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A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans online

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18. ou yip ToXjiYJaw k.t.X. * For I will not presume to mention
any works but those in which I was myself Christ's agent for the
conversion of Gentiles.' St. Paul is giving his case for the assump-
tion of authority (^Kavxr}<ri.i). It is only his own labour or rather
works done through himself that he cares to mention. But the
value of such work is that it is not his own but Christ's working in
him, and that it is among Gentiles, and so gives him a right to
exercise authority over a Gentile Church like the Roman.

With roXfx^cro) (nACDEFGLP, Boh. Hard., etc.) cf. a Cor.
X. 12; there seems to be a touch of irony in its use here; with
KaTdpydaaTo 2 Cor. xii. 12, Rom. vii. 13, &c. ; with Aoy^ Koi tpyct,
'in speech or action,' 2 Cor. x. 11.

19. ei' Sui'dtp.ei air]|Ji,€i(i}i' k.t.X.: cf. 3 Cor. xii. 12 ra fxev atjfitia tow
ano<TToKov KartipyavPrj iv vpiv iv nacrr) viropovfj^ (TTjpfioif re koi repacrt Koi
dwafitai : Heb. ii. 4 avvfTTipapTvpovvros rov Q(ov arjptloit re Koi ripaai
Koi TToiKiXdis Bvvdfxfcri Koi Uvevfiaros Ayiov nepKr/xois Kara T^v avrov
6(\r](Tiv: 1 Cor. xii. 28.

The combination arjuua koX rtpara is that habitually used throughout the
N. T. to expiess what are popularly called miracles. Both words have the
same denotation, but different connotations, rtpas implies anything mar-
vellous or extraordinary in itself, aij/xuov represents the same event, but
viewed not as an olijectless phenomenon but as a sign or token of the agency
by which it is accomplished or the purpose it is intended to fulfil. Often
a third word Swdpm is added which implies that tliese ' works ' are the
exhibition of more than natural power. Here St. Paul varies the expres-
sion by saying that his work was accomplished in the power of signs and
wonders ; they are looked upon as a sign and external exhibition of the
Apostolic xdp'^- See Trench, Miracles \z\ ; Fri. ad loc.

There can be no doubt tliat St. Paul in this passage assumes that ho
possesses the Apostolic power of working what are ordinarily called miracles.
The evidence for the existence of miracles in the .\postolic Church is two-
fold ; on the one hand the apparently natural and unobtrusive claim made
by the Apostles on behalf of themselves or others to the power of working
miracles, on the other the definite historical narrative of the Acts of the
Apostles. The two witnesses corroborate one another. Against them it
mit^ht be argued that the standard of evidence was lax, and that the
miraculous and non-miraculous were not sufficiently distinguished. But will
the first argument hold against a personal assertion ? and does not the
narrative of the Acts make it clear that miracles in a perfectly coirect sense
of the word were definitely intended?

kv 8ufdfi€i nvcufiaTos 'Ayioo: cf. ver. 13, and on the reading here
gee below. .St. Paul's Apostolic labours are a sign of commission
because they have been accompanied by a manifestation of more


than natural gifts, and the source of his power is the Holy Spirit
with which he is filled.

This seems one of those passages in which the value of the text of B
where it is not vitiated by Western influence is conspicuous (cf. iv. i). It
reads (alone or with the support of the Latin Fathers) Trfeu/xaror without
any addition. N L P &c., Oiig.-lat. Chrys. &c., add Otov, A C D F G Boh.
Vulg. Arm., Ath. &c. read dYiov, Both were corrections of what seemed an
unfinished expression.

diro 'lepooo-aXTjji xai kukXu |iexpi tou 'iXXupiKoG. These words
have caused a considerable amount of discussion.

1. The first question is as to the meaning of kvkX«.

(i) The majority of modern commentators (Fri. Gif. Mey-W.)
interpret it to mean the country round Jerusalem, as if it were Ka\
Tov KVKka, and explain it to mean Syria or in a more confined
sense the immediate neighbourhood of the city. But it may be
pointed out that kvkXw in the instances quoted of it in this sense
(Gen. XXXV. 5 ; xli. 48) seems invariably to have the article.

