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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Romans 1:8

 

 

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

Adam Clarke Commentary

First, I thank my God - From this to the end of Romans 1:17; belongs to the preface, in which the apostle endeavors to conciliate the good opinion of the Christians at Rome, and to prepare their minds for his reproofs and exhortations.

Your faith is spoken - καταγγελλεται, is celebrated, throughout the whole world - in every place where the Christian religion is professed, through all parts of the Roman dominions; for in this sense we should understand the words, the whole world.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/romans-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

First - In the first place, not in point of importance, but before speaking of other things, or before proceeding to the main design of the Epistle.

I thank my God - The God, whom I worship and serve. The expression of thanks to God for his mercy to them was suited to conciliate their feelings, and to prepare them for the truths which he was about to communicate to them. It showed the deep interest which he had in their welfare; and the happiness it would give him to do them good. It is proper to give thanks to God for his mercies to others as well as to ourselves. We are members of one great family, and we should make it a subject of thanksgiving that he confers any blessings, and especially the blessing of salvation, on any mortals.

Through Jesus Christ - The duty of presenting our thanks to God “through” Christ is often enjoined in the New Testament, Ephesians 5:20; Hebrews 13:15; compare John 14:14. Christ is the mediator between God and human beings, or the medium by which we are to present our prayers and also our thanksgivings. We are not to approach God directly, but through a mediator at all times, depending on him to present our cause before the mercy-seat; to plead for us there; and to offer the desires of our souls to God. It is no less proper to present thanks in his name, or through him, than it is prayer. He has made the way to God accessible to us, whether it be by prayer or praise; and it is owing to “his” mercy and grace that “any” of our services are acceptable to God.

For you all - On account of you all, that is, of the entire Roman church. This is one evidence that that church then was remarkably pure. How few churches have there been of whom a similar commendation could be expressed.

That your faith - “Faith” is put here for the whole of religion, and means the same as your piety. Faith is one of the principal things of religion; one of its first requirements; and hence, it signifies religion itself. The readiness with which the Romans had embraced the gospel, the firmness with which they adhered to it, was so remarkable, that it was known and celebrated everywhere. The same thing is affirmed of them in Romans 16:19, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.”

Is spoken of - Is celebrated, or known. They were in the capital of the Roman Empire; in a city remarkable for its wickedness; and in a city whose influence extended everywhere. It was natural, therefore, that their remarkable conversion to God should be celebrated everywhere. The religious or irreligious influence of a great city will be felt far and wide, and this is one reason why the apostles preached the gospel so much in such places.

Throughout the whole world - As we say, everywhere; or throughout the Roman Empire. The term “world” is often thus limited in the scriptures; and here it denotes those parts of the Roman Empire where the Christian church was established. All the churches would hear of the work of God in the capital, and would rejoice in it; compare Colossians 1:6, Colossians 1:23; John 12:19. It is not improper to commend Christians, and to remind them of their influence; and especially to call to their mind the great power which they may have on other churches and people. Nor is it improper that great displays of divine mercy should be celebrated everywhere, and excite in the churches praise to God.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.

First, I thank my God ... There is no use to look for "second" and "third" in this epistle for no such outline ever entered Paul's mind. His "first" in this place simply means, "The first thing I want to say is ..." "Thanks to God" is always a good first, no matter what is intended; and, besides, Paul usually began his letters to the churches with thanksgiving to God upon their behalf. In this case, his thanksgiving was no doubt amplified and intensified by the circumstances of the Roman community of believers being so favorably located in the very heart of the great Roman capital, where communications with all the world of that day were centered, where the crossroads of the earth met, and where travelers from all the provinces were going and coming every day. As a result of their strategic location, the Roman Christians had a wide stage upon which to enact their deeds of faith; and Paul's appreciation of this may be deduced from the fact that most of his own great labors were directed to establishing the faith of Christ in great world-centers like Corinth, Ephesus, and Antioch.

My God ... Paul's use of the possessive pronoun here was not unusual, the same construction appearing in 1 Corinthians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Philippians 1:3; 4:19; and Philemon 1:1:4. Old Testament precedent is "The Lord is my shepherd" (Psalms 23:1). And yet none of the apostles ever wrote, "My Father," an expression which our Saviour evidently reserved for himself alone, since he taught the disciples to pray, "Our Father, etc."

Through Jesus Christ ... honors the mediatorial office of Jesus Christ; and as Hodge suggested:

There is no need of the various forced interpretations of the words in the text, which have been given by those who are unwilling to admit the idea of such mediation on the part of Christ.[16]

Upon the great doctrine of the mediatorial office of the Lord Jesus Christ, the New Testament leaves no grounds for misunderstanding.

CHRIST; THE ONE MEDIATOR

John Wesley's statement that "The gifts of God all pass through Christ to us, and all our petitions and thanksgivings pass through Christ to God,"[17] constitutes a concise summary of New Testament teaching on Christ's mediation. The Lord said:

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, that will I do (John 14:13,14). If ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name (John 16:23).

Other New Testament instructions to the same effect are as follows:

Give thanks always for all things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father (Ephesians 5:20). And whatsover ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17). Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually (Hebrews 13:15).SIZE>

Paul himself always carefully followed this rule (Romans 7:25); and the fact appears that language could hardly be more comprehensive and emphatic in the description of exactly what communications were commanded to be addressed to the Father "through" Christ. "Anything ... whatsoever ... all things ... whatsoever ye do in word or deed" - thus the most comprehensive terminology is marshaled against any exceptions whatsoever.

And, are there mediators other than Jesus Christ? No. Paul said,

There is one God, one mediator also between God and man, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times (1 Timothy 2:5).

Thus, there are exactly as many mediators as there are Gods, namely, only one. All superstitions to the effect that prayers may be offered to God through various so-called saints, or even through the blessed Mother of Jesus, are flatly contradicted by New Testament teaching. Likewise, prayers which are offered ambiguously, "In thy name," or "In his name," etc., or in no name at all except that of the petitioner, are sinful in the light of these solemn teachings of the word of God. Even the use of such a formula as "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," is not in keeping with the commandments of the apostles, nor did any of them ever use such words in a prayer. True, people were commanded to baptize into that sacred triple name; but no man can show any other example of those holy names thus being subjoined to any other command or petition in the entire Bible. In the verse before us, Paul was scrupulous to express his thanks to God "through Jesus Christ"; and there can hardly be any doubt that his doing so was in keeping with the revealed will of God. As Hodge summarized it,

Such then is the clear teaching of the Bible, that in all our approaches to God in prayer and praise, we must come in the name of Christ, that is, in him, referring to him as the ground of our acceptance.[18]

For you all ... is the plural of "you"; and the only possible plural of that pronoun capable of including everyone. "You both," "you two," etc., are also grammatical plurals of that pronoun. Thus, the expression "you all" is not a colloquialism but stands in the best tradition of classical English.

Proclaimed throughout the world ... It was natural that the faith of Christians so favorably located in Rome should be widely known, but also implicit in the fact of their extensive reputation is their evangelical behavior. Their faith was not something which they held privately and selfishly, but a passionate conviction of which they spoke to everyone who would hear and which they preached as universally as possible. The use here of such a phrase as "throughout the world" is understood by some writers as hyperbole; and, although the use of that figure of speech is certainly found in the New Testament, as, for example, in Matthew 3:5, that is not necessarily the explanation here. It could be that Paul here employed the prophetic tense (in which future events are spoken of in the present tense), and the view that Paul did so speak here is grounded in the amazing truth that, nearly twenty centuries after his writing, it is literally true that the Christians of Rome have been spoken of, and are continually being spoken of in every village and hamlet of the earth, everywhere the Bible is read! In view of the facts, then, it seems rather arbitrary to limit Paul's meaning as, "Best understood as `throughout the Christian Church and wherever people knew of their faith.'[19] The similar passage, "The gospel which is come unto you; even as it is in all the world, bearing fruit and increasing" (Colossians 1:5,6), may also be interpreted in the same way.

