An Analysis of Romans 1:18-32, Part 1
An Exchange of the Creator God for Worthless Idols
By Bruce L. Gerig

1.Larger literary context (Rom 1:18–3:20).    Paul in Romans, after giving greetings and introducing himself (1:1-14), presents the grand theme of his letter, which is the Gospel, God’s provision and offer of a “salvation to everyone who has faith (1:16, NRSV), i.e., who personally accepts Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, available both to Jew and “Greek” (Gentile).1   Everett Harrison titles Rom 1:18–3:20 “The Need for Salvation: The Plight of Mankind”—and indeed before plunging into an exposition (in-depth analysis) of the Gospel, Paul launches into a lengthy discussion of the sinfulness of humankind, a sound procedure for until people are persuaded of their lost condition, they are not likely to be concerned about finding a deliverance.2    Douglas Moo notes that in Rom 1:18–3:20 Paul describes the universal reign of sin, a plight of the Gentiles (1:18-32), of the Jews (2:1-29), and indeed of all humanity (3:9-20)—and the root sin of the Gentiles is idolatry (“worship of idols . . . or reverence for something or someone” other than the true God3), which then expressed itself in sexual and other (social) sins.    Paul finally concludes that all “are under the power of sin” (3:9, NRSV).    Humans do not need a teacher but a liberator, and God has acted as this Liberator in Christ to redeem fallen humanity back to himself.4

Yet Duke University professor of religion Ed P. Sanders has argued that Paul’s claim for universal sinfulness is “inconsistent” and a “gross exaggeration,” because not “everyone has been guilty of gross and heinous sins”5, e.g., debauchery and violence among the Gentiles (1:24-27) and stubbornness toward God and breaking the law among the Jews (2:5, 21-23).    Even Paul notes in this section that there are Gentiles who “do by nature [their personal inclination] things required by the law” of Moses, following their “consciences” (2:14-15); and one recalls the Roman centurion Cornelius who, not a Jewish convert and before he became a Christian, was told by an angel that “Your prayers and alms [given to the poor] have ascended as a memorial to God” (Acts 10:1-4), who then sent Peter to tell him about Christ.    And among the Jews, one recalls the likes of Simeon, who is described as “righteous and devout,” and of Anna, who “never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day” (Matt 2:25, 36-37); and both were given the privilege of seeing Jesus the Messiah as a baby before they died.    Paul would never deny that there were some pagans who did good things6 as well as Jews who faithfully served God.    Yet still Adam’s descendants are a fallen race, because “sin entered the world” through him, and everyone is their own Adam or Eve, committing (and being guilty of) their individual sins.7   Paul in his ‘portraits’ of the Gentiles and Jews is simply speaking in general terms about them, including a broad look of Greco-Roman culture as it existed in his day.8    And if God’s judgment, now and to come (Rom 1:18, 2:5), on human wickedness seems harsh, one must remember that “God has given up on no one,”9 and the measure of his love is the great cost of his salvation offered freely to humans, provided through the unspeakably painful suffering and crucifixion of his Son.    As Leon Morris notes, “It was no cheap gesture.”10 On the other hand, the nexus of [connection to] doom and gloom goes back to the beginning of the world, for we are all part of a history initiated by Adam.11 


