Romans 15

Listen to Romans 15
1 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves.
2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.
3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”
4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.
6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
8 Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors.
9 He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”
10 And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.”
11 And yet again, “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.”
12 And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.”
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.
15 Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace,
16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.
17 So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God.
18 Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them.
19 They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.
20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else.
21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.”
22 In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.
23 But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you.
24 I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey.
25 But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believers there.
26 For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem.
27 They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially.
28 As soon as I have delivered this money and completed this good deed of theirs, I will come to see you on my way to Spain.
29 And I am sure that when I come, Christ will richly bless our time together.
30 Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.
31 Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donation I am taking to Jerusalem.
32 Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.
33 And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.

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Romans 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

Directions how to behave towards the weak. (1-7) All to receive one another as brethren. (8-13) The writing and preaching of the apostle. (14-21) His purposed journeys. (22-29) He requests their prayers. (30-33)

Verses 1-7 Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but for the glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our neighbour, for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked will, and humouring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ's whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. And he is the most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ. Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the failings of the weak. And should not we be humble, self-denying, and ready to consider one another, who are members one of another? The Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given. Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures. That comfort which springs from the word of God, is the surest and sweetest, and the greatest stay to hope. The Spirit as a Comforter, is the earnest of our inheritance. This like-mindedness must be according to the precept of Christ, according to his pattern and example. It is the gift of God; and a precious gift it is, for which we must earnestly seek unto him. Our Divine Master invites his disciples, and encourages them by showing himself as meek and lowly in spirit. The same disposition ought to mark the conduct of his servants, especially of the strong towards the weak. The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may well agree among themselves.

Verses 8-13 Christ fulfilled the prophecies and promises relating to the Jews, and the Gentile converts could have no excuse for despising them. The Gentiles, being brought into the church, are companions in patience and tribulation. They should praise God. Calling upon all the nations to praise the Lord, shows that they shall have knowledge of him. We shall never seek to Christ till we trust in him. And the whole plan of redemption is suited to reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God, so that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying and comforting power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our own power will never reach this; therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory. "All joy and peace;" all sorts of true joy and peace, so as to suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit.

Verses 14-21 The apostle was persuaded that the Roman Christians were filled with a kind and affectionate spirit, as well as with knowledge. He had written to remind them of their duties and their dangers, because God had appointed him the minister of Christ to the Gentiles. Paul preached to them; but what made them sacrifices to God, was, their sanctification; not his work, but the work of the Holy Ghost: unholy things can never be pleasing to the holy God. The conversion of souls pertains unto God; therefore it is the matter of Paul's glorying, not the things of the flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God accompanied his labours. He principally sought the good of those that sat in darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does it by us.

Verses 22-29 The apostle sought the things of Christ more than his own will, and would not leave his work of planting churches to go to Rome. It concerns all to do that first which is most needful. We must not take it ill if our friends prefer work which is pleasing to God, before visits and compliments, which may please us. It is justly expected from all Christians, that they should promote every good work, especially that blessed work, the conversion of souls. Christian society is a heaven upon earth, an earnest of our gathering together unto Christ at the great day. Yet it is but partial, compared with our communion with Christ; for that only will satisfy the soul. The apostle was going to Jerusalem, as the messenger of charity. God loves a cheerful giver. Every thing that passes between Christians should be a proof and instance of the union they have in Jesus Christ. The Gentiles received the gospel of salvation from the Jews; therefore were bound to minister to them in what was needed for the body. Concerning what he expected from them he speaks doubtfully; but concerning what he expected from God he speaks confidently. We cannot expect too little from man, nor too much from God. And how delightful and advantageous it is to have the gospel with the fulness of its blessings! What wonderful and happy effects does it produce, when attended with the power of the Spirit!

Verses 30-33 Let us learn to value the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous. How careful should we be, lest we forfeit our interest in the love and prayers of God's praying people! If we have experienced the Spirit's love, let us not be wanting in this office of kindness for others. Those that would prevail in prayer, must strive in prayer. Those who beg the prayers of others, must not neglect to pray for themselves. And though Christ knows our state and wants perfectly, he will know them from us. As God must be sought, for restraining the ill-will of our enemies, so also for preserving and increasing the good-will of our friends. All our joy depends upon the will of God. Let us be earnest in prayer with and for each other, that for Christ's sake, and by the love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may come upon the souls of Christians, and the labours of ministers.

Footnotes 15

  • [a]. Greek who insult you have fallen on me. Ps 69:9 .
  • [b]. Greek servant of circumcision.
  • [c]. Ps 18:49 .
  • [d]. Deut 32:43 .
  • [e]. Ps 117:1 .
  • [f]. Greek The root of Jesse. David was the son of Jesse.
  • [g]. Isa 11:10 (Greek version).
  • [h]. Greek brothers; also in 15:30 .
  • [i]. Other manuscripts read the Spirit; still others read the Holy Spirit.
  • [j]. Illyricum was a region northeast of Italy.
  • [k]. Isa 52:15 (Greek version).
  • [l]. Greek God’s holy people; also in 15:26, 31 .
  • [m]. Macedonia and Achaia were the northern and southern regions of Greece.
  • [n]. Greek the ministry; other manuscripts read the gift.
  • [o]. Some manuscripts do not include Amen. One very early manuscript places 16:25-27 here.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ROMANS 15

