Paul’s Letter to the Romans: for you and me…for the whole world…
What about Paul’s letter to the Romans?
The following is from the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary about the book of Romans: “By common consent this is the most important of Paul’s writings from the theological standpoint. Its exposition of salvation is broad in its sweep and detailed in its application. The beginnings of gospel testimony in the capital of the empire are veiled in mystery. At the time he wrote, Paul could speak of a long-desired visit to the church (Rom. 15: 23) Its faith was known far and wide (Rom. 1: 8). Just before the middle of the 1st century the emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome. Their turbulence may well have resulted from their violent disagreement over the preaching of Jesus as the Christ. Aquila and his wife Priscilla were forced out at this time and went to Corinth. Since Paul lived and labored with them, they must have been believers (Acts 18: 2-3). The evangelization of the capital cannot be attributed to Peter, since he was in Palestine up to the time of the decree of Claudius (Acts 15). In writing to the church at Rome, Paul has nothing to say about Peter, which is a strong hint that he had no knowledge of activity by Peter in that area. The most helpful information comes from Ambrosiaster (4th century) to the effect that the Romans believed apart from apostle or miracle. His testimony seems to point to Jewish Christians as the missionaries to the metropolis, perhaps converted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 10)…The apostle (Paul) seems to be in Corinth as he writes, for Phoebe, a worker in the church at nearby Cenchrea, is being entrusted with the letter (Rom. 16: 1-2). Since he spent only three months in Corinth at this period (Acts 20: 3), the date can be roughly set as early as A.D. 56, just before the departure for Jerusalem…This letter is decidedly doctrinal in character, yet not lacking in teaching about the implications of the message for Christian life. Paul expounds the gospel in terms of the key word salvation, and that in the light of righteousness (Rom. 1: 16-17). A righteous God has a plan whereby He is able to redeem an unrighteous world in terms of righteousness, namely, the sacrificial death of His righteous Son. The fundamental response demanded of sinful men is faith, with all that this suggests of obedience to the divine will as well as acceptance of salvation in Christ (Rom. 1: 5, 16-17). This plan is basically that which God used in the case of Abraham (Rom. 4), who was justified by faith rather than works. As suggested by the reference to Jew and Greek in 1: 16, the epistle has much to say about the sinful condition of both groups in the sight of God and their common privilege to partake of the proffered salvation.” (Pfeiffer 1478-1479)
The beginning of Paul’s letter to the Romans
“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” (Romans 1: 1)
What does Paul mean when he calls himself a “bondservant” of Jesus Christ?
The Greek word here for “bondservant” is actually the word “slave.” https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/GTY129/servant-or-slave
Paul was a slave of Jesus Christ. He knew that Jesus was His Master and Lord.
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101074888189&view=1up&seq=7Paul was called to be an ‘apostle.’ https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/QA0298/what-is-an-apostle Warren Weirsbe, in his commentary on Romans describes an apostle as ‘one who is sent by authority with a commission.’ To be an apostle, one must have seen the resurrected Jesus Christ. Paul was the last apostle called. Although Mormons claim that they have twelve ‘apostles’ as leaders of their church today; there is no evidence that any of them have ever seen the resurrected Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith’s claim to have seen Jesus and God as two separate beings was a complete fabrication. All the research I have done on the foundation of Mormonism shows that Smith was into occult practices and along with Sidney Rigdon, an apostate Baptist preacher, ‘created’ and ‘crafted’ Mormonism. They took a fictional manuscript written by Solomon Spalding and adding Scripture from the Bible to it…creating the ‘Book of Mormon.’
None of the Mormon leaders can be referred to as ‘apostles.’ There is no evidence that they personally saw Jesus Christ and were commissioned by Him. Mormonism is ‘another gospel,’ like the other gospels Paul talks about in his letter to the Galatians. Mormonism has had many ‘prophets.’ These have all been ‘false prophets,’ because what they teach is in complete opposition to the teachings and doctrines found in the Bible. Mormons would do well to read and study the New Testament (especially Paul’s letters) to understand what the true gospel is.
Consider what Paul told the Corinthians – “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Cor. 15: 1-9)
So very different from false apostles who often describe themselves in self-righteous glowing terms, Paul considered himself the ‘least’ of the apostles who was not even worthy to be called an apostle. He had once been a persecutor of those who believed in Jesus. Acts, which was written by the physician and historian Luke, records the following about Paul’s conversion – “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, ‘Ananias,’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.’ Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.’” (Acts 9: 1-16)
Church, Rev. Leslie F. Matthew Henry’s Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1961.
Pfeiffer, Charles F., and Everett F. Harrison. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody Press, 1990.
Pfeiffer, Charles F., Howard F. Vos, and John Rea. Wycliffe Bible Dictionary. Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers, 1975.
Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. USA: Victor Books, 1983.
Wiersbe, Warren W. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. Colorado Springs: Victor Books, 2007.