Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, April 16th, 2024
the Third Week after Easter
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Romans 15

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New TestamentSchaff's NT Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors




The theme of this part of the Epistle is given in chap. Romans 12:1: The believer saved by Christ through faith is to present himself a thank-offering to God; all Christian duty is praise for deliverance. For convenience we may divide this portion as follows:

I. GENERAL EXHORTATIONS; based directly upon the theme; chaps, 12, 13 (Strictly speaking, chap. Romans 13:1-7 forms a special discussion, see the Romans Book Comments and in loco.)

II. SPECIAL DISCUSSION regarding the scruples of certain weak brethren, who abstain from eating meat, etc.: Romans 14:1 to Romans 15:13.

III. CONCLUDING PORTION; personal explanations, greetings to and from various persons, with a closing doxology: chaps, Romans 15:14 to Romans 16:27.


As already stated in the Introduction (p. 15), the integrity of the Epistle to the Romans has been frequently discussed; some rejecting chaps. 15, 16 as un-Pauline, others denying their place in this Epistle. The main reason for such discussions is found in the peculiar phenomena discoverable in early manuscripts respecting the place of the concluding doxology.

I. The Textual Phenomena, (1) The doxology is found at the close of chap. 16, in א , B, C, D. (four of the five earliest Greek manuscripts), in the Peshito, Vulgate, and other versions, and in some Fathers. All recent critical editors accept this position. (2.) The verses stand immediately after chap. Romans 14:23, in L, most of the cursive Greek manuscripts, in several versions, and in six important Greek fathers. This position was accepted by some textual critics of the last century, and usually by those authors who deny the integrity of the Epistle. (3.) In A and a few cursives the doxology occurs in both places. That it was repeated in the original letter is very improbable; but the existence of this repetition in so old a manuscript as A (fifth century), shows an early doubt as to the true position. (4.) A later corrector of D, usually known as D 3 , marked these verses for erasure; in F and G they do not occur, but a space has been left blank in chap. 14 (not exactly at the same point), as if with the design of inserting them. Marcion rejects them, and Jerome found a few manuscripts which omitted them. (5.) No authorities omit chaps. 15, 16.

II. The Genuineness of the Doxology. The variation in position calls for a satisfactory explanation, but it is least of all accounted for by denying the genuineness of these verses. The manuscript authority is overwhelming, and the internal evidence very strong. Although Paul’s doxologies are usually simple, at the close of this Epistle such a sentence as this need occasion no surprise. Moreover the expressions are Pauline, and the style precisely that which is found in passages where he writes with his own hand. This he probably aid in the case of this doxology.

III. The genuineness of chaps, 15-16. In the case of so long a passage, containing so many personal details, the burden of proof rests with those who deny the genuineness. Hence few critics have been bold enough to take a decided position against the Pauline authorship of the chapters. (Baur is one of the few.) We may regard the genuineness as now universally accepted.

IV. The Destination of these Chapters. Here also the burden of proof rests with those who deny the place of the chapters in the Epistle to the Romans.

1. The Roman Destination. The usual view is, that the Epistle was written originally and sent to Rome in the full form, and that the doxology was displaced in some later copies. This displacement may have been due to the habit of copying the Epistles for public reading, the final chapters being omitted, as less suitable for this purpose in all the churches. It is objected that all the ancient lectionaries contain these chapters. ‘But the epoch when the omission of these two chapters would have taken place is much earlier than the date of the collection of the pericopes which have been preserved for us’ (Godet). Other reasons have been assigned for the position of the doxology at the close of chap. 14 by those who accept the Roman destination of the concluding chapters. The theory of Bishop Lightfoot, which is given in the Introduction, is the most plausible one, though it seems to place too early the briefer form of the Epistle.

