Matthew Poole's Commentary
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.Romans 15:1-3 We ought, in condescension to the weak, to give up
our own will for our neighbour’s good, after the
example of Christ.
Romans 15:4 The intent of the Scriptures.
Romans 15:5,6 Paul prayeth for unanimity among Christians.
Romans 15:6-12 Exhorteth to receive one the other, as Christ did
all, both Jews and Gentiles,
Romans 15:13 and wisheth them all joy, peace, and hope.
Romans 15:14-16 He apologizeth for his freedom in admonishing them,
as he was the apostle of the Gentiles,
Romans 15:17-21 and showeth the success and extensiveness of his labours.
Romans 15:23-29 He excuseth his not coming to them before, and
promiseth them, a visit on his return from Jerusalem.
Romans 15:30-33 He requesteth their prayers.
We then that are strong: the particle then showeth, that what followeth is inferred from what went before. By the strong, he means those who have attained to a good measure of knowledge and understanding, that are instructed in the Christian faith, and particularly in the doctrine of Christian liberty. He putteth himself in the number, not out of ambition, but that he may propose himself an example of the following duty.
Ought; i.e. we are obliged and bound both by the law of God and nature.
To bear the infirmities of the weak: by the weak, he means those who are weak in faith and knowledge, Romans 14:1. By their infirmities, he means their ignorance, frowardness, consoriousness, &c. He doth not speak of heresies and manifest enormities; but of such errors in doctrine and life, which proceed from ignorance or common infirmity. When he says, we must bear their infirmities, his meaning is, that we must bear with them, as we do with children or sick persons in their waywardness: though it a great burden to us, yet we must bear it; we must not impatiently contradict them, but prudently instruct them: see Exodus 23:5 1 Corinthians 9:22 Galatians 6:2.
And not to please ourselves: q.d. We ought not to do what we please in indifferent thing’s, and to act according to our own sentiments without any regard to others; we should not please ourselves in a proud reflecting upon our own knowledge, and in contemning of others because of their ignorance; we should not stand upon the terms of our liberty and contentment, but rather, for the sake of others, depart a little from our own right.
Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.Having said we must not please ourselves, he immediately subjoins, we must please others, viz. every one his neighbour: he means, that we should condescend and accommodate ourselves to others, and give them satisfaction in all things; at least so far as may tend to their good and edification. You had a like passage, Romans 14:19. The apostle exhorts the Corinthians to a practice some what like this, 1 Corinthians 10:24; and he leads them the way by is own example, 1 Corinthians 9:19 1 Corinthians 10:33. There is a pleasing of men which is sinful, and there is a pleasing of men which is lawful; and that is, when it is limited, as in this text.
For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.For even Christ pleased not himself: he backs his exhortation in Romans 14:1, with an argument taken from the practice of our Lord himself, who is our perfect pattern, and hath left us an example, that we should follow his steps: see John 13:15,34 1 Peter 2:21 1Jo 2:6 4:17. By Christ’s not pleasing himself, is meant his not indulging or sparing himself; he did not seek his own ease, nor to satisfy inclination of the human nature, which abhorreth pain, and the destruction of itself. He took such a course all along as sufficiently demonstrated that he respected our benefit, and not his own.
But; here is an ellipsis, something must he supplied to fill up the sense: either the meaning is, he pleased not himself, but others; or, he pleased not himself, but bore our infirmities and reproaches: or else, he pleased not himself, but it happened to him; or he so carried himself that it might be truly applied to him, which is written, &c.
