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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Beet's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Romans 15

 

 

Verses 1-6

SECTION 46 — THE STRONG OUGHT TO HELP THE WEAK

CH. 15:1-6

Moreover, we owe it as a debt, we the strong ones, to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbour, for his good, for edification. For also Christ did not please Himself, but it was with Him according as it is written, “The reproaches of those reproaching Thee fell upon Me.” For so many things as were before written were written for our teaching, in order that through the endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have the hope. And may the God of the endurance and of the encouragement give to you to have the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, in order that with one accord, with one mouth, ye may glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:1-2. Another reason for abstaining from food which injures others, suggested by the above contrast of those who have much and those who have little faith; followed by a general exhortation.

The strong: cp. Romans 4:20, “made strong by faith.”

Not-strong: cp. 1 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Corinthians 8:11. The man weak in faith is altogether weak.

Bear (or carry) the weaknesses etc.: put a restraint upon ourselves because of their various kinds of weakness, thus bearing a burden, light to us who are made strong by faith, but dangerously heavy to them: cp. Galatians 6:1-2. Where mutual love is, weakness gives a claim to help from the strong. Thus strength of faith, so far from being a ground of boasting, lays upon us an obligation to help the weak. And if, as is often the case, our stronger faith is a result of more favourable circumstances, our obligation is still greater.

Not to please ourselves: selfishness, the true source of refusal to bear the burdens of the weak.

Please his neighbour: exact opposite of pleasing self.

For his good: our aim in pleasing him. This makes the difference between a right and wrong pleasing of men: Galatians 1:10 : Ephesians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 10:33.

For edification: see under Romans 14:19 : the kind of good we are to have in view

Romans 15:3. Supreme example of pleasing, not self, but others. It recalls the argument in Romans 14:15.

As it is written: what Christ did, stated in the words of Psalms 69:9. This reminds us that they who follow Christ walk also in the steps of the ancient worthies. In this quotation lies an argument from greater to less. If Christ, instead of gratifying self, submitted to sufferings caused by His countrymen’s inexcusable hostility to God, in order to save them from the well-merited consequence of their hostility, can we refuse to save a brother-servant of Christ from the terrible danger to which his weakness exposes him, by submitting to a restraint not otherwise needful?

Romans 15:4. Reason for the above quotation, viz. that the O.T. was written to teach us who live in later days, and thus to encourage us to persevere.

Written for our teaching, i.e. to teach us. This purpose, so far above the thought of the human writer, reveals a hand divine in the Jewish Scriptures: so Romans 3:19; Romans 4:24.

In order that etc.: all divine teaching has a further moral and spiritual purpose.

Endurance, or perseverance: as in Romans 2:7; Romans 5:3. Encouragement, or exhortation: see under Romans 12:1; Romans 1:12. Of the Scriptures: source of endurance under hardship and of encouragement to endure.

The hope: described in Romans 5:2; Romans 5:4.

May have or hold the hope: ultimate purpose of the teaching in the Scriptures, and of the encouragement and endurance derived from them.

Romans 15:5. Sudden transition from the means, to the ultimate Source, of our endurance and encouragement: so Romans 15:13; Romans 9:5; Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:20. Our perseverance is His gift; and the encouragement derived from the Scriptures is His voice. He thus reveals Himself in a special character as the God of our endurance and encouragement: cp. Romans 15:13; Romans 16:20.

The same mind: as in Romans 12:16. Paul prays that the Author of perseverance may also give them harmony. This mutual harmony must accord with the mind of Christ. Paul prays that each of them may have towards his brethren a disposition like that which moved Christ to suffer reproach in order to save from the punishment of their sins those who reproached God. This prayer is practically an exhortation.

The use of the word endurance, which always implies difficulty, to describe our treatment of weaker brethren, and the example of Christ under the raillery of the enemies of God, remind us how difficult it sometimes is to act towards weaker brethren in a spirit of love. Our Christian character is seldom so severely tried as when we are put to inconvenience by the spiritual childishness of members of the Church.

