Romans 15:27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: They were pleased to do it; and surely they are in debt to them, for if these Gentiles have come to share in their [the Jerusalem Jews’] spiritual blessings, then they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: They were very glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the wonderful spiritual blessings of the Good News from the Jewish Christians, they feel the least they can do in return is help them financially. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: They were pleased to do it; and surely they are in debt to them, for if these Gentiles have come to share in their [the Jerusalem Jews’] spiritual blessings, then they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for it pleased well, and their debtors they are, for if in their spiritual things the nations did participate, they ought also, in the fleshly things, to minister to them.
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
YES, THEY WERE PLEASED TO DO SO AND THEY ARE INDEBTED TO THEM: eudokesan (3PAAI) gar kai opheiletai eisin (3PPAI) auton:
They refers to the saints at Macedonia and Achaia (Ro 15:26-see notes)
Pleased (2106) (eudokeo from eú = well, good + dokéo = think. See word study on related word eudokía) means literally to think well of and thus to approve of or take pleasure in. From its usual sense “to take pleasure or delight in,” a further sense evolved meaning “to decide for,” “to select,” “to prefer,” and from this evolved the sense “to want,” “to will,” “to be willing or ready.” This latter meaning is the emphasis in this passage. In reference to the charitable giving, Paul makes it clear that the Gentile's gift was a freewill offering.
The Gentile believers were pleased to give such a gift to the suffering Jewish believers in Judea. They did it voluntarily. They did it willingly, not out of compulsion. They gave according to the spirit with which Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give…
Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2Cor 9:7) (Comment: In fact the charitable giving which Paul is describing here in Romans 15 is the collection that we read about in 1Corinthians 16:1 and 2Corinthians 8 and 9)
Indebted (3781) (opheiletes [word study] from opheilo = owe) ("our debtors" - Mt 6:12-note) describing one who owes anything to another person, especially money but also used metaphorically as here of those bound by some obligation or duty. The idea is to consider something as good and therefore worthy of choice.
Opheiletes - 7x in 7v in the NAS - Mt. 6:12; 18:24; Lk. 13:4; Ro 1:14; 8:12; 15:27; Gal. 5:3 and is rendered in the NAS as culprits(1), debtors(1), indebted(1), owed(1), under obligation(3).
Paul makes it clear that the Gentiles had a moral obligation and debt to pay for they had received the gospel from Jewish believers.
J Vernon McGee puts it this way…
Macedonia and Achaia were obligated to Jerusalem. Now some of the saints in Jerusalem were having financial difficulties, evidently because of persecution. Macedonia and Achaia could now pay a spiritual debt in the coin of the realm. This is foreign missions in reverse! It is the missionary church helping the home church. This very thing may take place in our nation, by the way, in the not too far distant future! (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
In a similar way, Paul felt a moral obligation or debt to preach the gospel writing
Likewise believers are under a moral obligation to mortify or put to death the deeds of the flesh (kill them or they will kill you) by the Spirit as Paul says in chapter 8 of Romans writing:
So then, brethren, we are under obligation (opheiletes), not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh -- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Ro 8:12, 13-notes)
FOR IF THE GENTILES HAVE SHARED IN THEIR SPIRITUAL THINGS THEY ARE INDEBTED TO MINISTER TO THEM ALSO IN MATERIAL THINGS: ei gar tois pneumatikois auton ekoinonesan (3PAAI) ta ethne, opheilousin (3PPAI) kai en tois sarkikois leitourgesai (AAN) autois: (Ro 11:17; 1Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6; Philemon 1:19)
If (1487) (ei) introduces a first class conditional statement which implies that the condition had been fulfilled. Thus one could render it "Since the Gentiles have shared".
Gentiles (1484) (ethnos) is used principally for peoples not Jewish and thus depending on the context can describe Gentile, heathen, nation, people. From a Jewish perspective the phrase the nations (tá éthne), indicates Gentile nations or the Gentiles in general.
