corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.10.22
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Romans 15

 

 

Verse 1

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

We then that are strong - on such points as have been discussed, the abolition of the Jewish distinction of meats and days under the Gospel (see the notes at Romans 14:14; Romans 14:20),

Ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves - ought to think less of what we may lawfully do, than of how our conduct will affect others.


Verse 2

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

Let every one of us. [The gar (Greek #1063) of the Received Text after " hekastos (Greek #1538), which hardly has any support, is quite out of place, and is properly disregarded in our version.]

Please (that is, lay himself out to please), his neighbour (not indeed for his mere gratification, but) for his good (with a view) to (his) edification.


Verse 3

For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

For even Christ pleased not (lived not to please) himself; but, as it is written (Psalms 69:9), The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me - (see the notes at Mark 10:42-45, p. 181.)


Verse 4

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning ('instruction'); that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures ('through the comfort and the patience, of the Scriptures'), might have hope: - q.d., 'Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ's sufferings, as a Saviour, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general principle involved in His whole work-self-sacrifice for the good of others-furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction. And since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires "patience," and this again needs "comfort," all those Scriptures which, tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us "hope" of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed.' (See the notes at Romans 4:1-25, Remark 7, at the close.) For the same connection between "patience" and "hope," see the note at Romans 12:12, and at 1 Thessalonians 1:3.


Verse 5

Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

Now the God of patience and consolation. Such beautiful names of God are taken from the graces which He inspires: as "the God of hope" (Romans 15:13), "the God of peace" (Romans 15:33), etc.

Grant you to be like minded , [ to (Greek #3588) auto (Greek #846) fronein (Greek #5426)] - 'of the same mind,'

According to Christ Jesus. It is not mere unanimity which the apostle seeks for them; for unanimity may be in evil, which is to be deprecated. But it is "according to Christ Jesus" - after the sublimest model of Him whose all-absorbing desire was to do, 'not His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him' (John 6:38).


Verse 6

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - rather, 'that with one accord ye may with one mouth glorify, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,' the mind and the mouth of all giving harmonious glory to His name. What a prayer! And shall this never be realized on earth?


Verse 7

Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Wherefore (Returning to the point), receive ye one another, as Christ also received us - `received you' is clearly the true reading,

To the glory of God. If Christ received us, and bears with all our weaknesses, well may we receive and compassionate one another; and by so doing God will be glorified.


Verse 8

Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

Now - `For' is certainly the true reading: the apostle is merely assigning an additional motive to Christian forbearance:

I say that Jesus Christ was , [ gegeneesthai (Greek #1096)] - 'has become,'

A minister of the circumcision - a remarkable expression, meaning 'the Father's Servant for the salvation of the circumcision (or, of Israel)'

For the truth of God - to make good the veracity of God toward His ancient people;

To confirm the (Messianic) promises made unto the fathers. In order to cheer the Jewish believers, whom he might seem to have been disparaging, and to keep down Gentile pride, the apostle holds Israel's salvation as the primary end of Christ's mission. But next, after this, Christ was sent to the Gentiles.


Verse 9

And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. A number of quotations from the Old Testament here follow, to show that God's plan of mercy embraced, from the first, the Gentiles along with the Jews.

As it is written (Psalms 18:49), For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.


Verse 10

And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

And again he saith - or 'it saith' (Deuteronomy 32:43),

Rejoice, ye Gentiles, (along) with his people (Israel). This is according to the Septuagint (The absence of "with" in the Hebrew might suggest another sense, but the context confirms that here given.


Verse 11

And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

And again (Psalms 117:1), Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people , [ kaal (Hebrew #3605) haa'umiym (Hebrew #523)] - 'all the peoples;' that is, the various nations outside the pale of Judaism.


Verse 12

And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

And again, Esaias saith (Romans 11:10), There shall be a root , [ hee (Greek #3588) riza (Greek #4491), 'the root'] of Jesse}-meaning, not 'the root from which Jesse sprang,' but 'the root that is sprung from Jesse' (that is, from Jesse's son, David: see Revelation 22:16).

And he that shall rise to refer over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. So the Septuagint (in substantial though not verbal, agreement with the original).


Verse 13

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Now ... This seems a closing prayer, suggested not so much by the immediately preceding context, as by the whole subject-matter of the Epistle thus far.

