4.1 Romans -- the Gospel is for All People

 In his introduction (Rom 1:1-17), Paul addresses both audiences, Jew and Greek.  He declares the Jewish roots of the Gospel:

          "the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David..." (Rom 1:2-3).
    
Yet, though the origin of the Gospel was in Jewish history, the nature of his own mission was

          "to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith" (Rom 1:5).

         

This calling that he received from God was an "obligation" to Greeks and even to non-Greeks (Rom 1:14).  This latter term does not mean Jews, but literally "barbarians."  This term is believed to refer to Gentiles who were not Greek- or Latin-speakers.  It is an indication of how far Paul intended to take the Gospel from its base in Jerusalem.

         

Paul states right up front that this Gospel is for all mankind:

          "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (Rom 1:16).

           It is interesting that he retains the preference for the Jew.  This is well explained by the NIV Study Bible:

          "These privileges, however, were not extended to the Jews because of their superior merit or because of God's partiality toward them.  It was necessary that the invasion of this world by the gospel begin at a particular point with a particular people, who in turn were responsible to carry that gospel to the other nations" (NIV, p. 2164-5 footnote).

           The Jews did receive precedence in time, but that placed upon them the obligation, and even the urgency, to carry the message of salvation to the rest of humanity. It was not a sacred fire to keep under wraps far from the unclean throngs.  Paul himself was the best living example of this urgency.

         

What does this Gospel convey to men?  Paul gives a summary answer, and this is the main topic of his letter:

          "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last" (Rom 1:17).

           Most translations read "the righteousness of God."    The Good News is about how to be brought into a right relationship with God.