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Chapter 15

15:1 We the strong [hēmeis hoi dunatoi]. Paul identifies himself with this wing in the controversy. He means the morally strong as in 2Co 12:10; 13:9, not the mighty as in 1Co 1:26. The infirmities [ta asthenēmata]. “The weaknesses” (cf. [asthenōn] in 14:1,2), the scruples “of the not strong” [tōn adunatōn]. See Ac 14:8 where it is used of the man weak in his feet (impotent). To bear [bastazein]. As in Ga 6:2, common in the figurative sense. Not to please ourselves [mē heautois areskein]. Precisely Paul’s picture of his own conduct in 1Co 10:33.

15:2 For that which is good [eis to agathon]. “For the good.” As in 14:16, 19. Not to please men just for popular favours, but for their benefit.

15:3 Pleased not himself [ouch heautōi ēresen]. Aorist active indicative of [areskō] with the usual dative. The supreme example for Christians. See 14:15. He quotes Ps 69:9 (Messianic Psalm) and represents the Messiah as bearing the reproaches of others.

15:4 Were written aforetime [proegraphē]. Second aorist passive indicative of [prographō], old verb, in N.T. only here, Ga 3:1 (which see); Eph 3:3; Jude 1:4. For our learning [eis tēn hēmeteran didaskalian]. “For the instruction of us.” Objective sense of possessive pronoun [hēmeteros]. See Mt 15:9; 2Ti 3:16 for [didaskalian] (from [didaskō], to teach). We might have hope [tēn elpida echōmen]. Present active subjunctive of [echō] with [hina] in final clause, “that we might keep on having hope.” One of the blessed uses of the Scriptures.

15:5 The God of patience and comfort [ho theos tēs hupomonēs kai tēs paraklēseōs]. Genitive case of the two words in verse 4 used to describe God who uses the Scriptures to reveal himself to us. See 2Co 1:3 for this idea; Ro 15:13 for “the God of hope”; 15:33 for “the God of peace.” Grant you [dōiē humin]. Second aorist active optative (Koinē form for older [doiē] as in 2Th 3:16; Eph 1:17; 2Ti 1:16, 18; 2:25, though MSS. vary in Eph 1:17; 2Ti 2:25 for [dōēi] (subjunctive). The optative here is for a wish for the future (regular idiom). According to Christ Jesus [kata Christon Iēsoun]. “According to the character or example of Christ Jesus” (2Co 11:17; Col 2:8; Eph 5:24).

15:6 With one accord [homothumadon]. Here alone in Paul, but eleven times in Acts (Ac 1:14, etc.). With one mouth [en heni stomati]. Vivid outward expression of the unity of feeling. May glorify [doxazēte]. Present active subjunctive of [doxazō], final clause with [hina] “that ye may keep on glorifying.” For “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” see 2Co 1:3; 9:31 for discussion. It occurs also in Eph 1:3; 1Pe 1:3.

15:7 Receive ye [proslambanesthe] as in 14:1), received [proselabeto], here of Christ as in 14:3 of God). The repetition here is addressed to both the strong and the weak and the “us” [hēmās] includes all.

15:8 A minister of the circumcision [diakonon peritomēs]. Objective genitive, “a minister to the circumcision.” [Diakonon] is predicate accusative with [gegenēsthai] (perfect passive infinitive of [ginomai] in indirect assertion after [legō], I say) and in apposition with [Christon], accusative of general reference with the infinitive. See Ga 4:4f. That he might confirm [eis to bebaiōsai]. Purpose clause with [eis to] and the infinitive [bebaiōsai] (first aorist active of [bebaioō], to make stand). The promises given unto the fathers [tas epaggelias tōn paterōn]. No “given” in the Greek, just the objective genitive, “the promises to the fathers.” See 9:4, 5.

