Romans 1:13
Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that oftentimes I purposed to come to you, (but was let till now,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
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(13) In the previous verses the Apostle has been speaking of his desire; here he speaks of his purpose, which is one step nearer to the realisation. He had intended to add the Roman Church to the harvest that he was engaged in gathering in.

Let.—This is, of course, an archaism for “hindered,” “prevented.” The Greek is literally, “and was prevented hitherto.”

It is hardly worth while to speculate, as some commentators have done, on the causes that may have hindered the Apostle from going to Rome. In a life like his there may have been many.

Romans 1:13-15. Now, brethren — Lest ye should be surprised that I, who am the apostle of the Gentiles, and who have expressed such a desire to see you, have never yet preached in Rome; I would not have you ignorant — I wish to inform you; that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you — See the margin. But was let (prevented) hitherto — Either by the greater necessities of others, as Romans 15:22, or by the Spirit, Acts 16:7, or by Satan raising opposition and persecution, or otherwise hindering, 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:18. That I might have some fruit — Of my ministerial labours; by the conversion of some, and the confirmation and edification of others; even as — I have already had from the many churches I have planted and watered, among other Gentiles, Romans 15:18-19. I am debtor both to the Greeks, &c. — Being the apostle of the Gentiles, I am bound to preach both to the Greeks, however intelligent, and to the barbarians, however ignorant. Under the name Greeks, the Romans are comprehended, because they were now become a learned and polished people. For the meaning of the name barbarian, see the note on Acts 28:2, and 1 Corinthians 14:11; both to the wise and the unwise — For there were unwise even among the Greeks, and wise even among the barbarians; and Paul considered himself as a debtor to them all; that is, under an indispensable obligation, by his divine mission, to preach the gospel to them; bound in duty and gratitude to do his utmost to promote the conversion and salvation of men of every nation and rank, of every genius and character. So, as much as in me is — According to the ability which God gives me, and the opportunities with which he is pleased to favour me; I am ready, and desirous, to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also — Though it be the capital of the world, a place of so much politeness and grandeur, and a place likewise where it might seem peculiarly dangerous to oppose those popular superstitions to which the empire is supposed to owe its greatness and felicity: yet still, at all events, I am willing to come and publish this divine message among you; though it should be at the expense of my reputation, my liberty, or life.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.That oftentimes I purposed - See Romans 1:10. How often he had purposed this we have no means of ascertaining. The fact, however, that he had done it, showed his strong desire to see them, and to witness the displays of the grace of God in the capital of the Roman world; compare Romans 15:23-24. One instance of his having purposed to go to Rome is recorded in Acts 19:21, "After these things were ended (namely, at Ephesus), Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia to go to Jerusalem; saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome." This purpose expressed in this manner in the Epistle, and the Acts of the Apostles, has been shown by Dr. Paley (Horae Paulinae on Romans 1:13) to be one of those undesigned coincidences which strongly show that both books are genuine; compare Romans 15:23-24, with Acts 19:21. A forger of these books would not have thought of such a contrivance as to feign such a purpose to go to Rome at that time, and to have mentioned it in that manner. Such coincidences are among the best proofs that can be demanded, that the writers did not intend to impose on the world; see Paley.

But was let hitherto - The word "let" means to "hinder," or to "obstruct." In what way this was done we do not know, but it is probable that he refers to the various openings for the preaching of the gospel where he had been, and to the obstructions of various kinds from the enemies of the gospel to the fulfillment of his purposes.

That I might have some fruit among you - That I might be the means of the conversion of sinners and of the edification of the church in the capital of the Roman Empire. It was not curiosity to see the splendid capital of the world that prompted this desire; it was not the love of travel, and of roaming from clime to clime; it was the specific purpose of doing good to the souls of human beings. To "have fruit" means to obtain success in bringing men to the knowledge of Christ. Thus, the Saviour said John 15:16," I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain."

13. oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, but was let—hindered.

hitherto—chiefly by his desire to go first to places where Christ was not known (Ro 15:20-24).

that I might have some fruit—of my ministry

among you also, even as among other Gentiles—The Gentile origin of the Church at Rome is here so explicitly stated, that those who conclude, merely from the Jewish strain of the argument, that they must have been mostly Israelites, decide in opposition to the apostle himself. (But see on [2179]Introduction to this Epistle.)

