An Exegetical Commentary
Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 28 June 2011; Revised 23 October 2017
Scripture Text: The Scripture text of Romans is taken from the NASB Updated Edition (1995). Unless otherwise indicated other Scripture quotations are also taken from the NASB. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid-2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here.
Sources: Bibliographic data for sources cited may be found here. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. Click here for Talmud Abbreviations. Links to other ancient Jewish literature may be found at EarlyJewishWritings.com.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament), Besekh (New Testament), Torah (Law), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ).
Grammar: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). The meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB," found online at BibleHub.com. Explanation of Greek grammatical forms and a pronunciation guide for New Testament Greek may be found here. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance reference numbers are identified with "SH" for Hebrew and "SG" for Greek.
Methodology: For an explanation of abbreviations, acronyms, terminology, spelling conventions, and other information on organization of the commentary see my Commentary Writing Philosophy. Click here for a Study Questions for small group learning or self-study.
Ecclesiology: Relationships and Mission, 14:1–15:33 (cont.)
Admonitions to the "Strong," 15:1-7
The Model of the Servant Messiah, 15:7-12
The Model of Paul's Ministry, 15:14-21
Paul's Continuing Mission, 15:22-33
Admonitions to the "Strong," 15:1-7
1― Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
Now we who are strong: Grk. dunatos, having power or competence, mostly of persons. ought: Grk. opheilō, pres., to be under a prescribed obligation, to have a duty or to owe someone. to bear: Grk. bastazō, pres. inf., to take up something from a position, to sustain a burden or to bear patiently. the weaknesses: Grk. asthenēma, weak or weakness. This noun occurs only here in the apostolic writings. BAG defines the word as conscientious scruples that arise from weakness of faith. See the notes on 14:1-2. those without strength: adunatos, lacking in capability. and not just please ourselves: Grk. areskō, pres. inf., to be fitting or pleasing. The focus is on meeting needs and interests, in this case self-directed. The appeal is parallel to the comment in Philippians 2:4, "do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
On the surface Paul appears to be identifying himself with the "strong," i.e., the meat-eaters of chapter 14. However, Paul spoke more often of his weaknesses (1Cor 2:3; 2Cor 12:5, 9, 10). It's more likely that Paul is being facetious, since in the previous chapter he had condemned the actions of the "strong." A parallel manner of writing occurs in his letter to the Philippians:
"Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude." (Phil 3:12-15)
First, Paul says he has not become perfect and then he includes himself in a group that claims to be perfect. The rhetorical device calls for the group to examine themselves by Paul's true character and actions. In terms of biblical correctness the meat-eaters clearly have the "strong" position, but both of the groups have the weakness of a judgmental spirit.
2― Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.
Each: Grk. ekastos, adj., each one or every one. of us: pl. of egō, "I." Paul includes himself in union with the congregation. is to please: Grk. areskō, pres. imp. See the previous verse. his neighbor: Grk. plēsion, indicating nearness whether in proximity or circumstance, generally rendered as "neighbor." Plēsion is used in the LXX to render Heb. reya, which means friend, companion, or fellow, including a fellow citizen (BDB 945f). In the context of the Torah "neighbor" referred to a fellow Israelite, but in the apostolic writings is usually a fellow disciple. for his good: Grk. agathos, achieving a high standard of excellence. to his edification: Grk. oikodomē, strengthening of a structure, in this case of inward growth or spiritual development.
Paul makes an emotional appeal in the first verse of the chapter, but here he issues a strong command that in the present tense means: "Each one of us shall start and keep on pleasing…" The command simply echoes the second great commandment and serves as a functional definition of "love."
3― For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME."
For even Christ did not please Himself: our Messiah and Redeemer is the supreme example. His life from beginning to end was one of sacrifice for the good of others. but as it is written: the standard formula in the apostolic writings for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, followed by a quote from the Tanakh. See the note on 1:17 for this phrase. This is the fourteenth time the formula is used in the letter. Paul then quotes from Psalm 69:9.
The reproaches: Grk. oneidismos, demeaning or faultfinding. of those who reproached: Grk. oneidizmō, pres. part., to find fault in a demeaning fashion. The Greek text, as the Hebrew, is actually present tense, lit. "the ones reproaching." you fell on me: Psalm 69 is prophetic of the Messiah's sufferings and is the third most frequently quoted Psalm in the New Testament (after Psalms 110 and 118) (Stern).
Since quotations of the Tanakh by Jewish writers always includes the context, then consider the appropriateness of Paul's quotation to his purpose. In the original, David, the ancestor of Yeshua, is addressing the God of Israel, pouring out the lament of his heart due to defamation by adversaries (vv. 4, 7, 12, 19-21) and estrangement from his brothers (v. 8). Immediately before the quoted clause in verse 9, David says, "Zeal for Your house has consumed me." This portion of the verse is quoted in John 2:17 after Yeshua cleansed the temple.
As Paul has illustrated, zeal is good, but it has to be directed toward things that are really important and pleasing to the Lord and not injurious to the congregation. Yeshua the Messiah and son of David set the example of sacrificial love. Thus, Yeshua could say, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
4― For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
whatever was written in earlier times: Paul expands the thought in verse three of what was written in Psalm 69 to all of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tanakh, composed by over thirty authors, mostly prophets, 1500 to 400 BC. was written for our instruction: All of the Tanakh, and not just Psalm 69, points to the Messiah Yeshua. Gentiles are obviously included in "our," even though the Tanakh was not originally written for them. In 1Corinthians 10 Paul recounts the rebellion of Israel in the wilderness and the resulting punishment of God. Then, he says that this story, indeed the entire story of Israel's relationship with God was "written for our instruction (1Cor 10:11). For Timothy, his young protégé and leader of the congregation in Ephesus, Paul writes the familiar words:
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2Tim 3:16-17)
The Scripture Paul speaks of is the Tanakh, commonly called "Old Testament" by Christians.
so that through perseverance: Grk. hupomonē, capacity for resolute continuance in a course of action, endurance, perseverance, steadfastness. Paul calls for the same kind of endurance of faithfulness exhibited by those in the heroes hall of fame listed in Hebrews 11. and the encouragement of the Scriptures: Unfortunately, attitudes among some Christians toward the "Old Testament" are decidedly negative. I prefer the term "Tanakh," the Jewish acronym for the three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures: the Torah ("Instruction" 5 books), Nevi'im ("Prophets," 8 books) and K'tuvim ("Writings," including Psalms, 11 books).
Various excuses may be offered for avoiding the Tanakh. The size of the Tanakh is intimidating (it comprises 80% of the English Bible). The ancient times of the Tanakh seem remote to modern life. The Tanakh seems boring and difficult to understand, contradictory and unbelievable. Rules in the Tanakh are burdensome and outdated. Then there are some social institutions in the Tanakh that are patently repugnant to Christians. And, besides, the Tanakh has been replaced by the New Testament.
Yet, the Tanakh is unique. The Tanakh contains the account of special creation and provides a continuous historical record from the first man. The Tanakh offers a purpose for history. The Tanakh tells of true heroes, men and women who walked with God and left an example that still inspires. The Tanakh sets forth the highest ethical and moral standards for a equitable society. The Tanakh contains detailed prophecies of the Messiah and events yet to come.
Christians must not neglect the importance of the Tanakh, for it is divine revelation, inspired of the Holy Spirit (2Tim 3:16), entrusted to Israel for communication to the world. The Tanakh was the Bible of Yeshua and the apostles. What sense does it make to reject the book of the Son of God? The Tanakh is key to understanding the apostolic writings, the "New Testament." Perhaps most significant, the Tanakh as Scripture has the spiritual power to change people and inspire worship.
we might have hope: Disciples can gain hope from reading the Tanakh because of its witness to the grace and love of God. The Tanakh provides clear evidence of God's perseverance, his patience with a stubborn people and his repeated mercy and forgiveness. If God did so much for Israel in Old Covenant days, how much more will he do for those who accept the promise and provision of the New Covenant. Reading the Tanakh clearly brings blessing as David said,
"Happy is the one who has not walked in the advice of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scoffers. 2 But his delight is in the Torah of ADONAI, and on His Torah he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a planted tree over streams of water, producing its fruit during its season. Its leaf never droops—but in all he does, he succeeds." (Ps 1:1-3 TLV)
5― Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
Now may: These words are inserted at the beginning of the verse to indicate what Paul wants to happen. the God who gives perseverance and encouragement: This phrase would be lit. translated "the God of patience and encouragement." Paul essentially comments on the nature of God who is the source of these virtues. However, the main point is that God demonstrates remarkable patience with his people, because as David said, "He is mindful that we are but dust" (Ps 103:14). The God of Israel is also the God of encouragement because he inspired the Scriptures that provide the encouragement mentioned in the previous verse. grant: Grk. didōmi, aor. opt., to give. In Greek the optative mood conveys no definite anticipation of realization, but sees what is conceivable. Thus, the verb represents Paul's wish for them.
you to be of the same mind: Grk. phroneō, pres. inf., to engage in a process of mental activity, to think with the focus on a line of thought or attitude. This is not a wish that they would agree on diet. There are always issues over which disciples disagree. Paul has already given this admonition in 12:16 where it has the meaning of humility and being willing to associate with the lowly. Rather the "sameness" should be love (Phil 2:2) and a commitment to the mission of the Good News (Phil 1:27). according to Christ Jesus: Paul appeals again to the example of Yeshua as in verse 3 as the prototype of having the "same mind." Disciples should have the mind of the Messiah as Paul eloquently states in his letter to the Philippians: "Have this attitude [Grk. phroneō] in yourselves, which also was in Messiah Yeshua, 6 Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. 7 But He emptied Himself—taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man" (Php 2:5-7 TLV).
