1 Paul, the servant and chosen Apostle of Jesus Christ, –
By whom I have been foreordained to proclaim the Gospel, 2 which God had promised beforehand in the Holy Scriptures through his Prophets, 3 concerning his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, –
Who was born as the descendant of David physically, 4 and was manifested as the holy Son of God spiritually, through the miracle of his Resurrection from the dead, –
5 From whom I have received the grace and the commission to preach his religion of faith in his name among all the Gentiles, 6 including yourselves, the elect of Jesus Christ, –
7 To all the chosen saints in Rome who are dear to God:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all. Your faith is renowned all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with all my soul by preaching the Gospel of his Son, is my witness that I remember you in my prayers constantly. 10 I always pray that I may some day, by the will of God, succeed in visiting you. 11 I long to see you, so that I may convey to you some spiritual gift for your confirmation, in other words, 12 that we may be mutually uplifted by our common faith, yours and mine.
13 Brethren, I want you to know that thus far I have been unable to visit you. Nevertheless I have often planned to come and see you in order to reap some spiritual harvest among you as well as among the Gentiles elsewhere. 14 I have the same duty to all, Greek and barbarian, wise and unsophisticated.
15 So I am eager to preach the Gospel to you in Rome also. 16 I am proud of the Gospel of Christ. It is a message of divine power. It brings salvation to every believer, to the Jew first and to the Gentile as well. 17 It reveals that divine righteousness comes from faith and faith only as it is written in the Scriptures: “The righteous man will inherit life through faith.”
18 The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all the iniquity of the men who suppress divine truth by their unrighteous behavior. 19 The knowledge of God is clear to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 From the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, his eternal power, and divine character have been clearly perceptible through his creatures. So they are inexcusable. 21 For although they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks to him. On the contrary they have indulged in futile speculations until their stupid minds have been blinded. 22 Professing to be wise, they have become fools. 23 They have exchanged the majesty of the immortal God for idols resembling mortal men birds animals, and reptiles.
24 Therefore God abandoned them to the impure cravings of their heart, and let them degrade their own bodies. 25 For they exchanged divine truth for falsehood. They reverenced and worshipped the creature in preference to the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God has left them at the mercy of their shameful passions. Their women exchanged natural for unnatural intercourse. 27 Likewise their men gave up natural intercourse with women and are consumed by desire for each other, men disgracing themselves with their fellow-men. Thus they have received in themselves a fitting retribution for their perversity.
28 Now, since the unbelievers refused to recognize God any longer, God has abandoned them to reprobate impulses and indecent conduct. 29 They revel in every kind of iniquity, fornication, malice, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malignity. They are gossipers,
30 slanderers, abhorrent to God, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, treacherous, heartless, implacable, merciless. 32 They know the divine decree that those who practice these vices deserve death. Yet they not only imitate them, but also approve those who act likewise.
THE DAY OF RETRIBUTION
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O men, whenever you judge another. When you pass judgment on someone, you condemn yourselves. For you who sit in judgment practice the very same vices yourselves. 2 We know that divine judgment will fall rightfully on those who are guilty of such misdeeds.
3 Do not suppose, O men, that you will escape judgment by condemning those who are guilty of such misdeeds. For you imitate them yourselves. 4 Do not presume upon his rich kindness, forbearance, and patience. You must know that divine kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.
5 Indeed in your obstinacy and impenitence you are storing up trouble for yourselves on the Day of Retribution, of revelation, and of righteous judgment. 6 Then God will render to every man according to his works. 7 He will give everlasting life to those who seek for glory, honor, and immortality by perseverance in well-doing.
8 But there will be wrath and fury for those who are factious, disloyal to divine truth, and loyal to iniquity. 9 There will be tribulation and torture for every soul of man who has done evil, for the Jew first and for the Gentile as well. 10 But glory, honor, and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and to the Gentile as well. 11 For God knows no partiality.
12 All those who have sinned as Gentiles apart from the Law will also perish as Gentiles apart from the Law. Those who have sinned as Jews under the Law will be judged by the Law. 13 Mere listeners to the Law are not righteous in the sight of God. Only strict observers of the Law will be justified.
14 When the Gentiles who have not the Law practice it instinctively, they are a Law to themselves, even though they have not the Law. 15 They show that the obligations of the Law are written in their hearts. Their consciences will testify for them. Their thoughts will either accuse them or defend them, 16 on the day when God through Jesus Christ will judge the secrets of men according to my Gospel.
17 Suppose you call yourself a Jew. You rely on the Law. You boast about God. 18 You know his will. You can tell what is right according to the Law. 19 You are sure you can guide the blind, enlighten people who are in the dark, 20 instruct the ignorant, and teach the young. For in the Law you have the interpretation of all knowledge and all truth.
