Commentary on Romans 15:7-13

Notes (NET Translation)

7 Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory.

In closing the passage on the “strong” and the “weak”, Paul uses the word “receive”, just as he did at the beginning of the passage (14:1: “Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions”). Whereas in 14:1 the “strong” were to receive the “weak” in v 7 every believer is to receive every other believer. To receive one another is to follow Christ’s example (“just as”) in receiving each Christian. God’s glory is the purpose of either believers receiving each other or Christ receiving us. Since v 6 draws a connection between unity and glorifying God the former option appears more likely.

8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth to confirm the promises made to the fathers,

Paul stresses that Christ became a servant to the Jews (“the circumcised”). He may have done this so the Gentile believers (most of whom were probably among the “strong”) would recognize that they need to serve their Jewish Christian brothers and sisters (most of the “weak” were probably Jewish). God’s promises to the patriarchs (“fathers”) were intended to bring blessing to the whole earth (Gen 12:1-3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4). Christ’s coming confirmed the truth of these prophecies and God’s faithfulness (“on behalf of God’s truth”).

9 and thus the Gentiles glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Because of this I will confess you among the Gentiles, and I will sing praises to your name.”

The prophecies to the patriarchs were fulfilled when Christ came as a servant to the Jews. The spread of the gospel has led the Gentiles to glorify God for the mercy he has shown them.

The four quotations that follow all make the same point, as indicated by the phrase “and again” which connects them. The point is that the inclusion of the Gentiles with the Jews in the praise of God has always been part of God’s purposes.

The quote in v 9 is from Ps 18:49 (17:50 LXX) // 2 Sam 22:50. Paul may read the verse typologically.

Paul may cite the verse as a claim of the risen Christ. And this possibility gains credence when we note the context of the verse that Paul quotes. For David’s praise of God “among the Gentiles” is stimulated by the fact that God has given him victory over Gentile nations. God has made him “the head of the nations,” so that a “people whom I had not known served me” (v. 43). It would fit Paul’s purposes perfectly if he were attributing to Christ this praise of God for the subduing of the Gentiles under his messianic rule. Through his death and resurrection, Gentiles who had not known the righteous rule of the Lord can now be brought into submission to him, glorifying him for his mercy to them. This opening quotation would then match the last in the series, both focusing on the way in which the Jewish king/Messiah has brought Gentiles into submission.1

10 And again it says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

The quote is from Deut 32:43 LXX.

Moses had already prophesied in Deut. 28–29 that Israel would disobey God and face the curses of the covenant. Only after these afflictions would God circumcise their heart (Deut. 30:6) so that they would turn to Yahweh again. Paul probably discerns in Deut. 32:43 an indication that this turning to Yahweh would not be restricted to Israel alone. Gentiles would rejoice along with Israel in the salvation accomplished. Thus the worship of Jews and Gentiles together is fulfilled in the Pauline mission.2

Deuteronomy 32:43 is the last verse in the extended Song of Moses (Deut 32:1-43) in which, having described the early blessings heaped upon Israel and their subsequent rebellion, Moses depicts the Lord calling upon the Gentile nations to rejoice with Israel that he had acted to ‘avenge the blood of his servants . . . and make atonement for his land and people’. It appears that in this call of God to the Gentiles to rejoice with Israel over his salvation Paul sees foreshadowed the time of fulfillment when Gentiles and Jews together will rejoice in the salvation effected by Christ.3

11 And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him.”

The quote is from Ps 117:1 (116:1 LXX).

The psalmist calls upon the nations to praise the Lord because of his great love and faithfulness towards Israel. Apparently Paul sees in this exhortation to the nations to praise the Lord a foreshadowing of the time when people of all nations would glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.4

God’s faithfulness to Israel is further demonstrated in the coming of Christ.

12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, and the one who rises to rule over the Gentiles, in him will the Gentiles hope.”

The quote is from Isa 11:10. The “root of Jesse” is Christ. The inclusion of the Gentiles in the people of God was always a part of the divine plan.

Isaiah envisions a day when the promises for a transformed world will be fulfilled (Isa. 11:1–9), and Israel will experience a second exodus (Isa. 11:11–16). Again, Paul likely discerns this prophecy as being fulfilled in part through his ministry. Jesus, as the shoot of Jesse, has inaugurated the salvation promised in Isaiah, and he has begun to rule over the Gentiles. The term ῥίζα (rhiza) may mean either “root” or “shoot,” but the latter meaning is more probable here. As observed above, the rule of the son of Jesse over the Gentiles involves their salvation, for the Gentiles hope in him. Indeed, Isaiah often refers to the inclusion of the Gentiles in the salvation that will be accomplished for Israel (e.g., Isa. 2:1–4; 12:4–5; 17:7–8; 19:18–25; 25:3–9; 42:4, 6, 10–12; 44:5; 45:14, 22; 49:6; 52:15; 55:3–5; 56:3–8; 59:19; 60:3; 65:1; 66:19–21). The reference to the shoot of Jesse and the “raising up of him” is certainly a messianic reference (Jer. 23:5; 33:15; cf. Sir. 47:22; Rev. 5:5; 22:16; 4QFlor 1.10–13). A reference to the resurrection should not be read into the text in the term “raising up” (ἀνιστάμενος, anistamenos).5

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

The “God of hope” is an expression found nowhere else in the NT or LXX. Since Paul prays that believers “abound in hope” it probably means that God is the one who inspires hope in his people. Paul closes the section by invoking God’s blessing upon the Roman Christians. The blessing asks God to bestow the things mentioned in 14:17 (“For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit“) upon the audience.

Bibliography

Kruse, Colin G. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.

Metzger, Bruce M., ed. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Second Edition. Hendrickson Pub, 2005.

Moo, Douglas J. The Epistle to the Romans. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996.

Schreiner, Thomas R. Romans. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 1998.

Witherington III, Ben, and Darlene Hyatt. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004.


  1. Moo 1996, 878–879 
  2. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 14661-14664 
  3. Kruse 2014, 533 
  4. Kruse 2014, 534 
  5. Schreiner 1998, Kindle Locations 14667-14677 
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