Patience and Self-Denial. 1We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves;a 2let each of us please our neighbor for the good, for building up.b 3For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written,c “The insults of those who insult you fall upon me.”* 4For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.d 5May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony* with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus,e 6that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s Fidelity and Mercy.* 7Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.f 8For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs,g 9but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
“Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.”h
10And again it says:i
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”*
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples praise him.”j
“The root of Jesse shall come,
raised up to rule the Gentiles;
in him shall the Gentiles hope.”k
13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.l
Apostle to the Gentiles. 14* I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness,* filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another. 15But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you, because of the grace given me by Godm 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit.n 17In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God. 18For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,o 19by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit [of God], so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum* I have finished preaching the gospel of Christ. 20Thus I aspire* to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation,p 21but as it is written:q
“Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”*
Paul’s Plans; Need for Prayers. 22That is why I have so often been prevented from coming to you. 23But now, since I no longer have any opportunity in these regions and since I have desired to come to you for many years,r 24I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain and to be sent on my way there by you, after I have enjoyed being with you for a time.s 25* Now, however, I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the holy ones.t 26For Macedonia and Achaia* have decided to make some contribution for the poor among the holy ones in Jerusalem;u 27they decided to do it, and in fact they are indebted to them, for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to serve them in material blessings.v 28So when I have completed this and safely handed over this contribution to them, I shall set out by way of you to Spain; 29and I know that in coming to you I shall come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing.
30I urge you, [brothers,] by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in the struggle by your prayers to God on my behalf,w 31that I may be delivered from the disobedient in Judea, and that my ministry for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the holy ones, 32so that I may come to you with joy by the will of God and be refreshed together with you. 33The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.x
* [15:3] Liberation from the law of Moses does not make the scriptures of the old covenant irrelevant. Much consolation and motivation for Christian living can be derived from the Old Testament, as in the citation from Ps 69:10. Because this psalm is quoted several times in the New Testament, it has been called indirectly messianic.
* [15:5] Think in harmony: a Greco-Roman ideal. Not rigid uniformity of thought and expression but thoughtful consideration of other people’s views finds expression here.
* [15:7–13] True oneness of mind is found in pondering the ultimate mission of the church: to bring it about that God’s name be glorified throughout the world and that Jesus Christ be universally recognized as God’s gift to all humanity. Paul here prepares his addressees for the climactic appeal he is about to make.
* [15:19] Illyricum: Roman province northwest of Greece on the eastern shore of the Adriatic.
* [15:20] I aspire: Paul uses terminology customarily applied to philanthropists. Unlike some philanthropists of his time, Paul does not engage in cheap competition for public acclaim. This explanation of his missionary policy is to assure the Christians in Rome that he is also not planning to remain in that city and build on other people’s foundations (cf. 2 Cor 10:12–18). However, he does solicit their help in sending him on his way to Spain, which was considered the limit of the western world. Thus Paul’s addressees realize that evangelization may be understood in the broader sense of mission or, as in Rom 1:15, of instruction within the Christian community that derives from the gospel.
* [15:21] The citation from Is 52:15 concerns the Servant of the Lord. According to Isaiah, the Servant is first of all Israel, which was to bring the knowledge of Yahweh to the nations. In Rom 9–11 Paul showed how Israel failed in this mission. Therefore, he himself undertakes almost singlehandedly Israel’s responsibility as the Servant and moves as quickly as possible with the gospel through the Roman empire.
* [15:25–27] Paul may have viewed the contribution he was gathering from Gentile Christians for the poor in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Cor 8–9) as a fulfillment of the vision of Is 60:5–6. In confidence that the messianic fulfillment was taking place, Paul stresses in Rom 14–16 the importance of harmonious relationships between Jews and Gentiles.
* [15:26] Achaia: the Roman province of southern Greece.