21 Now you must teach yourself before you teach others. You must not steal, while you preach against stealing. 22 You must not commit adultery, while you preach against adultery. You must not rob pagan temples, when you detest idols. 23 You must not dishonor God and violate his Law, while you boast about the Law. 24 For then, as the Scripture says: “The name of God is blasphemed through you.”
25 Circumcision is of benefit, if you observe the Law. If you violate the Law, your circumcision is annulled. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcized observe the Law, they must be reckoned as circumcized. 27 The physically uncircumcized, by practicing the Law, will condemn you as a violator of the Law, although you have it in writing and you are circumcized.
28 The real Jew is not the man who seems to be a Jew ritually. Real circumcision is not external and physical. 29 The real Jew is the man who feels like a Jew in his conscience. Real circumcision is not ritual. It is mental and spiritual. Such a man receives his reward, not from men, but from God.
1 Then what advantage has the Jew? What is the benefit of circumcision? 2 Great in all respects. First, because the Jews were entrusted with the revelations of God.
3 To be sure, some of the Jews have not been loyal to these revelations. But their disloyalty does not affect the divine covenant. 4 By no means. God will be true to his words, even if all men prove to be false. For the Scripture tells us that his commandments will be vindicated and his judgments will triumph.
5 Thus our iniquity brings out the righteousness of God. But that does not mean that God is wrong in punishing us for our iniquity. 6 Never, even according to our human standards. Because that would mean that God has no right to judge the world.
7 But if the truthfulness of God is glorified through my falsehood, why then am I condemned as a sinner? 8 Yes, that condemnation is perfectly justified. Otherwise we should do evil, so that good may come out of it. As a matter of fact, that is what we are accused of preaching by some of our detractors.
9 Well then, does that mean that we Jews are at a disadvantage? In no way. As I have already said before, Jews as well as Gentiles are subject to sin.
10 For it is written in the Scriptures: “There is not a single righteous man on earth. 11 No one understands, no one searches for God. 12 They have all turned away. All of them have gone wrong. There is not a single man who does good. 13 Their throat is an open grave. Their tongues are full of deceit. Their lips are dripping the venom of an asp. 14 Their mouths overflow with curses and bitterness. 15 Their feet run swiftly to shed blood. 16 Their path is marked by ruin and wretchedness. 17 They know nothing of the ways of peace. 18 They have no fear of God before their eyes.”
JUSTIFICATION THROUGH FAITH
19 Brethren, we know that everything the Law says, is addressed to those under its authority. So every mouth must be shut, and the whole world must be made accountable to God. 20 For no human being can be justified in his sight by observing the prescriptions of the Law. For the Law makes man conscious of sin.
21 But now justification from God has been revealed apart from the Law, though it is attested by the Law and the Prophets. 22 Justification from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and upon all believers without distinction. 23 For all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
24 But they are justified freely by his grace, because they have been redeemed through Jesus Christ. 25 God has offered him to us as a sacrifice of reconciliation to be received through faith. Thus he vindicated his own justice in the past. In his divine forbearance God overlooked the former sins of men. 26 He also vindicated his own justice at the present time. He showed us that he is righteous himself and that he justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 There is no reason for boasting of our grace. None whatever. Grace is not obtained through deeds, but through faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without any observance of the Law. 29 Is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles also? Of course, he is the God of the Gentiles also. 30 Because God is one, and he will justify both the circumcized and the uncircumcized through the same faith.
31 Does that mean that we abolish the Law through faith? On the contrary, we uphold the Law.
1 For instance, how did Abraham, our forefather in the flesh, obtain justification?
2 If he was justified by observances, he had reason to be proud of it, but not in the sight of God. 3 For the Scripture says: “Abraham had faith in God, and he obtained justification.”
4 The salary given to a workman is not a favor, but a debt. 5 On the other hand, the justification of a sinful man, through faith without any works, is a pure gift from God.
6 Thus David describes the blessedness of a man whom God justified without any works: 7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions have been forgiven and whose sins have been remitted. 8 Blessed is the man whose sins God will overlook.”
9 Does this blessedness belong to the circumcized only, or to the uncircumcized as well? We have already said that Abraham has obtained justification through his faith. 10 In what circumstances? Was it after or before his circumcision? Not after, but before his circumcision.
11 He received the mark of circumcision as a seal for righteousness through the faith he had before he was circumcized. 12 Thus he became the forefather of all the uncircumcized believers who have been justified through faith. He also became the forefather of all the circumcized, who share the circumcision of our forefather Abraham as well as the faith he had before he was circumcized, and who follow his example as his true descendants.
13 The promise made to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the earth, did not come from the Law, but from the justification he obtained through faith. 14 If the adherents of the Law are his heirs, then faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the Law brings down the retribution of God. But where there is no Law there is no violation of it.
