|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 20. - Yea (or, but), so striving (or, earnestly desiring, or making it my aim. The word is φιλοτιμούμενον, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:11) to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation. In the compact between St. Paul and the apostles of the circumcision referred to in Galatians 2:1-7, it was agreed that he should confine his apostolic ministry to the Gentiles. Consequently, we find him selecting as centres of his work the principal cities of the heathen world. But he was further careful to avoid places, wherever they might be, in which Churches were already founded. It was the function of an apostle to extend the gospel by founding new Churches, rather than to invade the provinces of others. Those founded by himself, and thus under his immediate jurisdiction, as e.g. the Corinthian Church, he visited as need arose, and addressed them in authoritative letters, commanding as well as exhorting. But his rule in this respect did not preclude his writing also letters of general encouragement and admonition to any whom his peculiar commission as apostle of the Gen- tiles gave him a claim to be heard by. Thus he wrote to the Colossians, though he had never seen them (Colossians 1:4; Colossians 2:1); and thus also to the Romans, at the same time (as we have seen, Romans 15:15, seq.) almost apologizing for doing so; and, though he proposes visiting them, it is nor with the view of staying among them long, so as to take up the superintendence of them, but only on his way to Spain for mutual comfort and edification (see Romans 1:11, 12; Romans 15:24).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel,.... The sense is, not barely that he strove to preach the Gospel and not the law, the pure Gospel, and, not a mixed one; nor only that he endeavoured to preach it fully, and leave out nothing; but that he had an holy ambition to preach it,
not where Christ was named; as in Judea, where he had been for many ages spoken of and expected, and where he had lately appeared, lived, suffered, and died, and where his Gospel had been preached by all the apostles; as also in such parts of the Gentile world, where others of the apostles had been, and had made mention of his name, and published the glad tidings of salvation by him; but he chose rather to go to such Heathen nations, as were wholly without any knowledge of him; who had only the dim light of nature to guide them; had had no promises nor prophecies of the Messiah, nor so much as any hints, at least very distant ones, concerning him; and where as yet the sound of the Gospel bad not reached:
lest I should build on another man's foundation; meaning not the law of Moses, nor the doctrines of the false teachers, but the foundation of the true apostles, and which was no other than the foundation Christ, he himself laid; but he chose not to go where they had laid the foundation by preaching Christ and his Gospel, that he might not take another man's crown, or boast in another man's line, or of other men's labours; but rather to go where others had never been, that he might first lay the foundation himself, by preaching Christ, and him crucified, and so the more act up to his character as an apostle, and as the apostle to the Gentiles.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20, 21. Yea, &c.—rather, "Yet making it my study (compare 2Co 5:9; 1Th 4:11, Greek) so to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was [already] named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation: but (might act) as it is written, To whom no tidings of Him came, they shall see," &c.
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