8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Thanksgiving was Paul’s first priority in writing Romans. He knew what was important.
Paul made it a practice to give thanks to God for those to whom he wrote. The exception to this practice is Galatians. He could not bring himself to give thanks for a group that was that doctrinally off base.
The “my” indicates that God was personal to Paul.
Ps 63:1, O God, you are my God! I long for you! My soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
through Jesus Christ
Paul gave thanks “through Jesus Christ.” He understood that whatever happened in the lives of the Roman church, it was God who did it. Apart from Jesus nothing would have been done in Rome and the world.
for you all,
The Roman church was comprised mostly of people from other parts of the world. These people were aggressive in sharing their faith in the city of Rome. These Romans were not Paul’s converts, but he thanked God for them anyway. Nothing diminished his delight in their success.
that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
The faith of the church in Rome was spoken of throughout the Roman world. It was a church in a pagan city, the capital of the Roman Empire. Paul gave thanks for the believers’ widespread reputation for faith. This dynamic faith caused Paul to intensely thank God for them (vv. 9f).
God wants us to be known for our faith.
It is good that some churches hold commendation in their communities. Above all they should be known for their faith so that people say, “That group of people has genuine relationship with God.” Active faith makes our faith vital. We should be known for our theological and personal integrity.
Church growth is subject to the willingness of believers in the local church to share their faith. No culture dominated by pagan attitudes toward Christianity can daunt that kind of church.
True faith is as simple as believing God’s Word and applying it to experience.