Romans 15:6. Further purpose to be gained by the same mind, and consequently a further motive for harmony.

With one accord: else the one mouth is hypocrisy. But it is also needful that inward harmony find suitable outward expression.

Glorify: as in Romans 1:21. We glorify God with our mouth when, by telling His greatness and goodness, we express our own admiration and call forth admiration of God in those who hear us. Our oneness of heart and voice, being evidently God’s work, itself shows forth His glory: so John 17:21.

God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: a distinctive N.T. name of God: 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:17. To the Jews, He was the God of Abraham: for through Abraham He revealed Himself as their God. He has revealed Himself to us as God and as the Father who gave for us His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul desires for the Roman Christians a harmony of spirit which will fill every mouth with one song of praise, and exalt God in the eyes of mankind. This cannot be unless the strong in faith deny themselves for the good of their weaker brethren. He urges this as their bounden duty, and points to the example of Christ. By using the word endurance, he admits the difficulty of the task; but he reminds his readers that to prompt such endurance the ancient Scriptures were written. And, knowing that even the divine word is powerless without the divine Speaker, he prays that God, who enables them to maintain their Christian confidence, will also give them the spirit of harmony. He desires this in order that the weak, instead of losing the little faith they have, may join with the strong in praise to God.


Verses 7-13

SECTION 47 — THAT ALL MAY PRAISE GOD TOGETHER

CH. 15:7-13

For which cause receive one another, according as also Christ received you for glory of God. For I say that Christ is become a minister of circumcision, on behalf of the truth of God, in order to confirm the promises of the fathers; and that the Gentiles may glorify God for mercy, according as if is written, “Because of this I will make acknowledgment to Thee among the Gentiles; and to Thy name I will sing a psalm.” And again he says, “Be glad, Gentiles, with His people.” “And again, “Praise, all Gentiles, the Lord; and let all the peoples praise Him.” And again Isaiah says, “There will be the root of Jesse, and He that rises up to rule Gentiles: on Him will Gentiles hope.” And may the God of the hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, in order that ye may abound in the hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:7. For which cause: because, as implied in Romans 15:6, Christian unity brings glory to God.

Receive: as in Romans 14:1. Unless we respect the scruples of our weaker brethren, we shall drive them from us.

According as etc.: keeping before us the example of Christ, as in Romans 15:3; Romans 15:5, Romans 14:15.

Christ received you: cp. Romans 14:3.

For glory of God: purpose to be obtained by receiving one another, viz. to show forth the greatness and goodness of God, and thus to evoke admiration for Him: cp. Romans 3:7. For the same end, Christ received you.

Romans 15:8-9 a. Fuller exposition of the truth involved in Christ received you.

Minister: see under Romans 12:7.

Circumcision: as in Romans 3:30. Christ made Himself a servant of the Jewish nation, in order that, by fulfilling a part of the ancient promises, He might prove that God is true and faithful. He proved this in order to make the promises still unfulfilled a firm ground on which we may rest our hopes for the future: cp. Romans 4:16; 2 Corinthians 1:20

And that the Gentiles etc.: another purpose for which Christ became a minister of the Jews.

For (on-behalf-of) mercy: cp. 1 Corinthians 10:30; also Romans 11:30-32. Christ was born in Judæa and laboured among the Jews, not only to reveal to them the faithfulness of Him who gave the promises, but also in order that the same mercy might reach the Gentiles and prompt heathen lips to glorify God: cp. Romans 15:6-7.

The distinction of Jews and Gentiles, so prominent in this epistle, but lost sight of since Romans 11:32, here meets us again. It suggests that the weak in faith were chiefly Jews, and the strong ones chiefly Gentiles: cp. Acts 21:20. If so, the united praise of weak and strong, which in Romans 15:6 Paul desires, would also be the united praise of Jews and Gentiles. And, if so, the quotations in Romans 15:9-12 have an evident bearing on the matter in hand, viz. our treatment of the weaker brethren. We have thus an explanation of the apparently sudden change of subject.

