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Romans 1:1-4

Context
Salutation

1:1 From Paul, 1  a slave 2  of Christ Jesus, 3  called to be an apostle, 4  set apart for the gospel of God. 5  1:2 This gospel 6  he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 1:3 concerning his Son who was a descendant 7  of David with reference to the flesh, 8  1:4 who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power 9  according to the Holy Spirit 10  by the resurrection 11  from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

2 tn Traditionally, “servant.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s “slave” or “servant” is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For someone who was Jewish this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”

3 tc Many important mss, as well as several others (Ì26 א A G Ψ 33 1739 1881 Ï), have a reversed order of these words and read “Jesus Christ” rather than “Christ Jesus” (Ì10 B 81 pc). The meaning is not affected in either case, but the reading “Christ Jesus” is preferred as slightly more difficult and thus more likely the original (a scribe who found it would be prone to change it to the more common expression). At the same time, Paul is fond of the order “Christ Jesus,” especially in certain letters such as Romans, Galatians, and Philippians. As well, the later Pauline letters almost uniformly use this order in the salutations. A decision is difficult, but “Christ Jesus” is slightly preferred.

4 tn Grk “a called apostle.”

5 tn The genitive in the phrase εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ (euangelion qeou, “the gospel of God”) could be translated as (1) a subjective genitive (“the gospel which God brings”) or (2) an objective genitive (“the gospel about God”). Either is grammatically possible. This is possibly an instance of a plenary genitive (see ExSyn 119-21; M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek, §§36-39). If so, an interplay between the two concepts is intended: The gospel which God brings is in fact the gospel about himself. However, in view of God’s action in v. 2 concerning this gospel, a subjective genitive notion (“the gospel which God brings”) is slightly preferred.

6 tn Grk “the gospel of God, which he promised.” Because of the length and complexity of this sentence in Greek, it was divided into shorter English sentences in keeping with contemporary English style. To indicate the referent of the relative pronoun (“which”), the word “gospel” was repeated at the beginning of v. 2.

7 tn Grk “born of the seed” (an idiom).

8 tn Grk “according to the flesh,” indicating Jesus’ earthly life, a reference to its weakness. This phrase implies that Jesus was more than human; otherwise it would have been sufficient to say that he was a descendant of David, cf. L. Morris, Romans, 44.

9 sn Appointed the Son-of-God-in-power. Most translations render the Greek participle ὁρισθέντος (Jorisqentos, from ὁρίζω, Jorizw) “declared” or “designated” in order to avoid the possible interpretation that Jesus was appointed the Son of God by the resurrection. However, the Greek term ὁρίζω is used eight times in the NT, and it always has the meaning “to determine, appoint.” Paul is not saying that Jesus was appointed the “Son of God by the resurrection” but “Son-of-God-in-power by the resurrection,” as indicated by the hyphenation. He was born in weakness in human flesh (with respect to the flesh, v. 3) and he was raised with power. This is similar to Matt 28:18 where Jesus told his disciples after the resurrection, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

10 tn Grk “spirit of holiness.” Some interpreters take the phrase to refer to Christ’s own inner spirit, which was characterized by holiness.

11 tn Or “by his resurrection.” Most interpreters see this as a reference to Jesus’ own resurrection, although some take it to refer to the general resurrection at the end of the age, of which Jesus’ resurrection is the first installment (cf. 1 Cor 15:23).



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