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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Romans 15

 

 

Verses 1-5

See Romans 14:1 ff for the passage quote with footnotes.

Romans 15:1. Now we that are strong ought [ὀφείλομεν δὲ ἡμεῖς οἱ δυνατοί. The δέ does not stand for οὖν, as the E. V. indicates (so Hodge), although it connects with what precedes (Meyer, Philippi, &c.).—R.] Tholuck finds in δέ continuative a proof that the division of the chapter has been improperly made at this verse. As far as conviction is concerned, the Apostle stands on the side of the strong; see Romans 14:14; Romans 14:20; 1 Corinthians 8:4.

[To bear, βαστάζειν]. After the Apostle has shown what the strong have to avoid, he shows what is now their duty toward the weak. In natural life, weakness is often oppressed and made to suffer violence by power; in the kingdom of the Spirit, on the contrary, “strong” expresses both the appointment to, and the duty of bearing, the infirmities of the weaker.

Infirmities of the weak [τὰ ἀσθενήματα τῶν ἀδυνάτων. Meyer, Lange: Glaubensschwachheiten; but, with Philippi, Alford, &c, it seems best to regard the term as general, including, of course, the scruples above referred to.—R.] These are undoubtedly a burden, and thus an impediment to the progress of the strong; but in order to take the weak ones along with them, their weaknesses must be taken up—which is the rule in a caravan. But the bearing does not consist merely in suffering, but rather in forbearance. [Comp. Galatians 6:2, Lange’s Comm., p149, where the same verb is used.—R.]

And not to please ourselves. Ἀρέσκειν; see Galatians 1:10 [ 1 Corinthians 10:33].

C. Reciprocal edification, in self-denial, according to the example of Christ, Romans 15:2-4.

Romans 15:2. Let every one of us [ἒκαστοςἡμῶν. See Textual Notes[FN1] and20]. Thus the Apostle here comprehends both parties.—[For his good (with a view) to edification, εἰς τὸ ἀγαθὸν πρὸς οἰκοδομήν.] Bengel: Bonum (ἀγαθόν) genus, œdificatio species. There Isaiah, first, εἰς, then, πρός. In order that one may aid the other in what is good, he should promote his edification, his sense for the fellowship of what is good. The good chiefly meant here is self-denying love, the constant exercise of humility.

Romans 15:3. For even Christ pleased not himself [καὶ γὰρ χριστὸς οὐχ ἑαυτῷ ἢρεσεν. Dr. Lange renders: Denn (selbst) auch Christus lebte nicht sich selber zum Gefallen. The E. V. is more literal.—R.] See Philippians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 8:9. Pleasing one’s self denotes the inconsiderate and unfriendly pursuit of the ideals of our own subjectivity in the selfish isolation of our personal existence.

But, as it is written, &c. [ἀλλὰ καθὼς γέγραπται, κ.τ.λ. See Textual Note[FN2].] [Alford: “The words in the Messianic Psalm are addressed to the Father, not to those for whom Christ suffered; but they prove all that is here required, that he He did not please himself; His sufferings were undertaken on account of the Father’s good purpose—mere work which He gave Him to do.”—R.]

Romans 15:4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime [ὂσα γὰρ προεγράφη. Justification of the previous citation (Philippi), and a preparation for the subject to be introduced next, viz, the duty of unanimity (Alford). In προ, just before the emphatic ἡμετέραν, Meyer correctly finds the thought: All before our timei. e., the whole Old Testament.—R.] This does not apply merely to the messianic prophecies (Reiche). The immediate design of the entire Old Testament Scriptures for the Jews does not preclude their universal purpose for all ages.

That we through the patience and the comfort of the Scriptures [ἲνα διὰ τῆς ὑπομονῆς καὶ διὰ τῆς παρακλήσεως τῶν γραφῶν. See Textual Note[FN4]. The repetition of διά seems to favor the view that γραφῶν depends on παρακλήσεως alone; yet many commentators, who adopt this reading, claim (and with reason) that such a construction would be ungrammatical. Still, Dr. Lange seems to favor it. We paraphrase: “the patience and comfort produced by a study of the Scriptures.”—R.] Two things should support the believer, particularly in looking at the retarding, obstructing prejudice of the weak: First, the patience immanent in the Christian spirit (patience evidently suits better here than constancy, which Meyer prefers). [So Philippi, De Wette, &c.] Second, the comfort of the Holy Scriptures, which, in the present connection, consisted in the fact that, in spite of all the impediments to spiritual life in the Old Testament, the development to the New Testament nevertheless proceeded uninterruptedly.

Might have our hope [τὴν ἐλπίδα ἒχωμεν. Dr. Lange: might hold fast hope. Others: might have more and more of the Christian hope.—R.] And then, this comfort was an encouragement to hold fast hope as the hope of better times; that Isaiah, of the ever newer and more glorious developments of God’s kingdom, in Spener’s, sense. Beza, and others, properly explain: teneamus, which is opposed by Meyer. We can, indeed, preserve hope by patience, but not acquire it. According to Meyer, indeed, patience should also be referred to τῶν γραφ. (against Grotius, and others), and this should therefore imbue Christians. But yet the patience and comfort of the Scriptures could not mean, without something further: the patience and the comfort with which the Scriptures imbue us. [The genitive γραφῶν is joined with ὑπομονῆς also, by Chrysostom, and by most modern commentators. In fact, this is the only view which can be justified grammatically. “The patience and comfort produced by, arising from, a study of the Scriptures,” is the simplest and best sense. So Alford, and most.—R.]—It is justifiably urged by Meyer, against Reiche, and others, that hope must here be taken subjectively. Of course, he who lets go his subjective hope, gives up thereby its object. [The hope is undoubtedly to be regarded as subjective, but the article (which we preserve in English by rendering: our hope) points to a definite Christian hope, viz, of future glory. It would then seem appropriate to understand “we might have hope” as referring to the obtaining of a higher degree of this hope through the patience, &c. (So Meyer, Philippi, De Wette).—R.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The present section contains a confessional Eirenicon of the Apostle. It requires: (1) Reciprocal recognition of the common ground of faith. (2) The balancing of the conviction of faith with the conduct of love. (3) Above all, watchfulness against particular ethical errors on both sides. [The profound insight into human nature manifested in this chapter, combines, with the unparalleled adaptation of its precepts to the social life of men in all ages, to prove “the God of peace” its author. In America, where society is newest, most experimental, and yet public opinion so tyrannical, where, perhaps, the extremes of the weak and the strong are found, it deserves especial study.—R.]

2. As the name, the weak, is not an unconditional reproach, so the strong is not unconditional praise. The weak one’s prejudice is a certain protection so long as he keeps his weakness pure—that Isaiah, does not make it a rule for others; the strong one’s justifiable sense of freedom leads to the danger of self-boasting, particularly against love, which can draw in its train the loss of faith. These propositions can be proved by the example of pious Catholics and of wicked Protestants. Yet the standpoint of the strong man is in itself higher, and though he becomes very guilty by the abuse of his freedom of faith, the Apostle yet portrays, with very strong expressions, the ruin of those who eat in doubt. The unliberated ones, who would not be free in a positive, but in a negative, and therefore insufficient way, become the most unmitigated anomists and antinomians both in a religious and moral respect. If, in the time of the Reformation, all Protestants had become positively free by Christ, Protestantism would hardly have experienced in its history such great impediments of reaction as that of unbelief.

[Weak and strong, old and new, conservative and radical—these antitheses are not precisely synonymous, yet, in their leading features, the same. He does what Paul has not done, who throws himself entirely with one class or the other. The Church has ever contained, and has ever needed, both elements. Yet sometimes those are deemed radical who answer to the description here given of the weak brethren; and those who are truly strong are often classed with the old-fashioned.—The caution about judging is prophetic of what is so manifest in the history of Christ’s Church in her imperfection: that more divisions and discords have arisen from the questions, about which the Apostle himself gives no definite decision, than from the discussion of the weightier matters of the earlier chapters.—R.]

3. It is almost impossible to emphasize sufficiently the two distinctions to which the present section leads us. The Apostle shows, first, that we should not deny our free conviction, but should deny ourselves in reference to the inconsiderate conduct according to conviction in practical things, that do not belong to the testimony of faith. How often is this rule exactly reversed, by one’s asserting a narrow view in order to please the weak (for example, in the condemning art, concerts, innocent relaxations, &c.), while he himself willingly enjoys occasionally the forbidden fruit.[FN5] The second distinction is brought just as closely home—namely, between doing and leaving undone. What one cannot do with the inward assurance of his conscience, must not be done at all.

4. The opposite tendencies that are presented to us as a germ in the Church at Rome, extend in continual gradations through the books of the New Testament, and confront each other in the second century as the matured opposites of Ebionitism and of Gnostic antinomianism.—On the relation between Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians at the time of Justin Martyr, see Tholuck, p704.

5. On the idea of weakness in faith, and conduct which is not of faith, see the Exeg. Notes on Romans 15:1; Romans 15:23; comp. Tholuck, p706 ff.

6. “For God is able to make him stand;” Romans 15:4. How gloriously this has been fulfilled! see the Exeg. Notes.

7. On the duty of striving after a certain conviction, and the means for attaining it (self-knowledge and gratitude), see the Exeg. Notes on Romans 15:5.

8. On Romans 15:6. Thanksgiving makes every pure Christian enjoyment a real peace-offering (שֶׁלֶם).

9. On Romans 15:8. On the Lordship of Christ, see Tholuck, p715 ff. Discussions on the divinity of Christ, on Romans 15:10, see Philippi, p572.

10. Every thing is pure. According to Olshausen (in respect to the laws on food), creation has again become pure and holy through Christ and His sanctifying influence. The proposition cannot be opposed, but how far must it be more specifically defined? As the creature of God, it has again been recognized as pure and holy. As a means of enjoyment, it has again been freely given in a religious sense. But as a real enjoyment, it is only pure and holy to the one enjoying, when he has the full assurance of his conscience, and therefore eats with thanksgiving. But in this the natural repulsion, practice, law, and a regard to love, limiting the circle of the means of enjoyment, as well as of the enjoyment itself, come into consideration, because they also limit that assurance.

11. The understanding of the present section has been rendered much more difficult by not regarding the manner in which the offence is divided into the two fundamental forms of irritation and presumption. See the Exeg. Notes on Romans 15:13; Romans 15:21.

12. Luther’s expression, “the Christian is a master of all masters, a servant of all servants,” comes into consideration here. Gregory the Great had expressed the same sentiment, but in a reverse order and application: “Free in faith, serving in love.” The parable beginning with Matthew 18:23 tells us that the consistent and conscious offence against love weakens faith.

13. Bearing with the weak has: (1) Its foundation in the fact that the Almighty God bears in love the world, which in itself is helpless; (2) Its power and obligation consist in the fact that Christ has borne the guilt of the helpless world; (3) And its dignity lies in the fact that the strength of the strong first finds in this function its whole truth, proof, and satisfaction.

14. On the idea of edification, see the Exeg. Notes on Romans 14:19.

15. The word of the Old Testament Scriptures is still of application; how much more, therefore, is this the case with that of the New Testament! Yet, in this relation, we dare not overlook the truth, that Christian life may have but one rule of faith, but yet two fountains: the Holy Scriptures, and the immediate fellowship of the heart with Christ, from which the patience of Christ flows.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Romans 14:1-12

On the proper reciprocal conduct of the strong and weak in faith1. What form should it take? a. The strong should receive the weak, and not despise them; b. The weak should not judge the strong2. On what should it be established? a. On every body’s remembering that God has received the other as well as himself; b. Therefore he should consider that, in whatever the other one does or leaves undone, he does it or leaves it undone to the Lord; c. Do not forget that the decision on our course of action belongs to the Lord alone, to whom we all belong, and before whose judgment-seat we must all appear ( Romans 14:1-12).—Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? Two things are implied in this question of the Apostle: 1. Directly, a warning to guard against any judgment of faith on our brethren; 2. Indirectly, an admonition rather to judge ourselves, and to perceive the weakness of our own faith ( Romans 14:4).—In matters of conscience, each one standeth or falleth to his Lord ( Romans 14:4).—The great value of a strong religious conviction1. To ourselves, a. We act according to fixed principles; b. We do not vacillate; c. We preserve our inward peace2. To others, a. They know where they are with us; b. They therefore entertain confidence in us; c. Their own life is improved by our example ( Romans 14:5).—The possibility of thanksgiving to God as a test of enjoying that which is allowed ( Romans 14:6).—As Christians, we are the Lord’s possession1. What is this? a. No one liveth to himself, and no one dieth to himself; that Isaiah, whether in life or in death no one belongs to himself; but, b. Whether we live, let us live to the Lord, or whether we die, let us die to the Lord; that Isaiah, we belong, in life and death, to Him: we are His2. By what means have we become the Lord’s property? a. By Christ’s death; b. By His resurrectionand glorification ( Romans 14:7-9).—We shall all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ! This is said: 1. To the weak in faith, that he may not judge his brother; 2. To the strong, that he may not despise his brother; 3. To both, that they may examine themselves ( Romans 14:10-12).—The great account which every one of us shall have to give in future1. Of whom? Of himself, on all that he has done and left undone2. Before whom? Before God, who knoweth the heart, and seeth what is secret ( Romans 14:12).

Luther: There are two kinds of Christians: the strong in faith, and the weak. The former arrogantly despise the weak, and the latter easily get offended at the strong. Both should conduct themselves in love, that neither offend or judge the other, but that each do and allow the other to do what is useful and necessary ( Romans 14:1).

Starke: If one should be certain of his opinion in the use of things indifferent, how much more necessary is it in matters of faith! ( Romans 14:5.)—Hedinger: Stones in an arch support each other; so should you support your neighbor. You may know much, but your neighbor may be very useful; you should at least bear him witness that he has a tender conscience ( Romans 14:1).—Bengel: Gratitude sanctifies all Acts, however different, that are not inconsistent with gratitude ( Romans 14:6).—The art of dying well is nothing else than the art of living well ( Romans 14:7).

Gerlach: An article of food is only unclean when eaten without thanksgiving; but every thing is holy to him who thankfully acknowledges that the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof ( 1 Corinthians 10:25-31). Let him, on the other hand, who, through fear of breaking a Divine commandment, eats but one kind of meat, be thankful even for that which he does enjoy. Every thing depends on our acting in full obedience to the Lord, and in doing nothing wilfully and independently.

