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Please Others, Not Yourselves


We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. 3For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 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.


Paul’s Reason for Writing So Boldly

14 I myself feel confident about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15Nevertheless on some points I have written to you rather boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God. 18For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ. 20Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation, 21but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him shall see,

and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”

Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome

22 This is the reason that I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23But now, with no further place for me in these regions, I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you 24when I go to Spain. For I do hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while. 25At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints; 26for Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to share their resources with the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27They were pleased to do this, and indeed they owe it to them; for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material things. 28So, when I have completed this, and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will set out by way of you to Spain; 29and I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

30 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf, 31that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my ministry to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.


16. Consecrating the gospel, etc. This rendering I prefer to that which Erasmus in the first place adopts, that is, “Administering;” for nothing is more certain than that Paul here alludes to the holy mysteries which were performed by the priest. He then makes himself a chief priest or a priest in the ministration of the gospel, to offer up as a sacrifice the people whom he gained for God, and in this manner he labored in the holy mysteries of the gospel. And doubtless this is the priesthood of the Christian pastor, that is, to sacrifice men, as it were, to God, by bringing them to obey the gospel, and not, as the Papists have hitherto haughtily vaunted, by offering up Christ to reconcile men to God. He does not, however, give here the name of priests to the pastors of the Church simply as a perpetual title, but intending to commend the honor and power of the ministry, Paul availed himself of the opportunity of using this metaphor. Let then the preachers of the gospel have this end in view while discharging their office, even to offer up to God souls purified by faith.

What Erasmus afterwards puts down as being more correct, “sacrificing the gospel,” is not only improper but obscures also the meaning; for the gospel is, on the contrary, like a sword, by which the minister sacrifices men as victims to God. 453453     “Consecrans evangelium,” so Augustine; ἱερουργοῦντα τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, “operans evangelio — being employed in the gospel,” Beza and Pareus; “docens sacrum evangelium — teaching the holy gospel,” Vatablus. The verb means to “perform sacred rites,” or to officiate in holy things. It has no connection, as some think, with a sacrificing priest; indeed ἱερεὺς itself, that is a priest, is a holy person, who did sacrifice no doubt among other things, but the word does not import a sacrificer any more than כהן in Hebrew. The word here does not mean to consecrate, or to sanctify, or to sacrifice, but to discharge a holy function. Perhaps the most literal rendering would be “performing a holy office as to the gospel,” but dispensing, administering, or preaching the gospel would be the best version. The Apostle had previously called himself λειτουργὸν, a public functionary, a public minister of Jesus Christ; he now designates his work as such, being a sacred administrator of the gospel, and then he states the object, that the offering of the Gentiles, that is, that the Gentiles being offered, might be an acceptable sacrifice to God, sanctified by the Spirit. See Romans 12:1. — Ed.

He adds that such sacrifices are acceptable to God; which is not only a commendation of the ministry, but also a singular consolation to those who surrender themselves to be thus consecrated. Now as the ancient victims were dedicated to God, having been externally sanctified and washed, so these victims are consecrated to the Lord by the Spirit of holiness, through whose power, inwardly working in them, they are separated from this world. For though the purity of the soul proceeds from faith in the word, yet as the voice of man is in itself inefficacious and lifeless, the work of cleansing really and properly belongs to the Spirit.

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