These two verses go together to form one complete thought.

In these verses Paul opens the design of the whole epistle, in which he brings forward a charge of sinfulness against all flesh; declares the only method of deliverance from condemnation, by faith in the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ; and then builds upon it purity of heart, grateful obedience, and earnest desires to improve in all those Christian graces and tempers, which nothing but a lively faith in Christ can bring forth.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”--In this verse Paul makes a state-ment, and then gives the reason for that statement:  he says he is not ashamed of the gospel and then goes on to explain why he is not ashamed of it:  because “it is the power of God unto salvation.”

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel”–Paul had such a firm conviction of the value and truth of the Gospel.  He himself had experienced so much of its consolations; and he had seen so much of its efficacy that he was so far from being ashamed of it that he glorified in it.

         To put it simply in our vernacular, Paul was “sold on it.”   To put Paul’s statement in our vernacular:  “I have no reason to be ashamed of the gospel that I preach.  Why?  Because this gospel is a revelation of God’s way of righteousness.  In it is a way to righteousness based on faith and presented to men and women for their acceptance by faith.”
         There was no way he could be ashamed.  There was nothing about the gospel that would make Paul ashamed of it.  He may be quoting from Isa. 49:23—“…thou shalt know that I am the LORD; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”  He again refers to this verse in Rom. 10:11—“For the Scripture saith, ‘Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed,’”  i.e.,  they shall neither be confounded, nor disappointed of their hope. 
         Although there are only two verses in this statement of Paul’s, they do contain so much of the essence of Paul’s gospel that we must spend some considerable time on these two verses.  You must understand that in these two verses we have the essence of this entire Epistle to the Romans.  In the phrase, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” we have Paul’s unashamed willingness to go to Rome.

         FOR:  (Grk.–gar)–This is a.transitional word, marking the transition from the introduction of this epistle to the text of the epistle itself. 

Paul here is quoting from and paraphrasing Isaiah 28:16; 49:23, quoting Isa. 28:16 in 10:11: “For the Scripture saith, ‘Whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed;’” i.e. they shall neither be confounded, nor disappointed of their hope. The Jews, by not believing on Jesus Christ, by not receiving Him as the promised Messiah, but trusting in others, have been disappointed, ashamed, and confounded from that time to the present day. On the other hand, those who have believed on Christ have, in and through Him, all the blessings of which the prophets spoke.

“of the gospel of Christ”--Omit, “of Christ,” for this is not in the oldest and best manuscripts.

    GOSPEL:  (Grk.–euangelion)–Literally:  “good news,” or the glad intelligence.  It is so called because it contains the glad announcement that sin may be pardoned and the soul saved. 

“it is {the} power of God unto saslvation”
Literally:  “For it is power of God.”–That through which he exerts his saving power on all who believe and obey it.  Paul, as a Jew, believed on Christ Jesus; and in believing he had life through His name. 

            Here, and in v. 17, Paul announces the great theme of his ensuing argument; SALVATION, which is the one overwhelming necessity of perishing men. This salvation is revealed in the  GOSPEL MESSAGE; and that message so owned and honored of God as to carry, in the proclamation of it.  The gospel is GOD'S OWN POWER TO SAVE EVERY SOUL THAT EMBRACES IT, Greek and Barbarian, wise and unwise alike. The almighty power of God accompanies this preaching to the souls of them that believe; and the consequence is, they are saved; and what but the power of God can save a fallen, sinful soul?
           Through Christ, Paul enjoyed an abundance of grace; so that, being filled with that happiness which an indwelling Christ produces, he could cheerfully say, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”  And why is he not ashamed of it?  Because he felt it to be the power of God to the salvation of his believing soul. This appears to be the true sense of this passage, and this interpretation acquires additional strength from the consideration that Paul is here most evidently addressing himself to the Jews.

        FOR:  (Grk.–gar)–The second use of this word gives the reason for Paul’s boldness:  because “it is the power of God unto salvation.”

         POWER:  (Grk.–dunamis)–It is interesting that of the six Greek words for “power” that Paul chose this word dunamis, which literally means, “natural ability; inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature;: or, “power which a person or thing exerts or puts forth.”  Vincent says that the gospel is “not merely a powerful means in God’s hands, but in itself a divine energy.”  This is the Greek root word from which we get our word, “dynamite.” 

            Contrary to popular thinking, dunamis does NOT refer to an explosive power.  The Greeks knew nothing about gunpowder or explosives.  The gospel is NOT the dynamite of God; on the contrary, it is a sweet and loving message of mercy and grace which the Holy Spirit makes operative in the heart of the sinner for salvation.
            This saving power Paul knew by personal experience. He had seen this dunamis power of the gospel  at work in his own life. In itself, the gospel has power: innate power. It is the power through which God exerts His saving power on all who believe.

“unto salvation.
Literally:  “To salvation.”  It is the efficacious, or mighty plan, by which His power goes forth to save, and by which all the obstacles of man’s redemption are removed. 