Heubner: The less scrupulous one must show tender forbearance; the more scrupulous one must guard against decrying the more liberal ( Romans 14:3).—It is not becoming in us to pronounce any definitive opinion on the inward worth of a man.—We should not condemn even the fallen ( Romans 14:4).—Christianity, as a free institution for the training of mankind, allows freedom in regard to services and in the choice of holy-days ( Romans 14:5).—Every believer renounces his own will, lives to the Lord, who has purchased and redeemed him, and accordingly dies in harmony with the Lord.—This dependence on the Lord is something quite natural to the Christian. Hebrews, therefore, who will not be led by love to place a restraint upon himself on account of his weaker brother, but is obstinate, acts against that fundamental principle ( Romans 14:7-8).—He who Judges, arrogates to himself Christ’s office; he who bears in mind that Christ will judge us all, will no more condemn.

Besser: To despise and to judge—each is as bad as the other, for in both man encroaches upon God’s right, and arrogates to himself a judgment on another’s state of faith and heart, which becomes an injury to his own life of faith ( Romans 14:3).

Schleiermacher: New-Year’s Sermon on Romans 14:7-8. The language of the text is placed before us as a motto on entering this new year of life: 1. In relation to what shall happen to us; 2. In relation to what we shall be required to do.

[Charnock: Christ, by His death, acquired over us a right of lordship, and hath laid upon us the strongest obligation to serve Him. He made himself a sacrifice, that we might perform a service to Him. By His reviving to a new state and condition of life, His right to our obedience is strengthened. There is no creature exempt from obedience to Him. Who would not be loyal to Him, who hath already received: 1. A power to protect; 2. A glory to reward?

[John Howe: Receive the poor weakling, for God is able to make him stand. Every new-born child is weak, and we must remember that this is the case with every regenerate soul.

[Bishop Hopkins: On Romans 14:12. All the wickedness that men have brooded on and hatched in the darkest vaults of their own hearts, or acted in the obscurest secrecy, shall be then made as manifest as if they were every one of them written on their foreheads with the point of a sunbeam. Here, on earth, none know so much of us, neither would we that they should, as our own consciences; and yet those great secretaries, our own consciences, through ignorance or searedness, overlook many sins which we commit. But our own consciences shall not know more of us than all the world shall, for all that has been done shall be brought into public notice.

[Henry: Though some Christians are weak and others strong, though of different sizes, capacities, apprehensions, and practices, in lesser things, yet they are all the Lord’s. They serve Christ, and approve themselves to Him, and accordingly are owned and accepted of Him. Is it for us, then, to judge or despise them, as if we were their masters, and they were to make it their business to please us, and to stand or fall by our sentence?

[Wesley, Sermon on the Great Assize, Romans 14:10 : Consider: 1. The chief circumstances which will precede our standing before the judgment-seat of Christ; 2. The judgment itself; 3. Circumstances which will follow it; 4. Application to the hearer.

[Robert Hall: The proper remedy for a diversity of sentiment is not the exercise of compulsory power, much less a separation of communion, but the ardent pursuit of Christian piety, accompanied with an humble dependence on Divine teaching, which, it may reasonably be expected, will in due time correct the errors and imperfections of sincere believers. The proper conduct to be maintained is a cordial coöperation in every branch of worship and of practice with respect to which we agree, without attempting to effect a unanimity by force.

[Richard Watson, on Romans 14:7-8 : The extension of the work of Christ in every age goes upon the same principle. The principle of selfishness and that of usefulness are distinct and contrary. One is a point, but the centre is nothing; the other is a progressive radius, which runs out to the circumference. The one is a vortex, which swallows up all within its gorge; the other is the current-stream, which gushes with an incessant activity, and spreads into distant fields, refreshing the thirsty earth, and producing richness and verdure. The principle of one is contraction; of the other, expansion. Nor is this a sluggish or inactive principle. Lively desires for the acknowledgment of Christ by men, strong and restless jealousies for His honor, tender sympathies with the moral wretchedness of our kind, deep and solemn impressions of eternal realities, and of the danger of souls; these are the elements which feed it; and they carry Christian love beyond even the philanthropy of the natural law.

[Hodge: Owing to ignorance, early prejudice, weakness of faith, and other causes, there may and must exist a diversity of opinion and practice on minor points of duty. But this diversity is no sufficient reason for rejecting from Christian fellowship any member of the family of Christ. It Isaiah, however, one thing to recognize a man as a Christian, and another to recognize him as a suitable minister of a church, organized on a particular form of government and system of doctrines.

[F. W. Robertson: It is always dangerous to multiply restrictions and requirements beyond what is essential; because men, feeling themselves hemmed in, break the artificial barrier, but, breaking it with a sense of guilt, thereby become hardened in conscience, and prepared for transgressions against commandments which are divine and of eternal obligation. Hence it is that the criminal has so often, in his confessions, traced his deterioration in crime to the first step of breaking the Sabbath-day; and, no doubt, with accurate truth.—If God has judgments in store for England, it is because we are selfish men—because we prefer pleasure to duty, party to our church, and ourselves to every thing else.—J. F. H.]

Romans 14:13-16

On avoiding offence1. Offence cannot be avoided at the expense of personal freedom; 2. Just as little can it be avoided at the expense of love toward a brother ( Romans 14:13-16).—If you would avoid stumbling or offence, then preserve: 1. Your personal freedom; 2. But do not injure love toward a brother, for whose salve Christ died ( Romans 14:13-16).—Nothing is unclean in itself; much is unclean if one so regard it ( Romans 14:14).—Take care that your treasure be not evil spoken of! 1. What is this treasure? Spiritual freedom. Comp. Romans 14:6; 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Timothy 4:4. 2. How can it be protected against slander? When the strong man in faith rejoices in its possession, but at the same time walks charitably ( Romans 14:16).

Luther: The gospel is our treasure, and it is evil spoken of when Christian freedom is so boldly made use of as to give offence to the weak.

Starke, Hedinger: Take heed, soul, lest you give offence! No stumbling-stone, no sin, however small you think it may be, is really small if it can make a weak one fall. Use the right which you have, but use it aright; Matthew 17:24 ( Romans 14:13).

Gerlach: It is not our office to judge our brother, and to decide on his relation to God; but it is every Christian’s office to pronounce decidedly against uncharitableness, which can condemn another to his fall.

Heubner: The treasure is Christian freedom, deliverance from outward ordinances. It is evil spoken of either by the enemies of the Church, when they see the dissension of Christians, or by the weaker brethren, when they condemn the stronger, and use their freedom presumptuously, or by the stronger, when they give offence to the weaker, and injure their conscience ( Romans 14:16).

Besser: It is a true proverb: “Though two do the same thing, it is not really the same thing,” for not the form of the deed, but the sense of the doer, decides as to whether any thing is unclean or holy, or contrary to faith and love ( Romans 14:14).

[Jeremy Taylor: In a ripe conscience, the practical judgment—that Isaiah, the last determination of an action—ought to be sure and evident. This is plain in all the great lines of duty, in actions determinable by the prime principles of natural reason, or Divine revelation; but it is true also in all actions conducted by a right and perfect conscience. There is always a reflex act of judgment, which, upon consideration that it is certain that a public action may lawfully be done, or else that that which is but probable in the nature of the thing (so far as we perceive it) may yet, by the superadding of some circumstances and confidential considerations, or by equity or necessity, become more than public in the particular. Although, I say, the conscience be uncertain in the direct Acts, yet it may be certain, right, and determined, in the reflex and second act of judgment; and if it be, it is innocent and safe—it is that which we call the right and sure conscience (The Rule of Conscience, Works [Bishop Heber’s edition], vol. xi. pp369–522).

Clarke: It is dangerous to trifle with conscience, even when erroneous; it should be borne with and instructed; it must be won over, not taken by storm. Its feelings should be respected, because they ever refer to God, and have their foundation in His fear. He who sins against his conscience in things which every one else knows to be indifferent, will soon do it in those things in which his salvation is most intimately concerned. It is a great blessing to have a well-informed conscience; it is a blessing to have a tender conscience, and even a sore conscience is better than none.

[Barnes: Christ laid down His precious life for the weak brother as well as for the strong. He loved them; and shall we, to gratify our appetites, pursue a course which will tend to defeat the work of Christ, and ruin the souls redeemed by His blood?—Do not so use your Christian liberty as to give occasion for railing and unkind remarks from your brother, so as to produce contention and strife, and thus to give rise to evil reports among the wicked about the tendency of the Christian religion, as if it were adapted only to promote controversy.—J. F. H.]

Romans 14:17-23

The glory of God’s kingdom as a kingdom: 1. Of righteousness; 2. Of peace; 3. And of joy in the Holy Ghost ( Romans 14:17).—God’s kingdom is: 1. Not a kingdom of dead ordinances, by which the conscience is oppressed; but, 2. A kingdom of living, evangelical truth, by which righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost are planted and promoted ( Romans 14:17).—God’s kingdom is a kingdom which: 1. Rests on righteousness; 2. In whose borders peace reigns; 3. To belong to which brings joy to the hearts of all its citizens ( Romans 14:17).—The blissful service of Christ1. The service is in righteousness, &c.; 2. The blessing: a. That we are acceptable to God; b. That we are approved of men ( Romans 14:17-18).

For what should members of the Christian Church strive, if in most important matters they are one, but in unessential matters they have different views? 1. For what makes for peace; 2. For what contributes to edification ( Romans 14:19).—Even the weaker brother’s Christian life is God’s work; therefore be indulgent toward his conscience! ( Romans 14:20.)—Rather deny self than offend a brother ( Romans 14:21).—The happiness of Christian freedom ( Romans 14:22).—The condemnation of the doubting conscience ( Romans 14:23).—What is not of faith is sin1. How often is this expression misunderstood! a. When it is supposed that all the virtues of the heathen are glaring sins; b. When all the civic righteousness of unconverted people is condemned in like manner; c. When the whole civilized life of the present day receives the same judgment. Therefore, 2. There arises the serious question, How should it be understood? a. As a declaration which has no application whatever to the heathen, or to unconverted people in Christendom, but strictly to awakened professors of religion; and, in consequence thereof, b. Contains an appeal to them to do nothing which cannot be done with the full joy of faith ( Romans 14:23).

Luther, on Romans 14:23 : Observe, that all this is a general declaration against all works done without faith; and guard against the false interpretations here devised by many teachers.

Starke: A reconciled and quiet conscience is the workshop of spiritual joy ( Romans 14:17).—Osiander: The most certain rule of conduct for using Christian freedom, is to contribute to our neighbor’s edification and improvement, but not to his downfall and ruin ( Romans 14:19).

Spener: The Apostle would say ( Romans 14:17), that you should be careful of nothing but God’s kingdom. Where this is promoted, it should make you rejoice, and it should grieve you when it suffers. That, on the other hand, which does not concern God’s kingdom, should be regarded by you as a small matter.

Gerlach: The righteousness which avails in God’s kingdom is not an outward observance of the law, but inward holiness; the peace with God which we have in it overflows to our brethren, and holy joy destroys both all anxiety and every thing which can offend and grieve our neighbor ( Romans 14:17).

Lisco: To attach importance to eating and drinking, to hold that there should henceforth be no scruple at certain kinds of food, or that, on the other hand, this or that should be renounced, is no sign of true Christianity ( Romans 14:17).

Heubner: The mistaking of what is essential in Christianity, makes us petty; while laying stress on merely secondary matters unfits us for accomplishing the principal object ( Romans 14:17).—That which is allowed may be sin: 1. When we do it against our conscience; 2. When we thereby offend others ( Romans 14:21).

Besser: Every Christian and all Christendom are God’s work and building ( 1 Corinthians 3:9). It is blasphemy against God’s sanctuary to destroy this work by ruining a brother sanctified by Christ’s blood ( Romans 14:15), and by sundering the bond of peace, which keeps the blocks of the divine building in place ( Romans 14:20).—Every thing which is of Christian faith is truly good, because the doer is good by faith, and his deed is love, the fulness of all good deeds ( Romans 14:23).

[Leighton: There is no truly comfortable life in the world but that of religion. Religion is joy. Would you think it a pleasant life, though you had fine clothes and good diet, never to see the sun, but still to keep in a dungeon with them? Thus are they who live in worldly honor and plenty, who are still without God; they are in continual darkness, with all their enjoyments.—The public ministry will profit little any way, where a people, or some part of them, are not one, and do not live together as of one mind, and use diligently all due means of edifying one another in their holy faith.—Burkitt: Observe: 1. That the love and practice of religious duties, such as righteousness and peace, is a clear and strong argument of a person’s acceptance with God; 2. That such as are for those things accepted by God, ought by no means, for differing from us in lesser things, to be disowned of us, and cast out of communion by us.

[Henry: Ways by which we may edify one another: 1By good counsel; 2. Reproof; 3. Instruction; 4. Example; 5. Building up not only ourselves, but one another, in the most holy faith. None are so strong but they may be edified; none so weak but they may edify; and while we edify others, we benefit ourselves.—Clarke: If a man’s passions or appetite allow or instigate him to a particular thing, let him take good heed that his conscience approve what his passions allow, and that he live not the subject of continual self-condemnation and reproach. Even the man who has a too scrupulous conscience had better, in such matters as are in question, obey its erroneous dictates, than violate this moral feeling, and live only to condemn the actions he is constantly performing.

[Hodge: Conscience, or a sense of duty, is not the only, and perhaps not the most important, principle to be appealed to in support of benevolent enterprises. It comes in aid of and gives its sanction to all other right motives; but we find the sacred writers appealing most frequently to the benevolent and pious feelings—to the example of Christ—to a sense of our obligations to Him—to the mutual relations of Christians, and their common connection with the Redeemer, &c, as motives to self-denial and devotedness.—As the religion of the gospel consists in the inward graces of the Holy Spirit, all who have these graces should be recognized as genuine Christians; being acceptable to God, they should be loved and cherished by His people, notwithstanding their weakness or errors.—The peace and edification of the Church are to be sought at all sacrifices, except those of truth and duty; and the work of God is not to be destroyed or injured for the sake of any personal or party interests.—An enlightened conscience is a great blessing; it secures the liberty of the soul from bondage to the opinions of men, and from the self-inflicted pains of a scrupulous and morbid state of moral feelings it promotes the right exercise of all the virtuous affections, and the right discharge of all relative duties.—Ridgeway, on Romans 14:22-23 : The reason that the Church is so cold in her devotions, and so little comparative success attends her evangelizing efforts, Isaiah, that her confidence in God’s promises and methods is paralyzed by a self-accusing consciousness of delinquency. There cannot be an overcoming faith in the people of God, except the Spirit of Him who fulfilleth all righteousness breathes and works in their hearts and lives.