[16] Charles Hodge, op. cit., p. 24.

[17] John Wesley, Explanatory Notes on the New Testament (London: The Epworth Press, 1950), p. 517.

[18] Charles Hodge, op. cit., p. 24.

[19] William M. Greathouse, op. cit., p. 36.


Copyright Statement
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 1:8". "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

First, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all,.... After the inscription and salutation, follows a thanksgiving, which begins the epistle: it is usual with the apostle in all his epistles to make requests for the churches, with thanksgivings for mercies; his view in it was, to glorify God, to testify his affection to the saints, and to show that all they had must be referred to the grace of God. The object of thanksgiving is God not merely as a creator and preserver, but as a Father, the Father of Christ, and our Father in Christ; as the one God, and our God, Father, Son, and Spirit. The apostle styles him, my God; which distinguishes him from all others, points out his particular interest in him, expresses his knowledge of him and faith in him, and demonstrates that what he did now, he did in faith. The person through whom thanks are given is Jesus Christ. There is no coming to God but through Christ, nor is any sacrifice either of prayer or praise acceptable without him, and since all we have come through him, it is but reasonable that thanks for them should be returned by and through him; the persons for whom this thanksgiving is made were all the Romans, all the saints at Rome, the members of the church there, of whatsoever rank and degree, and in whatsoever, state and condition; the thing for which the apostle was thankful for particularly was, not that their city was mistress of the whole world, and their fame for power, wealth, and grandeur, was spread abroad far and near; but, says he,

that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world; which shows that faith is a grace of great account: God has put an honour upon it, by making it the receiver of all his gifts, and that gives glory to God, and without it nothing is acceptable to him; it answers many excellent uses and purposes in experience; it is that by which saints live upon Christ in this world, and look to the glories of another. This also shows that the saints at Rome did not hide their faith in their breasts, but declared it to others; a public profession both of the grace and doctrine of faith is to be made, and constantly held; both are to be shown forth to others, by deeds as well as words; which greatly redounds to the honour of such churches, causes joy in other churches, and in all the ministers of the Gospel, and is the occasion of many thanksgivings to God.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/romans-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

4 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is p spoken of throughout the q whole world.

(4) He obtains their favourable patience, in that he points out what it is that they can be praised for, and his true apostolic good will toward them, confirmed by taking God himself as witness.

(p) Because your faith is such that it is spoken well of in all churches.

(q) In all churches.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/romans-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world — This was quite practicable through the frequent visits paid to the capital from all the provinces; and the apostle, having an eye to the influence they would exercise upon others, as well as their own blessedness, given thanks for such faith to “his God through Jesus Christ,” as being the source, according to his theology of faith, as of all grace in men.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

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

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

First (πρωτον μενprōton men). Adverb in the accusative case, but no επειτα δεepeita de (in the next place) as in Hebrews 7:2 or επειταepeita as in James 3:17 follows. The rush of thoughts crowds out the balanced phraseology as in Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 11:18.

Through (διαdia). As the mediator or medium of thanksgiving as in Romans 7:25.

For (περιperi). Concerning, about.

That (οτιhoti). Or because. Either declarative or causal οτιhoti makes sense here.

Your faith (η πιστις υμωνhē pistis humōn). “Your Christianity” (Sanday and Headlam).

Is proclaimed (καταγγελλεταιkataggelletai). Present passive indicative of καταγγελλωkataggellō to announce (αγγελλωaggellō) up and down (καταkata). See also αναγγελλωanaggellō to bring back news (John 5:15), απαγγελλωapaggellō to announce from one as the source (Matthew 2:8), προκαταγγελλωprokataggellō to announce far and wide beforehand (Acts 3:18).

Throughout all the world (εν ολωι τωι κοσμωιen holōi tōi kosmōi). Natural hyperbole as in Colossians 1:6; Acts 17:6. But widely known because the church was in the central city of the empire.


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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 1:8". "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

First ( πρῶτον μὲν )

Not above all, but in the first place. The form of the phrase leads us to expect a succeeding clause introduced by secondly or next; but this is omitted in the fullness and rapidity of Paul's thought, which so often makes him negligent of the balance of his clauses.

Through Jesus Christ

As the medium of his thanksgiving: “As one who is present to his grateful thoughts; in so far, namely, as that for which he thanks God is vividly perceived and felt by him to have been brought about through Christ.” Compare Romans 7:25; Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:20. In penitence and in thanksgiving alike, Jesus Christ is the one mediator through whom we have access to God.

For you all ( περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν )

The preposition means rather concerning, about.

Is proclaimed ( καταγγέλλεται )

The different compounds of the simple verb ἀγγέλλω toannounce, are interesting. The simple verb occurs only at John 20:18. Ἁναγγέλλειν is to report with the additional idea of bringing tidings up to or back to the person receiving them. So John 5:15. The impotent man brought back information to the Jews. Compare Mark 5:14. So Christ will send the Comforter, and He will bring back to the disciples tidings of things to come. John 16:13-15. See Acts 14:27; 2 Corinthians 7:7; 1 Peter 1:12.

Ἁπαγγέλλειν is to announce with a reference to the source from ( ἀπό ) which the message comes So Matthew 2:8; Acts 12:14. Compare Luke 7:22; Luke 8:34, Acts 5:22.

Καταγγέλλειν is to proclaim with authority, as commissioned to spread the tidings throughout, down among those that hear them, with the included idea of celebrating or commending. So here. Compare Acts 16:21; Acts 17:3. Thus in ἀναγγέλλειν therecipient of the news is contemplated; in ἀπαγγέλλειν thesource; in καταγγέλλειν the relation of the bearer and hearer of the message. The first is found mostly in John, Mark, and Acts; the second in the Synoptists and Acts; the third only. in the Acts and Paul.

Throughout the whole world

Hyperbolical, but according with the position of the metropolitan church. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:8.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

I thank — In the very entrance of this one epistle are the traces of all spiritual affections; but of thankfulness above all, with the expression of which almost all St. Paul's epistles begin. He here particularly thanks God, that what otherwise himself should have done, was done at Rome already.

My God — This very word expresses faith, hope, love, and consequently all true religion.

Through Jesus Christ — The gifts of God all pass through Christ to us; and all our petitions and thanksgivings pass through Christ to God.

That your faith is spoken of — In this kind of congratulations St. Paul describes either the whole of Christianity, as Colossians 1:3, etc.; or some part of it, as1Corinthians1:5. Accordingly here he mentions the faith of the Romans, suitably to his design, Romans 1:12,17.

Through the whole world — This joyful news spreading everywhere, that there were Christians also in the imperial city. And the goodness and wisdom of God established faith in the chief cities; in Jerusalem and Rome particularly; that from thence it might be diffused to all nations.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/romans-1.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

8. I first (28) indeed, etc. Here the beginning commences, altogether adapted to the occasion, as he seasonably prepares them for receiving instruction by reasons connected with himself as well as with them. What he states respecting them is, the celebrity of their faith; for he intimates that they being honored with the public approbation of the churches, could not reject an Apostle of the Lord, without disappointing the good opinion entertained of them by all; and such a thing would have been extremely uncourteous and in a manner bordering on perfidy. As then this testimony justly induced the Apostle, by affording him an assurance of their obedience, to undertake, according to his office, to teach and instruct the Romans; so it held them bound not to despise his authority. With regard to himself, he disposes them to a teachable spirit by testifying his love towards them: and there is nothing more effectual in gaining credit to an adviser, than the impression that he is cordially anxious to consult our wellbeing.

