ROMANS COMMENTARY, CHAPTER 1
Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Chapter 1
With my own thoughts [in brackets] inserted into original scriptures.
Romans 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated [severed from Judaism of the Pharisees] unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures [i.e. prophesied and written about in the Old Testament],) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.
Though Jesus was the literal Son of God, whose Father is the ultimate Father God, He naturally, also, had descended from King David through the lineage of Mary, His earthen mother. Though the Bible gives two “supposed” confusing lists of Jesus’ genealogy (in Matthew and Luke’s Gospel accounts), there just may be a simple solution as to how we can decipher them:
Poor Man’s Commentary, by Robert Hawker (published in 1805; public domain): I detain the Reader, at the very entrance on this genealogy concerning Christ, to call his particular attention to the manner in which Luke introduces Joseph, as the supposed father of Christ. Than which form of words, nothing can be stronger in proof, that it was a mere supposition only, and not in reality. And the insertion in Luke’s Gospel of the direct descent of Christ after the flesh, in a regular order from Adam to Joseph, as Matthew had before done from Abraham to Mary, was evidently intended for no other purpose than as a testimony to the great point, that Christ was the seed of the Woman. With Joseph, Christ had no connection. But it was a common mode of expression with the Jews, to call the man father which brought up a child. Hence Joseph became the supposed father. And if the Reader will compare…
Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
…with what is said here:
Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.
…he will discover somewhat of this very custom. In Matthew, Joseph is said to have been begotten of Jacob, so that Jacob was his real father. But according to Luke, Heli was his father – and, so he was: that is, his “reputed” father, by virtue of Joseph being betrothed to Mary his daughter [i.e. Heli may have been Mary’s own, natural father]. So that these things explain the several expressions, according to Jewish customs.
Adam Clarke’s Commentary of the Bible (published in 1810-1826; public domain): Thus it appears that Joseph, son of Jacob, according to St. Matthew, was son-in-law of Heli, according to St. Luke.
John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible (1755-1766, public domain): The son of Heli - That is, the son-in-law: for Heli was the father of Mary.
Romans 1:4-7a And [Jesus was] declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…
Though addressed to ALL that be in Rome, he was not meaning everybody who had lived in Rome, nor to everyone who was born in Rome, but was speaking to Roman Christians, who consisted of both Jews and Gentiles.
John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible: To all that are in Rome - Most of these were heathens by birth, Romans 1:13 “…that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among OTHER Gentiles…”, though with Jews mixed among them. They were scattered up and down in that large city…
Although some may feel that Jews were not mixed in this mentioning by Paul here, but that, instead (and, as John Wesley had quoted from Romans 1:13) the Gentiles only were meant; for, surely, there was a time, in and around AD 50 to 54, that all Jews were expelled from Rome:
Acts 18:1-2 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius [a Caesar ruling from AD 41 to 54] had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
But, even so, that certainly didn’t mean that nobody of the Jewish lineage ever stepped foot into Rome again!
Adam Clarke’s Commentary of the Bible: This decree, which was made, not by the senate, but by the emperor himself, continued only in force during his life, if so long; for in a short time after this, Rome again abounded with Jews.
Again, I feel that Paul’s greetings here may best be explained to have been addressed to both Gentiles by birth, and also to Jews by birth, but all of them were actual Christians . . . But, even so, let’s speak more, a little quickly, on this expulsion of Jews from Rome at that time:
John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible (1748-1763 & 1809, public domain): Because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome; of which edict Suetonius (AD 69 until after AD 122 – a Roman historian) makes mention, who says, that Claudius "expelled the Jews from Rome, who were continually making tumults, being moved thereunto by one Chrestus,'' who is generally understood to be Christ;* and it is thought that the reason of this edict was, that the Jews in Rome continually opposing and disputing with the Christians, about Jesus being the Messiah, Claudius, who was of a timorous disposition, was afraid of a tumult, and that it might issue in his detriment, and therefore banished all the Jews, with whom the Christians were involved; for by the Heathens they were all called Jews, the first Christians being Jews: though others say the reason was, that the Jews had contracted an acquaintance with Agrippina, the wife of Claudius, and had drawn her into Judaism: but be it as it will, such an edict was made, on account of which Aquila and Priscilla were obliged to leave Rome, and come to Corinth . . . This Claudius was the "fifth" emperor of Rome; and this decree passed in the "ninth", or, as [says] others, in the "eleventh" year of his reign, and about the year of Christ 51, or, as others [say], 54.
*Who is generally understood to be Christ… Though, that belief is divided – for, some think that it may have been some riotous Christian actually named Chrestus. However, and due to the teachings of Jesus (assuming, that is, that the Jews mentioned by Suetonius were even of the Christian sect), it just may have been Jesus the Christ Himself being so named Chrestus since Christians in general were not known to have been of a riotous nature. But, if that sect were of Judaism instead, with no Christian being involved in this incident, then there’s no telling who had caused Claudius this grief; or even of whom this Chrestus really was . . . However, and even so, it may really be best to say that this Chrestus really was Christ, for at this time (again, between AD 51 and 54) the non-Christian Jews were not at odds with the Roman state in Rome itself, but only in Jerusalem, with small pockets of rebels trying to get their Holy Lands back from foreign rule. And, since the followers of Jesus weren’t typically riotous, but that they were certainly at odds with the religious Jews who were not for Christ (again, those of Judaism in general), this would explain why Claudius was afraid of a violent contention between the two factions, and therefore didn’t want any of them in his general territory during the remainder of his ruling . . . For a more detailed outlook about whom these “Jews” in Rome may have been, and about the entire incident concerning this expulsion from Rome, please refer to this webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudius%27_expulsion_of_Jews_from_Rome.
