The Epistle to the Romans

By David Brown



1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not

2 to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat

3 all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath

4 received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he

5 shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his

6 own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord

7 he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth

8 to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the

9 Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the

11 judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written,

As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an

14 occasion to fall in his brother's way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean,

15 to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him

16 with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your

17 good be evil spoken of: for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the

18 Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is

19 acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things

20 wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for

21 that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother

22 stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that con-

23 demneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

The subject here—on to chap. xv. 13—is the consideration due from stronger Christians to their weaker brethren (with special reference to the Jewish peculiarities), which is but the great law of love (treated of in chap, xiii.) in one particular form.

1. Prefatory direction.

1. Him that is weak in faith—not 'the faith 'or 'the truth believed '(as not a few, with the A. V., understand the words), 'him whose faith wants that firmness and breadth which would raise him above small scruples,' receive ye—to cordial Christian fellowship, yet not to doubtful disputations —not for the purpose of urging him out of his doubts and scruples, which indeed often does the reverse; whereas to receive him to full brotherly confidence and cordial interchange of Christian affection is the most effectual way of drawing them off. Two examples of such scruples are here specified, touching Jewish meats and days. 'The strong,' it will be observed, are those who held these to be abolished under the Gospel; 'the weak 'are those who had scruples on this point.

2-5. Scrupulosity as to food and days.

2. One man hath faith to eat all things—having learned the lesson taught to Peter (Acts x. 9-16, 28): but he that is weak eateth herbs—restricting himself probably to a vegetable diet, for fear of eating what might have been offered to idols, and so would be unclean (see I Cor. viii.). 3. Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge (sit censoriously in judgment upon) him that eateth; for God hath received him—as one of His dear children, who in this matter acts not from laxity, but religious principle. 4. Who art thou that judgest the servant of another—that is, Christ, as the whole context (especially vers. 8, 9) shews, to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall he made to stand; for the Lord—such appears to be the correct reading here—that is, Christ hath power to make him stand—to make good his standing; meaning,' not at the day of judgment (for of that the apostle conies to treat at ver. 10); but here, in the fellowship of the Church, in spite of the censures. 5. One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man he fully assured in his own mind—guided in such matters by his own conscientious convictions.

On the bearing of this verse on the Sabbath and the Lord's day, see Note 9 at the close of this chapter.

6-12. Individual responsibility to Christ, the great general rule to be observed in such cases.

6. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord—the Lord Christ as before. (The negative clause that follows in the received text and the A. V.—"and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it"—has next to no external authority, and got into the text, no doubt, to fill up the seemingly incomplete statement, and balance it with the following one.) and he that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks. The one gave thanks for the flesh which the other scrupled to use; while the other did the same for the herbs to which, for conscience sake, he restricted himself. 7. Few; none of us liveth to himself, and no one (of us) dieth to himself—according to his own ideas and inclinations. 8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. Nothing but the most vapid explanation of these remarkable words could make them endurable to any Christian ear, if Christ were a mere creature. For Christ is here —in the most emphatic terms, and yet in the most unimpassioned tone—held up as the supreme Object of the Christian's life, and of his death too; and that by the man whose horror of creature-worship was such, that when the poor Lycaonians would have worshipped himself, he rushed forth to arrest the deed, directing them to "the living God" as the only legitimate Object of worship (Acts xiv. 15). Nor does Paul teach this here, but rather appeals to it as a known and recognised fact of which he had only to remind his readers. And since the apostle, when he wrote these words, had never been at Rome, he could only know that the Roman Christians would assent to this view of Christ, because it was the common teaching of all the accredited preachers of Christianity, and the common faith of all Christians. 9. For to this end Christ died and lived again1 that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. As He died to acquire, so He rose to claim and exercise that right of purchase and dominion over His redeemed, which it is their joy to know that their death does not even interrupt, for then they are "at home with the Lord."