Romans 15:9-12. The foregoing purpose of Christ, viz. that both Jews and Gentiles may praise Christ, accords with ancient prophecy. In Psalms 18:49, the writer says that surrounded by Gentiles he will give acknowledgment and praise to God; implying that they will join in or approve this praise. So Deuteronomy 32:43 implies a common joy in God of Jews and Gentiles. In Psalms 117:1, the Gentiles are called on to praise God. Paul quotes Isaiah 11:10 from the LXX., which is less accurate than our versions: but the difference does not touch the subject before us. The root lives unseen in the ground after the trunk has been cut down. The prophet announces a time when from the forgotten family of Jesse a new sprout rises to be an ensign around which Gentiles will gather. The passage refers evidently to the Kingdom of Christ, and foretells that in its blessings the Gentiles will share.

Romans 15:13. Prayer concluding Paul’s treatment of the case of the weaker brethren, and the main body of the epistle. As in Romans 15:5-6, he rises from the Scriptures to God. By giving us a hope of glory, resting on His own nature, God reveals Himself to us in a new aspect as the God of the hope.

Fill: so that your entire being and thought and life be permeated.

Joy: suggested by Romans 15:10.

Peace: harmony in the Church, as in Romans 14:19.

In believing: element in which we have joy and peace: cp. Romans 5:1-2; 1 Peter 1:8.

In order that etc.: further purpose to be attained by our fulness of joy and peace.

Abound: as in Romans 3:7; Romans 5:15.

In the power etc.: parallel with in believing. Faith is the human condition and channel of joy: the Holy Spirit is the inward divine Agent who by His felt power working in us evokes confident hope of blessings to come: cp. Romans 14:17, “joy in the Holy Spirit.” Paul prays that God, who has already given us hope, may also give us joy and harmony, in order that we may thus obtain a still firmer and richer hope: and he remembers the human channel and the divine Agent of these blessings, belief of the promises, and an inward working of the Almighty Spirit.

Romans 15:7-13 support, by arguments suggested in Romans 15:5-6, the exhortation in Romans 14:1. Paul begs us to receive the weaker brethren in order that the united praise of them and of us may show forth the grandeur of God. He reminds us that for this end Christ received us, that this united song of praise was foretold in ancient prophecy, and that peace with our brethren will increase the hope with which by God’s grace we already look forward to the coming glory.

The subject discussed in Romans 14:1 to Romans 15:13 has long ago passed away. We are all of Paul’s opinion now. To us, idols have lost all power to pollute: we should not hesitate to eat food prepared for a heathen feast.

But this rather increases than decreases the value of Paul’s discussion: for it compels us to look, not at one special case, but at a great principle bearing on the every-day life of us all.

On opening the subject, Paul announces himself an advocate of the weaker brethren. He does not hold their views; but he defends their rights. But, before pleading their cause, he warns his clients not to condemn the men against whose contempt he now defends them. He then turns to the strong, and tells them their duty to the weak. He teaches the solemn lesson that our conduct may influence the destiny of some around us. We are therefore bound to abstain from whatever may injure our brother, lest by injuring we ruin him. To act in forgetfulness of the influence of our example, is to set aside that love which is the very essence of the Christian life, to ignore the obligation laid upon us by our superior light, to set aside the example of Christ, and to hinder the purposes of blessing which were the song of the ancient seers and which Christ came to accomplish.

We now stand at the end of the main body of the epistle. DIV. V. (Romans 12:1 to Romans 15:13) contains, without any formal order, a wonderful outline of Christian morality. Paul has indicated its root, viz.

self-consecration to God; and its chief means of growth, an increasing knowledge of the will of God. He has set before us correct views of ourselves and our work; and has taught us the principles which ought to regulate our conduct towards our fellow-Christians, especially those whose views differ from our own, our fellow-citizens, those who injure us, and the rulers of the State. Throughout, DIV. V. is similar, in matter and tone, to 1 Corinthians.