Shared (2841) (koinoneo [word study] from koinos = that which is in common, belonging to several or of which several are partakers - the verb koinoneo is related to the noun koinonia [word study] translated "contribution" in Ro 15:26 - note) means to to share one's possessions, with the implication of some kind of joint participation and mutual interest. This Greek word is used in a marriage contract where the husband and wife agree to a joint-participation in the necessaries of life. The key idea in the word is that of a partnership, a possessing things in common, a belonging in common to.
Spiritual (4152) (pneumatikos from pneuma = spirit) relates to the human spirit, as the part of man which is akin to God and serves as his instrument or organ. It refers to the nonmaterial rather than the material part of man. It is used predominately of what belongs to the supernatural world as compared to that which belongs to the natural world. Note that the suffix "-ikos" on the end of an adjective means signifies “-like”. Thus pneumatikos means “belonging to the spirit" or "of the nature of the spirit" and so "pertaining to that which is spiritual".
Pneumatikos - 26x in 21v in the NAS - Rom. 1:11; 7:14; 15:27; 1 Co. 2:13, 15; 3:1; 9:11; 10:3f; 12:1; 14:1, 37; 15:44, 46; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 1:3; 5:19; 6:12; Col. 1:9; 3:16; 1 Pet. 2:5
The spiritual things of which the Gentiles partake are the spiritual blessings of salvation, specifically the gospel truths first preached to the Gentile believers by the Jewish apostles, prophets, teachers, and evangelists. Thus the Gentiles are debtors to the Jews for as our Lord taught “Salvation is of the Jews” (Jn 4:22).
Indebted (3784) (opheilo) means to be indebted to someone in a financial sense and thus to owe something to someone. Figuratively as used in this verse it means to be under a moral obligation to meet certain expectations. It can also mean to be to be constrained by circumstance. Gentiles are debtors to the Jews.
Opheilo - 35x in 34v in the NT - Matt. 18:28, 30, 34; 23:16, 18; Lk. 7:41; 11:4; 16:5, 7; 17:10; Jn. 13:14; 19:7; Acts 17:29; Rom. 13:8; 15:1, 27; 1 Co. 5:10; 7:36; 9:10; 11:7, 10; 2 Co. 12:11, 14; Eph. 5:28; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2:13; Philemon 1:18; Heb. 2:17; 5:3, 12; 1 Jn. 2:6; 3:16; 4:11; 3 Jn. 1:8 and is rendered in the NAS as had(1), have(1), indebted(2), must(1), obligated(3), ought(15), owe(4), owed(4),owes(1), responsible(1), should(2).
Middletown Bible Church writes that…
Gentiles are debtors to Jews. We owe them so much because "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). We owe them so much because the Bible is from the Jews. Indeed, even the authors of the New Testament were Jewish, with the only exception being Luke. We are debtors to the Jews because their God has become our God. Their Messiah has become our Saviour! Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things! It is only fitting that Gentiles should minister to them in carnal (material) things. Great spiritual blessings have come from them to us. It is appropriate then that great carnal or material blessings should come to them from us. We should help our Jewish brethren in every way we can. In a way we are also debtors to unbelieving Jews because of their godly heritage, even though they are not presently representing that heritage. The believer in Christ should be the best friend the Jew has in this world! (Romans 15)
Minister (3008) (leitourgeo from leitourgos [word study] = public servant from léïtos = of the people [NIDNTT says it from "laos" = people] + érgon = work) means to be a worker of the people or a public servant. In classical Greek the root word leitourgos referred especially to persons performing public duties, or works of public use and so to perform religious or charitable functions (worship, obey, relieve). It meant to render special formal service, and thus leitourgeo can literally describe a priest who officiates or ministers.
As used in this verse leitourgeo describes the performance of religious duties in the sense of a Christian performing services to God through such activities as prayer, teaching, etc.
