Introduction to the Book of Romans
“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,” Romans 1:1
As he begins writing the book of Romans, Paul identifies himself as a “bond-servant of Jesus Christ.” This was a common metaphor for Paul. (See Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1) He viewed Himself in the most literal terms as a purchased slave of Christ with no will of his own. Jesus was his Master.
He then states that he was called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of Christ. The word “apostle” here means a “sent out one”. He spent his life going far and wide for His Master. The word “apostle” when used as a gift of the Holy Spirit indicates a missionary calling. (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28-31)
The last phrase in this verse defines Paul’s life calling. He was “set aside for the gospel of God.” The mandate fell on him to both define and defend the gospel. He did this in nearly every book he wrote including the book of Romans. Philippians chapter one may explain this calling best as he uses the word “gospel” six times in that chapter alone to explain his calling.
Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Rome from the city of Corinth. This letter has been called “the most profound work in existence.” In this book he was both an historian and a theologian. He presents a view of history from the perspective of God’s plan for lost humanity. He starts with God’s revelation of Himself in creation and how mankind turned from God. He then turns to an explanation of the Jewish people and how God used them to birth the Messiah.
Following that, he masterfully shows that all men, both Jews and Gentiles are lost because of sin and in need of the Savior. He explains God’s original plan in giving the Law and how everyone has fallen short. As the book of Romans unfolds, Paul explains God’s plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
But he doesn’t stop there. He then moves into an in-depth exposition of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit at work within every believer. The book of Romans and the book of Galatians have a unique affinity.
Get ready for an amazing adventure as we walk verse by verse though the book of Romans. As always, my goal is to draw practical application from every text for daily living. The Word of God is alive and relevant for today.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global