2. The non-Roman Destination. Here a number of conflicting theories have been suggested. The view of Renan makes of these chapters a patch-work collection of the various personal and local items written by the Apostle, but for different churches to which the Epistle was sent as an encyclical letter. Semler, Paulus, and many others, had previously suggested this composite character. Admitting this theory, we give to each critic the liberty of dissecting the chapters and exercising his ingenuity in disposing of the disjecta membra. ‘Among all the reasons which are adduced in support of these different opinions, none hold good, not even those which seem least founded upon mere arbitrariness’ (Meyer). Most of these theories, however, agree in designating Ephesus as the place for which these salutations (in whole or in part), were destined, assuming that Aquila and Priscilla could not have been at Rome when this Epistle was written, but probably were at Ephesus. It is a pure assumption. In their zeal for the gospel, these two could as readily go from Ephesus to Rome as they had gone from Corinth to Ephesus (Acts 18:18-19); especially as they had previously resided in Italy (Acts 18:2). The further assumption that Paul could not have had so many acquaintances in Rome, but would send greetings to many in Ephesus, scarcely deserves an answer. The movement among the early Christians was very great. The classes to which they belonged were great travellers. Every hint we have of the social life of the early Church sustains the probability that the Apostle did know many Christians at Rome before he visited that city. The fact that he wrote his longest Epistle to the congregation there is of itself a proof that personal ties were not wanting. Here we may revert again to the list of names in chap. Romans 16:1-16. Bishop Lightfoot’s comparison with the inscriptions in the excavated columbaria shows ‘that the names and allusions at the close of the Roman Epistle are in keeping with the circumstances of the metropolis in St. Paul’s day.’ We therefore accept the integrity of the Epistle as one addressed to the Romans. This is the only solution of the whole question which has positive evidence to support it, and it agrees best with all the phenomena, external and internal, which enter into the discussion.

Verse 1

Romans 15:1. Now we that are strong. ‘Then’ is incorrect, though the connection is logically with what precedes.

Ought to bear, as a burden is borne.

The infirmities of the weak; all such weaknesses of faith, but particularly those referred to in the previous discussion. This bearing is often simply forbearing, but frequently involves forgiving, and self-denying. ‘Thus they, in themselves strong and free, become the servants of the weak, as Paul was servant of all; 1 Corinthians 9:19; 1 Corinthians 9:22 ’ (Meyer). He is indeed strong who can thus bear.

And not to please ourselves. Such moral selfishness is involved in disregarding the weaknesses of the brethren who have false scruples.

Verses 1-13


This part of the Epistle was occasioned by the existence at Rome of a class of Christians who had scruples in regard to eating meat and drinking wine, and who clung to the observance of the Jewish festivals. Whatever may have been the origin of such a class (see below), the result was that these judged their less scrupulous Christian brethren, who in return looked upon them with contempt. The Apostle's exhortation, while addressed mainly to the stronger brethren, who constituted the great majority of the church, lays down a principle of universal validity in regard to differences of opinion among Christians on practical points not inconsistent with common faith in Christ, and hence not essential to salvation. The passage may be, for convenience, divided into three sections: (1) Exhortation to reciprocal forbearance and regard, mainly addressed to the weak; chap. Romans 14:1-12. (2.) Proper use of Christian liberty, on the part of the stronger brethren; chap. Romans 14:13-23. (3.) More general treatment of the subject, passing over into expressions of Christian praise; chap. Romans 15:1-13. The entire passage is ‘at the same time the first step in the return horn the form of a treatise to that of a letter; it forms, in consequence, the transition to the epistolary conclusion of the entire writing’ (Godet). This is important in its bearing upon the question respecting the place of chaps, 15, 16 in the Epistle.

