From Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
regarding his Son, who according to the flesh was a descendant of David,
and who according to the spirit of holiness was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead-Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we received grace and a commission as an apostle to bring about the obedience of faith among all the gentiles for the sake of his name.
You, too, are among those who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be holy. May grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be yours!Romans 1:1 – 7
The standard Greek letter makes more sense than our letter writing habit. What do we do if we get a letter and don’t know who it is from by looking at the envelope? We immediately look to the end of the letter to see who signed it. It helps us with determining the context of the letter. Who is writing this letter to us? The Greek letter writing practice was to put the name of the sender at the beginning. Then the addressee, who was to receive the letter, then to finish the letter with a closing “Grace to you”.
Therefore note Paul’s standard letter intro:
- From Paul
- To the church at X
- Grace and Peace to you.
Compare the letter openings of 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians (maybe the shortest of all in the NT), and 2 Thessalonians. Seeing these 6 examples of the standard letter form will help you to see the contrasts when other elements are added. The additions are the specific parts that are special for those particular people or on the mind of the writer in terms of the matters that will be addressed in the letter. Noting these can help us to see what the emphasis is in a particular letter.
Take time now to look at the detail of Rom 1:1-7 to see what you can make of it. Take the time at first to see what stands out to you. Then I will lead you through in the days following. We will not look at every single detail. I think that would bore you too much. So we will pick out the elements that need comment. But I would encourage you to look at the elements first to give you the practice to know what to look for. So do it now with the Introduction.
We will look in detail in the next Gem.
Waiting until everything is perfect before making a move is like waiting to start a trip until all the traffic lights are green.Karen Irelend