(1) From Paul, a minister (servant) of Jesus Christ, called by God to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel (good news) of God—(2) the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Bible (the Old Testament) (3) concerning his Son, who according to his flesh was a descendant of David, (4) and was declared the Son of God in power through the Holy Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead—Jesus Christ our Lord!
(5) Through him we have received grace and apostleship to call all nations (peoples) to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. (6) And you are also among the nations who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (7) To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace!
Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome
(8) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you in Rome, because your faith is being reported throughout the whole world (probably referring to the Roman empire). (9) God is my witness—whom I serve in my spirit in proclaiming the gospel (good news) of his Son—how unceasingly I make mention of you (10) in my prayers at all times, asking that somehow by God’s will I can now finally succeed in coming to visit you.
(11) For I long to see you, so that I can impart to you some gift of the Holy Spirit that will strengthen you—(12) that is, that we can be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (13) My brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I have often planned to visit you in Rome, but until now I have been prevented. The reason I want to visit you is so that I will have a harvest among you as well as among the rest of the nations.
(14) For I am obligated (a debtor) both to Greeks and non-Greeks (barbarians), and to the wise (educated) and foolish (uneducated). (15) That is why I am eager to proclaim the gospel (good news) to you also who are in Rome.
God’s Righteousness by Faith
(16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes—first to the Jew and then to the non-Jew. (17) For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that begins with faith and ends in faith, just as it is written in Habakkuk 2:4, “The righteous will live by faith.”
(Although Paul begins the letter by emphasizing the gospel of Jesus Christ, he now includes a section starting with 1:18-3:20 that emphasizes that humankind is under the power of sin and faces the just judgment of God).
The Just Wrath of God Against Sinful Humanity
(18) For the just wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people, who suppress the truth by their evil way of living. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has revealed it to them. (20) For ever since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been created, so that people have no excuses.
The Handmade Gods of Idolatry
(21) For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became deceived and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Although claiming to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the beautiful majesty of the ever-living (immortal) God for images (dead idols) made to look like mortal humans and birds and animals and reptiles.
(24) Therefore God gave people over (abandoned them) in the sinful passions of their hearts to sexual perversion for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (25) They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is praised forever. Amen (let it be).
(26) Because of this, God gave people over (abandoned them) to the sinful passions of their hearts. For women exchanged natural sexual relations with men for homosexual relations with other women, which is contrary to their created nature. (27) In the same way, men also abandoned natural sexual relations with women and acted upon their burning (inflamed) passions (lusts) for other men. Men committed shameful homosexual acts with other men, and received in themselves the just penalty for their actions.
People Became Filled With Unrighteousness
(28) Furthermore, because people did not think it important to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over (abandoned them) to a corrupt mind (way of thinking), so that they do what they should not do. (29) They became filled with every kind of unrighteousness: evil, greed, immoral acts, jealousy, murder, fighting, deception, and hostility. They became gossips, (30) slanderers, and God-haters. They were disrespectful, arrogant, and braggers. They disobeyed their parents. They invented new ways of doing evil (31) and had no understanding, no faithfulness, no love, and no mercy. (32) Although they know God’s righteous decree, that those who do these things deserve death, they not only continue to do them but also approve of (cheer on) those who practice them.