The main part of the Book of Romans is a speech or sermon that Paul wrote for the church in Rome (Romans 1:16 to 15:13). In that section, Paul was teaching the Bible, so he says little about himself.
After that, Paul adds some more personal notes; he begins with this explanation of his book. The original book was probably on parchment, a kind of paper that people made from animal skins. Paul would not waste any of the parchment. He considered it precious, because an animal had to die to make it. Perhaps that thought reminded Paul of the work of priests in the temple, Godís house in Jerusalem. There, too, God had provided the death of animals so that people could have a relationship with him.
Paul knew that Romeís Christians were capable people, with good church leaders. The success of their church was evidence of that (1:8). Paul recognised that they were able to correct and to teach the members of their own church. Paul had never visited their church; perhaps it would offend some of them that Paul had written so boldly to them.
So Paul urges Romeís Christians not to allow that to upset them. Paul was just doing what a priest did: he was carrying out the work that God had given to him. The priests carried out their work for God so that other people could have a right relationship with God. For Paul, that work was among the Gentiles, people from nations other than Israel. They belonged to nations that had not previously known God; God was making them into his holy people (1 Peter 2:9-10). Paul was not trying to achieve that wonderful change by means of his own words. Instead, he declared the gospel (the good news about Christ); and he depended not on his own strength, but on the power of the Holy Spirit.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.