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Volume 16 - Page 119 of 151 Index | Zoom | |
The Salutation (1: 1-7).
pp. 65 - 76
The opening section of the epistle is comprised of three parts,
(1) The salutation (1-7);
(2) The personal references to the apostle (8-16);
(3) The thesis of the epistle (17).
The salutation, which occupies seven verses, is far more doctrinal and weighty than
that of any other epistle. The earlier epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians and
Thessalonians are addressed to the churches in those respective towns. This epistle is the
first to be addressed, not to a church, but to the "saints". Whatever may have been the
reason for this change of address, it certainly reveals the fact that the individual believer
began to occupy a position of greater importance than did the corporate assembly, the
The salutation is sent (1) from Paul the apostle, (2) to the saints at Rome,
(3) greeting them with the twofold salutation of grace and peace. Paul describes himself
as (1) a bond slave of Jesus Christ, (2) a called apostle, (3) one separated unto the
gospel of God.
At the revelation of the gospel the apostle pauses to make two most vital observations,
shewing (1) the gospel's relation to the O.T. Scriptures, and (2) the gospel's relation to
the Son of God.
For reasons to be given later, the reference to the Son of God is divided into two parts,
one referring to Him "according to the flesh", and the other referring to Him "according
to the spirit of holiness". Paul returns to his apostleship to affirm that it was (1) for
obedience of faith, and (2) among all nations (or Gentiles); and so to those particularly
in view, (1) all at Rome; (2) beloved of God; (3) called saints. Such is the brief
analysis. It will repay us to give these weighty words a closer scrutiny.
Paul's three titles.
"Paul, bond slave of Jesus Christ."--From the moment that Paul had been
commissioned as a chosen vessel to bear the name of the Lord to the Gentiles, his life had
been a fight, both for his message and for his authority. How his whole being shrank
from the appearance of boasting that the assertion of his apostleship necessitated may be
sensed in II Cor. 11: How vital to the progress, nay the very existence, of the truth, the
recognition of his apostleship is may be gauged by reading Gal. 1: and 2: Yet we are
certain that there was no title that was nearer to the heart of him who loved much,
because he had been much forgiven, than that which comes first in this salutation "Paul,
a bond slave". He recognized indeed that he was not his own, but that he had been
bought with a price. "Whose I am and Whom I serve" is his clear heart-felt testimony.