Romans Fifteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

ought. This is a strong verb, meaning “have an obligation.”

Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

as it is written. This phrase is from Psalm 69:9, the same verse which the disciples applied to Christ when He purged the temple of the money-changers (John 2:17). He suffered reproach on our behalf; we should be willing to be reproached for His sake (1 Peter 4:14).

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

written for our learning. The Old Testament Scriptures were all written for our benefit today, as well as for the pre-Christian Israelites. Paul very frequently quotes from the Old Testament as authoritative (as in the preceding verse, for example), and clearly believed all of it to be divinely inspired and in every way profitable for Christians (2 Timothy 3:16-17). By no means should Christians limit their Bible study to the New Testament.

Romans 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

God of patience. Note the beautiful titles applied to God in this chapter: (1) “the God of patience and consolation” (Romans 15:5); (2) “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13); and (3) “the God of peace” (Romans 15:33).

Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

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 unto the fathers:

Romans 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

as it is written. Again observe how often Paul quotes from the Old Testament, even from what often seem to be obscure verses. This quote is from Psalm 18:49.

Romans 15:10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

again he saith. This quote is from the song of Moses, as he prepared to die (Deuteronomy 32:43). He had led Israel to its promised land, and now, in the final verse of his great song, he exhorted all the nations to rejoice with God's chosen nation, for in Abraham's seed would all nations be blessed. Note also that Paul quotes this exhortation as coming directly from God, even though it was Moses' song, thus confirming the divine inspiration of Moses' writings near the very end of the Pentateuch.

Romans 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

And again. In four straight verses, Paul quotes four Scriptures, from David, Moses, an unknown psalmist, and Isaiah, respectively. This particular quote is from Psalm 117:1. The 117th psalm is the shortest chapter in the Bible, yet one of its two verses is cited by Paul in his letter to Rome.

Romans 15:12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

again, Esaias saith. This reference is taken from the great Messianic promise of Isaiah 11:10, when Christ (“the root of Jesse,” the father of Israel's greatest king, David—hence both “the root and the offspring of David,” as in His claim in Revelation 22:16) will reign over all nations, both Israel and the Gentiles.

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

God of hope. There are many beautiful appellations given to our God in the New Testament. See note on Hebrews 13:20.

Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Romans 15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.

Romans 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

Romans 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:

Romans 15:21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

it is written. From Isaiah 52:15, this verse introduces Isaiah's great fifty-third chapter, containing the most complete and poignant exposition in the Bible of the sacrificial death of Christ. Paul, it must be remembered, was writing for the instruction of both the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians at Rome, understanding that both would be reading his letter.

Romans 15:22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

Romans 15:23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;

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.

Romans 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

Romans 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

Macedonia and Achaia. Paul is referring here especially to the churches of Philippi and Corinth, respectively. Note Philippians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:1-4.

Romans 15:27 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 unto them in carnal things.

Romans 15:28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

by you into Spain. Paul had intended, after taking the offering collected from the various churches of Greece and Asia back to the needy Christians at Jerusalem, to make his next missionary journey a journey to Rome and then to Spain (Romans 15:24). He did not know he would reach Rome only as a prisoner (Acts 28:16) and, as far as the record goes, at least, never get to Spain at all. Nevertheless, his inspired epistles have actually reached every nation, and almost every tribe, on earth.

Romans 15:29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

Romans 15:30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

Romans 15:31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;

Romans 15:32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

Romans 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Amen. Paul normally ended each of his epistles with some such benediction as this. He perhaps intended Romans 16 simply to be something of a postscript. Nevertheless, there is much of great (and inspired) value in that final chapter as well.