Romans 15 Study Notes
Study notes from Romans 15! Almost at the end of this great book!
We are now in Romans 15 and this connects very smoothly with the end of the previous chapter and immediately makes conclusions from all that was just said.
1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
So remember that the strong believers acknowledged their liberty in Christ to eat all food and dedicate a particular day or every day to the Lord. So those strong believers, rather than boasting about their faith, should use our faith to help the weak in faith. We should abstain from doing certain things we are allowed to do in order to not upset the faith of weaker believers. We are to show love and not please ourselves in this way.
Galatians 6:1-2 touches on this topic as well. Ok moving on.
2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
The example for why we should seek to please our neighbor is given in Christ to came to serve. Jesus said in Matthew 20:27-28, “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
The second part of verse 3 here is quoted from Psalm 69:9 which reads, “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.”
So if showing love to a brother requires you to avoid doing something enjoyable for yourself, do it! Who cares if you have to set your Christian liberty aside for a moment in order to show love to another? It’s a small sacrifice to make in order to have peace.
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
The Old Testament, like the verse in Psalm 69 just quoted, was written for our learning, those of us in these latter times. This learning and seeing the example of all that transpired in the Old Testament should give us patience and comfort. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 talks about this as well.
5 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.
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
We should have mutual love for each other in the church, we should worship together, and we should acknowledge each other as Christians putting aside minor differences.
William Burkitt writes, “That Christians receiving, embracing, and loving one another, and bearing with one another's weaknesses and infirmities, according to Christ's example and command, will contribute exceedingly to the honour and glory of Almighty God, and to the abundant consolation and satisfaction of each other.”
8 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:
So we are told to receive one another regardless of minor differences in verse 7 and one of those very common differences, and a reason for a lot of friction, was between Jew and Gentile.
The verse is saying that Jesus Christ came to the Jews to fulfill prophecy and to keep His promises made to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob etc. Remember John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Now in the next 4 verses we see quotes from the Old Testament showing that God had always planned to save the Gentiles and to bring the Gentiles into one family, which is the church.
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.
Quoted from Psalm 18:49. The Jews can rejoice that God kept His promises, and the Gentiles can rejoice that God spread His mercy to all nations.
10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
This is quoted from Deuteronomy 32:43 which reads, “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.”
11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
This is quoted from Psalm 117:1.
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.
This is quoted from Isaiah 11:10. Jesse was the father of King David, and Jesus Christ is his root. Revelation 22:16 reads, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
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.
Paul concludes this section with a blessing, exalting God as the God of hope, and because of that we should have joy and peace through the Holy Spirit.
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.
Now the letter gets a little personal and Paul is saying that this church in Rome is doing well in their goodness and knowledge of the truth. It’s like Paul is saying he wrote all these things to them in this rather long epistle because he knew they could handle it.
15 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 their status, Paul wrote boldly to them because he was the apostle to the Gentiles as he explains in the next verse.
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 had been given special grace for a special task of reaching and teaching the Gentiles about Jesus Christ.
Joseph Agar Beet explains, “Notice the courtesy and modesty of Romans 15:14-16. Paul apologizes for the earnest tones which seem to betray a consciousness of superiority, and assures his readers that he knows their goodness and their ability to instruct each other. He does but recall to their mind what they already know. His boldness in so doing is prompted not so much by their need as by God’s undeserved kindness to himself, by the sacredness of the office to which God has called him, and by His purpose to make him a channel of blessing to the Gentiles, blessing wrought not by Paul but by the Spirit of God.”
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
It’s interesting that Hebrews 5:1 has a very similar expression. We don’t know who wrote Hebrews but one can make a good argument that it was Paul, or a close companion of Paul.
So here in verse 17 Paul has reason to rejoice because of his calling and the success God has given him.
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,
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.
Paul wouldn’t dare talk about or brag about anything that wasn’t the work of Christ in him. By word and deed from Paul because of the Holy Spirit numerous Gentiles have been converted.
He faithfully preached the gospel everywhere he went. Illyricum was a province of Rome north of Greece or part of Greece north of Macedonia that included or was adjacent with Dalmatia. It’s basically the modern coastal region between Croatia and Albania.
20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
Albert Barnes says, “That is, he desired to found churches himself; he regarded himself as particularly called to this. Others might be called to edify the church, but he regarded it as his function to make known the name of the Saviour where it was not before known. This work was particularly adapted to the ardor, zeal, energy, and bravery of such a man as Paul.”
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 loosely quoted from Isaiah 52:15 prophesying about Gentile Kings and nations receiving the gospel for the first time, which is exactly what Paul is doing.
22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
23 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.
So this is pretty interesting. Paul was prevented from going to Rome for reasons he doesn’t specify but plans to stop by this church in Rome on his way to Spain. There’s no evidence Paul ever made it to Spain by the way since he was martyred in Rome.
25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
Before his journey to Spain, Paul needs to first go to Jerusalem to deliver money and maybe some supplies to the poor believers there. We do this today whenever we send money to missionaries or to help churches.
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.
The Gentiles received the Gospel that began in Jerusalem, so it pleased them to send carnal things (money) back to the church there.
28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.
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 is confident he will come with blessings through the power of Christ. Look way back at Romans 1:11 which reads, “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.”
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;
I love this because we so rarely talk about “striving in prayer” which gives the sense of intense effort. How often in our lives can we say that we have prayed with one another in intense effort?
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;
He was asking them to specifically pray for his safety in Jerusalem from the unbelieving Jews there, and that he would be welcomed by the believers.
32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Our God is the God of hope, the God of peace, and without God there is no peace.
Isaiah 48:22 reads, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.”