Romans 1:7b …Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I had explained, during my Commentary on the Gospel of John, in every one of Paul’s letters (except for Hebrews – since its format is rather different than the others), when Paul greets his audience, he not only greets them himself, but he greets them, also, with the Gods of whom he serves. But (and, not only with our Romans’ reference here [in verse 1:7b]), in these other letters of his, too, we should take special note that he does not give any greetings from the Holy Ghost – as I’m fixing to show . . . In the Godhead debate (of how many Gods there actually are in Heaven), one should be aware that this little incident (which is not caught by everyone) is very hard to ignore in trying to consider if the Holy Ghost is an actual Being or not; or, if the Holy Ghost is (as Paul actually mentions in another part of his letters) simply the Spirit of the Father Himself:
1 Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God [i.e. the Father], who hath also given unto us HIS holy Spirit.
But, even so, let’s go ahead and view the greetings in these other letters:
1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Philemon 1:3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is all this just mere coincidence? That Paul accidently forgot to include the Holy Ghost in all these greetings? In these references alone, it could possibly prove-out that the Holy Ghost is not an actual Being after all; for (and, in continuing this present thought), if It/He were an actual Being, then Paul certainly would have included It/Him in all these greetings . . . But, and as for the letter to the Hebrews (of which I also claim was written by Paul – Please see my Explanatory Note on this at the end of this chapter), we do not find any such greetings. In fact, we don’t find any greeting, at all – which may simply mean that he either did not give one there, or that it was just lost to the ravages of time . . . So, if all that I’ve been saying be really true, then that means that the only true Gods in existence are the Father and the Son – which it’s easy to prove that they two are actual Beings in scripture. However, and as to those who believe in the “Oneness” teachings about the Godhead (that is, that the Father God is Jesus; and, that there is no other God, at all), there are just too many verses in the Bible which say otherwise; for, Jesus, at the end of all things, will eventually give-up His rule and authority and give-it on-over to the Father God – who is, and has always been, a greater God than He:
1 Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he [Jesus] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he [Jesus] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him [the Father], then shall the Son [Jesus] also himself be subject unto him [the Father] that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all.
And, this is way after He ascended back up to Heaven. It’s Jesus Himself that tells us that He’s not as great as the Father:
Matthew 19:17 And he [Jesus] said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God [i.e. the Father]…
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
John 5:30-31 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me [i.e. just as the Father, the greater God, sent the Holy Ghost, Jesus did not send Himself.]. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
Besides all that, the very titles of these Gods (Father and Son) should actually denote their positions and hierarchy in Heaven for us quite plainly…
John 3:16a For God so loved the world, that he GAVE his only begotten Son…
Though, some could try and claim that Jesus was only referred to a Son whilst He was here on earth, during His earthen ministry, we actually see, even after He resurrected and ascended unto Heaven (to sit at the Father’s right hand – being the Father’s right-hand-man – and, not the main occupant of the ultimate throne), He still kept the title of Son to differentiate Himself from the greater God:
Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God [son of the Father] with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead [not only before His resurrection, but afterwards did He proclaim this; that is, to be the SON of God].
Romans 1:9a For God [the Father] is my witness, whom I [currently] serve [the Son already being in Heaven – and still called a Son] with my spirit in the gospel OF HIS SON…
For, Paul also demonstrates this by telling us that the Father is Jesus’ God, too; again, after He already ascended:
Ephesians 1:17 That the God OF our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.
For, had Jesus changed His title back to being the Father only when He went back to Heaven (assuming, again, that He and the Father are one and the same exact Being), then Paul, here, would not have called the Father Jesus’ God too; seeing, again, that Paul wrote this many years after the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.
Hebrews 1:8-9 But unto the Son he [the Father] saith, Thy throne, O God [the Father here calling His Son a God], is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God [the Father God], even thy God [He’s even Jesus’ God, too – higher than Him in status], hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness [with His own Holy Spirit] above thy fellows [above any other prophet].
Therefore, there is only one God (i.e. one ultimate God), and there’s one Lord (His Son Jesus) – equaling two actual Beings.
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
…and there is only one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4) – which issues forth from the Father (1st Thessalonians 4:8) – being His own life-essence; and, of which, dwells within everybody else, including His Son; for, if that is not so, then how can a single Being, known as the Holy Ghost, be in millions of people at the same exact time? That would be spreading a single entity just too far; for, and just like the mighty sun that illuminates the afternoon sky, it’s one object, but it’s felt by millions of people at once. Same as the Father, He’s one Being, but his “rays” of Spirit are felt by millions at a time. This can be the only logical explanation of how the Holy Spirit can be everywhere at once, as a single Being cannot. Therefore, it would be best to describe the Holy Ghost as a Spirit rather than a Spirit-Being . . . And, though it’s true that Jesus did say, in John 4:24, that “God [His Father] is a Spirit…”, not a Spirit-Being, that doesn’t make me wrong in what I’ve just said; for, surely, the Greek Word, from which this one English word had derived, has multiple meanings to it:
Spirit/Pneuma (pnyoo'-mah), G4151, from Strong’s Greek Dictionary: From G4154; a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit: - ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind.
