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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Romans 15

Verse 1

We the strong (ημεις ο δυνατο). Paul identifies himself with this wing in the controversy. He means the morally strong as in 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Corinthians 13:9, not the mighty as in 1 Corinthians 1:26.

The infirmities (τα ασθενηματα). "The weaknesses" (cf. ασθενων in Romans 14:1; Romans 14:2), the scruples "of the not strong" (των αδυνατων). See Acts 14:8 where it is used of the man weak in his feet (impotent).

To bear (βασταζειν). As in Galatians 6:2, common in the figurative sense.

Not to please ourselves (μη εαυτοις αρεσκειν). Precisely Paul's picture of his own conduct in 1 Corinthians 10:33.

Verse 2

For that which is good (εις το αγαθον). "For the good." As in Romans 14:16; Romans 14:19. Not to please men just for popular favours, but for their benefit.

Verse 3

Pleased not himself (ουχ εαυτω ηρεσεν). Aorist active indicative of αρεσκω with the usual dative. The supreme example for Christians. See Romans 14:15. He quotes Psalms 69:9 (Messianic Psalm) and represents the Messiah as bearing the reproaches of others.

Verse 4

Were written aforetime (προεγραφη). Second aorist passive indicative of προγραφω, old verb, in N.T. only here, Galatians 3:1 (which see); Ephesians 3:3; Judges 1:4.

For our learning (εις την ημετεραν διδασκαλιαν). "For the instruction of us." Objective sense of possessive pronoun ημετερος. See Matthew 15:9; 2 Timothy 3:16 for διδασκαλιαν (from διδασκω, to teach).

We might have hope (την ελπιδα εχωμεν). Present active subjunctive of εχω with ινα in final clause, "that we might keep on having hope." One of the blessed uses of the Scriptures.

Verse 5

The God of patience and comfort (ο θεος της υπομονης κα της παρακλησεως). Genitive case of the two words in verse Romans 15:4 used to describe God who uses the Scriptures to reveal himself to us. See 2 Corinthians 1:3 for this idea; Romans 15:13 for "the God of hope"; Romans 15:33 for "the God of peace."

Grant you (δωιη υμιν). Second aorist active optative (Koine form for older δοιη) as in 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Ephesians 1:17; 2 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:25, though MSS. vary in Ephesians 1:17; 2 Timothy 2:25 for δωη (subjunctive). The optative here is for a wish for the future (regular idiom).

According to Christ Jesus (κατα Χριστον Ιησουν). "According to the character or example of Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 11:17; Colossians 2:8; Ephesians 5:24).

Verse 6

With one accord (ομοθυμαδον). Here alone in Paul, but eleven times in Acts (Acts 1:14, etc.).

With one mouth (εν εν στοματ). Vivid outward expression of the unity of feeling.

May glorify (δοξαζητε). Present active subjunctive of δοξαζω, final clause with ινα "that ye may keep on glorifying." For "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" see 2 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 9:31 for discussion. It occurs also in Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3.

Verse 7

Receive ye (προσλαμβανεσθε as in Romans 14:1),

received (προσελαβετο, here of Christ as in Romans 14:3 of God). The repetition here is addressed to both the strong and the weak and the "us" (ημας) includes all.

Verse 8

A minister of the circumcision (διακονον περιτομης). Objective genitive, "a minister to the circumcision." Διακονον is predicate accusative with γεγενησθα (perfect passive infinitive of γινομα in indirect assertion after λεγω, I say) and in apposition with Χριστον, accusative of general reference with the infinitive. See Galatians 4:4.

That he might confirm (εις το βεβαιωσα). Purpose clause with εις το and the infinitive βεβαιωσα (first aorist active of βεβαιοω, to make stand).

The promises given unto the fathers (τας επαγγελιας των πατερων). No "given" in the Greek, just the objective genitive, "the promises to the fathers." See Romans 9:4; Romans 9:5.