Paul’s chief purpose in writing the epistle is now accomplished. He has asserted and developed the new doctrines, and has shown their harmony with the Jewish Scriptures; and has taught us to apply them to matters of daily life.


Verses 14-21

CONCLUSION OF THE EPISTLE

SECTION 48 — PAUL’S APOSTOLIC OFFICE AND WORK

CH. 15:14-21

But I am persuaded, my brethren, also I myself, about you that yourselves also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. But more boldly have I written to you in part, as recalling to your mind, because of the grace given to me from God, in order that I may be a public minister of Christ Jesus for the Gentiles, announcing as a sacred work the Gospel of God, in order that the offering up of the Gentiles may be made acceptable, being sanctified in the Holy Spirit. I have then this exultation in Christ Jesus, touching the things that refer to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of the things which Christ has not worked out through me for obedience of Gentiles, by word and work, in the power signs and wonders, in the power of the Holy Spirit; so that I have, from Jerusalem and the country around as far as Illyricum, fulfilled the Gospel of Christ: making this a point of honour so to preach, not where Christ has been named, in order that I may not build upon another’s foundation, but, according as it is written, “They to whom no announcement was made about Him shall see; and they who have not heard shall understand.”

The rest of the epistle contains (Romans 15:14-33) personal matters between Paul and his readers, and (Romans 16:1-27) salutations and doxology.

Romans 15:14. Persuaded: as in Romans 8:38. Not only does universal report (Romans 1:8) proclaim your faith, but I myself also am convinced that the report is true.

Goodness: doing good to others!

Also yourselves are etc.: consequently the foregoing exhortations do not involve a claim to superior goodness.

To admonish others, we need both goodness and knowledge.

Able also etc.: so that the foregoing warnings might seem needless.

Romans 15:15. But more boldly etc.: than would seem to be consistent with their goodness and knowledge.

In part: only Romans 14:1 to Romans 15:7 being in anything like a bold tone.

As recalling to your mind: admitting that they already know what Paul has told them.

Grace given to me: as in Romans 12:3.

From God: as in Romans 1:7.

Because of God’s favour to Paul, he ventures to speak more boldly than his readers’ goodness and knowledge might seem to warrant.

Romans 15:16. God’s purpose in making Paul an object of His favour, viz. that he may be a public and sacred minister (as in Romans 13:6)

of Christ Jesus for the Gentiles. Cp. Galatians 1:16. The words following describe further this sacred ministry. To announce the Gospel of God, i.e. the glad tidings of salvation which God sent into the world, was the sacred-work which God in His favour had given to be Paul’s only occupation. Similarly, He separated Aaron from all secular work that he might devote himself to the ritual of the tabernacle: and similarly (Romans 12:1) He calls all believers to the sacred work of presenting their own bodies a sacrifice to God.

That the offering etc.: definite purpose of this sacred work.

Offering: a sacrificial term: so Acts 21:26; Acts 24:17; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 10:18. Paul was sent to preach the Gospel in order that he might lead the Gentiles to a life of devotion to God, and thus lay them as a sacrifice on the altar: cp. Romans 14:7-9; Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1.

Acceptable: Romans 15:31; 2 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 8:12; close parallel in 1 Peter 2:5.

Sanctified etc.: condition of acceptability: cp. “for sanctification,” in Romans 6:19; Romans 6:22. This devotion to Himself which God requires is realised in us by the inward working of the Holy Spirit: cp. Romans 15:13. The Spirit is essentially holy: i.e. His every thought, purpose, influence tends towards God: and He seeks to carry others along in His own direction. Consequently they who live, think, and act in the Holy Spirit live only for God. Thus are they sanctified, and become an offering acceptable to God. To lead the Gentiles to this consecration, was Paul’s sacred work.

