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Romans


The Gospel according to Paul

  1.Salutation early 57ce (Rome)

1FROM PAUL,
SERVANT of Christ Jesus,
apostle by God's call,
set apart for the service of the Gospel.

2This gospel God announced beforehand in sacred scriptures through his prophets. 3It is about his Son: on the human level he was born of David's stock, 4but on the level of the spirit?the Holy Spirit?he was declared Son of God by a mighty act in that he rose from the dead: [Or: declared Son of God with full powers from the time he rose from the dead.] it is about Jesus Christ our Lord. 5Through him I received the privilege of a commission in his name to lead to faith and obedience men in all nations, 6yourselves among them, you who have heard the call and belong to Jesus Christ.

7I send greetings to all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his dedicated people. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul's Desire to Visit Rome

8Let me begin by thanking my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all, because all over the world they are telling the story of your faith. 9God is my witness, the God to whom I offer the humble service of my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son: 10God knows how continually I make mention of you in my prayers, and am always asking that by his will I may, somehow or other, succeed at long last in coming to visit you. 11For I long to see you; I want to bring you some spiritual gift to make you strong; 12or rather, I want to be among you to be myself encouraged by your faith as well as you by mine.

13But I should like you to know, [Some witnesses read: I believe you know.] my brothers, that I have often planned to come, though so far without success, in the hope of achieving something among you, as I have in other parts of the world. 14I am under obligation to Greek and non-Greek, to learned and simple; 15hence my eagerness to declare the Gospel to you in Rome as well as to others.

The Power of the Gospel

16For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the saving power of God for everyone who has faith?the Jew first, but the Greek also? 17 [ Hab.2.4. ] because here is revealed God's way of righting wrong, a way that starts from faith and ends in faith; [Or: ... wrong. It is based on faith and addressed to faith.] as Scripture says, 'he shall gain life who is justified through faith'.

The Guilt of Mankind

18FOR WE SEE divine retribution revealed from heaven is and falling upon all the godless wickedness of men. In their wickedness they are stifling the truth. 19For all that may be known of God by men lies plain before their eyes; indeed God himself has disclosed it to them. 20His invisible attributes, that is to say his everlasting power and deity, have been visible, ever since the world began, to the eye of reason, in the things he has made. There is therefore no possible defence for their conduct; 21knowing God, they have refused to honour him as God, or to render him thanks. Hence all their thinking has ended in futility, and their misguided minds are plunged in darkness. 22They boast of their wisdom, but they have made fools of themselves, 23exchanging the splendour of immortal God for an image shaped like mortal man, even for images like birds, beasts, and creeping things.

24For this reason God has given them up to the vileness of their own desires, and the consequent degradation of their bodies, 25because they have bartered away the true God for a false one, [Or: the truth of God for a lie.] and have offered reverence and worship to created things instead of to the Creator, who is blessed for ever; amen.

26In consequence, I say. God has given them up to shameful passions. Their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27and their men in turn, giving up natural relations with women, burn with lust for one another; males behave indecently with males, and are paid in their own persons the fitting wage of such perversion.

28Thus, because they have not seen fit to acknowledge God, he has given them up to their own depraved reason. This leads them to break all rules of conduct. 29They are filled with every kind of injustice, mischief, rapacity, and malice; they are one mass of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and malevolence; whisperers 30and scandal-mongers, hateful to God, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent new kinds of mischief, they show no loyalty to parents, 31no conscience, no fidelity to their plighted word; they are without natural affection and without pity. 32They know well enough the just decree of God, that those who behave like this deserve to die, and yet they do it; not only so, they actually applaud such practices.


  2.The Right Judgment of God

1You therefore have no defence—you who sit in judgement, whoever you may be—for in judging your fellow-man you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, are equally guilty. 2It is admitted that God's judgement is rightly passed upon all who commit such crimes as these; 3and do you imagine—you who pass judgement on the guilty while committing the same crimes yourself—do you imagine that you, any more than they, will escape the judgement of God? 4Or do you think lightly of his wealth of kindness, of tolerance, and of patience, without recognizing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to a change of heart? 5In the rigid obstinacy of your heart you are laying up for yourself a store of retribution for the day of retribution, when God's just judgement will be revealed, 6and he will pay every man for what he has done. 7To those who pursue glory, honour, and immortality by steady persistence in well-doing, he will give eternal life; 8but for those who are governed by selfish ambition, who refuse obedience to the truth and take the wrong for their guide, there will be the fury of retribution. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who is an evil-doer, for the Jew first and for the Greek also; 10and for every well-doer there will be glory, honour, and peace, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

11For God has no favourites: 12those who have sinned outside the pale of the Law of Moses will perish outside its pale, and all who have sinned under that law will be judged by the law. 13It is not by hearing the law, but by doing it, that men will be justified before God. 14When Gentiles who do not possess the law carry out its precepts by the light of nature, then, although they have no law, they are their own law, 15for they display the effect of the law inscribed on their hearts. Their conscience is called as witness, and their own thoughts argue the case on either side, against them or even for them, 16on the day when God judges the secrets of human hearts through Christ Jesus. So my gospel declares.

The Jews and the Law

17But as for you—you may bear the name of Jew; you rely upon the law and are proud of your God; 18you know his will; instructed by the law, you know right from wrong; 19you are confident that you are the one to guide the blind, to enlighten the benighted, 20to train the stupid, and to teach the immature, because in the law you see the very shape of knowledge and truth. 21You, then, who teach your fellow-man, do you fail to teach yourself? 22You proclaim, 'Do not steal'; but are you yourself a thief? You say, 'Do not commit adultery'; but are you an adulterer? You abominate false gods; but do you rob their shrines? 23While you take pride in the law, you dishonour God by breaking it. 24 [ Is.52.5, Eze.36.20. ] For, as Scripture says, 'Because of you the name of God is dishonoured among the Gentiles.'

