Lesson 5 - Chapter 1 Verses 8-10

Chapter 1:8-10

Threefold Attitude of Paul

Verse 8

Attitude of Thanksgiving

Paul expresses his sincere appreciation of the testimony of the believers of in the church at Rome. The faith that Paul refers to in this verse includes both salvation faith and the execution of the Christian Way of Life, which is lived by faith. These believers obviously had a good testimony throughout the Roman Empire. This is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that Rome was one of the most vile and abominable cities in the empire. Living the spiritual life in Rome at the time Paul wrote this epistle would have been very challenging.

The Greek word for spoken is “kaiaggello” and confirms the fact that these Roman believers’ testimony was known throughout the world. The word for spoken means to spread the tidings throughout. The known world at that time was the Roman Empire.

Rome was also the center for all types of commerce and many traders and merchants would visit Rome and continue to travel throughout the empire. No doubt these merchants carried the news of these faithful Christians to other regions. Paul most likely heard the news of these believers from other believers who had traveled to Rome and knew of or came in contact with the believers there. The point is that Paul rejoiced over the fact that there was a strong group of believers in the capital city of Rome and he had a very strong desire to visit them.

 

Verse 9

Attitude of Intercessory Prayer

The church at Rome was on Paul’s “prayer list” and he was consistent in praying for them. Witness is the Greek word “martus” and means one who asserts what he has seen or knows. The word martyr is derived from this word, and for a Christian it means one who testifies to what he knows concerning the Lord Jesus Christ even though his testimony costs him his life.

Prayer is the grace system of communication with God for the believer. The purpose of prayer is to communicate with our Heavenly Father. God communicates with us through His Word. We communicate with God through prayer. God, therefore, expects all believers to pray. We are actually commanded to pray without ceasing, which means to have a consistent prayer life. There are correct principles and procedures for praying, and it is important that we learn and use these principles and procedures. (I Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Hebrews 4:16)

Prayer is for believers only. In order for a person to address God as father, they must first have a family relationship with Him. This relationship is possible only by placing your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Once this relationship exists, the believer has every right to communicate with their Heavenly Father. This, of course, is what God wants us to do. (Galatians 3:26; John 1:12)

All prayer is to be directed to the Father, in the name of the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are praying and making intercession for us, therefore, we direct our prayer to the Father. This is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray. (Matthew 6:9; John 14:13-14; Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:26-27)

Long prayers are to be done in private. Public prayer should be short and to the point. The Pharisees were fond of lengthy prayers so that men would see and hear them being “holy.” The Bible says that they already had their reward (being seen of men). When we pray, it should be done in private to God. (Matthew 6:5-7)

There is an order for prayer. The first item of our prayer should always be to name or admit our sins, if necessary, using the Rebound Technique. This restores the control of the Holy Spirit and fellowship with God. The believer is now in a position to be heard by God. This should be another encouragement to keep “short accounts” (name your sins immediately) with God. (I John 1:9; Psalm 66:18)

Next, we should give thanks for the spiritual and material blessings that God has graciously given to us. This includes divine discipline and divine guidance. We should then pray for others, intercessory prayer. This means we must know the needs of others, which would necessitate an up-to-date prayer list. Prayer for the unbeliever is primarily for their salvation. Since God does not force a person to believe in Christ, our prayer should be that they would hear a clear Gospel message. We could also pray that God would provide us the opportunity to present the Gospel. (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:15-16)

Finally, you should pray for your own needs, petition. Remember that there are some things that you don’t have to pray about. For example, we are commanded to be filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit. We are controlled by the Holy Spirit when we have used the Rebound Technique of naming or admitting our sins to God, and we are executing the Christian Way of Life. So we don’t have to pray, “Fill me with your Holy Spirit,” which would show our lack of knowledge of God’s Word and is an insult to God. If there is not a direct solution to your need in the Scriptures, then take it to God in prayer. (Philippians 4:6)

Whom I serve refers to God and the Greek word for serve is “latreuo” meaning service, work or hire. As we have studied, divine production can be invisible or overt. Paul stated that this production was in or from his human spirit. All divine production comes from the human spirit of the believer. “In the gospel” is one of the specific spheres of service that Paul refers to here. Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ often entails much more than the presentation of the salvation message. It can also include the entire doctrines of Soteriology and Christology.

Divine Production

Commonly called “Christian service,” true divine production is radically different from what most people think. Divine production is the function of the royal ambassador motivated by his relationship with God. (Romans 12:11)

All blessings from God are on the basis of grace and can therefore have nothing to do with human works. God does not bless you because you’re good, because you help others, because you give money, because you witness, because you come to church or any other overt activity. God blesses you because you possess His righteousness. It is your eternal relationship with God that brings you blessing, not your personality or ability. (Ephesians 1:3)

Divine production can be visible or invisible. For example, prayer is invisible divine production when it is offered for others. Sharing the Gospel is visible divine production. Both are rewardable when done from the proper motivation of love for God and impersonal love for others. Certain categories of divine production are common to all believers and some are fulfilled through the function of our spiritual gifts. For example, all believers are commanded to exhibit the character of Christ, but not all believers have the gift of pastor-teacher. (Romans 12:6-8)

Without ceasing is the Greek word “adialeiptos,” which means constantly recurring. I make mention is the Greek word “mneia,” meaning remembrance or memory. This remembrance was in Paul’s prayers. Prayer is the Greek word “proseuche” referring to intercession for others.

 

Verse 10

Attitude of Longing to Visit Them

Paul’s request to visit the church at Rome was directed toward God, which he offered in the form of a prayer. The Greek word for making request is “diomai,” which means to beseech or to pray. The King James translation follows this statement with, “if by any means now at length,” which is the Greek word “pote.” “Pote” means aforetime, in the past and suggests Paul desired to go to Rome for a long time but was hindered.

Paul was hopeful that God would grant him the opportunity to visit Rome so that he could teach the church there “face-to-face.” Paul’s request was that he might have a prosperous journey if it was within the will of God for him to go to Rome. Often times in the life and ministry of Paul, God sent him to certain locations, but stopped him from going to others.

A Christian who does not know God’s will is said to be foolish according to Ephesians 5:17. The opposite of being foolish is being wise. Wisdom, as we have studied, is application of the Word of God. Therefore, God’s will can be discovered by knowing and applying His Word. Knowledge and application of God’s Word can be gained only under the control of the Holy Spirit, since He is the teacher of truth. (John 14:26, 16:13-14; Romans 8:14; I Corinthians 2:16)