Which, as we can see, can mean “an air current” from outside – a “breeze;” a person’s “breath;” a “spirit” – which can mean, amongst other, more spiritual things, a person’s own spirit-of-life, or vitality; for, it continues to say “human, rational soul,” and “vital principle, mental disposition, etc.” Or, even, a superhuman, such as an angel from Heaven (which is also a Being); or, even a demonic spirit. Then, it says that it can simply be God Himself – meaning the Father God – such as we’re actually seeing in our current verse of John 4:24, when Jesus had told the woman at the well that His Father is a Spirit. Meaning specifically, and like the heavenly angel that we just spoke-on, a Spirit-Being rather than just a breath, or simply the vitality of a Being. But, then, yes, Strong’s does further say that this one word could also mean the Spirit OF Christ (as in the vitality of that God); for, it ends that particular thought on explaining what the Spirit of Christ actually is – the Holy Ghost! Of which thought I am in full agreeance with, since it paints a picture that the Holy Ghost is simply the life-force, or life-essence of God, rather than being an entity itself . . . So, with that, let’s again revisit our first thought on the Holy Spirit, in that Paul had said, very plainly, that it was the Spirit (or, and much rather, the Life-essence) of the Father God:
1 Thessalonians 4:8b …God, who hath also given unto us HIS holy Spirit.
And, which in turn, should remind us that Jesus said, concerning this Holy Spirit/Ghost, that on the Day of Pentecost, that the Father would be the one to send It/Him – showing us that the Holy Ghost was not capable of sending Himself/Itself:
John 14:26a But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father WILL SEND…
Producing the thought, in turn, that if the Holy Ghost were an actual Being, that He should have been able to send Itself/Himself, instead of having to be sent . . . Though that thought can’t be satisfactory to everybody, for Jesus even said that He Himself was sent by the Father, and we know that He was an actual Being…
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
However, the biggest difference in the Father sending the Son and the Holy Ghost is in the fact that nowhere, not even once, did the scriptures call Jesus as to being God’s own Spirit! Which, and concerning the Holy Spirit, it did say that about It/Him…
Matthew 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER which speaketh in you.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth FROM the Father, he shall testify of me.
Not just sent by the Father, but that which proceeds from the Father. Which thought can certainly mean that it, indeed, came from the Father’s own Being – His own life-essence; His own life-force.
Romans 8:9a But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit OF God [Spirit of the Father] dwell in you… [10b] …the Spirit is life [the Father’s life]… [11b] …shall also quicken your mortal bodies by HIS Spirit [by the Father’s Spirit] that dwelleth in you.  For as many as are led by the Spirit OF God, they are the sons of God. [15:19a] Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit OF God…
1 Corinthians 2:10a But God hath revealed them unto us by HIS Spirit [by the Father’s Spirit]… [11c] …the Spirit OF God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is OF God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [6:11b] …ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit OF our God.
Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son [the Spirit OF Jesus; which is also the Spirit of the Father as well – the Holy Ghost] into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Etc., etc., etc . . . Of which smacks more of a “rational soul,” or, a “vital principle” (some of Strong’s Dictionary meanings for “Spirit” – that is, a person’s life-essence, or life-force) rather than being a Spirit-Being; or, that is, rather than being an entity of its own . . . But, still, what about when the scriptures seem to indicate, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the Holy Ghost is an actual Being? Such as:
Hebrews 3:7-11 Wherefore (AS THE HOLY GHOST SAITH, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation IN THE WILDERNESS: When your fathers tempted ME, proved ME, and saw MY works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known MY ways. So I sware in MY wrath, They shall not enter into MY rest.)
These are some very interesting scriptures, having the Holy Ghost actually talking (being an actual Person?). Or, is the matter easily explained in another way? What is curious is how the scripture is phrased: "…as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice," almost as if the Holy Ghost is actually quoting another source, quoting another God – a God greater than He perhaps? I come to that conclusion with how the sentence actually reads; like this: “The Holy Ghost spoke, and said this: “Today, if you will hear His voice…” another God’s voice! Or, we could say that The Holy Ghost is referring to Himself, and saying that He was the God of the wilderness that dealt with the children of Israel . . . Is the writer of Hebrews (which, again, I see as Paul) quoting an Old Testament source? Yes; in Psalms:
Psalm 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the ROCK of our salvation.
Already, we’re starting off here with a reference to, not the Holy Ghost, but to Jesus – who is definitely the Rock of our salvation. This, by the way, is the introduction to whom had worked with the Israelites in the wilderness wandering. That is, during their sojourning for 40 years (after their exodus from Egypt) before the promised land was ever reached.
Psalm 95:7b-11 …To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation IN THE WILDERNESS: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
But, again, the God that this Psalm was referring to was Jesus and not the Holy Ghost – as, again, we see evidence of in the very first verse: “…let us make a joyful noise to the ROCK of our salvation.”
1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea [i.e. a definite reference to the wilderness wandering] [10:4 – continuing about the wilderness wandering] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of THAT SPIRITUAL ROCK THAT FOLLOWED THEM [i.e. worked with them in the wilderness wandering]: AND THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST [i.e. Jesus – whom is identified as Jesus (and, not to just the anointing Holy Ghost – as Christ is sometimes referred to in other instances of scripture) when Paul, just a bit further down (in verse 16), connects “Christ” with Him whose body and blood are compared to the communion].
And, not only, but there are other hints and clues within Psalms 95 that continue to tell us about Jesus being the God of the wilderness wandering:
Psalms 95:3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Revelation 17:14a These shall make war with the Lamb [another reference for Jesus, the slain Lamb], and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings…
Psalms 95:5 The sea is his, and HE MADE IT: and HIS HANDS FORMED the dry land.
