Daniel The commencement of a letter by an apostle to a Christian church in this manner was especially proper as indicating authority. A servant - This name was what the Lord Jesus himself directed His disciples to use, as their general appellation; Matthew ; Matthew ; Mark And it was the customary name which they assumed; Galatians ; Colossians ; 2 Peter ; Jde ; Acts ; Titus ; James It expresses the condition of one who has a master, or who is at the control of another.
It is often, however, applied to courtiers, or the officers that serve under a king: because in an eastern monarchy the relation of an absolute king to his courtiers corresponded nearly to that of a master and a slave. Thus, the word is expressive of dignity and honor; and the servants of a king denote officers of a high rank and station.
It is applied to the prophets as those who were honored by God, or especially entrusted by him with office; Deuteronomy ; Joshua ; Jeremiah The name is also given to the Messiah, Isaiah , "Behold my servant in whom my soul delighteth," etc. Called to be an apostle - This word called means here not merely to be invited, but has the sense of appointed.
It indicates that he had not assumed the office himself, but that he was set apart to it by the authority of Christ himself.
It was important for Paul to state this, 1 Because the other apostles had been called or chosen to this work John , John ; Matthew ; Luke ; and, 2 Because Paul was not one of those originally appointed. It was of consequence for him therefore, to affirm that he had not taken this high office to himself, but that he had been called to it by the authority of Jesus Christ.
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His appointment to this office he not infrequently takes occasion to vindicate; 1 Corinthians , etc. An apostle - One sent to execute a commission. It is applied because the apostles were sent out by Jesus Christ to preach his gospel, and to establish his church; Matthew note; Luke note. It denotes those who are "separated," or called out from the common mass; Acts ; 2 Corinthians The meaning here does not materially differ from the expression, "called to be an apostle," except that perhaps this includes the notion of the purpose or designation of God to this work.
Thus, Paul uses the same word respecting himself; Galatians , "God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace," that is, God designated me; marked me out; or designed that I should be an apostle from my infancy. In the same way Jeremiah was designated to be a prophet; Jeremiah Unto the gospel of God - Designated or designed by God that I should make it "my business" to preach the gospel.
Set apart to this, as the special, great work of my life; as having no other object for which I should live. For the meaning of the word "gospel," see the note at Matthew It is called the gospel of God because it is his appointment; it has been originated by him, and has his authority. The function of an apostle was to preach the gospel Paul regarded himself as separated to this work. It was not to live in splendor, wealth, and ease, but to devote himself to this great business of proclaiming good news, that God was reconciled to people in his Son. This is the sole business of all ministers of "religion.
It has the unbroken testimony of all antiquity, up to Clement of Rome, the apostle's "fellow laborer in the Gospel, whose name was in the Book of Life" Php , and who quotes from it in his undoubted Epistle to the Corinthians, written before the close of the first century.
The most searching investigations of modern criticism have left it untouched. When and Where this Epistle was written we have the means of determining with great precision, from the Epistle itself compared with the Acts of the Apostles. Up to the date of it the apostle had never been at Rome Ro , 13, He was then on the eve of visiting Jerusalem with a pecuniary contribution for its Christian poor from the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, after which his purpose was to pay a visit to Rome on his way to Spain Ro Now this contribution we know that he carried with him from Corinth, at the close of his third visit to that city, which lasted three months Ac , 3; On this occasion there accompanied him from Corinth certain persons whose names are given by the historian of the Acts Ac , and four of these are expressly mentioned in our Epistle as being with the apostle when he wrote it—Timotheus, Sosipater, Gaius, and Erastus Ro , Of these four, the third, Gaius, was an inhabitant of Corinth 1Co , and the fourth, Erastus, was "chamberlain of the city" Ro , which can hardly be supposed to be other than Corinth.
Putting these facts together, it is impossible to resist the conviction, in which all critics agree, that Corinth was the place from which the Epistle was written, and that it was despatched about the close of the visit above mentioned, probably in the early spring of the year The Founder of this celebrated church is unknown. That it owed its origin to the apostle Peter, and that he was its first bishop, though an ancient tradition and taught in the Church of Rome as a fact not to be doubted, is refuted by the clearest evidence, and is given up even by candid Romanists.
COMMENTARY ON ROMANS - HALDANE
On that supposition, how are we to account for so important a circumstance being passed by in silence by the historian of the Acts, not only in the narrative of Peter's labors, but in that of Paul's approach to the metropolis, of the deputations of Roman "brethren" that came as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns to meet him, and of his two years' labors there Ac , 30? And how, consistently with his declared principle—not to build on another man's foundation Ro —could he express his anxious desire to come to them that he might have some fruit among them also, even as among other Gentiles Ro , if all the while he knew that they had the apostle of the circumcision for their spiritual father?
And how, if so, is there no salutation to Peter among the many in this Epistle? The same considerations would seem to prove that this church owed its origin to no prominent Christian laborer; and this brings us to the much-litigated question.
