Romans 15 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Romans 15)

Verse 1

[1] We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

We who are strong — Of a clearer judgment, and free from these scruples.

And not to please ourselves — Without any regard to others.

Verse 2

[2] Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

For his good — This is a general word: edification is one species of good.

Verse 3

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

But bore not only the infirmities, but reproaches, of his brethren; and so fulfilled that scripture. Psalms 69:9

Verse 4

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

Aforetime — In the Old Testament.

That we through patience and consolation of the scriptures may have hope — That through the consolation which God gives us by these, we may have patience and a joyful hope.

Verse 5

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

According to the power of Christ Jesus.

Verse 6

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

That ye — Both Jews and gentiles, believing with one mind, and confessing with one mouth.

Verse 7

[7] Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Receive ye one another — Weak and strong, with mutual love.

Verse 8

[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:

Now I say — The apostle here shows how Christ received us. Christ Jesus-Jesus is the name, Christ the surname. The latter was first known to the Jews; the former, to the gentiles. Therefore he is styled Jesus Christ, when the words stand in the common, natural order. When the order is inverted, as here, the office of Christ is more solemnly considered.

Was a servant — Of his Father.

Of the circumcision — For the salvation of the circumcised, the Jews.

For the truth of God — To manifest the truth and fidelity of God.

Verse 9

[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 — In the eighteenth psalm, here the gentiles and Jews are spoken of as joining in the worship of the God of Israel. Psalms 18:49

Verse 10

[10] And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

Deuteronomy 32:43.

Verse 11

[11] And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

Psalms 117:1.

Verse 12

[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.

There shall be the root of Jesse — That kings and the Messiah should spring from his house, was promised to Jesse before it was to David.

In him shall the gentiles hope — Who before had been "without hope," Ephesians 2:12. Isaiah 11:10

Verse 13

[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.

Now the God of hope — A glorious title of God, but till now unknown to the heathens; for their goddess Hope, like their other idols, was nothing; whose temple at Rome was burned by lightning. It was, indeed, built again not long after, but was again burned to the ground.

Verse 14

[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.

There are several conclusions of this Epistle. The first begins at this verse; the second, Romans 16:1; the third, Romans 16:17; the fourth, Romans 16:21; and the fifth, Romans 16:25; Ye are full of goodness - By being created anew. And filled with all knowledge - By long experience of the things of God. To admonish - To instruct and confirm.

Verse 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,

Because of the grace — That is, because I am an apostle of the gentiles.

Verse 16

[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.

The offering up of the gentiles — As living sacrifices.

Verse 17

[17] I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.

I have whereof to glory through Jesus Christ — All my glorying is in and through him.

Verse 18

[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,

By word — By the power of the Spirit.

By deed — Namely, through "mighty signs and wonders."

Verse 20

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

Not where Christ had been named — These places he generally declined, though not altogether, having an holy ambition (so the Greek word means) to make the first proclamation of the gospel in places where it was quite unheard of, in spite of all the difficulty and dangers that attended it. Lest I should only build upon another man's foundation - The providence of God seemed in a special manner, generally, to prevent this, though not entirely, lest the enemies of the apostle, who sought every occasion to set light by him, should have had room to say that he was behind other apostles, not being sufficient for planting of churches himself, but only for preaching where others had been already; or that he declined the more difficult part of the ministry

Verse 21

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

Isaiah 52:15.

Verse 22

[22] For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

Therefore I have been long hindered from coming to you — Among whom Christ had been named.

Verse 23

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

Having no longer place in these parts — Where Christ has now been preached in every city.

Verse 24

[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.

Into Spain — Where the gospel had not yet been preached.

If first I may be somewhat satisfied with your company — How remarkable is the modesty with which he speaks! They might rather desire to be satisfied with his.

Somewhat satisfied — Intimating the shortness of his stay; or, perhaps, that Christ alone can throughly satisfy the soul.

Verse 26

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

The poor of the saints that are in Jerusalem — It can by no means be inferred from this expression, that the community of goods among the Christians was then ceased. All that can be gathered from it is, that in this time of extreme dearth, Acts 11:28,29, some of the church in Jerusalem were in want; the rest being barely able to subsist themselves, but not to supply the necessities of their brethren.

Verse 27

[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.

It hath pleased them; and they are their debtors — That is, they are bound to it, in justice as well as mercy.

Spiritual things — By the preaching of the gospel.

Carnal things — Things needful for the body.

Verse 28

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

When I have sealed to them this fruit — When I have safely delivered to them, as under seal, this fruit of their brethren's love.

I will go by you into Spain — Such was his design; but it does not appear that Paul went into Spain. There are often holy purposes in the minds of good men, which are overruled by the providence of God so as never to take effect. And yet they are precious in the sight of God.

Verse 30

[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;

I beseech you by the love of the Spirit — That is, by the love which is the genuine fruit of the Spirit.

To strive together with me in your prayers — He must pray himself, who would have others strive together with him in prayer. Of all the apostles, St. Paul alone is recorded to desire the prayers of the faithful for himself. And this he generally does in the conclusions of his Epistles; yet not without making a difference. For he speaks in one manner to them whom he treats as his children, with the gravity or even severity of a father, such as Timothy, Titus, the Corinthians, and Galatians; in another, to them whom he treats rather like equals, such as the Romans, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians, Hebrews.

Verse 31

[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;

That I may be delivered — He is thus urgent from a sense of the importance of his life to the church. Otherwise he would have rejoiced "to depart, and to be with Christ." And that my service may be acceptable - In spite of all their prejudices; to the end the Jewish and gentile believers may be knit together in tender love.

Verse 32

[32] That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

That I may come to you — This refers to the former, With joy - To the latter, part of the preceding verse.