Colossians 1:12-16a Giving thanks unto the Father [i.e. the Father God], which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [unto Jesus]: In whom [that is, Jesus] we have redemption through his blood [since He was the one who died on the cross], even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God [i.e. He is the image of His Father, of whom He’s the ambassador of for earth], the firstborn of every creature: For by him [again, Jesus] WERE ALL THINGS CREATED, that are in heaven, and that are in earth…
But if this is all true (that I am here contending) – that is, that Jesus was the God (and, as Psalms 95 tells us about) of the wilderness wandering, where the Hebrew children tempted Him, proved Him, and saw His work for forty-years (being grieved with that generation), and said (instead of the Holy Ghost saying): “It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest,” then where does that leave us in our understandings concerning the Holy Ghost saying all these things? For, it may really seem that it was Paul himself who so names the God who spoke in Hebrews 3:7 as the Holy Ghost, saying: “Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith…”, and, in turn, quoting Psalms 95 . . . Well, the whole thing may easily be explained in the fact that David (if, indeed, he were the writer of this Psalm) was writing in inspiration of the Holy Ghost – God speaking to Him through the Holy Ghost – where we could say here, too, that it was the Holy Ghost speaking – and, in turn, giving Paul free license to say that the Holy Spirit of God was speaking through David, but that it concerned events which took place in the wilderness wandering where Jesus was the God who was working with them during that day and time. For, Jesus was definitely the God of the Old Testament, of whom the Father God had worked through (of which we begin to see this when it was Jesus who had spoken to Moses in the burning bush – identifying Himself as the great I AM (in Exodus 3:14) – compared to Jesus calling Himself so in both John 8:58 (“Before Abraham was, I AM!”) and John 18:5-6 (see my explanation for John 18:5-6, and Jesus’ claims as to being the great I AM, in an upcoming Explanatory Note for Romans chapter 14, called: “Italicized words in the Bible...”). And, then, once Jesus got to earth, during His earthen ministry, He then, in turn, introduced the world to the Father, of whom they did not know until then (Luke 10:22) . . . Therefore, I conclude, by all of what’s been said thus far, that I’m not seeing the Holy Ghost as an actual Being; but, instead, as the Spirit of the Father God.
Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Perhaps not just the “known” world – which known world would have been the entire domain of Rome at that time (which also included all of Greece, too), but also included the world of the barbarians, as well – uncivilized peoples, perhaps? – of which barbarians may or may not have been set outside the massive boundaries of Roman and Greek borders . . . Let’s see:
Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
Barbarian/Barbaros (bar'-bar-os), G915, Strong’s Greek Dictionary: Of uncertain derivation; a foreigner (that is, non Greek): - barbarian (-rous).
But, apparently, and depending on whom you may have asked back in the ancient world, a barbarian could’ve meant one of several things. To the Romans, it did designate folks who were foreign and unruly; hence, Webster’s Dictionary:
…The Romans applied this word [Barbaric] to designate things foreign…
But, to the Greeks, who had prided themselves on being of higher attainment in life, and of a more refined nature and education, had considered any non-Greek to be barbaric:
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: Barbarians – All who were not included under the general name of Greeks. Thus, Ammonius* says that “all who were not Greeks were barbarians.” This term “barbarian,” Βάρβαρος Barbaros, properly denotes one who speaks a foreign language, a foreigner, and the Greeks applied it to all who did not use their tongue; compare 1st Corinthians 14:11, “I shall be unto him that speaketh, a barbarian,” etc. that is, I shall speak a language which he cannot understand. The word did not, therefore, of necessity denote any rusticity of manners, or any lack of refinement. [*Ammonius: More than likely, Albert Barnes is referring to Ammonius Saccas (175 AD – 242 AD); whom Wikipedia calls a Hellenistic, self-taught philosopher from Alexandria.]
Therefore, our reference by Paul had perhaps meant this latter statement – namely, of whom was a non-Greek individual; and, pointing a finger specifically to the Romans themselves (natives of that country); and, perhaps, even, to the Jews of that land, too, as being these “barbarians.”
Romans 1:9a For God is my witness, whom I serve with MY SPIRIT in the gospel of his Son…
This was another one of those topics that I had previously covered during the Commentary on the Gospel of John, in that Paul was actually referring to his personal “Inward-Man” with that statement. A topic that we will definitely cover during our quest of Roman’s epistle as well. So, stay tuned for more on this Inward-Man, and of why I am saying that Paul’s term “my spirit” had referred to himself and not to God’s own, personal Spirit. And, especially will this be covered in Romans chapter 8’s lesson.
Romans 1:9b-11 …that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: “Some spiritual gift” – Some have understood this as referring to “miraculous gifts,” which it was supposed the apostles had the power of conferring on others. But this interpretation is forced and unnatural. There is no instance where this expression denotes the power of working miracles. Besides, the apostle in the next verse explains his meaning…
Romans 1:12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Albert Barnes continued: From this it appears that he desired to be among them to exercise the office of the ministry, to establish them in the gospel and to confirm their hopes. He expected that the preaching of the gospel would be the means of confirming them in the faith; and he desired to be the means of doing it. It was a wish of benevolence, and accords with what he says respecting his intended visit in Romans 15:29, “And I am sure that when I come, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” To make known to them more fully the blessings of the gospel, and thus to impart spiritual gifts, was the design he had in view.
Romans 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible: “Have some fruit among you” – The edification of saints, and the fruitfulness of believers in grace and works.
Paul was the one who had introduced to the world, and had broken-down a list for us, of what sorts of good “Fruits” there are in the Kingdom of God:
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Though Jesus was the one who even first mentioned about those Fruits within a New Testament environment, but without so naming them:
Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Indicating that there were also “bad” Fruits, just as certain as there are “good” Fruits. And, so there are! For, just before Paul’s list of “good” Fruits, he had given us a list of “bad” Fruits. Or, that is, and as the King James Version expresses it for us, the “workings” of the flesh:
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
However, and even though it did not call them the “Fruits” of the flesh, the thought, nevertheless, was intended; for, the Greek definitions of Paul’s actual words declare it to be such:
“Works,” Ergon [from Galatians 5:19], G2041, from Strong's Greek Dictionary: From ergō (a primary but obsolete word; to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: - deed, doing, labour, work.