THE WEAK BRETHREN AT ROME. The scruples of the weak brethren were respecting eating flesh, drinking wine, and the non-observance of Jewish festivals. The result of these scruples, as indicated by the Apostle’s exhortation, gives no certain clue to their origin. But the tone of the exhortation shows that Paul did not regard these brethren in the same light as he did the Judaizing teachers in Galatia, the errorists in Colosse, or even the weak brethren at Corinth (1 Corinthians 8:10). He speaks of and to them in a mild and persuasive way, entirely different from his language against false teachers. We must therefore consider them as men with weak ascetic prejudices rather than as legalists, or antipauline Judaizers. The persons referred to in 1 Cor. seem most closely allied in opinion to these, but at Rome the scruple does not appear to have been confined to meat offered to idols. They were not Jewish Christians who wished to retain the law, but it is probable that they were mainly of Jewish origin. Scrupulousness about meat offered, and wine poured out to idols, may have led to entire abstinence from meat and wine, or even from all food which in their view others might have rendered unclean in their preparation of it. Possibly this asceticism was due to Essenic influences; but it could scarcely have been derived from the schools of heathen philosophy. Godet discovers an attempt to return to the vegetarian rule of the antediluvian age. The entire discussion shows profound insight respecting human character, and the adaptation of the principles laid down to social Christian life in all ages has been again and again proven. Unfortunately ecclesiastical bodies have too often made deliverances on matters of minor morals which overpass the limits here set to bearing the infirmities of the weak. The attempt to make men holy by ecclesiastical law has always failed; no other result is possible, since the law of Moses proved powerless to sanctify.

Verse 2

Romans 15:2. Let each one of us (weak as well as strong) please his neighbor for his good unto edification. ‘His good,’ lit, ‘the good,’ but it seems best to explain ‘for his benefit.’ The last Phrase, ‘unto edification,’ with a view to building him up in Christian character, defines more especially wherein this ‘good’ consists.

Verse 3

Romans 15:3. For Christ also, etc. ‘Also’ is slightly preferable to ‘even.’ ‘The example of Christ is for the believer the new law to be made real (Galatians 6:2); hence the for also ’ (Godet).

But, as it is written (Psalms 69:9), the reproaches of them reproaching thee fell upon me. The citation is from the LXX., which literally reproduces the Hebrew. The clause may be connected directly with ‘but;’ some supplying: ‘it came to pass,’ before it is written. In the Psalm, ‘thee refers to God, and ‘me’ to the Messiah, or the person who is a type of the Messiah. The sufferings of Christ, according to the Psalm, were to fulfil the Father’s purpose; that this purpose was for the salvation of men gives the passage here its most appropriate application.

Verse 4

Romans 15:4. For. This introduces a justification of the previous citation, and a preparation for the subject which follows, the duty of being ‘of the same mind one toward another’ (Romans 15:6).

Whatsoever things were written aforetime. Evidently including the whole Old Testament.

Were written for our learning; to instruct us also; the immediate design does not preclude this further and permanent one, a principle which underlies many other citations made by the Apostle.

That we through the patience and through the comfort of the Scriptures. This is the literal rendering of the better established reading. ‘Of the Scriptures’ qualifies both words: ‘the patience and comfort produced by a study of the Scriptures; the repeated ‘through’ does not disconnect them, but gives rhetorical emphasis. ‘Patience’ is especially needed to hold out in not pleasing ourselves (Romans 15:1), and ‘comfort’ or ‘consolation,’ that we may find joy therein.

Might have our hope, lit., ‘the hope,’ the specific hope of the Christian, possessing more and more of it by means of the patience, etc. Those who neglect the Old Testament Scriptures may well remember that this expresses the Christian experience of an inspired Apostle.

Verse 5

Romans 15:5. Now the God of patience and comfort (as in Romans 15:4). ‘He well knows that the Scripture itself is inefficacious without help of the God of the Scriptures’ (Godet). He is the source of the patience and comfort they afford

Grant you to be of the same mind one toward another, Thus the Apostle returns to the leading thought of the section. ‘To be of the same mind points to harmony of feeling in their intercourse rather than to unanimity of opinion on the disputed points of practice. For such harmony patience and comfort are needed; only the God of patience and comfort can produce these, but He produces them through the Scriptures.

