Romans 15:25
But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
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(25) But now.—Before very long, I hope to pay you this visit, but for the present I am bound for Jerusalem, in the service of the Church, to convey the alms collected in Macedonia and Achaia for the poorer members of that community. In reference to this contribution, comp. Acts 24:17; 1Corinthians 16:1, et seq.; 2Corinthians 8:1-2; 2Corinthians 9:1, et seq.

Romans 15:25-27. But now I go unto Jerusalem — Of this journey the apostle gave an account to Felix, Acts 24:17; to minister unto the saints — To perform the office of carrying some contributions to them for their relief. For it hath pleased them — That is, the Christians; of Macedonia and Achaia, particularly the brethren at Philippi, Thessalonica, Beræa, Corinth, and in every other city of these provinces, where churches were planted by the apostle; to make a certain contribution Κοινωνιαν τινα, literally, some communication, namely, of money; for the poor saints — For their believing brethren; which are at Jerusalem — Exposed to peculiar persecution and affliction. It hath pleased them, I say, and their debtors they are — That is, they are bound in justice, as well as mercy. “This repetition is very emphatical, especially as the apostle immediately explains the obligation under which the Christians in Macedonia and Achaia lay to make these collections for the poor of the brethren at Jerusalem. And his intention in this, no doubt, was to show the brethren in Rome that they ought to follow the example of the Macedonians and Achaians in that matter.” For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things — That is, the gospel, and the blessings of it, which were first declared to the Jews, and were spread abroad from Jerusalem to the Gentiles, throughout the world, Acts 1:4-8. Their duty is also — They are under an obligation by the great benefit received from them to recompense them in some sort, and (which is the only way they can recompense them) to minister unto them carnal things — Things needful for the body. “By calling the knowledge of the gospel, which was imparted to the Gentiles by the Jewish preachers, spiritual things, and the money, which the Gentiles were sending to the Jews, carnal things, the apostle hath declared the true nature of both, and showed the great excellence of the one above the other; money procures conveniences only for the flesh; but the gospel improves the spirit, and fits it for a blessed immortality.” — Macknight.

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 I go ... - I am about to go now. The mention of this intended journey to Jerusalem is introduced in several other places, and is so mentioned that Dr. Paley has derived from it a very strong argument for the genuineness of this Epistle. This intended journey is mentioned in Acts 19:21, "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;" see also Acts 20:2-3. That he "went" to Jerusalem according to his purpose is recorded in his defense before Felix Acts 24:17, "Now after many years, I came to bring alms to my nation and offerings."

To minister to the saints - To supply their necessities by bearing the contribution which the churches have made for them.

25-27. But now I go to Jerusalem to minister—"ministering"

to the saints—in the sense immediately to be explained.

Some might be ready to say: If Paul hath no more place in those parts where he is, and hath such a longing desire to see us, why then doth he not presently come to us? To this he answers, that for the present he could not come, because he had a weighty affair upon his hands, which was to go up to Jerusalem to minister to the saints; i.e. to carry thither certain collections and contributions from the Gentile churches for their relief. He useth a participle of the present tense in the original, to show that this work is now in hand, and it would not stay or hold him long. Though indeed his work was to preach the gospel, and not to serve tables; yet it seems likely that the churches of the Gentiles, who were moved by him to this contribution, had committed the same to his care, 2 Corinthians 8:4.

But now I go unto Jerusalem,.... Whither he was bound in spirit, not knowing what should befall him there, from which he could not be dissuaded by his friends, and thither he did go:

to minister unto the saints; not to preach the Gospel, though doubtless he did that when he was there; but to distribute among the poor saints what had been raised for them by the Greek churches; who had entreated him to take upon him this service, even the fellowship of ministering to the saints; and though this might seem below his office as an apostle, and as what more became an inferior officer, a deacon in a church; yet the apostle's heart was so much in it, and he was so bent upon it, and so diligent to execute it, that he postponed his journey to Spain and visit to Rome for the sake of it, and assigns this as a reason why he could not come at present.

But now I go unto Jerusalem to {p} minister unto the saints.

