Romans 15

The Word Made Fresh

1We who are strong ought to uphold the weak when they fail, and not just to please ourselves. 2Each of us must please our neighbors to build them up. 3After all, Christ didn’t please only himself. As it is written, “The insults hurled at you have fallen on me.” 4The things written in the past were written to teach us, so that we might have hope through the encouragement and faithfulness of the scriptures. 5May the God of encouragement and faithfulness allow you to live peacefully with one another as Christ would want, 6so that you might glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, together.

7So, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God. 8I’m saying that Christ has become a servant of those who are circumcised in keeping with the truth that God may yet approve of the promises given the patriarchs, 9and also that Gentiles might glorify God for the mercy shown them. It is written, “Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles. I will sing praises to your name.” 10And, “Be glad, O nations, with God’s people.” 11And, “Praise the Lord, all the nations, and let everyone join your praises!” 12And Isaiah also says, “A descendant of Jesse will come and rise to rule the nations. The Gentiles will have hope in him.” 13May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith so that you might be filled with hope by the Holy Spirit.

14I am certain that you yourselves are filled with goodness and knowledge and can teach one another. 15Still, on some points I have written to you rather boldly to remind you that because of God’s grace, given to me 16to be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, I am serving as God’s priest so that your offering may be acceptable and made holy by the Holy Spirit. 17So I do have reason to brag about my work, but only in Christ Jesus. 18I dare not say anything, though, except what Christ has done through me to welcome the Gentiles by word and deed, 19through the power of signs and wonders and by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far as Illyricum I have preached the good news of Christ. 20I have made it my life’s work to proclaim the good news, but not where it has already been proclaimed, so that I won’t just be building on someone else’s work. 21As it is written, “Those who have never heard of him will see and understand.”

22This is the reason I have often been kept from coming to you. 23But now, since I’ve been everywhere else in this part of the world, I’m ready to come to you as I have wanted to do for many years, 24on my way to Spain. I truly hope to see you when I arrive there, and be sent on by you after I’ve enjoyed your company for a little while. 25Right now, though, I’m on my way to Jerusalem to uphold the saints who are there; 26for Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to share their resources with the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27They were pleased to do this because they owe it to them. After all, if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual blessing, they ought also to share material things. 28So, when I’ve delivered what has been collected for them, I will stop over to see you on my way to Spain. 29I know that when I see you it will be a blessing from Christ.

30So I ask you, by our Lord Jesus Christ and in the love of the Spirit, to pray for me earnestly to God, 31that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my work in Jerusalem will be acceptable to the saints there. 32Then, by the will of God, I might come to you with joy and be blessed by your company. 33May the God of all peace be with you all. Amen.


1-6: Don’t show off to others even if you are super holy. Christ’s people are to be about the task of building one another up.

7-13: Paul’s point is that Christ came that all might be saved, both Jews and Gentiles. Beginning at verse nine he paraphrases Psalm 18:49, Psalm 67:3-4, Psalm 117:1, and Isaiah 11:1 and 11:10.

14-21: Paul begins now to summarize his letter, saying that he is confident in their understanding of the faith. He emphasizes again that his primary mission is to go where no one has gone before, taking the good news to Gentiles in places where it has not yet been preached. He says he has taken the gospel as far as Illyricum, a territory on the Adriatic Sea northwest of Greece. However, there is no mention of Illyricum elsewhere in the Bible. He quotes Isaiah 52:15 as his rallying cry.

22-29: Paul tells his readers in Rome that he plans to visit them on his way to Spain, a journey of which we have no record, and which may or may not have been made. For now, though, he is on his way to Jerusalem to deliver an offering for the poor from followers in Macedonia and Achaia. It is likely that this is a reference to his last trip to Jerusalem. I had speculated in the comment on 1:8-15 that this letter may have been written from Caesarea while Paul awaited his trial, but verse 25 would seem to negate that supposition.

30-33: If Paul is writing on the eve of his last trip to Jerusalem, these verses are ironic. He asks them to pray for his mission to Jerusalem, but we know it was disastrous for him. On the other hand, the ending of Acts does indeed indicate that Paul was able to stay in Rome for some time with the freedom to be in contact with the Christian community there.


Paul was on his way to Rome where he will be tried, and was planning to take the Good News to Spain. His trip to Spain never materialized, but it is a good lesson from him to always have plans in mind for the future. We cannot know whether we’ll still be here a year from now, but we should always be prepared to share our faith whatever the future brings.