He prevents a cavil; they might say, If Paul hath such a longing desire to see us, why doth he not come to us? To this he answers, it was not for want of will or affection; for he often intended and attempted it.

But was let hitherto; either by Satan, as 1 Thessalonians 2:18; or by the Holy Spirit otherwise disposing of him, as Acts 16:6,7 Ro 15:22. It is possible that he might be hindered also by his own infirmities, or by others’ necessities and entreaties, Acts 10:48 16:15 28:14.

That I might have some fruit, i.e. of my ministry and calling, as the apostle of the uncircumcision. He hoped the gospel he should preach among them would have good success, and bring forth fruit in them, as it had done in other churches of the Gentiles. See Colossians 1:6. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren,.... The apostle calls them brethren, because many of them were Jews, his brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh, and all of them were his brethren in a spiritual relation; and this he does to express his affection to them, and engage their attention and credit to him, and particularly to this matter which he now acquaints them with, being unwilling they should be ignorant of it;

that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you: it was not a sudden start of mind, or a desire that lately arose up in him, but a settled resolution and determination, and which he had often made:

but was let hitherto; either by God, who had work for him to do in other places; or by Satan, who sometimes by divine permission has had such power and influence; see 1 Thessalonians 2:18, or through the urgent necessities of other churches, which required his stay with them longer than he intended: his end in taking up at several times such a resolution of coming to them was, says he,

that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles: by fruit he means, not any reward of his labour, either temporal or eternal; but the conversion of sinners, the edification of saints, and the fruitfulness of believers in grace and works. The apostle seems to allude to the casting of seed into the earth: Christ's ministers' are husbandmen, who sow the seed of the word, which lies some time under the clods; wherefore patience is necessary to wait its springing up, first in the blade, and then in the ear, then in the full corn in the ear, when it brings forth fruit; all which depend on the blessing of God: and when he adds, "as among other Gentiles", his design is not so much to let them know that they were as other Gentiles, upon a level with them, had no pre-eminence as citizens of Rome, over other saints, being all one in Christ Jesus; as to observe to them his success in other places, where he had been preaching the Gospel of the grace of God.

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
Romans 1:13. My longing towards you has often awakened in me the purpose of coming to you, in order also among you etc. Paul might have placed a καί before προεθ., but was not obliged to do so (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection); and he has not put it, because he did not think of it. The discourse proceeds from the desire (Romans 1:11) to the purpose, which is coming nearer to realisation. Hence it is the less necessary to transfer the weight of the thought in Romans 1:13 to the clause expressive of purpose (Mangold).

οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμ. ἀγν.] The Apostle lays stress on this communication. Comp on Romans 11:25. The δὲ is the simple μεταβατικόν.

καὶ ἐκωλ. ἄχρι τοῦ δεῦρο] is a parenthesis separated from the structure of the sentence, so that ἵνα attaches itself to προεθ. ἐλθ. πρ. ὑμ. The καὶ, however, is not to be taken as adversative, as Köllner still thinks (see, in opposition to this, Fritzsche), but as the simple and marking the sequence of thought, which here (comp John 17:10) intervenes parenthetically. For the view which makes it still dependent on ὅτι, so that it introduces the second part of what the readers are to know (Hofmann), is precluded by the following clause of purpose, which can only apply to that resolution so often formed.

δεῦρο] used only here in the N. T. as a particle of time, but more frequently in Plato and later authors; see Wetstein. That by which Paul had been hitherto hindered, may be seen in Romans 15:22; consequently it was neither by the devil (1 Thessalonians 2:18) nor by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6 f.). Grotius aptly observes (comp Romans 15:22): “Magis urgebat necessitas locorum, in quibus Christus erat ignotus.”

