Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

Romans 15


15. [1] The fundamental Christian principle is mutual service and help, after the model of the Christ, and in that endurance and encouragement which GOD gives to promote harmony in His service.

[7] This mutual service and reception is the proper consequence in the Christian life, of Christ’s service and reception of Jew and Gentile unto GOD’s glory, the foundation of the hope, joy and peace of all Christian men.

Verse 1

1. ὀφείλομεν δὲ. But beyond this we have a positive duty to fulfil; cf. for this reference of duty to the example of Christ 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:11; Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 5:2.

ἡμεῖς οἱ δυνατοὶ. S. Paul includes himself, but he does not here dwell on his own example as he does to his own converts; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1-23. οἱ δυνατοὶ = who are able; cf. 2 Corinthians 13:9.

τὰ ἀσθενήματα, only here. The several acts and instances of ἀσθένεια.

βαστάζειν. Cf. Galatians 6:2, not merely = ‘to put up with,’ but to help in bearing the load; cf. Romans 12:13. The strong would adopt the practices of the weak, when in their company, and so help them to bear the burden of these self-imposed regulations; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:29; 1 Corinthians 9:22. This gives full meaning to the following negative clause.

Verses 1-6

1–6. The negative principle just laid down—of self-suppression in the interests of the weak—does not exhaust the Christian’s duty: there is a positive obligation to share his burdens and to consult his wishes, for his good. This is to do as the Christ did.

Verses 1-13

14–15:13. A special case of Christian conduct—its true bearing towards scrupulous brethren

Verse 2

2. ἕκαστος ἡ. κ.τ.λ. puts the positive duty in corresponding form: with two qualifications securing that these concessions should not be mere sentimental benevolence, but aim at the good, in conduct, and keep in view what would strengthen the individual character; cf. on Romans 14:19.

Verse 3

3. καὶ γὰρ ὁ χριστὸς. Who is at once the standard and the inspiration of the Christian’s conduct. ὁ χρ. The Christ as we know Him in the life of Jesus.

ἀλλὰ καθὼς γέγρ., Psalms 69:9 : for constr. cf. Romans 9:7. The Christ submitted Himself to the reproaches heaped upon GOD, rather than please Himself. The quotation illustrates Christ’s principle in the extremest case: and the argument from it is a fortiori, Christians should act upon the principle in lesser difficulties. S. H. take it that S. Paul is using the quotation in a different sense from the original—taking σε = another man: but this seems unnecessary. The Psalm is frequently quoted in relation to Christ (John 2:17; Matthew 27:27-30; Matthew 27:34; John 19:29; and also Romans 11:9; Acts 1:20, Lid.).

Verse 4

4. ὅσα γὰρ κ.τ.λ. γὰρ in a manner apologises for a not very obvious quotation, and S. Paul takes the opportunity of insisting on the value of O.T. for Christians.

προεγράφη. Cf. Romans 1:2; Ephesians 1:12 τοὺς προηλπικότας; Galatians 3:8.

εἰς τὴν κ.τ.λ. ‘With a view to’—this was their purpose; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16.

ἡμετέραν. ‘Of us Christians.’ διδασκαλίαν, teaching, instruction. So perhaps always in N.T. (not = doctrine).

διὰ τῆς ὑ. κ. διὰ τ. π. τ. γρ. ‘By the endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures.’ The repetition of διὰ seems to separate the two phrases and limit τῶν γρ. to the second (not so, Gif., Lid.): then = by means of the steadfast endurance proper to the Christian and with the help of the encouragement afforded by the scriptures. If, on the other hand, we connect both subst. with τῶν γραφῶν it is difficult to find a clear meaning for the first: Lid. “the patience of which the O.T. gives such bright examples”; Gif. “the patience is that which the scriptures give”; both seem strained. The two subst. have a special reference here to the ‘burdens to be borne.’

τὴν ἐλπίδα. The Christian attitude of hope. ἔχωμεν = maintain—the proper durative sense; cf. Romans 5:1. Moulton, p. 110. This statement of the use of the O.T. scriptures must be compared with 2 Timothy 3:16 : they imply [1] that the O.T. has a permanent value for the Christian, [2] that that value is two-fold, (a) for instruction, discipline and encouragement of the Christian, (b) as witnessing to Christ in whom is the Christian hope. The statements do not go beyond this, S. H.; cf. Lid.

Verse 5

5. ὁ δὲ θεὸς κ.τ.λ. The thought passes rapidly from the scriptures to the one Author of the truth they contain, of the power of endurance, and of encouragement; and from the particular instance of unity to the general principle, and from the special end of service of the brethren to the all-inclusive end of the glory of GOD.