6― so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
so that with one accord: Grk. homothumadon, one and the same, common, a meeting of minds. with one voice: lit. "with one mouth." This may be an allusion to congregational liturgy in which prayers and songs are offered in unison. Paul makes the same point to Timothy, "I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension" (1Tim 2:8). glorify: Grk. doxazō, pres. subj., enhance esteem or reputation through word of praise or action, to glorify. The subjunctive mood corresponds to the optative mood of the wish in verse 5, since the subjunctive looks toward what is conceivable or potential. the God and Father: this manner of distinguishing God the Father from Yeshua, the Son of God, occurs 14 times in the apostolic writings, 11 of which are in Paul's writings.
Ordinarily when Paul uses the word "God" he means the Father. Indeed, wherever Paul mentions either "Messiah" or "Yeshua" and "God" together in the same verse they are always clearly distinguished. While there is no hesitation in Pauline writings of asserting Yeshua's divinity (e.g., Rom 1:4; Col 1:15-17), Paul never says, "God is Yeshua. of our Lord Jesus Christ: see the notes on 1:1 and 1:4, for these references to Yeshua. In this short phrase Paul reminds the disciples in Rome that Yeshua, the Messiah of the Jewish people is the Savior and Redeemer of the world and the master of all the saints. The theme of unity is paramount in this verse as he says in Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." In the present context he could have said "there is neither meat-eater or vegetarian."
The Model of the Servant Messiah, 15:7-12
7― Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
Therefore, accept: Grk. proslambanō, pres. mid. imp., to welcome or receive. Paul returns to the verbal command that he began chapter fourteen with. one another: We who sing the same songs, should we not have the same devotion for one another that we have for God? just as Christ: Grk. christos, Messiah. See the note on 1:1. Paul again employs the Jewish title of his Lord. also accepted: Paul repeats the verb to indicate Yeshua's example again. While we were yet sinners Yeshua was ready to receive us. to the glory of God: this idiom refers to the submissive obedience of the Son to the Father.
8― For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,
For I say that Christ: Grk. christos, Messiah. See the note on 1:1. Paul again employs the Jewish title of his Lord. has become a servant to the circumcision: "the circumcision" is an idiom that includes both Jews and proselytes. Interesting is that he doesn't speak of Israel at this point. Nevertheless, Paul alludes to the Jewish expectation of Mashiach ben Yosef, the suffering servant Messiah. Stern asserts strongly, "It is not true that Yeshua is the Christian Messiah, while the Jews are waiting for someone else. He is the Messiah of the Jews. If he is not the Jewish Messiah, the Christians have no Messiah." The claim of Gager (as other Two Covenant advocates) that Paul did not expect Jews to find their salvation through Yeshua (10) is utterly without merit. This accommodation with unbelieving Judaism is patently offensive since the good news is for the Jew first (1:16).
on behalf of the truth of God: the truth is contained in the promises recorded in the Tanakh. to confirm the promises: Grk. epangelia, a reference to the promises God has made to Israel previously addressed in 9:4. In the former passage Paul mentioned the promises in the context of all the covenants. Here Paul mentions the promises given to the fathers: Christians too easily forget that God made serious promises to the patriarchs. Let's consider them for a moment.
To Abraham (Gen 12:2-3; 13:14-16; 15:5, 13-14; 17:6-8; 22:15-18; 48:4), God promised (1) his descendants (lit. "seed") would be as the stars of the heavens, the dust of the earth and the sand of the seashore; (2) the Land of Canaan would be the everlasting possession of his descendants; and (3) in him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Then to Isaac (Gen 17:19; 25:11, 21-23; 26:2-4, 24), God promised (1) his descendants would be multiplied as the stars of heaven, (2) the Land of Canaan would be the possession of his descendants; and (3) by his descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Finally, to Jacob (Gen 28:13-15; 35:10-12), God ratified all the former promises, plus added that (1) his descendants would be as the dust of the earth and (2) he would become a nation and an assembly of nations. Moses summed up these promises at Sinai,
"Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" (Ex 32:13).
9― and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, "THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME."
for Gentiles: pl. of Grk. ethnos, a number of people or animals forming a group, then later strictly of humans as a people group. Mounce gives the root meaning as multitude or company. In the LXX the plural of ethnos translating the plural goyim referred to all nations, including Israel (cf. Gen 10:5; 12:2; 17:4; 18:18; 25:23; 35:11; Ex 19:6; Deut 4:6; Ps 106:5; Isa 9:1; Jer 5:15; Ezek 4:13; 36:13-14; Mic 4:2-3). The term is used often in the Besekh for "Gentiles" in contradistinction to Jews and Israel (e.g., Matt 5:47; Acts 2:27; 21:21; 26:17; Rom 3:29; 9:24; 11:25; 1Cor 1:23; Gal 2:14-15), but is also used of the Samaritan Jews (Acts 8:9) and Israel (Matt 21:43; John 18:35; Acts 24:10, 17; 26:4; 1Cor 10:18).
Most versions, as the NASB, translate the plural noun here as "Gentiles." However, the plural form of ethnos often is used in a geographical sense with a diverse population that would include descendants of Jacob as residents or citizens (Matt 12:21; 24:14; Acts 17:26; Rom 1:5; 16:26; Gal 2:9; 1Tim 3:16). Just as the plural Ioudaioi can mean Jews, Judeans or more specifically the Judean authorities (i.e., Sanhedrin), so the context must be examined to determine the meaning of the ethnos. The word does not have a particular religious meaning. In this verse the plural ethnos would be better translated as "nations" (as also in the CEV, DARBY, ERV, GW, MSG, NOG, NTE, VOICE, YLT), emphasizing the breadth of the cultures to be ruled by the Messiah.
to glorify God for His mercy: Paul completes his thought on the service of the Messiah to the "circumcision" (Jews and proselytes) Gentiles have much to praise the God of Israel for. as it is written: Paul resorts again to the standard formula in the apostolic writings for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, followed by a quote from the Tanakh. See the note on 1:17 for this phrase. This is the fifteenth time the formula is used in the letter. Paul then quotes from all four major sections of the Tanakh, which Stern notes that every part of the Tanakh witnesses to the inclusion of Gentiles in the people of God.
Therefore I will give praise: The first quotation is from the Early Prophets, 2Samuel 22:50: " " (TLV). This verse is part of a psalm that David wrote, according to Samuel, when the LORD had "delivered him from all his enemies and the hand of Saul." In context, David's praise appears to function as a taunt, because he is declaring to the Gentile nations whom he has defeated that his victory came from the God of Israel. The implication is that if the nations want to enjoy the favor of the God of Israel, they will need to submit to his sovereignty. The song in 2Samuel is reproduced in Psalm 18:2-150, the superscription of which bears the same historical content as 2Samuel 22:1.
10― Again he says, "REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE."
And again: Grk. palin, adv., with focus on a repetitive occurrence; once more, again. he says: Grk. legō, pres., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or in written form; say, tell, declare. Paul does not mean that the next quotation comes from David, but rather that Moses under divine inspiration says the same thing. The verb could also be translated "it says," meaning another portion of Scripture without distinguishing the author.