According to Christ Jesus. According to His example (Romans 15:3), but also according to His will as Head of the Church and according to His Spirit as the Life of the Church.

Verse 6

Romans 15:6. That with one accord ye may with one mouth glorify, etc. ‘One accord’ results from being ‘of the same mind,’ and is in its turn the source of the praising ‘with one mouth.’ It is in the utterance of common praise that harmony of feeling finds its highest expression.

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The phrase is the same as in Ephesians 1:3 (see marginal references), and we prefer to render it thus. Meyer and others, however, accept the view indicated in the E. V. This thought of praise now becomes the prominent one.

Verse 7

Romans 15:7. Wherefore receive ye one another, etc. Since this utterance of praise is so sacred a privilege, they are exhorted, strong and weak alike, to receive one another (comp. chap. Romans 14:1) in Christian fellowship.

As Christ also received you. Good authorities read ‘us;’ but the weight of evidence is in favor of ‘you,’ which here includes all the Roman Christians, not merely those of Gentile origin.

To the glory of God, i.e., that God might be glorified. This is to be joined with ‘as Christ also received you,’ since Romans 15:8-9, explain this purpose of Christ’s receiving them. This is, however, a motive for receiving one another, that all may together praise God. (Comp. Romans 15:6.)

Verse 8

Romans 15:8. For I say. ‘For’ is strongly supported, and introduces the explanation of how Christ had received both Jewish Christians (Romans 15:8), and those of Gentile origin (Romans 15:9): ‘the connection of the former with Christ appears as the fulfilment of their theocratic claim, but that of the latter as the enjoyment of grace’ (Meyer).

That Christ (the word ‘Jesus’ is to be omitted) hath been made (not only became, but continues to be) a minister of the circumcision; i.e., those circumcised, as so frequently in Paul’s writings. The emphasis rests on the word ‘minister,’ which suggests the condescension of Christ, as an example of humility. His obedience to the law (Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:7) may also be suggested, showing how be entered into fellowship with the weak.

For the sake of God’s truth (His veracity) that he might confirm (by fulfilment) the promises made unto the fathers (in the Old Testament). Thus Christ’s receiving the Jews was ‘to the glory of God,’ showing His faithfulness, and this furnished a motive for fellowship.

Verse 9

Romans 15:9. And that the Gentiles might glorify God. This clause is parallel in form with the one immediately preceding (see the change made above). expressing another purposed result of Christ’s having been made a minister. Most commentators, however, take it as dependent upon ‘I say,’ but in different senses: I say that the Gentiles praised (at the time of conversion), or, ought to praise, or, do praise. But Christ’s ministry among the Jews hath this further purpose; comp. Galatians 4:5.

For his mercy. Whatever view be taken of the construction this is the main point of contrast. In the case of the Jews God’s faithfulness was proven, in the case of the Gentiles His mercy.

As it is written (Psalms 18:50), For this cause I will give praise to thee (comp. chap. Romans 14:11) among the Gentiles (lit., ‘among Gentiles’), etc. The quotation, made exactly from the LXX., ‘originally spoken by David of his joy after his deliverance and triumphs, is prophetically said of Christ in His own Person. It is addressed to show that among the Gentiles Christ’s triumphs were to take place, as well as among the Jews’ (Alford).

Verse 10

Romans 15:10. Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. From the LXX., Deuteronomy 32:43. But our Hebrew text reads: ‘Rejoice, O ye nations, His people.’ Probably the LXX. follows another reading, though other explanations have been suggested. In any case the praise of Gentiles is predicted.

Verse 11

Romans 15:11. Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles. From Psalms 117:1, exactly after the LXX., in this clause; in the second the best authorities support the reading; and let all the peoples praise him. The E. V. follows the text which conforms to the LXX.

Verse 12

Romans 15:12. Isaiah faith (Isaiah 11:10); from the LXX.

