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4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Gospel for Jews and Gentiles Alike

7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles,

and sing praises to your name”;

10 and again he says,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;

11 and again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,

and let all the peoples praise him”;

12 and again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse shall come,

the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;

in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 


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4. For whatsoever things, etc. This is an application of the example, lest any one should think, that to exhort us to imitate Christ was foreign to his purpose; “Nay,” he says, “there is nothing in Scripture which is not useful for your instruction, and for the direction of your life.” 440440     “The object of this verse is not so much to show the propriety of applying the passage quoted from the Psalms to Christ, as to show that the facts recorded in the Scriptures are designed for our instruction.” — Hodge

This is an interesting passage, by which we understand that there is nothing vain and unprofitable contained in the oracles of God; and we are at the same time taught that it is by the reading of the Scripture that we make progress in piety and holiness of life. Whatever then is delivered in Scripture we ought to strive to learn; for it were a reproach offered to the Holy Spirit to think, that he has taught anything which it does not concern us to know; let us also know, that whatever is taught us conduces to the advancement of religion. And though he speaks of the Old Testament, the same thing is also true of the writings of the Apostles; for since the Spirit of Christ is everywhere like itself, there is no doubt but that he has adapted his teaching by the Apostles, as formerly by the Prophets, to the edification of his people. Moreover, we find here a most striking condemnation of those fanatics who vaunt that the Old Testament is abolished, and that it belongs not in any degree to Christians; for with what front can they turn away Christians from those things which, as Paul testifies, have been appointed by God for their salvation?

But when he adds, that through the patience and the consolation of the Scriptures we might have hope, 441441     Or, That we might possess, enjoy, or retain hope. He does not describe this hope, it being sufficiently evident — the hope of the gospel. — Ed. he does not include the whole of that benefit which is to be derived from God’s word; but he briefly points out the main end; for the Scriptures are especially serviceable for this purpose — to raise up those who are prepared by patience, and strengthened by consolations, to the hope of eternal life, and to keep them in the contemplation of it. 442442     Some take “patience” apart from “consolation,” — “through patience, and the consolation of the Scriptures;” but what is evidently meant is the patience and consolation which the Scriptures teach and administer, or are the means of supplying; for it is the special object of the passage to show the benefits derived from the Scriptures. Then it is no doubt “consolation,” and not exhortation, though the word has also that meaning; for in the next verse it clearly means consolation. It is thus rendered, and in connection with “patience,” by Beza, Pareus, Doddridge, Macknight, etc.
   In our version it is “comfort” in Romans 15:4, and “consolation” in Romans 15:5; but it would have been better to have retained the same word. — Ed.
The word consolation some render exhortation; and of this I do not disapprove, only that consolation is more suitable to patience, for this arises from it; because then only we are prepared to bear adversities with patience, when God blends them with consolation. The patience of the faithful is not indeed that hardihood which philosophers recommend, but that meekness, by which we willingly submit to God, while a taste of his goodness and paternal love renders all things sweet to us: this nourishes and sustains hope in us, so that it fails not.

5. And the God of patience, etc. God is so called from what he produces; the same thing has been before very fitly ascribed to the Scriptures, but in a different sense: God alone is doubtless the author of patience and of consolation; for he conveys both to our hearts by his Spirit: yet he employs his word as the instrument; for he first teaches us what is true consolation, and what is true patience; and then he instills and plants this doctrine in our hearts.

But after having admonished and exhorted the Romans as to what they were to do, he turns to pray for them: for he fully understood, that to speak of duty was to no purpose, except God inwardly effected by his Spirit what he spoke by the mouth of man. The sum of his prayer is, — that he would bring their minds to real unanimity, and make them united among themselves: he also shows at the same time what is the bond of unity, for he wished them to agree together according to Christ Jesus Miserable indeed is the union which is unconnected with God, and that is unconnected with him, which alienates us from his truth. 443443     There is a difference of opinion as to the unity contemplated here, whether it be that of sentiment or of feeling. The phrase, τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν, occurs in the following places, Romans 12:16; Romans 15:5; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 2:2; Philippians 3:16; Philippians 4:2 Leigh says, that the phrase signifies to be of one mind, of one judgment, of one affection, towards one another. But though the verb φρονεῖν may admit of these three significations, yet the Apostle no doubt had in view a specific idea; and when we consider that he had been inculcating the principle of toleration as to unity of sentiment with regard to the eating of meats and of observing of days, and that he has been enforcing the duty of forbearance, and of sympathy, and of love towards each other, it appears probable that unity of feeling and of concern for each other’s welfare is what is intended here. Beza, Scott, and Chalmers take this view, while Pareus, Mede, and Stuart take the other, that is, that unity of sentiment is what is meant.
   What confirms the former, in addition to the general import of the context, is the clause which follows, “according to Christ Jesus,” which evidently means, “according to his example,” as mentioned in verse 3.

