My work is done here (Rom 15:23)

“But now,

With no further place

For me

In these regions,

I desire,

As I have for many years

To come to you.”

νυνὶ δὲ μηκέτι τόπον ἔχων ἐν τοῖς κλίμασι τούτοις, ἐπιποθίαν δὲ ἔχων τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ ἱκανῶν ἐτῶν,

Paul said that now, with no further place for him (νυνὶ δὲ μηκέτι τόπον ἔχων) in these regions (ἐν τοῖς κλίμασι τούτοις), he desired (ἐπιποθίαν), as he had for many years (ἀπὸ ἱκανῶν ἐτῶν), to come to them (δὲ ἔχων τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς) in Rome.  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐπιποθίαν, that means longing or eager desire.  Paul indicated that he had no further places to go in the region of Greece and Asia Minor.  He had a great desire for many years to come to them in Rome.  Now he would be able to do so.  He would eventually go to Rome but as a Roman citizen prisoner many years later.  Do you sometimes think that your work is complete?

I have been hindered from going to Rome (Rom 15:22)

“I have been hindered

Many times.

From coming to you.”

Διὸ καὶ ἐνεκοπτόμην τὰ πολλὰ τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς·

Paul said that thus he has often been hindered (Διὸ καὶ ἐνεκοπτόμην) many times (τὰ πολλὰ) from coming (τοῦ ἐλθεῖν) to them (πρὸς ὑμᾶς) at Rome.  Paul said that he had been hampered many times from going to Rome.  He really wanted to go to Rome, but he was so busy with the many other Christian communities that he had established in Asia Minor and Greece, that he never found time to visit them.  Are you too busy to travel?

See and understand (Rom 15:21)

“But as it is written.

‘Those who have never been told

Of him,

They shall see.

Those who have never heard of him,

They shall understand.’”

ἀλλὰ καθὼς γέγραπται Ὄψονται οἷς οὐκ ἀνηγγέλη περὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οἳ οὐκ ἀκηκόασιν συνήσουσιν.

Paul said that it was written (ἀλλὰ καθὼς γέγραπται).  “Those who have never been told of him (οἷς οὐκ ἀνηγγέλη περὶ αὐτοῦ), they shall see (Ὄψονται).  Those who have never heard of him (καὶ οἳ οὐκ ἀκηκόασιν), they shall understand (συνήσουσιν).”  Once again, Paul cited Isaiah, chapter 52:15, the chant of the suffering servant.  “Kings shall shut their mouths because of him.  What had not been told them, they shall see.  What they have not heard, they shall contemplate.”  Here there is a painful description of this servant of Yahweh, who is going to prosper, be exalted, and be lifted up very high.  They suddenly saw things that they did not know about.  They contemplated things that they had not heard.  This was like the preaching of Paul.  His listeners were seeing things that they did not know anything about.  They were contemplating or understanding things they had never heard before.  Paul was like the suffering servant of Isaiah, a wonderful preacher who sought new ground.  Are you seeing and understanding things that you never understood before?

I will not build on someone else’s foundation (Rom 15:20)

“Thus,

I make it

My ambition

To preach the gospel,

Not where Christ

Has already been named,

So that I do not build

On someone else’s foundation.”

οὕτως δὲ φιλοτιμούμενον εὐαγγελίζεσθαι οὐχ ὅπου ὠνομάσθη Χριστός, ἵνα μὴ ἐπ’ ἀλλότριον θεμέλιον οἰκοδομῶ,

Paul said that he made it his ambition (οὕτως δὲ φιλοτιμούμενον) to preach the gospel, (εὐαγγελίζεσθαι), not where Christ had already been named (οὐχ ὅπου ὠνομάσθη Χριστός), since he did not want (ἵνα μὴ) to build (οἰκοδομῶ) on someone else’s foundation (ἐπ’ ἀλλότριον θεμέλιον).  Only the Pauline letters used this word φιλοτιμούμενον, that means to love or seek after honor, zealous, strive eagerly, or desire very strongly.  Paul said that it was his desire not to preach the gospel of Jesus where someone else had already done so.  He preferred virgin territory, where no one had talked about Jesus Christ before.  He did not want to build on someone else’s foundation.  He wanted to lay the foundation and build the local church of Christ.  If the foundation was there, he kept going.  He was not going to build on a foundation built by someone else.  Would you rather lay a foundation or build on a foundation?