As it is written; viz. in Psalm 69:9. That David uttered these words in the person of Christ, or as a type of him, may appear from John 2:17. Interpreters are divided about accommodating this testimony to the occasion for which it is brought. Either the meaning is, that Christ did willingly expose himself to all the reproaches and contumelies of men, in obedience to his Father’s will; or else, that he and the same concernments with God the Father, so that what befell God did also befall him; he was as tender of the Father’s honour as of his own: or else, that the sins of men, which are things that cast reproach upon God, were taken by Christ upon himself, and he bore them in his body upon a tree. Seeing then that Christ hath done so much for our sakes, and hath not sought his own ease and benefit, we ought also to seek the good of others, and to deny ourselves: see Philippians 2:6-8.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.Lest any should think, that the testimony before alleged concerneth only David or Christ, he showeth that it belongeth also unto us; that we may learn by their example to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Yea, he takes occasion from hence to inform us of the general use of the Scriptures, that whatsoever is written, in this or any other place, is written for our learning and instruction; we are concerned not only by all the precepts, but in all the promises, Hebrews 13:5, menaces, Acts 13:40,41, rewards, Romans 4:24, and punishments, 1 Corinthians 10:11, therein mentioned and declared: and though this passage is more especially to be understood of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, yet it is true also of the Scriptures of the New Testament; they, being written by the same Spirit, are profitable for the same ends: see 2 Timothy 3:16.
That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope; he proceeds to show more particularly the use and benefit of the Holy Scripture, which is, to confirm our hope and assurance of eternal life; see 1Jo 5:13. He saith,
the patience and comfort of the Scriptures, because they are both wrought in us by means thereof: see Revelation 3:10. We are armed with patience, and finished with consolations, from the examples and promises contained therein. It may be, the hope he here speaks of is to be understood not only of eternal life, but of salvalion and deliverance in this life: q.d. One principal use of the Scriptures is this, that by the examples we find there of the patience of holy men, and of God’s relieving and comforting them in their distresses, we might be confident that God will relieve and comfort us also in due time.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:Now the God of patience and consolation: he is called, the God of all grace, 1 Peter 5:10, the God of hope, Romans 15:13, the God of peace, Romans 15:33, the God of love and peace, 2 Corinthians 13:11, and here, the God of patience and consolation: the meaning is, he is the author and worker thereof. You read in the former verse of the patience and comfort of the Scriptures; and here he showeth that the Scriptures do not work these of themselves, but God doth it in and by them.
Grant you to be like-minded one towards another; this is that to which he had exhorted them, Romans 12:16. See the like, 1 Corinthians 1:10 2 Corinthians 13:11 Ephesians 4:3 Philippians 2:2. God is the author, as of patience and consolation, so of peace and concord: the grace of unity and charity is his gift; he maketh men of one mind and of one heart, and for this he should be inquired of by his saints and people to do it for them.
According to Christ Jesus; i.e. according to his doctrine, command, or example.
That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God: q.d. I further pray, that you may not only be like-minded one towards another, but
that ye may with one mouth glorify God; that whether you be Gentiles or Jews, strong or weak in the faith, you may agree and be unanimous in his worship and service; that not only with one mind, but with one mouth, or as if you had all but one mouth. you may pray unto God and praise him: that is one way of glorifying God, Psalm 50:23, and it seems to be chiefly intended in this place. See Acts 4:32, what accord and unanimity there was among the primitive Christians.
Even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; a usual periphrasis of God in the New Testament: see 2 Corinthians 1:3 11:31 Ephesians 1:3 Colossians 1:3 1 Peter 1:3. God is the Father of Christ, first, as he is the Son of God; so he begat him by an eternal and ineffable generation, John 3:16 1Jo 4:9. Secondly, as he is man: so he created him, Luke 1:35. Thirdly, as he is Mediator; so he appointed him to and qualified him for that office, Psalm 40:8 John 20:17. This compellation of God includes all our comfort and happiness, for he is our Father because he is the Father of Jesus Christ. It is added here by way of limitation, to distinguish the true God from the false gods of the earth; and by way of explanation, to show how God will be glorified and worshipped under the gospel, viz. as the God and Father of onr Lord Jesus Christ.
Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.Wherefore receive ye one another: see Romans 14:1,3. He ends this discourse with the same terms in which he began it. Before, the strong only were charged to receive the weak, but here both are charged alike; the strong must receive the weak, and the weak the strong; they must all have communion one with another, continuing in brotherly love, accounting one another for brethren, exercising mutual forbearance and long-suffering.