16 Therefore the promise depends on faith, and rests on grace. Thus the promise is guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the Law, but also to those who share the faith of Abraham who is the father of us all. 17 For God tells him in the Scripture: “I have made you the father of many nations.” The promise is guaranteed personally by God, in whom Abraham believed, who gives life to the dead, and who calls into being what does not exist.
18 Abraham, hoping against hope, believed that he would become the father of many nations, as God tells him in the Scripture: “Your descendants will be countless.” 19 His faith did not weaken, though he knew that he was physically worn out, since he was about one hundred years old, and Sarah was past the age of bearing children.
20 He did not question the promise of God incredulously. On the contrary, he was strengthened by faith and glorified God. 21 For he was fully convinced that God would fulfill his promise. 22 Thus he obtained justification through faith.
23 Now it is written in the Scriptures that Abraham obtained justification through faith, not only for himself, 24 but also for us who will obtain justification through faith in God. For he raised from the dead our Lord Jesus, 25 who was put to death for our trespasses and rose from the dead for our justification.
PEACE WITH GOD
1 Now that we have been justified by faith, we enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 For through him and through faith we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we exult in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 Not only that, but we also exult in our afflictions, because we know well that affliction produces endurance; 4 and endurance produces steadfastness; and steadfastness produces hope; 5 and hope will not disappoint us. For the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
6 While we were still sinful, Christ in his own appointed time died for ungodly men like us. 7 A man will hardly give his life for a righteous person, though perhaps for a really good man someone would even dare to die.
8 But God showed his love for us by the fact that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. 9 So now that we have been justified through his blood, it is far more certain that through him we shall be saved from the retribution of God.
10 For we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son when we were his enemies. Now that we are already reconciled to him, we are much more assured that we shall be saved through the life of his Son. 11 More than that, we actually glory in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have now received our reconciliation.
12 Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all men, because all men sinned. 13 It is true, sin was in the world before the Law was revealed. But sin is not imputed in the absence of the Law.
14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned as Adam had by disobeying a command. In this respect Adam foreshadowed the Messiah who was to come.
15 But the effect of grace is the opposite of that of sin. For whereas the sin of one man made the mass of mankind die, the grace of God and the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, gave abundant life to mankind.
16 Grace differs from sin in another respect. The sentence which brought us condemnation arose out of one man’s sin, while the pardon which brought us justification arose out of many sins. 17 Because of the sin of one man, death reigned through that one man, whereas the overflowing grace and the gift of justification through one man, Jesus Christ, will make men enjoy a reign of life more abundantly.
18 Therefore, as through the sin of one man all men were condemned, so through the righteousness of one man, all men were justified and brought back to life. 19 For as through the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one man many men will be made righteous.
20 When Law was instituted, sin increased. But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. 21 As sin has reigned through death, grace will reign through righteousness and bring everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
DEAD TO SIN
1 Then what shall we conclude? Shall we continue to sin, so that grace may abound? 2 By no means. We have died to sin once for all. We cannot live in it any more. 3 You know well that all of us who have been baptized in the name of Christ, have been baptized in his death. 4 Consequently we have been buried with him by baptism in death. Thus, as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, likewise we shall rise and live a new life.
5 For as we have been buried like him in death, likewise we shall rise like him in resurrection. 6 You know that our old nature was crucified with him. Our body of sin has been destroyed and henceforth we cannot serve sin. 7 For no one who is dead can be subject to sin.
8 Now, if we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. 9 We well know that Christ, after being raised from the dead, can die no more. Death has no more dominion over him. 10 For when he died, he died once for all unto sin. But now that he lives, he lives unto God. 11 Likewise you must also consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 12 So do not allow sin to reign in your mortal bodies, and make you subject to the passions of the flesh.
13 Do not offer the members of your bodies to sin for the service of vice. But dedicate yourselves to God as men brought back from death to life, and offer the members of your bodies to God for the service of righteousness. 14 Sin must no longer dominate you. For now you live under grace, not under the Law.
15 How can we sin now that we live, not under the Law, but under grace? Never! 16 You know that you must serve the master to whom you owe allegiance, either sin which leads to death, or faith which leads to justification. 17 Thank God that you who were slaves of sin in the past now have become devoted servants of that divine doctrine which you were taught.
FREE FROM SIN
18 Now you have been delivered from the bondage of sin and have become the servants of righteousness. 19 I am using human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. In the past you dedicated the members of your bodies to the service of impurity and to greater and greater iniquity. But now you have dedicated the members of your bodies to the service of righteousness and sanctification.
20 When you were the slaves of sin, you were free of the burdens of righteousness. 21 But what benefit did you derive at that time from those practices which now make you blush? Their result was death. 22 However now that you have been delivered from the bondage of sin and have become the servants of God, the benefit you derive is sanctification, and the final result will be eternal life. 23 Death is the penalty of sin. Everlasting life in Jesus Christ our Lord is the free gift of God.