Romans 1 Bible Commentary
That a large number of Jews and Jewish proselytes resided at this time at Rome is known to all who are familiar with the classical and Jewish writers of that and the immediately subsequent periods; and that those of them who were at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost Ac , and formed probably part of the three thousand converts of that day, would on their return to Rome carry the glad tidings with them, there can be no doubt. Nor are indications wanting that some of those embraced in the salutations of this Epistle were Christians already of long standing, if not among the earliest converts to the Christian faith.
Others of them who had made the apostle's acquaintance elsewhere, and who, if not indebted to him for their first knowledge of Christ, probably owed much to his ministrations, seemed to have charged themselves with the duty of cherishing and consolidating the work of the Lord in the capital. And thus it is not improbable that up to the time of the apostle's arrival the Christian community at Rome had been dependent upon subordinate agency for the increase of its numbers, aided by occasional visits of stated preachers from the provinces; and perhaps it may be gathered from the salutations of the last chapter that it was up to that time in a less organized, though far from less flourishing state, than some other churches to whom the apostle had already addressed Epistles.
Certain it is, that the apostle writes to them expressly as a Gentile Church Ro , 15; , 16 ; and though it is plain that there were Jewish Christians among them, and the whole argument presupposes an intimate acquaintance on the part of his readers with the leading principles of the Old Testament, this will be sufficiently explained by supposing that the bulk of them, having before they knew the Lord been Gentile proselytes to the Jewish faith, had entered the pale of the Christian Church through the gate of the ancient economy.
It remains only to speak briefly of the Plan and Character Of this Epistle. Of all the undoubted Epistles of our apostle, this is the most elaborate, and at the same time the most glowing. It has just as much in common with a theological treatise as is consistent with the freedom and warmth of a real letter. Referring to the headings which we have prefixed to its successive sections, as best exhibiting the progress of the argument and the connection of its points, we here merely note that its first great topic is what may be termed the legal relation of man to God as a violator of His holy law, whether as merely written on the heart, as in the case of the heathen, or, as in the case of the Chosen People, as further known by external revelation; that it next treats of that legal relation as wholly reversed through believing connection with the Lord Jesus Christ; and that its third and last great topic is the new life which accompanies this change of relation, embracing at once a blessedness and a consecration to God which, rudimentally complete already, will open, in the future world, into the bliss of immediate and stainless fellowship with God.
The bearing of these wonderful truths upon the condition and destiny of the Chosen People, to which the apostle next comes, though it seem but the practical application of them to his kinsmen according to the flesh, is in some respects the deepest and most difficult part of the whole Epistle, carrying us directly to the eternal springs of Grace to the guilty in the sovereign love and inscrutable purposes of God; after which, however, we are brought back to the historical platform of the visible Church, in the calling of the Gentiles, the preservation of a faithful Israelitish remnant amidst the general unbelief and fall of the nation, and the ultimate recovery of all Israel to constitute, with the Gentiles in the latter day, one catholic Church of God upon earth.
The remainder of the Epistle is devoted to sundry practical topics, winding up with salutations and outpourings of heart delightfully suggestive. Paul— See on Ac In this sense it is applied to the disciples of Christ at large 1Co , as in the Old Testament to all the people of God Isa But as, in addition to this, the prophets and kings of Israel were officially "the servants of the Lord" Jos ; Ps , title , the apostles call themselves, in the same official sense, "the servants of Christ" as here, and Php ; Jas ; 2Pe ; Jude 1 , expressing such absolute subjection and devotion to the Lord Jesus as they would never have yielded to a mere creature.
See on Ro ; Joh , See on Ac ; Ac ; 1Co He was called at one and the same time to the faith and the apostleship of Christ Ac So Ro ; 1Th , 8, 9; 1Pe Rom Paul, commending to the Romans his calling, greets them, Rom and professes his concern for, and desire of coming to see them.
Rom ,17 He shows that the gospel is for the justification of all mankind through faith. Rom And having premised that sinners in general are obnoxious to God's wrath, he describes at large the corruption of the Gentile world.
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A servant of Jesus Christ, is a higher title than monarch of the world: several great emperors styled themselves Christ's vassals. He so calls himself, either in respect of his condition, which was common with him to all true Christians; or else in respect of his office. Of old, they who were in great offices were called the servants of God: see Jos Neh Psa Or else in respect of his singular and miraculous conversion: by reason of which, he thought himself so obliged to Christ, that he wholly addicted or devoted himself to his service. Called to be an apostle; appointed to that high office by the immediate call of Christ himself: see Gal Tit The history of this call you have in Act The believer's final redemption is thus guaranteed.
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What does it reveal about, a The call, duty and standing of an apostle or preacher? Do we get more in Christ than we lost in Adam? Power, sin and unrighteousness, righteousness, justification, faith and belief, atonement, redemption, adoption, propitiation, election, predestination.
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