There shall be, etc. The Hebrew is more closely rendered in our version: ‘And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek.’ But the LXX. presents the same thought in a strengthened form well suited to the Apostle’s purpose. These citations, taken from the three divisions of the Old Testament (Law, Psalms, and Prophets) confirm Paul’s view of his own work as well as furnish a motive for unity. The last clause: in him shall the Gentiles hope, forms a fitting conclusion. Thus through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures he had hope (Romans 15:4), and this all might have. ‘For this adoration of the Gentiles, to which the four preceding citations refer, is the fruit not only of the enjoyment of actual blessings but also and preeminently of the hope of future blessings’ (Godet).

Verse 13

Romans 15:13. Now the God of hope, etc. Most aptly is God here called the God of hope (comp. the similar repetition, Romans 15:4-5), the God who produces the hope they possess. ‘As Romans 15:1-4 passed into a blessing (Romans 15:5-6), so now the hortatory discourse, begun afresh in Romans 15:7, passes into a blessing, which forms, at the same time, the close of the entire section (from chap. 14 onwards). (Meyer.)

With all joy and peace. These are based on hope, but are the direct fruit of believing.

The end of this being filled with joy and peace is the increase in turn of hope: that ye may abound in hope; and this not by their own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. ‘Believing,’ is the subjective state, but this is the objective means, the inworking power. As the Holy Spirit is the author of peace, and as faith and hope, peace and joy, are the greatest helps to true unity, this benediction is a fitting close to the exhortation respecting mutual forbearance and true fellowship, which forms the most striking passage in the practical part of the Epistle. The Apostle’s main task is now completed; he prepares at once for the conclusion of his letter.

Verse 14

Romans 15:14. Now I am persuaded, my brethren. This direct affectionate address indicates the return to more personal matters.

Even I myself, or, ‘I myself also,’ The former implies: ‘even I, the one who has just admonished you, have this favorable conviction respecting you; the latter, ‘I of myself,’ without the testimony of others, or, ‘I as well as others,’ The second view accords with Romans 7:25, but the implied contrast in Romans 15:15 seems to favor the first.

Ye also yourselves; ‘without any exhortation of mine’ (Alford).

Are full of goodness; moral excellence in general, though it may be specially applied to kindness.

Filled with all knowledge; Christian knowledge, moral as well as intellectual.

Able also to admonish one another; without assistance from without. This is a special result of the preceding qualities ascribed to them. It requires abundance of goodness as well as of knowledge to fit us for mutual admonition.

Verses 14-33


This part of the Epistle may be divided into four sections, (1) Personal explanations, similar to those in chap. Romans 1:8-15 (chap. Romans 15:14-33). (2.) Greetings to different persons at Rome (chap. Romans 16:1-16). (3.) Closing exhortation, with greetings, from various persons (chap. Romans 16:17-24). (4.) Concluding Doxology (chap. Romans 16:25-27).

Verse 15

Romans 15:15. But (though I am convinced of this, yet), brethren I have written (lit., ‘I wrote,’ in this Epistle) the more boldly (in contrast with the assurance of Romans 15:14 respecting their goodness, etc.) unto you in some measure; i.e., in special places; the phrase qualifies the verb, not ‘more boldly’ as if the sense were: ‘somewhat too boldly.’

As putting you in remembrance again; simply as one who reminds you.

Because of the grace that was given, etc. His apostolic office is referred to in this phrase (comp. marginal references); this was the ground and reason of his boldness. But notice the humility of the great Apostle.

Verse 16

Romans 15:16. That I should be, etc. The purpose of the grace given him.

A minister; not the word usually so rendered (as in Romans 15:8), but one applied to a minister in public worship (our word ‘liturgy’ is allied to this); it is more closely defined by what follows.

Of Christ Jesus; as the Head and King of the Church, not as Highpriest.