FREE FROM JEWISH LAW
1 Brethren, I am speaking to those who know the Law. Now the Law governs a man only as long as he lives. 2 For instance, a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives. But if he dies, she is set free from her obligations to her husband.
3 Therefore, if she goes with another man, while her husband is alive, she is called an adulteress. But after the death of her husband she is free, and can marry another man without committing adultery.
4 In the same way, my brethren, we became dead to the Law through the body of Christ. For now we belong to the Lord who rose from the dead and who makes us bear fruit in the service of God. 5 When he were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, suggested by the Law, operated through the organs of our bodies and made them bear fruit in the service of death.
6 But now we have been released from the Law by which we were dominated. So now we can serve according to the new spirit, not according to the old letter.
COMMANDMENTS AND SIN
7 Does that mean that the Law is sin? By no means. Yet I should not have learned what sin was except through the Law. For instance, I should not have known of covetousness, if the Law had not said: “Do not covet.” 8 This commandment gave an impulse to sin, and sin worked in me all kinds of covetousness. Sin was dormant without the Law. 9 Once upon a time, I lived without the Law. When the commandments came, sin awoke, and then I died. 10 Thus the commandments which should have meant life, proved to mean death for me. 11 For the commandments gave an impulse to sin, which beguiled me and used the commandments to kill me.
12 So the Law is holy, and the commandments are holy, just, and good. 13Does that mean that what is good has brought death to me? By no means. It was sin which brought death to me. Thus sin has been manifested in its true nature. For it brought me death even by what is good. By using the divine commandments as a weapon, sin has become immeasurably diabolical.
14 We know that the Law is spiritual, whereas I am physical, sold into the slavery of sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not practice what I wish, but I do what I hate.
16 Now if I do what I hate, then I admit that the Law is good. 17 In reality, it is not I who commit the wrong, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that no good resides in me, that is to say in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I wish, but the evil that I do not want.
20 Now if I do what I do not wish to do, it is no longer I who commit it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So the Law which regulates my actions is this: I want to do what is right. But wrong is all I can manage. 22 I agree with the Law of God in my inner self. 23 But I find another law in my members, which conflicts with the law of my mind, and makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which dwells in my members.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who can save me from this body of death? 25 Thank God! Jesus Christ our Lord can do it. For I serve the Law of God with my mind. But with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
SPIRIT AND FLESH
1 So there is no condemnation any more for those who are in union with Jesus Christ. For they do not act according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 The life-giving Law of the Spirit through Jesus Christ has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 The Law was powerless, because it was hampered by the limitations of our flesh. But God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to deal with sin, and condemned sin in his flesh. 4 Thus the just requirements of the Law were fulfilled in us, who act not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh think the thoughts of the flesh. Those who live according to the Spirit think the thoughts of the Spirit. 6 The wisdom of the flesh brings death. The wisdom of the Spirit brings life and peace.
7 The wisdom of the flesh is hostile to God, because it does not submit to the Law of God. Indeed it cannot. 8 Therefore those who belong to the flesh cannot please God. 9 Now you do not belong to the flesh, but to the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells within you. The man who does not possess the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is within you, though your body is dead because of sin, your spirit will be alive because of righteousness.
11 If the Spirit of the Lord who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then the Lord who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit which dwells in you also.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are under no obligation to the flesh, and we must not live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if you put to death the impulses of the body through the Spirit, then you will live.
CHILDREN OF GOD
14 All those who are guided by the Holy Spirit are sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of slavery to fall back on fear, but the spirit of adoption as sons, which makes us cry: “Abba, Father!” 16 The Holy Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
17 Now if we are children, we are also heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ. But we must suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.
18 For I think that the sufferings of the present time bear no comparison to the glory which will be revealed to us in the future. 19 All human creatures are longing for this glorification of the sons of God.
20 Men have been subjected to frustration, not for any fault of theirs, but by divine Providence with a hope to look forward to. 21 The hope is that all of them in their turn will be set free from the slavery of death, and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 We know that all creation has been groaning and agonizing until now. 23 More than that, we ourselves who possess the first fruits of the Spirit, are groaning inwardly while we wait to be adopted by God as his sons through the redemption of our bodies.
24 For in this hope we were saved. Now visible hope is not hope. Nobody hopes for what he sees. 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our distress. For we do not know how to pray as we ought. But the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us with unutterable sighs. 27 And the searcher of hearts knows what is the desire of the Holy Spirit. For he intervenes on behalf of the saints according to the will of God.
28 We know that everything works for the benefit of those who love God, and of those whom God has called for the fulfillment of his plan. 29 God marked them out from the first and predestined them to become the image of his Son, who was the first-born of his many brethren. 30 He called them, he justified them, he glorified them.
31 Then this is the inevitable conclusion: If God is for us, no one can be against us. 32 God who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will certainly grant us everything else.
