What does Romans 15 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
Romans 15 continues Paul's thoughts about those who are strong and weak in faith. It ends with the first of what seem to be several conclusions to the letter.

Paul wraps up how those strong in their faith in Christ should live in relationship to those who are weaker. From Romans 14, we know that Paul equates strong faith with a sense of freedom to participate in things formerly forbidden by the law of Moses or Jewish tradition. Now, though, Paul insists that those strong in faith should trust God enough to please others above themselves. After all, our example is Christ, who did not come to earth to please Himself or to demand His rights. In fact, He did just the opposite. Instead of engaging in conflict over issues of practice, all Christians should make it our goal to live together in harmony and in unity, glorifying God with one voice. How has Christ welcomed us? We should do the same for each other (Romans 15:1–7).

Christ lived both as a servant to the Jews and the fulfillment of all of God's promises to them. Those promises and prophesies included God's plan to one day include the Gentiles in His family and to receive praise from the Gentile nations (Romans 15:8–12).

After praying a blessing for the Christians in Rome, Paul assures them that he is satisfied with their faith and practice. He has written boldly to them about a few things, but he knows they are full of goodness and knowledge and able to teach each other. Paul transitions into a discussion of his purpose in ministry. He has been commissioned by God to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people, and to help their offering to God to be acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. This is why he has been bold in instructing them in his letter (Romans 15:13–16).

Paul declares himself proud of the work he has done, but he immediately insists that Christ is the one who has accomplished it all. Christ did it through Paul using the power of miraculous signs and the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul knows that was not his own power at work. Still, Paul has obediently done what Christ sent him to do, taking the good news of salvation by faith in Christ alone to places where that message had never been heard before. That mission has taken him all over his part of the world, and he has now run out of nearby regions where Christ has not yet been preached by him or someone else (Romans 15:17–21).

Paul turns to his plans to visit Rome. He longs to come and visit the Christians there on his way to preach the gospel in Spain. He feels the time is right, now that every region nearer Jerusalem has been introduced to the gospel. He wants to come to Rome to enjoy their company and to receive their help with funding his work in Spain (Romans 15:22–29).

Before he can come, though, he must make a dangerous trip to deliver a gift of financial aid from Gentile Christians to the poor Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. He asks his readers to pray urgently with him that he will be delivered from the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders who wish to kill him and that the Jewish Christians will receive the gift from their Gentile brothers in Christ. Finally, he asks them to pray that, once this is done, he will be able to come and be refreshed with them in Rome (Romans 15:30–33).
Verse Context:
Romans 15:1–7 concludes Paul's teaching on how Christians with strong faith, those who understand their freedom from the law, should live with those of weaker faith. All Christians must please each other and not themselves. After all, Christ didn't come to please Himself. With God's help and encouragement, everyone in the church can live together in harmony and glorify God with one, unified voice, as they serve each other ahead of themselves. They must welcome each other as Christ has welcomed them.
Romans 15:8–13 shows that Christ came to serve the Jewish people as the fulfillment of all of God's promises to them. In doing so, He also became the hope of the Gentile peoples around the world. The Old Testament prophesies reveal that God's plan was always to receive praise from the Gentiles and to make it possible for them to be included in His grace. Paul prays a blessing of hope, joy, peace, and power for his Roman readers.
Romans 15:14–21 begins with Paul's assurance to the Roman Christians that, though he has been bold in instructing them, he knows that they are full of goodness and knowledge. His mission from God is to preach the gospel to the Gentiles who have never heard it before. He is proud of the work that Christ has accomplished through him in bringing Gentiles to faith in Christ. He knows Christ has done this through the power of miraculous signs and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:22–33 describes Paul's plan to visit the Christians in Rome on his way to preaching the gospel in Spain. He has longed to see them for years. Before he comes, he must deliver a gift of financial aid from Gentile Christians to the poor Jewish believers in Jerusalem. He asks his readers to wrestle with him in prayer about this trip. Paul especially hopes to be delivered from the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders who want to kill him, and that the Christian Jews will receive the gift he is bringing.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 15 begins with Paul's encouragement to those strong in faith: to please other Christians before themselves so the church can be unified. Christ came to fulfill God's promises to Israel and about the Gentiles. Paul is satisfied with the faith and practice of the Roman Christians. His work of taking the gospel to unreached regions of Gentiles in his part of the world is completed, and he longs to come see them. First, he must deliver financial aid to Jerusalem, a trip about which he asks them to pray along with him.
Chapter Context:
Romans 15 concludes Paul's teaching that those strong in faith ought to sacrifice their own desires to live in harmony with other believers. Paul shows that God always planned to welcome the Gentile nations, and his mission is to introduce Gentiles to the message of salvation by faith in Christ. He longs to visit the Christians in Rome and plans to do so as soon as he delivers financial aid to poor Christian Jews in Jerusalem. He begins Romans 16 by greeting many friends and acquaintances in Rome by name, as part of a drawn-out ending to this letter.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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