10. But thou (the weaker), why dost thou judge thy (stronger) brother? or thou again (the stronger), why dost thou set at naught thy (weaker) brother? for we shall all (the weak and the strong together) stand before the judgment-seat of God.2 Such, beyond all doubt, is the true reading here. From the connection, one would have expected that "the judgment of Christ "(as in 2 Cor. v. 10) would have been written; and no doubt that is the reason why this reading has got into the text. But on looking more closely, we may see why the apostle did not write this, but "the judgment of God." It was evidently to accommodate his own statement to the quotation which was to follow, and the inference which he was to draw from it in the next verse: 11. For it is written (Isa. xlv. 23), As I live, saith the Lord (Hebrew, JEHOVAH), to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God. The passage, as it stands in the prophet, has no immediate reference to any 'day of judgment,' but is a prediction of the ultimate subjugation to the true God (in Christ) of every soul of man; but this of course implies that they shall bow to the award of God upon their character and actions. 12. So then (infers the apostle) each one of us shall give account of himself to God. Now, if it be remembered that all this is adduced quite incidentally, to shew that Christ is the absolute Master of all Christians, to rule their judgments and feelings towards each other while "living," and to dispose of them 'dying,' the testimony which it bears to the absolute Divinity of Christ will appear remarkable. On any other view, the quotation to shew that we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God would be a strange proof that Christians are all amenable to Christ.

13-23. Christian forbearance (resumed).

13. Let us not therefore judge (' assume the office of judge over') one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall, in his brother's way—a sort of play upon the word 'judge'—'But if you -will judge, let it be this, not to put a stumbling-block,' etc. 14. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus—as "having the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. ii. 16), that nothing is unclean of itself. Hence it is that he calls those "the strong" who believed in the abolition of all ritual distinctions under the Gospel (see Acts x. 15): save that to him that accounteth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean:—q.d., 'and therefore, though you can eat of it without sin, he cannot.' 15. For if because of meat thy brother is grieved (has his weak conscience hurt). The word "meat" is purposely selected as something contemptible, in contrast with the tremendous risk run for its sake. Accordingly, in the next clause, that idea is brought out with great strength: Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died. The worth (as Olshausen says) of even the poorest and weakest brother cannot be more emphatically expressed than by the words, "for whom Christ died." The same sentiment is expressed with equal sharpness in 1 Cor. viii. 11. Whatever tends to make any one violate his conscience tends to the destruction of his soul; and he who helps, whether wittingly or not, to bring about the' one is guilty of aiding to accomplish the other. 16. Let not then your good—i.e., this liberty of yours as to Jewish meats and days, well founded though it is, be evil spoken of—by reason of the evil it does to others. 17. For the kingdom of God—or, as we should say, Religion, the proper business and blessedness for which Christians are formed into a community of renewed men in thorough subjection to God (cf. 1Cor. iv. 20), is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost—a beautiful and comprehensive division of living Christianity:—" Righteousness" here has respect to God, denoting here 'rectitude,' in the wide sense of Matt. vi. 33; "peace "has respect to our neighbours, denoting 'concord' among brethren (as is plain from ver. 19: cf. Eph. iv. 3; Col. hi. 14, 15); "joy in the Holy Ghost" has respect to ourselves. This phrase, "joy in the Holy Ghost," represents Christians as so thinking and feeling, under the workings of the Holy Ghost, that their joy may be viewed rather as that of the blessed Agent who inspires it than their own. (See on chap. viii. 15; Gal. v. 25; Jude 20.)

For he that herein—in this threefold life—serveth Christ.: Observe here again how, though we do these three things as a "kingdom of God," yet it is "Christ "that we serve in so doing; the apostle passing herefrom God to Christ as naturally as before from Christ to God—in a way inconceivable, if Christ had been viewed as a mere creature (cf. 2 Cor. viii. 21). is well-pleasing to God, and approved of men—for these are the things which God delights in, and men are constrained to approve (comp. Prov. iii. 4; Luke ii. 52; Acts ii. 47, xix. 20). 19. So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another. 20. Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. In whatever tends to violate a brother's conscience the apostle sees that the incipient destruction of God's work (for every converted man is such)—on the same principle as "he that hateth his brother is a murderer "(1 John iii. 15). All things are indeed clean—the ritual distinctions being at an end; but it is evil for that man (there is criminality in the man) who eateth with offence—so as to stumble a weak brother. 21. It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is weak.3 These three words, it has been remarked, are each intentionally weaker than the other:—' Which may cause a brother to stumble, or even be obstructed in his Christian course, nay—though neither of these may follow—wherein he continues weak; unable wholly to disregard the example, and yet unprepared to follow it.' But this injunction to abstain from flesh, from wine, and from "whatsoever may hurt the conscience of a brother, must be properly understood. Manifestly, the apostle is treating of the regulation of the Christian's conduct with reference simply to the prejudices of the weak in faith; and his directions are to be considered not as prescriptions for ones entire lifetime, even to promote the good of men on a large scale, but simply as cautions against the too free use of Christian liberty in matters where other Christians, through weakness, are not persuaded that such liberty is divinely allowed. How far the principle involved in this may be legitimately extended, we do not inquire here; but ere we consider that question, it is of great importance to fix how far it is here actually expressed, and what is the precise nature of the illustrations given of it. 22. The faith which thou hast, have to thyself—on such matters (within thine own breast) before God—a most important clause. It is not mere sincerity, or a private opinion, of which the apostle speaks: it is conviction as to what is the truth and will of God. If thou hast formed this conviction in the sight of God, keep thyself in this frame before Him. Of course this is not to be over-pressed, as if it were wrong to discuss such points at all with our weaker brethren. All that is here condemned is such a zeal for small points as endangers Christian love. Happy is he that condemneth (Gr. 'judgeth') not himself in that which he approveth—allows himself to do nothing but what his conscience approves, who does only what he neither knows nor fears to be sinful. 23. But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin—a maxim of unspeakable importance in the Christian life.

It may be well to gather up the important principles and lessons of this chapter in the following—

Notes.—1. There is a real distinction between what is essential to Christian fellowship and what is not, or such error on subordinate matters as ought not to exclude a brother from the communion of the Church and the full confidence of his fellow-Christians. Those, therefore, who—affecting more than ordinary zeal for the honour and truth of God—deny the validity of this distinction—rigid sticklers for the necessity of orthodoxy on the most subordinate as well as the most vital points of the Christian Faith, as the condition of Church Union and Christian fellowship—will require to settle the question, not with us, but with the apostle. Acceptance with God is the proper criterion of right Christian fellowship. Differences there are even in things subordinate which may render Church Union impracticable; but the difficulty thence arising should be regarded as purely practical; the removal of it should be aimed at; and when this is attainable, every effort should be made to sweep it away, that the manifold evils, not to say the guilt, of schism may cease.—2. As there is much self-pleasing in setting up narrow standards of Christian fellowship, so one of the best preservatives against the temptation to do this will be found in the continual remembrance that Christ is the one Object for whom all Christians live, and to whom all Christians die; this would be such a living and exalted bond of union between the strong and the weak as would overshadow all their lesser differences and gradually absorb them.—3. The consideration of the common Judgment-seat at which the strong and the weak shall stand together will be found another preservative against the unlovely disposition to sit in judgment one on another (vers. 10-12).—But, 4. Though forbearance is a great Christian duty, indifference to the distinction between truth and error is not thereby encouraged. The former is, by the lax, made an excuse for the latter. But our apostle, while teaching 'the strong 'to bear with the "weak," repeatedly intimates in this chapter where the truth really lay on the points in question, and takes care to call those who took the wrong side the "weak."—5. "Peace "amongst the followers of Christ is a blessing too precious to themselves, and, as a testimony to them that are without, too important to be ruptured for trifles, even though some lesser truths be involved in these. Nor are those truths themselves disparaged or endangered thereby, but the reverse. Many things which are lawful are not expedient. In the use of any liberty, therefore, our question should be, not simply, Is this lawful? but even if so, Can it be used with safety to a brother's conscience? How will it affect my brother's soul! It is permitted to no Christian to say, with Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?"—6. With what holy jealousy ought the purity of the conscience to be guarded, since every deliberate violation of it is incipient perdition! Some, who seem to be more jealous for the honour of certain doctrines than for the souls of men, enervate this terrific truth by asking how it bears upon the 'Perseverance of the saints;' the advocates of that doctrine thinking it necessary to explain away what is meant by "destroying the work of God," and by "destroying him for whom Christ died," for fear of the doctrinal consequences of taking it nakedly; while the opponents of that doctrine are ready to ask, How could the apostle have used such language if he had believed that such a catastrophe was impossible? The true answer to both lies in dismissing the question as impertinent. The apostle is enunciating a great and eternal principle in Christian ethics—that the wilful violation of conscience contains within itself a seed of destruction; or, to express it otherwise, that the total destruction of the work of God in the renewed soul, and consequently the loss of that soul for eternity, needs only the carrying out to its full effect of such violation of the conscience. "Whether such effects do take place, in point of fact, the apostle gives not the most distant hint here; and therefore that point must be settled elsewhere. But, beyond all doubt, as the position we have laid down is emphatically expressed by the apostle, so the interests of all who call themselves Christians require it to be pro* claimed and pressed on every suitable occasion.—7. Whenever we are in doubt as to a point of duty—where abstinence is manifestly sinless, but compliance not clearly lawful—the safe course is ever to be preferred, for to do otherwise is itself sinful.—8. How exalted and beautiful is the Ethics of Christianity—by a few great principles teaching us how to steer our course amidst practical difficulties, with equal regard to Christian liberty, love, and confidence!