(2) It may be suggested therefore that it is better to take it as
do the majority of the Greek commentators and the AV. *fiom
Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum.' So Oecumenius kvkXw

iva fjLT} TTjV Kar ddelav 686u fvdvfxr]6rjs, ciXXct Kara to. iripig and tO the

same effect Chrys. Theodrt. Theophylact. This meaning is exactly
supported by Xen. A7iab. VII. i. 14 kch norepa fita tov Upov Spovs S<ot
nopfvfadai, $ kCkKw Sia /xeVijj t^j QpqKrjs, and substantially by Mark
vi. 6.

2. It has also been debated whether the words 'as far as Illyria'
include or exclude that country. The Greek is ambiguous;
certainly it admits the exclusive use. ^e^pt BaXaaarji can be used
clearly as excluding the sea. As far as regards the facts the narra-
tive of the Acts (to. pepr] (khpo Acts XX. 2 ; cf. Tit. iii. 12) suggests
that St. Paul may have preached in Illyria, but leave it uncertain.
A perfectly tenable explanation of the words would be that if
Jerusalem were taken as one limit and the Eastern boundaries
of Illyria as the other, St. Paul had travelled over the whole of
the intervening district, and not merely confined himself to the
direct route between the two places. Jerusalem and Illyria in fact
represent the hmits.

If this be the interpretation of the passage it is less important to
fix the exact meaning of the word Illyria as used here ; but a passage
in Strabo seems to suggest the idea which was in St. Paul's mind
when he wrote. Strabo, describing the Egnatian way from the
Adriatic sea-coast, states that it passes tlirough a portion of
Illyria before it reaches Macedonia, and that the traveller along it
has the lllyrian mountains on his left hand. St. Paul would have
followed this road as far as Thessalonica, and if pointing Westward
he had asked the names of the mountain region and of the peoples


inhabiting it, he would have been told that it was * Illyria/ The
term therefore is the one which would naturally occur to him as
fitted to express the limits of his journeys to the West (Strabo viL

The word Illyria might apparently be nsed at this period in two senses,
(i) As the designa'Jon ot a Roman province it might be used for what was
otherwise called Dalmatia, the province on the Adriatic sea-coast north
of Macedonia and west of Thrace. (2) Ethnically it would mean the
country inhabited by lllyrians, a portion of which was included in the Roman
province of Macedonia. In this sense it is used in Appian, Illyiica I, 7;
Jos. Bell. lud. II. xvi, 4 ; and the passage of Strabo quoted above.

TveTrXTipuKeroi to euaYY^'^iOf too XpiaroO: cf. Col. i. 25 ^s iyevofitjv
(ya> 8idKovos Kara ttjv oIkovo^iuiv tov Qtuv rrjV dodelcrdv jUPt ets v/nar, ttXt;-

jiwaai TOV Xoyoj* roC Bfov. In both passages the meaning is to 'fulfil,'
'carry out completely,' and so in the AV. 'to fully preach.' In
what sense St. Paul could say that he had done this, see below.

20. ouTu 8e <j)i\oTifJiou(iei'oi' k.t.X. introduces a limitation of the
statement of the previous verses. Within that area there had been
places where he had not been eager to preach, since he cared only
to spread the Gospel, not to compete with others, ovra is ex-
plained by what follows. (pi\oTtfiovn(vop (i Thess. iv. 11; 2 Cor.
V. 9) means to ' strive eagerly,' having lost apparently in late Greek
its primary idea of emulation. See Field, O/z'um Norv. iii. p. 100,
who quotes Polyb. i. 83; Diod. Sic. xii. 46; xvi. 49; Plut. Vit.
Caes. liv.

«v'OfidcT0Tj : *so named as to be worshipped.* Cf. 2 Tim. ii. 19;
Isa. xxvi. 13 ; Amos vi. 10.

dXXoTpioc 0€|jLe'Xtoi'. For aWoTpiov cf, 2 Cor. X. 15, 16. St. Paul
describes his work (i Cor. iii. 10) as laying a 'foundation stone':

u)s aofpus dpxiTiKTo)!' ffepeXiov i'BrjKa' dWos 8e firoiKoSopd. ' and SO

generally the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and
prophets (Eph. ii. 20).

