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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Romans 15



Other Authors
Verse 1

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

The infirmities (τα αστενηματαta asthenēmata). “The weaknesses” (cf. αστενωνasthenōn in Romans 14:1, Romans 14:2), the scruples “of the not strong” (των αδυνατωνtōn adunatōn). See note on Acts 14:8 where it is used of the man weak in his feet (impotent).

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

Not to please ourselves (μη εαυτοις αρεσκεινmē heautois areskein). Precisely Paul‘s picture of his own conduct in 1 Corinthians 10:33.

Verse 2

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

Verse 3

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

Verse 4

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

For our learning (εις την ημετεραν διδασκαλιανeis tēn hēmeteran didaskalian). “For the instruction of us.” Objective sense of possessive pronoun ημετεροςhēmeteros See Matthew 15:9 and note on 2 Timothy 3:16 for διδασκαλιανdidaskalian (from διδασκωdidaskō to teach).

We might have hope (την ελπιδα εχωμενtēn elpida echōmen). Present active subjunctive of εχωechō with ιναhina in final clause, “that we might keep on having hope.” One of the blessed uses of the Scriptures.

Verse 5

The God of patience and comfort (ο τεος της υπομονης και της παρακλησεωςho theos tēs hupomonēs kai tēs paraklēseōs). Genitive case of the two words in Romans 15:4 used to describe God who uses the Scriptures to reveal himself to us. See note on 2 Corinthians 1:3 for this idea; Romans 15:13 for “the God of hope”; Romans 15:33 for “the God of peace.”

Grant you (δωιη υμινdōiē humin). Second aorist active optative (Koiné{[28928]}š form for older δοιηdoiē) as in 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Ephesians 1:17; 2 Timothy 1:16, 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:25, though MSS. vary in Ephesians 1:17; 2 Timothy 2:25 for δωηιdōēi (subjunctive). The optative here is for a wish for the future (regular idiom).

According to Christ Jesus (κατα Χριστον Ιησουνkata Christon Iēsoun). “According to the character or example of Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:17; Colossians 2:8; Ephesians 5:24).

Verse 6

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

With one mouth (εν ενι στοματιen heni stomati). Vivid outward expression of the unity of feeling.

May glorify (δοχαζητεdoxazēte). Present active subjunctive of δοχαζωdoxazō final clause with ιναhina “that ye may keep on glorifying.” For “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” see note on 2 Corinthians 1:3 for discussion; 2 Corinthians 11:31. It occurs also in Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3.

Verse 7

Receive ye (προσλαμβανεστεproslambanesthe as in Romans 14:1), received (προσελαβετοproselabeto here of Christ as in Romans 14:3 of God). The repetition here is addressed to both the strong and the weak and the “us” (ημαςhēmās) includes all.

Verse 8

A minister of the circumcision (διακονον περιτομηςdiakonon peritomēs). Objective genitive, “a minister to the circumcision.” ΔιακονονDiakonon is predicate accusative with γεγενησταιgegenēsthai (perfect passive infinitive of γινομαιginomai in indirect assertion after λεγωlegō I say) and in apposition with ΧριστονChriston accusative of general reference with the infinitive. See Galatians 4:4.

That he might confirm (εις το βεβαιωσαιeis to bebaiōsai). Purpose clause with εις τοeis to and the infinitive βεβαιωσαιbebaiōsai (first aorist active of βεβαιοωbebaioō to make stand).

The promises given unto the fathers (τας επαγγελιας των πατερωνtas epaggelias tōn paterōn). No “given” in the Greek, just the objective genitive, “the promises to the fathers.” See note on Romans 9:4, Romans 9:5.

Verse 9

And that the Gentiles might praise (τα δε ετνη δοχασαιta de ethnē doxasai). Coordinate with βεβαιωσαιbebaiōsai and εις τοeis to to be repeated with τα ετνηta ethnē the accusative of general reference and τον τεονton theon the object of δοχασαιdoxasai Thus the Gentiles were called through the promise to the Jews in the covenant with Abraham (Romans 4:11., Romans 4:16.). Salvation is of the Jews. Paul proves his position by a chain of quotations from the O.T., the one in Romans 15:9 from Psalm 18:50. For εχομολογεωexomologeō see note on Romans 14:11.

I will sing (πσαλωpsalō). Future active of πσαλλωpsallō for which verb see note on 1 Corinthians 14:15.

Verse 10

Rejoice, ye Gentiles (ευπραντητεeuphranthēte). First aorist passive imperative of ευπραινωeuphrainō old word from ευeu well and πρηνphrēn mind. See note on Luke 15:32. Quotation from Deuteronomy 32:43 (lxx).