Verse 9

And that the Gentiles might praise (τα δε εθνη δοξασα). Coordinate with βεβαιωσα and εις το, to be repeated with τα εθνη, the accusative of general reference and τον θεον the object of δοξασα. Thus the Gentiles were called through the promise to the Jews in the covenant with Abraham (Romans 4:11; Romans 4:16). Salvation is of the Jews. Paul proves his position by a chain of quotations from the O.T., the one in verse Romans 15:9 from Psalms 18:50. For εξομολογεω, see Romans 14:10.

I will sing (ψαλω). Future active of ψαλλω, for which verb see on 1 Corinthians 14:15.

Verse 10

Rejoice, ye Gentiles (ευφρανθητε). First aorist passive imperative of ευφραινω, old word from ευ, well and φρην, mind. See Luke 15:32. Quotation from Deuteronomy 32:43 (LXX).

Verse 11

All the Gentiles (παντα τα εθνη). From Psalms 117:1 with slight variations from the LXX text.

Verse 12

The root (η ριζα). Rather here, as in Revelation 5:5; Revelation 23:16, the sprout from the root. From Isaiah 11:10.

On him shall the Gentiles hope (επ' αυτω εθνη ελπιουσιν). Attic future of ελπιζω for the usual ελπισουσιν.

Verse 13

The God of hope (ο θεος της ελπιδος). Taking up the idea in verse Romans 15:12 as in verse Romans 15:5 from Romans 15:4.

Fill you (πληρωσα υμας). Optative (first aorist active of πληροω) of wish for the future. Cf. δωιη in verse Romans 15:5.

In believing (εν τω πιστευειν). "In the believing" (εν with locative of the articular infinitive, the idiom so common in Luke's Gospel).

That ye may abound (εις το περισσευειν υμας). Purpose clause with εις το, as in verse Romans 15:8, with περισσευειν (present active infinitive of περισσευω, with accusative of general reference, υμας). This verse gathers up the points in the preceding quotations.

Verse 14

I myself also (κα αυτος εγω). See Romans 7:25 for a like emphasis on himself, here in contrast with "ye yourselves" (κα αυτο). The argument of the Epistle has been completed both in the main line (chapters Romans 15:1-45.15.8) and the further applications (Romans 9:1-45.9.15). Here begins the Epilogue, the personal matters of importance.

Full of goodness (μεστο αγαθοσυνης). See 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Galatians 5:22 for this LXX and Pauline word (in ecclesiastical writers also) made from the adjective αγαθος, good, by adding -συνη (common ending for words like δικαιοσυνη. See Romans 1:29 for μεστος with genitive and πεπληρωμενο (perfect passive participle of πληροω as here), but there with instrumental case after it instead of the genitive. Paul gives the Roman Christians (chiefly Gentiles) high praise. The "all knowledge" is not to be pressed too literally, "our Christian knowledge in its entirety" (Sanday and Headlam).

To admonish (νουθετειν). To put in mind (from νουθετης and this from νους and τιθημ). See on 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14. "Is it laying too much stress on the language of compliment to suggest that these words give a hint of St. Paul's aim in this Epistle?" (Sanday and Headlam). The strategic position of the church in Rome made it a great centre for radiating and echoing the gospel over the world as Thessalonica did for Macedonia (1 Thessalonians 1:8).

Verse 15

I write (εγραψα). Epistolary aorist.

The more boldly (τολμηροτερως). Old comparative adverb from τολμηρως. Most MSS. read τολμηροτερον. Only here in N.T.

In some measure (απο μερους). Perhaps referring to some portions of the Epistle where he has spoken plainly (Romans 6:12; Romans 6:19; Romans 8:9; Romans 11:17; Romans 14:3; Romans 14:4; Romans 14:10, etc.).

As putting you again in remembrance (ος επαναμιμνησκων υμας). Delicately put with ως and επ in the verb, "as if calling back to mind again" (επ). This rare verb is here alone in the N.T.