[Homiletical Literature on Romans 14:17.—A. Burgess, Spiritual Revivings, part1:123; J. Abernethy, Of the Kingdom of God, Serm., vol. iv155; S. Clarke, In what the Kingdom of God Consists, Serm., vol. vii233; H. Whishaw, The True Nature of the Kingdom of God, Serm., vol. ii91; S. Bourn, On the Nature of the Christian Religion, Disc., vol. ii259; L. Holden, Righteousness Essential to True Religion, Serm., 314; J. Dodson, Joy in the Holy Ghost, Disc., 152; James Foster, The Kingdom of God, under the Dispensation of the Gospel, Serm., vol2:313; Bishop Shipley, Serm, Works, vol. i265; John Venn, The Nature of True Religion, Serm., vol. iii132; I. B. S. Carwithin, The Brahminical System in its Operations on the Intellectual Faculties, Bampton Lectures, 213; T. Dwight, Joy in the Holy Ghost, Theology, vol3:208; John Garnons, True Religion, Serm., vol. ii15; R. P. Buddicom, The Inward and Spiritual Character of the Kingdom of God, Serm., vol. ii234; Bishop Jebb, Serm., 71; H. Woodward, Essays, &c, 467; R. Montgomery, The Church, Viewed as the Kingdom of the Spirit, God and Man, 118.—J. F. H.]

Romans 15:1-4

Let us bear the infirmity of the weak without pleasing ourselves; for in this: 1. We seek to please our neighbor for his good, to edification; 2. We herein choose Christ as our pattern, who did not please himself ( Romans 15:1-4).—For what purpose should the strong use the infirmity of the weak? 1. To humble himself; 2. To please his neighbor; 3. To imitate Christ ( Romans 15:1-4).—On pleasing ourselves1. In what is its ground? a. In a man’s regarding his views as the most correct; b. His efforts as the best; c. His words as the wisest; d. His deeds as the most godly; e. And, consequently, himself as insurpassable2. How is it shown? a. In the severe condemnation of the weak; b. In immoderate self-praise; c. In pretentious manners in society3. How is it to be overcome? a. By discipline in bearing the infirmities of the weak brethren; b. By an honest effort to please our neighbor for his good, to edification (comp. 1 Corinthians 10:33); c. By a believing look at Christ, who did not please himself, but bore the reproaches of His enemies ( Romans 15:1-4).—The blessing of the Holy Scriptures for our inward man ( Romans 15:4).—The Holy Scriptures a fountain of hope ( Romans 15:4).—Examples of patience and comfort, which the Scriptures present to us for awakening joyous hope: 1. From the Old Testament; 2. From the New Testament ( Romans 15:4).

Roos: Bearing the infirmity of the weak is an exercise of meek love, which neither lightly esteems him who is weak, nor would seek to change him in a rough, vehement manner. To please ourselves, means to act according to our own views, whether another can be offended at them or not; or to so conduct ourselves as if we were in the world for our own sake alone, and not also for our weak brother’s sake ( Romans 15:2-3).

Gerlach: The Apostle here sets up Christ not merely as a pattern, but as a motive, and the living Author and Finisher of our life of faith ( Romans 15:3).

Heubner: The reason why a man does not place himself under restraint, is pleasure with himself; and this hinders all peace, destroys the germ of love in the heart, and is a proof of spiritual weakness, prejudice, and a corrupt heart. He is not strong who cannot bear with others near him, nor tolerate their opinions ( Romans 15:21).—The Bible is the only real and inexhaustible book of comfort; Paul said this even when there was nothing more than the Old Testament.—The Bible is not merely a book to be read, but to be lived [nicht Lese-, sondern Lebebuch.], Luther, vol. v, pp1707 ( Romans 15:4).

[Jeremy Taylor: There is comfort scattered up and down throughout the holy book, and not cast all in a lump together. By searching it diligently, we may draw our consolation out of: 1. Faith; 2. Hope; 3. The indwelling of the Spirit: 4. Prayer; 5. The Sacraments.—Burkitt: The great end for which the Holy Scriptures were written, was the informing of our judgments, and the directing of our practice, that, by the examples which we find there of the patience of holy men under sufferings, and of God’s relieving and comforting them in their distresses, we might have hope, confidence, and assurance, that God will also comfort and relieve us under the like pressures and burdens.

[Henry: Christ bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the infirmities of the weak.—There are many things to be learned out of Scripture; the best learning is that which is drawn from that fountain. Those are most learned that are most mighty in the Scriptures. As ministers, we need help, not only to roll away the stone, but to draw out the water; for in many places the well is deep. Practical observations are more necessary than critical expositions.

[Scott: Many venture into places and upon actions against which their own conscience revolts; because they are induced by inclination, or emboldened by the example of those who, on some account, have obtained the reputation of pious men. But they are condemned for indulging themselves in a doubtful case. In order to enjoy freedom from self-condemnation, we must have: 1. A sound judgment; 2. A simple heart; 3. A tender conscience; 4. Habitual self-denial.

[Robert Hall: Paul enjoins the practice of forbearance, on the ground of the conscientiousness of the parties concerned, on the assumption not only of their general sincerity, but of their being equally actuated, in the very particulars in which they differed, by an unfeigned respect to the authority of Christ; and as he urges the same consideration on which the toleration of both parties rested, it must have included a something which was binding on the conscience, whatever was his private judgment on the points in debate. The Jew was as much bound to tolerate the Gentile, as the Gentile to tolerate the Jew.

[Hodge: The desire to please others should be wisely directed, and spring from right motives. We should not please them to their own injury, nor from the wish to secure their favor; but for their good, that they may be edified.—Barnes: Christ willingly threw himself between the sinner and God, to intercept, as it were, our sins, and to bear the effects of them in His own person. He stood between us and God; and both the reproaches and the Divine displeasure due to them met on His sacred person, and produced the sorrows of the atonement.—His bitter agony in the garden and on the cross. Jesus thus showed His love of God in being willing to bear the reproaches aimed at Him, and His love of men in being willing to endure the sufferings necessary to atone for these very ones.

[Homiletical Literature on Romans 15:4 : Bishop Latimer, Sermons of the Plough, Works, vol. i59; Seven Sermons, Ibid, vol. i85; Bishop Patrick, The Use of the Holy Scriptures (London, 1678); W. Wotton, Serm. (1722); John Guyse, Serm. (1724); Dispositions for Reading the Scriptures; Pitman from Osterwald, 1Course, vol. i15; J. Brailsford, Revelation of a Future State in the Scriptures, an Argument for Comfort and Patience, Serm., 247; Thomas Adam, Works, vol. iii334; H. Draper, The Authority, Excellence, and Use of the Holy Scriptures. On the Collects, vol. i24; John Hewlett, The Things Written Aforetime for our Learning, Serm., vol. iv209; The Duty of Studying the Holy Scriptures with Patience, Ibid, vol. iv227; The Patience, the Comfort, and Hope to be Derived from the Holy Scriptures, Ibid, vol. iv246; R. L. Cotton, Study of the Scriptures, Serm., 376; W. Macdonald, The Scriptures. Plain Sermons, 24; C. Girdlestone, Holy Scripture. Farewell Sermons, 165; G. R. Gleig, Sermons for Advent, &c, Romans 39: T. Bowdler, The Scriptures Given, for Comfort. Sermons on Privileges, &c, vol. i48; F. E. Tuson, The Blessings and Importance of the Written Word of God, Serm., 110; Arthur Roberts, The Uses of God’s Word. Plain Sermons, vol. i12; J. W. Donaldson, The Patience and Comfort of the Holy Scriptures, A. Watson, 2d Series, vol. i26; J. Garbett, Christ Speaking in Holy Scripture. Christ on Earth, &c, vol. i30; Bishop Medley, The Old Testament in its Relation to the New, Serm., 121; Isaac Williams, The Scriptures Bearing Witness, Serm., vol. i12.—J. F. H.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Romans 15:2[After ἒκαστος, the Rec. reads γάρ, which is found in no MS.; omitted by versions, fathers, and modern editors generally.

FN#2 - Romans 15:3.—[A verbatim citation from the LXX, Psalm 68:10 (Heb. Psalm 69:10; Eng. Psalm 69:9). The LXX. is a literal rendering of the Hebrew.

FN#3 - So De Wette, Philippi, and others. The E. V, by putting a comma after “but,” gives the same interpretation—i, e., but the reproaches, as it is written, &c. The absence of any formula of citation favors this construction.—R.]

FN#4 - Romans 15:4.—[א. A. B. C. D. L, repeat διά before τῆς παρακλήσεως. Omitted in Rec., D. F, versions and fathers. It is adopted by Griesbach, Bengel, Lachmann, De Wette, Alford, Wordsworth, Tregelles; rejected by Hodge, Philippi, Meyer, because the transcriber might so readily repeat it before τῆς occurring a second time. Still, the most careful editors retain it. Dr. Hodge says, in his first and last editions: “The preponderance of evidence is greatly against it;” and yet, in citing the authorities in favor of it, omits B. and א., the two most important uncials, both of which had been collated carefully before his last edition appeared.—R.]

FN#5 - The emphatic deliverances of ecclesiastical bodies as matters of minor morals (even making doubtful matters terms of communion) must often be regarded by the careful reader of this chapter as overpassing the limits here set to bearing the infirmities of the weak. When that about which the Word of God makes no distinct utterance, is made a term of communion, those who are thus wise above what is written are not acting to “edification.” It is but an attempt to make holy by an ecclesiastical law. If God’s law could not do this “in that it was weak through the flesh,” man’s law is not likely to accomplish the result arrived at. “Strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that scruples about lesser matters almost always involve some dereliction of duty in greater and more obvious ones” (Jowett). Comp. the very valuable dissertation of this author on “Casuistry,” Comm. ii. pp322–357.—R.]


Verses 5-13

Sixth Section.—Exhortation to unanimity on the part of all the members of the Church, to the praise of God and on the ground of God’s grace, in which Christ has accepted both Jews and Gentiles. Reference to the destination of all nations to glorify God, even according to the Old Testament, and encouragement of the Roman Christians to an immeasurable hope in regard to this, according to their calling

Romans 15:5-13

5Now the God of patience and consolation [comfort] grant you to be likeminded [of the same mind] one toward another according to Christ Jesus:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth [with one accord ye may with one mouth] glorify God, even the Father [or, the God and Father][FN6] of our Lord Jesus Christ 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us8[you],[FN7] to the glory of God.[FN8] Now [For][FN9] I say that Jesus [omit Jesus][FN10] Christ was [hath been made][FN11] a minister of the circumcision for the truth [for the sake of God’s truth] of God, to [in order to] confirm the promises madeunto the fathers: 9And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written,

For this cause I will confess [give thanks] to thee among the Gentiles,

And sing unto thy name.

10, 11And again he saith,[FN12] Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again,[FN13]

Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles;

And laud[FN14] him, all ye people.

12And again, Esaias [Isaiah] saith,[FN15]

There shall be a root of Jesse,

And he that shall rise [riseth] to reign over the Gentiles;

In him shall the Gentiles trust [hope].

13Now [And may] the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace[FN16] in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through [ἐν, in] the power of the Holy Ghost.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The positive destination of the Christian Church at Rome.

Romans 15:5. Now the God of patience, &c. [ὁδὲ Θεὸς τῆς ὑπομονῆς, κ.τ.λ. “God, who is the author of patience,” &c. So Hodge, Meyer, and most. Luther: “Scriptura quidem docet, sed gratia donat, quod illa docet.” Comp. Calvin on the patience of the Christian. De Wette, Meyer, and others, understand by ὑπομονή, constancy. Hodge takes consolation as the source of patience.—R.] God is the common, inexhaustible source of all the matured patience of the New Testament, and of all the preparatory comfort of the Old Testament; and it is from Him that believers must derive the gift of being of the same mind one toward another according to Christ Jesus (not according to His example and will merely, but according to His Spirit).[FN17]

Romans 15:6. It is only in this path of self-humiliation that they shall and can attain to the glorious way of glorifying the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—Him who has glorified Jesus as Christ, after Christ passed through the Jesus-way of humiliation, and whom they glorify in the anticipation that He will glorify them with Him, as He has already glorified them in Him. The terms Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ are here reversed with remarkable acuteness and effect.—With one accord, ὁμοθυμαδόν, is not explained by the phrase: with one mouth [ἐν ἑνὶ στόματι], but the former is the source of the latter, as Meyer has correctly observed, against Reiche. [“When God is so praised that the same mood impels every one to the same utterance of praise, then party-feeling is banished, and unanimity has found its most sacred expression” (Meyer).—R.]

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [τὸν Θεὸν καὶ πατέρα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ.] He is not only the Father, but also the God, of Christ, in the highest specific sense (thus Grotius [Bengel, Reiche, Fritzsche, Jowett], and others, in opposition to Meyer). Comp. Ephesians 1:17.

[God, even the Father, &c. The E. V. thus renders, disconnecting “of our Lord Jesus Christ” from “God.” So De Wette, Philippi, Meyer, Stuart, Webster and Wilkinson. Hodge, Tholuck, and Alford, leave the question undecided. It would seem that either view is admissible grammatically; καί is often used epexegetically, even, and the article (standing before θεοῦ only) may merely bind the two terms, “God” and “Father of Christ” (Meyer). At the same time, the article might be looked for before πατέρα, were καί explicative. Nor is there any doctrinal difficulty occasioned by either view. The only reason in my own mind for preferring the interpretation of the E. V. Isaiah, that those exegetes, who are most delicate in their perceptions of grammatical questions, adopt it. See Meyer in loco.—R.]

Romans 15:7. Wherefore receive ye one another [διὸ προσλαμβάνεσθε ἀλλήλους]. In the intensive sense. An exhortation to both parties.