Ministering as a priest in the gospel of God. The word ‘ministering’ does not correspond with the previous one, but distinctly expresses priestly service. But the gospel is not the offering, but in his preaching of the gospel he renders priestly service, and in this way: That the offering of the Gentiles, the offering consisting of them, might be acceptable, being sanctified in the Holy Spirit; not consecrated after the Levitical ritual, but truly by means of the indwelling Spirit. This verse is properly used to oppose the idea that the Christian ministry is a priesthood. If the Apostle had laid any claim to sacerdotal functions, or designed to give any warrant for such claim on the part of Christian ministers, he would not have expressed himself as he does here. The offering is figurative; the priestly functions are figurative. ‘This is my priesthood, to preach the gospel. My knife is the word, ye are the sacrifice’ (The ophylact). ‘With such sacrifices God is well pleased.’

Verse 17

Romans 15:17. I have therefore my (lit., ‘the’) glorying; the same word we render ‘boasting’ in chap. Romans 3:27; here used in a good sense.

In (not, ‘through’) Christ Jesus; only in fellowship with Him can he glory; thus incidentally opposing the thought that his glorying was in himself.

In those things which pertain to God, lit., ‘the things toward God,’ referring to his ‘ministering as a priest,’ etc. (Romans 15:16). It does not limit, but defines the ‘glorying.’ The explanation: ‘I have offerings for God, namely, Gentile converts,’ seems far-fetched. This verse furnishes a transition to the statement of the principle governing his labors (Romans 15:17-21, the carrying out of which had hindered him from visiting Rome (Romans 15:22).

Verse 18

Romans 15:18. For I will not dare (‘be bold,’ probably in allusion to Romans 15:15) to speak, etc. The emphasis rests not on the word Christ, but on the phrase did not work through me; the contrast being, not with what he did of himself, or strictly with what others did, but more exactly with what Christ had wrought through him. The sense is: I will speak boldly, have my ground of glorying, only in such things as Christ wrought through me.

Unto the obedience of the Gentiles, with this design and result, that they became obedient to Christ by believing in Him.

By word and deed. This phrase qualifies ‘did work through me,’ etc. ‘Word’ refers to his preaching; ‘deed’ includes all the other labors of his apostolic activity.

Verse 19

Romans 15:19. In the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some authorities read ‘Spirit of God,’ and the Vatican manuscript has ‘Spirit’ alone; but the best established form is as above. The two clauses are parallel, and should be closely joined with what precedes. Christ wrought through him, in word and work, in virtue of these powers; that proceeding from (miraculous) signs and wonders, and that which came from the Holy Spirit working through him on the minds of men.

So that from Jerusalem, the actual starting point of his apostolical labors (Acts 4:28-29; Acts 22:18), round about, not in the arc of a circle, but in a wide circuit, round about Jerusalem.

As far as Illyricum. Illyrica was north of Macedonia. No mention is made in the Book of Acts of a visit there. Hence many have thought that the Apostle thus indicates the limit of labors. But it is quite probable that during the journey mentioned in Acts 20:1-3 (just before the writing of this Epistle) he actually entered that region.

I have fully preached (lit., ‘have fulfilled’) the gospel of Christ. The E. V. fairly presents the sense, though a variety of other explanations have been suggested, e. g., have given the gospel its full dimensions, completely proclaimed it, accomplished everything with it, etc. He had fully spread the glad tidings and with success everywhere, sufficient to attest his apostolic mission, and give him a ground of glorying in what Christ had wrought through him.

Verse 20

Romans 15:20. Yet making it my ambition. The participle here used means, ‘to make it a point of honor,’ but this exact sense need not be pressed here.

So to preach the gospel, ‘to evangelize,’ not the same word as in Romans 15:19. ‘So,’ i.e., in this manner (as afterwards defined), may qualify the participle, but the sense is better expressed in English by the above rendering.

Not where Christ was already named. ‘Already’ is properly supplied; ‘named, as the object of faith and the Person to be confessed, by other laborers, as appears from the next clause: that I might not, etc. This principle, here negatively stated, was not adopted to avoid opposition, or in consequence of differences with the other Apostles, nor yet of an arrangement to divide geographically the mission field, but resulted from the high sense of his duty as an Apostle, to lay the foundation of a universal Church. His writing to Rome was not contrary to this principle, which concerned his labor in person, not his intercourse by letter with churches he had not founded.

Verse 21

Romans 15:21. But, preaching the gospel in this way, not where others had preached, but, as it is written (according to this rule of Scripture), They to whom no tidings of him came, shall see; And they, etc. From Isaiah 52:15, following the LXX., which adds ‘of him’ (comp. the E. V., which renders the Hebrew accurately). The prophecy refers to ‘kings,’ but is properly applied to nations whom they represent; the wide extension of the Messiah’s kingdom being the main thought.

Verse 22

Romans 15:22. Wherefore also. Because of this aim of wide missionary activity, not because a church had already been formed at Rome.

I was hindered for the most part; or, ‘these many times.’ Some authorities read, ‘oftentimes’ as in chap. Romans 1:13; but the usual reading is better supported. The rendering we adopt refers to the principal (though not the only) cause of his not visiting them; the other to the frequency of the hindering. Either is allowable, but we prefer the former.

Verses 23-24

Romans 15:23-24. The construction of these verses occasions much difficulty, which was relieved by the insertion of the clause (Romans 15:24): ‘I will come to you,’ to complete the sense; decisive authority proving the words to be an interpolation. Another attempt to relieve the abruptness was made by omitting ‘for’ in the same verse; but here too the weightiest evidence is against the easier reading. We are compelled then to accept a broken construction as follows: ‘But now no more having place in these parts, and having these many years a longing to come unto you, whensoever I journey into Spain (for I hope, as I am journeying through, to see you, and to be sent forward thither by you, if first I be in some measure filled with your company)

but now, etc. The sense would be the same, if the participles of Romans 15:23 were rendered as verbs, and a period placed after the word ‘Spain.’

But now. The Apostle begins to say that the main hindrance is removed; in Romans 15:25 he states the special reason for delay.

Having place. Opportunity to carry out his principle of labor.

In these parts; spoken of in Romans 15:19.

Whensoever I journey into Spain. Paul does not use the common Greek name for Spain (‘Iberia’), nor even the exact Latin one. Whether this purpose was ever fulfilled is unknown, and immaterial as respects the visit to Rome in which God’s purpose, not Paul’s, was carried out in the actual visit to the imperial city.

Hope; not, ‘trust.’

As I am journeying through. This qualifies both the following clauses.

And to be sent forward thither by you. (Some authorities read: ‘from you’). He hoped to obtain companions, and doubtless other friendly furtherance.

In some measure; ‘not as much as I will, but as much as is permitted’ (Grotius). Not merely complimentary.

Filled with your company. ‘Spiritual satisfaction through the enjoyment of the longed-for personal intercourse’ (Meyer).

Verse 25

Romans 15:25. But now. Partly resumptive of Romans 15:23, since it returns to his present circumstances, but introducing a new thought in contrast with the hope expressed in Romans 15:24.

I am journeying unto Jerusalem (on the point of doing so) ministering unto the saints. How is afterwards explained. The present participle indicates that the journey is part of the ministering. On this service, see 2 Corinthians 9:1-2; Acts 24:27.

Verse 26

Romans 15:26. For Macedonia and Achaia. Personification for the Christians in these provinces; the latter included Greece proper.

Thought it good; ‘were well-pleased,’ willingly did this service.

A certain contribution. The Greek word means ‘fellowship,’ ‘communion,’ and is allied with ‘communicate’ (Galatians 6:6). No contribution belongs to Christian charity, unless it is willingly bestowed and as a matter of fellowship.

For the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. Community of goods evidently did not exist in the church of Jerusalem.. The number of poor saints there need occasion little surprise.

