Romans 15:24
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.
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(24) Into Spain.—In his eagerness to seek out entirely new regions, and to avoid any possibility of crossing the lines of his fellow Apostles, desiring also himself to gather in the “fulness of the Gentiles” so far as lay in his power, he had determined to push on even to Spain. Whether he ever succeeded in carrying out his purpose we cannot say positively, but it is, perhaps, rather more probable than not. A tradition which dates back to the Epistle of Clement of Rome (circ. A.D. 95) says that he visited “the extreme limit of the West,” a phrase which seems hardly satisfied by being interpreted simply of Rome. The author of the Muratorian Fragment (circ. A.D. 170) speaks expressly of a journey to Spain, though his language looks as if it might be an inference from this Epistle. The Acts, it is true, do not carry the Apostle beyond Rome, but the phenomena of the Pastoral Epistles and tradition together seem to justify us in assuming the probability of a later journey or journeys not recorded in that volume, and the argument from silence, as the book in any case stops short of the death of the Apostle, counts for but little. This is just a case in which it cannot be wrong to accept the balance of the argument as it stands. At the same time it is impossible not to feel the grievous blank which lies over the later years of the life of St. Paul, and few things would be more deeply interesting, or would throw more light on the principles of criticism, than the discovery, if only it were possible, of the merest fragment bearing upon it. It is to be feared, however, that there is no reasonable hope of such a discovery being ever made.

I will come to you . . .—These words are wanting in the true text, and have to be supplied. The sentence is left unfinished.

To be brought on my way.—A graphic description of this “bringing upon the way,” is given in the account of the departure of St. Paul after his seven days’ sojourn at Tyre, Acts 21:5. (Comp. Acts 20:36-38.)

Somewhat filled.—Another characteristic touch. The Apostle will not allow it to be supposed that he could have enough of the society of the Roman Church. He therefore qualifies his expression, “somewhat filled,” or “satisfied,” “satisfied if only in part.”

If first I be somewhat filled is practically equivalent to “when I have been filled.”

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!Whensoever I take my journey into Spain - Ancient Spain comprehended the modern kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, or the whole of the Spanish peninsula. It was then subject to the Romans. It is remarkable, even here, that the apostle does not say that his principal object was to visit the church at Rome, much as he desired that, but only to "take it in his way" in the fulfillment of his higher purpose to preach the gospel in regions where Christ was not named. Whether he ever fulfilled his purpose of visiting "Spain" is a matter of doubt. Some of the fathers, Theodoret (on Philippians 1:25; 2 Timothy 4:17) among others, say that after he was released from his captivity when he was brought before Nero, he passed two years in Spain. If he was imprisoned a "second" time at Rome, such a visit is not improbable as having taken place "between" the two imprisonments. But there is no certain evidence of this. Paul probably projected "many" journeys which were never accomplished.

To be brought on my way ... - To be assisted by you in regard to this journey; or to be accompanied by you. This was the custom of the churches; Acts 15:3; Acts 17:14-15; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; 1 Corinthians 16:6, 1 Corinthians 16:11; 3 John 1:8.

If first ... - If on my journey, before I go into Spain.

Somewhat - Greek, "In part." As though he could not be "fully" satisfied with their company, or could not hope to enjoy their society as fully and as long as he could desire. This is a very tender and delicate expression.

Filled - This is a strong expression, meaning to be "satisfied," to enjoy. To be "filled" with a thing is to have great satisfaction and joy in it.

With your company - Greek, With "you;" meaning in your society. The expression "to be filled" with one, in the sense of being "gratified," is sometimes used in the classic writers. (See "Clarke" on this verse.)

24. whensoever I take my journey into Spain—Whether this purpose was ever accomplished has been much disputed, as no record of it nor allusion to it anywhere occurs. Those who think our apostle was never at large after his first imprisonment at Rome will of course hold that it never was; while those who are persuaded, as we are, that he underwent a second imprisonment, prior to which he was at large for a considerable time after his first, incline naturally to the other opinion.