ὁ θεὸς τῆς ὑπ. καὶ τῆς π. This gen. after θεὸς is confined to S. Paul (exc. Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:10) and to prayers: the gen. describes a gift of GOD in each case, εἰρήνη (Romans 15:33; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:2-3; Hebrews 13:20); ἐλπίς (Romans 15:13); παράκλησις (2 Corinthians 1:3); ἀγάπη (2 Corinthians 13:11); χάρις (1 Peter 5:10). In each case the gift mentioned has special ref. to context. So here = that GOD who enables us to endure and encourages us by the scriptures. O.T. |[289]s are not frequent and chiefly in Psalms, in prayers τῆς σωτηρίας most common; cf. Psalms 17:4-6; Psalms 30 [31]:5; 41 [42]:8; 61 [62]:7.

τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν. The unity of mind and interest, easily impaired if difference of opinion is allowed to affect personal relations, is the best preventive of such dissension: the words carry us back to Romans 12:16 and indicate the presence beneath the surface of the argument of the fundamental theme, the union of Jew and Gentile in Christ: this becomes explicit in Romans 15:7 ff.

ἐν ἀλλήλοις. Cf. εἰς ἀλλήλους, Romans 12:16 = mutually.

κατὰ Χρ. Ἰης. After the manner and rule of Christ Jesus—as exemplified in His life on earth and His mission (Christ) of reconciliation; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18 to 2 Corinthians 6:3 f. This combination and order are confined to S. Paul (throughout) and Acts (? Matthew 1:18).

Verse 6

6. ὁμοθυμαδὸν. Acts [10] and here only: with one heart and mouth,—the expression of τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν.

δοξάζητε τ. θ. “A phrase much used in both O.T. and N.T. for all forms of human recognition of GOD’s true character and work, rendered by word or by act,” Hort, 1 Peter 2:12. The special subject of recognition is here indicated by the full description.

τὸν θεὸν κ. π. τ. κ. . . Χρ. Cf. Philippians 2:11 with context from Romans 15:2. This full description is a compendium of the Gospel, especially as the Gospel of reconciliation; and comes suitably here as the climax of the detailed exhortations to unity, echoing the appeal of Romans 12:1 to ‘the compassions of GOD.’ The whole economy of creation and redemption comes from GOD, revealed as the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as in Him ‘reconciling the world to Himself.’ The full phrase occurs only in benedictions (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; cf. Colossians 1:3) or other places of special solemnity (here and 2 Corinthians 11:31 nearly). Both θεὸν and πατέρα are to be taken with τ. κ.; cf. Hort on 1 Peter 1:3 (p. 29).

Verse 7

7. διὸ κ.τ.λ. This verse resumes and restates Romans 15:5-6. προσλ. . |[290] τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν; καθὼς κ.τ.λ. |[291] κατὰ Χρ. Ἰης.; εἰς δόξαν |[292] ἵνα κ.τ.λ.

διὸ. On all the grounds stated in Romans 14:1 to Romans 15:6.

προσλ. ἀλλ. As in Romans 14:1 but wider—each other, in spite of all the differences which tend to separate man from man; cf. Romans 11:15; Philemon 1:12; Philemon 1:17; Acts 18:26; Acts 28:2. Does this connexion involve the conclusion that “the relations of Jew and Gentile were directly or indirectly involved in the relations of strong and weak”? see S. H. qu. Hort.

καθὼς καὶ κ.τ.λ. resumes the whole argument of 1–11 incl. Those chapters show how the Christ brought all men to Himself, with all their differences and all their sins.

ἡμᾶς. Us Christians, including already representatively Jews and Gentiles.

εἰς δόξαν τοῦ οεοῦ. With a view to glorifying GOD cf. Romans 11:33-36.

Verses 7-13

7–13. This is the final stage of the appeal for unity in the new life: and therefore goes to the bottom of the question, the unity of Jew and Gentile. It is not mere toleration that is needed, but full reception, based on the mind and work of Christ.

Verse 8

8. λέγω γὰρ explains and justifies the statement ὁ Χρ. προσελ. ἡμᾶς, by showing that the call of Jew and Gentile alike was a true instance of service rendered by Christ to GOD in bearing the burdens of the weak.

διάκονον γ. περιτομῆς. A very remarkable phrase, n. [1] the order throws emphasis on διάκονον, the natural order being γεγενῆσθαι διάκονον περιτομῆς (Blass, p. 287–8). [2] then by διάκονον so placed is emphasised that aspect of the work of Christ which specially affords an example of service to others, and so it clinches the appeal to the strong to bear the burdens of the weak. The fundamental use of διάκονος for menial service to a master makes the word especially appropriate to this purpose. (cf. Hort, Chr. Eccles., p. 202 f.; cf. Luke 12:37; Matthew 20:28, |[293] Mk and n. John 13:13-16.) [3] περιτομῆς will in this case define the burden which the διάκονος took up, and stand for the whole order of preparatory law which is summed up in the fundamental requisite of circumcision: an exact parallel to this conception is given in Galatians 4:4; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20. The gen. is objective, |[294], 2 Corinthians 3:6 καινῆς διαθήκης; Ephesians 3:7 εὐαγγελίου. He has so taken up the burden of circumcision and used it in the interests of GOD’s truth as to etc. [4] γεγενῆσθαι, a strong perfect (γεγονέναι might have been ambiguous, as it is sometimes aoristic; cf. Moulton, p. 146) implying the whole process of Christ’s διακονία as completed by Him and realised in the experience of S. Paul and the Church in its final purpose and result, the common call of Jew and Gentile alike, so ‘has proved to be …’ (the form here only in N.T., part. John 2:9 only. For LXX[295] cf. Thackeray § 24: for papyri Mayser, p. 391).