Leitourgeo is used 2 other times in the NT (Acts 13:2 = "And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." and Heb 10:11 = "And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins") and 86 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ex 28:35, 43; 29:30; 30:20; 35:19; 39:1, 26, 32; 40:30; Num 1:50; 3:6, 31; 4:3, 9, 12, 14, 23f, 26, 30, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43; 8:22, 26; 16:9; 18:2, 6f, 21, 23; Deut 10:8; 17:12; 18:5, 7; 1 Sam 2:11, 18; 3:1; 2 Sam 19:18; 1 Ki 1:4, 15; 8:11; 19:21; 2 Ki 25:14; 1 Chr 6:32; 15:2; 16:4, 37; 23:13, 28, 32; 26:12; 27:1; 2 Chr 5:14; 8:14; 11:14; 13:10; 15:16; 17:19; 22:8; 23:6; 29:11; 31:2; 35:3; Neh 10:36; Ps 101:6; Jer 52:18; Ezek 40:46; 42:14; 43:19; 44:11f, 15ff, 19, 27; 45:4f; 46:24; Dan 7:10; Joel 1:9, 13; 2:17)
Thayer writes that leitourgeo means
in Attic, especially the orators, "to serve the state at one's own cost; to assume an office which must be administered at one's own expense; to discharge a public office at one's own cost; to render public service to the state… universally, to do service, to perform a work; Vulgate ministro (A. V. to minister); of the priests and Levites who were busied with the sacred rites in the tabernacle or the temple (as in the Septuagint)
Paul's use of this specific word (leitourgeo) helps understand the thought he is conveying here (e.g., this word gives us our English word "liturgy"), that is, that the Gentiles are performing a "priestly service" Thus Paul elevates the ministry of almsgiving on the footing of a sacrificial service, in every sense an act of worship to God. In sum service to God's people is service to God. Let us all keep alert to the opportunities we have to minister in this way and do so with hilarity.
As an aside, it is notable that his was not the first time a collection was taken to the church in Jerusalem. About ten years earlier, Paul and Barnabas brought a collection from the church in Antioch of Syria to help the Jerusalem church during a time of famine (Acts 11:30; 12:25).
If somebody blesses you spiritually, and the only way you can thank him is with material things, then do it, That is God's program, to give back in material things for the spiritual blessings you have received. Jesus declared that
"It is more blessed to give than to receive." ( Acts 20:35)
John MacArthur notes that…
It was not that the Gentiles’ being spiritually and materially indebted to the Jews made their generosity any less meaningful or loving. Duty does not exclude willing and joyful compliance. Even the most demanding duty or indebtedness can be fulfilled out of love." (MacArthur, J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)
Material things - literally fleshly things which is an interesting thought to ponder!
Material (4559) (sarkikos from sarx = flesh + ikos = as noted above this suffix means "-like" = “belonging to the sarx" or "of the nature of the sarx") means that which belongs to the nature of the flesh and so that which is from the earthly sphere of existence and which is thus material or physical, the meaning intended in this passage. In other contexts sarkikos, of the nature of the flesh, conveys an entirely different meaning, referring to the behavior which is characteristic of the fallen flesh (sarx - specifically the evil disposition), but that is clearly not the meaning in this verse.
Sarkikos - 7x in 6v in the NAS - Rom. 15:27; 1 Co. 3:3; 9:11; 2 Co. 1:12; 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:11
In a similar manner Paul writes to the saints in Galatia exhorting them to…
let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. (Gal 6:6)
Comment: "share" commonly refers to sharing of material goods. Paul is saying that the responsibility of Christians to provide financial support for those who devote full time to preaching and teaching the Word of God.
William Newell writes that in this verse…
Here is announced also the principle which Paul states concerning himself to the Corinthians: "If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?" … And although he "did not use this right, " he declares that "the Lord ordained, that they that proclaim the gospel should live of the gospel" (1Cor 9:11,12 = "If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ."). To the Levites only, among the tribes, was given no inheritance, Jehovah saying, "I am their inheritance." But others were to minister unto them of their substance, so that, when the Israelites were faithful, the Levites had plenty; and when Israel forgot Jehovah, they forgot the Levites. (Romans 15)
Amplified: When therefore I have completed this mission and have delivered to them [at Jerusalem] what has been raised, I shall go on by way of you to Spain. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: As soon as I have delivered this money and completed this good deed of theirs, I will come to see you on my way to Spain. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: When therefore I have completed this mission and have delivered to them [at Jerusalem] what has been raised, I shall go on by way of you to Spain (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: This, then, having finished, and having sealed to them this fruit, I will return through you, to Spain;
THEREFORE, WHEN I HAVE FINISHED THIS, AND HAVE PUT MY SEAL ON THIS FRUIT OF THEIRS: touto oun epitelesas (AAPMSN) kai sphragisamenos (AMPMSN) autois ton karpon touton: (Philippians 4:17; Colossians 1:6)
Spurgeon - He was sure of that, but he did not know how he would go in other respects. He did not know that he would go to Rome as a prisoner; he could not foresee that he would be sent there as an ambassador in bonds; and little, I wean, did he care in what manner he would go, so long as he bad the absolute certainty that he should go “in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.”