Rejoice: The second quotation comes from the Torah, Deuteronomy 32:43: "Make His people rejoice, O nations, for He will avenge the blood of His servants. He will return vengeance on His foes, and atone for the land of His people" (TLV). This verse is part of the song Moses wrote not long before his death. Paul may have only quoted the first clause to accentuate the positive, but the entire song primarily serves as a warning against disobedience of God's commandments (Deut 32:46-47). God has "one law" for his people (Lev 24:22; Num 15:16) and in identifying with God's chosen people, Gentiles may rejoice in the benefits of divine grace, but they should take note of how God treated his people for disobedience.
11― And again, "PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES, AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES PRAISE HIM."
And again: Paul makes no attribution of authorship, but nevertheless the opening words has the same effect as "it is written." Praise the LORD: The third quotation comes from the Writings, Psalm 117:1: "Praise ADONAI, all you nations! Glorify Him, all you peoples!" This orphan psalm, which is part of the Full Hallel sung at Passover, is only two verses. Paul's quotation would include the entire context and the second verse gives the reason for the praise, namely God's "lovingkindness is great toward us, and the truth of the LORD is everlasting."
12― And again Isaiah says, "THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE."
And: Grk. kai, conj. again: Grk. palin, adv., , with focus on a repetitive occurrence; once more, again. Isaiah: Grk. Ēsaias, a Graecized form of Heb. Yesha'yahu ("YHVH is Salvation" or "YHVH has saved"). Isaiah was the son of Amoz of the tribe of Judah and perhaps related to the royal house. The prophet lived during the reigns of the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and probably the first years of Manasseh. He was contemporary with the last five kings of Israel: Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hosea. Isaiah received his call to ministry in a dramatic fashion c. 740 BC (Isa 6:1), and prophesied for forty years during which he was an adviser (court prophet) to Ahaz and Hezekiah. He was contemporary with the prophets Micah and Hosea. He married a prophetess and had two sons (Isa 7:3; 8:3). Jewish tradition says that Isaiah was put to death by King Manasseh by being sawn in half (Yebamoth 49b; Ascension of Isaiah 1:9; 5:2; cf. Heb 11:37).
He left a monumental literary work of 66 chapters, the longest of the prophetic books, containing almost half of the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh. Isaiah wrote mostly warnings in the first half of his book and mostly comfort and promise in the second half. Various scholars have proposed that some unknown author wrote the second half of the book of Isaiah (40─66) and a few scholars have actually suggested a Third Isaiah (56─66). Against this viewpoint are these arguments: (1) for 25 centuries no one doubted that Isaiah was the author of all 66 chapters; (2) there is no evidence whatever that the two (or three) parts of the book ever existed separately; and (3) all the quotations in the Besekh from parts of Isaiah labeled as "Second" and "Third" Isaiah" attribute those passages to Isaiah the prophet (e.g., Isa 40:3 in Matt 3:3; Isa 61:1 in Luke 4:17-18).
We’re supposed to believe that some of the greatest literature in the Bible, not to mention the world, with its many and detailed prophecies of the Messiah, was written by someone completely anonymous and unremembered in Judaism. Modern scholars go to incredible lengths to avoid believing in the truth of biblical material, just because they can’t accept that the Lord revealed the name of Cyrus (Isa 44:28; 45:1) almost two hundred years before he was born or that Isaiah was given words of exhortation and comfort for a people he knew would go into exile (Isa 39:6). If they can't believe the prophecy about Cyrus, how can they believe the prophecies that named the Messiah (Isa 7:14; 9:6; 46:13; 51:5; 59:16)?
says: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 10 above. Paul identifies the author of the prophecy who wrote what God spoke. The adverb "again" emphasizes the consistency of the message from all four sources. There shall come the root: Grk. riza, which is used in Scripture both of a plant root and the ancestry of a family and figuratively as the source of growth. In the Hebrew text of Isaiah 11:10 riza renders Heb. sheresh, which under the figure of a tree emphasizes firmness and permanence (BDB 1057). of Jesse: The fourth quotation comes from the Latter Prophets, Isaiah 11:10, which says in the Hebrew text: "On that day the root of Yishai, which stands as a banner for the peoples - the Goyim will seek him out, and the place where he rests will be glorious" (CJB).
An argument could be made that the prophecy in Isaiah rests on an allusion to the serpent on the pole in Numbers 21:8-9 on which looking would bring life. Both "banner" and "pole" render the Hebrew word nes, which refers to something lifted up as a standard, signal or sign (BDB 651). The title "Root of Jesse,” is related to the title "root of David" (Rev 5:5), a Messianic title, but different in emphasis. Being of the "root of Jesse" declares Yeshua's descent from the tribe of Judah. The label in Isaiah 11:1 of the MT, "roots of Jesse," would refer to the patriarchs, who also figure in Yeshua's genealogy. The message of the apostles repeatedly asserted Yeshua's Jewish lineage (Matt 1:1; 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:15; 22:42; Acts 13:22-23; Rom 1:3; 2Tim 2:8).
Paul understood that inherent in this revelation to Isaiah was the extension of inclusion in Israel of the Gentiles. The Isaiah prophecy is followed by details of the Messiah’s rule and the age of peace that He will establish. The "root of Jesse" could be an extension of the thought contained in the idiom "root of the olive tree" (Rom 11:17), an allusion to the faithfulness of the patriarchs to whom God gave the promise that salvation and blessing would some day come to the Gentiles. and He who arises: Grk. anistemi, pres. mid. part., to cause to arise from a recumbent position to a standing position. As Messianic prophecy the verb alludes to the resurrection of Yeshua. The Hebrew verb "stands" simply gives the action at its conclusion. to rule over: Grk. archō, pres. inf., to rule over others.
the Gentiles: pl. of Grk. ethnos, properly "nations." See verse 9 above. Paul quotes the LXX faithfully, and as can be seen there is a significant difference between the words of the LXX text and the Hebrew text for most of the quotation. The prophecy might be seen to have its basis in the promise that Israel would rule over nations (Deut 15:6). The God of Israel is acknowledged as the ruler of the nations of the world even if they don't recognize him (2Chr 20:6; Ps 22:28; 66:7). And, pertinent to Paul's quotation is the affirmation of Scripture that the Messianic King will reign over the nations (Ps 2:9; Zech 14:3-9; Rev 12:5; 19:15). However, the LXX interprets "stands as a banner" with "arises to rule over" as having no essential difference in meaning and in fact inferring the logical conclusion. Shulam observes that the LXX understands "banner" to refer to "salvation" (506). Without the resurrection there would be no salvation and with salvation comes submission to the Lordship and sovereign rule of the one providing salvation.
in Him shall the nations hope: This specific wording is not found in Isaiah 42, nor anywhere in the Hebrew text of Isaiah. However, the LXX intended the clause as the logical interpretation of "the Goyim will seek him out." Seeking will result in hope. Interesting is that the LXX does translate verbatim the closing phrase "the place where he rests will be glorious," but Paul chose not to include the phrase in his quote.
The Model of Paul's Ministry, 15:14-21
13― Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now may the God of hope: Grk. elpis, a state of looking forward to something that is desirable or the basis for that state. The genitive case indicates that God is the source of hope. fill: Grk. plēraō, aor. opt, to abound in capacity to a maximum, to bring to completion. The optative mood indicates Paul's wish for the Roman disciples. you with all joy and peace: "You" is plural, so Paul means that these twin virtues should characterize the body of Messiah. in believing: Grk. pisteuō, pres. inf., having confidence and being faithful. In other words, the virtues of joy and peace are realized as the disciple is actively living in a trustingly faithful relationship with God. If the disciple stops trusting or stops being faithful these virtues will flee.
so that you will abound: Grk. perisseuō, pres. inf., be above or beyond in number, amount or quality. Yeshua said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" [Grk. perissos] (John 10:10). People without God live, that is they exist, but a relationship with God is intended to bring extreme blessing to life. "It is glory just to walk with him" as the old hymn says. in hope by the power: Grk. dunamis, which may be translated "power,” "strength" or "might.” In the apostolic writings dunamis is primarily used to refer to the power of God. In ordinary usage the Greek word suggests the inherent capacity of someone to carry something out, whether it be physical, spiritual, military or political (DNTT 2:601). In the LXX dunamis was used to translate Hebrew words that referred to military forces or the power of a ruler (DNTT, II, 602). of the Holy Spirit: the verse ends as it began in pointing out that the achievement of joy, peace and hope are all accomplished by the work of God through the Holy Spirit.
14― And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.
