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Bible Commentaries
Romans 15

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Verse 1

Romans 15:1

Ch. 15:1-13 still following the theme of ch. 14 -

Reconciliation of Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians

We who are strong -- Paul aligns himself with those he identifies as strong in faith, and he reveals that the division in the Roman church was not simply between Jews and Gentiles. - NLTSB

strong...weak -- For modern English readers, to label the two perspectives “strong” and “weak” is to prejudice the groups. This was not Paul’s intent. The strong group referred to those who had been freed from a rule or ritual-oriented religious life. - Utley

to bear . . The word means “to pick up and carry a weight.” It is used of carrying a pitcher of water (Mark 14:13), of carrying a man (Acts 21:35), and figuratively of bearing an obligation (Acts 15:10). The strong are not to simply tolerate the weaknesses of their weaker brothers; they are to help the weak shoulder their burdens by showing loving and practical consideration for them (Galatians 6:2; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; Philippians 2:2-4). - MSB

the able -- The word rendered “able” is the same word as that rendered “mighty” in E. V. of e.g. Luke 24:19; Acts 18:24; 1 Corinthians 1:26; and “strong” in E. V. of 2 Corinthians 12:10. It seems to convey the thought of strength and something more; the resources and opportunities of strength. Able thus best represents it. Bp Lightfoot (on Philippians 2:15) suggests that it may have been a favourite title for themselves amongst the persons here contemplated; and so that there is irony in its use here. - CBSC

infirmities [scruples].. weaknesses.

the weak -- Lit. the unable; in contrast to “the able” just above. Same word as Acts 14:8, (E. V. “impotent.”)

The term “the weak” (adunates, without strength, cf. Romans 8:3) is different from the term astheneō in rom 14:1-2, rom 14.21 (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:7, 3x in 1 Corinthians 8:10-12; 1 Corinthians 9:22), which also means without strength. - Utley

The contrasting terms are δυνατός (dynatos, “able, empowered, possible, strong”) and ἀδύνατος (adynatos, “without power, unable, impossible, weak”). - CPNVC

and not just please ourselves ..” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE with the NEGATIVE PARTICLE, which usually means stop an act in process. Self-centeredness is a sure sign of immaturity; following Christ’s example (cf. v. 3; Philippians 2:1-11) is the sign of maturity. Again, it is the strong who were being addressed (cf. Romans 14:1, Romans 14:14, Romans 14:16, Romans 14:21-22). This is not to imply they had all the responsibility in maintaining the fellowship. The weak are addressed in Romans 14:3, Romans 14:20, Romans 14:23; Romans 15:5-6-7. - Utley

” This is a specific instance of the general principle in Gal 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens.”

Verse 2

Romans 15:2

each of us -- could refer to all Christians (Morris, 497–498), but most likely it refers still to strong Christians, the “we” in rom 15.1 - CPNIVC

neighbor -- An allusion to Leviticus 19:18, the second greatest commandment (compare Romans 13:8-9). In this context, “neighbor” refers to Christians, especially those who are “weak in faith”. - FSB

edification -- Refers to growth in faith and maturity in Christ. To build up and strengthen. This is essentially the same appeal Paul made earlier (Romans 14:19), only with the additional qualification of self-sacrifice (1 Corinthians 10:23-24; cf. Philippians 2:2-5).

Verse 3

Romans 15:3

For even Christ -- Christ is our pattern and example. This truth is also stressed in Romans 15:5; Philippians 2:1-11; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 3:16.

pleased not himself -- “Not My will, but Thine be done.”

Christ did not please Himself -- His ultimate purpose was to please God and accomplish His will (John 4:34; John 5:30; John 6:38; John 8:25, John 8:27-29; Philippians 2:6-8).

as it is written -- Psalms 69:9 (LXX. psa 68.9). The quotation is verbatim with LXX.—

It has been doubted whether we are meant in this passage to view the Saviour as preferring the Father’s pleasure, or Man’s salvation, to His “own will.” The context (vv. 1, 2) favours the latter; the words of the quotation favour the former. But as the two objects were inseparable in our Lord’s work, both may well be in view here. His “bearing reproach” was the necessary path, alike to “finishing His Father’s work,” and to saving the lost. - CBSC

written -- Paul has already quoted Psalms 69:22-23 in Romans 11:9-10, confirming its Davidic authorship.

The reproaches … fell on Me -- “Reproaches” refers to slander, false accusations, and insults. Men hate God, and they manifested that same hate toward the One He sent to reveal Himself (cf. John 1:10-11, John 1:18). - MSB

A number of passages in the NT use Psalm 69 to describe Jesus’ suffering (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:35-36; Luke 23:36; John 15:25; John 19:28-29). Paul’s quotation of just a small portion of that psalm evokes the whole experience of Jesus’ suffering. - NLTSB

The insults of those who insult you -- Paul quotes Psalms 69:9 as an example of the attitude that Roman believers should imitate. Christ was willing to endure shame for the benefit of His Father and consequently for those who would put their trust in Him. Christ didn’t misuse His freedom to take advantage of people; rather, He used it to serve others.

reproached thee -- God was “reproached” in effect, by those who, while claiming to act in His Name, were teaching and practicing all that was alien to His love and holiness. - CBSC

Does not St Paul here allude specially to the conflict of Gethsemane, and to the outrages which our Lord patiently bore just afterwards? He had scarcely said “Thy will be done,” when the awful “reproaches” of His night of shame and insult began. - CBSC

The point is that Jesus willingly and unselfishly chose to walk this path of humiliation and suffering for the sake of helpless and ungodly sinners. And if Jesus himself made such a selfless choice, we should all the more be willing to do so for the sake of our weak brothers. - CPNIVC

Verse 4

Romans 15:4

v.14 The value of studying the Old Testament

[Verse 14] is a parenthesis in which Paul reminds us of the validity of citing OT texts as a basis for ethical exhortation to Christians: - CPNIVC

aforetime [before] -- Before our time, CBSC

whatever was written -- Refers to all of the OT Scriptures. Here Paul reminds the Roman believers that OT is a source of encouragement and instruction for Christians (compare 1 Corinthians 10:11). - FSB

things … written before -- The divinely revealed OT. written for our learning. Although Christians live under the New Covenant and are not under the authority of the Old Covenant, God’s moral law has not changed and all Scripture is of spiritual benefit (1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:10-11; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Paul’s description of the benefits of Scripture certainly includes the NT, but speaks primarily about “the sacred writings”—or the OT (2 Timothy 3:15-17). - MSB

learning -- i.e. teaching - CBSC

perseverance -- Sometimes translated “patience,” this word refers to endurance, the ability to remain under tremendous weight and pressure without succumbing (Romans 15:5; Colossians 1:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; Revelation 14:12). - MSB

“Endurance” ( ὑπομονή, hypomone) is the same as “perseverance” in Romans 5:3; it indicates patient endurance, steadfastness, the ability to bear and to bear up under whatever comes along.

