1We then who are strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to building up.3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.4For whatever things were written before were written for our instruction, that we through the patience and encouragement of the Scriptures might have hope.5Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be of the same mind toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,6that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.8Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises unto the fathers,9and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing unto Your name.10And again he says: Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.11And again: Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles. Praise Him, all you peoples.12And again, Isaiah says: There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.14Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.15Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God,16that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.17Therefore I have reason to exult in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God.18For I will not dare to speak of anything which Christ has not accomplished through me, unto the obedience of the Gentiles in word and deed;19in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fulfilled the preaching of the gospel of Christ.20And so I have striven to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, so that I should not build on another man's foundation,21but as it is written: To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand.22For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you.23But now no longer having a place in these regions, and having a great desire these many years to come to you,24whenever I may journey to Spain, I shall come to you; for I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may be filled with your company briefly.25But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.26For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make certain gifts for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.27For it seemed good to them, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, it is also their duty to minister to them in carnal things.28Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go through you to Spain.29But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.30Now I exhort you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God on my behalf,31that I may be delivered from those in Judea who are disobedient, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,32that I may come to you with joy through the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Matthew Henry - Concise Commentary 1
Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but for the glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our neighbour, for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked will, and humouring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ's whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. And he is the most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ. Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the failings of the weak. And should not we be humble, self-denying, and ready to consider one another, who are members one of another? The Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given. Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures. That comfort which springs from the word of God, is the surest and sweetest, and the greatest stay to hope. The Spirit as a Comforter, is the earnest of our inheritance. This like-mindedness must be according to the precept of Christ, according to his pattern and example. It is the gift of God; and a precious gift it is, for which we must earnestly seek unto him. Our Divine Master invites his disciples, and encourages them by showing himself as meek and lowly in spirit. The same disposition ought to mark the conduct of his servants, especially of the strong towards the weak. The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may well agree among themselves. 8
Christ fulfilled the prophecies and promises relating to the Jews, and the Gentile converts could have no excuse for despising them. The Gentiles, being brought into the church, are companions in patience and tribulation. They should praise God. Calling upon all the nations to praise the Lord, shows that they shall have knowledge of him. We shall never seek to Christ till we trust in him. And the whole plan of redemption is suited to reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God, so that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying and comforting power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our own power will never reach this; therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory. All joy and peace; all sorts of true joy and peace, so as to suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. 14
The apostle was persuaded that the Roman Christians were filled with a kind and affectionate spirit, as well as with knowledge. He had written to remind them of their duties and their dangers, because God had appointed him the minister of Christ to the Gentiles. Paul preached to them; but what made them sacrifices to God, was, their sanctification; not his work, but the work of the Holy Ghost: unholy things can never be pleasing to the holy God. The conversion of souls pertains unto God; therefore it is the matter of Paul's glorying, not the things of the flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God accompanied his labours. He principally sought the good of those that sat in darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does it by us. 22
The apostle sought the things of Christ more than his own will, and would not leave his work of planting churches to go to Rome. It concerns all to do that first which is most needful. We must not take it ill if our friends prefer work which is pleasing to God, before visits and compliments, which may please us. It is justly expected from all Christians, that they should promote every good work, especially that blessed work, the conversion of souls. Christian society is a heaven upon earth, an earnest of our gathering together unto Christ at the great day. Yet it is but partial, compared with our communion with Christ; for that only will satisfy the soul. The apostle was going to Jerusalem, as the messenger of charity. God loves a cheerful giver. Every thing that passes between Christians should be a proof and instance of the union they have in Jesus Christ. The Gentiles received the gospel of salvation from the Jews; therefore were bound to minister to them in what was needed for the body. Concerning what he expected from them he speaks doubtfully; but concerning what he expected from God he speaks confidently. We cannot expect too little from man, nor too much from God. And how delightful and advantageous it is to have the gospel with the fulness of its blessings! What wonderful and happy effects does it produce, when attended with the power of the Spirit! 30
Let us learn to value the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous. How careful should we be, lest we forfeit our interest in the love and prayers of God's praying people! If we have experienced the Spirit's love, let us not be wanting in this office of kindness for others. Those that would prevail in prayer, must strive in prayer. Those who beg the prayers of others, must not neglect to pray for themselves. And though Christ knows our state and wants perfectly, he will know them from us. As God must be sought, for restraining the ill-will of our enemies, so also for preserving and increasing the good-will of our friends. All our joy depends upon the will of God. Let us be earnest in prayer with and for each other, that for Christ's sake, and by the love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may come upon the souls of Christians, and the labours of ministers.