Verse 16

That I should be (εις το εινα με). The εις το idiom with the infinitive again (verses Romans 15:8; Romans 15:13).

Minister (λειτουργον). Predicate accusative in apposition with με and see Romans 13:6 for the word. "The word here derives from the context the priestly associations which often attach to it in the LXX" (Denney). But this purely metaphorical use does not show that Paul attached a "sacerdotal" character to the ministry.

Ministering (ιερουργουντα). Present active participle of ιερουργεω, late verb from ιερουργος (ιεροσ, εργω), in LXX, Philo, and Josephus, only here in N.T. It means to work in sacred things, to minister as a priest. Paul had as high a conception of his work as a preacher of the gospel as any priest did.

The offering up of the Gentiles (η προσφορα των εθνων). Genitive of apposition, the Gentiles being the offering. They are Paul's offering. See Acts 21:26.

Acceptable (ευπροσδεκτος). See 2 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 8:12. Because "sanctified in the Holy Spirit" (ηγιασμενη εν πνευματ αγιω, perfect passive participle of αγιαζω).

Verse 17

In things pertaining to God (τα προς τον θεον). Accusative of general reference of the article used with the prepositional phrase, "as to the things relating to (προς, facing) God."

Verse 18

Any things save those which Christ wrought through me (τ ων ου κατειργασατο Χριστος δι' εμου). Rather, "any one of those things which Christ did not work through me." The antecedent of ων is the unexpressed τουτων and the accusative relative α (object of κατειργασατο) is attracted into the genitive case of τουτων after a common idiom.

By word and deed (λογω κα εργω). Instrumental case with both words. By preaching and life (Luke 24:19; Acts 1:1; Acts 7:22; 2 Corinthians 10:11).

Verse 19

In power of signs and wonders (εν δυναμε σημειων κα τερατων). Note all three words as in Hebrews 2:4, only here δυναμις is connected with σημεια and τερατα. See all three words used of Paul's own work in 2 Corinthians 12:12 and in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 of the Man of Sin. See 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 2:4 for the "power" of the Holy Spirit in Paul's preaching. Note repetition of εν δυναμε here with πνευματος αγιου.

So that (ωστε). Result expressed by the perfect active infinitive πεπληρωκενα (from πληροω) with the accusative με (general reference).

Round about even unto Illyricum (κυκλω μεχρ του Ιλλυρικου). "In a ring" (κυκλω, locative case of κυκλος). Probably a journey during the time when Paul left Macedonia and waited for II Corinthians to have its effect before coming to Corinth. If so, see Romans 15:2; Acts 20:1-44.20.3. When he did come, the trouble with the Judaizers was over. Illyricum seems to be the name for the region west of Macedonia (Dalmatia). Strabo says that the Egnatian Way passed through it. Arabia and Illyricum would thus be the extreme limits of Paul's mission journeys so far.

Verse 20

Yea (ουτως δε). "And so," introducing a limitation to the preceding statement.

Making it my aim (φιλοτιμουμενον). Present middle participle (accusative case agreeing with με) of φιλοτιμεομα, old verb, to be fond of honour (φιλοσ, τιμη). In N.T. only here and 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 5:9. A noble word in itself, quite different in aim from the Latin word for

ambition (αμβιο, to go on both sides to carry one's point).

Not where (ουχ οπου). Paul was a pioneer preacher pushing on to new fields after the manner of Daniel Boone in Kentucky.

That I might now build upon another man's foundation (ινα μη επ' αλλοτριον θεμελιον οικοδομω). For αλλοτριος (not αλλος) see Romans 14:4. For θεμελιον, see Luke 6:48; 1 Corinthians 3:11. This noble ambition of Paul's is not within the range of some ministers who can only build on another's foundation as Apollos did in Corinth. But the pioneer preacher and missionary has a dignity and glory all his own.

