 - the noun paradosis being from the same root as the verb 'commit' or 'deliver' (paradidōmi).
The regular word for handing on a tradition.
Lit. 'lawlessness unto lawlessness'.
Normally refers to ration (money) paid to a soldier but in this context possibly the pocket money allowed to slaves.
Cf. Mk 10:42, 'lord it over'.
This is a strong verb which can also mean to 'annul' or 'destroy'.
Be publicly known as an adulteress (cf. Mk 10:12).
Although following a metaphor of marriage and in spite of God's original command to be 'fruitful' (Ge 1:28), other words for 'children' could have been used here. And previously in 6:21f 'fruit' has been used for 'outcome' or 'benefit'.
From the early Greek Church Fathers onwards, many commentators have interpreted Paul's experiences as being not only autobiographical but also typical, representative either of human beings in general or of the Jewish people in particular. The options are that 'I' in this paragraph is Paul or Adam or Israel.
'Opportunity' or 'occasion'. Used of a military base or base of operations for an expedition or the starting point for further advance.
Internal desires, drives, lusts. It can be broadened to include every kind of forbidden desire.
At his bar mitzvah when aged thirteen, in which he became a 'son or the commandment' and assumed responsibility for his own behaviour.
Same verb in 2 Cor 11:3 ('the serpent deceived Eve') and 1 Tim 2:14 ('the woman was deceived'). But the simple verb apataō is used in the LXX of Ge 3:13.
Lit. 'sold under sin'; 'the purchased slave of sin'. The verb was used of selling slaves (e.g., Mt 18:25).
'In me' or 'by me' is repeated in this sentence, drawing out the contrast between the opposing sides. A paraphrase might read, 'When in me there is a desire to do good, then by me evil is close at hand'.
Cicera, Philo, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius all describe the soul throughout the earthly life as burdened by, or shackled to, a dead body. This was a Roman punishment in which the body of a murdered person was chained to the murderer. The murderer was then released as a castaway to roam but without hope of help from anyone, for they would be deterred by fear of receiving the same punishment.
May not mean 'condemnation', but the punishment following sentence, i.e., penal servitude.
This phrase was doubtless intended to combat false views of the incarnation. That is, the Son came neither 'in the likeness of flesh', only seeming to be human, as the Docetists taught, for his humanity was real (e.g., 1 Jn 4:2; 2 Jn 7); nor 'in sinful flesh', for his humanity was sinless (e.g., 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26), but 'in the likeness of sinful flesh', because his humanity was both real and sinless simultaneously.
Lit, 'concerning sin', generally meaning that he came 'for sin' or 'to deal with sin' without referring to how he did so. This was the usual LXX rendering of the Hebrew for 'sin-offering' in Heb 10:6,8 and 13:11. The sin offering was prescribed specially for the atoning of 'unwilling sins', to which Ro 7 specifically refers, v20.
Here the condemnation and its execution are implied together, whereas in speaking about human judgment, there is normally a clear distinction between the two.
Lit. 'just requirement' (singular), referring to the commandments of the moral law viewed as a whole, which God wants to be 'fulfilled' (i.e., 'obeyed', nor 'satisfied' in his people.
Not only our flesh or our bodily instincts and appetites, but the whole of our humanness viewed as corrupt and unredeemed.
Not that the spirit is somehow freed from the body as many as many Greeks supposed, but rather that the Spirit would give life to the body.
This verb normally means to 'kill someone or hand them over to be killed; it refers to the death sentence and its execution, cf. Gal 5:24.
This verb has many shades of meaning but does not necessarily or normally imply the use of force, cf. Lk 4:1.
In the Roman world of the first century AD an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was not in the least inferior in status to a naturally born son and might even enjoy the father's affection more fully and reproduce the father's character more worthily.
Expresses a wide range of meanings from the loud, spontaneous, emotional outbursts to a liturgical acclamation in public worship or to a calling upon God in private devotion. It is used of the shouts of demons in Jesus' presence, hence 'cry out, scream, shriek'. Paul will be thinking of the spontaneous and joyous cry of a child as opposed to the dutiful and servile cry of a slave.
Occurs elsewhere in Mk 14:36 and Gal 4:6.
The preservation of Aramaic and Greek words for 'father' side by side have led commentators since Augustine to view as a symbol of the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles, cf. Mk 14:36; Gal 4:6. Compared with other prayers in ancient Judaism Jesus' use of this colloquial and familiar term of address to God was unique. Abba was a homely, everyday word. No Jew would have addressed God in this way. Jesus always did, with the one exception in his cry of dereliction from the cross.
