“That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

         “That I may be comforted together with you”
         Literally:  “To be comforted together in you.” —It was not just for them that Paul wanted to      visit them. 

         One of the tenets of being a Christian is the desire, and need, of fellowship with other believers.  Fellowship with other believers is an automatic desire and need.  It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in one believer communing with the Spirit in another, or as David said it, deep calling to deep  (Psalm:42:7).  This is why Paul gives the admonition in Heb. 10:25—“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another…”
         Christian interaction is earnestly desired, and needed, by Christian hearts, and those who are favored with it is a means of increasing
excellence, usefulness, and enjoyment. 

       COMFORTED:  (Grk.--sumparaklēthēnai)--Literally:  “My being comforted in you;”   i.e.,  being a mutual blessing to each party (you and me).   

Paul sought the communion of saints; he expected to be himself edified and strengthened; and to be comforted by seeing their strength of faith, and their rapid growth in grace. We may remark here:

1.      That one effect of religion is to produce the desire of the communion of saints.
         It is the nature of Christianity to seek the society of those who are the friends of Christ. 
2.      That nothing is better fitted to produce growth in grace than such communion.
Feelings which they suppose no Christians ever had, which greatly distress them, they will find are common among those who are experienced in the Christian life. 

3.      That there is nothing better fitted to excite the feelings, and confirm the hopes of Christian ministers, than the firm faith of young converts, of those just commencing the Christian life, (III John 4).
4.      That Paul did not disdain to be taught by the humblest Christians.
         He expected to be strengthened himself by the faith of those just beginning the Christian life.

 James-Fausette-Brown commentary words it this way, “my desire is to instruct you and do you good; that is, for us to instruct and do one another good: in giving I shall also receive.”  

Adams Clarke commentary puts it this way, “He here, with great address, intimates that he longs for this opportunity, as well on his own account as on theirs, and to show them that he arrogates nothing to himself; for he intimates that it will require the conjoint action of their faith as well as his own, to be the means of receiving those blessings from God to which he refers.”

“Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some full fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.”In the previous verses Paul has been speaking of his desire; here he speaks of his purpose, which is one step nearer to the realization.

“I would not have you ignorant”–
Literally:  “But I do not wish you to be ignorant.”–This is a commonly used Pauline expression.  He uses it in different forms in other passages (11:25; I Cor. 10:1; 12:1; II Cor 1:8; I Thess. 4:13).  Paul uses this formula as an emphasis to call attention to what is to   follow.

         “that oftentimes I purposed”
         Literally:  “That often I purposed.”  Paul is giving a repeat of his statement in verse 10. 
          Keep in mind that whenever the Holy Spirit repeats a  statement in the Word of God it is for emphasis. 

        PURPOSED:  (Grk.-protithēmi)–This Greek word literally means, “to place before; to set before one’s self; propose to one’s self; to purpose; to determine”  How often he had purposed this we really have no way to know. The fact, however, that he had done it, showed his strong desire to see them, and to witness the displays of the grace of God in the capital of the Roman world; (compare 15:23-24).

         One such instance of his having purposed to go to Rome is recorded in Acts 19:21:   “After these things were ended (namely, at Ephesus), Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia to go to Jerusalem; saying, ‘After I have been there, I must also see Rome.’”
         And interesting side thougth:  This purpose expressed in this manner in the Epistle, and the
Acts of the Apostles, has been shown by Dr. Paley to be one of those undesigned coincidences which strongly show that both books are genuine; (comparring 15:23-24 with Acts 19:21).

         An    example of   his strong desire to go to Rome is shown in Acts 19:21—“After these things (events at Ephesus) were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, ‘After I have been there, I     must also see Rome.’”  He also expresses this desire to the Roman believers in 15:23-24.

“but was let”
Literally:  “And was prevented forbidden),.”–This may possibly be referring to being prohibited by God; (Paul would have visited them long before, but God did not permit him to do so, or it could mean that possibly opportunities to preach or other ministry may have hindered him.

        LET:  (ekōluthēn)–Literally:  “prevented; to cut off; to cut short; to hinder or prevent.”.  This English word “let” is an old (now obsolete) English word.  This shows just how much the English language has changed since the KJV was translated.  This meaning of this word “let” has now completely reversed  Then (in 1611) it meant, “to hinder, to prevent” but now it means just the opposite–“to allow,” or even to “rent or lease.” 

“that I might have some fruit among you”–That he might be the means of good in Rome, as he had been in other places.  The Lord Jesus Christ used this expression in John 15:16—“I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should bring fothr fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”

         That I might be the means of the conversion of sinners, and of the edification of the church, in the capital of the Roman empire.  It was not out of curiosity to see the splendid capital of the world that prompted Paul’s desire; neither was it the love of travel. Rather, it was the specific purpose of doing good to the souls of men. To have fruit means to obtain success in bringing men to the knowledge of Christ. Thus the Savior said, (John 15:16) “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”
          Far too many preachers think that the fruit that believers are to have refers only to the converts as soul-winner.  But the Word of God speaks of other fruits of believers, besides that of soul-winning: 

1.      There is fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” (Gal. 5:22-23);
2.      There are fruits of rightousness (Phil. 1:11)
3.      There is fruit of our lipspraise to the Lord (Heb. 13:15).
4.      There are good fruits—(James 3:17).

