“Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God.”

“I have written the more boldly”
Literally:  “But I wrote to you more boldly.”–Meaning more boldly than might have been expected from a stranger. The reason why he showed this boldness in declaring his sentiments he immediately states–that he had been specially called to the office of instructing the Gentiles.

          HAVE WRITTEN: (Grk.–egrapsa)This verse is written in what is known as episolary aorist style; that is, a device whereby a First Century writer observes the courtesy of putting himself at the viewpoint of the recipient of the letter.

This means the writer is viewing the writing of his letter which is a present occurrence to him, as a past event, which viewpoint the reader would have when he received the letter. Notwithstanding my full persuasion of your knowledge, and your purpose to do right. Perhaps he refers also to the fact that he was a stranger to them. Though they were able to admonish each other, he has written to them boldly and plainly, as was his right,

           THE MORE BOLDLY: (Grk.–tolmêroterôs)—Vincent (Vincent’s Word Studies in the N.T.) renders this as, “not too boldly, but the more boldly because you are full of goodness.”

“unto you in some sort”
Literally:  “To you in part; to you in some measure,” or, “somewhat more freely”–I have this conviction of your extensive knowledge in the things of God, I have made bold to write to you in some measure,

Probably the expression is designed to qualify the phrase “more boldly;” or to say, “I have been induced to write the more freely, partly because I am appointed to this very office. I write somewhat more freely to a church among the Gentiles than I even should to one among the Jews, because I am appointed to this very office.”

“as putting you in mind because of the grace”
Literally: “Calling to your remembrance because of the grace,” or “reminding you” (comp. II Pet. 1:12,13). This was a delicate way of communicating instruction.

The apostles presumed that all believers were acquainted with the great Doctrines of the Faith; but they did not command, command, or assume a spirit of dictation. How happy it would be if all teachers would imitate the example of the apostles in this, and be as modest and humble as they were.

“because of the grace”–I do this, because of the grace; meaning, because of the office which I have received from God, namely, to be the Apostle of the Gentiles.

This authority gave him full right to say, advise, or command anything which he judged to be of importance to their spiritual interests.  He pursues this subject more in the following verse.

“That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”

That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles”
Literally:  “For me to be a minister of Jesus Christ to the nations.”–This is the grace just referred to.

            MINISTER: (Grk.–leitourgon)–This is not the word that is commonly translated as minister (See 13:6).  This word is normally appropriated to those who minister in public offices or the affairs of the state.

            This Greek word leitourgon is really difficult to correctly translate its real meaning by one English word.  Alford renders it as, “ministering priest,” (of Christ for the Gentiles); Darby renders it as, “an administrator official employed,” Thayer, in his Greek Lexicon, shows its original meaning to be, “a public minister, a servant of the state.”  The rendering of it as “minister of Christ” is really not a good translation of leitourgon, because every preacher  would consider himself to be described that way. Back in 13:6 Paul uses this same Greek word regarding public officials, for there he says they are God’s ministers (leitougoi).
            In the N.T. this Greek word is usually applied to the Levitical priesthood, who ministered and served at the altar (Heb. 10:11). It is, however, applied to the ministers of the N.T., as discharging substantially the same offices towards the church which were discharged by the Levitical priesthood; i. e., as engaged in promoting the welfare of the church, occupied in holy things, etc., (Acts 13:2), “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted,” etc.  It is used even in a larger sense in v. 27; II Cor. 9:12.
            Paul uses this Greek word here to speak of his ministry of preaching the gospel as a priestly ministry, and of equal value and sacredness to the ministry of the priesthood of the O.T..  As a high priest, Paul offered up the Gentiles, making an offering unto God. 

“ministering the gospel of God”
Literally:  “Sacredly ministering the gospel of God.”–Meaning,
Acting as a priest.

          Here Paul compares himself, in his preaching the Gospel, to the priest performing his sacred functions-preparing his sacrifice to be offered.  The Gentiles, converted by him and dedicated to the service of God, are his sacrifices and oblation.  The Holy Spirit is the libation poured upon this sacrifice, by which it was sanctified and rendered acceptable to God.  The words of Isaiah, (Isa. 66:20), “and they shall bring all your brethren for an OFFERING unto the Lord, out of all NATIONS,” might have suggested the above idea to the mind of Paul’s.
          The figure is that of Paul, as a priest, bringing the converted Gentiles as offerings, which are placed upon the altar of God and dedicated to his service. This offering, the Gentiles, is made acceptable through the gospel. Performing the office of a priest in respect to the Gospel of God. The office of a priest was to offer sacrifice. Paul here retains the language, though without affirming or implying that the ministers of the N.T. were literally priests to offer sacrifice. The word used here occurs nowhere else in the N.T.  The question is, what is the sacrifice of which he speaks? It is the offering up–the sacrifice of the Gentiles.