         SALVATION:  (Grk.–sōtēria)– This word means complete deliverance from sin and death, and all the foes and dangers that beset man. It cannot imply anything less than eternal life.

When Paul declares that it is the power of God unto salvation “to everyone that believeth,” it implies that ALL who become believers “shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,” (see I Peter 1:5) and that none shall ever fall away and be lost. When he says it is the power of God unto salvation, he means that it is the power of God for the attainment of salvation. This is the end, or the purpose, of this exertion of divine power.

“to everyone that believeth”
Literally:  “to everyone believing.”–The gospel is God's own power to save every soul that embraces it, Greek and Barbarian, wise and unwise alike. 

Paul, as a Jew, believed on Christ Jesus; and in believing he had life through His Name. Through Christ, Paul enjoyed an abundance of grace so that, being filled with that happiness which an indwelling Christ produces, he could cheerfully say, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  And why?  Because he felt, and knew, it to be the power of God to the salvation of his believing soul.  This appears to be the true sense of this entire passage.

           EVERYONE:  (Grk.–panti)–Literally:  “all.”  All men have some idea what faith is;  it is exercised when we confide in a parent, a friend, a benefactor.

           BELIEVE:  (Grk.–pisteuonti)–Literally: “believing.” This comes from the Greek word (pistis), the word for “faith”  and expresses the condition, or the terms, on which salvation is conferred through the gospel. It is not indiscriminately to all men, whatever may be their character.  It is only to those who confide or trust in it; and it is conferred on ALL who receive it in this manner.

“To the Jew first, and also to the Greek”
Literally:  “Both Jew first and to Greek.”–To the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Jesus had taught this (John 4:22; 10:16; Luke 24:47; Acts1:8). The Jew is first in privilege and in penalty (2:9).   The Jews had the Law;  and they had the temple, with its divinely prescribed worship, but even with all this, they still missed their Messiah when He came.

FIRST: (Grk.–proton)–First in order of time.

            Paul does not mean that the gospel was any more adapted to Jews than to others; but to them had been committed the oracles of God; the Messiah had come through them.  They had had the Law, the temple, and the service of God, therefore, it was natural that the gospel should be proclaimed to them before it was to the Gentiles.  
            This was the order in which the
gospel was actually preached to the world, first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. Comp. Acts Chapters 2 and 10; Matt. 10:6, Luke 24:49–“It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46}.

           Not only did the Jews have the first offer of this Gospel, but they have the greatest need of it; being so deeply fallen, and having sinned against such glorious privileges, they are much more guilty than the Gentiles, who never had the light of a Divine revelation.

    AND ALSO TO THE GREEK: ((pistis),e kai Helleni)–To all who were not Jews, that is, to all the world in general.
1. It was not confined in its intention or efficacy to any class or nation of men.
2. It was adapted to all, and was designed to be extended to all.

Though the salvation of God has hitherto been apparently confined to the Jewish people, yet it shall be so no longer, for the Gospel of Christ is sent to the Gentiles as well as the Jews; with God having put no difference between them; and Jesus Christ having tasted death for EVERY man.


“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”– In this verse the expression means, the whole benefit of God through Christ for the salvation of a sinner.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed”
Literally:  “for in it a righteousness of God is revealed”–The method of justification is fully disclosed in the Gospel.

          FOR:   (Grk.–gar)–This word implies that Paul is about to give a reason for that which   he had just said, a reason why he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; it is marking the    transition from the introduction to the treatise.

          THEREIN:  (Grk.–en autoi)-Literally:  “In it;”  that is, in the Gospel.

        RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD: (Grk.–dikaiosunē Theou)–The Greek word for “righteousness” is (dikaiosune), which primary means, “to be right;” which is the antonym of sin.  This word is used 92 times in the N.T., and 36 times in Romans alone. The phrase, “righteousness of God”  is used 8 times here in this epistle. 

         Dikaiosunē does not meanj God’s attribute of righteousness; rather, it means the righteousness which He accounts to the believer. Simply speaking, this is justification. The root word, (dike) means “right.”  The words that are rendered as justice and justify also come from this same root word.  A Dr. Cremer gives this definition:

“It is the state commanded by God and standing the test of His judgment; the character and acts of a man approved of Him, in virtue of which the man corresponds with Him and His will as His ideal and standard.”

