Romans 15:8
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Now I say. . . .—Rather, For I say. My doctrine is that Christ came with a two-fold purpose: on the one hand, with a mission to the Jews, the chosen circumcised race, to vindicate to them the truthfulness of God in respect to His promises, by Himself confirming and fulfilling those promises; and, on the other hand, with the object to exhibit the mercy of God in rescuing the Gentiles from their state of condemnation, and giving them cause to glorify God’s name.

Was. . . .—This is the reading of the Vatican MS. and Paris rescript; the Sinaitic and Alexandrine have, “hath been made.”

For the truth of Godi.e., to make good the truthfulness of God in keeping His promises.

Romans 15:8-12. Now — To show more fully what I mean in saying Christ received us, I observe, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision — Or vouchsafed to be a servant of the Jews, in preaching the gospel among them; for the truth of God — To demonstrate his faithfulness in fulfilling the promises made unto the fathers — Of sending them the Messiah; and therefore, 1st, The believing Jews, though weak, ought not to be despised by the believing Gentiles, though stronger. And, 2d, It is no objection to Christ’s receiving the Gentiles, that he never preached to them, for he became a minister of the circumcision, not only in order to the salvation of the Jews, but also that, by converting them, and sending them to preach to the Gentiles, he might accomplish the promises made to the fathers concerning the blessing of all nations. And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy, as it is written, Psalm 18:49; where the Gentiles and Jews are spoken of as joining in the worship of the true God, the God of Israel. To explain this more fully, “Jesus Christ was born a Jew, and exercised his ministry among the Jews, in order that the truth of God’s promises to the fathers, concerning the blessing of the nations in Abraham’s seed, might be confirmed by the conversion of the Jews and Gentiles. For as the Jews were the only people on earth who worshipped the true God, and had his revelations in their hands, it was absolutely necessary that the gospel, in which all the former revelations terminated, should be first preached to them; that a sufficient number of them receiving it, might preach it to the Gentiles, as the fulfilment of the former revelations, of which their nation were the keepers. The gospel being thus offered to the Gentiles, as the word of the same God who anciently spoke to the fathers of the Jewish nation by the prophets; that circumstance, with the miracles which accompanied the first preaching of it, so powerfully demonstrated it to be from God, that multitudes of the Gentiles, receiving it, turned from idols to worship the living and true God; whereby the truth of God’s promise to the fathers, concerning the blessing of the nations in Christ, was illustriously confirmed, and the Gentiles had an opportunity of glorifying God for his mercy in their conversion.” It may be proper to observe further here, that “conversion to the true God being the mercy, or blessing, which God promised to bestow on the Gentiles, it is particularly mentioned here, not only to make the Gentiles sensible that they ought not to despise the Jews, through whom they had received so great a blessing, but also to persuade the Jews to acknowledge the Gentiles as the people of God, equally with themselves.” — Macknight. And again Moses saith, (Deuteronomy 32:43,) Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people — Implying that the time would come when the Gentiles should become the people of God as well as the Jews, and should join with them in the worship of God, and rejoice in a sense of his goodness to them. And again, (Psalm 117:1,) Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, for the mercy vouchsafed to you; therefore they shall know God, and obtain mercy; and Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse — See note on Isaiah 11:10. The apostle here follows the translation of the LXX., because, though it differs in expression from the Hebrew, it represents the prophet’s meaning with sufficient exactness to prove the point for which he quotes it, which was to show that the Gentiles should become the people of God by believing, and confiding in the Messiah, and therefore should be united in the same church with the believing Jews. And the apostle’s design in this part of his epistle being to persuade the Jewish and Gentile converts to a cordial union in the public worship of God, it was of great importance to show the Jews that this coalition was foretold in their own Scriptures; for which purpose the apostle, with great propriety, quotes the various passages here adduced.15:8-13 Christ fulfilled the prophecies and promises relating to the Jews, and the Gentile converts could have no excuse for despising them. The Gentiles, being brought into the church, are companions in patience and tribulation. They should praise God. Calling upon all the nations to praise the Lord, shows that they shall have knowledge of him. We shall never seek to Christ till we trust in him. And the whole plan of redemption is suited to reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God, so that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying and comforting power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our own power will never reach this; therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory. All joy and peace; all sorts of true joy and peace, so as to suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit.Now I say - I affirm, or maintain. I, a "Jew," admit that his work had reference to the Jews; I affirm also that it had reference to the Gentiles.

That Jesus Christ - That "the Messiah." The force of the apostle's reasoning would often be more striking if he would retain the word "Messiah," and not regard the word "Christ" as a mere surname. It is the name of his "office;" and to "a Jew" the name "Messiah" would convey much more than the idea of a mere proper name.