Paul's desire was to take the love gift to the needy saints in Jerusalem.
Finished (2005) (epiteleo [word study] from epí = intensive, in the sense of meaning "fully" + teleo = to complete, bring not just to the end but to the destined goal from teleo in turn from télos = end, goal. Note: télos originally meant the turning point, hinge, the culminating point at which one stage ends and another begins; later the goal, the end. Marriage and death are is in this sense both a telos) conveys the intensified meaning to "fully complete" or to fully reach the intended goal, to accomplish fully or to make perfect. The historian Herodotus writes that epiteleo was used of performing of religious services and refers to the act of completing something. Epiteleo was the normal Greek word for fully completing the ritual of any sacrifice.
Epiteleo - 10x in 9v in the NAS - Ro 15:28; 2 Co. 7:1; 8:6, 11; Gal. 3:3; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 8:5; 9:6; 1 Pet. 5:9 and is rendered in the NAS as accomplished(1), complete(1), completion(1), erect(1), finish(1), finished(1),perfect(1), perfected(1), perfecting(1), performing(1).
Epiteleo is the same verb Paul choose to describe God's work in believers in Philippi writing that he was confident…
"that He who began a good work (may refer to their salvation or their active financial participation in the furtherance of the gospel) in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (not the Day of the Lord but the day that looks to the final salvation, reward, and glorification of believers - see summary discussion of The Three Divine Days)." (Php 1:6-note)
Paul was anxious to complete this project of the collection of money for the Jerusalem poor. But in this verse Paul gives us all a good practical principle for life: He is not going to quit until he is through. He will wrap it up well and do it right. Do you finish what you begin in the realm of spiritual matters? What about when you tell someone you will pray for them… do you "finish" that good work?
Seal (4972) (sphragizo [word study] from sphragis = seal) a seal signifying ownership & guarantee of the correctness of contents. To set to, is to affix. To set to a seal is therefore to attest a document. Paul secured to the Macedonian and Achaian saints the product of the contribution. In other words Paul’s mission to Jerusalem would not be finished (epiteleo) until he had successfully and safely delivered the contribution. The "fruit" (charitable gift) was sealed to them when it was safely delivered and securely in their possession. The gift had already been gathered but it had not yet been delivered.
Sphragizo - 15x in 14v in the NAS - Mt 27:66; Jn. 3:33; 6:27; Ro 15:28; 2Co 1:22; Ep 1:13; 4:30; Re 7:3, 4, 5, 8; 10:4; 20:3; 22:10 and is rendered in the NAS as put a seal(1), seal up(2), sealed(9), set a seal(3).