The first thing worthy of remark is, that he so commends their faith, (29) that he implies that it had been received from God. We are here taught that faith is God’s gift; for thanksgiving is an acknowledgment of a benefit. He who gives thanks to God for faith, confesses that it comes from him. And since we find that the Apostle ever begins his congratulations with thanksgiving, let us know that we are hereby reminded, that all our blessings are God’s free gifts. It is also needful to become accustomed to such forms of speaking, that we may be led more fully to rouse ourselves in the duty of acknowledging God as the giver of all our blessings, and to stir up others to join us in the same acknowledgment. If it be right to do this in little things, how much more with regard to faith; Which is neither a small nor an indiscriminate (promiscua ) gift of God. We have here besides an example, that thanks ought to be given through Christ, according to the Apostle’s command in Hebrews 13:15; inasmuch as in his name we seek and obtain mercy from the Father. — I observe in the last place, that he calls him his God. This is the faithful’s special privilege, and on them alone God bestows this honor. There is indeed implied in this a mutual relationship, which is expressed in this promise,

“I will be to them a God;
they shall be to me a people.” (
Jeremiah 30:22.)

I prefer at the same time to confine this to the character which Paul sustained, as an attestation of his obedience to the end in the work of preaching the gospel. So Hezekiah called God the God of Isaiah, when he desired him to give him the testimony of a true and faithful Prophet. (Isaiah 37:4.) So also he is called in an especial manner the God of Daniel. (Daniel 6:20.)

Through the whole world. The eulogy of faithful men was to Paul equal to that of the whole world, with regard to the faith of the Romans; for the unbelieving, who deemed it detestable, could not have given an impartial or a correct testimony respecting it. We then understood that it was by the mouths of the faithful that the faith of the Romans was proclaimed through the whole world; and that they were alone able to judge rightly of it, and to pronounce a correct opinion. That this small and despised handful of men were unknown as to their character to the ungodly, even at Rome, was a circumstance he regarded as nothing; for Paul made no account of their judgment.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/romans-1.html. 1840-57.

Vv. 8. "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ on account of you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."

The apostle knows that there is no more genuine proof of sincere affection than intercession; hence he puts his prayer for them first. The word πρῶτον, in the first place (especially with the particle μέν), leads us to expect a secondly ( ὲπειτα δέ). As this word does not occur in the sequel, some have thought it necessary to give to πρῶτον the meaning of above all. This is unnecessary. The second idea the apostle had in view is really found in Romans 1:10, in the prayer which he offers to God that he may be allowed soon to go to Rome. This prayer is the natural supplement of the thanksgiving. Only the construction has led the apostle not to express it in the strictly logical form: in the second place.

In the words "my God," he sums up all his personal experiences of God"s fatherly help, in the various circumstances of his life, and particularly in those of his apostleship. Herein there is a particular revelation which every believer receives for himself alone, and which he sums up when he calls God his God; comp. the phrase God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and more especially the words Genesis 28:20-21. Paul"s thanksgiving is presented through the mediation of Jesus Christ; he conveys it through Christ as head of the church, and more immediately his own. Meyer thinks that Christ is rather mentioned here as the author of the work for which Paul gives thanks; but this is not the natural meaning of the phrase: I thank through; comp. besides, Romans 8:34. The propagation of the gospel at Rome appears to Paul a service rendered to him personally, as apostle of the Gentiles.

The phrase: on account of you all, seems a little exaggerated, since he does not know them all personally. But would there be a human being at Rome gained for Christ, known or unknown, whose faith was not a subject of joy to Paul! The preposition ὑπέρ, in behalf of, which is found in the T. R. (with the latest Mjj.), would express more affection than περί, on account of; but the latter is more simple, and occurs in some Mjj. of the three families. What increases Paul"s joy is, that not only do they believe themselves, but their faith, the report of which is spread everywhere, opens a way for the gospel to other countries; comp. a similar passage addressed to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:8). The ὅτι, because, serves to bring into relief a special feature in the cause of joy already indicated; comp. 1 Corinthians 1:5 (the ὅτι in its relation to Romans 1:4). The phrase: throughout the whole world, is hyperbolical; it alludes to the position of Rome as the capital of the world; comp. Colossians 1:6.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/romans-1.html.

Scofield's Reference Notes

world

kosmos = mankind. (See Scofield "Matthew 4:8").


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Romans 1:8". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/romans-1.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Ver. 8. Your faith is spoken of] See Romans 16:26, and Juvenal, Tacitus, and other profane writers, who bitterly exagitate the doctrines and practices of those Roman Christians. Now that must needs be good that such men speak evil of: and as Jerome writeth to Austin, Quod signum maioris gloriae est, Omnes haeretici me detestantur: the heretics hate me; and that is no small grace to me.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/romans-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Romans 1:8. First, I thank, &c.— In the very entrance of this epistle are the traces of all spiritual affections; but of thankfulness above all, with the expression of which almost all St. Paul's epistles begin. He here particularly thanks God, that what otherwise himself should have done, was doneat Rome already. My God, expresses faith, hope, love, and consequently all true religion. The goodness and wisdom of God are remarkable, in that he established the Christian faith in the chief cities, such as Jerusalem and Rome, whence it might be diffused throughout the whole world. Bengelius.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/romans-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. The great and wonderful success of the gospel; it had produced faith in the hearts, and obedience in the lives of the Romans, which had made them famous throughout the world: Your faith, says the apostle, is spoken of throughout the whole world; that is, through all the Roman empire, which at that time ruled over a great part of the known world. The entertaining of the gospel at Rome, made that place more celebrated and famous than all the victories and triumphs of the Roman emperors; faith and holiness make a place and people more renowned than all outward prosperity and happiness.

Observe, 2. That this their renowned faith was the ground, yea, the highest and chiefest ground of the apostle's rejoicing; First, I thank my God, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Learn thence, That it is both the duty and the disposition of the faithful ministers of Jesus Christ, to be highly thankful to God, above all things, for the powerful success of the gospel, in bringing sinners to the faith and obedience of Jesus Christ. This is our rejoicing, nay, this will be our crown of rejoicing, in the day of Christ: We value our lives only by their usefulness to the souls of our beloved people; we live as we see some of you stand fast in the Lord; we die as we see others stick fast in their sins.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/romans-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8.] This placing himself in intimate connexion with his readers by mention of and thankfulness for their faith or Christian graces, is the constant habit of Paul. The three Epistles, Gal., 1 Tim., and Titus, are the only exceptions: Olsh. adds 2 Cor., but in ch. Romans 1:3-22 we have an equivalent: see especially Romans 1:6-7; Romans 1:11; Romans 1:14.

μέν] The corresponding δέ follows, Romans 1:13. ‘Ye indeed are prospering in the faith: but I still am anxious further to advance that fruitfulness.’ There is no ἔπειτα to follow to πρῶτον.

τῷ θεῷ μου] ὅρα μεθʼ ὅσης διαθέσεως εὐχαριστεῖ. οὐ γὰρ εἶπε, τῷ θεῷ, ἀλλὰ τῷ θεῷ μου· ὃ καὶ οἱ προφῆται ποιοῦσι, τὸ κοινὸν ἰδιοποιούμενοι. καὶ τί θαυμαστὸν εἰ οἱ προφῆται; αὐτὸς γὰρ αὐτὸ συνεχῶς ὁ θεὸς φαίνεται ποιῶν ἐπὶ τῶν δούλων, θεὸν ἀβραὰμ καὶ ἰσαὰκ καὶ ἰακὼβ ἰδιαζόντως λέγων ἑαυτόν. Chrys. Hom. iii. p. 436.