Tekna and hyioi are used interchangeably here. In Gal 3:23-4:7 Paul uses nēpioi (infants) to indicate the status of his readers when they were under the guardianship of the law. 'Children of God' and 'sons of God' are both translations for tekna in the Johannine writings but hyios is reserved for Christ as the Son of God.
No Roman become a citizen by right of birth. It was within the power of every father to reject a newborn child, to order unwanted sons, and especially daughters, to be exposed. Before a baby was even breastfed, his father would first have had to hold him aloft, signalling that the boy had been accepted as his own, and was therefore a Roman. Here Paul outlines a much higher view of sonship.
The Holy Spirit confirms and endorses our own spirit's consciousness of God's fatherhood, satisfying the OT requirement of two witnesses to establish a testimony, e.g., Dt 19:15.
Derived from kara, 'head'. It means to 'wait with the head raised, and the eye straining in expectation of that which is to come'. It depicts someone standing on their tiptoes and straining forwards in order to be able to see.
Means emptiness, futility, purposeless, impermanence. It is the word used by the writer of Ecclesiastes for 'vanities', Ec 1:2.
Not just that the universe is being run down but also that it is enslaved in an endless cycle of decline. The OT prophetic vision of the messianic age, especially the Psalms and Isaiah, depict the expectation of the renewal of nature, cf. Ps 102:25ff; Is 65:17ff; cf. 66:22; Is 35:1ff; cf. 32:15ff; Is 11:6ff; cf. 65:25; cf. palingenesia; Mt 19:28; apokatastasis; Ac 3:19, 21 and Paul here and in Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; also John in Rev 21:22; cf. 2 Pet 3:13; Heb 12:26f.
In Jewish apocalyptic literature Israel's current sufferings were frequently called 'the woes of the Messiah' or 'the birth pangs of the messianic age'. They were seen as the herald of the victorious arrival of the Messiah, cf. Mt 24:8; and Jn 16:20ff.
i.e. the first instalment or initial down-payment. The firstfruits were the beginning of the harvest and the pledge that the full harvest would follow in due course. Perhaps in Paul's mind was the Feast of Weeks, which celebrated the reaping of the firstfruits, which actually was the same festival (Greek: Pentecost) on which the Spirit had been given. Elsewhere Paul has described this idea using a commercial metaphor, arrabōn, 'instalment, deposit, downpayment, pledge or earnest', which guaranteed the future settlement on a purchase, cf. 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:14.
Steadfast endurance in trials. Cf. apekdechomai, 19, 23 and 25 which includes a hint at eagerness.
To decide upon beforehand, cf. Ac 4:28.
Echoes Ge 22:12,15, where God says to Abraham, 'you have not withheld your son'.
Paul knew about sufferings, cf. 2 Cor 11:23ff. Perhaps the Roman Christians were having to endure similar trials. Some of them did a few years later, when they were burned as living torches for the sadistic entertainment of the Emperor Nero.
Elsewhere refers to evil principalities, e.g., Eph 6:12; Col 2:15.
Height and depth were technical terms in astrology, and later in Gnosticism. Many in the Hellenistic world believed that astrological powers controlled the destiny of humankind.
Cf. Ex 32:32.
The absence of punctuation in the original manuscript has given rise to the question of whether these words refer to Christ or God the Father.
Lit. whether God's promise had 'fallen'.
The antithesis can be understood as a Hebrew idiom for preference, cf. Lk 14:26, Mt 10:37.
The Hebrew is literally 'I made you stand'. The LXX version of this passage renders 'you were preserved'.
Cf. OT background to Paul's questions. The village potter at his wheel was a familiar figure in Israel, and his craft was used to illustrate important truths, e.g., Je 18:1ff (not in Paul's mind here); Is 29:16; Is 45:9 (the texts alluded to here).
The background to the Hosea texts was Hosea's marriage to his 'adulterous wife', Gomer, together with their three children whose names symbolized God's judgment on the unfaithful northern kingdom of Israel (Ho 1:6; 9; 2:23). God went on to promise that he would reverse the situation of rejection implicit in the children's names and these are the texts quoted here.
From the inclusion of the Gentiles Paul turns to the exclusion of the Jews, apart from a remnant. The historical background to the two Isaiah texts is again one of national apostasy in the eighth century BC, although it now relates to the southern kingdom of Judah. The 'sinful nation' has forsaken Yahweh and has been judged through an Assyrian invasion, so that the whole country lies desolate and only a few survivors are left (Is. 1:4ff). God goes on to promise, however, that Assyria will be punished for its arrogance, and that a believing remnant will return to the Lord (Is. 10:12ff). The name of Isaiah's son symbolized this promise (Is 7:3).
Lord of Sabaoth ('hosts', 'armies'). See Jas 5:4.
To 'lay hold' of it, almost with violence.
Means to 'reach' or 'arrive at'.
