Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1
March 30, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<021> Thesis: For there to be a receptive attitude in the hearer of the Word of God, there must be a sense that the bearer of the message has a beneficial intent toward the hearer. Introduction: In our last study we wound up our consideration of Paul's introduction to Romans. We saw that Paul sought to provide a content of doctrine for the Romans that would enable them to experience a consistent supply of grace and peace from God as Father and Jesus Christ as Lord. It is this framework of apostolic intention that needs to cover all of our studies in Romans from this day on. Now, as we move into the body of his letter, we note that he says "First...". As we look at what he considers to be "first" in what he has to say, we are struck by the fact that it doesn't have a lot to do with what most of us would call "heavy duty doctrine". Instead, what we find is that his "first" content has to do with his attitude toward God in respect to the Romans. This might be a bit of a surprise to us if we think that the "first" things ought to be crucial truths of the faith. What we find is that the "first" things have to do with creating a receptivity to those crucial truths of the faith. Paul "first" reveals his own attitude as he begins to write this content of the "Gospel of God". It is by the revelation of this "attitude" that he expects his readers to be willing to give him a hearing, or, in this case, a "reading". Interestingly, it is not the fact that he claims to be an apostle that the Spirit uses to influence the Roman believers to give heed to his words. Rather, it is the fact that his words spring out of a positive attitude toward his readers that will influence them to consider them. This is a general principle that we can learn from: if we wish people to come around to our way of thinking about God, we must want that for their sakes and not ours.