- As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- Read Romans 1:1, 7
- STUDY NOTE: In modern day America, people typically begin their letters by saying “Dear ________” (identifying who the letter is to), and ending the letter by saying “Sincerely, _______” (identifying who the letter is from). In the first century, letters had a slightly different format. The letter would begin with a revelatory paragraph of who it was to and who it was from. Romans 1:1-7 is the introductory paragraph to one of the greatest letters ever written.
- What do we learn in Romans 1:1-7 about who this letter was written to and who it was written from?
- What do you know about the Apostle Paul? (If you want to hear Paul’s life story straight from his mouth, read Acts 26:1-20.)
- Paul referred to himself as a “servant of Christ Jesus.” Of this designation, W.H. Griffith Thomas said, “He regarded himself as the purchased possession of his Lord and Master. The two ideas of property and service are suggested. There was no serfdom or servility, and yet there was an absolute loyalty in the consciousness of absolute possession. The bond-servant owned nothing, and was nothing apart from his master. His time, his strength, everything belonged altogether to another. There was nothing nobler to St. Paul than to be a slave of the Lord Jesus. He desired to be nothing, to do nothing, to own nothing apart from Him.” This is quite a statement that Paul was making. In what way are all followers of Christ “bond-servants of Jesus”? What would it look like for your life to have that kind of commitment to Jesus?
- Paul next referred to himself as someone who was “called” and “set apart.” Of these word choices, William Barclay said, “Paul never thought of himself as a man who had aspired to an honor; he thought of himself as a man who had been given a task.” What was the task Paul felt he had been set apart for? Do you have a similar sense of calling in your life?
- STUDY NOTE: The Greek word “apostle” means “one who is sent.” In a technical sense, this term was applied to the original twelve apostles PLUS Paul. Paul had a special role to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul clearly did not see this role as something he chose, but something God gave.
- Romans 1:7 lets us know that this letter was written to Christians in the city of Rome . . . a city Paul had never visited (at the time he wrote the letter). In some respects, Rome was the “capital of the western world” in the first century. It was a city of great political importance. The fact that there was a church in Rome by 57 AD (when the letter was written) shows how quickly the Gospel was spreading around the world. Jesus commanded His followers to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20), and the budding church in Rome was another evidence that the disciples took Jesus’ commission seriously. What are the “Romes” of our day that the Gospel has pierced? How does a church in Rome in the first century encourage you about the possibility of the church growing in places all over the world today?
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