ὑπὲρ ἀληθείας θεοῦ names the object of the διακονία, but, instead of the personal object (τῷ θεῷ), the character of GOD which this service vindicates, and so explains εἰς δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ = in the interests of GOD’s truth, i.e. truthfulness; cf. Romans 3:4; Romans 3:7; cf. Psalms 30 [31]:6; Briggs, Psalms 15:2 (Internat. Com. I. p. 115) = ‘faithfulness, reliableness’; Kirkpatrick, Psalms 85:10. The faithfulness is vindicated by the fulfilment of the promises made under the covenant in all their comprehensive inclusion of Jew and Gentile together.

εἰς τὸ κ.τ.λ. With both βεβαιῶσαι and δοξάσαι (cf. Blass, p. 236): the aor. marks the result of the διακ. γ. as done once for all:= so that He established the promises and the Gentiles glorified GOD. Both Jew and Gentile received the full benefit of the service—the one in the fulfilment of the promises, their special treasure (Romans 9:4; Ephesians 2:12) and the other in the call of GOD’s mercy.

βεβαιῶσαι. Here simply ‘confirmed,’ ‘established’ by fulfilling; cf. Romans 4:16; Hebrews 2:2. Peril, in all other places in N.T. the meaning ‘warrant’ or ‘guarantee’ is to be preferred.

τὰς ἐπ. τῶν πατέρων. Cf. Acts 13:32; Acts 16:6. No other instance of this gen. w. ἐπαγγ.: obj. gen. ‘made to …’ It might be ‘possessive’; for the whole thought cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20.

τῶν πατέρων, Romans 9:5 n.

Verse 9

9. τὸ δὲ ἔθνηδοξάσαι. The two infinitives under one article mark the fact that the twofold result is really one: the confirmation of the promises comes by the call of the Gentiles. The δὲ marks the contrast between τὰ ἔθνη and τῶν πατέρων; the one result brought a double benefit, to Jews and to the Gentiles:= ‘while for their part.’

ὑπὲρ ἐλέους. Cf. Romans 11:30-31 := on account of mercy received; nearly = περὶ, v. Blass, p. 135. The order puts emphasis on ὑπὲρ ἐλέους; the absence of the article emphasises the character of the new state.

καθὼς γέγραπται. The order quotations all illustrate the union of Jew and Gentile in ‘the promises’: the first three as uniting in rendering praise to GOD for His mercies, the last as sharing in the promise of the Davidic king.

διὰ τοῦτο κ.τ.λ. Psalms 18 [17]:49 (Κύριε after ἔθνεσιν) the triumph of David over his enemies and the establishment of his throne is the effect of Jehovah’s faithfulness to His servant, and must be celebrated not only in Israel but among the heathen. These then have some share in the knowledge of Jehovah and His faithfulness.

Verse 10

10. εὐφράνθητε κ.τ.λ. Deuteronomy 32:43, from the Song of Moses, in close connexion with the execution of vengeance on GOD’s enemies, and the consequent rejoicing of heaven, sons of GOD and all the angels of GOD. In this triumph, then, the Gentiles are to share.

Verse 11

11. αἰνεῖτε κ.τ.λ. Psalms 117 [116]:1 (om. καὶ bef. ἐπαιν. LXX[296]). The Gentiles are called upon to praise GOD for His lovingkindness and faithfulness to Israel (so here ἀλήθεια and ἔλεος).

Verse 12

12. ἔσται ἡ ῥίζα., Isaiah 11:10 LX[297]. The climax of the most definite Messianic passage in Isaiah 1-40; the Messiah, the Davidic king, will include the Gentiles in His dominion by their voluntary ‘resort’ to Him (for ἐλπιοῦσιν—‘seek’ R.V., ‘resort’ Cheyne).

Verse 13

13. ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς ἐλπίδος. The GOD who gives us this hope; cf. on Romans 15:5. τῆς ἐλπίδος suggested by ἐλπιοῦσιν, Romans 15:12 must refer definitely to the hope of the gathering of all to Christ, Jew and Gentile (cf. Romans 11:13-16; Romans 11:25 ff.) as already there has been a representative gathering (v.7).

πληρώσαι κ.τ.λ. Joy and peace are the proper consequences of such a hope, as fulfilling what love makes desirable, and putting men at peace with each other in view of the event.

