Romans Chapter 15

Rom 15:1  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

We who are stronger in our faith, must not belittle those weaker in the faith because their principles are not as well established in the faith as ours. That would be considering ourselves superior, which we are not. We may be more founded in the faith, but we, too, are growing and there are those more knowledgeable in the faith than we. They are not superior to us and we and not superior to those less proven than ourselves.

Now, we who are more mature in our faith and thus have stronger ties to our faith, are not to sit back and take it easy or to rest on our laurels because of our stronger faith. We are to use that experience to mentor those with less maturity and weaker faith. We are not to just take it easy and please ourselves.

Our Savior, Jesus the Christ, did not please Himself. Instead, He became the servant of all, and He cared for those with weak faith; He loved them and by His grace He served them in their weaknesses. We are to imitate Christ, who patiently taught believers the Scriptures and how to live a servant’s life.

Jesus was completely in touch with the Father. He lived to serve at the Father’s will. He was a prayer warrior; he had compassion on the weak, the sick, and sinner; He healed, taught, cast out demons, and generally loved us in our weaknesses and still loves us in our frailties as humans. We are to emulate Him in our dealings with less mature and weaker brethren.

Rom 15:2  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

Who is our neighbor? Jesus answered that with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritans were disliked by the Jews. A Jewish man was beaten and robbed and left to die. Two members of the Jewish clergy walked across to the other side of the road to avoid the man. A Samaritan man bound the man’s wounds and took him to an inn and paid the inn keeper to keep the man until he recovered from his wounds. The clergy were this man’s Jewish brethren but did not help the victim. A man from another nation did. The point is all people on earth to whom we show mercy or who show mercy to others are our neighbors.

We are neighbors with people on our street, in our neighborhood, in our borough, in our county, etc., when we show them mercy. To please our neighbor means to be agreeable. We are to strive to do them good. When we act as good neighbors, that may lead to the opportunity to help them, or witness to them through our action thus building them up. So, our goal as good neighbors is treat others caringly in order to edify them. We are to put our neighbors first before ourselves.

Rom 15:3  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

The quote is from Psalm 69:9. In that Psalm David has been reproached because of his zeal for the Lord. David wrote that the reproaches people make against His God, have fallen on him. David also wrote in that Psalm, (verse 6) ” Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.

This is in harmony with what Paul is stating in these verses. Paul, knowing that David was also a prophet (Acts 2:29; 30) understood this to be a prophecy of Christ, who took the reproaches preferred on His Father on Himself. For, as Jesus Himself said in John 15:18 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” In John 15:24, Jesus added that the world not only hated Him, but His Father as well.

If we are to emulate Christ, then the world will also reproach us. Yet, we are still commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love our enemies. Thus, we are not to please ourselves by avoiding the reproaches of others because of our relationship with Christ. Those reproaches are to be expected and they will happen to committed followers of Christ.

Rom 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

This is reminiscent of what Solomon wrote in Ecc 1:9 “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Paul also wrote a similar account to the church at Corinth: 1Cor 10:11
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

The Scriptures written before were those scriptures available in Paul’s time on earth; that means the Old Testament Scriptures. Those scriptures gave Paul and His readers the patience or endurance and encouragement they needed to keep on keeping on. In modern times, we also receive patience and comfort from the Scriptures in both Testaments.

Rom 15:5-6  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  (6)  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as the Father is patience with us and consoles us, so we should be to each other. This ‘patience and consolation’ (or comfort) the Scriptures give us comes from God. Additionally, this patience and comfort is meant to help us to emulate the life of Christ, Who was patient with needy folks who surrounded and followed Him everywhere. That same patience is available to us directly from Yahweh, and from His Scriptures. (“But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . longsuffering” or patience; from Gal 5:22).

Many of us are members of churches that practice this toward one another. In those churches we love, respect, and help each other. It is a pleasure to be among such a group of Christians. In such a church it is a pleasure gather together in worship and fellowship. There may be churches where people are not as loving and patient with each other, but these are the exception not the rule.

In such loving assemblies, the congregants are in one mind and glorify God with one mouth. In other words, they are “like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Php 2:2) in the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Rom 15:7  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

How did Christ receive us? “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). We are all sinners and Christ received us just as we are. He received us when we were poor, downtrodden, humiliated, unloved, unlovable, infirm, haughty, unfriendly, lost, forgotten, hated, etc. etc. etc. Like the hymn indicates He received us all “Just As I Am.”

