Romans 1-2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
1 From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus.
God chose me to be an apostle, and he appointed me to preach the good news 2 that he promised long ago by what his prophets said in the holy Scriptures. 3-4 This good news is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! As a human, he was from the family of David. But the Holy Spirit[a] proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God,[b] because he was raised from death.
5 Jesus was kind to me and chose me to be an apostle,[c] so that people of all nations would obey and have faith. 6 You are some of those people chosen by Jesus Christ.
7 This letter is to all of you in Rome. God loves you and has chosen you to be his very own people.
I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
A Prayer of Thanks
8 First, I thank God in the name of Jesus Christ for all of you. I do this because people everywhere in the world are talking about your faith. 9 God has seen how I never stop praying for you, while I serve him with all my heart and tell the good news about his Son.
10 In all my prayers, I ask God to make it possible for me to visit you. 11 I want to see you and share with you the same blessings that God’s Spirit has given me. Then you will grow stronger in your faith. 12 What I am saying is that we can encourage each other by the faith that is ours.
13 My friends, I want you to know that I have often planned to come for a visit. But something has always kept me from doing it. I want to win followers to Christ in Rome, as I have done in many other places. 14-15 It doesn’t matter if people are civilized and educated, or if they are uncivilized and uneducated. I must tell the good news to everyone. That’s why I am eager to visit all of you in Rome.
The Power of the Good News
16 I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. 17 The good news tells how God accepts everyone who has faith, but only those who have faith.[d] It is just as the Scriptures say, “The people God accepts because of their faith will live.”[e]
Everyone Is Guilty
18 From heaven God shows how angry he is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. 19 They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. 20 God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That’s why those people don’t have any excuse. 21 They know about God, but they don’t honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark. 22 They claim to be wise, but they are fools. 23 They don’t worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead, they worship idols that are made to look like humans who cannot live forever, and like birds, animals, and reptiles.
24 So God let these people go their own way. They did what they wanted to do, and their filthy thoughts made them do shameful things with their bodies. 25 They gave up the truth about God for a lie, and they worshiped God’s creation instead of God, who will be praised forever. Amen.
26 God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. 27 Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds.
28 Since these people refused even to think about God, he let their useless minds rule over them. That’s why they do all sorts of indecent things. 29 They are evil, wicked, and greedy, as well as mean in every possible way. They want what others have, and they murder, argue, cheat, and are hard to get along with. They gossip, 30 say cruel things about others, and hate God. They are proud, conceited, and boastful, always thinking up new ways to do evil.
These people don’t respect their parents. 31 They are stupid, unreliable, and don’t have any love or pity for others. 32 They know God has said that anyone who acts this way deserves to die. But they keep on doing evil things, and they even encourage others to do them.
God’s Judgment Is Fair
2 Some of you accuse others of doing wrong. But there is no excuse for what you do. When you judge others, you condemn yourselves, because you are guilty of doing the very same things. 2 We know that God is right to judge everyone who behaves in this way. 3 Do you really think God won’t punish you, when you behave exactly like the people you accuse? 4 You surely don’t think much of God’s wonderful goodness or of his patience and willingness to put up with you. Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because he wants you to turn to him?
5 But you are stubborn and refuse to turn to God. So you are making things even worse for yourselves on that day when he will show how angry he is and will judge the world with fairness. 6 God will reward each of us for what we have done. 7 He will give eternal life to everyone who has patiently done what is good in the hope of receiving glory, honor, and life that lasts forever. 8 But he will show how angry and furious he can be with every selfish person who rejects the truth and wants to do evil. 9 All who are wicked will be punished with trouble and suffering. It doesn’t matter if they are Jews or Gentiles. 10 But all who do right will be rewarded with glory, honor, and peace, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. 11 God doesn’t have any favorites!
12 Those people who don’t know about God’s Law will still be punished for what they do wrong. And the Law will be used to judge everyone who knows what it says. 13 God accepts those who obey his Law, but not those who simply hear it.
14 Some people naturally obey the Law’s commands, even though they don’t have the Law. 15 This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned, 16 when God appoints Jesus Christ to judge everyone’s secret thoughts, just as my message says.
The Jews and the Law
17 Some of you call yourselves Jews. You trust in the Law and take pride in God. 18 By reading the Scriptures you learn how God wants you to behave, and you discover what is right. 19 You are sure that you are a guide for the blind and a light for all who are in the dark. 20 And since there is knowledge and truth in God’s Law, you think you can instruct fools and teach young people.
21 But how can you teach others when you refuse to learn? You preach that it is wrong to steal. But do you steal? 22 You say people should be faithful in marriage. But are you faithful? You hate idols, yet you rob their temples. 23 You take pride in the Law, but you disobey the Law and bring shame to God. 24 It is just as the Scriptures tell us, “You have made foreigners say insulting things about God.”
25 Being circumcised is worthwhile, if you obey the Law. But if you don’t obey the Law, you are no better off than people who are not circumcised. 26 In fact, if they obey the Law, they are as good as anyone who is circumcised. 27 So everyone who obeys the Law, but has never been circumcised, will condemn you. Even though you are circumcised and have the Law, you still don’t obey its teachings.
28 Just because you live like a Jew and are circumcised doesn’t make you a real Jew. 29 To be a real Jew you must obey the Law. True circumcision is something that happens deep in your heart, not something done to your body. And besides, you should want praise from God and not from humans.
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