1This is from Paul, completely dedicated to Jesus Christ. I was chosen by God as a messenger, and appointed to tell the good news of God 2which he had previously promised through his prophets in the holy scriptures. 3This good news is about his son, whose earthly ancestor was David, 4but through his resurrection from the dead he was proved to be the son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. 5It is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we received grace and this calling to be his messengers, and because of him we work to share this message of trusting obedience to all the nations—6including you, who are also called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7It is written to all of you in Rome—you who are loved by him and called to be his special people. May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
8Firstly, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because your faith is being spoken about all over the world. 9I never stop praying for you, as God can confirm—the God whom I whole-heartedly serve in telling the good news about his son. 10In my prayers I am always asking to come and see you, if that’s what God wants. 11I really want to see you and share with you a spiritual gift that would strengthen you, 12so that together we can be encouraged by each others’ faith, both yours and mine. 13You should know, my brothers and sisters, that I often planned to visit you, but up until now it did not work out. I wanted to see some good results among you as I have seen among other foreigners. 14For I am indebted to both the educated and the uneducated, to the wise and to the ignorant. 15That is why I am keen to come and share the good news with you too, you who are in Rome.
16For I am not embarrassed over the good news—because it is God’s power to save everyone who trusts—to the Jewish people first, and then also to the other nations. 17The good news shows us how God puts us right. It is all trust—from beginning to end, as the verse says, “those who live right do so by trusting God.”
18God’s hostility is revealed from heaven against those who are godless and do not live right, who suppress the truth through evil—19for what can be known about God he has made obvious to them. 20Through everything that God has made, what may be invisible about God can be clearly seen—his eternal power and divinity—so that such people have no excuse. 21This is because that even though they knew God, they did not honor him or thank him, but instead they thought up nonsense, and their ignorant minds became dark. 22Claiming to be wise they became foolish, 23and they replaced the glory of the immortal God with idols: images of mortal human beings, and birds, and animals, and creepy-crawlies. 24As a result, God abandoned them to the lusts of their evil minds, and they degraded themselves by abusing their bodies. 25They replaced the truth of God with a lie, and bowed in worship to creatures instead of the Creator, who deserves praise forever.
26That is why God abandoned them to their evil desires. Their women perverted natural sex to that which is unnatural, 27while the men also gave up normal sex with women and were on fire with lust for each other—men on men doing indecent things to each other, and in turn they experienced the consequences of what they did. 28Since they refused to know God, God abandoned them to mentality of distrust, doing what isn’t right. 29They became full of all kinds of wickedness: evil, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deceit, malice, gossip, 30they are slanderers, God-haters, rude, proud, boastful, inventing new ways of sinning, rebellious against parents. 31They don’t want to understand, they break their promises, they’re unloving and have no compassion. 32Even though they know exactly what God says, they do things that deserve death. Not only do they such things, they approve of those who do them too.
1So whoever you are—you have no excuses! In whatever way you judge others, you condemn yourself, for you the judge do exactly the same things. 2And we know that when God judges those who do these things his judgment is absolutely right. 3Do you really think—you the one who is judging those who do such things—that you will escape being judged by God? 4Or are you treating his great kindness, tolerance, and patience with contempt, not realizing it is God’s kindness that leads you to repentance? 5Because of your hard and unconverted heart, you are saving up punishment for yourself on the day of punishment when God’s right judgment is revealed. 6He will give everyone what they deserve on the basis of what they have done. 7Those who have persevered, trying to what is right, will receive glory and honor, immortality and eternal life. 8But those who are self-seeking, who reject the truth, and willingly choose to do evil—they will receive punishment and furious hostility. 9Everyone who does evil will have trouble and suffering, for the Jewish people first, and then also the foreigners. 10But everyone who does good will have glory, respect, and peace, for the Jewish people first, and then also the foreigners. 11God has no favorites.
12Those who sin without the written law still die, and those who sin knowing the written law will be judged by that law. 13For it is not just listening to what the law says that makes you right in God’s sight. It is those who do what the law says who will be set right. 14When even the foreigners who do not have the written law do what it says naturally, they operate according to law even without the written law. 15Through this they reveal the actions of the law that is written on their hearts. As they reflect on what they do their conscience either accuses or defends them. 16The good news I share is that a day is coming when God will judge, through Jesus Christ, the secrets of everyone.
17You who call yourself a Jew and rely on the written law, you boast of God’s favor, 18you know what he wants you to do, and you value higher principles from what you have been taught from the law. 19You are absolutely sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those in the dark, 20someone who can set ignorant people straight, a teacher of “children”—knowing from the law all the truth there is to know. 21So if you are teaching others, why do you not teach yourself? If you tell people not to steal, do you steal? 22If you tell people not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery? If you tell people not to worship idols, do you vandalize temples?
