Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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ROMANS - Chapter 15

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Romans 15

Supplemental Commentary:

II:  MORAL:  The Duties of Christians  12, 1 -- 15, 13 (continued)

15, 1-6:  Self-Denial and Patience.    1.  Infirmities: those referred to in the above but inclusive of any imperfection that might require forbearance.  Not to please ourselves: the prerequisite of forbearance.    2.  The pleasing of others (cf. 1 Cor. 9, 20-23) is not an end, but a means to their spiritual good.    3.  Ps. 68, 10 is the plea of the just man that his zeal for the house of God has brought on him the maledictions directed by the wicked against God.  The verse is prophetic, at least typically, of Christ, and illustrates His selflessness.    4.  Such lessons are preserved for us in Scripture that, learning patience from them, we may attain that hope of eternal life which is our great consolation and support in trial.    5.  May . . . God  . . . grant: these are all gifts which God alone can grant.  According to Jesus Christ: as He taught by word and example.    6.  You may . . . glorify: the ultimate reason for the preservation of this unanimity.  The God, etc.: the preferable construction is: "the God of our Lord and the Father of our Lord"; His God as the author of His humanity, His Father as having begotten Him from eternity.

15, 7-13:  Mercy.  Paul exhorts that, since all have been the objects of God's mercy, they should in turn show mercy to one another.    7.  Receive one another: as in 14, 1, to treat one another as brothers.  As Christ: the standard of all Christian conduct.    8 f.  Minister of the circumcision: to fulfill the covenant made with the patriarchs, the sign of which was circumcision.  To show God's fidelity: this fulfillment was a confirmation of God's fidelity to His promise of the Messianic salvation.  Because of his mercy: the call of the Gentiles was an act of pure mercy on God's part.  The texts cited in vv.9-12 predict this relation of the Gentiles to God.  In Ps. 17, 50 David is the speaker.  He is a type of Christ, and his prediction is fulfilled in the conversion of the Gentiles.    10.  He says: i.e., God, the author of the Scriptures.  The text is found in Deut. 32, 43 in the Septuagint.  Moses is inviting the Gentiles to join with Israel in praising God.  The invitation was accepted when Christ came.  11. The same invitation is found in Ps. 116.  The invitation is prophetic in that it implies acceptance at some future time.    12.  The text from Isaias (11, 10) is from the Septuagint.  Jesse: the father of David, from whom the Messias was descended.    13.  A prayer suggested by the citation in v.12.  This brief prayer embodies the main ideas of the entire Epistle.  Joy and peace in believing: faith gives rise to hope of eternal life in which the Christian finds peace and joy.  Abound in hope: from the God of hope, who is the source and the object of supernatural hope.  And in the power, etc.: we should read rather: ". . . abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  He, dwelling in the Christians, is the immediate source of hope.

Conclusion: Personal Explanations and Greetings  15, 14 -- 16, 27

15, 14-21:  Apostle of the Gentiles.    14.  This repeats the praise of 1, 8.  Full of love: in the Greek, "full of goodness," i.e., of true Christian disposition.  Knowledge: fully acquainted with the teachings of the faith.  These are characteristics of the Roman Christians as a group.  Hence there is still need that they admonish one another.    15 f.  Here and there: by some referred to boldly in the sense of "boldly to a certain degree."  Because of the grace: his divine commission, as immediately described.  Sanctifying: cf. note to text.  The phrase might be rendered: "dealing in priestly fashion with the gospel of God" (Boylan).  Though another may have established the church at Rome, in virtue of his mission to the Gentiles, Paul has the right to address them.    17.  This boast: of having prepared the Gentiles as an oblation acceptable to God.  In Christ Jesus: by whose grace he has accomplished this work of God.    18 f.  Paul further explains his boast.  What Christ has wrought: he is careful to attribute his entire success to Christ.  Cf. 2 Cor. 3, 5; 10, 17.  Signs and wonders: miracles, wonderful to the beholder, and signs of supernatural origin.  Round about: more probably his circuitous missionary journeys from Jerusalem as far west as Illyricum, a territory he may have visited on his second journey, though there is no other record of this.  Completed, etc.: in the sense that he had preached in the principal cities of this vast region.    20 f.  Does he not violate this rule set for himself in planning to go to Rome (1, 15)?  It was his purpose to do no more than visit Rome (15, 24), and impart grace (1, 11 f) in doing so.  The Scripture justification for his policy is found in Isa. 52, 15.