perseverance and the encouragement -- Notice how the truth of God’s Word and believers’ lifestyle response to it are combined. Faith and practice are bound together (cf. Romans 15:5). They result in confidence in life, in death, and at the promised hope of Christ’s return. - Utley

“Encouragement” (παράκλησις, paraklēsis) has the connotation of “exhortation” in Romans 12:8, but here it means “comfort, consolation, encouragement.” - CP

Paul expresses confidence that all of the OT was written down for the instruction and encouragement of God’s people, thus indirectly implying that all the words of the OT are words of God, words that he wisely directed to be written not only for his purposes at the time they were written but also for later centuries. - ESVSB

may have hope -- “The hope” is not hope in general, but the special hope of glory through Christ. (Romans 5:2) — “The patience, &c. of the Scriptures” is the patience and comfort taught by the Scriptures, whether in precept or example. - CBSC

“Hope” (ἐλπίς, elpis) for Christians is the confident and joyful expectation of the future possession of full salvation, as explained under Romans 4:18 and Romans 5:2. -CPNIVC

It [the OT] provides motivation for enduring and gives encouragement as we seek to remain faithful in our commitment to do God’s will. These Scriptures give us hope because in them we see God’s approval of those who persevered faithfully in spite of opposition and frustration. - Constable

- - - - - - -

OLD TESTAMENT (LAW)

For our learning- Romans 15:4

Changed- Hebrews 7:12 & Hebrews 8:7-8 & Hebrews 8:13 & Hebrews 10:9, Ephesians 2:13-15, Colossians 2:14,

Ended at the death of Christ-

Hebrews 9:15-17, Galatians 3:19 & Galatians 3:16 & Galatians 3:24-25, Galatians 5:4 & Galatians 5:18.

Sabbath for Jews - Deuteronomy 5:2-3 & Deuteronomy 5:15.

Made known at Sinai- Nehemiah 9:13-14.

Verse 5

Romans 15:5

Verse 5 and 6 is an amplification of verse 4, and is a prayer for God to bless the church with the spirit of unity. The God who gives, that we may glorify Him.

The God of [who gives] -- The God who gives (who is the souces of) perservance and encouragement, Romans 15:4. Almost a descriptive title of God. (cf. Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 1:3). These characteristics of God come to believers through the Scriptures (cf. v. 4).

patience [perseverance, endurance, steadfastness] -- Same as in the previous verse, Romans 15:4, see notes there.

comfort [ encouragement, consolation, exhortation] -- Same as in the previous verse, Romans 15:4, see notes there.

grant -- Aorist, Active, Optative, which expresses a wish or prayer.

Paul’s prayer, vv. 5–6, had two petitions (1) to be in one mind (cf. Romans 12:16; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 2:2) and (2) to be in one voice of praise (cf. vv. 6, 7, 9).

to be like-minded toward one another -- Paul urges the strong and the weak (see notes on Romans 14:1-12), despite their differing views on these non-essential issues, to pursue loving, spiritual harmony in regard to matters on which the Bible is silent. - MSB

The heart of Paul’s prayer is that God “will give you a spirit of unity among yourselves.” CPNIVC

From patience and comfort, and the hope of glory, St Paul passes at once to the duty of affectionate unanimity. The stronger was the sense of peace and hope in each individual believer, the more would the believing community be lifted above the bitterness and littleness of secondary controversies. Cp. perhaps Colossians 1:4-5; “the love which ye have to all the saints, by reason of the hope laid up for you in heaven.” - CBSC

according to Christ -- Paul prays that the church will have such unity “as you follow Christ Jesus,” or better, “according to Christ Jesus” (NASB). Some take this to mean “according to Jesus’ example” others “according to Jesus’ will”

Paul may have both of these in mind , but the main point is that Christ Jesus must always be the touchstone of the church’s unity.

the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had -- A mindset that puts the interests of others ahead of our own (Philippians 2:4-7). - NIVZSB

Verse 6

Romans 15:6

with one mind and one mouth -- Our unity should be both real (one mind) and apparent (one mouth). But the consummate purpose of unity is not to please other believers but to glorify God. -MSB

with one mind -- A harmonious spirit involves a unity of faith. Not a harmony on all opinions, but on the basic truth that we worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

with ... one mouth glorify -- “With one mouth” shows that the church’s unity must be on a verbal level, which certainly involves a unity in worship (SH, 396; Dunn, 2:841); but this presupposes a unity of what we believe about the one whom we worship. Lenski says it involves outward agreement wherein all confess “the one same gospel truth” (863). - CPNIVC

God, even the Father -- Far better, the God and Father. Same words as 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3. See John 20:17; Hebrews 1:8-9. - CBSC

This is not the God of philosophical necessity, but of revelation. Notice the two titles of God in Paul’s prayer of vv. 5–6 (1) the God of perseverance and encouragement; and (2) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Utley

“This suggests to us that the local church must major in the Word of God and prayer. The first real danger to the unity of the church came because the Apostles were too busy to minister God’s Word and pray (Acts 6:1-7).” - Wiersbe, 1:562.

Verse 7

Romans 15:7

Therefore -- In conclusion. It seems clear that this paragraph is meant to be the conclusion to the section on Christian liberty (Moo, 874). [Rom 14.1 - 15.6]

receive [accept, welcome] -- See note on Romans 14:1. cf. Colossians 3:13.

one another -- Encompasses both groups, the strong and the weak. It is inconsistent for a Christian to reject someone whom God has accepted.

as Christ … received us -- If the perfect, sinless Son of God was willing to bring sinners into God’s family, how much more should forgiven believers be willing to warmly embrace and accept each other in spite of their disagreements over issues of conscience (Matthew 10:24; Matthew 11:29; Ephesians 4:32 Ephesians 5:1-2). - MSB

Christianity is characterized by a self-giving of believers to one another (cf. Romans 1:12; Romans 12:5, Romans 12:10, Romans 12:16; Romans 13:8; Romans 14:13, Romans 14:19; Romans 15:5, Romans 15:7, Romans 15:14; Romans 16:16). - Utley

to the glory of God -- Christ received us “to the praise of the glory of His Father’s grace;” Ephesians 1:6. But possibly a comma should stand after “received us:” q. d., “receive one another, (as Christ received us;) for this will, by its holy effects, bring praise to God.” This certainly fits the context somewhat more closely; see verse. 6. - CBSC

to the glory [praise] of God -- One question is whether this phrase modifies “accept one another,” thus in effect giving us a motive for obeying this command (Godet, 470; Cranfield, 2:739–740; Moo, 875), or whether it modifies “as Christ accepted you,” indicating the glorious result of his accepting us (SH, 397; Lenski, 867; Murray, 2:204).