ἐν τῷ πιστεύειν = in the active exercise of faith in GOD, that He will accomplish this promise.

εἰς τὸ περ. The result of this faith, invigorated by the temper of joy and peace, is to increase the activity of this hope in them: their hope in this accomplishment will be more real and vigorous.

ἐν δυνάμει πν. ἁγ. The original power of all exercise of Christian grace—in power from the Holy Spirit; cf. 19, Luke 4:14 only; cf. Ephesians 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; cf. Hort on 1 Peter 1:5.

πνεύματος ἁγίου. The Holy Spirit: for abs. of article cf. 1 Peter 1:5 ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ; 1 Corinthians 2:5, 2 Corinthians 6:7; so 2 Corinthians 13:4 (ἐκ); 2 Timothy 1:8 (κατὰ) and without preposition; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:24 : in fact the combination is always anarthrous.

Verse 14

14. πέπεισμαι δὲ κ.τ.λ. He deprecates the interpretation of the letter as involving any distrust or depreciation of them.

ἀδελφοί μου. A. specially intimate and affectionate appeal.

καὶ αὐτὸς ἐγὼ. I, without waiting for others to tell me, of my own knowledge and confidence. Is there an underlying reference here to a letter from Aquila and Priscilla which has given him full information about the Christians in Rome? See on Romans 16:3.

ὅτι καὶ αὐτοί. You, of your own initiative, without requiring help from me.

ἀγαθωσύνης. In LXX[298] the meaning of kindliness, benevolence, occurs in Nehemiah 9:25; Nehemiah 9:35; Nehemiah 13:31 (of GOD) and perhaps Judges 8:35; Judges 9:16. The same meaning suits best in Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9 (see Robinson); 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (“denotes a human quality always in S. Paul = moral excellence, but implies specifically an active beneficence” Findlay). Only in S. Paul, ll. cc. in N.T., not found in cl. Greek. Ep. Barn. Romans 2:9 of GOD. So here ‘goodness towards others’ picks up the thought of c. 14.

π. τ. γνώσεως. This again is suggested by the subject of 14; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:1 ff.; but of course has a wider reference.

νουθετεῖν. Acts 20:31 and Epp. P. only; 1 Corinthians 4:14 ὡς τέκνα )[299] ἐντρέπων; Colossians 1:28 |[300] διδάσκοντες, so Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14 a work of οἱ προϊστάμενοι; 2 Thessalonians 3:15 v. ὡς ἀδελφόν; ‘admonish,’ ‘warn’; ‘rebuke’ is too strong, c. 12 is a good instance of νουθεσία; cf. νουθεσία, 1 Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 6:4; Titus 3:10.

Verses 14-33

14–33. The letter passes to personal matters (a) 14–21 a delicate apology and justification of the letter itself: it is not sent with a view to supplementing deficiencies of the Roman Christians, but partly, at least, to remind them of the great truths of the Gospel, and justified by the writer’s commission and experience, all under Christ, and of Christ’s work among the Gentiles through him, (b) 22–29 it is the outcome of the affection which has always made him eager to visit them, and now that his work in Achaia and the east is finished, he proposes to visit them on the way to Spain, first fulfilling a commission of love and gratitude from his Gentile churches to Jerusalem, where he hopes that his visit will be accompanied by a consummate blessing of Christ, (c) 30–33. Meantime he almost passionately begs for their prayers that he himself may be rescued from the attacks of the unbelievers in Jerusalem, and that the service he is engaged upon may be thoroughly acceptable to the Church there, that he may come to them in the joy of accomplished purpose and be refreshed with them for further effort. He concludes with the prayer that the GOD of that peace, which he is hazarding all to promote, may be with all at Rome, overcoming their differences too.

The object of this section is clearly to forestall misconceptions and to establish a thorough understanding and mutual sympathy between writer and readers. The dominant interest of S. Paul at the time is shown to be the cementing of the union of Jew and Gentile within the Church, the crucial example and the earnest of the establishment of the full peace of GOD between man and man in all their differences. This brings in the note of deep and almost passionate feeling: and corresponds with the tone and interest of the whole Epistle. The object of the proposed journey to Rome, for which this letter is a preparation, is shown to be twofold: (a) to make personal acquaintance with the Roman Church and to advance the Gospel among them, (b) to secure a base of operations for renewed missionary activity, in Spain.

Verse 15

15. τολμηροτέρως = in somewhat bold terms: the comparative gives an apologetic note, which is observable throughout the passage: he will not seem, in any way, to be forcing himself upon them either in teaching or in person.

ἔγραψα. The epistolary aorist; cf. Ephesians 6:22 (ἔπεμψα); 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 9:15; Galatians 6:11; Philemon 1:19; Philemon 1:21.

ἀπὸ μέρους can hardly mean ‘in parts of the Epistle’: rather with ὡς ‘partly by way of reminding you.’ He could not honestly feel that the Epistle did nothing but remind them of what they knew. ἀπὸ μέρους qualifies an overstrong statement Romans 11:25, Romans 15:24; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 2:5 (only).

