Full text of renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince’s teaching on the book of Romans titled “I Am Not Ashamed of The Gospel” (Romans 1:1 – 1:17).
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Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
It’s with a sense of real excitement that I come to this first session of our study on Romans Chapters 1 through 8. Also with a sense of great responsibility, I can assure you I find the responsibility of interpreting this marvelous book of Romans to God’s people a very serious one.
It’s my sincere desire and prayer that I will be both faithful to God’s Word and sensitive to His Spirit.
I have provided this outline, the study guide, which is called The Roman Pilgrimage, and in due course I’ll explain why I’ve given it that title.
But I’d like to begin by reading the introduction that you’ll find on the first inside page of the booklet.
‘Welcome to the Roman Pilgrimage. You are setting out on a journey in the realm of the spirit which will both inspire and challenge you. At times the going will be rough. It will take you through the darkest depths of human depravity and then on to the glistening heights of God’s grace and glory.
Romans is a unique combination of the spiritual and the intellectual, without parallel in human literature. It unfolds the most sublime spiritual truth in terms of the most flawless logic. It will not merely illuminate your spirit, it will also challenge your intellect.
For this reason, Romans will not yield its riches to careless, or superficial reading. If you are to complete this pilgrimage successfully, there are two items of spiritual equipment which are essential: prayer and perseverance.
Let me encourage you, therefore, with the words of the Lord to Joshua as he prepared to enter the promised land: ‘Only be strong and very courageous’.
Now we’ll turn to the next page of the outline.
First of all, I want to emphasize that the CENTRAL THEME of ROMANS can be summed up in one word, which is RIGHTEOUSNESS. It’s a very, very important word. The Bible has a great deal to say about righteousness.
God is always presented as a God of total righteousness. Speaking to the children of Israel, Moses said: ‘His way is perfect, and all His works are just or righteous.’
Psalm 92: it pictures the one who’s grown old in the knowledge and service of the Lord, and it says that his life proclaims that the Lord is righteous and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Before we go further, I need to explain something about the words that we have to use.
In English, we have two words: righteous and just, which are somewhat different in their meaning. But in the original languages of the Bible, both the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, there is only one word in Greek, it’s sadiq. I’m sorry; in Hebrew it’s sadiq, and in Greek it’s dikaios; and that one word is translated either just or righteous, but there’s no difference.
So in a sense, we have to adjust our thinking. We could make a difference between justice and righteousness. Righteousness, we might say, is moral character; justice is the outworking of God’s laws and their application to our lives. But there’s no difference in the original languages.
So when we talk about righteousness, we’re talking about justice. When we’re talking about justice, we’re talking about righteousness.
Some years ago, I read in the book of Job, in Job, chapter 9, verse 2, this pathetic question: ‘How can a mortal man be righteous before God?’
Job was in deep agony of soul, and I believe he asked that question, not believing that there could be an answer to it. But in actual fact, God gives an answer to that question: ‘How can a mortal man be righteous before God?’ And the answer is the epistle to the Romans; that tells us how it is possible for any person who meets God’s conditions, which are unfolded in Romans to be totally righteous before God.
One of the key phrases in Romans that we’ll keep returning to is ‘no condemnation’. That’s really the practical outworking of Romans that you come to see that you’re accepted before God as totally righteous, and that there’s no condemnation anywhere in your life.
Romans also, I think, relates to the words of Jesus in the Beatitudes. In Matthew 5:6, He says, ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled’; they shall be abundantly satisfied.
So those of you here tonight who came thirsting for righteousness, I want to tell you that God has promised to satisfy you. But I suspect that some of you really didn’t have righteousness at the top of your list when you came.
See, I travel very widely amongst the people of God and meet God’s people from many backgrounds in many nations. And I would not say in the contemporary church that righteousness is very high in the list of the priorities of God’s people.
I meet people who are seeking blessing, power, healing, prosperity, spiritual gifts, but I don’t really meet many people today who are hungrying and thirsting after righteousness. People who say, ‘unless I find righteousness, I cannot be satisfied’. They’re not only hungry, they’re thirsty. In fact, their whole being is a total longing for righteousness.
I hope that before these studies come to an end, some of you will have experienced a change in your priorities. You have a much higher value for righteousness.
You see, the other things follow righteousness. In a part of Romans that we will not have time to study in detail, chapter 14, verse 17. Paul says, ‘The kingdom of God is… how many of you know what’s first? ‘righteousness, peace and joy.’
But you cannot change the order and get God’s results. If you put either peace or joy first, God doesn’t meet you on that basis.
God says, if you seek first righteousness, then peace and joy will follow.
OUTLINE OF ROMANS
Now, I want to give you a brief outline of Romans.
First of all, let me just say that scholars believe it was written in AD 57 in the city of Corinth. And there is a reference in Romans to a man named Erastus, who was the chamberlain or the public works manager of the city of Corinth. And quite recently archaeologists have discovered at Corinth, an inscription with the name of Erastus on it, crediting him with doing some public work at his own expense. So that’s a wonderful confirmation of the accuracy and up-to-date reliability of the Scripture.
I’d like to suggest to you that we’ll view this epistle as divided up into four main sections, and although I’ll outline all four, we’ll only deal with the first.