Romans Chapter Fifteen
These instructions close the epistle. From chapter 15:8, it is the exordium, the personal circumstances of the apostle, and salutations.
In verses 8 to 12, he sums up his thoughts respecting God's dealings with the Jew and the Gentile in the advent of Jesus. He was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to accomplish the promises made to the fathers. For to the Jews God had made promises; but none to the Gentiles. To the latter it was not truth that was in question: but by grace they might through Jesus glorify God for His mercy. For them the apostle quotes passages from Deuteronomy (that is to say, from the Law), from the Psalms, and from the Prophets.
In verse 13, he turns affectionately to the Romans to express his desires for them, and his confidence in the blessing they had received from God, which enabled them mutually to exhort one another, while expressing at the same time his boldness in some sort, because of the grace God had given him, to be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles by fulfilling a public function with regard to them; being, as it were, a priest to offer up the Gentiles as an offering acceptable to God, because sanctified by the Holy Ghost (see Num. 8:11). This was his glory before God. This sanctification by the Holy Ghost was that which took the place of sanctification by birth, and it was well worth it.
Moreover he had accomplished his task from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum; notwhere Christ had been preached before, but where they had not yet heard of Him. This had prevented his coming to Rome. But now that there was no more place for him, according to the Holy Ghost-nothing more in those parts for him to do, and having long desired to see them, he thought to visit them on his way to Spain. For the moment he was going to Jerusalem with the collection made in Macedonia and Achaia for the saints.
We see that his heart turns to the Jews; they occupied his thoughts; and while desiring to put the seal of performance on the grace which this collection betokened, he was pre-occupied with them as Jews, as those who had a claim: a mingled feeling perhaps of one who was anxious to shew that he did not forget them; for, in fact, he loved his nation. We have to learn whether, in executing this service (properly that of a deacon), pleasing as it might be, he was at the height of his mission as apostle. However that might be, the hand of God was in it to make all things work for the good of His beloved servant and child, as well as for His own glory. Paul had a presentiment that it would not perhaps turn out well, and he asks the prayers of the saints at Rome, that he might be delivered from the hands of the wicked, and see their face with joy. We know how it ended: the subject was spoken of when we were considering the Acts. He saw them indeed at Rome; he was delivered, but as a prisoner; and we do not know if he ever went to Spain The ways of God are according to His eternal counsels, and according to His grace, and according to His perfect wisdom.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Romans》
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)
Commentary on Romans 15:1-7
(Read Romans 15:1-7)
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.
Commentary on Romans 15:8-13
(Read Romans 15:8-13)
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.
Commentary on Romans 15:14-21
(Read Romans 15:14-21)
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.
Commentary on Romans 15:22-29
(Read Romans 15:22-29)
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!
Commentary on Romans 15:30-33
(Read Romans 15:30-33)
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.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Romans》
 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
We who are strong — Of a clearer judgment, and free from these scruples.
And not to please ourselves — Without any regard to others.
 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
For his good — This is a general word: edification is one species of good.
 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
But bore not only the infirmities, but reproaches, of his brethren; and so fulfilled that scripture. Psalms 69:9
 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Aforetime — In the Old Testament.
That we through patience and consolation of the scriptures may have hope — That through the consolation which God gives us by these, we may have patience and a joyful hope.
 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
According to the power of Christ Jesus.
 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
That ye — Both Jews and gentiles, believing with one mind, and confessing with one mouth.
 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
Receive ye one another — Weak and strong, with mutual love.
 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
Now I say — The apostle here shows how Christ received us. Christ Jesus-Jesus is the name, Christ the surname. The latter was first known to the Jews; the former, to the gentiles. Therefore he is styled Jesus Christ, when the words stand in the common, natural order. When the order is inverted, as here, the office of Christ is more solemnly considered.
Was a servant — Of his Father.
Of the circumcision — For the salvation of the circumcised, the Jews.
For the truth of God — To manifest the truth and fidelity of God.
