1 Greetings from Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus.
God chose me to be an apostle and gave me the work of telling his Good News. 2 God promised long ago through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures to give this Good News to his people. 3-4 The Good News is about God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. As a human, he was born from the family of David, but through the Holy Spirit[a] he was shown to be God’s powerful Son when he was raised from death.
5 Through Christ, God gave me the special work of an apostle—to lead people of all nations to believe and obey him. I do all this to honor Christ. 6 You are some of those who have been chosen to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 This letter is to all of you in Rome. God loves you, and he has chosen you to be his holy people.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Prayer of Thanks
8 First I want to say that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you. I thank him because people everywhere in the world are talking about your great faith. 9-10 Every time I pray, I always remember you. God knows this is true. He is the one I serve with all my heart by telling people the Good News about his Son. I pray that I will be allowed to come to you. It will happen if God wants it. 11 I want very much to see you and give you some spiritual gift to make your faith stronger. 12 I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith that we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.
13 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I have planned many times to come to you, but something always happens to change my plans. I would like to see the same good result among you that I have had from my work among the other non-Jewish people.
14 I must serve all people—those who share in Greek culture and those who are less civilized,[b] the educated as well as the ignorant. 15 That is why I want so much to tell the Good News to you there in Rome.
16 I am proud of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes—to save the Jews first, and now to save those who are not Jews. 17 The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself. God’s way of making people right begins and ends with faith. As the Scriptures say, “The one who is right with God by faith will live forever.”[c]
All People Have Done Wrong
18 God shows his anger from heaven against all the evil and wrong things that people do. Their evil lives hide the truth they have. 19 This makes God angry because they have been shown what he is like. Yes, God has made it clear to them.
20 There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all that makes him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do.
21 People knew God, but they did not honor him as God, and they did not thank him. Their ideas were all useless. There was not one good thought left in their foolish minds. 22 They said they were wise, but they became fools. 23 Instead of honoring the divine greatness of God, who lives forever, they traded it for the worship of idols—things made to look like humans, who get sick and die, or like birds, animals, and snakes.
24 People wanted only to do evil. So God left them and let them go their sinful way. And so they became completely immoral and used their bodies in shameful ways with each other. 25 They traded the truth of God for a lie. They bowed down and worshiped the things God made instead of worshiping the God who made those things. He is the one who should be praised forever. Amen.
26 Because people did those things, God left them and let them do the shameful things they wanted to do. Women stopped having natural sex with men and started having sex with other women. 27 In the same way, men stopped having natural sex with women and began wanting each other all the time. Men did shameful things with other men, and in their bodies they received the punishment for those wrongs.
28 People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking. And so they do what they should not do. 29 They are filled with every kind of sin, evil, greed, and hatred. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and thinking the worst things about each other. They gossip 30 and say evil things about each other. They hate God. They are rude, proud, and brag about themselves. They invent ways of doing evil. They don’t obey their parents, 31 they are foolish, they don’t keep their promises, and they show no kindness or mercy to others. 32 They know God’s law says that anyone who lives like that should die. But they not only continue to do these things themselves, but they also encourage others who do them.