Paul has preached the gospel (Rom 15:19)

“By the power

Of signs

And wonders,

By the power

Of the Holy Spirit,

From Jerusalem

And as far around

As Illyricum,

I have preached fully

The gospel of Christ.”

ἐν δυνάμει σημείων καὶ τεράτων, ἐν δυνάμει Πνεύματος Ἁγίου· ὥστε με ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ κύκλῳ μέχρι τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ πεπληρωκέναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Paul said by the power (ἐν δυνάμει) of signs (σημείων) and wonders (καὶ τεράτων), as well as by the power (ἐν δυνάμει) of the Holy Spirit (Πνεύματος Ἁγίου), Paul had preached fully (πεπληρωκέναι) the gospel of Christ (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ) from Jerusalem (ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλὴμ) to as far as Illyricum (καὶ κύκλῳ μέχρι τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ).  Paul indicated that the power of signs and wonders and the Holy Spirit had led him to preach fully the gospel of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem to Illyricum.  Paul was able to perform some miracles and cures inspired by the Holy Spirit.  He had proclaimed the gospel or the good news about Jesus the Christ as he understood it from his time in Jerusalem until the other reaches of eastern Asia Minor and Greece.  Illyricum was a Roman province that existed from 27 BCE to sometime during the reign of Vespasian (69–79 CE).  This province comprised Illyria, Dalmatia, and Pannonia, around the east coast of the Adriatic Sea, that later came to called Dalmatia, what might be in modern day Croatia or Albania.  Paul was not ashamed to talk about his preaching activities in Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey.  Are you ashamed to talk about Jesus Christ?

Christ has accomplished this in me (Rom 15:18)

“I will not venture

To speak of anything,

Except what Christ

Has accomplished

Through me,

To win obedience

From the gentiles,

By word

And deed.”

οὐ γὰρ τολμήσω τι λαλεῖν ὧν οὐ κατειργάσατο Χριστὸς δι’ ἐμοῦ εἰς ὑπακοὴν ἐθνῶν, λόγῳ καὶ ἔργῳ,

Paul said that he would not venture to speak (οὐ γὰρ τολμήσω τι λαλεῖν) of anything except (ὧν οὐ) what Christ (Χριστὸς) had accomplished (κατειργάσατο) through him (δι’ ἐμοῦ) to win obedience or compliance (εἰς ὑπακοὴν) from the gentiles (ἐθνῶν), by word (λόγῳ) and deed (καὶ ἔργῳ).  Only the Pauline letters used this word ὑπακοὴν, that means obedience, submissiveness, or compliance.  Paul was clear that nothing happened without Jesus Christ.  All that he had done with the gentiles, both word and deed, was only accomplished by the help of Jesus Christ.  His pride was in what Jesus had done through him.  By himself, he would have accomplished nothing.  All the gentile followers of Jesus were due to Christ himself who completed the word and deed conversion of the gentiles through him.  Do you acknowledge the work that Jesus has done in your life?

I am proud (Rom 15:17)

“In Christ Jesus,

Then,

I have reason to be proud

Of my work

For God.”

ἔχω οὖν τὴν καύχησιν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τὰ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν·

Paul said that in Christ Jesus (ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ), he had reason to be proud (ἔχω οὖν τὴν καύχησιν) of his work for God (τὰ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν).  Paul was proud or wanted to boast about the things he had done for God in Jesus Christ.  He was happy and boastful about his activity for Jesus Christ.  He was not one to be bashful about all the things that he had completed for God.  Are you proud of your work for God?

