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Scripture Text (NRSV)


Romans 1:1-7


1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

1:2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,

1:3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh

1:4 and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name,

1:6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

1:7 To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.




"Descended from David according to the flesh."

Jospeh, we read in Matthew, was descended from David. Mary, if we are to understand Luke's linking of Mary to Elizabeth and Zechariah, was of the house of Levi.

How then was Jesus descended from David in the flesh? Does that imply that Joseph was, in fact, his fleshly father? Or that Luke was incorrect in his attribution of Mary's familial lines?

This kind of thing isn't critical to my understanding of Christ's life and saving work, but it's always itched at the back of my head, and I'm wondering what others have read on this.


Heather I remember one of my seminary professors saying that as long as the mother was Jewish the children were considered full Jews - as a concession to the raping that usually went along with warring. mehrke in south dakota

I remember reading somewhere that Mary was a cousin to Joseph. Distant maybe but a cousin, so would that not make her from the line of David also? Besides in those times if a man took responsibilty for a child, just as today it was considered his and therefore from his family line. MR in NY

mehrke is correct about Jewish lineage. If the mother is Jewish, the child is Jewish. Reform Judaism in the US has added the possibility of patrilineal Jewishness, but Conservative and Orthodox Jews reject this. In those traditions, the child of a Jewish father and Gentile mother must "convert" to Judaism.

I remember, as MR suggests, that Mary's lineage (though of the house of Abijah) included Davidic ancestry. I can't recall the source in which I read that, however.

Blessings, Eric in KS

Heather, as I understand this passage, Paul is describing Jesus both in terms of his physical, earthly existence and in terms of his spiritual existence-- responding to the Greek dualistic understanding of human existence. He declares him to be the Son of God in spiritual terms, and a descendent of David in physical terms. But it is not necessary for Mary to be descended from David in order for this to be so. Because Mary was pregnant at the time that she and Joseph finalized their marriage, it was understood that Joseph adopted Jesus as his own son. This adoption also bestowed upon Jesus Joseph's lineage. Therefore, in terms of his earthly existence, Jesus was a (adopted) descendent of David. (Jim in the Blue Ridge)




Verse 5 is intriguing... we receive grace and apostleship, bringing about the obedience of faith.

Obedience of faith... The greek implies that submission might be substituted for obedience. Submission of faith... Faith is submitting to or obeying Christ, through grace...

Just fleshing this out...

"descended from David according to the flesh?"


Does this suggest what it seems to? I've never noticed it before. Or does flesh for Paul mean law as well as biology?


Sad that not too much is happening over here but somewhat understandable in today's main-line church with it's social emphasis.

Here we have Good News being proclaimed by the Son of God, a Son foretold by by the prophets, descended from David, proven to be so by the resurrection and a spirit of holiness bringing power.

Talk of obedience, Lordship, a call to belong to Christ, a call to be saints.

So many nuggets, seemingly so few takers...

Come Lord Jesus, come...

Rick in Va

Paul begins the epistle with the note that he is first a bond slave of Jesus Christ. He does not begin by calling himself an apostle. Far too often we want to talk about situation and office rather than about the essence of what made it possible for us to be in that situation and office.

His bond slave position hands to him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a Jew who had been a Pharisee and who had hated the Gospel it is to the very praise of the Glory of the Grace of God that he now is separated soley unto that Gospel which at one time he hated. Not only may Paul reflect on that but so may every true child of God for it is not in the nature of man to wish to embrace a Gospel which makes him realize that he is corrupt and depraved and then comes with the good news that Christ has done something about that so that those who believe will be saved.

The Gospel is wrapped up in the person of Christ We are not saved by a system, or by a denomination or by belonging to an organization made by man but salvation is in a person and that person is Jesus Christ. Concerning him Paul makes two very important points which are made throughout Scripture.

1) He is made of the seed of David according to the flesh. Mary was of the house of David. To trace his physical lineage would take one back to David. This is why there is real reason to object to pictures of the Christ Child as though he could be seen as whatever race someone wishes to make him. (I have seen him depicted in at least four different and erroneous situations) He was a Jew. He was born to a Virgin who was a Jewish Maiden. 2) He was declared to be the Son of God with power etc. This is reference to His Deity and hence Paul at the beginning of this monumental epistle which spells out Christian Doctrine makes certain that people know that Christ is in fact God in the flesh.

This same thing is said in Isaiah 9. For unto us a child is born. That has to do with his flesh. Unto us a Son is given. That is His Deity. The bringing together of the two elements constitutes the Incarnation and gives rise to Chalcedon in which the study of the hypostatic union was made.

At the time of the year that we celebrate in a special way the fact of the Incarnation it is a wonderful thing to look upon this and to realize that God has made provision and that provision is His own person who becomes incarnate and walks among us and goes to the Cross for His people and redeems them with His own blood.

Art in Pa.

Dear Art in PA Can you tell me where in the Bible you find the reference to Jesus coming from the House of David through Mary? What about Joseph? Evelyn in MO