25Circumcision has value, provided you keep the law; but if you break the law, then your circumcision is as if it had never been. 26Equally, if an uncircumcised man keeps the precepts of the law, will he not count as circumcised? 27He may be uncircumcised in his natural state, but by fulfilling the law he will pass judgement on you who break it, for all your written code and your circumcision. 28The true Jew is not he who is such in externals, neither is the true circumcision the external mark in the flesh. 29The true Jew is he who is such inwardly, and the true circumcision is of the heart, directed not by written precepts but by the Spirit; such a man receives his commendation not from men but from God.


  3.

1Then what advantage has the Jew? 2What is the value of circumcision? Great, in every way. In the first place, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3What if some of them were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness cancel the faithfulness of God? 4 [ Ps.51.4. ] Certainly not! God must be true though every man living were a liar; for we read in Scripture, 'When thou speakest thou shalt be vindicated, and win the verdict when thou art on trial.'

5Another question: if our injustice serves to bring out God's justice, what are we to say? Is it unjust of God (I speak of him in human terms) to bring retribution upon us? 6Certainly not! If God were unjust, how could he judge the world?

7Again, if the truth of God brings him all the greater honour because of my falsehood, why should I any longer be condemned as a sinner? 8Why not indeed 'do evil that good may come', as some libellously report me as saying? To condemn such men as these is surely no injustice.

There is None Righteous

9What then? Are we Jews any better off? [Or: Are we Jews any worse off?] No, not at all! [Or: Not in all respects.] For we have already formulated the charge that Jews and Greeks alike are all under the power of sin. 10 [ Ps.14.1-3, Ps.53.1, Ec.7.20. ] This has scriptural warrant:

19Now all the words of the law are addressed, as we know, to those who are within the pale of the law, so that no one may have anything to say in self-defence, but the whole world may be exposed to the judgement of God. 20 [ Ps.143.2. ] For (again from Scripture) 'no human being can be justified in the sight of God' for having kept the law: law brings only the consciousness of sin.

Righteousness through Faith

21BUT NOW, quite independently of law. God's justice has been brought to light. The Law and the prophets both bear witness to it: 22it is God's way of righting wrong, effective through faith in Christ for all who have such faith—all, without distinction. 23For all alike have sinned, and are deprived of the divine splendour, 24and all are justified by God's free grace alone, through his act of liberation in the person of Christ Jesus. 25For God designed him to be the means of expiating sin by his sacrificial death, effective through faith. God meant by this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had overlooked the sins of the past— 26to demonstrate his justice now in the present, showing that he is himself just and also justifies any man who puts his faith in Jesus.

27What room then is left for human pride? It is excluded. And on what principle? The keeping of the law would not exclude it, but faith does. 28For our argument is that a man is justified by faith quite apart from success in keeping the law.

29Do you suppose God is the God of the Jews alone? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Certainly, of Gentiles also, if it be true that God is one. 30And he will therefore justify both the circumcised in virtue of their faith, and the uncircumcised through their faith. 31Does this mean that we are using faith to undermine law? By no means: we are placing law itself on a firmer footing.


  4.The Example of Abraham

1WHAT, THEN, are we to say about Abraham, our ancestor in the natural line? 2If Abraham was justified by anything he had done, then he has a ground for pride. 3 [ Gn.15.6. ] But he has no such ground before God; for what does Scripture say? 'Abraham put his faith in God, and that faith was counted to him as righteousness.' 4Now if a man does a piece of work, his wages are not 'counted' as a favour; they are paid as debt. 5But if without any work to his credit he simply puts his faith in him who acquits the guilty, then his faith is indeed 'counted as righteousness'. 6In the same sense David speaks of the happiness of the man whom God 'counts' as just, apart from any specific acts of justice: 7 [ Ps.32.1-2. ] 'Happy are they', he says, 'whose lawless deeds are forgiven, whose sins are buried away; 8happy is the man whose sins the Lord does not count against him.' 9 [ Gn.15.6. ] Is this happiness confined to the circumcised, or is it for the uncircumcised also? Consider: we say, 'Abraham's faith was counted as righteousness'; 10in what circumstances was it so counted? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? He was not yet circumcised, but uncircumcised; 11and he later received the symbolic rite of circumcision as the hall-mark of the righteousness which faith had given him when he was still uncircumcised. Consequently, he is the father of all who have faith when uncircumcised, so that righteousness is 'counted' to them; 12and at the same time he is the father of such of the circumcised as do not rely upon their circumcision alone, but also walk in the footprints of the faith which our father Abraham had while he was yet uncircumcised.

The Promise Realised through Faith

13For it was not through law that Abraham, or his posterity, was given the promise that the world should be his inheritance, but through the righteousness that came from faith. 14For if those who hold by the law, and they alone, are heirs, then faith is empty and the promise goes for nothing, 15because law can bring only retribution; but where there is no law there can be no breach of law. 16The promise was made on the ground of faith, in order that if might be a matter of sheer grace, and that it might be valid for all Abraham's posterity, not only for those who hold by the law, but for those also who have the faith of Abraham. 17 [ Gn.17.5, Gn.15.5. ] For he is the father of us all, as Scripture says: 'I have appointed you to be father of many nations.' This promise, then, was valid before God, the God in whom he put his faith, the God who makes the dead live and summons things that are not yet in existence as if they already were. 18 [ Is.48.13. ] When hope seemed hopeless, his faith was such that he became 'father of many nations', in agreement with the words which had been spoken to him: 'Thus shall your descendants be.' 19Without any weakening of faith he contemplated his own body, as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb, 20and never doubted God's promise in unbelief, but, strong in faith, gave honour to God, 21in the firm conviction of his power to do what he had promised. 22 [ Gn.15.6. ] And that is why Abraham's faith was 'counted to him as righteousness'.