The God of hope (see the note at Romans 15:5) fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope. As peace and joy are the native fruits of faith (Romans 5:1-2; Romans 5:11; Galatians 5:22), so hope of the glory of God necessarily accompanies or flows from all three, especially faith, the root of the whole. Hence, the degree in which one of these is possessed will be the measure in which all are experienced. When 'the God of hope fills us with all joy and peace in believing,' we cannot but "abound in hope,"

Through the power of the Holy Spirit - to whom, in the economy of redemption, it belongs to inspire believers with all gracious affections.

Remarks:

(1) No Christian is at liberty to regard himself as an isolated disciple of the Lord Jesus, having to decide questions of duty and liberty solely with reference to himself. As Christians are one body in Christ, so the great law of love binds them to act in all things with tenderness and consideration for their brethren in 'the common salvation.'

(2) Of this unselfishness CHRIST is the perfect Model of all Christians.

(3) Holy Scripture is the divine storehouse of all furniture for the Christian life, even in its most trying and delicate features (Romans 15:4).

(4) The harmonious glorification of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ by the whole body of the redeemed as it is the most exalted fruit of the scheme of redemption, so it is the last end of God in it (Romans 15:5-7).

(5) The prayer of Romans 15:13 sheds an interesting light on the relation of "hope" to "faith," in the usage of the New Testament. As hope does not terminate on the past work of Christ, so none of its fruits in us are ascribed to hope. We are never said to hope for pardon, peace, reconciliation, union to Christ, access to God, or the indwelling of the Spirit. The apostle does indeed say in one place (Galatians 5:5), "We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness (or justification) by faith" But this is said, not experimentally, but doctrinally; and the import of it is. 'Be not moved away by false teachers from the hope of the Gospel, as ye were taught it by me: They would persuade you that faith in Christ is not enough for you Gentiles, and that except ye be circumcised and ken the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved; but we who are taught "by the Spirit," whether we be Jews or Gentiles, hope for no righteousness but by faith alone.' Here, then, "hope" refers merely to the ground on which the apostle rested all his own expectations of anything whatever of a saving nature, and is not at all put in contrast with "faith." And if this is the only passage in which "justification" even seems to be the object of hope, we are safe in affirming that hope, as distinct from faith, is in the New Testament always represented as fastening on what is future in the work of Christ, and subsequent to the believer's justification; such as His glorious appearing the second time, without sin, unto the salvation of them that look for Him, the believer's preservation from falling, and being at length presented before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, and being thenceforward forever with the Lord.

If these, then, are the appropriate objects of "hope," while "faith" appropriates the cross and crown of Christ as the ground of our righteous standing before God, and new life in our risen Head, the prayer of Romans 15:13 becomes not only more intelligible, but rich in import. There can be no "hope" - that prayer implies-until first there be "faith," and the "joy and peace" that spring from "believing;" but as this faith necessarily begets "hope," and a hope only measured by the strength of our faith, the apostle, desiring his Roman Christians to have large hope, prays that "the God of hope" might fill them with all joy and peace in believing, in the confident persuasion that then they would "abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit."


Verse 14

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren. 'Now I am persuaded, my brethren, even I myself, concerning you,'

That ye also are full of goodness - of inclination to all I have been enjoining on you,

Filled with all knowledge (of the truth expounded), able also (without my intervention) to admonish one another.


Verse 15

Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,

Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort ('measure'), as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God - as an apostle of Jesus Christ,


Verse 16

That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

That I should be the minister, [ leitourgon (Greek #3011)] - 'a minister' (in the sense of 'ministering to the Lord,' explained on Acts 13:2)

Of Jesus Christ ('Christ Jesus,' according to the true reading)

To the Gentiles - a further proof that this Epistle was meant in the first instance for a Gentile Church (see the note at Romans 1:13),

Ministering , [ hierourgounta (Greek #2418)] - 'ministering [as a priest' in]

The gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles - as an oblation to God in their converted character,

Might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit - the end to which the ancient offerings typically looked.


Verse 17

I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.

I have therefore whereof I may glory - or with the article (which seems the true reading), 'I have my glorying'

Through ('in') Jesus Christ - `Christ Jesus,' as the reading even of the Received Text is here,

In those things which pertain to God - in the things of the ministry committed to me of God.


Verse 18

For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

For I will not dare to speak of any (or 'anything') of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me

- a modest though somewhat obscure form of expression, meaning, 'I will not dare to go beyond what Christ has done by me;' in which form, accordingly, the rest of the sentence proceeds. Observe here how all that Paul achieved as a minister of Christ, he says that 'Christ did by him'-the living Redeemer only working in and by him.

By word and deed - By preaching and working. What this working was he explains in the next clause.


