Romans 15:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 15:31, NIV: Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord's people there,

Romans 15:31, ESV: that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,

Romans 15:31, KJV: 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 the saints;

Romans 15:31, NASB: that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints;

Romans 15:31, NLT: Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donation I am taking to Jerusalem.

Romans 15:31, CSB: Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, that my ministry to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,

What does Romans 15:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has asked, very seriously, that the Christians in Rome would wrestle with him in prayer about his circumstances. Now he begins to list three specific requests.

The first thing he wants them to ask God for is that he will be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea. Paul has learned by repeated experience that the religious Jews want to kill him (Acts 14:9; 23:12; 25:3). He is preparing to travel to Jerusalem, the very heart of religious Judaism. He realizes this will put him in grave danger. He is asking the Roman Christians to pray for his safety, that his life will be spared.

Paul was right to be concerned. Acts 21:27–36 describes what happened when the Jewish religious leaders found him in the temple in Jerusalem. Furious about his teaching that salvation was available only through faith in Christ and not through following the law, they grabbed Paul, dragged him out of the temple, and tried to kill him. This prayer was answered, however, in an unexpected way. Roman soldiers intervened and took Paul into custody. He was spared but found himself in prison for the following two years. God does not always answer our prayers in the way we expect.

Paul's second request was that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem would receive the gift of financial aid he was delivering from the Gentile believers. Why would they not? Perhaps tension between Jewish and Gentile Christians was running high. Perhaps the Christian Jews would reject the gift out of fear of the unbelieving religious Jews. Maybe Paul was concerned about being robbed or imprisoned on the way. In any case, he wanted desperately for the gift to be received.

Apparently, this prayer was also answered when Paul was, at least at first, received warmly by the Christian Jews in Jerusalem on his arrival (Acts 21:17).