Romans 1:8-12 is Paul writing a letter to the Roman Christians as he anticipated preaching to them for the first time. He wrote this letter to introduce himself and make his motives known to the people he was traveling to see.
Below are my thoughts on each verse in this passage. I’m looking at them from a missions perspective–reading carefully to see how I can apply these truths in my missions, both local and foreign. (In case you wondered, the translation I’m using today is Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
8. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because news of your faith is being reported in all the world.” Notice how it says I thank my God through Jesus Christ–this is because Jesus is the intercessor for our prayers. Matthew 14:6 says there is no way to the Father but through Jesus.
9. “For God, whom I serve with my spirit in telling the good news about His Son, is my witness that I constantly mention you…” Paul is saying that he prays for the Romans. In the same way, I mention my friends from Costa Rica in my prayers every day, and I think about them almost constantly. I pray for their physical well-being, but also for their faith to grow.
10. “…always asking in my prayers that if it is somehow in God’s will, I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” Paul has been wanting to go to Rome for quite a while now, and he’s been praying for an opportunity. Finally, his ardent prayer paid off, and God gave him the opportunity he so desperately desired. When I came home from my most recent trip to Costa Rica, I prayed for weeks that God would have me go back as soon as possible. I prayed consistently, earnestly seeking answers, and God did answer according to His good and perfect will…He’s given me another opportunity to travel to Costa Rica, and for that I’m grateful. This goes to show that with a little bit of faith and patience, your prayers will be answered in the way that is best in the grand scheme of things.
11. “For I want very much to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you…” Paul went on his journey to Rome not only to witness to those who had not heard, but also to strengthen those who had. He went to encourage them in their walk with God. The first time I went to Costa Rica, I went to tell those who didn’t know the Lord, but now as I prepare for my fourth trip (although I will most definitely still witness to the lost), we’ll focus more on encouraging, on fellowshipping, on helping and teaching and sharing with some of the same people whose lives have been changed by God working through us.
12. “…that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Not only will we teach and serve them, but we can expect them to do the same for us. On my last trip, I went expecting to serve, but I ended up being served by them in a way that they might never know.