As Christ also received you [καθὼς καὶ χριστὸς προσελάβετο ὑμᾶς. See Textual Note2.] This is more definitely explained in Romans 15:8-9.

To the glory of God [εἰς δόξαν τοῦ Θεοῦ. See Textual Note3.] This must be referred to Christ’s reception of them, and not to the exhortation: receive ye one another, according to Chrysostom, and others.[FN18] That God might be glorified. Not immediately, in order that we may share the Divine glory with Christ (Grotius, Beza, and others), although the glorification of God shall consist in that. As the self-humiliation of Christ, which was proved by His receiving men into His fellowship, led to the glorification of God (see John xvii.), so also, according to the previous verse, shall the same conduct of self-humiliation on the part of Christians have the same effect. But how has Christ received us into His fellowship? Answer:

Romans 15:8. For I say [λέγω γάρ. See Textual Note4.] The Apostle now explains how Christ received the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians into fellowship with himself.—That Christ [χριστόν. See Textual Note5.] The reading Christ, as a designation of God’s Song of Solomon, in view of the incarnation. In this view He hath been made a minister of the circumcision [διάκονον γεγεῆσθαι περιτομῆς. See Textual Note6. Dr. Lange, in his German text of this verse, thus explains this phrase: “from a higher, Divine-human, ideal point of view, receiving the Jews into His fellowship, by submitting himself to circumcision.”—R.] His concrete incarnation as a Jew, in which He became subject to the Jewish law (see Philippians 2:7; Galatians 4:4), must be distinguished from His incarnation in the more general sense. By this means, Hebrews, as the heavenly Strong One, through voluntary love entered into the fellowship of the infinitely weak in both a human and legal sense, and accordingly received them into His fellowship. It seems far-fetched to regard the circumcision here (with Meyer [Philippi, Hodge], and others) as an abstract idea for the circumcised.[FN19] The circumcision denotes the law; and as He freely became a minister of the law, He also became a ministering companion of the Jews; Matthew 20:28. Therefore it is not the theocratic “honor of the Jews” which is emphasized here (Meyer) [Philippi], but the condescension to serve them. [So Hodge. Διάκονον is in emphatic position. The view of the emphasis taken by Meyer seems confirmed by what follows, which sets forth an advantage of the Jews.—R.]

For the sake of God’s truth [ὑπὲρ ἀληθείας Θεοῦ. For the sake of the truthfulness of God, in order to justify and to prove it by means of the fulfilment of the promises of the Old Testament.—R.] This undoubtedly seems to express the advantage of the Jews; but it also indicates their perilous condition. His condescension had a twofold cause: God’s mercy, and His promises resting upon it. Principially, His mercy took the precedence; but historically, the promise preceded. The truthfulness of God had to be sealed; He must confirm the promises given to the fathers by fulfilling them, however unfortunate the condition of the posterity; must confirm them in a way finally valid, for, as such sealed promises, they still continue in force, according to chap11, especially to believers (see 2 Corinthians 1:20; Revelation 3:14).

Romans 15:9. And that the Gentiles, &c. [τὰ δὲ ἒθνη ὑπὲρ ἐλέους δοξάσαι τὸν Θεόν.] Christ had to receive the Jews, acting as a minister to them through His whole life; and He had to confine himself to historical labors among them, not so much because they were worthy of it, as to fulfil the promises given to the fathers. But the Gentiles were now the object of utterly unmerited mercy. The thought that Christ has redeemed the Gentiles through pure mercy, which was not yet historically pledged to them (for the promises in the Old Testament in relation to the Gentiles were not pledges to the Gentiles themselves), now passes immediately over into the representation of the fact that the Gentiles have already come to glorify God as believers, in which they have an advantage on their side also. The meaning of ὑπὲρ ἐλέους, Isaiah, that mercy could not help satisfying itself for its own sake, by redemption. The δοξάσαι has been translated by Rückert [De Wette, Hodge, Alford], and others: have glorified; by Köllner [Calvin, Tholuck], and Philippi: should glorify. See Meyer on this point, p517.[FN20] The aorist says, at all events, that they have decidedly begun to glorify God.

For this cause I will give thanks to thee, &c. [Διὰ τοῦτο ἐξομολογήσομαι σοι, κ.τ.λ. Verbatim from the LXX, except that κύριε is omitted here. On the verb, see Romans 14:11, p.—R.] Meyer aptly says: “The historical subject of the passage, David, is the type of Christ, and the latter (not the Gentile Christian, with Fritzsche; nor the collective term for the Gentile apostles, with Reiche; nor any messenger of salvation to the world, with Philippi) is therefore, in Paul’s sense, the prophetical subject; Christ promises that He will glorify God among the Gentiles (surrounded by believing Gentiles) for His mercy (διὰ τοῦτο = ὑπὲρ ἐλέους). But this is the plastic description of glorifying on the part of the Gentiles themselves, which takes place in the name of the Lord Jesus, and through Him ( Colossians 3:17).”

Romans 15:10. Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people [Εὐφράνθητε ἒθνη μετὰ τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ. See Textual Note7, for the Hebrew text.—R.] Deuteronomy 32:43. From the LXX, which reads μετὰ τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ for עַמּוֹ, “probably following another reading: אֶת־עַמּוֹ;” Meyer. On the impossibility of understanding, by Goim, the single tribes of Israel, which De Wette does, comp. Tholuck, p730. [Also Philippi, whose remarks on this citation are unusually full and valuable.—R.] According to the theocratic idea, the definitions: rejoice to his people, or rather, make his people rejoice (הַרְנִינוּ), ye Gentiles, and rejoice with his people, amount to the same thing.

[An exact citation from the LXX. See Textual Notes 8,9, however.—R.] A prophecy of the universal spread of salvation.

Romans 15:12. And again, Isaiah saith. [See Textual Note10.] In Romans 11:10 : According to the LXX, which, however, has translated the original text so freely that the twofold dominion of the Messiah is indicated, on the one hand, over the Jews (as the root of Jesse), and, on the other, over the Gentiles.

A root of Jesse [ ῥίζα τοῦ Ἰεσσαὶ]. See Isaiah 11:1. The tree of the royal house of David being cut down, the Messiah arose from the root of the house, which is symbolized by Jesse. In a higher sense, Christ was indeed the holy root of Jesse, and of the house of David itself.

Romans 15:13. And may the God of hope. A grand description of God here, where the object is to remind the Roman Christians to lead a life in perfect accordance with their universal calling. To this also belongs the duty of looking confidently and prayerfully to the God of hope, the God of that future of salvation which is so infinitely rich, both extensively and intensively.

With all joy and peace. From that hope, the highest possible evangelical, saving joy, shall spring; the result of this shall be the richest measure of peace, and the harmony and unanimity of faith. This shall take place in believing (πιστεύειν, it is not by unbelief, or by abridging our faith, that the unity of Christianity should be sought), and accordingly these two spiritual blessings shall ever produce a richer hope, not in human power and according to a human measure, but in the inward measure and divine power of the Holy Ghost. 21]

Therefore the realization of hope should not be striven for by the aid of earthly and even infernal powers: one shepherd and one fold! According to Grotius, the end of this hope is harmony; according to Tholuck, the immediate end is the gracious gifts of God’s kingdom; while the ultimate end is the regnum gloriæ. However, there lies just between these the end which the Apostle here has in view—that by the aid of the Church at Rome, in their fellowship with Paul, all nations shall be brought, by the spread of faith, to glorify God; Ephesians 1:18 ff.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The great grounds of the profound and perfect harmony and unanimity of Christians, a. God as the God of patience and comfort; that Isaiah, as the God of the infinite power of passive and active love; b. The pattern, the spirit, the power, and the work of Christ; c. The design that Christians, by being like-minded, and by aiming at substantial fellowship in God and in Christ (as created and redeemed), should find also the ethical fellowship of harmony and unanimity.

2. The universal fellowship into which Christ has entered with humanity, and the special fellowship in which He has pledged himself to the Jews, constitute the basis for the most special and real fellowship into which Hebrews, through His grace, has entered with believers. But it is a grievous offence to refuse communion with him whom Christ, by the witness of faith and of confession, has communion, or to abridge and prejudice hearty intercourse with those whom God, in Christ, deems worthy of His fellowship. [ Romans 15:7 seems to be a dictum probans for what is termed “open communion.”—R.]

3. On the antithesis: Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ, see the Exeg. Notes.

4. It is also clear here (see Romans 15:8) that we must distinguish between the ideal incarnation of Christ in itself, and His concrete incarnation in Judaism, and, generally, in the form of a servant.

5. God is free in His grace, and yet also bound in His truth, for He has bound himself to His promises. But this obligation is the highest glory of His freedom. His truthfulness had to satisfy His word, but His mercy had to satisfy itself.

6. The riches of the Old Testament in promises for the Jews, and the high aim of these promises: a world of nations praising the Lord.

7. The God of patience, comfort, hope. All such terms define God to be infinite, and infinite as a fountain, as self-communicating life, and archetype of life. So also is the Holy Spirit defined as the Spirit of truth, &c. See the beautiful remark of Gerlach, below. But the highest thing for which we can praise God, according to Romans 15:6, is His being the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only is He His Father in the specific sense, but also His God; the glorious God of His consciousness and life is the true God in perfect Revelation, and consequently shall become our God through Him.

8. On the development of hope, within the sphere of faith, into joy and peace, and, by means of peace, into an ever richer hope, see the Exeg. Notes. It is only in this way that irenics can be conducted in the power of the Holy Ghost, and not with the modern artifice of attempting them outside the sphere of faith, beyond all creeds, and with the theory of unconscious Christianity, or even with the violent measures of the Middle Ages. The Apostle says: In the power of the Holy Ghost.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Jewish and Gentile Christians should agree for Christ’s sake, who has received them both.—Christian harmony1. It comes from the God of patience and comfort; 2. It is shaped according to the pattern and will of Jesus Christ; 3. It expresses itself in harmonious praise of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ( Romans 15:5-6).—A harmonious and fraternal disposition is a source of the joyous praise of God, which is not disturbed by a discordant note ( Romans 15:5-6).—Jesus Christ a minister of the circumcision1. Why? For the truth of God, to confirm the promise2. How? In obedience to the Divine law, for freedom from the law ( Romans 15:8).—Receive one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Every thing to God’s glory, and not to our own ( Romans 15:7).—The praise of God out of the mouth of Gentiles: 1. Established in God’s mercy; 2. Resounding in many tongues; 3. Ascending to heaven ( Romans 15:9).—God’s mercy toward the Gentiles: 1. Present from the beginning; 2. Declared by the prophets; 3. Manifested in Christ ( Romans 15:9-13). Romans 15:13 is an appropriate text and theme for addresses on occasions of confirmation or marriage.

Starke: In Christ, souls are worth so much that God receives them, just as men hoard gold and silver, pearls and gems; Isaiah 43:4 ( Romans 15:7).—Müller: Patience does not increase in the garden of nature, but it is God’s gift and grace; God is the real Master who creates it ( Romans 15:5).—Because Christ is a root, He must vegetate, bloom, and bring forth fruit in us ( Romans 15:12).

Gerlach: God is the source of all good things, and since He not merely has them, but they are His real essence; since He does not have love and omnipotence, but is actually love and omnipotence themselves, so can He be denominated according to every glorious attribute and gift which He possesses. The advantage which the Gentiles thought that they possessed in their polytheism, when they, for example, worshipped a deity of truth, of hope, &c, is possessed in a much more certain and effective way by the believing Christian, when he perceives, in a vital manner, that the true God is himself personal faithfulness, hope, and love, and thus has all these attributes just as if He had nothing else but them ( Romans 15:5).

Heubner: The harmony of hearts is the real soul and power of worship ( Romans 15:6).—Christ is the centre of the Holy Scriptures ( Romans 15:8).—Christ is the bond of all nations ( Romans 15:12).—God alone is the source of all life and blessing in the Church. The means is faith, as the ever new appropriation of saving blessings; from this arises the enjoyment of peace and of all blessed joys—an overflow of hope. But every thing is brought to pass by the Holy Spirit ( Romans 15:13).

Besser: The Scriptures are a book of patience and comfort ( Romans 15:5.)—Every thing which is true joy in this life, is a foretaste of the joy of eternal life—joy in the Lord and His word, joy in all His blessings, which make body and soul happy, &c. … All true peace in this world of contention and anxiety, is a preliminary enjoyment of the peace in the kingdom of glory.

Schleiermacher: The limitation in the labors of our Saviour himself, when we look at His person, and the greater freedom and expansion in the labors of His disciples1. Treatment; 2. Application ( Romans 15:8-9).

Romans 15:4-13. The Pericope for the Second Sunday in Advent.—Schultz: On the likeness of Christ and His redeemed ones1. In what respect has Christ become like us? 2. In what respect should we become like Christ? a. In patience and humility; b. In the respect and love with which He treated all men; c. In the joyful faith and peaceful hope with which He overcame the world.—Riemer: What must there be among Christians, in order that the Church of Christ may stand? 1. One foundation; 2. A harmonious mouth; 3. A common bond.—Brandt: To what does the season of Advent exhort us? 1. To the industrious examination of what has been written; 2. To the unanimous praise of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for all that has been already fulfilled; 3. To an attentive waiting for the future coming of God’s kingdom.—Heubner: The unity of the Christian Church1. In what does it consist? 2. What binds us to it?—The Bible the bond of the Christian Church1. Proof: It is the bond, a. In faith, or in doctrine; b. In the holy sense, or in love; c. In worship; d. In daily life2. Application, a. A warning against despising the Bible, and an admonition to maintain its authority; b. A dissemination of its use; c. Our own proper use of it.—The Bible the treasure of the evangelical Church.—The inward unity of true Christians amid outward diversity.

[Burkitt: The Christian’s hope: 1. God is its object, and therefore the sin of despair is most unreasonable; for why should any despair of His mercy who is the God of hope, who commands us to hope in His mercy, and takes pleasure in them that do Song of Solomon 2. The grace of hope, together with joy and peace in believing, are rooted in the Christian’s heart, through the power of the Holy Ghost—that Isaiah, through the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost—enlightening the understanding, inclining the will, rectifying the affections, and reducing all the rebellious powers and faculties of the soul in concurrence with our endeavors under the government and dominion of reason and religion.