21. dXXd Ka9ojs yiypainai. St. Paul describes the aim of his
mission (the limitations of which he has just mentioned) in words
chosen from the O. T. The quotation v/hich follows is taken
verbally from the LXX of Isa. Iii. 15, which differs but noS es-
sentially from the Hebrew. The Prophet describes the astonish-
ment of the nations and kings at the suffering of the servant of
Jehovah. * That which hath not been told them they shall see.'
The LXX translates this ' those to whom it was not told shall see,'
and St. Paul taking these words applies them (quite in accordance
with the spirit of the original) to the extension of the knowledge
of the true Servant of Jehovah to places where his name has not
been mentioned.

Verses 19-21, or rather a portion of them {ware //•... iWd), are still
objected to by commentators (as by Lipsius) who recognize the futility ol


the objections to the chapter as a whole. In a former case (xi. 8-10) the
clumsiness of an excision siigs^ested by Lipsius was noticed and here he has
not been any happier. He omits ver. 20, but l^eeps the quotation in ver. 21,
yet this quotation is clearly suggested by the preceding- words ovx o-nuv
wvoixaaOrj Xpiaroi. It would be strange if an interpolator were to make the
sequence of thought more coherent.

The general objections to the passage seem to be—

(1) It is argued that St- Paul had never preached in Jerusalem, nor would
have been likely to mention that place as the starting-point of iiis mission ;
that these words therefore are a ' concession made to the Jewish Chris-
tians,' and hence that the chapter is a result of the same conciliation ten-
dency which produced the Acts. Most readers would probably be satisfied
with being reminded that according to the Acts St. Paul had preached in
Jerusalem (Acts ix. 28, 39). But it may be also pointed out that St. Paul
is merely using the expression geographically to define out the limits within
which he had preached the Gospel; while he elsewhere (Rom. xi. 26) speaks
of Sion as the centre from which the Gospel has gone forth.

(2) It is asserted that St. Paul had never preached in Illyricnm. There
is some inconsistency in first objecting to the language of this passage
because it agrees with that of the Acts, and then criticizing it because it
contains some statement not supported by the same book. But the re-
ference to lllyricum has been explained above. The passages of the Acts
quoted clearly leave room for St. Paul having preached in districts inhabited
by lUyrians- He would have done so if he had gone along the Egnatian
way. But the words do not necessarily mean that he had been in lUyria,
and it is quite possible to explain them in the sense that he had preached
as far as that province and no further. In no case do they contain any
statement inconsistent with the genuineness of the passage.

(31 It is objected that St. Paul could in no sense ose such a phrase as
iT(TT\r]pajKivat to fva-i-^ekiov. But by this expression he does not mean that
he had preached in every town or village, but only that every where there were
centres from which Christianity could spread. His conception of the duties
of an Apostle was that he should found churches and leave to others to
build on the foundation thus laid (i Cor. iii. 7, 10). As a matter of fact
within the limits laid down Christianity had been very widely preached.
There were churches throughout all Cilicia (Acts xv. 42), Galatia, and
Phrygia (Gal. i. 1 ; Acts xviii. 23). The three years' residence in Ephesus
implied that that city was the centre of missionary activity extending through-
out all the province of Asia (Acts xix. 10) even to places not visited by
St. Paul himself 1.C0I. ii. i). Thessalonica was early a centre of Christian
propaganda (i Thess. i. 7, 8 ; iv. lo), and later St. Paul again spent some
time there (Acts xx. 2). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians contains in
the greeting the words avv rois dyiois iraai Tofs ovaiv iv okji ttj 'Axaia,
showing that the long residence at Corinth had again produced a wide
extension of the Gospel. As far as the Adriatic coast St. Paul might well
have considered that he had fulfilled his mission of preaching the Gospel,
and the great Egnatian road he had followed would lead him straight to