23You who boast of having the law—do you not shame God by breaking it? 24God’s character is slandered among the foreigners because of you, just as the text says. 25Being circumcised is good if you do what the law says, but if you break the law, your circumcision is as worthless as those who are not circumcised at all. 26If someone is not circumcised but does what the law says, should the fact he is not circumcised not be taken as if he were? 27Will the uncircumcised foreigners who keep the law not judge you, who though you have the written law and circumcision, are a law-breaker? 28It is not outward appearances that make you a Jew, nor is it the physical sign of circumcision. 29What makes you a Jew is on the inside, and “circumcision of the heart,” following not the letter of the law but the spirit—someone who is praised by God, not people.
1So what advantage does a Jew have? What is the benefit of circumcision? 2Lots—in many ways! First of all, they were entrusted with God’s words. 3Yes, some of them did not trust in God—but does their lack of trust in God destroy the trustworthiness of God? 4Absolutely not! Even if everyone is a liar, God is truthful. As the scripture says, “Your words will proved to be right, and you will win your case when you come to court.”
5But if the fact that we are not right demonstrates the rightness of God, can we say that God is not right to punish? (I am talking in human terms here). 6Of course not! How else can God judge the world? 7But if the truth of God is gloriously contrasted by my lies, why am I still condemned as a sinner? 8Is it a case of “Let us sin to bring about good”? (as some people have slanderously alleged that we say. They deserved to be condemned).
9So are we Jews better than others? Definitely not! Remember that we have already argued that both Jews and foreigners are ruled by sin. 10As scripture says, “Nobody lives right, not even one, 11nobody understands, nobody looks for God. 12Everyone has shunned him, everyone does what is completely wrong. Nobody does good, not a single one. 13From their throats comes corruption, stinking like an open grave; they use their tongues to spread deceit; their lips ooze with the venom of snakes. 14Their mouths are full of bitter curses, 15and they are quick on their feet to shed blood. 16Their way leads to destruction and misery, 17not knowing the way of peace. 18In their eyes God does not deserve respect.”
19Now we recognize that whatever the law stipulates is for those who are subject to the law. In this way every objection is silenced, and everyone is made answerable to God. 20For no one is made right before God by doing what the law says, because the law only helps us understand what sin is.
21But now God has revealed how we can be made right—a way that does not have to do with the law, even though it was spoken of by the law and the prophets. 22This is God’s way of making right everyone who believes and trusts in Jesus Christ. It does not matter who we are: 23everyone has sinned and is a long way from reaching God’s glory. 24God’s free and gracious gift is to make us right through the purifying salvation of Christ Jesus, 25whom God sent out to bring about reconciliation through trusting in him. 26He shed his blood to demonstrate that he is right, because in his mercy he overlooked sins in the past. Now at this time God proves he is absolutely fair, and that he can legitimately make right those who trust in Jesus.
27So can we boast about anything? No chance! Why? Because we do not follow the law of observance, but the law of trust. 28We are convinced that people are made right through trust in God, not from legal observance. 29Or is God only the God of the Jews? Is he not the God of other people too? Yes, he is! 30There is only one God, and he makes us right through our trust in him, whoever we are. 31Does that mean that because we trust in God we get rid of the law? Certainly not—instead we confirm the importance of the law.
1Let us turn to Abraham, from a human viewpoint the father of our nation, and ask, what was his experience? 2Because if Abraham was set right by what he did, then he would have something to boast about—but not in God’s eyes. 3But what does scripture say? “Abraham trusted God, and so he was considered as right.” 4For whoever works gets paid, not as a gift, but what they are owed. 5But God, who makes sinners right, regards them as right not because they have worked for it but because they trust in him. Just as 6David praised those whom God accepts as right not because they worked for it: 7“How blessed are those whose law-breaking is dismissed, and whose sins are forgiven. 8How blessed are those the Lord does not consider as sinful.”
9Is this blessing just for Jewish people, or is it for others too? We have just said that Abraham was accepted as right because he trusted God. 10So when did this acceptance by God happen? When Abraham was a Jew or before? 11It was actually before he became a Jew through the rite of circumcision, which was a confirmation of his trust in God to make him right. This happened before he was circumcised so he is the father of everyone who trusts in God, even though they may not be circumcised Jews, so that they also may be considered as right by God. 12He is the father of circumcised Jews not just because they are circumcised, but because they follow in the footsteps of our father Abraham and trust in God as he did before he was circumcised.
13For God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants that the world would belong to him was not based on his law-keeping, but that he was made right through his trust in God. 14Because if the inheritance is law-based, then the issue of trusting God is not valid, and the promise is pointless, 15for the law results in punishment—but if there is no law then it cannot be broken.
16So the promise is based on trusting God, given as a free gift that is guaranteed to everyone, not just to those observe the law, but also to those who trust like Abraham, the father of us all.
17As scripture says, “I have made you the father of many peoples.” For in the eyes of God, Abraham trusted in the God who makes the dead alive and speaks of what does not yet exist as reality. 18Abraham hoped against all hope and trusted God, that he might become the father of many peoples, just as God had promised, “Think how many descendants you will have!” 19His trust in God did not weaken even though he thought his body was as good as dead (he was around a hundred years old), and knew that Sarah was too old to have children. 20He hung on to God’s promise, and did not doubt. In growing trust he gave God glory, 21being absolutely sure that God who had promised would have the power to follow through. 22That is why he was accepted as right.