[Henry: The method of faith is: 1. To seek Christ as one proposed to us for a Saviour; 2. And, finding Him able and willing to save, then to trust in Him. They that know Him will trust in Him. Or, this seeking Him is the effect of a trust in Him, seeking Him by prayer and pursuant endeavors. Trust, is the mother; diligence in the use of means, the daughter.—What is laid out upon Christians is but little compared with what is laid up for them.—Doddridge: Nothing can furnish so calm a peace and so sublime a joy as Christian hope.—That is the most happy and glorious circumstance in the station which Providence may have assigned us, which gives us the greatest opportunity of spreading the honor of so dear a name, and of presenting praises and services to God through Him.

Kollock, Sermon on the patience of God: I. The nature of this patience, or slowness to anger: (1) It is a modification of the Divine goodness; (2) It is not the result of ignorance; (3) It is not the result of impotence; (4) It is not the result of a connivance at sin, or a resolution to suffer it with impunity; (5) But it is grounded on the everlasting covenant, and the blood of Jesus. II. Some of the most illustrious manifestations of it. III. The reasons why God exercises it: (1) He is patient because of His benignity; (2) In order that this perfection may be glorified; (3). In consequence of the prayers of pious ancestors; (4) Because the wicked are often mixed with the pious, and nearly related to them; (5) The number of His elect is not yet completed; (6) The measure of the sins of the wicked is not yet filled up; (7) That sinners may be brought to repentance; (8) That sinners who continue impenitent may at last be without excuse; (9) That His power may be displayed; (10) That He may exercise the trust of His servants in Him. IV. The effects that the belief and knowledge of it should produce upon our hearts and lives: (1) Because of God’s patience we should love Him; (2) We should repent; (3) We should imitate Him; (4) His patience should be our comfort; (5) We should grieve at the reproaches and insults cast upon God.

[Homiletical Literature on Romans 15:13 : Hugh Binning, Works, vol. iii249; R. Lucas, Joy, Peace, and Hope, the Christian’s Portion Here, Serm. (1709), vol. ii119; Bishop Moore, Excellency of the Christian Religion, Serm., vol. ii291; James Craig, Serm., vol. ii355; J. Dodson, Joy in Believing, Disc., 184; Daniel De Superville. (le fils), Les Fruits consolans de la Foi, Serm, vol. iii328; R. Moss, Nature and Qualification of Christian Hope, Serm., vol. vi325; Price, Peace of Conscience, Hope, and Holy Joy, Berry St. SS., vol. i419; S. Ogden, The Being of the Holy Ghost, Serm., 157; W. Mason, The Effects of the Divine Spirit, Works, vol. iv147; H. Hunter, The Belief of the Gospel a Source of Joy and Peace, Serm. (1795), vol. i227; David Savile, Present Happiness of Believers, Disc., 401; W. Gilpin, Sermons, 165; C. Simeon, The Holy Ghost the Author of Hope, Works, vol. xv553; G. D’Oyly, Joy and Peace in Believing, vol. i385; W. Blackley, Script. Teaching, 263; W. Gresley, Joy and Peace in Believing, Practical Serm., 41; E. Blencowe, Hope, Plain Serm., vol. ii80; H. Goodwin, The Young Man in Religious Difficulties, Four Serm., 35.—J. F. H.]

Footnotes:

FN#6 - Romans 15:6.—[On the two renderings given above, see the Exeg. Notes.

FN#7 - Romans 15:7.—[The Rec., with B. D1.: ἡμᾶς; א. A. C. D23. F. L, most versions and many fathers: ὑμᾶς. All modern editors adopt the latter. Besides the overwhelming MS. support, there is the additional reason, that ἡμᾶς might so readily enter as a correct gloss, since the reference is undoubtedly to both Jewish and Gentile Christians. See the Exeg. Notes.

FN#8 - Romans 15:7.—[The Rec., on very insufficient authority, omits τοῦ before Θεοῦ; inserted in א. A. B. C. D. F. G.

FN#9 - Romans 15:8.—[Instead of γάρ, which is found in א. A. B. C. D. F, versions and fathers, the Rec. (with L. and Peshito) reads: δέ. The latter reading probably arose from a misunderstanding of the connection (Alford), or because λέγω δέ is so common with Paul (Meyer). The former is now generally adopted (from Griesbach to Tregelles). Phillippi thinks a decision impossible!

FN#10 - Romans 15:8.—[D. F, Syriac versions, Rec., insert Ἰησοῦν before Χριστόν; some authorities (including Vulgate), after χρ.; omitted in א. A. B. C, fathers; rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, De Wette, Alford. The variation in position is decidedly against it, making an interpolation extremely probable. Dr. Lange thinks the connection favors the omission.

FN#11 - Romans 15:8.—[א. A. C2. D3. L, many fathers: γεγενῆσθαι; adopted by De Wette, Philippi, Meyer, Alford, Lange. B. C1. D1. F.: γενέσθαι, adopted by Lachmann and Tregelles. The former is to be preferred, because the γε was likely to be omitted, and the latter might have been substituted as a correction.

FN#12 - Romans 15:10.—[From the LXX, Deuteronomy 32:43. The Hebrew text is: הַרְנִינוּ גו̇יּם עַמּוֹ, literally, Rejoice, O ye nations. His people. It is not necessary, in order to defend the rendering of the LXX, to suppose that they read עִם עַמּוֹ or דְעַמּדֹ or אֶת־עַמּדֹ (although the last has been found). They could find the sense they have adopted in the Hebrew text as ft stands, by simply repeating the imperative (in thought) before עַמּדֹ. See Philippi in loco, and Hengstenberg, on Psalm 18:50.

FN#13 - Romans 15:11.—[B. D. F. read ΛΈΓΕΙ; omitted in א. A. C. L, fathers. It was easily inserted from Romans 15:10. Lachmann adopts it, but it is generally rejected.—The order of the Rec.: τὸν κύριον πάντα τὰ ἒθνη is probably a correction to conform with the LXX. א. A. B. D, Vulgate, Syriac, &c.: π. τ. ἒθ. τὸν κύριον. So Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Tregelles.

FN#14 - Romans 15:11.—[א. A. B. C.: ὲπαινεσάτωσαν. So Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, De Wette, Alford, Tregelles, Lange. Rec., F. L, versions: ἐπαινέσατε (so LXX, although the MSS. vary). Philippi adopts the latter, but he is a conservative as respects the Recepta.

FN#15 - Romans 15:12.—[The LXX. ( Isaiah 11:10) is followed here. It differs somewhat from the Hebrew, which reads:

דְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא שֹׁרֶשׁ רִשַׁי אֲשֶׁר עֹמֵד לְנֵם עַמִּרם אֵלָיד גּוֹיִם יִדְרשׁדּ.

Literally: “And in that day shall the root of Jesse which (is) standing (or set up) be for a signal to the nations; unto Him shall the Gentiles seek” (J. A. Alexander). But the LXX. only strengthens this into a form well suited to the Apostle’s purpose.

FN#16 - Romans 15:13.—[F. G. read: πληθορήσαι ὑμᾶς πάσῃ χαπᾷ καὶ εὶπήνῃ. So B, inserting ἐν before the datives. א. A. C. D. L.: πληπώσαι ὑμᾶς πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εὶπῆνης; accepted by most editors.—R.]

FN#17 - With this accords the view of Dr. Hodge: “The expression, to be like-minded, does not here refer to unanimity of opinion, but to harmony of feeling; see chaps. Romans 8:5; Romans 12:3.” The context favors this very decidedly.—Meyer thinks “the example of Christ ( Romans 15:3) is still the ruling thought;” but it is certainly not the exclusive one. The verb δῴη is the latter Hellenistic form for δοίη.—R.]

FN#18 - Dr. Hodge seems to prefer the other reference, while Dr. Lange really adopts both in his further remarks. Dr. Hodge does not decide which reading he adopts, ὑμᾶς or ἡμᾶς; but says that, if the former he the true reading, Paul is “exhorting the Gentile converts to forbearance toward their Jewish brethren.” This view is rejected by most of the later commentators, for both parties are addressed, as the context shows. Because Paul often means Gentiles when he says ἡμεῖς, we need not hold that he always uses it in this sense.—R.]

FN#19 - This view can scarcely be deemed “far-fetched,” when it is so readily suggested by the antithesis, ἒθνη ( Romans 15:9). and when Paul so frequently uses the term in this sense (comp. Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:7 ff.; Ephesians 2:11; Colossians 3:11).—R.]

FN#20 - The aorist infinitive δοξάσαι has occasioned some trouble among the grammarians.

1. It has been taken as dependent on λέγω ( Romans 15:8). So Winer, p311, Hodge, Alford, De Wette, Philippi; but in different senses: (a.) I say that the Gentiles have praised God (at their conversion). So Alford, Hodge, De Wette. But this is both contrary to the usage with the aorist infinitive, and introduces a thought that does not seem to belong here naturally. (b.) I say that the Gentiles ought to praise God (Calvin, Philippi, Tholuck). But there is no idea of obligation introduced in Romans 15:8 which is parallel to this. (c.) I say that the Gentiles praise (indefinitely). So Winer, Fritzsche. But to this there are grammatical objections. Besides this, all these involve an incorrect view of the dependence of the infinitive.

2. The simplest, most natural view, is that of the E. V, Meyer, &c. The infinitive stands next to a clause where there is also an aorist infinitive (βεβαιῶσαι); it is therefore coördinate with this, depending also on εἰς τύ, though expressing the more remote purpose: Christ was made a minister, &c, in order to confirm the promises, and as a result of this, that the Gentiles might praise God for His mercy.—R.]

FN#21 - Meyer renders: in virtue of the (inworking) power of the Holy Ghost. Our E. V, usually so apt, is peculiarly unfortunate in its treatment of the preposition ὲν, which it readers through in this case. The later revisions have by. But it is to be doubted whether ἐν ever has a strictly instrumental force. The peculiar meaning, in, always remains in it. So here, in believing, in the power of the Holy Ghost; the former expressing the subjective, and the latter, the objective means, yet the former sets forth the status, in which (gläubigsein) they are, and the latter an inworking power. Comp. Philippi.—R.]


Verses 14-33

SECOND DIVISION

THE CALLING OF THE APOSTLE TO A UNIVERSAL APOSTLESHIP, AND HIS CONSEQUENT RELATION TO THE ROMAN CHURCH, AS THE POINT OF DEPARTURE FOR HIS UNIVERSAL APOSTLESHIP IN THE WEST

Romans 15:14-33

14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, [Now I am persuaded, my brethren, even I myself, concerning you,] that ye also [yourselves] are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.[FN22]15Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you [Howbeit, I have written more boldly[FN23] unto you, brethren][FN24] in some sort [measure], as puttingyou in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16That I should be the [a] minister of Jesus Christ [Christ Jesus][FN25] to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up [offering] of the Gentiles mightbe acceptable, being sanctified by [ἐν, in] the Holy Ghost 17 I have therefore whereof I may glory [I have therefore my boasting][FN26] through Jesus Christ [inChrist Jesus] in those things which pertain to God.[FN27] 18For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought [did not work] by [through] me, to make the Gentiles obedient [in order to the obedience of the 19 Gentiles], by word and deed, Through mighty [In the power of] signs and wonders, by [in] the power of the Spirit of God [Holy Spirit];[FN28] so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto [as far as] Illyricum, I have fully preached thegospel of Christ. [;] 20Yea, so have I strived [Yet on this wise making it my ambition][FN29] to preach the gospel, not where Christ was [already] named, lest Ishould [that I might not] build upon another man’s foundation: 21But as it is written,[FN30]

To whom he was not spoken of, they [They to whom no tidings of him came] shall see:

And they that have not heard shall understand.

22For which cause also I have been much [for the most part][FN31] hindered fromcoming to you 23 But now having no more [no more having] place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years [having these many years a longing]to come unto you; 24Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you [omit I will come to you]:[FN32] for[FN33] I trust to see you in my journey [as I pass through], and to be brought on my way thitherward [to be sent forward thither] by[FN34] you, if first I be somewhat [in some measure] filled with your company.

25But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister [ministering] unto the saints 26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia [Macedonia and Achaia thought it good] to make a certain contribution for the poor [among the] saints which are at Jerusalem 27 It hath pleased them verily [For they thought it good]; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of [have shared in] their spiritual things, their duty is [they owe it] also to minister unto them in carnal things 28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed [i.e., secured] to them this fruit, I will come [return][FN35] by you29[through your city] into Spain. And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel [omit of the gospel][FN36] ofChrist 30 Now I beseech you, brethren,[FN37] for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake [by our Lord Jesus Christ], and for [by] the love of the Spirit, that ye [to] strivetogether with me in your 38] prayers to God for me; 31That I may be delivered from them that do not believe [the disobedient] in Judea; and that my service [ministration] 39] which I have [is] for Jerusalem may be accepted of [proveacceptable to] the saints; 32That I may come unto you with [in] joy by the willof God,[FN40] and may with you be refreshed.[FN41] 33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.[FN42]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The following section is termed an Epilogue by Tholuck and Meyer. But this view does not correspond with the purpose and construction of the Epistle. The Apostle now comes to the last design of his Epistle, which Isaiah, to make Rome the principal station for his missionary labors in the West. See Schott, Der Römerbrief, p314, and elsewhere.

Summary.—A. The Apostle explains, almost apologetically, that his addressing the Romans was the result of his call to make the Gentiles, in priestly labor, an acceptable offering to God; and he gives information respecting the general completion of his work in the East (to Illyricum), and the results of the same; Romans 15:14-19.

B. His principle, not to invade the sphere of the labor of others (conduct the very opposite of that of all sectaries). The consequent impediments to his coming to Rome, where Christian congregations already exist. The desire, that nevertheless arose in harmony with his calling, to take this step. His hesitation not being fully removed, he describes his intended visit to Rome as a sojourn to gain strength for his further journey to Spain—that Isaiah, to the limits of the West; doubtless in the expectation that the Church will welcome him, and commit itself to his direction; Romans 15:20-24.

C. The last hindrance from his journey to Rome. The mention of the collections a proof of his love for believing Israelites, an expression of the proper conduct of Gentile Christians toward Jewish Christians. A further announcement of his journey through Rome, and of his visit, in the spirit of apostolical refinement. A foreboding reference to the obstructing hostility of the unbelievers in Judea, and a request that the Roman Christians should pray for the fulfilment of his purpose of coming to them; Romans 15:25-33.

