Chapter 15

Pleasing God


15:1-2 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up.


Following the previous chapter he sums it up by saying that those who are strong in the faith should put up with the uncertainties of the weak.   They should come alongside and help them to seek to please others and not ourselves.   The term neighbour used here refers to fellow believers.   We are to endeavour to do that which is pleasing in as much as it will be for the building up, strengthening and spiritual welfare of each other.  


Note.   Not to please men for the sake of pleasing (1 Thes. 2:4).


15:3 For even Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."


Christ did not seek to do the things that pleased Him but that which pleased His Father (John 8: 29).   The abuses and insults against God Christ took on Himself (Ps. 69: 9).


15:4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.


The things that have been recorded in the Bible, the Old Testament is meant here, is for our benefit.  That by constant endurance and the encouragement received from the Scriptures we might hold fast to the hope we have in Christ (1 Tim. 1:1).


15:5-6 Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


This patient endurance and comfort is the nature of God and we draw this from Him.   Paul’s prayer is that God would grant that His people would have the same mind as He has toward us for one another and thus be in harmony with Christ.  To be of one mind and then with one voice praise and glorify God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


15:7 Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God's glory.


Just as we are accepted in Christ, so are we to receive one another (Eph. 1: 6,Mark 9: 37).   This pleases God and glorifies His Name.


God Purposed to Save the Gentiles


15:8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God's truth to confirm the promises made to the fathers,


Jesus Christ came not to be ministered to but to minister.  When he came to the Jews as a servant to the truth of God it confirmed the promises made to their ancestors.  


15:9 and thus the Gentiles glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Because of this I will confess you among the Gentiles, and I will sing praises to your name."


He also came as a witness to the Gentiles according to God's promises, that God might be glorified for His mercy to them (Psalm 18:49).  


15:10-11 And again it says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people." And again, "Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him."


It was always God's purpose that Jew and Gentile should rejoice together in the Salvation that Christ would achieve (Deut. 32: 43, Ps. 117: 1).  


15:12 And again Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse will come, and the one who rises to rule over the Gentiles, in him will the Gentiles hope."


Isaiah prophesied that a descendant of Jesse (David's father)  would come forth to reign over the Gentiles and that they would hope in Him, that is Christ (Isaiah 11: 1,10).    


15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Paul's prayer is that God who is the source of all this hope will fill all beleivers with the joy and peace of His Salvation through Christ.   This is brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit who is able to make it abound and overflow.


Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles.


15:14 But I myself am fully convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.


Paul has a confidence in the believers in Rome that they are full of the goodness of God and spiritual knowledge and are therefore able to admonish and exhort one another.


15:15 But I have written more boldly to you on some points so as to remind you, because of the grace given to me by God


Although this was so it was still necessary for him to write to them with boldness on some points in order to remind them that they received all things by the grace of God.  


15:16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I serve the gospel of God like a priest, so that the Gentiles may become an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.


It was by God's grace that he was a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.   It was through him the Gospel message had been heard by many Gentiles.   Paul presents the Gentiles as his offering to God accepted by Him and sanctified by the Spirit.


15:17 So I boast in Christ Jesus about the things that pertain to God.


Paul does not boast of the work he had done as if it was his own but  he glories in what has been accomplished through Jesus Christ.  


15:18 For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in order to bring about the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed,


He will not even attempt to speak of it in any other light except that he is an instrument in Christ's hand to bring the Gentiles to a knowledge of salvation.  


15:19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem even as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.


This was confirmed by signs and wonders following the preaching of God's Word (Acts 19: 11).  From Jerusalem to Illyricum he faithfully proclaimed the Gospel message.


15:20-21 And in this way I desire to preach where Christ has not been named, so as not to build on another person's foundation, but as it is written: "Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand."


His aim was to take the Gospel message where it had not been heard before.  As an apostle he was a pioneer worker seeking to win new converts to Christ and establishing new works.   He quotes the verse from Isaiah 52: 15 to confirm this practice.


Paul plans and purposes to go to Rome


15:22-24 This is the reason I was often hindered from coming to you. But now there is nothing more to keep me in these regions, and I have for many years desired to come to you when I go to Spain. For I hope to visit you when I pass through and that you will help me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.


It is because he has been so busy preaching the Gospel that Paul has not been able to visit Rome.  Now that there were churches planted throughout the areas God had called him to he planned to fulfil the desire he had for many years to come to visit them on his way to Spain.   Not only to see them and enjoy their company but to be helped on his way.   We do not know whether Paul ever reached Spain but we do know that he reached Rome but not in the way that he had planned but according to God's.


15:25-27 But now I go to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia are pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do this, and indeed they are indebted to the Jerusalem saints. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are obligated also to minister to them in material things.


Before going to Rome however he would go to Jerusalem in order to present the offering given by the church in Macedonia and Achia to help the poor believers that were living there.   It was a joy to these Christians in those cities to be able to help in this way since they had benefited spiritual through the gospel message being given them by Jewish believers.


15:28-29 Therefore after I have completed this and have safely delivered this bounty to them, I will set out for Spain by way of you, and I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of Christ's blessing.


After he has fulfilled this duty he planned to come to them in the abundant blessing of the Gospel of Christ.


15:30 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join fervently with me in prayer to God on my behalf.


Paul ever acknowledged that he needed the prayers of the saints.   Here he makes an appeal to the believers in Rome for the sake of Jesus Christ and by the love that is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit to become one with him in earnest interceding prayer to God.


15:31 Pray that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea and that my ministry in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,


First, that he might be delivered from the hands of unbelievers in Judea who were seeking to take his life.   Secondly, the relief fund that he was taking with him would be graciously accepted by the Christians in Jerusalem.


15:32 so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.


This being accomplished he could then joyfully come to them and be refreshed by their ministry to him.


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


His brief benediction before giving his final farewell in chapter sixteen is, that God who is peace, made peace and gives peace  would be with them all.   Amen.

Romans 15 Bible study


The Pentecostal Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians

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