(4) A difficulty is found in the words ' that I may not build on another
man's foundation.' It is said that St. Paul has just expressed his desire to
go to Rome, that in fact he expresses this desire constantly (i. 5, 13 ; xii. 3 ;
XV. 15), but that here he states that he does not wish to build on another man's
foundation ; how then it is asked could he wish to go to Rome where there
was already a church ? But there is no evidence that Christianity had been
officially or systematically preached there ^Acts xxviii. 22), and only a small
community was in existence, which had grown up chietly as composed of
settlers from other places. Moreover, St. Paul speciallj says that it is for
the sake of matual grace and encouragement that he wishes to go there; he


Implies that he does not wish to itay long, but desires to press on further
westward (ver. 34).


XV. 22-33. I have been these many times hindered from
coming to you, althongh I have long eagerly desired it. Now
I hope I may accomplish my wish in the course of a journey
to Spain. But not immediately. I must first take to Jeru-
salem the contributions sent thither by Macedonia atid
Achaia — a generous gift, and yet but a just recompense for
the spiritual blessings the Gentile Churches have received
from the Jews. When this mission is accomplished I hope
I may come to you on my way to Spain (w. 22-29).

Meantime I earnestly ask your prayers for my own
personal safety and that the gifts I bear may be received by
the CJiurch. I shall then, if God tvill, come to you with
a light heart, and be refreshed by your company. May the
God of peace make His peace to light upon you (w. 30-33).

22. 8t6 Kai. The reason why St. Paul had been so far prevented
from coming to Rome was not the fear that he might build on
another man's foundation, but the necessity of preaching Christ in
the districts through which he had been travelling ; now there was
no region untouched by his apostolic labours, no further place for
action in those districts. iviKouT6^r\v\ GaL v. 7; i Th. ii. 18;

1 Pet. iii. 7.

Td TToXXd, * these many times,' i. e. all the times when I thought
of doing so, or had an opportunity, as in the RV. ; not, as most
commentators, 'for the most part* (Vulg. plerumque). ttoWukis,
which is read by Lips, with B D E F G, is another instance of
Western influence in B.

23. vun 8e }i,t]k^ti t(5itoi' ?x'^*'» 'seeing that I have no longer
opportunity for work in these regions.' ronou, as in xii. 19, q.v. ;
Eph.iv. 27 ; Heb. xii. 17, 'opportunity,' 'scope for action.' KXl^iacn,
' tracts ' or ' regions ' (2 Cor. xi. 10 ; Gal. i. 21 ; often in Polybius).

cirnroSiaK does not occur elsewhere; but innrodf'iv (Rom. i. 11;

2 Cor. V. a; ix. 14; Phil. i. 8; ii. 26; i Th. iii. 6 ; 2 Tim. i. 4;
James iv. 5; i Pet. ii. 2) and tmnodijais (2 Cor. vii. 7, 11) are not
uncommon. On its signification, *a longing desire,* see on i. 11.

iKavCiv: a very favourite word in the Acts of the Apostles (ix. 23;
xviii. 18, &c ). 'It is likely enough that St. Paul's special interest
in the Christian community at Rome, though hardly perhaps his

XV. 23, 24.] THE apostle's PLANS 41 1

knowledge of it, dates from his acquaintance with Aquila and
Priscilla at Corinth. This was somewhere about six years before
the writing of the Epistle to the Romans, and that interval would
perhaps suffice to justify his language about having desired to visit
them OTTO 'iKavav fToiv (a rather vague phrase, but not so strong as
the dno TToWcov erav, which was easily substituted for it)' Hort,
JRom. and Eph. p. 11.

For ennroOiav Si (xo)v Western anthoritiea (D F G) read €x<w, »n attempt
to correct the grammar of the sentence. iKavuiv, read by B C 37. 59. 71,
' Jo.-Damasc., is probably right for voWwv, which is supported by all o^her
authorities and is read by R.V.

