Very Different People But The Same Message: Romans 1:13-15
“13) And I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14) I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15) Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” Romans‬ ‭1:13-15‬
In these three verses, Paul is acknowledging the radical difference between people and cultures, but that the gospel is the same for all people. We can adjust our methods, but the message remains the same.
Keep in mind, he was writing from Corinth which was part of the Greek empire. It very was intellectual, educated, sophisticated and refined. It featured the fine arts and philosophical debate. It could be defined as “high culture.”
By contrast, the Romans were forceful, fierce and demanding, and they were proud of it. They were by no means as educated as their Greek counterparts. Paul described them as “barbarian”, and so they were compared to the Greeks. Rome could be defined as “low culture.”
The contrast between the two was very drastic. The Greeks featured the original Olympic Games, whereas the Romans built the Colosseums which featured the gladiators with blood and violence for sport. Everything about Greek and Roman culture was different right down to food and entertainment choices.
That’s what makes these three verses so profound. Paul acknowledged that he was equipped by the Holy Spirit to reach both groups and that the message was the same. The Gospel is as much needed by the rich and famous as it is by the common and ordinary.
Did you get that? The message does not change. Why? Because Paul latter argues that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Everyone is sinful, lost and separated from God and in need of the good news of the Gospel. He concludes that people can be smart and lost or foolish and lost.
There are all kinds of sinners. Some may be educated and sophisticated and know the finer arguments of philosophy and psychology, but like the Greeks, they are still sinful and lost. Others may be forceful and brutish and driven by all kinds of base passions, but like the Romans, they are still sinful and lost.
The profound take away from these verses it that the Gospel message is the same for all people and needed by all people. Because of that, Paul recognized that he was qualified and equipped to reach all people. His message of Jesus Christ was the same for Jews, Greeks and Romans. He was confident sharing the gospel equally with everyone.
The same is true today! Modern people are as sinful and lost as ancient people were. The Holy Spirit still uses the same simple gospel message to reach and transform people today. It is the same message for all people, in all places, and at all times.
If you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit wants to use you to point others to Jesus Christ and the Gospel. We as Christians are merely the mouth piece of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who does the work of drawing and saving people. We merely love people and share the story.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global