Romans 15:14
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.
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(14) And I myself also.—From this point onwards the Apostle gives a personal turn to his letter. The greetings at the end are naturally introduced by a few words of explanation as to the way in which the more general exhortations that preceded are to be received by the Roman Christians, and a somewhat longer statement on the part of the Apostle of his own relations to the Church at Rome. This might seem to be the more necessary as the Church was not one of his own founding, and he might seem to be both going out of his way and acting in contradiction to his own principles in writing to them at all.

I write thus to you though you do not really need all these exhortations. Not only do others tell me, but I am convinced myself that you possess all the qualifications which would fit you to teach others instead of receiving instruction yourselves.

Ye also.—Rather, even yourselves, as you are, and without any stimulus or incitement given to you from without.

Goodnessi.e., goodness of disposition, readiness to practise all the Christian virtues, especially those to which the last section had been exhorting.

Knowledgei.e., of the doctrinal aspects of Christianity as they had been set forth in the earlier portion of the Epistle. No doubt the Apostle had really much to teach his readers—he does not say that he had not—but he courteously gives them credit for all they knew.

Romans 15:14-17. And I myself am persuaded of you — The apology which the apostle here offers for writing to a church with which he was not personally acquainted was the more necessary, because, in his letter, he had opposed some of their strongest prejudices, and had rebuked them for certain irregularities in their conduct. But he was entitled to instruct and reprove them, by virtue of his apostolic office, (Romans 15:15;) the truth of which he proved by his success in converting the Gentiles; (Romans 15:16-17;) and by the miracles he had wrought among them, and by the gifts of the Spirit he had communicated to his converts, in all the Gentile countries which he had visited. That ye — Some among you, by being created anew; are full of goodness — Of kindness, so as to forbear giving unnecessary offence to, or censuring one another; filled with all knowledge — A large measure of knowledge in all needful points, through your long experience in the ways of God; able also to admonish — To instruct, and confirm; one another — In all things of importance. There are several conclusions of this epistle: the first begins at this verse; the second, Romans 16:1; the third, Romans 15:17; the fourth, Romans 15:21; and the fifth, Romans 15:25. Nevertheless, brethren — Notwithstanding your grace and knowledge; I have written the more boldly unto you — Have used the greater freedom and plainness in writing; in some sort — Απο μερους, in part, or partly; as putting you in mind — That is, setting before you, and inciting you to the practice of what you know already; because of the grace that is given to me — That is, because I am constituted an apostle of the Gentiles. Whitby thinks, that by the expression, in part, in the former clause of the verse, the apostle meant to signify the Gentile part of the Church of Rome to whom he wrote, to put them in mind of God’s great goodness to them. But it seems more probable he intended thereby to insinuate, that his design in writing was, besides calling things to their remembrance which they knew, to instruct them in some things which they did not know. That I should be the minister — The servant; of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering, preaching, the gospel of God — In order to their conversion and edification; that the offering up of the Gentiles — To him, as living sacrifices; might be acceptable — In his sight; being sanctified by the Holy Ghost — Plentifully communicated to them, not only in a rich variety of gifts, but in his regenerating, purifying, and comforting influences; making them wise and good, holy toward God, and useful to their fellow-creatures. I have therefore — Having, by the blessing of God upon my labours, been instrumental in converting many of them, whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ — In and through whom all my glorying is; in those things which pertain to God — In the success of my ministry, wherein the glory of God is so much concerned.

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.And I myself also - The apostle here proceeds to show them why he had written this Epistle, and to state his confidence in them. He had exhorted them to peace; he had opposed some of their strongest prejudices; and in order to secure their obedience to his injunctions, he now shows them the deep interest which he had in their welfare, though he had never seen them.

Am persuaded - He had never seen them Romans 1:10-13, but he had full confidence in them. This confidence he had expressed more fully in the first chapter.

Of you - Concerning you. I have full confidence in you.

My brethren - An address of affection; showing that he was not disposed to assume undue authority, or to lord it over their faith.

Are full of goodness - Filled with "kindness" or "benevolence." That is, they were "disposed" to obey any just commands; and that consequently any errors in their opinions and conduct had not been the effect of obstinacy or perverseness. There was indeed danger in the city of Rome of pride and haughtiness; and among the Gentile converts there might have been some reluctance to receive instruction from a foreign Jew. But the apostle was persuaded that all this was overcome by the mild and humbling spirit of religion, and that they were disposed to obey any just commands. He made this observation, therefore, to conciliate respect to his authority as an apostle.

