Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Romans
Book: Romans
Chapter: 15

Directions how to behave towards the weak. (1-7) All to
receive one another as brethren. (8-13) The Writing and
preaching of the Apostle. (14-21) His purposed journeys. (22-29)
He requests their prayers. (30-33)

1-7 Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but
for the Glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our
neighbour, for the good of his soul; not By serving his wicked
will, and humouring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to
please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ's whole
Life was a self-denying, self-displeasing Life. And he is the
most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ.
Considering his spotless purity and Holiness, nothing could be
more contrary to him, than to be made Sin and a Curse for us,
and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for
the unjust. He bore the guilt of Sin, and the Curse for it; we
are only called to Bear a little of the trouble of it. He bore
the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to Bear
the failings of the weak. And should not we be humble,
self-denying, and ready to consider one another, who are members
one of another? The Scriptures are written for our use and
benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given.
Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures.
That comfort which springs from the Word of God, is the surest
and sweetest, and the greatest stay to Hope. The Spirit as a
Comforter, is the Earnest of our inheritance. This
like-mindedness must be according to the precept of Christ,
according to his pattern and Example. It is the Gift of God; and
a precious Gift it is, for which we must earnestly seek unto
him. Our Divine Master invites his disciples, and encourages
them By showing himself as meek and lowly in Spirit. The same
disposition ought to Mark the conduct of his servants,
especially of the strong towards the weak. The great End in all
our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more
forwards this, than the mutual Love and kindness of those who
profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may Well agree
among themselves.

8-13 Christ fulfilled the prophecies and promises relating to
the Jews, and the Gentile converts could have No excuse for
despising them. The Gentiles, being brought into the Church, are
companions in patience and Tribulation. They should praise God.
Calling upon all the nations to praise the Lord, shows that they
shall have knowledge of him. We shall never seek to Christ till
we trust in him. And the whole plan of Redemption is suited to
reconcile us to one another, as Well as to our gracious God, So
that an abiding Hope of eternal Life, through the sanctifying
and comforting power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our
own power will never reach this; therefore where this Hope is,
and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the Glory.
"All joy and peace;" all sorts of true joy and peace, So as to
suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the
Holy Spirit.

14-21 The Apostle was persuaded that the Roman Christians were
filled with a kind and affectionate Spirit, as Well as with
knowledge. He had written to remind them of their duties and
their dangers, because God had appointed him the Minister of
Christ to the Gentiles. Paul preached to them; but what made
them sacrifices to God, was, their Sanctification; not his work,
but the work of the Holy Ghost: unholy things can never be
pleasing to the holy God. The Conversion of souls pertains unto
God; therefore it is the matter of Paul's glorying, not the
things of the Flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not
make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God
accompanied his labours. He principally sought the good of those
that sat in Darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does
it By us.

22-29 The Apostle sought the things of Christ more than his own
will, and would not leave his work of planting churches to go to
Rome. It concerns all to do that first which is most needful. We
must not take it ill if our friends prefer work which is
pleasing to God, before visits and compliments, which may please
us. It is justly expected from all Christians, that they should
promote every good work, especially that blessed work, the
Conversion of souls. Christian society is a Heaven upon Earth,
an Earnest of our gathering together unto Christ at the great
Day. Yet it is but partial, compared with our Communion with
Christ; for that only will satisfy the soul. The Apostle was
going to Jerusalem, as the Messenger of Charity. God loves a
cheerful giver. Every thing that passes between Christians
should be a proof and instance of the union they have in Jesus
Christ. The Gentiles received the Gospel of Salvation from the
Jews; therefore were bound to Minister to them in what was
needed for the body. Concerning what he expected from them he
speaks doubtfully; but concerning what he expected from God he
speaks confidently. We cannot expect too little from Man, nor
too much from God. And how delightful and advantageous it is to
have the Gospel with the Fulness of its blessings! What
wonderful and happy effects does it produce, when attended with
the power of the Spirit!

30-33 Let us learn to value the effectual fervent prayers of
the righteous. How careful should we be, lest we forfeit our
interest in the Love and prayers of God's praying people! If we
have experienced the Spirit's Love, let us not be wanting in
this office of kindness for others. Those that would prevail in
Prayer, must strive in Prayer. Those who Beg the prayers of
others, must not neglect to pray for themselves. And though
Christ knows our state and wants perfectly, he will know them
from us. As God must be sought, for restraining the ill-will of
our enemies, So also for preserving and increasing the good-will
of our friends. All our joy depends upon the will of God. Let us
be Earnest in Prayer with and for each other, that for Christ's
sake, and By the Love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may
come upon the souls of Christians, and the labours of ministers.