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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

Romans 15

 

 

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Verse 1

We who are strong. Paul contrasts the strong and the weak in chapter 14. The strong are no longer slaves to tradition and superstition. The weak still are troubled by their scruples. A chain may only be as strong as its weakest link, but a congregation is as strong as its most spiritual member.


Verse 2

Each of us should please his brother. The pleasing of the brother is for his own good, to build him up in the faith. This does not mean we are to compromise Christian principles just to keep our brother happy. Compare Colossians 1:10; Galatians 1:10; Galatians 5:11-12.


Verse 3

For Christ. He set the example for us by his action. Instead. Paul quotes Psalm 69:9 Septuagint to prove this. The pain, torture, and shame Christ experienced in the process of fulfilling God's will, show he was not proud and selfish. [Compare John 15:23-24. ]


Verse 4

Everything written in the Scriptures. The things in the Old Testament were written to teach us. In order that. In the Bible, hope is something you expect to happen! The patience and encouragement the Scriptures give us teach us to hope, even when we suffer for Christ. Compare Romans 5:2-5; James 1:2-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17.


Verse 5

To have the same point of view. If all share the point of view which Christ had (Romans 15:3), we will work together for the common goal. The example of Christ Jesus. As a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), we live Christ's life (Galatians 2:19-20).


Verse 6

With one voice. When the messianic community praises God with one voice, they will avoid the problems of chapter 14. Compare John 17:21-23.


Verse 7

Accept one another. Romans 15:7-13 expand the idea in Romans 15:6. We are to keep on accepting one another in spite of the differences of spiritual development (John 6:37; Romans 14:1). We tend to think of the first century church in terms of small "house-churches," but the congregation at Jerusalem was probably 100,000 members, just before it was scattered. In one congregation you might find: Jews, Gentiles, slaves, slave-owners, free men, women who hate men, men who hate women, vegetarians, meat eaters, celibates, married couples, etc. Christ had accepted each of them! Therefore, they MUST accept each other!


Verse 8

Because I tell you. The promise of the Messiah was addressed to the Jew. Jesus, in his human existence, had the same relationship to the Law as any other Jew at that time (Galatians 4:4-5; Matthew 15:24). Paul shows us that Jesus made God's promises to the patriarchs come true! The truth of God, who made the promises, was shown to be true by Christ's service; for in him all the promises came true (2 Corinthians 1:20).


Verse 9

And also to enable the Gentiles. It was never God's plan to limit his love to one nation or ethnic group. Paul quotes a series of excerpts from the Old Testament (Septuagint) to show the gospel was meant for everyone in the entire world!!! Not only did Jesus make God's promises to the patriarchs come true, he also enabled the Gentiles to praise God as well! As the scripture says. Psalm 18:49 LXX. Christ gives thanks to God among the Gentiles when the Gentiles give thanks to God through Christ (compare Hebrews 2:12).


Verse 10

Rejoice, Gentiles! Deuteronomy 32:43 LXX. This is a direct command to join Israel in praise of Israel's God! Psalm 117:1 is similar.


Verse 11

Praise the Lord, all Gentiles! Psalm 117:1 LXX. The teachers of the Law understood this to point to the time of the Messiah. Psalm 97:1 is similar.


Verse 12

Isaiah says. Isaiah 11:10 LXX. This proves Christ was intended to be the Savior of the Gentiles! [If the Messiah has not come, Israel has a problem, since all the family records were lost in the siege of Jerusalem (70 A.D.), and none can claim to be descendants of David. (Jesse was David's father, but the teachers of the Law say David also had a son named Jesse.)]


Verse 13

May God. With these words of benediction, Paul closes his teaching message. The balance of the book of Romans is an epilogue. Joy and peace which come through being put right with God and becoming his friend. The Holy Spirit. Compare John 7:38-39; Acts 2:38; Romans 8:26-28; Galatians 5:22-26.


Verse 14

My brothers. Paul has scolded them, especially in chapter 14. This might be taken to imply he thought them ignorant of God's Truth, lacking in love, or both. But he didn't mean it that way, and gives reasons why he speaks so boldly to them. My brothers has a friendly sound to it. Full of goodness. "You are already full of goodness without any help from me." Are able to teach. "You already know the message of Christ and can teach it to others."