Was a minister of the circumcision - Exercized his office - the office of the Messiah - among the Jews, or with respect to the Jews, for the purposes which he immediately specifies. He was born a Jew; was circumcised; came "to" that nation; and died in their midst, without having gone himself to any other people.

For the truth of God - To confirm or establish the truth of the promises of God. He remained among them in the exercise of his ministry, to show that God was "true," who had said that the Messiah should come to them.

To confirm the promises ... - To "establish," or to show that the promises were true; see the note at Acts 3:25-26. The "promises" referred to here, are those particularly which related to the coming of the Messiah. By thus admitting that the Messiah was the minister of the circumcision, the apostle conceded all that the Jew could ask, that he was to be peculiarly "their" Messiah; see the note at Luke 24:47.

8-12. Now—"For" is the true reading: the apostle is merely assigning an additional motive to Christian forbearance.

I say that Jesus Christ was—"hath become"

a minister of the circumcision—a remarkable expression, meaning "the Father's Servant for the salvation of the circumcision (or, of Israel)."

for the truth of God—to make good the veracity of God towards His ancient people.

to confirm the—Messianic

promises made unto the fathers—To cheer the Jewish believers, whom he might seem to have been disparaging, and to keep down Gentile pride, the apostle holds up Israel's salvation as the primary end of Christ's mission. But next after this, Christ was sent.

He explains himself, and declares more at large, how Christ received both Jews and Gentiles, thereby to admonish them to receive one another. As for the Jews, whom he calls here the circumcision, see Romans 3:30 4:9,12, he saith, Christ became a minister unto them; see Matthew 20:28. He exercised his ministry in the days of his flesh amongst them only, Matthew 15:24. He went indeed now and then into the coasts of Samaria to make way for the calling of the Gentiles, but his chief abode was in Jewry.

For the truth of God; or, because of the truth of God, that his truth or faithfulness might not fail.

To confirm the promises made to the fathers; i.e. the promises of the Messiah, made first to Adam, then to Abraham and to David, that the Messiah should come of their loins, that in their seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. Now I say,.... Or affirm that Christ has received both Jews and Gentiles: that he has received the Jews, and therefore they are not to be despised, though they are weak, appears from hence,

that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision; he is rightly called a minister, for this was the end of his coming into the world, and the whole of his work in it was not to be ministered unto, but to minister to others, Matthew 20:28, both in life and at death. This character agrees with him in all his offices; as King he ministers judgment to the people; and as priest he is the minister of the true tabernacle of the human nature, Hebrews 8:2, in which he offered himself a sacrifice for the sins of his people, and now in it makes intercession for them; but here it is expressive of his prophetic office, in which he is such a minister as never was before, or since, or ever will be; if we consider the dignity of his person, being the Son of God; the greatness of his qualifications, having the Spirit without measure; the nature of his doctrines, which were amazing words of grace and truth; and the manner of his delivery, which was with authority; and that all other ministers receive their mission, qualifications, doctrine and success from him: he is styled a minister of "the circumcision", not literally considered, as if he administered circumcision to any, which he did not; he was indeed subject to it as a son of Abraham, as a Jew by birth, as under the law, and in order to fulfil all righteousness, Matthew 3:15, and to show that he was truly man, and that he had regard to the people and ordinances of the Old Testament, as he showed by baptism he had to those of the New, and to signify our cleansing and atonement by his blood; but circumcision is either to be understood in a spiritual sense of circumcision in the Spirit, and not in the flesh, with which the true circumcision, or believers in Christ, are circumcised in him, through his circumcision; or rather the word here is to be taken metonymically, for the uncircumcised Jews, as it often is in this epistle; see Romans 2:26. So that the meaning is, that Christ was their minister and preacher, just as Peter is said to have the apostleship of the circumcision, Galatians 2:8, or to be the apostle of the Jews; as Paul was of the Gentiles, Romans 11:13, and to have the Gospel of the circumcision committed to him, it being his province to preach it to them, Galatians 2:7, Christ as a minister or preacher in the personal discharge of his prophetic office, was sent only to the Jews; among them he lived, and to them he only preached; nor did he allow his apostles to preach to any other till after his resurrection; and which is a manifest proof that he received the Jews, and took them under his care, and showed a particular regard unto them: the ends of his being a minister to them were,

for the truth of God; to preach the Gospel of salvation, the word of truth unto them, for which he was promised and sent; and in doing of which he declared the righteousness, faithfulness, loving kindness, and truth of God unto them:

and to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; the fathers of the world, Adam, Noah, &c. or rather the Jewish fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and others; concerning the Messiah's being the seed of the woman, and of Abraham, and of David; concerning the coming of Shiloh, the raising up of the great prophet among the Jews, &c. all which promises are yea and amen in Christ, ratified and fulfilled in him.

{5} Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the {f} circumcision for the {g} truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

(5) An applying of the example of Christ to the Jews, whom he granted this honour for the promises which he made to their fathers, although they were ever so unworthy, in that he executed the office of a minister among them with marvellous patience: therefore much less ought the Gentiles despise them for certain faults, whom the Son of God esteemed so much.

(f) Of the circumcised Jews, for as long as he lived, he never went out of their midst.

(g) That God might be seen to be true.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 15:8-9. A more precise explanation—which furnishes a still more definite motive for compliance with the προσλαμβ. ἀλλ.—respecting ὁ Χριστὸς προσελάβ. ὑμ. εἰς δόξ. Θεοῦ, first in respect of Jewish-Christians (Romans 15:8), and then of Gentile-Christians (Romans 15:9), and that in such a manner that the connection of the former with Christ appears as the fulfilment of their theocratic claim, but that of the latter as the enjoyment of grace;—a distinction so set forth, not from the Jewish-Christian narrowness of the author (Lucht), but designedly and ingeniously (comp. Romans 11:28-29), in order to suggest to the Gentile-Christians greater esteem for their weaker Jewish brethren,[15] and humility.

ΛΈΓΩ ΓΆΡ] I mean, namely, in order more particularly to explain myself respecting the προσελάβετο ὑμᾶς κ.τ.λ.; otherwise in Romans 12:3. But comp. 1 Corinthians 1:12; Galatians 4:1; Galatians 5:16. Frequently thus in the Greek writers.

ΔΙΆΚΟΝΟΝ ΓΕΓΕΝ. ΠΕΡΙΤ.] ΔΙΆΚ. has emphasis, in order to bring out the original theocratic dignity of the Jewish-Christians. Christ has become minister of the circumcised; for to devote His activity to the welfare of the Jewish nation was, according to promise, the duty of His Messianic office. Comp. Matthew 20:28; Matthew 15:24.

ὑπὼρ ἀληθ. Θεοῦ] more particularly explained at once by what follows; hence: for the sake of the truthfulness of God, in order to justify and to demonstrate it through the realization of the hallowed promise given to the fathers; comp. 2 Corinthians 1:20. Thus the προσελάβετο ὑμᾶς in respect of the Jewish-Christians redounded εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ; but it redounded to this quite otherwise in respect of the Gentile-Christians, Romans 15:9.

ὑπὲρ ἐλέους] contrast to ὙΠῈΡ ἈΛΗΘ. ΘΕΟῦ, Romans 15:8 : on behalf of mercy, i.e. for mercy, which God has evinced towards them by His making them joint partakers in redemption. The references of ὑπέρ in the two cases are thus not alike.

ΔΟΞΆΣΑΙ, ordinarily understood as dependent on ΛΈΓΩ, may neither denote: have praised (namely, at their adoption), as Reiche, Rückert, de Wette, Bisping would explain it, which not merely introduces an irrelevant idea, but also runs counter to the usage of the aorist infinitive (even 2 Corinthians 6:1, see in loc.); nor: have to praise (Tholuck, Philippi, and most), for there is no mention of a duty according to the parallelism of the two verses, since λέγω γάρ has not here the sense of commanding (see on Romans 12:3, Romans 2:22); nor, finally, is it an infinitive without reference to time (I say, that the Gentiles praise), as Winer, p. 311 f. [E. T. p. 417], and Fritzsche, after the Vulgate, Luther, and others, take it, which would have required the present infinitive, because λέγω does not here express the notion of willing, hoping, and the like (see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 749), but simply that of affirming with statement of the object. Moreover, the aorist infinitive necessarily leads to this, that δοξάσαι is parallel to the preceding ΒΕΒΑΙῶΣΑΙ, and consequently is not governed by ΛΈΓΩ at all, but is connected with ΕἸς ΤῸ, as Castalio and Beza have rightly perceived; comp. also Bengel (“glorificarent”) and van Hengel. Hence: “in order that He might ratify the promises of the fathers, but that the Gentiles, on behalf of mercy, might praise God.” The former, namely, ὑπὲρ ἀληθείας Θεοῦ εἰς τὸ βεβαιῶσαι κ.τ.λ., was the proximate design of Christ’s having become minister of the circumcised; and the more remote design, which was to be attained through the passing of salvation from the Jews to the Gentiles (comp. Galatians 3:14), consisted in this, that on the other hand the Gentiles should praise God on account of mercy. Incorrectly, Hofmann takes δοξάσαι as optative: Paul wishes that the Gentiles, etc. In this way the εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ, Romans 15:7, would be something which was still only to set in, although it had set in long ago (comp. Romans 9:24-25, and see Romans 15:16-24). Without ground, Hofmann imports into the simple τὰ ἔθνη the idea of “the Gentile world as a whole;” it can in fact according to the context denote only the Gentile portion of those, whom Christ προσελάβετο εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ.

