Romans 15:19
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.
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(19) Through mighty signs and wonders.—Literally, through the might of signs and wondersi.e., through those extraordinary powers which found their expression in signs and wonders. “Signs and wonders” is the phrase regularly used throughout the New Testament for the Christian miracles: so frequently in the Gospels. (Comp. also 2Corinthians 12:12; 2Thessalonians 2:9; Hebrews 11:4.) The two words are very similar in meaning. They denote the same acts, but they connote different aspects in which those acts may be regarded. The word “signs” tends to bring out the symbolical character of the miracle, the spiritual truth of which it was, as it were, the physical expression. In the word “wonders” stress is laid rather upon its character as a portent, a manifestation of supernatural, divine power. That St. Paul himself claimed miraculous powers is a face that cannot be doubted.

By the power of the Spirit of God.—The two clauses at the beginning of this verse correspond roughly to “by word and deed” at the end of the last. “Signs and wonders” are the manifestation of the effectual working of Christ in “deed.” The “power of the Spirit of God” is exemplified both in “deed” and in “word.”

So that . . .—It is to be noticed that the language of the Apostle becomes more and more definite and concrete, till he ends by describing the geographical extent of his own labours.

Jerusalem.—The Apostle naturally takes this as the terminus à quo, partly because it was at this time the centre and head-quarters of Christianity, and also more especially because it was the extreme point eastwards and southwards of his own public ministry. (His sojourn in “Arabia,” which may include the desert of Sinai, appears to have been of a more private character.)

And round about . . .—In a sort of rough curve, embracing a large portion of Asia Minor, and finally turning towards the starting-point again in Illyricum.

Illyricum.—A Roman province, stretching along the eastern coast of the Adriatic, and forming the northern boundary of Epirus, and the north-western of Macedonia. Whether St. Paul had actually visited Illyricum does not appear from his language in this passage. Illyricum is the terminus ad quem of his journeyings, but it may be inclusive, or it may be exclusive. The description would be sufficiently satisfied if he had approached the outskirts of Illyricum during his journey through Macedonia. That journey must be the one recorded in Acts 20:2. The earlier journey of Acts 16, 17 can be traced clearly from place to place, and did not extend far enough inland, while the vague expression which we find in Acts 20:2, “When he had gone over those parts,” affords ample room for the circuit in question. This would place it at the end of the year 57 A.D.

Fully preached.—Literally, fulfilled. The translation of our version can perhaps hardly be improved, though, at the same time, it seems probable that what is intended is the publication of the gospel to its full geographical extent, and not the subjective sense in the Apostle of his own fulfilment of the duty of preaching the gospel laid upon him.

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.Through mighty signs and wonders - By stupendous and striking miracles; see the note at Acts 2:43. Paul here refers, doubtless, to the miracles which he had himself performed; see Acts 19:11-12, "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul," etc.

By the power of the Spirit of God - This may either be connected with signs and wonders, and then it will mean that those miracles were performed by the power of the Holy Spirit; or it may constitute a new subject, and refer to the gift of prophecy, the power of speaking other languages. Which is its true meaning cannot, perhaps, be ascertained. The interpretations "agree" in this, that he traced his success in "all" things to the aid of the Holy Spirit.

So that from Jerusalem - Jerusalem, as a "center" of his work; the center of all religious operations and preaching under the gospel. This was not the place where "Paul" began to preach Galatians 1:17-18, but it was the place where the "gospel" was first preached, and the apostles began to reckon their success from that as a point; compare the note at Luke 24:49.

And round about - καί κύκλῳ kai kuklō. In a circle. That is, taking Jerusalem as a center, he had fully preached round that center until you come to Illyricum.

Unto Illyricum - Illyricum was a province lying to the northwest of Macedonia, bounded north by a part of Italy and Germany, east by Macedonia, south by the Adriatic, west by Istria. It comprehended the modern Croatia and Dalmatia. So that taking Jerusalem as a center, Paul preached not only in Damascus and Arabia, but in Syria, in Asia Minor, in all Greece, in the Grecian Islands, and in Thessaly and Macedonia. This comprehended no small part of the then known world; "all" of which had heard the gospel by the labors of one indefatigable man There is no where in the Acts express mention of Paul's going "into" Illyricum; nor does the expression imply that he preached the gospel "within" it, but only "unto" its borders. It may have been, however, that when in Macedonia, he crossed over into that country; and this is rendered somewhat probable from the fact that "Titus" is mentioned as having gone into "Dalmatia" 2 Timothy 4:10, which was a part of Illyricum.

