Ro 15:1-13. Same Subject
Continued and Concluded.
1. We then that are strong—on such
points as have been discussed, the abolition of the Jewish distinction
of meats and days under the Gospel. See on Ro
14:14; Ro 14:20.
ought … not to please
ourselves—ought to think less of what we may lawfully do than
of how our conduct will affect others.
2, 3. Let every one of us—lay himself
please his neighbour—not indeed for
his mere gratification, but
for his good—with a view
to his edification.
3. For even Christ pleased not—lived not
himself; but, as it is written—(Ps 69:9).
The reproaches, &c.—see Mr
4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime
were written for our learning—"instruction"
through, &c.—"through the comfort
and the patience of the Scriptures"
might have hope—that is, "Think not
that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ,
they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ's sufferings, as a
Saviour, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted
them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the general
principle involved in His whole work—self-sacrifice for the
good of others—furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and
so all Scripture relating to these is for our instruction; and since
the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, requires
'patience,' and this again needs 'comfort,' all those Scriptures which
tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the
patience of Christ, and of the consolation which sustained Him under
it, are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, ministering to us
'hope' of that blessed day when these shall no more be needed."
See on Ro 4:7, Note 7. (For the same
connection between "patience and hope" see on Ro
12:12, and 1Th 1:3).
5, 6. Now the God of patience and
consolation—Such beautiful names of God are taken from the
graces which He inspires: as "the God of hope" (Ro 15:13), "the God of peace" (Ro 15:33).
grant you to be likeminded—"of the
according to Christ Jesus—It is not
mere unanimity which the apostle seeks for them; for unanimity in evil
is to be deprecated. But it is "according to Christ
Jesus"—after the sublimest model of Him whose all-absorbing
desire was to do, "not His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him"
6. That, &c.—rather, "that with one
accord ye may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ"; the mind and the mouth of all giving harmonious glory to
His name. What a prayer! And shall this never be realized on earth?
7. Wherefore—returning to the point
receive ye one another … to the glory of
God—If Christ received us, and bears with all our weaknesses,
well may we receive and compassionate one with another, and by so doing
God will be glorified.
8-12. Now—"For" is the true reading: the
apostle is merely assigning an additional motive to Christian
I say that Jesus Christ was—"hath
a minister of the circumcision—a
remarkable expression, meaning "the Father's Servant for the salvation
of the circumcision (or, of Israel)."
for the truth of God—to make good the
veracity of God towards His ancient people.
to confirm the—Messianic
promises made unto the fathers—To
cheer the Jewish believers, whom he might seem to have been
disparaging, and to keep down Gentile pride, the apostle holds up
Israel's salvation as the primary end of Christ's mission. But next
after this, Christ was sent.
9. that the Gentiles might glorify God for his
mercy—A number of quotations from the Old Testament here
follow, to show that God's plan of mercy embraced, from the first, the
Gentiles along with the Jews.
as it is written—(Ps 18:49).
I will confess to—that is, glorify
thee among the Gentiles.
10. And again—(De 32:43, though there is some difficulty in the
Rejoice, ye Gentiles—along
with his people—Israel.
11. And again—(Ps 117:1).
Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him,
all ye people—"peoples"—the various nations outside the
pale of Judaism.
12. And again, Esaias saith—(Isa 11:10).
There shall be a—"the"
root of Jesse—meaning, not "He from
whom Jesse sprang," but "He that is sprung from Jesse" (that is,
Jesse's son David)—see Re 22:16.
and he that shall rise, &c.—So the
Septuagint in substantial, though not verbal, agreement with the
13. Now, &c.—This seems a concluding
prayer, suggested by the whole preceding subject matter of the
the God of hope—(See on Ro 15:5).
fill you with all joy and peace in
believing—the native truth of that faith which is the
great theme of this epistle (compare Ga 5:22).
that ye may abound in hope—"of the
glory of God." (See on Ro 5:1).
through the power of the Holy Ghost—to
whom, in the economy of redemption, it belongs to inspire believers
with all gracious affections.
On the foregoing portion, Note, (1) No
Christian is at liberty to regard himself as an isolated disciple of
the Lord Jesus, having to decide questions of duty and liberty solely
with reference to himself. As Christians are one body in Christ, so the
great law of love binds them to act in all things with tenderness and
consideration for their brethren in "the common salvation" (Ro 15:1, 2). (2) Of this unselfishness Christ is the perfect model of all Christians
15:3). (3) Holy Scripture is
the divine storehouse of all furniture for the Christian life, even in
its most trying and delicate features (Ro 15:4). (4) The harmonious glorification of
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ by the whole body of the
redeemed, as it is the most exalted fruit of the scheme of redemption,
so it is the last end of God in it (Ro 15:5-7).