23The fact that Abraham was considered right was not just recorded for him alone. 24It was for us too, we who are to be accepted as right, who trust in God who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead—25Jesus who was betrayed because of our sins, and who was raised to life make us right.
1Now that we are made right by trusting God, we have peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2It is through him, trusting in God’s grace, that we have been brought to where we now stand, confidently expressing our hope of being part of God’s glory. 3Not only this: we also remain confident when troubles come, because we know that troubles develop endurance. 4Endurance in turn makes us mature, and maturity leads to hope. 5This hope will not disappoint, for God’s love is being poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit he gave to us. 6When we could do nothing to help ourselves, Christ died at the right time for us godless people. 7Hardly anyone would die even for a good person—though maybe somebody would be brave enough to die for someone good—8but God demonstrates his own love for us by the fact that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
9So now we are made right by his blood, we can be absolutely sure we will be saved by him from the coming punishment. 10For if when we were his enemies God made us his friends through the death of his Son, we can be absolutely sure he will save us through the life of his Son. 11But that is not all—now we can rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ to make us his friends.
12It was through one man that sin came into the world, and sin led to death. In this way death came to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13Even before the law there was sin in the world, but sin is not kept count of where there is no law. 14Nevertheless death ruled from Adam until Moses, even over those who did not sin exactly as Adam did. Now Adam is a pattern of the one to come. 15But the gift is not like the sin. If it was through one person’s sin that many died, how much the more did God bring his abundant grace to so many, by his gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ. 16And the result is not like the sin. Judgment brought condemnation because of that sin, but the gift sets us right with God, despite our many sins. 17Because of one man’s sin, death ruled through him. But how much the more will those who receive God’s abundant grace and his gift of living right rule in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! 18Just as one sin brought condemnation on everyone, even so one right act made it possible for everyone to live right. 19Just as through one man’s disobedience many became sinners, even so through one man’s obedience many are made right. 20When the Law came along, sin was even more obvious. But where sin was even more, grace was even more than that. 21Even though sin ruled in death, grace even more ruled by making us right, ready for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1How should we respond? Should we go on sinning so we can have more and more grace? 2Of course not! Since we have already died to sin, how can we live in sin any longer? 3Do you not realize that every one of us who was baptized into Christ Jesus was baptized into his death? 4Just as through baptism we were buried with him in death, so too we are raised from the dead like Christ through the glory of the Father, so that we can live a brand-new life. 5If we have been united with him in the same kind of death, then we will also be raised like him. 6We realize that our old self was crucified with him to get rid of the dead body of sin so that we would not any longer be enslaved by sin. 7Anyone who has died is set free from sin. 8But if we died with Christ, we have confidence that we will also live with him, 9for we know that since Christ has been raised from the dead he will not ever die, because death has no control over him any more. 10In dying, he died to sin just once, but in living he lives—he lives to God! 11So now you should consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12So do not let sin have control over your dying body, subject to its desires, 13and do not use the different parts of your body for sinful purposes as tools of evil. Instead dedicate yourselves to God, as people risen from the dead, and use the parts of your body as tools for doing what is right for God. 14Sin shall not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
15So then—shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Absolutely not! 16Do you not see that whoever you belong to as obedient servants, you are servants of your master? If you belong to sin, this results in death, if obedient to God the result is living right. 17Thank God that while you were once sin’s servants, you chose from your heart to follow the truth about God that you learned. 18Now that you are freed from sin, you have become servants of what is right.
19I talk in human terms because of the weakness of human nature—for in the same way that you once used your physical body in slavery to impurity, sin upon sin, now dedicate your body to living pure and right. 20While you were sin’s servants you were not obliged to do what is right. 21But what were the results during that time, results that you are ashamed of now? In the end this way leads to death. 22But now you are freed from sin, and have become God’s servants, the results will be a pure life—and in the end, eternal life. 23Sin’s wage is death, but God’s free gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1Do you not understand (here I am talking to people who know the law) that the law has authority over someone as long as they are alive? 2For example, a married woman is bound by the law to her husband while he is alive, but when he dies, she is released from this legal obligation to him. 3So if while her husband is alive she gave herself to another man, she is called unfaithful, but if her husband died and she went with another man, she would not be guilty of adultery.
4In the same way my friends you have become dead to legal obligations through dying in the body of Christ, and now you are “married” to someone else—he who was raised from the dead that we might be effective for God. 5While we were under the control of our old nature, our sinful desires (as revealed by the law) were at work within us and resulted in death. 6But now we have been released from these legal obligations, and have died to what bound us, so that we can obey in the newness of the spirit and not the old letter of the law.