   Then in the next verse, the word ὁμοθυμαδὸν refers to the unity of feeling and of action, rather than to that of sentiment. It occurs, besides here, in these places, Acts 1:14, Acts 2:1,46; Acts 4:24; Acts 5:12; Acts 7:57; Acts 8:6; Acts 12:20; Acts 15:25; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:29. It is used by the Septuagint for יחד, which means “together.” It is rendered “unanimiter — unanimously,” Beza; “with one mind,” by Doddridge; and “unanimously,” by Macknight. It is thus paraphrased by Grotius, “with a mind full of mutual love, free from contempt, free from hatred.” — Ed.

And that he might recommend to us an agreement in Christ, he teaches us how necessary it is: for God is not truly glorified by us, unless the hearts of all agree in giving him praise, and their tongues also join in harmony. There is then no reason for any to boast that he will give glory to God after his own manner; for the unity of his servants is so much esteemed by God, that he will not have his glory sounded forth amidst discords and contentions. This one thought ought to be sufficient to check the wanton rage for contention and quarreling, which at this day too much possesses the minds of many.

7. Receive ye then, etc. He returns to exhortation; and to strengthen this he still retains the example of Christ. For he, having received, not one or two of us, but all together, has thus connected us, so that we ought to cherish one another, if we would indeed continue in his bosom. Only thus then shall we confirm our calling, that is, if we separate not ourselves from those whom the Lord has bound together.

The words, to the glory of God, may be applied to us only, or to Christ, or to him and us together: of the last I mostly approve, and according to this import, — “As Christ has made known the glory of the Father in receiving us into favor, when we stood in need of mercy; so it behooves us, in order to make known also the glory of the same God, to establish and confirm this union which we have in Christ.” 444444     In gloriam Dei, εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ, i.e., in order to set forth the glory of God, or, in other words, that God might be glorified. So Erasmus, Chalmers, and Stuart. Others regard this “glory” as that which God bestows, even eternal happiness, according to this meaning, — “Receive ye one another into communion and fellowship, as Christ has received you into the glory of God,” that is, into that glorious state which God has provided and promised. See John 17:24. For “you,” our version has “us;” but Griesbach considers “you” as the true reading. — Ed.

8. Now I say, that Jesus Christ, etc. He now shows that Christ has embraced us all, so that he leaves no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, except that in the first place he was promised to the Jewish nation, and was in a manner peculiarly destined for them, before he was revealed to the Gentiles. But he shows, that with respect to that which was the seed of all contentions, there was no difference between them; for he had gathered them both from a miserable dispersion, and brought them, when gathered, into the Father’s kingdom, that they might be one flock, in one sheepfold, under one shepherd. It is hence right, he declares, that they should continue united together, and not despise one another; for Christ despised neither of them. 445445     The beginning of this verse, “Now I say,” Dico autem, Λέγω δὲ, is read by Beza and Grotius, Λέγω γὰρ, “For I say,” and Griesbach regards it of nearly equal authority. If we retain δὲ, it may be rendered “moreover,” or “further;” and to render the clause more distinct, the word “this,” as proposed by Beza and Pagninus, may be added, — “I further say this,” etc. The two verses may be thus rendered, —
   8. I further say this, that Christ became a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises made to

   9. the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy, as it is written, “I will therefore confess thee among the nations, and to thy name will I sing.”

   The reasons for this rendering are given in the next note. — Ed.