As Christ also received us; i.e. after the example of Christ, who beareth with the infirmities of his followers, putting no difference betwixt Jews and Gentiles. The particle as noteth quality, not equality; there is no proportion betwixt the infinite love of Christ and the scanty charity of man. See the like, Matthew 5:48 Ephesians 5:2.
To the glory of God; some join this with the former clause, that we should receive one another to the glory of God: God is glorified by that brotherly love and concord that is amongst his people. Others join it with the latter clause, that Christ hath
received us to the glory of God; i.e. to make us partakers of the glory of God, or to declare and manifest the glory of God’s truth to the Jews, and mercy to the Gentiles, as he showeth in the following verses.
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:He explains himself, and declares more at large, how Christ received both Jews and Gentiles, thereby to admonish them to receive one another. As for the Jews, whom he calls here the circumcision, see Romans 3:30 4:9,12, he saith, Christ became a minister unto them; see Matthew 20:28. He exercised his ministry in the days of his flesh amongst them only, Matthew 15:24. He went indeed now and then into the coasts of Samaria to make way for the calling of the Gentiles, but his chief abode was in Jewry.
For the truth of God; or, because of the truth of God, that his truth or faithfulness might not fail.
To confirm the promises made to the fathers; i.e. the promises of the Messiah, made first to Adam, then to Abraham and to David, that the Messiah should come of their loins, that in their seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
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.Here he proves the second part, that Christ hath also received the Gentiles. There is a plain ellipsis in the words; this is understood, that there were promises made of or to the Gentiles, and Christ came to confirm them also. The sum of these promises was this,
that the Gentiles should glorify God for his mercy. Some have observed how the truth of God is spoken of in the foregoing verse with respect to the Jews, and the mercy of God with respect to the Gentiles; not that the one was without the other; for the salvation of the Jews, as it was of truth, so of mercy also, Micah 7:20; and the vocation of the Gentiles, as it was of mercy, so also of truth; for there were many promises of God concerning that matter, but mercy is predicated of the Gentiles, because that attribute of God appeared more eminently in their conversion and calling. You had the like distribution and difference in Romans 4:25 10:10.
As it is written: because the Jews were hardly persuaded of the mercy of God to the Gentiles, therefore he proves it by divers Scripture testimonies. This first is taken out of Psalm 18:49: See Poole on "Psalm 18:49". David speaks this in the person of Christ. In the Psalm it is: I will give thanks to thee; but here, according to the LXX., I will confess to thee, or celebrate thee among the Gentiles. They then are received to mercy, forasmuch as it was foretold they should celebrate or praise God for his mercy.
And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.This is taken out of Deu 32:43. Here it is evidently implied, that the Gentiles should become the people of God, and join with the Jews in his worship and service, and rejoice in the sense of his goodness and mercy to them. The partition wall is now taken away, and they both became one sheepfold under one Shepherd.
And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.This is found in Psalm 117:1. There the Gentiles are willed to praise God, which they could not do unless they knew him aright, and had obtained mercy from him.
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.And again, Esaias saith; viz. in Isaiah 11:10: see the notes there. This is a plain prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles; their being received to mercy is implied in the former testimonies, but here it is expressed. The Son of David (the Savionr) shall rise and spring out of Jesse’s root, and reign over the Gentiles by his word and Spirit. He shall gather them by the preaching of his cross, as by an ensign, and they, as it is in the prophet, shall seek to him; or, as it is here, shall trust or hope in him. The apostle, as he is wont, doth follow the LXX., which makes some little variation from the Hebrew text; but it is rather in sound than in sense. You have other prophecies and promises of the Gentiles’ mercy, as Isaiah 42:1,6 Isa 49:22 60:3,5; but the apostle thought, that these he had mentioned were sufficient for his purpose.