διὰ ἰ. χ.] “Velut per Pontificem magnum: oportet enim scire eum qui vult offerre sacrificium Deo, quod per manus Pontificis debet offerre.” Origen. So also Calvin, “Hic habemus exemplum, quomodo per Christum agendæ sunt gratiæ, secundum Apostoli præceptum ad Hebrews 13:15.” Olshausen says, “This is no mere phrase, but a true expression of the deepest conviction. For only by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in men’s hearts are thanksgivings and prayer acceptable to God.” But perhaps here it is better to take the words as expressing an acknowledgment that the faith of the Romans, for which thanks were given, was due to, and rested on the Lord Jesus Christ: see ch. Romans 7:25, and rendering there.

περί] This prep. and ὑπέρ both occur in this connexion, see 1 Corinthians 1:4; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:4 :—and it is impossible to say, in cases of their confusion by the MSS., which may have been substituted for the other. The internal criticism which would adopt ὑπέρ as being the less usual, may be answered by the probability that ὑπέρ, being known to be sometimes used by Paul, may have been substituted as more in his manner for the more usual περί. So that manuscript authority in such cases must be our guide; and this authority is here decisive. The difference in meaning would be, that ὑπέρ would give more the idea that thanks were given by Paul on their behalf, as if he were aiding them in giving thanks, for such great mercies: whereas περί would imply only that they were the subject of his thanks,—that he gave thanks concerning them.

ἡ πίστις ὑμ.] “In ejusmodi gratulationibus Paulus vel totum Christianismum describit, Colossians 1:3, sqq.,—vel partem aliquam, 1 Corinthians 1:5. Itaque hoc loco fidem commemorat, suo convenienter instituto, Romans 1:12; Romans 1:17.” Bengel.

καταγγέλλεται] De Wette notices the other side of the report, as given by the Jews at Rome, Acts 28:22, to Paul himself. This praise was in the Christian churches, and brought by Christian brethren.

ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ] A popular hyperbole, common every where, and especially when speaking of general diffusion through the Roman empire, the ‘orbis terrarum.’ The praise would be heard in every city where there was a Christian church,—intercourse with the metropolis of the world being common to all.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/romans-1.html. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1819

A MINISTER’S JOY OVER HIS PEOPLE

Romans 1:8. I thank my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all.

AS a title of honour, a minister may assume the character of an ambassador from God. But the paternal relation is that which exhibits him before us in the most endearing view. Under the character of a father, St. Paul frequently addressed his converts [Note: 1 Thessalonians 2:11.]. Sometimes he even compared himself with a mother “travailing in birth with them [Note: Galatians 4:19.];” yea, and as a nursing mother, drawing forth, as it were, the breast to them, and “desiring to impart to them his very soul, because they were so dear to him [Note: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8.].” There is scarcely one of his Epistles which does not begin with thanking God for them, and pouring forth his petitions in their behalf. The Church of Rome, though he had “never yet seen their face in the flesh,” were exceeding dear to him; and the more so, because the fame of their attainments had spread throughout the whole world. They were not all equally eminent; yet for all of them, without exception, did he return thanks to God: nor did he think it at all necessary to abstain from bestowing just commendations upon them [Note: Romans 15:14.]. Nor shall we do wrong, if, with paternal regard, we express our thankfulness to God for the blessings he has bestowed on those over whom he has placed us, and whom he has graciously committed to our pastoral care.

We give thanks to God, therefore, brethren, for you all:

I. For those of you who have begun to manifest a concern for your souls—

Truly this is a just ground of thanksgiving to God—

[Look at the world around you, and see how regardless men are of their eternal interest — — — They even put God far from them; saying, “We desire not the knowledge of thy ways” — — — Every thing occupies in their minds a higher place than God — — —

But we need not think of others. Look only at your own conduct, from your youth up, till the moment that God was pleased to open your eyes to a sense of your guilt and danger. See how little you cared for God, or for your own souls. Instead of living unto Him who died for you, even to the Lord Jesus Christ who bought you with his blood, you lived altogether to yourselves, and were, so to speak, “without God in the world” — — — It is possible that some few may have known God, like Timothy, from their very childhood, and never experienced any remarkable change, whether of heart or life. But this is the lot of very few. The great mass of believers were once as manifestly alienated from God as the world around them still are. Compare, then, your present with your former state; and say if there be not reason to bless and adore God for the change that has been wrought in you — — —]

We do then, and will, thank God through Jesus Christ in your behalf—

[The change has proceeded from God alone. It was he who first “opened your heart to attend to the things which were spoken” in his blessed word. He quickened you from the dead; endued you with, I will not say new faculties, but certainly with new dispositions; by means of which, you have been brought to hate the ways which you once followed, and to seek the things which you once despised — — — And it is for Christ’s sake that God has vouchsafed this great mercy, even for the sake of him who bought you with his blood, and intercedes for you at the right hand of God — — — Through that Saviour, then, will I render thanks to God, and bless him for all that he has done for your souls. It may be that, at present, your attainments are but small. But God forbid that 1 should “despise the day of small things.” It is true, also, that where the change is but small, and but recently experienced, we have not that confidence in your state which we feel in reference to more advanced Christians. But nevertheless we rejoice, even as the angels in heaven do, at the first return of a repenting sinner to his God: and we desire to pray to God that he would establish all which he has wrought in you, and confirm unto the end the blessed work he has begun.]

But with yet greater delight will we return thanks,

II. For those who have made some progress in the Divine life—

Over such persons we rejoice with very exalted joy—

[Of those who begin a heavenly course, how many “run well only for a season!” The stony-ground hearers are very numerous; and their end most deeply to be bewailed. How many thousands are turned aside by the fear of man; and “leave off to behave themselves wisely,” because they cannot bear the cross which an adherence to Christ would bring upon them! The cares of this life, also, arrest many in their course, and drag them down to the concerns of this perishing world. And not a few are ensnared by the lusts of the flesh, which they will not mortify; or by the vanities of the world, which they cannot prevail upon themselves to renounce. Even in the apostolic age there were many, who, “after having known the way of righteousness, have forsaken it,” and “turned back as a dog to his vomit, and as the sow that has been washed to her wallowing in the mire” — — — Shall we not bless God, then, for those who have maintained a steadfastness in the ways of God, and have made their profiting to appear? Surely, if augmented growth in corporeal and intellectual strength in a child be a ground of joy and gratitude to his parent, much more must a progress in the divine life, amongst his hearers, be an occasion of praise and thanksgiving to him who “watches over them in the Lord” — — —]

We do then bless God, through Jesus Christ, for you—

[We well know to what temptations you are exposed, and what conflicts with sin and Satan you have had to maintain; and we therefore adore him who has graciously given you strength according to your day, and held you up in his everlasting arms. O! when we think of the account which poor apostates have to give, and how fearful will be their condition in the eternal world; and when, on the other hand, we contemplate your future prospects; we cannot but bless God for you. Yes, whilst for them we weep, and would have “our eyes as a fountain of tears to run down night and day;” for you we would adore and magnify our God, and implore him to “perfect that which concerns you,” that what he has begun in grace may be consummated in glory — — —] Most of all, however, must we thank God,

III. For those who are walking worthy of their high and heavenly calling—

To such our text more especially refers; because the Apostle specifies, as the peculiar ground of his thanksgiving, that “their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world.” Now for such we thank God,

1. Because of the glory which they bring to God—

[They live for God: they honour God: they commend his religion throughout the world. A man of low attainments causes but a dim light to shine around him: but a man who “runs well the race that is set before him,” is seen of all, and approved of all, whose judgment in any respect accords with the mind of God. He is, in fact, “a light in the world:” and those who behold him are constrained to “glorify our Father which is in heaven” — — —]

2. Because of the good they do to mankind—

[Who are they that promote the knowledge of God in the world? Who labour for the salvation of their fellowmen? I will not say that persons may not give the aid of their wealth and influence to a religious society from corrupt motives: but those who set on foot these societies, and exert themselves with most self-denying labour in them, are the persons of whom I am now speaking. In truth, but for them there would be little religious good done in the whole world. Works of humanity might go on without them: but works of religion would stagnate altogether. Nothing but apostolic zeal can do the work of an Apostle: but that work as far transcends every other, in real excellence and use, as the effulgence of the sun exceeds the twinkling of a star.]