Verse 19

Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Through mighty signs - `in the power of signs'

And wonders (i:e., glorious miracles), by the power of the Spirit of God - `of the Holy Spirit' (as the true reading would seem to be). This seems intended to account for the efficacy of the word preached, as well as for the working of the miracles which attested it.

So that from Jerusalem, and round about unto (or 'as far as') Illyricum - lying to the extreme northwestern boundary of Greece, and corresponding to the Modern Croatia and Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10). See Paley's 'Horae Paulinae,' ch. 2:, No. 4:; and Acts 20:1-2.


Verse 20

Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:

Yea, so have I strived , [ houtoos (Greek #3779) de (Greek #1161) filotimoumenon (Greek #5389)] - or, 'Yet (in doing) so, ambitious' (see 2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Gr.)

To preach the gospel, not where Christ was (already) named, less I should (or 'that I might not') build upon another man's foundation:


Verse 21

But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

But (might act) as it is written (Isaiah 52:15), To whom he was not spoken of (or 'To whom no tidings of Him came'), they shall see; and they that have not heard shall understand.


Verse 22

For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

For which cause also - Being so long occupied in breaking fresh ground,

I have been much , [ ta (Greek #3588) polla (Greek #4183)] - or, 'these many times,'

Hindered from coming to you (see the notes at Romans 1:9-11).


Verse 23

But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;

But now having no more place in these parts , [ meeketi (Greek #3371) topon (Greek #5117) echoon (Greek #2192) en (Greek #1722) tois (Greek #3588) klimasi (Greek #2824) toutois (Greek #5125)] - 'no longer having place (or "room") in these quarters;' that is, no unbroken ground, no spots where Christ had not been preached.

And having a great desire , [ epipothian (Greek #1974)] - 'having a longing,'

These many years to come unto you (Romans 1:9-11);


Verse 24

Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.

Whensoever I take my journey into Spain. Those who think our apostle was never at large after his first imprisonment at Rome will of course hold that this never was; while thee who believe, as we do, that he underwent a second imprisonment, prior to which he was at large for a considerable time after his first, incline naturally to the other opinion,

[I will come to you.] The external evidence against the genuineness of this bracketed clause is exceedingly strong ['Aleph (') A B C D E F G, the Old Latin Vulgate, Peshito Syriac, and other versions, a number of the fathers, all wanting it], while that for it is very slight [only L, with nearly all cursives, the Philox. Syriac and later versions, with two or three Greek fathers, having it]. Naturally, therefore, we should pronounce against them; but since it was extensively believed that this purpose of the apostle was never fulfilled, there is strong reason to suspect that the clause was omitted from a false regard for the apostle's credit. And though we cannot go the length of Tischendorf, who believes that the words were struck out advisedly, we nevertheless incline to regard them, with him, as part of the genuine text, though Lachmann and Tregelles omit them. Anyhow, since it cannot be doubted that the apostle here looks forward to a visit to Rome, on the occasion of a proposed visit to Spain, this clause, or one of similar import, must be understood.

For I trust to see you in my journey - or 'as I pass through,'

And to be brought on my way thereward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company - q.d., 'I should indeed like to stay longer with you than I can hope to do. but I must, to some extent at least, have my fill of your company.'


Verse 25

But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister ('ministering') unto the saints - in the sense immediately to be explained.


Verse 26

For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

For ... - better, 'For Macedonia and Achaia have thought good to make a certain contribution for the poor of the saints which are at Jerusalem.' (See Acts 24:17.)


Verse 27

It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.

It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are - `They have thought it good; and their debtors verily they are;'-q.d, 'And well they may, considering what the Gentile believers owe to their Jewish brethren.'

For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also ('they owe it also') to minister , [ leitourgeesai (Greek #3008)] - as a religious service (see the note at Romans 15:16) Unto them in carnal things. Compare 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6; and see Luke 7:4, and Acts 10:2.


Verse 28

When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed (i:e., 'delivered over safely')

To them this fruit (of the faith and love of the Gentile converts),

I will come ('proceed') by you into Spain (see the note at Romans 15:24).


Verse 29

And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

And I am sure ('I know') that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of [the gospel of] Christ. 'The blessing of Christ' (without the bracketed words) is, beyond doubt the true reading. [They are lacking in every Uncial manuscript but L, and several cursives; and though they are in the printed Vulgate and both Syriac versions, they are lacking in the best copies of the Vulgate, in some other versions, and in many Latin fathers. As to internal evidence, the addition of them to the genuine text is easily accounted for; but not their dropping out of it.] The apostle was not disappointed in the confidence he here expresses, though his visit to Rome was in very different circumstances from whet he expected (Acts 28:16, to the end).