“Fruits,” Karpos [from Galatians 5:22], G2590, from Strong's Greek Dictionary: Probably from the base of G726; fruit (as plucked), literally or figuratively: - fruit.
The base word, apparently, for Karpos (fruit) is Harpazō:
Harpazō, G726, from Strong's Greek Dictionary: From a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
Which, in and of itself, “plucking” fruit is a work; because, one is reaching for, plucking, pulling, or even taking by force, this fruit. But, even if we don’t want to consider the base word (again, Harpazō) in our current investigation, Karpos (Paul’s original word for Fruit) said itself that it can certainly mean the Fruit when it’s being actually “plucked” – the “action” and not only the Fruit itself. In other words, the “work” of being plucked; the workings of the flesh . . . But, even so, what does that have to do with our current thought on verse 13? Paul wanted to have some fruit among them when he got there to Rome. Surely, we shouldn’t imagine this to have been from the “bad” tree, of knowledge of good and evil, (as is seen in Genesis 2:9) but of the “good” Fruits from the Tree of Life (also in Genesis 2:9) – i.e. the “divine nature” of Christ being bestowed upon him from those folks, from their comforting, during all those trying times of those particular days of persecutions (see Romans 5:3; 2nd Thessalonians 1:4-5; Ephesians 3:13; and, etc.). Or, as John Gill had expressed it (which I had listed just above): “The edification of saints, and the fruitfulness of believers in grace and works.”
Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
As we’ve already covered just above, this small list probably included Greeks, Romans and Jews.
Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
That is, imparting unto them some spiritual gift(s).
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for IT is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
If this is really so (that is, that it’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ being this power of God unto salvation), then we’d best learn of what the true Gospel really is! And, Paul had already been covering it up until this point anyway – even as I had myself have already expressed – which is to be found amongst the “good” Fruits of the Spirit; which, in turn, hangs from that wonderful Tree of Life – of what was first seen in the Paradise/Garden of God way back in Genesis. Of which Tree, by the way, was still going strong and thriving for those Christians in the early church age (“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” – Revelation 2:7b), just as well as it still survives for us today! The Tree of whose Fruits alone we should devour. A Tree, that is, which Paul was actually speaking of during the first 15 verses of this letter when mentioning the “spiritual gift,” and of the “fruits” . . . When it all boils down to the surface of the matter, what we are seeing is true, Agape Godly Love, one toward another, being this very Gospel of Christ. And, though that simplistic meaning will not satisfy everybody, a deep investigation into the scriptures will reveal, at the end of the day, that that’s what God truly desires from us (an obtaining of this divine nature – 2nd Peter 1:4); which will, in turn, help us to gain eternal life . . . How? . . . It’s as John the Apostle/Revelator had simply put it – of which declaration is stronger than what most folks may even realize:
1 John 3:14-15 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
In a dissecting of these two very important verses, in 1st John, it should reveal to the reader that we are staring right in the face of both the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and of its effect upon the one who observes this rule in complete submission to it . . . So, let’s break it down . . . Passing from death unto life, as one should know (and, as was seen on the very first line of verse 14 in John’s first letter) is an actual, though spiritual, resurrection. Yes, I am speaking of an actual resurrection here. For, what else is a resurrection if not a passing from death unto life? And, even though one may think me overzealous in overanalyzing this verse (in them thinking that this is just a poetical expression which simply means that we’re living in the life of God if we observe this rule), then I ask the reader to consider other areas of scripture that paints such a picture for us, too; and, in also calling this “rule” the actual New Law of life; a law after Christ – rather than the Old Law after Moses from the Old Testament:
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens [Love one another], and so fulfil the law of Christ.
This is not the same law that Moses had presented to the people during the Old Testament; for, the law had actually changed:
Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed [From Aaron and Levi unto Melchisedec], there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
And, this New Law, as opposed to the Old Law, is based upon, and is designed for an entirely new creature – rather than an old, fleshly creature. That is, instead of being a law designed for an Old, Outer Man – such as the Law of Moses was so designed – this New Law is for a New Man, a new creature:
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God AFTER THE INWARD MAN.
And, in order for us to even obtain to such a Law, of such a higher status, then all things must become new – including ourselves.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Which means, basically, that we have to experience an inner resurrection, and pass from what we once were into what God intends, now, for us to become – a new creation in Christ! But, the key to it all, and as I’ve been saying, is living in and practicing this New Law, which says now to love one another, instead of saying an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, etc.
Romans 13:8b-10 …love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the [old] law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
And, if that wasn’t enough, then Paul slips into his “metaphorical language” to try and describe, much deeper, what he’s meaning – right in the very next verse:
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep [this inner resurrection, that is; or, rather, having had been asleep to deep, Godly truths – and, not literally taking a nap; nor even of being actually dead in a graveyard]: for now is our salvation nearer than when we [first] believed.
