Jubliee of St. Paul Romans 1:16-20


from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (DRC)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek. 17 For the justice of God is revealed therein, from faith unto faith, as it is written: The just man liveth by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: 19 Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested 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; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (KJV)

16For 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.

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

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

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

20For 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:

In Greek

There are a couple of reasons for my delay in posting more. For one, I spent a week working in NYC and I have trouble with my routine under disruptive conditions. But a second reason is quite frankly, I've gotten in over my head. In the letter to the Romans, Paul launches into very deep waters immediately after his greeting. This is the passage that follows the salutation, and look at its vast depth already.

But these words were written for ordinary people more unlettered than we are, and so they are equally written for us and have become frraught with meaning and a little daunting more because of the time so many more capable people have had to comment on, elucidate, and elaborate on these verses. So, I retreated to an old favorite:

from The Letter of St Paul to the Romans (RSV)

[16]For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.[17] For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live." [18]For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.[20] Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;

Also, in some translations, we have left off in mid-sentence, in others the thought is complete. As a semi-colon provides one with the opportunity to break a thought and as punctuation is not dictated in the Greek, I have opted with the shorter passage in the hope that we can together shed some light on what is being said.

The first point of this passage is perhaps one of the most important and one of the least acted-upon in the world today. "I am not ashamed of the gospel. . . " For how many of us is this true today? How many of us make any real attempt to "defend" the gospel if the occasion arises? How often do we shy away from an opportunity to confess our faith out loud. We have nothing to apologize for. If there are difficulties with the faith, we are not necessarily the authors of them, nor are we the prime contributors. Do we truly believe that the gospel reveals the truth to all people, the truth that will set them free--the truth pure and without blemish about God's love for the entire world.

If I look at most of the Christian examples I am personally acquainted with, I would say that the majority of Christianity spends most of its time apologizing for not being more in-step with what the secular world knows. For example, the Episcopal Church in the USA has spent the better part of ten years apologizing for the truth revealed in scripture and confirmed by nature regarding human sexuality. There is no need to apologize what can be known by reason if we are not constructing ourselves in a post-modern shell. How many of our own Catholic Brethren use equally specious reasoning to arrive at the same faulty conclusions. (It is one thing to actively combat all forms of discrimination, cruel acts that seek to deprive a human being of dignity, and another entirely to justify all human actions on the basis that people should not be discriminated against.)

So perhaps one point to take away from meditating on this scripture is the simple question, "Can I truly claim with St. Paul that I am not ashamed of the gospel? Do I live my life in such a way as to celebrate the gospel truths? Do my actions announce to the world the good news of the love God has for each of us? How have I shown my love for the gospel today--have I in any way put aside myself in deference to others? have I shown love and concern for a brother or a sister in Christ? have I fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty? You know the drill. And if not, how can I grow to love the gospel in the way that St. Paul so obviously does? How can I internalize the truth that drives the remainder of this passage?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if each one of us who claims to follow the faith were able to live a life that said clearly and distinctly "I am not ashamed of the gospel?" I know that it would be better for my own life to start and for the lives of those around me ultimately.

more tomorrow, I hope.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 5, 2008 8:31 AM.

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