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This epistle was writ from Corinth, the year of our Lord, according to the common account, 57, the third year of Nero, a little after the second epistle to the corinthians.
CHAP. I. 1—15,
With his profession of a desire to see them,
1 PAUL, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2 (Which he had promised afore, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures)
3 Concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, (which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh;
4 Aud declared to be the son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
1 PAUL, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the preaching of the gospel of God 2 (Which he had heretofore promised, by his prophets, in 3 the holy scriptures) Concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, (who according to the flesh, i. e. as to the body, which he took in the womb of the blessed virgin, his mo4 ther, was of the posterity and lineage of David; Accord
1 "Called." The manner of his being called, see Acts ix. 1-22. Separated, vid. Acts xiii. 2.
3Of David," and so would have been registered of the house and I neage of David, as both his mother and reputed father were, if there had been another sax in his days. Vid, Luke ii. 4, Matt. xiii. 55.
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name;
6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.)
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all, that your faith is spoken of, throughout the whole world.
ing to the spirit of holiness, i. e. as to that more pure and spiritual part, which in him over-ruled all, and kept even his frail flesh holy and spotless from the least taint of sin, and was of another extraction, with most mighty power' declared to be the son of God, by his resurrection from 5 the dead; By whom I have received favour, and the office of an apostle, for the bringing of the gentiles, every where, to the obedience of faith, which I preach in his 6 name; Of which number", i. e. gentiles, that I am sent to preach to, are ye who are already called', and become 7 christians.) To all the beloved of God', and called to be saints, who are in Rome, favour and peace be to you 8 from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. In
4 d " According to the spirit of holiness," is here manifestly opposed to, "according to the flesh," in the foregoing verse, and so must mean that more pure and spiritual part in him, which, by divine extraction, he had immediately from God: unless this be so understood, the antithesis is lost.
See paraphrase, chap. viii. 3.
Ev vάus, with power: he that will read in the original what St. Paul says, Eph. i 19, 20, of the power, which God exerted, in raising Christ from the dead, will hardly avoid thinking that he there sees St. Paul labouring for words to express the greatness of it.
g" Declared" does not exactly answer the word in the original, nor is it, perhaps, easy to find a word in English, that perfectly answers op be, in the sense the apostle uses it here; op signifies properly to bound, terminate, or circumscribe; by which termination the figure of things sensible is made, and they are known to be of this, or that race, and are distinguished from others. Thus St. Paul takes Christ's resurrection from the dead, and his entering into immortality, to be the most eminent and characteristical mark, whereby Christ is certainly known, and as it were determined to be the Son of God.
6 To take the thread of St. Paul's words here right, all from the word Lord, in the middle of ver. 3, to the beginning of this 7th, must be read as a ⚫ parenthesis.
6 and 7 i "Called of Jesus Christ; called to be saints; beloved of God;" are but different expressions for professors of christianity.
9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit, in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
10 Making request (if by any means, now at length, I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God) to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established;
12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me.
the first place, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the 9 whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with the whole bent of my mind, in preaching the gospel of his son, that without ceasing I constantly make 10 mention of you in my prayers. Requesting (if it be
God's will, that I may now at length, if possible, have 11 a good opportunity) to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may communicate to you some spiri12 tual gift, for your establishment' in the faith; That is", that, when I am among you, I may be comforted
11 Spiritual gift." If any one desire to know more particularly the spiritual gifts, he may read 1 Cor. xii.
1 "Establishment " The jews, were the worshippers of the true God, and had been, for many ages, his people; this could not be denied by the christians. Whereupon they were very apt to persuade the convert gentile, that the Messias was promised, and sent, to the jewish nation alone, and that the gentiles could claim, or have no benefit by him; or, if they were to receive any benefit by the Messias, they were yet bound to observe the law of Moses, which was the way of worship, which God had prescribed to his people. This, in several places, very much shook the gentile converts. St. Paul makes it (as we have already observed,) his business, in this epistle, to prove, that the Messias was intended for the gentiles, as much as for the jews, and that, to make any one partaker of the benefits and privileges of the gospel, there was nothing more required, but to believe and obey it: and accordingly, here in the entrance of the epistle, he wishes to come to Rome, that, by imparting some miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost to them, they might be established in the true notion of christianity, against all attempts of the jew, who would either exclude them from the privileges of it, or bring them under the law of Moses. So, where St. Paul expresses his care, that the colossians should be established in the faith, Col. ii. 7, it is visible, by the context, that what he opposed was judaism.
12 That is." St. Paul, in the former verse, had said that he desired to come amongst them, to establish them; in these words, "that is," he explains,
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (but was let hitherto) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to the greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise.
15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
together with you, both with your faith and my own. 13 This I think fit you should know, brethren, that I often purposed to come unto you, that I may have some fruit of my ministry, among you also, even as among other 14 gentiles. I owe, what service I can do, to the gentiles of all kinds, whether greeks or barbarians, to both the more knowing and civilized, and the uncultivated and 15 ignorant: So that, as much as in me lies, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also, who are at Rome.
or, as it were, recals what he had said, that he might not seem to think them not sufficiently instructed, or established in the faith, and therefore turns the end of his coming to them, to their mutual rejoicing in one another's faith, when he and they came to see and know one another.
CHAP. I. 16.-II. 29.
ST. Paul, in this section, shows, that the jews excludes themselves from being the people of God, under the gospel, by the same reason that they would have the gentiles excluded.
It cannot be sufficiently admired how skilfully, to avoid offending those of his own nation, St. Paul here enters into an argument, so unpleasing to the jews, as this of per
suading them, that the gentiles had as good a title to be taken in, to be the people of God, under the Messias, as they themselves, which is the main design of this epistle.
In this latter part of the first chapter, he gives a description of the gentile world in very black colours, but very adroitly interweaves such an apology for them, in respect of the jews, as was sufficient to beat that assuming nation out of all their pretences to a right to continue to be alone the people of God, with an exclusion of the gentiles. This may be seen, if one carefully attends to the particulars, that he mentions, relating to the jews and gentiles; and observes how, what he says of the jews, in the second chapter, answers to what he had charged on the gentiles, in the first. For there is a secret comparison of them, one with another, runs through these two chapters, which, as soon as it comes to be minded, gives such a light and lustre to St. Paul's discourse, that one cannot but admire the skilful turn of it: and look on it as the most soft, the most beautful, and most pressing argumentation, that one shall any where meet with, altogether since it leaves the jews nothing to say for themselves, why they should have the privilege continued to them, under the gospel, of being alone the people of God. All the things they stood upon, and boasted in, giving them no preference, in this respect, to the gentiles; nor any ground to judge them to be incapable, or unworthy to be their fellow-subjects, in the kingdom of the Messias. This is what he says, speaking of them nationally. But as to every one's personal concerns in a future state, he assures them, both jews and gentiles, that the unrighteous of both nations, whether admitted, or not, into the visible communion of the people of God, are liable to condemnation. Those, who have sinned without law, shall perish without law; and those, who have sinned in the law, shall be judged, i.e. condemned by the law.
Perhaps some readers will not think it superfluous, if I give a short draught of St. Paul's management of himself here for allaying the sourness of the jews, against the gentiles, and their offence at the gospel, for allowing any of them place among the people of God, under the Messias.
After he had declared that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to those who believe; to the jew first, and