Romans 15:23
But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;
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(23) But now having no more place.—The work had been finished, so far as the Apostle was concerned, in Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece. The churches had been founded, and fairly set going; and now he felt it his duty to go on to new fields, his duty in this respect also falling in with his wishes, as it would bring him to Rome.

Place.—Room for (new) working. The whole. ground had been already occupied.

Parts.—A peculiar word from which our word “climate” is derived. The original idea appears to be the slope or inclination of the earth from the equator towards the pole. Hence a “zone” or “region.” The same word occurs in 2Corinthians 11:10; Galatians 1:21.

Romans 15:23-24. But now, having no more place in these parts — Where Christ has now been preached in every city; and having a great desire — On various accounts; to come to you — I will attempt to put it in execution. Whensoever — At whatever time; I take my journey into Spain — Greek, εαν πορευομαι εις την Σπανιαν, if I go into Spain; I will come to you — Namely, if God shall so permit. But this zealous design, it seems, was hindered by his imprisonment. It appears probable, from hence, considering the principle that Paul chose to govern himself by, of not building on another man’s foundation, that no apostle had yet planted any church in Spain. For I trust — I hope; to see you in my journey thither — But he was not assured hereof by any divine revelation. Indeed this, among other instances, is a proof that, in speaking of what he meant to do afterward, the apostle did not make known any determinations of God revealed to him by the Spirit, but his own resolutions and opinions only. For there is no evidence that he ever went to Spain. And be brought on my way thitherward by you — By some of your church; if first I be somewhat filled — Satisfied and refreshed; with your company — Your society and fellowship. The Greek is only, with you. How remarkable is the modesty with which he speaks! They might rather desire to be satisfied with his company. He says, somewhat satisfied, intimating the shortness of his stay, or perhaps that the presence of Christ alone can thoroughly satisfy the soul.

15:22-29 The apostle sought the things of Christ more than his own will, and would not leave his work of planting churches to go to Rome. It concerns all to do that first which is most needful. We must not take it ill if our friends prefer work which is pleasing to God, before visits and compliments, which may please us. It is justly expected from all Christians, that they should promote every good work, especially that blessed work, the conversion of souls. Christian society is a heaven upon earth, an earnest of our gathering together unto Christ at the great day. Yet it is but partial, compared with our communion with Christ; for that only will satisfy the soul. The apostle was going to Jerusalem, as the messenger of charity. God loves a cheerful giver. Every thing that passes between Christians should be a proof and instance of the union they have in Jesus Christ. The Gentiles received the gospel of salvation from the Jews; therefore were bound to minister to them in what was needed for the body. Concerning what he expected from them he speaks doubtfully; but concerning what he expected from God he speaks confidently. We cannot expect too little from man, nor too much from God. And how delightful and advantageous it is to have the gospel with the fulness of its blessings! What wonderful and happy effects does it produce, when attended with the power of the Spirit!But now ... - Having no further opportunity in these regions to preach to those who have never heard the gospel.

In these parts - In the regions before specified. He had gone over them, had established churches, had left them in the care of elders Acts 20:17, and was now prepared to penetrate into some new region, and lay the foundation of other churches.

And having a great desire ... - See Romans 1:9-13.

23, 24. But now having no more place—"no longer having place"—that is, unbroken ground, where Christ has not been preached.

and having a great desire—"a longing"

these many years to come unto you—(as before, see on [2271]Ro 1:9-11).

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.