 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
As it is written — In the eighteenth psalm, here the gentiles and Jews are spoken of as joining in the worship of the God of Israel. Psalms 18:49
 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
There shall be the root of Jesse — That kings and the Messiah should spring from his house, was promised to Jesse before it was to David.
 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Now the God of hope — A glorious title of God, but till now unknown to the heathens; for their goddess Hope, like their other idols, was nothing; whose temple at Rome was burned by lightning. It was, indeed, built again not long after, but was again burned to the ground.
 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
There are several conclusions of this Epistle. The first begins at this verse; the second, Romans 16:1; the third, Romans 16:17; the fourth, Romans 16:21; and the fifth, Romans 16:25; Ye are full of goodness - By being created anew. And filled with all knowledge - By long experience of the things of God. To admonish - To instruct and confirm.
 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
Because of the grace — That is, because I am an apostle of the gentiles.
 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
The offering up of the gentiles — As living sacrifices.
 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
I have whereof to glory through Jesus Christ — All my glorying is in and through him.
 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
By word — By the power of the Spirit.
By deed — Namely, through "mighty signs and wonders."
 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
Not where Christ had been named — These places he generally declined, though not altogether, having an holy ambition (so the Greek word means) to make the first proclamation of the gospel in places where it was quite unheard of, in spite of all the difficulty and dangers that attended it. Lest I should only build upon another man's foundation - The providence of God seemed in a special manner, generally, to prevent this, though not entirely, lest the enemies of the apostle, who sought every occasion to set light by him, should have had room to say that he was behind other apostles, not being sufficient for planting of churches himself, but only for preaching where others had been already; or that he declined the more difficult part of the ministry
 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
Therefore I have been long hindered from coming to you — Among whom Christ had been named.
 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;
Having no longer place in these parts — Where Christ has now been preached in every city.
 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
Into Spain — Where the gospel had not yet been preached.
If first I may be somewhat satisfied with your company — How remarkable is the modesty with which he speaks! They might rather desire to be satisfied with his.
Somewhat satisfied — Intimating the shortness of his stay; or, perhaps, that Christ alone can throughly satisfy the soul.
 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
The poor of the saints that are in Jerusalem — It can by no means be inferred from this expression, that the community of goods among the Christians was then ceased. All that can be gathered from it is, that in this time of extreme dearth, Acts 11:28,29, some of the church in Jerusalem were in want; the rest being barely able to subsist themselves, but not to supply the necessities of their brethren.
 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
It hath pleased them; and they are their debtors — That is, they are bound to it, in justice as well as mercy.
Spiritual things — By the preaching of the gospel.
Carnal things — Things needful for the body.
 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.
When I have sealed to them this fruit — When I have safely delivered to them, as under seal, this fruit of their brethren's love.
I will go by you into Spain — Such was his design; but it does not appear that Paul went into Spain. There are often holy purposes in the minds of good men, which are overruled by the providence of God so as never to take effect. And yet they are precious in the sight of God.
 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
I beseech you by the love of the Spirit — That is, by the love which is the genuine fruit of the Spirit.
To strive together with me in your prayers — He must pray himself, who would have others strive together with him in prayer. Of all the apostles, St. Paul alone is recorded to desire the prayers of the faithful for himself. And this he generally does in the conclusions of his Epistles; yet not without making a difference. For he speaks in one manner to them whom he treats as his children, with the gravity or even severity of a father, such as Timothy, Titus, the Corinthians, and Galatians; in another, to them whom he treats rather like equals, such as the Romans, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians, Hebrews.
 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;
That I may be delivered — He is thus urgent from a sense of the importance of his life to the church. Otherwise he would have rejoiced "to depart, and to be with Christ." And that my service may be acceptable - In spite of all their prejudices; to the end the Jewish and gentile believers may be knit together in tender love.