We are to receive others in the same way. Thought it may seem to us that some folks are unacceptable to be among us, they still need Jesus and we represent Jesus on earth. We are His ambassadors. We should never think ourselves better than others because no matter how they dress, what they look like, or act like, or believe, all of us need Christ, regardless of our demeanor. We may be the only chance for others to hear the Gospel. When anyone comes into our presence, that may be an opportunity, or perhaps the only opportunity, for us to be a witness for Christ to that person.

Rom 15:8-9  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:  (9)  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.

The quote in verse 9 is from 2 Sam22:50 (LXX) & Ps 18:49 (LXX). In this passage (verses 8-13), Paul, once again reminds that the church is grafted into the true Israel, or the Israel of God as he wrote in Gal 6:15 & 16. All God’s people, that is all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, which is the New Covenant God made with all people (Jer 31:31; Hos 2:23), are members of the Israel of God (Gal 6:16). That includes both Jews and Gentiles.

Gal 6:15-16  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  (16)  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Paul went into great detail about this very fact in chapters nine, ten, and eleven of this Epistle to the Romans. See also Rom 2:28-29; Gal 3:7; Eph 2:11-16; Col 3:11.

Rom 15:10  And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people

From Deu 32:43, which foreshadows the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s people Israel under the New Covenant.

Rom 15:11  And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

From Psalm 117:1 (LXX), the shortest chapter in the Bible. This psalm makes the point that God is worthy of praise from all nations and not just Israel. The Hebrew word, גוי goy, (plural here- גוים, goyim) essentially means all nations other than Israel.

Rom 15:12  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.

From Isaiah 11:10 (LXX). This is well known Messianic passage referring to the future advent of Christ. The Root of Jesse, his youngest son, will reign over all the nations including both Jew and Gentile. The Hebrew word root can mean the literal root of a plant, it can mean permanence, and it can also mean the lowest or youngest child. David was Jesse’s youngest and the Lord Jesus is a descendant of David. He also sits on the throne of David permanently.

Rom 15:13  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.

The hope that God provides for us is the hope of eternal life in Heaven when we leave this body behind at our passing. That hope is not an ethereal thing of no substance but a fact that we can be assured of receiving. If we are children of God, that is, believers in Christ and His death, Resurrection, and ascension (Rom 10:9), we have the assurance of God that we are saved and have eternal life.

In Hebrews we find, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). We hope for things not seen, but faith is what makes our hope a sure thing. We can have joy and peace because of our faith. Because of our faith in Christ we can completely trust in His blessings and promises. As Paul wrote in 2 Tim 1:12, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day.”

It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are saved. His guidance and enlightenment give our unrepentant souls the understanding that we are sinners in need of Christ as Savior. Without the Holy Spirit’s counsel, we are not able to understand our need for Christ as Savior. He must show us the way to salvation (Joh 14:6; 14:25; 15:26).

Rom 15:14  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.

Paul begins the next section of his epistle with an apology, that is, a formal defense of what he sincerely believes about his brethren at the church at Rome. He recognizes that those brethren, the Christians at the church of Rome, are mature in their faith.

He acknowledges the goodness they manifested because of their faith in Christ. Their goodness came from Christ who imputes His righteousness into them that believe in Him. Paul understood that people filled with goodness usually have one or more of the following characteristics: they are of good moral character, good natured, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, distinguished, honorable, etc.

He considered the majority of them to be intelligent and knowledgeable in the matters of the faith—such things as the rudiments, or essentials of the faith, in the scriptures, in general knowledge of the faith, in morality, in understanding, in Christian deportment, in their silent witness and in vocal witnessing, etc. In other words, they were mature and knowledgeable Christians, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Paul also understood the they were able to hold one another accountable. As is written in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the reason for regularly assembling together in one accord is to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” We are to encourage and exhort one another to hold to the confession of our faith without wavering as we draw closer and closer to the day when we will meet our Lord face to face. See Hebrews 10:22;23;24 & 25. Paul let the Christians in Rome know that he understood they were doing all the above.

Rom 15:15-16  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,  (16)  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.

Paul indicated the even though he fully knew of their maturity and responsibility in the faith, he yet had to be bold in some of the things he wrote in this epistle. Because of his boldness, not only did the members of the church at Rome gain insight and understanding in how to comport ourselves as Christians, and as a church, but we, also, in this present point in history, gain much insight and understanding from this epistle.

Paul attributes his boldness in such things to his calling by Christ to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. He is also the servant of Christ in his calling to bring the Gospel to and attend to the edification of Gentile Christians. His calling was to shepherd the flock of Gentile Christians wherever he was able, either in person or in letters written to those Christians.

Rom 15:17  I have therefore whereof [or reason] I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.