Verse 21

As it is written (καθως γεγραπτα). From Isaiah 52:15. Paul finds an illustration of his word about his own ambition in the words of Isaiah. Fritzsche actually argues that Paul understood Isaiah to be predicting his (Paul's) ministry! Some scholars have argued against the genuineness of verses Romans 15:9-45.15.21 on wholly subjective and insufficient grounds.

Verse 22

I was hindered (ενεκοπτομην). Imperfect passive (repetition) of ενκοπτω, late verb, to cut in, to cut off, to interrupt. Seen already in Acts 24:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Galatians 5:7. Cf. modern telephone and radio and automobile.

These many times (τα πολλα). "As to the many things." In Romans 1:13 Paul used πολλακις (many times) and B D read it here. But Paul's work (τα πολλα) had kept him away.

From coming to you (του ελθειν προς υμας). Ablative case (after the verb of hindering) of the articular infinitive, "from the coming."

Verse 23

Having no more any place in these regions (μηκετ τοπον εχων εν τοις κλιμασιν). Surprising frankness that the average preacher would hardly use on such a matter. Paul is now free to come to Rome because there is no demand for him where he is. For κλιμα (from κλινω, to incline), slope, then tract of land, region, see already 2 Corinthians 11:10; Galatians 1:21 (the only N.T. examples).

A longing (επιποθειαν). A hapax legomenon, elsewhere επιποθησις (2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 7:11), from επιποθεω as in Romans 1:11.

These many years (απο ικανων ετων). "From considerable years." So B C, but Aleph A D have πολλων, "from many years."

Verse 24

Whensoever I go (ως αν πορευωμα). Indefinite temporal clause with ως αν and the present middle subjunctive (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:34; Philippians 2:23 with aorist subjunctive).

Into Spain (εις την Σπανιαν). It was a Roman province with many Jews in it. The Greek name was Ιβερια, the Latin Hispania. The Textus Receptus adds here ελευσομα προς υμας (I shall come to you), but it is not in Aleph A B C D and is not genuine. Without it we have a parenthesis (or anacoluthon) through the rest of verse Romans 15:24.

In my journey (διαπορευομενος). Present middle participle, "passing through." Paul planned only a brief stay in Rome since a strong church already existed there.

To be brought on my way thitherward (προπεμφθηνα εκε). "To be sent forward there." First aorist passive infinitive of προπεμπω, common word for escorting one on a journey (1 Corinthians 16:6; 1 Corinthians 16:11; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13; 2 John 1:6).

If first in some measure I shall have been satisfied with your company (εαν υμων προτων απο μερους εμπλησθω). Condition of third class with εαν and first aorist passive subjunctive of εμπιμπλημ, old verb, to fill up, to satisfy, to take one's fill. See Luke 6:25. Literally, "if I first in part be filled with you" (get my fill of you). delicate compliment for the Roman church.

Verse 25

But now (νυν δε). Repeats the very words used in Romans 15:23.

I go (πορευομα). Futuristic present as in John 14:2.

Ministering unto the saints (διακονον τοις αγιοις). Present active participle of purpose like ευλογουντα in Acts 3:26. This collection had been one of Paul's chief cares for over a year now (see Romans 15:2; Romans 15:9). See 2 Corinthians 8:4.

Verse 26

For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia (ηυδοκησαν γαρ Μακεδονια κα Αχαια). "For Macedonia and Achaia took pleasure." The use of ηυδοκησαν (first aorist active indicative of ευδοκεω) shows that it was voluntary (2 Corinthians 8:4). Paul does not here mention Asia and Galatia.

A certain contribution (κοινωνιαν τινα). Put thus because it was unknown to the Romans. For this sense of κοινωνιαν, see 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13.

For the poor among the saints (εις τους πτωχους των αγιων). Partitive genitive. Not all there were poor, but Acts 4:32-44.4.5; Acts 6:1-44.6.6; Acts 11:29; Galatians 2:10 prove that many were.