As I pointed-out during that last quote, we must realize that this “awakening out of sleep” is another description of this spiritual resurrection – from an Old Man unto a New Man – a creation that’s birthed by God and not from our natural parents; a creation that’s no mere philosophy, but is an actual Being who looks like and acts like its Father. Again, not our natural dad, but our spiritual Dad, who lives in the heavenly Abode . . . This topic, on the Inward-Man – that I’m certainly not through dealing with herein – I am but simply introducing to my readers here in chapter one. Even though I went thoroughly over this New Creature (as an actual Being) in my Gospel of John Commentary, I will certainly do so again in here, for it’s a very important subject – especially (and, as I had mentioned just a few moments ago) we will see this investigated pointedly in Romans chapter 8; so, stay tuned! . . . In the meantime, let’s let settle what I’ve just expressed; and, I’ll reveal, step by step, the entire topic of our inner resurrection, unto this actual spiritual Being, as we plod along here in Romans . . . But, before we continue on with verse 17 (our very next verse to explore here in Romans chapter one), allow me to quickly repeat verse 16 again first:
Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for IT [and, nothing else] is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith [from an old faith – as was so described in the Old World, the Old Testament – unto a new faith, within the confines of New Testament grace]: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Faith is another topic that we’ll delve into here, for it can take upon the face of a couple of aspects. Of which, one, can be a person’s doctrinal outlook upon the scriptures; and, indeed, upon life itself; but, can certainly, also, take upon a person’s blind obedience to God’s Word, in trying to live everyday life for Him without questioning God’s wisdom and purpose. In fact, we’ll learn that faith in God is so important, that without it, we can’t even please our Lord:
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
And, we’ll even be convicted of sin by not embracing it:
Romans 14:23b …for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
However, the expression that Paul had used here in verse 17, “from faith to faith,” is quite plain in my opinion – and, of which, he speaks similarly on (again, in my opinion) in 2nd Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Of which complete and full topic (of what 2nd Corinthians is really talking about) I do want to save for my investigations into that other letter by Paul; but, I’ll presently say that I’m seeing a similar subject there as I am seeing here in Romans, verses 16-17, in that in going from faith to faith (as also from glory to glory), that they are both speaking about (ultimately, that is!) going from being an Old-Man (whose heyday, really, was during the Old Testament, under that Old Law – though, in our modern times, it can also reflect us being in a base and carnal man-made religion – as I’ll also get into during this letter) unto being a New-Man (whose heyday now is during a New Testament Kingdom, under the New Law) . . . Besides, such a thought ties-in perfectly with what I’ve already been talking about anyway – being a continuation of the cause and effect of loving one another, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ:
Romans 1:16-17a For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [loving one another]: for it is the power of God unto salvation [from death unto life] to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For THEREIN [in this Gospel of Love] is the righteousness of God revealed from [an old] faith to [a new] faith…
Again, from an old faith unto a new faith; from an Old creature’s naturalistic worship unto a New creature’s spiritual worship – which is yet another topic (on the worship habits of these two creatures) that we’ll get into much deeper during chapter 3 here in Romans. But, too (and, I certainly have to point this out – because, I’ll be revisiting this thought even more in this present letter), that just because the “ways” of the Old Testament have supposedly disappeared (for, we are now in a New Testament World), much of mankind still embraces the old worship styles (ritualistically, and naturalistically, that is) in their modern worship routines – which, in turn, is very reminiscent to the ways of the Old Testament World, in worshipping God in formality and lies instead of in Spirit and truth (again, I will get into much greater detail of what I’m meaning in our lesson for Romans chapter 3) . . . But, then, in the last part of verse 17’s message, Paul reveals to us that this is the lifestyle that we are to now live-in:
Romans 1:17b …as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
And, though I may be giving a different slant onto this verse’s meaning (other than what one may have already heard), it really should come as no surprise that this is exactly what God wants for us to do – to live a lifestyle as a new creation, allowing the ways of the old creation to pass.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
But, even so, what sort of “faith” is this, then? For, if I am correct in what I’m saying here, then, surely, we’ve gone way-beyond mere “belief” in God’s Word and Ways, right? Well, not really; for, if we “believe” in God, and that He is, then we’ll want to embrace His ways and His Word with all of our might. And, that word tells us to become a new creature in Christ Jesus. And, if we believe that, then we’ll do our part in trying to obtain this. That is, in drawing near to God (and, His ways), so that He, in turn, will draw near unto us (James 4:8); and, then, after that initial drawing, He will then help us with what we’re lacking to obtain all of this.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [that is, everything that we actually need – both in our natural lives, and in our spiritual lives, too] shall be added unto you.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh [i.e. the “ways” of the Old Man]: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh [only naturalistically, though not on deeper spiritual levels as we should have], yet now henceforth know we him no more [of He just being a natural man who visited earth (only in the “history”); but, to embrace Him, instead, spiritually (now knowing Him in the “mystery”!)]. Therefore [and, if we practice this correctly] if any man be in Christ, he [too] is a new creature: old things are passed away [including the Old Man’s ways]; behold, all things are become new.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
Now, with this verse, we are beginning a new thought – and, yet, it’s still on the same path that we’ve already been traveling herein; but, is going to be speaking exclusively on the ways of the Old Man, instead of the better ways of the New Man. But, within this new route of Paul’s thinking, I want to point-out that the “regular” ungodly folks are NOT being addressed here by Paul – as I’ll explain why as we plod along – of which topic will now dominate the rest of chapter 1 of Romans; and, indeed, will slightly extend-on into chapter 2 – our next lesson. For, though Paul actually says the word “ungodliness,” I am not contradicting him in saying that he’s not addressing the regular ungodly folks with his harsh words – which he’ll continue to speak-on (as I’ve said) with the rest of chapter 1’s dialog. But, instead, I am seeing such folks who WERE Godly, but then had turned their backs on God in a very vile way. Terrible, terrible ways, in fact! And, by doing so, it had placed them not only back into the realm of being ungodly once again, but had even gone beyond that into becoming “wicked” ungodly; for, just because a person is ungodly, it doesn’t automatically make them evil. They are just without God in their lives . . . You know, ungodly! . . . But, anyways, the very next verse gives us our first hint in that these folks, at least at one time in their lives, actually knew God:
Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
God doesn’t reveal Himself to regular ungodly people – not unless He brings them on unto His Kingdom for various purposes. Folks who have an actual knowledge of Him, and are ungodly now, did have some experience with Him in their past – else, they would know nothing about Him at all – other than, that is, of what they heard in hearsay, or on television somewhere. And, no, I am not talking about general people having a hole in their heart to where only God can fill it to make them complete – which I really do believe mankind in general does have – but, certainly, that’s another topic for another time! However, and as verse 19 boldly declared, God had showed them, at one time, what may be known about Him.
