New English Translation
1 From Paul,[a] a slave[b] of Christ Jesus,[c] called to be an apostle,[d] set apart for the gospel of God.[e] 2 This gospel[f] he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son who was a descendant[g] of David with reference to the flesh,[h] 4 who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power[i] according to the Holy Spirit[j] by the resurrection[k] from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him[l] we have received grace and our apostleship[m] to bring about the obedience[n] of faith[o] among all the Gentiles on behalf of his name. 6 You also are among them,[p] called to belong to Jesus Christ.[q] 7 To all those loved by God in Rome, called to be saints:[r] Grace and peace to you[s] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Paul’s Desire to Visit Rome
8 First of all,[t] I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. 9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel[u] of his Son, is my witness that[v] I continually remember you 10 and I always ask[w] in my prayers, if perhaps now at last I may succeed in visiting you according to the will of God.[x] 11 For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift[y] to strengthen you, 12 that is, that we may be mutually comforted by one another’s faith,[z] both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware,[aa] brothers and sisters,[ab] that I often intended to come to you (and was prevented until now), so that I may have some fruit even among you, just as I already have among the rest of the Gentiles.[ac] 14 I am a debtor[ad] both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 Thus I am eager[ae] also to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome.
The Power of the Gospel
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.[af] 17 For the righteousness[ag] of God is revealed in the gospel[ah] from faith to faith,[ai] just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.”[aj]
The Condemnation of the Unrighteous
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people[ak] who suppress the truth by their[al] unrighteousness,[am] 19 because what can be known about God is plain to them,[an] because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people[ao] are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts[ap] were darkened. 22 Although they claimed[aq] to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings[ar] or birds or four-footed animals[as] or reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over[at] in the desires of their hearts to impurity,[au] to dishonor[av] their bodies among themselves.[aw] 25 They[ax] exchanged the truth of God for a lie[ay] and worshiped and served the creation[az] rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones,[ba] 27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women[bb] and were inflamed in their passions[bc] for one another. Men[bd] committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God,[be] God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done.[bf] 29 They are filled[bg] with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with[bh] envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, covenant-breakers,[bi] heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they fully know[bj] God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die,[bk] they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.[bl]
- Romans 1:1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
- Romans 1:1 tn Traditionally, “servant.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). One good translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. Also, many slaves in the Roman world became slaves through Rome’s subjugation of conquered nations, kidnapping, or by being born into slave households. sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s “slave” or “servant” is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For someone who was Jewish this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”
- Romans 1:1 tc Many significant mss, as well as several others (P26 א A G Ψ 33 1739 1881 M), have a reversed order of these words and read “Jesus Christ” rather than “Christ Jesus” (P10 B 81 pc). The meaning is not affected in either case, but the reading “Christ Jesus” is preferred as slightly more difficult and thus more likely autographic (a scribe who found it would be prone to change it to the more common expression). At the same time, Paul is fond of the order “Christ Jesus,” especially in certain letters such as Romans, Galatians, and Philippians. As well, the later Pauline letters almost uniformly use this order in the salutations. A decision is difficult, but “Christ Jesus” is slightly preferred.
- Romans 1:1 tn Grk “a called apostle.”
- Romans 1:1 tn The genitive in the phrase εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ (euangelion theou, “the gospel of God”) could be translated as (1) a subjective genitive (“the gospel which God brings”) or (2) an objective genitive (“the gospel about God”). Either is grammatically possible. This is possibly an instance of a plenary genitive (see ExSyn 119-21; M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek, §§36-39). If so, an interplay between the two concepts is intended: The gospel which God brings is in fact the gospel about himself. However, in view of God’s action in v. 2 concerning this gospel, a subjective genitive notion (“the gospel which God brings”) is slightly preferred.
- Romans 1:2 tn Grk “the gospel of God, which he promised.” Because of the length and complexity of this sentence in Greek, it was divided into shorter English sentences in keeping with contemporary English style. To indicate the referent of the relative pronoun (“which”), the word “gospel” was repeated at the beginning of v. 2.
- Romans 1:3 tn Grk “born of the seed” (an idiom).
- Romans 1:3 tn Grk “according to the flesh,” indicating Jesus’ earthly life, a reference to its weakness. This phrase implies that Jesus was more than human; otherwise it would have been sufficient to say that he was a descendant of David, cf. L. Morris, Romans, 44.
