For it has pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The poor saints.—Literally, for the poor among the saints. It cannot, therefore, be inferred from this that the church at Jerusalem consisted entirely of poor. Still from the first it would seem as if persons like Joseph of Arimathæa, and Nicodemus, and Mary the mother of Mark, were exceptions, and we know that the church at Jerusalem suffered severely during the famine in the reign of Claudius. Wealthier churches, such as those of Macedonia and Greece, would naturally be glad to have the opportunity of sending relief to the mother church, from which they might be said to be derived themselves. St. Paul himself proceeds to urge this very argument. From Jerusalem went forth the gospel which had been preached in Greece and Macedonia, and it would be but a small and due return if some of the superfluous wealth of those more favoured regions found its way to Jerusalem.2 Corinthians 8:1-6; 2 Corinthians 9:2. Paul had been at much pains to obtain this collection, but still they did it freely; see 2 Corinthians 9:4-7. It was with reference to this collection that he directed them to lay by for this purpose as God had prospered them on the first day of the week; 1 Corinthians 16:1.
Of Macedonia - That is, the Christians in Macedonia - those who had been Gentiles, and who had been converted to the Christian religion; Romans 15:27. Macedonia was a country of Greece, bounded north by Thrace, south by Thessaly, west by Epirus, and east by the AEgean sea. It was an extensive region, and was the kingdom of Philip, and his son Alexander the Great. Its capital was Philippi, at which place Paul planted a church. A church was also established at Thessalonica, another city of that country; Acts 16:9, etc.; compare Acts 18:5; Acts 19:21; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:10.
And Achaia - Achaia in the largest sense comprehended "all" ancient Greece. Achaia Proper, however, was a province of Greece embracing the western part of the Peloponnesus, of which Corinth was the capital; see the note at Acts 18:12. This place is mentioned as having been concerned in this collection in 2 Corinthians 9:2.
The poor saints ... - The Christians who were in Judea were exposed to special trials. They were condemned by the sanhedrin, opposed by the rulers, and persecuted by the people; see Acts 8:1, etc.; Acts 12:1, etc. Paul sought not only to relieve them by this contribution, but also to promote fellow-feeling between them and the Gentile Christians. And "this" circumstance would tend much to enforce what he had been urging in Romans 14; 15 on the duty of kind feeling between the Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity. Nothing tends so much to wear off prejudice, and to prevent unkind feeling in regard to others, as to set about some purpose "to do them good," or to unite "with" them in doing good.2 Corinthians 8:1, and 2 Corinthians 9:2. When he saith, it hath pleased them, it is implied, that it was not extorted or squeezed out of them; but that it proceeded from a ready and willing mind, and that they took delight therein. The word here rendered contribution, properly signifieth communication, which implieth a mutual exchange or intercourse between the givers and the receivers; the one contributing alms, the other prayers and intercessions to God. He speaks elsewhere of communicating concerning giving and receiving, Philippians 4:15.
to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem; of which contribution, of their great forwardness, readiness, and liberality, a large account is given in 2 Corinthians 8:1; from whence Origen and others have rightly concluded, that this epistle to the Romans was wrote after that; since in that the apostle exhorts and encourages them, by the example of the Macedonian churches, to finish the collection they had begun; which collection is here called a contribution, or "communion", as the word signifies; it being one part of the communion of churches and of saints, to relieve their poor, by communicating to them, and to assist each other therein; and in which they have not only fellowship with one another, but with Christ the head; who takes what is done to the least of his brethren as done to himself: the persons for whom the collection was made, are "the poor saints", or "the poor of the saints"; for not all the saints, but the poor among them, were the objects of this generosity: they were saints such as are sanctified by God the Father in eternal election, and by the blood of Christ in redemption, and by the Spirit of Christ in the effectual calling, to these this goodness extended; for though good is to be done to all men, yet more especially to the household of faith: they were "poor", which is the lot of many who are saints, whom God has chosen, to whom the Gospel is preached, and who are called by grace: these came to be so, either through the great dearth which was throughout the world in the times of Claudius Caesar, when the brethren at Jerusalem particularly suffered, and were relieved by the disciples at Antioch; but this collection was made some years after that, and therefore rather they became so, through the persecutions of their countrymen; by whom they suffered joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing that they had a better and more enduring substance in heaven; or else through their having sold all their possessions, and thrown their money into one common stock and fund, for mutual subsistence, which was now exhausted: these poor saints lived at Jerusalem, which was at a great distance from Macedonia and Achaia; but though they were strangers, and unknown by face to them, and had only heard of them, and their distress; yet this was no objection to their cheerful contribution; they considered them as members of the same body, as belonging to the same family, and as standing in the same spiritual relation to God and Christ with themselves; and upon this foot they acted; and what they did is worthy the imitation of all the churches and people of God.For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Romans 15:26. More precise information respecting the διακονῶν τοῖς ἁγ.: “Placuit enim Macedonibus,” etc. On εὐδόκ., they have been pleased, comp. Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 1:15; Colossians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:8.