Verse 11

All the Gentiles (παντα τα ετνηpanta ta ethnē). From Psalm 117:1 with slight variations from the lxx text.

Verse 12

The root (η ριζαhē riza). Rather here, as in Revelation 5:5; Revelation 22:16, the sprout from the root. From Isaiah 11:10.

On him shall the Gentiles hope (επ αυτωι ετνη ελπιουσινep' autōi ethnē elpiousin). Attic future of ελπιζωelpizō for the usual ελπισουσινelpisousin f0).

Verse 13

The God of hope (ο τεος της ελπιδοςho theos tēs elpidos). Taking up the idea in Romans 15:12 as in Romans 15:5 from Romans 15:4.

Fill you (πληρωσαι υμαςplērōsai humas). Optative (first aorist active of πληροωplēroō) of wish for the future. Cf. δωιηdōiē in Romans 15:5.

In believing (εν τωι πιστευεινen tōi pisteuein). “In the believing” (ενen with locative of the articular infinitive, the idiom so common in Luke‘s Gospel).

That ye may abound (εις το περισσευειν υμαςeis to perisseuein humas). Purpose clause with εις τοeis to as in Romans 15:8, with περισσευεινperisseuein (present active infinitive of περισσευωperisseuō with accusative of general reference, υμαςhumas). This verse gathers up the points in the preceding quotations.

Verse 14

I myself also (και αυτος εγωkai autos egō). See note on Romans 7:25 for a like emphasis on himself, here in contrast with “ye yourselves” (και αυτοιkai autoi). The argument of the Epistle has been completed both in the main line (chapters 1-8) and the further applications (9:1-15:13). Here begins the Epilogue, the personal matters of importance.

Full of goodness (μεστοι αγατοσυνηςmestoi agathosunēs). See note on 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Galatians 5:22 for this lxx and Pauline word (in ecclesiastical writers also) made from the adjective αγατοςagathos good, by adding -συνηsunē (common ending for words like δικαιοσυνηdikaiosunē). See Romans 1:29 for μεστοςmestos with genitive and πεπληρωμενοιpeplērōmenoi (perfect passive participle of πληροωplēroō as here), but there with instrumental case after it instead of the genitive. Paul gives the Roman Christians (chiefly Gentiles) high praise. The “all knowledge” is not to be pressed too literally, “our Christian knowledge in its entirety” (Sanday and Headlam).

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

Verse 15

I write (εγραπσαegrapsa). Epistolary aorist.

The more boldly (τολμηροτερωςtolmēroterōs). Old comparative adverb from τολμηρωςtolmērōs Most MSS. read τολμηροτερονtolmēroteron Only here in N.T.

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

As putting you again in remembrance (ος επαναμιμνησκων υμαςhos epanamimnēskōn humas). Delicately put with ωςhōs and επιepi in the verb, “as if calling back to mind again” (επιepi). This rare verb is here alone in the N.T.

Verse 16

That I should be (εις το ειναι μεeis to einai me). The εις τοeis to idiom with the infinitive again (Romans 15:8, Romans 15:13).

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

Ministering (ιερουργουνταhierourgounta). Present active participle of ιερουργεωhierourgeō late verb from ιερουργοςhierourgos (ιεροσ εργωhierosη προσπορα των ετνωνergō), in lxx, Philo, and Josephus, only here in N.T. It means to work in sacred things, to minister as a priest. Paul had as high a conception of his work as a preacher of the gospel as any priest did.

The offering up of the Gentiles (ευπροσδεκτοςhē prosphora tōn ethnōn). Genitive of apposition, the Gentiles being the offering. They are Paul‘s offering. See note on Acts 21:26.

Acceptable (ηγιασμενη εν πνευματι αγιωιeuprosdektos). See note on 2 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 8:12. Because “sanctified in the Holy Spirit” (αγιαζωhēgiasmenē en pneumati hagiōi perfect passive participle of hagiazō).

Verse 17

In things pertaining to God (τα προς τον τεονta pros ton theon). Accusative of general reference of the article used with the prepositional phrase, “as to the things relating to (προςpros facing) God.”

Verse 18

Any things save those which Christ wrought through me (τι ων ου κατειργασατο Χριστος δι εμουti hōn ou kateirgasato Christos di' emou). Rather, “any one of those things which Christ did not work through me.” The antecedent of ωνhōn is the unexpressed τουτωνtoutōn and the accusative relative αha (object of κατειργασατοkateirgasato) is attracted into the genitive case of τουτωνtoutōn after a common idiom.