- Romans 1:4 sn Appointed the Son-of-God-in-power. Most translations render the Greek participle ὁρισθέντος (horisthentos, from ὁρίζω, horizō) “declared” or “designated” in order to avoid the possible interpretation that Jesus was appointed the Son of God by the resurrection. However, the Greek term ὁρίζω is used eight times in the NT, and it always has the meaning “to determine, appoint.” Paul is not saying that Jesus was appointed the “Son of God by the resurrection” but “Son-of-God-in-power by the resurrection,” as indicated by the hyphenation. He was born in weakness in human flesh (with respect to the flesh, v. 3) and he was raised with power. This is similar to Matt 28:18 where Jesus told his disciples after the resurrection, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
- Romans 1:4 tn Grk “spirit of holiness.” Some interpreters take the phrase to refer to Christ’s own inner spirit, which was characterized by holiness.
- Romans 1:4 tn Or “by his resurrection.” Most interpreters see this as a reference to Jesus’ own resurrection, although some take it to refer to the general resurrection at the end of the age, of which Jesus’ resurrection is the first installment (cf. 1 Cor 15:23).
- Romans 1:5 tn Grk “through whom.”
- Romans 1:5 tn Some interpreters understand the phrase “grace and apostleship” as a hendiadys, translating “grace [i.e., gift] of apostleship.” The pronoun “our” is supplied in the translation to clarify the sense of the statement.
- Romans 1:5 tn Grk “and apostleship for obedience.”
- Romans 1:5 tn The phrase ὑπακοὴν πίστεως has been variously understood as (1) an objective genitive (a reference to the Christian faith, “obedience to [the] faith”); (2) a subjective genitive (“the obedience faith produces [or requires]”); (3) an attributive genitive (“believing obedience”); or (4) as a genitive of apposition (“obedience, [namely] faith”) in which “faith” further defines “obedience.” These options are discussed by C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans (ICC), 1:66. Others take the phrase as deliberately ambiguous; see D. B. Garlington, “The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans: Part I: The Meaning of ὑπακοὴ πίστεως (Rom 1:5; 16:26),” WTJ 52 (1990): 201-24.
- Romans 1:6 tn Grk “among whom you also are called.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation. The NIV, with its translation “And you also are among those who are called,” takes the phrase ἐν οἳς ἐστε to refer to the following clause rather than the preceding, so that the addressees of the letter (“you also”) are not connected with “all the Gentiles” mentioned at the end of v. 5. It is more likely, however, that the relative pronoun οἳς has τοῖς ἔθνεσιν as its antecedent, which would indicate that the church at Rome was predominantly Gentile.
- Romans 1:6 tn Grk “called of Jesus Christ.”
- Romans 1:7 tn Although the first part of v. 7 is not a complete English sentence, it maintains the “From…to” pattern used in all the Pauline letters to indicate the sender and the recipients. Here, however, there are several intervening verses (vv. 2-6), which makes the first half of v. 7 appear as an isolated sentence fragment.
- Romans 1:7 tn Grk “Grace to you and peace.”
- Romans 1:8 tn Grk “First.” Paul never mentions a second point, so J. B. Phillips translated “I must begin by telling you….”
- Romans 1:9 tn Grk “whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel.”
- Romans 1:9 tn Grk “as.”
- Romans 1:10 tn Grk “remember you, always asking.”
- Romans 1:10 tn Grk “succeed in coming to you in the will of God.”
- Romans 1:11 sn Paul does not mean here that he is going to bestow upon the Roman believers what is commonly known as a “spiritual gift,” that is, a special enabling for service given to believers by the Holy Spirit. Instead, this is either a metonymy of cause for effect (Paul will use his own spiritual gifts to edify the Romans), or it simply means something akin to a blessing or benefit in the spiritual realm. It is possible that Paul uses this phrase to connote specifically the broader purpose of his letter, which is for the Romans to understand his gospel, but this seems less likely.
- Romans 1:12 tn Grk “that is, to be comforted together with you through the faith in one another.”
- Romans 1:13 sn The expression “I do not want you to be unaware [Grk ignorant]” also occurs in 1 Cor 10:1; 12:1; 1 Thess 4:13. Paul uses the phrase to signal that he is about to say something very important.
- Romans 1:13 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).
- Romans 1:13 tn Grk “in order that I might have some fruit also among you just as also among the rest of the Gentiles.”
- Romans 1:14 tn Or “obligated.”
- Romans 1:15 tn Or “willing, ready”; Grk “so my eagerness [is] to preach…” The word πρόθυμος (prothumos, “eager, willing”) is used only elsewhere in the NT in Matt 26:41 = Mark 14:38: “the spirit indeed is willing (πρόθυμος), but the flesh is weak.”
- Romans 1:16 sn Here the Greek refers to anyone who is not Jewish.
