Romans 1:8
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being proclaimed all over the world.
Ministerial SympathyT.F. Lockyer Romans 1:8-15
Exemplary FaithJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
Paul's Desire to See RomeT. Binney.Romans 1:8-16
Personal ReligionT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
Standard of ThankfulnessDictionary of IllustrationsRomans 1:8-16
Thankfulness for Faith Spoken OfT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
Thankfulness for the Blessings of OthersA. Barnes.Romans 1:8-16
ThanksgivingJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
The Bond of Christian UnionJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
True Christian ZealJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 1:8-16
The Policy to be Pursued in Case Paul Came to RomeR.M. Edgar Romans 1:8-17

The apostolic commission has been presented; in this section it is interfused with the sympathy and service of a brother. He is still pre-eminently the preacher of the gospel (ver. 15), but he speaks as to those whose faith is one with his own, and who are therefore brethren in a most sacred brotherhood. We may consider, as in some sort distinct though mutually involved - his prayers, and his purpose.

I. HIS PRAYERS. Does Paul for one moment here strike a happy comparison between his work and that of the priestly intercessor in the elder covenant? For the "service" of which he speaks now is the service as of a temple, and it is as though he said, "In the gospel, as under the Law, there is a holy of holies, and worshipful intercession there. The holy of holies is the shrine of the innermost spirit, where converse is held with God, and the priestly worship is the pleading for brethren in Christ, and concerning the things that touch the kingdom of God." Yes, he "serves" God "in his spirit in the gospel of his Son."

1. A thanksgiving. "That your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world." It was fitting that he should use such language as this, hyperbolical though it was, to those who lived in the world's metropolis. Wherever he went he heard of their good name, and he thanked God for it. He thanked God for it? Yes; for was he not spiritually identified with all who were identified with Christ his Lord?

(1) Doubtless the faith itself which was so eminent was the chief cause of gratitude. That there should be such a light shining in a dark place filled his heart with joy. They were alive unto God!

(2) That the faith of the gospel should have taken such hold on the world's central and imperial city was no small cause for joy. What visions of the future might not open up before his mind!

(3) The wide proclamation of their faith was gratifying, for if others were stimulated it would be for the furtherance of the gospel.

2. A longing. "To see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift," etc. The grace of God that was in him was to be operative towards others; he lived not unto himself. And was it not even so with them? A mutual duty, and a mutual blessing.

(1) The interaction of their common faith: intensity by contact.

(2) The special aspects of the common faith: "yours and mine;" "some spiritual gift." Thus their establishment. The fulfilment of what promised so well, and the supply of any lack.

3. A request. "If by any means now at length," etc. As Paul taught the Philippians afterwards (Philippians 4:6), so he practised now. And doubtless, with all the wrestlings of that impetuous spirit, there was peace. For God's will was gouvernant. "By any means." He learned in the issue (Acts 28.) that his ways are not as our ways. But it would still be "prosperity" (see ver. 10), if it were God's doing; so Romans 8:28.


1. The great constraint of the gospel. "I am debtor." Nothing in the universe so free as the spirit of Christianity; nothing, on the other hand, which lays so commanding a grasp on love and life. A blessed yoke.

(1) All our possessions and powers are held in trust for the world; we all are "debtors," according to our several capacities and circumstances.

(2) In an eminent degree are we stewards as being entrusted with the gospel of God's grace. And the law - here, as in the former case - is, that being unused it ceases to be possessed.

2. The personal aim. "That I might have some fruit." Were the words of our Lord in mind, John 15:8? Or was he rather regarding the world as a great field, and himself as a sower? (see John 4:35-38; 1 Corinthians 3:7-9).

(1) The commission was to the Gentile world (Acts 9:15; Acts 22:21; so vers. 13, 14).

(2) Must not the central purpose, then, be the evangelization of the great metropolis of the Gentile world? Doubtless this filled his mind, and hence his intense interest in these Roman Christians. What visions! Realized in history. How? and how may it yet be? Let us realize our stewardship (1 Peter 4:10); and that the fulfilment of our stewardship may become a freedom and gladness, let us realize our oneness with Christ, and with Christ's people. T.F.L.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all.

1. Thankful.

2. Sincere.

3. Constant.

4. Prayerful.

5. Dependent (vers. 8-10).


1. Earnest.

2. Communicative.

3. Loving.

4. Unquenched by difficulties.

5. Expansive.

6. Humble, not a merit but a debt.

7. Self-sacrificing.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Romans 16:19). The "world" here means, in the first place, the Roman Empire. But the term must be limited further to a particular class in the empire; though even at this time the general population were alive to some of the great Christian facts. The expression however, does not mean that the people in all parts of the empire were all talking about the "faith" of the Romans, because as you know there are twenty distinct worlds even in this London of ours. There are different classes that actually intermingle, but do not touch. There may be a world close to you that may have connections all over the nation and yet you know nothing abort it. Literary men have a world of their own, and they are known one to another all over the world; and there are religious teachers who are known all over their world, and yet they often know nothing of one another, So the meaning is that every city wherever Paul went, amongst the Christian people with whom he mingled, the faith and obedience of the Roman Christians was spoken of. And when I was in America I did not enter a single town but I met with some one or more persons who had been in this place. I was mingling with a certain class; they found me out and I found them out, because we had sympathies in common; but there are many millions of people who never heard either of them or me. Well now, three years after the apostle wrote that he got to Rome, and called a number of most respectable Jews, yet these men seemed to know nothing of the "faith" or "obedience" of the Christians at Rome; but only knew concerning the "sect" that it was "everywhere spoken against." Now these two accounts may at first seem rather startling, but they are perfectly in harmony, with each other if properly viewed; and the entire naturalness of the two convinces me of the truth of both statements. The Jews and the Christians at Rome lived in different worlds.