ἐπαναμ., here only. Herm. Vis. 4. 1. 7 (only, in Pat. Ap.), Plat. Dem. (L. & S.). ἐπ. over again, with the hint that it may be superfluous.

διὰ κ.τ.λ. The impulse was due to the grace—constituting an obligation.

τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθ. μοι. CF. Romans 12:3; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:7-8; Philippians 1:7; Colossians 1:6. In all these passages χάρις has direct reference to S. Paul’s commission as an apostle to the Gentiles; and here and elsewhere to the definite act by which he was commissioned, in his call. ‘Grace was given to him for his ministry to the Gentiles—to the Gentiles through his ministry.’ See Robinson, Eph. pp. 225 f.

Verse 16

16. λειτουργὸν Χρ. Ἰης. Cf. Romans 13:6 n.; cf. Philippians 2:25 (ὑμῶνλειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου = εἰς ἐμέ); Christ Himself is a λειτουργός, Hebrews 8:2; cf. S. Paul 2 Corinthians 9:12; the Philippians Philippians 2:17; Philippians 2:30; cf. here Romans 15:27; 2 Corinthians 9:12; angels Hebrews 1:7 : in a more special sense Luke 1:23; Acts 13:2; Hebrews 9:21; Hebrews 10:11. The classical meaning of a public service performed to the community still colours the word. S. Paul adds here the name of the authority, who orders the performance, and the persons to whose benefit it is directed. As compared with διάκονος the public and representative character is emphasised. The Ecclesiastical usage for services of public worship is to be interpreted by rather than to interpret the wider use. Here the context gives it the specially religious sense.

εἰς τὰ ἔθνη with λ.; cf. πρός με, Philippians 2:30.

ἱερουργοῦντα. Only here in N.T. 4 Maccabees 7:8 (Sixtine edtn; Sw. δημιουργοῦντες) with τὸν νόμον, but the doubt as to text makes this passage useless. Subst. 4 Maccabees 3:20 = sacrifice. The verb is rare and late. It is used [1] abs. = to act as priest in sacrifice: [2] with accus. when the object is the victim sacrificed; and in the pass. of victims. It is very difficult to apply this sense here; τὸ εὐ τ. θ. can hardly be the matter offered as a victim; the next clause shows that the matter of the offering is the Gentiles or the consecrated lives which they bring: and this agrees with the other uses of sacrificial terms by S. Paul (θυσία, Romans 12:1 n.; cf. Hort, 1 Peter 2:5, λειτουργία, Philippians 2:17). As however ἱερουργεῖν prop. = to be a ἱερουργός, the transitive use must be secondary: and we may perhaps take it here as abs. and τὸ εὐαγ. as an accus. of reference = exercising a priesthood in reference to the Gospel of GOD. So Lid., S. H. alibi . then specialises the meaning of λειτουργόν, and τὸ εὐαγ. describes the rule or standard of this priesthood, in contrast with the priesthood of the law; cf. Hebrews 7:28. So Rutherford tr. “discharging priestly duties of the Gospel of GOD.” The accus. With the verb would then correspond to the gen. with the subst. μυστηρίων ἱερουργός qu. from Galen. See Field, ad loc[302]

ἵνα depends on the whole preceding clause λ. Χρ. . .…

ἡ προσφορὰ τῶν ἐθνῶν, for the gen. cf. Hebrews 10:10 only. In προσφορὰ and προσφέρειν the dominant notion is of ‘approach to GOD,’ the offering symbolising the approach of the offerer to GOD’s presence; cf. Westcott, Hebrews 10:10; Hort, 1 Pet. ii. 5, p. 111a. The gen. is probably therefore objective. The Gentiles are the offering which S. Paul as Gospel-priest brings to God; this is the matter of the ministry which he exercises under Christ Jesus.

εὐπρόσδεκτος; cf. 1 Peter 2:5 = δεκτὸς, Philippians 4:18; εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας, Ephesians 5:2 (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:14 f.); τῷ θεῷ εὐάρεστον, Romans 12:1.

ἡγιασμένη ἐν πν. ἁγ. gives the ground of acceptability; cf. πνευματικός, 1 Peter 2:5.

Verse 17

17. ἔχω οὖν. οὖν refers to the preceding statement of his mission—being in this relation to Christ Jesus and engaged on this work for Him, I am bold beyond what I should be if I were acting on my own account; shows how this statement justifies τολμ. ἔγραψα.

ἔχω καύχησιν = καυχῶμαι, emphasising the durative action.

ἐν Χρ. . In my union with and service of Christ Jesus.

τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. As regards my relation to GOD: accus. of ref. Blass, p. 94; cf. Hebrews 2:17.