It was not for Paul’s own glory that he did the things he was called to do. It was for Gods glory and God’s glory alone that Paul ministered the Gospel to the Gentiles. Many translations replace ‘glory’ with ‘boast.’ Some use other synonyms such as ‘take pride in,’ rejoice, ‘be enthusiastic,’ etc. The majority use either glory or boast; the two words are similar in thought. All of Paul’s glorying or boasting was in the things of Christ Jesus.

Paul was delighted to accomplish, through Jesus, what he was called by Christ to do. The things that pertain to God are the Scriptures, and what the Scriptures teach us. Thus, the things of God include the actions we take in reference to God’s Word. Those things consist of the Gospel, the Commandments, His precepts, our worship, our witness, our Christian citizenship, our ‘religious1‘ practices, etc. All those things and much more are contained in the Scriptures. Paul rejoiced in his calling. He elaborates that in the next few verses.

Rom 15:18  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,

“I will not dare” is a very strong statement. Paul found it repugnant to even think of taking the glory upon himself. That means the even upon pain of death or even torture, Paul would not take Christ’s glory on himself. No, he gave all the glory to God. Paul suffered both torture (2 Cor 11:23, 24, 25) and death (2 Tim 4:6; 7, 8) for his faith in Christ

All the things he accomplished in his ministry were accomplished through Christ. Without Him, Paul would have continued as a lost Pharisee who rejected the Gospel in every way. Like all of us, without Christ we were lost and condemned (Joh 3:18) with no way to change our lot. But with Jesus, Paul, like us, was saved by the blood of Christ. Thus, Paul would never even think of taking the glory upon himself.

Rom 15:19  Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

The signs and wonders Paul performed were from Christ and by His power (Acts 19:6, 11, 12). Paul was the conduit, not the source, in those signs and wonders. By the power of God, Paul traveled a large part of the  Roman Empire with the Gospel, which he preached completely as God willed.

Illyricum was a Roman Province along the Adriatic Sea between the modern Grecian and Italian borders. It covered parts of the modern Adriatic states of Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia.

Jerusalem was his Southernmost point of his journeys. The  Easternmost part of his travels was Damascus. The Westernmost was Fiumiciono, a Borough of modern Rome Italy, where the Tiber empties into the Mediterranean. The Northernmost is Rome. The Eastern Northernmost part of Paul’s journeys was Philippi, near modern Krinides, Greece

Rom 15:20  Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation

Paul would not tread over ground already given the Gospel. His only reason to got to Jerusalem near the end of his journeys, was to give the church there the offering he received from the Gentile churches he visited. There was no point in bringing the Gospel to an area that had already received it.

Rom 15:21  But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

This is quote from Isa 52:15, where Isaiah was prophesying of the coming Messiah: “For what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.” Paul quoted it precisely word for word from the Septuagint, the Greek Translation of the Old Testament. The difference in English is due to the translators.

LXX: οἷς οὐκ ἀνηγγέλη περὶ αὐτοῦ, ὄψονται, καὶ οἳ οὐκ ἀκηκόασιν, συνήσουσιν.2

GNT: Οἷς οὐκ ἀνηγγέλη περὶ αὐτοῦ ὄψονται, καὶ οἳ οὐκ ἀκηκόασιν συνήσουσιν.3

Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would be glorified and exalted exceedingly. He also wrote that his appearance was marred, and He would astonish many. He prophesied that Messiah would spiritually sprinkle many nations with His blood thus purifying many from sin. This immediately proceeds Isaiah 53, where Isaiah describes Jesus Christ and His suffering extremely accurately seven hundred years in advance.

Rom 15:22  For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

Isaiah’s prophecy was that those to whom it was not announced and have not heard will see and understand the Gospel (that is, the Gentiles, for it was announced to the Jews). Because so many Gentiles would see, hear, and understand the Gospel, Paul was out there preaching the Gospel to them. This good work prevented him from visiting Rome, which he greatly desired to do.

God’s plan was the yes, he would visit Rome, but not as a free man as Paul had planned. He would enter Rome under arrest. Paul planned to visit the church at Rome. Under God’s plan, Paul delivered the Gospel to many who never would have heard under Paul’s plan. The guards in Rome heard and many were converted. They would never have heard the Gospel from Paul had he not been arrested.

Rom 15:23-24  But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;  (24)  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.

Paul knew that he had finished his work among the Gentiles in the East, and now wished to go West to Spain and then to Rome to begin ministering there. There is no record that he made it to Spain. It is recorded that Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, appealed to Caesar, and was transported to Rome under guard. He was executed in Rome and died there.

Rom 15:25  But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

Paul is finishing his letter to the Romans and explains to them that he will deliver the offering collected from the Gentile churches to Jerusalem then he plans to visit Spain and afterward go to Rome.