But now having no more place in these parts,.... Not because persecution was too hot for him, and therefore could not stay any longer, for this was what he expected everywhere; nor did it discourage him in his work, for he took pleasure in enduring it for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; but because he had fully preached the Gospel from Jerusalem, in his circuit to Illyricum, had filled every town and city with it, had planted churches in every place, and ordained elders over them, to whom the care and charge of them were committed; that there were no more places for him to preach in, but either where he himself had been already, or some other of the apostles; not but that he could have stayed with usefulness to these new formed churches, for the edifying and confirming of them, for the furtherance of the joy of faith in them, and for the defence of the Gospel and its ordinances among them; but his proper work as an apostle being to preach the Gospel to all nations, and where Christ was not named, and to plant churches; and there being no more room in these climates, or regions, for such service, he begins to think of some other places, particularly Spain, where as yet very probably the Gospel was not preached: however, he found himself at leisure to visit other places, and hereby gives the church at Rome some hopes of seeing him from this consideration, as well as from what follows:

and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; he had not only a desire, but a very vehement desire to come to them; he longed to see them, as he elsewhere says; so that since now he had leisure, they might hope it would not be long ere they did see him; especially as the thing had been upon his mind and thoughts for many years past; which shows that the Gospel had been preached very early at Rome, that many had been converted by it, and a church had been formed there some years ago, and was known to the apostle; on which account, having heard much of their faith and obedience, he had a longing desire of a great while to see them.

But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;
Romans 15:23-24.[28] But since I have now no longer room (scope, i.e. opportunitatem, see on Romans 12:19; Kypke, II. p. 190) in these regions (from Jerusalem to Illyria, Romans 15:19). Paul had in all these countries founded churches, from which Christianity was now spreading through other teachers, and especially through his own disciples, over the whole; and consequently he considered his apostolic calling to be fulfilled in respect of the region mentioned. His further working was to belong to the far west, where Christ was not yet named; hence he meditated, in the next instance, transferring his activity in founding churches to Spain—a design, indeed, which Lucht denies that the apostle entertained, and imputes it to a later conception of his task, in accordance with which the plan of a journey to Spain was invented. Probably the comprehensive maxim, that he had no longer a sphere of activity where Christianity might be planted at the principal places of a district by his personal exertions, was connected with the expectation of the nearness of the Parousia, before which the πλήρωμα of the Gentiles, and in consequence of this also all Israel, had to be brought in (Romans 11:25).

ἘΠΙΠΟΘΊΑΝ] not summum desiderium (Beza), but see on Romans 4:11. The word is not found elsewhere; but comp. ἐπιπόθησις, 2 Corinthians 7:7.

ΤΟῦ ἘΛΘΕῖΝ] genitive dependent on ἘΠΙΠΟΘ.

.] now for many years; comp. Luke 8:43.

ὡς ἄν] simulatque, so soon as. See on 1 Corinthians 11:34; Php 2:23. It is a more precise definition to what follows, not to the preceding ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς (Hofmann), because otherwise Paul must have had in mind the plan of the journey to Spain for many years, which cannot be supposed either in itself or on account of Acts 16:9. This applies also against Tischendorf in his 8th edition.

Σπανίαν] The usual Greek name is Ἰβηρία (Herod. i. 163; Strabo, iii. 4. 17, p. 166), but ΣΠΑΝΊΑ (although in the passages in Athenaeus and Diodorus Siculus the variation ἹΣΠΑΝΊΑ is found) was probably also not rare, and that as a Greek form (Casaubon, ad Athen. p. 574). The Roman form was Ἱσπανία (1Ma 8:3). It is the entire Pyrenaean peninsula. See Strabo, l.c.

That this project of a journey to Spain was not executed, see Introd. § 1. Primasius aptly remarks: “Promiserat quidem, sed dispensante Deo non ambulavit.” Already at Acts 20:25 a quite different certainty was before the apostle’s mind, and in his captivity he no longer entertained that plan of travel, Philemon 1:22, Php 2:24.

διαπορευόμ.] “quia Romae jam fundata est fides,” Bengel.

ἈΦʼ ὙΜῶΝ] (see the critical notes): from you away.