33 No one can bring any accusation against us. For God himself has chosen us and has justified us.
34 No one can condemn us. For Christ himself, who died for us, or rather rose for us, is now sitting at the right hand of God and is pleading for us.
THE LOVE OF CHRIST
35 No one can separate us from the love of Christ. Affliction, distress, persecution, famine, privation, peril, and sword cannot do it. We are prepared for the worst. 36 As the Scripture says: “For your sake, O Lord, we face death every day, and we are marked for slaughter like sheep.”
37 No, we are going to overcome all these trials and march to victory through God who loved us. 38 For I am absolutely sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor devils, nor dominions, nor present, nor future, 39 nor sky, nor abyss, nor any other power of the universe can separate us from the love of God in our Lord Jesus Christ.
PAUL AND THE JEWS
1 I am not deceiving you. I am telling you the truth in Christ. My conscience, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, bears me witness, 2 when I tell you that I feel a great sorrow and a continual anguish in my heart.
3 I wish I were accursed and cut off from Christ, if that would benefit my brethren, my own kinsmen by race. 4 They are Israelites; adopted as sons of God; heirs of the glory, the covenant, the commandments, the worship, and the promises.
5 The patriarchs are their forefathers. And from their race, according to the flesh, came Christ, who is God over all, blessed for all eternity. Amen.
6 You must not imagine that the divine Gospel has failed, 7 for not all those who are descended from Israel belong to Israel. Not all the descendants of Abraham are his sons, because the Scripture says: “Your descendants will be named through Isaac.” 8 This means that the children of the flesh are not the children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered as his descendants.
9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only she, but Rebecca also received a promise, when she was about to bear twin sons to her husband, our forefather Isaac.
11 The children were not yet born. They had done nothing, good or evil. But divine Providence did not depend on any work of theirs. It depended only on choice and the calling of God. 12 So he said to Rebecca that her elder son would serve the younger, 13 as it is written in the Scriptures: “I love Jacob, but I hate Esau.”
14 Does that mean that God is unfair? By no means! 15 Because he said to Moses: “I will show mercy and compassion to whom I choose.” 16 So it does not depend on human wish or exertion, but on the mercy of God.
17 For in the Scriptures he says to Pharaoh: “I have raised you for this very purpose of displaying my power over you, and making my name known all over the world.” 18 So God has mercy on whom he pleases, and whom he pleases he hardens. 19 Someone might ask: “Why then does God find fault with men, since nobody can resist his will?”
20 But who are you, my friend, to talk back to God? The creature cannot ask the Creator: “Why did you make me like this?” 21 The potter is free to do what he wills with the clay, using the same lump to make two objects, one for noble and another for ignoble use.
22 It may be that God has tolerated with much patience the reprobates who arouse his wrath and are fit only for destruction in order to display his anger and his power at last. 23 He can show the wealth of all his glory for the vessels of mercy, whom he has prepared beforehand to share his Kingdom.
24 We are the vessels of his mercy, we whom he has called, Jews and Gentiles alike. 25 For he said through the Prophet Hosea: “I will call strangers ‘my people.’ I will call the unloved ones ‘my beloved.’ 26 Those who are not my people will be called ‘Sons of the living God.'”
27 Isaiah cried out about Israel: “Although the sons of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the sea, only a minority of them will be saved. 28 For the Lord will execute his sentence rigorously and swiftly all over the earth.”
FAITH AND LAW
29 Isaiah also foretold: “If the Lord of hosts had not given us children, our land would have been deserted like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
30 That means that the Gentiles, who were not striving for righteousness, have attained it through faith. 31 The Jews, who were pursuing righteousness through the Law, have not succeeded in attaining it.
32 Why? Because they did not pursue it through faith, but on the basis of the observances of the Law. They have stumbled over the stone, 33 as it is written in the Scripture: “Listen! I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, and a rock to trip them over. But the man who believes in God will not be put to shame.”
SALVATION THROUGH FAITH
1 I desire with all my heart and I pray to God for the salvation of Israel. 2 I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not based on knowledge. 3 Ignoring and disregarding the justification which comes from God, they are trying to institute a justification of their own. 4 For Christ has superseded the Law, and everyone who has faith in him may be justified.
5 Moses tells us in the Scriptures that every man who observes the rules prescribed by the Law will find life through them. 6 But justification which comes from faith is much easier. It does not mean that we must ascend into heaven to bring Christ down on earth, 7 or descend into the abyss to bring Christ up from the dead.
8 It means only that the doctrine of the faith we preach is close to you, on your mouth, and in your mind. 9 You can find salvation if you acknowledge with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and if you believe in your mind that God has raised him from the dead. 10 For with our mind we believe in him, and so we are justified. With our mouth we acknowledge him, and so we are saved.