Notice the courtesy and modesty of Romans 15:14-16. Paul apologizes for the earnest tones which seem to betray a consciousness of superiority, and assures his readers that he knows their goodness and their ability to instruct each other. He does but recall to their mind what they already know. His boldness in so doing is prompted not so much by their need as by God’s undeserved kindness to himself, by the sacredness of the office to which God has called him, and by His purpose to make him a channel of blessing to the Gentiles, blessing wrought not by Paul but by the Spirit of God.

Romans 15:17. Exultation: as in Romans 2:17; Romans 5:3.

In Christ Jesus: prompted by inward contact with Him.

That refer to God: same words in Romans 4:2. As Paul contemplates God’s kindness, his own sacred office, and the grandeur of the work committed to him, his spirit rises with joy and praise, these prompted by inward union with Christ in matters pertaining to God.

Romans 15:18-19. Reason for Paul’s exultation, viz. the work already done through his agency.

I will not dare: cp. Romans 5:7 : suggesting the spiritual peril of exaggeration.

Worked-out: as in Romans 1:27; Romans 2:9, etc.

For obedience of Gentiles: to lead them to obey: cp. Romans 1:5.

By word and work: the word preached and miracles wrought by Paul: cp. 2 Corinthians 12:12.

Signs: acts conveying a meaning deeper than that which lies on the surface: so Romans 4:11; 1 Corinthians 14:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3.

Wonders: strange events calling forth astonishment: so Exodus 7:3; Daniel 6:27; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Hebrews 2:4, etc. A miracle is a sign, inasmuch as it teaches truth: it is a wonder, in that it evokes astonishment.

In the power of the Holy Spirit: the inward agent, as the Gospel and the miracles were the outward and visible instruments, through which Christ wrought out His works of power: same words in Romans 15:13. Through the inward agency of the Holy Spirit, Christ wrought miracles by the hands of Paul; and through the power thus manifested He led the heathen to believe the Gospel preached by Paul. He then produced in the hearts of those who believed, by the power of the same Spirit, the spiritual results which follow faith. As examples, see Acts 14:10; Acts 28:6; Acts 28:8.

Jerusalem: for Paul’s work there, see Acts 9:28-29.

Illyricum: probably what was called Greek Illyria, or Illyria proper, roughly corresponding to the present Turkish province of Albania. These words seem to imply that Paul preached there; possibly in the journey mentioned in Acts 20:2.

Fulfilled the Gospel: announced it fully, so that the word attained its goal by entering into and changing the hearts of men: cp. Colossians 1:25. Paul announced to all within his reach “all the counsel of God:” Acts 20:27.

Romans 15:20-21. A further detail in Paul’s mode of preaching.

Making it a point of honour: same word in 2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:11. He resolved not to build on another’s foundation: cp. 1 Corinthians 3:10. In so doing, he was acting in harmony with an ancient prophecy, Isaiah 52:15. The quotation is word for word from the LXX.; differing slightly from the sense of the original. But the difference is unimportant. The prophet foretold that in the days of the coming Servant of God the kings of the earth will see that which had not been told them, and will understand that which they had not heard: a clear prophecy that men who at one time knew nothing about the Gospel will experience its benefits. Upon this declaration of God’s purpose, Paul acted in preaching the Gospel. An interesting coincidence, in Acts 13:47.

Paul has now justified his bold tone in Romans 14:1 to Romans 15:13, if such it be, by exulting both in (Romans 15:15-16) the work God has given him to do and in (Romans 15:18-21) the work Christ has already done through him. A remembrance of his office and his success makes him bold to speak.


Verses 22-33

SECTION 49 — PAUL’S PLANS FOR THE FUTURE AND PRESENT BUSINESS CH. 15:22-33

For which cause I was also hindered these many times from coming to you. But now no longer having room in these regions, and having for many years a longing to come to you, whenever I go to Spain-for I hope when passing through to behold you, and by you to be sent forward there, if first in part I be filled with your company.

But now I go to Jerusalem, ministering to the saints. For it has pleased Macedonia and Achaia to make some contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. For it has pleased them to do so: and their debtors they are. For, if in their spiritual things the Gentiles have been partners, they owe it as a debt also in the fleshly things to do public service for them. When then I have completed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I will go on through you to Spain. And I know that when coming to you I shall come in fulness of blessing of Christ.

