Read Romans 1:1
The first word we see in the book of Romans is Paul, now if you have read the supplemental reading, which I hope you have, you know who Paul is but why is it important for us to know who Paul is and why does He start our his letter doing so.
The answer is simple; first this is how people started to write letters during the years of the early church. They didn’t address a letter like we would an e-mail, with the person who it is addressed to at the beginning. No they stated their name first so the person who was reading the letter knew who it was from and the importance of the letter.
Paul was very well known in the Roman Empire and this letter’s opening is basically “Hey I am written by Paul a servant of Jesus, who is an Apostle; I saw Jesus who was raised from the dead and Jesus gave me this job to share the good news to all who will hear.” Secondly, Paul wants you to know his intentions up front, for he is not ashamed of the message that he is giving to you.
If you were to write a letter/e-mail/long text to someone, who you knew somewhat well, explaining the Gospel to them, how would you describe yourself? Why?
This first verse shows us how Paul viewed himself, it was his identity. Paul could have said a lot of things, like how he was trained by the best scholars in the Roman Empire, how he was a well-respected person, and all of his accomplishments. Except he did not do that, in his introduction to his readers, Paul, shows that he finds his identity in Christ. He says that he is a servant of Jesus, meaning that he does what Jesus wants him to do. Paul says that he is an apostle, meaning that he is a witness of Jesus. He furthermore states that he is set apart for the gospel of God. All of this is showing that he cannot separate his identity from Christ, yes he had all of those accomplishments but what most important is what Jesus has transformed him into.
When looking at this verse do you think Paul is thinking too highly of himself or is he viewing himself in the right light? Why? Also look at how Paul describes himself do you fit any of those qualifications? Why?
As an exercise I want you to write out a sentence of two stating who you are in relationship to Jesus. Don’t just copy Paul’s, think about who you are, what Jesus as done for you, and what he has called you to do.
After you complete this read it out loud. This is who you are, everything that you are is because God has given this to you, you are his and you have a responsiblity to share the good news of the gospel to all who will hear.