It has been said that Romans is not an epistle about the Gospel it is the Gospel and to be ignorant of Romans is to be
ignorant of Christianity.
"Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God."
The style in which ancient letters were written differs from ours. The old world letter began with a three part salutation
which included the writer's name, the person addressed, and a word of greeting.
Anything else added in this portion of a letter was seen as being very important.
Consider that in v 1 Paul states his name, then it is not until v 7 that he mentions the ones addressed and not until then
to we find the cordial word of greeting.
So everything after the word PAUL in v 1 and prior to the phrase the beloved of Rome, in v 7 is an unusual addition to
BUT IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT ADDITION because it tells us of the real writer behind the letter, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So even as he identifies himself, Paul does so in Christ. He begins with his name, Paul.
His Hebrew name was Saul, meaning "asked for". But he used his Roman name Paul, which means "little".
Use of this name shows an orientation to grace, he did not try to make anything out of himself that he was not. Paul was
little, the Lord was great.
"A bond-servant of Christ Jesus"
Three statements of who Paul is. (Remember, while some knew him many others did not):
A bond-servant of Christ Jesus: As Paul begins this letter to those he did not know he takes the low road, not trying to
impress them with who and what he is but with what the Lord Jesus has done in his life.
Paul has freely given himself as a bond-slave to Christ. Even when he was stopped on the Damascus road he responded to
Christ by calling Him Lord.
The word bond-servant is DOULOS, which means "slave". The gentile mind of the Romans would see this as a bond-slave, one
who serves under debt, so the translation is accurate.
The greatest bond-servant in history was the Lord Jesus Christ. He is described prophetically in the OT as God's servant.
In Philipians 2:7 we are told that Jesus Christ emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the
likeness of men.
More than 50 times in the NT the believer is referred to as a SERVANT.
But we are also referred to as Saints, Children of God, the Beloved of God, Christian (taking the very name of Christ),
Priests, Ambassadors, Friends of Christ, and many other titles much more noble that that of Servant.
But the first way Paul identifies himself is as a Servant.
BECAUSE THERE IS GREAT NOBILITY in being the servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords:
A Servant can be described in five ways:
1) The master has a legitimate expectation of obedience from his slave.
2) The slave has a legitimate expectation of provision from his master.
3) The slave's primary duty is to serve his master.
Ephesians 6:7, "With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men."
4) The secondary duty is to serve the ones his master directs him to serve:
Galatians 5:13, "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another."
5) Therefore, as slaves of Christ we are to please Him, while we serve one another.
"called as an apostle"
Paul then identifies himself as one who is called an apostle.