Observe, moreover, how logically correct is the contrast of ὙΠῈΡ ἈΛΗΘ. and ὙΠῈΡ ἘΛΈΟΥς (in opposition to Olshausen, Fritzsche); for although God had promised the future ΠΡΌΣΛΗΨΙς of the Gentiles also (in the prophets), He nevertheless cannot have promised it to the Gentiles themselves, as He has given the Messianic promise to the Jews themselves and chosen them for His people, in accordance with which, He, by virtue of His truthfulness, was bound to His word, and consequently the Jews, not the Gentiles, were de jure the children in terms of the covenant and heirs of the kingdom; comp. Romans 9:4-5; Acts 3:25; see also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 397.

καθὼς γέγρ.] This praising by the Gentiles takes place in conformity with (as a fulfilment of) Psalm 18:50, which passage is quoted after the LXX. The historical subject of the passage, David, is a type of Christ; hence neither the Gentile-Christian (Fritzsche), nor the apostle of the Gentiles as the organ of Christ (Hofmann, comp. Reiche), nor any messenger of salvation generally to the Gentile world (Philippi), is in the sense of the apostle the subject of the fulfilment of the prophecy, but only Christ can be so. The latter says to God that He, as present among the Gentiles (whom He has made His own through their conversion), will magnify Him. This, however, is a plastic representation of the praise of the Gentiles themselves, which in fact takes place ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου Ἰησοῦ and ΔΙʼ ΑὐΤΟῦ (Colossians 3:17). Comp. already Augustine: “tibi per me confitebantur gentes.” Bengel aptly says: “Quod in psalmo Christus dicit se facturum, id Paulus gentes ait facere; nempe Christus facit in gentibus, Hebrews 2:12.”

διὰ τοῦτο] included as a constituent part of the citation, but without reference to the matter in hand in Paul’s text.

ἘΝ ἜΘΝΕΣΙ] to whom He, through the Spirit, by means of the preaching of the gospel has come, and has placed them in communion with Himself.

As to ἘΞΟΜΟΛΟΓ. with the dative, comp. on Romans 14:11. It presupposes, as well as ΨΑΛῶ and the corresponding verbs, Romans 15:10-11, the divine ἜΛΕΟς, which had been vouchsafed to the Gentiles, as motive.

[15] The contrast of Jewish and Gentile Christianity is so essentially and radically connected with the difference respecting the use of food, that it is wholly groundless to ascribe the treatment of that contrast in our passage to the supposed editor of the epistle (Lucht), who has worked up the Pauline portion of the letter, following Romans 14:23, into conformity with a later, entirely altered state of things.Romans 15:8. λέγω γὰρ Χριστὸν διάκονον γεγενῆσθαι περιτομῆς = what I mean is this—Christ has been made, etc. διάκονον περιτομῆς is usually understood as “a minister to the Jews, to circumcised people” (cf. Romans 3:30, Romans 4:9), and this seems to me the only intelligible explanation. In exercising this ministry (and He exercised directly no other: Matthew 15:24) Christ was of course circumcised Himself and set from His birth (Galatians 4:4 f.) in the same relation to the law as all who belonged to the old covenant; but though this is involved in the fact that Christ was sent to the Jews, it is not what is meant by calling Him διάκονον περιτομῆς. ὑπὲρ ἀληθείας θεοῦ: in the interest of God’s truth (cf. Romans 1:5 : ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ). The truth of God, as the giver of the promises to the fathers, was vindicated by Christ’s ministry; for in Him they were all fulfilled, 2 Corinthians 1:20. τὰς ἐπαγγ. τῶν πατέρων: the promises belonged to the fathers, because they were originally made to them.8. Now I say] Better, on documentary evidence, For I say. St Paul here expounds the words “Christ received you,” by shewing the bearing of the Lord’s Work on the salvation alike of Jewish and Gentile believers. And in so doing he reminds the two Sections of the holy Bond in which they stood united.

Jesus Christ] Better, simply, Christ.

a minister of the circumcision] i.e. One who came to serve the circumcision; to labour for Israel. See His own words, Matthew 15:24.