Minister to the gentiles (Rom 15:16)

“I am a minister

Of Christ Jesus

To the gentiles

In the priestly service

Of the gospel of God,

So that the offering

Of the gentiles

May be acceptable,

Sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

εἰς τὸ εἶναί με λειτουργὸν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, ἱερουργοῦντα τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἵνα γένηται ἡ προσφορὰ τῶν ἐθνῶν εὐπρόσδεκτος, ἡγιασμένη ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ.

Paul said I am (εἰς τὸ εἶναί με) a minister of Christ Jesus (λειτουργὸν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ) to the gentiles (εἰς τὰ ἔθνη) in the priestly service (ἱερουργοῦντα) of the gospel of God (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Θεοῦ), so that the offering (ἵνα γένηται ἡ προσφορὰ) of the gentiles (τῶν ἐθνῶν) may become acceptable (εὐπρόσδεκτος), sanctified by the Holy Spirit (ἡγιασμένη ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ).  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἱερουργοῦντα, that means to perform sacred rites or minister in holy things.  Paul clearly stated that he was a minister of Jesus Christ to the gentiles, like a priest of the gospel of God.  Thus, as the priest of the gentiles, he was able to offer up their gentile gifts that were sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  Paul saw himself in this special role as the Christian minister or priest to the gentiles, the non-Jewish people, although he himself had been a Jewish Pharisee.  Their non-Jewish gentile offerings were made holy and acceptable via the Holy Spirit.  Are your gifts sanctified by the Holy Spirit?

God gave me grace (Rom 15:15)

“Nevertheless,

On some points,

I have written to you

Very boldly,

By way of a reminder,

Because of the grace

Given me

By God.”

τολμηροτέρως δὲ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ἀπὸ μέρους, ὡς ἐπαναμιμνήσκων ὑμᾶς, διὰ τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ

Paul said that nevertheless, on some points (ἀπὸ μέρους), he had written to them (δὲ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν) very boldly (τολμηροτέρως), by way of a reminder (ὡς ἐπαναμιμνήσκων ὑμᾶς), because of the grace (διὰ τὴν χάριν) that was given to him (τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι) by God (ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Only the Pauline letters used these words τολμηροτέρως, that means boldly, more boldly, more freely, or with more confidence, and the word ἐπαναμιμνήσκων, that means to remind or remind again.  Paul acknowledged that he was a little bold in some of his writings.  This was to remind them of the specific function or grace that he had received from God.  Paul believed that he had a special grace or gift from God to be an apostle to the gentiles.  Thus, in this letter, he spoke to the Roman Christian gentiles as well as the Roman Jewish Christians, although he had not founded this Christian community and never been to Rome.  Do you have a special grace from God?

Paul’s confidence (Rom 15:14)

“I myself

Feel confident

About you!

My brothers!

You yourselves

Are full of goodness.

You are filled

With all knowledge.

You are able

To instruct one another.”

Πέπεισμαι δέ, ἀδελφοί μου, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐγὼ περὶ ὑμῶν, ὅτι καὶ αὐτοὶ μεστοί ἐστε ἀγαθωσύνης, πεπληρωμένοι πάσης τῆς γνώσεως, δυνάμενοι καὶ ἀλλήλους νουθετεῖν.

Paul said that I myself (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐγὼ) feel confident (Πέπεισμαι δέ) about you (περὶ ὑμῶν), my brothers (ἀδελφοί μου)!  You yourselves (ὅτι καὶ αὐτοὶ) are full of goodness (μεστοί ἐστε ἀγαθωσύνης), filled with all knowledge (πεπληρωμένοι πάσης τῆς γνώσεως) and able to instruct or admonish one another (δυνάμενοι καὶ ἀλλήλους νουθετεῖν).  Paul began to finish his letter to his brother Roman Christians.  He was convinced and confident that they were full of goodness.  They were filled with knowledge.  Thus, they were able to instruct and admonish each other in the Christian ways.  These Romans were knowledgeable enough to correct each other and discuss these matters among themselves.  He realized that this was a mature Christian community in Rome, that he himself had never seen, but just heard about.  Have you ever heard about mature Christian churches?