And concerning you, my brethren: pl. of Grk. adelphos, lit. "of the same womb" or "brother." Usage in the apostolic writings is generally literal and refers primarily to disciples of Yeshua and members of believing communities (1Cor 1:10; Gal 1:2; Php 2:25; 1Th 3:22). For the eighth time in the letter, Paul uses "brethren" in direct address, emphasizing his affection for them, as well as tactfully asserting his apostolic authority. The double emphasis of the plural "you" with brothers" is meant to focus on the entire congregation, not just factions within the congregation. Whatever shortcomings the congregation may have, they are nevertheless his brothers in the Lord. The identification of "my brethren" may represent the total congregation, in which the "strong" and "weak" who are at odds with one another are only small minorities. "My brethren" could also be those in the congregation who are spiritually mature and able to treat others with love and equanimity.
I myself also am convinced: Grk. peithō, perf. pass., to bring about a convinced state, to persuade or convince. The verb can also mean to have confidence. The perfect tense points to the action occurring in the past with continuing results to the present. Marshall gives the literal meaning as, "I have been persuaded." Paul implies that he received knowledge that brought about his opinion, but does not explain either the source or the process. that you yourselves: Paul overemphasizes the second person pronoun throughout the verse. He could be implying "unlike other congregations I could name." are full of goodness: Grk. agathōsunē, the quality or characteristic of being concerned about the well-being of others. This statement clearly mitigates Paul's assessment of their contentious conduct in chapter fourteen.
filled: Grk. plēroō, perf. pass. part., to fill or bring to capacity, cause to abound. Like his being convinced Paul indicates an event in the past with results in the present. with all knowledge: Grk. gnōsis, knowledge or understanding with special reference to insight relating to matters involving God and spiritual perception. This may be an allusion to his earlier comment that they know the Torah (7:1). Being "filled" probably indicates the education process that began in the past and the continuing discipline has resulted in the present competence in the knowledge of God and his Word.
able: Grk. dunamai, pres. mid. part., to be capable for doing or achieving. See the note on dunamis in the previous verse. also to admonish: Grk. noutheteō, pres. inf., offer counsel and instruction for avoidance or cessation of inappropriate conduct. The verb frequently occurs in contexts reflecting consideration and concern. It does not imply browbeating someone or rebuking in anger, but rather employing the resources of the faith to aid discipleship. Pointing out their spiritual virtues contains an implied expectation that they will fulfill his wish.
15― But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God,
But I have written very boldly to you on some points: Paul engages in rare understatement, perhaps even with a touch of humor. He does not vacillate in his convictions and so has set the example in accepting others in spite of differences and admonishing them in the ways of self-sacrificing love. The Textus Receptus and the Byzantine-Majority Text, following P46, the earliest manuscript, and other witnesses, has the word "brethren" after the plural "to you" (Metzger). Other significant manuscripts omit the word. The result is that serious doubts of its authenticity led translators of the Nestle Text (the basis of modern versions) to leave out the word. However, I find the presence of "brethren" in P46 worth considering. It could be that the omission from this verse occurred because of thinking its inclusion was redundant after its use in verse 14.
so as to remind you again: Disciples do need to be reminded from time to time of various biblical truths (cf. 2Pet 1:12-13; 3:1). because of the grace that was given me from God: Paul alludes again (cf. 12:1) to his receipt of mercy after being a persecutor and his transformation on the Damascus Road. He recounts again and again how fortunate he feels to have received God's grace (1Cor 3:10; Gal 2:9; and Eph 3:2, 7; 1Tim 1:14)
16― to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
to be a minister: Grk. leitourgos, one engaged in special service. Paul used the same term in describing rulers (13:6). of Christ Jesus: lit., Messiah Yeshua. to the Gentiles: pl. of Grk. ethnos, nations, lit. "into the nations." See verse 9 above. Paul again mentions the nature of his special service rendered at the direct call of his Messiah (Acts 9:15). While Paul did identify his ministry as being to the "uncircumcised" whereas Peter's ministry was to the "circumcised" (Gal 2:7), these were not hard and fast boundaries. Peter preached to the Gentile Cornelius, ministered with Gentiles in Antioch and wrote letters that addresses Gentile disciples (1Pet 2:10; 4:16; 2Pet 1:1).
It should be remembered that ethnos, while normally used by Jews of non-Jews in the first century, in the LXX the label also includes Israel. Wherever Paul went he always preached to the Jews first in the community (Acts 26:20). In one sense Paul was a minister "without portfolio." That is, he was sent into the nations to take the good news to the world without being formally chosen and ordained by the original apostles as Mattathias had been. Yeshua never said that Paul could only minister to Gentiles.
ministering: Grk. hierougeō, pres. part., to be in charge of sacred administration, to officiate as a priest, to perform sacred rites. Marshall has "sacrificing." as a priest: Grk. ierourgeō, pres. part., being in charge of sacred administration. Rienecker adds "to perform a sacred function, especially to sacrifice." the gospel: Grk. euangelion originally meant a reward for good news and then simply good news. It occurs 76 times in the apostolic writings. In the LXX euangelion renders besorah, which may mean either a reward for good news (2Sam 4:10) or glad tidings (2Sam 18:20, 22). Most Christians think of the "gospel" only as 'Yeshua died on the cross to save me from my sins,' a message totally divorced from its Jewish context. However, the message of the apostles was that God had fulfilled the promises given to Israel through the prophets.
The good news is the same message the angel Gabriel gave to Zechariah (Luke 1:13-17), to Joseph (Matt 1:20-23) and Miriam (Luke 1:30-37). This is the same message that Zechariah then declared to his fellow Jews (Luke 1:68-75), all of which reflected the Jewish hopes and expectations of a redeemer and deliverer. Consistent with these prior announcements the apostles declared that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, who fulfilled the promises made to Israel through the prophets; that God has made Yeshua Lord; that forgiveness of sins is available to all through Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice; and that the proof of God’s Word is that Yeshua was raised from the dead (Acts 2:14-40; 10:34-43). Gentiles were therefore called to turn to the God of Israel and serve him. The Gentiles all have different gods (small "g”). Only the God of Israel saves (Jer 16:19-20; Acts 17:23-31).
of God: Gr. theos, the God of Israel. This is a significant statement of Paul's view of his ministry, since being from the tribe of Benjamin would not have entitled him to serve as a priest in Jerusalem. Shulam suggests that Paul may have gained inspiration from the prophecy of Isaiah 66:21 that the day would come when God would select priests and Levites from other tribes. Paul can see himself as a priest because Yeshua, from the tribe of Judah, has become permanent High Priest (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:24), superseding the descendants of Aaron and the Great High Priest personally commissioned Paul to priestly ministry.
The role of the priest was two-fold. The priest interceded with God on behalf of the people. Paul mentions several times his faithfulness in prayer for unbelieving Jews and for the congregations he served (Rom 10:1; Eph 1:16; Php 1:4; Col 1:9; 1Th 1:2; 2Th 1:11; 2Tim 1:3). The priest also instructed the people in application of Torah and Paul based all his ethical teaching on the Torah (cf. Deut 24:8; 33:8-10; Rom 12:19; 13:8-10; 1Cor 7:10; 9:9; 14:34; Col 2:7; 1Th 4:1; 2Th 3:14; 1Tim 1:5-11; 4:13).
so that my offering: Grk. prosphora, the act of bringing something in a religious sense, sacrificing or offering. of the Gentiles: pl. of ethnos. See verse 9 above. Again, I would prefer "nations." may become acceptable: Grk. euprosdektos [from eu, adv. "in a serviceable or helpful way," prosdechomai, "to welcome"], worthy of being found favorable, pleasing or acceptable. In the LXX dektos generally renders Heb. ratsōn, goodwill, favor or acceptable (BDB 953). In the Torah ratsōn is used to refer to the acceptability of the one making a sacrificial offering, namely a priest (Ex 28:38) or the offering itself (an animal without defect or the "first fruits" of harvest) that would make the person offering acceptable to God (Lev 1:3; 19:5; 22:19, 21; 29; 23:11).
The common translation, as in the NASB, infers that Paul is offering the Gentiles who have responded favorably to the good news to God as he might present an offering at the temple. He could be alluding to the prophecy in Isaiah 66:20 where the prophet foresees a time when the widely dispersed Jews will be transported as an "offering to the Lord … to My holy mountain Jerusalem." Paul's desire was that his ministry would be pleasing to God. The evaluation of acceptable would not be based on the number actually saved, but on the faithfulness of Paul to the call. If Paul had this prophecy in mind, he changed the people being offered from the Diaspora Jews to the Christian Gentiles (Keck). However, Paul would not need to make a change to Isaiah's prophecy, assuming such borrowing, since he has already spoken of the Gentiles as being grafted into Israel (Rom 11:17) and the Gentile believers are fellow citizens in the commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:12, 19).
