Reading through the Bible together
This chapter begins with the thoughts of the previous chapter. Those who are strong should “bear the infirmities of the weak” rather than of pleasing themselves. We should seek to edify our brothers and sisters and not do anything that would make their faith more confusing. Christ did not please himself and willingly bore our reproach. So we are reminded that the Scriptures were written for our patience and learning that we might become like-minded toward one another, and the church body becomes one. This will bring glory to the Father and to Jesus Christ (vs. 3-7).
Next, Paul transitions to show that Jesus Christ came to minister to the Jews to confirm the promises of Scripture (v. 8). He starts quoting from the Old Testament to show that the Gentiles were to be part of the plan of salvation as well. He quotes 2 Sam. 22:50, Psalm 18:49, Deut. 32:43, and Psalm 117:1 showing that the Gentiles are included in the expression “people.” This makes it clear that God came to reach everyone, not just the Jews. Finally, he quotes Isaiah 11:10,11 to show that a Root of Jesse would grow to reign over the remnant to prepare them for the coming of the Lord (vs. 9-12). This is the Second Advent Movement with the Sabbath as its banner. Obviously, Seventh-day Adventists are predominantly Gentiles, and we are like a root that will grow up with the truth to lead other people out of this world prepared for Heaven.
Paul explains that because the Gentiles also are important to the plan of salvation, God has called him to be the minister to the Gentiles to preach the gospel to them. And he shows that mighty signs and wonders were done through him to demonstrate that God was behind his work. He quotes Isaiah 52:15 to show that his preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles was a fulfillment of prophecy. All of this preaching to the Gentiles has kept him from going to Rome as he had planned to do (vs. 13-22). Paul explains that he plans on coming to see the believers in Rome on his way to Spain. However, he must first go to Jerusalem and give the money raised by the Gentiles to the Jews as a demonstration of their love for the Jewish believers (vs. 23-33).
Sadly, Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem before this planned journey, and would eventually make it to Rome, not as a free man, but as a prisoner. Yet through it all, God worked things for good (Rom. 8:28), and the epistle that Paul wrote to Rome will live on till the close of time to prepare the believers to receive the righteousness of Christ.
Norman McNulty, M.D.
Neurologist, Lawrenceburg, TN, USA