Verse 27

Their debtors (οφειλετα αυτων). Objective genitive: the Gentiles are debtors to the Jews. See the word οφειλετης in Romans 1:14; Romans 8:12.

For if (ε γαρ). Condition of the first class, assumed as true, first aorist active indicative (εκοινωνησαν, from κοινωνεω, to share) with associative instrumental case (πνευματικοις, spiritual things).

To minister unto (λειτουργησα, first aorist active infinitive of λειτουργεω with dative case αυτοις, to them), but here certainly with no "sacerdotal" functions (cf. verse Romans 15:16).

In carnal things (εν τοις σαρκικοις). Things which belong to the natural life of the flesh (σαρξ), not the sinful aspects of the flesh at all.

Verse 28

Have sealed (σφραγισαμενος). First aorist middle participle (antecedent action, having sealed) of σφραγιζω, old verb from σφραγις, a seal (Romans 4:11), to stamp with a seal for security (Matthew 27:66) or for confirmation (2 Corinthians 1:22) and here in a metaphorical sense. Paul was keenly sensitive that this collection should be actually conveyed to Jerusalem free from all suspicion (2 Corinthians 8:18-47.8.23).

I will go on by you (απελευσομα δι' υμων). Future middle of απερχομα, to go off or on. Note three prepositions here (απ' from Rome, δι' by means of you or through you, εις unto Spain). He repeats the point of verse Romans 15:24, his temporary stay in Rome with Spain as the objective. How little we know what is ahead of us and how grateful we should be for our ignorance on this point.

Verse 29

When I come (ερχομενος). Present middle participle of ερχομα with the time of the future middle indicative ελευσομα (coming I shall come).

In the fulness of the blessing of Christ (εν πληρωματ ευλογιας Χριστου). On πληρωματ, see Romans 11:12. Paul had already (Romans 1:11) said that he had a χαρισμα πνευματικον (spiritual blessing) for Rome. He did bring that to them.

Verse 30

By (δια). The intermediate agents of the exhortation (the Lord Jesus and the love of the Spirit) as δια is used after παρακαλω in Romans 12:1.

That ye strive together with me (συναγωνισασθα μο). First aorist middle infinitive of συναγων ζομα, old compound verb, only here in N.T., direct object of παρακαλω, and with associative instrumental case μο, the simplex αγωνιζομενος, occurring in Colossians 4:12 of the prayers of Epaphras. For Christ's agony in prayer see Matthew 26:42; Luke 22:44.

Verse 31

That I may be delivered (ινα ρυσθω). First aorist passive subjunctive of ρυομα, old verb to rescue. This use of ινα is the sub-final one after words of beseeching or praying. Paul foresaw trouble all the way to Jerusalem (Acts 20:23; Acts 21:4; Acts 21:13).

May be acceptable to the saints (ευπροσδεκτος τοις αγιοις γενητα). "May become (second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομα) acceptable to the saints." The Judaizers would give him trouble. There was peril of a schism in Christianity.

Verse 32

That (ινα). Second use of ινα in this sentence, the first one sub-final (ινα ρυσθω), this one final with συναναπαυσωμα, first aorist middle subjunctive of the double compound verb συναναπαυομα, late verb to rest together with, to refresh (αναπαυω as in Matthew 11:28) one's spirit with (συν), with the associative instrumental case υμιν (with you), only here in the N.T.

Verse 33

The God of peace (ο θεος της ειρηνης). One of the characteristics of God that Paul often mentions in benedictions (1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 4:9; Romans 16:20). Because of the "amen" here some scholars would make this the close of the Epistle and make chapter 16 a separate Epistle to the Ephesians. But the MSS. are against it. There is nothing strange at all in Paul's having so many friends in Rome though he had not yet been there himself. Rome was the centre of the world's life as Paul realized (Romans 1:15). All men sooner or later hoped to see Rome.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/romans-15.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.