24. In this verse the words eX<v<ro/xnt irpbs ifias, which are inserted

by the TR. after Inaviav, must be omitted on conclusive manuscript
evidence, while- ydp must as certainly be inserted after (\niC(o.
These changes make the sentence an anacolouthon, almost exactly
resembling that in v. 12 ff., and arising from very much the same
causes. St. Paul does not finish the sentence because he feels that
he must explain what is the connexion between his visit to Spain
and his desire to visit Rome, so he begins the parenthesis eXnifw ydp.
Then he feels he must explain the reason why he does not start at
once ; he mentions his contemplated visit to Jerusalem and the
purpose of it. This leads him so far away from the original
sentence that he is not able to complete it; but in ver. 28 he
resumes the main argument, and gives what is the logical, but not
the grammatical, apodosis (cf. v. 18).

ws &y iropeu'w(iai. The as av is temporal : cf. Phil. ii. 23 ; i Cor.
xi. 34: on this latter passage Evans, in Speakers Conim. p. 328,
writes: 'When I come: X2.\\\tx accordijig as I covie: \}ci&'^xthtwcQQ){
the av points to uncertainty of the time and of the event : for this

use COmp. Aesch. Elim. 33 pavremnai yap cor av ijyi^jTai. 6f6s.

TrpoTr€fX(|)0T]i'ai: I Cor. xvi. 6, ii ; 2 Cor. i. 16; need not mean
more than to be sent forward on a journey with prayers and good
wishes. The best commentary on this verse is ch. i. 1 1 ff.

Lipsius again strikes out vv. 23, 24 and below in ver. 28 Si* iijuo)!/
els rTjf 'S.TTaviav — a most arbitrary and unnecessary proceeding.
The construction of the passage has been explained above and is
quite in accordance with St. Paul's style, and the desire to pass
further west and visit Spain is not in any way inconsistent with
the desire to visit Rome. The existence of a community there
did not at all preclude him from visiting the city, or from
preaching in it ; but it would make it less necessary for him to
remain long. On the other hand, the principal argument against
the genuineness of the passage, that St. Paul never did visit Spain
(on which see below ver. 28), is most inconclusive ; a forger would
never have interpolated a passage in order to suggest a visit to
Spain which had never taken place. But all such criticism laila


absolutely to realize the width and boldness of St. Paul's schemes.
He must carry the message of the Gospel ever further. Nothing
will stop him but the end of his own life or the barrier of the

25. St. Paul now mentions a further reason which will cause
some delay in his visit to Rome, and his missionary journey to

SiaKOfCJi' TOis dyiois : cf. 9 Cor. viii. 4 t^v KOivcavlav Tijs StoKowas
T^y (Is Tovs iyiovi. The expression ' ministering to the saints ' has
become almost a technical expression in St. Paul for the contribu-
tions made by the Gentile Christians to the Church at Jerusalem.

26. euSoKtjCTai' implies that the contribution was voluntary, and
made with heartiness and good-will : see on Rom. x. i {fvdoKia) ;
I Cor. i. 21 ; Gal. i. 15.

Koiviavlav : of a collection or contribution a Cor. viii. 4; ix. 13
AirKonjTi t^s koivcovIus els airovs Koi tls itdvras and Koivuvfiv Rom.
xii. 13 Tats p^pei'aty twv Aylcov KOivccvovvTes.

irrwxous '. cf. Gal. ii. 10 fiovov rav iTTa>xS>v Iva fivqixovevayttv. On
the poor Christians at Jerusalem see James ii. 2 ff. ; Renan, Hist,
des Origtnes, &c. vol. iv. ch. 3. In Jerusalem the Sadducees, who
were the wealthy aristocracy, were the determined opponents of
Christianity, and there must have been in the city a very large
class of poor who were dependent on the casual employment and
spasmodic alms which are a characteristic of a great religious
centre. The existence of this class is clearly implied in the
narrative at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. There
was from the very first a considerable body of poor dependent on
the Church, and hence the organization of the Christian community
with its lists (i Tim. v. 19) and common Church fund {anh tow
Kowov Ign. Ad Polyc. iv. 3) and officers for distributing alms (Acts
vi. 1-4) must have sprung up very early.