THE JEWS AND THE GOSPEL
11 The Scripture says: “The man who believes in God will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. The same Lord is Lord of all, and bestows his rich mercies upon all who call upon him. 13 “Everyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved.”
14 But how are they to call upon him, if they have not believed in him? How are they to believe in him, if they have not heard of him? How are they to hear him, if no one has ever preached to them? 15 How is anyone to preach to them if he is not sent as a missionary? The Scripture says: “How welcome are the men who preach peace and good news!”
16 But all men have not accepted the Gospel. For Isaiah says: “O Lord, who has believed what we have preached?” 17 So faith comes from sermons, and sermons come from the Gospel of Christ. 18 Therefore I ask: Have they not heard? Indeed they have. For the Scripture says: “Their voice has gone out all over the earth, and their message to the end of the world.”
19 Again I ask: Did Israel fail to understand? Well, Moses said about them: “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation. I will make you rivals of a nation of fools.”
20 Moreover Isaiah said: “I have been found by those who did not seek me. I have revealed myself to those who did not call upon me.”
21 But of Israel he said: “All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and stubborn people.”
A MINORITY SAVED
1 I ask then: Has God repudiated his people? By no means. For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 No, God has not repudiated those whom he predetermined as his people. You know what the Scripture says about Elijah and his complaint to God against Israel: 3 “O Lord, they have killed your Prophets, and they have demolished your altars. I am left alone, and they are trying to take my life.”
4 But God answered him: “I have reserved to myself seven thousand men who have never knelt to Baal.”
5 Likewise at the present time there is a minority of loyal men chosen by grace. 6 But if they are chosen by grace, that means they do not owe their choice to observance of the Law. Otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
7 What does that mean? It means that the majority of the men of Israel failed to obtain what they sought. Only a chosen minority obtained it. 8 The rest of them became blinded, as the Scripture says: “God gave them a spirit of drowsiness, eyes that could not see, and ears that could not hear, down to this very day.”
9 David says: “Let their feast become a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a retribution for them. 10 Let their eyes be blinded, so that they cannot see, and bend them down forever.”
11 So I ask: Have they stumbled and fallen utterly? By no means. Their false step has brought salvation to the Gentiles, and the conversion of the Gentiles will rouse the Jews to emulate them. 12 Now, if their false step has enriched the world, and if their default has brought such a wealth to the Gentiles, how much greater blessings their complete conversion will bring!
13 I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am an Apostle of the Gentiles, I lay great stress on my ministry, 14 in the hope of rousing to emulation my fellow-countrymen, and saving some of them. 15 For if their exclusion has meant the reconciliation of mankind to God, what can their admission mean but resurrection from the dead?
16 When the first handful of dough is consecrated, so is the entire lump also. And when the root of a tree is consecrated, so are its branches also. 17 Some of the branches have been broken off. You who were only a wild olive shoot have been engrafted in their place, and enabled to share the richness of the olive’s root. 18 So do not boast over the broken branches. Remember in your boastfulness that you do not support the root. The root supports you.
19 But you will say: “Branches have been broken off, and we have been grafted in.” 20 That is true. They have been broken off because of their lack of faith, while you stand fast through faith only. So do not boast, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Now consider both the kindness and the severity of God, severity to those who have fallen, but kindness to you, provided you continue to deserve his kindness; otherwise, you will be cut off also.
23 Even those others, if they shake off their unbelief, will be grafted in. God has the power to draft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from a wild olive and artificially grafted upon a cultivated olive, then it will be much easier to graft them back into their own original olive tree.
HOPE FOR ISRAEL
25 I want you to know this mystery. Otherwise you might think too highly of yourselves. Blindness has fallen upon a part of Israel, but only until the complete conversion of the Gentiles. 26 Then the entire nation of Israel will be saved, as it is written in the Scriptures: “The deliverer will come from Zion. He will drive away ungodliness from the house of Jacob. 27 And this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
28 From the point of view of the Gospel, they turned away from God and made room for you. But from the point of view of divine choice, they are dear to God because of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
30 You once disobeyed God. But you obtained mercy when they disobeyed. 31 Likewise they also disobeyed now, after you have found mercy. So they will find mercy in their turn. 32 God has made all men liable to disobedience. But he will have mercy upon them all.
33 How deep is the mine of divine wisdom and knowledge! How inscrutable are his judgments! How unsearchable are his ways! 34 Who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his counselor? 35 Who has ever given him a gift, for which he should be recompensed? 36 For from him, through him, and for him all things exist. To him be glory forever. Amen.
1 I appeal to you by the mercies of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, as a holy and rational worship, acceptable to God. 2 Do not adopt the customs of the unbelievers. But transform yourselves by the renewal of your mind and find out what the will of God is, namely what is good, acceptable, and perfect.
3 By virtue of the grace which has been bestowed upon me, I advise everyone of you: Do not be conceited, but think of yourselves with sober judgment according to the measure of faith which God has imparted to you.