Verse 30

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit [ dia (Greek #1223) ton (Greek #3588) Kurion (Greek #2962) heemoon (Greek #2257) ... kai (Greek #2532) dia (Greek #1223) tees (Greek #3588) agapees (Greek #26) etc.-see Winer, 47. d.] - 'by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit;' not the love which the Spirit bears to us, but that love which he kindles in the hearts of believers toward each other: q.d., 'By that Saviour whose name is alike dear to all of us, and whose unsearchable riches I delight to proclaim, and by that love one to another which the blessed Spirit diffuses through all the brotherhood, making the labours of Christ's servants a matter of common interest to all, I beseech you'

That ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me - implying that he had his grounds for anxious fear in this matter.


Verse 31

That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;

That I may be delivered from them that do not believe , [ toon (Greek #3588) apeithountoon (Greek #544)] - or, 'that do not obey;' that refuse to the Gospel the obedience of faith, as in Romans 2:8.

In Judea. He saw the storm that was gathering over him in Judea, which, if at all, would certainly burst upon his head when he reached the capital; and the event too clearly showed the correctness of these apprehensions:

And that my service which I have for Jerusalem (see the notes at Romans 15:25-28) may be accepted of ('prove acceptable to') the saints. Nor was he without apprehension lest the opposition he had made to the narrow jealousy of the Jewish converts against the free reception of their Gentile brethren should make this gift of theirs to the poor saints at Jerusalem less welcome than it ought to be. He would have the Romans, therefore, to join him in wrestling with God that this gift might be gratefully received, and prove a cement between the two parties. But further, strive with me in prayer,


Verse 32

That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

That I may come unto you with ('in') joy by the will of God (Acts 18:21; 1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 16:7; Hebrews 6:3; James 4:15),

And may with you be refreshed - or, 'find refreshment,' after all his labours and anxieties and so be refitted for future service.


Verse 33

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. The peace here sought is to be taken in its widest sense: the peace of reconciliation to God, first, "through the blood the everlasting covenant" (Hebrews 13:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Philippians 4:9); then, the peace which that reconciliation diffuses among all the partakers of it (1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Corinthians 13:11; and see the note at Romans 16:20); more widely still, that peace which the children of God, in beautiful imitation of their Father in heaven, are called and privileged to diffuse far and wide through this sin distracted and divided world (Romans 12:18; Matthew 5:9; James 3:18; Hebrews 12:14).

Remarks:

(1) Did "the chiefest of the apostles" apologize for writing to a Christian church which he had never seen, and a church that he was persuaded was above the need of it, except to "stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance" (2 Pet. ; 12:1 ); and did he put even this upon the sole plea of apostilic responsibility? (Romans 15:14-16). What a contrast is thus presented to hierarchical pride, and in particular to the affected humility of the bishop of this very Rome! How close the bond which the one spirit draws between ministers and people-how wide the separation produced by the other!

(2) There is in the Christian Church no real priesthood, and none but figurative sacrifices. Had it been otherwise, it is inconceivable that the 16th verse of this chapter should have been expressed as it is. Paul's only priesthood and sacrificial offerings lay, first in ministering to them, as "the apostle of the Gentiles," not the sacrament, with the 'Real Presence' of Christ in it, or the sacrifice of the mass, but "the Gospel of God," and then, when gathered under the wing of Christ, presenting them to God as a grateful offering, "being sanctified (not by sacrificial gifts, but) by the Holy Spirit" (see Hebrews 13:9-16).

(3) Though the debt we owe to those by whom we have been brought to Christ can never be discharged, we should feel it a privilege, when we have it in our power, to render them any lower benefit in return (Romans 15:26-27).

(4) Formidable designs against the truth and the servants of Christ should, above all other ways of counteracting them, be met by combined prayer to Him who rules all hearts and controls all events; and the darker the cloud, the more resolutely should all to whom Christ's cause is dear "strive together in their prayers to God" for the removal of it (Romans 15:30-31).

(5) Christian fellowship is so precious that the meat eminent servants of Christ, amidst the toils and trials of their work, find it refreshing and invigorating; and it is no good sign of any ecclesiastic that he deems it beneath him to seek and enjoy it even among the humblest saints in the Church of Christ (Romans 15:24; Romans 15:32).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 15:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/romans-15.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology