Romans 15

1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, to be building him up. 3 For even Christ didn’t please himself. But, as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that through patience and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and of encouragement grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, 6 that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore accept one another, even as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God. 8 Now I say that Christ has been made a servant of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore will I give praise to you amongst the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10 Again he says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.” 11 Again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Let all the peoples praise him.” 12 Again, Isaiah says, “There will be the root of Jesse, he who arises to rule over the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles will hope.” 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. 14 I myself am also persuaded about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish others. 15 But I write the more boldly to you in part, as reminding you, because of the grace that was given to me by God, 16 that I should be a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of the Good News of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 I have therefore my boasting in Christ Jesus in things pertaining to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any things except those which Christ worked through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of God’s Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and around as far as to Illyricum, I have fully preached the Good News of Christ; 20 yes, making it my aim to preach the Good News, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build on another’s foundation. 21 But, as it is written, “They will see, to whom no news of him came. They who haven’t heard will understand.” 22 Therefore also I was hindered these many times from coming to you, 23 but now, no longer having any place in these regions, and having these many years a longing to come to you, 24 whenever I travel to Spain, I will come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. 25 But now, I say, I am going to Jerusalem, serving the saints. 26 For it has been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor amongst the saints who are at Jerusalem. 27 Yes, it has been their good pleasure, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, they owe it to them also to serve them in fleshly things. 28 When therefore I have accomplished this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will go on by way of you to Spain. 29 I know that, when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of the Good News of Christ. 30 Now I beg you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints; 32 that I may come to you in joy through the will of God, and together with you, find rest. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but for the glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our neighbour, for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked will, and humouring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ’s whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. And he is the most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ. Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the failings of the weak. And should not we be humble, self-denying, and ready to consider one another, who are members one of another? The Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given. Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures. That comfort which springs from the word of God, is the surest and sweetest, and the greatest stay to hope. The Spirit as a Comforter, is the earnest of our inheritance. This like-mindedness must be according to the precept of Christ, according to his pattern and example. It is the gift of God; and a precious gift it is, for which we must earnestly seek unto him. Our Divine Master invites his disciples, and encourages them by showing himself as meek and lowly in spirit. The same disposition ought to mark the conduct of his servants, especially of the strong towards the weak. The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may well agree among themselves.

Verses 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.

Verses 14–21

The apostle was persuaded that the Roman Christians were filled with a kind and affectionate spirit, as well as with knowledge. He had written to remind them of their duties and their dangers, because God had appointed him the minister of Christ to the Gentiles. Paul preached to them; but what made them sacrifices to God, was, their sanctification; not his work, but the work of the Holy Ghost: unholy things can never be pleasing to the holy God. The conversion of souls pertains unto God; therefore it is the matter of Paul’s glorying, not the things of the flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God accompanied his labours. He principally sought the good of those that sat in darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does it by us.

Verses 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!

Verses 30–33

Let us learn to value the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous. How careful should we be, lest we forfeit our interest in the love and prayers of God’s praying people! If we have experienced the Spirit’s love, let us not be wanting in this office of kindness for others. Those that would prevail in prayer, must strive in prayer. Those who beg the prayers of others, must not neglect to pray for themselves. And though Christ knows our state and wants perfectly, he will know them from us. As God must be sought, for restraining the ill-will of our enemies, so also for preserving and increasing the good-will of our friends. All our joy depends upon the will of God. Let us be earnest in prayer with and for each other, that for Christ’s sake, and by the love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may come upon the souls of Christians, and the labours of ministers.

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