Verse 18

18. οὐ γὰρ κ.τ.λ. The comparison with 2 Corinthians 10:8 f. seems to show that a double qualification of καύχησις is compressed into this rather clumsy declaration [1] I will only boast of my own works (not ἐν ἀλλοτρίοις κόποις), [2] I will not dare to boast of these works as my own, but only as Christ’s achievements through me: the thought of [1] crops up again in Romans 15:20, of [2] in 19.

εἰς ὑπακοὴν ἐθνῶν. Cf. Romans 16:19; to effect obedience (to Christ, of faith) on the part of Gentiles.

λόγῳ καὶ ἔργῳ. In speech and action: i.e. both in the preaching of the Gospel and in exemplifying it in life: more specific than 2 Corinthians 10:11; cf. Luke 24:9; Acts 7:22; Colossians 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 1 John 3:18.

Verse 19

19. ἐν δ. σημείων καὶ τεράτων. Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:12. There is no doubt that S. Paul himself claimed to work miracles; cf. Hebrews 2:4; Acts pass.

ἐν δυνάμει πν. ἁγ. Cf. 13, the climax of the manifestation of the power of the Gospel.

ὥστε after κατειργάσατο.

ἀπὸ Ἰερ.—Ἰλλυρικοῦ. This geographical measure of his work in the Gospel is in conception exactly |[303], 2 Corinthians 10:14-16 (there too, as he is addressing the Corinthians, Corinth itself is the limit): n. that in S. Paul’s view Jerusalem is the beginning for himself as for the other Apostles (cf. Hort, R. E. pp. 39 ff).

κύκλῳ. With μέχρι τ. ., marking the course of his missionary journey: as S. H. with the Greek commentators whose verdict on such a question of language is weighty. Al[304] take it with Ἰερ. but [1] S. Paul did not preach as a missionary in Judea, [2] κύκλῳ could hardly include Syria, [3] it would need the article.

Ἰλλυρικοῦ clearly marks the furthest point as towards Rome which his preaching had reached at the time he was writing this letter (in Corinth). The name was given to the western districts of the province of Macedonia (Mommsen, Provv. I., p. 299 f.). It would mark his nearest approach to Rome: as at Thessalonica he had been on the direct road to Dyrrhachium, the most direct route from the East to Rome. It is most probable that μέχρι is exclusive; [1] it is not easy to find a place in the Acts for any preaching in the interior of the province of Macedonia, scarcely in Acts 20:2; [2] there were then no important towns till the sea coast was reached, the inhabitants being “a confused mass of non-Greek peoples.” It was not S. Paul’s practice to preach in such country districts: [3] in marking limits μέχρι would be more naturally exclusive; cf. Mommsen, ib[305], 256 n.; but see Ramsay, Gal. p. 276.

πεπληρ. τὸ εὐ. τ. χρ. ‘The Gospel of the Christ’ has special reference to the call of the Gentiles and missionary work among them; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27. πεπληρ. he has completed the preaching throughout all this area—by establishing the Gospel in all the principal centres. The statement must be taken in connexion with S. Paul’s own conception of his mission and of the methods by which it could be carried out: cf. again 2 Corinthians 10:13 f.; cf. Ramsay, Pauline Studies, p. 77 f. For constr. cf. Colossians 1:25; Acts 14:26.

Verse 20

20. οὕτως δὲ κ.τ.λ. qualifying πεπληρωκέναι:= but always with the eager desire.

φιλοτιμούμενον. This word is a good illustration of meaning determined by use, rather than by derivation. The primary (derivative) sense is ‘to be ambitious’: in the ‘general usage of the best Greek writers’= ‘to make one’s best efforts.’ So. 2 Corinthians 5:9 a heightening of θαρροῦμεν καὶ εὐδοκοῦμεν; 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (only, in N.T.); cf. Polyb. I. 83 (qu. Field) ἐφιλοτιμεῖτο |[306] μεγάλην ἐποιεῖτο σπουδήν.

οὐχ ὅπου ὠνομάσθη Χρ. Cf. Ephesians 1:21; cf. Jeremiah 32:15 (Jeremiah 25:29) = was named as an object of allegiance and worship; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2; Isaiah 66:19.

ἵνα μὴ ἐπ' ἀλλ. θ. οἰκ. Cf. 2 Corinthians 10:15 and for θεμ. 1 Corinthians 3:10; ἀλλ. = laid by another.

Verse 21

21. καθὼς γέγρ. Isaiah 52:15.

Verses 22-29

22–29. διὸ καὶ κ.τ.λ. This work has detained him; but its completion leaves him free to fulfil his long cherished purpose, as soon as a special mission, in the interests of his work, has been fulfilled at Jerusalem. His visit to Rome has for its object a journey to Spain, for which he wishes to enlist their sympathy and support. The complication of motives and purposes here as so often leads to incomplete and involved sentences. The hesitancy of expression is partly due to his delicacy; he will not seem either to have neglected the Church in Rome, or to force himself upon them. So he explains his delay and in the same breath his reason for coming, as an appeal for their help in his work.