I will come to you—If these words were not originally in the text, and there is weighty evidence against them, they must at least be inserted as a necessary supplement.

in my journey, &c.—"as I pass through by you, to be set forward on my journey thither, if first I be somewhat filled with your company": that is, "I should indeed like to stay longer with you than I can hope to do, but I must, to some extent at least, have my fill of 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.

Whensoever I take my journey into Spain,.... Which he had now meditated and resolved upon, being a place, as before observed, where it is very likely the Gospel as yet had not been preached, which made him desirous of going thither; but whether he ever went thither, or not, is not certain; some think he never performed the intended journey; others affirm he did, some time between his two appearances before Nero. Sepharad, in Obadiah 1:20, is taken by the Jewish writers for this country; and is by the Targum, Jarchi, and Aben Ezra on that place, called "Aspamia"; a name not greatly different from Hispania, by which it usually goes among the Greeks and Latins; but Kimchi calls it "Spania", the very word used in this place, and by us rendered "Spain", as it is usually called: it was called "Span" in the language of the Celtic, who first inhabited it, which signifies a companion; it was formerly called Iberia, from the river Iberus; afterwards Hesperia, from Hesperus, the brother of Atlas; and then Hispalia, from the city Hispalis, or Sevil; and from thence corruptly Hispania; there are some that derive it from from the roughness of some places in it, barren, uncultivated, and uninhabited: it has on the east the Pyrenean mountains, by which it is divided from France, on the west the Atlantic ocean, on the north the Cantabrian, and on the south the Herculean sea, and the straits of Gades: now as the apostle intended a journey into this country; he mentions it, in order to raise their expectations of seeing him; since in his way thither, he would have a fair opportunity of coming to them; yea, he assures them, that whenever he went thither, he would come:

I will come to you: it was his real intention, a settled resolution and determination in his mind so to do; but whereas everything of this kind depends not upon the will of man, but upon the will and providence of God, and so many unforeseen things fall out which prevent the fulfilling of human purposes, therefore he adds,

for I trust, or "hope"

to see you in my journey: he could not be certain that he should see them, but he hoped he should, for nothing was more desirable to him; his wish was not to see their emperor, their senate, or their famous city, but them, the church of Christ there; and a beautiful and delightful sight it is, to see a church of Christ in Gospel order, walking together in the faith and fellowship, and ordinances of it, and in peace one with another:

and to be brought on my way thitherward by you; he not only hoped to see them, but that he should have the company of some of them along with him, in his way to Spain; from whose conversation he might expect much spiritual pleasure and refreshment; and by whom he might be directed in his way, as well as supplied with all necessaries for his journey; in which sense the phrase of bringing on in the way, is sometimes used; see Titus 3:13; though before he should depart from them, he hoped to have abundance of satisfaction in his conversation with them together as a church:

if first I be somewhat, or in part,

filled with your company; or with you, meaning that before he should set forward from them to Spain, that he should be greatly delighted with beholding their order, and the steadfastness of their faith, hearing their sweet experiences, and observing their holy life and conversation, and their peace and concord among themselves; not that he expected entire satisfaction, a satiety of pleasure, fulness of joy, which are only to be had in the presence of God, and communion with angels and glorified saints; though perhaps he might expect more than he had, for at his first answer before Nero, all these Romans forsook him and fled; saints are often disappointed in their raised expectations of what they shall enjoy in each other's company.