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.He finisheth here his long discourse about brotherly love and concord with a short and pithy prayer. Having said before, that the Gentiles should hope in God, he takes occasion from hence to style him,
The God of hope. He is so, both objective, as being the only object of our hope, see Psalm 146:5 Jeremiah 17:7 1 Timothy 6:17; and effective, as being the only author of it, 1 Peter 1:3.
With all joy and peace in believing; i.e. with much inward joy and peace, which riseth in the heart through a lively faith in Christ; or else, with all comfort and concord in the Christian faith. In this he prays they may abound; instead of those contentions that had been amongst them, he desires they may be filled with those things, wherein he told them, Romans 14:17, the kingdom of God consisted.
That ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost; he doth not say, that you may have hope, but that you may abound therein, that you may arrive to a plerophory or full assurance of hope, as it is in Hebrews 6:11. Such hope as may be like an anchor to the soul, to keep it safe and steady in the midst of storms and tempests. This hope is wrought in us by no less power and virtue than that of the Holy Ghost. See before.
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.Here begins the epilogue or conclusion of this excellent Epistle, wherein the apostle makes an apology, first for his manner of writing to them, and then for his not coming to them himself. His first apology is ushered in with a singular commendation of the Christians at Rome; he began with their commendation, Romans 1:8, and he ends with the same. There are three things which he commends them for. The first is their goodness; thus it is numbered among the fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. It may be taken more largely, and so it comprehends all grace and virtue; or else more strictly, and so it is put for kindness, gentleness, and charity, in forbearing and forgiving others. The second is all knowledge; i.e. in things necessary, or in matters relating to Christian liberly; or, by all knowledge, he means a large measure and proportion of it. The third is ability to admonish one another, to inform others in things about which they were ignorant, or it reprehend others for things about which they were negligent. Though there were many weak and ignorant persons among them, yet there were others of whom he was persuaded and fully assured they were thus qualified: see 1 Corinthians 1:5.
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,q.d. Though I am thus persuaded of you, or of many of you, yet I thought good to write to you
in some sort, or in part, or a little the more boldly and freely, that I may stir you up to the practise of that which you know already: see 2 Peter 1:12,13 3:1. This he speaks to allay the sharpness of his former reprehensions, and that what he had written might be the better digested; for all men more easily endure to be noted of negligence, than of malice or ignorance. And further he tells them, he could do no less,
because of the grace that was given him of God; i.e. because of his apostolical office and authority: see Romans 1:5 12:3.
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.He proceeds to speak more particularly of his office and calling, which he had mentioned more generally in the foregoing words.
The minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles: see the notes on Romans 11:13. See also Galatians 2:7,8 2 Timothy 1:11.
Ministering the gospel of God; i.e. preaching of it. Some read it consecrating, or working, in the holy service of the gospel of God. It is an allusion to the work or office of the priests under the law. The Jews and Gentiles, they both boasted of their priesthood and sacrifices: the apostle therefore showeth, that its ministry was far more excellent, being not occupied in sacrificing of beasts, but in offering up living men to be a holy sacrifice to God.
That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable: some understand it actively, that the Gentiles might, offer up themselves, as it is in Romans 12:1; or that they might offer up acceptable sacrifices to God, according to Malachi 1:11. But it is better understood passively, that the apostle, converting them by his ministry, might present or offer them to God, as an acceptable oblation: see Isaiah 66:20.
Being sanctified by the Holy Ghost; not by any priest on earth, but even by the Holy Ghost himself; as the oblations of old had their external and legal purifyings, so this oblation is purified or
sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.q.d. Having received this grace of apostleship, anti having had great success in my labours, multitudes being converted by my ministry: I have whereof to glory, or, I have matter of glorying and rejoicing. But then he adds, that this glorying of his was not in himself, but in and
through Jesus Christ, by whose grace he did what he did: see 1 Corinthians 15:10. And also, that it was not in any thing that concerned himself, but in things pertaining to God, which concerned his worship and service, and wherein his ministry consisted. In the foregoing verse he described his apostleship in terms that were borrowed from the Levitical priesthood: and here, contriving the same metaphor, he calleth the execution of his function, a performing of things pertaining to God. which is that for which the priests of old were ordained, Hebrews 5:1.