- Romans 1:17 tn The nature of the “righteousness” described here and the force of the genitive θεοῦ (“of God”) which follows have been much debated. (1) Some (e.g. C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans [ICC], 1:98) understand “righteousness” to refer to the righteous status given to believers as a result of God’s justifying activity, and see the genitive “of God” as a genitive of source (= “from God”). (2) Others see the “righteousness” as God’s act or declaration that makes righteous (i.e., justifies) those who turn to him in faith, taking the genitive “of God” as a subjective genitive (see E. Käsemann, Romans, 25-30). (3) Still others see the “righteousness of God” mentioned here as the attribute of God himself, understanding the genitive “of God” as a possessive genitive (“God’s righteousness”).
- Romans 1:17 tn Grk “in it”; the referent (the gospel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Romans 1:17 tn Or “by faith for faith,” or “by faith to faith.” There are many interpretations of the phrase ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν (ek pisteōs eis pistin). It may have the idea that this righteousness is obtained by faith (ἐκ πίστεως) because it was designed for faith (εἰς πίστιν). For a summary see J. Murray, Romans (NICNT), 1:363-74.
- Romans 1:17 sn A quotation from Hab 2:4.
- Romans 1:18 tn The genitive ἀνθρώπων could be taken as an attributed genitive, in which case the phrase should be translated “against all ungodly and unrighteous people” (cf. “the truth of God” in v. 25 which is also probably an attributed genitive). C. E. B. Cranfield takes the section 1:18-32 to refer to all people (not just Gentiles), while 2:1-3:20 points out that the Jew is no exception (Romans [ICC], 1:104-6; 1:137-38).
- Romans 1:18 tn “Their” is implied in the Greek, but is supplied because of English style.
- Romans 1:18 tn Or “by means of unrighteousness.” Grk “in (by) unrighteousness.”
- Romans 1:19 tn Grk “is manifest to/in them.”
- Romans 1:20 tn Grk “they”; the referent (people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Romans 1:21 tn Grk “heart.”
- Romans 1:22 tn The participle φάσκοντες (phaskontes) is used concessively here.
- Romans 1:23 tn Grk “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God in likeness of an image of corruptible man.” Here there is a wordplay on the Greek terms ἄφθαρτος (aphthartos, “immortal, imperishable, incorruptible”) and φθαρτός (phthartos, “mortal, corruptible, subject to decay”).
- Romans 1:23 sn Possibly an allusion to Ps 106:19-20.
- Romans 1:24 sn Possibly an allusion to Ps 81:12.
- Romans 1:24 tn Or “God delivered them up to the desires of their hearts for impurity.” It is possible that a technical, legal idiom is used here; if so, it would describe God delivering sinners up to a custodian for punishment (see R. Jewett, Romans [Hermeneia], 166-67). In this instance, then, sinners would be given over to their own desires for the express purpose of working more impurity.
- Romans 1:24 tn The genitive articular infinitive τοῦ ἀτιμάζεσθαι (tou atimazesthai, “to dishonor”) has been taken as (1) an infinitive of purpose; (2) an infinitive of result; or (3) an epexegetical (i.e., explanatory) infinitive, expanding the previous clause.
- Romans 1:24 tn Grk “among them.”
- Romans 1:25 tn Grk “who.” The relative pronoun was converted to a personal pronoun and, because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Romans 1:25 tn Grk “the lie.”
- Romans 1:25 tn Or “creature, created things.”
- Romans 1:26 tn Grk “for their females exchanged the natural function for that which is contrary to nature.” The term χρῆσις (chrēsis) has the force of “sexual relations” here (L&N 23.65).
- Romans 1:27 tn Grk “likewise so also the males abandoning the natural function of the female.”
- Romans 1:27 tn Grk “burned with intense desire” (L&N 25.16).
- Romans 1:27 tn Grk “another, men committing…and receiving,” continuing the description of their deeds. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Romans 1:28 tn Grk “and just as they did not approve to have God in knowledge.”
- Romans 1:28 tn Grk “the things that are improper.”
- Romans 1:29 tn Grk “being filled” or “having been filled,” referring to those described in v. 28. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Romans 1:29 tn Grk “malice, full of,” continuing the description. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Romans 1:31 tn Or “promise-breakers.”
- Romans 1:32 tn Grk “who, knowing…, not only do them but also approve…” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Romans 1:32 tn Grk “are worthy of death.”
- Romans 1:32 sn “Vice lists” like vv. 28-32 can be found elsewhere in the NT in Matt 15:19; Gal 5:19-21; 1 Tim 1:9-10; and 1 Pet 4:3. An example from the intertestamental period can be found in Wis 14:25-26.