23Those words were written, not for Abraham's sake alone, but for our sake too: 24it is to be 'counted' in the same way to us who have faith in the God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25for he was given up to death for our misdeeds, and raised to life to justify us. [Or: raised to life because we were now justified.]


  5.Results of Justification

1THEREFORE, NOW THAT we have been justified through faith, let us continue at peace [Some witnesses read: we are at peace.] with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have been allowed to enter the sphere of God's grace, where we now stand. Let us exult [Or: We exalt.] in the hope of the divine Splendour that is to be ours. 3More than this: let us even exult [Or: we even exalt.] in our present sufferings, because we know that suffering trains us to endure, 4and endurance brings proof that we have stood the test, and this proof is the ground of hope. 5Such a hope is no mockery, because God's love has flooded our inmost heart through the Holy Spirit he has given us.

6For at the very time when we were still powerless, then Christ died for the wicked. 7Even for a just man one of us would hardly die, though perhaps for a good man one might actually brave death; 8but Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, and that is God's own proof of his love towards us. 9And so, since we have now been justified by Christ's sacrificial death, we shall all the more certainly be saved through him from final retribution. 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life! 11But that is not all: we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus, through whom we have now been granted reconciliation.

Adam and Christ

12Mark what follows. It was through one man that sin entered the world, and through sin death, and thus death pervaded the whole human race, inasmuch as all men have sinned. 13For sin was already in the world before there was law, though in the absence of law no reckoning is kept of sin. 14But death held sway from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned as Adam did, by disobeying a direct command-and Adam foreshadows the Man who was to come.

15But God's act of grace is out of all proportion to is Adam's wrongdoing. For if the wrongdoing of that one man brought death upon so many, its effect is vastly exceeded by the grace of God and the gift that came to so many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. 16And again, the gift of God is not to be compared in its effect with that one man's sin; for the judicial action, following upon the one offence, issued in a verdict of condemnation, but the act of grace, following upon so many misdeeds, issued in a verdict of acquittal. 17For if by the wrongdoing of that one man death established its reign, through a single sinner, much more shall those who receive in far greater measure God's grace, and his gift of righteousness, live and reign through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18It follows, then, that as the issue of one misdeed was condemnation for all men, so the issue of one just act is acquittal and life for all men. 19For as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20Law intruded into this process to multiply law-breaking. But where sin was thus multiplied, grace immeasurably exceeded it, 21in order that, as sin established its reign by way of death, so God's grace might establish its reign in righteousness, and issue in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


  6.Dead to Sin but Alive in Christ

1What are we to say, then? Shall we persist in sin, so that there may be all the more grace? 2No, no! We died to sin: how can we live in it any longer? 3Have you forgotten that when we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus we were baptized into his death? 4By baptism we were buried with him, and lay dead, in order that, as Christ was raised from the dead in the splendour of the Father, so also we might set our feet upon the new path of life.

5For if we have become incorporate with him in a death like his, we shall also be one with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that the man we once were has been crucified with Christ, for the destruction of the sinful self, so that we may no longer be the slaves of sin, 7since a dead man is no longer answerable for his sin. 8But if we thus died with Christ, we believe that we shall also come to life with him. 9We know that Christ, once raised from the dead, is never to die again: he is no longer under the dominion of death. 10For in dying as he died, he died to sin, once for all, and in living as he lives, he lives to God. 11In the same way you must regard yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God, in union with Christ Jesus.

12So sin must no longer reign in your mortal body, exacting obedience to the body's desires. 13You must no longer put its several parts at sin's disposal, as implements for doing wrong. No: put yourselves at the disposal of God, as dead men raised to life; yield your bodies to him as implements for doing right; 14for sin shall no longer be your master, because you are no longer under law, but under the grace of God.

Slaves of Righteousness

15What then? Are we to sin, because we are not under law but under grace? Of course not. 16You know well enough that if you put yourselves at the disposal of a master, to obey him, you are slaves of the master whom you obey; and this is true whether you serve sin, with death as its result; or obedience, with righteousness as its result. 17But God be thanked, you, who once were slaves of sin, have yielded wholehearted obedience to the pattern of teaching to which you were made subject, [Or: which was handed on to you.] 18and, emancipated from sin, have become slaves of righteousness 19(to use words that suit your human weakness)—I mean, as you once yielded your bodies to the service of impurity and lawlessness, making for moral anarchy, so now you must yield them to the service of righteousness, making for a holy life.

20When you were slaves of sin, you were free from the control of righteousness; 21and what was the gain? Nothing but what now makes you ashamed, for the end of that is death. 22But now, freed from the commands of sin, and bound to the service of God, your gains are such as make for holiness, and the end is eternal life. 23For sin pays a wage, and the wage is death, but God gives freely, and his gift is eternal life, in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.


  7.An Analogy from Marriage

1You cannot be unaware, my friends—I am speaking to those who have some knowledge of law—that a person is subject to the law so long as he is alive, and no longer. 2For example, a married woman is by law bound to her husband while he lives; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the obligations of the marriage-law. 3If, therefore, in her husband's life-time she consorts with another man, she will incur the charge of adultery; but if her husband dies she is free of the law, and she does not commit adultery by consorting with another man. 4So you, my friends, have died to the law by becoming identified with the body of Christ, and accordingly you have found another husband in him who rose from the dead, so that we may bear fruit for God. 5While we lived on the level of our lower nature, the sinful passions evoked by the law worked in our bodies, to bear fruit for death. 6But now, having died to that which held us bound, we are discharged from the law, to serve God in a new way, the way of the spirit, in contrast to the old way, the way of a written code.

The Problem of Indwelling Sin

7What follows? Is the law identical with sin? Of course not. But except through law I should never have become acquainted with sin. For example, I should never have known what it was to covet, if the law had not said, 'Thou shalt not covet.' 8Through that commandment sin found its opportunity, and produced in me all kinds of wrong desires. In the absence of law, sin is a dead thing. 9There was a time when, in the absence of law, I was fully alive; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10The commandment which should have led to life proved in my experience to lead to death, 11because sin found its opportunity in the commandment, seduced me, and through the commandment killed me.