—9. That there is no distinction of days under the Gospel, seems as plainly taught in this chapter (ver. 5, etc.) as words could express it. But to make sure in what sense, and to what extent, this is to be taken, the reader will do well to bear in mind the following considerations:—(1) That the rest of the seventh day, ordained when "the works were finished at the foundation of the world," was designed for all the inhabitants of that world, and that the seventh day was "blessed and sanctified" in such sense as to make the "rest" of it a "holy rest," the very words of its consecration (Gen. ii. 2, 3) indisputably express. The attempt to evade this by explaining the words of the institution above quoted as proleptic, i.e. a mere anticipation of the future institution of the Jewish Sabbath, to prepare the way for it and give it greater sanctity in the eyes of the Jews when actually instituted, needs no refutation beyond the words themselves; for as the works of creation are for all mankind alike, and were surely designed to awaken the devout adoration of Him that made them in the breasts of all alike, so there is nothing in the words of the original institution that would lead any impartial reader of them to think of the Jews more than of any other nation under heaven. (2) That a septenary division of time was recognised and observed with religious ceremonies from the most remote antiquity in the nations of which we have any authentic records, is beyond dispute. Recent Assyrian discoveries have thrown a flood of light upon this as well as other facts, hitherto almost or altogether unknown. Nor is any astronomical explanation of this fact half so satisfactory as that of the primitive institution of one day in seven, to celebrate the "finished" work of creation by a religious resting, having diffused itself far and wide, and surviving amidst much degeneracy in other things. (3) Though the fourth commandment in the Decalogue may seem to be couched in language not so catholic as might be expected in an institution of universal application, it is not more open to this objection than the fifth commandment—" Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," which, when the apostle quotes it to the Ephesian Christians, who were not Jews, he expresses in a catholic form, suited to every case. "Honour thy father and mother, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth "(Eph. vi. 3)—teaching us how to generalize the fourth and every other commandment, while retaining their spirit. (4) That the Sabbath rest in Israel was a" holy rest," not barely as set apart for physical rest, but with the express view to that physical rest being employed to aid in raising the thoughts and feelings above the things of the working week, and fix them on Him who made heaven and earth, is clear from such passages as Isa. lviii. 13, 14. (5) When, in the days of our Lord, the Jews had converted religion into a mechanical observance of the punctilios of outward duty, and more particularly of ceremonial ordinances, including a heap of their own traditions; and when they charged our Lord with a breach of the Sabbath rest, by allowing those whom lie miraculously healed to carry home with them the portable couch on which they had lain, He took occasion from this to remind them of the real intent of the institution for which they pretended such regard, saying, '' The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath "(Mark ii. 27). Is this language which our Lord would have used of a mere Jewish and temporary institution? If made for man, surely it belongs to man, and as long as man is on the earth will be "for man." But He added these most pregnant words, "So that the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath "(ver. 28; see also Matt. xii. 8). Was He "Lord of the Sabbath "for no other end than to abolish it? No, surely; but to interpret it, to preside over it, and, under a brighter economy which would "make all things new;" so to transfigure it that "in the Lord's day" it should be eclipsed—everything "old "about it disappearing; that, linked for ever to "the Resurrection and the Life," all things about it should be felt as new even its physical rest; and as for its religious significance, the finished works of creation shining in the light of a "finished work "higher still. Accordingly, the word "Sabbath "in the New Testament is never used of the first day of the week, but exclusively of the day preceding. And the apostles, quick to perceive their Master's design in appearing to them, after His resurrection, never but on the first day of the week, from that day forward held all their stated meetings with their converts on that day, and soon it came to be known as the Christian's day of rest, in a perfectly new sense—"the Lord's day." We say, their day of rest. For (6) all experience proves that a stated period of rest is indispensable for the preservation of the animal frame, and facts have only confirmed the suitableness of one day in seven to man; but since to reach this would be hopeless, if left to human arrangement to fix the time and duration of it, nothing but some Divine provision for securing it would ever be effectual; and that provision is no other than the Divine institution of the Lord's day, superseding, for all the permanent and highest ends of it, the preceding form of rest. And so soon as this Christian nation shall come to think, with Protestant Germany and Switzerland, that the Lord's day has no Divine authority, but is to be treated as a mere festival—like Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter, which the Church observes—so soon will continental laxity in the observance of it, and continental practices utterly alien to its blessed design, from which this country is now happily free, certainly follow. We have dwelt the longer on this subject, because, while not satisfied with those explanations of the apostle's language which would persuade the reader that the apostle has no view here to the weekly Sabbath at all—we are equally dissatisfied with the opposite extreme, which maintains that distinction of days has no place in any sense under the Gospel.