Against the interpretation of Paul presenting Gentiles to God as an offering is: (1) the lack of a personal pronoun ("my") in the clause as inserted in a few versions (AMP, MRINT, NASB, REV). (2) The genitive case of the plural ethnos would require the clause be translated as "the offering of the Gentiles" (as found in the CEB, ESV, HCSB, JUB, LEB, NKJV, NRSV, RSV). (3) The concept of "offering the Gentiles" as if Paul were presenting a priestly sacrifice is not found elsewhere in his letters and does not need to be imagined here. (4) Paul alludes to the standard of ratsōn in the Torah of the acceptability of persons making an offering would imply the Gentiles would be acceptable as priests, parallel to the thought of Peter, "you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be cohanim set apart for God to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him through Yeshua the Messiah" (1Pet 2:5 CJB).
Therefore, the clause most likely refers to people of the nations, including Hellenistic Jews, offering up of themselves to God. In reality, Paul may offer an animal (Acts 21:26), but he couldn't offer Gentiles. His priestly function was accomplished in intercession and instruction, as a spiritual father (cf. 1Cor 4:14; 2Cor 11:2; Gal 4:19; 1Th 2:7, 11; 1Tim 1:2). Now those of the nations must offer themselves as Paul instructed in Romans 12:1-2 in order for the following action to take place.
sanctified: Grk. hagiazō, perf. pass. part., to set apart for God with focus on elimination of that which jeopardizes access to God. Sanctification is essentially an issue of property ownership and thus to be sanctified means to be wholly His. In the covenant given at Sinai and again at Moav God declared that a certain tribe and family would be "sanctified" to him as priests. Paul sees his priestly ministry as discipling Gentile believers so they can take on a priestly function. by the Holy: Grk. hagios has two distinctive uses in Scripture: (1) as an adj. of things dedicated to God (e.g., the temple, Jerusalem), of persons consecrated to God (e.g., prophets), then of angels, of Messiah, and of God (Lev 19:2); (2) as a pure substantive used of the name of God (Luke 1:44), and then of what is set apart for God to be exclusively His, e.g., the temple, the holy land, Jerusalem, sacrifices, angels and human persons. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy. Qadosh is first used of God in Lev 11:44.
Spirit: Grk. pneuma (for Heb. ruach), wind, breath or spirit as the animating force for bodily movement (Luke 8:55). Pneuma is used frequently for transcendent beings (Matt 8:16; Heb 1:14), particularly the Holy Spirit as God's self-expression (Gen 1:2; Mark 1:10). The noun "Spirit" is not the title of a separate being, because God is Spirit (pneuma ho theos, John 4:24), just as God is the Word (John 1:1). In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit, a name or face of God.
The specific name "Holy Spirit" occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11) given as Ruach Qodesh. The Holy Spirit is identified by three other forms in the Tanakh (Ruach Elohim, Gen 1:2; Ruach YHVH, Judg 3:10; and Ruach Adonai YHVH, Isa 61:1). The full name of "Holy Spirit" occurs about 100 times in the Besekh and all of the passages indicate that the Holy Spirit is divine, not less or other than God. Paul expresses the same generosity of Moses who declared, "Would that all the LORD'S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!" (Num 11:29). The vision of the New Covenant (Ezek 11:19-20; 36:26-27) is that God would move out of the Jerusalem temple and take up residence in his people (cf. 1Cor 3:16; 6:19). Only in this way can the priestly function be made possible.
Jewish literature admits that the Sh'khinah glory of God left the Temple forty years prior to its destruction (Yoma 39b). One might say that by default the task of sanctifying possession fell to the Holy Spirit since the Father and the Son both sit on thrones in heaven. The apostles repeatedly affirm the Spirit's role in the sanctifying of disciples as vessels for God's habitation (1Cor 6:11; 1Th 5:23; 2Th 2:13; Heb 10:29; 1Pet 1:2). What's really amazing, though, is that God not only chooses to make his dwelling in Jewish believers, but also in uncircumcised Hellenistic Jews and Gentiles! Shulam comments,
"The Gentiles who become faithful to God in Yeshua are "sanctified" (consecrated) because God makes those who were once "not-My-people" (cf. Hos 1:10; Rom 4:17) part of His elect, and includes them in the "commonwealth of Israel" (cf. Eph 2:12-14; 3:1-2). The Gentile believers "prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (cf. 12:2).
17― Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God.
I have found reason for boasting: Grk. kauchēsis, a noun referring to the act of making a boast as an expression of pride. As Stern notes, Paul does not disobey his own injunction against boasting (3:27; cf. 1Cor 3:21), because his boasting is never about himself but only about what Yeshua has accomplished. in things pertaining to God: lit. "things before the God." As such then his "boasting" amounts to a b'rakhah, a blessing of the God of Israel, who is the source of every good and perfect gift.
18― For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,
For I will not presume: Grk. tolmaō, fut., to act with apparent abandonment or audacity; dare. what Christ: Messiah. has accomplished: Grk. katergazomai, aor. mid., to cause an outcome, with the focus on either the commission or the result. Probably the latter meaning is intended here. through me: This is the content of Paul's boast of things pertaining to God. Paul is truly amazed at what God has accomplished, so he blesses God for accomplishing a great work through a former persecutor. resulting in the obedience: Grk. huakoē, the state of being in compliance or submission to the divine will. of the Gentiles: pl. of Grk. ethnos. See verse 9 abover. Again, I would prefer "nations." by word: Grk. logos, vocalized expression of the mind, word, message or speech. and deed: Grk. ergon, task, work or product. The dual results of Paul's mission probably alludes to his statement of what leads to salvation: "if you confess with your mouth … and believe in your heart" (10:9). That believing is a work is confirmed by Yeshua's own words, "This is the work [Grk. egon] of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent" (John 6:29).
19― in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
in the power: Grk. dunamis. See verse 13 above. of signs: Grk. sēmeion means sign, miracle or wonder. In the apostolic narratives sēmeion is used in a similar sense to attest the authority of Yeshua and validate His divinity (John 2:11, 18; 4:54; 6:14; 12:18; 20:30f). The corresponding Heb. word oth referred to signs, omens or miracles promised by prophets as pledges of certain predicted events or as pledges or attestations of divine presence and intervention in the affairs of men. Oth has its root in the verb avah, which means to sign, mark or describe with a mark (BDB 16). Paul had three visionary experiences that would qualify as "signs:" (1) he saw Yeshua (Acts 9:17); (2) he was caught up into Paradise and into the third heaven (2Cor 12:1-4); and (3) he had a vision in which a man of Macedonia pleaded with Paul to come help him (Acts 16:9).
and wonders: Gr. teras, a phenomenon with an astounding effect and in the apostolic writings always used in conjunction with sēmeion. The word indicates divine intervention in the natural order that engenders awe in those who witness the event. The signs and wonders wrought through Paul helped to validate his ministry (2Cor 12:12), since they characterized the ministry of the first apostles (Acts 2:43; 4:30; 5:12). At the Jerusalem Council Barnabas and Paul reported the signs and wonders performed through them on their first missionary journey (Acts 15:12). Although the council narrative does not identify the miraculous events, Luke reported in his chronicle that while at Paphos, on the Island of Cyprus, Paul cursed a sorcerer, Bar-Jesus, so that he became blind (Acts 13:11). At Lystra Paul healed a crippled man (Acts 14:8-10). The people were amazed and thought that Barnabas was the Greek god Jupiter and that Paul was Mercury. Then unbelieving Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and stoned Paul, leaving him for dead, but he recovered (Acts 14:19-20). At Philippi on his second journey Paul delivered a young woman from demon oppression (Acts 16:16-18). On his third journey while at Ephesus Paul performed many miracles (Acts 19:11). And, his ministry was so transformative to the community that the idolatrous trade suffered.
in the power of the Spirit: Luke records that Paul's ministry was directed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:4; 16:6-7). He preached with the revelation and power of the Spirit (1Cor 2:4, 10). Wherever he went Paul many were saved and sanctified through the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1Cor 6:11). At Ephesus on his third journey Paul conferred the gift of the Holy Spirit on certain disciples of John the Immerser (Acts 19:1-7). These disciples then spoke with other languages and prophesied.
so that from Jerusalem: Grk. Hierousalēm, a rough transliteration of the Heb. Yerushalayim, which means possession or foundation of peace (BDB 436). What a precious name is Jerusalem! The name of God’s holy city occurs four times in this letter, all in this chapter. For the faithful Jew the city of Jerusalem that had been captured from the Jebusites and made Israel’s capitol by David represented all that was dear in the covenant relationship with God. One psalmist expressed his affection thus, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Psalm 137:5-6). Paul well knew Jerusalem, since this is the city in which he received his training from Gamaliel and as an observant Jew made regular trips for the pilgrim feasts. Since Paul's ministry properly began in Damascus and his first missionary journey began from Antioch, he is probably alluding to when he met with the apostles and received their endorsement.
and round about: Grk. kuklō, an adverb of place, denoting points touched within a geographical area. as far as: Grk. mechri, a preposition of limitation, "as far as," meaning up to that point but not into. Illyricum: This is the only mention of the Roman province in the apostolic writings. Illyricum stretched along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea from Italy to Macedonia. Dalmatia (2Tim 4:10) was one of the two major divisions of Illyricum. There is no record in Acts of Paul venturing into Illyricum, but Macedonia shared a border with the province, so in that sense Paul went "as far as" Illyricum.