7What should we conclude? That the law is sin? Of course not! Even so, I would not have known what was sin unless the law defined it—I would not have known selfish desires were wrong without the law saying “Do not selfishly desire what belongs to someone else.” 8But through this commandment sin found the opportunity to produce in me all kinds of selfish desires—for if there is no law, then sin is dead. 9Once I was alive, living without a relationship to the law, but when the commandment arrived, then sin came back to life and I died. 10I discovered that the commandment that was supposed to bring life instead brought death, 11because sin found the opportunity through the commandment to completely deceive me, and used the commandment to kill me!
12However the law is holy, the commandment is holy, right, and good. 13Now would something good kill me? Of course not! But sin reveals itself as sin by using good to cause my death, so that by the commandment sin is shown to be so completely wrong. 14We realize that the law is to do with what is spiritual, but I am all-too-human sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not know what I am doing. I do the things I do not want to, and what I hate to do, that is what I end up doing! 16But if I am doing what I do not want to, this shows that I agree that the law is right. 17So now it is no longer me doing such things, but the sin that lives in me— 18because I know that nothing good is part of me, my human nature. I want to do what is right, but the ability to do it just is not there. 19The good I want to do, I do not do; while the evil I do not want to do, that is what I do! 20But if I am doing what I do not want to, then it is no longer me doing it, but the sin living in me. 21This is the principle I have discovered: if I want to do what is good, evil is right there. 22Inwardly I love God’s law, 23but I see a different law at work in my body, fighting against the principles I have decided on in my mind and defeating me, so I become a prisoner of the law of sin inside me. 24What a hopeless man I am! Who will rescue me from this dead body of mine? Thank God—he does this through Jesus Christ our Lord! 25So while I personally choose with my mind to obey God’s law, my human nature is subject to the law of sin.
1Consequently there is now no sentence that condemns those who are in Christ Jesus. 2The law of the Spirit—life in Christ Jesus—set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do because it was powerless due to our sinful human nature, God was able to do by sending his own Son in human form. Dealing with the whole problem of sin, he destroyed sin in human nature. 4In this way we could fulfill the right requirements of the law as we follow the Spirit and not our human nature. 5Those who follow their sinful human nature are preoccupied with sinful things, but those who follow the Spirit concentrate on spiritual things. 6The sinful human way of thinking results in death, but thinking as the Spirit does leads to life and peace. 7Sinful human thinking is hostile to God because it refuses to be controlled by the law of God—in fact it never can be, 8and those who think from this sinful human perspective can never please God. 9But you are not following your human nature, but the Spirit, if it is true that the Spirit of God is living in you. For anyone that does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
10However if Christ is in you, even though your body is mortal because of sin, the Spirit gives life because you are now right with God. 11The one who raised Jesus from the dead—his Spirit lives in you, and he who raised Jesus from the dead will also make your dead bodies come alive through his Spirit that lives in you. 12So we Christians have a responsibility, but not to our human nature—living according our human desires. 13Because if you live under the control of your sinful nature, you definitely will die. But if you follow the way of the Spirit, killing the sinful physical urges, then you will live. 14All those who are led by the Spirit of God are God’s children. 15What was given to you was not a spirit of slavery to terrify you again—what you received was the spirit of adoption into God’s family, so we can shout out, “God is our Father!” 16The Spirit himself confirms this with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17If we are his children, then we are his heirs—heirs of God, and heirs together with Christ, since if we suffer with him then we will also be glorified with him.
18For I am convinced that what we suffer here and now are nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us. 19All of God’s creation is patiently waiting with eager expectation for God’s children to be revealed. 20For God allowed the purpose of creation to be frustrated, in the hope 21that creation itself should be freed from the slavery of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22We recognize that all creation groans with longing and with birth-pains right up till now. 23Not just this, but we too, who have a foretaste of the Spirit—we too are groaning inside as we wait for God to “adopt” us—the redemption of our bodies. 24For we were saved by this hope! Yet hope that is already seen is not hope—for who hopes for what they already see? 25We hope for what we do not see yet, and we wait for it patiently.
26In just the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness—for we do not know how to pray properly, but the Spirit himself appeals on our behalf with sighs that cannot be put into words. 27The One who examines our hearts knows the way the Spirit thinks, and prays for us according to God’s will. 28And we recognize that all things work together for good for those who love God, those who are invited to be part of his plan. 29For those who he already knew he determined should be remade in the image of his Son, so that the Son might be the firstborn of many brothers. 30Those who he chose he also called, and those who he called he also made right, and those who he made right he also glorified.
31So how should we react to all this? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not hold back his own Son, but gave him up for all of us—how could he not freely give us everything? 33Who can charge God’s special people with anything? It is God who vindicates—34who can condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died—who was raised from the dead—who stands beside God, and who prays for us. 35Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will oppression or distress or persecution? Or hunger or destitution or danger or violence? 36Just as it says, “For your sake we were killed all day long. We were considered sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No: in everything we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38I am absolutely convinced that not death, nor life, nor angels, nor devils, nor the present, nor the future, nor any kind of powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything in all creation, shall be able to part us from God’s love, revealed in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Without a lie I am telling the truth in Christ. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm 2my great sadness and my heart’s lasting pain, 3for I would rather be cursed myself, separated from Christ, if that would help my people. For they are my relatives, humanly-speaking, 4Israelites: God’s chosen people given glory, covenants, law, worship services, and God’s promises. 5They are our forefathers, and ancestors of Christ from the human point-of-view, he who is above all, the eternally-blessed God. Amen.