The word order favors the latter view; but this in effect makes the former true also, since our acceptance of one another is patterned after (“just as”) Christ’s acceptance of us. - CPNIVC

Verse 8

Romans 15:8

Now I say -- Better, on documentary evidence, For I say. St Paul here expounds the words “Christ received you,” by shewing the bearing of the Lord’s Work on the salvation alike of Jewish and Gentile believers. And in so doing he reminds the two Sections of the holy Bond in which they stood united. - CBSC

Christ has become a servant to the circumcision -- Jesus is God’s fulfillment of OT prophecy (cf. Matthew 15:24). This may be directed to the tension in the Roman church between believing Jews and believing Gentiles. - Utley

the circumcision -- The Greek text here references circumcision; this is a way of referring to Jews. See note on Romans 2:25. - FSB

The circumcised refers to the Jews here. In fulfilling God’s saving promises to the Jews, the Lord’s truthfulness and faithfulness to his word are demonstrated. - ESVSB

a servant [minister] -- “Servant” is διάκονος (diakonos), which can mean “deacon” or “minister.”

That the Logos entered the world in the role of a servant is clear; see v. 3 above, and see Philippians 2:7-8, where he is called a “slave” (δου̂λος, doulos). Jesus says that he “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; see Luke 22:27). He was primarily a servant of the Father himself (Isaiah 52:13), but in that role he served the lost world by giving “his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). - CPNIVC

a servant [minister] -- One who came to serve the circumcision; to labour for Israel. See His own words, Matthew 15:24.

St Paul mentions first the Lord’s work for Israel, then His work for the Gentiles. Cp. Romans 1:16. - SBSC

became -- “Has become” is in the perfect tense, indicating past action (perhaps the incarnation but certainly the atonement and resurrection) with a lasting result; Christ is still “a servant of the Jews” (Morris, 503). - CPNIVC

a servant to the circumcision . . Jesus was born a Jew (see note on Matthew 1:1), and as a child, He was circumcised and identified physically with the sign of the covenant (see Romans 4:11; Genesis 17:10-14).

promises made to the fathers -- The covenant with Abraham that God reiterated to both Isaac and Jacob (see Romans 4:13).

This probably relates to God’s OT covenant promises to Israel (cf. Romans 4:16). However, it could refer to God’s promises to redeem all mankind (cf. Genesis 3:15, Genesis 12:3, Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 66:18-24). The mystery of the gospel is that God’s plan has always been the unifying of Jew and Gentile through Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:11 Ephesians 3:13). - Utley

for [on behalf] of the truth -- "for the sake of it"; to secure its vindication. “The Truth” had foretold that the Redeemer should be of the seed of Abraham, Judah, David. - CBSC

to confirm -- By being their Fulfillment. - CBSC

Verses 8–10 expand the idea of Jesus Christ accepting us. Verse 8 deals with His acceptance of Jews. He not only accepted Jewish believers but came to serve the Jewish people, as the Old Testament predicted, fulfilling God’s promise to the patriarchs (Mark 10:45; Matthew 15:24; cf. Galatians 3:16). Consequently the typically stronger Gentile believers should not despise their sometimes weaker Jewish brethren. - Constable

Verse 9

Romans 15:9

praise you among the Gentiles ..A quotation from Psalms 18:49. [2 Samuel 22:50] David speaks this psalm as one who represents Christ.

Psalms 18:49 pictures David rejoicing in God for his victories among the nations that had become subject to him. In Deuteronomy 32:43 Moses saw the Gentiles praising God with the Israelites. These passages would have encouraged Paul’s Jewish readers to accept their Gentile brethren. - Constable

The whole of Romans emphasizes the inclusion of the Gentiles as well in God’s saving plan. They will also praise God for his mercy to them. - ESVSB

Gentiles -- Non-Jewish people. See note on Romans 1:5.

To show that God’s plan has always been to bring Jew and Gentile alike into His kingdom and to soften the prejudice of Christian Jews against their Gentile brothers, Paul quotes from the Law, the Prophets, and twice from the Psalms —all the recognized divisions of the OT—proving God’s plan from their own Scriptures. - MSB

for his mercy -- Lit. for mercy. The word “mercy” is here used, perhaps, with reference to the previous position of the Gentiles as “strangers from” an explicit “covenant of promise.” (Ephesians 2:12)— Cp. however Romans 11:32 for the real equality of mercy in all cases of salvation. - CBSC

For this reason -- For this cause, &c.] Psalms 18:49 (LXX. Psa 17.50). Verbatim with LXX., only omitting the word “Lord.”

St Paul interprets the verse. as ultimately fulfilled in Messiah, and as foretelling that He, as Saviour, shall rejoice among the Gentiles as the saved. - CBSC

to glorify God for His mercy -- God’s mercy is the theological key to Roman’s predestination (cf. Romans 9:15-16, Romans 9:18, Romans 9:23) and Gentile inclusion (cf. Romans 1:1-32; Romans 15:9). It is God’s mercy that saved Israel. It is God’s mercy that saves believing Gentiles. The mechanism is not human performance (cf. Rom. 9), but the gracious, unchanging character of God (cf. Exodus 34:6; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 103:8, Psalms 103:4; Joel 2:13) and the promise of Messiah (cf. Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 11:10). - Utley

God faithfully fulfills his promises to his people Israel while at the same time accomplishing his purpose to integrate Gentiles fully into the people of God (see especially Romans 11:11-32). - NIVZSB

sing to your name -- ["sing hymns" NIV] The word for “sing hymns” is simply ψάλλω (psallō) ... There is nothing in the Greek to correspond to NIV’s hymns; the translators have assumed (not unreasonably) that it is hymns that would be sung to God” - CONIVC.

Verse 10

Romans 15:10

he says -- Or, better. it says; i.e. the Scripture.

Rejoice, &c. -- Deuteronomy 32:43. Verbatim with LXX. The word “with” is not in the Hebrew Received Text; which may be rendered either “Praise His people, ye nations,” (i.e. congratulate them on His saving goodness;) or “Rejoice, ye nations”, who are His people.” In either case the prophecy indicates, (what is the Apostle’s meaning here,) that the “nations” shall have cause for sacred gladness in connexion with the Covenant of Israel. - CBSC

Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” -- This next quotation is the first line of Deuteronomy 32:43 (LXX). Deut 32 is a song of Moses celebrating the righteousness of God that takes vengeance on his enemies and saves his people. In this line Moses invites the nations (Gentiles) to join with God’s people (the Jews) in rejoicing over this. The key phrase is “with his people,” which contemplates Jews and Gentiles praising God with a single voice. Paul sees this as an expression of God’s plan to unite the two groups. - CPNIVC

his people -- Refers to Jews.

Verse 11

Romans 15:11

again -- Quoted from Psalms 117:1.

Praise the Lord, &c. -- Psalms 117:1 (LXX. 116): Nearly verbatim with LXX. See verse. 2 of the Psalm, where the steadfastness of the “mercy” and the “truth” of God is given as the cause of the praise. - CBSC

laud him, &c. -- Perhaps better, (with another reading,) let all the peoples laud Him. - CBSC

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.” -- This is a close paraphrase of Psalms 117:1 (LXX, 116:1). The main point again is the reference to the Gentiles, and the fact that they are invited to sing praises to the Lord, the God of Israel.

