Romans 1:8-15, Personal Commentary


~ Romans 1:8-15

First, I thank my God

through Jesus Christ for you all,

that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 

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; 

making request, if by any means now at length

I might have a prosperous journey

by the will of God to come unto you. 

For I long to see you,

that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift,

to the end ye may be established; 

that is, that I may be comforted together with you

by the mutual faith both of you and me. 

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. 

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians;

both to the wise, and to the unwise. 

So, as much as in me is,

I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.


We are still in the preface of Paul’s letter, a part of his greeting. Nevertheless, there is much to be gleaned in these inspired words  of God.

Paul’s praise and kindness glistens through these verses. The church of Rome had become well-known throughout Christendom as servants of Christ and Paul longs to continue the process and build them up in the grace of God.


Verse 8:

  First, I thank my God

Even in Paul’s address to others, he goes straight to God showing his continuous devotion to Him.

through Jesus Christ for you all,

He highlights from whom all blessings flow, our Lord and Saviour.

that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 

This cannot be taken literally, like many things in scripture, it is an expression probably meaning that wherever Paul or his companions went in the Roman empire, they heard the good news about the church in Rome.

There is an old saying, “all roads lead to Rome,” this is similar to Paul’s meaning here.

What an amazing work God had done in Rome. It is unclear who gave them the word of God. We know in Acts that Aquila and Priscilla went to Italy but who specifically started the Church in Rome is a mystery to me.

One day this will be revealed when, ‘the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.’


Verse 9a:

For God is my witness,

whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son,

that without ceasing

We serve God in spirit and truth. We do not serve Him in the fleshly or carnal nature. Sin has no part in our service with God. All our heart, mind, and strength should be dedicated to living out the ‘good news.’

Few there be dedicated to serving God in this manner. And what a blessing they are!

The first 11 chapters of Romans are dedicated to the contentions that arose from Gentile converts and the privileges the Jewish believers had. That combined with the Paul’s desire to provide apostolic oversight in the church in Rome is why this is perhaps the most important of all his epistles.

Not only does this letter describe the fullness of the gospel in detail, Paul explains the purpose and end of the Jewish Law and contends that salvation cannot be acquired by any observance of it.


He is also living out the Law of Christ (described below) which is a fulfillment of the Jewish Law.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ

Jesus hath made me free

from the law of sin and death

~ Romans 8:2 . . .

 . . . Brethren,

if a man be overtaken in a fault,

ye which are spiritual,

restore such an one in the spirit of meekness;

considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 

Bear ye one another’s burdens,

and so fulfil the law of Christ.

For if a man think himself to be something,

when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself

~ Galatians 6:1-3.


We as a church have misunderstood “the law” to mean any works of righteousness. It is a dreadful mistake to ignore the whole of scripture attesting to our need to produce fruits of righteousness resulting from genuine and complete repentance.

It was planted in a good soil by great waters,

that it might bring forth branches,

and that it might bear fruit,

that it might be a goodly vine

~ Ezekiel 17:8

Jesus himself demands complete submission from His disciples (you and me).

Whosover he be of you

that foresaketh not all that he hath,

he cannot be my disciple.


When Paul ends this verse, ‘that without ceasing’, he is proclaiming that the service of Christ is not limited to any Jewish or Gentile religious ceremony.
It is experienced by the renewing of the mind in power. This comes through prayer, assembling ourselves together, serving others, and the whole of religious obedience that faith through grace and outpouring of the spirit of God confirms in a submissive heart.


Verse 9b-10:

I make mention of you always in my prayers; 

making request, if by any means now at length

I might have a prosperous journey

by the will of God to come unto you. 

Paul has been longing to visit the church in Rome. Though, as a slave, he is dedicated to the will and dictates of God’s leading. How much do we hear, listen, and follow God’s voice?

Has our routine or ‘spiritual box’ quieted Him beyond the ability to be prompted by His gentle leading?


Paul’s desire to see them is solely for the purposes of God. How many times do we spend thousands of dollars on vacations over and over merely for personal pleasure and carnal fulfillment?

