Romans 15:19

19 by 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.

Romans 15:19 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 15:19

Through mighty signs and wonders
Or "in", or "through the power of signs and wonders", as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions render the words. These carrying along with them evidence and conviction of the truth of what was delivered, wrought wonderfully and powerfully on the minds of the Gentiles to embrace the Gospel, and submit to the ordinances of it; though all would have been insufficient, had it not been for what follows,

by the power of the Spirit of God:
the Alexandrian copy and one of Stephens's read, "by the power of the Holy Spirit", and so does the Vulgate Latin version; meaning, either that the mighty signs and wonders in healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead were performed not by the efficacy and working of Satan, as the signs and lying wonders of antichristian men, but by the Spirit of God, by whom Christ and all his apostles wrought the miracles they did; or that the ministration of the word in which the apostle laboured, was by the power of the Spirit of God; it was he that imparted all spiritual gifts to him, qualifying him for this service; it was he that assisted him in it, and enabled him to go through it; it was in demonstration of the Spirit and of power that he performed it; and that not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: or else that the obedience of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel, and the wonderful works that attended it as means, were purely owing to the power of the Spirit of God, as the efficient cause; it was not by might, or power of the preacher; nor merely by the power of signs and wonders; but by the powerful and efficacious grace of the Spirit of God, who took away the stony, stubborn, and disobedient heart, and gave them an heart of flesh, a tender, flexible, and obedient one; and caused them to walk in and observe the commandments and ordinances of the Lord:

so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully
preached the Gospel of Christ;
that which Christ, as God, is the author of; as man, was a preacher and minister of; and, as Mediator, is the subject matter of: this the apostle "preached fully" and completely, every part and branch of it, kept back nothing of it, but faithfully declared the whole; and so fulfilled it, as the word may be rendered, and his ministry; or he filled the Gospel, the net of the Gospel, which he spread in every place; or rather he diffused the knowledge of it everywhere; he filled all places with it wherever he came, even "from Jerusalem" round about unto Illyricum: not that he began to preach at Jerusalem, but at Damascus; from whence he went to Arabia, and after that to Jerusalem; but inasmuch as he was of Jerusalem, and had preached there, from whence the Gospel originally came, and this was the boundary of his ministry one way, he makes mention of it; as Illyricum was the boundary of it another way, which was on the extreme part of Macedonia: it is now called Sclavonia, and is an European nation; part of it is Dalmatia, mentioned ( 2 Timothy 4:10 ) . Apollonia was in it, according to Mela F26, where the apostle is said to pass through, ( Acts 17:1 ) , it has on the south the gulf of Venice, on the north the Danube, on the west Germany, and on the east Thracia and Macedonia: according to Ptolomy {a}, Illyris, or Illyricum, was bounded on the north with upper and lower Pannonia, now called Hungary and Austria; on the east with upper Mysia, now Servia; and on the south with part of Macedonia; it lies over against Italy, the Adriatic sea being between them; its length, from the river Drinus to Arsa, is reckoned about 480 miles, and its breadth, from the mountains of Croatia to the sea, is computed to be about 120: it is by some divided into Slavonia, Dalmatia, and Albania; Slavonia is the western part, Albania the eastern, and Dalmatia between them; according to others, it includes Slavonia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Dalmatia; and had its name of Illyricum, from Illyrius, the son of Cadmus; or as others, from Illyrius, the son of Celta: here the Gospel was preached by the Apostle Paul, and no doubt with success; and churches were planted here, and which remained for several ages: in the "second" century there was a church in Illyricum, and Eleutherius was bishop, who is said to be a famous teacher; he was born at Rome, and his mother Anthia is reported to be converted by the Apostle Paul; in the same age lived one Quirinus, first a tribune, and then a bishop of Illyricum, who became a martyr under Trajan: in the "third" century there were churches in Illyricum, though devastations were made in it by the Goths; in the "fourth" century, frequent mention is made of the churches in Illyricum; and the bishops convened at Rome under Damascus in the times of Constantius wrote with great respect to the brethren in Illyricum; in Siscia, a city in this country, Quirinus a bishop suffered martyrdom; here a synod met against the Arians, and yet many in this country were infected with that heresy, by Valens and Ursatius; in this age Hilary, of Poictiers in France, spread the Gospel in this country; and he and Eusebius of Vercelli, in Piedmont, visited the churches, and corrected what was amiss: in the "fifth" century there was a church in Illyricum, and in Salo, a city of Dalmatia, Glycerius was bishop: in the "sixth" century there were also churches here, as appears from the letter of Symmachus to the bishops of them, and to their people; and in this age also Gregory wrote to all the bishops in Illyricum, to receive such bishops as were banished: in the "eighth" century, the bishops of Illyricum were in the Nycene synod, and Boniface gathered a church in Slavonia {b}; thus far Christianity may be traced in this country: hither the apostle went, not in a direct line, but round about, and took many countries, cities, and towns in his way, as the history of his journeys and travels in the Acts of the Apostles shows, and as he here suggests.


F26 De orbis situ, l. 2. c. 10.
F1 Geograph. l. 2. c. 17.
F2 Magdeburg. Eccl. Hist. cent. 2. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 158. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 4. 14. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 6. c. 3. p. 22. c. 5. p. 181, 182. c. 7. p. 311. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 7. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 7. c. 3. p. 33. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 7.

Romans 15:19 In-Context

17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God.
18 For 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,
19 by 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.
20 Thus 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,
21 but as it is written, "Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand."

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Other ancient authorities read [of the Spirit] or [of the Holy Spirit]
  • [b]. Or [gospel]
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.