Summary: Paul’s desire to visit rome
Romans 1:8, “8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”
The Apostle Paul in every letter he wrote, expressed his gratitude for those who would receive it (1 Cor 1:4), except in his letter to the Galatians, whose defection from the true gospel caused him to dispense with any opening commendations (Gal 1:6-12). Your faith refers here to the genuineness of their salvation. The testimony of the church in Rome was so strong that in 49 Ad, the emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews because of the influence of “Chrestus,” which was undoubtedly a reference to Christ (Acts 18:2). Throughout the whole world just refers to the fact that the center of the Roman Empire was Rome, whatever happened in Rome became known universally.
Romans 1:9-10, “9For 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, 10making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.”
Paul prayed for these believers at every chance he had. In terms we understand today, Paul had the Roman believers on his prayer list. Serve with my spirit is the greek word for serve always refers to religious service, and is sometimes translated worship. Paul had seen the shallow, hypocritical religion of the Pharisees and the superstitious hedonism of pagan idolatry. His spiritual service, however; did not result from abject fear or legal obligation, but was genuine and sincere (Phil 3:3; 2 Tim 1:3; 2:22) In my prayers is a reference to the fact that Paul frequently recorded the content of his requests (Eph 3:14-19; Phil 1:9-11; Col 1:9-11; 2 Thess 1:11-12) and urged his readers to join him in prayer (15:30-32; 1 Thess 5:17; Eph 6:18). The will of God is a reference to God’s sovereign orchestration of Paul’s circumstances (Matthew 6:10; Acts 21:11-14; James 4:13-14).
Romans 1:11-12, “11For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established-- 12that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
Spiritual gift comes from the greek word translated charisma, which means a “gift of grace”-a spiritual enablement whose source is the Spirit of God. Romans uses this term to describe 1) Christ Himself (5:15-16). 2) General blessings from God (11:29; 1 Tim 6:17; and 3) specific spiritual gifts given to members of the body to minister to the whole (12:6-8; 1 Cor 12:1-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11). Paul intends here to encompass all three for us.
Mutual refers to Paul’s genuine humility (1 Peter 5:3-4).
Romans 1:13, “13Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.”
Scripture speaks to three different kinds of fruit. 1) spiritual attitudes that characterize a Spirit-led believer (Galatians 5:22-23); 2) righteous actions (6:22; Phil 4:16-17); Heb 13:15); and 3) new converts desire that was eventually realized during his imprisonment in Rome (Phil 4:22). Gentiles is the wrong word here since Gentiles would refer to those outside of the scope of salvation unless Paul is here speaking culturally rather than spiritually, which Paul is here focusing on the cultural aspects rather than the spiritual sense.
Romans 1:14-15, “14I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.”
Debtor: Paul has an obligation to God (1 Cor 9:16-`7) to fulfill His divine mandate to minister to Gentiles (1:5; Acts 9:15). Paul felt he had a duty to preach to the cultured and uncultured. Not many are wise are called, some are (1st Cor 1:26-29); all need to hear the Word of the Lord no matter what.
Greeks: This refers to the people of many different nationalities who had embraced the Greek language, culture and education. They were the sophisticated elite of Paul’s day. Because of their deep interested in Greek philosophy, they were considered “wise.” Because of this prevalence of Greek culture, Paul sometimes used this word to describe all Gentiles (3:9).
Barbarians: A derisive term coined by the Greeks for all who had not been trained in Greek language, and culture. When someone spoke in another language, it sounded to the Greeks like “bar-bar-bar” or unintelligible chatter. Although in the narrowest sense “Barbarian” referred to the uncultured, uneducated masses, it was often used to describe all non-Greeks-the unwise of the world. Paul’s point is that God is no respecter of persons-the gospel must reach both the world’s elite and its outcasts (John 4:4-42; James 2:1-9).