Lesson 3 - Chapter 1 Verses 1-4

Chapter 1:1-4

Chapter 1: 1-4

Verse 1

Paul identifies himself as the author of the book of Romans. Paul is the transliteration of the Greek word “paulus,” which means little. Some believe that this name refers to his stature, however, it was common for Jews to also have a Gentile name. Paul was Jewish by birth. Paul’s Jewish name was Saul. (II Corinthians 10:1,10) It seems logical for Paul to use his Gentile name, since he had been appointed by God to be the apostle to the Gentiles. (Acts 7:54-60, 9:13-16; 13:9)

Notice that Paul, showing humility, first introduces himself as a servant of Jesus Christ and not as an apostle. The humility that Paul exhibited throughout his life is documented in all his writings. The word slave in Greek is “doulos,” which means a bondservant. Before salvation, Paul was in bondage as a servant to his sin nature and the Law of Moses, but after salvation he became a servant in bondage to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul even calls himself the chief of all sinners and yet he became the most outstanding believer in the Church Age. (Romans 6:16; I Timothy 1:12-15)

Called in Greek is the word “kletos,” which means an appointment or a calling out. The idea that this word conveyed was an act by God whereby He appointed Paul to the office of an apostle. Paul already had the gift of apostleship, which was given to him at salvation by God the Holy Spirit. The word apostle in Greek is “apostolos,” which means one sent forth with a purpose. Paul was sent specifically to the Gentiles with the purpose of evangelizing them. God sent him forth with credentials – the spiritual gift of miracles. Both of these gifts were temporary until the time when the canon of Scripture was completed and sign gifts were of no further use – the Word of God having become the credentials of authority.

Separated in Greek is the word “aphorizo,” which is made up of two Greek words. The first word is “horizo,” which means to mark off from others by boundaries, to limit or to separate. The second word is “apo,” which means off or from. Together these two Greek words mean that Paul was marked off from others by boundaries, he was appointed by God and he was set apart for a specific purpose. Separated is a perfect participle meaning that this act of separating Paul was completed in the past with results in the present. Paul was separated by God to be the minister of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Gospel is the Greek word “euaggelion,” which means good news. Both words, Gospel and God (“theos” in Greek), do not have a definite article before them, which emphasizes the quality and the character of both.


Verse 2

Paul then made a parenthetical statement regarding the Gospel. Paul made it clear to his readers that this Gospel to which he was separated was promised by God through the writings of the Old Testament prophets. The Gospel regarding Jesus Christ was not something new. Remember that the entire Bible is a progressive revelation of Jesus Christ. Christ is revealed in the Old Testament as Jehovah and as the coming Messiah. All the Old Testament writers of Scripture spoke about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. There are over 300 prophecies regarding the birth, life, death and/or resurrection of Christ in the Old Testament. Salvation in the Old Testament was received by believing in the coming Messiah as He was revealed at that time, as Jehovah. (Genesis 15:6; Acts 8:30-35, 13:16-41)

There is one Greek word for had promised afore - “proepangello,” which means to promise beforehand or to profess beforehand. The phrase by His prophets is a reference to all the Old Testament writers – all of who wrote about the coming Messiah. Some wrote more clearly about His coming, but in all the Old Testament books we find something (if only a type) about the Messiah. The Greek word for prophets is “prophetes” meaning one who speaks forth or proclaimer of a divine message (the Gospel). The normal Greek word for holy comes from the root word that means to be set apart. However, here the Greek word for holy is “hosias” meaning that which is free from defilement, sacred or not polluted, and is often associated with righteousness. Finally, there is the Greek word for Scriptures, which is “graphe,” meaning to write.

We know that the Holy Scriptures were inspired by God and given to certain men to be put in written form. We believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible in its original form. We believe that God so directed the writers of Scripture that His complete and coherent word was transferred to the pages of Scriptures in its original form without altering the literary style or personality of the author. “ …Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name.” (Psalm 138:2)


Verse 3

The virgin birth of Christ was planned in eternity past. The virgin birth was also prophesied in the Old Testament in Isaiah 7:14, about 700 BC. God prepared a nation (Israel) for the virgin birth of Christ according to Genesis 12:1-3. This great nation of Israel would be the nation from which Jesus Christ would be born (all families will be blessed).