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Had they not known, they would have had an excuse; but, they have no excuse, because God did reveal the truth to them at one time. Paul, I believe, is pointedly describing folks who were given a chance to completely win the battle over their Old Man – a chance given to them by God – but, who had eventually rejected the truth (i.e. “holding the truth in unrighteousness,” as Romans 1:18 had just said), and as the very next verse continues to point out:
Romans 1:21a Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful…
Again, they knew God, not just knew of God, but actually knew Him. And, when they knew Him, and the power of His Godhead, they not only didn’t glorify Him as God…
Romans 1:21b …but [they] became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Here is another reveal – not just of what kind of folks we’re dealing with, but is now showing us that there wasn’t some “personal” evil Being, named satan or the devil, who was pushing them into doing such things that they were evilly doing. For, had it been some subterranean creature who was pushing them, then they certainly would have had an excuse; such as: “The devil made me do it!” But, as Paul said, in verse 20: “They are without excuse.” However, Paul continued to say, instead, that they had become vain in their own imaginations (in their own minds), and that it was their own foolish hearts that were darkened (verse 21b) . . . Though one may be tempted to come back on this and say that it was the devil or satan who was influencing their minds (inwardly – as in some telepathic manner), then I’d say that such a thought actually contradicts what Jesus Himself had taught:
Mark 7:18-23 (and Matthew 15:17-19) And he [Jesus] saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without [outside] entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man [from within his own Being], that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men [and, not the devil], proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within [again, not from the devil], and defile the man.
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible: But into the belly; it is taken in at the mouth, goes down the throat, and is received into the stomach, and from thence it passes through the bowels: and goeth into the draught; "the private house", as the Jews call it, without going into the heart at all: purging all meats; that which it leaves behind, is pure and nourishing; and whatever is gross and impure, is carried with it into the draught, so that nothing remains in the man that is defiling.
But, even so the case, Jesus' ultimate goal with this saying was to teach about a greater matter, and not to give some scientific lesson about people's natural bodies. Plain and simple, all true evilness comes from within a person's own heart, without having any outside influence on that person to cause them to become evil in the first place. Many folks believe (and, admittedly, it's a very popular belief) that if it hadn't been for an outside influence, that person wouldn't have had any evil in them to begin with. However, and as Jesus contended here, in our quoted verses from the Gospel of Mark, that the only outside influence that can truly affect a person (and, I mean to absolutely blindside them into doing something that wasn't in themselves to begin with) is a good storage of natural food – for, it certainly effects a natural stomach into doing some serious purging. Whereas, beforehand, there was no food in them to affect them in such a way. Therefore, it takes a supply of food to affect a person's stomach into discharging meats. But, as far as any outside evilness is concerned, it cannot affect a person in their own minds – unless the evilness was already in them to begin with. Any evil influence, therefore (which is all around us in this world) simply pushes the right buttons within, and can then cause us to give-in to these temptations. But, again, it simply awoke the evilness that was already there.
James 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of HIS OWN lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
James doesn’t even mention the devil or satan here. In fact, it’s not even until chapter 4 that James does so:
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
And, this could have just as easily meant a person’s own evilness within themselves as many others contend that it’s an actual Being – especially since James did not say, in 1:14-15, that the devil is tempting anyone – but, did say, assuredly, that it’s man’s own lust that tempts them into sin . . . Also, all this confirms what Jeremiah had said:
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart [of man] is deceitful above ALL things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to HIS ways [not the devil’s ways], and according to the FRUIT of HIS doings [again, not the devil’s doings; i.e. either by the works/fruits of the flesh, or the Fruits of the Spirit; Galatians 5:19-23].
Romans 1:22-23 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
In some instances of scripture (or, rather, in Paul’s letters – which are New Testament scripture), Paul jumps onto (seemingly, that is) natural “zoology.” But, of course, he’s not; but is, again, speaking in his metaphorical approach to the Word of God – which he and the other apostles had actually adapted from Jesus’ own teaching style…
Matthew 13:34-35 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
…and, is meaning something quite different than what it first appears to be. Again, it’s not natural zoology that he’s trying to illustrate here – no more than he was doing the same in 1st Corinthians when speaking of the resurrection; for, in there, and in the midst of a very spiritual matter, he, again, begins to speak of natural animals:
1 Corinthians 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
What he’s actually doing is continuing an Old Testament tradition of comparing certain kinds of “spirit” of mankind to beastly animals; for, though there are “technically” only two kinds of spirits (that of God and that of mankind in general), man’s own spirit can take on different aspects, and different kinds of “personalities,” so that one man will differ from another in their spiritual and personality disposition. Because, assuredly, the Bible is no stranger at recognizing man as beastly animals:
Habakkuk 1:14a And [God] makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things…
Matthew 23:33 (Jesus speaking directly to the Scribes and Pharisees, and not to the devil; see verse 29) Ye [you!] serpents, ye [you!] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Ecclesiastes 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men [sons of Adam], that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
Psalms 49:12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
Also, see Psalms 140:1-3; Micah 7:15-17; Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34; Psalms 73:22; Titus 1:12; and 2nd Peter 2:10-12; etc. Of which type of scriptures are no mere coincidence, but are metaphoric portrayals of the spirits of man; and, of which metaphorical comparisons Paul similarly adopts, both here in Romans and in 1st Corinthians, by simply saying (though allegorically) that it’s man himself who has been comparing God to the crazy, fleshly, and carnal personalities of mankind, instead of respecting Him for who and what He actually is.
