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Introduction to Romans

David Saba
Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction to Romans

Notes & Transcripts | Handout | Sermon Questions

Paul calls himself a bondslave of Christ Jesus. The case classification is genitive of possession. The apostle is proud of the fact that he is a slave belonging to his Lord. There were certain individuals in the Roman empire designated “Slaves of the Emperor.” This was a position of honor. One finds a reflection of this in Paul’s act of designating himself as a slave of the King of kings. He puts this ahead of his apostleship.

Even though Paul is an apostle, he describes himself first and foremost as a servant of Christ Jesus. Paul knows is audience well and he speaks in terms that are familiar to them. Bondslaves were common in the Roman empire. Paul knows that certain individuals were "Slaves of the Emperor" a position of honor in spite of their position as bondslaves. Paul is a bondslave to the King of Kings. This is such a high honor that he puts it ahead of being an apostle by listing it first. We are either slaves of sin or servants of our Lord Christ Jesus. This is the Lord part of "Lord and Savior". We can't exercise our spiritual gifts unless we are servants of Christ first.
Paul repeatedly draws parallels to the Roman culture. If it is an honor to be a "Slave of the Emperor", how much greater the honor of being a slave to the King of Kings!
The NIV translation in Romans 1:1 is "called to be an apostle", but the words "to be" are not present in the Greek. It literally reads "called Apostle" He was called by God for the position as an apostle. Paul was already in the position. "Called to be and apostle" could infer that he was in the process of becoming an apostle. If I was going to medical school to be a doctor, I would not be a doctor yet. This is not the case with Paul as an apostle. He is already in the position, an apostle called by God.
What is a modern political word that is similar to the function of an apostle in the political arena?
We tend to think of an apostle as one of the Twelve disciples out preaching the gospel. Yes, these men along with Paul are the apostles, but this is not the meaning of the word.
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