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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Romans 15

 

 

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Verses 1-6

Romans 15:1-6. Harmony through Self-renouncement.

Romans 15:1 f. "Strength carries with it the duty of bearing others' weaknesses, not of pleasing oneself" (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:33). "The strong" are men of robust faith, in contrast with "the weak" of Romans 14:1. The Christian is to "please his neighbour" not by humouring his failings, but by "aiming at his good, with a view to building him up in faith and character (cf. Romans 14:19).

Romans 15:3. So "the Christ" bore Himself, according to Psalms 69 (quoted above in Romans 11:9; cf. Matthew 27:27 ff., etc.). The Psalmist in suffering reproach for God imaged our Lord's self-negation.

Romans 15:4 reflects, in view of the above reference, on the value of Scripture, which trains us to "patience" and "hope." Like the story of Abraham's faith (Romans 4:23), that of the Psalmist's grief "was written for our instruction."

Romans 15:5 f. "May the God who thus gives endurance and encouragement, grant to you a harmonious mind (an echo of Romans 12:16) according with that of Christ Jesus" (cf. Romans 15:3, Philippians 2:2-5). Your harmony will yield "a concert of praise to God, uttered as if with one mouth."


Verses 7-13

Romans 15:7-13. The Gentiles Heirs of Israel's Hope.—The differences discussed ran up into the great cleavage between Jew and Gentile, on which Paul has a final word to say.

Romans 15:7. "Wherefore"—in order to glorify God together—"receive one another, as the Christ has received you (cf. Romans 14:1; Romans 14:3; also Luke 15:2, John 6:37) unto the glory of God"—a glory to be realised in the united worship of mankind (Romans 15:8-12).

Romans 15:8 f. With this aim "Christ has become," in the first place, "minister of circumcision"—not "minister to the Circumcision" (omit "the"), but Servant of the covenant bearing this seal (Romans 4:11; cf. Galatians 4:4 f.): the parallel is Matthew 5:17, rather than Romans 15:24. "The truth of God," which Christ thus asserted, lay in "the promises made to the fathers" concerning mankind (Romans 4:11-18, Acts 3:24 f.), expressing the grand purpose "that the nations should glorify God for mercy" shown to them.—That the Israelite fathers cherished this large anticipation, is proved by the chain of citations drawn from Scripture in Romans 15:9 b - Romans 15:12. The catena of Romans 3:10-18 attested the universality of sin; this, the universality of redemption.

Romans 15:13. The closing citation gives the key-note to the Benediction; "Now the God of the (i.e. Israel's) hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (cf. Romans 14:17, Romans 15:1 f., etc.), by the Holy Spirit's power." Such faith will "make you overflow with hope"—for yourselves (Romans 5:2-5), for the race (Romans 11:30-32), for the universe (Romans 8:18-25).


Verses 14-21

Romans 15:14-21. The Present Juncture in Paul's Ministry.—Paul resumes the thread dropped at Romans 1:15.

Romans 15:14-16. He does not think the Roman Christians in need of correction; he "has written, however," and "in part" of the epistle (in Romans 6:12-21, and much of Romans 12, 14) "somewhat boldly, by way of further reminder" of familiar truths (cf. Romans 6:17)—a liberty warranted by "the special grace" he had received (cf. Romans 1:2-6, Romans 12:3). That grace had constituted him "a sacred-minister (cf. Romans 13:6) of Christ Jesus for the nations, sacrificially ministering the gospel of God, to the end that the offering up of the nations," etc. (cf. Isaiah 66:19 f.). By anticipation Paul presents, like a priest at the altar, the sanctified nations to God; all his labours tend toward this world-offering.

Romans 15:17-19. The earnest of the consummation is already realised; so that the apostle "has his glorying therein"—a boast not overstepping the limits nor exaggerating the successes of his ministry (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:13-16; 2 Corinthians 12:11 f.).—"In a circle" (EV, "round about"): Paul's labours extended on both sides of the line of march defined (cf. Mark 3:34; Mark 6:6). In Jerusalem Paul had preached long ago (see Acts 9:26-29); to Illyria he had probably made an excursion during his recent sojourn in Macedonia.

Romans 15:20 f. Over this immense area Paul "has fulfilled" the Lord's command—as stated, e.g., in Luke 24:24-27—his "ambition being to tell the good news where Christ has not been named; he would not build on a foundation laid by another," but had pressed ever forward into unevangelised lands, making good the prophecy of Isaiah 52:15, which depicted the "astonishment" of "nations" at the tidings brought concerning Jehovah's Servant.


Verses 22-29

Romans 15:22-29. The Prospect of Coming to Rome.

Romans 15:22-24. This long task "repeatedly detained" the writer; "but now" that he has evangelised the Eastern Provinces, he may realise "the yearning" toward Rome he had cherished "for a good many years"—"as," he adds, "I may be taking my way to Spain." Being a pioneer missionary, Paul cannot make Rome, where Christ has long been named, his objective: "I hope to visit you as I travel through, and by you to be sent forward," etc. Calling by the way, he will not see all he desires of his Roman friends; the taste of their company will help him forward (cf. Romans 1:11-13). Events turned out far otherwise (see Acts 25-28, Ephesians 6:20, Colossians 4:11, Philippians 1:15 ff.). [Whether he ever saw Spain is uncertain (p. 772).—A. J. G.].

Romans 15:25-28. A second But now introduces the voyage Paul "is on the point of making." "The poverty of the saints in Jerusalem" has touched the Christians of "Macedonia and Achaia" (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Acts 24:17), who have made their contribution "in goodwill, owing communion in the things of the flesh" (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:11, Galatians 6:6) to Israel, "in whose spiritual things they have participated" (Romans 15:10-12; cf. Romans 11:17 f., John 4:22, etc.). This help is a "sacred-ministry" (liturgy: same word in Romans 15:16; Romans 13:6; also in Philippians 2:25; Philippians 2:30), and a welcome "fruit" of Gentile faith (cf. Philippians 4:17 f.).—"Accomplish" (or "consummate"; cf. 2 Corinthians 7:1, Hebrews 9:6, etc.) and "seal" (Romans 4:11, 2 Corinthians 1:21 f.) are terms implying a religious dedication.—This done, Paul "will set off" (Romans 15:28 b: "go on," RV, is inexact), leaving his old beat, "by way of Rome, for Spain."

Romans 15:29. "But I know that Christ's full benediction will attend my coming."—"Of the gospel" (AV) is an ancient gloss.


Verses 30-33

Romans 15:30-33. The Danger Threatening at Jerusalem.—Whether or not Paul had already heard of the plot referred to in Acts 20:3, he foresaw peril to his life "from the disobedient (cf. Romans 2:8, Romans 11:30 f.) in Judæa"—forebodings sadly verified (see Acts 20).

Romans 15:30 f. He therefore "implores the intense prayers of his brothers, as men loyal to Christ and having His loving Spirit" (cf. Philippians 2:1, Galatians 5:22). They must pray for his safety, and that his "service may be favourably received" at Jerusalem.

Romans 15:32. After that, he will "joyfully, if God so will, find refreshment in their society." The latter prayer was quite fulfilled (Acts 21); the former so far answered that Paul escaped with his life from Jerusalem, and ultimately reached Rome.

Romans 15:33. "The God of peace be with you all"; with variations, Paul's habitual invocation, often marking the close of his letters (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:11, Galatians 6:16; also 1 Peter 5:14); see Introd. § 4.—The (well-attested) "Amen" strengthens the presumption of finality at this point.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Romans 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/romans-15.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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