I have fully preached - The word used here means properly "to fill up" πεπληρωκέναι peplērōkenai, "to complete," and here is used in the sense of "diffusing abroad," or of "filling up" all that region with the gospel; compare 2 Timothy 4:17. It means that he had faithfully diffused the knowledge of the gospel in all that immense country.

19. Through mighty—literally, "in the power of"

signs and wonders—that is, glorious miracles.

by the power of the Spirit of God—"the Holy Ghost," as the true reading seems to be. This seems intended to explain the efficacy of the word preached, as well as the working of the miracles which attested it.

so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto—"as far as"

Illyricum—to the extreme northwestern boundary of Greece. It corresponds to the modern Croatia and Dalmatia (2Ti 4:10). See Ac 20:1, 2.

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.

Through mighty signs and wonders,.... Or "in", or "through the power of signs and wonders", as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions render the words. These carrying along with them evidence and conviction of the truth of what was delivered, wrought wonderfully and powerfully on the minds of the Gentiles to embrace the Gospel, and submit to the ordinances of it; though all would have been insufficient, had it not been for what follows,

by the power of the Spirit of God: the Alexandrian copy and one of Stephens's read, "by the power of the Holy Spirit", and so does the Vulgate Latin version; meaning, either that the mighty signs and wonders in healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead, &c. were performed not by the efficacy and working of Satan, as the signs and lying wonders of antichristian men, but by the Spirit of God, by whom Christ and all his apostles wrought the miracles they did; or that the ministration of the word in which the apostle laboured, was by the power of the Spirit of God; it was he that imparted all spiritual gifts to him, qualifying him for this service; it was he that assisted him in it, and enabled him to go through it; it was in demonstration of the Spirit and of power that he performed it; and that not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: or else that the obedience of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel, and the wonderful works that attended it as means, were purely owing to the power of the Spirit of God, as the efficient cause; it was not by might, or power of the preacher; nor merely by the power of signs and wonders; but by the powerful and efficacious grace of the Spirit of God, who took away the stony, stubborn, and disobedient heart, and gave them an heart of flesh, a tender, flexible, and obedient one; and caused them to walk in and observe the commandments and ordinances of the Lord:

so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ; that which Christ, as God, is the author of; as man, was a preacher and minister of; and, as Mediator, is the subject matter of: this the apostle "preached fully" and completely, every part and branch of it, kept back nothing of it, but faithfully declared the whole; and so fulfilled it, as the word may be rendered, and his ministry; or he filled the Gospel, the net of the Gospel, which he spread in every place; or rather he diffused the knowledge of it everywhere; he filled all places with it wherever he came, even "from Jerusalem" round about unto Illyricum: not that he began to preach at Jerusalem, but at Damascus; from whence he went to Arabia, and after that to Jerusalem; but inasmuch as he was of Jerusalem, and had preached there, from whence the Gospel originally came, and this was the boundary of his ministry one way, he makes mention of it; as Illyricum was the boundary of it another way, which was on the extreme part of Macedonia: it is now called Sclavonia, and is an European nation; part of it is Dalmatia, mentioned 2 Timothy 4:10. Apollonia was in it, according to Mela (z), where the apostle is said to pass through, Acts 17:1, it has on the south the gulf of Venice, on the north the Danube, on the west Germany, and on the east Thracia and Macedonia: according to Ptolomy (a), Illyris, or Illyricum, was bounded on the north with upper and lower Pannonia, now called Hungary and Austria; on the east with upper Mysia, now Servia; and on the south with part of Macedonia; it lies over against Italy, the Adriatic sea being between them; its length, from the river Drinus to Arsa, is reckoned about 480 miles, and its breadth, from the mountains of Croatia to the sea, is computed to be about 120: it is by some divided into Slavonia, Dalmatia, and Albania; Slavonia is the western part, Albania the eastern, and Dalmatia between them; according to others, it includes Slavonia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Dalmatia; and had its name of Illyricum, from Illyrius, the son of Cadmus; or as others, from Illyrius, the son of Celta: here the Gospel was preached by the Apostle Paul, and no doubt with success; and churches were planted here, and which remained for several ages: in the "second" century there was a church in Illyricum, and Eleutherius was bishop, who is said to be a famous teacher; he was born at Rome, and his mother Anthia is reported to be converted by the Apostle Paul; in the same age lived one Quirinus, first a tribune, and then a bishop of Illyricum, who became a martyr under Trajan: in the "third" century there were churches in Illyricum, though devastations were made in it by the Goths; in the "fourth" century, frequent mention is made of the churches in Illyricum; and the bishops convened at Rome under Damascus in the times of Constantius wrote with great respect to the brethren in Illyricum; in Siscia, a city in this country, Quirinus a bishop suffered martyrdom; here a synod met against the Arians, and yet many in this country were infected with that heresy, by Valens and Ursatius; in this age Hilary, of Poictiers in France, spread the Gospel in this country; and he and Eusebius of Vercelli, in Piedmont, visited the churches, and corrected what was amiss: in the "fifth" century there was a church in Illyricum, and in Salo, a city of Dalmatia, Glycerius was bishop: in the "sixth" century there were also churches here, as appears from the letter of Symmachus to the bishops of them, and to their people; and in this age also Gregory wrote to all the bishops in Illyricum, to receive such bishops as were banished: in the "eighth" century, the bishops of Illyricum were in the Nycene synod, and Boniface gathered a church in Slavonia (b); thus far Christianity may be traced in this country: hither the apostle went, not in a direct line, but round about, and took many countries, cities, and towns in his way, as the history of his journeys and travels in the Acts of the Apostles shows, and as he here suggests.

(z) De orbis situ, l. 2. c. 10. (a) Geograph. l. 2. c. 17. (b) Magdeburg. Eccl. Hist. cent. 2. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 158. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 4. 14. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 6. c. 3. p. 22. c. 5. p. 181, 182. c. 7. p. 311. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 7. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 7. c. 3. p. 33. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 7.

Through {o} 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.

(o) In the first place this word mighty signifies the force and working of the wonders in piercing men's minds: and in the latter, it signifies God's mighty power which was the worker of those wonders.

Romans 15:19. In virtue of what powers Christ, by means of word and work, has wrought through the apostle as His organ: (1) ἐν δυνάμ. σημείων κ. τερ.,—this refers back to ἔργῳ; (2) ἐν δυν. πνεύματος,—this applies to λόγῳ and ἔργῳ together, and is co-ordinated to the above ἐν δυν. σημ. κ. τερ., not subordinated, as Beza, Glöckler, and others think, whereby the language would lose its simplicity and half of its import (the δύναμις πνεύμ would pass into the background). According to Hofmann, who reads in Romans 15:20 φιλοτιμοῦμαι (see the critical notes), a new sentence is meant to begin with λόγῳ κ. ἔργῳ, the verb of which would be φιλοτιμοῦμαι. This yields, instead of the simple course of the language, a complicated structure of sentence which is in nowise indicated by Paul himself, as he has not written ἐν λόγῳ κ. ἔργῳ (conformably to the following). Besides, the εὐαγγελίξεσθαι by word and deed (thus the preaching through deeds), would be a modern conception foreign to the N. T. The ἔργα accompany and accredit the preaching (John 10:38; John 14:11), but they do not preach. Comp. Luke 24:19; Acts 7:22; 2 Corinthians 10:11. If φιλοτιμοῦμαι is to be read, then with Lachmann a new sentence is to be begun with Romans 15:20, so that all that precedes remains assigned to the efficiency of Christ, which is not the case with the view of Hofmann, although it is only in entire keeping with the language of humility which Paul here uses. The genitives are those of derivation: power, which went forth from signs and wonders (which Paul, as instrument of Christ, has performed), and power, which went forth from the, (Holy) Spirit (who was communicated to the apostle through Christ) upon the minds of men. Comp. on ἐν δυν. πνεύμ., 1 Corinthians 2:4-5.