Verse 27

Romans 15:27. For they thought it good (namely, to make this contribution); and their debtors they are. The Apostle emphasizes by the repetition the willingness of the Grecian Christians, but adds another statement to mark the reasonableness of such contributions: they were a matter of repayment.

They owe it also to minister, etc. The word ‘minister’ is that used of priestly service (comp. ‘minister of Christ Jesus,’ Romans 15:16), not that found in Romans 15:25. To such priestly service belongs the privilege and duty of providing for the poor saints. This thought is the more emphatic in view of the antithesis between spiritual things and carnal things; the former referring to the gifts of the Holy Spirit which came to the Gentiles from the mother church at Jerusalem (comp. Acts 11:20); the latter including those things which pertain to the external, material side of man’s nature. The reference to the Holy Spirit does not require the ethical sense in this contrast, though the reverse is true.

Verse 28

Romans 15:28. when therefore, etc. Reverting to the hope expressed in Romans 15:24.

Have sealed to them this fruit. Secured to them as their property the ‘fruit,’ the produce, of this contribution. Some take ‘sealed’ in a literal sense, but this seems out of keeping with the tone of the passage. The Apostle is moved by the thought that with the close of the work of love to which he refers he was to finish his great and long labors in the East, and was to take in hand a new field in the far West. In these circumstances an unusual thoughtful expression for the concluding act offers itself naturally (Meyer).

I will proceed by you unto Spain. The full idea of the original is: I will depart (or, return) from Jerusalem, pass through your city, and go unto Spain. From Spain the way was discovered, after many centuries, to a farther West.

Verse 29

Romans 15:29. And I know that, etc. The Apostle’s humility did not prevent him from knowing this and writing of it. More confidence of this kind would promote humility in the preacher.

In the fulness of the blessing of Christ ‘Of the gospel’ is a gloss, to be rejected on decisive authority. Christ’s blessing in abundance he knew would attend him at Rome.

Verse 30

Romans 15:30. Now I beseech you, brethren. This fervent exhortation is the natural expression of his confidence in them and of the anticipation he has respecting what awaits him at Jerusalem (comp. Acts 20:22; Acts 21:10, etc.)

By our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit. ‘For’ is incorrect in both cases; ‘through’ is the literal sense, with the same force as in chap. Romans 12:1, presenting a motive. ‘Love of the Spirit’ is that affection wrought by the Holy Spirit. Between Paul and the mass of his readers personally unknown to him, only such a love could be urged as a motive. It is more extended than personal affection.

That ye strive together with me (the figure is that of a contest in the games) in your prayers, etc. ‘Your’ brings out the force of the article; the possessive pronoun, though found in some authorities, must be rejected.

Verse 31

Romans 15:31. That, etc. The purpose and purport of the prayer.

That are disobedient. Comp. chap. Romans 11:30. The word may mean ‘unbelieving,’ and in any case the two senses are closely related, but the unbelief of the Jews is here regarded as disobedience to the gospel.

And that my ministration (of alms) may become acceptable (the same word as in Romans 15:16) to the saints. Besides the hostility of the Jews, he must encounter the doubts of the Jewish Christians, whom he however calls ‘saints.’ On the state of feeling here hinted at, see Excursuses, G alatians, chap. Romans 2:1-14.

Verse 32

Romans 15:32. That in joy (the emphasis rests on this phrase) coming unto you through the will of God (there is considerable variation in the manuscripts, but this seems the best established reading), I may together with you find rest. This rendering follows the better supported reading, though the sense is not altered; some authorities omit the last clause. The reality was entirely different from this hope and prayer; but we cannot doubt that the Apostle’s arrival at Rome was ‘in joy,’ even though in bonds, since in all he submitted himself to the will of God.

Verse 33

Romans 15:33. Now the God of peace, etc. A benediction was natural, and the anticipated conflicts might well lead him to speak of God as ‘the God of peace.’

Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Romans 15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/scn/romans-15.html. 1879-90.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile