1. But we who are stronger, ought to bear with the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2. Let each of you please his neighbour for good, to edification.
3. For Christ also pleased not himself, but as it is written: The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
4. For whatever was written, was written for our instruction: that through patience and consolation of the Scriptures, we may have hope.
Chapter 15. In this chapter the Apostle expresses his earnest desire for peace and unity among the Christians of Rome; and assures them of his intention to visit them at the earliest opportunity.
1. We who are stronger. In knowledge, or in faith, or in Christian virtue. There is perhaps some delicate irony in this expression. We who think ourselves stronger, if we are so, ought to bear with, or help to bear, the infirmities of the weaker, as a stronger wayfarer will carry the burden of a weaker, as the columns support the weight of the building which is imposed upon them. At the same time it is to be remembered that he has given a decided opinion on the question at issue, in a sense adverse to the Judaizers. We are not to please ourselves by reflecting on our own superiority in excellence. Or perhaps we are not to use the knowledge we possess for our own satisfaction only, but freely communicate it for the benefit of others.
2. Let each of you please his neighbour. The Greek text has each of us. Let each endeavour to give pleasure to others, in that which is good and tends to edification. The first and most necessary condition of all human society is that every person should endeavour to render his presence agreeable to others, as far as is in his power. This is understood even by barbarians and savages, and the law of natural kindness should not be left out of sight by Christian people. But onl}’ covetousness and selfish love of the world prompts to complaisance in evil. For the Christian, the effort should be only in what is good, principally in what tends to edification,
3. Christ, our pattern and example, never cared for his own way, his own convenience, or his own repose, but was unwearied in exertion for others. Sins committed against God afflicted him as much as if intentionally directed against himself, from his zeal for God’s glory: yet he endured and bore with them to atone for them and take them away through his charity towards man. These are his own words spoken in prophecy in Ps 68:10.
4. The things that were written, the Greek, written before. Syriac: written of old time. The Scriptures of the Old Testament are not, like ordinary writings, a mere record of occurrences of ancient days, of thoughts and aspirations which passed through the minds of poets and gifted men of former times. They have a truth which is eternal, and applicable in all ages. They were written for our instruction. To urge us to patience, by the example of Christ and the Saints, and the considerat on of the motives which animated them in the endurance of suffering; and for our consolation, by bringing constantly and powerfully before us the hope of eternal life. Patience, consolation, hope, are the fruits of the study of the sacred Scriptures.
5. But the God of patience and consolation grant you to agree with one another according to Jesus Christ.
6. That with one mind and one mouth you may honour the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7. Wherefore bear with one another, as Christ also bore with you, to the honour of God.
God, the author of this peace, this consolation, and this hope, grant you to be united in sentiment and opinion, to think alike, study, and love the same things, that there may be among you no diversity of opinions and alienation of affection. That united in one faith, and one confession of that faith, Jews and Greeks may join in honouring God, in acknowledgment of the truth of what he has wrought. The God whom the Jews have always adored, and the Father of Jesus Christ our Lord.
7. Bear with one another. The Greek, receive one another, as Christ has received you. Christ has received you into his holy Church. Receive one another into your confidence, your hearts, your homes. The controversy at Rome had possibly led to some estrangement. The Syriac has: take up and carry one another. The strong, the weak; the learned, the ignorant; the Gentile, the Jew; and the Jew, the Gentile.
8. For I say that Christ Jesus has been a minister of the circumcision on account of the truth of God, to confirm the promises of the Fathers.
9. And that the nations honour God for mercy, as it is written: Therefore I will confess to thee in the nations. Lord, and sing to thy name.
10. And again he says: Rejoice, nations, with his people.
11. And again; Praise the Lord, all nations; and magnify him, all peoples.
12. And again Isaias says: There shall be a root of Jesse, and who shall rise to rule the nations, in him shall the nations hope.
13. And the God of hope fill yon with all joy and peace
in believing: that you may abound in hope and the virtue of the Holy Ghost.
8. For I say, I have just said that Christ has received all, Jews and Greeks, for the honour of God. Jesus Christ was a teacher and evangelist to the Jewish people, assuring them of God’s truth, and of the fulfilment of all the promises made in ancient times to Abraham and the patriarchs. To the Gentiles he announced the free and spontaneous mercy of God (9a), who was not pledged even by his word and promise, as to the Jews. Although to the Gentiles also the extension of this mercy was signified by the ancient Prophets (9b-12), in terms, the force of which the Jews, who were familiar with their writings, could scarcely mistake, for instance in Ps 17:50, Deut 32:43, Ps 116:1, Is 11:1, 10. In him shall the nations hope, or to him shall the nations pray. All these are reasons for concord and cordial association, inasmuch as both Jews and Gentiles have one God, one Saviour, and one hope. He is the God of hope, verse 4, as well as of patience and consolation. And I pray the God of hope to fill you with joy in the glory of this hope, and peace and tranquility in the conviction of its solidity and certainty, arising from the nature of the faith you have embraced.
13. That you may abound in hope, and in the virtue of the Holy Ghost. The Greek has, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Syriac, through the power. The virtue of the Holy Spirit is the power he exercises through faith. Others understand it to mean charity, the special virtue, or grace, conferred by the Holy Spirit. If so, the Apostle has been commending all the three Evangelical virtues to them in this passage.