2. Overview of the Gentile section (Rom 1:18-32).    In Rom 1:18-32, which focuses on non-Jews, Paul paints a picture of “a world gone wrong.”12    James Dunn notes how in this passage we find a threefold repetition of “changed” or “exchanged” (allassō G236, metallassō G3337), in verses 1:23, 25, 26, and also a threefold repetition of “gave them over” (parodidōmi G3860), in 1:24, 26, 28,—which traces (in three ways) how human failure to acknowledge the Creator as God has led to degenerate religion and behavior, human pride reaping its deserved, depraved fruit.13    One should also note that Paul draws heavily here from the Wisdom of Solomon, a book included in the Catholic but not in the Jewish or Protestant Bibles and although attributed in the title to King Solomon was actually written by a Jew who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, possibly in the first century BC.14    So Paul is giving “a typical Jewish critique of pagan idolatry and immorality,” endorsing the idea that “the instruments of someone’s sin are [become] the instruments of his punishment” (Wisdom 11:16, REB), in other words, “One is punished by the very thing in which one sins” (Witherington)—and then idolatry leads to immorality, and the making of idols to fornication.    As an example of this is found in 1 Corinthians 8-10, where Paul instructs Gentile believers to stay away from the pagan temples (and feasts there), where he believed (sexual) immorality commonly went on.15   Wisdom of Solomon chapters 13–15 goes on to describe how the pagans “failed to recognize” God through “his handiwork” in nature (13:1), although “the greatness and beauty of created things give us a corresponding idea of their Creator” (13:5). Instead “they give the titles of gods to the work of human hands, to gold and silver . . . images of living creatures” (13:10a).    The craftsman fashions a piece of wood into the image of a human being and then places it in shrine where “he prays to it,” even though he should know he “is addressing an inanimate object” that is “utterly incapable of helping him” (13:10b-19).    “The devising of idols is the beginning of immorality” (14:12), and “the worship of idols . . . is the beginning, the cause, and the end of every evil” (14:27).    Humans turn to “perform ritual killing of children and secret ceremonies and the frenzied orgies of unnatural cults; the purity of life and marriage is abandoned. . . . All is [social] chaos—bloody murder, theft and fraud, corruption, treachery, riot, perjury” (14:24-25).    There is “depravity, sexual perversion, breakdown of marriage, adultery, debauchery (14:26, italics added).    People think that no harm will come to them (14:28-29), yet judgment will overtake them because they have thought wrongfully about God (14:50-51).    “They are in love with evil and do not deserve anything better to trust in” (15:6).    The artist “laboriously” makes his gods, although these idols have no eyes to see, ears to hear, or fingers to feel (15:7, 15).    “Moreover, these people worship animals,” of the most revolting kinds (15:38, REV).    The last note no doubt refers to Egyptian religion which worshipped deities associated with the baboon, crocodile, vulture, scorpion, and dung beetle, among other creatures.16   Also, Martti Nissinen notes that “sexual perversion” (14:26, geneseōs enallagē) probably points to some kind of sexual “change,” although what kind is not made clear.17  


3. Humanities’ general rejection of their Creator (1:18-20):  God’s witness in nature.    Paul begins his section on the Gentiles by noting: [18] For the wrath of God [orgē theou] is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.    [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.    [20] Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they may are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.    So they are without excuse” (NRSV), if they do not thank and worship their Creator God.    Paul (and the Jews) believed that creation bears a clear witness to its Maker and humans are expected to reflect on this natural revelation—even though special revelation, through God’s divinely-inspired Word, is necessary to reveal God’s love and grace and redemptive work.18    As David exclaimed, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.    Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Ps 19:1-2, NIV).    Or, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps 138:14, NIV).    At the end of the book of Job, God asks the despairing Job to ponder how the Almighty limits the waves of the sea so that they do not cover the earth (Job 38:8-1), how he has ordered the movements of the sky’s constellations (38:31-33), how he provides food for all of his animals (38:39-41) and how he has made birth of the young possible (39:2-3).  

The Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas (c.1225-1274) believed that the universe shows a design, order, and purpose which can only point back to an incredibly intelligent, creative and capable Master Designer.19   More recently Cambridge cosmologist Brandon Carter (1973) articulated the anthropic principle, which holds that only a great Creator could have made a universe and earth so finely-tuned, as it is, so that human life was possible at the end—for changing even one of the “basic values” (in electromagnetics, gravity, or atomic particle mass), in even in the slightest way, from how they were determined in the beginning, would likely have made human life impossible.20   Even the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) believed that mechanical evolution could explain everything in the world except beauty and organisms.    The first has sometimes been called the “flower problem,”21 although this argument could also relate to colorful sunsets, mountain vistas, coral reefs, and classical music.    Yet, natural revelation can easily be suppressed and misrepresented,22 as is done in secular universities and many liberal seminaries today, where the Creator God of the Bible is rejected a priori as a reality and explanation for anything.    As Norman Perrin and Dennis Duling write in The New Testament (a popular introduction and textbook), although the traditional Christian supernatural view is that angels, demons and miracles, as described in the Gospels, really existed, the more rational, scientific view holds that “factual history could and should be reconstructed from the [Gospel] narratives by explaining away the obviously legendary, miraculous, and absurd,” including Jesus’ resurrection, which is a “myth.”23   On the other hand, geneticist Francis Collins in the Language of God (2006) notes how Darwinian evolution cannot explain everything, especially how human nature is determined by genetic code, which could only have been designed by a Great Mind and is the Creator’s instruction manual for life.24   Of course, this was far beyond Paul’s understanding and the science of his age.  