Cf. 1 Cor 1:23; Gal 5:11.
Lit. 'be ashamed'.
Could mean goal or completion in the sense that the law pointed to Christ and that he fulfilled the law. Or it could mean 'end' in the sense of 'termination' or 'conclusion', indicating that Christ has abrogated the law. Paul must mean the latter.
This is the only occasion in the letters of Paul on which he uses the term 'believe eis', the regular expression in John's writings for saving faith.
To 'herald'. In an age before the mass media of communication, the herald was relied upon to transmit news through public proclamations in the city square or marketplace.
'Utterance' or 'preaching'.
Used of a divine response (cf. Mt 2:12, 22; Lk 2:26; Ac 10:22; Heb 8:5; 11:7; 12:25.
The feminine form of the definite article precedes the masculine noun Baal. This may reflect a stage in the transmission of the text where the idolatrous name was marked for replacement by the feminine Hebrew noun 'shame'.
Found only here in the NT and in the LXX only in 2 Kings 19:4 referring to the Assyrian invasion in Hezekiah's day.
'Make hard' or 'render insensitive'.
Lit. 'pricking' or 'stinging' and hence the numbness resulting from certain kinds of sting.
On no fewer than four separate and significant occasions Luke records in Acts how the Jew's rejection of the gospel led to its offer to and acceptance by Gentiles (first, Ac 13:46; second and third, 14:1; 18:6; 19:8f; fourth, 28:28; cf. Jesus' predictions in Mt 8:11f; 21:43.
In Jewish apocalyptic the restoration of Israel was usually associated with the resurrection of the dead, but if this is what Paul meant he could have used anastasis. Cf. 8:11.
The olive, cultivated in groves or orchards throughout Palestine, was an accepted emblem of Israel, cf. Je 11:16; Ho 14:6, as was the vine, e.g., Ps 80:8ff. The process of grafting which Paul describes here is used to rejuvenate an olive tree which has stopped bearing fruit by grafting it with a shoot of the wild-olive, so that the sap of the tree invigorates the wild-olive and causes it to bear fruit. What is contrary to nature is not the grafting but the belonging. The shoot from the wild-olive is grafted into the cultivated olive to which it does not naturally belong.
This was a necessary exhortation for, although the Jews in Rome were tolerated and protected by law from Gentile molestation, they suffered a great deal of Gentile ill-will and occasionally even outbreaks of violence. The Jews were a figure of amusement, contempt and hatred and became unpopular for resisting assimilation to Gentile culture and refusing to abandon or modify their practices.
Lit. 'in yourselves wise'.
Or full complement, as in v12.
Disobedience is likened to a dungeon in which God has incarcerated all human beings, so that their escape is not possible unless God's mercy releases them.
Lit. 'the all', namely the two groups contrasted throughout the chapter, but especially in verses 28 and 31, the Jews and the Gentiles.
Paul's Greek readers, brought up on Platonic thought, will have regarded the body as an embarrassing encumbrance. Their slogan was soma sēma estin ('the body is a tomb'), in which the human spirit was imprisoned and from which they longed for its escape.
'Reasonable', 'intelligent' or 'rational'. Epictetus, the first-century Stoic philosopher used this word in an often quoted passage: 'If I were a nightingale, I would do what is proper to a nightingale, and if I were a swan, what is proper to a swan. In fact I am logikos (sc. a rational being), so I must praise God' (Discourses I.16.20f).
The word for 'form' in this verb is schēma, 'conform'.
Lit. 'this age'.
Same verb for 'transfigured' (Mt 17:1-2 and Mark 9:2; cf. Mk 9:9). The only other place in the NT is 2 Cor 3:18. Its root for form is morphē, 'inward substance'. The two verbs containing a different word for 'form' were often used interchangeably.
The question has been debated whether 'measure' refers to the instrument for measuring or the amount of something that is measured.
A generic word for a wide variety of ministries. Cf. Ac 6:1ff where the ministry of the Word by the apostles and the ministry of tables by the seven are both called diakonia.
This verb has a wide spectrum of meanings, from encouraging and exhorting to comforting, conciliating or consoling. It may be exercised through preaching, writing, or counselling.
'Takes the lead.' In NT usage normally refers to leadership in the home (e.g., 1 Tim 3:4f., 12) or in the church (e.g., 1 Thess 5:12; 1 Tim 5:17) but can also mean to 'care for' or 'give aid'.
Lit. 'without hypocrisy'. The hypokritēs was the play-actor.
Only occurrence in NT. Expresses an aversion, abhorrence or loathing.
Sticking or bonding as if with glue.
The love between brothers and sisters. Both philostorgoi and philadephia were applied originally to blood relationships in the human family.