σημεῖα κ. τέρατα] not different in substance; both miracles, both also denoting their significant aspect. See Fritzsche, p. 270 f. The collocation corresponds to the Heb. אֹתוֹת וּמֹפְתִים, hence usually (the converse only in Acts 2:22; Acts 2:43; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:36, comp. Romans 2:19) σημεῖα stands first, and where only one of the two words is used, it is always σημεῖα, because אתות was the striking word giving more immediately the character of the thing designated. Contrary to the constant usage of the N. T., Reiche understands not outward miraculous facts, but mental miracles, which the preaching of the gospel has produced in the hearts of the newly-converted. Even 2 Corinthians 12:12 is not to be thus understood; see in loc. Miracles belonged to the σημεῖα τοῦ ἀποστόλου (2 Cor. l.c.), hence there is already of itself motive enough for their mention in our passage, and there is no need for the precarious assumption of a reference to pseudo-apostolic jugglers in Rome (Ewald).

ἐν δυνάμ. πνεύμ. ἁγ.] is related, not “awkwardly” (Hofmann), to ὧν οὐ κατειργ. Χριστός; for Christ has, for the sake of His working to be effected through the apostle (διʼ ἐμοῦ), given to him the Spirit. Very unnecessarily, and just as inappropriately,—since ὥστε must comprise all the preceding elements,

Hofmann forces ἐν δυν. πν. ἁγ., by means of an hyperbaton, into special connection with ὥστε.

ὥστε κ.τ.λ.] Result, which this working of Christ through Paul has had in reference to the extension of Christianity.

ἀπὸ Ἱερους.] From this spot, where Paul first entered the apostolical fellowship, Acts 9:26 ff. (he had already previously worked three years, including the sojourn in Arabia, at Damascus; see on Galatians 1:17-18), he defines the terminus a quo, because he intends to specify the greatest extension of his working in space (from south-east to north-west).[24]

καὶ κύκλῳ] enlarges the range of the terminus a quo: and round about, embracing not merely Judaea, but, in correspondence to the magnitude of the measure of length, Arabia and Syria also. Of course, however, κύκλῳ is not included in the dependence on ἈΠΌ, but stands in answer to the question Where? inasmuch as it adds to the statement from, whence the working took place, the notice of the local sphere, which had been jointly affected by that local beginning as its field of action: from Jerusalem, and in a circuit round, Paul has fulfilled the gospel as far as Illyria. Flacius, Calovius, Paulus, Glöckler, following Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others, refer κύκλῳ to the arc which Paul described in his journey from Jerusalem by way of Syria, Asia, Troas, Macedonia, and Greece to Illyria. According to this, κύκλῳ would specify the direction in which he, starting from Jerusalem, moved forward. So also Hofmann. This direction would be that of a curve. But κύκλῳ never denotes this, and is never merely the opposite of straight out, but always circumcirca (comp. Jdt 1:2; Mark 3:34; Mark 6:6; Mark 6:36; Luke 9:12; Revelation 4:6; very frequently in the Greek writers); and the addition, “and in the arc of a circle” would have been very superfluous and indeed like an empty piece of ostentation, seeing that in truth the straight direction from Jerusalem to Illyria passes for the most part through water. No reason also would be discoverable for Paul’s adding the καί, and not merely writing ΚΎΚΛῼ, in order to express: from Jerusalem in a circular direction as far as Illyria.

μέχρι τοῦ Ἰλλυρ.] The idea that Paul, as has recently been for the most part assumed, did not get to Illyria at all, but only to the frontier of this western region during a Macedonian bye-journey, throws upon him an appearance of magnifying his deeds, for which the silence of the Acts of the Apostles, furnishing, as it does, no complete narrative, supplies no warrant. Now, since in Romans 15:23 Illyria may not, without arbitrariness, be excluded from the regions where he has already laboured, because this country would otherwise have still afforded scope for labour, we must assume that Paul had really made an intermediate journey to Illyria. From what starting-point, cannot indeed be shown; hardly so soon as Acts 18:11, but possibly during the journey mentioned in Acts 20:1-3 (see Anger, temp. rat. p. 84), so that his short sojourn in Illyria took place not long before his sojourn in Achaia, where he at Corinth wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Titus 3:12 can only be employed in confirmation of this by those who assume the authenticity of the Epistle to Titus, and its composition thus early (see Wieseler, Philippi).