Moreover, I exhort you, brethren, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to wrestle along with me in prayers to God on my behalf, in order that I may be rescued from the disobedient ones in Judæa, and my ministry for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints; in order that in joy I may come to you through the will of God and may along with you be refreshed. And the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 15:22. Paul comes now to personal matters, and to his own movements, thus returning, after expounding the Gospel, to the line of thought, and even the words, in Romans 1:8-15. The principle of action stated in Romans 15:20-21

hindered him from going to Rome: for Christ was already preached there, and in other places nearer He was still unknown.

Romans 15:23-24. But now: in contrast to past hindrances.

Room in these regions: places in which Christ is not yet preached. In all the great centres between Jerusalem and Italy, Paul had (Romans 15:19) preached the Gospel. Therefore, in order to carry out his maxim, he must now go further from home.

Longing: as in Romans 1:11.

To come to you: cp. Romans 1:13; Acts 19:21.

Go to Spain: a Roman province where many Jews lived, and where perhaps no other Christian teacher had been. Such a journey opened to Paul a prospect, without deviating from the principle in Romans 15:20-21, of visiting the Roman Church of which he has heard so much and in which he takes so deep an interest.

At this point the sentence is broken off, as in Romans 5:12, to explain what Paul’s going to Spain has to do with his desire to go to Rome.

When-passing-through: Rome being on the way to Spain.

Sent forward: as in Acts 15:3; Acts 21:5, etc.: to be helped forward, and perhaps accompanied part of the way, by Roman Christians. This was an additional reason for calling at Rome on his way to Spain.

Filled with your company: explained in Romans 1:12. The shortness of Paul’s stay would permit him to receive only in part the benefit to be derived from intercourse with them.

These verses are a mark of genuineness. No forger, in a letter to the Roman Church, would make Paul’s first visit to Rome subordinate to a journey to Spain.

Romans 15:25-26. But now: in contrast to plans for the future.

To Jerusalem: as described in Acts 20:3 to Acts 21:17.

Ministering: see under Romans 12:7. It frequently denotes attention to bodily wants: Matthew 8:15; Matthew 25:44; Luke 8:3.

For the saints: cp. Hebrews 6:10. By taking money for the poorer members, Paul did service for all: for he lessened a burden which fell upon all.

Macedonia: a Roman province containing Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, and Berœa: cp. Acts 16:9-12; Acts 18:5.

Achaia: the Roman province containing Corinth and Athens: cp. Acts 18:12. The order here seems to have been the order of time in which the contributions were made: cp. 2 Corinthians 8:2 with 2 Corinthians 9:4.

Contribution, or partnership: same word in Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Hebrews 13:16 : cognate verb in Romans 12:13; Romans 15:27; Philippians 4:15. It denotes a partnership with others in something good or bad. By sending this money, the Christians in Macedonia helped those at Jerusalem to bear the burden of their poverty.

The poor among the saints: consequently, the community of goods (Acts 2:45) had passed away.

Romans 15:27. A comment on the contribution.

Debtors: cp. Romans 1:14; Romans 8:12. Then follows proof of the debt.

Their spiritual things: cp. Romans 1:11; Ephesians 1:3 : the blessings of the Gospel, given first to the Jews, and by Jews carried to the Gentiles. Thus the Gentiles became-partners (cognate to contribution in Romans 15:26) with the Jews in the blessings promised to Abraham. That the Gentiles were thus sharers of benefits wrought by the Spirit of God in the hearts of Jews, laid upon them an obligation to give to the Jewish Christians, now in want, a share of their material wealth.

Fleshly things: pertaining to the body: very suitable in the present case where money was probably needed for food and clothing. Same contrast in 1 Corinthians 9:11.

