Romans 15 – 16

Romans 15

We are instructed to help those younger or weaker in the faith to learn and grow in godliness, and we are not to cause them to stumble over non-biblical personal preferences, cultural or racial issues  

We are not to just do everything that we want, but we are to be considerate of the sensitivities of others in non-biblical issues.  In other words; we are to be helpful to and respect and be courteous to others.

Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 

We are not to do whatever we want without consideration for others in non-biblical matters. 

15:2 Let every one of us [respect, teach and encourage his neighbor in godliness] please his neighbour for his good to edification.

Jesus took the attitude that those who reproach his faithful zealous disciples are also reproaching him.

15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, [ALL scripture is for OUR personal instruction] that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

We are all to be like-minded with God the Father and Jesus Christ, and through our unity with God, we will be like-minded with each other in godliness.

15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, [accept one another in the Lord and in the brotherhood of obeying God] as Christ also received us [to become like God through living by every Word of God so that God might be glorified] to the glory of God.

15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [a general term for the Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:  [the promise of the New Covenant of Jer 31:31].

The Gentiles will also receive salvation and eternal life and will glorify God.  Remember this section is about disputes between the Jewish and Gentile converts.

15:9And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 15:10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 15:12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise [being the HEAD of the called out of ALL races now, and ruling ALL peoples when the Kingdom is established] to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust (Is 11:10)

Paul commends and encourages the deeply converted who are passionately zealous to learn and to keep the whole Word of God and for following and pleasing our Lord.

15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind [in remembrance], because of the grace that is given to me of God, 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, [The called out are sanctified (set apart unto holiness) by the Spirit of God; IF they follow that Spirit into the truth of the Word of God to learn it and to keep it.] being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

John 16:13   Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Paul glorifies God that he is called to work to bring many Gentiles and Jews into obedience to God.

Romans 15:17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me [Paul speaks only of what he does, and does not claim credit for what others have done for this way.], to make the Gentiles obedient  [Paul teaches the Gentiles to be obedient to the Word of God], by word and deed, 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Paul was given his own field [area] to labor in; while the twelve [and others] labored in other areas.

15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named [by others], lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

Paul quotes the scriptures that salvation would be extended to the Gentiles, and that the knowledge of salvation was preached to those who were not of Israel so that they also might be saved. 

Paul now quotes how that the Gentiles who had not been part of the Mosaic Covenant; would also understand and have a part in the New Covenant. 

15:21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of [the Gentiles were not called out of Egypt and spoken to at Sinai], they shall see: and they that have not heard [shall hear the scriptures taught when they are called into the Spiritual Israel of the New Covenant] shall understand. 15:22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

Satan had hindered Paul from going to Rome to preach the gospel of salvation  until God later intervened and opened the way for Paul to go to Rome from Jerusalem to preach to the people there.

Paul had been in Asia Minor for many years and is now ready to go to Rome, desiring to also go to Spain.

15:23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; 15:24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.

Paul is writing from Corinth and must first go up to Jerusalem with the contributions of the saints and to consult with the other apostles.  This story begins in Acts 19. 

15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

Here the Godly principle that those who benefit spiritually from others, should be a help to their benefactors in physical things is emphasized.

15:27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. 15:28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit [food, grain and other gifts], I will come by you into Spain. 15:29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

Paul wanted to go to Rome to preach the Gospel of warning, repentance, salvation and living by every Word of God (Mat 28:20).

Paul asks the brethren in Rome to pray that he may be delivered from enemies and visit Rome.  The story in Acts explains how Paul was delivered through much hardship to go to Rome to preach there.

15:30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with [and for Paul] me in your prayers to God for me; 15:31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service [to deliver the gifts to the saints at Jerusalem] which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; 15:32 That I may come unto you [come to Rome] with joy by the will of God, and may with you be [spiritually] refreshed. 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.


Romans 16

This closing commends those who have been a great help to Paul.  Note that this includes many women who were of great help to Paul and to the furtherance of the Gospel.

Romans 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

Priscilla and Aquila had left Rome during the expulsion and worked with Paul in Corinth, before returning to Rome.  The letter to the Romans was written from Corinth after Priscilla and Aquila had returned to Rome and before Paul was later taken to Rome.  The expulsion of Jews from Rome was from January A./D. 41 until January A.D. 53.

16:6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.

Andronicus was an apostle and Junia his wife, being of one flesh with her husband, was accounted as his apostolic helper. The wife shares in the office of her husband by being a helper in her husband’s office and helping him to fulfill his office.  An apostle is NOT primarily an hierarchical rank of authority;  An apostle is an office of responsibility!                  

16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

16:8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. 16:9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 16:10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.

16:11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. 16:12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. 16:13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

The term “his mother and mine”  does not necessarily mean that Paul and Rufus were brothers; it could just as easily mean that Paul regards the lady as his own mother out of his deep love and respect for her.  This could also simply mean that Paul’s mother was in Rome along with the mother of Rufus.

16:14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.

16:15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them. 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss [Greet one another with a big affectionate hug and kiss on the neck or cheek!]. The churches of Christ salute you.

Mark [point out] and avoid those that are contrary to the sound doctrine of holy scripture;

Turn away from those who make the Word of God of no effect by their traditions and actions; and reject those who teach compromise with any part of the Word of God. 

Reject those who depart from the doctrine of Christ who will obey God while dwelling in us, and reject all those who tolerate willful sin in the Ekklesia, as is commonly done today. 

Know and understand that the wicked will do their very best to present themselves as being full of the light of righteousness as they lead you astray.  They will say “we are not changing doctrine or our beliefs, only clarifying or amending them; as they change the meaning and practical application of the Word of God with clever reasoning, in order to lead people away from any zeal to live by every Word of God. 

The biggest false teaching is that loyalty to a man, or an organization and its teachings is the same as loyalty to God and his Word:  That IS idolatry! 

They may not come out and say that in so many words; but they teach it in a multitude of ways, as they insist that they are God’s chosen and that they must be obeyed without question regardless of the scriptures.

16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

This instruction is often twisted to condemn those who teach the truth, accusing them of causing division in some organization.  The truth is that our unity should be with God and not with some man or organization of men.  If we are united with God we will be of like mind and united with all others who are in unity with God. 

Therefore it is those who are not zealous to live by every Word of God, or who demand blind unquestioning obedience to themselves, or who teach tolerance of sin for the sake of organizational unity; who are the real perpetrators of division in the Assemblies because they cause division of the brethren from God the Almighty!  

God will divide the righteous from the wicked; those who live by God’s Word will be divided from those who do not,  There is no sin in separating brethren from sin; the great sin is when men or religious organizations teach things that separate the brethren from God.

Those who teach false traditions and false doctrine contrary to scripture, are deceivers who use persuasive rhetoric to deceive people away from zeal for the whole Word of God. 

Men who teach that the Sabbath is holy and then claim that they are justified to continually pollute the Sabbath and other such evils; are to be marked [be taken note of] and avoided; especially including elders and leaders who teach anything contrary to any part of the Word of God.

16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

16:19 For your obedience [The Rome Ekklesia’s obedience to God had brought them a wide good reputation; but certain issues needed to be addressed by this Epistle.] is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good [Only God and his Word are good!], and simple [innocent of evil things] concerning evil. 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

This letter was dictated by Paul to Tertius; who sends the Romans greetings from Timothy, Lucius, and Jason, Gaius, Erastus, Quartus and Sosipater

16:21 Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. 16:22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.


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