David Kelso
Vancouver, Canada
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Romans 1:18-32
Romans 1:18-32
Why does God reveal his wrath to the ungodly?
Published October 14th, 2020
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Main point summary
Main point summary
God's wrath is revealed against the unrighteousness of those who know him through creation and yet reject him. They are without excuse and God has given them over to their sinful desires.
Romans 1:18-2:1
For k the wrath of God l is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be m known about God is plain to them,
because God has shown it to them.
For his invisible attributes,
namely, his eternal power
and divine nature,
n have been clearly perceived,
ever since the creation of the world, 1 in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse.
For although they knew God,
they did not honor him as God
or give thanks to him,
but they o became futile in their thinking,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.
p Claiming to be wise,
they became fools,
and q exchanged the glory of r the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore s God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,
to t the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
because they exchanged the truth about God for u a lie
and worshiped and served the creature
rather than the Creator, v who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason w God gave them up to x dishonorable passions.
For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women
and were consumed with passion for one another,
y men committing shameless acts with men
and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,
z God gave them up to a a debased mind to do b what ought not to be done.
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.
They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Though they know c God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things d deserve to die,
they not only do them
but e give approval to those who practice them.
Therefore you have f no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.
For g in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself,
because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
This was a tough decision. I wasn't sure if 19a was the ground of why God's wrath is revealed or if it was an explanation of the idea, "suppress the truth" and explaining what that suppression looks like. I ended up going with the ground because it feels like the rest of the passage is providing reasons why God revealing his wrath against these men. But I'm open to correction.
I added this in just for myself because I think there is a clear parallel between the no excuse that the man who judges has in 2:1a and those who are without excuse in 1:20f. I wasn't sure where to connect the therefore in. It seemed primarily to connect with this last section of the unrighteous attributes, but could be from 20f onwards (they are without excuse, therefore you are also without excuse because you do the same things as them). This makes the most sense to me, but I couldn't figure out how to add in the bracket correctly.
That they are without excuse seems to be a main point for Paul in this text. He indicates in a number of different reasons why they are. - What can be known about God is plain in creation - They have known God, but have not honoured him - Worshipped creature rather than creator
Three times in this passage we see God giving them up. It seems to me to be repeating the same idea, but with more and more specificity. We see that God's response to the exchanging of his glory and false worship is to give people over to their sinful passions and desires.
This is such a wonderful thought, but also with scary implications for those who ignore it. Not only can we see God's power and his divine nature in creation (I wish I would see it more), but we must. God has made the creation in such a way that we would see who he is. His invisible attributes. We have no excuse for not honouring him as God. How lightly I take the magnificence of his created world.
See dot notes
Brent Karding
God's wrath is revealed against the unrighteousness of those who know him through creation and yet reject him. They are without excuse and God has given them over to their sinful desires.
This summary should reflect your largest Ground - right now, the summary reads as if your largest relationship were an Id-Exp.
David Kelso
Okay, yes that makes sense
Brent Karding
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.
Regarding 2:1, you can't really connect it by itself to anything in chapter 1, since 2:1 is inseparably connected with the following verses. But regarding the connection, perhaps 20f-32c are the center of a Bilateral: "They are without excuse because of 21-32; therefore, they are without excuse."

That would be very tricky, and I think impossible, to add to your bracket as it now stands.
Brent Karding
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
Even though there's a threefold repetition of "God gave them up" in 24-28, the logic of 26a connecting to what came before looks more like a Ground - so 26a-27d would be a Ground for 24-25.
Brent Karding
For his invisible attributes,
I'd say that 20a and following is a Ground for 19a-b, because Paul is explaining why he says that knowledge of God is plain: "I say that because God has set it out in front of them in an impossible-to-miss way."
Brent Karding
have been clearly perceived,
20a and 20d are actually the same proposition - "invisible attributes" is the subject of "have been clearly perceived." You could copy and paste 20d into 20a, with an ellipsis between, and add an ellipsis at the beginning of 20b and end of 20c to show that they are out of place.
David Kelso
Okay great, that's really helpful! I knew that we did that in Phrasing, but I wasn't sure if we did the same thing with Bracketing.
Brent Karding
Yes! The difference is that the units in Phrasing are smaller, like prepositional phrases, whereas in Bracketing, they are larger - whole propositions. But since propositions are made up of subjects, verbs, and objects, they need to stay together.
Brent Karding
For what can be known about God is plain to them,
I agree with you that 19a and following is a Ground, supporting 18.
David Kelso
Awesome, thanks so much for your feedback Brent! Really appreciate it!
Brent Karding
You're very welcome!
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.