By word and deed (λογωι και εργωιlogōi kai ergōi). Instrumental case with both words. By preaching and life (Luke 24:19; Acts 1:1; Acts 7:22; 2 Corinthians 10:11).

Verse 19

In power of signs and wonders (εν δυναμει σημειων και τερατωνen dunamei sēmeiōn kai teratōn). Note all three words as in Hebrews 2:4, only here δυναμιςdunamis is connected with σημειαsēmeia and τεραταterata See all three words used of Paul‘s own work in 2 Corinthians 12:12 and in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 of the Man of Sin. See note on 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 2:4 for the “power” of the Holy Spirit in Paul‘s preaching. Note repetition of εν δυναμειen dunamei here with πνευματος αγιουpneumatos hagiou

So that (ωστεhōste). Result expressed by the perfect active infinitive πεπληρωκεναιpeplērōkenai (from πληροωplēroō) with the accusative μεme (general reference).

Round about even unto Illyricum (κυκλωι μεχρι του Ιλλυρικουkuklōi mechri tou Illurikou). “In a ring” (κυκλωιkuklōi locative case of κυκλοςkuklos). Probably a journey during the time when Paul left Macedonia and waited for II Corinthians to have its effect before coming to Corinth. If so, see notes on 2 Corinthians 13:1-14 and notes on Acts 20:1-3. When he did come, the trouble with the Judaizers was over. Illyricum seems to be the name for the region west of Macedonia (Dalmatia). Strabo says that the Egnatian Way passed through it. Arabia and Illyricum would thus be the extreme limits of Paul‘s mission journeys so far.

Verse 20

Yea (ουτως δεhoutōs de). “And so,” introducing a limitation to the preceding statement.

Making it my aim (πιλοτιμουμενονphilotimoumenon). Present middle participle (accusative case agreeing with μεme) of πιλοτιμεομαιphilotimeomai old verb, to be fond of honour (πιλοσ τιμηphilosαμβιοtimē). In N.T. only here and 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 5:9. A noble word in itself, quite different in aim from the Latin word for ambition (ambio, to go on both sides to carry one‘s point).

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

That I might now build upon another man‘s foundation (ινα μη επ αλλοτριον τεμελιον οικοδομωhina mē ep' allotrion themelion oikodomō). For αλλοτριοςallotrios (not αλλοςallos) see note on Romans 14:4. For τεμελιονthemelion see notes on Luke 6:48. and note on 1 Corinthians 3:11. This noble ambition of Paul‘s is not within the range of some ministers who can only build on another‘s foundation as Apollos did in Corinth. But the pioneer preacher and missionary has a dignity and glory all his own.

Verse 21

As it is written (κατως γεγραπταιkathōs gegraptai). From Isaiah 52:15. Paul finds an illustration of his word about his own ambition in the words of Isaiah. Fritzsche actually argues that Paul understood Isaiah to be predicting his (Paul‘s) ministry! Some scholars have argued against the genuineness of Romans 15:9-21 on wholly subjective and insufficient grounds.


Verse 22

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

These many times (τα πολλαta polla). “As to the many things.” In Romans 1:13 Paul used πολλακιςpollakis (many times) and B D read it here. But Paul‘s work (τα πολλαta polla) had kept him away.

From coming to you (του ελτειν προς υμαςtou elthein pros humas). Ablative case (after the verb of hindering) of the articular infinitive, “from the coming.”

Verse 23

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

A longing (επιποτειανepipotheian). A hapax legomenon, elsewhere επιποτησιςepipothēsis (2 Corinthians 7:7, 2 Corinthians 7:11), from επιποτεωepipotheō as in Romans 1:11.

These many years (απο ικανων ετωνapo hikanōn etōn). “From considerable years.” So B C, but Aleph A D have πολλωνpollōn “from many years.”

Verse 24

Whensoever I go (ως αν πορευωμαιhōs an poreuōmai). Indefinite temporal clause with ως ανhōs an and the present middle subjunctive (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:34; Philemon 2:23 with aorist subjunctive).

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

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

To be brought on my way thitherward (προπεμπτηναι εκειpropemphthēnai ekei). “To be sent forward there.” First aorist passive infinitive of προπεμπωpropempō common word for escorting one on a journey (1 Corinthians 16:6, 1 Corinthians 16:11; 2 Corinthians 1:16; Titus 3:13; 2 John 1:6).

