Paraphrase of Romans 1

One way of studying and meditating on the Word of God is to attempt to write it out in your own words, making a personal paraphrase of the text. The following is just that, a personal paraphrase, sometimes amplified and illustrated by other quotations. My paraphrase is on the left, and the text of the King James Version on the right. I am sharing this to encourage others to also study God’s Word, possibly by attempting their own paraphrase. I also hope my paraphrase may help some to better understand what God has said.

First, a little outline of the whole letter:

Outline of Romans by chapters
1 - 3:23Sin
3:24 - 5 Salvation
6 - 8 Sanctification
9 - 11 Sovereignty
12 - 13 Service
14 - 15 Self-denial
16 Salute

Now, an outline of this chapter:

Outline of Romans 1
1-7 Paul’s authority in Christ
8-15 Paul’s concern for the Romans
16-17 Power of the Gospel
18-23 Evident Truth of God
24-32 Descent of Man

Paul’s authority in Christ -- 1:1-7

1-4   I, Paul, who am a willing slave forever of Jesus Christ, called by Him to be His special messenger, and selected to participate in a unique way in disseminating, clarifying, and recording the good news of God. This news was promised many years ago by His messengers, those who spoke and wrote the Word of God, in the perfect written Word. Of course, I am referring to His Son, whose earthly ancestor was David (his mother and her husband were direct descendants of this great king), but who was proven to be the Son of God in a mighty demonstration of His power and authority when God raised Him back to life after three days in the tomb. The coming of His Holy Spirit has also verified this claim. His name is Jesus, He is the anointed one of God, and we worship and serve Him as our Lord. It is through Him that we have received the free gift of God’s favor, for which we are totally unworthy, and by Him we have been chosen to take the message to the non-Jewish world so that they might believe and obey, placing all their trust in Him. (For His is the only name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, and it is for the glory of His name that we continue in this ministry.) And you also are Gentiles, and have been called by Jesus Christ, so I am writing to you to whom God has shown His love, who are called His holy ones, who live in Rome. I hope through this letter you will understand and appropriate more of God’s unmerited favor which he bestows on His children, and the inner peace which comes from a right relationship to Him, made possible by our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s concern for the Romans -- 1:8-15

8-15  I thank my God for all of you, because the whole world is hearing about your faith. God knows how I am always praying for you, and especially desiring that in His will I might come to you. (When I say “God knows,” this is not a mere idiom, because He is my God, through Jesus Christ; I serve Him with all my heart, telling everyone the good news of His Son. He really does know me.) One of the great desires He has put into my heart is to visit you, so that I may help you to grow in the Spirit, and to be firmly grounded in your faith. Also, so that we may encourage each other in this faith, as we share God’s working in and through our lives, and work for God together. You should know that I have often planned to visit you, but so far I have not been allowed to do so. I really want to preach the Gospel in Rome, because I owe it to every man, whether he is Greek or not, whether he is a philosopher or a fool, to give him an opportunity to hear, believe, and be born again unto eternal life. I would like to harvest some souls among you just as God has allowed me to do among other Gentiles. 8 ¶ First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Power of the Gospel -- 1:16-17

16-17  You see, I am not the least bit embarrassed about this good news. In fact, I am very proud of it, and everyone (both Jew and Greek) who believes will testify with me that God has chosen this vehicle to bring His saving power to them. In it God has revealed His righteousness, the free gift of right standing with Him, which available to all who will place all their confidence in Jesus Christ. For it is just as the Scriptures say, the man who is in right standing with God, justified before Him, must live by faith, utter dependence on the way God has provided for us. 16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Evident Truth of God -- 1:18-23

18-23 God has now revealed to us the extend of His righteous anger against all the ungodliness (denial of God, indifference toward God, rebellion) and unrighteousness (resulting wickedness and willful separation from God and from a life conforming to His wishes) of men. Men have held back and covered up the truth about God by their deliberate choice to live out of fellowship with Him. There is no case for pleading ignorance, for God has placed within every man a recognition of the truth, and He has heaped up the evidence to prove His existence, character, and nature. There is no excuse at all for not knowing about God, for even the invisible characteristics of God, such as His timelessness, omnipotence, sovereignty and holiness, can be clearly deduced from the things which He has created. In the history of man, we see that in the early times they knew God, but they were not willing to give Him first place in their lives, or even be grateful for those things He did for them. Instead, they invented many theories out of their own minds which were full of logical errors and wild assumptions. Claiming to be full of light, they had ignored God’s light and thus were filled with darkness. The louder they shouted “We are wise!”, the more foolish they became. There are several stages in this descent of man which can be traced. At this first state we see them giving up the wonderful truth of a God without corruption, wholly righteous and unchanging, and in its place erecting idols in the form of sinful man, and of all kinds of animals. Man who was made to worship the true and living God, turned and bowed down to birds, cattle, and snakes! 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Descent of Man -- 1:24-32

24-25 As a consequence of this idol worship, God allowed the desires of their hearts to bear fruit in impure actions, so that their bodies, which they had worshipped, were stripped of honor. You see, they had turned away from God’s true revelation of Himself, and received and believed Satan’s lie that man should worship in voluntary humility, and submit themselves in servitude to other created thins. (At different times in history, Man has worshipped and served Satan and his angels, idols in the form of human beings, animals, celestial bodies, and even products of the human mind (a kind of sub-creation).) God’s plan is that we should submit in service and devotion to Him who made all these things, the Creator of the universe and all that is in it. And whether of free will or not, eventually everyone will worship God. So let it be true now! 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26-27 As mankind continued to depart from God, He allowed them go be filled with passionate desire for things which would bring them lower and lower. For example, both men and women turned away from normal relationships and began to engage in overt homosexual acts, being overpowered by their own lusts. Those who do these things suffer in both body and soul because of their deliberate choice to do wrong. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28-32 Finally, men did not want to even acknowledge the existence of God, or admit that He had any power or authority over them at all. So God allowed this also, and all manner of evil rushed in to fill the vacuum left in their minds. Choosing to be emptied of God, they were filled with everything opposed to God. Here are some examples of the fruit of this “New Morality”: every form of wicked behavior, including an insatiable desire for possessions; in fact, their envy and greed leads to killing one another, continual fighting, lying to get their own way and yet maintain the respect of others; they will tear each other apart with gossip and slander, defy the very God who made them as well as every earthly authority, without any respect for others, but demanding that everyone respect them, taking credit for other’s good works, planning always how to be more evil, they have no mercy, cannot be trusted, love no one but themselves. Even though they know that God has passed the death sentence on all who live this way, they not only continue themselves but encourage others to live the same way. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
[ In these stages, I see that God is only allowing men to do what they want. However, He also allows them to receive the natural consequences of their deeds. This if for the purpose of revealing to man that God’s way is the only way that works. When they worshipped the body, God let impurity dishonor their bodies. When they said they were wise, God let their foolishness be known. When they said they were strong, He let their weakness be known. And so on. Proverbs 1:31 - “They shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices”; Galatians 6:7-8. ]

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