6But it is not as if God’s word has been made ineffective. No, because not every Israelite is a true Israelite, 7and not everyone descended from Abraham is his true child. For “Your descendants will be counted through Isaac,” 8so it is not the children born of human desire who are counted children of God, but those children born from God’s promise who are considered his descendants.
9This is the word of promise: “I will return next year and Sarah will have a son.” 10This is not all—Rebecca became pregnant by our forefather Isaac, 11and even before the children were born, and before they had done anything good or bad, (to prove God calls people and it is not based on human actions), 12she was told, “The elder will serve the younger.” 13As Scripture says, “I loved Jacob but detested Esau.”
14So what do we conclude? Was God unjust? Certainly not! 15As he said to Moses, “I will be merciful to whoever I show mercy, and I will have compassion on whoever I show compassion.” 16So it is not down to what we want, or what we run after, but the merciful nature of God. 17As Scripture records God’s words to Pharaoh: “I brought you to this for a reason—so that through you I could demonstrate my power, and so that my name could be made known throughout the earth.” 18So God is merciful to those he wishes to be, and hardens the hearts of those he wants to. 19You will argue with me, “So why does he still blame us then? Who can go against what God wants?” 20No, for who are you human to argue with God? Can what is created say to its creator, “Why did you make me like this?” 21Does a potter not have the right to use one lump from the same batch of clay for a pretty vase and another lump for a chamber pot?
22What if God wanted to demonstrate the conflict and to reveal his power, and put up for a long while with such “pots destined for destruction,” 23so that he might reveal the wealth of his glory through these “pots of mercy” which he has prepared for glory? 24That is us—who he has called, not just from among the Jews, but from the foreigners too...
25As God said in the book of Hosea, “Those who are not my people I will call my people, and those who are not loved I will call the ones I love,” 26and “At the place where they were told ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called the children of the living God.”
27It was Isaiah who cried out regarding Israel, “Even if Israel is as many as the sands of the sea, only a remnant few will be saved. 28For the Lord will make sure to shorten and complete his word of judgment on the earth.” 29And as Isaiah previously said, “If the Lord Sabaoth had not provided us surviving seed, we would have become just as Sodom, made just like Gomorrah. 30What shall we conclude? That foreigners, who were not even looking to do right, did grasp what is right, living right through faith; 31but Israel, who looked to follow the law of right living did not live up to that law. 32Why is this? Because they did not operate from a basis of trust, but on what they did. Consequently they tripped over the stumbling-stone, 33just as Scripture says: “Look, I am placing in Zion a stumbling-stone, a rock that will offend people.” But anyone who trusts in him will not be disappointed.
1My brothers and sisters, what my heart longs for, and what I plead God for, is their salvation. 2I can testify to their fervent dedication to God, but it is misplaced. 3For since they do not understand God’s way of making us right with him, and since they try to set themselves right their own way, they are not right with God. 4For Christ is the completion of the law, setting right everyone who trusts in him. 5Moses wrote that whoever does what is right as the law defines, it will live. 6But right-doing that comes from trust says this: “Do not ask ‘who will get to heaven?’ (that brings Christ down),” 7or ‘who will go to the underworld?’ (that brings Christ from the dead). 8What it actually says is: “The message is right by you—in your mouth and in your heart.” It is the message of believing trust that we are presenting, 9for if you will personally say you accept Jesus as Lord, and are convinced in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. 10It is in your heart that you trust in God to make you right, and with your mouth you declare God’s salvation. 11Scripture says, “Whoever trusts in him will not be disappointed.”
12Because there is no difference between Jew and Greek—it is the same Lord for everyone, and he gives generously to everyone who asks him. 13For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 14But how can people call on someone they do not trust? How can they trust someone they have not heard about? How can they hear unless they are told? 15How can they tell unless they are sent to do so? Just as Scripture says, “How welcome are those who come announcing good news!” 16But not everyone responded to the good news. As Isaiah asks, “Lord, who has trusted what we said?” 17So trusting faith is a result of hearing—hearing what the message of Christ is.
18But my point is that it is not that they have not heard. In fact, the message went everywhere on earth—the word went out to the whole world. 19So I ask, “Did Israel not know?” First of all Moses says, “I will make you jealous by using people who are not even a nation; I will make you mad by using an ignorant nation.” 20Then Moses goes even further, and says, “People found me who were not even looking for me; I became well-known to people who were not asking about me.” 21As God says to Israel, “I pleaded all day long with a disobedient and argumentative people.”
