I am using Biblegateway.com for reading different translations, and I am not planning on reading any extra notes. I'll let you know if/when I use some though ;)
1-6: The letter starts with Paul introducing himself, although he quickly moves on to what/Who is more important: God, and His calling on Paul's life. Paul starts off with what is most important; he has his priorities straight-God is first. I like that. I admire that. And I want that in my life. Do you ever think about that? Where should God be? And where is God?
11-12: I like that, "that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith." I think that is how spiritual gifts are supposed to work. One person, gifted by the Holy Spirit, uses their gift for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7) and it encourages others in their faith. Then the one who used the gift gets to see and hear others' excitement for God, and are mutually encouraged. I like that :) It reminds me of being at church and singing worship music. I quite look forward to singing worship music (now, that has not always been the case). It is wonderful to be reminded of who God is, and what He has done. It is great to hear others sing His praise and to feel the connection that is provided by the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3-6). God is so good :)
Verses 1-17 are all quite encouraging, I think. The compassion Paul has for the people is prevalent, and he is clear that his mission is to spread what God has revealed to him-that righteousness has come by faith through Christ. And this is good news :)
And then he gets into why we (humans) suck. Why we fail. Why we are evil in God's eyes.
18-20: Paul outlines why God has reason to be angry at people. Paul says that "what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to [all people]. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." 21-23:Even though it is clear that God is powerful and divine, we have still chosen to put something else above God in our lives. We think we know what we are doing, but we don't...we think we can live a life that is better if we choose our own way, but that is foolish, Paul says.
24: Ahh, this reminds me of a quote I heard recently by CS Lewis. I'll see if I can find it :) Found it! "There will be two kinds of people in the end: Those that will say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God will say 'Thy will be done." In this verse, God says to the people, "Thy will be done." God continues to do this in the later verses...He lets us have our way...He lets us continue in our foolishness, in our lust, in our pride. And Paul ends it by saying that not only do we know that God tells us to do what is right, but that we approve of those who do wrong. We say, "Good show chap!" to those who deliberately choose to disobey God.
We know what is wrong. And we approve of it. We know it deserves death. And we pick it anyway. We choose death over life, because we have chosen not God.
Things are not looking so good for us humans at the end of this chapter. I hope you keep reading though ;)