He then speaks first of the Jews, and says, that Christ was sent to them, in order to accomplish the truth of God by performing the promises given to the Fathers: and it was no common honor, that Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, put on flesh, that he might procure salvation for them; for the more he humbled himself for their sake, the greater was the honor he conferred on them. But this point he evidently assumes as a thing indubitable. The more strange it is, that there is such effrontery in some fanatical heads, that they hesitate not to regard the promises of the Old Testament as temporal, and to confine them to the present world. And lest the Gentiles should claim any excellency above the Jews, Paul expressly declares, that the salvation which Christ has brought belonged by covenant to the Jews; for by his coming he fulfilled what the Father had formerly promised to Abraham, and thus he became the minister of that people. It hence follows that the old covenant was in reality spiritual, though it was annexed to earthly types; for the fulfillment, of which Paul now speaks, must necessarily relate to eternal salvation. And further, lest any one should cavil, and say, that so great a salvation was promised to posterity, when the covenant was deposited in the hand of Abraham, he expressly declares that the promises were made to the Fathers. Either then the benefits of Christ must be confined to temporal things, or the covenant made with Abraham must be extended beyond the things of this world.

9. The Gentiles also, 446446     The construction of this first sentence is differently viewed. Grotius and Stuart connect it with “I say” at the beginning of the former verse; but Beza and Pareus connect it with the last clause, and consider εἰς τὸ as being here understood: and this seems to be the best construction. Christ became the minister of the circumcision, a minister under the Abrahamic economy, for two objects, — that he might confirm the promises made to the Fathers, — and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. Mercy was destined to come to the Gentiles through the covenant made with Abraham, of which circumcision was the sign and seal. The promise, “In thee shall the nations of the earth be blessed,” was made to Abraham, and not to the Gentiles. Hence it is called “mercy” to them, there being to previous promise made distinctly to them, while the same mercy as to the Jews is called “truth,” because it was the fulfillment of a promise. A remarkable instance of this difference, noticed by Haldane, is found in Micah 7:20. What is said to be “mercy” to Abraham, to whom the promise was first made, is said to be “truth” to Jacob, to whom it was confirmed. It may also, by the way, be observed, that this verse in Micah affords an example of what we often find in Paul’s style; for in mentioning two or more things, he often reverses the regular order. What Micah mentions first is “truth” to Jacob, and then he goes back to God’s “mercy” to Abraham.
   The quotation from Psalm 18:49, is verbatim from the Septuagint. The Hebrew verb with its postfix, אודך, in our version, “I will give thanks to thee,” may more properly be rendered, “I will confess thee.” — Ed.
etc. This is the second point, on proving which he dwells longer, because it was not so evident. The first testimony he quotes is taken from Psalm 18; which psalm is recorded also in 2 Samuel 22, where no doubt a prophecy is mentioned concerning the kingdom of Christ; and from it Paul proves the calling of the Gentiles, because it is there promised, that a confession to the glory of God should be made among the Gentiles; for we cannot really make God known, except among those who hear his praises while they are sung by us. Hence that God’s name may be known among the Gentiles, they must be favored with the knowledge of him, and come into communion with his people: for you may observe this everywhere in Scripture, that God’s praises cannot be declared, except in the assembly of the faithful, who have ears capable of hearing his praise.

10 Exult, ye Gentiles, with his people This verse is commonly considered as if it was taken from the song of Moses; but with this I cannot agree; for Moses’ design there was to terrify the adversaries of Israel by setting forth his greatness, rather than to invite them to a common joy. I hence think that this is quoted from Psalm 47:5, where it is written, “Exult and rejoice let the Gentiles, because thou judgest the nations in equity, and the Gentiles on the earth thou guidest.” And Paul adds, with his people, and he did this by way of explanation; for the Prophet in that psalm no doubt connects the Gentiles with Israel, and invites both alike to rejoice; and there is no joy without the knowledge of God. 447447     This passage is evidently taken from Deuteronomy 32:43, given literally as it is found in the Septuagint, and literally too from the Hebrew, if the reading of two copies, referred to by Kennicalt, be adopted, in which את, “with,” is placed before עשו, “his people.” It is no objection that “adversaries” are mentioned in the context. There have ever been adversaries to God’s people; and God even now denounces his judgments on his adversaries, though the Gentiles as a people, as a separate class from the Jews, have been long ago admitted to the privilege of rejoicing with his people. — Ed.

11. Praise God, all ye Gentiles, etc. This passage is not inaptly applied; for how can they, who know not God’s greatness, praise him? They could no more do this than to call on his name, when unknown. It is then a prophecy most suitable to prove the calling of the Gentiles; and this appears still more evident from the reason which is there added; for he bids them to give thanks for God’s truth and mercy. (Psalm 117:1.)

12. And again, Isaiah, etc., This prophecy is the most illustrious of them all: for in that passage, the Prophet, when things were almost past hope, comforted the small remnant of the faithful, even by this, — that there would arise a shoot from the dry and the dying trunk of David’s family, and that a branch would flourish from his despised root, which would restore to God’s people their pristine glory. It is clear from the account there given, that this shoot was Christ, the Redeemer of the world. And then, he added, that he would be raised for a sign to the Gentiles, that might be to them for salvation. The words do indeed differ a little from the Hebrew text; for we read here, arise, while in Hebrew it is stand for a sign, which is the same; for he was to appear conspicuous like a sign. What is here hope, is in Hebrew seek; but according to the most common usage of Scripture, to seek God is nothing else but to hope in him. 448448     Isaiah 11:10. The whole of this quotation is given as it is found in the Septuagint. The difference, as noticed by Calvin, between the words as given in Hebrew, is considerable. The language of the Prophet is metaphorical, the Septuagint interpreted it, and this interpretation the Apostle approved and adopted. The Messiah is represented by the Prophet as a general or a leader of an army, raising his banner for the nations, (עמיש, not “people,” as in our version:) and the Gentiles repair or resort to this banner for protection; and so Lowth renders the verb ידרשו, only he does not preserve the metaphor, by rendering אליו, “unto him,” instead of “to it,” as in our version. It hence appears evident, that the passage is substantially the same; and indeed the verb ἄρχειν, retains in some measure the idea of the original, for it strictly means to be a leader, to rule as a chief. — Ed.

But twice in this prophecy is the calling of the Gentiles confirmed, — by the expression, that Christ was to be raised up as a sign, and he reigns among the faithful alone, — and by the declaration, that they shall hope in Christ, which cannot take place without the preaching of the word and illumination of the Spirit. With these things corresponds the song of Simeon. It may be further added, that hope in Christ is an evidence of his divinity.

13. And may the God, etc. He now concludes the passage, as before, with prayer; in which he desires the Lord to give them whatever he had commanded. It hence appears, that the Lord does in no degree measure his precepts according to our strength or the power of free-will; and that he does not command what we ought to do, that we, relying on our own power, may gird up ourselves to render obedience; but that he commands those things which require the aid of his grace, that he may stimulate us in our attention to prayer.

In saying the God of hope, he had in view the last verse; as though he said, — “May then the God in whom we all hope fill you with joy, that is, with cheerfulness of heart, and also with unity and concord, and this by believing:” 449449     The God of hope may mean one of two things, — the giver or author of hope, as in 1 Peter 1:3, — or the object of hope, he in whom hope is placed, as in 1 Timothy 6:17.
   Why does he mention joy before peace? It is in accordance with his usual manner, — the most visible, the stream first, then the most hidden, the spring. — Ed.
for in order that our peace may be approved by God, we must be bound together by real and genuine faith. If any one prefers taking in believing, for, in order to believe, 450450     That is εἰς τὸ, instead of ἐν τῷ. — Ed. the sense will be, — that they were to cultivate peace for the purpose of believing; for then only are we rightly prepared to believe, when we, being peaceable and unanimous, do willingly embrace what is taught us. It is however preferable, that faith should be connected with peace and joy; for it is the bond of holy and legitimate concord, and the support of godly joy. And though the peace which one has within with God may also be understood, yet the context leads us rather to the former explanation. 451451     This is the view approved by Theophylact, Beza, Grotius, Mede, and Hammond: but Doddridge, Scott, Stuart, and Chalmers consider “peace” here to be that with God, and “joy” as its accompaniment; while Pareus and Hodge view both as included, especially the latter. If we consider the subject in hand, that the Apostle was attempting to produce union and concord between the Jews and the Gentiles, we shall see reason to accede to Calvin’s explanations. This joy and peace seem to be the same as in Romans 14:17. Concord, union, and mutual enjoyment, are graces which come by believing, or by faith, as well as concord or peace with God, and its accompanying joy; and these graces have no doubt an influence on hope, so as to make it brighter and stronger, when they are produced by the Holy Spirit. There are three things which distinguish these graces from such as are fictitious, — they proceed from faith, — they increase hope, — they are produced by the Spirit. — Ed.

He further adds, that ye may abound in hope; for in this way also is hope confirmed and increased in us. The words, through the power of the Holy Spirit, intimate that all things are the gifts of the divine bounty: and the word power is intended emphatically to set forth that wonderful energy, by which the Spirit works in us faith, hope, joy, and peace.




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