Verse 15

But in this letter. Paul had scolded them in certain things (such as Romans 6:12-21; Romans 11:17-20; Romans 12:3; Romans 14). He did this to remind them of things they knew already but were overlooking. Because of the privilege. His authority as an apostle. Compare Romans 1:5; Romans 12:3.


Verse 16

To work for the Gentiles. Compare Acts 26:17-18. I serve like a priest. Paul preached the Good News of Christ to bring Gentiles as Christians to God. Dedicated to him. See Titus 3:5; Romans 8:1-2.


Verse 17

In union with Christ Jesus. See Philippians 3:3-14. I can be proud. Paul did an amazing job of missions for Christ. Yet only his union with Christ made it possible for him to be proud (1 Corinthians 15:31).


Verse 18

What Christ has done through me. Two things are here: (1) Paul speaks only of what Christ has done through him to reach the Gentiles; (2) Paul is the tool, and it is Christ who uses him and directs him, including this letter to the Roman Christians.


Verse 19

By the power. This was both proof of his apostleship (2 Corinthians 12:12) and supernormal help for his work of missions (1 Thessalonians 1:5). And Song of Solomon, in traveling. He emphasizes the area he covered on his tours of mission. I have proclaimed fully. See Acts 20:20-21. Paul had fulfilled his mission as an apostle, to preach the Good News of God's act in Christ to set men free and to plant the church in the population-centers of the world!


Verse 20

My ambition. Paul had made it a point to begin new works in places where Christ was unknown. This was his special mission as an apostle. Yet there is a place and a need for a different kind of ministry (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).


Verse 21

As the scripture says. Isaiah 52:15 LXX. As an inspired apostle, Paul uses this quotation to show he has God's authority for the work he has done.


Verse 22

For this reason. He points back to Romans 15:20. See also Acts 19:21; Acts 23:11; Acts 28:16-24.


Verse 23

But now. Paul had completed his mission in the area around Corinth and was ready to come to Rome. He wrote this letter in the spring of 57 A.D, but did not get to Rome until March of 60 A.D.


Verse 24

On my way to Spain. He wanted to visit the messianic community at Rome, but his sense of mission would not allow him to stay there. His plans were to begin a new work in Spain. But God changed his plans! See notes on Acts 21:13-14; Acts 28:16.


Verse 25

Right now, however. See Acts 24:17. He was taking money to the poor in the church at Jerusalem.


Verse 26

For the churches in Macedonia and Greece. See 1 Corinthians 16:2-11; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:2-15.


Verse 27

They themselves decided to do it. It was their free will to do this, not an official assessment. Why this need at Jerusalem??? (1) Many of the poor became Christians (Galatians 2:10; Acts 6:1-6); (2) persecution caused many to lose all they had, including their job. Have you paid your debt to the Jews???


Verse 28

When I have finished this task. Paul seems to think this contribution from the Gentile churches will help solve the schism which threatens the church at this time. Compare notes on Acts 21:13-14. I shall leave for Spain. He was not able to do this. However traditional history says that after Paul was released from his imprisonment at Rome in 62 A.D. (Ramsay), he did go to Spain, and also to parts of the East, before his second imprisonment and death in 67 A.D. (Ramsay).


Verse 29

With a full measure of the blessing of Christ. He certainly did not expect to reach Rome as a prisoner (see note on Acts 28:16). Yet his coming was with this blessing (Romans 1:11; Acts 28:30-31).


Verse 30

I urge you, brothers. Paul was very much aware of the danger he would face at Jerusalem (Acts 20:22-24). In praying fervently to God for me. This shows the value Paul placed on prayer! Compare James 5:16.


Verse 31-32

Pray that I may be kept safe. He knew the hostility of the unbelieving Jews! And that my service. Paul saw a real danger that even the Christian Jews would be hostile toward him. Some thought he was a traitor to the Law, and distorted versions of his teaching had been circulated (Acts 21:21). He was afraid they might think the money was a bribe. He asks their prayer for: (1) his personal safety; (2) that his service would be accepted by the Jerusalem Christians; (3) that he may go to Spain, with a stop-over in Rome.


Verse 33

May God. Since he asks their prayers, it is only natural that he prays for them. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3. How amazing it is to be able to come to the God of the Universe and speak to Him as "Father! my Father!" (Romans 8:15).

 


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Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 15:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/romans-15.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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