Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. We then that are strong--on such points as have been
discussed, the abolition of the Jewish distinction of meats and days
under the Gospel. See on
ought . . . not to please ourselves--ought to think less of what we
may lawfully do than of how our conduct will affect others.
2, 3. Let every one of us--lay himself out to
please his neighbour--not indeed for his mere gratification, but
for his good--with a view
to his edification.
3. For even Christ pleased not--lived not to please
himself; but, as it is written--
The reproaches, &c.--see
4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our
through, &c.--"through the comfort and the patience of the Scriptures"
might have hope--that is, "Think not that because such portions
of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to
you; for though Christ's sufferings, as a Saviour, were exclusively His
own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which
they were endured, and the general principle involved in His
whole work--self-sacrifice for the good of others--furnish our most
perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture relating to these is
for our instruction; and since the duty of forbearance, the
strong with the weak, requires 'patience,' and this again needs
'comfort,' all those Scriptures which tell of patience and
consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ, and of the
consolation which sustained Him under it, are our appointed and
appropriate nutriment, ministering to us 'hope' of that blessed
day when these shall no more be needed." See on
Note 7. (For the same connection between "patience and hope"
5, 6. Now the God of patience and consolation--Such beautiful names of
God are taken from the graces which He inspires: as "the God of hope"
"the God of peace"
grant you to be likeminded--"of the same mind"
according to Christ Jesus--It is not mere unanimity which the apostle
seeks for them; for unanimity in evil is to be deprecated. But it is
"according to Christ Jesus"--after the sublimest model of Him whose
all-absorbing desire was to do, "not His own will, but the will of Him
that sent Him"
6. That, &c.--rather, "that with one accord ye may with one mouth
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"; the mind and the
mouth of all giving harmonious glory to His name. What a prayer! And
shall this never be realized on earth?
7. Wherefore--returning to the point
receive ye one another . . . to the glory of God--If Christ received
us, and bears with all our weaknesses, well may we receive and
compassionate one with another, and by so doing God will be glorified.
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
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.
9. that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy--A number of
quotations from the Old Testament here follow, to show that God's plan
of mercy embraced, from the first, the Gentiles along with the Jews.
as it is written--
I will confess to--that is, glorify
thee among the Gentiles.
10. And again--
though there is some difficulty in the Hebrew).
Rejoice, ye Gentiles--along
with his people--Israel.
11. And again--
Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people--"peoples"--the
various nations outside the pale of Judaism.
12. And again, Esaias saith--
There shall be a--"the"
root of Jesse--meaning, not "He from whom Jesse sprang," but "He that
is sprung from Jesse" (that is, Jesse's son David)--see
and he that shall rise, &c.--So the Septuagint in substantial,
though not verbal, agreement with the original.
13. Now, &c.--This seems a concluding prayer, suggested by the whole
preceding subject matter of the epistle.
the God of hope--(See on
fill you with all joy and peace in believing--the native truth of that
faith which is the great theme of this epistle (compare
that ye may abound in hope--"of the glory of God." (See on
through the power of the Holy Ghost--to whom, in the economy of
redemption, it belongs to inspire believers with all gracious
On the foregoing portion, Note, (1) No Christian is at liberty to
regard himself as an isolated disciple of the Lord Jesus, having to
decide questions of duty and liberty solely with reference to himself.
As Christians are one body in Christ, so the great law of love binds
them to act in all things with tenderness and consideration for their
brethren in "the common salvation"
(Ro 15:1, 2).
(2) Of this unselfishness CHRIST is the perfect
model of all Christians
(3) Holy Scripture is the divine storehouse of all furniture for the
Christian life, even in its most trying and delicate features
(4) The harmonious glorification of the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ by the whole body of the redeemed, as it is the most
exalted fruit of the scheme of redemption, so it is the last end of God
WRITING TO THE
PRAYERS FOR THE
14, 15. And, &c.--rather, "Now I am persuaded, my brethren, even I
myself, concerning you"
that ye also yourselves are full of goodness--of inclination to all I
have been enjoining on you
filled with all knowledge--of the truth expounded
and able--without my intervention.
to admonish one another.
15. Nevertheless, I have written the more boldly unto you in some
as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of
God--as an apostle of Jesus Christ.
16. that I should be the--rather, "a"
minister--The word here used is commonly employed to express the
office of the priesthood, from which accordingly the figurative language
of the rest of the verse is taken.
of Jesus Christ--"Christ Jesus," according to the true reading.
to the Gentiles--a further proof that the Epistle was addressed
to a Gentile church. (See on
ministering the gospel of God--As the word here is a still more
priestly one, it should be rendered, "ministering as a priest in the
Gospel of God."
that the offering up of the Gentiles--as an oblation to God, in their
might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost--the end to
which the ancient offerings typically looked.
17. I have therefore whereof I may glory--or (adding the article, as
the reading seems to be), "I have my glorying."
Christ Jesus in those things which pertain to God--the things of the
ministry committed to me of God.
18-22. For I will not dare to speak of any--"to speak aught"
of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me--a modest, though
somewhat obscure form of expression, meaning, "I will not dare to go
beyond what Christ hath wrought by me"--in which form accordingly
the rest of the passage is expressed. Observe here how Paul ascribes
all the success of his labors to the activity of the living Redeemer,
working in and by him.
by word and deed--by preaching and working; which latter he explains
in the next clause.
19. Through mighty--literally, "in the power of"
signs and wonders--that is, glorious miracles.
by the power of the Spirit of God--"the Holy Ghost," as the true
reading seems to be. This seems intended to explain the efficacy of the
word preached, as well as the working of the miracles which attested it.
so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto--"as far as"
Illyricum--to the extreme northwestern boundary of Greece. It
corresponds to the modern Croatia and Dalmatia
Ac 20:1, 2.