St Paul mentions first the Lord’s work for Israel, then His work for the Gentiles. Cp. Romans 1:16.

for the truth of God] for the sake of it; to secure its vindication. “The Truth” had foretold that the Redeemer should be of the seed of Abraham, Judah, David.

to confirm] By being their Fulfilment.

8–13. The Lord’s example enforced by a view of the equal bearing of His work on Jewish and Gentile believersRomans 15:8. Λέγω δὲ, Now I say) By this verse the preceding clause concerning Christ is explained.—Χριστὸν Ιησοῦν.) Others say, Ιησοῦν Χριστὸν.[154] Those, who have omitted the name Jesus in this passage, seem to have had respect to Romans 15:3; Romans 15:7. The nomenclature, Jesus Christ, and Christ Jesus, ought not to be considered as promiscuously used. Jesus is the name, Christ the surname. The former was first made known to the Jews, the latter to the Gentiles. Therefore he is called Jesus Christ according to the natural and common order of the words; but when He is called Christ Jesus, by inverting the order of the words, peculiar reference is made to the office of Christ, with somewhat of a more solemn design. And this is especially suitable to the present passage. Sometimes in one place, both arrangements of the words prevail, Romans 15:5-6; Galatians 2:16, note; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-10. See also 1 Corinthians 3:11; with which comp. 1 Timothy 2:5.—διάκονον, a minister) a suitable appellation; comp. Romans 15:3; Matthew 20:28. [Remarkable humiliation! Here indeed there was need of patience, Romans 15:4-5.—V. g.]—Moreover, Jesus Christ became the minister of the Father for the salvation of the circumcision. Christ was subservient to the will of the Father: the Father devoted Him for the salvation of many, whence the Genitive, of circumcision, has the same meaning as in Galatians 2:7-8. Presently after, reigning is ascribed to this minister, Romans 15:12. But this appellation (minister) is not repeated in the next verse, for the calling of the Gentiles coheres with His state of exaltation;—it is accordingly said there, that they might glorify, for greater thanksgiving is rendered by the Gentiles,[155] than by the circumcision.—περιτομῆς, of the circumcision) that is, of Israel.—πατέρων, of the fathers) The Genitive here contains the emphasis of the sentence, Matthew 15:26.

[154] ABC read Χριστὸν only. But D(Λ)Gfg and both Syr. Versions and Rec. Text Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν.—ED.

[155] Naturally so: Because they have received grace extraordinarily, they being but as the wild olive graffed in on the elect stock, Israel.—ED.Verses 8, 9. - For (the reading γὰρ is much better supported than δὲ. The essential meaning, however, of λέγω γὰρ is the same as of λέγω δὲ) I say (i.e. what I mean to say is this; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:12; Galatians 4:1: 5:16) that Jesus Christ was (rather, has been made, γεγενῆσθαι being the more probable reading than γενέσθαι) a minister of the circumcision (i.e. of the Jews) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers (literally, the promises of the fathers): and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. Observe the expressions, ὑπὲρ ἀληθείας Θεοῦ, etc., and ὑπὲρ ἐλέους, with reference respectively to the Jews and Gentiles. Christ's primary ministry was to "the house of Israel" (cf. Matthew 15:24), in vindication of God's truth, or faithfulness to his promises made through the patriarchs to the chosen race: his taking in of the Gentiles was an extension of the Divine mercy, to his greater glory. The infinitive δοξάσαι, in ver. 9, seems best taken in the same construction with βεβαιῶσαι in ver. 8, both being dependent on εἰς τὸ. As it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy Name. This quotation from Psalm 18:49 or 2 Samuel 22:50, with those that follow, are for scriptural confirmation of God's purpose, which has just been spoken of, to include the Gentiles in his covenanted mercies to Israel, so that they too might glorify him. St. Paul, after a manner usual with him; follows cut a thought suggested in the course of his argument, so as to interrupt the latter for a while, but to return to it in ver. 13. All, in fact, from the beginning of ver. 8 to the end of ver. 12, is parenthetical, suggested by "even as Christ received you,." at the end of ver. 7. All this, it may be observed, is confirmatory of Pauline authorship. The first quotation introduces David, the theocratic king, confessing and praising God, not apart from the Gentiles, but among them. The second, from Deuteronomy 32:43, calls on the Gentiles themselves to join in Israel's rejoicing; the third, from Psalm 117:1, does the same; the last, from Isaiah 11:10, foretells definitely the reign of the Messiah over Gentiles as well as Jews, and the hope also of the Gentiles in him. Of the circumcision

Of those circumcised. See on the election, Romans 11:7.

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