πεπληρωκέναι τὸ εὐαγγ. τ. Χ.] have brought to fulfilment (comp. Colossians 1:25) the gospel of Christ. This πληροῦν has taken place in an extensive sense through the fact that the gospel is spread abroad everywhere from Jerusalem to Illyria, and has met with acceptance. Analogous is the conception: ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἠύξανε, Acts 6:7; Acts 12:24; Acts 19:20. So long as the news of salvation has not yet reached its full and destined diffusion, it is still in the course of growth and increase; but when it has reached every quarter, so that no place any longer remains for the labour of the preacher (Romans 15:23), it has passed from the state of growing increase into the full measure of its dimensions. This view of the sense is alone strictly textual (see Romans 15:23), while closely adhering to the literal signification of εὐαγγ., which denotes the message itself, not the act of proclamation (Th. Schott, Mangold); and hence excludes the many divergent interpretations, namely: (1) That of Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Bengel, de Wette, Rückert, in substance also Köllner, Tholuck, van Hengel, and permissively, Reiche, that ΕὐΑΓΓ. is equivalent to munus praedicandi evang., which it does not mean; similarly Ewald: the executed commission of preaching. (2) That of Luther, Flacius, Castalio, and others: “that I have fulfilled everything with the gospel,” which is opposed to the words as they stand, although repeated by Baur. (3) That of Theophylact, Erasmus, and others, including Reiche and Olshausen: πληρ. τὸ εὐαγγ. denotes completely to proclaim the gospel. But the “completely” would in fact have here no relevant weight at all (such as at Acts 20:27); for that Paul had not incompletely preached the gospel, was understood of itself. Others arbitrarily take it otherwise still, e.g. Calvin: “praedicationem ev. quasi supplendo diffundere; coeperunt enim alii priores, sed ipse longius sparsit;” Krehl: that I have put the gospel into force and validity; Philippi: that I have realized the gospel, have introduced it into life (the gospel appearing as empty, before it is taught, accepted, understood); Hofmann, with comparison of the not at all analogous expression πληροῦν τὸν νόμον: the message of salvation misses its destination, if it remain unproclaimed—whereby πληροῦν would be reduced simply to the notion of ΚΗΡΎΣΣΕΙΝ.

The whole of the remark, Romans 15:19 f., connected with Romans 15:24, is to be explained, according to Baur, I. p. 307, simply from the intention (of the later writer) to draw here, as it were, a geographical line between two apostolic provinces, of which the one must be left to Peter. In opposition to such combinations, although Lucht still further elaborates them, it is sufficient simply to put into the scale the altogether Pauline character and emotional stamp of the language in Romans 15:19-33, in its inner truth, simplicity, and chasteness.

[24] Yet he does not say “from Arabia” (Gal. l.c.), because it was very natural for him significantly to place the beginning at that spot where all the other apostles had begun their work and the apostolic church itself had arisen—in doing which, however, he, by adding καὶ κύκλῳ, does nothing to the prejudice of history. The less is there to be found in ἀπὸ Ἱερους. an inconsistency with the statements of the Epistle to the Galatians. This in opposition to Lucht, who sees also in μέχρι τ. Ἰλλυρ. an incorrect statement, and attributes to both points a special design.