The virgin birth of Christ fulfills the Davidic Covenant. This covenant was the unconditional promise from God that David would have a son who would reign forever. (II Samuel 7, Psalms 89, II Chronicles 21) The lineage of Mary can be traced to David. (Luke 3:23-38) The lineage of Joseph, Christ’s legal guardian, can be traced to David, as well. (Matthew 1:1-17) Christ therefore has both a birthright and a legal right to the throne of David (a throne that will be set up during the Millennium upon which Christ will sit and rule the world). (Psalm 89:20-37; II Samuel 7:12-16)

The historical record of the birth of Christ is well documented both biblically and secularly. Most of us are familiar with the story. However, many are not familiar with the doctrine of the birth of Christ and it’s impact upon the world. It is safe to say that no other person in history has changed the world in the way that Jesus of Nazareth changed it. (Matthew 1:18-25; Isaiah 7:14)

Jesus Christ is the unique Person of the universe. He is the only Person in history to be both fully God and fully man. The term for this unique union is Hypostatic Union and is derived from the Greek word hupostatis meaning same essence. In the case of Christ, it is both divine and human essence in one Person forever. He is the God-Man. (Hebrews 1:3) Christ was born without a sin nature (no human father). He is superior to man because He is God. He is superior to sinful humanity because He is sinless. Even though His two natures are united in one Person, they retain their separate identities. The attributes of one do not belong to the other. Deity remains deity and humanity remains humanity. The phrase, which was made, is in the aorist tense indicating something that did not exist in the past and comes into existence in the present (i.e. humanity of Jesus Christ). (Galatians 4:4-5)


Verse 4

God the Father chose the specific time in which the humanity of Jesus Christ was to be born. In verse 3 Paul established the fact that Christ was born as a human being, but in verse 4 he established the fact that Christ was also deity. This fact was ultimately established by means of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus declares and sets apart from all others Christ as the only Person in history to be resurrected. This is to be distinguished from resuscitation (brought back from death only to eventually die). “Horizo” is the Greek word for declared and comes from the same root word as separated and means to mark off by boundaries or to determine. The virgin birth sets Jesus Christ apart as a unique human being. No other person in history has been born of a virgin.

The term the Son of God is a reference to the deity of Jesus Christ. Son of man, a term also used of Jesus Christ throughout the New Testament, is a reference to the humanity of Jesus Christ. Paul was saying that Jesus Christ was born a human being, but declared to be deity. Jesus did not become deity, He was declared to be Who He had always been – God the Son. (John 1:1-5)

This declaration, regarding Jesus Christ as the Son of God, was delivered with power. The Greek word for power is “dunamis,” which means might or ability. In this case, the power was supernatural – it was resurrection power. The power that raised Jesus from the dead was the same power that declared Him to be the Son of God. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the declaration that He was exactly Who He claimed to be – the Son of God. (Matthew 3:16-17)

This declaration was according to a norm or standard, which is what the Greek word “kata” indicates. This norm or standard was the spirit of holiness. The Greek word for spirit is “pneuma,” which can refer to the Holy Spirit or the spirit of man. In this verse, spirit can be a reference to the human spirit of Jesus or to the Holy Spirit. The human spirit of Jesus was holy, just as the Holy Spirit Who indwelt the humanity of Jesus is holy. Holiness is the Greek word “hagiosune,” which denotes the manifestation of the quality of holiness. Remember that God’s holiness is made up of His righteous and His justice. Jesus Christ was therefore declared to be deity (the Son of God) because He met the perfect standard of holiness. No other human being has ever or will ever meet this standard. As believers, it is our union with Jesus Christ that enables us to meet the standard of holiness - positionally.

The phrase by the resurrection is the Greek preposition “eik” plus the Greek ablative of means, “anastasis,” meaning to raise or rise up. The means by which Christ was raised from the dead was the power of God the Holy Spirit. The phrase from the dead is incorrect. These are the Greek words “eik plus the ablative of source plural from “nekros“ meaning “from deaths.” That means two deaths on the cross – spiritual and physical.

It was Christ on the Cross bearing our sins Who was judged by the justice of God. The judgment of sin on the Cross freed the justice of God to provide eternal salvation for anyone who would instantly adjust to the justice of God. That instantaneous adjustment is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:31)  Faith is non-meritorious and compatible with grace. (Ephesians 2:8,9) The Father judged the Son on the Cross by pouring out the sins of the world upon Him. (II Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24) Consequently, salvation was completed during the first death when Christ was bearing our sins. (John 19:30) The resurrection not only demonstrated the effectiveness of Christ’s work on the Cross, it was the means of Christ’s victory in the angelic conflict over Satan. For the person who does not adjust to the justice of God at salvation, the justice of God will adjust to him in eternity. That means eternal punishment of the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)