Public-service: cognate words in Romans 15:16; Romans 13:6; 2 Corinthians 9:12, this last in the same reference. By laying upon them an obligation to help the Jewish Christians, God gave them a public and sacred work to do. On this contribution and its great spiritual importance, see 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8, 9, and my notes. By performing it, the Christians of Macedonia and Achaia offered to God an acceptable sacrifice: Philippians 4:18; Philippians 2:17.

Romans 15:28-29. A few concluding words about Paul’s proposed visit to Rome and Spain.

Completed: same word in same reference in 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:11.

Fruit: as in Romans 1:13; Romans 6:21-22. This contribution was a natural outworking of the spiritual life of the Gentiles, according to the laws of that life: cp. fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.

Sealed: a solemn attestation, as in Romans 4:11, By handing over the money to the Christians at Jerusalem, Paul solemnly and publicly declared that it had been collected for them by the Gentiles, and that it was a fruit of the Christian life of these foreign converts. The Church would thus be able to use it without hesitation, and with gratitude to God and to their benefactors.

Blessing: see under blessed in Romans 1:25.

Blessing of Christ: the supreme good which Christ conveys by His word.

Fulness: as in Romans 11:12; Romans 11:25. Paul will come with his hands full of the benefits which Christ gives through the Gospel. With this assurance, compare Romans 1:11.

Romans 15:30. A touching request for his readers’ prayers, supported by an appeal to their loyalty to their Master, Jesus Christ, whose work Paul is doing, and to the love with which the Spirit fills their hearts.

Love: to our fellow-men, as in Romans 12:9; Romans 13:10; Romans 14:15; 1 Corinthians 13, and always when not otherwise defined.

Of the Spirit: source of this love: cp. Galatians 5:22. To refuse Paul’s appeal, is therefore to resist the Spirit.

Wrestle: literally contend as in the public games: same word in Colossians 1:29; Colossians 4:12; Luke 13:24. It suggests intense effort, like that of an athlete. In prayer we struggle with intense spiritual effort against spiritual foes. Paul begs his readers to join with him, and thus help him in this conflict.

Romans 15:31. Specific purpose of this request for help in prayer. Romans 15:31-32 thus expound on my behalf in Romans 15:30. For interesting coincidences and marks of genuineness, see 2 Thessalonians 3:2; the only other epistle written in prospect of a visit to Jerusalem; and Acts 20:22-23; Acts 21:10-13, which refer to the visit Paul now has in view. Cp. 2 Corinthians 1:11. In former days Paul made many in Jerusalem tremble: and now the very thought of Jerusalem fills him with fear. How well-grounded was his fear, we learn from Acts 21:27-36.

My ministry: further described in Romans 15:25. For the success of Paul’s work, it was needful that the gift be acceptable not only (Romans 15:16) to God but also to the saints at Jerusalem. He therefore bids his readers pray both that he may be rescued from the disobedient ones in Judæa and that the service he is rendering to Jerusalem may find favour in the eyes of the Christians there.

Romans 15:32. Further purpose of the prayers for which Paul asks.

In joy: seeing the success of my work.

Through the will of God: cp. Romans 1:10.

With you be refreshed: cp. Romans 1:12. Paul looks forward to rest in the bosom of the Roman Church after the conflict he foresees at Jerusalem, a rest resulting from the success of his work there. The earnestness of this request reveals Paul’s belief that prayer avails to rescue us even from bad men, and that therefore their violence is under God’s control: cp. 2 Corinthians 1:11; also Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 4:3.

Romans 15:33. Concluding prayer: cp. Romans 15:13.

The God of peace: so Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23. In face of the storm ready to burst, Paul looks up to Him who dwells in perfect peace, and who gives peace to all who trust in Him.

Notice carefully the similarity in matter and phrase and tone of Romans 15:14-33 with Romans 1:8-15. These personal matters reveal to us, more than anything else in the epistle, the heart and feelings of Paul.

 


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Bibliography Information
Beet, Joseph. "Commentary on Romans 15:4". Joseph Beet's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jbc/romans-15.html. 1877-90.

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