About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Chapter 15:14 - 22
The Minister To The Gentiles
(ch.15:14 – 22)
14 begins with the words "I myself".
The word "myself" really doesn't have to be in this
sentence but Paul puts it there, most likely to emphasize the point he is
about to make.
He is about to say that he is convinced that the Roman Christians
are competent to instruct one another.
When speaking of the Roman Christians he uses the same emphasis
that he used for himself.
He says, "You yourselves" are competent.
He is stressing the point that these people were well capable of
instructing one another the things they needed to know.
Paul says this even though, for one reason or another, he had to
instruct them on some very basic issues, which by the way, I feel is
lacking in our modern church.
clarifying statement needs to be made about the word "instruct"
Greek word translated as "instruct" in English is "noutheteo".
This word suggests more of an admonition than a teaching session.
It most likely involves some kind of teaching, but the primary
motive is to admonish one another to stay on the right track.
Therefore, Paul might well not have teaching on the truths of
Scripture in mind.
Some translations translate "noutheteo" as counsel, and
that is probably a better translation than the English word
shows you the importance of horizontal relationships in the Body of
don't believe Paul is saying the Roman church leaders weren't capable of
believe he was saying that the ordinary Christian was capable of
instructing other ordinary Christians.
This is the way it should be in the Body of Christ but often isn't
this way. We,
more often than not, emphasize leadership's ability to teach when in fact
leadership should be training their people to teach.
I once had a pastor friend tell me that his job was to teach his
way out of his job of pastoring, meaning, he should train the people
sufficiently that they did not need him any longer.
They then could go forth and train others as they themselves were
modern church keeps its people down by not training them sufficiently
enough to train others.
This keeps the attention on the local pastor, which should not be
tells these people that they are full of goodness.
Is he simply saying this to build them up or does he really mean
know of some who will say positive things about you or someone else.
They don't really believe what they are saying.
They only say them to make you feel good or to boost self
confidence in you.
I don't think Paul was that kind of person.
He appears to me to be a pretty straight forward man.
He says what he believes and he believes what he says.
These Roman Christians did have a good measure of goodness in their
lives and they were indeed competent to instruct others.
verses 15 Paul says that he has spoken to these Roman believers quite
think that backs up my. Paul speaks in a straight forward fashion.
He says what he believes and he believes what he says.
says that these people have knowledge.
He is either talking about Scriptural knowledge or knowledge in
general. From the commentaries
which I've read it seems the general consensus is knowledge in general.
Those living in
verses 15 and 16 as Paul begins to end his letter to the Romans.
He re-asserts his ministry to the Gentiles.
His motivation and inward drive was to preach the gospel to the
Gentiles "so that they might become an offering acceptable to
is bringing back a memory from the Old Testament by using the word
"offering", yet the offering to God is not a lamb.
The offering is a great nation of people consisting of Gentile
Romans 12:1 so clearly states; the New Testament offering is a living
person, not a dead animal.
We also see the word "priestly" in verse 16, another Old Testament word. This tells us the "priestly" nature of those who are committed and called to preach the gospel of Jesus, which in one sense of the word is all of us. We all represent Jesus to those we are preaching to. On the other hand, some might suggest that the apostle is a priest by what Paul says here, and I can understand that. In one sense of the word we are all priests, but in another sense of the word the apostolic calling is a ministry until itself. When I say that, I am not suggesting that Paul's apostolic calling that he equates to be priestly is anything like the Catholic idea of the priesthood.
in verse 16 Paul speaks of the "grace" God has given to him to
be a minister of Christ.
The most common definition of the word "grace" is God's
divine unmerited favour.
If this is the definition that we should apply to this verse then
Paul is saying that God's demonstration of unmerited favour has given him
the ability to be a minister of Christ.
I personally don't see that definition fitting here.
is another definition of the word "grace" that I believe we see
in the New Testament that is determined by the context in which it is
believe that definition fits here.
