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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 15

 

 

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Verse 1

1. “But we who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves.” Paul is still on the subject setting forth our responsibilities to the weak believers, to be careful and not only keep our own consciences clear but theirs too, doing nothing calculated to jostle their faith, inject doubts or fears; but, on the contrary, do everything possible to build them up.


Verse 2

2. “Let each one of us please his neighbor in that which is good unto edification.” This strikes the keynote of the gracious economy, adhering rigidly to everything good and avoiding the very appearance of evil, and everything conducive to edification. So fast as churches get away from God they depart from this precept, e. g., poor old Romanism holds her service in the old dead Latin language, so no one receives any edification. In a similar manner all the Protestant churches are going down in the track of wicked Catholicism, preaching in a highfalutin style on subjects alien to personal salvation and practical Christianity, and singing operatic songs and solos, so indistinct and screaming and drowned out with instrumental music as to impart no edification to the audience. We have no right to do anything in our worship which the people can not hear and understand to their spiritual edification.


Verses 3-13

CHRIST THE SAVIOR BOTH OF THE JEWS AND GENTILES

3-13. As the Jews had established colonies in all the important cities of the Gentile world, sojourning in all lands for mercantile purposes, and the apostles, who were all Jews, invariably being to the synagogues and giving their consanguinity their first service in every land whither they peregrinated; as a result all the so-called Gentile churches throughout Christendom contained a large Hebrew element. Such was pre-eminently true in Rome, the world’s metropolis, twice as large as New York at the present day. Hence the pertinency of showing forth in this epistle the magnanimity of Christ and the perfect availability of His vicarious atonement and redemptive economy to reach both Jews and Gentiles, as in these verses Paul not only beautifully certifies but corroborates by the testimony of the prophets.


Verse 7

7. “Therefore receive one another as Christ also received you unto the glory of God.” As the work ultimates in the glorification of both Jews and Gentiles after the similitude of God Himself, so all of His disciples are to focalize all their powers of body, mind, spirit and influence to lead all they possibly can influence so to follow Jesus as to reach this ultimate glorification which Paul and his comrades hailed in constant anticipation, looking out for the glorified Savior to come and take them to heaven.


Verse 13

13. “And the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, in that you may abound in hope through the dynamite of the Holy Ghost.” “Dynamite,” translated power in E. V., is Paul’s definition of gospel (Romans 1:16), being the irresistible power of the Holy Ghost, by which all sin is blown out of the human heart, and the soul lifted up on the eagle pinions of superabounding hope, even bringing heaven down in prelibations.


Verse 14

THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE GENTILES

14. “But I am persuaded, my brethren, concerning you, that ye are full of goodness having been filled with all knowledge being able also to admonish one another.” Goodness here has the strong signification of experimental holiness, while knowledge means insight into divine truth imparted by the Holy Spirit, both of these enduements eminently qualifying their possessors to help one another by way of kindly admonition, instruction and inspiring exhortation.


Verse 15

15. “But I have written unto you the more boldly, in part, thus reminding you through the grace given unto me from God.


Verse 16

16. “That I am the minister of Christ unto the Gentiles, preaching the gospel of God in order that the offering of the Gentiles may be well pleasing, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Paul is very particular here to remind them of his calling and apostolical authority in behalf of the Gentiles, Jesus in His glory having appeared to him a second time while he was praying in the temple at Jerusalem during his first visit to the holy metropolis after his conversion (Acts 23:17), and notifying him that his own consanguinity will not receive his message, and at the same time commissioning him to the great Gentile world. Paul is powerful and emphatic in all of his deliverances on sanctification, here positively specifying that the only way the Gentiles can be well pleasing to God is through the sanctification of the Holy Ghost, thus emphasizing and enforcing this great climacteric truth everywhere recognizable in God’s Word, showing up the fact that none can stand with impunity before the divine majesty, till thoroughly expurgated from all sin actual and original, and through the complete sanctification of the Holy Spirit delivered from all the penal consequences of transgression.


Verse 18

PAULINE PERFECTION

18. “For I will not dare to speak of those things which Christ wrought through me unto the obedience of the Gentiles in both word and work.


Verse 19

19. “In the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit of God, so that I from Jerusalem around about unto Illyricum have fully preached the gospel of Christ.