27. €u8(5Kir](rai' k.t.X. St. Paul emphasizes the good-will with
which this contribution was made by repeating the word evSoKTia-au ;
he then points out that in another sense it was only the repayment
of a debt. The Churches of the Gentiles owed all the spiritual
blessings they enjoyed to that of Jerusalem, ' from wliom is Christ
according to the flesh,' and they could only repay the debt by
ministering in temporal things.

iTfeuitaTiKois . . . (rapKiKois. Both are characteristically Pauline

words. I Cor. ix. 1 1 «i ^/i«s ifuv ra iTvevfJiaTtKa fanelpafiev, /teya el

^fuis vfiay ra aapKiKa deplaofifv ; aapKiKols is used without any bad

JKoivcdvtjo-av. The word Kotvcovew, of which the meaning is of course ' to
be a sharer or participator in,' may be used either of the giver or of the
receiver. The giver shaies with the receiver by giving contributions, so Rom.
xii. 13 (quoted on ver. 26) ; the receiver with the giver by receiving contri-
butionSf BO here. The noimal construction in the N. T. is as here with the

XV. 27, 28.] THE APOSTLE'S PLANS 415

dative : once (Heb. ii. 14) it is used with the genitive and thb constrnction Is
common in the O. T. (Lft on Gal. vi. 6).

The contributions for the poor in Jerusalem are mentioned in
Rom, XV. 26, 27 ; i Cor, xvi. 1-3 ; 2 Cor. ix. i ff ; Acts xxiv. 17, and
form the subject of the ablest and most convincing section in
Paley's Horae PauUnae. Without being in any way indebted to
one another, and each contributing some new element, all the
different accounts fit and dovetail into one another, and thus imply
that they are all historical. ' For the singular evidence which this
passage affords of the genuineness of the Epistle, and what is more
important, as it has been impugned, of this chapter in particular,
see Paley's Horae Paulinae, chap. ii. No. i.* Jovvett, ad loc, and
for some further reff. see Introd. § 4.

28. eTTixeXeo-as . . . u^pa.->fi(j6i\Livo<i. St. Paul resumes his argu-
ment and states his plans after the digression he has just made
on what lies in the immediate future. With tmrtXiaas (a Pauline
word), cf. Phil. i. 6; it was used especially of the fulfilment of
religious rites (Heb. ix. 6 and in classical authors), and coupled
with XdTovpyrjvai above, suggests that St. Paul looks upon these
contributions of the Gentile communities as a solemn religious
offering and part of their fvxapicrria for the benefits received.

<r(|>paYi(rd)x€i'osj ' having set the seal of authentication on.' The
seal was used as an official mark of ownership : hence especially
the expression 'the seal of baptism' (2 Cor. i. 32; Eph. i. 13;
see on iv. 11). Here the Apostle implies that by taking the con-
tributions to Jerusalem, and presenting them to the Church, he puts
the mark on them (as a steward would do), showing that they are
the fruit to the Church of Jerusalem of those spiritual blessings
{irvti'iiaTiKd) which through him had gone forth to the Gentile

els TTii' Iirai'iai'. It has been shown above that it is highly prob-
able that St. Paul should have desired to visit Spain, and that therefore
nothing in these verses throws any doubt on the authenticity of the
chapter as a whole or of any portions of it. A further question
arises. Was the journey ever carried out? Some fresh light is
perhaps thrown on the question by Professor Ramsay's book T^
Church and the Empire. If bis arguments are sound, there is
no reason to suppose that if St. Paul was martyred at Rome
(as tradition seems to suggest) he must necessarily have suffered
in what is ordinarily called the Neronian persecution. He might
have been beheaded either in the later years of Nero's reign or
even under Vespasian. So that, if we are at liberty to believe
that he survived his first imprisonment, there is no need to compress,
as has been customary, the later years of his missionary activity.

It is on these assumptions easier to find room for the Spanish
journey. Have we evidence for it ? Dismissing later writers who


seem to have had no independent evidence, our authorities are
reduced to two, the Muratorian Fragment on the Canon, and
Clement of Rome. We cannot lay much stress on the former ; it
is possible perhaps that the writer had independent knowledge, but

Online LibraryW. (William) SandayA critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans → online text (page 64 of 71)