διὸ καὶ = this was just the reason why I was so constantly being hindered from etc.

ἐνεκοπτόμην. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 9:12 (subst.); (Polyb. 24. 1. 12 lect. dub.); cf. Witkowski, Ep. Priv. 24 ἡμῖν ἐνκόπτεις καλά ‘you are hindering us finely.’ No class, instance is quoted for this meaning. N. imperfect, ‘I was constantly being hindered.’

τὰ πολλὰ. Adverb, accus. (= πολλὰκις) akin to the accus. of the inner object; cf. Blass, p. 94.

τοῦ ἐλθεῖν. cf. Blass, p. 235: more commonly the pleonastic negative is inserted after verbs of hindering.

Verse 23

23. τόπον ἔχων = having opportunity or opening; cf. Romans 12:19; Ephesians 4:27; Hebrews 8:7; Hebrews 12:17; Acts 25:16.

κλίμασι. 2 Corinthians 11:10; Galatians 1:21, ‘districts’; cf. Ramsay, Gal., p. 278 ff. = ‘a comparatively small geographical district’; cf. Polyb. 10:1. 3.

ἐπιπόθειαν. Here only; cf. 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 7:11; v[307], Romans 1:11, alibi; adj. Philippians 4:1; ‘eager longing.’

ἐπ. ἔχωνἀπὸ ἱ. . Cf. Moulton, p. 119; 2 Corinthians 12:19; John 15:27. The linear present in this combination is best expressed by our perfect, ‘having had for several years past’; Burton § 17 cf[309], Acts 15:21 alibi; but cf. Blass, p. 189.

Verse 24

24. ὡς ἄν πορεύωμαι. In 1 Corinthians 11:34; Philippians 2:23 ὡς ἄν w. aor. subj. = ‘as soon as I shall have’: here = ‘when I am on my way to,’ ‘on my journey to Spain’ Rutherford. In LXX[311] ὡς ἄν w. aor. subj., = when, is frequent: only once in this sense with pres. subj. (Proverbs 6:22); cf. Moulton, p. 167 (where he notes the use of the futuristic present in the subj. mood) and Blass, p. 272. This use appears to be Hellenistic. In cl. Gr. ὡς ἄν is final; and this use would make good sense here: but it seems to have died out; cf. however Witkowski, Ep. Priv. Gr. 1.3.

ἐλπίζω γὰρ. A parenthesis occasioned by the mention of Spain—the ultimate object of his journey west.

θεάσασθαι. To visit, only here in N.T.; of. 2 Chronicles 22:6 LXX[312] only. My visit to you is to be ‘.in passing.’

ὑφ' . προπεμφθῆναι. Cf. 1 Corinthians 16:6; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13; 3 John 1:6; Acts [3] it implies assistance and speeding for the journey, and so here enlists the interests of the Romans for his work in Spain, and claims their support.

ὑμῶνἐμπλησθῶ. Cf. Od. XI. 452 υἷος ἐμπλησθῆναιὀφθαλμοῖας.

ἀπὸ μέρους. ‘In some degree.’ R.

Verse 25

25. νυνὶ δὲ. The sentence is broken off, to allow of explanation of still further delay; this journey was much in his mind, both for the interest of it, and the danger; cf. Hort R. and E., p. 43.

διακονῶν τοῖς ἁγίοις. Cf. 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 8:20; 2 Corinthians 9:1 f. This service for the saints occupied a great part in S. Paul’s mind at this time: it symbolised in a most expressive form the union of Jew and Gentile in the one Church: we may indeed say that the same thought so eagerly cherished and indefatigably pursued appears in the mission to Jerusalem and in the Epistle to the Romans. The synchronism cannot have been accidental. Introd. p. xiv.; Hort, R. and E., p. 40 ff.; Rendall, Expositor, Series IV., vol. 8, p. 321 f.

Verse 26

26. ηὐδόκησαν of men; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:12; subst. Luke 2:14 (v.l.); Romans 10:1; Philippians 1:15 only.

΄ακ. καὶ Ἀχ. The provinces are named to include all the Churches in them; cf. 2 Corinthians 9:2 f. The Churches of Galatia are also named in this connexion 1 Corinthians 16:1; cf. the list of companions Acts 20:4.

κοινωνίαν τινὰ ποιής. ‘To make a contribution’ Rutherford. Contribution is rather too cold a word. κοιν. = act of partnership or fellowship; cf. 2 Corinthians 9:13 where eh εἰς πάντας brings out the fuller meaning: so here τινα = a kind of partnership to help the poor etc. The act united the Gentile Churches in fellowship with each other and with the Church in Jerusalem whose poor they were helping; cf. also 2 Corinthians 8:4.

Verse 27

27. γὰρ corroborates—yes indeed; Blass, p. 274 f.

τοῖς πν.—τοῖς σαρκ. Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:11.