           MINISTERING:  (Grk.–ierourgounta)—Literally: “priestly service.” Used only here in the N.T.  Paul is comparing his ministry of the Gospel to the service a Jewish priest might do in the temple.

“the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable
Literally: “The offering of the nations {might be} acceptable.”—The Jewish sacrificial   system had been abolished at Calvary.

            The Jesus, as the Messiah had fulfilled the types of these sacrificial system, and thereby doing with them. (See the epistle to the Hebrews.) There was to be no further literal sacrifice for Christ was our sacrifice–once for all (Hebrews 10). But now the offerings of the Gentiles were to be as acceptable to God as had been the offerings of the Jews.  God made no distinction; and in speaking of these offerings, Paul used figurative language drawn from the Jewish rites. 

            But assuredly he did not mean that the offerings of the Gentiles were literal sacrifices to expiate sins; nor did he mean that there was to be an order of men who were to be called priests under the N.T.  That would smack of Nicolaitanism to which Christ refers in Rev. 2:6, a thing that He says He HATES!

        These Nicolaitans were a group within the Church who were attempting to establish some sort of priestly hierarchy or order.  They were most likely attempting to model the Church after the O.T. order of priests, Levites and common people.  This is really the beginning of the priesthood and hierarchical system that became the Roman Catholic Church, and the Lord Jesus Christ says that He HATES such a system.  The word Nicolaitan comes from two Greek words: (1) (nikaô), which means “to conquer; to rule”, and (2) (laos), which means, “the people; the laity.”  Put the two words together and you get the meaning, “to rule the people; to conquer the people.”
        The “deeds” of these Nicolaitans were their efforts to establish such a priestly Holy Order and place them over the people.  Such a plan is foreign to and in contradiction of the N.T. plan for a local church to be a DEMOCRACYGod's plan is that each local assembly is to be autonomous, without any one assembly or body having the ascendancy over any other.  The vote of each local assembly is to be final and there is no higher authority to which one can appeal than that of the voting body of local believers.
       The people were to call these  Nicolaitans  “Holy Men.”  Not pastors, but clergy:  i.e., bishops, archbishops, archdeacons, etc.  Here we have the origin of the so-called Apostolic Succession, and the separation of the “clergy” from the “laity,” a separation which Christ says He HATES!

          OFFERING UP:  (Grk.–hê prosphora)—Literally: “bringing to” (the altar). Commonly means a sacrifice or an expiatory offering, and is applied to Jewish sacrifices (Acts 21:26; 24:17).

It is also applied to the sacrifice which was made by our Lord Jesus Christ when He offered Himself on the cross for the sins of men (Eph. 5:2; Heb.10:10). It does not always mean bloody sacrifices, but it is used to denote any offering to God (Heb. 10:5, 8, 14, 18).  It is used in this large sense to denote the offering which the Gentiles who were converted to Christianity made of themselves; their devoting or dedicating themselves to God. The language is derived from the customs of the Jews; and Paul figuratively represents himself as a priest presenting this offering to God.

ACCEPTABLE: (Grk.–apodektos)–Or, approved by God. Became sanctified in the Spirit.

This was in accordance with the prediction in Isa 66:20, “They shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations,” etc. This does not mean that it was by any merit of Paul’s that this offering was to be rendered acceptable; but that he was appointed to prepare the way, so that their offering, as well as that of the Jews, might come up before God. The meaning is this: “Acting in the Christian church substantially as the priests did among the Jews: that is, endeavoring to secure the acceptability of the offerings which the Gentiles make to God.”

“being sanctified by the Holy Ghost”
Literally:  “Sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”–
Set apart, by the Holy Spirit (see 8:1-2). This    is the end to which the ancient offerings typically looked. That is, the offering being sanctified, or made holy. The sacrifice was repaired or made fit to be an offering, among the Jews, by salt, oil, or frankincense, according to the nature of the sacrifice (Lev. 6:14,      etc).

           In allusion to this, Paul says that the offering of the Gentiles was rendered holy, or fit to be offered, by the converting and purifying influences of the Holy Spirit. They were prepared, not by salt and frankincense, but by the cleansing influences of God's Spirit. The same idea, substantially, is expressed by the apostle Peter in Acts 10:46; 11:17.
         The Holy Spirit indwelt the Gentile believers, beginning with Cornelius, the Roman centurion.  The sanctifying work (the setting apart) of the Holy Spirit begins with Jew and Gentile alike at the very moment of regeneration when the Spirit of God takes up His abode within the believer.  Paul gave the Gospel, but God gave the Holy Spirit when they believed.