Filled with all knowledge - That is, instructed in the doctrines and duties of the Christian religion. This was true; but there might be still some comparatively unimportant and nonessential points, on which they might not be entirely clear. On these, the apostle had written; and written, not professedly to communicate "new" ideas, but to "remind" them of the great principles on which they were before instructed, Romans 15:15.

Able also ... - That is, you are so fully instructed in Christian principles, as to be able to give advice and counsel, if it is needed. From this verse we may learn,

(1) That when it is our duty to give instruction, admonition, or advice, it should be in a kind, conciliating manner; not with harshness, or with the severity of authority. Even "an apostle" did not assume harshness or severity in his instructions.

(2) there is no impropriety in speaking of the good qualities of Christians in their presence; or even of "commending" and "praising" them when they deserve it.

The apostle Paul was as far as possible from always dwelling on the faults of Christians. When it was necessary to reprove them, he did it, but did it with tenderness and tears. When he "could" commend, he preferred it; and never hesitated to give them credit to the utmost extent to which it could be rendered. He did not "flatter," but he told the truth; he did not commend to excite pride and vanity, but to encourage, and to prompt to still more active efforts. The minister who always censures and condemns, whose ministry is made up of complaints and lamentations, who never speaks of Christians but in a strain of fault-finding, is unlike the example of the Saviour and of Paul, and may expect little success in his work; compare Romans 1:8; Romans 16:19; 1 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Corinthians 9:2; Philippians 1:3-7; Hebrews 6:9; 2 Peter 1:12.

Ro 15:14-33. Conclusion: In Which the Apostle Apologizes for Thus Writing to the Roman Christians, Explains Why He Had Not Yet Visited Them, Announces His Future Plans, and Asks Their Prayers for the Completion of Them.

14, 15. And, &c.—rather, "Now I am persuaded, my brethren, even I myself, concerning you"

that ye also yourselves are full of goodness—of inclination to all I have been enjoining on you

filled with all knowledge—of the truth expounded

and able—without my intervention.

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.

And I myself also am persuaded of you,.... This is said by way of prevention to an objection that might he made to the apostle's prayers and exhortations by the Romans. What does the apostle mean by all this? what does he think of us, or take us to be? men that live in malice to one another, devoid of all humanity, and mutual respect? a parcel of fools and ignorant men, that know nothing of divine things? and though there may be some that are much to be blamed for their conduct and carriage to their fellow Christians, what, are there none among us fit to give advice and admonition? To which the apostle replies, that he was far from entertaining such thoughts of them; that though he had not seen them in person, yet he had had such an account of their faith and practice, which were famous throughout the world, that he was thoroughly persuaded of better things of them, though he thus spake; and therefore, to mollify them, and abate their resentment, he adds,

my brethren; testifying his affection to them, owning the spiritual relation they stood in to him, and declaring the great esteem he had for them, and the high opinion he had of them: saying,

that ye also are full of goodness; not naturally, for there is no good thing in men by nature, but what they had was from the Spirit of God, whose fruit is "goodness": and by which may be meant, either the good gifts of the Spirit of God, or rather his graces, even the good work of grace in general, and which is goodness itself: it comes from a good cause, the good Spirit of God; is good in its own nature, not having the least mixture or tincture of evil in it; and good in its effects, since it makes and denominates a man a good man; now these saints might be said to be full of this, to denote the abundance, the superabundance of grace in this work: or particularly beneficence, humanity, and sympathy to fellow Christians, may be intended. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "full of love": but the copies and eastern versions read as we do.

Filled with all knowledge; not with every sort of knowledge, with the knowledge of all languages, or of all the arts and sciences, of all things, natural and political; but with all spiritual knowledge relating to God, his nature and perfections, his mind and will; to Christ and the work of redemption by him; to the Spirit, and the operations of his grace; to the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; to their duty to God, fellow creatures, and fellow Christians; in short, with all knowledge necessary to salvation, though as yet not perfect, and which will not be in this world, but in another:

able also to admonish one another; as they must be, since they were both good and knowing; goodness and knowledge are necessary to admonition, and qualify persons for it: if a man is not a good man himself, he is not fit to admonish another; and if he has not knowledge, he will not be able to do it as it should be; and without humanity and tenderness, he will not perform it aright, and with success; but all this being in these persons, they were able and fit for it. Some copies read it, "able also to admonish others"; so the Syriac version renders; which makes the expression still stronger, and enlarges their praise and commendation.

{8} And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that {l} ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

(8) The conclusion of the epistle, in which he first excuses himself, that he has written somewhat at length to them, rather to warn them than to teach them, and that of necessity, by reason of his calling, which binds him in a special way to the Gentiles.