A. Rom 15:14-19.

Romans 15:14. Even I myself; αὐτὸς ἐγώ Romans 7:25. He himself, the same, who has admonished them, has also this conviction. Thus he is not in antithesis, to others (Tholuck),[FN43] but Hebrews, as the one persuaded, is in antithesis to his admonition. This is favored by the following verse. Fritzsche, De Wette, Philippi [Stuart, Alford], explain similarly.

[Ye also yourselves, καὶ αὐτοί. “Without any exhortation of mine” (Alford).—R.]—Are full of goodness [μεστοί ἐστε ἀγαθωσύνης]. In the foregoing section the ἀγαθόν was to be understood particularly of humility and self-denying love, as the key-note of Christ’s feeling; accordingly, it must also here be construed as a substantive. (Meyer: “That ye are also of yourselves very excellent people.”) [Hodge: “Full of kind and conciliatory feelings; or, taking ἀγαθωσύνη in its wider sense, full of virtue, or excellence.” This last is adopted, apparently, from Meyer; it is so wide as to seem almost too complimentary.—R.]

With all knowledge [Γνώσεως. We reject the article, which is found only in א. B.—R.] The Apostle very willingly refers the γνῶσις particularly to the universal destination of Christianity; comp. Eph. i.—Admonish, νουθετεῖν. Strictly, to direct with brotherly feeling. To set the heart right is not a human affair; but when the heart is properly disposed, the νοῦς (or even the head) can be placed right.

[Howbeit I have written more boldly unto you, τολμηρότερον δὲ ἒγραψαὑμῖν]. The adjective is used adverbially. Meyer insists upon the comparative sense. [The verb ἒγραψα is the epistolary aorist, I have written; hence the Amer. Bible Union, I wrote, is a slavish following of the rule which makes the Greek aorist equivalent to the English past tense. The authors of that version unfortunately ignore all exceptions.—Brethren, ἀδελφοί. See Textual Note3.—In some measure, ἀπὸ μέρους. This qualifies ἒγραψα: I have written boldly in places (so De Wette, Meyer, Lange); not the adverb: I have written somewhat too boldly (Peshito, Grotius, Hodge). Hence the E. V. does not convey the meaning correctly.—R.] The boldness consists in his having spoken to them as to” His own church, although he is not, strictly speaking, its founder, and refers, for the most part, to chap. xiv. ff. Meyer enumerates, in preference, a number of other passages: Romans 6:12 ff, &c. [viii9; Romans 11:17 ff.; Romans 12:3; Romans 13:3 ff.; Romans 14:3 f10, 13, 15, 20; Romans 15:1.—R.]

As putting you in mind. He can say this in a general sense of the Christian state of development, which he presupposes in them, and, in a special sense, with reference to his many friends in Rome, who were not only his disciples, but also his helpers.

Because of the grace, &c. [διὰ τὴν χάριν, κ.τ.λ.] The following verse explains the sense in which he means this. Because his great and gracious call impels him to go far beyond Rome, he must first of all arrange matters perfectly with them. [The common interpretation: “My apostolic office was the ground and reason of my boldness,” does not exclude the special reference suggested by Dr. Lange.—R.]

Romans 15:16. That I should be a minister [εἰςτὸ εἶναί με λειτουργόν. The purpose of the grace given to him.—R.] The λειτουργός denotes, not only according to the immediate connection, but also according to the character of the whole Epistle, the minister in public worship; Meyer: the sacrificing priest; Hebrews 8:2; Philippians 2:17.

Christ Jesus [χριστοῦ ̓Ιησοῦ. This reading seems most accordant with the context, since the priestly service under Christ, the King, is referred to.—R.] Reiche: Christ is the offering brought; Rückert, very properly, says: Christ is the High-Priest; against which Meyer strangely urges, that this is not an idea of Paul, but of the Epistle to the Hebrews. [De Wette, Meyer, Fritzsche, and Philippi, think that Christ is represented here as Head and King of the Church, which is perhaps preferable.—R.]

Ministering (as a priest in) the gospel of God [ἱερουργοῦντα τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦΘεοῦ. Performing a priestly office with reference to the gospel.—R.] Explanations: 1. The gospel is the offering (Luther). 2. The office of the gospel is his priestly office (Erasmus, Tholuck, &c.). As the law was the basis of the Old Testament cultus, so the gospel is the basis of the New Testament cultus. Hence the meaning is: Explaining, as ministrant to the High-Priest, Christ, the gospel in its liturgical character, and transforming the knowledge of God contained in the gospel into evangelical praise of God (thank-offering); see [A slight modification is necessary, if Christ be represented here as King. Estius: “Administrans evangelium a Deo missum hominibus, eoque ministerio velut sacerdotio fungens.”—R.]

The offering of the Gentiles [ προσφορὰ τῶν ἐθνῶν. Genitive of apposition.] Not the offering which the Gentiles bring, but which the Gentiles themselves are (burnt-offerings).

Being sanctified in the Holy Ghost [ἡγιασμένη ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίω̣. Ἐν. seems to be instrumental, and yet may well indicate the element in which they were sanctified, purified.—R.] In the real New Testament mode, not in the merely typical sense of the consecration in the temple.[FN44]

Romans 15:17. I have therefore my boasting in Christ Jesus [ἒχω οὖν τὴν καὑχησιν ἐνχριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. See Textual Note5.] We take ἒχω as emphatic, and in connection with the words Christ Jesus. His glorying (the act itself) in his great calling, Hebrews, as the minister of Christ, holds within the bounds of the fellowship and Spirit of Christ. [He incidentally opposes any suspicion of his glorying himself, but the main emphasis does not rest on this. De Wette, Alford: “I venture to boast.” In, not through Christ (E. V, Stuart).—R.]

In those things which pertain to God [τὰπρὸς τὸν Θεόν]. According to the context, the restoration of the real worship of God in the world is meant. [Philippi, De Wette, Alford: “My above-named sacerdotal office and ministry.”—R.] Meyer says, however: “My boasting is something which belongs to me in virtue of my connection with Christ, in relation to God’s cause.” Reiche: My glorying consists in my glorying of Christ. [Dr. Hodge mentions another: “I have offerings for God—i. e., Gentile converts.” Too far-fetched.—R.]

Romans 15:18. For I will not dare, &c. [οὐ γὰρτολμήσω, κ.τ.λ.]. The γάρ explains how he meant the foregoing expression in Romans 15:17. But Romans 15:17 refers to Romans 15:16, in proof that he knows that he is placed, as a minister, completely under the direction and operation of the Spirit of Christ, the High-Priest. Thus Paul speaks, and thus John speaks; but modern criticism, on the other hand, boldly maintains the contrary—that Paul corrected the Ebionitic form of Christ, and that then (“pseudo”) John again corrected Paulinism.—The constant purpose was to call the Gentiles to the obedience of faith. Tholuck, and others, here accept a reference to the experiences which Paul had suffered in Corinth from the Judaists. But his purpose Isaiah, to show to the Romans that he comes to them simply as an instrument of Christ.

[The emphasis rests on οὐ κατειργάσατο, did not work. Hodge, following Theodoret, and others, places it on Christ, so that the antithesis is what he did, or could do, of himself. But the view taken of the verse by most commentators will appear from Alford’s paraphrase: “I have real ground for glorying (in a legitimate and Christian manner); for I will not (as some false apostles do) allow myself to speak of any of those things which (ὧν for ἐκείνων, ) Christ did not work by me (but by some other) in order to the obedience (subjection to the gospel) of the Gentiles (then, as if the sentence were in the affirmative form, ‘I will only boast of what Christ has veritably done by me toward the obedience of the Gentiles,’ he proceeds) by word and deed.” This last phrase is to be joined with Romans 15:19.—R.]

Romans 15:19. In the power of signs and wonders [ἐν δυνάμει σημείων καὶ τεράτων]. Thus the ἒργον of Paul is explained. Comp. the Acts of the Apostles.—But he refers every thing, word and work, signs and wonders, in a more special sense (in signs the miracle refers to the coming renewed world, and in τέρας to the astonishment of the old world) to the power of the Spirit, the spiritual life in which the Holy Spirit has become one with his spirit.[FN45] These “wonders” are incidentally a confirmation of the accounts of similar import in the Acts of the Apostles, and are therefore very uncomfortable to Baur, and others; comp. 2 Corinthians 12:12.

From Jerusalem. After the intensiveness of his labors, he comes to their extensiveness. Three points must be here observed: (1) From Jerusalem; (2) κύκλω̣; (3) To Illyricum. As for (1), the Apostle has reckoned his stay in Arabia and Damascus among his years of instruction, and not among his years as teacher. Likewise Jerusalem, where he first entered upon his apostolical labors, was not only the starting-point of the mission of all the apostles, but especially of his (see Acts 9:28-29; Acts 22:18.)

Round about [καὶ κύκλω̣]. This does not mean in an are (from Jerusalem by way of Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece, to Illyricum; Theodoret, Flacius, and others), but round about;[FN46] in which, indeed, points forming a circle come into consideration, though the expression must not be pressed geographically.

As far as Illyricum [μέχρι τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ]. The later expositors generally regard Illyricum as the terminus (see Tholuck); but Meyer, on the contrary, is of the opinion that this view subjects the Apostle to the suspicion of boasting; and probably, therefore, that he made an excursion into Illyricum, “possibly to the journey narrated in Acts 20:1-3.” But μέχρι θαλάσσης means to the sea, not into the sea. In Acts 20:1-3 there is no trace of a journey by way of Macedonia and Greece to the West.

I have fully preached, πεπληρωκέναι. [Literally: have fulfilled; but the E. V. conveys the meaning quite accurately.—R.] Not completely discharged the office of the gospel (Beza, Bengel, and others), but completely spread the gospel. The expression, therefore, does not mean: accomplished every thing with the gospel (Luther), or, perfectly declared the gospel (Olshausen). See Meyer [p527] for other explanations. The difficulty disappears if we appreciate the circumstances and method of the apostles. They had neither time nor calling to perform missionary labor in every village; they understood their calling in a universally historic and dynamic sense, and, consequently, when they had once conquered the fortresses, they had also conquered the surrounding country.

B. Rom 15:20-24.

Romans 15:20. Yet on this wise making it my ambition [οὕτω δέ φιλοτιμούμενον. See Textual Note8. The verb means: to make it a point of honor. Alford thinks, however, that it loses its primary meaning here, which is doubtful.—R.] See the Lexicons. The φιλοτιμούμενον, as an accusative dependent on με, see 2 Corinthians 10:15.

Was already named [ὅπον ὠνομάσθη]. Has been named according to His name.—This principle [which must not be deemed an attempt to avoid opposition (Reiche, and others).—R.] was in harmony with the labors of the apostles everywhere, because they had to lay the foundation. But it had a special meaning for Paul—that he had to establish the gospel in its full and most universal diffusion, and therein would not collide with the often nationally qualified, though evangelically free, missionary methods of the other apostles (see Galatians 2). The subsequent settlement of John in Ephesus was the result of a call to lay an ideal and unifying foundation, by means of which even the work of Paul could be carried further forward; besides, the labors of John embraced many churches which had arisen after Paul’s labors in that region.

Romans 15:21. But as it is written. [See Textual Note9. Ἀλλά introduces the positive explanation of οὕτω, on this wise; not where others had preached, but according to this rule of Scripture.—R.] Isaiah 52:15, according to the LXX. Meyer says that the subject is the (there mentioned) kings, not the nations. Not at all, even if the subject be violently rent asunder into two parts. The universal impulse of the gospel to go farther and farther into every land, was already expressed in prophecy.

Romans 15:22. For which cause also I have been for the most part hindered [διὸ καὶ ἐνεκοπτόμην τὰ πολλά]. Because he had to carry on his missionary labors now here and now there in the East. According to Meyer, Paul would say: By this means I have been hindered in most cases (τὰ πολλά), besides other instances. Undoubtedly the Apostle knows also other instances of hindrance; see 1 Thessalonians 2:18[FN47]

Romans 15:23. No more having place [μηκέτι τόπον ἔχων]. Meyer, following Luther: space, scope. [Philippi, De Wette, Alford: opportunity, occasion.—R.] But the Apostle’s scope was conditioned by a standing place, a central point; and here it is most natural to think of such a place. Tholuck: “The apostles were accustomed to carry on missionary labor in the metropolitan cities, leaving the further extension of the gospel to the churches established there, and therefore, after all, to let the pagani remain heathen.”

Romans 15:24. Whensoever. The ὡς ἂν [instead of ἐάν (Rec.).—R.]: quandocunque.Spain [Σπανίαν]. Usually called Iberia by the Greeks. The Roman Hispania. According to Meyer, this plan for his journey was not fulfilled; according to Tholuck, the question depends, on whether we accept a second Roman captivity, and this again on the evidence of Clemens Romanius. See the Introduction to this Epistle [especially Dr. Schaff’s note on p11], as well as the Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles. Neander, i, p525; Wieseler, Chron. des apost. Zeitalters, 1. Excursus. As a church already exists in Rome, although not established by an apostle, the Apostle cannot designate Rome as his principal object before Rome had met him in this respect; but as ancient Spain embraced the whole Pyrenean peninsula, it undoubtedly has for the Apostle the still further significance of a symbol of the whole West extending beyond Rome. To him, Spain meant the Western world. But Spain itself was a proper object, because there the two preliminary conditions of missionary labor already existed: Jews and Jewish synagogues, and Grecian and Roman civilization. It does hot follow, as Meyer supposes, that Paul gave up his plan of going to Spain after receiving the news, in his first captivity, on the state of things in the East, and thought chiefly of a return; Philippians 2:24.

[I will come to you. This clause is retained by Dr. Lange. See Textual Notes11and12. Rejecting it, we paraphrase: But now I have no longer a central point for labor in these parts, and (as I am seeking to begin labor in the extreme West) I have had a desire to see you for many years while on my way to Spain. For (now that there is some hope of my starting for Spain, and as you are the Christian church nearest that region) I trust, &c.—R.]