12Therefore the law is in itself holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. 13Are we to say then that this good thing was the death of me? By no means. It was sin that killed me, and thereby sin exposed its true character: it used a good thing to bring about my death, and so, through the commandment, sin became more sinful than ever.

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am not: 15I am unspiritual, the purchased slave of sin. I do not even acknowledge my own actions as mine, for what I do is not what I want to do, but what I detest. 16But if what I do is against my will, it means that I agree with the law and hold it to be admirable. 17But as things are, it is no longer I who perform the action, but sin that lodges in me. 18For I know that nothing good lodges in me—in my unspiritual nature, I mean—for though the will to do good is there, the deed is not. 19The good which I want to do, I fail to do; but what I do is the wrong which is against my will; 20and if what I do is against my will, clearly it is no longer I who am the agent, but sin that has its lodging in me.

21I discover this principle, then: that when I want to do the right, only the wrong is within my reach. 22In my inmost self I delight in the law of God, 23but I perceive that there is in my bodily members a different law, fighting against the law that my reason approves and making me a prisoner under the law [Or: by means of the law.] that is in my members, the law of sin. 24Miserable creature that I am, who is there to rescue me out of this body doomed to death? [Or: out of the body doomed to this death.] 25God alone, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Thanks be to God! In a word then, I myself, subject to God's law as a rational being, am yet, [Or: Thus, left to myself, while subject ... rational being, I am yet ...] in my unspiritual nature, a slave to the law of sin.


  8.Life in the Spirit

1The conclusion of the matter is this: there is no condemnation for those who are united with Christ Jesus, 2because in Christ Jesus the life-giving law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3What the law could never do, because our lower nature robbed it of all potency, God has done: by sending his own Son in a form like that of our own sinful nature, and as a sacrifice for sin, [Or: and to deal with sin.] he has passed judgement against sin within that very nature, 4so that the commandment of the law may find fulfilment in us, whose conduct, no longer under the control of our lower nature, is directed by the Spirit.

5Those who live on the level of our lower nature have their outlook formed by it, and that spells death; 6but those who live on the level of the spirit have the spiritual outlook, and that is life and peace. 7For the outlook of the lower nature is enmity with God; it is not subject to the law of God; indeed it cannot be: 8those who live on such a level cannot possibly please God.

9But that is not how you live. You are on the spiritual level, if only God's Spirit dwells within you; and if a man does not possess the Spirit of Christ, he is no Christian. 10But if Christ is dwelling within you, then although the body is a dead thing because you sinned, yet the spirit is life itself because you have been justified. [Or: so that you may live rightly.] 11Moreover, if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells within you, then the God who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give new life to your mortal bodies through his indwelling Spirit.

12It follows, my friends, that our lower nature has no claim upon us; we are not obliged to live on that level. 13If you do so, you must die. But if by the Spirit you put to death all the base pursuits of the body, then you will live.

14For all who are moved by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15The Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit that makes us sons, enabling us to cry 'Abba! Father!' 16In that cry the Spirit of God joins with our spirit in testifying that we are God's children; and if children, then heirs. 17We are God's heirs and Christ's fellow-heirs, if we share his sufferings now in order to share his splendour hereafter.

The Glory That is to be

18For I reckon that the sufferings we now endure bear no comparison with the splendour, as yet unrevealed, which is in store for us. 19For the created universe waits with eager expectation for God's sons to be revealed. 20It was made the victim of frustration, not by its own choice, but because of him who made it so; [Or: because God subjected it.] yet always there was hope, 21because [Or: with the hope that ...] the universe itself is to be freed from the shackles of mortality and enter upon the liberty and splendour of the children of God. 22Up to the present, we know, the whole created universe groans in all its parts as if in the pangs of childbirth. 23Not only so, but even we, to whom the Spirit is given as firstfruits of the harvest to come, are groaning inwardly while we wait for God to make us his sons and [Some witnesses omit: make us his sons and.] set our whole body free. 24For we have been saved, though only in hope. Now to see is no longer to hope: why should a man endure and wait [Some witnesses read: why should a man hope ...] for what he already sees? 25But if we hope for something we do not yet see, then, in waiting for it, we show our endurance.

26In the same way the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness. We do not even know how we ought to pray, [Or: what it is right to pray for.] but through our inarticulate groans the Spirit himself is pleading for us, 27and God who searches our inmost being knows what the Spirit means, because he pleads for God's own people in God's own way; 28and in everything, as we know, he co-operates for good with those who love God [Or: and, as we know, all things work together for good for those who love God; Some witnesses read: and we know God himself co-operates for good with those who love God.] and are called according to his purpose. 29For God knew his own before ever they were, and also ordained that they should be shaped to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest among a large family of brothers; 30and it is these, so fore-ordained, whom he has also called. And those whom he called he has justified, and to those whom he justified he has also given his splendour.

God's Love

31With all this in mind, what are we to say? If God is on our side, who is against us? 32He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all; and with this gift how can he fail to lavish upon us all he has to give? 33Who will be the accuser of God's chosen ones? It is God who pronounces acquittal: 34then who can condemn? It is Christ?Christ who died, and, more than that, was raised from the dead—who is at God's right hand, and indeed pleads our cause. [Or: Who will be the accuser of God's chosen ones? Will it be God himself? No, he it is who pronounces acquittal. Who will be the judge to condemn? Will it be Christ—he who died, and, more than that, ... right hand? No, he it is who pleads our cause.] 35Then what can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or hardship? Can persecution, hunger, nakedness, peril, or the sword? 36 [ Ps.44.22. ] 'We are being done to death for thy sake all day long,' as Scripture says; 'we have been treated like sheep for slaughter'— 37and yet, in spite of all, overwhelming victory is ours through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that there is nothing in death or life, in the realm of spirits or superhuman powers, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, in the forces of the universe, 39in heights or depths- nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The purpose of God in history

  9.God's Election of Israel

1I AM SPEAKING the truth as a Christian, and my own conscience, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, assures me it is no lie: 2in my heart there is great grief and unceasing sorrow. 3For I could even pray to be outcast from Christ myself for the sake of my brothers, my natural kinsfolk. 4They are Israelites: they were made God's sons, theirs is the splendour of the divine presence, theirs the covenants, the law, the temple worship, and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them, in natural descent, sprang the Messiah. [Greek: Christ.] May God, supreme above all, be blessed for ever! Amen. [Or: sprang the Messiah, supreme above all, God blessed for ever; Or: sprang the Messiah, who is supreme above all. Blessed be God for ever!]