2. "God is my witness" (vers. 9-12).(1) The two points in the passages are these — that the apostle was very earnest in his prayers that he might get to Rome, and have a prosperous journey. The other point is that he wished to impart some spiritual gift and to be comforted by mutual faith. I think he means not to confer any miraculous gift as an apostle, but that as an authoritative teacher by preaching the truth, they might be rooted and grounded in the faith. There is an exquisite delicacy of feeling here. Paul had been uttering a great thing about what he wished to get to Rome for. And then, as if he had uttered nothing that might imply apostolic authority and distinction, but as if he had simply placed himself on a level with the people, he says, "that is, that I," etc. (ver. 12).(2) Now I very much doubt whether these things came to pass; and it may do us much good to learn that the prayers even of an apostle, and long continued, were not answered. We must always be ready for disappointments, and be prepared for a very different state of things from that for which we pray. Instead of getting to Rome "soon," it was three years (two of them in prison), then he was shipwrecked, and when he got to Rome he was a prisoner. You will find in chap. Romans 15 that he asked the people at Rome to join their prayers with his for the same thing. But their prayers were unanswered. And so with respect to the other point. The letters written from Rome contain some alarming statements about how things had gone. He says that there were some who preached the gospel out of envy and strife, wishing to add affliction to his bonds; and although the things that happened to him turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, yet those hopes which he had formerly cherished were disappointed.

3. The apostle goes on — "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come to you (but was hindered), that I might have some fruit among you, even as among other Gentiles." He wanted to have men converted as well as to comfort and impart spiritual gifts to the Church. The apostle felt that he had "a dispensation committed to him." "I am called and commissioned, and, therefore, am a debtor to all men; I am, therefore, ready to preach the gospel to you at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel."


1. In regard to the Christian life we perceive here its —(1) Peculiar nature in opposition, generally, to philosophic theism, or anything else. "I thank my God through Jesus Christ," says Paul. That means God contemplated as revealed by Christ; and it is well known that the apostles and early Christians conducted their worship in the name of Christ, as a mediator and advocate.(2) That it is habitually earnest and devotional; praying in everything; in everything giving thanks; committing everything to God, asking even for a prosperous journey, believing in the gracious presidency of God over human affairs; expecting answers, but being prepared for disappointments.(3) Its peculiar sympathies, as becomes the children of the same father; an interchange of affection, fellowship and union, "and be comforted together by mutual faith."

2. In relation to the apostle.(1) The union of prayer and preaching; and he did both with earnestness. He preached as if the conversion of the world depended upon it, and as if he was able to convert the world. But we find him equally earnest in prayer.(2) He is always modest but manly. He says, I want to comfort and establish the Church, and I want to be comforted together with you by mutual faith.(3) He served God in his spirit in the gospel of His Son, with earnestness, with sincerity, and with faith. Paul had a great idea of duty, and the word "debtor" comes from duty: that which is due to another is duty from me.(4) He was not ashamed of the gospel because of the commission which he had received from on high.

(T. Binney.)

The expression of thanks to God for His mercy to them was fitted to conciliate their feelings and to prepare them for the truths he was about to communicate to them. It showed the deep interest he had in their welfare, and the happiness it would give him to do them good. It is proper to give thanks to God for His mercies to others as well as to ourselves. We are members of one great family, and we should make it a subject of thanksgiving that He confers any blessings, and especially the blessing of salvation, on any mortals.

(A. Barnes.)

Dictionary of Illustrations.
As physicians judge of the condition of men's hearts by the pulse which beats in their arms, and not by the words which proceed from their mouths; so we may judge the thankfulness of men by their lives rather than by their professions.

(Dictionary of Illustrations.)

is a bond of —

I.BROTHERLY LOVE (vers. 8-10)

II.MUTUAL HELP (vers. 11, 12).

III.UNITED EFFORT for the spread of Christ's kingdom.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I.Is every Christian's first duty.

II.Should be offered through Jesus Christ.

III.Should be presented for every blessing and for all.

IV.Is especially due for the success of the gospel.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

"My God," is —

1. The Author of my being and my well-being.

2. The object of my worship.

3. My covenant God in Christ. The text is the language of —

I. FAITH IN CHRIST. God is only ours through faith in Him, only according to the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10). Receiving Jesus and trusting in Him God becomes our God (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26).

II. LOVE. That is our God which we most love and esteem (Psalm 73:25).

III. TRUST (Psalm 18:2). The object of our confidence is our God (Job 31:24; Habakkuk 1:16).

IV. SUBJECTION, DEDICATION, OBEDIENCE (Isaiah 44:5; Acts 27:23). Conclusion:

1. Thanksgivings to be presented to God as our God in Christ.

2. The gospel teaches us not only to say "our Father," but "my God."

3. God as our God, the most glorious and only satisfying portion.

(T. Robinson, D. D.)


1. Its nobility.

2. Its boldness.

3. Its fruitfulness.

II. THANKS GIVEN FOR THIS on account of —

1. Honour bestowed on the Romans.

2. Benefit likely to accrue to others.

3. Glory redounding to Christ.

(T. Robinson, D. D.)

I. ITS FEATURES — Consistent; earnest; loving.

II. ITS EFFECTS — a good report; glory and thanks to God.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

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