And to be sent forward (on my journey) thither by you [καὶ ἀφ̓ μῶν προπεμφθῆναι. The ἀπό denotes not merely by them, but from them, as a new point of departure.—R.] The expression προπεμφ. not only expresses a real attendance, such as Paul generally received from the churches for his further journey, but also the friendly furtherance of his journey, or even the friendly dismission; Acts 21:8.—In some measure [ἀπὸ μέρους. Grotius: “Non quantum vellem, sed quantum Licebit.—R.] An expression of the high regard in which he held their fellowship.—Filled, ἐμπλησθῶ, by spiritual satiation.

C. Rom 15:25-33.

Romans 15:25. But now I go. He regards this new official hindrance as the last.—[Ministering, διακονῶν. Present participle, not the future; the journey is part of the ministry, the whole action is already begun. This is lost sight of in the E. V.; Amer. Bible Union: “I am going to Jerusalem to minister,” is even more objectionable.—R.] On the collection mentioned, see 2 Corinthians 9:1-2; Acts 24:17. Origen is of the opinion that he wished to bring this collection home to the hearts of the Romans too. 48] He had time enough still for this.

Romans 15:26. For Maoedonia and Achaia thought it good [εὐδόχησαν γὰρ Μαχεδονια χαὶ Ἀχαῒα. Dr. Lange: were joyfully willing. The above rendering is perhaps scarcely strong enough, but is taken from later revisions. It seems best to preserve the personification of the orginal.—R.] The translation: they have wished, does not at all do justice to the εὐδοχ.

A certain contribution [κοινωνίαν τινά. Literally, a certain communion or participation. As used here of a contribution, “honesta et œquitatis plena appellatio” (Bengel).—R.] As the symbol and expression of the κοινωνία, it is itself κοινωνία. The later giving of alms, and particularly that of the Middle Ages, has not kept this meaning in view. Τινά softens the force. Meyer says: “There is no further trace in the Epistles of Paul of the community of goods.” We might add: There is no trace from the outset of a legally carried out community of goods!

[For they thought it good, εὐδόχησαν γάρ. The γάρ introduces an explanation of εὐδοχησαν ( Romans 15:26). The clause is = for they thought it good being their debtors.—R.]—In spiritual things. A statement of the cause of the propriety of this relief in temporal matters.—[To minister, λειτουργῆσαι. The figurative priestly service is still in mind, and to it belongs the privilege and duty of providing for the poor saints. Who, then, cannot be Christ’s priest, so long as we have Christ’s poor with us?—R.]—In carnal things. The σαρχιχά denote, in a general idea, external things; σάρξ is the external, material, and finite side of human life, of life in general. Conclusion a majori ad minus.

Romans 15:28. And have secured to them. Σφραγίζεσθαι. Luther [marginal reading]: “Truly and faithfully preserved to deliver up.” To this belongs also here the full spiritual meaning and effect. Strange view: When I have brought over to them the money, sealed (Erasmus, and others). Still more strange: When I have safely effected, with letter and seal, the proper delivery of their collection. It may be that, by sealing, the Apostle alludes to the usual method of the world in the management of money affairs, as, for example, in Philippians 4:15. Meyer: Vouched for; that Isaiah, corroborated as the fruit ripened for them.—[This fruit, τὸν χαρπὸν τοῦτον; i. e., the amount of the collection. There seems to be no reference to the fruit of love or faith, still less of Paul’s activity.—R.]

Romans 15:29. And I know, &c. [οἶδα δέ, κ.τ.λ. See Textual Note15.] A text applicable in many ways for installation sermons.

Romans 15:30. Now I beseech you. The Apostle’s wonderful presentiment of what he has to experience in Jerusalem; see Acts 20:22; Acts 21:10 ff.

By our Lord Jesus Christ. Διά. see Romans 12:1.—By the love of the Spirit. Meyer: The love effected by the Holy Spirit. As this is self-evident, Paul means a love extending itself with the Christian spirit, so as to embrace in its universality the entire kingdom of God, which can pray for all affairs of the kingdom and its administrators, and overflows the whole earth.

In your prayers. Codd. D. E. [F. G.] add the proper gloss ὑμῶν; [See Textual Note17. It is not genuine, though correct.—R.]

[The disobedient, ἀπειθούντων. Either unbelieving (E. V, Hodge, De Wette, and others) or disobedient (Philippi, and others). The two ideas are intimately related in the New Testament, but the latter seems the prominent one here.—R.] The Apostle describes the unbelieving Jews as disobedient. Those were, in a special sense, rebels against the Messiah, who refused the obedience of faith.—My ministration [ διακονία μον]. Meyer: My rendering of service designed for Jerusalem.—[May prove acceptable. Of this he had doubts, and with good reason.[FN49] Yet he adds: to the saints.—R.]

Romans 15:32. That I may come unto you in joy [ἲνα ἐν χαρᾷ ἒλθω πρὸς ὑμᾶς. In the element of joy; the emphasis rests on this phrase.—R.] As if he had, to a certain extent, forebodings that he might come to them in sad circumstances, as a captive.

And may with you be refreshed. By spiritual interchange. [Alford: “That we may mutually refresh ourselves; I after my dangers and deliverances, you after your anxieties for me.” See Textual Note20.—R.]

Romans 15:33. Now the God of peace. It is very natural for him here to call God the God of peace, in consequence of his conflicts and their differences. Grotius accepts the latter alone; Meyer, the former alone; Philippi, the peace of reconciliation; Fritzsche, salvation in a general sense; Tholuck, “different occasions;” see Romans 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On the great importance of this section, see the Introduction, the Arrangement, and the Summary.

2. On Romans 15:14. The church of that day at Rome, compared with that of the present day.

3. On Romans 15:15. The sense of the calling and the duty of the calling embolden. The Apostle’s sense of his great calling.

4. Grand view of the conversion of the whole world. An offering in which the nations are offered to God. Christ, as the High-Priest, has brought a propitiatory sacrifice; now the ministers, as subordinate priests, must present the thank-offering and burnt-offering. But what a source of worship, and of the elevation and purification of worship, has proceeded from the ministerial service of Paul in both an extensive and intensive respect: churches, church-towers, hymns, prayers, festivals without number, and praising Gentiles ( Romans 15:10-11). The antiphony of praising Gentiles ( Romans 15:11) responds to the extolling intonation of the Apostle ( Romans 15:10). [Hodge: “In this beautiful passage we see the nature of the only priesthood which belongs to the Christian ministry. It is not their office to make atonement for sin, or to offer a propitiatory sacrifice to God, but, by the preaching of the gospel, to bring men, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, to offer themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” Comp. Calvin.—R.]

5. Paul’s missionary sphere. See his Life in the Introduction.

6. Paul’s principle in Romans 15:20; a principle of genuine churchliness in contrast with hierarchical and sectarian propagandism. [The term used by the Apostle belongs to the sphere of minor morals, to “a point of honor,” indeed. Yet the principle is not unimportant. Men may be Christians, and disregard it, but not Christian gentlemen, not men possessed of that delicate sense of propriety which no rules can impart. Besides, such efforts at proselyting generally ignore the essential graces of Christianity: humility, self-abnegation, charity. He who insists on missionary efforts among Christian people, is necessarily uncharitable. Sects whose main efforts are in this channel, will not be celebrated for the graces of Christianity. Moreover, Christian ethics have so far informed the world, that ungodly men recognize the necessity of “honorable” conduct in Christial workers, and can sneer at the unseemly “competitions” of much that is called pious zeal. This does not prove that the world’s sense of honor is higher than that of the Church, but that the standard of sectarian proselytists is far too low. That a man can be a zealous missionary and not be a meddlesome propagandist, is evident from the case of this Apostle.—R.]

7. On Romans 15:23. The thoroughly dynamical view which the apostles had of the world, is reflected even in their thoroughly dynamical missionary method, according to which they conquered the capital and central points of the ancient world.

8. Romans 15:26 ff. The idea of fellowship in its full universality. The sacred method in the matter of collections: (1) An assignment of reasons (debtors); (2) Voluntariness; (3) Authentication; (4) Connection with the purposes of God’s kingdom.

9. Spain, as the representative of France, Britain, Germany, and Scandinavia. [And of America, too! For from the neighborhood of the pillars of Hercules, toward which Paul’s missionary zeal led him, the voyager sailed who discovered the new world.—R.] How does the matter stand now? Paul through Rome to Spain—this has again become a prospect of the present day, or a pium desiderium. [From Spain to Rome seems the likelier course; yet, where Spain has long held her hand, how strong is the rule of Rome!—R.]

10. On the Apostle’s great anticipation, see the Exeg. Notes.

11. Prayer a wrestling and striving. See the history of Jacob at Jabbok. The Israelites = God’s warriors. Christians at Rome must now help the Apostle to fight against the schemes of degenerate warriors of God.

12. The God of peace. As an infinite source of peace, as if peace itself constituted His divinity. So the love of the Spirit; the whole Spirit which in Christianity is poured out over the earth, must be regarded as a breath of Love and of Spring exhaling over the earth.

13. Amen. See the Lexicons, the Concordance, and the Catechisms. Also the conclusion of chap16.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Romans 15:14-33

The good testimony which Paul gives to the Christians at Rome ( Romans 15:14).—The Apostle’s call as the Apostle to the Gentiles1. From whom did he receive it? From God, who gave him this grace (comp. Romans 1:5; Romans 12:3; Galatians 1:1). 2. How did he regard it? As a priestly employment in the sanctuary of the New Testament3. What blessing did he derive from it? He brought the Gentiles to obedience to the gospel4. By what rule did he administer it? To preach the gospel only where it was not yet known ( Romans 15:14-21).—The proclamation of the gospel regarded as a priestly service ( Romans 15:16).—The task of the missionary to the heathen1. What is it? To administer the gospel among the heathen; that Isaiah, to declare it with priestly consecration, devotion, and patience2. What should be its constant end? To labor that the heathen may be an offering, a. acceptable to God; b. sanctified by the Holy Ghost ( Romans 15:15-16).—The most beautiful and best glory Isaiah, when we can glory of serving God ( Romans 15:17).—The right means for conversion ( Romans 15:18-19).—Paul’s great field of labor ( Romans 15:19).—The first missionary sphere among the Gentiles ( Romans 15:19).—From East to West! That was the course of the gospel in the first period of the Christian Church. But it has subsequently come to be from West to East! ( Romans 15:19.)—To build on another man’s foundation, a mark of sectarianism ( Romans 15:20). Common nowadays.

The Apostle Paul’s plans for his last journeys1. They bear witness to his enterprising spirit, which continued fresh in Christian joy even to his old age; 2. But they are accompanied by anxious forebodings, that lead him to request the intercession of others ( Romans 15:22-33).—Christian collections1. How must we regard them? As a service rendered to the saints; either, because, a. spiritual gifts have been received from a certain quarter, for which service in temporal goods is willingly shown; or, b. because brotherly love always requires us to do good to every Prayer of Manasseh, but especially to those who are of the household of faith ( Galatians 6:10). 2. How must they be taken up? a. In such a way that no moral compulsion be exercised; b. But so that all givers can bring their gifts willingly ( Romans 15:25-28).—Only he who can say, with Paul, “I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ,” can cheerfully respond to a call to preach to another congregation ( Romans 15:29).—The fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. It consists: 1. In unconverted people being won to the kingdom of God; 2. In converted people being furthered in knowledge, faith, and holiness ( Romans 15:29).—.The Apostle’s request for the intercession of the Church at Rome in his behalf1. Motives: The Church should intercede for him: a. For the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake—that Isaiah, for the sake of the Lord’s honor; b. For the love of the Spirit—that Isaiah, on account of the fraternal fellowship effected by the Holy Ghost between the Apostle and the Church2. The object of the intercession: a. On the one hand, the deliverance of the Apostle from the unbelievers in Judea; b. The friendly reception of his service of love (the collection) by the saints there3. The desired result: a. That he should come to Rome in peace; b. And might be refreshed with the Church in Rome ( Romans 15:30-32).—The God of patience and comfort is a God of hope, and the God of hope is a God of peace ( Romans 15:32; comp. Romans 15:5; Romans 15:13).

Luther: On Romans 15:14-15 : This Isaiah, though you do not need ray writing, yet I am urged by my office, which I have by God’s grace, to teach and to admonish every one of you.

Starke: Blessed be the land which is full of the gospel of Christ! That is more than if it were full of gold and silver ( Romans 15:19).—Do not remove from one place to another without necessity and a good cause; remain in your country, and live honestly ( Romans 15:23).—Hedinger: Notice that Paul will not build on any other man’s foundation; but now it is nothing new in the Church for one to take from another his good ground, Christ, by clamoring, exciting suspicion, and other forms of wickedness ( Romans 15:20).—What does love for Christ not do? What a journey to Rome and Spain? Friend, are you not an official successor of Paul, a pastor, and a shepherd of souls? How many miles do you have to go on the way to the preaching stations, the school, or the private house of one of your hearers? How often, and how willingly, do you make the visit? ( Romans 15:24.)—Praying is the same as fighting. It is greater labor than ploughing. But how indifferently do you regard it! ( Romans 15:30.)

Spener, on Romans 15:29 : Such confidence of the preacher in the fellowship of his flock effects much good, for it proves love. A want of confidence, on the other hand, destroys much edification.—To the ministerial office there belong: 1. Teaching; 2. Care for the poor; 3. Admonition of the hearers to prayer ( Romans 15:14-33).—He is not worthy to be in Christ’s kingdom and to enjoy it, who does not daily pray that it may be extended ( Romans 15:30).

Gerlach: Paul regards himself as a priest, who, by the preaching of the gospel, prepares and presents to God the offering of the whole Gentile world.

Heubner: Paul’s solicitude lay: 1. In the office which was given to him, with which he also received strength; 2. In the holy love which he had. Where both of these exist, admonitions are never wholly fruitless ( Romans 15:15).—A minister who is merely a preacher, becomes a talker; but, reversely, the priest should always be a preacher, or else he will be merely a Japanese bonze ( Romans 15:16).—Christian love has regard for the rights of others ( Romans 15:20).—The highest service of missionaries Isaiah, that they must begin from the very start, and labor with the rough material ( Romans 15:21).—The change in the circle of operation.—The journeys of the Apostles, which were holy, abundant in blessing, and full of suffering ( Romans 15:24).—Spiritual benefactors are the highest, and though temporal blessings cannot perfectly requite their spiritual benefits, we should nevertheless repay even with them ( Romans 15:26-27).—Christians should not come empty to each other, but with spiritual blessings ( Romans 15:29).—The power of Christian intercession ( Romans 15:30).