Verse 20

20. “And thus, being ambitious not to preach where Christ was named, in order that I may not build on another’s foundation,


Verse 21

21. “But as has been written: Unto those to whom it was not proclaimed they shall seek concerning him, and those who have not heard shall understand.” Paul’s locomotive power and availability in an age unequipped with public conveyances, was not only paradoxical but miraculous; beginning at Jerusalem and traversing all those great countries, Syria and Asia Minor, crossing the Aegean Sea and penetrating to the Illyric Gulf on the extreme northern border of Macedonia, down south into Achaia and far west into Rome. He was no superficial preacher, but everywhere courageously showed up the great Bible truth of Christian perfection, as he here affirms. How wonderfully courageous to spend all his life in the forlorn capacity of a pioneer, hewing his way through difficulties to ordinary minds literally insurmountable, heroically refusing to build on another man’s foundation, but constantly passing the track of his predecessors, into the “regions beyond.” The Christian Alliance is now doing wonders among the heathen on the same Pauline plan, refusing to halt on the track of their predecessors, but carrying the message of salvation to the regions beyond.


Verse 22

THE PAULINE MINISTRY IN WESTERN EUROPE

22. “Therefore indeed I was frequently hindered from coming unto you,


Verse 23

23. “But now having no longer a place in these regions, and having a desire to come to you for many years.


Verse 24

24. “As I journey into Spain; for I hope going through to see you and to be sent forth thither by you if in the first place I may be somewhat refreshed by you.” At the time Paul wrote this letter in Corinth, in the winter of A. D. 58, his arrangements were all made to go on his great and last tour to Jerusalem, to bear alms to the poor saints, having already prophetic intimations through the Spirit, anticipating the troubles that awaited him in the land of his consanguinity, and also glowing anticipations of his journey thence to Rome, which really transpired, landing him in the world’s metropolis three years from the date of this writing. The statement, “having no place in these regions,” simply means no appointments out, as he was going away and could not fill them. We see from this writing that Paul contemplated an evangelistic tour into Spain. Whether he ever verified that anticipation we have no record. Suffice it to say, the Anglo-Saxons have a tradition that he visited and preached in the British Isles, of which there is at least a probability in case he did make this tour into Spain. He arrived in Rome, Feb. A. D. 61, and spent the first two years in his hired house with unrestricted liberty, under the protection of Burrus, the commander-in-chief of the Praetorian army. After the death of this friend and protector at the expiration of two years, he was taken out of his hired house and placed in the military barracks, where he wrote the Epistle to the Philippians. The presumption is that he spent but a short time in the barracks till he was tried and acquitted for want of evidence, as Festus, the pro-consul of Judea, was utterly unable to furnish any charges against him criminally in Roman law. After the great fire at Rome, it is believed that he was arrested at Nicapolis, in Macedonia, on charge of the conflagration, not that he was personally guilty of this, but because he was a leading Christian, and this grave allegation was imputed to them by the emperor, Nero. The presumption is that his second imprisonment, trial and decapitation took place in A. D. 68, thus giving an interval of about four years between his two Roman imprisonments, during which he visited the churches in Greece and Asia and wrote the three pastoral epistles, and, for ought we know, carried out his plan to visit Spain, and perhaps went on up the coast to the British Isles, verifying the above mentioned Anglo-Saxon legend, of which we have no record.


Verses 25-28

25-28. In these verses he specifies his projected tour to Jerusalem, to bear the benefactions of Macedonia Achaia to the poor saints, and after this his anticipated visit Rome en route to Spain.


Verse 29

PAUL’S TESTIMONY TO SANCTIFICATION

29. “I know that coming unto you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ,” not, as in E. V., the “fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ,” “gospel” in this sentence being an interpolation; but the true reading is, “I will come unto you in the fullness of the blessing of Christ,” which is none other than entire sanctification, so clearly and positively here attested by the beloved apostle. It is the glorious privilege of all God’s children to enjoy this “fullness of the blessing of Christ,” which is none other than complete expurgation of all sin, actual and original, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The next three verses is an appeal to the Roman saints that God may give him journeying mercies and deliver him from the unbelieving Jews, and permit him to enjoy a glorious spiritual refreshing with His faithful children in the world’s metropolis.

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 15:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-15.html.

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