Describes our natural affection for relatives, typically the love of a parent for their child.
Lit. 'be lazy'; do not flag.
Can mean to share in people's needs and sufferings, but also can mean to share out our resources with people in need. Koinōnokos means generous, cf. Ac 2:42ff.
'Love of strangers'. Hospitality was especially important in those days, since inns were few and far between, and those that existed were often unsafe or unsavoury places. It was essential, therefore, for Christian people to open their homes to travellers, and in particular for local church leaders to do so (1 Tim 3:2; Tit 1:8). Origen commented: 'We are not just to receive the stranger when he comes to us, but actually to enquire after, and look carefully for, strangers, to pursue them (cf. diōkō) and search them out everywhere, lest perchance somewhere they may sit in the streets or lie without a roof over their heads' (Origen, Commentary on Romans).
Lit., 'the same thing toward one another minding', 'think the same thing towards one another,' hence, 'in agreement,' 'of one mind'.
Lit. 'Wise in yourselves'.
The Greek does not specify whose wrath is in mind, leading some commentators to think that it was either the evildoer's or the injured party's. However the context makes it clear that the reference is to God's wrath, cf. 5:9.
'Punishment', cf. 19a.
Arguing from Ps 11:6; 140:10; cf. Esdras 16:53 some have taken coals here as a symbol of judgment. But the context (cf. v21) veers against this interpretation. Others suggest that burning coals are a metaphor of being rebuked by kindness. Or perhaps coals are a symbol of penitence. An ancient Egyptian ritual involved a penitent carrying burning coals on his head as evidence of the reality of his repentance.
There is discussion whether the 'governing authorities' are angelic powers, or human powers, or both. The plural of exousia is freely used by Paul to speak of angelic powers (cf. 8:38; Eph 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:10, 15). Compare 1 Cor 2:8; 'rulers (archontes) of this age' where Paul appears to have more than human agents in view. When Paul was writing there were no Christian authorities. The authorities were Roman or Jewish and unfriendly or hostile to the church. Paul inherited a long-standing tradition from the OT that Yahweh is sovereign over human kingdoms (e.g., Dn 4:17, 25, 32; Pr 8:15f). Suetonius (Life of Claudius 25.4) mentioned that 'constant disturbances' 'at the instigation of Chrestus' led the Emperor Claudius to order 'all the Jews to leave Rome' (Ac 18:2). Perhaps Paul is responding here to these disturbances. Perhaps the Roman Christians had regarded submission to Rome as incompatible with the lordship of Christ or their freedom in Christ, although this is merely speculative.
From the fifth century BC to the second century AD there was a long-established tradition evidenced from inscriptions and literary sources that guaranteed benefactors public praise and appropriate rewards.
Since this word occurs earlier in the letter to indicate death (8:35) and is used of execution (e.g., in Ac 12:2; Rev 13:10) Paul must mean it here as a symbol of capital punishment. The higher magistrates were in the habit of carrying the sword or having one placed before them as a sign of the power of life and death which they held in their hands.
'Tribute.' Taxation was widespread and varied in the ancient world, including a poll tax, land taxes, royalties on farm produce, and duty on imports and exports. Paul regarded this topic as coming under the rubric of the ministry of the state.
See 15:16. This word in the NT and early Christian literature is used particularly of religious service and sometimes of priestly service, as in Heb 8:2. Compare v17, 'my work for God' (ta pros ton theon) with Heb 2:17, where the same phrase is rendered 'in the service of God' with special reference to Christ's high-priesthood. So although leitourgoi usually means 'priests' it can also mean 'public servants'.
Lit. 'to this very thing'.
'Give back' as in 'render' to Caesar (Mk 12:17).
This word has a wide range of meanings and is translated 'full inclusion' in 11:12, 'full number' in 11:25, 'fullness' in 15:29.
The existential moment of opportunity and decision.
Lit. 'is well advanced'.
A literary parallel to this use of 'put on' is quoted from Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Anitquities 11:5, where 'to put on Tarquin' means to play the part of Tarquin.
Paul's response to the weak is not to ignore or reproach them, nor even to correct them, but to receive them into fellowship. Proslambanō means more than accepting people in the sense of acquiescing in their existence or their right to belong; it means more than even receiving others into your home or circle of friends. It means to welcome them into your heart, implying the warmth and kindness of genuine love, cf. Phm 17; Ac 28:2; Jn 14:3.