3. Because of the blessings that await them in a better world—

[Who can contemplate the blessedness of a pious soul when admitted into the immediate presence of God, and not rejoice in its welfare? And can we see you, my brethren, pressing forward in your heavenly course, and labouring incessantly to finish the work assigned you, and not thank our God in your behalf? Would not the very stones cry out against us, if we were so insensible, so altogether destitute of love either to God or man? For those that are departed in the faith of Christ we cannot but rejoice: and for you who are daily ripening for glory, we cannot but feel a measure of thankfulness proportioned to the attainments they make, and the prospects they enjoy.]

Permit me now to address you “all,”

1. Individually—

[That which rendered the Christians at Rome so eminent, was “their faith.” Let that grace, then, be cultivated by every one of you. That is the root from which every other grace proceeds. Abound in that; and every other grace will be carried on and perfected within you.]

2. Collectively—

[Be careful, all of you, that we be not disappointed of our hope respecting you — — — Then shall we thank God also for you in the eternal world, and have you as “our joy and crown of rejoicing” for ever and ever.]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/romans-1.html. 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 1:8. πρῶτον μὲν] To that, which Paul desires first of all to write, there was meant to be subjoined something further, possibly by ἔπειτα δέ. But, amidst the ideas that now crowd upon him, he abandons this design, and thus the μέν remains alone. Comp Romans 3:2; and on Acts 1:1; 1 Corinthians 11:18; Schaefer, a(341) Dem. IV. p. 142; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 410.

τῷ θεῷ μου] οὗ εἰμὶ, καὶ λατρεύω, Acts 27:23; comp 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3; Philippians 4:19; Philemon 1:4.

διὰ ἰηροῦ χριστοῦ] These words—to be connected with εὐχαριστῶ, not with μου, as Koppe and Glöckler think, against which Romans 7:25 and Colossians 3:17 are clearly decisive—contain the mediation, through which the εὐχαριστῶ takes place. The Apostle gives thanks not on his own part and independently of Christ, not διʼ ἑαυτοῦ, but is conscious of his thanksgiving being conveyed through Jesus Christ, as one who is present to his grateful thoughts; in so far, namely, as that for which he thanks God is vividly perceived and felt by him to have been brought about through Christ. Comp on Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:20. Thus Christ is the mediating causal agent of the thanksgiving. To regard Him as its mediating presenter (Origen, Theophylact, Bengel, and others, including Hofmann) cannot be justified from Paul’s other writings, nor even by Hebrews 13:15. Theodore of Mopsuestia well observes: τοῦ χριστοῦ ταύτης ἡμῖν τῆς εὐχαριστίας τὴν αἰτίαν παρασχομένου.

πίστις ὑμῶν] quite simply: your faith (on Christ); the praiseworthy character of the πίστις is only set forth by the context ( καταγγέλλ. ἐν ὅλῳ τ. κ.) afterwards. Everywhere one hears your faith openly spoken of. Comp Romans 16:19. Observe how this flattering expression of the Apostle and the thanksgiving coupled with it, as also the στηριχθῆναι κ. τ. λ(345), in Romans 1:11-12, point to the church not as Jewish-Christian but as Pauline. Mangold’s reference to Philippians 1:15-18, in opposition to this inference, leaves out of view the quite different personal situation under which the latter was written. Comp on Philippians 1:18, note.

ἐν ὅλῳ τ. κόσμῳ] a popular hyperbole, but how accordant with the position of the church in that city, towards which the eyes of the whole world were turned! Comp 1 Thessalonians 1:8. It is, moreover, obvious of itself, that the subjects of the καταγγέλλειν are the believers. As to the unbelievers, see Acts 28:22.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Romans 1:8. πρῶτον, first) A next does not always follow; and in this passage, the affectionate feeling and emotion of the writer have absorbed it.— μὲν) The corresponding δέ follows at Romans 1:13. You are, says he, already indeed in the faith; but yet I am desirous to contribute something to your improvement.— εὐχαριστῶ, I give thanks) Even at the beginning alone [besides similar beginnings in other epistles] of this epistle, there are traces of all the spiritual emotions. Among these, thanksgiving takes the preeminence: and with it almost all the epistles commence. The categorical idea of the sentence is: You have found faith. Thanksgiving, which is an accessory idea, renders the discourse modal (i.e., shows the manner in which the subject and predicate, in the categorical sentence, are connected),—comp. note to ch. Romans 6:17. Paul rejoices that, what he considered should be effected by him elsewhere, as a debtor to all, was already effected at Rome.— τῷ θεῷ μου, my God) This phrase, my God, expresses faith, love, hope, and, therefore, the whole of true religion, Psalms 144:15; Habakkuk 1:12. My God is the God whom I serve; see next verse.— διὰ, through) The gifts of God come to us through Christ, our thanksgivings go to God through Christ.— πίστις, faith) In congratulations of this kind, Paul describes either the whole of Christianity, Colossians 1:3, etc., or some part of it, 1 Corinthians 1:5. He therefore mentions faith in this passage, as suited to the object, which he has in view, Romans 1:12; Romans 1:17.— καταγγέλλεται, is spoken of) An abbreviated mode of expression for, You have obtained faith; I hear of it, for it is everywhere openly declared; so, 1 Thessalonians 1:8, he says, that the faith of the Thessalonians is spread abread in every place.— ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ, throughout the whole world) The Divine goodness and wisdom established the faith in the principal cities, especially in Jerusalem and Rome, from which it might be disseminated throughout the whole world.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". 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

First, here, is not a word of order, for there follows no secondly, &c.; but it serves to show, that here the Epistle begins, for all before was but a preface or inscription: q.d. In the first place. See the like, 1 Timothy 2:1.

Throughout the whole world, that is, through many parts of it; it is a figurative speech: see the like, John 12:19. Or else, by the whole world may be understood the Roman empire, which ruled at that time over a great part of the known world. See the like, Luke 2:1. Besides, there was a resort to Rome from all parts of the world, and so this report might be diffused far and near. The faith of the gospel at Rome made it more famous than all its victories and triumphs. Oh, how is Rome degenerated! We may take up the complaint concerning her which we find, Isaiah 1:11,12. The Romanists urge this place to prove Rome the mother church; but without reason: the church of Thessalonica had as high a eulogy: see 1 Thessalonians 1:8.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/romans-1.html. 1685.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

8. εὐχαριστῶ. S. Paul follows his greeting always with thanksgiving or blessing (εὐλογητός), except in Gal. (θαυμάζω) and 1 Tim., Tit. Peculiar to this place are μου (exc. Philippians 1:3) and διὰ Ἰ. Χρ. This fulness of phrase corresponds to the fulness of statement in 1–7.

περὶ πάντων ὑ. Cf. πᾶσιν in Romans 1:5; Romans 1:7.

ἡ πίστις ὑ. καταγγ. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; Philemon 1:5. καταγγ., a weighty word, otherwise used only of the Gospel itself or some element in it (only Acts and Paul, 1 Cor., Phil., Col.). ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ, a not unnatural exaggeration: he is writing from Corinth, the great commercial junction of the Empire.