6It is impossible that the word of God should have proved false. For not all descendants of Israel are truly Israel, nor, 7 [ Gn.21.12. ] because they are Abraham's offspring, are they all his true children; [Or: all children of God.] but, in the words of Scripture, 'Through the line of Isaac your posterity shall be traced.' [Or: God's call shall be for your descendants in the line of Isaac.] 8That is to say, it is not those born in the course of nature who are children of God; it is the children born through God's promise who are reckoned as Abraham's descendants. 9 [ Gn.18.10-14. ] For the promise runs: 'At the time fixed I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.'

10But that is not all, for Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our ancestor Isaac; 11and yet, in order that God's selective purpose might stand, based not upon men's deeds but upon the call of God, 12 [ Gn.25.23. ] she was told, even before they were born, when they had as yet done nothing, good or ill, 'The elder shall be servant to the younger'; 13 [ Mal.1.2-3. ] and that accords with the text of Scripture, 'Jacob I loved and Esau I hated.'

14What shall we say to that? Is God to be charged with injustice? By no means. 15 [ Ex.33.19. ] For he says to Moses, 'Where I show mercy, I will show mercy, and where I pity, I will pity.' 16Thus it does not depend on man's will or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 [ Ex.9.16. ] For Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'I have raised you up for this very purpose, to exhibit my power in my dealings with you, and to spread my fame over all the world.' 18Thus he not only shows mercy as he chooses, but also makes men stubborn as he chooses.

God's Wrath and Mercy

19You will say, 'Then why does God blame a man? For who can resist his will?' 20 [ Is.29.16, Is.45.9. ] Who are you, sir, to answer God back? Can the pot speak to the potter and say, 'Why did you make me like this?'? 21 [ Jr.18.6. ] Surely the potter can do what he likes with the clay. Is he not free to make out of the same lump two vessels, one to be treasured, the other for common use?

22But what if God, desiring to exhibit [Or: although he had the will to exhibit ...] his retribution at work and to make his power known, tolerated very patiently those vessels which were objects of retribution due for destruction, 23and did so in order to make known the full wealth of his splendour upon vessels which were objects of mercy, and which from the first had been prepared for this splendour?

24Such vessels are we, whom he has called from among Gentiles as well as Jews, 25 [ Hs.2.23. ] as it says in the Book of Hosea: 'Those who were not my people I will call My People, and the unloved nation I will call My Beloved. 26 [ Hs.1.10. ] For in the very place where they were told "you are no people of mine", they shall be called Sons of the living God.' 27 [ Is.10.22-23. ] But Isaiah makes this proclamation about Israel: 'Though the Israelites be countless as the sands of the sea, only a remnant that shall be saved; 28for the Lord's sentence on the land will be summary and final'; 29 [ Is.1.9. ] as also he said previously, 'If the Lord of Hosts had not left us the mere germ of a nation, we should have become like Sodom, and no better than Gomorrah.'

Israel and the Gospel

30Then what are we to say? That Gentiles, who made no effort after righteousness, nevertheless achieved it, a righteousness based on faith; 31whereas Israel made great efforts after a law of righteousness, but never attained to it. 32Why was this? Because their efforts were not based on faith, but (as they supposed) on deeds. They stumbled over the 'stone' 33 [ Is.28.16. ] mentioned in Scripture: 'Here I lay in Zion a stone to trip over, a rock to stumble against; but he who has faith in him will not be put to shame.'


  10.

1BROTHERS, MY DEEPEST DESIRE and my prayer to God is for their salvation. 2To their zeal for God I can testify; but it is an ill-informed zeal. 3For they ignore God's way of righteousness, and try to set up their own, and therefore they have not submitted themselves to God's righteousness. 4For Christ ends the law and brings righteousness for everyone who has faith. [Or: Christ is the end of the law as a way to righteousness for everyone who has faith.]

Salvation for All

5Of legal righteousness Moses writes, 'The man who does this shall gain life by it.' 6 [ Dt.9.4. ] But the righteousness that comes by faith says, 'Do not say to yourself, "Who can go up to heaven?"' (that is to bring Christ down), 7 [ Dt.30.12-14. ] 'or, "Who can go down to the abyss?"' (to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? 'The word is near you: it is upon your lips and in your heart.' This means the word of faith which we proclaim. 9If on your lips is the confession, 'Jesus is Lord', and in your heart the faith that God raised him from the dead, then you will find salvation. 10For the faith that leads to righteousness is in the heart, and the confession that leads to salvation is upon the lips.

11 [ Is.28.16. ] Scripture says, 'Everyone who has faith in him will be saved from shame'?everyone: 12there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich enough for the need of all who invoke him. 13 [ Jl.2.32. ] For everyone, as it says again—'everyone who invokes the name of the Lord will be saved'. 14How could they invoke one in whom they had no faith? And how could they have faith in one they had never heard of? And how hear without someone to spread the news? 15 [ Is.52.7, Na.1.15. ] And how could anyone spread is the news without a commission to do so? And that is what Scripture affirms: 'How welcome are the feet of the messengers of good news!'