This is another indication that the work of the Messiah was intended to bring Jews and Gentiles together into one body, so that “his people” (Romans 15:10) along with “all you peoples” (Romans 15:11) may glorify God together for his mercy. - CPNIVC

Verse 12

Romans 15:12

15:11–12 Two more quotations picture the Gentiles praising God alone apart from participation in Israel (Psalms 117:1; Isaiah 11:10). Perhaps Paul cited them to help his Jewish readers remember that their Gentile brethren did not need to come to God through the Jews or Judaism. - Constable

And again -- Quoted from Isaiah 11:10. [verbatim with LXX] root of Jesse. A way of referring to Jesus as the descendant of David, and thus of David’s father Jesse (see note on Revelation 5:5). - MSB

The root of Jesse -- In the original context of this quotation from Isaiah 11:10, the root of Jesse refers to an individual ruler from the Davidic line. Paul’s quotation comes from the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the ot), which emphasizes that the root of Jesse will rule the nations and provide them with hope.

For Paul, Jesus is the root of Jesse—the Messiah from David’s line—who rules over both Jewish and non-Jewish people (Jews and Gentiles). - FSB

a root -- Literally "the root." David was the son of Jesse. ("The heir to David’s throne" NLT).

And again, Isaiah says, -- This is taken from Isaiah 11:10, ... It is a specific messianic prophecy, “the Root of Jesse” being a title for Jesus. Jesse was David’s father; thus this title is equivalent to “the Root of David” in Revelation 5:5; Revelation 22:16, which refers to Christ. The word translated “root” is ῥίζα (rhiza), which can mean either the root itself or a shoot or sprout that comes forth from the root. In this case “Jesse,” standing for the family and dynasty of David (see Luke 2:4), is the root itself; Jesus is the shoot or sprout that springs up from that root (Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 53:2).

The main point is that when “the Root of Jesse” rises up, the Gentiles will rally around him and submit to him and find their salvation in him. The Hebrew text of Isaiah 11:10 says that “the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples.” The LXX interprets the banner or ensign as a symbol of command and authority; thus when the Gentiles rally around this banner (which is Jesus himself), they are submitting to him and he is ruling over them. - CPNIVC

in him the Gentiles will hope -- Isaiah 11:10 (which Paul is quoting) reads “the nations will rally to him.” The difference is a matter of wording only; Paul, as usual, is using the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT). - NIVZSB

Verse 13

Romans 15:13

may the God of hope -- This was a closing doxology to the literary unit begun in Romans 14:1. This was another wonderful title for Deity—the God of hope. - Utley

This verse concludes the section dealing with the practice of God’s righteousness (12:1–15:13). - Constable

God of hope -- God is the source of eternal hope, life, and salvation, and He is the object of hope for every believer (see note on Romans 5:2). -MSB

The God of hope is the God who inspires hope in and provides hope for His redeemed ones. - Constable

the God of hope -- Literally of the hope; i.e. of our hope, the special hope in question; the Christian’s hope of glory. So just below, that ye may abound in the hope.

St Paul takes up the last word of the last quotation, and applies it in this expression of holy and loving desire. He ceases now to speak of controversy, and looks joyfully heavenward. On the whole verse., cp. Romans 5:1-5. - CBSC

Hope is the link word from Romans 15:12 (see also Romans 15:4).

[This verse] draws together many of the main threads that the Apostle has woven into the carefully designed pattern of his doctrinal essay about this gospel. Specifically mentioned are faith, joy, peace, hope, and power. - CPNIVC

joy and peace -- Paul prays that we as believers may be filled with joy, peace, and hope, all of which come from knowing that we are justified by faith in the blood of Christ (Romans 5:1-2).

Peace is first of all the objective state of being reconciled to God (Romans 5:1, Romans 5:10). It is also an attitude of inward tranquility and freedom from worry about salvation (Romans 1:7; Romans 8:6); this is the main point in view here. Finally peace is the corporate harmony that exists among brethren (Romans 14:17).

Joy is the inward delight and jubilance that keep us excited about being Christians, about being under the blood of Christ, and about living the sanctified life (Romans 5:2-3, Romans 5:11; Romans 12:12, Romans 12:15; Romans 14:17). Joy and peace together are “two of the great human desirables,” as Dunn says (2:853), and they are available to mankind only through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

in believing -- The word seems to sum up the great argument of the Epistle. Here closes its course of explicit Instruction, whether concerning Doctrine or Practice.

The remainder is devoted to personal and other incidental topics. Meyer calls the passage, Romans 15:14-33, the “Epilogue” of the Epistle. - CBSC

by the power of the Holy Spirit . The believer’s hope comes through the Scripture (cf. Romans 15:4; Ephesians 1:13-14), which was written and is applied to every believing heart by the Holy Spirit. -MSB

Verse 14

Romans 15:14

15:14–33 In this passage Paul changes topics and addresses his upcoming visit to Rome, as well as his plans to preach the gospel in Spain (see Romans 1:11-15). After clarifying the nature of his teaching earlier in the letter (Romans 15:14-15), Paul explains his mission strategy (Romans 15:16-21) and promotes his plans to carry on his missionary work in Spain (Romans 15:22-29). - FSB

I myself -- The “I” (auto egō—I myself) is very emphatic in Greek. Paul is truly complimenting this church (convinced). - Utley

I myself also -- i.e. as well as others, by whom “your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world;” (Romans 1:8).

In this verse and the next we have an echo, as it were, of Romans 1:8, Romans 1:11-12, Romans 1:15. What St Paul says here is in no insincere diplomatic compliment, but the well-grounded conviction of his mind as to the Roman Christians as a body. And it is quite in harmony with the substance and tone of the Epistle, which is evidently written for those who were no novices in Christian doctrine, and who were also comparatively free from such faults of Christian practice as defiled, for instance, the Corinthian Church. He wrote to them as he had written just because they were in a state of spiritual vigour and maturity. - CBSC

Paul asserts three things about these Roman Christians in v. 14: (1) they are full of goodness; (2) they are full of knowledge ; and (3) they are able to admonish one another.

This verse implies that Paul is not bringing a new message to them, but explaining and clarifying the good news which they already had heard and accepted (cf. v. 15).

goodness -- (ἀγαθοσύνη, agathosynē). This basically refers to a morally upright character, a general goodness of the heart that loves righteousness and opposes all that is evil.

full -- That the Romans were full of goodness is hyperbole, since perfection eludes all. It means ... that they had a “plentiful supply” of goodness ... The sense is this: “I am fully aware of your spiritual maturity and moral virtue, and I commend you for it” (MacArthur, 2:327). This is indeed a high compliment; at the opposite end of the spectrum would be a church like the one at Corinth as reflected in 1 Corinthians. - CPNIVC

goodness -- High moral character. The believers in Rome hated evil and loved righteousness, attitudes their lives clearly displayed. - MSB

Same word as Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11. It is “excellence” in a wide sense. - CBSC

1) If related contextually, it speks to the believers’ love for eachother amidst the differences between them.