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,q.d. I dare not speak of more than is true, or of any thing that was not really done by me: or else the meaning is, I dare not speak of any thing that I have done of myself, I acknowledge that, whatever good hath come to the Gentiles by my means, it was wrought by Christ, whose instrument I have only been: see 1 Corinthians 3:5.
By word and deed: some join these words to the obedience of the Gentiles; by the preaching of the gospel they were made obedient in word and deed. But they are better joined with the former words; Christ wrought in and by the apostle Paul, believed word and deed. By word is understood his public preaching, and private instruction; and by deed, the example of his good works, or godly life: or else, by deed ye may understand the miracles that he wrought, and the labour and travail that he underwent; of which in the following verse.
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.Through mighty signs and wonders; or, by the power of signs and wonders, which served to confirm my commission from God, and the truth of what I preached, and so helped forward the obedience and conversion of the Gentiles: see 2 Corinthians 12:12. If there be any difference betwixt
signs and wonders, it is only gradual. I find them often conjoined in Scripture, Matthew 24:24 John 4:48 Acts 2:43 5:12 Acts 7:36 14:3.
By the power of the Spirit of God; which blessed the words, deeds, and miracles of the apostle, and wrought effectually by them in the Gentiles. The word dunamiv, power, or virtue, is twice used in this verse; it is first applied to signs and wonders, to show their efficacy; and then to the Spirit of God, to show that he was the efficient cause of that efficacy.
So that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum: this showeth the pains and travail of the apostle, to bring the Gentiles to the obedience of faith. Illyricum is said to be in the utmost parts of Greece, bordering upon the sea, which is thereupon called Illyricum Mare. It is thought to be the country now called Sclavonia, and that is distant from Jerusalem about three hundred and fifty German miles, which make above a thousand English miles; yet it seems he did not travel in a direct and straight line, but round about, or in a circle, as the word imports, fetching a circuit. Some writers have given us out of the Acts a particular history of his peregrination from Damascus, where he began his ministry: he went into Arabia, and after three years returned to Damascus, and from thence to Jerusalem; from Jerusalem he went to Caesarea, and so to Tarsus; from Tarsus Barnabas brought him to Antioch, and from thence to Jerusalem, to carry relief to the Jews. From Jerusalem they returned to Antioch; from Antioch he and Barnabas went to Seleucia, then to Cyprus, and to some cities of Pamphylia, and so to another Antioch in Pisidia; from thence to Lycaonia, and then returned to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended by the church. From Antioch they were sent to Jerusalem about the question of the circumcision, and returned to Antioch with the apostles’ decree. From thence he went through Syria and Cilicia, visiting the churches. Then he went through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia; then to Troas, where by a vision he was called unto Macedonia, and so came into the parts of Europe; first to Philippi in Macedonia, then to Thessalonica; from thence to Athens, and then to Corinth; from thence to Ephesus; and going to visit the churches of Galatia and Phrygia, returned to Ephesus. From Ephesus he went again to Macedonia; from thence to Troas and Miletus; and thence, by Tyrus and Caesarea, and other cities, he came to Jerusalem, where he was taken and put in bonds. Thus you have an account of the apostle’s travels, which he abridgeth here, when he says, that it was from Jerusalem round about unto Illyricum.
I have fully preached the gospel of Christ; i.e. I have filled all these countries with the gospel of Christ. The word signifieth to fulfil; see Colossians 4:17. This he calleth the finishing his ministry, Acts 20:24.
Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:Ver. 20,21. He gives a reason why he chose to preach the gospel in these places, because Christ had not been named or preached there before; this, he saith, was his ambition, and a thing that he greatly coveted; he was unwilling to
build upon another man’s foundation, to put his sickle into another’s harvest, to derive the glory to himself which would be due to others, 2 Corinthians 10:15,16. Again, another reason why he preached the gospel where Christ had not been named, was this, that so by him, as an apostle of Christ, and in his ministry, that scriptnre might be fulfilled, which you have in Isaiah 52:15, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see, & c. See Poole on "Isaiah 52:15".
But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.See Poole on "Romans 15:20"
For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.Hitherto he hath excused his manner of writing, now he makes an apology for his not coming unto them. They at Rome might be ready to say: If he had travelled into so many countries, why could he not all this while give us a visit? To this he answers, it was not from any want of respect or good will to them, but for another cause, which he had already assigned, and that was, the preaching of Christ where he had not been named; for this cause, he says, he had been much hindered: he looked upon that as the more necessary work; the planting of churches is more than the watering of them. He told them, Romans 1:13, of his being hindered from coming to them, and now he acquaints them lnore particularly with the reason, which he concealed before. The word (ta polla) rendered much, signifieth many; and it implies that he was many times hindered, and many ways; but this was the chief.
But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;Having given the reason why he came not to them hitherto, in the following words he assures them he would do it hereafter. And here he saith he was the more inclined so to do, first: Because he had no more place in those parts, i.e. as before, in those places where Christ had not been named, or his gospel preached, he had no new churches there to found, and he had ordained elders in every city to build upon his foundation. The word rendered parts, signifies climates; i.e. places which he on divers elevations of the pole. And then, secondly: Because he had long longed so to do, he had desired it for many years, Romans 1:10,11.
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.Here he sets down the time when he would visit them, i.e. when he took his journey into Spain. He saith, he trusted he should see them then; he was not assured of it, he had no revelation from God concerning it, he could make no absolute promise. See Romans 15:28.
And to be brought on my way thitherward by you; i.e. by some of you; this he did promise himself from them, and indeed it was usually done by the churches he visited; see Acts 17:15: not that he affected any train or pomp, but it was done for his guidance and safety, as he travelled through unknown and dangerous ways.
If first I be somewhat filled with your company: this he adds, lest they should think he meant to make no stay with them; he gives them to understand, that he did not intend to leave them, till they were mutually filled and satisfied with one another’s company and society.
But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.Some might be ready to say: If Paul hath no more place in those parts where he is, and hath such a longing desire to see us, why then doth he not presently come to us? To this he answers, that for the present he could not come, because he had a weighty affair upon his hands, which was to go up to Jerusalem to minister to the saints; i.e. to carry thither certain collections and contributions from the Gentile churches for their relief. He useth a participle of the present tense in the original, to show that this work is now in hand, and it would not stay or hold him long. Though indeed his work was to preach the gospel, and not to serve tables; yet it seems likely that the churches of the Gentiles, who were moved by him to this contribution, had committed the same to his care, 2 Corinthians 8:4.
For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.For the understanding of these words, you need only to read 2 Corinthians 8:1, and 2 Corinthians 9:2. When he saith, it hath pleased them, it is implied, that it was not extorted or squeezed out of them; but that it proceeded from a ready and willing mind, and that they took delight therein. The word here rendered contribution, properly signifieth communication, which implieth a mutual exchange or intercourse between the givers and the receivers; the one contributing alms, the other prayers and intercessions to God. He speaks elsewhere of communicating concerning giving and receiving, Philippians 4:15.
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.It hath pleased them verily; he makes this repetition, as to commend the Grecians, so also to admonish the Romans to the like benevolence.
And their debtors they are; i.e. the Gentiles are debtors to the Jews; though what they sent them was a gift, yet it was also a debt, it was due by the law of charity, Romans 13:8, and by the law of gratitude and equity; they had received from them, and they were obliged in some sort to make returns to them.
For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things: by the spiritual things of the Jews, of which the Gentiles were made partakers, you may understand all those things of which mention is made, Romans 9:4,5; more particularly, the gospel, with the ministry and ordinances thereof: the gospel was first preached to the Jews, and from Jerusalem it was spread abroad among the Gentiles: see Luke 24:47 Acts 1:4,8. By the carnal things of the Gentiles, you may understand their gold and silver, with all things needful for the sustentation of the body: you have a parallel place in 1 Corinthians 9:7.