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"Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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

8. “In the first place, I thank God through Jesus Christ concerning you all, because your faith is spoken of in the whole world.” The emperors had built great highways into every country in the known world (as it belonged to them by conquest), so traveling was convenient in all the known earth. The stranger in every foreign land had nothing to do but find the Roman road and walk in it till he reached the world’s metropolis; as all the roads in England centralize in London. Throughout their universal conquests during seven hundred years, Rome made it a rule to adopt all the religions of the conquered nations, bringing all their gods to Rome, where all were worshipped in the Pantheon, a magnificent circular marble edifice 200 feet in diameter and 200 feet high, still standing and in a perfect state of preservation, now useful for the Holiness people to preach in, as all have a perfect right in that temple to worship any god in all the world, and in any way. Therefore the new religion (Christianity), within the twenty-eight years since Pentecost, had received notoriety throughout the whole world, in the reports carried by the travelers from Rome to the ends of the earth. Bygone ages have been filled with miracles, not only recorded in the Bible, but great and wonderful unwritten by an inspired pen. In 753 B. C. the jealous king of Alban had Romulus and Remus exposed in the wild woods on the banks of the Tiber. A wolf finding them, instead of devouring them, nursed them with her own milk. Corroboratory of this historic legend, they still keep wolves in the same cave on the spot. I saw them when I was there in 1895. These exposed infants, reared by the wolf, became shepherds on the spot, becoming a rendezvous of the wandering pioneers, and soon swelling into a tribe. By the famous stratagem, well known in history, of securing wives from the Sabines, resulting in the accession of that nation, they proceeded with their conquests over the nations of the earth. So constant was the work of death that the Temple of Janus, whose open doors indicated war, and closed were the signal of peace, never was closed but twice during the 753 years — once during the reign of Numa Pompilius, and again immediately after the first Punic war. At the end of the period it was permanently closed, as the whole world was conquered and peace had come to abide. Then was fulfilled the prophecy, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from beneath his feet, till Shiloh come.” When the Romans had conquered all the world, then Augustus Caesar was crowned universal monarch, thus taking the scepter from Judah and all other nations at the very time when Shiloh was born in Bethlehem, thus making the birth of the Savior significantly the herald of “peace on earth and good will to men,” as the Romans had conquered and thus brought universal peace. Do you not see the hand of God in all this? Nothing was so important to the preaching of the gospel in all the earth as a powerful universal empire precisely such as Rome. Do you not see with what rapidity Paul passed from nation to nation, preaching the gospel? This he could not have done if all of these nations had not been under the same government.

What was true of Paul was equally true of all the apostles and their numerous comrades. Paul, being a learned man, wrote up his travels. The original twelve, “unlearned and ignorant men,” with few exceptions, left us no history of their ministry; however, we have a mere epitome in contemporaneous tradition that they all, like Paul, went to the ends of the earth, preaching faithfully till bloody martyrdom set them free to fly away to glory: Paul beheaded and Peter crucified at Rome; Luke hung on an olive-tree in Greece; Matthew suffering martyrdom in Ethiopia, Matthias in Abyssinia, Mark in Alexandria; James, the son of Zebedee, beheaded by Herod Antipas; James, the son of Alpheus, precipitated from a pinnacle of the temple; Andrew crucified in Armenia, Philip in Asia Minor; Bartholomew skinned alive by order of the barbarous king in Phrygia; Jude shot full of arrows in Tartary; Thomas interpenetrated with a cruel iron bar, and thus martyred, in India; and John, having been miraculously delivered from the caldron of boiling oil in Rome into which he was cast to make soap of him, was then banished to Patmos, where he saw the apocalyptic visions; finally, at the age of 101 years, was translated to Heaven from Ephesus, Asia Minor. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and other Christian Fathers, so certify, and I believe. Why have we no record in Scripture? Good reason: John himself was the last writer, surviving all the other apostles thirty years. Hence no one was left to record his translation. John Wesley believed it, and so do I. God, in His wonderful providence, gave the Romans the whole world in one vast consolidated empire, as a grand preparation for the universal propagation of the gospel, which would have been an impossibility without the protection of a universal government. For a similar reason, He gave Alexander the Great all nations A. D. 325, in order to establish the Greek language in all the world as the necessary vehicle which God in His wonderful providence had prepared to transmit the gospel to the world, and retain it in its inspired original to the latest generation.


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-1.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.’

He wants them first of all to know that he thanks ‘my God’ through Jesus Christ for all of them, because he is aware that their faith is spoken of throughout the world. ‘My God’ brings out the very personal feeling that Paul had for God. It also occurs in 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3. He saw Him as ‘my God’, not because he was excessively possessive, but because his heart was so warmed towards Him. He felt in close association with Him.

And he thanked Him ‘through Jesus Christ’. This use here in Romans of the idea of Christ’s mediatorship as related to his thanksgiving is unique. It is not introduced in his thanksgivings elsewhere. It probably arises in this case because of the nature of the introduction above, with its emphasis on ‘the Son’. He is continuing the emphasis on the Father’s association with the Son, and on the fact that the Gospel of God is concerning His Son.

What he thanks God for is that ‘their faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.’ Whilst the words may contain a little flattery (he was trying to win their hearts so that they would give his words a fair hearing), they do also indicate the fact that the church in Rome was well known and well spoken of throughout the world with which Paul was familiar.

‘Your faith.’ What is being spoken about is the strength of their trust in Jesus Christ. All knew of the vibrant faith of those in the church at Rome. And it had to be vibrant in order to survive what was brought against it.

It is important to note the phrase ‘throughout the whole world’. It is, of course, not literally true. There were many parts of the world where the Gospel had not reached. It was speaking rather of the world known to Paul. We can compare how ‘all the earth’ came to hear the wisdom of Solomon’ (1 Kings 10:24), that is all the world as known to the people of Jerusalem. The same proviso applies there. It means the world as known to the writer. This should always be borne in mind when we come across the word ‘world’ in the New Testament and especially in Revelation. It is referring to the world known to the writer.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, there your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

First, I thank my God. — This is a first in order, as if Paul had said, I commence my Epistle by giving thanks to God. It proceeds from that feeling of piety which ought to pervade all our actions; at the same time he bestows on those whom he addresses the praise which they deserved. It is also a first in importance, as if he said, Above all, I render thanks to God for you. He shows that their state was a matter of great joy to him, arising both from his zeal for the glory of God, and from the interest he took in those whom he addressed. My God. — Paul calls God his God, indicating a lively and ardent feeling of love to Him, of confidence in Him, and of liberty of access, which includes a persuasion that his thanksgivings will be agreeable to God. It is also a confession of his duty, and of the obligations he is under to render thanks to God, because He is his God. It is, besides, an intimation of his own character, as walking in communion with God. This is an example of the working of the Spirit of adoption, and of a believer taking to himself, in particular, the blessing of having God for his God, and of being a partaker of all the blessings of the New Covenant, flowing from that most gracious declaration, ‘I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Of such appropriation there are numerous instances recorded in the Book of Psalms. ‘I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower,’ Psalms 18:1.

Job says, ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.’ ‘I live,’ says Paul, by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. ’ Such language it is the privilege of every believer to use, and he will do so in proportion as the love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto him. The Christian can thus address God as his own God, and often he should do so even in his public declarations. This displeases the world, because it condemns the world. They affect to consider it as presumption, but it is only a proper expression of our belief of God’s testimony with regard to His Son. Studiously to avoid such expressions on proper occasions, is not to show humility, but to be ashamed of the truth.

Paul thanked God, through Jesus Christ, who is our Great High Priest, and presents the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar before the throne.

It is through Him alone that all our worship and all our works in the service of God are acceptable. Thus, not only must our petitions ascend to the Father through the Son, but our thanksgivings also, according to the precept, ‘By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the faith of our lips, giving thanks to His name,’ Hebrews 13:1,5. We can have no intercourse with God, but through the one Mediator between God and man, John 14:6; and except through Him, we are not permitted even to return thanksgivings to God.

