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Christian behaviour to one another

15 1-3 We who have strong faith ought to shoulder the burden of the doubts and qualms of others and not just to go our own sweet way. Our actions should mean the good of others—should help them to build up their characters. For even Christ did not choose his own pleasure, but as it is written: “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

For all those words which were written long ago are meant to teach us today; that when we read in the scriptures of the endurance of men and of all the help that God gave them in those days, we may be encouraged to go on hoping in our own time.

5-7 May the God who inspires men to endure, and gives them a Father’s care, give you a mind united towards one another because of your common loyalty to Jesus Christ. And then, as one man, you will sing from the heart the praises of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his heart to you, and God will be glorified.

A reminder—Christ the universal saviour

8-9 Christ was made a servant of the Jews to prove God’s trustworthiness, since he personally implemented the promises made long ago to the fathers, and also that the Gentiles might bring glory to God for his mercy to them. It is written: ‘For this reason I will confess to you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name’.

10 And again: ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people!’

11 And yet again: ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud him, all you peoples!’

12 And then Isaiah says: ‘There shall be a root of Jesse; and he who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope’.

13 May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope.

What I have tried to do

14-16 For myself I feel certain that you, my brothers, have real Christian character and experience, and that you are capable of keeping each other on the right road. Nevertheless I have written to you with a certain frankness, to refresh your minds with truths that you already know, by virtue of my commission as Christ’s minister to the Gentiles in the service of the Gospel. For my constant endeavour is to present the Gentiles to God as an offering which he can accept, because they are sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

17-21 And I think I have something to be proud of (through Christ, of course) in my work for God. I am not competent to speak of the work Christ has done through others, but I do know that through me he has secured the obedience of Gentiles in word and deed, working by sign and miracle and all the power of the Spirit. I have fully preached the Gospel from Jerusalem and the surrounding country as far as Illyricum. My constant ambition has been to preach the Gospel where the name of Christ was previously unknown, and to avoid as far as possible building on another man’s foundations, so that: ‘To whom he was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand’.

My future plans

22 Perhaps this will explain why I have so frequently been prevented from coming to see you.

23-24 But now, since my work in these places no longer needs my presence, and since for many years I have had a great desire to see you, I hope to visit you on my way to Spain. I hope also that you will speed me in my journey, after I have had the satisfaction of seeing you all.

25-27 At the moment my next call is to Jerusalem, to look after the welfare of the Christians there. The churches in Macedonia and Achaia, you see, have thought it a good thing to make a contribution towards the poor Christians in Jerusalem. They have thought it a good thing to make this gesture and yet, really, they received “a good thing” from them first! For if the Gentiles have had a share in the Jews’ spiritual “good things” it is only fair that they should look after the Jews as far as the good things of this world are concerned.

28-29 When I have completed this task, then, and turned their gesture into a good deed done, I shall come to you en route for Spain. I feel sure that in this long-looked-for visit I shall bring with me the full blessing of Christ’s Gospel.

30-32 Now, my brothers, I am going to ask you, for the sake of Christ himself and for the love we bear each other in the Spirit, to stand behind me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf—that I may not fall into the hands of the unbelievers in Judea, and that the Jerusalem Christians may receive the gift I am taking to them in the spirit in which it was made. Then I shall come to you, in the purpose of God, with a happy heart, and may even enjoy with you a little holiday.

33 The God of peace be with you all, amen.