Romans 15

Romans 15:1 we then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak

Gordon B. Hinckley

"I remember interviewing a discouraged missionary. He was having trouble with a language which was not his own. He had lost the spirit of his work and wanted to go home. He was one of 180 missionaries in that mission.

"I told him that if he were to go home he would break faith with his 179 companions. Every one of them was his friend. Every one of them would pray for him, fast for him, and do almost anything else to help him. They would work with him. They would teach him. They would get on their knees with him. They would help him to learn the language and be successful because they loved him.

"I am happy to report that he accepted my assurance that all of the other missionaries were his friends. They rallied around him, not to embarrass him, but to strengthen him. The terrible feeling of loneliness left him. He came to realize that he was part of a winning team. He became successful, a leader, and he has been a leader ever since.

"That's what each of us must do for one another.

"Paul wrote to the Romans, 'We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.' And then he added these significant words, 'And not to please ourselves.' (Rom. 15:1.)

"There is a sad tendency in our world today for persons to cut one another down. Did you ever realize that it does not take very much in the way of brainpower to make remarks that may wound another? Try the opposite of that. Try handing out compliments.

"For a number of years, while I had responsibility for the work in Asia, I interviewed each missionary one-on-one. I asked each what virtue he or she saw in his or her companion and would like to put into his or her own life.

"When I raised that question, almost invariably the missionary, an elder for example, would stop with a surprised look on his face. He had never thought of his companion that way before. He had seen his faults and weaknesses but had not seen his virtues. I would tell him to pause and think about it for a minute. Then the answers would begin to come. Such answers as, 'He's a hard worker.' 'He gets up in the morning.' 'He dresses neatly.' 'He doesn't complain.'

"It was a remarkable thing, really. These young men and women, for the most part, had been oblivious to the virtues of their companions, although they were well aware of their companions' faults, and often felt discouraged because of them. But when they began to turn their attitudes around, remarkable things began to happen." ("Strengthening Each Other," Ensign, Feb. 1985, 3-4)

Romans 15:1-2 not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good

Neal A. Maxwell

"'We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.' (Romans 15:1-2. Italics added.) Even the service we render must be so selfless that it is not self-conscious!

"The lessening of the load of another comes, in part, from our very expression of genuine concern transmitted to the burdened. Empathy expressed can do much to lift the heart of another. Objectively, in fact, the burden (the loss of health, a loved one) may remain, but the capacity to cope and to carry on is increased by our administering the adrenalin of affection." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 67.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"With increasing charity, then, our service to others will be an unforced thing it will be a thing from inside, not from outside! Even the good we then do will be done for the right reasons and 'not to please ourselves.' (Romans 15:1.)

"When we truly love God, we are released from the cruel constraints of our own egos. As our capacity to love increases, we go beyond the giving of time and talents and means-on to the full giving of self." (Notwithstanding My Weakness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 29.)

Romans 15:4 whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning

Neal A. Maxwell

"The scriptures perform yet another vital task. They enlarge the memory by incorporating the collective, spiritual memory of past ages into one's own (see Alma 37:8). The scriptures thus permit us to access decades of divine data, the 'institutional memory' of God's people. 'For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope' (Romans 15:4).

"Samuel Johnson observed 'people more frequently need to be reminded than instructed.' If heeded, the lessons from the past can deflect us from present wrong ways or wrong intents. 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness' (2 Timothy 3:16).

"Sometimes people are willing to hear 'a voice from the dust' when they will not listen to a contemporary voice of a loving parent, spouse, or child. The sweep of scriptural history makes accessible the cumulative and 'sad experience' of yesterday's sinners." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 184.)

Romans 15:4 that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope

Are the scriptures comforting? Do they give us hope? What about the message of the beatitudes, 'Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted' (Matt 5:4)? As Paul said elsewhere, 'if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable' (1 Cor. 15:19). Certainly, the scriptures give us a message of hope and comfort which far surpasses the dreary days of our mortal probation. Through them we receive the promises of God with the unsurpassed assurance and peace they bring. Consider the following:

'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' (Matt 11:28-30)

'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.' (Jn. 14:6)

'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.' (Jn. 14:27)

'In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' (Jn. 16:33)

'Fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.' (DC 6:34)

'Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' (Isa. 1:18).

'Men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.' (Isa 64:4)

'I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain...' (Rev. 21:3-4).

"The scriptures...can be a comfort when you climb the steep and scary and risky trails of life. When I read the Book of Mormon, I feel as if I am getting letters from home from my Heavenly Father, who is guiding me with inspiration in the important choices I must make each day." (Ardeth Greene Kapp, My Neighbor, My Sister, My Friend [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 154.)

Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us

Robert E. Wells

"Prejudice and ignorance lead to intolerance; biases and traditions are deep-seated and difficult to overcome. Nevertheless, anyone with the desire to come unto Christ must overcome these tendencies, not judge anyone in any way, and learn to love and accept each person as brother and sister truly, following the admonition of Paul: 'Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us.' (Romans 15:7.)

'Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can't see.
Who am I to judge another?
Lord, I would follow thee.'
-Hymns, no. 220"

(The Mount and the Master [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 169.)

Romans 15:8 Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision

Paul frequently speaks of those "of the circumcision" in reference to the Jews (Rom 4:12; Gal 2:7-12; Col. 4:11; Titus 1:10). So when Paul refers to Christ as 'a minister of the circumcision,' he is referring to his lineage through the house of Israel and his ministry among the Jews, for Jesus said, 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (Matt. 15:24).

Romans 15:8 Jesus Christ was a confirm the promises made unto the fathers

"Paul is here teaching a mighty truth that is little understood in the religious world. We know that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are entitled to 'the promises made unto the fathers' (Romans 15:8)-the right to receive the gospel, the priesthood, and, upon faithful obedience, the fulness of eternal life (Abraham 2:8-11). These blessings are made available through receipt of the ordinances of salvation, especially the ordinance of celestial marriage, performed only in holy temples." (Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 78 - 79.)

Romans 15:12 a root of Jesse...shall rise to reign over the Gentiles

See DC 113:5-6 and commentary for 2 Nephi 21:10.

Romans 15:13 that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost

Dwan J. Young

"Our hope in Christ gives us an unchanging reason to rejoice. As Paul said to the Romans: 'Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope' (Rom. 15:13).

"The Lord wants us to be filled with hope-not just because it points us to a brighter tomorrow, but because it changes the quality of our lives today. Hopeless may be the saddest word in our language. Despair is the enemy of our souls. It can paralyze us, halt our progress, and cause us to lose our way. But hope awakens us like a light shining in the darkness.

"You remember that the thirteenth article of faith states: 'We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things' (italics added).

"We can endure all things when our hope is centered in one who will never fail us-our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world." ("The Light of Hope," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 86)

Romans 15:24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you

"Paul was in Corinth at the time he informed the Romans of his intention to visit Spain. But he said that he must first go to Jerusalem. To go to Jerusalem from Corinth would add about 1,600 miles to the trip. In terms of the overall distance, this meant about a 7,000-mile trip from Corinth, to Jerusalem, to Spain, and back to Jerusalem-a most ambitious and time-consuming undertaking when we consider the mode of travel available. Whether Paul ever got to Spain we do not know, but his plans are certainly impressive. The subject is chiefly of interest to us in this article because the whole idea of a trip to Spain is to be learned only from Paul's epistle to the Romans." (Robert J. Matthews, "St. Paul Writes about the Church," New Era, Apr. 1977, 33)

"Did Paul ever get to Spain?

"The record of Acts ends with Paul's first imprisonment, and the official account of Paul's known life is closed. From that point on, the scholars are uncertain, but there is strong evidence that Paul was eventually acquitted and freed, during which time he would naturally have continued his missionary labors. Since he had expressed intent to go to Spain, many have assumed he succeeded in doing so before he was arrested again and put to death under a wave of Christian persecution. Clement of Rome (about A.D. 100) states that Paul had 'gone to the extremity of the west,' which would seem to imply Spain. Others of the early Christian fathers also reported that he labored in Spain. Thus, Paul's intentions to go to Spain may have been eventually realized." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 335)

Romans 15:26 it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem

"Saints in both ancient and modern eras consecrated their belongings for the care of the needy. New Testament Saints gathered money to assist the distressed and shared these offerings among the churches. (See Rom. 15:26.) They also sold possessions and gave the proceeds to the Church. (See Acts 4:32-37.) Saints in the Kirtland/Missouri era of Church history deeded properties to the Church, then received a stewardship by return deed, 'according to the laws of the land.' (D&C 51:6.)

"Latter-day Saints contribute to and preserve this legacy of caring when they give a generous fast offering and serve the needy." ("Welfare Services: A Legacy of Caring, Giving, Serving," Ensign, May 1986, 99)

Romans 15:27 if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things

Marion G. Romney

"...aid is available from the Church. It has been so in all dispensations. Paul himself was a welfare worker, in a very modern sense of the term. We find him writing in Romans 15 (quotes Rom. 15:25-27).

"The obligation of the Church to help its poor is here placed by Paul on a par with communicating spiritual riches to those who are in darkness. By both means we store up treasures in heaven." ("Church Welfare-Temporal Service in a Spiritual Setting," Ensign, May 1980, 83)