Romans chapter 1

Show Notes for Romans 1:8-32

Study Notes

1.2  Romans 1:8-17 (page 4)
1.3  Romans 1:18-32 (page 12)


1.2 Paul Declares the Power of the Gospel (1:8-17)


1:8  Paul Begins
1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” NIV

I.  One of two things that motivated Paul to write Romans: thanks & hope
“I thank my God… for all of you”

i.  We see his second motive in 1:10

II.  A quick lesson from Paul: there is only one mediator
“through Jesus Christ”

III.  Praise from Paul: The Roman church had a great reputation
“Your faith is being reported all over the world.” NIV


1:9-10  Paul’s Heart for the Roman Church
1:9-10, “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you [10] in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.” NIV

I.  Paul preaches the gospel as a heartfelt act of devotion
“God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness” NIV

II.  Paul loves the Roman church as though it was his own church plant
“How constantly I remember you in my prayers”

III.  The second of Paul’s two motives: to visit Rome
“I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you” NIV


1:11  Paul’s Work in Rome
1:11, “May share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you” NRSV

I.  Paul was visiting Rome to serve

II.  Paul was visiting Rome to strengthen their faith


1:12  Mutual Encouragement
1:12, “that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” NIV

Each individual (church member and pastor) should encourage each other in the faith


1:13  Paul’s Passion
1:13, “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.” NIV

I.  He desires to visit Rome, the Gentile centre of the world
“I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now)”

II.  He wants to see [Gentile] souls saved
“That I may reap some harvest among you” NRSV

Note: In the Old Testament the word “harvest” referred to God’s judgment.  Jesus used it to represent a harvest of souls.  So, in this sense, evangelism is a sign of the end times and the defeat of Satan.

III.  His ministry fits within the [non-believing Gentile] Roman context
“Just among the other Gentiles” NKJV


1:14  Spreading the Gospel
1:14, “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.” NIV

I.  The gospel transcends cultural (Greek vs. non-Greek) & class (wise vs. foolish) division

II.  Paul was obligated [in debt to Christ] to spread the gospel

Definition: “Obligated”
Obligated translates from the Greek “debtor” (opheiletes).  After his experience with Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul’s goal in life was to spread the Good News of salvation.  Paul is obligated to the unique role Jesus has called him to: to spread the gospel to the Gentiles.

III.  We are obligated [in debt to Christ] to demonstrate our gratitude by showing Jesus’ love to others


1:15  Paul’s Eagerness
1:15, “That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.” NIV

The opportunity to share the gospel in the heart of the Gentile world completely squashed potential fear.


1:16  Paul’s Gospel Message Begins
1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

I.  Paul was eager to share the gospel
“I am not ashamed of the gospel”

Definition: “Salvation”
Stated negatively, it is deliverance from every evil, particularly sin, death, and rejection from God’s presence.  Stated positively, it is spiritual and physical healing, the bestowal of all blessings.

II.  Negative feelings about sharing the gospel are usually based on exaggerated possibilities

i.  People will openly ridicule our faith
ii.  Friends might desert us if they know we are Christians
iii.  Christians have a reputation as poor examples or hypocrites
iv.  Our faith is something private rather than public
v.  Our success or achievement is worth more to us than having others know we are Christians

III.  The Gospel is dynamic [its effectiveness comes from God] and is God’s dynamite [God’s power of salvation]
“It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” NIV

IV.  God first gave the gospel to the Jews, and has now given it to the Gentiles also
“First for the Jew, then for the Gentile” NIV

i.  This is not a statement of value


1:17  God’s Faithfulness to Our Faith
1:17, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.””

I.  The Gospel shows us what God’s righteousness is and it gives us God’s righteousness
“In it the righteousness of God is revealed” NRSV

Definition: “Righteousness from God”
The state of being “in the right” or declared “not guilty” in relationship to God.  This is a legal term.

II.  Because God is faithful to His promises faith in Jesus is the way to receive God’s righteousness
“A righteousness that is by faith” NIV

III.  We receive eternal life based on God’s faithful response to our response of faith in Jesus
“As it is written: “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”” NRSV

Definition: “Faith”
Literally, “from faith to faith.”  This might mean, “by faith from first to last.”

There are two ways to understand this statement
i) “the righteous by faith will live” (ie, our faith in God makes us righteous before God, and as a result we have eternal life).
ii) “the righteous will live by faith” (ie, those made right with God live their Christian lives by remaining faithful to God.



As Paul begins his salvation message he starts by sharing that His act of preaching the gospel, particularly to Gentiles, comes from a heartfelt devotion to God.  Paul loves the church of Rome as though it were his own church plant, likely because God has placed this love in Paul’s heart.  Paul desired to serve the Roman church, not to be served, in order to spread the gospel and see many more Gentiles come to know Christ.

The Gospel transcends cultural and class biases, and we are obligated to share Jesus’ love with everyone to demonstrate our gratitude of the salvation we have received in Christ through faith.  We need to be just as eager to share the gospel as Paul was because it is God’s dynamite here on earth, making us righteous and fit for God’s kingdom.


