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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Letter of Paul to the Romans

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1.1–7 : Salutation.

Greek letters began with the names of the sender and the recipient.

1 :

Apostle: see 1 Cor. 9.1 n.

5 :

Paul here affirms his apostleship to the nations, i.e. Gentiles.

7 :

The word grace (i.e God's favor) replaces the usual and similar-sounding Greek salutation; peace is the Jewish salutation (e.g. Matt. 10.13 ).

1.8–15 : Opening thanksgiving.

Next in an ancient Greek letter there was usually a prayer for the recipient's health. Similarly, Paul begins all his letters, except the angry Gal. (and 2 Cor. chs. 10–13 if that is indeed a separate letter; see annotation at 2 Cor. 10.1–13.14 ), by thanking … God for the addressees, mentioning in the process the major themes of the letter.

1.16–17 : The thesis of the letter

is that the righteousness of God gives unmerited acceptance to (i.e. justifies) the believer on the basis of the person's faith (i.e. trust).

16 :

Jew first: see 2.9–10 n.

17 :

The righteousness of God … ending in faith: the book's theme; see 3.22 . Scripture: Hab. 2.4 (Gal. 3.11 ).

1.18–32 : The depravity of the Gentiles.

“The heavens tell out the glory of God” (Ps. 19.1 ), but human beings have refused to honour God (v. 21 ).

19 :

All that may be known, i.e. except God's special revelation to Jews and Christians.

23 :

For the Jewish scorn of idols see Isa. 44.13–20; Wisd. chs. 13–15 .

24–28 :

Therefore God has given them up (vv. 24, 26, 28 ) to increasing wickedness that leads to death.

29–31 :

See Gal. 5.19–21 .

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