“I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.”

“I here therefore whereof I may glory”
Literally:  “Therefore I have glorifying.”  This verse forms the transition to what Paul has to say about his field of labor.

“I have cause of glorying. I have cause of rejoicing that God has made me a minister to the Gentiles, and that he has given me such success among them.”  The ground of this he states in verses 18-22.  Because of his wonderfully successful ministry among the Gentiles. Being sent of God on this most honorable and important errand, I have matter of great exultation, not only in the honor which he has conferred upon me, but in the great success with which he has crowned my ministry.

THEREFORE:  (Grk.–oun)—This refers us to the ministry that was described in v. 16.

GLORY: (Grk.–kauchsin)—Literally, “boasting” the word usually rendered as boasting, (3:27; ; II Cor. 7:14; 8:24; 9:3; 10:15; 11:10, 17; James 4:16).

 It may also be used to mean praise, thanksgiving, and joy, (I Cor. 15:31; II Cor. 1:12; 7:4; 8:24; I Thess. 2:19). This is its meaning here, that Paul had great cause of rejoicing or praise that he had been so highly honored in the appointment to this office, and in his success in it.

“through Jesus Christ”
Literally:  “In Christ Jesus.”–By the assistance of Jesus Christ; ascribing his success among the Gentiles to the aid which Christ Jesus had rendered him. Paul glories not in himself, but only through Christ Jesus (see I Cor. 15:31). Paul’s ground for rejoicing and giving praise to God, that he had been made a minister and his efforts crowned with success.

“in those things which pertain to God”
Literally:  “The things with God;” or, “the things pertaining to God.” In his ministry as an apostle of Christ (comp. Heb. 5:1).

The things of the faith; the things which God has commanded, and which pertain to His honor and glory. They were not things which pertained to Paul, but to God; not wrought by Paul, but by Christ Jesus; yet he might rejoice that he had been the means of diffusing so far those blessings. The success of a minister is not for his own praises, but for the honor of God; not by his skill or power, but by the aid of Christ Jesus; yet he may rejoice that through him such blessings are conferred on men.

“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.”

“For I will not dare to speak”– I should be restrained; I should be afraid to speak, if the thing were not as I have stated.  The meaning is: “I will not dare to speak of the signs of grace and the work of others, but only of the mighty works of God hath wrought through me to make the Gentiles obedient.”

            I should be afraid to set up a claim beyond that which is strictly in accordance with the truth.  Paul is saying, “I will not take credit for the work of God that is being done by others—especially among the Gentiles.”  Of course he could not take credit for what was accomplished on the Day of Pentecost, which was the beginning of the ministry that resulted in the gospel going to the Gentiles, and the beginning of this same church in Rome.  It was the apostle Peter who took the Gospel to the home of Cornelius.
          If the thing were not as I have stated it, I would not dare to arrogate to myself honors which did not belong to me. as some false apostles did, who intruded themselves upon the labor of other men, and took to themselves the honor of it. But God has made me the apostle of the Gentiles; and the conversion of the Gentiles is the fruit of my ministry, Christ having wrought by me for this purpose.

 “which Christ hath not wrought by me”
“Which Christ did not work out through me.”–
Rather, "any one of those things which Christ did not work through me." As some false apostles did, who intruded themselves upon the labor of other men, and took to themselves the honor of it.

I confine myself strictly to what I have done. I do not arrogate to myself what Christ has done by others. I do not exaggerate my own success, or claim what others have accomplished.  A modest, though somewhat obscure form of expression, meaning, “I will not dare to go beyond what Christ hath wrought by me”in which form accordingly the rest of the passage is expressed. Observe here how Paul ascribes all the success of his labors to the activity of the living Redeemer, working in and by him.

“to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed”
{the} obedience of {the} nations in word and work.”  To bring them to obey
God in the Gospel. To win their obedience to Christ (cf. 1:5) in fulfilment of O.T. prophecies of the nations’s yielding allegiance to the Son of David.

“by word and deed”
Literally:  “In word and work.”  These words may refer to the doctrines which he taught and to the miracles which he wrought among them.

So they became obedient to the doctrines, on the evidence of the miracles with which they were accompanied.  By preaching, and by all other means; by miracle, by example, etc. The deeds, that is, the lives of Christian ministers are often as efficacious in bringing me to Christ as their public ministry.