The apostle in this chapter pursues his exhortation to mutual affection and forbearance, notwithstanding their different sentiments about the use of meats, and observation of days; excuses his writing so freely to them, which they might bear with, in consideration of his being an apostle, especially an apostle of the Gentiles, and which office he magnified and fulfilled everywhere; gives them the reasons why he had not as yet been with them though he greatly desired it, encourages them to expect, a visit from him; and concludes with earnestly entreating them that he might have a share in their prayers: and first, as an inference from what he had said in the preceding chapter, he lays it down as a duty incumbent on himself, and all that were strong in the doctrine of Christian liberty, to bear with the infirmities of weak Christians, and not please themselves, but others, Ro 15:1, which he enforces, from the usefulness of it, it being for the good and edification of others, Ro 15:2, and from the example of Christ, who pleased not himself, Ro 15:3, and which is proved from a passage of Scripture in Ps 69:9, the pertinency of which passage, and the citation and application of it to Christ and the present case, are vindicated from this consideration, that whatever was written in former times, was for the use of the saints under the Gospel dispensation, Ro 15:4, and that the exhortation might have its effect upon them, be puts up a prayer to God for them, that such a temper of mind might be in them, which would be for the glory of God, Ro 15:5,6, and then he repeats his exhortation, Ro 15:7, that they would affectionately receive one another; which he urges by the example of Christ, who had received them to the glory of God; and that they might glorify him, and this was one way of doing it: and that this argument might have the greater weight with both parties, he observes, that Jesus Christ had a special regard to the Jews, and was their minister, sent unto them to fulfil the promises made unto their fathers, and had received them; and therefore though they were weak, they were not to be despised, grieved, and offended, Ro 15:8, and as for the Gentiles, it was a clear case that God had had long ago a design of mercy to them, and that they were to be, and were now received by Christ, and so under obligation to glorify God for his mercy; and therefore not to be judged and condemned, though they did not conform to the ceremonial law; and this he proves in Ro 15:9-12, from several passages of Scripture in \Ps 18:49 De 32:43 Ps 117:1\ Isa 11:10, and closes this argument he had so long insisted on with a prayer to God for them, that they might be in the exercise of faith and hope; and, in the exercise of those graces, be filled with joy and peace, Ro 15:13, and in order to prevent an objection that might be made to these prayers and exhortations of his, that they suggested that they were wicked and ignorant men, devoid of affection, and knew not how to behave to each other, nor to exhort one another, the apostle softens such a resentment, by calling them brethren, and by expressing his persuasion of their abundant goodness, knowledge, and abilities, Ro 15:14, and excuses the freedom he took with them by observing, that he only acted the part of a monitor, Ro 15:15, and the rather this freedom might be allowed him, on account of the great gifts bestowed upon him, qualifying him to be an apostle of Christ; and especially as he was an apostle of the Gentiles and so their apostle, Ro 15:16, and on account of his office, gifts, and usefulness, he had reason to glory; though through Christ only, and in things relating to God, and not himself, Ro 15:17, when he takes an occasion to enlarge on his ministry, and magnify his office; partly from the end and success of it, bringing the Gentiles to the obedience of Christ, Ro 15:18, and partly from the means and causes of such success the preaching of the word, working miracles, and the power of the Holy Ghost; and from the extent of it, reaching from Jerusalem to Illyricum, Ro 15:19, and from the difficulty which attended it, he preaching in places where the Gospel was never preached before, and which he chose to do, Ro 15:20, and which was necessary to be done, according to a prophecy in Isa 52:15, which he cites, Ro 15:21, and observes, that it was his preaching in these many and distant parts that was the reason of his not having been with the saints at Rome, Ro 15:22, but now gives them reason to expect his coming; partly because he had finished his travels in those countries, and partly because of the vehement desire he had to see them, Ro 15:23, and besides, an opportunity seemed to be offering, he intending to take a journey to Spain, when it would lie in his way to come to Rome, and be for his advantage, Ro 15:24, in the mean while he informs them what he was engaged in, to carry the contribution of the Macedonian and Asian churches to Jerusalem, for the poor saints there, Ro 15:25, on which contributions he enlarges, showing not only who made them, and for whom, but the source and spring of them, they arose from their good will and pleasure, Ro 15:26, and yet they were debtors, and under obligation to do what they did; it was but a piece of justice and equity, since those churches had received of the spiritual things of the Jews, Ro 15:27, and as for his coming to them, he acquaints them of the time that it would be, when he had finished the above service and labour of love, and when he should come into Spain, as he had before signified, Ro 15:28, and of the manner in which he should come, of which he was fully persuaded, as that it would be with the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ, Ro 15:29, and then with great importunity desires them to pray for him, and that very earnestly, Ro 15:30, particularly that he might be delivered from his enemies in Judea, and that the saints there would accept of what he brought them from the Gentiles, Ro 15:31, and that, if it was the will of God, he might come to them and be refreshed with them, Ro 15:32, and then closes the chapter with a salutation of them, or a wish that the God of peace might be with them, Ro 15:33.

Romans 15 Commentaries