2) It may relate to the whole gospel faith and practice of it in every way.

filled -- Literally, (plēroō) brimful. Same word as Romans 1:29. Filled to overflow level. It was Paul’s desire to fill believers with the gospel so they overflow in love and service.

filled -- Again a hyperbole, since omniscience belongs to God alone. Paul is saying they are not novices in their knowledge of the gospel.

knowledge -- Refers to deep, intimate knowledge indicating that the Roman believers were doctrinally sound (Colossians 2:2-3), illustrating the fact that truth and virtue are inseparable (cf. 1 Timothy 1:19). - MSB

admonish one another -- To encourage, warn, or advise—a comprehensive term for preaching (1 Corinthians 14:3) and personal counseling (see note on Romans 12:1). Every believer is responsible to encourage and strengthen other believers with God’s Word and is divinely equipped to do so (; 2 Timothy 3:16). - MSB

admonish [instruct] -- translates Greek noutheteō, “instruct, admonish, warn, counsel,” which is often used of warning against wrong conduct (Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 4:14; Colossians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:15). Paul encourages ordinary Christians (no doubt esp. those who have greater maturity and wisdom) to give one another practical, real-life wisdom and counsel. - ESVSB

Verse 15

Romans 15:15

more boldly -- i.e. in our idoim, somewhat boldly. - CBSC

Paul wrote his letter to the Roman Church while he was in Corinth. He was attacked by one of the factions in that church for being bold in his letters, but weak in person. The VERB form of the word “boldly” is found in 2 Corinthians 10:2, 2 Corinthians 10:12; 2 Corinthians 11:21. Paul’s boldness came from his conversion, call, and knowledge of the gospel. - Utley

on some points -- May refer to the elemets of the gospel he addressed in this letter: 1) righteousness by faith; and 2) rituals of the Jewish covenant not required for Christians; etc.

as reminding you -- In spite of one’s spiritual strength, Christians need to be reminded of truths they already know but could easily neglect or forget (cf. 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 2:8-14; Titus 3:1).

because of the grace that was given me from God -- Paul refers to the grace of God (cf. Romans 1:5; Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 2:9; and Ephesians 3:7-8) which called him, saved him, gifted him, and sent him to the Gentiles (cf. Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16). It is a way of asserting his apostleship and authority (cf. Romans 1:1, Romans 1:5). - Utley

Verse 16

Romans 15:16

a minister -- λειτουργὸν leitourgon. [ G3011; Romans 13:6; Romans 15:16; Philippians 2:25; Hebrews 1:7; Hebrews 8:2.; G3008 Acts 13:2; Romans 15:27; Hebrews 10:11.] This is not the word which is commonly translated “minister” διάκονος diakonos. This word is properly appropriated to those who minister in public offices or the affairs of the state. In the New Testament it is applied mainly to the Levitical priesthood, who ministered and served at the altar; Hebrews 10:11. It is however applied to the ministers of the New Testament, as discharging “substantially” the same offices toward the church which were discharged by the Levitical priesthood; that is, as engaged in promoting the welfare of the church, occupied in holy things, etc.; Acts 13:2, “as they “ministered” to the Lord and fasted,” etc. It is still used in a larger sense in Romans 15:27; 2 Corinthians 9:12. - BN

a minister -- as a priest; Paul relates his apostolic duties to those of the ot priests. He considers believers’ obedience to be a type of offering to God (12:1). - FSB

But in the NT it [this word] is used most often of those who serve God in some form of public worship (e.g., Philippians 2:17; Hebrews 1:7, Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 8:2, Hebrews 8:6), including that of a priest (Luke 1:23). - MSB

to the Gentiles -- Compare Romans 1:5; Acts 9:15.

Although Paul’s practice was always to present the gospel to the Jews first in every city he visited (see note on Acts 13:5), his primary apostolic calling was to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13; Acts 9:15). - MSB

ministering -- ἱερουργοῦντα hierourgounta. Performing the function of a priest in respect to the gospel of God. The office of a “priest” was to offer sacrifice.

Paul here retains the “language,” though without affirming or implying that the ministers of the New Testament were literally “priests” to offer sacrifice. The word used here occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Its meaning here is to be determined from the connection. The question is, What is the “sacrifice” of which he speaks? It is the “offering up” - the sacrifice of the Gentiles. - BN

that the offering up -- The word here rendered “offering up” προσφορά prosphora commonly means “a sacrifice” or an “expiatory” offering, and is applied to Jewish sacrifices; Acts 21:26; Acts 24:17.

It is also applied to the sacrifice which was made by our Lord Jesus Christ when he offered himself on the cross for the sins of people; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:10. It does not always mean “bloody” sacrifices, but is used to denote “any” offering to God; Hebrews 10:5, Hebrews 10:8,Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 10:18. Hence, it is used in this large sense to denote the “offering” which the Gentiles who were converted to Christianity made of themselves; their “devoting” or dedicating themselves to God. The “language” is derived from the customs of the Jews; and the apostle represents himself “figuratively” as a priest presenting this offering to God.- BN

The Greek word here is the origin of our word liturgy. - (CBSC)

the offering -- Having referred to himself as a minister, a word with priestly overtones, Paul explains that his priestly ministry is to present to God an offering of a multitude of Gentile converts. - MSB

It is clear that the Apostle here speaks of himself as a Sacrificer in a sense wholly figurative;... Hodge remarks that we here see the true nature of the priesthood which belongs to the Christian ministry: “It is by the preaching of the Gospel to bring men to offer themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” See Romans 12:1. - CBSC

Paul compares himself to being like a priest who makes an offering to God, and Paul’s offering to God are the Gentile converts. - WG

The church is called by OT priesthood terms in 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6. - Utley

might be acceptable -- Or, approved by God. This was in accordance with the prediction in Isaiah 66:20.

being sanctified -- That is, “the offering” being sanctified, or made holy. The sacrifice was “prepared” or made fit “to be” an offering, among the Jews, by salt, oil, or frankincense, according to the nature of the sacrifice; Leviticus 6:14, etc.

sanctified by the Holy Spirit -- The Gentile converts were rendered "holy", or fit to be offered by their conversion to the Gospel, which was made possible by their obedience (Romans 15:18) to the words of the Holy Spirit in the inspired Apostle Paul.

This is a PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE meaning, “have been and continue to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” This may again reflect the tension between Jewish and Gentile believers in the Roman church. Paul stated clearly that the nations (Gentiles) had been and continue to be fully accepted and consecrated by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11). - Utley

Verse 17

Romans 15:17

I have therefore ... - I have cause of glorying. I have cause of rejoicing that God has made me a minister to the Gentiles, and that he has given me such success among them. The ground of this he states in Romans 15:18-22. - BN

The words “I have” are slightly emphatic, indicating the reality of his commission, labours, and success; and so the reality of his right to speak as a Teacher to the Roman Christians. - CBSC

glory -- Of “boasting” καύχησιν kauchēsin, the word usually rendered “boasting”); James 4:16; Romans 3:27; 2 Corinthians 7:14; 2 Corinthians 8:24; 2 Corinthians 9:3-4; 2 Corinthians 10:15; 2 Corinthians 11:10, 2 Corinthians 11:17. It means also “praise, thanksgiving,” and “joy;” 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 7:4; 2 Corinthians 8:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:19. This is its meaning here, that the apostle had great cause of “rejoicing” or “praise” that he had been so highly honored in the appointment to this office, and in his success in it. - BN

in Christ Jesus -- Paul’s glorying was in Christ, not in himself.

in those things which pertain to God - Compare Hebrews 5:1. The things of religion; the things which God has commanded, and which pertain to his honor and glory.