(p) Doing his duty for the saints, to carry to them that money which was gathered for their use.

Romans 15:25. Νυνὶ δέ] is not, like the above νυνὶ δέ (Romans 15:23), to be regarded as resumptive, as Buttmann and Hofmann, in consequence of the reading ἐλπίξω γάρ, Romans 15:24, take it,—a view with which what was previously said of the journey to Spain by way of Rome does not accord,[29] and the passage itself assumes a very stiff, contorted form. Observe, rather, that the first νυνὶ δέ, Romans 15:23, was said in contrast to the past (ἐνεκοπτόμην κ.τ.λ.), but that the second ΝΥΝῚ ΔΈ, Romans 15:25, commencing a new sentence, is said in contrast to the promised future. “So I design and hope to do (as stated in Romans 15:24): but at present a journey to Jerusalem is incumbent upon me; after its accomplishment I shall then carry out that promised one by way of Rome to Spain (Romans 15:28).” This νυνὶ δέ is more definite than if Paul had said, “but beforehand” (which Hofmann with this view requires); for he thinks that now he is just on the point of travelling to Jerusalem, whereas “but beforehand” would admit a later term of the πορεύομαι.

διακονῶν τοῖς ἁγ.] in service for the saints (Christians in Jerusalem), consequently not delaying the Romano-Spanish journey in his own interest. The present participle (not future, as Acts 24:17, and see Bornemann, ad Xen. Anab. vii. 7. 17) designates the very travelling itself as part of the service. See Markland and Matthiae, ad Eur. Suppl. 154; Heindorf, ad Phaed. p. 249 f.; Dissen, ad Pind. p. 81.

The intention, ascribed to the apostle, of protecting himself in rear by the collection-journey, before he passed into the far west (Th. Schott), is a purely gratuituous assumption.

[29] Hofmann imports the connection: The participial sentence, ver. 23, is intended to express, “under what circumstances Paul is now setting out on a journey to Jerusalem,” instead of coming to Rome, whither he would otherwise at this time see himself destined and impelled. This is certainly not expressed.

Romans 15:25. νυνὶ δὲ is not a resumption of νυνὶ δὲ in Romans 15:23 : there is an entire break in the construction, and Paul begins again, returning from the Spanish journey, which lies in a remote and uncertain future, to the present moment. “But at this moment I am on the way to Jerusalem, ministering to the saints.” διακονῶν does not represent this journey as part of his apostolic ministry, which might legitimately defer his visit once more (Weiss); it refers to the service rendered to the poor by the money he brought (see 2 Corinthians 8:4). For whatever reason, Paul seems to have used “the saints” (a name applicable to all Christians) with a certain predilection to describe the Jerusalem Church. Cf. Romans 15:31, 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:1; 2 Corinthians 9:12 : all in this connection.

25. I go unto Jerusalem] See Acts 19:21; Acts 24:17.

to minister] i.e. to carry temporal relief. He gives a good, because wholly unselfish, reason for the new delay of his visit to Rome.—This very journey to Jerusalem was in fact, in God’s purpose, his way to Rome.

Romans 15:25. Διακονῶν, ministering) after the example of Christ, Romans 15:8.—τοῖς ἁγίοις, to the saints) See note at Acts 20:32.

Verses 25-27. - But now I go to Jerusalem ministering unto the saints. For it hath pleased (εὐδόκησανα, implying good will) Achaia and Macedonia to make a certain contribution (κοινωνίαν, intimating the communion of Christians with each other, evinced by making others partakers of their own blessings; of Romans 12:13; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 6:18; Hebrews 13:16) to the poor of the saints which are at Jerusalem. As to this collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem, which St. Paul seems to have been intent on during his journeys, and which he was now on the point of carrying to its destination, cf. Acts 19:21; Acts 24:17; 2 Corinthians 8:1 - 9:15. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister (λειουργῆσαι; here in the general sense of ministry; see on Romans 13:6) to them in carnal things. Here we have the same idea of salvation being derived to the Gentiles from the Jews as is prominent in Romans 11:17, 18, and apparent in Romans 15:7, seq. Romans 15:25
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