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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Romans 1:14

 

 

I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.

Adam Clarke Commentary

I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians - It has been remarked before that all the nations of the earth, themselves excepted, were termed barbarians by the Greeks. See the origin of the word barbarous in the note on Acts 28:2; (note). The apostle considers himself, by his apostolical office and call, under obligation to preach the Gospel to all people, as far as the providence of God might open his way; for this is implied in the Divine commission: - Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature - to the wise and the unwise; to the learned and cultivated as well as to the unlearned and uncultivated. This evidently appears to be the import of the terms.


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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/romans-1.html. 1832.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

I am debtor both to the Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.

In this verse appears that dual classification of all people which was so fashionable in the world of that era. The Hebrews classified all people as Jews and Gentiles; the Romans classified the whole world as Romans and pagans; the Greeks included everyone as Greeks or Barbarians. There were other dual classifications such as wise and foolish, male and female, freemen and slaves, etc. Actually in usage, such classifications really mean "us and everybody else"! Paul's evident meaning is simply that he felt indebted to all people. Nothing that any man had done had laid this burden of debt upon Paul's heart; but it was what Christ had done for Paul which had made him debtor to all people of all races and nations. Christ had died for Paul, appeared to him, commissioned him as an apostle, saved his soul from sin, and made him an heir of everlasting life. Such a mighty weight of blessing had produced Paul's feeling of indebtedness, and where is the Christian who does not feel a similar debt, a debt of such weight and nature that the uttermost limits of one's ability, resources, and time may be taxed without fully discharging it? This immense and overwhelming debt may, in the last analysis, be relaxed only by the grace of God, as in a court of last resort; because, when Christians have done everything possible for them to do, such payments on their part can never fully discharge such a debt as this.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/romans-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians,.... The meaning is, that he was obliged by the call he had from God, the injunction that was laid upon him by him, and the gifts with which he was qualified, to preach the Gospel to all sorts of men; who are here distinguished into Greeks and Barbarians: sometimes by Greeks are meant the Gentiles in general, in opposition to the Jews; see Romans 1:16; but here they design only a part of the Gentiles, the inhabitants of Greece, in opposition to all the world besides; for the Greeks used to call all others that were not of themselves BarbariansF5Cornel. Nepos, l. 1. c. 2, 7. & 2, 3. & 3. 6. & 4. 1. & passim. Quint. Curtius, l. 3. c. 4, 7. & 6. 5. & passim. : or else by Greeks are meant the more cultivated nations of the world, and by Barbarians the ruder and more uncivil parts of it; to which agrees the next division of mankind,

both to the wise and to the unwise. The Gospel was to be preached "to the wise"; such who thought themselves to be so, and were so with respect to human wisdom and knowledge; though it should be despised by them, as it was, and though few of them were called by it, some were, and still are, though not many; and such wisdom there is in the Gospel, as the wisest of men may learn by it, will be entertaining to them, is far beyond their contempt, and what will serve to exercise their talents and abilities, to search into the knowledge of, and rightly to understand; and it must be preached "to the unwise"; for such God has chosen to confound the wise; these he calls by his grace, and reveals his Gospel to, whilst he hides it from the wise and prudent; and there is that in the Gospel which is plain and easy to the weakest mind, enlightened by the Spirit of God.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/romans-1.html. 1999.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

On debtor (οπειλετηςopheiletēs) see note on Galatians 5:3.

Both to Greeks and to Barbarians (ελλησιν τε και βαρβαροιςHellēsin te kai barbarois). The whole human race from the Greek point of view, Jews coming under βαρβαροιςbarbarois On this word see note on Acts 28:2, Acts 28:4; note on 1 Corinthians 14:11; and note on Colossians 3:11 (only N.T. instances). The Greeks called all others barbarians and the Jews termed all others Gentiles. Did Paul consider the Romans as Greeks? They had absorbed the Greek language and culture.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/romans-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Debtor ( ὀφειλέτης )

All men, without distinction of nation or culture, are Paul's creditors, “He owes them his life, his person, in virtue of the grace bestowed upon him, and of the office which he has received.” (Godet).

Greeks - Barbarians

Gentiles without distinction. Paul takes the conventional Greek division of all mankind into Greeks and non-Greeks. See on Acts 6:1. The question whether he includes the Romans among the Greeks or the Barbarians, is irrelevant.


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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/romans-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

To the Greeks and the barbarians — He includes the Romans under the Greeks; so that this division comprises all nations.

Both to the wise, and the unwise — For there were unwise even among the Greeks, and wise even among the barbarians.

I am a debtor to all — I am bound by my divine mission to preach the gospel to them.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/romans-1.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

I am debtor; that is, I am under obligations of duty.--To Greeks and Barbarians; to civilized and uncivilized; that is, to all.


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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/romans-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

14.I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, etc. Those whom he means by the Greeks and the Barbarians, he afterwards explains by adding, both to the wise and to the foolish; which words Erasmus has not rendered amiss by “learned and unlearned,” (eruditos et rudes ,) but I prefer to retain the very words of Paul. He then takes an argument from his own office, and intimates that it ought not to be ascribed to his arrogance, that he thought himself in a manner capable of teaching the Romans, however much they excelled in learning and wisdom and in the knowledge of things, inasmuch as it had pleased the Lord to make him a debtor even to the wise. (36)

Two things are to be here considered — that the gospel is by a heavenly mandate destined and offered to the wise, in order that the Lord may subject to himself all the wisdom of this world, and make all variety of talents, and every kind of science, and the loftiness of all arts, to give way to the simplicity of his doctrine; and what is more, they are to be reduced to the same rank with the unlearned, and to be made so meek, as to be able to bear those to be their fellow-disciples under their master, Christ, whom they would not have deigned before to take as their scholars; and then that the unlearned are by no means to be driven away from this school, nor are they to flee away from it through groundless fear; for if Paul was indebted to them, being a faithful debtor, he had doubtless discharged what he owed; and thus they will find here what they will be capable of enjoying. All teachers have also a rule here which they are to follow, and that is, modestly and kindly to accommodate themselves to the capacities of the ignorant and unlearned. Hence it will be, that they will be able, with more evenness of mind, to bear with many absurdities and almost innumerable things that may disgust them, by which they might otherwise be overcome. They are, however, to remember, that they are not so indebted to the foolish, as that they are to cherish their folly by immoderate indulgence.

In modern phraseology, the words may be rendered, “Both to the civilized and to the uncivilized, both to the learned and to the unlearned, am I a debtor.” The two last terms are not exactly parallel to the two first, as many unlearned were among the Greeks, or the civilized, as well as among the Barbarians. — Ed.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/romans-1.html. 1840-57.

Vv. 14. No connecting particle. Such is always the indication of a feeling which as it rises is under the necessity of reaffirming itself with increasing energy: "Yea, I feel that I owe myself to all that is called Gentile." The first division, into Greeks and Barbarians, bears on the language, and thereby on the nationality: the second, into wise and ignorant, on the degree of culture. It may be asked in what category did Paul place the Romans themselves. As to the first of these two classifications, it is obvious that he cannot help ranking among the Greeks those to whom he is writing at the very time in the Greek language. The Romans, from the most ancient times, had received their culture from the Greek colonies established in Italy. So Cicero, in a well-known passage of the De finibus (Romans 2:15), conjoins Graecia and Italia, and contrasts them with Barbaria. As to the second contrast, it is possible that Paul regards the immense population of Rome, composed of elements so various, as falling into the two classes mentioned. What matters? All those individuals, of whatever category, Paul regards as his creditors. He owes them his life, his person, in virtue of the grace bestowed on him and of the office which he has received (Romans 1:5). The emotion excited by this thought is what has caused the asyndeton between Romans 1:13-14.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/romans-1.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

Ver. 14. I am debtor] Because intrusted with talents for that purpose, 1 Corinthians 9:16. {See Trapp on "1 Corinthians 9:16"} It might more truly be said of Paul than it was of Cato, that he did- toti natum se credere mundo, believe himself born for a common good (Lucan); or, than it was said to Bucer by his physicians, Non sibi se, sed multorun utilitati esse natum, that he was born for the benefit of many. (Melch. Adam.)


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/romans-1.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Romans 1:14

I. The principle underlying these words is that personal possession of any peculiar privilege is of the nature of a trust, and involves the obligation that the privilege shall be used by the individual, not for his own pleasure or profit merely, but for the welfare of those who are not similarly blessed. What I have that another has not is to be used by me, not for my own aggrandisement, but for the good of that other as well as for my own. The greatness of exceptional endowment, of whatever sort it may be, carries with it an obligation to similar greatness of service. The highest of all, by virtue of his very elevation, is to be the servant of all. The power of the strong is—shall I say?—divinely mortgaged in the interests of the weak; the sufferer whom I have the means of relieving has a God-given claim upon me for that relief; and the ignorant, whom I am able to instruct, is by God entitled to that instruction at my hands. He who has is in debt to him who has not. This is clearly the true interpretation of such a parable as that of the good Samaritan, and indeed it is the true and proper outcome of the gospel itself.

II. And this principle, thus introduced by the gospel, furnishes that which is needed to meet the perils of our modern civilisation. The tendency of the times is to increase the separation between different classes in the community. The gospel, far from blotting out all distinctions in society, as the Communist would do, makes the very privileges which mark the distinction between a higher class and a lower the basis of obligation, so that the one is the debtor of the other, and the obligation increases with the increase of the privilege. In this regard it is a solemn thing to be the possessor of a special blessing; for, while it is a boon, it always brings a responsibility, and makes its receiver a debtor to others who are less fortunate than himself. That is the Christian principle; and when men generally accept and act upon it the millennium shall have begun.

W. M. Taylor, Contrary Winds, p. 186.


This text raises a question on each of three points, which in mercantile phraseology would be designated the Business, the Debt, and the Composition.

I. The business: the nature, sphere, and extent of the trade in which Paul's talents were laid out and his capital invested. Paul was a diligent and energetic man. Had he been a merchant, the keenest art in all the exchange could not have overreached him. He embarked all in one business, and then pushed it to the uttermost. He did not neglect the necessary and lawful affairs of this life, but his treasure was in heaven and his heart followed it.

II. The debt: how, with whom, and to what extent he had become involved. He was diligent in his business, and yet was not able to pay his way. Paul owed all that he possessed and himself besides to Christ His Redeemer. But he could not directly pay any part of his debt: a man's goodness cannot reach to God. The Lord to whom he owes all has transferred his claim to the poor, and Paul is bound to honour it. Paul cannot reach the treasury of heaven to pay his instalments there; Paul's great Creditor, therefore, makes the debt payable on earth; offices are open everywhere to receive it. Wherever there is a creature of the same flesh and blood with ourselves in want, spiritual or temporal, or both combined, there a legal claim is presented to the disciples of Christ; and if they repudiate, they dishonour their Lord.

III. The composition: in what manner and to what extent the insolvent proposed to pay. Let it be carefully observed here at the outset that the most devoted life of a saved man is not offered as an adequate return to the Saviour. As well might he purchase his pardon at first from the Judge as repay the Redeemer for it afterwards. He pays, not in the spirit of bondage, but in the spirit of grateful love; not that he looks to a time when the debt will be paid off, but that he delights in the act of paying it. Having announced his principle, the Apostle plunged at once into its practical details—Romans 1:15, "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also."

W. Arnot, Roots and Fruits, p. 370.


The Adaptation of the Gospel to Civilised and Uncivilised Races..

Grant that the Christian revelation is true, and you cannot well oppose its diffusion; acknowledge that there is one God, and that He is revealed to mankind in Jesus Christ, and you cannot allege that it is unnecessary or unwise to make Him known throughout the world. And it will be found that this gospel can take hold of men of all grades of civilisation, from the very lowest to the very highest, because it meets the moral nature and wants of all men, speaks to the conscience and tells how men are lost and how they may be saved.

I. On that conviction acted that illustrious missionary who, though born a Hebrew of the Hebrews and educated in all the pride and prejudice of a Pharisee, once he had perceived the knowledge of Christ and caught the spirit of His world-endearing love, threw himself with an ardour at once generous and sagacious into the ministry of reconciliation, and made his appeal without respect of persons or races, to the Jew and the Greek, to the barbarian, to the Scythian, to the bond and to the free. Is not this for our admonition today? Ought not the Church of God to turn the same countenance of goodwill upon all nations and on all classes in a nation without respect to persons?

II. Perhaps the Church at home has become a little sickly through over-much self-consciousness, and is like one who grows weak and somewhat peevish by living, so to speak, too much indoors. Let the Church, as represented by her vigorous sons and loving daughters, go forth into the open air on the great areas of the world, and a new glow of health will come upon her cheek and a new pulse of strength into all her veins, and she will have a sweeter temper and a clearer voice and a firmer grasp than ever. In the wisdom of God the thoughts and ways of men are slowly but surely being shaped to glorious ends. Presentiment of better things on earth sweeps in with every force that stirs our souls. At such times surely the Church of God should arise and put on strength!

D. Fraser, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 305.


References: Romans 1:14.—Homilist, 3rd series, vol. vii., p. 280; W. P. Lockhart, Ibid., vol. xxx., p. 214; Preacher's Monthly, vol. x., p. 11; R. W. Church, Human Life, p. 193; C. S. Robinson, Sermons on Neglected Texts, p. 80. Romans 1:14, Romans 1:15.—C. Symes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvii., p. 363; J. Culross, Ibid., vol. xxix., p. 289. Romans 1:14-16.—Ibid., p. 395; J. Edmunds, Sermons in a Village Church, p. 247; H. W. Beecher, Forty-eight Sermons, vol. i., p. 181. Romans 1:15.—J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 217. Romans 1:15, Romans 1:16.—J. W. Burn, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 195; H. P. Hughes, Ibid., vol. xxxii., p. 273.


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/romans-1.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Romans 1:14. I am a debtor As the Gospel was committed to his trust, he was a trustee, and so a debtor to dispense it freely to all, as he should have opportunity, 1 Timothy 1:11. 1 Thessalonians 2:4. St. Paul includes the Romans under the term Greeks; for the Jews called all foreigners Greeks or Gentiles, as the Greeks and Romans called all foreigners barbarians; so that this division comprises all nations. The last clause should be rendered, both to the learned and the ignorant; for as the original word σοφοι often signifies learned (see 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 1:31.); consequently the other, ανοητοι, must signify ignorant, or those whose understandings had not been improved by cultivation. See Bengelius, and Beausobre and Lenfant.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/romans-1.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

14.] The connexion seems to be this: He wishes to have some fruit, some produce of expended labour, among the Romans as among other Gentiles. Till this was the case, he himself was a debtor to every such people: which situation of debtor he wished to change, by paying the debt and conferring a benefit, into that of one having money out at interest there, and yielding a καρπός. The debt which he owed to all nations was (Romans 1:15) the obligation laid on him to preach the gospel to them; see 1 Corinthians 9:16.

ἕλλ.— βαρβ.— σοφ.— ἀνοήτ.] These words must not be pressed as applying to any particular churches, or as if any one of them designated the Romans themselves,—or even as if σοφοῖς belonged to ἕλλησιν, and ἀνοήτοις to βαρβάροις. They are used, apparently, merely as comprehending all Gentiles, whether considered in regard of race or of intellect; and are placed here certainly not without a prospective reference to the universality of guilt, and need of the gospel, which he is presently about to prove existed in the Gentile world.

Notice that he does not call himself a debtor to the Jews—for they can hardly be included in βαρβάροις (see Colossians 3:11). Though he had earnest desires for them (ch. Romans 9:1-3; Romans 10:1), and every where preached to them first, this was not his peculiar ὀφείλημα, see Galatians 2:7, where he describes himself as πεπιστευμένος τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς ἀκροβυστίας, καθὼς πέτρος τῆς περιτομῆς.


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/romans-1.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Romans 1:14. ἑλλησί τε καὶ βαρβάροις, alike to the Greeks and to the barbarians). He reckons those among the Greeks, to whom he is writing in the Greek language. This division into Greeks and barbarians comprehends the entire Gentile world. There follows another division, alike to the wise and to the unwise; for there were fools even among the Greeks, and also wise men even among the Barbarians. To all, he says, I am debtor, by virtue of my divine commission to all, as being the servant of all (2 Corinthians 4:5.) Though men excel in wisdom or in power, the Gospel is still necessary to them; others [beside the wise and powerful] are not excluded.—(Colossians 1:28, note.)


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I am debtor; as being obliged by virtue of my calling, and as being intrusted by God with talents to that purpose. You are not beholden to me for this desire, as if it were an arbitrary favour, for it is my bounden duty.

Both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; i.e. to all nations, which he divides into these two sorts, Greeks and Barbarians. The Jews he mentions not, because he was the doctor of the Gentiles.

Both to the wise, and to the unwise; by these he understands particular persons among the Greeks and Barbarians, for there were among either of them some wise, and some unwise. The gospel is adapted to all sorts of persons, whether wise or simple.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Romans 1:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/romans-1.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Romans

DEBTORS TO ALL MEN

Romans 1:14.

No doubt Paul is here referring to the special obligation laid upon him by his divine call to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. He was entrusted with the Gospel as a steward, and was therefore bound to carry it to all sorts and conditions of men. But the principle underlying the statement applies to all Christians. The indebtedness referred to is no peculiarity of the Apostolic order, but attaches to every believer. Every servant of Jesus Christ, who has received the truth for himself, has received it as a steward, and is, as such, indebted to God, from whom he got the trust, and to the men for whom he got it. The only limit to the obligation is, as Paul says in the context, ‘as much as in me is.’ Capacity, determined by faculties, opportunities, and circumstances, prescribes the kind and the degree of the work to be done in discharge of the obligation; but the obligation is universal. We are not at liberty to choose whether we shall do our part in spreading the name of Jesus Christ. It is a debt that we owe to God and to men. Is that the view of duty which the average Christian man takes? I am afraid it is not. If it were, our treasuries would be full, and great would be the multitude of them that preached the Word.

It is no very exalted degree of virtue to pay our debts. We do not expect to be praised for that; and we do not consider that we are at liberty to choose whether we shall do it or not. We are dishonest if we do not. It is no merit in us to be honest. Would that all Christian people applied that principle to their religion. The world would be different, and the Church would be different, if they did.

Let me try, then, to enforce this thought of indebtedness and of common honesty in discharging the indebtedness, which underlies these words. Paul thought that he went a long way to pay his debts to humanity by carrying to everybody whom he could reach the ‘Name that is above every name.’

I. Now, first, let me say that we Christians are debtors to all men by our common manhood.

It is not the least of the gifts which Christianity has brought to the world, that it has introduced the new thought of the brotherhood of mankind. The very word ‘humanity’ is a Christian coinage, and it was coined to express the new thought that began to throb in men’s hearts, as soon as they accepted the message that Jesus Christ came to give, the message of the Fatherhood of God. For it is on that belief of God’s Fatherhood that the belief of man’s brotherhood rests, and on it alone can it be secured and permanently based.

Here is a Jew writing to Latins in the Greek language. The phenomenon itself is a sign of a new order of things, of the rising of a flood that had surged over, and in the course of ages would sap away and dissolve, the barriers between men. The Apostle points to two of the widest gulfs that separated men, in the words of my text. ‘Greeks and Barbarians’ divides mankind, according to race and language. ‘Wise and unwise’ divides them according to culture and intellectual capacity. Both gulfs exist still, though they have been wonderfully filled up by the influence, direct and indirect, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fiercest antagonisms of race which still subsist are felt to belong to a decaying order, and to be sure, sooner or later, to pass away. I suppose that the gulf made by the increased culture of modern society between civilised and the savage peoples, and, within the limits of our own land, the gulf made by education between the higher and the lower layers of our community-I speak not of higher and lower in regard to wealth or station, but in regard to intellectual acquirement and capacity-are greater than, perhaps, they ever were in the past. But yet over the gulf a bridge is thrown, and the gulf itself is being filled up. High above all the superficial distinctions which separate Jew and Gentile, Greek and Barbarian, educated and illiterate, scientific and unscientific, wise and unwise, there stretches the great rainbow of the truth that all are one in Christ Jesus. Fraternity without Fatherhood is a ghastly mockery that ended a hundred years ago in the guillotine, and to-day will end in disappointment; and it is little more than cant. But when Christianity comes and tells us that we have one Father and one Redeemer, then the unity of the race is secured.

And that oneness which makes us debtors to all men is shown to be real by the fact that, beneath all superficial distinctions of culture, race, age, or station, there are the primal necessities and yearnings and possibilities that lie in every human soul. All men, savage or cultivated, breathe the same air, see by the same light, are fed by the same food and drink, have the same yearning hearts, the same lofty aspirations that unfulfilled are torture; the same experience of the same guilt, and, blessed be God! the same Saviour and the same salvation.

Because, then, we are all members of the one family, every man is bound to regard all that he possesses, and is, and can do, as committed to him in stewardship to be imparted to his fellows. We are not sponges to absorb, but we are pipes placed in the spring, that we may give forth the precious water of life.

Cain is not a very good model, but his question is the world’s question, and it implies the expectation of a negative answer-’Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Surely, the very language answers itself, and, although Cain thinks that the only answer is ‘No,’ wisdom sees that the only answer is ‘Yes.’ For if I am my brother’s brother, then surely I am my brother’s keeper. We have a better example. There is another Elder Brother who has come to give to His brethren all that Himself possessed, and we but poorly follow our Master’s pattern unless we feel that the mystic tie which binds us in brotherhood to every man makes us every man’s debtor to the extent of our possessions. That is the Christian truth that underlies the modern Socialistic idea, and, whatever the form in which it is ultimately brought into practice as the rule of mankind, the principle will triumph one day; and we are bound, as Christian men, to hasten the coming of its victory. We are debtors by reason of our common humanity.

II. We are debtors by our possession of the universal salvation.

The principle which I have already been laying down applies all round, to everything that we have, are, or can do. But its most stringent obligation, and the noblest field for its operations, are found in reference to the Christian man’s possession of the Gospel for the joy of his own heart, and to the duties that are therein involved. Christ draws men to Himself for their own sakes, blessed be His name! but not for their own sakes only. He draws them to Himself, that they, in their turn, may draw others with whose hands theirs are linked, and so may swell the numbers of the flock that gathers round the one Shepherd. He puts the dew of His blessing into the chalice of the tiniest flower, that it may ‘share its dewdrop with another near.’ Just as every particle of inert dough as it is leavened becomes in its turn leaven, and the medium for leavening the particle contiguous to it, so every Christian is bound, or, to use the metaphor of my text, is a debtor to God and man, to impart the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ‘Greek and Barbarian,’ says Paul, ‘wise or unwise’; all distinctions vanish. If I can get at a man, no matter what colour, his race, his language, his capacity, his acquirements, he is my creditor, and I am defrauding him of what he has a right to expect from me if I do not do my best to bring him to Jesus Christ.

This obligation receives additional weight from the proved adaptation of the Gospel to all sorts and conditions of men. Alone of all religions has Christianity proved itself capable of dominating every type of character, of influencing every stage of civilisation, of assuming the speech of every tongue, and of wearing the garb of every race. There are other religions which are evidently destined only to a narrow field of operations, and are rigidly limited by geographical conditions, or by stages of civilisation. There are wines that are ruined by a sea voyage, and can only be drunk in the land where the vintage was gathered; and that is the condition of all the ethnic religions. Christianity alone passes through the whole earth, and influences all men. The history of missions shows us that. There has yet to be found the race that is incapable of receiving, or is beyond the need of possessing, or cannot be elevated by the operation of, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So to all men we are bound, as much as in us is, to carry the Gospel. The distinction that is drawn so often by the people who never move a finger to help the heathen either at home or abroad, between the home and the foreign field of work, vanishes altogether when we stand at the true Christian standpoint. Here is a man who wants the Gospel; I have it; I can give it to him. That constitutes a summons as imperative as if we were called by name from Heaven, and bade to go, and as much as in us is to preach the Gospel. Brethren! we do not obey the command, ‘Owe no man anything,’ unless, to the extent of our ability, or over the whole field which we can influence at home or abroad, we seek to spread the name of Christ and the salvation that is in Him.

III. We are debtors by benefits received.

I am speaking to men and women a very large proportion of whom get their living, and some of whom amass their wealth, by trade with lands that need the Gospel. It is not for nothing that England has won the great empire that she possesses-won it, alas! far too often by deeds that will not bear investigation in the light of Christian principle, but won it.

What do we owe to the lands that we call ‘heathen’ ? The very speech by which we communicate with one another; the beginning of our civilisation; wide fields for expanding population and emigration; treasures of wisdom of many kinds; an empire about which we are too fond of crowing and too reluctant to recognise its responsibilities-and Manchester its commerce and prosperity! Did God put us where we are as a nation only in order that we might carry the gifts of our literature, great as that is; of our science, great as that is; of our law, blessed as that is; of our manufactures, to those distant lands? The best thing that we can give is the thing that all of us can help to give-the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ‘Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’

IV. Lastly, we are debtors by injuries inflicted.

Many subject-races seem destined to fade away by contact with our race; and if we think of the nameless cruelties, and the iliad of woes which England’s possession of this great Colonial Empire has had accompanying it, we may feel that the harm in many aspects outweighs the good, and that it had been better for these men to be left suckled in creeds outworn, and ignorant of our civilisation, than to receive from us the fatal gifts that they often have received. I do not wish to exaggerate, but if you will take the facts of the case as brought out by people that have no Christian prejudices to serve, I think you will acknowledge that we as a nation owe a debt of reparation to the barbarians and the unwise.

What about killing African tribes by the thousand with the vile stuff that we call rum, and send to them in exchange for their poor commodities? What about introducing new diseases, the offspring of vice, into the South Sea Islands, decimating and all but destroying the population? Is it not true that, as the prophet wailed of old about a degenerate Israel, we may wail about the beach-combers and other loafers that go amongst savage lands from England-’Through you the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles.’ A Hindoo once said to a missionary, ‘Your Book is very good. If you were as good as your Book you would conquer India in five years.’ That may be true or it may not, but it gives us the impression that is produced by godless Englishmen on heathen peoples. We are taking away their religion from them, necessarily, as the result of education and contact with European thought. And if we do not substitute for it the one faith that elevates and saves, the last state of that man will be worse than the first.

We can almost hear the rattle of the guns on the north-west frontier of India to-day. There is another specimen of the injuries inflicted. This is not the place to talk politics, but I feel that this is the place to ask this question, ‘Are Christian principles to have anything to do in determining national actions?’ Is it Christian to impose our yoke on unwilling tribes who have as deep a love for independence as the proudest Englishmen of us all, and as good a right to it? Are punitive expeditions and Maxim guns instalments of our debt to all men? I wonder what Jesus Christ, who died for Afridis and Orakzais and all the rest of them, thinks about such conduct?

Brethren, we are debtors to all men. Let us do our best to influence national action in accordance with the brotherhood which has been revealed to us by the Elder Brother of us all; and let us, at least for our own parts, recognise, and, as much as in us is, discharge the debt which, by our common humanity, and by our possession of the universal Gospel we owe to all men, and which is made more weighty by the benefits we receive from many, and by the injuries which England has inflicted on not a few. Else shall we hear rise above all the voices that palliate crime, on the plea of ‘State necessity,’ the stern words of the Master, ‘In thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of poor innocents.’ We are debtors; let us pay our debts.


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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/romans-1.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

I am debtor; he was under obligation in consequence of what Christ had done for him.

Greeks and Barbarians-wise and unwise; polished and rude, learned and ignorant. When Christ imparts to any one the blessings of his grace, it lays him under peculiar obligations to do good as he has opportunity; especially to promote the spiritual good of all his fellow-men.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/romans-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

14. The thought of the service he wished to render and the fruit he hoped to gain leads on to the statement of the motive and the theme of the Epistle. He has already got ‘fruit,’ and so is in debt to men of all classes and culture, and would wish to preach in Rome that he may be debtor to them too. This connexion is indicated by the asyndeton.

Ἕλλησίν τε καὶ βαρβάροις. Cf. Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11 (Lightfoot’s note); this is the division of mankind current among the inhabitants of the Empire, primarily depending upon language. It excludes, in Paul’s mind, the Jew. In speaking of his debt, he thinks only of Gentiles: presently in speaking of the range of the Gospel, he includes Jews. The Romans would now be included among Ἕλληνες: cf. Lightfoot, l.c[66] p. 217 b.

σοφοῖς τε καὶ ἀνοήτοις, a classification by culture; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18 f.: n. he was writing from Corinth.

ὀφειλέτης. Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:16 f. (Giff.); a debtor, he wishes to pay the debt in Rome too. But in what sense a debtor? Ramsay (Pauline Studies, p. 55) suggests that this is a reference to what he had gained from his intercourse with Greets and his position as a Roman citizen. This he felt should be repaid by bringing to them the Gospel. But this seems farfetched. Nor does Giff.’s reference to 1 Corinthians 9:16 seem quite satisfactory. It is best taken in close connexion with καρπὸν σχῶ; cf. Philippians 4:17. He has already ‘got fruit’ from these classes: he pays the debt by sowing the seed more widely among such.


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"Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/romans-1.html. 1896.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

14. “I am debtor both to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and the unwise.” The Greeks in every ramification of culture and civilization (i. e., poetry, oratory, philosophy and the fine arts) had stood at the top of the world the last five hundred years. Meanwhile, through the Alexandrian conquest, she had given to the world the most wonderful language of all ages, in the providence of God the vehicle for the transmission of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. Hence the Greeks enjoyed a universally recognized pre-eminence above the nations of the earth, all others, even the Jews, contrastively denominated “barbarians.” Paul was God’s cosmopolitan missionary, like Bishop Taylor at the present day. God help us to feel that we, too, are debtors to all men indiscriminately.


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-1.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.’

Indeed he feels under a great burden of debt to all men. He has received such a wonderful revelation and commission from God that he recognises that it has put him under an obligation to share it with others. It is a debt owed to all, whether sophisticated or unsophisticated, wise or less wise. None are exempt. And it is a debt owed by all who receive salvation to those who have not yet received it. Having been saved we come under an obligation to bring others to Christ.

When he speaks of the Greeks he is not simply speaking of people who came from Greece. Through the conquests of Alexander the Great, Greek influence and Greek culture had permeated the known world, and especially the great cities. Greek was spoken everywhere. And when Alexander’s empire broke up the Greek culture and language remained. It was something men treasured and were proud of, to such an extent that they looked down on people who could only say, ‘bar-bar-bar’ (Barbarians), which was what the non-Greek languages sounded like to them. So Paul is here speaking of both the sophisticated and educated of ‘Greek’ culture, and the unsophisticated Barbarians.

There was also a class of people within the empire who saw themselves as ‘wise. They enjoyed the works and teaching of the philosophers, and looked down on those who neither read them nor understood them, seeing them as ‘foolish’ (compare Acts 17:21). In their own way they were as separatist as the Pharisees, although for different reasons. But Paul wanted to stress that the foolish had as much right to the Good News as the wise, and in 1 Corinthians 1-2 he makes clear that it tended in fact to be the foolish who responded to the Good News (although not exclusively) for the wise were too self-satisfied with their own supposed wisdom.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/romans-1.html. 2013.

Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the universe.

Paul was their debtor, not by any right that either Greeks or Barbarians had acquired over him, but by the destination which God had given to his ministry towards them. He does not, however, hesitate to recognize the debt or obligation, because, when God called him to their service, he was in effect their servant, as he says in another place, ‘Ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.’ The foundation of this duty was not in those whom he desired to serve, but in God, and the force of this obligation was so much the stronger as it was Divine; it was a law imposed by sovereign authority, and consequently an inviolable law. With regard to Paul, it included, on the one hand, all the duties of the apostolic office, and, on the other, the dangers and persecutions to which that office exposed him, without even excepting martyrdom, when he should be called to that last trial. All this is similar to what every Christian owes in the service of God, as far as his abilities, of whatever kind they are, and his opportunities, extend.

As the Greeks — under which term all civilized nations were included — were the source of the arts and sciences, of knowledge and civilization, it might be said that the Apostle should attach himself solely to them, and that he owed nothing to the Barbarians. On the contrary, it might be alleged that he was debtor only to the Barbarians, as the Greeks were already so enlightened. But in whatever way these distinctions were viewed, he declares that both the one and the other were equal to him: he was debtor to them all, — to the Greeks, because their light was only the darkness of error or of idle speculation — to the Barbarians, for he ought to have compassion on their ignorance. He was debtor to the wise, that is to say, the philosophers, as they were called among the Greeks; and to the unwise, or those who made no profession of philosophy. He knew that both stood equally in need of the Gospel, and that for them all it was equally adapted. This is the case with the learned and the unlearned, who are both altogether ignorant of the way of salvation, till it be revealed to them by the Gospel, to which everything, by the command of God, the wisdom as well as the folly of the world, — in one word, all things besides, — must yield subjection.


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Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hal/romans-1.html. 1835.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14. Debtor—Christ had, by granting him grace and apostleship, brought him under an infinite indebtedness, which he was obliged to pay off to the world needing a like salvation.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/romans-1.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 1:14. The striking order of the original is reproduced in the emended rendering: Both to Greeks and to Barbarians; both to wise and to unwise, I am debtor.

I am debtor. ‘Paul regards the divine obligation of office, received through Christ (Romans 1:5), as the undertaking of a debt, which he has to discharge by preaching the Gospel among all Gentile nations. Comp. in reference to this subject, Acts 26:17 f.; Galatians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 9:16.’ (Meyer). Until he had fruit among the Romans, as among the rest of the Gentiles (Romans 1:13), this debt was not paid.

To Greeks and to Barbarians. The Greeks called all other peoples ‘Barbarians;’ the word having reference to the strange, unintelligible language. It became a term of reproach, because the Greeks, with their pride of race and culture, and the Romans, with their pride of power, looked down upon other nations. The Romans, according to the usage of those days, were not counted among the ‘Barbarians,’ but the Apostle probably docs not class them here at all, for at Rome were representatives of all nations and all shades of culture and ignorance. He is a debtor to all, whatever may be the distinctions of language or race. The Jews are left out, because he is speaking of his debt to the Gentiles.

Both to wise and to unwise. This expresses the difference of natural intelligence and cultivation in every nation; it is not a repetition of the previous clause. The article is omitted in the original, and is not necessary in English; the word ‘unwise’ is not strictly accurate, since it suggests a verbal correspondence which does not exist. But ‘foolish’ implies more of a bad sense than the word used by the Apostle. The two pairs together ‘are used, apparently, merely as comprehending all Gentiles, whether considered in regard of race or of intellect; and are placed here certainly not without a prospective reference to the universality of guilt, and need of the gospel, which he is presently about to prove existed in the Gentile world.’ (Alford.)


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/romans-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Romans 1:14 f. These verses are naturally taken as an expansion of the thought contained in the preceding. Paul’s desire to win fruit at Rome, as among the rest of the Gentiles, arises out of the obligation (for so he feels it) to preach the Gospel to all men without distinction of language or culture. If it depended only on him, he would be exercising his ministry at Rome. The Romans are evidently conceived as Gentiles, but Paul does not indicate where they would stand in the broad classification of Romans 1:14. It is gratuitous, and probably mistaken, to argue with Weiss that he meant to describe them as βάρβαροι, when we know that the early Roman Church was Greek speaking. In τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ πρόθυμον, the simplest construction is to make τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ subject and πρόθυμον predicate, supplying ἐστι: all that depends on me is eager, i.e., for my part, I am all readiness. But it is possible to take τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ πρόθυμον together, and to translate: the readiness, so far as I am concerned, (is) to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. The contrast implied is that between willing (which Paul for his part is equal to) and carrying out the will (which depends on God (Romans 1:10)). With this Paul introduces the great subject of the epistle, and, in a sense, of the Gospel—that which he here designates δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ. The connection is peculiar. He has professed his readiness to preach the Gospel, even at Rome. Anywhere, no doubt, one might have misgivings about identifying himself with a message which had for its subject a person who had been put to death as a criminal; anywhere, the Cross was to Jews a stumbling block and to Greeks foolishness. But at Rome, of all places, where the whole effective force of humanity seemed to be gathered up, one might be ashamed to stand forth as the representative of an apparently impotent and ineffective thing. But this the Gospel is not; it is the very reverse of this, and therefore the Apostle is proud to identify himself with it. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel; for it is a power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It is such because there is revealed in it δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ—the very thing men need to ensure salvation; and that in such a manner—from faith to faith—as to make it accessible to all. And this, again, only answers to what stands in the O.T.—It is written, the righteous shall live by faith.”


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/romans-1.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

I am a debtor. That is, I am bound to preach the word of God to all. (Witham) --- by Greeks, in this place, are understood the Romans also, and by Barbarians, all other people who were neither Greeks nor Romans. The Greeks called all barbarians, who did not speak the Greek language, even the Latins themselves. But after the Roman became masters of the world, they were excepted, through policy, from the number of barbarians, and particularly after they began to cultivate the science of the Greeks. Græcia victa ferum victorem cepit, et artes

Intulit agresti Latio.

--- St. Paul says, that he is a debtor both to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise, the philosophers, those who pass for sages amongst the pagans, and to the simple, ignorant, unlettered class of mankind: not that he had received any thing at their hands, but because it was his duty, in quality of apostle, to address himself to the whole world, and preach to the great and to the small, to the learned and the unlearned. (Calmet)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/romans-1.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.

"I am" -three great "I am"s" follow: I am a debtor, I am ready and I am not ashamed.

"Debtor"-"under obligation" (NASV). Being a Christian didn"t make Paul any "better" than others, but it made him a debtor of all. "A practical question arises here: Was Paul under any obligation that the rest of us are not under?"

Paul HAD TO PREACH. "We owe Christ to the Christless"

"Barbarians" -to the Greeks all non-Greeks were barbarians. The whole human race from the Greek point of view.

"Foolish"-in preaching, Paul saw no racial, culture or social barriers. It is hard to preach the gospel to someone that is behaving foolishly.


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/romans-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the. Omit.

Greeks. Greek. Hellen. See John 7:35 with John 12:20.

Barbarians. See Acts 28:2, Acts 28:4.

wise. Corresponds generally to "learned".

unwise. Greek. anoetos, unintelligent. Such as the Pharisees despised (John 7:49). Elsewhere, Luke 24:25. Galatians 1:3, Galatians 1:1, Galatians 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:9. Titus 3:3.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/romans-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

I am debtor both to the (cultivated) Greeks - among whom might be classed the educated Romans, who prided themselves on their Greek culture (see Cic. de fin. non solum Graecia et Italia sed etiam omnis Barbaria),

And to the (rude) Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise - to all alike, without distinction of race or of culture. From this it has been argued that "the gift of tongues" must have been designed to facilitate the preaching of the Gospel in foreign countries. (So several of the fathers, and in modern times those who lean much on the fathers-Wordsworth, for example, quotes in support of it 1 Corinthians 14:18). But if such a continued miracle had been performed wherever our apostle preached beyond the region of Greek culture, and during all the contact which he kept up in those places, how is it that neither he nor his biographer has anywhere dropped a hint of it? To us this notion appears as improbable in itself as it is void of all evidence as matter of fact.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/romans-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) To the Greeks, and to the Barbarians.—The Apostle does not intend to place the Romans any more in the one class than in the other. He merely means “to all mankind, no matter what their nationality or culture.” The classification is exhaustive. It must be remembered that the Greeks called all who did not speak their own language “Barbarians,” and the Apostle, writing from. Greece, adopts their point of view.

Wise and foolish.—(Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 1:26-28.) The gospel was at first most readily received by the poor and unlearned, but it did not therefore follow that culture and education were by any means excluded. St. Paul himself was a conspicuous instance to the contrary. And so, in the next century, the Church which began with such leaders as Ignatius and Polycarp, could number among its members before the century was out, Irenæus, and Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria, and Hippolytus, and Origen—the last, the most learned man of his time.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/romans-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
debtor
8:12; 13:8; *Gr:; Acts 9:15; 13:2-4; 22:21; 26:17,18; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; 2 Timothy 2:10
Greeks
Acts 28:4; 1 Corinthians 14:11; Colossians 3:11
both to
22; 11:25; 12:16; 16:19; Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; 1 Corinthians 1:19-22; 2:13; 3:18; 1 Corinthians 9:16; 2 Corinthians 10:12; 11:19; Ephesians 5:15-17; James 3:17,18
to the unwise
Proverbs 1:22; 8:5; Isaiah 35:8; 1 Corinthians 14:16,23,24; Titus 3:3

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/romans-1.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

Both to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, I am debtor. That is, I am under obligation (to preach) to all classes of men. His commission was a general one, confined to no one nation, and to no particular class. Greeks and barbarians, mean all nations; wise and unwise, mean all classes. βάρβαρος means properly a foreigner, one of another language, 1 Corinthians 14:11. Greeks and barbarians therefore, is equivalent to Greeks and not Greeks, all nations. As the Greeks however, excelled other nations in civilization, the word came to signify rude, uncultivated; though even by later writers it is often used in its original sense, and not as a term of reproach. The apostle distinguishes men first as nations, Greeks and not Greeks, and secondly as to culture, wise and unwise. The Romans, whose city was called "an epitome of the world," belonged exclusively neither to the one class nor to the other. Some were wise and some unwise, some Greeks and some barbarians.


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Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 1:14". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/romans-1.html.

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