There are four suggestions as to the identity of the weak. Firstly, they were ex-idolaters, recently converted from paganism, the same group addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 8. Their over-scrupulous conscience forbade them to eat meat which, before being sold by the local butcher, had been used in sacrifice to an idol. They feared that eating idol-meats (eidōlothyta) would compromise and contaminate them. Secondly, they were religious ascetics, a well documented group in antiquity whose ideas and practices could have infiltrated into the Roman church, leading them to abstain from meat and wine (14:21). Ascetic movements existed in paganism (e.g., the Pythagoreans) and in Judaism (e.g., the Essenes). Thirdly, they were legalists and struggled to grasp the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, not by vegetarianism, sabbatarianism, or teetotalism. However, compare Paul's rebuke of this group in Galatia (1:8f). Would he have been so mild towards those of a similar outlook in Rome? The fourth possible identification of the weak is that they were for the most part Jewish Christians, whose weakness consisted in their continuing conscientious commitment to Jewish regulations regarding diet and days. As for diet, they will have kept the OT food laws (cf. 14:14, 20). In addition, either they will have assured themselves that their meat was kosher (the animal having been slaughtered in the prescribed way) or, because of the difficulty of guaranteeing this, they may have abstained from meat altogether. As for special days, they will have observed both the Sabbath and the Jewish festivals. All this fits a Jewish Christian context. Paul defines the weak as immature, untaught, and actually mistaken.
Here meaning conviction.
Can mean discussions, debates, quarrels or judgments.
Can mean opinions, scruples or the restless to-ing and fro-ing of conscience; 'reasonings'. The sixteenth-century Reformers called such things adiaphora, 'matters of indifference', whether (as here) they were customs and ceremonies, or secondary beliefs which are not part of the gospel or the creed.
The bēma is the judgement seat or tribunal (see 2 Cor 5:10).
'Make this judgment.' This second use of the verb krinein creates a play on the word judgment.
Has a broad spectrum of senses which range from 'killing' to 'spoiling'. Here the opposite is to 'build up' (19f; 15:2).
Lit. 'Let us them pursue'.
Means to 'tear down' or 'throw down', particularly in relation to buildings.
Almost a technical term for nurturing new converts and strengthening young churches (cf. e.g., Ac 14:21f; 15:41; 18:23; Ro 1:11; 1 Cor 1:8; 2 Cor 1:21; Col 2:7; 1 Thes 3:2, 13; 2 Thes 2:17; 3:7).
The Hebrew Bible consisted of the 1) Law (Torah), 2) Prophets (Neviim), and 3) Holy Writings (Ketuvim).
MMS evidence suggests that two editions of Romans were in circulation, a longer and a shorter one. Origen wrote that Marcion, the second-century heretic, on account of his hostility to the OT and Judaism, was responsible for the shorter edition which omitted the last two chapters. Others suggest that both editions were authorized by Paul, one with and one without the list of greetings. However, the themes of the longer ending and the introduction to the letter interweave beautifully.
Like the English verb 'bear', can mean either to 'endure' in the sense of 'tolerate', or to 'carry' and 'support'.
The Roman character had a strong streak of snobbery: effectively, citizens preferred to vote for families with strong brand recognition, electing son after father after grandfather to the great magistracies of state.
Divisions of class and status were deep rooted in the myths of the city's very origin. On the far side of Rome's southernmost valley stretched the Aventine Hill. This was where immigrants would end up. Facing the Aventine rose a second hill, the Palatine, the most exclusive of Rome's seven hills, above the valleys where the air was fresher and less pestilential. Incongruously on this hill of the city's elite stood a shepherd's hut made of reeds which were always replaced when they fell away, so the hut remained. This was the childhood home of Romulus, Rome's first king, and Remus, his twin. According to the legend, both brothers had wanted to found a city but could not agree where. Romulus stood on the Palatine, Remus on the Aventine and both waited for a sign from the gods. Romulus saw more vultures than Remus and made this his proof. Remus contested but was murdered by his brother when it came to settling the score by force. Evermore the Palatine stood for winning and the Aventine for losing. However the class system became ever more permeable over the years. Privileges of birth guaranteed nothing in Rome and at every social level the life of a citizen was a gruelling struggle to emulate - and, if possible, surpass - the achievements of his ancestors.
Compare Mk 10:45, Lk 22:27.
For each of the OT quotations Paul uses the LXX text, and he chooses one from the Law, one from the Prophets and two from the Writings, which are the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible.
Goodness or kindness.
Cf. 13:6. In the NT the word always denotes religious service, and sometimes priestly service, as when Christ is described in Heb 8:2 as 'a minister (leitourgos) in the sanctuary and the true tent'. Compare also v17, 'my work for God' (ta pros ton theon) with Heb 2:17, where the same phrase is rendered 'in the service of God' with special reference to Christ's high-priesthood.
Means to serve as a priest, hiereus, especially in relation to the temple sacrifices.