4 In one body we have many members. But all the members have not the same function. 5 Likewise, though many in number, we form one body in Christ collectively, and we belong to one another individually.
6 Let us use our different spiritual gifts according to the special grace given to us. Let the prophet prophesy in proportion to his faith. 7 Let the servant serve. Let the teacher teach. 8 Let the preacher preach. Let the contributor give generously. Let the leader rule with diligence Let the merciful man do his acts of mercy with cheerfulness.
9 Let our love be genuine. Let us hate evil. Let us hold fast to what is good. 10 Let us be affectionate with one another like brothers. Let us vie with one another in showing mutual regard.
11 Do not be slothful in zeal. Be fervent in spirit. Serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in your hope. Be patient in tribulation. Be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints. Be hospitable. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Bless them, and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the humble. Do not be conceited. 17 Return no one evil for evil. Bear in mind to be noble in the sight of all men. 18 Be at peace with everybody so far as you can, and so far as it depends on you.
19 Dear friends, never revenge yourselves, but leave it to the divine retribution. For it is written in the Scriptures: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
20 On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him drink. By acting thus, you will heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Everyone must obey the lawful authorities. Authorities come from God only, and all existing authorities have been instituted by him. 2 Consequently anyone who resists the authorities rebels against the ordinance of God. Such rebels will incur their own condemnation.
3 The magistrates do not terrorize those who do right, but those who do wrong. If you want to have no fear of the authorities, do right, and they will commend you for it. 4 For they are the servants of God to help you. But if you do wrong, you may well be afraid. For they do not carry swords for nothing. They are the servants of God to punish the wrongdoers.
5 Therefore you must obey them, not only to escape the wrath of God, but as a matter of principle. 6 For the same reason you must also pay your taxes. Officials are the servants of God, devoting themselves to his service. 7 Pay all dues, taxes, tributes to those who are authorized to collect them. Respect and honor those who are entitled to respect and honor.
8 Owe nobody anything except mutual love. For everyone who loves his fellow-men has fully satisfied the Law. 9 Because the commandments, “Do not commit adultery; Do not kill; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Do not covet;” and all other commandments are summed up in this sentence: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love never wrongs a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.
11 You must realize that this is the time to rise from sleep. For our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed in the Gospel. 12 The night is nearly over, and the day is drawing near. Therefore let us abandon all the practices of benighted paganism and let us take up the weapons of enlightened Christianity.
13 Let us live decently, as in the full light of the day. Turn away from revelry, drunkenness, lewdness, licentiousness, dissension, and rivalry. 14 Put on the armor of our Lord Jesus Christ, and forget all about gratifying the passions of the flesh.
1 Welcome the man who is weak in faith without arguing about his scruples. 2 Some men believe in eating everything. Others who are scrupulous eat only vegetarian food.
3 The man who eats must not look down on the man who abstains from it. Likewise the man who abstains from meat must not criticize the man who eats it. For God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? Whether he stands or falls, it concerns only his master. To be sure, he will stand on his feet. For God is able to make him stand.
HOLIDAYS AND FOOD
5 Now this man observes a certain day as holier than another. That man considers all days alike. But everyone must be fully convinced in his own mind about this fact.
6 Everyone who observes a certain holiday must do so in the Lord. Likewise everyone who does not observe any holiday must do so in the Lord. Everyone who eats must do so in the Lord. For he offers thanks to God. Likewise everyone who abstains from food must do so in the Lord. For he also offers thanks to God.
7 None of us lives in himself alone, and none of us dies in himself alone. 8 If we live, we live in the Lord. If we die, we die also in the Lord. For we are servants of the Lord whether we live or die. 9 For this reason Christ died, rose from the dead, and returned to life again in order to become the Lord of both the living and the dead.
10 You have no right to judge your brother. You have no right to revile your brother. God only has the right to judge us, when we all stand before his tribunal. 11 For it is written in the Scriptures: “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will glorify God.” 12 So remember that each one of us will give an account of himself before God. 13 Therefore we must never judge one another. We must never put a hindrance or an obstacle in the way of a brother.
14 I know and I am persuaded as a disciple of Jesus Christ that no food is unclean in itself. But it is unclean for the man who considers it unclean. 15 Therefore if you hurt your brother by what you eat, you do not live according to the rules of charity. You must not cause the ruin of your brother for whom Christ has died. 16 You must not bring disrepute to your holy faith.
17 For the Kingdom of God does not mean food and drink. It means righteousness, peacefulness, and blessedness in the Spirit. 18 Whoever serves Christ through these virtues is wellpleasing to God and approved by men.
19 Let us pursue whatever contributes to peace and mutual edification. 20 Do not demolish the work of God for the sake of food. Everything indeed is clean. But it is wrong to lead astray others by what we eat. 21 It is right not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything by which your brother is offended, led astray, or upset.