Verse 18

Romans 15:18

For I will not dare to speak -- I should be restrained; I should be afraid to speak, if the thing were not as I have stated. I should be afraid to set up a claim beyond what is strictly in accordance with the truth. - BN

which Christ has not accomplished through me -- I confine myself “strictly” to what I have done. I do not lay claim for myself what Christ has done by others. I do not exaggerate my own success, or claim what others have accomplished. (BN)

me -- Emphatic in the Greek. - CBSC

in word and deed -- By preaching, and by all other means; by miracle, by example, etc.

The “deeds,” that is, the “lives” of Christian ministers are often as efficacious in bringing people to Christ as their public ministry.

Compare Matthew 28:20, and the suggestive words (Acts 1:1) “all that Jesus began to do and teach”—as if His doing and teaching continued in the work of His messengers. - CBSC

deed -- Specially (see next verse) deeds of miracle. Cp. Acts 13:9-12, Acts 14:8-10, Acts 15:12, Acts 16:18, Acts 19:11-12, Acts 20:10-12, Acts 28:3-9. St Paul elsewhere distinctly claims miraculous gifts, 1 Corinthians 14:18; 2 Corinthians 12:12. - CBSC

to make the Gentiles obedient -- To bring them to obey God in the gospel. - BN

God’s goal has always been a people who reflect His character... Intimate fellowship with God is evidenced by godly character. The goal of Christianity is fellowship with God and Christlikeness—now! - Utley

Verse 19

Romans 15:19

in mighty signs and wonders -- By stupendous and striking miracles; see the note at Acts 2:43. Paul here refers, doubtless, to the miracles which he had himself performed; see Acts 19:11-12. See Acts 2:22 for a distinction between "signs," "wonders" and "miracles."

by the power of the Spirit of God -- Paul attributes the miracles he performed were by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul may be connecting all his success he has been speaking of to the aid of the Holy Spirit.

so that from Jerusalem -- Jerusalem, as a “center” of all religious operations and preaching under the gospel. This was not the place where “Paul” began to preach Galatians 1:17-18, but it was the place where the “gospel” was first preached, and the apostles began to reckon their success from that as a point; compare the note at Luke 24:49. Paul was sent out on his mission journeys from the church in Antioch, Acts 13:1-4, ect.

and round about -- καί κύκλῳ kai kuklō. In a circle. That is, taking Jerusalem as a center, he had fully preached round that center until you come to Illyricum.

to Illyriccum -- Illyricum was a province lying to the northwest of Macedonia, bounded north by a part of Italy and Germany, east by Macedonia, south by the Adriatic, west by Istria. It comprehended the modern Croatia and Dalmatia.

So that taking Jerusalem as a center, Paul preached not only in Damascus and Arabia, but in Syria, in Asia Minor, in all Greece and Macedonia. This comprehended a large part of the then known world;

There is no where in Acts of any express mention of Paul’s going “into” Illyricum and preaching the gospel there. [Acts 20:1-2] It may have been that when in Macedonia he crossed over into that country; and this is rendered somewhat probable from the fact that “Titus” is mentioned as having gone into “Dalmatia” 2 Timothy 4:10, which was a part of Illyricum.

From Jerusalem to Illyricum was a span of some 1,400 miles.

I have fully preached -- The word used here means properly “to fill up” πεπληρωκέναι peplērōkenai, “to complete,” and here is used in the sense of “diffusing [dispensing] abroad,” or of “filling up” all that region with the gospel; compare 2 Timothy 4:17. It means that he had faithfully dispensed the knowledge of the gospel in all that immense region. - BN

St Paul “fulfilled” the whole possible scope of the Gospel-message, in point of geographical space, in the direction taken by his work. A fair paraphrase would thus be, “I have carried the Gospel everywhere.”—The idea of unreserved doctrinal faithfulness (for which see Acts 20:20, Acts 20:27), is not suggested by the context here, where the emphasis is on extent of area. - CBSC

Paul was not claiming that the work of evangelism had been completed in these regions. His point was that churches had been planted in enough major population centers so that those churches could carry on the work of evangelism themselves. Paul’s own distinctive ministry of planting foundational and strategic churches had been fulfilled. - NLTSB

Verse 20

Romans 15:20

I have made it my aim [aspired; ambition; strived;] -- The word used here φιλοτιμούμενον philotimoumenon means properly “to be ambitious, to be studious of honor;” and then to “desire” earnestly. In that sense it is used here. He earnestly desired; he made it a point for which he struggled, to penetrate into regions which had not heard the gospel. - BN

where Christ was not named -- Where the gospel had not been preached before.

Describes Paul’s regular missionary practice of preaching the gospel and planting churches only in places where other missionaries had not previously worked. Paul apparently regarded his ministry strategy as a fulfillment of Isaiah 52:15, which he cites in Romans 15:21. See 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 10:13-15. - FSB

build on another man’s foundation -- Paul felt called to establish new congregations of believers among the Gentiles. Others might come along and edify them. But he regarded it as his function ot make known the name of the Saviour where it was not before known. Compare 2 Corinthians 10:13-16.

Verse 21

Romans 15:21

but as it is written -- The quotation is from Isaiah 52:15, verbatim with the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek version which paraphrases the Hebrew.

The design of quoting it is to justify the principle on which the apostle acted. It was revealed that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles; and he regarded it as a high honor to be the instrument of carrying this prediction into effect. - BN

Verse 22

Romans 15:22

Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome

For this reason -- (The reason stated in the previous verse.) Paul had been so occupied in preaching to the Gentiles that he had not been able to come to them at Rome yet.

much hindered -- Many ways (persecutions; collecting for the poor at Jerusalem; etc.); not many times. Paul had so frequent and urgent demands on his time elsewhere, that he could not get to Rome. - BN

from coming to you -- Paul had desired to go to Rome, but had been unable to leave the vast region where he might preach the gospel to those who had never heard it.

Verse 23

Romans 15:23

But now -- Having no further opportunity in these regions to preach to those who have never heard the gospel.

in these parts -- In the regions before specified. He had gone over them, had established churches, had left them in the care of elders Acts 20:17, and was now prepared to penetrate into some new region, and lay the foundation of other churches.

and having a great desire ... - See Romans 1:9-13.

Verse 24

Romans 15:24

Whensoever I take my journey into Spain -- Ancient Spain included the modern countries of Spain and Portugal, or the whole of the Spanish peninsula. It was then a part of the Roman Empire and subject to Roman rule since 200 BC.

It is remarkable, even here, that the apostle does not say that his principal object was to visit the church at Rome, much as he desired that, but only to “take it in his way” in the fulfillment of his higher purpose to preach the gospel in regions where Christ was not named. Whether he ever fulfilled his purpose of visiting “Spain” is a matter of doubt.

