King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Romans 1

The apostle’s commission. (1-7) Prays for the saints at Rome, and expresses his desire to see them. (8-15) The gospel way of justification by faith, for Jews and Gentiles. (16,17) The sins of the Gentiles set forth. (18-32)

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The apostle’s commission

1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prays for the saints at Rome, and expresses his desire to see them

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

9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

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

15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

The gospel way of justification by faith, for Jews and Gentiles

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The sins of the Gentiles set forth

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Called to be an apostle,[1] or a called apostle. That is, not only having the name of an apostle, but having his call to this high function, and his mission from God. — Separated unto the gospel of God. He means that he was separated from others, and appointed by the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel, as we read Acts xiii. 2. when the Holy Ghost to those of the Church at Antioch, said, Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work unto which I have taken them. Wi.

Ver. 2. Which he had promised before, &c. That is, God before, in the Scriptures, promised the blessings, which are now come by the preaching of the gospel, and that they should come by his Son. Wi.

Ver. 3. Who was made to him of the seed of David, according to the flesh. The sense is, that God promised, that he who was his true and only Son from eternity, should also become his son, as man; that the same son should be man, as well as God, when the word was made flesh, or when that divine person should be united to our human nature. Thus the same person, who was his only begotten Son from eternity, being made man, and of the seed of David, by his incarnation, was still his Son, both as God, and also as man. Wi. — The Greek text has not the particle ei, (to him) but only tou genomenou ek spermatos Dauid. But S. Irenæus, (lib. iii. ch. 18.) S. Ambrose, S. Jerom read, Qui factus est ei. And also S. Aug. in his unfinished exposition of the epistle to the Romans; though before in his book against Faustus, (lib. xi. ch. 14.) he reads it otherwise. Calmet.

Ver. 4. Who was predestined[2] the Son of God. The learned bishop of Meaux, Bossuet, in his second Pastoral Instruction, in which he condemned the French translation of Mons. Simon, (p. 127.) takes notice, that according to S. Paul, and the constant doctrine of S. Aug. and S. Thomas, Christ as man, or the human nature of Christ united to his divine person, was predestinated without any precedent merits, by a free and liberal predestination of God’s goodness. Wi. — Christ, as man, was predestinated to be the Son of God; and declared to be so (as the apostle here signifies) first by power, that is, by his working stupendous miracles; secondly, by the spirit of sanctification, that is, by his infinite sanctity; thirdly, by his resurrection, or raising himself from the dead. Ch.

Ver. 5. By whom, i.e. by this same Jesus Christ, God and man, we, I and the rest of the apostles, have received this grace and apostleship, this mission and commission from him, of preaching his gospel, and teaching his doctrine. — For obedience to the faith in all nations; that is, to bring all nations to the obedience and profession of his new law and doctrine. Wi.

Ver. 6. Among whom are you also the called of Jesus. That is, you also are a part of those, who by his mercy, are called to this faith and belief in him. All beginning from those words in the third verse, who was made to him, &c. till the end of the sixth verse, are to be taken as within a parenthesis, which is not unusual in the style of S. Paul. Then he goes on after this long parenthesis. Wi.

Ver. 7. To all that are at Rome . . . called to be saints. That is, who not only are named saints, but who by such a call from God, are to be sanctified by his grace, and to become holy, or saints. Wi.

Ver. 8. In the whole world. That is, to all, or almost all the Roman empire. Wi.

Ver. 9. God is my witness. I call God to witness. It is an oath. Wi.

Ver. 14. I am a debtor. That is, I am bound to preach the word of God to all. Wi. — By Greeks, in this place, are understood the Romans also, and by Barbarians, all other people who were neither Greeks nor Romans. The Greeks called all barbarians, who did not speak the Greek language, even the Latins themselves. But after the Roman became masters of the world, they were excepted, through policy, from the number of barbarians, and particularly after they began to cultivate the science of the Greeks.

Græcia victa ferum victorem cepit, et artes

Intulit agresti Latio.

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

Ver. 15. S. Paul was even anxious to go and deliver the word to the Romans. Hence Mat. Polus, in his reflections on this verse, puts the following words into the mouth of the Apostle: Lucifuga non sum: ostendi id Antiochiæ, Athenis, Ephesi et Corinthi: paratus sum & in illa splendidissima urbe Roma ostendere.