Besser: The Apostle’s official seal to the Epistle to the Romans ( Romans 15:14-33).—The pure sacrificial vessel is the gospel of God; the Gentiles, brought by faith in this vessel, are an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, who is the sacrificial fire from heaven ( 1 Peter 1:12), who continues the holy burning by which Christ has sanctified himself for a burnt-offering for all ( Romans 15:16).—Miracles in themselves are no proof of truth; but as signs of the real Christ, the miracles of the Apostles imprint a seal upon their doctrine for the joy of believers and for the judgment of unbelievers ( Romans 15:18-19).—The fight of faith is fought by him who prays, seeing and feeling the opposite of his hope, and seeking the concealed face of God, who is a God of hope ( Romans 15:30).—God gives peace everywhere and in every manner ( 2 Thessalonians 3:16): Peace in believing on His grace ( Romans 5:1), peace in reliance on the love of His government ( Romans 8:28), peace in the certainty that Christ reigns over His enemies ( Romans 16:20), and peace in the love of the Spirit ( Romans 15:33).

[Burkitt: As we honor the God of peace, whom we serve; as we love the Prince of peace, in whom we believe; as we hope for the comfort of the Spirit of peace, and as we cherish the success of the gospel of peace, let us preserve it where it Isaiah, and pursue it where it flies from us.—Henry: The blessing of the gospel is the treasure which we have in earthen vessels. When ministers are fully prepared to give, and people fully prepared to receive, this blessing, both are happy. Many have the gospel who have not the blessing of the gospel, and so they have it in vain. The gospel will not profit, unless God bless it on us; and it is our duty to wait upon Him for that blessing, and for the fulness of it.

[Doddridge: Let us adore the God of grace and peace, who works the most important ends by methods unthought of by us; and let us be very cautious that we do not rashly judge that He hath rejected our prayers, because we do not see them answered in that particular way which might have been more agreeable to our own wishes.—Clarke: Beware of contentions in religion; if you dispute concerning any of its doctrines, let it be to find out truth, not to support a preconceived and preëstablished opinion. Avoid all polemical heat and rancor; these prove the absence of the religion of Christ. Whatever does not lead you to love God and man more, is most assuredly from beneath. The God of peace is the author of Christianity; and the Prince of peace, the priest and sacrifice of it; therefore love one another, and leave off contention before it be meddled with.

[Hodge: As oil poured on water smoothes its surface and renders it transparent, so does kindness calm the minds of men, and prepare them for the ready entrance of the truth. Besides these qualifications, he who admonishes others should be entitled thus to act. It is not necessary that this title should rest on his official station; but there should be superiority of some kind—of age, excellence, or knowledge—to give his admonitions due effect.—Barnes: The success of a minister is not for his own praises, but for the honor of God; not by his skill or power, but by the aid of Jesus Christ.—God may disappoint us in regard to the mode in which we purpose to do good; but if we really desire it, He will enable us to do it in His own way. It may be better to preach the gospel in bonds than at liberty; it is better to do it in a prison, than not at all. Bunyan wrote the “Pilgrim’s Progress” to amuse his heavy hours during a twelve years’ cruel imprisonment. If he had been at liberty, he probably would not have written it at all.—J. F. H.]

Footnotes:

FN#22 - Romans 15:14.—[Instead of ἀλλήλους (א. A. B. C. D. F.), adopted by modern editors generally, ἂλλους is found in L, many cursives, versions, and fathers. As an alteration to strengthen the sense, or an error of the transcriber, it is readily accounted for. The list of cursives given by Dr. Hodge adds little to the support of this reading.—The καί is also omitted, and ἀλλήλους put before δυνάμενοι, in some authorities. These are evidently corrections, to avoid repeating καί for the third time.

FN#23 - Romans 15:15.—[A. B.: τολμηροτέρως. Evidently a gloss, since the adjective is used adverbially.

FN#24 - Romans 15:15.—[א1. A. B. C, omit ἀδελθοί; rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles. It is found in א3. D. F. L, Vulgate, &c.; adopted by Philippi, De Wette, Meyer, Lange; bracketted by Alford. The omission can be accounted for by the interruption the word made in the connection, while there is no good reason for its insertion, save its genuineness.

FN#25 - Romans 15:16.—[Rec., D. L, some versions and fathers: Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. א. A. B. C. F.: χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ; so Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Tregelles.—The same order is found in Romans 15:17, on the authority of all MSS, but the E. V. has transposed, as it too frequently does.

FN#26 - Romans 15:17.—[B. C. D. F. G, and some cursives: χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ; so Lachmann, Tischendorf, De Wette, Alford, Tregelles, Lange. Omitted in the Rec., א. A. L, by Philippi. The article not being understood, it was omitted.—Hence my boasting.

FN#27 - Romans 15:17.—[The Rec. omits τόν; but the MSS. all insert it.

FN#28 - Romans 15:19.—[ (1) The Rec. (with א. D2. L.) inserts Θεοῦ after πνεύματος. So most cursives, some versions, and fathers. But it is defended by no critical editor of the present day. Philippi, who is perhaps the most conservative of critics, with respect to the Recepta, only places this reading beside the one mentioned next. (2) A. C. D12. F, most versions and fathers: πνεύματος ἁγίου. So Griesbach, Lachmann, Scholz, Tischendorf (ed1, not since), Hodge, Philippi, De Wette, Wordsworth, Tregelles. (3) B, Pelagius, have πνεύματος only. So Tischendorf, Meyer, and Lange. The reason urged in favor of (3), which has so little MS. support, is the difficulty of accounting for it otherwise, and the strong temptation to explain it by ἁγίου or Θεοῦ. But this is hardly a sufficient reason. Tregelles, the most careful of English editors, especially about inserting the longer of two readings, adopts (2), and Alford puts it in brackets.

FN#29 - Romans 15:20.—[א. A. C. D23. L.: θιλοτιμούμενον. B. D1. F. (Lachmann, Tregelles): θιλοτιμοῦμαι. There are other variations, all of which indicate that the original reading was one occasioning grammatical difficulty. Hence the first reading is generally adopted, and the other considered a grammatical correction.—The E. V. requires emendation, both on account of the participial form, connecting this verse with the preceding one, and in order to bring out the force of θιλοτ. The revision of Five Ang. Clergymen is followed. Emulous (Amer. Bible Union) is objectionable in a popular version. Dr. Lange: So aber, dass ich es für Ehrensache halte; But Song of Solomon, that I held it for a matter of honor. This gives the exact force of the verb. See the Exeg. Notes.

FN#30 - Romans 15:21.—[An exact citation from the LXX, Isaiah 52:15. The Hebrew reads: וַאֲשֶׁר לשׁ־שָׁמְצוּ הִתְבּוֹנַנוּכִּי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־סֻפַּר לַהֶם רָאוּ. The E. V. ( Isaiah 52:15) gives an accurate rendering. The LXX. adds, with sufficient ground in the context: περὶ αὐτοῦ, referring to “my servant” ( Romans 15:13).

FN#31 - Romans 15:22.—[B. D. F, Lachmann: πολλάκις, which is probably a gloss. א. A. C. L.: τὰ πολλά. So Tischendorf, Philippi, Meyer, De Wette, Alford, Tregelles.

FN#32 - Romans 15:24.—[Rec., with א3. L, inserts ἐλεύσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς. Omitted in א1. A. B. C. D. F, many versions and fathers; rejected by Griesbach, Lachmann, Meyer, Philippi, Alford, Tregelles. Tischendorf has adopted this reading in ed2; De Wette prefers it; Lange adopts it. It is better to reject, since, on many accounts, it is the less difficult reading, and likely to be added.—The real critical difficulty lies in the question respecting γάρ (see note 12).

FN#33 - Romans 15:24.—[א. A. B. C. D. L. insert γάρ. Omitted in F, versions and fathers. The minor authorities for the omission are much the same as in the case of the preceding variation (hence Dr. Hodge says most of these authorities omit γάρ); but the MS. authority is as decidedly in favor of γάρ as it is against ἐλεύσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς. The editors differ: Griesbach and his followers, Philippi, Hodge (apparently), Meyer, reject it; Lachmann, Tischendorf, De Wette, Alford, Wordsworth, Tregelles, Lange, retain it. Meyer thinks its presence in the early uncial shows, not that the whole disputed passage was original, but early inserted, and then partially corrected, thus leaving γάρ. This is very improbable, since this reading is so difficult; besides, there is no evidence whatever supporting it. Many, for convenience sake, reject γάρ. Lachmann puts from ἐλπίζω to ἐμπλησθῶ in parenthesis, connecting closely with Romans 15:25; but this connection is unlikely.—The reader can consult Meyer, Philippi, and critical editors, on the whole question. A careful consideration of the case impels me to retain γάρ, putting a period or colon (as in E. V.) after Σπανίαν; to accept an anacoluthon, or aposiopesis, and to take the participles of Romans 15:23 as verbs. This is the most defensible position, but further reasons cannot be added here. See the paraphrase in the Exeg. Notes.

FN#34 - Romans 15:24.—[Rec., with א. A. C. L.: ὑφ’ ὑμῶν; B. (ἀπὸ) D. F.: ἀφ’̓ ὑμῶν. The former is adopted by Philippi, Tregelles; the latter by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, De Wette, Alford, Lange.

FN#35 - Romans 15:28.—[Ἀπελεύσομαι, I will proceed, with a primary reference to the point of departure (ἀπό), but followed by εἰς, it points to the terminus ad quem. Neither come (E. V.) nor go (Amer. Bible Union) exactly meets the case. Return, in this case, is peculiarly appropriate; return from Jerusalem and go to Spain. So Five Ang. Clergymen.—The labors of the learned authors have been freely used in this section.

FN#36 - Romans 15:29.—[The words τοῦ ευαγγελίου τοῦ (inserted before Χριστοῦ, in א3. L. Rec., versions and fathers) are now considered a gloss. They are not found in א1. A. B. C. D. F, are rejected by the Latin fathers, and by all modern critical editors, also Philippi and Hodge, who are least disposed to vary from the Recepta.

FN#37 - Romans 15:30.—[B. omits ἀδελφοί, and the variations in position are numerous. Alford accordingly brackets it; but it is received by most editors without question.

FN#38 - Romans 15:30.—[D. F. G. insert ὑμῶν (similarly some editions of the Vulgate). A correct gloss, hence the more suspicious.

FN#39 - Romans 15:31.—[B. D1. F. G. read δωροφορία. But א. A. C. D23. L, most versions favor διακονία, which is adopted by most later editors. So Tischendorf, Meyer, Philippi, Tregelles. Lachmann prefers the former, which, however, seems to have been substituted as an explanation.—On the same authority, εἰς Ἰερ. is to be preferred to ἐν . (Lachmann).

FN#40 - Romans 15:32.—[Instead of the well-sustained and generally received Θεοῦ (Rec., א2. A. C. D3. L, most versions and fathers), we find κυρίου Ἰησοῦ (B.), Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (D1. F.), Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (א1.). The uncial authority is decisive. Besides, Paul always says: θέλημα Θεοῦ, never Χριστοῦ (so Meyer, and others).

FN#41 - Romans 15:32.—[Lachmann and Tischendorf omit καὶ συναναπαύσωμαι ὑμῖν, on the authority of B. The words are found (with variations) in (א.) A. C. (D. F.) L, and are adopted by Meyer, De Wette, Philippi, Tregelles. Alford brackets. Notwithstanding the variations, there is no motive for insertion which would justify us in rejecting the clause.

FN#42 - Romans 15:33.—[A. F. G. omit Ἀμήν; found in א. B. C. D. L, versions and fathers. Bracketted by Tregelles, but generally received. The word is always open to some suspicion, as a liturgical addition, at the close of a benediction.—R.]

FN#43 - Meyer (followed by Hodge in last edition) understands it to mean: “I of myself, without the testimony of others.” He urges the emphasis which he thinks rests on καὶαὐτός. Were the meaning that suggested by Dr. Lange, the form would be κἀγὼ αὐτός. But the view of Dr. Lange corresponds best with that taken of the same expression, pp243, 244. Hence we alter “I myself also” into even I myself (so Five Ang. Clergymen). Lange: Ich—auch als einer und derselbe.—R.]

FN#44 - This verse, instead of supporting the idea that the Christian ministry is a priesthood, virtually opposes it. Had the Apostle laid claim to actual and special sacerdotal functions, it is very unlikely that he would have kept the claim so constantly out of sight in his Epistles. In this passage, the offering is a figurative one; the priestly function is also figurative. The silence of the rest of his writings of itself proves that this must he regarded in another than a literal sense. See Doctr. Note4.—R.]

FN#45 - Should πνεύματος be accepted as the correct reading, then, of course, πνεῦμα may be taken in the second sense (see p235); yet this is not absolutely necessary, since Meyer rejects the longer reading, and at the same time refers πνεύματος to the Holy Spirit. But the reading πνεύματος ἁγίου is more probably correct; see Textual Note7.—R.]

FN#46 - De Wette, Philippi, Alford, and others, join this with “Jerusalem,” taking it as = and the neighborhood. It does seem to be connected with the starting-point, and yet Dr. Lange rightly includes the intermediate journeyings, &c.—R.]

FN#47 - Philippi, Hodge, and others, adopt this view of τὰπολλά as = plerumque, for the most part—i. e., this was the principal reason. Alford follows Schott and De Wette, who understand it to mean: these many times—i. e., so often. Stuart calls attention to καί as indicating the impossibility of his coming hitherto.—R.]

FN#48 - A most gratuitous assumption is that of Schott, that these collections were to win favor, and protect him during his absence in the extreme West. Decidedly unpauline!—R.]

FN#49 - The existence of a coolness between Paul and the Christians at Jerusalem, perhaps the great body of them, is evident from the Epistle to the Galatians and the Acts of the Apostles. But this by no means implies either a want of unity among the apostles personally, or different gospels. See Lange’s Comm. Galatians, pp40, 53; Lightfoot, Galatians, Dissertation iii. pp 283 ff, St. Paul and the Three.—R.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Romans 15:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/romans-15.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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