Paul thanks God for all to whom he writes. He had addressed them all as saints, making no exception. It is to such exclusively that the apostolic Epistles are written, whether as churches or individuals, — as being all united to Christ, children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, — who should first suffer and afterwards reign with Him. In the first churches, in which everything was regulated by the Apostles according to the will of God, there may have been hypocrites or self-deceivers; but as far as man could judge, they were all believers; or is any among them appeared not to be such, the churches were told it was to their shame. If any were discovered who had crept in unawares, or were convicted of unbecoming conduct, or who had a form of godliness, but denied its power, from such they were commanded to turn away. They were not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers; wherefore it is said, ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate.’ It was in the confidence that they obeyed such commands, that the Apostles addressed them all, as in the passage before us, as the children of God. In the same manner, in writing to the church at Philippi, Paul, after thanking God for their fellowship in the Gospel, and declaring that he was confident that He who had begun a good work in them would perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ, adds, ‘Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace.’

This mode of address runs through the whole of the apostolic Epistles.

The Apostles generally commence their Epistles with the most encouraging views of the present state and future prospects of those to whom they write, and on these considerations are founded the succeeding exhortations. They first remind those who are addressed of the rich grace of God towards them in Jesus Christ, and the spiritual blessings of which they are made partakers, for their strong consolation, and then they exhort them to a holy conversation becoming such privileges. Of this we have a striking example in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which, although Paul had so many faults to reprehend in them, he commences by declaring that they were sanctified in Christ Jesus — that he thanked God always for the grace given unto them by Jesus Christ, who would also confirm them to the end, that they might be blameless in the day of His coming, reminding them that God was faithful, by whom they were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The number of times, no fewer than ten, in which, in the first ten verses of that Epistle, Paul introduces the name of Jesus Christ, should be remarked.

In these Epistles we find no exhortations to unbelievers. This ought to be particularly observed, as being a key to them, without which they cannot be understood. This is no reason, however, for supposing that exhortations to believe the Gospel ought not to be addressed to those who are still in unbelief. The Gospel is to be preached to every creature, and all should be enjoined, first to believe it, and then to do all that God requires.

In the Book of Acts, when the Apostles preached to the unconverted, their subject was repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. But in the Epistles, where they address believers, they also admonish and exhort them to the practice of every duty. There is no exhortation to the performance of any duty which does not imply that it is to be performed in faith. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’

Believers are taught to regulate all their conduct according to the great things which the Gospel reveals, which are freely given to them of God; to be imitators of God, and to live not to themselves but to Him, as being not their own, but bought with a price, and therefore bound to glorify God in their bodies and in their spirits, which are His. Their obedience, as described in the Scriptures, is as much distinguished by its motives and its foundation from the morality of the unbelieving world, as it is elevated above it in its nature and effects. It is in all respects a life of faith, subject to the authority of God, and is practiced under the influence and direction of motives inculcated in the Gospel, of which the light of nature gives no knowledge. Those who have not this faith regard it as a barren speculation; but they who possess it know that it is the sole and powerful source of all their works that are acceptable to God, which are opposed to ‘dead works,’ Hebrews 9:14; and that no works are really good, however excellent they may appear, and however much esteemed among men, or useful in society, which do not proceed from faith. That your faith is spoken of — It is not the piety of the saints at Rome, but their faith, that is here noticed. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord; but it is faith in Christ that is the distinguishing mark of the Christian. Paul thanks God that the faith of those to whom he writes was spoken of. He thus acknowledges God as the author of the Gospel, not only on account of His causing it to be preached to them, but because He had actually given them grace to believe; for if God is thanked for the distinguished faith of Christians, then not only their faith is His gift, but also its measure and advancement. That faith is the gift of God, is a truth frequently declared, as in Matthew 16:17; Luke 17:5; Acts 11:21, 13:48, 16:14; Romans 12:3; Philippians 1:29. This is also acknowledged in all the thanksgivings of the Apostles for those to whom they write, and is according to the whole of the doctrine of the Scriptures.

It is from God that every good and every perfect gift descendeth, and a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. For ‘all things,’ therefore, we are commanded to give thanks. Paul thanks God for his own prayers, 2 Timothy 1:3. Here, as in other places, Paul commences with thanksgiving, thus reminding us that every blessing is from the kindness of God. If we should observe this in blessings of small importance, we ought to do it much more with respect to faith, which is neither an ordinary nor a common blessing of God. Throughout the whole world. — That is to say, throughout the whole Roman empire, of which Rome being the capital, all that took place there was circulated throughout the whole civilized world. Their faith was proclaimed by the voice of all believers, who alone could form a proper opinion regarding it; for the reference is evidently to their approbation.

Unbelievers, who hated both the people of God and their faith, could give no proper testimony concerning it. The commendation of the servants of God was all that the Apostle valued. Thus the faith of the believers whom God had assembled at Rome was held up as an example; and the Apostle here declares, not only for their encouragement, but also to excite them more and more to the performance of their duty, that the eyes of all the servants of God throughout the world were upon them. He says, their faith was spoken of, not that he rests in this circumstance, or that he wishes them to rest in their reputation, as if he would flatter them.

Reputation in itself is nothing. If it be unmerited, it only convinces the conscience of imposture; and when it is real, it is not our chief joy. Paul regards it with reference to the believers at Rome, as a mark of the reality of their faith; and it is on this reality that he grounds his thanksgiving. It was a reason for thanksgiving that they were thus letting their light shine before men, and so glorifying their Father in heaven. The glory of all that is good in His people belongs to God, and all comes through Jesus Christ.


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Bibliography
Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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

8. First—Before the main argument.

The whole world—Wherever Christians exist. From this we learn, contrary to the supposition of some commentators, that a body of Christians now existed at Rome, and that from their metropolitan position the fact was well known throughout the wide spread Christian republic.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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 1:8. First of all. Some find the second thought in Romans 1:10, or Romans 1:13; others translate ‘chiefly.’ As the absence of ‘secondly’ suggests a slight emphasis, we render as above (comp. chap. Romans 3:2).

I thank my God. (See introductory note). ‘The Apostle pursues the natural course of first placing himself, so to speak, in relation with his readers; and his first point of contact with them is gratitude for their participation in Christianity’ (De Wette). There is a touching emphasis in the phrase ‘my God’ with its personal appropriation and corresponding sense of personal obligation. In this expression he sums up ‘all those experiences he had personally made’ (Godet) of the covenant faithfulness of God.

Through Jesus Christ. The thanksgiving is through Chris; comp. Hebrews 3:15. and similar passages. Jesus Christ is also the medium through whom came the blessings for which he is thankful; but the other thought is the prominent one.

For you all. The thanksgiving was concerning them, or, on their behalf.

That. The word also means ‘because;’ but here the two senses are practically the same.

Your faith is published, declared among Christians. That the Roman church was comparatively unknown to unbelievers, even to the Jews at Rome, appears from Acts 28:22. The praiseworthy character of their faith may be inferred from the thanksgiving.

In the whole world. A popular hyperbole, but how accordant with the position of the church in that city, toward which the eyes of the whole world were turned!’ (Meyer.)