16 [ Is.53.1. ] But not all have responded to the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our message?' 17We conclude that faith is awakened by the message, and the message that awakens it comes through the word of Christ.

18 [ Ps.19.4. ] But, I ask, can it be that they never heard it? Of course they did: 'Their voice has sounded all over the earth, and their words to the bounds of the inhabited world.' 19 [ Dt.32.21. ] But, I ask again, can it be that Israel failed to recognize the message? In reply, I first cite Moses, who says, 'I will use a nation that is no nation to stir your envy, and a foolish nation to rouse your anger.' 20 [ Is.65.1. ] But Isaiah is still more daring: 'I was found', he says, 'by those who were not looking for me; I was clearly shown to those who never asked about me'; 21while to Israel he says, 'All day long I have stretched out my hands to an unruly and defiant people.'


  11.The Remnant of Israel

1I ASK THEN, has God rejected his people? I cannot believe it! I am an Israelite myself, of the stock of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 [ Ps.94.14. ] No! God has not rejected the people which he acknowledged of old as his own. You know (do you not?) what Scripture says in the story of Elijah—how Elijah pleads with God against Israel: 3 [ 1Kgs.19.10-14. ] 'Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have torn down thine altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.' 4 [ 1Kgs.19.18. ] But what does the divine voice say to him? 'I have left myself seven thousand men who have not knelt to Baal.' 5In just the same way at the present time a 'remnant' has come into being, selected by the grace of God. 6But if it is by grace, then it does not rest on deeds done, or grace would cease to be grace.

7What follows? What Israel sought, Israel has not achieved, but the selected few have achieved it. The rest were made blind to the truth, 8 [ Dt.29.4, Is.29.10. ] exactly as it stands written: 'God brought upon them a numbness of spirit; he gave them blind eyes and deaf ears, and so it is still.' 9 [ Ps.69.22-23, Ps.35.8. ] Similarly David says:

The Salvation of the Gentiles

11I now ask, did their failure mean complete downfall? Far from it! Because they offended, salvation has come to the Gentiles, to stir Israel to emulation. 12But if their offence means the enrichment of the world, and if their falling-off means the enrichment of the Gentiles, how much more their coming to full strength!

13But I have something to say to you Gentiles. I am a missionary to the Gentiles, and as such I give all honour to that ministry 14when I try to stir emulation in the men of my own race, and so to save some of them. 15For if their rejection has meant the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean? 16Nothing less than life from the dead! If the first portion of dough is consecrated, so is the whole lump. 17If the root is consecrated, so are the branches. But if some of the branches have been lopped off, and you, a wild olive, have been grafted in among them, and have come to share the same root and sap as the olive, do not make yourself superior to the branches. 18If you do so, remember that it is not you who sustain the root: the root sustains you.

19You will say, 'Branches were lopped off so that I might be grafted in.' 20Very well: they were lopped off for lack of faith, and by faith you hold your place. Put away your pride, and be on your guard; 21for if God did not spare the native branches, no more will he spare you. 22Observe the kindness and the severity of God—severity to those who fell away, divine kindness to you, if only you remain within its scope; otherwise you too will be cut off, 23whereas they, if they do not continue faithless, will be grafted in; for it is in God's power to graft them in again. 24For if you were cut from your native wild olive and against all nature grafted into the cultivated olive, how much more readily will they, the natural olive-branches, be grafted into their native stock!

The Restoration of Israel

25For there is a deep truth here, my brothers, of which I want you to take account, so that you may not be complacent about your own discernment: this partial blindness has come upon Israel only until the Gentiles have been admitted in full strength; 26 [ Is.59.20-21, Ps.14.7. ] when that has happened, the whole of Israel will be saved, in agreement with the text of Scripture:

28In the spreading of the Gospel they are treated as God's enemies for your sake; but God's choice stands, and they are his friends for the sake of the patriarchs. 29For the gracious gifts of God and his calling are irrevocable. 30Just as formerly you were disobedient to God, but now have received mercy in the time of their disobedience, so now, 31when you receive mercy, they have proved disobedient, but only in order that they too may receive mercy. 32For in making all mankind prisoners to disobedience. God's purpose was to show mercy to all mankind.

33O depth of wealth, wisdom, and knowledge in God! How unsearchable his judgements, how untraceable his ways! 34 [ Is.40.13, Jb.15.8, Is.23.18. ] Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who has been his counsellor? 35 [ Jb.41.11. ] Who has ever made a gift to him, to receive a gift in return? 36Source, Guide, and Goal of all that is-to him be glory for ever! Amen.


Christian behaviour

  12.The New Life in Christ

1THEREFORE, MY BROTHERS. I implore you by God's mercy to offer your very selves to him: a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for his acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart. [Or: ... acceptance, for such is the worship which you, as rational creatures, should offer.] 2Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature thus transformed. Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and to know what is good, acceptable, and perfect.

3In virtue of the gift that God in his grace has given me I say to everyone among you: do not be conceited or think too highly of yourself; but think your way to a sober estimate based on the measure of faith that God has dealt to each of you. 4For just as in a single human body there are many limbs and organs, all with different functions, 5so all of us, united with Christ, form one body, serving individually as limbs and organs to one another.

6The gifts we possess differ as they are allotted to us by God's grace, and must be exercised accordingly: the gift of inspired utterance, for example, in proportion to a man's faith; 7or the gift of administration, in administration. A teacher should employ his gift in teaching, 8and one who has the gift of stirring speech should use it to stir his hearers. If you give to charity, give with all your heart; if you are a leader, exert yourself to lead; if you are helping others in distress, do it cheerfully.

Rules of the Christian Life

9Love in all sincerity, loathing evil and clinging to the good. 10Let love for our brotherhood breed warmth of mutual affection. Give pride of place to one another in esteem.

11With unflagging energy, in ardour of spirit, serve the Lord. [Some witnesses read: meet the demands of the hour.]