22 If you have faith, keep it for yourself and for God. Blessed is the man who has complete faith in his diet. 23 But the man who has doubts about his diet is committing sin whenever he eats what he feels he should not eat. For he does not act from faith. Now everything that is not motivated by faith is sin.
1 We who are strong must bear the burdens of our weak brothers without consulting our own pleasure. 2 Therefore each one of us must try to be kind to his neighbor, must help him, and must build up his faith.
3 For Christ did not seek his own gratification, but as it is written in the Scriptures: “He endured the denunciations of the detractors which have fallen upon him.”
4 As you see, every line in the Scriptures has been written for our instruction. Thus we derive hope from the examples of endurance and consolation the Scriptures give us.
5 May God, who is the source of all endurance and consolation, grant you Christian harmony with one another. 6 Then unitedly and unanimously you will glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore welcome one another, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant of the circumcized in order to prove the truthfulness of God. So he carried out the promises made to our forefathers, 9 and caused the Gentiles to glorify him for his mercy. For the Scripture says: “Therefore I will glorify you among the Gentiles and I will praise your name.”
10 Again the Scripture says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with the people of the Lord.” 11 And again: “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and all peoples.” 12 Furthermore, Isaiah says: “A descendant of Jesse will come, and he will rise to rule the Gentiles. For they will set their hope on him.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, so that you may have overflowing hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES
14 For my part, as far as you are concerned, my brethren, I am convinced that you are full of goodness, endowed with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.
15 I have written you more boldly on some points to refresh your memories. 16 God has bestowed upon me his grace to become an Apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, to serve as a priest of the divine Gospel, and to make the Gentiles an acceptable offering to God, consecrated by the Holy Spirit.
17 I am proud of my work for God. 18 For I will venture to speak only of what Jesus Christ has accomplished through me in winning the Gentiles to the faith by word and action, 19 by wonders, by miracles, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus I have successfully preached the Gospel of Christ all around Jerusalem to Illyricum.
20 It has been my ambition to proclaim the Gospel in regions where the name of Christ was unknown. I did not build on foundations laid by another man. 21 As the Scripture says: “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
22 This is why I have been so often prevented from visiting you. 23 But now there is no more work for me in these regions. I have longed for many years to come to you. 24 So when I go to Spain, I hope to visit you on my way there, and to have you send me off on my journey, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to bring some relief to the saints there. 26 For our brethren of Macedonia and Achaia were kind enough to make some contributions to the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were kind enough to do it. As a matter of fact, they were really indebted to them. The Gentiles have shared their temporal needs in return.
28 After I have accomplished this mission, and consigned to them these contributions, I will start for Spain and come to you on the way. 29 I know well that when I come to see you, I will come with the full blessing of Christ.
30 I entreat you by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Holy Spirit, to appeal in your prayers to God on my behalf. 31 Pray that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my mission in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints. 32 Then, by the will of God, I will come to you with joy and find rest in your company. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
1 I introduce to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the Church at Cenchreae. 2 Welcome her in the name of the Lord, in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in any business in which she may need your help. She has been a protectress of many brethren, including myself.
GREETINGS TO ROME
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow-workers in Jesus Christ, 4 who have risked their lives for me. Not only I, but all the Churches of the Gentiles are thankful to them. 5 Greet also the members of the Church who meet in their house. Greet my dear friend Epaenetus, who was the first convert of Christ in Asia.
6 Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are held in high esteem among the Apostles, and who became Christians before I did.
8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in Christ. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, the well-approved brother in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.
11 Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet the Christians who belong to the household of Narcissus. 12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, our fellow workers in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, who has worked hard for the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, the chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who meet with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, Olympas and all the saints who meet with them. 16 Greet one another with a sacred kiss. All the Churches of Christ send you their greetings.
17 I appeal to you to keep your eye on those who stir up dissensions and scandals, contrary to the doctrines which you have been taught. Avoid their company. 18 Such men are not serving our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own base passions. With their plausible and flattering talk they deceive the hearts of unsuspecting people.
19 You are renowned all over the world for your loyalty to the Gospel, and I am proud of you. Still I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20 Then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
GREETINGS FROM CORINTH
21 My fellow worker, Timothy, and my kinsmen, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater send their greetings.
22 I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the name of the Lord.
23 Gaius, my host and the host of the Church at large, sends you his greetings. Greetings from Erastus, the treasurer of the city, and brother Quartus.
24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25 May God confirm you according to my Gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ. His plan of salvation was kept secret for long ages. 26 But now it has been revealed and manifested. In accordance with the command of the eternal God, it has been proclaimed through the prophetic Scriptures to all the Gentiles, to convert them to our faith.
27 Glory to the only omniscient God through Jesus Christ, forever and ever. Amen.