15:9 And that the Gentiles might praise [ta de ethnē doxasai]. Coordinate with [bebaiōsai] and [eis to], to be repeated with [ta ethnē], the accusative of general reference and [ton theon] the object of [doxasai]. Thus the Gentiles were called through the promise to the Jews in the covenant with Abraham (4:11f., 16f.). Salvation is of the Jews. Paul proves his position by a chain of quotations from the O.T., the one in verse 9 from Ps 18:50. For [exomologeō], see 14:10. I will sing [psalō]. Future active of [psallō], for which verb see on 1Co 14:15.

15:10 Rejoice, ye Gentiles [euphranthēte]. First aorist passive imperative of [euphrainō], old word from [eu], well and [phrēn], mind. See Lu 15:32. Quotation from De 32:43 (LXX).

15:11 All the Gentiles [panta ta ethnē]. From Ps 117:1 with slight variations from the LXX text.

15:12 The root [hē riza]. Rather here, as in Re 5:5; 23:16, the sprout from the root. From Isa 11:10. On him shall the Gentiles hope [ep’ autōi ethnē elpiousin]. Attic future of [elpizō] for the usual [elpisousin].

15:13 The God of hope [ho theos tēs elpidos]. Taking up the idea in verse 12 as in verse 5 from 4. Fill you [plērōsai humas]. Optative (first aorist active of [plēroō] of wish for the future. Cf. [dōiē] in verse 5. In believing [en tōi pisteuein]. “In the believing” [en] with locative of the articular infinitive, the idiom so common in Luke’s Gospel). That ye may abound [eis to perisseuein humas]. Purpose clause with [eis to], as in verse 8, with [perisseuein] (present active infinitive of [perisseuō], with accusative of general reference, [humas]. This verse gathers up the points in the preceding quotations.

15:14 I myself also [kai autos egō]. See 7:25 for a like emphasis on himself, here in contrast with “ye yourselves” [kai 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 [mestoi agathosunēs]. See 2Th 1:11; Ga 5:22 for this LXX and Pauline word (in ecclesiastical writers also) made from the adjective [agathos], good, by adding [-sunē] (common ending for words like [dikaiosunē]. See 1:29 for [mestos] with genitive and [peplērōmenoi] (perfect passive participle of [plēroō] 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 [nouthetein]. To put in mind (from [nouthetēs] and this from [nous] and [tithēmi]. See on 1Th 5:12,14. “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 (1Th 1:8).

15:15 I write [egrapsa]. Epistolary aorist. The more boldly [tolmēroterōs]. Old comparative adverb from [tolmērōs]. Most MSS. read [tolmēroteron]. Only here in N.T. In some measure [apo merous]. Perhaps referring to some portions of the Epistle where he has spoken plainly (6:12, 19; 8:9; 11:17; 14:3, 4, 10, etc.). As putting you again in remembrance [hos epanamimnēskōn humas]. Delicately put with [hōs] and [epi] in the verb, “as if calling back to mind again” [epi]. This rare verb is here alone in the N.T.

15:16 That I should be [eis to einai me]. The [eis to] idiom with the infinitive again (verses 8, 13). Minister [leitourgon]. Predicate accusative in apposition with [me] and see 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 [hierourgounta]. Present active participle of [hierourgeō], late verb from [hierourgos] [hieros, ergō], 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 [hē prosphora tōn ethnōn]. Genitive of apposition, the Gentiles being the offering. They are Paul’s offering. See Ac 21:26. Acceptable [euprosdektos]. See 2Co 6:2; 8:12. Because “sanctified in the Holy Spirit” [hēgiasmenē en pneumati hagiōi], perfect passive participle of [hagiazō].

15:17 In things pertaining to God [ta pros ton theon]. Accusative of general reference of the article used with the prepositional phrase, “as to the things relating to [pros], facing) God.”

15:18 Any things save those which Christ wrought through me [ti hōn ou kateirgasato Christos di’ emou]. Rather, “any one of those things which Christ did not work through me.” The antecedent of [hōn] is the unexpressed [toutōn] and the accusative relative [ha] (object of [kateirgasato] is attracted into the genitive case of [toutōn] after a common idiom. By word and deed [logōi kai ergōi]. Instrumental case with both words. By preaching and life (Lu 24:19; Ac 1:1; 7:22; 2Co 10:11).