4. Humanities’ general rejection of their Creator (1:18-20):  God’s wrath in response.    The “wrath of God” (orgē theou), or (better) “divine indignation,” was a familiar concept in the ancient world, although Paul views it not as capricious (as the Greco-Roman deities often were) but as “an inevitable process of cause and effect in a moral universe” (Dodd),25 ruled over by a just, moral, wise, capable and caring God.    Paul’s Gentile readers, whose gods were fickle, no doubt were surprised to hear that the Judeo-Christian God would judge (homo)sexual exploitation—and they would have appreciated this since many of them appear to have been slaves and freedman, poor and young, those very individuals who were often subjected to sexual injustice and abuse.26   As punishment for these pagans’ rejection of God’s witness and worship, God has already given them up (the verb “is revealed” is in the present passive tense) to idolatry and its moral consequences.  God’s wrath is not an irrational passion, but rather “a righteous and wholly justified indignation expressed against sinful belief and sinful behavior.”27 God’s displeasure is expressed against the “godlessness” (lack of reverence toward God) and “wickedness” (injustice shown toward others) of those who reject and suppress the truth about God’s existence evident in the natural world—thus breaking both tablets of the Ten Commandments (Exod 20:1-17).28  As R. C. H. Lenski (1945) noted, whenever moral truth begins to exert itself, many people feel uneasy and so they suppress it, denying it or ignoring it.29  

As Brendon Byrne (1996) notes, this revelation of God’s wrath (1:18) follows and to some extent parallels the revelation of God’s righteousness (1:17a); and there is no righteousness on the human side or rescue from sin’s immediate consequences and final judgment except through receiving God’s gift of salvation in Christ through faith.30   Moderns will find God’s response here “harsh,” but Paul had no concept of sincere atheism; rather he stands in the Biblical tradition which says, “The fool says in his heart ‘There is no God’” (Ps 14:1, 53:2, NIV).  Therefore, refusing to glorify the Creator as God and give him thanks, for the gift of the natural world and life itself (1:21), their “thinking” becomes “senseless” (NRSV; NIV: “futile”), given to illusion and darkness, while at the same time they imagine themselves to be wise (1:21).31    As Paul explained earlier to the Corinthians, “God has made foolish the wisdom of the world . . . For the Jews demand [wonderful] signs and Greeks desire [elegant] wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles” (1 Cor 1:20, 22-23, NRSV).    Actually God expresses his wrath simply by standing aside, leaving human beings fearfully exposed, at the mercy of their baser instincts, and to “stew in their own juice” (J. A. T. Robinson).32  As H. P. Liddon (1893) noted, man is by nature a religious being; and if he does not allow God to have his rightful place, he will find something or someone else to take his place—for he has an insistent need to recognize some power in the universe greater than himself.    In Paul’s day the cult of Caesar worship had spread throughout the Roman Empire.    Today, humanism holds center stage, with man (human philosophy and secular science) placed on the throne.33   And as Everett Harrison notes, the notion that other religions are beneficial must be rejected, because they keep people knowing the true God and accepting his offer of salvation34—although, at the same time, God will judge people on the light that they have and what they did with that light.35      

Footnote on other religions – When Aryan invaders settled in India about 1500 BC they still offered animal sacrifices to God (like Abraham) whom they worshipped as the supreme Ruler of the universe; and the earliest Sanskrit Vedas were hymns chanted along with these sacrifices.    However, various names given to this God eventually became separated into different gods so that by 1000 BC Vedic literature had become polytheistic (believing in many gods).    Yet, the major step in the development of Hinduism came when someone began to identify God with the universe, saying that ‘everything that there is is God.’    Buddhism, an offshoot of Hinduism, grew out of the influence of Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BC), later called the Buddha (“Fully Enlightened One”).36    However, Upanishadic (Hindu) philosophy, as well as Buddhism, “revolts against the deistic conception of God” (C. Humphreys), i.e., that there is a supreme, personal, transcendent Being.    The famous statement tat tvam asi (“that thou art”) means ‘all reality is God.’37    Its followers, with the end hope of Nirvana, look forward to the destruction of all that is individual in a person, as he or she enters into communion with the whole universe.    Buddhism teaches that ‘personal suffering can be eliminated by separating oneself from the desire that lays behind this’—an idea that I once found very useful in my life.    Man-made religions can express human insights about life.38    The Buddha gained his knowledge of secrets of the universe through his own intuitive wisdom.    Even today Buddhism has a wide appeal, since it views its monks as sent into the world (after having learned discipline, renunciation and generosity through living many previous lives) to show “compassion for the world” and improve the “welfare and happiness of the gods and humanity” (Anguttara Nikaya, the Englightened One).39Yet, such man-made religions teach many doctrines contradictory to the teaching of God’s revealed Scripture.    And Moses declared that when the Israelites worshipped pagan gods, “[t]hey sacrificed to demons” (Deut 32:17, NRSV), and later the psalmist lamented how the Israelites “sacrificed their sons . . . to the demons” (Ps 106:37).40   Also, Paul three times notes how when the non-Christians of his day paid homage to their gods they were actually sacrificing to “demons” (1 Cor 10:20-21, NRSV); and then later he explains how Satan “disguises himself as an angel of light,” and “his ministers [human teachers] also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor 11:14-15).41