1So I ask, “Has God thrown away his people?” Absolutely not! For I am an Israelite too, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2God has not thrown away his chosen people. Do you not recall what Scripture says about Elijah? How he complained about Israel to God, 3“Lord they have killed your prophets, knocked down your altars. I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me as well.”
4How did God answer him? “I still have seven thousand left who have not worshiped Baal.” 5In just the same way today there is some faithful people left, by God’s grace. 6And if it is really because of grace, then clearly it is not down to their good works, otherwise grace would not be grace!
7So what do we conclude? Israel did not get what it was looking for—only those who were chosen, while the rest became hard, 8as Scripture says, “God handed them over to an unthinking attitude, so their eyes could not see and their ears could not hear, right up to the present day.” 9David adds, “May their dining table become a trap for them, a net, a way that they are ensnared. 10May their eye of understanding become dark so they cannot see, and continually bend their backs with the weight of trouble.”
11So, am I saying that they stumbled and consequently fell completely? Not at all! But as a result of their mistakes, salvation came to other nations, to “make them jealous.” 12Now if their failure is the benefit of the world, and their loss the profit of the foreigners, how much more a benefit it would be if they completely fulfilled God’s plan.
13I am talking to you foreigners. In whatever way I am a missionary to foreigners, I delight in my ministry, 14that somehow I might make my people jealous and so save some from among them. 15If the result of rejecting them is that the world becomes God’s friends, the result of accepting them would be to make the dead come alive! 16If the first part of bread-dough given as an offering is holy, then so is all the rest; if the roots of a tree are holy, then so are the branches. 17Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you—a wild olive shoot—were grafted in, and shared with them the benefit of nourishment from the olive tree’s roots, 18do not look down on the other branches. If you think to boast, remember it is not you supporting the roots, but the roots supporting you. 19You will make the claim, “Branches were broken off so I could be grafted in.” 20All well and good—but they were broken off because of their distrust, and you stay there because you trust. So do not be proud, but have respect, 21because if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22So be aware of God’s kindness and toughness—he was tough on the fallen, but God is kind to you as long as you stay in his kindness—otherwise you will also be removed. 23And if they do not continue in their distrust, they can be grafted in too, for God is able to graft them in again. 24For if you could be cut from a naturally wild olive tree, and grafted artificially onto a cultivated olive tree, how much more naturally could they be grafted back to their own tree?
25I do not want you, my brothers and sisters, to misunderstand this hidden point, for otherwise you could become vain. Some in Israel have become hard-hearted, until the sum total of the foreigners have come in, 26and in this way all Israel will be saved. As Scripture says, “The Savior will come from Zion, and he will turn Jacob from being ungodly. 27This is my promise to them that I will take away their sins.”
28They are enemies of the good news because of you, but they are still the chosen people and loved because of their forefathers. 29God’s gifts and his calling cannot be taken back. 30While in the past you disobeyed God, now God has shown you mercy through their disobedience. 31In the same way then, now that they are disobedient, they will also be shown mercy according to the mercy you received. 32For God has brought together everyone in their disobedience so that he can be merciful to everyone. 33O, how deep is the rich extent of God’s wisdom and knowledge! How incredible his decisions, how unimaginable his methods! 34Who can know God’s thoughts? Who can give him advice? 35Who has given God anything first, and then needed to be repaid? 36Everything comes from him, and exists through him, and is for him. Glory to him forever, amen!
1So I urge you, my brothers and sisters, because of God’s compassion for you, to dedicate your bodies as a living, holy offering that will please God, which is the sensible way to worship him. 2Do not follow the ways of this world; rather be changed as your mind is spiritually renewed so you can demonstrate God’s will: good, satisfying, and entirely complete. 3Let me say to everyone of you there, through the grace given to me: no one should think of themselves better than they ought to. You should think sensibly, to the extent of the trust God has given you.
4Just as there are many parts to the body, and they do not all do the same thing, 5so we are one body in Christ, even though we are many—and we each belong to one another. 6We each have different gifts that vary according to the grace given to us. So if it is speaking for God, then do so as much as you trust God; 7if it is the ministry of service then serve, if teaching then teach, 8if encouragement then encourage, if giving then give generously, if leading then lead with commitment, if mercy then do so gladly. Love must be genuine.
9Be repulsed by whatever is evil, hold on to what is good. 10In your brotherly love, be totally dedicated to each other, valuing others more than yourselves, 11not slow to work hard, enthusiastic in spirit, obedient to the Lord. 12Delight in hope, be patient when troubles come, keep on praying, 13share in providing for the needs of God’s people, welcome strangers with hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you—bless them, and do not curse them. 15Be happy with those who are happy; cry with those who are crying. 16Think respectfully of each other, not thinking proudly, but living humbly. Do not be conceited. 17Do not pay back evil for evil to anyone. Pay attention to what people consider to be good, 18and as long as it is in your power, live at peace with everyone. 19My dear friends, do not get revenge for yourselves, but leave it to God’s judgment—as Scripture points out, “‘It is for me to dispense justice, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” 20If those who hate you are hungry, give them food, if they are thirsty, give them a drink, because by doing so you pile up fiery coals on their heads. 21Do not be defeated by evil, but conquer evil with good.