λειτουργῆσαι. Cf. Philippians 2:30 (-ία) 25 (-ος) of service from man to man.

Verse 28

28. τοῦτο = this business—of his mission in this cause.

ἐπιτελέσας. ‘When I have put a finish to’; cf. Philippians 1:6 : the word is used in the same connexion in 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:11.

σφραγισάμενος αὐ. τὸν καρπὸν τοῦτον. Deissmann, B. S. II. 65, 66, quotes from Papyri instances of sealing bags of corn etc. to prevent their being tampered with and so to secure them for the assignee: and following Theod. Mops, and Lipsius tr. ‘bring it safely into their possession.’ This will be an instance, then, of the commercial metaphors not infrequent in S. Paul (cf. βεβαιοῦν, χειρόγραφον, ἀρραβών). The present of money, symbolising brotherly fellowship, is the fruit received by the Jerusalem Church as the result of the spiritual labours of S. Paul, working on their behalf among the Gentiles. The seal was primarily a mark of ownership and authenticity and then secondarily of security and correctness (cf. Matthew 27:66) as here. So Rutherford “when I have securely conveyed to them this return.” So Chrys., Theodt (Cramer’s Catena IV. p. 512).

αὐτοῖς = οἱ ἅγιοι (Romans 15:25) in Jerusalem.

ἀπελεύσομαι for Attic ἄπειμι; εἶμι had fallen out of use in popular language, Blass, p. 52; cf. Thackeray, p. 257, 267.

εἰς Σπανίαν. Cf. S. H. Whether S. Paul visited Spain or not is doubtful. That he should have intended to is completely in accordance with his general plan of mission work; cf. Introd. p. xii; cf. Ramsay, Paul the Tr., p. 255.

Verse 29

29. ἐν πληρώματι εὐλογίας Χριστοῦ = bringing with me Christ’s blessing in its full completeness. He feels no doubt (οἶδα) that, if he succeeds in reaching Rome, that is, in getting safe through his mission to Jerusalem, he will have been successful too in the great aim of that mission, that is, in producing a signal manifestation of the union of Jew and Gentile and securing a full acknowledgement of it. This he regards as a complete execution of Christ’s blessing—i.e. GOD’s blessing offered in Christ to all mankind (cf. Galatians 3:9; Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 1:3) and, if he comes to them at all, it will be with this supreme achievement. See also Acts 20:24; infra Romans 15:31 and Hort R. and E., p. 42.

ἐν πλ. This use of ἐν is to be compared with ἐν ῥάβδῳ ἢ ἐν ἀγάπῃ (1 Corinthians 4:21), ἐν μαχαίρᾳ. Papp. = using or wearing, or furnished with; “haec exempla ad vestitum pertinent, significantia qua veste quis indutus, deinde quibus rebus ornatus et instructus sit,” Kuhring Prepos. Graec.; cf. Deissmann, B. S., p. 115.

Verse 30

30. παρακαλῶ δὲ κ.τ.λ. This urgent appeal reveals, as by a lightning flash, the tension of mind in which S. Paul was living at the time: the supreme importance of this mission was only rivalled by its extreme dangers. The hostility of the Judaizers and still more, of the unbelieving Jews naturally culminated at the moment when the success of his work was on the point of being secured; cf. Acts 20:3. It is no wonder that to himself at one time success at another the dangers were more obvious (cf. Acts 20:22-25; Acts 21:4; Acts 21:13). Here, as he above appealed to their support for his projected work in Spain, he appeals for their prayers in this great crisis.

διὰ τοῦδιὰ τῆς κ.τ.λ. See Romans 12:3 n. ‘on the authority of.’

τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ πνεύματος. A. unique phrase: not |[313], Galatians 5:22; Colossians 1:8. The idea = Romans 8:26 f. The parallelism of the clauses points to the meaning—the love which the Holy Spirit has for us and works in us—not the latter only.

συναγωνίσασθαι. Only here; cf. for the simple verb Colossians 1:29; Colossians 4:12, of strenuous effort. N. aor., the case brooks no delay.

ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς marks the way in which they can help in this supreme struggle.

Verse 31

31. ἵνα κ.τ.λ. The two elements in the situation are already marked: [1] rescue of S. Paul from the enemy who thought by one blow to shatter the work, [2] acceptance of the offering and its meaning by the Church in Jerusalem.

τῶν ἀπειθούντων. Cf. Acts 14:2 supra, Romans 10:21, Romans 11:30; 1 Peter 2:8.

Verse 32

32. συναναπαύσωμαι. Only here in N.T., sc. after the ἀγών. As they shared the struggle, so they should share the relief and rest.

Verse 33

33. ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης. The GOD who has given and will secure the peace, which Christ has won, and which is now at stake; cf. Romans 15:5 n. The prayer naturally concludes the impassioned appeal of the last few verses; cf. Hort, R. and E., p. 52.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Romans 15". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.