Grace is also God's divine ability given to us to accomplish His
will in our lives. Paul was given grace, that is, God's divine ability to
be a minister of Christ.
Without God's divine ability one cannot be a true minister of
may hold an office of a minister but he is not one in the true New
Testament sense. It is thus clear to me that many men and women today who
hold the office of minister has never been called by God to be a minister.
word "minister" that the NIV uses is translated from the Greek
It was used in common Greek to express a public servant.
A minister in New Testament terms is first and foremost a servant.
In verse 16 Paul speaks of the Gentiles being "an offering to God". Again, the word "offering" comes from Paul's Jewish heritage. Instead of people giving offerings to God, Paul is now saying that people themselves, and here Gentile people, are the offerings. To suggest that Gentiles can offering themselves to God was a tough things for Jewish believers to get their heads around. This should remind us of Romans 12:1 where Paul says that we as people are to offer all of who we are to God as an offering. We tend to offer God lots of things, money included, but, first and foremost we should offer ourselves as an offering.
verse 17 Paul speaks of his service to God.
In his service, he says that he glories in Christ Jesus.
This simply means that He will speak of, up lift, and promote Jesus
to everyone he comes in contact with.
He feels that is his calling from God, a service he must perform.
Again, the word service speaks of being a servant, and we certainly
know that Paul viewed himself as a servant, or a slave of God.
If Paul had any success in his calling, and he certainly did, he
would not take the glory or credit.
It all belonged to Jesus.
verse 18 Paul states that he will not speak of anything else, other than
what God has done through him.
He could speak about all sorts of things if he wanted.
Paul was quite educated.
He could most likely out debate anyone.
He used to be a prominent Pharisee, but all that he counted as
he spoke only of Jesus and how Jesus used him to bring the gospel to the
on many occasions had to defend himself before his fellow Jews for
bringing the gospel to the Gentiles.
The biggest problem the early church had was the gospel being
presented to the Gentiles. Many
Jews wanted Gentile believers to become Jews in order to become
said that was not the gospel of Christ.
Paul would never think of promoting his own accomplishments.
Too bad preachers wouldn't fall in Paul's footsteps in this respect
verse 19 we see that Paul was used by the Lord by performing miracles and
This was one mark of a real apostle.
Jesus told the twelve in the last few verses of Mark that they
would preach the good news, and that He would work through them by
performing miracles that would be signs to encourage people to believe.
The miracles that Jesus performed were signs that God the Father
had sent Him.
The miracles Jesus' followers performed were also signs to prove
that Jesus had sent them.
Paul was truly sent by Jesus.
The miracles he performed prove that.
verse 20 we see the heart of Paul.
He wanted to preach the gospel where no other man had preached.
He wanted to get the message out to those who had never heard.
This shows us the necessity of preaching the gospel to those who
know it not. Paul
did not want to build on another man's work.
He did not want to go into a city and preach where someone else had
already preached and begin a work of God where a work of God had already
did not want to bring confusion to anyone by speaking where another man
had already preached. This is
not the case in today's ecclesiastical world.
Christians are constantly building church communities where church
communities already exist, and, what they are building are seldom any
different that then the existing church communities
verse 21 Paul quotes from Isaiah 52:15 in his defense.
Isaiah speaks of those who had never seen, will see, and those who
had never heard, will hear.
Paul believes that he is fulfilling Old Testament prophecy by
preaching the gospel to the Gentile world, and so he was.
verse 22 Paul closes this section by saying that "this is why I have
often been hindered in coming to you."
Paul wanted to preach the gospel so bad to those who had never
heard that he laid aside his own desires, as strong as they were.
He really wanted to visit the Roman believers in Christ, but he was often
hindered from doing so.
If you read the book of Acts you will note that on a few stated
times Paul was told to change the direction of his travel's by the Holy
Paul says "this is why I have been hindered from coming to you"
it is in context with the quote from Isaiah.