Rom 15:26  For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

Offerings came from Achaia, Antioch, Asia, Corinth, Dalmatia, Galatia, Macedonia, and probably other areas not mentioned.

Rom 15:27  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.

Jesus went to the house of Israel and Judah. He did not go to the Gentiles. He did commission Peter to go to the house of Gentile and convert him Phillip converted the Ethiopian eunuch, and Paul was appointed by Jesus to go to the Gentiles to preach the Gospel. The Jerusalem church commissioned several men to take the Gospel to the Gentile nations. So, Gentiles were in debt to the Church at Jerusalem, for the Gospel. Because of that debt, and since the Jerusalem saints were needy the Gentile churches gladly gave to their carnal or physical needs (money for food clothing, shelter, security, etc.).

Rom 15:28  Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.

When he safely delivered the offering to the saints in Jerusalem, he planned to go to Spain. He did not make it. See Comment on verses 23-24 above.

Rom 15:29  And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

Paul may not have been sure that he would make it to Spain, but he was assured of going to Rome. The Spirit had impressed upon him that he would indeed go to Rome. The fullness of the Gospel is what Paul would bring with him. He had written about the Gospel, and Rome received his letters, but when He arrived, He could spend the time to impart everything he knew about the Gospel. What he could not impart in letters, he could fully communicate to them in person.

As Paul wrote in Rom 1:11-12, ” For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; (12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Being together with them in person allowed him to interact with fellow Christians and an intimate way that is impossible from a distance or in correspondence.

Paul wished share with the Roman Church some of the insight the Spirit gave him in order that they might become stronger in the faith. He also wanted to be in their midst so he could join them in keeping the faith and the hope of their salvation without wavering and help to motivate each other to acts of love and good works. He desired to be with them physically to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (see Heb 10:22-24).

Rom 15:30  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;

Paul’s parting statement begins with a request for them to pray for him. The literal Greek reads “through our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit,” instead of “for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake” and “for the love of the Spirit.” While it is proper to say, “For the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,” meaning “for His purposes.” However, that is not accurately what Paul wrote.

In the time of the King James translators, it was understood as “through the Lord Jesus Christ,” but today the connotation can be different than then. Therefore, let us have the proper current understanding of this sentence.

To strive in prayer means to struggle or agonize urgently in prayer. We see this urgency in James 5:16: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” A righteous man here can also be understood as righteous person, either male or female. The actual Greek is simply “the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous” without either ‘man’ or ‘woman’ added. The translators added the gender. Many other translations do not add the gender.

We definitely see the effectual fervent prayers of women in the Scripture. The Song of Deborah the prophetess was a prayer of thanksgiving; Hannah, the Virgin Mary, and Anna the prophetess all prayed fervent and effectual prayers.

Rom 15:31  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;

It is likely that the majority of those in Judea did not believe in Christ. The prayers of the Romans were answered for Paul was delivered from the crowds gathered against him in Jerusalem.

Recall that Paul left Jerusalem with warrants to arrest all Jewish believers in Christ throughout the region. But on the road to Damascus, he met the Christ and became a Christian and Christ appointed him the Apostle to the Gentiles. In a moment, Paul switched from a hunter of Jewish converts, to the converter of Gentiles to Christ. This absolutely angered those that gave him the warrants and sent him out to detain Christians.

He also taught Gentile and Jewish converts to Christ they no longer had to follow the religious ordinances of Moses. This angered many Jews. Thus, Paul was going into enemy territory when he returned to Jerusalem.

He was warmly received by the saints in Jerusalem and James, the brother of Jesus and the Bishop of the Jerusalem church. The saints in Jerusalem rejoiced in Paul’s accomplishments in spreading the Gospel. But they warned him that may of the Jewish converts in Jerusalem were angered by his stance on the religious laws of Moses.

Paul was eventually caught by the Jews that were against him and the crowds that wanted to kill him became violent. The Commander of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem arrested him to quiet the riot and for Paul’s protection. Thus, the prayers of the saints in Rome were answered in Jerusalem. See the entire historical account in Acts chapters 21-26

Rom 15:32  that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.

After his arrest and after several hearings, Paul appealed to Caesar, consequently, he had to go to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. Thus, he was transported to Rome by the Roman military and was able to spend a goodly amount of time with the saints in Rome and be refreshed together with them. The prayers of the Romans were effective.

Rom 15:33  Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

This is the usual style of close and blessing Paul used in all his letters. Chapter 16 is a postscript (P.S.).

  1. That is, true religion; the religion created by Almighty God, which is worshipping Him.
  2. LXX: Septuagint, Isa 52:15
  3. GNT: Nestle Aland Greek New Testament, Rom 15:21
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