Notes on Romans 1:8
(Rom 1:8 KJV) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all,
Thanking God through Jesus Christ is how we are to give thanks and it is one and the same with thanking God in the name of Jesus: see the following Scriptures:
Eph 5:20 (KJV) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Col 3:17 (KJV) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
It means giving thanks to God because of Jesus Christ or for the sake of Jesus Christ. It is giving thanks to God in or by open acknowledgment of what the Lord Jesus has done. In simple terms, it is thanksgiving infused with or borne out of a Christ-consciousness.
See Heb. 13:15 (KJV):
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise [or thanksgiving] to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks [confessing] to [or acknowledging] his name.
Words in parenthesis mine.
A sacrifice of praise is the offering presented by lips acknowledging the name of Jesus. In other words, it is offering up praise or thanksgiving to God in acknowledgment of who Jesus is and what He has done.
Therefore, we understand that in celebrating or acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that is, His efficacy and victory over all, God is glorified: Phil. 2:11! This is because the Father has ordained that through Him God may be all in all and He is indeed the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person! Heb.1:3.
Here in this verse, the apostle is expressing his gratitude to God for their illustrious faith by acknowledging the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ in it. He may as well have stated, “First, I am grateful to my God for you all that by virtue of the Lord Jesus, your faith is spoken of everywhere!” Again, we see that it is thanksgiving or gratitude borne out of or infused with Christ-consciousness.
This lets us know that it is through Him that we receive all of God’s blessings and goodness: John 1:16; Eph.1:3; Rom. 8:32. Therefore, giving thanks through Christ or in the name of Jesus is giving thanks well.
Now, from Scriptures we understand that by praying and giving thanks in the Holy Ghost, e.g., in tongues, or in tongues and interpretation we are giving thanks in the name of Jesus or through Him.
This is because the Holy Ghost is come in the name of Jesus: John 14:26
From the Scriptures already quoted above: Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17, giving thanks in the name of Jesus or through Him is how we ought to give thanks. This means that when we do so we are giving thanks well. Scripture lets us know that giving thanks in tongues is giving thanks well! 1 Cor. 14:16. Accordingly, giving thanks in tongues is giving thanks in the name of Jesus.
Furthermore, the Holy Ghost glorifies Jesus by taking of what is His and revealing it to us: John 16:14,15. Therefore when we pray in the Spirit our hearts and minds are illuminated as to the glory of Jesus filling us with a Christ-consciousness from which right thanksgiving flows. Likewise, when we give thanks in tongues we are in effect giving thanks for that for which God has freely given to us alongside the Lord Jesus Christ; cf. Rom.8:32; 1 Cor. 2: 12,13.
that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
The whole world here is most likely the entire Roman empire of the day.
Their faith being spoken of throughout the whole world is proof that they were particularly distinguished for their faith, that is, they were particularly strong in the faith and as such were famous for it.
Our strength in the faith will always bring us into the limelight and will serve as an encouragement and source of joy and gratitude for others as it apparently was for Paul.
The celebration, commendation of the faith of others should be a thing for which we, as believers should be grateful for and not envious about. We are not in competition with each other.
Lastly, note that when this epistle was written, Paul had not yet been to or had any communication with the church at Rome, yet here he was, as an apostle to the Gentiles, giving thanks for the celebration, commendation of their faith across the world. As Christian leaders, we should be thankful to God for His good graces that are found in others whether or not we had anything to do with it.