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.
Romans 15:24. ὡς ἂν πορεύωμαι εἰς τὴν Σπανίαν: it is here the apodosis begins, which being broken in on by ἐλπίζω is never formally resumed, though the sense is taken up again in Romans 15:28 f. ὡς ἂν is temporal = simulatque: cf. 1 Corinthians 11:34, Php 2:23 : Buttmann, p. 232. The principle which Paul has just laid down as regulating his Apostolic work (Romans 15:20) forbids him to think of Rome as a proper sphere for it; great as is his interest in the capital of the world, he can only pay it a passing visit on the way to another field. ὑφʼ ὑμῶν προπεμφθῆναι ἐκεῖ: it has been said that Paul expected or claimed “quasi pro jure suo” to be escorted all the way to Spain (by sea) by members of the Roman Church; but this is not included in προπεμφθῆναι. Practical illustrations are seen in Acts 20:35; Acts 21:5 : similar anticipations in 1 Corinthians 16:6; 1 Corinthians 16:11. For πρῶτον see Matthew 7:5; Matthew 8:21. ἀπὸ μέρους indicates that no such stay would be equal to the Apostle’s longing for fellowship with the Romans, but it would be at least a partial satisfaction of it.

24. take my journey] Lit., simply, travel. The Gr. does not, as the E. V. (“my journey”) may seem to do, imply that this was a journey previously expected at Rome. But on the other hand it is almost certain that it was more or less definitely expected, considering that St Paul had such intimate friends (and no doubt correspondents) at Rome as Aquila and Priscilla.

into Spain] Gr. Spania. The form Hispania is also found in Greek; Spania never in Latin. The far commoner Greek name of the Peninsula is Iberia.

On the question whether this journey ever took place, see Introduction, i. § 31. See also on Romans 1:10; Romans 1:13.

I will come to you] There is much documentary evidence against this clause, though it is not absolutely conclusive. The words are needful to the sense; and, if they are interpolated, we have here a strong example of St Paul’s elliptical style: he leaves the statement of his intention to be inferred from the words of Romans 15:22.

to see you] The Gr. verb naturally implies a deliberate beholding, as of one admitted to a spectacle. Cp. Colossians 2:5.

in my journey] Lit. travelling through. He would not make a long stay at Rome, because there “Christ had been already named.” He little anticipated the “two years in his private lodging.” (Acts 28:30.)

to be brought on my way] Perhaps some of the Roman Christians might accompany him to Spain.

by you] A better reading gives, from you.

somewhat] Lit. in part. He affectionately implies that the intercourse must be far shorter than his wishes; but that what enjoyment of it he can secure, he will.

filled] As a faint and hungry traveller with welcome food, which sends him on refreshed. “Ch. Romans 1:12 furnishes the commentary to this word.” (Meyer.)

with your company] Lit. with you.

Romans 15:24. Ὡς ἐὰν) Ὡς is the principal particle; ἐὰν, soever,[161] παρέλκει, is redundant, in whatsoever manner, at whatsoever time, and by whatsoever route.—εἰς τὴν Σπανίαν, into Spain) where the Gospel was not yet preached.—διαπορευόμενος, passing through on my journey) because the foundation of the faith was already laid at Rome.—προπεμφθῆναι, to be brought on my way) The passive voice with a reciprocal signification, that is, to leave or commit himself to their care to be escorted by them on his journey; he writes familiarly to the brethren whom he had not yet seen, as though by virtue of right [as if his claim on them were matter of right].—ὑμῶν, you) He speaks modestly. The Romans were rather likely to have reason to be filled (to be fully gratified) with Paul’s company.—ἀπὸ μέρους, in some measure) He intimates to them, that he would not however be so long at Rome, as he wished; or else, that it is Christ, and not believers, with whom believers should be perfectly filled.

[161] But the oldest MSS. have ἄν, viz. ABCD(Λ)G.—ED.

Romans 15:24Spain

The usual Greek name is Iberia. Paul adopts a modification of the Roman name, Hispania.

In my journey (διαπορευόμενος)

Lit., journeying through, or as I pass through.

To be brought on my way (προπεμφθῆναι)

Escorted. See on Acts 15:3.

Filled (ἐμπλησθῶ)

Lit., filled full: satiated. Compare Acts 14:17; Luke 1:53. Rev., satisfied.

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