It is Paul who writes; a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be his apostle, and set apart to preach the gospel of God.
That gospel, promised long ago by means of his prophets in the holy scriptures,
tells us of his Son, descended, in respect of his human birth, from the line of David,
but, in respect of the sanctified spirit that was his, marked out miraculously as the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead; our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is through him we have received the grace of apostleship; all over the world, men must be taught to honour his name by paying him the homage of their faith,
and you among them, you, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
I wish, to all those at Rome whom God loves and has called to be holy, grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
And first, I offer thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, you whose faith is so renowned throughout the world.
The God to whom I address the inner worship of my heart, while I preach the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I make mention of you,
never failing to ask, when I am at my prayers, that somehow, in God’s Providence, I may be granted at last an opportunity of visiting you.
I long to see you, in the hope that I may have some spiritual gift to share with you, so as to strengthen your resolve;
or rather, so that the faith we find in each other, you and I, may be an encouragement to you and to me as well.
I should be sorry, brethren, if you were left in doubt that (although hitherto I have always been prevented) I have often planned to visit you, and to be able to claim some harvest among you, as I can among the Gentiles elsewhere.
I have the same duty to all, Greek and barbarian, learned and simple;
and for my own part I am eager to preach the gospel to you in Rome as I have to others.
I am not ashamed of this gospel. It is an instrument of God’s power, that brings salvation to all who believe in it, Jew first and then Greek.
It reveals God’s way of justifying us, faith first and last; as the scripture says, It is faith that brings life to the just man.
God’s anger is being revealed from heaven; his anger against the impiety and wrong-doing of the men whose wrong-doing denies his truth its full scope.
The knowledge of God is clear to their minds; God himself has made it clear to them;
from the foundations of the world men have caught sight of his invisible nature, his eternal power and his divineness, as they are known through his creatures. Thus there is no excuse for them;
although they had the knowledge of God, they did not honour him or give thanks to him as God; they became fantastic in their notions, and their senseless hearts grew benighted;
they, who claimed to be so wise, turned fools,
and exchanged the glory of the imperishable God for representations of perishable man, of bird and beast and reptile.
That is why God abandoned their lustful hearts to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies among themselves.
They had exchanged God’s truth for a lie, reverencing and worshipping the creature in preference to the Creator (blessed is he for ever, Amen);
and, in return, God abandoned them to passions which brought dishonour to themselves. Their women exchanged natural for unnatural intercourse;
and the men, on their side, giving up natural intercourse with women, were burnt up with desire for each other; men practising vileness with their fellow men. Thus they have received a fitting retribution for their false belief.
And as they scorned to keep God in their view, so God has abandoned them to a frame of mind worthy of all scorn, that prompts them to disgraceful acts.
They are versed in every kind of injustice, knavery, impurity, avarice, and ill-will; spiteful, murderous, contentious, deceitful, depraved, backbiters,
slanderers, God’s enemies; insolent, haughty, vainglorious; inventive in wickedness, disobedient to their parents;
without prudence, without honour, without love, without loyalty, without pity.
Yet, with the just decree of God before their minds, they never grasped the truth that those who so live are deserving of death; not only those who commit such acts, but those who countenance such a manner of living.