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.
No; Paul did not say that God Himself had caused them to do such terrible sins; but, that He allowed them to wallow in the filth that their own filthy imaginations had thought-up. For, as we’ll see in Romans 1:30, it’s men themselves who are the “inventors of evil things.” And, not only, but as we’ve already seen, a bit earlier, James confirms to us that God does NOT tempt mankind with evil, but every man is tempted when he’s drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:13-14).
Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
The Creature? You mean, the devil? Again, no; we are simply not dealing with any subterranean, evil creature in these passages. First of all, the original Greek word used here, “ktisis” (meaning, according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, a “creation,” or a “formed thing” – and, translated as “creature” in the King James Bible) does not denote anything spiritual nor supernatural in its rendering; and is, in fact, used in other area of scripture to, once more, describe mankind themselves. For instance:
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature [ktisis].
Common sense should tell us, here, that creature is mankind itself (that is, the “created” man); for, why would the disciples/apostles preach to turtles, rabbits, or even unto demons? Animals don’t understand man’s language, and demons don’t need the Gospel, only expulsions.
Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature [ktisis] which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.
This is simply speaking of the “old” creation, that of first man Adam; and who, in turn, is the complete opposite to the “new” creation, that of God:
2 Corinthians 5:17a Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW creature [ktisis]…
Creature simply meaning a created Being. And, though this “Ktisis” can either be an “old” creation, or even a “new” creation, there’s no proof, whatsoever, in Paul’s reference in verse 25, to indicate anything having to do with the literal devil of church tradition.
Romans 1:26a For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…
Again, God did not tell them what to do in their evilness, but He simply gave them on-over to their own lusts.
Romans 1:26b-28 …for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.
Surprisingly, these three verses have been given-over to much debate – ignoring, for obvious carnal reasons, their true intended thought; for, that which mankind succumbs to today (of which lifestyle is being embraced more and more), was the same of which the Early Church Christians had to deal with – both in and out of their own assemblies. As Solomon had declared many years ago, there’s nothing new under the sun; for, that which had been will be again (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10) . . . However, and seeing that so many folks give themselves on-over to much heated hatred over plain interpretation, then what need have I to really go-over this myself herein? Either you understand plain speech, or you don’t! It’s literally that simple; you either accept the truth of the matter, or you don’t! It’s literally that simple . . . Enough said! . . . However, in Paul’s continuing dialog – in describing the different personalities of man’s animalistic natures, he does not stick to this one subject alone, but surely includes ALL the afflictions in man’s carnal repertoire:
Romans 1:29-32 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
EXPLANATORY NOTE FOR ROMANS CHAPTER 1
Explanatory Note for: “Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews…” There seems to be continual debate on who had written the Epistle to the Hebrews. Since unlike the other letters by Paul, which expresses uniform greetings in each, this letter has no such opening, which leads many scholars to believe that Paul really wasn't its author. Some even attribute its composition to Barnabas, the companion of Paul on some of the recorded New Testament journeys. However, I am one of the number who believe in the 'internal' evidence that Paul was, indeed, the author of this celebrated letter. For one, Paul seems very bent (in the book of Acts, as well as in other letters) on helping his fellow-countrymen learn about Jesus being the only way to the Father (Romans 9:1-3, for example), and for that reason, he wrote this letter to the Hebrews (well, to the natural Jews who may or may not have already embraced Christianity; or, to some natural Jews, who did become Christians, but hadn't, as of yet, gone to the length that they needed to go in Christ, since they were still bogged-down by the ritualistic ordinances of the Old Testament [of which rituals I will get into pretty good detail about in Romans chapter 3] − which the letter to the Hebrews seems heavy on teaching about). However, this doesn't exclude the fact that he could have also written this to the Spiritual Hebrews as well (see Romans 2:28-29) . . . There are at least two internal instances which points a direct finger to Paul as to being the author. First, the author mentions his “bonds”: Hebrews 10:34a − "For ye had compassion of me in my bonds..." Which is reminiscent of Ephesians 6:20a − "For which I am an ambassador in bonds..." Which is also evident in Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:13; Colossians 4:3; 2nd Timothy 2:9; Philemon 1:10; etc. And, also, where the author mentions Timothy (Timotheus*): Hebrews 13:23 − "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you." and Hebrews 13:25b − "Written to the Hebrews from Italy, by Timothy." Timothy was a companion of Paul, but not to Barnabas; and Timothy is certainly present with the true author, since the letter was dictated by him for Timothy to write . . . Now, it could be easy to say that Timothy was the actual author (by what it says in 13:25b), but it is well known that Paul, most of the time, dictated his letters to his disciples. Let's compare these next examples, from letters undisputedly attributed to Paul: 1st Corinthians 16:1 − "The first epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi by Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus and Timotheus [i.e. Timothy]." and 2nd Corinthians 13:1 − "The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas," and Ephesians 6:1 − "To the Ephesians written from Rome, by Tychicus," and Philippians 4:1 − "To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus," and, etc . . . But, too, notice that Paul – other than mere dictation – sometimes wrote the letters himself: Galatians 6:11 − "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand," and 2nd Thessalonians 3:17 − "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand…” etc.
*Timothy vs Timotheus. According to both Smith’s Bible Dictionary and Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Timotheus is simply the Greek form of the name Timothy; both names being attributed to the same person.
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