This word continues the imagery of temple worship. The Gentiles were rigorously excluded from the temple in Jerusalem, and were on no account permitted to share in the offering of its sacrifices. Paul, a Diaspora Jew, views his missionary work as a priestly ministry in presenting Gentiles as 'an offering acceptable to God' in fulfillment of Is 66:20. Less than a year from now he may have recalled his priestly ministry to Gentiles when he was falsely accused of bringing one into the temple area (Ac 21:27f).
This word is used of sacrifices, e.g., 1 Pet 2:5.
Used of consecrating sacrifices. This is the fifth word in this context which has priestly and sacrificial associations.
Although the first missionary journey was launched from Antioch (Ac 13:1f), the Christian mission itself began in Jerusalem (Lk 24:47; Ac 1:8; cf. Is 2:13) and after Paul's own conversion and commissioning he preached in Jerusalem (Ac 9:26f).
'In a circle' or 'circuit'. This is Paul's succinct and modest summary of ten years of strenuous apostolic labour, including his three heroic missionary journeys.
Situated on the western, Adriatic seaboard of Macedonia, it corresponds approximately to Albania and the southern part of former Yugoslavia today. Perhaps Paul was here in between his leaving Ephesus and his embarking for Jerusalem, a gap of around two years in the Acts narrative (20:1ff). While in Macedonia at that time he may well have walked west along the Egnatian Way from Thessalonica, at least to the borders of Illyricum.
Paul's strategy was to evangelise the populous and influential cities, plant churches there, and then leave to others the radiation of the gospel into the surrounding villages.
If he were to make all these journeys by ship, the first would be at least 800 miles, the second 1,500, and the third 700, making a minimum total of 3,000 miles, and many more if he were to travel some of the way by land rather than sea. Considering the uncertainties and hazards of ancient travel, Paul's travel plans are quite extraordinary.
This verb seems already to have become almost a technical Christian term for helping missionaries on their way. It often involved supplying them with provisions and money (cf. Tit 3:13; 3 Jn:6f), and sometimes providing them as well with an escort to accompany them at least part of the way (e.g., Ac 20:38; 21:5). It meant helping someone on their way with food, money, by arranging for companions or setting in place means of travel.
Lit. a 'common share' in anything but here in contributing to Paul's collection. Paul saw great significance in the idea of this freewill offering project, as seen by the disproportionate amount of space which he devoted to it in his letters (Rom 15:25ff; 1 Cor 16:1ff; and specially 2 Cor 8-9), and partly from the passionate zeal with which he promoted it, and partly from his astonishing decision to add nearly 2,000 miles to his journey, in order to present the offering himself. Instead of sailing directly west from Corinth to Rome to Spain, he has made up his mind to travel first in entirely the wrong direction, that is, to go to Rome via Jerusalem!.
Those living in Rome were acquainted with poverty. The city of Rome was endlessly being rebuilt, torn down and rebuilt again. Shanties sprouted like weeds from the rubble left by fires. Streets were always filling with market stalls or squatters' shacks. Apartment blocks, jerry-built and rickety, reached for the sky to create high-rise slums. Tenants were crammed into tiny, thin-walled rooms stacked six storeys or more until invariably the building would collapse, only to be rebuilt higher than before. The Latin for such apartments was insulae, 'islands'. These slums lacked the sewerage and piped water of which the Romans boasted.
The poor would not have the dignity of a tomb beside the Appian Way. Instead their carcasses would be tossed with all the other refuse into giant pits beyond the easternmost city gate, the Esquiline. Travellers approaching Rome by this route would see bones littering the sides of the road. It was a cursed and dreadful spot.
The suffering of the urban poor was all the more terrible because, by depriving them of the solaces of community, it denied them everything that made a Roman what he was. The loneliness of life on the top floor of an apartment block represented the antithesis of all that a citizen most prized. To be cut off from the rituals and rhythms of society was to sink to the level of a barbarian.
Cf. Gal 2:10 which has the same word as here. The designation in its Hebrew form survived among those Jewish Christians of later date who were known as Ebionites.
Christian inheritance from Judaism
The Christians took from Judaism the Pentateuch (including its morals and ethics), the prophets and the wisdom books, and far more of the Apocrypha then the Jews themselves were prepared to canonise. They took for liturgy, for even the Eucharist had Jewish roots. They took the notion of the Sabbath day and feast days, incense and burning lamps, Psalms, hymns and choral music, vestments and prayers, priests and martyrs, the reading of the sacred books and the institution of the synagogue ( transformed into the church). They took even the notion of clerical authority - which the Jews would soon modify - in the shape of the high priest whom the Christians turned into patriarchs and popes. There is nothing in the early Church, other than its Christology, which was not adumbrated in Judaism. Cf. also 3:2 and 9:5.
The contribution in 2 Cor 9:12 is called a leitourgia (service).