προπεμφθ. ἐκεῖ] comp. 1 Corinthians 16:6, 2 Corinthians 1:16, and on Acts 15:3. As was his wont on his apostolical journeys, Paul hoped (“quasi pro jure suo,” Bengel) to obtain an accompaniment on the part of some belonging to the church from Rome to Spain, by which we must understand an escort all the way thither, since Paul would without doubt travel by sea from Italy to Spain, the shortest and quickest way. ἐκεῖ, in the sense of ἘΚΕῖΣΕ, according to a well-known attraction. See John 11:8, et al., and on Matthew 2:22.

ἀπὸ μέρ.] “non quantum vellem, sed quantum licebit,” Grotius. It is a limitation out of compliment. Comp. Chrysostom. But the reservation of later complete enjoyment (Hofmann) is an idea imported: πρῶτον denotes in the first place (before I travel further), as Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:5; Matthew 8:21, and frequently.

ἐμπλησθῶ] of spiritual satisfaction through the enjoyment of the longed-for personal intercourse (ὑμῶν). Comp. Hom. Il. xi. 452; Kypke, II. p. 191. The commentary on this is given at Romans 1:12.

[28] With the omission of ἐλεύσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς after Σπανίαν, and of γάρ after ἰλπίξω (see the critical notes), the course of the passage flows on simply, so that νυνὶ δὲ, ver. 23, is connected with ἐλπίξω, and all that intervenes is parenthetical. If ἐλεύς. πρὸς ὑμᾶς only be struck out and the γάρ be retained, with Lachmann, Hofmann, Tischendorf, 8, a striking interruption of the construction results. To parenthesize ἐλπίξω γάρἐμπλησθῶ (Lachmann, followed by Buttmann, l.c. p. 252, comp. also Hofmann) is not suitable to the contents of the continuation, ver. 25. Ewald extends the parentheses from ἐλπίξω γάρ even to λειτουργῆσαι αὐτοῖς, ver. 27. But considering the entirely calm tenor of the whole passage, the probability of such large parentheses, with all their intermediate clauses, is just as slight as the probability of an anacoluthia (Tisch. 8).

Romans 15:23. νυνὶ δὲ: but now—the sentence thus begun is interrupted by ἐλπίζω γὰρ and never finished, for the words ἐλεύσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς in T.R. are an interpolation. μηκέτι τόπον ἔχων: not that every soul was converted, but that the Apostolic function of laying foundations had been sufficiently discharged over the area in question. κλίμα is only found in the plural in N.T. 2 Corinthians 11:10, Galatians 1:21. ἐπιπόθειαν: here only in N.T. ἀπὸ ἱκανῶν ἐτῶν: the desire dated “from a good many years back”. Cf. ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου, Romans 1:20, Acts 15:7.

23. place] Evidently in the sense of opportunity.

parts] regions. Same word as 2 Corinthians 11:10; Galatians 1:21. He means, probably, in a large sense, Roman Europe east of the Adriatic; in which he had now “fulfilled” the Gospel.

a great desire] The Gr. is the word that would be used of homesickness, or the like affectionate longings. See Romans 1:11.

Romans 15:23. Κλίμασι, regions) This term is applied in contradistinction to the political divisions of the world; for the Gospel does not usually follow such divisions; even the fruit of the Reformation at a very early period had an existence beyond Germany.—ἐπιποθίαν ἔχων) This signifies something more than ἐπιποθῶν.[160]

[160] The former implies a lasting state of mind: the latter, a feeling for the time being.—ED.

Romans 15:23Place (τόπον)

Scope, opportunity. So of Esau, Hebrews 12:17. Compare Romans 12:19; Ephesians 4:27.

Many (ἱκανῶν)

See on worthy, Luke 7:6. The primary meaning is sufficient, and hence comes to be applied to number and quantity; many, enough, as Mark 10:46; Luke 8:32; Acts 9:23, etc. So, long, of time (Acts 8:11; Acts 27:9). Worthy, i.e., sufficient for an honor or a place (Mark 1:7; Luke 7:6; 1 Corinthians 15:9). Adequate (2 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 3:5). Qualified (2 Timothy 2:2). Here the sense might be expressed by for years enough.

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