Leon Morris has an interesting discussion of the meaning of "seal" in this verse noting that when Paul speaks of…
“having sealed to them this fruit”, the NIV understands it in the sense made sure that they have received it. This may be the way to take it, but the meaning of “sealing” in this context remains doubtful. It is known that produce such as wheat and barley was put in sacks and sealed; this was the last thing done and indicated that everything was in order. It may be that that is the way we should understand it: Paul’s seal meant that the money was there in full amount. A somewhat similar view is that which starts from the seal as a mark of personal authentication; Paul’s seal was his guarantee that all had been done well. It has been held that Paul’s very presence certified the gift and set the seal on his apostleship. Knox holds that when the money has been given and received in the right spirit “Paul will have ended his divinely appointed work in Asia Minor and Greece; the ‘fruit’ of his mission will have been ‘sealed.’ ” There are other views, and at this distance in time we cannot be sure of the precise significance of the sealing. But it is clear that in some way it pointed to official assurance that all was well. (Morris, L. The Epistle to the Romans. W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)
Fruit (2590) (karpos [word study]) refers to literal fruit but metaphorically (as in this context) refers to deeds, works or conduct. Scripture catalogs three kinds of spiritual fruit: (1) spiritual attitudes that characterize a Spirit-led believer (Gal 5:22, 23); (2) righteous actions (Ro 6:22, Hebrews 13:15); and (3) new converts (Romans 16:5)
Karpos - 67x in 57v in the NAS - Matt. 3:8, 10; 7:16ff; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mk. 4:7f, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Lk. 1:42; 3:8f; 6:43f; 8:8; 12:17; 13:6f, 9; 20:10; Jn. 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4f, 8, 16; Acts 2:30; Rom. 1:13; 6:21f; 15:28; 1 Co. 9:7; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:11, 22; 4:17; 2Ti 2:6; 4:13; Heb. 12:11; 13:15; Jas. 3:17f; 5:7, 18; Rev. 22:2 and is rendered in the NAS as benefit(2), crop(5), crops(2), descendants*(1), fruit(43), fruitful(1),fruits(4), grain(1), harvest(1), proceeds(1), produce(4), profit(1).
In the present context fruit speaks of the love-gift (a gift of money inspired by Christian love) from the Gentile believers of Macedonia and Achaia, given sacrificially for the poor saints in Judaea. In a real sense the love-gift was “fruit” in that it was the product of gospel seed-sowing.
In Philippians 4:17 Paul uses karpos writing…
Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit (fruit - karpos) which increases to your account. (Php 4:17-note) (Comment: Here karpos is used of fruit that grows like interest in a savings account. The Philippians were in effect storing up for themselves treasure in heaven -- see Mt 6:20-note. The gifts they gave to Paul were accruing eternal dividends to their spiritual account).
I WILL GO ON BY WAY OF YOU TO SPAIN: apeleusomai (1SFMI) di humon eis Spanian: (Ro 15:24; Proverbs 19:21; Lamentations 3:37; James 4:13, 14, 15)
By (dia) means through. It is used in relation to space, for instance, “The road runs through the territory.” Paul was intending to go through Rome on his way to Spain. "I will come through you".
Amplified: And I know that when I do come to you, I shall come in the abundant blessing of the Gospel of Christ. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: And I am sure that when I come, Christ will give me a great blessing for you. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: And I know that when I do come to you, I shall come in the abundant blessing of the Gospel of Christ. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and I have known that coming unto you -- in the fulness of the blessing of the good news of Christ I shall come.
AND I KNOW THAT WHEN I COME TO YOU: oida (1SRAI) de oti erchomenos (PMPMSN) pros humas:
Know (1579) (eido, oída, perfect tense of obsolete eido) speaks of knowledge which comes from one’s state of being or of intuitive knowledge. The idea of oida is that Paul's knowledge is absolute, positive and beyond a peradventure of a doubt.
Morris notes that…
Paul closes this part of his letter on a note of quiet certainty (I know); his certainty is one of faith, but none the less certain for that. (Ibid)
Here Paul expresses a measure of confidence that he will finally be able to fulfill his longing to visit Rome, once the Jerusalem task is completed.
I know (perfect tense conveys the idea I have come to know and am in a state of knowing) he says; “I will come,” he says. It speaks of his certainty of his coming.
We know from the book of Acts that he did indeed go to Rome, though not exactly according to his original plan. In any case, he was sure that when he came, it would be with the full blessing of Christ. That is, he knew that Christ’s blessing would be upon him, and he knew that he would be able to bestow the fullness of Christ’s blessing upon them (Ro 1:12-note).
I WILL COME IN THE FULNESS OF THE BLESSING OF CHRIST: en pleromati eulogias Christou eleusomai (1SFMI): (Ro 1:11,12; Psalms 16:11; Ezekiel 34:26; Ephesians 1:3; 3:8,19; 4:13)
"I will bring the full blessing of Christ." (GWT)
"Christ will give me a great blessing for you." (NLT)
Fulness (4138) (pleroma from pleroo [word study] = make full, fill, fill up) means the full measure, the abundance with emphasis upon completeness. Would it be that such could be said to be true of all of Christ's disciples - that they would come or go wherever He sends us "in the fulness of the blessing of Christ"!