I have fully preached: Grk. plēroō, perf. inf., to cause to abound in content to a maximum, thus to fill up, to fulfill or to complete. It seems strange that all the Bible versions translate the verb with "proclaimed" or "preached" when that is not the meaning of plēroō and the next verse does contain the verb that means "proclaimed." Paul must mean something other than simply he gave sermons. Thus, by translating the phrase as "I have fulfilled" (Marshall) three possible meanings may be deduced: (1) he has faithfully carried out the commission he received on the Damascus Road to be an apostle for the Messiah (Acts 9:15; 20:24; Rom 1:1-3); or (2) he has fulfilled the good news as Exhibit A of God's redeeming and electing love that welcomes back lost sheep as he implied in verse 18.; or (3) he has fulfilled the ethical expectations of the good news by imitating his Messiah (cf. 1Cor 4:16; 11:1; 1Th 1:16; 2Th 1:11). His statement may contain all of these meanings
the gospel: Grk. euangelion, good news. See verse 16 above. of Christ: Messiah.
20― And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man's foundation;
And thus I aspired: Grk. philotimeomai, pres. mid. part., to have a strong interest in achieving recognition or esteem. The verb was commonly used for those in public office seeking recognition for their service. Paul gives the verb a positive sense in relation to his service to the Messiah's mission, but always to gain the approval of his Master (cf. Gal 1:10; Phil 2:21). to preach: Grk. euangelizō, pres. mid. inf., to bring or announce good news, both of God's beneficial concern and his saving action in connection with Yeshua. the gospel: See verse 16 above. not where Christ: The Jewish Messiah. was already named: Grk. onomazō, aor. pass., to identify through the use of a special term. The verb functions as an idiomatic expression for publicizing the news of Yeshua. so that I would not build: Grk. oikodomeō, pres. subj., to erect a structure, here used in a figurative sense of developing a congregation of disciples. on another man's foundation: Grk. themelion, a structure serving as a firm base. Paul saw his ministry as that of being a pioneer as he says in 1Corinthians 3:6, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth." The mark of Paul's character was that even though he wanted to work in "unplowed fields," he was not building the "Church of Paul." He had confidence to relinquish his work into the hands of others for continued discipleship and growth.
21― but as it is written, "THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE, AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND."
as it is written: Paul resorts again to the standard formula in the apostolic writings for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, followed by a quote from the Tanakh. This is the sixteenth time the formula is used in the letter and the third time in this chapter. He then quotes from the second half of Isaiah 52:15. Stern reminds that the quotation of one verse implies the quotation of the entire passage that forms its context. Here the larger context is Isaiah 52:13–53:12, the passage of the Tanakh which most clearly foreshadows Yeshua. But, consider the immediate context:
"See how my servant will succeed! He will be raised up, exalted, highly honored! 14 Just as many were appalled at him, because he was so disfigured that he didn't even seem human and simply no longer looked like a man 15 so now he will startle many nations; because of him, kings will be speechless. For they will see what they had not been told, they will ponder things they had never heard." (Isa 52:13-15 CJB)
There is a significant difference in translation of the first half of Isaiah 52:15. A number of versions (ASV, HCSB, DRA, ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV, NKJV and TNIV) have "sprinkle many nations"), perhaps anticipating Isaiah 53:4, whereas other versions have "startle many nations" or words to that effect (so CEV, CJB, JPS, MSG, NCV, NLT, NRSV, RSV and TEV). The challenge is that the verb (Heb. nazah, lit. "to spring or leap") is used in many passages to mean "to sprinkle" in the sense of atonement or ceremonially removing uncleanness, but nazah also has a separate form meaning "to startle."
After detailed analysis Delitzsch supports taking nazah in the sense of "to startle" and says, "They [the nations] will tremble with astonishment within themselves, being electrified, as it were, by the surprising change that has taken place in the servant of Jehovah" (503). BDB concurs that nazah should be translated as "startle" in this verse (633). The Rabbinic translators of the LXX rendered nazah with thaumazō, which means "to be extraordinarily impressed." The Jewish translation recognizes that verse 15 engages in Hebraic synonymous parallelism so the two parts of the first half of the verse agree with each other and the two parts of the second half of the verse (which Paul quotes) agree with each other. Because of the inherent redundancy between the two halves Paul did not feel the need to quote the first half of the verse.
They who had no news: The phrase "had … news" renders Grk. anaggelō, aor. pass. (derived from aggelos, "messenger"), which means "to report" in the sense of relaying information or making a solemn announcement. of Him shall see: Grk. horaō, fut. mid., to perceive with the eye and by extension to experience something. "Him" in context refers to the suffering Messiah. This quote is parallel to John's use of Zechariah 12:10 in his narrative of the crucifixion, "They shall look on him whom they pierced" (John 19:37). The Roman soldiers who carried out the crucifixion symbolically represented all the Gentiles who would "see" Yeshua as their atoning sacrifice and "see" themselves as sinners in need of redemption.
and they who have not heard: Grk. akouō, perf., to hear with the ears and by extension to listen to a message. shall understand: Grk. suniēmi, fut., to grasp the significance of a word or action, thus to understand or comprehend. The word pictures of seeing and hearing are typical of Hebraic writing that refers to body parts involved in behavior and in this case reflect spiritual change in the mind and heart. The Isaiah quotation appears to echo Paul's statement in 10:14-15, "How then shall they call on the One in whom they have not trusted? And how shall they trust in the One they have not heard of? And how shall they hear without someone proclaiming? 15 And how shall they proclaim unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim good news of good things!'" (TLV)
Paul's Continuing Mission, 15:22-33
22― For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you;
For this reason: Grk. dio, an inferential conjunction, "therefore." I have often: pl. of Grk. polus, "many times." been prevented: Grk. egkoptō, impf. pass., interrupt, hinder, obstruct. The imperfect tense indicates the repetitive nature of what happened in the past. from coming to you: Paul seems to present a paradoxical assessment of his situation. He implies that he hadn't gone to Rome to begin with because he didn't want to build on another man's foundation (verse 20) and Rome certainly did not need a missionary to start a new work. Yet here he says he was prevented from going to Rome, which could only have been accomplished by the sovereign will of God (see the note on verse 32 below). The solution appears to be that the congregation in Rome had not been the result of apostolic ministry and thus he really did want to put his stamp on the work there because of its largely Gentile constituency.
23― but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you
but now, with no further place for me: This is an incredible statement of the explosive growth of the Messianic movement after twenty years. As a pioneer Paul wanted to keep moving into new fields. I have had for many years a longing: Grk. epipothia, a longing or desire. Paul's desire pertains directly to visiting with the congregation in Rome, not taking a tourist junket. His statement reflects a decision made as early as his mission in Corinth based on divine direction as Luke reports, "Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome" (Acts 19:21 ESV). Paul repeats his purpose in 1:10 of this letter and received final and personal confirmation from Yeshua of God's will after his arrest in Jerusalem (Acts 23:11).
24― whenever I go to Spain--for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while--
whenever I go: Grk. poreuō, pres. mid. subj., to move from one part of an area to another, thus "go" or "journey." The subjunctive mood indicates probability, not absolute certainty of the trip. At the time of the letter Paul had no anticipation of making the trip with a Roman soldier as escort. to Spain: Grk. Spania, the large peninsula that now incorporates the countries of Spain and Portugal. The Phoenicians had established trading posts there by the time the Israelites conquered Canaan. The Greeks called this peninsula Iberia and the Romans referred to it as Hispania. In apostolic times Hispania was part of the Roman Empire (NIBD 1006).
