What does Romans 15:16 mean?
ESV: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
NIV: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
NASB: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
CSB: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of the gospel of God. God's purpose is that the Gentiles may be an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
NLT: I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.
KJV: 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 Holy Ghost.
Verse Commentary:
Paul is describing to the Christians in Rome the authority by which he writes. This is the source of his knowledge about the grace of God and how to live the Christian life on earth.

God is the one who has appointed Paul to be a minister of Christ to the Gentiles. He is focused on one message, the gospel—the "good news." He acts as a priest might in service of the gospel of God, representing the truth of God's grace to them on God's behalf. Paul is not a priest, however, but an apostle. In fact, because of Paul's Christ-given role as an apostle, and that he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, his teaching in Romans stands as the very Word of God.

Paul adds his purpose in writing to them: so that the offering of their lives to God, as Gentile Christians, might be acceptable to God and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Again, Paul is picturing the role of a priest offering a sacrifice to God. In that picture, he is the priest and their lives are the offering. He is working hard to make sure that offering, their lives, are acceptable to God.

Paul understands, of course, that though his teaching might be used by God to help shape the living-sacrifice lives of the Roman Christians into something acceptable to God, he is not the one who accomplishes that. The Holy Spirit is the one who supernaturally sanctifies believers, transforming us from the inside out (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Verse Context:
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.
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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