Ver. 16. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one; that is, it brings powerful helps to all, both Gentiles and Jews, in order to their salvation. — To the Jew first, inasmuch as the gospel is to be first preached to the Jews. Wi. — The promises of salvation were first made to the Jews. Jesus Christ preached to the Jews only, and forbad his disciples, during his life-time, to preach to any other nation. And after his resurrection, when they had full powers to preach every where, they did not turn to the Gentiles, till the Jews had refused to hear them. A miracle was necessary to determine S. Peter to communicate the gospel to the uncircumcised; and S. Paul, in every place, first addressed himself to the Jew, and then to the Gentile. The apostle here sweetly endeavours, in an indirect manner, to silence the presumption of the Romans, who seemed to raise themselves above the Jews, and believed they had merited the grace of vocation to the faith. Calmet.

Ver. 17. For the justice of God. He does not here mean that justice, by which God is just in himself, but that justice, or sanctification, which he communicates to men, and by which they are justified and sanctified. — From faith to faith. That is, by faith, and an increase in faith, inasmuch as, by increasing in faith, we advance in virtues; as it is written, (Hab. ii. 4.) the just man liveth by faith; including the love of God, hope, and other virtues. Wi.

Ver. 18. For the wrath of God is revealed, &c. He begins to speak of the heathens, and of the wicked world, whose sins God punisheth from time to time with visible chastisements of plagues, famines, wars, &c. and that because they detain the truth of God in injustice, or in iniquity, that is, because they have not honoured God, even according to the knowledge which he has given them of him, especially their philosophers. Wi.

Ver. 19-20. That which is known of God. Or may be easily known of God, is manifest in them. The light of reason demonstrates to them the existence of one God, the maker and preserver of all things. This is made known to them from the creation of the world, or from the creatures in the world: the Creator may be discovered by the creatures, and as S. Chrys. here says, every Scythian, every barbarian, may come to the knowledge of God by the wonderful harmony[3] of all things, which proclaims the existence of God louder than any trumpet: but having known him, they did not glorify him; they acted contrary to their knowledge, abandoning themselves to idolatry, and the vain worship of many gods, and to all manner of vices and abominations against the light of reason. Wi.

Ver. 24. Wherefore God gave them[4] up, &c. That is, as S. Chrys. says, permitted them, in punishment of their wilful blindness, to fall into the foulest, most shameful, and unnatural sins of uncleanness here described. Wi.

Ver. 26. God delivered them up. Not by being author of their sins, but by withdrawing his grace, and so permitting them, in punishment of their pride, to fall into those shameful sins. Ch.

Ver. 27. Receiving in themselves the recompense . . . due to their error. That is, were justly punished for their wilful blindness and error, by which they had worshipped and adored creatures, instead of the Creator, idols instead of the one true God. Wi.

Ver. 29. Being filled with all iniquity. He passeth to many other sins and crimes of the heathens. Wi.

Ver. 30. Hateful[5] to God. The Greek may also signify, haters of God. Wi. — theostugeis means either haters of God, or hated by God. Menochius. — Disobedient to parents. The Greek literally signifies, Not listening to the advice of their parents; who rise up against them, and refuse to obey. Calmet.

Ver. 31. Dissolute, rude[6] in their manners, and behaviour. Some, from the Greek, understand breakers of their word; but this would be the same as without fidelity, which we find afterwards in the same verse. Wi.

Ver. 32. This passage in the present Greek versions is rather different from the Vulgate: but the text of the Vulgate is conformable to the most ancient Greek manuscripts, of which some are more than twelve hundred years old. Oitines to dikaioma tou theou epignontes ouk enoesan oti oi ta toiauta prassontes azioi thanatou eisin, ou monon de oi poiountes auta, alla kai oi suneudokountes tois prassousin. Vide Var. Lect. Mill. in hunc locum et Prolegom. 41. 42.

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[1] V. 1. Vocatus, kletos Apostolos. Also v. 6. and 7. kletoi.

[2] V. 4. Qui prædestinatus est. S. Chrys. om. a. p. 7. Ed. Sau. ti oun estin oristhentos; deichthentos, apophanthentos.

[3] V. 20. Chrys. hom. ii. p. 20. tes panton armonias salpiggos, lamproteron booses.

[4] V. 24. to de paredoken, entautha eiasen esti.

[5] V. 30. Deo odibiles. theostugeis.

[6] V. 31. asunthetous. See 2 Tim. iii. 3. aspondous, sine fœdere.