1Everyone should choose to obey the power of government, because there is no power to rule unless God gives it, and these authorities have been set up by God. 2So whoever resists the power of government opposes what God has put in place, and such opponents shall find themselves judged accordingly. 3For those in charge do not terrify those who do right, but those who do wrong. If you do not want to be afraid of the authorities, then do what is right, and they will commend you. 4Authorities are God’s servants, there for your own good. If you do wrong, you should be afraid, for authorities do not have the power to punish for nothing. They are God’s servants to punish sternly those who do wrong. 5So it is important to do as you are told, not just because of the threat of punishment, but because of what your conscience tells you. 6That is why you pay taxes, because as God’s servants they are always taking care of such things. 7So pay whatever is due, tax to the tax-collectors, custom dues to the customs, respect to those who should be respected, honor to those who should be honored. 8Do not owe anybody anything, except love for one other—for whoever loves their neighbor has kept the law.
9“You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet”—these and any other commandment are summed up in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does nothing wrong to neighbors, so love fulfils the law. 11Do this because you recognize the times—that it is high time for you to wake up from your sleep. For salvation is closer to us now than when we first started trusting God. 12The night is almost over, the day is almost here, so let us take off the clothes of our dark deeds and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly, like living in the daytime, not partying and drinking, not having affairs and being immoral, not fighting and being jealous. 14Instead put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not plan how to indulge the desires of your sinful nature.
1Welcome those who find it hard to trust. 2One person may have the confidence to eat anything, while another who is weak just eats vegetables. 3Those who will eat anything must not look down those that will not, and those who will not eat must not criticize those who do eat—for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? It is their own master who decides whether they are successes or failures. And they will be successes, because the Lord has the power to help them succeed. 5One person considers one day more important than another, while another considers every day the same. Let everyone be completely convinced in their own minds. 6Whoever respects a special day, respects it for the Lord; and whoever eats without concernseats for the Lord since they give thanks to God; while whoever avoids eating does not eat for the Lord, and they also give thanks to God.
7For none of us lives for ourselves, or dies for ourselves. 8If we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord—so whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9This is why Christ died and came back to life, so that he could be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10So you, why do you criticize your fellow-believer? Or you there, why do you despise your fellow-believer? For all of us shall stand before God’s judgment seat.
11As Scripture records, “‘As surely as I live,’ the Lord says, ‘Every knee shall bow before me, and every tongue will praise God.’” 12Consequently every one of us will have to explain ourselves to God. 13So let us not judge each other anymore, but decide this instead: that no one should put obstacles in another believer’s way, or cause them to fall.
14I know, and I am convinced by the Lord Jesus, that nothing in itself is unclean. But if someone considers it to be unclean, to them it is unclean. 15If your fellow-believer is upset with you over matters of food, then you are no longer acting in a loving way. Do not destroy someone for whom Christ died with arguments over what you should eat. 16Do not let the good things you do be spoken of badly—17for God’s kingdom is not about eating and drinking, but living rightly, peacefully, and joyfully in the Holy Spirit. 18Whoever serves Christ like this pleases God, and is appreciated by people. 19So let us pursue whatever leads to peace, and find ways to build up each other. 20Do not demolish the work of God with arguments over food. Everything is clean—but it would be wrong for someone to eat and offend others. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or anything else that would cause your fellow-believer to stumble. 22What you believe is between you and God, and it is good for people not to punish themselves for doing what they think is right! 23But those who doubt are wrong to eat, because they are not convinced it is right. Whatever is not based on trust is sin.
1Those of us who are strong ought to support those whose trust is weak, and not just please ourselves. 2Each of us should encourage those around us to do right, to build them up. 3For Christ too did not please himself, but as Scripture says, “The insults of those abusing you fell on me.” 4These scriptures were written down in the past to help us understand so that we could have hope, through patient waiting and the encouragement of what is written down.
5May the God of patience and encouragement give you the same understanding among each other through Christ Jesus, 6so that you can together with one mind and with one voice glorify God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
7So accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, to God’s glory. 8I maintain that Christ became a servant to the Jews for the sake of God’s truth, in order that he could prove true the promises given to the forefathers 9and also that foreigners could praise God for his mercy. As Scripture states, “Because of this I will praise you among the nations, and sing out in your name.” 10And also: “Nations, rejoice with his people!” 11And again: “All you nations, praise the Lord, let all peoples praise him.” 12Once again, Isaiah says, “Jesse’s descendant will come. He will rise to rule nations, and the nations will hope in him.”
13May the God of hope fill you up with every kind of joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you will overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 14I am totally convinced that you, my brothers and sisters, are overflowing with goodness, filled with every kind of knowledge, and well able to teach one another. 15I have written to you quite boldly about some of this, as if to remind you, because of the grace that God gave to me 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the nations, like a priest sharing the good news so that the nations could become a pleasing offering, made holy by the Holy Spirit.