Ro 15:14-33. Conclusion: In Which the
Apostle Apologizes for Thus Writing to the Roman Christians,
Explains Why He Had Not Yet Visited
Them, Announces His Future Plans, and
Asks Their Prayers for the Completion of Them.
14, 15. And, &c.—rather, "Now I am
persuaded, my brethren, even I myself, concerning you"
that ye also yourselves are full of
goodness—of inclination to all I have been enjoining on
filled with all knowledge—of the truth
and able—without my intervention.
to admonish one another.
15. Nevertheless, I have written the more boldly
unto you in some sort—"measure"
as putting you in mind, because of the grace
that is given to me of God—as an apostle of Jesus Christ.
16. that I should be the—rather, "a"
minister—The word here used is
commonly employed to express the office of the priesthood, from which
accordingly the figurative language of the rest of the verse is
of Jesus Christ—"Christ Jesus,"
according to the true reading.
to the Gentiles—a further proof that
the Epistle was addressed to a Gentile church. (See on Ro 1:13).
ministering the gospel of God—As the
word here is a still more priestly one, it should be rendered,
"ministering as a priest in the Gospel of God."
that the offering up of the
Gentiles—as an oblation to God, in their converted
might be acceptable, being sanctified by the
Holy Ghost—the end to which the ancient offerings typically
17. I have therefore whereof I may
glory—or (adding the article, as the reading seems to be), "I
have my glorying."
Christ Jesus in those things which pertain to
God—the things of the ministry committed to me of God.
18-22. For I will not dare to speak of
any—"to speak aught"
of those things which Christ hath not wrought by
me—a modest, though somewhat obscure form of expression,
meaning, "I will not dare to go beyond what Christ hath wrought
by me"—in which form accordingly the rest of the passage is
expressed. Observe here how Paul ascribes all the success of his labors
to the activity of the living Redeemer, working in and by him.
by word and deed—by preaching and
working; which latter he explains in the next clause.
19. Through mighty—literally, "in the
signs and wonders—that is, glorious
by the power of the Spirit of God—"the
Holy Ghost," as the true reading seems to be. This seems intended to
explain the efficacy of the word preached, as well as the working of
the miracles which attested it.
so that from Jerusalem, and round about
unto—"as far as"
Illyricum—to the extreme northwestern
boundary of Greece. It corresponds to the modern Croatia and Dalmatia
4:10). See Ac 20:1, 2.
I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
20, 21. Yea, &c.—rather, "Yet making
it my study (compare 2Co 5:9; 1Th 4:11, Greek) so to preach the Gospel,
not where Christ was [already] named, that I might not build upon
another man's foundation: but (might act) as it is written, To whom no
tidings of Him came, they shall see," &c.
22. For which cause—"Being so long
occupied with this missionary work, I have been much (or, 'for the most
part') hindered," &c. (See on Ro 1:9-11.)
23, 24. But now having no more place—"no
longer having place"—that is, unbroken ground, where Christ has
not been preached.
and having a great desire—"a
these many years to come unto you—(as
before, see on Ro 1:9-11).
24. whensoever I take my journey into
Spain—Whether this purpose was ever accomplished has been
much disputed, as no record of it nor allusion to it anywhere occurs.
Those who think our apostle was never at large after his first
imprisonment at Rome will of course hold that it never was; while those
who are persuaded, as we are, that he underwent a second imprisonment,
prior to which he was at large for a considerable time after his first,
incline naturally to the other opinion.
I will come to you—If these words were
not originally in the text, and there is weighty evidence against them,
they must at least be inserted as a necessary supplement.
in my journey, &c.—"as I pass
through by you, to be set forward on my journey thither, if first I be
somewhat filled with your company": that is, "I should indeed like to
stay longer with you than I can hope to do, but I must, to some extent
at least, have my fill of your company."
25-27. But now I go to Jerusalem to
to the saints—in the sense immediately
to be explained.
26. For, &c.—better, "For Macedonia
and Achaia have thought good to make a certain contribution for the
poor of the saints which are at Jerusalem." (See Ac 24:17). "They have thought it good; and their
debtors verily they are"; that is, "And well they may, considering what
the Gentile believers owe to their Jewish brethren."
27. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers
of their spiritual things, their duty is also—"they owe it
to minister unto them in carnal
things—(Compare 1Co 9:11; Ga 6:6; and see Lu 7:4; Ac 10:2).