ἵνα τινὰ καρπὸν κ.τ.λ[372]] is entirely parallel in sense with ἽΝΑ ΤΙ ΜΕΤΑΔῶ Κ.Τ.Λ[373] in Romans 1:11, and it is a gratuitous refining on the figurative καρπόν to find specially indicated here the conversion of unbelievers beyond the range which the church had hitherto embraced (Hofmann); comp also Th. Schott, and even Mangold, who takes the Apostle as announcing his desire to take in hand the Gentile mission also among his readers, so that the καρπός would be Gentiles to be converted. No; by καρπόν Paul, with a complimentary egotism flattering to the readers, describes that which his personal labours among the Romans would have effected—consequently what had been said without metaphor in Romans 1:11—according to a current figure (John 4:36; John 15:16; Php 1:22; Colossians 1:6), as harvest-fruit which he would have had among them, and which as the produce of his labour would have been his (ideal) possession among them. But in this view the literal sense of ἔχειν (comp Romans 6:21 f.) is not even to be altered by taking it as consequi (Wolf, Kypke, Koppe, Köllner, Tholuck, and others). To postpone the having the fruit, however, till the last day (Mehring) is quite alien to the context.

καθὼς καὶ ἐν τοῖς λοιπ. ἔθν.] as also among the remaining nations, i.e. Gentiles (see on Romans 1:5), namely, I have fruit. In the animation and fulness of his thought Paul has inserted twice the καὶ of comparison, inasmuch as there was present to his mind the twofold conception: (1) “among you also,[376] as among;” and (2) “among you, as also among.” So frequently in Greek authors. See Baeumlein, Partikell. p. 153; Stallbaum, a[377] Plat. Gorg. p. 457 E; Winer, p. 409 [E. T. 547]. There is therefore no grammatical reason for commencing the new sentence with καθώς (Mehring), nor is it in accordance with the repetition of the ἐν.

[372] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[373] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[376] That the “you” must mean the Roman Christians, and not the still unconverted Romans (Th. Schott), is clearly shown by all the passages, from ver. 8 onwards, in which the ὑμεῖς occurs; and especially by the ὑμῖν τοῖς ἐν ʼΡωμῃ in ver. 15. As regards their nationality, they belong to the category of Gentiles. Comp. Romans 11:13, Romans 16:4; Galatians 2:12; Galatians 2:14; Ephesians 3:1. But if Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Gentiles already converted also belong to his apostolic sphere of labour, as, e.g., the Colossians and Laodiceans, and (vv. 5, 6) the Romans. Schott is compelled to resort to very forced suggestions regarding ἐν ὑμῖν and ὑμῖν, especially here and in ver. 15; as also Mangold, who can only find therein a geographical designation (comp. Hofmann: “he addresses them as a constituent portion of the people of Rome”). Comp. on ver. 15.

[377] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.Romans 1:13. οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν: a phrase of constant recurrence in Paul, and always with ἀδελφοί (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1, 2 Corinthians 1:8). Some emphasis is laid by it on the idea that his desire or purpose to visit them was no passing whim. It was grounded in his vocation as Apostle of the Gentiles, and though it had been often frustrated he had never given it up. ἐκωλύθην ἄχρι τοῦ δεῦρο: probably the main obstacle was evangelistic work which had to be done elsewhere. Cf. chap. Romans 15:22 f. The purpose of his visit is expressed in ἵνα τινὰ καρπὸν σχῶ: that I may obtain some fruit among you also. καρπὸς denotes the result of labour: it might either mean new converts or the furtherance of the Christians in their new life. καθὼς καὶ ἐν τοῖς λοιποῖς ἔθνεσιν: nothing could indicate more clearly that the Church at Rome, as a whole, was Gentile.13. Now I would not have you ignorant] A characteristic phrase. See Romans 11:25; 1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

I purposed to come unto you] Within limits, evidently, St Paul’s plans were no more inspired than those of modern missionaries; his most deliberate intentions were liable to correction by his Master. The correction came often in the form, not of silent providence, but of miraculous intimation. See Acts 16:6-7, and cp. 2 Corinthians 1:15-17.

but was let hitherto] Lit. and was let (hindered). Practically, though not in grammatical form, this clause is a parenthesis. For the nature of the hindrance, see Romans 15:22-23.

that I might have some fruit] Some results of my ministry. The “results” here contemplated would be not so much conversions as the deeper instruction of the converted.

