1I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God’s words and acts. I write this letter to all the believers in Rome, God’s friends.
2-7 The sacred writings contain preliminary reports by the prophets on God’s Son. His descent from David roots him in history; his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah.
8-12 I thank God through Jesus for every one of you. That’s first. People everywhere keep telling me about your lives of faith, and every time I hear them, I thank him. And God, whom I so love to worship and serve by spreading the good news of his Son—the Message!—knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask him to clear the way for me to come and see you. The longer this waiting goes on, the deeper the ache. I so want to be there to deliver God’s gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes! But don’t think I’m not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you.
13-15 Please don’t misinterpret my failure to visit you, friends. You have no idea how many times I’ve made plans for Rome. I’ve been determined to get some personal enjoyment out of God’s work among you, as I have in so many other non-Jewish towns and communities. But something has always come up and prevented it. Everyone I meet—it matters little whether they’re mannered or rude, smart or simple—deepens my sense of interdependence and obligation. And that’s why I can’t wait to get to you in Rome, preaching this wonderful good news of God.
16-17 It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”
Ignoring God Leads to a Downward Spiral
18-23 But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
24-25 So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!
26-27 Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
28-32 Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
1Kutoka kwa Paulo, mtumwa wa Yesu Kristo na mtume niliyecha guliwa na kuitwa kuhubiri Habari Njema ya Mungu. 2 Habari hii aliiahidi tangu zamani kwa njia ya manabii wake katika Maandiko matakatifu.
3 Habari hii njema ni kuhusu Mwana wa Mungu ambaye kimwili alizaliwa katika ukoo wa Daudi, 4 na ambaye alidhihiri shwa kuwa Mwana wa Mungu kwa uwezo wa Roho wa utakatifu kwa kufufuliwa kutoka kwa wafu. Yeye ndiye Yesu Kristo Bwana wetu, 5 ambaye kutoka kwake, na kwa ajili yake, tumepokea neema na agizo la kuwaongoza watu wa mataifa yote wasiomjua Mungu, wapate kumwamini na kumtii. 6 Ninyi pia ni miongoni mwa watu walioitwa kuwa wafuasi wa Yesu Kristo.
7 Basi, nawatakieni ninyi nyote mlioko huko Roma, ambao ni wapendwa wa Mungu mlioitwa muwe watakatifu, neema na amani ito kayo kwa Mungu Baba yetu, na kwa Bwana wetu Yesu Kristo.
Maombi Na Shukrani
8 Kwanza kabisa, namshukuru Mungu wangu kwa njia ya Yesu Kristo kwa ajili yenu nyote, kwa sababu imani yenu inatangazwa duniani kote. 9 Mungu ninayemtumikia kwa moyo wangu wote ninapo hubiri Habari Njema ya Mwanae, anajua jinsi ninavyowakumbuka siku zote 10 katika sala zangu kila ninapoomba. Namwomba Mungu, akipenda, hatimaye sasa nipate nafasi ya kuja kwenu. 11 Ninata mani sana kuwaona ili niwagawie zawadi ya kiroho ya kuwaima risha, 12 yaani tuimarishane: mimi nitiwe moyo kwa imani yenu na ninyi mtiwe moyo kwa imani yangu.
13 Ndugu zangu, napenda mfahamu kwamba mara nyingi nimeku sudia kuja kwenu, ingawa mpaka sasa nimezuiliwa. Ningependa kupata mavuno ya waamini kati yenu kama nilivyofanikiwa kupata waamini kati ya watu wa mataifa mengine.
14 Ninawajibika kwa watu wote, Wagiriki na wasiokuwa Wagi riki; wenye elimu na wasiokuwa na elimu. 15 Ndio maana ninata mani sana kuhubiri Injili kwenu ninyi pia mlioko Roma.
16 Mimi siionei aibu Injili kwa maanani nguvu ya Mungu inayowaokoa wote wanaoamini: Wayahudi kwanza, na watu wa mataifa mengine pia. 17 Kwa maana Habari hii Njema inaonyesha wazi haki inayotoka kwa Mungu. Haki hii hupatikana kwa imani tangu mwanzo hadi mwisho. Kama ilivyoandikwa: “Wenye haki wataishi kwa imani.”
Ghadhabu Ya Mungu Kwa Wanadamu
18 Ghadhabu ya Mungu imedhihirishwa kutoka mbinguni dhidi ya uasi na uovu wa wanadamu ambao kwa uovu wao wanauficha ukweli usijulikane. 19 Kwa maana yote yanayoweza kujulikana kumhusu Mungu ni dhahiri kwao kwa sababu Mungu mwenyewe ameyaweka wazi. 20 Tangu Mungu alipoumba ulimwengu, asili ya Mungu asiyeonekana kwa macho, yaani uwezo wake wa milele na Uungu wake, umedhihirika wazi wazi kutokana na vitu alivyoviumba. Kwa hiyo watu hawana kisingizio.
21 Ingawa walimjua Mungu, hawakumpa heshima na utukufu anaostahili wala kumshukuru. Badala yake, fikira zao zimekuwa batili na akili zao zilizopumbaa zikatiwa giza. 22 Wakijidai kuwa ni werevu, wakawa wajinga. 23 Wakauacha utukufu wa Mungu aishiye milele wakageukia sanamu zinazofanana na mwanadamu ambaye hufa, na ndege na wanyama na viumbe vitambaavyo.
24 Kwa hiyo, Mungu aliwaacha waendelee kufuata tamaa mbaya za mioyo yao na kutenda matendo ya unajisi nakufanyiana mambo ya aibu katika miili yao. 25 Hii ni kwa sababu walikataa ukweli ku husu Mungu wakaamua kuamini uongo; wakaabudu na kutumikia kiumbe badala ya Muumba ahimidiwaye milele! Amina.
26 Kwa hiyo, Mungu aliwaachia wafuate tamaa zao za aibu. Hata wanawake wao waliacha matumizi ya asili ya maumbile yao wakatumia miili yao isivyokusudiwa. 27 Hali kadhalika wanaume waliacha uhusiano wa asili kati ya waume na wake wakawakiana tamaa wao kwa wao. Wanaume walifanyiana mambo ya aibu, nao waka pata katika miili yao adhabu waliyostahili kama matokeo ya uovu wao.
28 Zaidi ya hayo, kwa sababu walikataa kumtambua Mungu, yeye aliwaacha katika nia zao za upotovu watende mambo yasiyosta hili kutendwa. 29 Wamejawa na udhalimu wa kila namna, uovu, tamaa na ubaya. Wamejawa na husuda, uuaji, fitina, hadaa, nia mbaya. Wao pia ni wasengenyaji, 30 wasingiziaji, wanaomchukia Mu ngu, wajeuri, wenye kiburi na majivuno; wenye hila, wasiotii wazazi wao; 31 niwajinga, wasioamini, wasio na huruma nawaka tili. 32 Ingawa wanafahamu sheria ya Mungu kwamba watu wanaoishi maisha ya namna hii wanastahili mauti, bado wanaendelea kutenda mambo haya na kuwasifu wengine wafanyao kama wao.