28, 29. When therefore I have …
sealed—that is, delivered over safely
to them this fruit—of the faith and
love of the Gentile converts
I will come—"come back," or
by you into Spain—(See on Ro 15:24).
29. And I am sure—"I know"
that … I shall come in the fulness of the
blessing of Christ—Such, beyond all doubts, is the true
reading, the words "of the gospel" being in hardly any manuscripts of
antiquity and authority. Nor was the apostle mistaken in this
confidence, though his visit to Rome was in very different
circumstances from what he expected. See Ac 28:16-31.
30. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord
Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit—or, "by
the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit"—not the
love which the Spirit bears to us, but that love which He kindles in
the hearts of believers towards each other; that is "By that Saviour
whose name is alike dear to all of us and whose unsearchable riches I
live only to proclaim, and by that love one to another which the
blessed Spirit diffuses through all the brotherhood, making the labors
of Christ's servants a matter of common interest to all—I beseech
that ye strive together with me in your prayers
to God for me—implying that he had his grounds for anxious
fear in this matter.
31. That I may be delivered from them that do not
believe—"that do not obey," that is, the truth, by believing
it; as in Ro
in Judea—He saw the storm that was
gathering over him in Judea, which, if at all, would certainly burst
upon his head when he reached the capital; and the event too clearly
showed the correctness of these apprehensions.
and that my service which I have for
Jerusalem—(See on Ro 15:25-28).
may be accepted of—"prove acceptable
the saints—Nor was he without
apprehension lest the opposition he had made to the narrow jealousy of
the Jewish converts against the free reception of their Gentile
brethren, should make this gift of theirs to the poor saints at
Jerusalem less welcome than it ought to be. He would have the Romans
therefore to join him in wrestling with God that this gift might be
gratefully received, and prove a cement between the two parties. But
32. That I may come unto you
joy by the will of God—(Ac 18:21; 1Co 4:19; 16:7; Heb 6:3; Jas 4:15)
and may with you be refreshed—rather,
"with you refresh myself," after all his labors and anxieties, and so
be refitted for future service.
33. Now the God of peace be with you all.
Amen—The peace here sought is to be taken in its widest
sense: the peace of reconciliation to God, first, "through the blood of
the everlasting covenant" (Heb 13:20; 1Th 5:23; 2Th
3:16; Php 4:9); then the
peace which that reconciliation diffuses among all the partakers of it
(1Co 14:33; 2Co 13:11; and see on Ro
16:20); more widely still, that peace which the children of God, in
beautiful imitation of their Father in Heaven, are called and
privileged to diffuse far and wide through this sin-distracted and
divided world (Ro 12:18; Mt 5:9; Heb 12:14; Jas
Note, (1) Did "the chiefest of the apostles"
apologize for writing to a Christian church which he had never seen,
and a church that he was persuaded was above the need of it, save to
"stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance" (2Pe 1:13; 3:1); and did he put even this upon
the sole plea of apostolic responsibility (Ro 15:14-16)? What a contrast is thus
presented to hierarchical pride, and in particular to the affected
humility of the bishop of this very Rome! How close the bond which the
one spirit draws between ministers and people—how wide the
separation produced by the other! (2) There is in the Christian Church
no real priesthood, and none but figurative sacrifices. Had it been
otherwise, it is inconceivable that Ro 15:16 should have been expressed as it is.
Paul's only priesthood and sacrificial offerings lay, first, in
ministering to them as "the apostle of the Gentiles," not the sacrament
with the "real presence" of Christ in it, or the sacrifice of the mass,
but "the Gospel of God," and then, when gathered under the wing of
Christ, presenting them to God as a grateful offering, "being
sanctified [not by sacrificial gifts, but] by the Holy Ghost." (See
13:9-16). (3) Though the debt
we owe to those by whom we have been brought to Christ can never be
discharged, we should feel it a privilege when we render them any lower
benefit in return (Ro 15:26, 27). (4) Formidable designs against the
truth and the servants of Christ should, above all other ways of
counteracting them, be met by combined prayer to Him who rules all
hearts and controls all events; and the darker the cloud, the more
resolutely should all to whom Christ's cause is dear "strive together
in their prayers to God" for the removal of it (Ro 15:30, 31). (5) Christian fellowship is so
precious that the most eminent servants of Christ, amid the toils and
trials of their work, find it refreshing and invigorating; and it is no
good sign of any ecclesiastic, that he deems it beneath him to seek and
enjoy it even amongst the humblest saints in the Church of Christ