            The phrase, “righteousness of God,” is equivalent to God's plan of justifying men; His plan for declaring them just in the sight of the Law, or of acquitting them from punishment, and admitting them to favor. In this sense it stands opposed to man's plan of justification, i. e., by his own works. God's plan is by faith. The way in which that is done is revealed in the gospel. The object contemplated to be done is to treat men as if they were righteous.
           The righteousness which Paul is speaking of is the righteousness that God demands, and which only He can provide:. His method of saving sinners; His justifying righteousness. This expression sometimes means God's eternal, essential righteousness, which includes both justice and mercy, and is eminently shown in condemning sin, and yet justifying the sinner. Sometimes it means that righteousness by which a man, through the gift of God, is made righteous; and that, both by receiving Christ through faith, and by a conformity to the essential righteousness of God.
          When Paul is speaking of justification, he means hereby the righteousness of faith; therefore called the righteousness of God, because God prepared it, reveals and gives it, approves and crowns it. 
|          The Greek verb rendered as, “to justify” (dikaioō)–literally means, “to be just, to be innocent, to be righteous.” Simply stated, it means to declare or treat as righteous; as when a man is charged with an offence, and is acquitted.  If the alleged crime is not proven against him, he is declared, by the law, to be innocent.  So it then means:  “to treat one as if innocent, to regard as innocent. That is, to pardon, to forgive, and consequently to treat as if the offence had not occurred.” Therefore, we may conclude that, simply speaking, “justification” means that God treats the believing sinner, “just as if I had not sinned.”
          It does not mean that the man did not actually commit the offence; or that the law might not have held him answerable for it; but that the offence is forgiven; and it is consistent to receive the offender into favor, and treat him as if he had not committed the act. In what way this may be done rests with Him who has the pardoning power, i.e., the dunamis to do so.  And in regard to the salvation of man, it rests solely with God (without ANY action on the part of the man, other than his simply believing);  and must be done in that way only which God appoints and approves. The purpose of Paul in this epistle is to show how this saving and forgiving is done, or to show that it is done by faith.

“righteousness of God”– It is called God's righteousness, because it is God's plan, in     distinction from all the plans set up by men.
1.      It was originated by Him;
        a.      It differs from all others; and,
        b.      It claims Him as its Author, and tends to His glory.
2.     It is called God’s  righteousness,
        a.      As it is the way by which He receives and treats men as righteous.
        b.     This same plan was foretold in various places, where the word righteousness is nearly synonymous with salvation:

     “My righteousness is near; My salvation is gone forth.”
    “My salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”
Isaiah 51:56)

     “My salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed" (Isaiah 56:1).
     “To make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24). 

“is revealed”
Literally:  “is being revealed”–The gospel states the fact that God has such a plan of justification; that is,
adopting us as His children and admitting us to heaven on the ground of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done; and shows the way or manner in which this might be done.  Righteousness as an attribute of God was revealed before the Gospel.

         REVEALED: (Grk.–apokaluptetai)–That is, made known; communicated; put on display.  The present tense of this Greek word describes the Gospel in its continuous proclamation.

    “from faith to faith”– By a gradual series of still clearer and clearer promises.  Shown to   be by faith, and not by the works of any law; for Abraham, the father and founder of the Jewish people, was justified by faith, before even the law was given.

For God’s righteousness in it is being revealed “by faith unto faith.” Shown to be by faith, and not by the works of any law; for Abraham, the father and founder of the Jewish people, was justified by faith, before even the law was given; and by believing, in reference to the spiritual object held forth in the various ordinances of the law, and now revealed under the Gospel, he and all his believing descendants have been justified. This expands Paul’s initial thought in v. 16.          

“as it is written,”
 Literally:  “even as it has been written”–In the O.T. book of
Habakkuk (Hab. 2:4).   Paul quotes this verse in 3 places (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).  

“the just shall live by faith”   
Literally:  “But the just by faith shall live.”– The LXX (Septuagint)–the Greek translation of the O.T. (the text which Jesus and Paul read and quoted from)-words this as, “but the just shall live by My faith.”  In his Complete Jewish Bible, Dr. David Stern renders this as:  “But the righteous will attain life through trusting faithfulness.”    

What the prophet says of faith, in the general sense of confidence in God and His Word, Paul applies to faith in Christ; since all true faith is essentially the same.  Justification by faith means that a sinner who trusts Christ is not only pardoned because Christ died, but he also stands before God complete in Christ.  It means not only the subtraction of sin, but also addition of righteousness.   Paul has just laid down 3 principles:
1.      Righteousness is by faith, (1:17);
2.      Salvation is by righteousness, (1:16) 
3.      Both to the Jews and to the Gentiles (1:16).  

Now he tells how those who have received this righteousness are to live—by faith.  They receive it by faith, they live it by faith, and they will go to heaven by faith.         

         SHALL LIVE: (Grk.–zēsetai)–In Habakkuk this means to be made happy, or blessed; shall find comfort, support, and deliverance. So in the gospel the blessings of salvation are represented as life, eternal life. Sin is represented as death, and man by nature is represented as dead in trespasses and sins, (Eph. 2:1)

The gospel restores to life and salvation, (5:18, 8:6; John 3:36; 5:29, 40; 6:33, 51, 53; 20:31; Acts 2:28). This expression, therefore, does not mean, as it is sometimes supposed, the justified by faith shall live; but it is expressive of a general principle in relation to men, that they shall be defended, preserved, made happy, not by their own merits or strength, but by confidence in God. This principle is exactly applicable to the gospel plan of salvation. Those who rely on God the Savior shall be justified and saved.   The life of faith on earth inevitably to eternal life in heaven.