After this opening clause, the TR (on which the KJV is based) inserts "I will come to you." Apparently, scribes of later manuscripts added these words in order to fill out the thought. The earliest and best manuscripts do not contain this phrase (Metzger). The natural question is "why Spain?" Because apparently "the Messiah was not yet known" in that province (v. 20). Scholars differ over whether he succeeded in getting there.
I hope to see you in passing: While the writings of Luke and Paul do not report a trip to Spain, there is no doubt that Paul had further journeys after he was released from his Roman imprisonment. After his release, he wrote the epistles of Hebrews, Titus, First Timothy, and Second Timothy (not necessarily in that order), although Second Timothy was likely his last. All of these events took place after the end of Paul's story in Acts, and comes from various statements in Paul's letters that indicate either his intention or report of travels to Colossae (Phm 22), Corinth (2Tim 4:20), Miletus (2Tim 4:20), Troas (2Tim 4:13), Crete (Titus 1:5), Nicopolis (Titus 3:12), Philippi (Php 1:26), Italy (Heb 13:24), Judea (Heb 13:23), Ephesus (1Tim 3:14-15), and Macedonia (1Tim 1:3). Accepting the traditional date of his martyrdom in 67 allows for more extensive travels than in all of his previous journeys combined.
As for Spain the account of the first century author, Clement of Rome, may shed some light on Paul's trip to Spain. "After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects" (The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Chapter 5). The "extreme limit of the west" would likely be Spain.
25― but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.
I am going: Grk. poreuō, pres. mid. Unlike the previous verse the verb tense and mood here indicate a journey in progress. to Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēma. See the note on verse 19 above. Stern reminds that years earlier the Jerusalem leaders had enjoined Paul to "remember the poor" (Gal 2:10), which he was eager to do. serving the saints: The verb "serving" is Grk. diakoneō, pres. part., to serve, especially in meeting of personal needs. The participle emphasizes that serving was a vital characteristic of his ministry. Paul wrote about the present collection on their behalf in his letters to Corinth (1Cor 16:1–4; 2Cor 8:1–9:15).
26― For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
have been pleased: Grk. eudokeō, aor., to be well pleased, to consider something beneficial and therefore worthy of choice, and then to take delight in that choice. make a contribution: Grk. koinōnia, fellowship and then a practical expression of fellowship through sharing. So well did Paul succeed in making Gentile charity toward the Jewish poor a part of his message that the believers in Macedonia and Achaia eagerly and sacrificially gave toward the project. for the poor among the saints: Grk. hagioi, lit. holy ones." in Jerusalem: the location indicates that the beneficiaries of the charity are the Jews of Judea. This was not the first time that Paul took a gift of alms to Judea. During the reign of Claudius, he and Barnabas had brought a gift to help with famine relief at the end of this first missionary journey (Acts 11:27-30).
The gift Paul speaks of here included gifts from Macedonia and Achaia (1Cor 8:1-4; 9:1-5) and was duly delivered at the end of his third journey (Acts 24:17). It is noteworthy that the only recorded "compassionate ministry" carried out by the apostles was for the benefit of Jewish disciples in the land of Israel (cf. Acts 2:45; 6:1ff). Paul enunciated the principle clearly: "So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith" (Gal 6:10; cf. 1Jn 3:17). Since the apostles provided an example for all followers of Yeshua, we should rightly consider how we may provide practical assistance to Jewish believers in Israel today.
27― Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.
Yes, they were pleased to do so: Grk. eudokeō, aor. See the previous verse. Indeed they were "cheerful givers" (cf. 2Cor 9:7). they are indebted: Grk. opheiletēs, one who is under obligation to another financially, a debtor, lit. "they are debtors." to them: a reference to those in Jerusalem, i.e., the Judean Jews (whether Hebraic or Hellenistic). Paul had already articulated the Torah principle that a debt is owed by recipients of ministry to those who provided the ministry (1Cor 9:11; Gal 6:6).
if the Gentiles: pl. of Grk. ethnos. See verse 9 above. have shared: Grk. koinōneō, aor., to have a part in something. in their: Grk. autos, genitive case, "of them." spiritual things: pl. of Grk. pneumatikos, transcending physical existence and influence and especially oriented toward spiritual matters or influenced by the Spirit of God. In 1Corinthians 12:1; 14:1 pneumatikos is used of spiritual gifts and in Romans 7:14 of the Torah. "Their spiritual things" could be an allusion to Shavuot (Pentecost) at which some in the Roman congregation had been present (Acts 2:10) and by extension all that proceeded from the work of the Holy Spirit.
they are indebted: Grk. opeilō, pres., to be under a prescribed obligation, to owe based on duty. The present tense emphasizes the continuing nature of the obligation. to minister: Grk. leitourgeō, aor. inf., to render public service (that is, to the government) at one's own expense, here applied in material service directed to fellow believers. to them: Grk. autos, dative case, i.e., the Judean Jews. in material things: pl. of Grk. sarkikos, belonging to worldly matters or conditions. Here the term is used in a neutral sense of material or ordinary things.
Stern suggests that Paul's instruction does not restrict the material help only to Jews who believe. Indeed, biblical examples of Gentiles serving the needs of the Jewish nation may be found among two Roman centurions (Luke 7:1-5; Acts 10:1-2). Many Gentile Christians obey this broader understanding, contributing generously to the State of Israel and other Jewish causes and charities not in the hands of Jewish believers. However, as Stern acknowledges, "saints" in the previous verse clearly denotes believing Jews, so in this context the planned support is for Jewish disciples. The reason for this indebtedness as a continuing responsibility should be self-evident, but let me summarize:
· The Christian God is the God of Israel. Faithful Israelites preserved the knowledge of the one true God, so that Gentiles might come to know him.
· Our Messiah and Redeemer is a Jew. Without the faithfulness of Yeshua's human parents and Yeshua's own faithful obedience to the plan of the Father, Christians would have no salvation.
· The Scriptures were authored and preserved by Jews. Without their faithful stewardship Christians would have no Bible.
· The good news was taken to the Gentile world by Jews. Without the faithfulness of the Jewish apostles taking the message of salvation to the whole world, Gentiles would never have heard and believed.
· God granted Gentile believers citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel and citizenship always presumes responsibilities toward the nation in which one is a citizen.
Scripture is very clear that Gentile believers are duty-bound to assist and support Messianic Jewish believers in material ways, whether to assist in evangelistic outreach and discipleship, or providing relief to the needy, especially in Israel. Support may be accomplished through a variety of Messianic Jewish congregations and organizations, whether in America or in Israel. I strongly encourage all Christians to consider how they might provide such aid.
28― Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain.
when I have finished this: Grk. epiteleō, aor. part., to finish what has begun or to carry out an objective or service. Paul refers to his charitable project for the poor in Judea. and have put my seal: Grk. sphragizō, aor. mid. part., to certify with a mark in order to indicate ownership. The verb may be intended as an idiomatic expression reflecting satisfaction with completing the service. The use of participles indicates the depth of his commitment, a reflection of who he is. Paul was not the sort of person who set his hand to the plow and looked back (Luke 9:62), but pressed on until the mission was complete (cf. Phil 3:12, 14). on this fruit of theirs: Paul refers to the results of the offering collected on behalf of the saints in Judea (verse 31 below).
I will go on by way: Grk. aperchomai, fut. mid., to be in movement from a position, with or without mention of a destination, but here specifically identifying Rome as an intermediate goal. of you to Spain: All roads might lead to Rome (a saying from Medieval times), but in fact, they once did. The road system of the Ancient Romans was one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of its time, with over 50,000 miles of paved road radiating from the Forum in the city of Rome outward to its many territories (Roman Roads, UNRV History). The Roman road system was originally built for movement of military forces, but it was inevitably used for other purposes by civilians, including the apostles and others taking the message of salvation through Yeshua. Paul could easily reach Spain by traveling on the Roman road network and avoid a dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea.