Two years previously Paul told the Corinthians of his hopes to 'preach the gospel in the regions beyond you' (2 Cor 10:16), perhaps having his eyes on Spain. For centuries before Christ the seafaring Phoenicians from Tyre and Sidon had engaged in commerce with Spain, their 'ships of Tarshish' being perhaps so called because they plied trade with Tartessus (cf. 1 Ki 10:22). The Phoenicians also established colonies there. By the time of the Emperor Augustus the Empire had extended to the whole Iberian peninsula and was organized in three provinces, with many flourishing Roman colonies. Perhaps Paul envisaged going beyond Spain to the edges of the Empire, to Gaul, Germany, and even Britain. The only evidence that Paul ever reached and evangelized Spain is given in the statement by Clement of Rome in his first letter to the Corinthians (c.AD 96-97) about Paul's 'noble renown' as a herald of the gospel: 'To the whole world he taught righteousness, and reaching the limits of the West he bore his witness before rulers' (1 Clement 5:7). It may be that Paul was released from his confinement in Rome, in which the Acts leaves him, and that he resumed his missionary travels, including a visit to Spain, before being re-arrested, imprisoned and finally beheaded during the Neronian persecution.
Used of the Gentiles' contribution in 2 Cor 9:5.
Paul realizes that it may be difficult for the Jewish Christian community to accept the offering, not in regard to it placing them in debt to the Gentile Christians, but in another way. In accepting the gift from Paul, Jewish Christian leaders would be seen to endorse Paul's gospel and his seeming disregard of Jewish law and traditions. Yet if his offering were to be rejected, this could cause the rift between Jewish and Gentile Christians to widen irrevocably. So asks prayer and longs that Jewish-Gentile solidarity in the body of Christ may be strengthened by the Jewish Christians' acceptance of its tangible symbol.
What happened to Paul's three prayers? Concerning the offering, it is likely that it was accepted although Luke surprisingly does not tell us in the Acts narrative. This is in spite of the fact that he knew about it by accompanying Paul to Jerusalem and even mentioned the gift in connection with Paul's trial before Felix (Ac 24:17). Was Paul delivered from unbelievers in Jerusalem? No, in that he was arrested, tried and imprisoned, but yes, in that he was rescued from lynching on three occasions (Ac 21:30f; 22:22f; 23:10), once from flogging (Ac 22:25f) and once from an assassination attempt (Ac 23:12f). Paul's third prayer that he would reach Rome was answered, as Jesus promised (Ac 23:11), though not as he would have expected, for he arrived about three years later, as a prisoner, and after an almost fatal shipwreck.
It seems likely that Phoebe was entrusted with the responsible task of carrying Paul's letter to its destination in Rome, although other business was apparently taking her to the city as well, perhaps commerce or quite possibly a law suit (cf. 1 Cor 6:1, where pragma (2) is used of a lawsuit). What she carried was to her a 'letter of commendation' introducing her to the Christians in Rome. Such letters were common in the ancient world, and necessary to protect people from charlatans (cf. NT references e.g., Ac 18:27; 2 Cor 3:1).
Means 'minister', although an embryonic office of 'deacon' existed.
This was Corinth's eastern port at the head of the Saronic Gulf.
'Patroness'. Prostatis is related to the participle pristamenos, 'he who gives aid' (12:8). It can mean 'patroness' or 'benefactress'. Phoebe was a woman of means, who had used her wealth to support the church and the apostle.
The Roman Christians were diverse in race, rank and gender. Some bore typical slaves' names, others were freed people, and some had links with people of distinction. Paul sends greetings to twenty-six individuals, adding in most cases a personal reference. Nine of the twenty-six are women. Some have wondered how the apostle could know so many so well in a church he had never visited but travel was more frequent in those days than many realize. Aquila and Priscilla, both Jewish Christians, are a case in point. NT references to them tell us that Aquila came from Ponus on the southern shore of the Black Sea, that he and Priscilla lived in Italy until the Emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome in AD 49, that they then moved to Corinth where Paul met them and stayed with them, and that they travelled with him to Ephesus, which is perhaps where they 'risked their lives' for him (v4). Probably after Claudius' death in AD 54 they returned to Rome, which is where they received Paul's greeting (cf. Ac 18:1f, 18, 26; 1 Cor 16:19). Perhaps a number of other Jewish and Jewish-Christian refugees from Rome met Paul during their exile and returned to Rome after Claudius' edict had been rescinded. In this verse and in three other NT verses Priscilla is named in front of her husband (Ac 18:18, 26; 2 Tim 4:19).
Implies strong exertion and is not applied to anyone else on the list besides four women (cf. verse 12).