(l) Of your own accord, and by yourselves.

Romans 15:14. Πέπεισμαι δέ] but I am of the conviction; Romans 8:38, Romans 14:14. The δέ is the simple μεταβατικόν, leading over to the concluding portion of the epistle.

καὶ αὐτὸς ἐγώ] et ipse ego; comp. on Romans 7:25. The apostle is, independently of the general advantageous estimation in which the Roman church stood with others (Romans 1:8), also for his own personal part of the conviction, etc. The emphasis lies on αὐτός. If the thought were: “even I, who have hitherto so unreservedly exhorted you” (Philippi, comp. de Wette, Fritzsche, and older interpreters), ἐγώ would have the emphasis (comp. κἀγὼ αὐτός, Acts 10:26); but καὶ αὐτός corresponds entirely to the following καὶ αὐτοί, et ipsi, i.e. even without first of all requiring influence, exhortation, etc., on the fart of others. Comp. afterwards καὶ ἀλλήλους. Thus, accordingly, Paul denotes by κ. αὐτὸς ἐγώ the autonomy of his judgment, but with a subtle indication of the judgment of others as coinciding therewith. Comp. Bengel: “Non modo alii hoc de vobis existimant.” Paul intends therewith to obviate the idea as if he for his part judged less favourably of the church, with reference to the fact, not that he had written this letter generally (Hofmann), but that he had written it in part τολμηρότερον. This is shown by the contrast, Romans 15:15.

ἀγαθωσύνης] goodness, excellence generally (that you also of yourselves are very excellent people), not equivalent to χρηστότης (as Thom. Mag. p. 391 states), not even in Galatians 5:22. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Ephesians 5:9; Ecclesiastes 9:18. The word is not found in the Greek writers.

The three predicates, μεστοί κ.τ.λ., advance in co-ordination from the general to the particular.

καὶ ἀλλήλ.] also to admonish you among one another, without having need for a third, who should admonish you. On νουθετεῖν, in which the notion of its being well-meant, though not involved in the word of itself, is given by the connection or (as in Isocr. de pace, 72) by express contrast, see on 1 Corinthians 14:14, Ephesians 6:4. Paul does not express in this verse something more than he strictly means (Reiche), but that which he really believes of the Roman church, taken as a whole; at which favourable conviction he—apart from the universally-diffused good report of the church (Romans 1:8)—has arrived by means of experiences unknown to us, and perhaps also in virtue of his feeling assured that he might draw from the individuals and influential persons with whom he was acquainted a conclusion respecting the whole. But the fact that he does express it,—this commendation,—rests on his apostolic truth, and on that wisdom of teaching which by good and real confidence attracts a zeal of compliance.

Romans 15:14-33.[19] The apostle has now come to an end with all the instructions and exhortations, which he intended to impart to the Romans. Hence he now adds, up to Romans 15:33, an epilogue (which, however, he then follows up in chap. 16 with commendations, greetings, etc.). In this epilogue, which in substance corresponds to the introduction, Romans 1:8-16, and by no means applies only to the section respecting the weak in faith (Melanchthon, Grotius), but to the whole epistle, he testifies his good confidence towards the readers, and justifies his in a partial degree bold writing by his Gentile-apostolic calling (Romans 15:14-16) and working (Romans 15:17-21), which latter had also been usually the hindrance to his coming personally to Rome (Romans 15:22). This observation leads him to his present plan of travel, the execution of which will bring him, in the course of his intended journey to Spain, to Rome, after he has been at Jerusalem (Romans 15:23-29). For this impending journey he finally begs the prayers of the Romans on his behalf (Romans 15:30-33), and then concludes with a blessing (Romans 15:33).

[19] According to Lucht, vv. 14–33 contain much that is Pauline and various matters historically correct, but also incorrect statements, and, on the whole, a non-Pauline tendency. The parallels with passages in the Epistles to the Corinthians are to be explained simply by dependence on the latter, etc., p. 185 ff. These are self-deceptions of a fanciful criticism, against which it is vain to contend.