17So even though I have something to boast about in my service for God, 18I would not dare talk about any of this except what Christ has done through me—leading foreigners to obedience by teaching and demonstration, 19through the power of signs and miracles done in the power of the Holy Spirit. From Jerusalem to everywhere around, even over to Illyricum, I have shared everything about the good news of Christ. 20In fact I was keen to spread the gospel to places that had not heard the name of Christ, so that I would not be building on what others have done, 21but as Scripture says, “Those who have not been told the good news will find out, and those who have not heard will understand.”
22That is why I was often prevented from coming to see you. 23But now, since there is nowhere left here to work, and having looked forward to visit you for many years, 24when I go to Spain I hope to see you when I pass through. Maybe you can help me on my way once you have had enough of me! 25Right now I am going to Jerusalem to help the believers there, 26because the folks in Macedonia and Achaia thought it was a good idea to send a contribution to the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. 27They were happy to do this, and they are in their debt. For now that foreigners are sharing in their spiritual benefits, then they owe it to them to help them in material things. 28So once I have done this, and have safely left this contribution with them, I will come on through you to Spain. 29I know that when I visit you I will come in the full blessing of Christ.
30I am really asking you, my brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf; 31that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea; that my work in Jerusalem will be welcomed by the believers there; 32and that, God willing, I may happily come to you and we can enjoy one another’s company. 33May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
1I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deaconess at the Cenchreae church. 2Do welcome her in the Lord, as believers should, and help her in whatever way she needs, because she has been a great help to many people, me included. 3Pass on my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus, 4who literally put their necks on the line for me—and it is not just me sending thanks, but also all the churches of the foreigners.5Also my greetings to the church that meets in their home. Pass on my best to my good friend Epaenetus, the first Christian convert in Asia. 6Give my greetings to Mary, who worked hard for you, 7and also Andronicus and Junias, my countrymen and fellow-prisoners, well-known among the apostles, and who became Christians before me. 8Give my best to Ampliatus, my good friend in the Lord, 9to Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10My greetings to Apelles, a trustworthy man in Christ. Greetings to Aristobulus’ family, 11to my countryman Herodion, to those from Narcissus’ family who belong to the Lord. 12My best to Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who work hard in the Lord, and to my friend Persis, who has done so much in the Lord. 13Give my greetings to Rufus, one of God’s special people, and his mother—and mine. 14Greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and their fellow-believers. 15Best wishes to Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and to all the believers with them. 16With a holy kiss welcome one another. All the churches of Christ send their greetings to you.
17Now I am asking you, my fellow-believers, to keep an eye on those who cause arguments and confuse people about the teachings you learned—stay away from them. 18For such people are not serving Christ our Lord, but their own appetites, and by their smooth-talking and pleasant words they deceive the minds of unwary people.
19Everyone knows about your faithfulness, which makes me delighted—but I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent, and about what is bad. 20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 21My co-worker Timothy sends his greetings, as do Lucian, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen. 22 (Tertius—that is me writing down this letter—also sends you greetings in the Lord). 23My host Gaius, and the whole church, send you greetings. Erastus the city treasurer, sends his best wishes, as does our fellow-believer Quartus.
25Now to him who can strengthen you
Through my good news and the message of Jesus Christ,
On the basis of the revelation of the mystery
That had been kept quiet for an eternity, 26but is now made visible;
And by the prophets’ writings following the command of the eternal God,
Made known to everyone everywhere as the obedience that comes from trust,
27To him, the one and only wise God,
Through Jesus Christ—
To him be glory for ever. Amen.
- The Greek means literally “a slave.”
- Literally “apostle,” meaning “one who is sent.”
- Literally, “anger,” also translated in this version as “punishment,” depending on context.
- To the Jews, circumcision was a sign that you belonged to God’s special people.
- Not circumcised—in other words, a foreigner.
- Paul uses the concept of “law” in different ways, but most often in the sense of the whole body of Jewish belief. This has much to do with legal observance.
- Literally “flesh.” Paul frequently contrast the spirit and the flesh as opposites.
- Or “Through sacrificing himself for sin.”
- The exact intent of this verse is debated.
- Literally “pots of honor and dishonor.”
- Referring to the Jews.
- Underworld: literally “the abyss,” or bottomless pit.
- A phrase meaning they will be covered by shame/embarrassment.
- This surely relates not to issues of diet and health, but to meat sacrificed to idols. (see 1 Cor. 8).
- Again the matter of eating or not eating is related to the issue of whether to accept meat offered to idols and what this might mean theologically.
- Literally “circumcision.”
- “Jesse’s descendant.” Jesse was the father of King David, so this indicates a descendant of the old royal line.
- Or “once we have enjoyed one another’s company.”
- That is, the Jews—the Gentile foreigners are indebted to the Jews, particularly the believers in Jerusalem, so they are sending a gift to them.
- In other words, all the non-Jewish churches.