Probably female since Iounian (the accusative of Junias) for a masculine name is unknown elsewhere. They are quite likely are Jewish married couple.
Less likely to mean Paul's relatives than his 'kinsfolk', meaning 'those of his own race', or 'fellow countrymen', as in 9:3.
Or 'were outstanding missionaries'. Cf. use of the term apostle in 2 Cor 8:23; Phil 2:25; Ac 13:1ff; 14:4; cf. 1 Thess 2:6.
The name is common in Roman inscriptions of the period, and has been found as the name belonging to members of the imperial household. A branch of the 'gens Aurelia' bore this cognomen. Christian members of this branch of the family are buried in the Cemetery of Comitilla on the Via Ardeatina, one of the oldest Christian burying-places in Rome, the beginnings of which go back to the end of the first century. One tomb in the cemetery, decorated with paintings in a very early style, bears the inscription AMPLIAT in uncials of the late first or early second century. Inscriptions indicate that Ampliatus was also a common name for slaves, as were the names Urbanus (9), Hermes (14), Philologus and Julia (15).
'Belonging to the urbs' or 'city' (i.e., Rome).
Meaning 'ear' (of grain). Uncommon. One or two occurrences are in association with the imperial household.
Common enough among the Jews of Rome for Horace to use it as a typical Jewish name: 'credat Iudaeus Apella' (Satire 1.5.100.).
Commentators consider it quite likely that Aristobulus was the grandson of Herod the Great and friend of the Emperor Claudius.
This could have been none other than the well-known, rich and powerful freedman who exercised great influence on Claudius. It is possible that Aristobulus and Narcissus were by now deceased but the households of these celebrities lived on, together with their Christian membership (cf. Phil 4:22, where reference to believers in the imperial household would refer to some of those listed here).
Both names have Anatolian associations: Tryphaena appears in the apocryphal second-century Acts of Paul (chapters 27-43). They may have been twin sisters.
Meaning Persion woman.
Means 'red', 'red-haired', a word of Italic rather than Latin origin. This may well have been the son of Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus' cross to Golgotha. Mark, whose gospel was written in or for Rome, is the only evangelist who mentions that Simon's sons were Alexander and Rufus, and he does it in such a way as to imply that they were already well known to his readers in Rome (Mk 15:21).
The name of the god of good luck and common as a slave-name.
Abbrev. from Patrobius and the name of a wealthy freedman of Nero.
Abbrev. from Hermagoras, Hermodorus or Hermogenes; a common name.
Possibly Julia and Nereus' sister.
Short for Olympiodorus.
The kiss was not only used among men as a token of friendship and homage to a superior, but in the synagogues was connected with divine worship. It not only showed love and equality but was used as a greeting and came to signify acceptance and an imparting of blessing. The apostles Paul and Peter both insisted on this greeting (1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26; 1 Pet 5:14), and the Church Fathers took it up. Justin Martyr wrote that 'on finishing the prayers we greet each other with a kiss' (Apology I.65), and Tertullian seems to have been the first to call it a 'kiss of peace' (On Prayer, 14).
Included among the works of the flesh in Gal 5:20.
If anybody deserved to be called Paul's 'fellow-worker', that person was Timothy. For the last eight years Timothy had been Paul's constant travelling companion and had undertaken several special missions at Paul's request. The apostle led Timothy to faith in Christ and regarded him as his son in the faith, e.g., 1 Cor 4:17. He was now in Corinth, about to set sail for Jerusalem with the offering from the Greek churches (Ac 20:4).
Although there is nothing to link Lucius with the 'Lucius of Cyrene' who was in Antioch with Paul ten years previously (Ac 13:1), it is tempting to identify him as Luke the evangelist, since we know that he was in Corinth at the time (cf. 'we' in Ac 20:5f).
Possibly Paul's Jewish landlord in Thessalonica (Ac 17:5f).
Perhaps the Berean church's delegate to Jerusalem whose name was abbreviated to Sopater (Ac 20:4), for he too was in Corinth at the time.
Paul's scribe writes his own greeting.
Although a common name, it is natural to identify this Gaïos with the Corinthian whom Paul had baptized (1 Cor 1:14). It has been suggested that his full Roman name was Gaius Titius Justus, owner of the large house next to the synagogue into which Paul had been welcomed after the Jews rejected his gospel (Ac 18:7). This would explain why Paul is his house guest again and why the church would meet in his home.
Perhaps 'clerk of works' rather than city treasurer. A responsible local government official. Perhaps he was the aedile, the magistrate in charge of public works, whose name is still clearly legible in a first-century Latin inscription on a marble pavement close to the ruins of old Corinth. Other NT references describe an Erastus who was one of Paul's itinerant helpers (Ac 19:22) and one who stayed in Corinth (2 Tim 4:20).