κοινων. τινὰ ποιής. κ.τ.λ.] to bring about a participation, in reference to the poor, i.e. to make a collection for them. The contributor, namely, enters into fellowship with the person aided, in so far as he κοινωνεῖ ταῖς χρείαις αὐτοῦ, Romans 12:13; κοινωνία is hence the characteristic expression for almsgiving, without, however, having changed its proper sense communio into the active one of communication; “honesta et aequitatis plena appellatio,” Bengel. Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:13; Hebrews 13:16. The added τινὰ, of some sort or other, corresponds to the freedom from constraint, and the consequent indefiniteness, of the amount to be aimed at. On the collection itself, see 1 Corinthians 16:1 ff.; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Acts 24:17.
τοὺς πτωχοὺς τῶν ἁγ.] the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. These were thus not all of them poor. Comp. Kühner, II. 1, p. 290. Of the community of goods there is no longer a trace in Paul. Philippi incorrectly holds that the πτωχοὶ τῶν ἁγίων are the poor saints generally. Since the genitive is in any case partitive (even in the passages in Matthiae, § 320, p. 791), the expression must at least have been τοὺς (not τῶν) ἐν Ἱερους.Romans 15:26. εὐδόκησαν γὰρ Μακεδονία καὶ Ἀχαία: Macedonia and Achaia would include all the Pauline Churches in Europe, and we know from 1 Corinthians 16:1 that a similar contribution was being made in Galatia. εὐδόκησαν expresses the formal resolution of the churches in question, but here as in many places with the idea that it was a spontaneous and cordial resolution (though it had been suggested by Paul): see chap. Romans 10:1 (Fritzsche’s note there), Luke 12:32, Galatians 1:15, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:1. κοινωνίαν τινὰ: τινὰ marks the in-definiteness of the collection. It was no assessment to raise a prescribed amount, but “some contribution,” more or less according to will and circumstances. For κοινωνίαν in this sense see 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13 : where the whole subject is discussed. εἰς τοὺς πτωχοὺς τῶν ἁγίων: from the partitive genitive it is clear that not all the saints in Jerusalem were poor. But Galatians 2:10, Acts 6 show that the community at least included many poor, towards whom it assumed a responsibility so burdensome that it was unable to discharge it unaided.26. For it hath pleased, &c.] Lit. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased. (The tense is aor., perhaps here an “epistolary past.”) The verb rendered “were pleased” implies, as E. V. also does, not only a voluntary act but the act of a superior; in the sense in which the giver of bounty is the superior party. It is no doubt chosen as a word of gentle irony, to be used further in the next sentence.
“Macedonia and Achaia” are the personification of the Churches of Greece, North and South.
a contribution] Lit. a communion. The giver communicates, or shares his store, with the receiver.—The word is kindred to the Gr. of “distributing,” Romans 12:13.
For this same Collection, see 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, where incidentally we see the Apostle’s own influence, methodical care, and high sense of honour, at work in the matter. See too 2 Corinthians 8:1-14; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15, for beautiful examples of appeal in this same matter to “Achaia” and to “Macedonia” respectively.
On this passage as a note of chronology, see Introduction, ii. § 1.
for the poor saints] Lit., and better, for the poor among the saints. The Christians at Jerusalem were not all poor, but included an unusually large proportion of poor, apparently, among them. Doubtless the special influences of the Capital of Pharisaism kept Christian artizans at a great disadvantage in matter of employment.Romans 15:26. Μακεδονία καὶ ʼ Αχαΐα, Macedonia and Achaia) From this expression the time, at which the epistle was written, may be gathered, Acts 19:21.—Κοινωνίαν, an act of communion, or communication [a contribution]) A term of description [applied to their gift of brotherly love] honourable and exceedingly just.—τῶν ἁγίων, of the saints) He does not say, poor saints (Gr. the poor among the saints). Therefore not all the saints were poor. Therefore the community of goods had now ceased at Jerusalem, after the death of Ananias and Sapphira, and after the persecution, Acts 8:1.
See on fellowship, Acts 2:42.
Poor saints (πτωχοὺς τῶν ἁγίων)
More literally, and better, the poor of the saints. Rev., among the saints. All the saints were not poor.
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