19. through mighty signs, &c.] Lit., and better, in the might of signs and wonders, in the might of the Spirit of God. The second clause seems to explain the first; q. d., “and that might was not mine, but of the Spirit.”—The “might of signs, &c.” is the might (of influence and effect) resulting from the display of miracle.

signs and wonders] Same words as Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:48; Acts 2:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 15:12, &c.; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Hebrews 2:4. There is, no doubt, a difference of precise meaning between the two words; but taken together they are a summary phrase for supernatural works of all kinds.

from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum] These words are interpreted by some, “from Jerusalem, and thence in a circuitous track to Illyricum.” But the Gr. more properly means, “from Jerusalem and its surroundings even to Illyricum.” The “surroundings” of Jerusalem would be (1) Judæa, where St Paul did a work known only from Acts 26:20; and (2) neighbouring regions, as Syria, and perhaps “Arabia;” (Galatians 1:17 : but see Introduction, i. § 8 not[47]). St Paul’s work really began at Damascus; but Jerusalem was his most distant centre of operations.—Acts 13-19 forms the best comment on this verse.

[47] note Arabia, however, was then a largely inclusive term. Some have explained St Paul’s absence in Arabia as if it were a first missionary effort; but the context in Galatians 1 points rather to an occasion of Divine intercourse and revelations.

Illyricum] The Acts contains no mention of Illyricum; and some commentators doubt whether St Paul did more than approach it. But Meyer rightly says that, if so, this verse would be tainted with just that boastfulness (Grossthuerei) which was so earnestly renounced in Romans 15:18. The narrative of the Acts is manifestly a selection; and see Acts 20:1-2 for a suggestion of the possible time of this visit. (See Introduction i. § 22).

Illyricum was “an extensive district lying along the E. coast of the Adriatic, from the boundary of Italy on the N. to Epirus on the S., and contiguous to Mœsia and Macedonia on the East.” It was divided “into two portions, Illyris Barbara, the northern, and Illyris Græca, the southern. Within these limits was included Dalmatia.” (Smith’s Dict. Bibl.) Illyricum thus included the whole or parts of the modern Croatia, Dalmatia, Bosnia, Monte , and Albania.

fully preached] Lit. fulfilled. Meyer well compares Acts 6:7, &c., “the word of God increased;” i.e. in extent of influence. So here, St Paul “fulfilled” the whole possible scope of the Gospel-message, in point of geographical space, in the direction taken by his work. A fair paraphrase would thus be, “I have carried the Gospel everywhere.”—The idea of unreserved doctrinal faithfulness (for which see Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27), is not suggested by the context here, where the emphasis is on extent of area.

Romans 15:19. Ἐν δυνάμει σημείων καὶ τεράτων, [Engl. V. through mighty] in the power of signs and wonders) This expression should be referred to, by deed.—ἐν δυνάμει πνεύματος Θεοῦ, [by] in the power of the Spirit of God) This should be referred to, by word. We have here a gradation, [ascending climax]: for he attributes more to the Spirit of God, than to the signs.—ἀπὸμέχρι, from—unto) A large tract of country.—Ἰλλυρικοῦ, Illyricum) of which Dalmatia is a part; 2 Timothy 4:10.—τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, the Gospel) the office of preaching the Gospel.

Romans 15:19Signs - wonders

See on Matthew 11:20.

Round about (κύκλῳ)

Not, in a circuitous track to Illyricum, but Jerusalem and the regions round it. For the phrase, see Mark 3:34; Mark 6:6, Mark 6:36; Luke 9:12; Revelation 4:6. For the facts, Acts 13, 19.


Lying between Italy, Germany, Macedonia, and Thrace, bounded by the Adriatic and the Danube. The usual Greek name was Illyris. The name Illyria occurs in both Greek and Latin. Though the shore was full of fine harbors and the coast-land fertile, Greek civilization never spread on the coast. Dyrrachium or Epidamnus was almost the only Greek colony, and its history for centuries was a continuous conflict with the barbarous nations. In the time of the Roman Empire the name spread over all the surrounding districts. In the division between the Eastern and Western Empire it was divided into Illyris Barbara, annexed to the Western Empires and Illyris Graeca, to the Eastern, including, Greece, Epirus, and Macedonia. The name gradually disappeared, and the country was divided between the states of Bosnia, Croatia, Servia, Rascia, and Dalmatia. No mention of a visit of Paul occurs in the Acts. It may have taken place in the journey mentioned Acts 20:1-3.

Fully preached (πεπληρωκέναι)

Lit., fulfilled Some explain, have given the Gospel its fall development so that it has reached every quarter.

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