When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit; i.e. After that I have despatched this business, and safely delivered the alms of the Greek churches to the Jews, wherewith I am intrusted; it is put into my hands as a treasure sealed in a bag or chest, that it may not be diminished or embezzled: he calls it fruit, because it proceeded from their faith and love, and because it would abound to their account, Philippians 4:17; it would benefit them that received it, but much more them that gave it.
I will come by you into Spain; i.e. I will take you, or your city, in my way thither. He told them as much before, Romans 15:24. This he really intended, but it is generally concluded that he was prevented, that he never went this journey into Spain. The purposes of men are ruled and overruled by the providence of God, Proverbs 16:9.
And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.i.e. As some expound it, I shall find you furnished with all spiritual and gospel blessings: this sense agrees with Romans 15:14. But others rather think, that he speaks of what he should bring with him, and not of what he should find there: therefore it may better be expounded by Romans 1:11,12. He assures himself he should impart unto them much knowledge, grace, and comfort; that he should enrich and fill them with all
the blessings of the gospel of Christ.
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;In the conclusion, he commends himself to their prayers. This is usual with him in his other Epistles: see Ephesians 6:18-20 Colossians 4:3 2 Thessalonians 3:1 Hebrews 13:18.
I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake: q.d. If not for my sake, yet for his sake, who is most dear to you.
And for the love of the Spirit: q.d. If you love the Spirit of God; or rather, if the grace of love be wrought in you by the Spirit, show it in this thing. This pathetical way of speaking is frequent with this apostle: see Romans 12:1 Philippians 2:1.
That ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that you strive as those that be in an agony; it is a military word: he bespeaks their earnest and importunate prayers in his behalf. Jacob prayed after this manner; so did Elijah, and Epaphras, Colossians 4:12. He prayed himself, and he desired them to join with him, and help him, as Aaron and Hur helped Moses.
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;Here are two things more particularly, which he desires them to beg of God in his behalf.
First: That ye may be delivered from them that did not believe, or were disobedient and refractory, in Judea. He knew the Jews were incensed against him; that troubles did abide him or wait for him in Judea, thither he was going; see Acts 20:23. And it happened accordingly, for the Jews went about to kill him, Acts 21:31. Therefore it is that he desires their prayers, that he might be delivered from them; see 2 Thessalonians 3:2.
Secondly: That the alms he brought the poor saints at Jerusalem might be taken by them in good part; that they might be reconciled, both to the Gentile churches that sent it, and to him that brought it. It detracts greatly from a gift, when it comes, either from one, or by one, against whom we are prejudiced.
That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God: q.d. This would be a means to make me come unto you with the more comfort, if God will, or if God grant it to our prayers. This condition, if God will, he had before inserted upon this very occasion, Romans 1:10. See the like, 1 Corinthians 4:19 Jam 4:13,15. This he did to free himself from the suspicion of inconstancy, in case it should fall out otherwise; as also to show, that always, and in all things, he referred himself to the good pleasure and providence of God.
And may with you be refreshed; i.e. with your company and converse. This hath the same sense with Romans 1:12: see the notes there.
Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.The God of peace; this is a frequent title of God in Scripture; he is called the God of peace, Romans 16:20 2 Corinthians 13:11 Philippians 4:9 1 Thessalonians 5:23 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Hebrews 13:20. Here it fits his great argument, which was to persuade the believing Romans to be at peace amongst themselves, and not to contend about indifferent things.
Be with you all: three times in this chapter doth the apostle lift up a prayer for the believing Romans; see Romans 16:5,13; and this is more comprehensive than the other two. If God be with us, no good thing can be wanting to us. God’s presence is inclusive of all good, and exclusive of all evil.
Amen: see Romans 16:27.