Romans 15:14. πέπεισμαι δέ: the tone in which he has written, especially in chap. 14, might suggest that he thought them very defective either in intelligence, or love, or both; but he disclaims any such inference from his words. ἀδελφοί μου has a friendly emphasis: cf. Romans 7:4. καὶ αὐτὸς ἐγὼ cf. Romans 7:25 : it means “even I myself, who have taken it upon me to address you so plainly”. ὅτι καὶ αὐτοὶ μεστοί ἐστε ἀγαθωσύνης: that even of yourselves ye are full of goodness, i.e., without any help from me. ἀγαθωσύνη in all N.T. passages (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9, 2 Thessalonians 1:11) seems to have an association with ἀγαθὸς in the sense of “kind”: the goodness of which Paul speaks here is probably therefore not virtue in general, but the charity on which such stress is laid in chap. 14 as the only rule of Christian conduct. πεπληρωμένοι πάσης γνώσεως: filled full of all knowledge—“our Christian knowledge in its entirety” (Sanday and Headlam). This, again, may refer to the comprehension of Christianity shown by the strong of chap. 14: or it may be intended to apologise for the unusually doctrinal character of the epistle. Both μεστοί and πεπληρωμένοι occur also in Romans 1:29. δυνάμενοι κ. ἀλλήλους νουθετεῖν: in a sense therefore self-sufficient.

14–21. Commendation of the Christian maturity of the Roman believers: yet St Paul writes to them with the authority of the commissioned and laborious Apostle of the Gentiles

14. And] Lit., and better, Now; the word of transition.

I myself also] i.e. as well as others, by whom “your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world;” (Romans 1:8).

In this verse and the next we have an echo, as it were, of Romans 1:8; Romans 1:11-12; Romans 1:15. What St Paul says here is in no insincere diplomatic compliment, but the well-grounded conviction of his mind as to the Roman Christians as a body. And it is quite in harmony with the substance and tone of the Epistle, which is evidently written for those who were no novices in Christian doctrine, and who were also comparatively free from such faults of Christian practice as defiled, for instance, the Corinthian Church. He wrote to them as he had written just because they were in a state of spiritual vigour and maturity. Perhaps too, he instinctively expresses this conviction the more strongly, because he is writing to the Church of the imperial Metropolis, the mighty Centre of influence. See on Romans 1:15.

ye also] As truly as your Teacher can be.

full] Lit. brimful. Same word as Romans 1:29.

goodness] Same word as Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11. It is “excellence” in a wide sense.

Romans 15:14. Ἀδελφοί μου, my brethren) As one street often conducts men going out of a large city through several gates, so the conclusion of this epistle is manifold. The first begins with this verse; the second with ch. Romans 16:1; the third with Romans 16:17; the fourth with Romans 16:21; and the fifth with Romans 16:25.—καὶ αὐτὸς ἐγὼ, I myself also) not merely others, hold this opinion of you, ch. Romans 1:8.—καὶ αὐτοὶ, you yourselves also) even without any admonition of mine.—δυνάμενοι, who are able) By this very declaration he exhorts them to exercise that ability.—καὶ ἀλλήλους, also one another) not merely that every one should be his own monitor; comp. 2 Timothy 2:2.—νουθετεῖν, to admonish) He points to this ability, [viz. such as consists in this] that a man may be μεστὸς, full of goodness, full from the new creation itself; filled (πεπληρωμενος) with all knowledge, filled, viz. by daily exercise; in the understanding and the will. So, goodness and knowledge are joined, 1 Peter 3:6-7, and the former is especially recommended to women, the latter to men. Γνῶσις, is properly knowledge; and such knowledge, as shows respect to the weaker vessel, obtains the name of moderation, yet it is in reality knowledge.

Verses 14-33. - I. Expression of confidence in the general disposition of the Roman Christians, and of the writer's desire to visit them, and his intentions in accordance with that desire. Verse 14. - And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye yourselves also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. It is St. Paul's courteous as well as kindly way to compliment those to whom he writes on what he believes to be good in them, and to cling to a good opinion of them, even where he has some misgivings, or has had reason to find fault (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4, seq.; 2 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 3:1, seq.; 7:3, seq.). Here "I myself also" (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐγὼ) may have tacit reference to the general good report of the Roman Church (cf. Romans 1:8 and Romans 16:19), which he means to say he himself by no means doubts the truth of, notwithstanding his previous warnings. "Ye yourselves also" (καὶ αὐτοὶ) implies his trust that even without such warnings they would of themselves be as he would wish them to be; "full of goodness" (ἀγαθωσύνης), so as to be kind to one another, as they were enlightened and replete with knowledge (γνώσεως). Romans 15:14Here the Epilogue of the Epistle begins. Bengel says: "As one street often leads men, leaving a large city, through several gates, so the conclusion of this Epistle is manifold."

Goodness (ἀγαθωσύνης)

See on Romans 3:12.

To admonish (νουθετεῖν)

See on Acts 20:31.

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