15, 22-29:  St. Paul's Plans    23.  Having no more work: i.e., having no more scope or opportunity, according to his rule (vv.20 f). A great desire: based probably on news of the church at Rome heard from such as Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18, 2; 1 Cor. 16, 19).   24.  When I set out for Spain: it was not his intention to remain at Rome.  Sped on my way: according to the custom, to be accompanied some distance by them.  These escorts probably also supplied the needs of the missionaries.  Enjoyed being with you: or, with the Greek, "after having satisfied my longing for your company."    25-27.  To minister, etc.: to deliver the alms gathered in Macedonia and Achaia (cf. 2 Cor. 8, 1 -- 9, 15).  This voyage is recounted in Acts 21.  This helps date the Ep. to the Romans at the close of his third missionary journey.  Their debtors, etc.: this may be a suggestion that the Romans treat their Jewish-Christian neighbors with kindness.  Cf. 11.  The debt of the Gentiles to the Jews was that from the latter came Christ and His missionaries.    28.  Delivered: the Greek term means "put the seal upon."  The meaning probably is the completion of this project on behalf of the poor in Jerusalem.  Proceeds: more literally "fruit."  Cf. 1 Cor. 9, 11.  It is very probable that St. Paul did eventually reach Spain, but the circumstances of the journey are unknown.    29.  The fullness, etc.: the generous outpouring of Christ's grace.

15, 30-33:  Request for Prayers.  St. Paul knows that trouble awaits him in Jerusalem (Acts 20, 22 f).    31.  The unbelievers: the Jews who not only had refused to believe, but had made every effort to impede his apostolic labors.  May be acceptable: even many of the Christian Jews were unfriendly to him because of his teachings relative to the Mosaic Law; hence he is not sure they will receive his alms in the right spirit.    32.  That I may come, etc.: he even foresees the possibility of being prevented from going to Rome.    33.  The God of peace: a title occasioned by the trouble he anticipated in Jerusalem.

Confraternity Bible:

Self-Denial and Patience  1 Now we, the strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  2 Let every one of you please his neighbor by doing good, for his edification; 3* for Christ did not please himself, but as it is written,
"The reproaches of those who reproach thee have fallen upon me." 
4 For whatever things have been written have been written for our instruction, that through the patience and the consolation afforded by the Scriptures we may have hope.  5 May then the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind towards one another according to Jesus Christ; 6 that, one in spirit, you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mercy  7 Wherefore receive one another, even as Christ has received you to the honor of God.  8 For I say that Christ Jesus has been a minister of the circumcision in order to show God's fidelity in confirming the promises made to our fathers, 9* but that the Gentiles glorify God because of his mercy, as it is written,
"Therefore will I praise thee among the Gentiles,

And will sing to thy name." 
10* And again he says,
"Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people." 
11* And again,
"Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;

And sing his praises, all you peoples." 
12* And again Isaias says,
"There shall be the root of Jesse, and he who shall arise to rule the Gentiles . . . in him the Gentiles shall hope." 
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Apostle of the Gentiles  14 Now I for my part, my brethren, am convinced with regard to you that you yourselves are full of love, filled with all knowledge, so that you are able to admonish one another.  15 But I have written to you rather boldly here and there, brethren---as it were to refresh your memory---because of the grace that has been given me by God, 16* that I should be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles; sanctifying the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles may become acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  17 I have therefore this boast in Christ Jesus as regards the work of God.  18 For I do not make bold to mention anything but what Christ has wrought through me to bring about the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19 with mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem round about as far as Illyricum I have completed the evangelization of Christ.  20 But I have not preached this gospel where Christ has already been named, lest I might build on another man's foundation; but even as it is written,
21* "They who have not been told of him shall see,

And they who have not heard shall understand."
St. Paul's Plans  22 This is why I was hindered these many times from coming to you.  23 But now, having no more work in these parts, and having had for many years a great desire to come to you, 24 when I set out for Spain I hope to see you as I pass through (and by you to be sped on my way there), having first enjoyed being with you for a while.  25 Now, however, I will set out for Jerusalem to minister to the saints.  26 For Macedonia and Achaia have thought it well to make a contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.  27 So it has pleased them, and their debtors they are.  For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual blessings, they should also minister to them in material things.  28 Therefore, when I have completed this, and have delivered to them the proceeds, I will set out by way of you for Spain.  29 And I know that when I come to you, I shall come with the fullness of Christ's blessing.

Request for Prayers  30 Now I exhort you, brethren, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the charity of the Spirit, that you help me by your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that the offering of my service may be acceptable to the saints in Jerusalem; 32 that I may come to you in joy, by the will of God, and may be refreshed with you.  33 Now the God of peace be with you all.  Amen.


3: Ps. 68, 10.

9: Ps. 17, 50.

10: 2 Kgs. 22, 50.

11: Ps. 116, 1.

12: Isa. 11, 10.

16: Minister . . . sanctifying the gospel of God: St. Paul here uses the metaphorical language of sacrifice.  The text here probably means: performing priestly functions by means of the gospel.  This priestly ministration results in the oblation of the Gentiles, which is acceptable to God because it has been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the faithful.

21: Isa. 52, 15.