1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities

2 of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one

3 of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The

4 reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the

5 scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another

6 according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus

7 Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also

8 received us to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of

9 God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: and 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.

10 And again he saith,

Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

11 And again,

Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles;
And laud him, all ye people.

12 And again, Esaias saith,

There shall be a root of Jesse,
And he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles;
In him shall the Gentiles trust.

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.

14 And I myself also am persuaded of yon, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able

15 also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me

16 of God, 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, being sanctified by the

17 Holy Ghost. I have therefore whereof I may glory through

18 Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by

19 word and deed, 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

20 of Christ; yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another

21 man's foundation; but, as it is written,

To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see:
And they that have not heard shall understand:

22 for which cause also I have been much hindered from

23 coming to you. But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come

24 unto you, 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

25 filled with your company. But now I go unto Jerusalem

26 to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for

27 the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty

28 is also to minister unto them in carnal things. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this

29 fruit, I will come by you into Spain. And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together

31 with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of

32 the saints; that I may come unto you with joy by the will

33 of God, and may with you be refreshed. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

1. We then that are strong—on such points as have been discussed, the abolition of the Jewish distinction of meats and days under the Gospel, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves—ought to think less of what we may lawfully do, than of how our conduct will affect others. 2. Let every one of us please—that is, lay himself out to please, his neighbour (not indeed for his mere gratification, but) for his good (with a view) to (his) edification. 3. For even Christ pleased not (lived not to please) himself; but, as it is written (Ps. lxix. 9), The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning ('instruction'); that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope:—q.d., 'Think not that because such portions of Scripture relate immediately to Christ, they are inapplicable to you; for though Christ's sufferings, as a Saviour, were exclusively His own, the motives that prompted them, the spirit in which they were endured, and the great principle that ruled His whole work—self-sacrifice for the good of others—furnish our most perfect and beautiful model; and so all Scripture that relates to these is for our instruction.' And since the duty of forbearance, the strong with the weak, demands "patience," and one needs "comfort" in order to sustain patience, all those Scriptures that tell of patience and consolation, particularly of the patience of Christ and the consolation that sustained Him under it—are our appointed and appropriate nutriment, inspiring us with "hope" of the time when these will be no longer needed. For the same connexion between "patience" and "hope," see on chap. xii. 12; see also 1 Thess. i. 3. 5. Now the God of patience and consolation. Such beautiful names of God are taken from the graces which He inspires: as "the God of hope" (ver. 13), "the God of peace" (ver. 33), etc. grant you to be like-minded—'of the same mind,' according to Christ Jesus. It is not mere unanimity which the apostle seeks for them; for unanimity may be in evil, which is to be deprecated. But it is "according to Christ Jesus"—after the sublimest model of Him whose all-absorbing desire was to do, 'not His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him' (John vi. 38). 6. that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—rather, "that with one accord ye may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,' the mind and the mouth of all giving harmonious glory to His name. What a prayer! And shall this never be realized on earth?

7. Wherefore—Returning to the point, receive ye one another, as Christ also received us—'received you 'is clearly the true reading, to the glory of God. If Christ received us, and bears with all our weaknesses, well may we receive and compassionate one another; and by so doing God will be glorified. 8. Now—' For 'is certainly the true reading: the apostle is merely assigning an additional motive to Christian forbearance: I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision—a remarkable expression, meaning 'the Father's Servant for the salvation of the circumcision (or, of Israel) 'for the truth of God—to make good the veracity of God towards His ancient people; to confirm the (Messianic) promises made unto the fathers. In order to cheer the Jewish believers, whom he might seem to have been disparaging, and to keep down Gentile pride, the apostle holds up Israel's salvation as the primary end of Christ's mission. But next, after this, He was sent to the Gentiles. 9. and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. A number of quotations from the Old Testament here follow, to shew that God's plan of mercy embraced, from the first, the Gentiles along with the Jews, as it is written (Ps. xviii. 49), For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10. And again he saith (Deut. xxxii. 43), Rejoice, ye Gentiles, (along) with his people (Israel). This is according to the LXX. The absence of "with "in the Hebrew might suggest another sense, but the context confirms that here given, 11. And again (Ps. cxvii. 1), Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him—the various nations outside the pale of Judaism. 12. And again, Isaiah saith (chap. xi. 10), There shall be a root of Jesse—not 'the root whence Jesse sprang; 'but 'the root to spring from Jesse,' that is, from Jesse's son, David (see Rev. xxii. 16). and he that ariseth to rule over the Gentiles; on him shall the Gentiles hope. So the LXX., in substantial, though not verbal agreement with the original. 13. Now the God of hope (see on ver. 5, etc.). This seems a closing prayer, suggested not so much by the immediately preceding context as by the whole subject-matter of the Epistle thus far. fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope. As peace and joy are the natural fruits of faith (chap. v. 1, 2, 11; Gal. v. 22), so hope of the glory of God necessarily accompanies or flows from all these, especially from faith, which is the root of the whole. Hence, the degree in which one of these is possessed and exercised will be the measure in which all of them are found in play. And when the God of hope fills us with all joy and peace in believing, we cannot fail to abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Ghost—whose office it is, in the economy of redemption, to inspire believers with all gracious affections.

Note.—This prayer of ver. 13 sheds an interesting light on the relation of "hope" to "faith" in the usage of the New Testament and in the Christian life. As hope is not fixed upon the past work of Christ, so none of the fruits of that past work are ascribed to hope. We are never said to hope for pardon, peace, reconciliation, etc. The apostle says indeed to the Galatians (ver. 5), 'We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of (justifying) righteous- ness by faith; 'but this is a statement of doctrine, in opposition to the expectation of being justified by works: as if he said, 'Be not misled by those who would persuade you that your faith in Christ will avail you nothing "except ye be circumcised and keep the law of Moses;" for we who have been taught by the Spirit, whether Jews or Gentiles, hope for no righteousness but by faith alone.' Hope, then, fastens on nothing past, but exclusively on what is future, in the work of Christ, and so is subsequent to, or immediately flows from faith. There can be no "hope "till first there is '* faith," as this prayer indeed implies.


14. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye yourselves are full of goodness—of hearty readiness to do what I have been enjoining on you. filled with all knowledge, of the truth I have expounded, able also—without my intervention, to admonish one another. 15. But I write the more boldly unto you in some measure, as putting you in remembrance, because of the grace that was given me of God, that I should be a minister of Jesus Christ (the service which the word here expresses is official service, as distinguished from ordinary service), of Christ Jesus unto the Gentiles—compare Eph. iii. 8, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." In this statement, of his special commission to the Gentiles, we have another proof that this Epistle was meant in the first instance for a Gentile church (see on chap. i. 13). ministering (Gr. 'ministering in sacrifice'), the Gentiles converted through his ministry being viewed as a sacrifice offered up to God, as the following words show to be the meaning, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made (might prove) acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost—alike of the typical offerings and the fruits of the Christian ministry. 17. I have therefore whereof to glory (Gr. 'my glorying') in Christ Jesus in things pertaining to God. 18. For I will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ wrought through me ( Gr. 'of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought through me')—to go beyond what Christ hath wrought through me, to make the Gentiles obedient (Gr. 'for the obedience of)—that they might be brought to "the obedience of faith," by word and deed—by preaching and working, which working is next explained. 19. in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Holy Ghost. This seems to refer the efficacy of the word preached, as well as of the supernatural attestations, to the same Holy Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum—lying to the extreme north-western boundary of Greece, and corresponding to the modern Croatia and Dalmatia (2 Tim. iv. 10, and consult Paley's Horę Paulinę, chap. ii. No. 4; and see Acts xx. 1, 2). I have fully preached the gospel of Christ: 20. but making it my study (the same words as in 1 Thess. iv. 11 and 2 Cor. v. 9) so to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation; but (might act so) as it is written (Isa. lii. 15), They shall see, to whom no tidings of him came: And they who have not heard shall understand.

22. Wherefore also—being so long occupied in breaking fresh ground, I was hindered these many times from coming to you (see on chap. i. 9-1 1): 23. but now, having no more any place in these regions—no more unbroken ground, no spot where Christ has not been preached, and having these many years a longing to come unto you, 24. whensoever I go unto Spain, for I hope to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I shall have been satisfied with your company:—'I should indeed like to stay longer with you than I can hope to do, but to some extent at least I must have my fill of your company.' 25. but now, I say, I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. The sentence is broken, the apostle's eager mind going off, after the word "Spain," to tell them, by the way, what he expected by his visit to the Roman Church; and on taking up his sentence again, he does so in a somewhat altered form. Not perceiving this, and supposing part of the sentence must have dropped out, some scribes inserted after "Spain" the words "I will come to you," which are found in our A. V. But they have next to no support, and the weight of evidence against them is overwhelming. I go to Jerusalem, ministering unto the saints—in the sense explained in the next verse. 26. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints which are at Jerusalem (see Acts xxiv. 17). The word expresses the satisfaction they had in doing this. 27. They have been pleased indeed, and their debtors they are: for if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, they owe it to them also to minister unto them in carnal things. Compare I Cor. ix. 11; Gal. vi. 6; and see Luke vii. 4. It is the same principle as when, asking Philemon to be] kind to Onesimus for his sake, he delicately hints how well he might ask this favour of one who owed his own soul to him (Philem. 19). 28. When therefore I have accomplished this, and have sealed (delivered over safely) to them this fruit (of the faith and love of the Gentile converts), I will go on by you unto Spain (see on ver. 24). 29. And I know that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of [the gospel of] Christ. (The bracketed words are wanting in nearly all the principal authorities. To ada them would be most natural, but how to account for their dropping out i. they were there at first is far from easy.) The apostle was not disappointed in the confidence he here expresses, though his visit to Rome was in very different circumstances from what he expected (Acts xxviii. 16, to the end).

30. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit—not the love which the Spirit bears to us, but that love which He kindles in the hearts of believers towards each other:—' By that Saviour whose name is alike dear to all of us, and whose unsearchable riches I delight to proclaim, and by that love one to another which the blessed Spirit diffuses through all the brotherhood, making the labours of Christ's servants a matter of common interest to all, I beseech you 'that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me—implying that he had his grounds for anxious fear in this matter. 31. that I may be delivered from them that are disobedient—that refuse to the Gospel the obedience of faith, as in chap. ii. 8. in Judea. He saw the storm that was gathering over him in Judea, which, if at all, would certainly burst upon his head when he reached the capital; and the event too clearly shewed the correctness of these apprehensions: and that my ministrations which I have for Jerusalem (see on vers. 25-28) may be acceptable to the saints. Nor was he without apprehension lest the opposition he had made to' the narrow jealousy of the Jewish converts against the free reception of their Gentile brethren should make this gift of theirs to the poor saints at Jerusalem less welcome than it ought to be. He would have the Romans, therefore, to join him in wrestling with God that this gift might be gratefully received, and prove a cement between the two parties. But further, strive with me in prayer, 32. that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God (Acts xviii. 21; 1 Cor. iv. 19, xvi. 7; Heb. vi. 3; Jas. iv. 15), and with you be refreshed—or, 'find rest 'or 'refreshment;' after all his labours and anxieties, and so be refitted for future service. 33. Now the God of peace be with you all—of peace in its widest sense; with God, first, "through the blood of the everlasting covenant "(Heb. xiii. 20; 1 Thess. v. 23; 2 Thess. iii. 16; Phil. iv. 9); then, the peace which this diffuses among all the partakers of it (1 Cor. xiv. 33; 2 Cor. xiii. 13; see on chap, xvi. 20); and more widely still, that peace which the children of God, in beautiful imitation of their Father in heaven, are called and privileged to diffuse far and wide through this sin-distracted and divided world (chap. xii. 18; Matt. v. 9; Jas. iii. 18; Heb. xii. 14). Amen.

Notes.—1. Did "the chiefest of the apostles" apologize for writing to a Christian church which he had never seen, and a church that he was persuaded was above the need of it, save to "stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance "(2 Pet. i. 13, iii. 1); and did he even put this upon the sole plea of apostolic responsibility? (vers. 14-16). What a contrast is thus presented to hierarchical pride, and in particular to the affected humility of the bishop of this very Rome! How close the bond which the one spirit draws between ministers and people—how wide the separation produced by the other!—2. There is in the Christian Church no real priesthood, and none but figurative sacrifices. Had it been otherwise, it is inconceivable that the 1 6th verse of this chapter should have been expressed as it is. Paul's only priesthood and sacrificial offerings lay, first, in ministering to them, as "the apostle of the Gentiles," not the sacrament, with the 'Real Presence' of Christ in it, or the sacrifice of the mass, but "the Gospel of God," and then, when gathered under the wing of Christ, presenting them to God as a grateful offering, "being sanctified (not by sacrificial gifts, but) by the Holy Ghost" (see Heb. xiii. 9-16). 3. Though the debt we owe to those by whom we have been brought to Christ can never be discharged, we should feel it a privilege, when we have it in our power, to render them any lower benefit in return (vers. 26, 27). 4. Formidable designs against the truth and the servants of Christ should, above all other ways of counteracting them, be met by combined prayer to Him who rules all hearts and controls all events; and the darker the cloud, the more resolutely should all to whom Christ's cause is dear "strive together in their prayers to God "for the removal of it (vers. 30, 31). 5. Christian fellowship is so precious, that the most eminent servants of Christ, amidst the toils and trials of their work, find it refreshing and invigorating; and it is no good sign of any ecclesiastic, that he deems it beneath him to seek and enjoy it even amongst the humblest saints in the Church of Christ (vers. 24, 32).


1) This is clearly the true reading here. How that of the received text probably grew out of it is not easily explained to the mere English reader.

2) The received text reads "of Christ,"

3) The last two words of this verse are omitted in the R. V., but on too slender evidence, as we judge.