other Gentiles] Properly, the other Gentiles. This clause proves that the large majority of the Roman Christians were converts from paganism. The drift of the whole Epistle says the same.Romans 1:13. Ὀυἀγνοεῖν, not—to be ignorant) A form of expression usual with Paul, which shows the candour of his mind.—ἀδελφοί, brethren) An address, frequent, holy, adapted to all, simple, agreeable, magnificent. It is profitable, in this place, to consider the titles, which the apostles use in their addresses. They rather seldom introduce proper names, such as Corinthians, Timothy, etc. Paul most frequently calls them brethren; sometimes, when he is exhorting them, beloved, or my beloved brethren. James says, brethren, my brethren, my beloved brethren; Peter and Jude always use the word beloved; John often, beloved; once, brethren; more than once, little, or my little children, as Paul, my son Timothy.—καρπὸν σχῶ, I might have fruit) Have, a word elegantly placed midway between receive and give. What is profitable to others is a delight to Paul himself. He esteems that as the fruit [of his labour] (Php 1:22). In every place, he wishes to have something [a gift] put out at interest. He somewhat modifies [qualifies] this desire of gain [spiritual gain], when he speaks of himself in the following verse as a debtor. He both demands and owes, Romans 1:12; Romans 1:11. By the cords of these two forces, the 15th verse is steadied and strengthened.—καθὼς, even as) Good extends itself among as many as possible.Verse 13. - But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (and was hindered hitherto), that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. Some take the "but" at the beginning of this verse (οὐ θέλω δὲ) as the apodosis to πρῶτον μὲν in ver. 8, with the meaning, "I am aware, and am thankful, that your faith is already notorious; but still I wish you to know that I have long had a desire to visit you." But the μὲν and δὲ are too far separated to commend this view. It is more after St. Paul's style that there should be no apodosis to πρῶτον μὲν; his train of thought carries him on so that he forgets how he began his sentence; and ver. 13 comes naturally as the sequence of ver. 12, whether we render δὲ by "but," or (as in the Authorized Version) by "now," or (as in the Revised Version) by "and." The long-cherished intention here spoken of had been expressed by him when at Ephesus, before his departure to Macedonia (Acts 19:21). Feeling himself to be peculiarly the apostle to the Gentile world, and having already been the first agent in carrying the gospel into Europe (Acts 16:9, 10), and having established it there in important centres of population, he ever kept in view an eventual visit to the imperial city itself, in the hope of its thence permeating the whole western world. What had so far hindered him appears from Romans 15:22 to have been principally missionary work which had first to be accomplished elsewhere. At last Providence carried him there in a way not of his own choosing. Thus man proposes, God disposes. In this verse the Roman Church seems certainly to be regarded as a Gentile one. What classes of converts probably at that time composed it has been considered in the Introduction. Whatever its nucleus, St. Paul plainly feels that, in sending this Epistle to it, he is carrying out his especial mission of extending the gospel to the Gentile world, though at the same time he writes mainly from a Jewish standpoint, appealing frequently to the Jewish Scriptures, with which he presupposes an acquaintance on the part of his readers. But the latter fact is not inconsistent with the supposition of their being, either then or prospectively, mainly of Gentile race. The gospel was everywhere preached as the fulfilment of Judaism (see note on ver. 2); and for understanding both its purport and its evidences, all would have to be to some extent indoctrinated in the ancient Scriptures. It is to be observed, too, that in the next verse the apostle implies a sense of now addressing a peculiarly civilized and cultivated community; he seems to have before him the prospect of his address reaching the educated and intelligent classes of society in the imperial city. And the Epistle, as it goes on, is in accordance with such an aim. For its arguments are addressed, not merely to believers in the Old Testament, but also generally to philosophical thinkers. The state of the world is reviewed, human consciousness is analyzed, deep problems which had long exercised the minds of philosophers are touched on, and the gospel is, in fact, commended to the world as God's answer to man's needs. I would not have you ignorant

An emphatic expression calling special attention to what follows. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

Have some fruit (τινὰ καρπὸν σχῶ)

For the phrase, compare Romans 6:22. A metaphorical statement of what is stated literally in Romans 1:11. Not equivalent to bear fruit, but to gather as a harvest. Compare John 4:36; Philippians 1:22; Colossians 1:6. Fruit is a favorite metaphor with Paul. He uses it in both a good and a bad sense. See Romans 7:4, Romans 7:5; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22.

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