New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Greeting.[a] 1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,[b] called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,(A) 2 which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures,(B) 3 [c]the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,(C) 4 but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.(D) 5 [d]Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,(E) 6 among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;(F) 7 to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.[e] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.(G)Read full chapter
- 1:1–7 In Paul’s letters the greeting or praescriptio follows a standard form, though with variations. It is based upon the common Greco-Roman epistolary practice, but with the addition of Semitic and specifically Christian elements. The three basic components are: name of sender; name of addressee; greeting. In identifying himself, Paul often adds phrases to describe his apostolic mission; this element is more developed in Romans than in any other letter. Elsewhere he associates co-workers with himself in the greeting: Sosthenes (1 Corinthians), Timothy (2 Corinthians; Philippians; Philemon) Silvanus (1 Thessalonians—2 Thessalonians). The standard secular greeting was the infinitive chairein, “greetings.” Paul uses instead the similar-sounding charis, “grace,” together with the Semitic greeting šālôm (Greek eirēnē), “peace.” These gifts, foreshadowed in God’s dealings with Israel (see Nm 6:24–26), have been poured out abundantly in Christ, and Paul wishes them to his readers. In Romans the Pauline praescriptio is expanded and expressed in a formal tone; it emphasizes Paul’s office as apostle to the Gentiles. Rom 1:3–4 stress the gospel or kerygma, Rom 1:2 the fulfillment of God’s promise, and Rom 1:1, 5 Paul’s office. On his call, see Gal 1:15–16; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8–10; Acts 9:1–22; 22:3–16; 26:4–18.
- 1:1 Slave of Christ Jesus: Paul applies the term slave to himself in order to express his undivided allegiance to the Lord of the church, the Master of all, including slaves and masters. “No one can serve (i.e., be a slave to) two masters,” said Jesus (Mt 6:24). It is this aspect of the slave-master relationship rather than its degrading implications that Paul emphasizes when he discusses Christian commitment.
- 1:3–4 Paul here cites an early confession that proclaims Jesus’ sonship as messianic descendant of David (cf. Mt 22:42; 2 Tm 2:8; Rev 22:16) and as Son of God by the resurrection. As “life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45), Jesus Christ is able to communicate the Spirit to those who believe in him.
- 1:5 Paul recalls his apostolic office, implying that the Romans know something of his history. The obedience of faith: as Paul will show at length in chaps. 6–8 and 12–15, faith in God’s justifying action in Jesus Christ relates one to God’s gift of the new life that is made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the activity of the holy Spirit (see especially Rom 8:1–11).
- 1:7 Called to be holy: Paul often refers to Christians as “the holy ones” or “the saints.” The Israelite community was called a “holy assembly” because they had been separated for the worship and service of the Lord (see Lv 11:44; 23:1–44). The Christian community regarded its members as sanctified by baptism (Rom 6:22; 15:16; 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 5:26–27). Christians are called to holiness (1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thes 4:7), that is, they are called to make their lives conform to the gift they have already received.