|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:8-15 We must show love for our friends, not only by praying for them, but by praising God for them. As in our purposes, so in our desires, we must remember to say, If the Lord will, Jas 4:15. Our journeys are made prosperous or otherwise, according to the will of God. We should readily impart to others what God has trusted to us, rejoicing to make others joyful, especially taking pleasure in communing with those who believe the same things with us. If redeemed by the blood, and converted by the grace of the Lord Jesus, we are altogether his; and for his sake we are debtors to all men, to do all the good we can. Such services are our duty.
Verses 14, 15. - Both to Greeks and Barbarians, both to wise and unwise, I am debtor. So, as much as is in me, to you also that are at Rome, I am ready to preach the gospel. The two divisions of mankind into
(1) Ἔλληνες καὶ Βάρβαροι,
(2) σοφοὶ καὶ ἀνοήτοι, are intended to include all, independently of nationality and culture, regarded from a Greek or Roman point of view. The Greeks, as is well known, called all others than themselves Βάρβαροι, so that Ἕλληνεσ καὶ Βάρβαροι included the whole world. Here the Romans are intended to be included among Ἕλληνες, being partakers in Hellenic culture, and in fact at that time its prominent representatives (el. "Non solum Graecia et Italia, sod etiam omnis barbaria," Cicero, 'De Fin.,' 2:15). Of course, σοφοὶ also includes them. The obvious intention of the writer is to place them in each of the higher categories, and so, while after his manner he pays his expected readers a delicate compliment, to insist that his mission is to the highest in position and culture as well as the lowest, cud that, bold in his convictions, he is not ashamed to preach the cross even to them. "Audax facinus ad crucem vocare terrarum Dominos" (Alex. More. quoted by Olshausen).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians,.... The meaning is, that he was obliged by the call he had from God, the injunction that was laid upon him by him, and the gifts with which he was qualified, to preach the Gospel to all sorts of men; who are here distinguished into Greeks and Barbarians: sometimes by Greeks are meant the Gentiles in general, in opposition to the Jews; see Romans 1:16; but here they design only a part of the Gentiles, the inhabitants of Greece, in opposition to all the world besides; for the Greeks used to call all others that were not of themselves Barbarians (e): or else by Greeks are meant the more cultivated nations of the world, and by Barbarians the ruder and more uncivil parts of it; to which agrees the next division of mankind,
both to the wise and to the unwise. The Gospel was to be preached "to the wise"; such who thought themselves to be so, and were so with respect to human wisdom and knowledge; though it should be despised by them, as it was, and though few of them were called by it, some were, and still are, though not many; and such wisdom there is in the Gospel, as the wisest of men may learn by it, will be entertaining to them, is far beyond their contempt, and what will serve to exercise their talents and abilities, to search into the knowledge of, and rightly to understand; and it must be preached "to the unwise"; for such God has chosen to confound the wise; these he calls by his grace, and reveals his Gospel to, whilst he hides it from the wise and prudent; and there is that in the Gospel which is plain and easy to the weakest mind, enlightened by the Spirit of God.
(e) Cornel. Nepos, l. 1. c. 2, 7. & 2, 3. & 3. 6. & 4. 1. & passim. Quint. Curtius, l. 3. c. 4, 7. & 6. 5. & passim.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14, 15. I am debtor both to the Greeks—cultivated
and to the Barbarians—rude.
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