15:19 In power of signs and wonders [en dunamei sēmeiōn kai teratōn]. Note all three words as in Heb 2:4, only here [dunamis] is connected with [sēmeia] and [terata]. See all three words used of Paul’s own work in 2Co 12:12 and in 2Th 2:9 of the Man of Sin. See 1Th 1:5; 1Co 2:4 for the “power” of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s preaching. Note repetition of [en dunamei] here with [pneumatos hagiou]. So that [hōste]. Result expressed by the perfect active infinitive [peplērōkenai] (from [plēroō] with the accusative [me] (general reference). Round about even unto Illyricum [kuklōi mechri tou Illurikou]. “In a ring” [kuklōi], locative case of [kuklos]. 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 2Co 13; Ac 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.

15:20 Yea [houtōs de]. “And so,” introducing a limitation to the preceding statement. Making it my aim [philotimoumenon]. Present middle participle (accusative case agreeing with [me] of [philotimeomai], old verb, to be fond of honour [philos, timē]. In N.T. only here and 1Th 4:11; 2Co 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 [ouch 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 [hina mē ep’ allotrion themelion oikodomō]. For [allotrios] (not [allos] see 14:4. For [themelion], see Lu 6:48f.; 1Co 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.

15:21 As it is written [kathōs gegraptai]. From Isa 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 verses 9-21 on wholly subjective and insufficient grounds.

15:22 I was hindered [enekoptomēn]. Imperfect passive (repetition) of [enkoptō], late verb, to cut in, to cut off, to interrupt. Seen already in Ac 24:4; 1Th 2:18; Ga 5:7. Cf. modern telephone and radio and automobile. These many times [ta polla]. “As to the many things.” In 1:13 Paul used [pollakis] (many times) and B D read it here. But Paul’s work [ta polla] had kept him away. From coming to you [tou elthein pros humas]. Ablative case (after the verb of hindering) of the articular infinitive, “from the coming.”

15:23 Having no more any place in these regions [mēketi 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 [klima] (from [klinō], to incline), slope, then tract of land, region, see already 2Co 11:10; Ga 1:21 (the only N.T. examples). A longing [epipotheian]. A hapax legomenon, elsewhere [epipothēsis] (2Co 7:7, 11), from [epipotheō] as in Ro 1:11. These many years [apo hikanōn etōn]. “From considerable years.” So B C, but Aleph A D have [pollōn], “from many years.”

15:24 Whensoever I go [hōs an poreuōmai]. Indefinite temporal clause with [hōs an] and the present middle subjunctive (cf. 1Co 11:34; Php 2:23 with aorist subjunctive). Into Spain [eis tēn Spanian]. It was a Roman province with many Jews in it. The Greek name was [Iberia], the Latin Hispania. The Textus Receptus adds here [eleusomai 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 verse 24. In my journey [diaporeuomenos]. 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 [propemphthēnai ekei]. “To be sent forward there.” First aorist passive infinitive of [propempō], common word for escorting one on a journey (1Co 16:6, 11; 2Co 1:16; Tit 3:13; 2Jo 1:6). If first in some measure I shall have been satisfied with your company [ean humōn protōn apo merous emplēsthō]. Condition of third class with [ean] and first aorist passive subjunctive of [empimplēmi], old verb, to fill up, to satisfy, to take one’s fill. See Lu 6:25. Literally, “if I first in part be filled with you” (get my fill of you). delicate compliment for the Roman church.

15:25 But now [nuni de]. Repeats the very words used in 23. I go [poreuomai]. Futuristic present as in Joh 14:2. Ministering unto the saints [diakonon tois hagiois]. Present active participle of purpose like [eulogounta] in Ac 3:26. This collection had been one of Paul’s chief cares for over a year now (see 2Co 8; 9). See 2Co 8:4.

15:26 For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia [ēudokēsan gar Makedonia kai Achaia]. “For Macedonia and Achaia took pleasure.” The use of [ēudokēsan] (first aorist active indicative of [eudokeō] shows that it was voluntary (2Co 8:4). Paul does not here mention Asia and Galatia. A certain contribution [koinōnian tina]. Put thus because it was unknown to the Romans. For this sense of [koinōnian], see 2Co 8:4; 9:13. For the poor among the saints [eis tous ptōchous tōn hagiōn]. Partitive genitive. Not all there were poor, but Ac 4:32-5:11; 6:1-6; 11:29f.; Ga 2:10 prove that many were.

15:27 Their debtors [opheiletai autōn]. Objective genitive: the Gentiles are debtors to the Jews. See the word [opheiletēs] in 1:14; 8:12. For if [ei gar]. Condition of the first class, assumed as true, first aorist active indicative [ekoinōnēsan], from [koinōneō], to share) with associative instrumental case [pneumatikois], spiritual things). To minister unto [leitourgēsai], first aorist active infinitive of [leitourgeō] with dative case [autois], to them), but here certainly with no “sacerdotal” functions (cf. verse 16). In carnal things [en tois sarkikois]. Things which belong to the natural life of the flesh [sarx], not the sinful aspects of the flesh at all.

15:28 Have sealed [sphragisamenos]. First aorist middle participle (antecedent action, having sealed) of [sphragizō], old verb from [sphragis], a seal (Ro 4:11), to stamp with a seal for security (Mt 27:66) or for confirmation (2Co 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 (2Co 8:18-23). I will go on by you [apeleusomai di’ humōn]. Future middle of [aperchomai], to go off or on. Note three prepositions here [ap’] from Rome, [di’] by means of you or through you, [eis] unto Spain). He repeats the point of verse 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.

15:29 When I come [erchomenos]. Present middle participle of [erchomai] with the time of the future middle indicative [eleusomai] (coming I shall come). In the fulness of the blessing of Christ [en plērōmati eulogias Christou]. On [plērōmati], see 11:12. Paul had already (1:11f.) said that he had a [charisma pneumatikon] (spiritual blessing) for Rome. He did bring that to them.

15:30 By [dia]. The intermediate agents of the exhortation (the Lord Jesus and the love of the Spirit) as [dia] is used after [parakalō] in 12:1. That ye strive together with me [sunagōnisasthai moi]. First aorist middle infinitive of [sunagōni zomai], old compound verb, only here in N.T., direct object of [parakalō], and with associative instrumental case [moi], the simplex [agōnizomenos], occurring in Col 4:12 of the prayers of Epaphras. For Christ’s agony in prayer see Mt 26:42; Lu 22:44.

15:31 That I may be delivered [hina rusthō]. First aorist passive subjunctive of [ruomai], old verb to rescue. This use of [hina] is the sub-final one after words of beseeching or praying. Paul foresaw trouble all the way to Jerusalem (Ac 20:23; 21:4, 13). May be acceptable to the saints [euprosdektos tois hagiois genētai]. “May become (second aorist middle subjunctive of [ginomai] acceptable to the saints.” The Judaizers would give him trouble. There was peril of a schism in Christianity.

15:32 That [hina]. Second use of [hina] in this sentence, the first one sub-final [hina rusthō], this one final with [sunanapausōmai], first aorist middle subjunctive of the double compound verb [sunanapauomai], late verb to rest together with, to refresh [anapauō] as in Mt 11:28) one’s spirit with [sun], with the associative instrumental case [humin] (with you), only here in the N.T.

15:33 The God of peace [ho theos tēs eirēnēs]. One of the characteristics of God that Paul often mentions in benedictions (1Th 5:23; 2Th 3:16; 2Co 13:11; Php 4:9; Ro 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 (1:15). All men sooner or later hoped to see Rome.

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