Some of the fathers, Theodoret* (on Philippians 1:25; 2 Timothy 4:17) among others, say that after he was released from his captivity when he was brought before Nero, he passed two years in Spain. If he was imprisoned a “second” time at Rome, such a visit is not improbable as having taken place “between” the two imprisonments. But there is no certain evidence of this. Paul probably projected “many” journeys which were never accomplished. - BN

*A pious respected scholar of Antioch, who insisted more on the so-called grammatico-historical sense of the Holy Scriptures. (AD 430)

Spain -- The city and region referred to in the OT as Tarshish (1 Kings 10:22; Jonah 1:3), located on the far western end of the European continent. It had become a major center of commerce and culture, made accessible by the vast network of Roman roads. Its most famous ancient son was Seneca, the philosopher and statesman who tutored Nero and served as prime minister of the Empire. - MSB

into Spain -- Greek Spania. The form Hispania is also found in Greek; Spania never in Latin. The far commoner Greek name of the Peninsula is Iberia. - CBSC

to be helped on my way there by you -- Paul hoped to be assisted by the Rome church in regard to this journey; or to be accompanied by some of them. This was the custom of the churches; Acts 15:3; Acts 17:14-15; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; 1 Corinthians 16:6, 1 Corinthians 16:11; 3 John 1:8.

Spain was so far from Paul’s previous sending church, Antioch in Syria, that he hoped the Roman church could serve as the logistical base for this future evangelistic effort. - NLTSB

if first -- If on my journey, before I go into Spain.

enjoy your company -- G1705 ἐμπίπλημι, empiplēmi. This is a strong expression, meaning to be “satisfied,” to enjoy. To be “filled” with a thing is to have great satisfaction and joy in it.

εμπλησθηναι signifies to be satisfied, to be gratified, and to enjoy. - Clark

your company -- Greek, With “you;” meaning in your society, company, or companionship. The expression “to be filled” with one, or "to enjoy", in the sense of being “gratified,” is sometimes used in the classic writers.

Verse 25

Romans 15:25

But now I am going to Jerusalem -- Paul didn’t know what would befall him there. He could not be persuaded by his friends to not go there.

minister -- See G1247 minister, διακονῶν, διακονέω diakoneō , to serve, to minister. Cf. Acts 6:2

to minister unto the saints -- Not to preach the Gospel, though doubtless he did that when he was there; but to distribute among the poor saints what had been raised for them by the Greek churches.

During his third missionary journey, Paul collected donations from the Gentile churches to help the believers in Jerusalem and to draw the two wings of the first-century church closer together (see also 1 Cor 16:1–2; 2 Cor 8–9). - NLTSB

Verse 26

Romans 15:26

For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia -- That is, the churches of Macedonia, particularly Philippi and Thessalonica, (and perhaps Berea) and the churches of Achaia, especially the church at Corinth, (and perhaps one at Cenchrea?) which was the metropolis of Achaia. There may have been others that we don’t know about.

to make a certain contribution for the poor -- a large account is given in 2 Corinthians 8:1; from whence Origen and others have rightly concluded, that this epistle to the Romans was wrote after that; since in that the apostle exhorts and encourages them, by the example of the Macedonian churches, to finish the collection they had begun; - BN

The collection is here called a contribution, or "communion", as the word signifies; it being one part of the communion of churches and of saints, to relieve their poor, by communicating to them, and to assist each other; and in which they have fellowship with one another.

The Greek word carries the basic idea of sharing and is usually translated “fellowship” or “communion.” The context indicates that here it is the sharing of a financial gift to help support the poor in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1; 2 Corinthians 8:2-4; Galatians 2:9-10). - MSB

Verse 27

Romans 15:27

It pleased them indeed -- This is designed to point out the manner in which it was performed: that it was the pure effect of their good will and pleasure.

and they are their debtors --

For if the Gentiles -- These churches sending the collection was primarily made up of non-Jews.

partakers of their spiritual things -- The “things” were gospel truths first preached to the Gentile believers by the Jewish apostles, prophets, teachers, and evangelists. - MSB

their duty --

to minister to them in material things -- For the clothing and nourishment of the body. Perhaps Paul said this to stir up the Romans, some who were Gentiles also, and under the same obligations to make a contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem likewise.

Verse 28

Romans 15:28

When therefore I have completed this ... When Paul had finished the business which the Macedonian and Achaian churches had entreated him too undertake, namely to take their collection for the poor saints to Jerusalem and distribute it, he wanted to go to Spain by way of Rome.

have sealed [finished; completed, performed] -- Have "secured it" to those at Jerusalem. To seal an instrument of writing, a contract, deed, etc. is to “authenticate it,” to make it “sure.” In this sense it is used here. Paul was going himself to see that it was placed “securely” in their hands.

sealed -- The metaphor is from a solemn ratification. St Paul, handing over to the Church at Jerusalem the “fruit,” or proceeds, of the Macedonian and Achaian collections, would thereby finally attest it to be now the full property of the receivers: he would put the seal of their ownership upon it. - CBSC

have put my seal on this fruit -- The liberality of the Gentile churches is called fruit. This material offering for their poor brethren in Jerusalem is fruit of the spiritual seed sown by Paul among the Gentiles. It was the fruit which their benevolence had produced, a "love for the brotherhood" 1 Peter 2:17.

I shall go on by way of you into Spain -- It was Paul’s plan (and desire) to go to Spain, and to take Rome in his way there . (See note on Romans 15:24) Whether the apostle ever made it to Spain is not certain nor very probable, since when he came to Jerusalem he was apprehended, and sent as a prisoner to Rome, where he was under house arrest for at least two years, Cf. Acts 28:16; Acts 28:30-31; where the history of Acts ends without informing us of the outcome of the trial or where Paul went afterwards.

Verse 29

Romans 15:29

I know [am sure] -- Greek "I know" Expressing the fullest confidence.

when I come to you -- Paul intended to go to Spain by way of Rome. see notes at Romans 15:28; Romans 15:24. After writing this letter to the Roman church, the Lord informed Paul that he must bear witness also in Rome, Acts 23:11. Also see Acts 19:21.