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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 1:8. πρῶτον μέν. Nothing can take precedence of thanksgiving, when Paul thinks of the Romans, or indeed of any Christian Church in normal health. πρῶτον μὲν suggests that something is to follow, but what it is we are not told; Paul’s mind unconsciously leaves the track on which it started, at least so far as the linguistic following out of it is concerned. Perhaps the next thing was to be the prayer referred to in Romans 1:10. (Weiss.) διὰ . χ. Jesus Christ must be conceived here as the mediator through whom all our approaches to God are made (Ephesians 2:18), not as He through whom the blessings come for which Paul gives thanks. περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν: the “all” may have a certain emphasis when we remember the divisions to which reference is made in chap. 14 πίστις ὑμῶν is “the fact that you are Christians”. The very existence of a Church at Rome was something to be thankful for. ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ is, of course, hyperbole, but a Church in Rome was like “a city set on a hill”.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/romans-1.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Romans 1:8. I thank — In the very entrance of this one epistle are the traces of all spiritual affections, but of thankfulness above all, with the expression of which almost all Paul’s epistles begin; my God — This word expresses faith, hope, love, and consequently all true religion; through Jesus Christ The gifts of God all pass through Christ to us; and all our petitions and thanksgivings pass through Christ to God: for you all, that your faith is spoken of — By this term faith, the apostle expresses either the whole of Christianity, as Colossians 1:3, &c, or some branch of it, as Galatians 5:22. And in the beginning of his epistles he generally subjoins to the apostolic benediction a solemn thanksgiving for the faith, or for the faith, love, patience, and other graces of the brethren to whom he wrote, to make them sensible of their happy state, and to lead them to a right improvement of the advantages which they enjoyed as Christians. Throughout the whole world — The faith of these Romans, being faith in the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah expected by the Jews, and in the living and true God through him, included, of course, their turning from every species of idolatry; an event which could not fail to be spoken of with wonder through the whole empire, as there were multitudes of strangers continually coming to Rome from the provinces, who, on their return home, would report what they had seen. This event would be especially made the subject of conversation in the churches everywhere, through all parts of the empire, it being matter of joy to them all that the religion of Christ was professed in the imperial city, more especially as it was a most happy presage of the general spread of their holy religion; the conversion of the Romans encouraging the inhabitants of other cities to forsake the established idolatry, and turn to God. And, indeed, the wisdom and goodness of God established faith in the chief cities, in Jerusalem and in Rome particularly, that from thence it might be diffused to all nations. Add to this, that Rome being the metropolis of the world, the conversion of so many of its inhabitants brought no small credit to the evidences of the gospel.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/romans-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

In the whole world. That is, to all, or almost all the Roman empire. (Witham)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/romans-1.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.

"I thank my God" -a sound, active Church in a metropolitan area such as Rome was something to be greatly thankful for. (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8)


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/romans-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

thank. See Acts 27:35.

through. Greek. dia. App-104. Romans 1:1. Compare John 14:6.

for. Greek. huper, as in Romans 1:5, but the texts read peri, concerning (App-104.)

spoken of. Greek. katangello. App-121.

throughout. Greek. en. App-104.

world. Greek. kosmos. App-129.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "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

(8) I thank my God through Jesus Christ.—How can the Apostle be said to thank God through Jesus Christ? Christ is, as it were, the medium through whom God has been brought into close relation to man. Hence all intercourse between God and man is represented as passing through Him. He is not only the divine Logos by whom God is revealed to man, but He is also the Head of humanity by whom the tribute of thanks and praise is offered to God.

Throughout the whole world.—A hyperbole, which is the more natural as the Apostle is speaking of Rome, the centre and metropolis of the world as he knew it.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/romans-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
I thank
6:17
through
Ephesians 3:21; 5:20; Philippians 1:11; Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5; 4:11
that your
16:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:8,9
the whole
Matthew 24:14; Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/romans-1.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

From this verse to the end of the 17th, we have the general introduction to the epistle. It has the usual characteristics of the introductory portions of the apostle's letters. It is commendatory. It breathes the spirit of love towards his brethren, and of gratitude and devotion towards God; and it introduces the reader in the most natural and appropriate manner to the great doctrines which he means to exhibit. First, I thank my God. The words πρῶτον μέν imply an enumeration, which however is not carried out. Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:18; 1 Corinthians 12:28 and other cases in which the apostle begins a construction which he does not continue. My God, that is, the God to whom I belong, whom I serve, and who stands to me in the relation of God, as father, friend, and source of all good. "I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people," Hebrews 8:10, is the most comprehensive of all promises. Through Jesus Christ, are not to be connected with the immediately preceding words, ‘My God, through Jesus Christ;' but with εὐχαριστῶ, ‘I thank God, through Jesus Christ.' This form of expression supposes the mediation of Christ, by whom alone we have access to the Father, and for whose sake alone either our prayers or praises are accepted. See Romans 7:25; Ephesians 5:20. "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." And Colossians 3:17, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Hebrews 13:15, "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God." All this is in accordance with the command of Christ, John 14:13 and John 16:23, John 16:24, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive." Such then being the clear doctrine of the Bible, that in all our approaches to God in prayer or praise, we must come in the name of Christ, that is, in him, referring to him as the ground of our acceptance, there is no need of the various forced interpretations of the words in the text, which have been given by those who are unwilling to admit the idea of such mediation on the part of Christ. For you all. Several manuscripts have περί instead of ὑπέρ, which is probably a correction. The sense is the same. The special ground of the apostle's thankfulness is expressed in the following clause: That your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Their faith was of such a character as to excite general attention and remark. Not only the fact that the Romans believed, but that their faith was of such a character as to be everywhere spoken of, was recognized by the apostle as cause of gratitude to God. God therefore is the giver of faith.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 1:8". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/romans-1.html.

: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.

Since the formal part of Paul's introduction is over (verses1-7), the emphasis now turns to building rapport with the Romans. Several of the thoughts expressed in this next section are appropriate for our day. For instance, Paul "thanked" (eucharisteo) God. The apostle believed in expressing appreciation to God, and his view of prayer was not limited to please give me/please bless me. This is a lesson we would do well to remember and teach our children. One of the ways and times to teach it is at mealtime. A second lesson comes from the fact that the verb thank is in the present tense. Paul continually gave thanks for these Christians. A third lesson is found in the fact that this verb is also used in verse21 , a passage that shows not everyone gives thanks to God. A fourth point is that when Paul thanked God, he went "through" Jesus Christ. Since Jesus is our mediator ( 1 Timothy 2:5), it is right for our prayers to go through Him. This is why most public prayers contain the expression, "in Jesus' name." The name of Jesus (compare Acts 8:16; Acts 19:5; 1 Corinthians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 1:15) means by the Lord's "command and authority" or "acting on his behalf" (Thayer, p447). Jesus has instructed His people to ask "in His name" ( John 14:13-14; John 15:16; John 16:23) because requests based upon His authority are powerful.

The word translated give thanks is used elsewhere in Paul's letters. He used this term when writing to the Corinthians ( 1 Corinthians 1:4); the Ephesians (1:16); the Philippians (1:3); the Colossians (1:3); the Thessalonians ( 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3); and Philemon (verse4).

Another piece of information in verse8 is the reputation of the Romans. Paul said other Christians knew about the Romans and the faith of these brethren was "proclaimed throughout the whole world." When Paul described the faith of these Christians, he used the definite article ("the" faith). These Christians understood God's plan for the church, and they were practicing it ( 2 Timothy 1:13, ASV). This gave them a reputation. Today, virtually every congregation is still known for something. Congregations are known for being evangelistic, liberal, conservative, friendly, cold, dead, wasteful, stingy, or having a high turnover rate of members and preachers. The Romans were known for being on the right track. This is the kind of reputation every church should have.

The word translated "whole" (holos) sometimes describes the majority of something (see how this same term is used in Acts 2:47; Acts 11:28; Acts 21:31). If this is not the sense of the word in Romans 1:8, Paul may have intended the statement to be a hyperbole (an exaggeration for emphasis). A good parallel verse is Luke 2:1 b (the areas and parts of the world about which people knew and with which they were familiar).

The word translated "proclaimed" in the ASV is rendered "spoken" in the KJV. This term (katangello) described an authoritative message which was proclaimed to people. This word is also used to describe the message of the resurrection ( Acts 4:2), the word of God ( Acts 13:5; Acts 15:36), the way of salvation ( Acts 16:17), the gospel ( 1 Corinthians 9:14), and the death of Christ ( Acts 17:3). Here the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (2:256) describes it as "the faith penetrating the world from the Roman church is now understood as gospel for all the world."


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Bibliography
Price, Brad "Commentary on Romans 1:8". "Living By Faith: Commentary on Romans". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bpc/romans-1.html.

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