1. Paul gives them: his apostolic benediction, (vv. 1-2).
2. Paul thanks God for their conversion and union, and expresses his persuasion that God will continue his work among them, vv. 3-6.
3. Paul tells them of his strong affection for them, and prays that they may be filed with the salvation of God, vv. 7-11.
4. Paul shows them how much his persecution had contributed to the success of the Gospel, vv. 12-14.
5. Paul informs that there were some at Rome who preached the Gospel from unworthy motives; yet he was convinced that this, which was designed to injure him, should turn to his advantage, vv. 15-19.
6. Paul mentions his uncertainty whether he should be liberated or martyred, and his perfect readiness to meet either; yet, on the whole, expresses a hope that he should again visit them, vv. 20-26.
7. Paul exhorts them to a holy life, and comforts them under their tribulations, vv. 27-30.
This chapter embraces the following points :
I. THE SALUTATION TO THE CHURCH (vv. 1,2).
II. Paul expresses his gratitude for the evidence which they had given of love to God, and for their fidelity in the gospel from the time when it was first proclaimed among them. He says that he was confident that this would continue, and that God, who had so mercifully imparted grace to them to be faithful, would do it to the end (vv. 3-8).
III. He expresses the earnest hope that they might abound more and more in knowledge, and be without offence to the day of Christ, (vv. 9-11).
IV. Paul states to them what had been the effect of his imprisonment in Rome-presuming that it would be grateful intelligence to them that even his imprisonment had been overruled for the spread of the gospel (vv. 12-21).
His trials, he says, had been the means of the extension of the knowledge of Christ even in the palace, and many Christians had been emboldened by his sufferings to increased diligence in making known the truth. Some indeed, he says, preached Christ from unworthy motives, and with a view to increase his affliction, but in the great fact that Christ was preached he says he rejoiced. Forgetting himself, and any injury which they might design to do to him, he could sincerely rejoice that the gospel was proclaimed-no matter by whom or with what motives. The whole affair he trusted would be made conducive to his salvation. Christ was the great end and aim of his life; and if he were made known, everything else was of minor importance.
V. The mention of the fact, (v. 21), that his great aim in living was "Christ," leads him to advert to the probability that he might soon be with him, (vv. 22-26).
So great was his wish to be with him, that he would hardly know which to choose-whether to die at once, or to live and to make him known to others. Believing, however, that his life might be still useful to them, he had an expectation of considerable confidence that his life would be spared, and that he would be released.
VI. The chapter closes with an earnest exhortation that they would live as became the gospel of Christ (vv. 27-30). Whatever might befall him-whether he should be permitted to see them, or should hear of them-he entreated that he might know that they were living as became the gospel. They were not to be afraid of their adversaries; and if called to suffer, they were to remember that "it was given" them not only to believe on the Redeemer, but also to suffer in his cause.