Send the Light
Explore the Bible Series
Background Passage: Romans 15:14-33
Lesson Passage: Romans 15:14-20; 22-25; 28-32
Introduction: Having completed the substance of his apostolic message to the Romans, the Apostle Paul concluded this epistle with a warm personal message (Romans ). Paul never drew an artificial distinction between doctrinal precision and warm pastoral concern for others: indeed, his deep love for these believers gave him greater liberty in proclaiming the gospel with bold straightforwardness (See Romans ).
Vaughan and Corley divide this portion of Romans into three sections.
1. (-33): A narrative of the apostolic mission
2. (16:1-23): Personal greetings to Roman Christians
3. (-27): A final doxology of praise to God
This lesson focuses on the first of these divisions: Paul’s
summary of the apostolic mission. The
text clearly outlines the apostles plans for future evangelistic work in
James 4:13-17 warns believers about the dangers of sinful presumption
concerning the future; however, we see, in Paul’s experience, the wisdom of
humble planning for effective service for Christ. The apostle’s hopes of evangelizing in
I. Paul’s Purpose for Writing the Epistle to the Romans (-21)
A. Paul’s confidence in the Roman Christians (v. 14): The tactful, compassionate apostle highlighted three reasons for his appreciation for these believers.
1. “you yourselves are full of goodness”: “’Goodness’ is that virtue opposed to all that is mean and evil and includes uprightness, kindness, and beneficence of heart and life” (Murray).
2. “filled with all knowledge”: They possessed a thorough knowledge of the things of God and maintained a teachable spirit to learn more.
3. “and able also to admonish one another”: They valued appropriate correction and instruction. This third quality, of course, strengthened the other two characteristics. Because they gave and received godly admonition, they continued to grow in goodness and knowledge. These three characteristics are inextricably bound together.
B. Paul’s priestly work among the Gentiles (vv. 15-16): The apostle returned to the priestly theme of Romans 12:1-2. He envisioned himself as one who made sacred offerings to the Lord, and his particular function centered on offering his labors among the Gentiles an offering to the Lord. His entire life focused on bringing an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord, an offering sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
C. Paul’s reason for boasting (vv. 17-21)
1. He boasted only in what Christ had accomplished through him (vv. 17-18): Paul humbly acknowledged that his boasting must focus on the gracious work of Christ. This work, accomplished through Christ’s commission and power, resulted in the obedience of many Gentile believers.
work of the ministry proceeded through powerful signs and wonders and the bold
proclamation of the gospel (v. 19).
“Signs and wonders” refer to the miraculous deeds that attended
apostolic labors. These glorious works
attended the preaching of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. The
efficacy of these miracles did not rest in Paul’s personality or presence;
rather, these wondrous things occurred as a result of the work of the Holy
Spirit. Paul marveled that he had
evangelized in an extensive area: from
hoped to expand the geographical scope of his preaching by traveling to
II. Paul’s Plans for Future Work (-29): Paul outlined three objectives he wanted to accomplish.
A. A visit with the Romans (vv. 22-23 and 28-29): On his way to the West, Paul hoped to visit with the Romans. He made clear that he had long desired to meet the Roman Christians, but providence had prevented him from doing so.
missionary journey to
benevolent mission to
III. Paul’s Plea for Earnest Prayer (-33): “…strive together with me in your prayers (v. 30). The apostle makes urges three petitions for their prayers.
I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in
my service for
C. “..that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find rest in your company.” Paul restated the hope he expressed in verse twenty-four.
Questions for Discussion:
1. How should Christians strategize to evangelize the world without lapsing into sinful presumption about the future? What principles should guide our planning?
2. What do these verses teach Christians about their responsibilities to the poor, especially to those who suffer in the household of faith?
3. Paul was a single-minded man. What priorities did he set in life? How did those priorities shape his decision-making processes? How do the cluttered lives of many Christians contribute to confusion and discord?