29― I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
I know that when I come: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. part., lit. "I know that coming." The present tense indicates anticipation of the trip. to you: While the preposition pros has the functional meaning of "to" in the phrase, its root meaning of "before" gives the sense of "when I appear before you." He can imagine what it will be like to finally stand before the congregation to whom he has corresponded and for whom he has earnestly prayed. I will come in the fullness: Grk. plērōma, that which is there as a result of filling, that which is the peak or that which is characteristic of the maximum degree. of the blessing: Grk. eulogia, expression of high commendation or bestowal of a blessing or gift. Paul anticipates that finally being able to make the trip without further hindrance will be because of the sovereign graciousness of God.
of Christ: Grk. christos, Messiah. See the note on 1:1. Paul again employs the Jewish Messianic title, which serves as a constant reminder of the fulfillment by Yeshua of all the promises made to the patriarchs and the nation of Israel. The Jewish Messiah who met Paul and transformed him on the Damascus Road will complete the assignment of going to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15) by taking him to the center and capitol of the Gentile Roman Empire. Paul may have suffered criticism from many quarters (and still does), but he knew that Yeshua approved of him and his ministry (cf. 2Cor 10:18).
The KJV gives the last part of the verse as "the fullness of the blessing of the good news of Christ." However, the shorting reading of the "the blessing of Christ" is decisively supported by early and good testimony, including the earliest manuscript P46. The phrase was expanded by later witnesses (Metzger).
30― Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me,
Now I urge you: Grk. parakaleō, pres., to encourage performance, and thus to urge, to exhort or to encourage. Paul does not issue a command, but expresses a heartfelt plea or entreaty. brethren: pl. of Grk. adelphos. See the note on verse 14 above. by our Lord Jesus Christ: Paul employs the Hebrew name and Jewish titles of our Redeemer to lend weight to his appeal. See the note on 1:1 for the significance of the name and titles. and by the love of the Spirit: The subjective genitive case of "Spirit" would refer to love that proceeds from the Holy Spirit. Paul has already spoken of "the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (5:5). This statement reflects balance in his appeal, which proceeds from both authority and love.
to strive together: Grk. sunagōnizomai, aor. mid. inf., to join in a struggle, to strive with, to help or assist. Paul recognizes that successful spiritual progress requires effort and may well involve struggle against "the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12). with me in your prayers: pl. of Grk. proseuchē, prayer or petition, and in Scripture always used of direct address to the God of Israel. In the LXX the verb proseuchomai renders the Heb. verb palal, which means to intervene or to interpose (judge). The noun derivative is tephillah, "prayer,” (e.g., 2Sam 7:27). The Hebrew word group has a wide range of usage, including to arbitrate, judge, intercede, and pray. The general context is pleading before a judge, in this case the Judge of the Universe. The implication of palal is - what does it mean to approach the Holy God? Thus, the concept of biblical prayer requires self-judgment, because it automatically invokes God’s judgment. The proseuchē word-group is the most frequent word for prayer in the apostolic writings and continues the Hebraic idea.
to God: The mention of praying to God is not accidental. Yeshua had instructed his disciples to pray to the Father (Matt 6:6, 9). for me: Paul often speaks of his prayers for the congregations, but he was ever mindful of his own need for prayer to accomplish the divine mission and wasn't embarrassed to request prayer support (cf. Php 1:19; Col 4:3; 1Th 5:25; 2Th 3:1; Heb 13:18).
31― that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints;
that I may be rescued: Grk. ruomai, aor. pass. subj., to remove from peril by personal intervention. Paul detailed the perils he faced in his Corinthian letter:
"Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure." (1Cor 11:24-27)
This is not a minor request for prayer. Many of these perils were faced by all travelers of that time, necessitating most journeys to be taken with a group.
from those who are disobedient: Grk. apeitheō, pres. part., to disobey, to resist, to be rebellious. in Judea: Grk. Ioudaia, the Greco-Roman name for the land of Judah. The region is first mentioned in Ezra 5:8, where it is used to designate a province of the Persian Empire. Under Roman rule Judea lay south of Samaria and stretched from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the Dead Sea on the east. Paul's immediate concern appears not to be the normal perils of travel but what might await him at his destination. The mention of the "disobedient in Judea" alludes to the religious leaders there who rejected Yeshua as Messiah, endorsed Paul's previous persecution of the disciples, but then drove him out for changing his allegiance (cf. 1Th 2:15).
and that my service: Grk. diakonia, service, usually seen in the meeting of personal needs. for Jerusalem: Grk. Hierousalēma, lit. "into Jerusalem." See verse 19 above. The NASB translation gives the impression that Paul is taking a collection for the entire city. Rather he is taking an offering to the city. may prove acceptable: Grk. euprosdektos, worthy of being found favorable. to the saints: pl. of Grk. hagios, "holy ones." Likely Paul's concern is that the offering will be sufficient to the level of need. He does not want to be embarrassed by any negative opinion of Gentile generosity. According to Paul's later testimony he did complete his charitable mission (Acts 24:17).
32― so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.
so that I may come: Grk. erchomai, aor. part., lit. "in order that coming." to you in joy: Grk. chara, the emotional response of joy, as well as the sharing in a celebration. by the will of God: Here Paul means the sovereign will of God in contrast with the moral will of God he speaks of in 12:2. God’s sovereign will is His masterful omnipotent control of events and people to work everything for our good and His glory (Acts 17:26-28; Rom 8:27-28). and find refreshing rest: Grk. sunanapauomai, aor. mid. subj., enjoying rest or relaxation together. in your company: pl. of Grk. su, dative case meaning "with you." Paul not only had spiritual goals for his trip, but also the mundane desire to simply enjoy being with the Roman disciples, especially with some of those listed in chapter sixteen.
33― Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Now: Grk. de is a conjunction that generally indicates either a slight contrast or a transition in presentation of subject matter. It is an extremely flexible word. See the note on 10:6. De may continue a thought, sharply contrast the preceding thought or modify the preceding thought. Marshall renders de with "and" to indicate the continuance of thought. the God of peace: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which may be in reference to (1) a state of harmony as a result from cessation of hostilities, whether in political or personal relationships; or (2) a state of well-being, used Hebraically as a greeting or as characteristic of the Messianic age and divine favor. In Hebrew this "peace" would be "shalom," the kind of relational harmony that is essential to life in a community.
The birth narrative of Yeshua is introduced with the refrain of the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). People often mistake the message to mean "peace among men of good will.” Instead, the angelic hymn implies that mankind is at war with God, but Yeshua was sent to mediate peace with God. It is only those who make peace with God that can hope to have any kind of meaningful peace with one another.
Paul employs the theme of peace in Romans in various ways. In 1:7 "peace" is part of the greeting. In 2:10 Paul asserts that "peace" along with glory and honor is experienced by those who do good. In 5:1 Paul mentions the mediatorial work of Yeshua to bring the state of hostilities with God to an end and have shalom with God. Beginning in 12:18 Paul focuses on "peace" as a relational quality in the body of Messiah (also 14:17, 19).
However, the exact phrase "God of peace" occurs only in Paul's writings (Rom 16:20; Phil 4:9; 1Th 5:23; Heb 13:20) and may allude to the covenant of peace God initiated in the Tanakh (Num 25:12; Isa 54:10; Ezek 34:25; 37:26). In Numbers 25 God promises Phinehas, a Levitical priest, a covenant of peace because "because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel" (Num 25:13). In Isaiah 54 God assures Israel that in spite of their unfaithfulness, "My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken" (Isa 54:10). The covenant mentioned here refers back to the one established through Moses. In Ezekiel 34 the covenant of peace refers to the covenant with David and its ultimate fulfillment in Yeshua,
"Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods." (Ezek 34:23-25) God repeats this same promise of David's kingship in Ezekiel 37:26 with the added promise that He would dwell or tabernacle with them.
Paul asserts that the God of Israel who established three covenants of peace with His people (see the note on "covenants" at 9:4) is a covenant-keeping God who fulfills these covenants through our Redeemer Yeshua (Acts 10:36; Col 1:20) both now and in the Messianic age of peace to come.
be with you all: Commentators generally agree that Paul closes the chapter with the typical wish for the experience of shalom. While this may be Paul's intent the fact remains that there is no verb in this statement, so "be" is an interpretation. The statement would be lit. rendered, "and the God of peace with you all." Given that de means "and," it is just as likely that this statement is connected with the preceding verse. The resulting thought is:
"so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company and the God of peace be with you all."
Paul fervently desires that when he comes he will find the congregation enjoying God's covenant of peace and peace with one another. He wants to have a time of restful fellowship and not have to settle any disputes or confront any sinful conduct.
Amen: Grk. amēn transliterates the Heb. ’amen, an adverb meaning "verily" or "truly" (BDB 53). See the note on 1:25. The "amen" expresses his fervent desire and prayer to God.
At this point some manuscripts add the doxology found in 16:25-27. See the note there.
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