Sunday: Romans Introduction
Paul wrote this letter while spending three months (Ac 20:3) in the city of Corinth (Ro 16:1, 2; Ac 18:18) waiting for an offering for impoverished believers in Jerusalem to be collected (2Co 8, 9; Ro 15:16, 25-28). The churches in Greece and Macedonia wanted to send a love-gift and he planned to travel with a delegation of their leaders back to Israel to present it. When that was accomplished he planned to start a new phase of his ministry turning his church-planting efforts to the western portion of the Mediterranean, starting with Spain (Ro 15:24). He hoped to begin this campaign in Rome (Ro 15:23, 24). He had never ministered in that city (Ro 1:13; 15:22, 23) and hadnt planted any of its churches so he would need an invitation from their leaders if he were going to be allowed to speak in their congregations, and he also hoped they would consider supporting him financially when he headed west. For that to happen they would need to know him and be confident his teaching was doctrinally sound. Certainly they knew his reputation and there were people in their churches who knew him personally (Ro 16), but he wanted the elders to trust him enough to welcome him gladly, and we discover when we read Lukes account of his arrival in Acts 28:13-15 they did. He wrote to Rome the most thorough explanation of his beliefs of any of his letters.
Monday: Romans 1:1
v1: In this verse Paul introduces himself by showing us three foundational attitudes that were in his heart. They help us understand why he became such a great apostle but they also serve to challenge us, for what made Paul great will make any disciple great. His first attitude is contained in the statement, Paul, a slave (doulos) of the Messiah Jesus. With these few words he tells us he has abandoned his rights and all control of his life in order to serve Jesus. He has fully surrendered himselfhis self-protection, personal comfort, daily agenda, finances, etc.to do everything in his power to spread the gospel.
Tuesday: Romans 1:1
v1 (continued): To properly understand Pauls statement we need to make an important distinction. God didnt make Paul His slave, Paul made Paul Gods slave. When he was converted God immediately viewed Paul as His adopted son since he was joined to Christ (Ro 8:15-17; Gal 3:26), but Paul chose to live for God as though he were His slave. Pauls understanding of who Jesus is and what He had done for him caused him to see that this was his only reasonable response to such mercy (Ro 12:1). In 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 he makes the statement, Do you not know that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price
Wednesday: Romans 1:1
v1 (continued): He wanted us all to see that when a person understands the moral debt we owe to God there is really no other conclusion. But that does not diminish the fact that when someone makes this choice it is nonetheless a profound act of worship. It is a gift to God that comes forth from a thankful heart and one which is filled with compassion for those who dont know Him yet. Every other priority in life is dwarfed by the need to help others be saved. Though this level of commitment was certainly Gods plan for Paul, He would not have forced him to do it. The willing heart that embraced His call with such fervor was Pauls gift to Him
Thursday: Romans 1:1
v1 (continued): The second foundational attitude Paul reveals in this verse is contained in his statement, called to be an apostle. Paul knew his assignment, and this gave him boldness, perseverance and focus. He was absolutely certain God had called him to be an apostle to the Gentiles (Ro 1:5; Ac 9:15; 26:16-18). The word apostle means one who is sent forth or sent away from
(where they are to someplace else). In practice an apostle is basically a traveling church-planter, someone with godly character, a broad array of spiritual giftings and a mature knowledge of the Bible to such a degree they can be sent to places where no Christian community exists or where a very troubled one is struggling and there they become the first seed of a new field.
Friday: Romans 1:1
v1 (continued): They have the ability to begin with nothing and raise up a healthy Christian community. People can learn how to function as Christians by observing their lives and imitating their faith (1Co 4:16; 1Th 1:6; Heb 13:7). They have the essential qualities God wants reproduced. Zeal or evangelistic gifting alone does not make an apostle. Rather, maturity, sound doctrine and the ability to minister to others in the power of the Spirit must be present. This is why it invariably takes a long time to prepare an apostle and why at least 17 years passed between the moment God converted Paul and called him to be an apostle (Ac 9:1-18) and finally sending him out to do the work of an apostle (Ac 13:1-3).
Saturday: Romans 1:1
v1 (continued): After his conversion the first thing Paul did was to go to Arabia to meditate on the shocking revelation he had just been given that Jesus was the long awaited Savior (Gal 1:17). Then he returned to Damascus for three years (Gal 1:17, 18; Ac 9:23-26; 2Co 11:32, 33) and created such a stir in that city he had to escape at night. From there he headed to Jerusalem for a couple of weeks (Ac 9:25-31; Gal 1:17-21), but again stirred up such hostility the apostles put him on a boat at the harbor of Caesarea and sent him home to Tarsus (Ac 9:30). He remained in Tarsus, or at least confined himself to that region (Gal 1:21) for probably about 13 years until Barnabus was sent up there by the church in Antioch to bring him back to help teach their exploding number of new converts (Ac 11:19-26). Then after observing him for an entire year (Ac 11:26) the elders were at last instructed by the Holy Spirit to send him out, partnered with Barnabus, as an apostle (Ac 13:1-3).