5. First exchange (Rom 1:21-23):  The foolishness of man-made religions.    Paul continues: [21] [F]or though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.    [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools; [23] and they exchanged [ēllaxan G236] the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles” (NRSV).    Everett Harrison believes that ‘the glory of God’ here refers to Adam and Eve’s original ability to have direct (close) communion with the Almighty.42   As H. F. Vos notes, the Greeks conceived of their gods much like themselves, with passions like their own and interminable (endless) petty quarrels and infidelities.43   Belief in their deities usually did not greatly affect their daily conduct.44    In fact, the actions of the gods were so embarrassing that as early as the sixth century BC philosophers began to repudiate them and became atheistic, and the dramatists used the tales selectively and creatively.45  After Alexander the Great, in the Hellenistic Age, individuals increasingly sought a more personalized religion, turning to mystery religions or seeking answers in secular philosophy.    Zeno, who came to Athens in the late fourth century BC, developed Stoicism, which primarily held that one could best find happiness by discovering and living by the laws of nature, a kind of providence but not a personal deity.    ‘Be happy with what life has given you, and play your part’—a belief which did tend to develop moral strength but often failed to attack social evils.    By drawing into one’s soul, one could find peace.    In Roman times, the Stoics came to believe that there was a divine mind which coexisted with nature, and human souls are part of this pantheistic god (i.e., the universe = god).    They also became more and more interested in ethical behavior, in one doing one’s duty to others and to the state.    About the same time as Zeno appeared, Epicurus also came to Athens and developed Epicureanism, which taught that the supreme good in life is to seek pleasure in happiness—which he viewed as living free from pain and fear.    He believed that the gods lived in a remote heaven and were not concerned with human affairs.    Although Epicurus originally felt that only a virtuous person could find happiness, in Roman times his philosophy came to focus more on sensual pleasure and personal satisfaction, and it became an excuse for self-indulgence and debased sexual activity.46   However. Epicureanism and Stocism appealed to only a minority of Romans, and did not have the appeal of Oriental religions, especially with the lower classes in the cities.    These mystery religions held secret initiatory rituals which held that in some mysterious way the devotee established intimate contact with a god or goddess; and these cults offered eternal life, which the official cults could not.    These mystery religions started in the Greek East in the last centuries BC, and then spread to the Roman West in the early centuries AD.47    This union with the deity was established in a personal and sometimes orgiastic way.    Particularly in the cult of Dionysus, a fertility god who became identified with many other deities, the grapevine was his emblem, and the phallus was important.     The Dionysian mysteries pictured in the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii48 culminate (pictorially) with the woman-initiate reaching out to uncover a large phallus,49 while an disrobed, drunken, passed-out Dionysus lays his head in the lap of his beloved Ariadne50—indicating that there was, at the time this room was painted (c. 40 BC), a sexual dimension here, as well as religious,51 even though we do not know what was done sexually.   


