Romans 1 Bible Study and Summary

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Here is a Bible study, summary, and commentary for Romans 1:

Romans 1:1-2 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.”

Paul typically gives his credentials at the very beginning of his letters (epistles) and this is no exception.  He was “called to be an apostle” proving it wasn’t his idea but God’s.  He was set apart (which is what sanctified means) for this very purpose.

Romans 1 Bible Study and Summary1

Romans 1:8-10 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.”

I love how Paul often thanked God for the church and the church at Rome is no exception.  I have borrowed from this same idea that I customarily thank God for the church members there and do so to their face.  He did this because news of their faith had spread into “all the world” meaning that they had very likely suffered severe persecution from being martyred, or having all of their earthly possessions taken from them and yet they still persevered in the faith.

Romans 1:14-15 “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.  So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”

Here is clear evidence from Paul that He was the Apostle of the Gentiles as he said he was “under obligation” and as always, he was “eager to preach the gospel” to them.  How many of us are eager to do the same to those who are still lost?

Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

There is a ton of theology in these tiny two verses.  Paul wasn’t ashamed of the gospel and so I ask you and I ask myself, am I ashamed of it and show this by the sin of silence?  That’s too bad because the gospel is its own power source.  It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  I have no power; the gospel does, we only have to unleash it.  This gospel is “the righteous shall live by faith” or put another way, the righteous are saved by faith and that faith is in Christ.

Romans 1:18-20 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

God’s wrath is revealed by the unrighteous who “suppress the truth.”  The Greek word Paul uses for “suppress” is “katechō” and this means to physically “hold back, to detain,” or “to push down on” which is typically how the Greeks used it.  It gives us the image of someone holding down or suppressing a coil spring.  It is intentional so that’s why they are “without excuse” because they really know better.  Why so? It’s because the invisible attributes of God, like the power that is found in nature, clearly demonstrate that a creation demands a Creator and it is really self-evident.  They make a conscious effort to push back the obvious truth that God exists.

Romans 1:21-23 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

This supports what I just wrote; that they already know God and that He exists but they still didn’t honor Him “or give thanks to Him” and that’s why “they became futile” (vain, empty) in their thinking. This foolishness darkened their hearts and minds.  Today, the evolutionists claim “to be wise” yet they are fools because they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (icons, idols like science and knowledge) of man and bird and beast and even “creeping things.”  No wonder God says the “fool says in their heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1) but the original manuscripts read, “The fool says in his heart, ” no God.” The “there is” in there is no God is not in the original manuscripts so the fool says to God, “No God!”

Romans 1:24-25 “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

This is why God gave them up to their own lusts of impurity and today, you can see in our culture how they dishonor their bodies and they dishonor them by their sexually immoral behavior and they have dishonored their own bodies because they were made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27).  Sadly, they exchanged the self-evident truth that there is a God and a higher, moral standard for a lie and now they worship or serve the creature (themselves and their own lusts) as they become their own idol, rather than the God who deserves to be worshiped as the Creator.

Romans 1:26-27 “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

What does Paul mean by writing “for this reason?”  He was looking back at just what he wrote they dishonored their bodies by sexual impurities and then God said, “Okay, fine, I’ll give you up to your own dishonorable passions” but what were these “dishonorable passions?”  It was women exchanging their natural relations with men for those of other women and or other men in adultery and fornication.  For the men, in the very same manner, they “gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another” (other men) and began immoral sexual relations with “men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”  This penalty is going to be incurred at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:12-15) because all who live in sexual immorality will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8).  Another penalty is shortened lifespans as they suffer from more sexual diseases (i.e. STD’s) than monogamous married couples.

Romans 1:28-31 “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

If you’ve ever read the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) then these are the fruits of the wicked: “evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slander, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,  foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthlessness.”  God gave them what they wanted; a debased, deprived” mind to do what ought not to be done.”

Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Paul’s conclusion of chapter one is what he has been saying all along; they know of God’s righteous decrees yet do things that deserve death (for some a premature death) and even worse, they give their “approval to those who  practice them” and this extends today even up to the Supreme Court rulings who now do what Isaiah wrote “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20)!


Romans chapter one has brought much controversy to the pulpits of the churches today. I’m not afraid to speak these things.  Are you?  Many are afraid to “cry aloud and spare not” because they don’t want to offend but the Word of God is supposed to cut in order to heal because it comforts the afflicted but it also afflicts the comfortable.  The truth will set you free or it will make you really mad.  I can live with both.

Take a look at some more Bible study for Romans: Romans Commentary, Summary and Key Verses

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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