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Romans 15:1-13

Updated: May 6, 2022

How should those with strong faith treat those who have weak faith

One new family in God

In the first thirteen verses of this chapter Paul summarises what he has being saying about the attitude and practices of the believers with strong faith ought to be towards those whose faith is weaker. Paul then goes on to encourage the whole congregation whether of weak or strong faith to follow Jesus Christ’s self-sacrificing agape love towards the interests and faith of other believers.

15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 We should all please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” [a] 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Paul exhorts those with the stronger faith to be ‘other centred’ by not only tolerating those with the weaker faith but to go a step further and actually support the weaker brother and be willing to share their burden. The French have a saying ‘noblesse obligewhich means that those of high rank and privilege ought to behave well at all times as befits their high rank and so should the brothers and sisters with stronger faith. We must love our neighbour as ourselves and always keep one eye on his welfare. This is exactly the example of humility that our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated when He obeyed His Father and had one eye on those who would later believe on Him (his much weaker brothers). Paul then quotes from Psalm 69:9 that if Christ was willing to suffer the violence and insults upon the very character of God then how much more should we be willing to accept the comparatively small matter of putting a brother’s interests ahead of our personal liberty.

God gave the holy scriptures to teach how to think and behave in day-to-day practical terms. As we imbibe the holy scriptures we will be progressively encouraged, our faith will grow and there will develop a growing certainty in our hearts that all the promises of God will surely come to pass.

15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul bursts into prayer asking that the Lord (who continually endues each believer with the grace to be persevering and also to be encouraged) grant unto each believer in unity with each other, the ability to glorify the Father and the Son. Paul himself was no stranger to sufferings and tests of faith but he always knew to Whom he should turn to for strength and encouragement.

7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

In the same way that Christ after giving His life for each one of us as sinners so should we be willing to accept all those who Christ has already accepted. Such acceptance brings praise to God.

8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews [b] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.

As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”[c]

10 Again, it says,

“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”[d]

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”[e]

12 And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” [f]

God’s promise of salvation through faith was not only to His covenant people Israel but many scriptures foretold that the Messiah would also come for the Gentiles. The believing Jews and Gentiles become one new family in God.

Paul proves his point by quoting four scriptures {see below 3-6] give evidence to show that God had always planned and purposed to save the elect Gentiles as well as the His covenant people Israel. In the above fourth scripture Isaiah partially identifies the then future Messiah as a descendant of Jesse the father of King David. This descendant of David will cause the Gentiles to place their hope of salvation in Him.

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul bursts into prayer again asking that God who as the source of all our hope will graciously fill us again with the fruit of His Holy Spirit as we continue to trust in Jesus Christ to the extent that our hearts will overflow with God-given confidence in all God’s wonderful promises.

Footnotes {a}-[f] = 1-6

  1. Romans 15:3 Psalm 69:9

  2. Romans 15:8 Greek circumcision

  3. Romans 15:9 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49

  4. Romans 15:10 Deut. 32:43

  5. Romans 15:11 Psalm 117:1

  6. Romans 15:12 Isaiah 11:10 (see Septuagint)

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