12Let hope keep you joyful; in trouble stand firm; persist in prayer.

13Contribute to the needs of God's people, and practise hospitality.

14Call down blessings on your persecutors-blessings, not curses.

15With the joyful be joyful, and mourn with the mourners.

16Care as much about each other as about yourselves. Do not be haughty, but go about with humble folk. Do not keep thinking how wise you are.

17 [ Pr.3.4. ] Never pay back evil for evil. Let your aims be such as all men count honourable. 18If possible, so far as it is lies with you, live at peace with all men. 19 [ Dt.32.35. ] My dear friends, do not seek revenge, but leave a place for divine retribution; for there is a text which reads, 'Justice is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.' 20 [ Pr.25.21-22. ] But there is another text: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; by doing this you will heap live coals on his head.' 21Do not let evil conquer you, but use good to defeat evil.


  13.Obedience to Rulers

1Every person must submit to the supreme authorities. There is no authority but by act of God, and the existing authorities are instituted by him; 2consequently anyone who rebels against authority is resisting a divine institution, and those who so resist have themselves to thank for the punishment they will receive. 3For government, a terror to crime, has no terrors for good behaviour. You wish to have no fear of the authorities? Then continue to do right and you will have their approval, 4for they are God's agents working for your good. But if you are doing wrong, then you will have cause to fear them; it is not for nothing that they hold the power of the sword, for they are God's agents of punishment, for retribution on the offender. 5That is why you are obliged to submit. It is an obligation imposed not merely by fear of retribution but by conscience. 6That is also why you pay taxes. The authorities are in God's service and to these duties they devote their energies.

7Discharge your obligations to all men; pay tax and toll, reverence and respect, to those to whom they are due.

Brotherly Love

8Leave no claim outstanding against you, except that of mutual love. He who loves his neighbour has satisfied every claim of the law. 9 [ Ex.20.13-17. ] For the commandments, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet', and any other commandment there may be, are all summed up in the one rule, 10'Love your neighbour as yourself.' Love cannot wrong a neighbour; therefore the whole law is summed up in love. [Or: the whole law is fulfilled by love.]

The Approach of the Day of Christ

11In all this, remember how critical the moment is. It is time for you to wake out of sleep, for deliverance is nearer to us now than it was when first we believed. 12It is far on in the night; day is near. Let us therefore throw off the deeds of darkness and put on our armour as soldiers of the light. 13Let us behave with decency as befits the day: no revelling or drunkenness, no debauchery or vice, no quarrels or jealousies! 14Let Christ Jesus himself be the armour that you wear; give no more thought to satisfying the bodily appetites.


  14.Do Not Judge Your Brother

1IF A MAN IS WEAK in his faith you must accept him vithout attempting to settle doubtful points. 2For instance, one man will have faith enough to eat all kinds of food, while a weaker man eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats must not hold in contempt the man who does not, and he who does not eat must not pass udgement on the one who does; for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to pass judgement on someone else's servant? Whether he stands or falls is his own Master's business; and stand he will, because his Master has power to enable him to stand.

5Again, this man regards one day more highly than another, while that man regards all days alike. On such a point everyone should have reached conviction in his own mind. 6He who respects the day has the Lord in mind in doing so, and he who eats meat has the Lord in mind when he eats, since he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains has the Lord in mind no less, since he too gives thanks to God.

7For no one of us lives, and equally no one of us dies, for himself alone. 8If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Whether therefore we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9This is why Christ died and came to life again, to establish his lordship over dead and living. 10You, sir, why do you pass judgement on your brother? And you, sir, why do you hold your brother in contempt? We shall all stand before God's tribunal. 11 [ Is.49.18, Is.45.23. ] For Scripture says, 'As I live, says the Lord, to me every knee shall bow and every tongue acknowledge God.' 12So, you see, each of us will have to answer for himself.

Do Not Make Your Brother Stumble

13Let us therefore cease judging one another, but rather make this simple judgement: that no obstacle or stumbling-block be placed in a brother's way. 14I am absolutely convinced, as a Christian, [Or: on the authority of the Lord Jesus.] that nothing is impure in itself; only, if a man considers a particular thing impure, then to him it is impure. 15If your brother is outraged by what you eat, then your conduct is no longer guided by love. Do not by your eating bring disaster to a man for whom Christ died! 16What for you is a good thing must not become an occasion for slanderous talk; 17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but justice, peace, and joy, inspired by the Holy Spirit. 18He who thus shows himself a servant of Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

19Let us then pursue the things that make for peace and build up the common life. 20Do not ruin the work of God for the sake of food. Everything is pure in itself, but anything is bad for the man who by his eating causes another to fall. 21It is a fine thing to abstain from eating meat or drinking wine, or doing anything which causes your brother's downfall. 22If you have a clear conviction, apply it to yourself in the sight of God. Happy is the man who can make his decision with a clear conscience! [Or: who does not bring judgement upon himself by what he approves!] 23But a man who has doubts is guilty if he eats, because his action does not arise from his conviction, and anything which does not arise from conviction is sin. [Some witnesses place Rom.16.25-27 after this verse.]


  15.Please Your Fellow Men, Not Yourself

1Those of us who have a robust conscience must accept as our own burden the tender scruples of weaker men, and not consider ourselves. 2Each of us must consider his neighbour and think what is for his good and will build up the common life. 3 [ Ps.69.9. ] For Christ too did not consider himself, but might have said, in the words of Scripture, 'The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell upon me.' 4For all the ancient scriptures were written for our own instruction, in order that through the encouragement they give us we may maintain our hope with fortitude. 5And may God, the source of all fortitude and all encouragement, grant that you may agree with one another after the manner of Christ Jesus, 6so that with one mind and one voice you may praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Gospel for Jews and Gentiles Alike

7In a word, accept one another as Christ accepted us, to the glory of God. 8I mean that Christ became a servant of the Jewish people to maintain the truth of God by making good his promises to the patriarchs, 9 [ Ps.18.49, 2Sm.22.50. ] and at the same time to give the Gentiles cause to glorify God for his mercy. As Scripture says, 'Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles and sing hymns to thy name'; 10 [ Dt.32.43. ] and again, 'Gentiles, make merry together with his own people'; 11 [ Ps.117.1. ] and yet again, 'All Gentiles, praise the Lord; let all peoples praise him.' 12 [ Is.11.10. ] Once again, Isaiah says, 'There shall be the Scion of Jesse, the one raised up to govern the Gentiles; on him the Gentiles shall set their hope.' 13And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace by your faith in him, until, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you overflow with hope.