1.3 God’s Anger at Sin (1:18-32)


1:18  Sin Hides Truth
1:18, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,” NIV

I.  God’s wrath is the response of holiness

II.  Truth (who God is) is hidden by sin (ungodliness, unrighteousness)

III.  Sinful people try to suppress the truth in order to avoid discovery of disobedience


1:19  General and Specific Revelation
1:19, “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” NIV

I. Four characteristics of General Revelation (God revealed in nature)

i.  It is plain and clearly seen
– it is visible

ii.  It is understood
– any wise person who sees the truth will also reflect on it and come to a conclusion about it

iii.  It has been since the creation of the world
– it is constant, ongoing, changeless

iv.  It reveals God’s eternal power and divine nature
– for an understanding of God’s love and grace one must look into the Bible and at God’s Son

II.  General Revelation gives clues that God exists, Specific Revelation comes from the Bible

III.  If we suppress General Revelation to go our own way we’ll have to endure the consequences


1:20  How God Reveals Himself
1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” NIV

I.  God gives us clues (in a cause and effect world, there must have been an initial cause)

II.  God uses people to communicate the content of the Bible

– People suppress the truth by their wickedness, we need to point out their error
– Although people may believe there is a God, they do not commit to Him, we can persuade them
– We can convince people who reject God of the dangerous consequences of their actions (ie, sin)
– Although nature reveals God, people need to be told about Jesus
– We need to obey the great commission.


1:21  The Result of Suppressing Truth
1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” NIV

I.  People could not glorify a God they didn’t believe existed

II.  People could not be or feel thankful to a nonexistent deity

III.  People’s thinking became pointless because it lacked a starting point

IV.  The light of truth in people’s hearts went out 

1:22  Spiritual Blindness
1:22, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools” NRSV

Suppressing the truth leads to an inability to see the truth


1:23  Suppressing the Truth Can Lead to Idolatry
1:23, “and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” NIV

Idolaters worship the things God has made rather than God himself


1:24  Sinful Desires
1:24, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” NIV

I.  Rejecting God leads to degenerated desires
“God gave them over in the sinful desires” NIV

II.  Sinful desires lead to a wide range of lusts

III.  Paul likely had fertility cults in mind
“For the degrading of their bodies with one another.” NIV


1:25  Replacing God
1:25, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.” NIV

I.  People reject God and put something else in His place
“Exchanged the truth about God for a lie” NRSV

II.  People’s decisions about God decide their lifestyle.
“Worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator.” NIV

III.  People’s rebellion does not effect who God is
“Who is forever praised.  Amen”


1:26-27  Sin and Chaos
1:26-27, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. [27] In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

I.  God releases people into sin when they reject Him
“For this reason” NKJV

II.  Without God to guide us nothing prevents us from fulfilling our ever worsening desires
“God gave them over to shameful lusts” NIV

III.  Following desires in the absence of God brings the reign of chaos in every area of life
“their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones… the men also abandoned natural relations” NIV

IV.  There is a penalty to sin
“Received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” NIV


1:28  Parting Ways
1:28, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”

I.  People have judged God and have dismissed [rejected] Him
“They did not like to retain God in their knowledge” NKJV

II.  God allows us to make choices that are against His will
“He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done”


1:29-31  The Focus of a Sinful Mind
1:29-31, “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; [31] they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

Note: The term “filled with” suggests a state of being filled to the point of overflowing.  Once the mind of a person has become depraved, they pursue evil.

I.  “Every kind of wickedness”
– The opposition of righteousness, the absence of justice

II.  “Evil”
– Sinister and vile

III.  “Greed”
– Relentless urge to get more for oneself

IV.  “Depravity”
– A condition of moral evil

V.  “Envy”
– Desire for something possessed by another

VI.  “Murder”
– Greed, envy, and strife, left unchecked, could lead even to killing

VII.  “Strife”
– Competition, rivalry, bitter conflict

VIII.  “Deceit”
– To trick or mislead by lying

IX.  “Malice”
– Doing evil despite the good that has been received

X.  “Gossips”
– They create problems by rehashing idle talk or rumours concerning others’ private affairs

XI.  “Slanderers”
– Destroy another’s good reputation

XII.  “God-haters”
– Not only do they ignore God; some actively hate Him and attempt to work against any of His influences

XIII.  “Insolent”
– Arrogant behaviour toward those who are not powerful enough to fight back.  This particularly refers to a person’s attempt to shame another without mercy

XIV.  “Arrogant and boastful”
– Making claims of superior intelligence or importance

XV.  “Invent ways of doing evil”
– Trying new kinds of perversions

XVI.  “Disobey their parents”
– When God’s authority is tossed aside as worthless, parental authority cannot be far behind.  By ignoring God’s authority they set the example to ignore parental authority

XVII.  “Senseless”
– Unable to discern spiritual and moral things

XVIII.  “Faithless”
– Not keeping one’s promises or doing one’s duties; unreliable, untrustworthy

XIX.  “Heartless”
– Unfeeling, unkind, harsh, cruel

XX.  “Ruthless”
– Without pity or compassion; merciless


1:32  People Sense the Coming Judgment
1:32, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” NIV



God is holy, and His holy response to sin is wrath.  Sin seeks to suppress the truth about God because people do not want to discover their disobedience.  However, there is no excuse for people who claim not to know God.  Nature reveals to everyone the existence of God.  The Bible (and Christians sharing God’s Word) adds content to nature’s general statement that God exists.

Suppressing truth leads to spiritual blindness, idolatry (setting up anything in God’s place), and a rapid descent into moral chaos touching every area of our lives.  God is not effected by our rebellion, so He releases everyone who rejects Him to follow their desires.  They are quickly heading toward the penalty of sin that awaits them.