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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 15 - Verse 14
Verse 14. And I myself also. The apostle here proceeds to show them why he had written this epistle, and to state his confidence in them. He had exhorted them to peace; he had opposed some of their strongest prejudices; and in order to secure their obedience to his injunctions, he now shows them the deep interest which he had in their welfare, though he had never seen them.
Am persuaded. He had never seen them, (Ro 1:10-13,)but he had full confidence in them. This confidence he had expressed more fully in the first chapter.
Of you. Concerning you. I have full confidence in you.
My brethren. An address of affection; showing that he was not disposed to assume undue authority, or to lord it over their faith.
Are full of goodness. Filled with kindness or benevolence. That is, they were disposed to obey any just commands; and that consequently any errors in their opinions and conduct had not been the effect of obstinacy or perverseness. There was indeed danger, in the city of Rome, of pride and haughtiness; and among the Gentile converts there might have been some reluctance to receive instruction from a foreign Jew. But the apostle was persuaded that all this was overcome by the mild and humbling spirit of religion, and that they were disposed to obey any just commands. He made this observation, therefore, to conciliate respect to his authority as an apostle.
Filled with all knowledge. That is, instructed in the doctrines and duties of the Christian religion. This was true; but there might be still some comparatively unimportant and non-essential points, on which they might not be entirely clear. On these the apostle had written; and written, not professedly to communicate new ideas, but to remind them of the great principles on which they were before instructed, Ro 15:15.
Able also, etc. That is, you are so fully instructed in Christian principles, as to be able to give advice and counsel, if it is needed. From this verse we may learn,
(1.) that when it is our duty to give instruction, admonition, or advice, it should be in a kind: conciliating manner; not with harshness, or with the severity of authority. Even an apostle did not assume harshness or severity in his instructions.
(2.) There is no impropriety in speaking of the good qualities of Christians in their presence; or even of commending and praising them when they deserve it. The apostle Paul was as far as possible from always dwelling on the faults of Christians. When it was necessary to reprove them, he did it, but did it with tenderness and tears. When he could commend, he preferred it; and never hesitated to give them credit to the utmost extent to which it could be rendered. He did not flatter, but he told the truth; he did not commend to excite pride and vanity, but to encourage, and to prompt to still more active efforts. The minister who always censures and condemns, whose ministry is made up of complaints and lamentations, who never speaks of Christians but in a strain of fault-finding, is unlike the example of the Saviour and of Paul, and may expect little success in his work. Comp. Ro 1:8; 16:19; 1 Co 1:6; 2 Co 8:7; 9:2; Php 1:8-7; Heb 6:9; 2 Pe 1:12.
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