I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
20, 21. Yea, &c.--rather, "Yet making it my study (compare
Greek) so to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was [already]
named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation: but (might
act) as it is written, To whom no tidings of Him came, they shall see,"
22. For which cause--"Being so long occupied with this
missionary work, I have been much (or, 'for the most part') hindered,"
&c. (See on
23, 24. But now having no more place--"no longer having place"--that
is, unbroken ground, where Christ has not been preached.
and having a great desire--"a longing"
these many years to come unto you--(as before, see on
24. whensoever I take my journey into Spain--Whether this purpose was
ever accomplished has been much disputed, as no record of it nor
allusion to it anywhere occurs. Those who think our apostle was never
at large after his first imprisonment at Rome will of course hold that
it never was; while those who are persuaded, as we are, that he
underwent a second imprisonment, prior to which he was at large for a
considerable time after his first, incline naturally to the other
I will come to you--If these words were not originally in the text,
and there is weighty evidence against them, they must at least be
inserted as a necessary supplement.
in my journey, &c.--"as I pass through by you, to be set forward on
my journey thither, if first I be somewhat filled with your company":
that is, "I should indeed like to stay longer with you than I can hope
to do, but I must, to some extent at least, have my fill of your
25-27. But now I go to Jerusalem to minister--"ministering"
to the saints--in the sense immediately to be explained.
26. For, &c.--better, "For Macedonia and Achaia have thought good to
make a certain contribution for the poor of the saints which are at
"They have thought it good; and their debtors verily they are"; that
is, "And well they may, considering what the Gentile believers owe to
their Jewish brethren."
27. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual
things, their duty is also--"they owe it also"
to minister unto them in carnal things--(Compare
28, 29. When therefore I have . . . sealed--that is, delivered over
to them this fruit--of the faith and love of the Gentile converts
I will come--"come back," or "return"
by you into Spain--(See on
29. And I am sure--"I know"
that . . . I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of
Christ--Such, beyond all doubts, is the true reading, the words "of
the gospel" being in hardly any manuscripts of antiquity and authority.
Nor was the apostle mistaken in this confidence, though his visit to
Rome was in very different circumstances from what he expected. See
30. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and
for the love of the Spirit--or, "by the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the
love of the Spirit"--not the love which the Spirit bears to us, but that
love which He kindles in the hearts of believers towards each other;
that is "By that Saviour whose name is alike dear to all of us and whose
unsearchable riches I live only to proclaim, and by that love one to
another which the blessed Spirit diffuses through all the brotherhood,
making the labors of Christ's servants a matter of common interest to
all--I beseech you."
that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me--implying
that he had his grounds for anxious fear in this matter.
31. That I may be delivered from them that do not believe--"that do not
obey," that is, the truth, by believing it; as in
in Judea--He saw the storm that was gathering over him in Judea, which,
if at all, would certainly burst upon his head when he reached the
capital; and the event too clearly showed the correctness of these
and that my service which I have for Jerusalem--(See on
may be accepted of--"prove acceptable to"
the saints--Nor was he without apprehension lest the opposition he had
made to the narrow jealousy of the Jewish converts against the free
reception of their Gentile brethren, should make this gift of theirs to
the poor saints at Jerusalem less welcome than it ought to be. He would
have the Romans therefore to join him in wrestling with God that this
gift might be gratefully received, and prove a cement between the two
parties. But further.
32. That I may come unto you with--"in"
joy by the will of God--
1Co 4:19; 16:7;
and may with you be refreshed--rather, "with you refresh myself,"
after all his labors and anxieties, and so be refitted for future
33. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen--The peace here sought
is to be taken in its widest sense: the peace of reconciliation to God,
first, "through the blood of the everlasting covenant"
then the peace which that reconciliation diffuses among all the
partakers of it
and see on
more widely still, that peace which the children of God, in beautiful
imitation of their Father in Heaven, are called and privileged to
diffuse far and wide through this sin-distracted and divided world
Note, (1) Did "the chiefest of the apostles" apologize for writing
to a Christian church which he had never seen, and a church that he was
persuaded was above the need of it, save to "stir up their pure minds by
way of remembrance"
(2Pe 1:13; 3:1);
and did he put even this upon the sole plea of apostolic responsibility
What a contrast is thus presented to hierarchical pride, and in
particular to the affected humility of the bishop of this very Rome!
How close the bond which the one spirit draws between ministers and
people--how wide the separation produced by the other! (2) There is in
the Christian Church no real priesthood, and none but figurative
sacrifices. Had it been otherwise, it is inconceivable that
should have been expressed as it is. Paul's only priesthood and
sacrificial offerings lay, first, in ministering to them as "the
apostle of the Gentiles," not the sacrament with the "real presence" of
Christ in it, or the sacrifice of the mass, but "the Gospel of God,"
and then, when gathered under the wing of Christ, presenting them to
God as a grateful offering, "being sanctified [not by sacrificial
gifts, but] by the Holy Ghost." (See
(3) Though the debt we owe to those by whom we have been brought to
Christ can never be discharged, we should feel it a privilege when we
render them any lower benefit in return
(Ro 15:26, 27).
(4) Formidable designs against the truth and the servants of Christ
should, above all other ways of counteracting them, be met by combined
prayer to Him who rules all hearts and controls all events; and the
darker the cloud, the more resolutely should all to whom Christ's cause
is dear "strive together in their prayers to God" for the removal of it
(Ro 15:30, 31).
(5) Christian fellowship is so precious that the most eminent servants
of Christ, amid the toils and trials of their work, find it refreshing
and invigorating; and it is no good sign of any ecclesiastic, that he
deems it beneath him to seek and enjoy it even amongst the humblest
saints in the Church of Christ
(Ro 15:24, 32).