 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
That I may come to you — This refers to the former, With joy - To the latter, part of the preceding verse.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Romans》
Chapter 15. Ambition to Open Up New Land
No More Place to Preach
I. Not to Please Ourselves
II. Paul's Narration of His Own Ministry
III. Paul Informs His Intended Itinerary
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Fifteen General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To see further the importance of being considerate of weak brethren
2) To be impressed with the example of the churches in
Achaia in their liberality toward the church in
Paul continues his discussion on how those who are strong are to
receive and bear with the infirmities of the weak. Encouraging the
strong to be concerned with uplifting the weak, he reminds them of
Christ and His unselfishness (1-3). Reminding them of the value of the
Old Testament Scriptures, he pleads for patience so that with one mind
and one mouth they may glorify God (4-6). Finally, he calls for them
to receive one another to the glory of God, just as Christ served both
Jews and Gentiles in fulfilling the prophets of old (7-12). Paul then
offers a prayer that God might fill them with joy and peace in
believing, so that they may abound in hope with the help of the Holy
At this point, Paul begins to draw this epistle to a close by making
remarks concerning his apostleship and plans to see them. Recognizing
their own abilities in the faith, he still felt it appropriate to write
to them as he did (14-16). Speaking of his design not to preach where
Christ had already been received (17-21), Paul tells of his plan to
Romeon his way to (22-24). But first, he is going to Spain
the poor saints in
with a contribution from the saints in Jerusalem and Achaia (25-29). Realizing the danger such a trip Macedonia
entails, he asks to be remembered in their prayers (30-33).
I. CONCLUDING ADMONITIONS TO STRONG BRETHREN (1-13)
A. BEAR WITH THE SCRUPLES OF THE WEAK (1-6)
1. Try to please your brethren, as Christ did (1-3)
2. With the help of God and Scripture, be patient, so you may
with one mind and mouth glorify God (4-6)
B. RECEIVE ONE ANOTHER (7-12)
1. As Christ received us, to the glory of God (7)
2. As Christ served Jews and Gentiles, in fulfillment of prophecy
C. PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THEM (13)
1. That God might fill them with all joy and peace in believing
2. That they might abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
II. PAUL'S PLANS TO SEE THEM (14-33)
A. THE REASON FOR WRITING THEM (14-21)
1. He is well aware of their own abilities (14)
2. Simply reminding them, as is appropriate from one who is a
"minister to the Gentiles" (15-16)
3. Though he normally aims to preach where Christ has not been
B. HIS TRAVEL PLANS (22-29)
1. To go to
Spainvia (22-24) Rome
2. But first, to
with a contribution from those in Jerusalem
and Achaia (25-29) Macedonia
C. REQUEST FOR PRAYER, AND PRAYER FOR THEM (30-33)
1. His request for their prayers for his safe journeys (30-32)
2. His prayer that God be with them (33)
WORDS TO PONDER
edification - to build up; "used only figuratively in the NT..the
promotion of spiritual growth" (VINE)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) List the main points of this chapter
- Concluding Admonitions To Strong Brethren (1-13)
- Paul's Plans To See Them (14-33)
2) Whose example are we to follow in bearing the weakness of others?
3) What value is the Old Testament to Christians? (4)
- To learn, to find patience and comfort, to increase hope
4) Why is it important that we be of one mind? (5-6)
- So we may in unity of mind and mouth glorify God
5) To what degree are we to receive one another? (7)
- As Christ received us; to the glory of God
6) In his preaching, what did Paul try to avoid? (20)
- Preaching where Christ had already been preached
7) Where did Paul hope to go after passing through
? (24) Rome
8) Where was he headed for at the time he wrote this epistle? Why? (25)
Jerusalem; to minister the contribution from and Achaia Macedonia
for the poor saints in
Ambition to Open Up New Land
In These Regions
I. Not to Please Ourselves
1. Bear with Each Other’s Failings
2. A Spirit of Unity
3. Accept One Another
II.Paul’s Narration of His Own Ministry
1. A Minister of Christ
2. A Priest of the Gospel
3. Work to Open Up New Land
III. Paul Informs His Intended Itinerary
2. The Service to the Saints
3. Urge Intercession
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》