I thought you likely were likely hoping for Wright, he did a wonderful job in NIB.... here is a sample from the beginning of Romans for you to get a feel for his take.
I. Introduction (1:1-17)
The opening of Romans formally resembles Paul’s other letters, beginning as it does with a salutation (1:1-7), followed by a prayer of thanksgiving (1:8-15), and a section commonly referred to as the theme of the letter (1:16-17, although the theme is only fully explained in 1:18-3:20 and then expanded upon throughout the letter).
Several features stand out in these opening lines. First is the length of the salutation. Presumably because this letter is Paul’s first occasion for addressing the Romans, he offers a more extended identification of himself. He is a “servant”(literally, a “slave”) of Jesus Christ, he is “an apostle,”he is “set apart for the gospel of God”(v. 1). This reference to the gospel is unpacked in vv. 2-4, as Paul sets forth clearly the content of the gospel he preaches. Verse 2 connects the gospel with God’s promises in Scripture, a comment that seems to anticipate the body of the letter, with its extensive engagement with Scripture. Several features of vv. 3-4prompt scholars to conjecture that Paul is employing an early confession of some sort, possibly one already known to his Roman readers. Two parallel statements specify what is to be said about “his Son”:
“who was descended from David according to the flesh.”(1:3)
“who was declared Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead.”(1:4)
The first statement firmly connects Jesus to Israel by Davidic descent (cf. 9:5), and the second asserts that this particular son of David was established into the office of the Son of God on the basis of his being raised from the dead (see Acts 13:26-40).
With v. 5 Paul moves from a summary of the gospel’s content to the mission generated by the gospel. It is from Jesus that “we”received “grace and apostleship”to bring about “obedience of faith among all the Gentiles”(1:5, NRSV). The REB unfortunately separates the phrase into two distinct results: “obedience and faith,”whereas the NIV more correctly reads “the obedience that comes from faith,”or “the obedience that consists in faith.”
Verses 6-7 at last identify the recipients of the letter as those “called to belong to Jesus,”“God’s beloved in Rome,”and “called to be saints.”As elsewhere in Paul’s letters (e.g., 1 Cor 1:2), it is not only the apostles who are called into service. Paul understands all believers to be such by virtue of God’s calling to them.
The thanksgiving (vv. 8-15) acknowledges that the existence of the Roman churches is known throughout the world, and includes a typical statement about his constant prayers for them (v. 9; cf. e.g., 1 Thess 1:2-3). Also here Paul announces his [p. 771] long-standing desire to be in Rome and his hope that he is soon to be able to do so. Few details help readers to understand either why Paul wishes to be in Rome in particular or what circumstances have prevented his journey. He announces that he wants to “reap some harvest”there, which could mean either his hope for extending the gospel’s message further into the populace of Rome, or it could refer to the support of Roman Christians for his planned mission to Spain (see 15:24, 28-29).
What is clear is Paul’s sense of obligation to preach the gospel to all people. “To Greek and to barbarians”seems peculiar, given that he is writing to Rome rather than to a Greek city, but this phrase reflects the dominance of Greek culture. One way of dividing the human world was between those who would speak Greek and the “barbarians”who could not. All people, whether Greek-speaking or not, whether “wise”or “foolish”are intended to hear the gospel.
Verses 16-17, surely among the best known of all Paul’s statements, constitute an announcement of the thesis of the letter. It begins with the claim that “I am not ashamed of the gospel”which is probably an example of litotes, a rhetorical use of understatement intended to affirm the positive side of a statement (as in Acts 20:12; 26:26). It could be rendered “I have complete confidence in the gospel.”The gospel is “the power of God for salvation”(1:16). The gospel is not simply verbal, it actually consists of God’s own power (cf. 1 Thess 1:4-5). Here Paul’s apocalyptic perspective comes to the fore in that he writes about the gospel using the language of power (see below). Paul understands the tyranny under which human beings live and from which they needed to be freed (as he will make clear in chs. 5-7.
Having said in vv. 14-15 that his own preaching is for all people (Greeks and barbarian, wise and foolish), Paul reiterates that point here in a slightly different way. This saving power of God is available to “everyone who has faith,”but it is to “the Jew first and also to the Greek.”While Paul argues for the inclusion of the Gentiles among the people of God, he does not want the Gentiles to forget that there is a certain divine precedence in the order of things. Later in the letter, he speaks of the advantages of being a Jew (3:2), the promises to Abraham (4:13), and the gifts of God to Israel (9:4-5). He also reminds the Gentile readers, who might be tempted to gloat over their status, that they are to “remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you”(Rom 11:18).
Verse 17 continues the announcement about the gospel with the claim that it reveals “the righteousness of God.”This phrase appears often in Romans (1:17; 3:5, 21, 22, 25, 26; 10:3) and has been interpreted in at least three distinct ways. First, it has been thought of as denoting a moral attribute, a characteristic of God (as in the declaration that “Mother Teresa was a person of righteousness”), so that the gospel’s role is to reveal knowledge about God’s inherent goodness. A second interpretation imagines that the “righteousness of God”is language that finds its proper home in the courtroom, that the phrase denotes the favorable decision a defendant receives from a judge. Thus when Paul speaks of the “revelation of righteousness,”he refers to the favorable verdict pronounced over the individual, declaring that the defendant’s sins are forgiven. A third interpretation locates the “righteousness of God”in apocalyptic thinking and understands it as God’s salvation-creating power that is at work in the world in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This third interpretation involves both the subjective righteousness that belongs to God and its objective action in saving humankind, and it best accounts for the argument that unfolds in the chapters that follow. It is God’s own righteouness, not in and of itself (as in moral righteousness) but in its action for human beings, indeed for the whole of the cosmos. The revelation of this righteousness is a cosmic event that stands at the beginning of a new era.
Paul concludes the introduction with the affirmation that God rectifies “through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith’”(quoting Hab. 2:4; cf. Gal 3:11). But of whose faith does Paul speak here? Is this human faith that somehow of its own reveals God’s righteousness? Or is it the faithfulness of God or of Jesus Christ? The Greek word pistis can bear either interpretation, either as human faith (in the sense of humanity’s belief or trust in God) or as faithfulness (in the sense of God’s own trustworthiness, God’s reliability). The context emphasizes God’s own action, and the chapters that follow underscore this point, making it likely that the [p. 772] revelation of God’s righteousness “from faith to faith”means that “the saving promises of God are declared from the faithfulness of God in Christ to the responding faith of believers.”God’s revelation of righteousness comes through the divine faithfulness and not through human achievement. --CHARLES B. COUSAR, New Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible
Edited by Dan Francis, 30 July 2014 - 09:34 PM.