6. First exchange, continued:  The relationship between religions and sexual immorality.   Louis Epstein (1948) noted that orgies commonly occurred at heathen festivals, even in Israel (e.g., Hos 4:12-18; Isa 57:3-5; Jer 2:20, 33 and 3:1-2).    And there is little doubt that Paul’s discussion of food offered to idols in 1 Cor 8–10 included a problem with prostitution (porneia), which flourished on festive occasions in some pagan temples.52   Paul’s reference to the Golden Calf incident (Exod 32:6, 1 Cor 10:7), where we find the ancient Israelites ‘eating and drinking and rising up to play,’ there is little doubt that “to play” here is a euphemism for sexual activities.53   Later John the Apostle criticizes the church at Pergamum (now in western Turkey) for being guilty of eating food sacrificed to idols along with sexual immorality (Rev 2:14ff); and the general Church decree in Acts 15 seems to confront this same problem, with its call to abstain “from things polluted by [meat offered to] idols and from fornication” (Acts 15:20, NRSV).54   As Catherine Edwards (1993) explains, sexual pleasure was often expected at the end of a banquet, with prostitutes offered as part of the entertainment.   Dio Chrysostom (c.40–c.120) remarks how brothel-keepers brought “their stock” to these “great festive occasions” (De invidia: Oratio 77-78.4).55     So while cultic (temple) prostitutes were not the issue, secular prostitutes who were present at temple feasts certainly were.             

Little is known about how sexual activities may have played a part in some religious ceremonies, although one suspects from Petronius’s Satyricon (65 AD) that the priestess Quartilla included sexual acts in her worship of the fertility god Priapus (Satyricon 2.17-18); and while the Mother Goddess cult honored male castration, Apuleius’s Golden Ass (2nd century AD) depicts its eunuch priests engaging in (homo)sexual orgies as they go begging from town to town (Golden Ass, 8.29).    As for Dionysus (Latin: Bacchus), he was sometimes depicted as a mighty bull, the embodiment of animal maleness, and sometimes as an effeminate youth, with long curls and fair skin.    His followers gathered in wooded areas, dressed in fawn skins, where they acknowledged the god’s presence by eating raw animal meat, drinking excessively, and carrying around a phallus concealed in a basket.    Dionysus possessed his devotees in different ways: in ecstasy, drunkenness, sex, and spiritual bliss.56    The Roman historian Livy (59 BC-AD 17) describes a real-life incident which led the Roman Senate in 186 BC to order the destruction of most Bacchic shrines in Italy and to strictly control Bacchic worship there.57    A Greek priest had brought the cult to Etruria (a region north of Rome) in the second century BC and introduced its secret ceremonies; and soon men as well as woman, of varying ages, were gathering at night to enjoy the feasting and drinking.    Then after the wine had inflamed their lust, they turned to fulfill their passions in whatever manner they so desired, in the process violating many free men and women.    The gatherings also led to violence, poisoning, and murder (although some of the bodies were never found); and any cries for help were drowned out by the loud banging on drums and clanging of cymbals, as the debauchery and bloodshed went on (Livy, History of Rome 39.8).    Then the cult spread to Rome like an epidemic.    All of this came to light when Hispala, a well-known harlot, complained to the authorities of a plot relating to a young man named Aebutius (with whom she had a loving and sexual relationship), designed by his stepfather to destroy (kill) the youth for his own gain (39.9).    In the end, it was estimated that more than 7,000 men and woman had been involved in the ceremonies and conspiracy, although in the end only the chief priest and founders of the cult were held responsible for the crimes and immoralities that had occurred (39.17).58

Continued - An Analysis of Romans 1:18-32, Part 2 - A Giving Over to Lustful, Dishonoring and 'Unnatural' Sexual Behavior