Paul's Missionary Commission

14MY FRIENDS, I have no doubt in my own mind that you yourselves are quite full of goodness and equipped with knowledge of every kind, well able to give advice to one another; 15nevertheless I have written to refresh your memory, and written somewhat boldly at times, in virtue of the gift I have from God. 16His grace has made me a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles; my priestly service is the preaching of the gospel of God, and it falls to me to offer the Gentiles to him as [Or: ... of God, so that the worship which the Gentiles offer may be ...] an acceptable sacrifice, consecrated by the Holy Spirit.

17Thus in the fellowship of Christ Jesus I have ground for pride in the service of God. 18I will venture is to speak of those things alone in which I have been Christ's instrument to bring the Gentiles into his allegiance, by word and deed, 19by the force of miraculous signs and by the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result I have completed the preaching of the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem as far round as Illyricum. 20It is my ambition to bring the gospel to places where the very name of Christ has not been heard, for I do not want to build on another man's foundation; 21 [ Is.52.15. ] but, as Scripture says,

Paul's Plan to Visit Rome

22That is why I have been prevented all this time from coming to you. 23But now I have no further scope in these parts, and I have been longing for many years to visit you on my way to Spain; 24for I hope to see you as I travel through, and to be sent there with your support after having enjoyed your company for a while. 25But at the moment I am on my way to Jerusalem, on an errand to God's people there. 26For Macedonia and Achaia have resolved to raise a common fund for the benefit of the poor among God's people at Jerusalem. 27They have resolved to do so, and indeed they are under an obligation to them. For if the Jewish Christians shared their spiritual treasures with the Gentiles, the Gentiles have a clear duty to contribute to their material needs. 28So when I have finished this business and delivered the proceeds under my own seal, I shall set out for Spain by way of your city, 29and I am sure that when I arrive I shall come to you with a full measure of the blessing of Christ.

30I implore you by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit inspires, be my allies in the fight; 31pray to God for me that I may be saved from unbelievers in Judaea and that my errand to Jerusalem may find acceptance with God's people, 32so that by his will I may come to you in a happy frame of mind and enjoy a time of rest with you. 33The God of peace be with you all. Amen. [Some witnesses place Rom.16.25-27 after this verse.]


  16.Personal Greetings

1I COMMEND TO YOU PHOEBE, a fellow-Christian who holds office in the congregation at Cenchreae.
2Give her, in the fellowship of Christ, a welcome worthy of God's people, and stand by her in any business in which she may need your help, for she has herself been a good friend to many, including myself.

3Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my fellow-workers in Jesus Christ. 4They risked their necks to save my life, and not I alone but all the gentile congregations are grateful to them. 5Greet also the congregation at their house.

Give my greetings to my dear friend Epaenetus, the first convert to Christ in Asia, 6and to Mary, who toiled hard for you.
7Greet Andronicus and Junias [Or: Junia; Some witnesses read: Julia, or Julias.] my fellow-countrymen and comrades in captivity. They are eminent among the apostles, and they were Christians before I was.

8Greetings to Ampliatus, my dear friend in the fellowship of the Lord, 9to Urban my comrade in Christ, and to my dear Stachys. 10My greetings to Apelles, well proved in Christ's service, to the household of Aristobulus, 11and my countryman Herodion, and to those of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord's fellowship. 12Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who toil in the Lord's service, and dear Persis who has toiled in his service so long. 13Give my greetings to Rufus, an outstanding follower of the Lord, and to his mother, whom I call mother too. 14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and all friends in their company. 15Greet Philologus and Julia, [Or: Julias; Some witnesses read: Junia, or Junias.] Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all God's people associated with them.

16Greet one another with the kiss of peace. All Christ's congregations send you their greetings.

17I implore you, my friends, keep your eye on those who stir up quarrels and lead others astray, contrary to the teaching you received. 18Avoid them, for such people are servants not of Christ our Lord but of their own appetites, and they seduce the minds of innocent people with smooth and specious words. 19The fame of your obedience has spread everywhere. This makes me happy about you; yet I should wish you to be experts in goodness but simpletons in evil; 20and the God of peace will soon crush Satan beneath your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you! [The words: The grace ... with you are omitted at this point in some witnesses; In some, these or similar words are given as verse 24, and in some others after verse 27 (see note on verse 23).]

21Greetings to you from my colleague Timothy, and from Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater my fellow-countrymen. 22(I Tertius, who took this letter down, add my Christian greetings.) 23Greetings also from Gaius, my host and host of the whole congregation, and from Erastus, treasurer of this city, and our brother Quartus. 24[Some manuscripts here add: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! (omitting the similar words in verse 20.)

Doxology

25TO HIM who has power to make your standing sure, according to the Gospel I brought you and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of that divine secret kept in silence for long ages 26but now disclosed, and through prophetic scriptures by eternal God's command made known to all nations, to bring them to faith and obedience? 27to God who alone is wise, through Jesus Christ, [Some witnesses insert: to whom.] be glory for endless ages! Amen. [Here some witnesses add: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!] [Some witnesses place verse 25-27 at the end of chapter 14, one other places them at the end of chapter 15, and others omit them altogether.]


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