Pleroma - 17x in 17v in the NAS - Matt. 9:16; Mk. 2:21; 6:43; 8:20; Jn. 1:16; Rom. 11:12, 25; 13:10; 15:29; 1 Co. 10:26; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10, 23; 3:19; 4:13; Col. 1:19; 2:9 and is rendered in the NAS as all it contains(1), fulfillment(2), full(2), fulness(10), patch(2).
Blessing (2129) (eulogia from eu = good, well + lógos = word; See word study on eulogetos) is literally a good word and by metonymy (figure of speech consisting of use of name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated - e.g., "Washington" for the US government), blessing, favor conferred, gift, benefit, bounty
Eulogia - 16x in 14v in the NAS - Rom. 15:29; 16:18; 1 Co. 10:16; 2 Co. 9:5f; Gal. 3:14; Eph. 1:3; Heb. 6:7; 12:17; Jas. 3:10; 1 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 5:12f; 7:12
Paul was confident in the power of God and persuaded that God, Who had so richly crowned his labors in other places, would ensure that his visit to Rome would be accompanied with abundant blessings. He was engaged in the service of a Christ Who was faithful, one on Whom Paul could place the utmost reliance. So whatever happened, he was sure of the blessing of the Lord. Can you imagine the blessing of hearing of Paul's deliverance from his enemies in Jerusalem & then his incredible sea voyage and shipwreck on Malta. What a blessing it must have been to hear this great saint boasting in what God had accomplished through him.
A. T. Robertson - Paul had already said that he had a charisma pneumatikon (spiritual blessing) for Rome. He did bring that to them."
In the first section of this letter Paul wrote…
For I long to see you in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established, that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine." (Ro 1:11, 12-notes).
The Bible Knowledge Commentary agrees saying
with Christ’s blessing to share with them" (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor).
This is a striking comment in view of the manner in which Paul’s aspirations were fulfilled (Acts 28:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16) because at the time he wrote this letter Paul was unaware that when he finally arrived in Rome, he would be in chains. Even so it was in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel. This is exhibited in the fact that Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians were all written from Rome during his first imprisonment there.
Godet - Would a forger of this epistle, in the second century, have drawn a picture of the future so opposite to the way in which things really came to pass? (Godet, F L: Commentary on Romans. Kregel. 1998)
These allusions to his future movements are positive proof that this was written before Paul was a prisoner.
Mounce observes that…
Always in the mind of the apostle was the spiritual potential of every personal contact. His sensitivity to the spiritual needs of others is everywhere evident. What for many would be merely a pleasant contact becomes for the apostle an occasion to share the blessings of Christ. (Mounce, R. H. Romans: The New American Commentary. Broadman & Holman Publishers)
MacArthur - Because he lived continually in obedience to the Lord, his life was always blessed. Obviously, that blessing did not exclude physical hardships and afflictions, as he mentions in (verse 31 and in many of his other letters. But nothing physical could rob him of the fulness of that spiritual blessing… What is often referred to as the “health and wealth gospel” was the furthest thing from Paul’s mind. His obedience to Christ cost him dearly in both of those areas. Because of his service to Christ, he suffered imprisonments, beatings, stonings, dangers from Gentiles as well as Jews, and a host of other hardships (see 2Cor 11:23, 24, 25, 26, 27). But none of those outward problems could rob him of his inner blessing. To the contrary, he wrote, “my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and… most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear… In every way,… Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice” (Php 1:12, 13, 14, 18-see notes Php 1:12-14; 18). Paul’s hardships gave him greater opportunity “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles” and to offer them as an offering to God, “acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Ro 15:16-note) and thereby receive the blessing that only such selfless service to the Lord can bring. He knew “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension”; he knew “how to get along with humble means” and “how to live in prosperity”; and God supplied all his “needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Php 4:7, 12, 19-see notes Php 4:7; 4:12; 4:19). (MacArthur, J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)