FOOTNOTES:    1.Cf. Rogers 2009, p. 73     2. Harrison EBC 10 1976, p. 21     3. New Oxford American Dictionary, “idolatry”   4. Moo NIDB 5 2009, pp. 842, 850      5. Noted in Stowers 1994, pp. 83-83    6. (Morris 1988, p. 87)    7.  Witherington 2004, p. 145        8. Allen in Howley 1979, p. 1390        9. Witherington 1994, p. 61    10. Morris 1988, pp. 76-77       11. Kaseman 1980, p. 47       12. Witherington 2004, p. 62         13. Dunn 1988, p. 53   14. Scroggs OSB 1992, preface to “The Wisdom of Solomon”     15.   Witherington 2004, pp. 64-65; cf. Witherington, Corinth 1995, pp. 186-230      16. Anon., Wikipedia, “List of Egyptian gods and goddesses”    17. Nissinen 1998, p. 90      18. Harrison EBC 10 1976, p. 23     19. McGrath 1994, p. 133     20. Glynn 1997, pp. 7-8, 29-30     21. Glynn 1997, p. 47    22. Witherington 2004, p. 66     23. Perrin and Duling 1974, p. 48     24. Collins 2006, passim    25. C. H. Dodd, in Dunn 1988, pp. 54-55     26.  Ruden Paul, 2010, pp. 69-71    27. Witherington 2004, p. 64      28. Harrison EBC 10 1976, p. 22      29. Harrison EBC 10 1976, p. 23      30. Byrne 1996, p. 65       31. Byrne 1996, p. 67     32. Byrne 1996, p. 68        33. Harrison EBC 10 1976, pp. 23-24      34.  Harrison in Gaebelein 10 1976, p. 24     35. Witherington 2004, p. 65     36. Chapman 1981, p. 143    37. Chapman 1981, p. 144    38. Chapman 1981, p. 145     39.  Wikipedia, “The Meaning of the Word Buddha,” p. 1    40. Aune 1979, pp. 920, 923        41. Harris EBC 10 1976, p. 388 42. Harrison EBC 1976, p. 41  43. Vos 1988, p. 107    44. Vos 1988, pp. 108-109     45. Vos 1988, p. 109       46. Vos 1988, pp. 110, 113    47. Vos 1988, p. 113     48. Vos 1988, p. 115     49. Clarke 2003, plate 28, p. 56      50. Clarke 2003, plate 30, p. 57       51. Clarke 3002, pp. 54, 56       52. Rosner 1998, p. 350       53. Rosner 1998, p. 349         54. Rosner 1998, p. 350        55. Rosner 1998, p. 350      56. Meyer 1987, p. 63     57. Meyer 1987, p. 81      58. Meyer 1987, pp. 82-83



Allen, Leslie C., “Romans,” in G. C. D. Howley, ed., New Layman’s Bible Commentary, 1979, pp. 1137-1418.

Anonymous, “List of Egyptian gods and goddesses,” Wikipedia online,, accessed 3/25/12.

Anonymous, “The Measning of the Word Buddha,” Parami (a Buddhist site) online,, accessed 3/27/12.

Apuleius, The Golden Ass, trans. and introduction by Joel C. Relihan, 2007.

Aune, David E., “Demon; Demonology,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4, 1988, pp. 107-117.

Baumgarten, Albert, preface and notes for “The Wisdom of Solomon, in The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with the Apocrypha, 1989.   

Byrne, Brendan, Romans, 1996.

Chapman, Colin, An Eerdman’s Handbook: The Case for Christianity, 1981.

Clarke, John R., Roman Sex, 100 BC–AD 250, photographs by Michael Larvey, 2003.

Collins, Francis C., The Language of God: A Scientist Looks at the Evidence, 2006.

Dunn, James D.G., Romans 1-8, 1988.

Glynn, Patrick, God, the Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World, 1997.

Harris, Murray J., “2 Corinthians,” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 10, 1976, pp. 299-406.

Harrison, Everett F., “Romans,” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 10, 1976, pp. 1-171.

Käsemann, Ernst, Commentary on Romans, 1980.

McGrath, Alister E., Christian Theology: An Introduction, 1994.

Meyer, Marvin W., ed., The Ancient Mysteries, A Sourcebook: Sacred Texts of the Mystery Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean World, 1987. 

Moo, Douglas, “Romans, Letter to the,” in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 5, 2009, pp. 841-852.

Morris, Leon, The Epistle to the Romans, 1988.

New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd ed. 2005.

Nissinen, Martti, Homoeroticism in the Biblical World: A Historical Perspective, 1998. 

Perrin, Norman, and Dennis C. Duling, The New Testament: An Introduction, (1974) 1982.

Petronius, Satyricon, trans. with notes by Sarah Ruden, 2000.

Rogers, Jack, Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explore the Myths, Heal the Church, (2006) 2009.

Rosner, Brian S., “Temple Prostitution in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20,” Novum Testamentum 40 (1998), pp. 336-351.

Ruden, Sarah, Paul among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time, 2010.

Stowers, Stanley K., A Reading of Romans: Justice, Jews, and Gentiles, 1994.

Vos, Clarence J., “Religions of the Bible World: Greco-Roman,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4, 1988, pp. 107-117.

Witherington, Ben, III, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, 1995.

Witherington, Ben, III, with Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, 2004.


BIBLE TRANSLATIONS: New Revised Standard Version, 1989. New International Version, 1978. Revised English Bible, 1989


Photo: Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st Century A.D. Braccio Nuovo of the Vatican, Rome, Italy.

© 2012 Bruce L. Gerig

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