If first in some measure I shall have been satisfied with your company (εαν υμων προτων απο μερους εμπληστωean humōn protōn apo merous emplēsthō). Condition of third class with εανean and first aorist passive subjunctive of εμπιμπλημιempimplēmi old verb, to fill up, to satisfy, to take one‘s fill. See Luke 6:25. Literally, “if I first in part be filled with you” (get my fill of you). delicate compliment for the Roman church.

Verse 25

But now (νυνι δεnuni de). Repeats the very words used in Romans 15:23.

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

Ministering unto the saints (διακονον τοις αγιοιςdiakonon tois hagiois). Present active participle of purpose like ευλογουνταeulogounta in Acts 3:26. This collection had been one of Paul‘s chief cares for over a year now (see 2 Corinthians 8; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15). See note on 2 Corinthians 8:4.

Verse 26

For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia (ηυδοκησαν γαρ Μακεδονια και Αχαιαēudokēsan gar Makedonia kai Achaia). “For Macedonia and Achaia took pleasure.” The use of ηυδοκησανēudokēsan (first aorist active indicative of ευδοκεωeudokeō) shows that it was voluntary (2 Corinthians 8:4). Paul does not here mention Asia and Galatia.

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

For the poor among the saints (εις τους πτωχους των αγιωνeis tous ptōchous tōn hagiōn). Partitive genitive. Not all there were poor, but Acts 4:32-5:11; Acts 6:1-6; Acts 11:29.; Galatians 2:10 prove that many were.

Verse 27

Their debtors (οπειλεται αυτωνopheiletai autōn). Objective genitive: the Gentiles are debtors to the Jews. See the word οπειλετηςopheiletēs in Romans 1:14; Romans 8:12.

For if (ει γαρei gar). Condition of the first class, assumed as true, first aorist active indicative (εκοινωνησανeKoinéōnēsan from κοινωνεωKoinéōneō to share) with associative instrumental case (πνευματικοιςpneumatikois spiritual things).

To minister unto (λειτουργησαιleitourgēsai first aorist active infinitive of λειτουργεωleitourgeō with dative case αυτοιςautois to them), but here certainly with no “sacerdotal” functions (cf. Romans 15:16).

In carnal things (εν τοις σαρκικοιςen tois sarkikois). Things which belong to the natural life of the flesh (σαρχsarx), not the sinful aspects of the flesh at all.

Verse 28

Have sealed (σπραγισαμενοςsphragisamenos). First aorist middle participle (antecedent action, having sealed) of σπραγιζωsphragizō old verb from σπραγιςsphragis a seal (Romans 4:11), to stamp with a seal for security (Matthew 27:66) or for confirmation (2 Corinthians 1:22) and here in a metaphorical sense. Paul was keenly sensitive that this collection should be actually conveyed to Jerusalem free from all suspicion (2 Corinthians 8:18-23).

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

Verse 29

When I come (ερχομενοςerchomenos). Present middle participle of ερχομαιerchomai with the time of the future middle indicative ελευσομαιeleusomai (coming I shall come).

In the fulness of the blessing of Christ (εν πληρωματι ευλογιας Χριστουen plērōmati eulogias Christou). On πληρωματιplērōmati see Romans 11:12. Paul had already (Romans 1:11.) said that he had a χαρισμα πνευματικονcharisma pneumatikon (spiritual blessing) for Rome. He did bring that to them.

Verse 30

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

That ye strive together with me (συναγωνισασται μοιsunagōnisasthai moi). First aorist middle infinitive of συναγωνι ζομαιsunagōni zomai old compound verb, only here in N.T., direct object of παρακαλωparakalō and with associative instrumental case μοιmoi the simplex αγωνιζομενοςagōnizomenos occurring in Colossians 4:12 of the prayers of Epaphras. For Christ‘s agony in prayer see Matthew 26:42 and note on Luke 22:44.

Verse 31

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

May be acceptable to the saints (ευπροσδεκτος τοις αγιοις γενηταιeuprosdektos tois hagiois genētai). “May become (second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομαιginomai) acceptable to the saints.” The Judaizers would give him trouble. There was peril of a schism in Christianity.

Verse 32

That (ιναhina). Second use of ιναhina in this sentence, the first one sub-final (ινα ρυστωhina rusthō), this one final with συναναπαυσωμαιsunanapausōmai first aorist middle subjunctive of the double compound verb συναναπαυομαιsunanapauomai late verb to rest together with, to refresh (αναπαυωanapauō as in Matthew 11:28) one‘s spirit with (συνsun), with the associative instrumental case υμινhumin (with you), only here in the N.T.

Verse 33

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


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 15:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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