I shall come in [with] the fullness of blessings -- This is a Hebrew mode of expression, where one noun performs the purpose of an adjective, and means “with a full or abundant blessing.” This confidence he, expressed in other language in Romans 1:11-12;

Paul went to Rome; but he went in bonds; Romans 1:11-12. But though he went in this manner, he was permitted there to preach the gospel for at least two years, nor can we doubt that his ministry was attended with the anticipated success; Acts 28:30-31.

of the gospel of Christ --

Verse 30

Romans 15:30

Now I beg [urge; appeal; beseech] you -- For similar requests for prayer, see 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 4:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2. For the language of the request (“strive together, &c.”) cp. Colossians 2:1-2, Colossians 4:12 . - CBSC

by [διὰ] our Lord Je sus Christ -- Greek, By or through διά dia our Lord Jesus Christ; It means probably out of love and regard to him; in order to promote his honor and glory, and to extend his kingdom among people. - BN

and by [διὰ] the love of the Spirit -- This phrase occurs only here in Scripture and refers to Paul’s love for the Holy Spirit, not the Spirit’s love for him (cf. Psalms 143:10). - MSB

I beseech you now to manifest that love by praying earnestly for me.

to strive together with me -- This term is used only here in the NT. It is a compound of sun (together with) and agōnizomai (to contend, to fight, to strive earnestly, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:25; Colossians 1:29; Colossians 4:12; 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 6:12). This strong INFINITIVE calls on the Roman church to aggressively agonize with Paul in prayer about the reception of the Gentile offering by the mother church in Jerusalem. - Utley

strive together with [on my behalf; ὑπὲρ] me in your prayers -- That you unite with me in earnest prayer. The word “strive” denotes intense “agony” or effort, such as was used by the wrestlers in the Greek games; and then the “agony,” or strong effort, which a man makes in prayer, who is earnestly desirous to be heard. The use of the word here denotes Paul’s earnest desire that they should make an “intense” effort in their prayers that he might be delivered from his enemies in Jerusalem.

Apparently, Paul was well aware he had serious enemies in Jerusalem.

to God -- The prayers and appeal was to God in heaven.

See note on John 16:7 for a note of the "Work of the Trinity" from the ESV Study Bible.

on my behalf -- The ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ should be translated "on my behalf", rather than "with me".

Verse 31

Romans 15:31

that I may be delivered [rescued] -- The unbelieving Jews in Judea had opposed Paul vehemently since his conversion to Christ. They could not forget that he had borne letters of commission from them to persecute the Christians at Damascus. They regarded him as an apostate. They had heard of his success among the Gentiles; and they had been informed that he “taught all the Jews among the Gentiles to forsake the laws of Moses;” Acts 21:21.

from those in Judea who do not belive -- From unbelieving Jews in the heartland of Judaism; [disobedient, NASB].

Many Jews in Judea rejected the gospel and were prepared to attack Paul when he returned. Aware of the trouble that awaited him (Acts 20:22–24), he wanted the Roman Christians to pray for his deliverance only so he could complete the ministry the Lord had given him. Their prayers were answered in that he met with success in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17, Acts 21:19-20) and was delivered from death, but not imprisonment (Acts 21:10-11; Acts 23:11). - MSB

that my service for Jerusalem -- Paul refers to the contribution which he was bearing for the poor saints at Jerusalem.

may be acceptable to the saints -- That the poor Christians there may be willing to receive the benevolence from the Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia. (Acts 21:17)

Paul wanted the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem to receive the financial gift from the Gentiles with loving gratitude, recognizing it as a gesture of brotherly love and kindness. -MSB

We can think of two reasons of “doubt” or “hesitation” whether they would be willing to receive this benevolence.

(1) Some among Jewish Christians might have had their minds filled with prejudice against Paul from hearing the reports constantly in circulation among the Jews, that he was opposing and denouncing the customs of Moses.

(Hence, in order to satisfy them, when he went up to Jerusalem, he actually performed a “vow,” in accordance with the Law of Moses, to show that he did not intend to treat Moses’ laws with contempt; Acts 21:22-23, Acts 21:26-27.)

(2) Many of the converts from Judaism might be indisposed to receive an offering made by “Gentiles.” They might have retained many of their former feelings, that the Gentiles were polluted, and that they ought to have no fellowship with them.

Verse 32

Romans 15:32

so that by God’s will -- [RSV & ESV changes the order of the the English from the Greek. Apparently to indicate the "will" of God modifies Paul’s "comeing" and not the word "joy".]

It may refer only or at least partly to the permissive will of God (GRu, 313–317), by which God in his sovereignty allows historical events to unfold according to human free will choices. Or it may refer to God’s purposive will (GRu, 304–310), according to which God intervenes via his special providence [underline WG] in order to accomplish certain purposes, particularly in answer to prayer (see GRu, 376–378).

Paul knew that his itinerary was subject to God’s will in these senses (Acts 16:6-10; Acts 18:21; Romans 1:10; 1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 16:7). - CPNIVC

that I may come to you -- That I may not be hindered, or obstructed by opposition, in my planned journey.

Paul did get to Rome, but in an unexpected way (as a prisoner), but his presence was an encouragement for fellow Christians (Acts 28:15-16; Acts 28:30-31).

with [in] joy -- Joy to myself in being permitted to come; and producing joy to you by my presence.

by the will of God -- If God will; if God permit. After all his desires, and all their prayers, it still depended on the will of God; and to that the apostle was desirous to submit.

This should be the end of our most ardent desires, and this the object of all our prayers, that the will of God should be done; compare James 4:14-15. Paul “did” go by the will of God; but he went in bonds.

This condition, if God will, he had before inserted upon this very occasion, Romans 1:10. See the like, 1 Corinthians 4:19 James 4:13-15. - Poole

be refreshed -- Greek, May find “rest” or “solace” with you.

Literaly may with you repose; (same [root words G373 ] as 1 Corinthians 16:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13;) a beautiful metaphor for the refreshment of holy intercourse in the midst of toil and care.—Cp. Romans 1:12.—The “repose” would come in “the mutual communication of faith, inner experiences, love, hope, &c.” (Meyer.) - CBSC

Paul wanted a time of quiet rest and recuperation among mature believers (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 2 Corinthians 11:23-33)! (Utley)

together with you -- [in your company; RSV] cf Romans 1:12.

Verse 33

Romans 15:33

The God of peace -- this is a frequent title of God in Scripture; he is called the God of peace, Romans 16:20 2 Corinthians 13:11 Philippians 4:9 1 Thessalonians 5:23 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Hebrews 13:20. Here it fits his great argument, which was to persuade the believing Romans to be at peace amongst themselves, and not to contend about indifferent things. - Poole

In chapter 15 the Lord has been named the God of patience and consolation (v. 5), the God of hope (v. 13), and now the God of peace. He is the source of everything good and of everything a poor sinner needs now and eternally.

Paul’s request for their prayers for him (Rom 15.30) seems to include four items:

1) that he be delivered from unbelievers in Judea

2) that his service for Jerusalem be accepted by the saints

3) that he may come to them in Rome with joy

4) that they may be refreshed in each other’s company.

Amen -- St. Paul concludes his request for a prayer with a prayer of his own for them. ‘Peace,’ a keynote of the Epistle, is one of his last thoughts. - ICCNT

Amen note: Does a Christian prayer require a formular tag "in the name of Christ" at the end before "Amen"? See note at Colossians 3:17. Prayer "in the name of Christ" is what a Christian is doing, and the statement is not intended to become a ritual. Just as Christian baptism is "for the remission or forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38) and is not intended to be a required ritual statement at baptism.

[While there are a few MSS differences, the best place the whole of chapter 16 following chapter 15 as part of Paul’s original letter to the Romans.]

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Romans 15". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/romans-15.html. 2021.
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