Though God temporarily hindered him visiting them, providence enabled this letter to literally go to the whole world on the roads that led to Rome.

The will of God seems to me always focused on presenting His plan of loving redemption to all the world.


Verses 11-12:

For I long to see you,

that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift,

to the end ye may be established; 

that is, that I may be comforted together with you

by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Since it is highly unlikely that an apostle had yet to visit Rome at the time of this writing, it is possible that they were not benefited with some of the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Like today, we don’t see very much of the gifts of the spirit in the church, i.e.,Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Paul wants to show the Romans a more excellent way that goes beyond the spiritual gifts he will bring. God is offering this holy blessing to all of us even today.


Here Paul also shows the importance of the assembling together by his desire to visit them in order to prevent the eventual practices of a sinning and lukewarm, Laodicean church as noted in his letter of Hebrews.

 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith

without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

and let us consider one another

to provoke unto love and to good works: 

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,

as the manner of some is;

but exhorting one another:

and so much the more,

as ye see the day approaching.

 For if we sin wilfully

after that we have received the knowledge of the truth,

there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

~ Hebrews 10:23-26.


With his preface, Paul is indirectly calling the church of Rome to a more excellent way in the beauty of holiness, purity, and sanctification.

The natural outcome  of Paul’s establishing the church in Rome will be and out-pouring of God’s love,  overcoming discord, and the other practices of sin that are common among those that remain in carnality and sin.


Verse 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.

Paul is saying here that God divinely hindered him from visiting them. I can imagine their realization in the purpose and development of patience and perseverance from this divine intervention.


Here is why he was hindered:

through mighty signs and wonders,

by the power of the Spirit of God;

so that from Jerusalem,

and round about unto Illyricum,

I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 

Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel,

not where Christ was named,

lest I should build upon another man’s foundation: 

but as it is written,

To whom he was not spoken of,

they shall see:

and they that have not heard shall understand.

For which cause also

I have been much hindered from coming to you

~ Romans 15:22.


Someone was building the church in Rome, who it is was was not revealed. So he preached in areas untouched by the gospel. Later, it becomes clear that Paul’s time to visit Rome had come and, he like a good servant follows the lead of God.

Throughout his life, Paul remained lovingly and obedient servant to the commandments of Jesus to; Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

I am confident that as we go through this letter, Paul will give us great insights of our holy calling and how we are to be obedient by his example to the Law of Christ.


Verses 14-15:

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians;

both to the wise, and to the unwise. 

So, as much as in me is,

I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

 A debtor: Paul was a steward of the hidden mysteries of God. He became obligated to obey the calling of Christ when, on the road to Damascus, ‘he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? ‘


He was entrusted and therefore indebted to go into all the world and preach the gospel to the Greeks and Barbarians. In ancient Greece, if you were not a Greek, you were considered an uncultured barbarian.

 And the barbarous people

shewed us no little kindness:

for they kindled a fire,

and received us every one,

because of the present rain,

and because of the cold

~ Acts 28:2.

Paul longed to preach to all that lived in darkness; the Barbarians, Greeks, and Jews. What an example we should follow.

Do you long to preach or share the gospel to others regardless if they are Americans, Arabs, Jews or others?

The Lord is nigh unto them

that are of a broken heart;

and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Many in the world around us are broken, hurting, and live with a dark, cold heart filled with sin. God wants to get close to them (nigh) to mold their heart, save them from their sins, and fill them with His love.

We are called to share these sympathies. God plucked deeply at Paul’s heart in order to address specific weaknesses and faults in the church of Rome. Through our obedience to God’s leading, we too can be blessed with giving the gift of life eternal.


We have now finished Paul’s introduction to the Romans.

The next post will address the brief and yet powerful proclamation of the gospel in verses 16-17.

After that, we will delve into the terrible subject of sin completing the first section in chapter III, verse 20.


May God strengthen you and richly bless your heart, mind, and soul with His love.

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