 “even as among other Gentiles”
Literally:  “Even as also in the remaining nations.”  This phrase indicates that the church in Rome was, as a whole, made up of Gentiles.  Never forget that Paul was the apostle (the only one) to the Gentiles (the “uncircumcision”).  His primary ministry was to the Gentiles (which, of course, includes us Americans).

“I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.”

“I am debtor”
Literally:  “I am a debtor”–Understand that Paul is not saying that he owed monies or  favors to Gentiles; rather, it means that he was under an obligation  to preach the gospel to all; an obligation which Christ had placed upon him.                       

         DEBTOR:  (Grk.-opheiletēs)–Literally:  “one who is under obligation; one held by obligation, one bound by some duty; a debtor.”  This word refers to a personal or moral obligation.

Here we have the testimony of the faithful steward; of being the trusted bearer of tidings of im-portance directly from heaven.  Note that Paul does not mention Jews, even though he had a great longing toward them, but he had been sent distinctly to the Gentiles (Acts 2 6:17). He had especially been chosen by Christ to bear the gospel to the Gentiles (11:13; Acts 9:15 Gal. 2:9). 

J. Vernon McGee speaks of the three “missions” of Paul:
“I am a debtor (that is admission)…
I am ready (that is remission)..
“I am not ashamed” (that is
These are the three ‘missions’ of Paul:
admission, remission, and submission.”

“to the Greeks and to the barbarians”
Literally:  “To Greeks and foreigners.”–To the wise and unwise; polished and rude, learned and ignorant.

        To the Jews, the whole world was divided into Jews and Greeks (Hellenes); and to the Greek and Romans, the world was divided into Greeks (Hellenes); and Barbarians.  We have come to believe that the word barbarian referred to those uncivilized or savages; but that is not the meaning here at all; it means someone whose speech is hard to understand, or sounded strange. 
        This same term was applied by Luke to the inhabitants of the Isle of Malta (Acts 28:4).  These people, situated near the Italian “boot” were civilized and surely not uncivilized.

        GREEKS:  (Grk.–Hellēsi)–This term properly denotes those who dwelt in Greece. But as the Greeks were the most polished people of antiquity, the term came to be synonymous with the polished, the refined, the wise, as opposed to barbarians. In this place it doubtless means the same as “the wise,” and includes the Romans also, as it cannot be supposed that Paul would designate the Romans as barbarians

        FOREIGNERS:  (Grk.–barbaros)– All who were not intended under the general name of Greeks. Thus Ammonius says, that “all who were not Greeks were barbarians.”

This Greek word (barbaros) refers to “one whose speech is rude, rough, harsh.”  To the Greeks, this refers to those who speech sounded like they were stuttering, “bar, bar.”  The word denotes one who speaks a foreign language-a foreigner; and the Greeks applied it to all who did not use their tongue. Comp. I Cor. 14:11. “I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian,” etc.; i.e., "I shall speak a language which he cannot understand." The word did not therefore of necessity denote any rusticity of manners, or any want of refinement.  Paul’s use of this term shows that he felt obligated to all Gentiles, without distinction.

“both to the wise, and to the unwise”
Literally:  “To the wise and foolish.”  The “wise” were those intellectuals and philosophers who esteemed themselves to be wise, or who had boasted of their wisdom.  This term was most likely anonymous with “the Greeks” who prided themselves of their wisdom.  I Cor. 1:22 says, “the Greeks seek after wisdom.” See I Cor. 1:19; 3:18-19).  Our modern expression, “to the learned and unlearned” is comparable to this phrase. 

         WISE:  (Grk.–sophos)–The word Sophos is the wisdom which is akin to goodness; or rather is goodness itself contemplated from one particular point of view, as the wisdom which only the good can possess (Trench).

        UNWISE:  (Grk.–anoētois)–Literally:  “ignorant; foolish.”  These “unwise” were those who were regarded by the “intellectuals” as   ignorant or unpolished. This word refers to that lack of wisdom which is due to a moral fault (Trench)

“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are in Rome also.”

“as much as in me is”
Literally:  “as far as in me {lies}”–As far as I am able. As far as opportunity may be offered, and according to my ability.  To my utmost. 

“I am ready to preach the gospel”
Literally:  “I am eager to preach the gospel”–This expresses the readiness of Paul’s mind to his work; and declares what a willing mind he had to preach it also to the Romans, as elsewhere:  The contrast implied is that between willing (which Paul on his part is equal to) and carrying out that will (which depends on God.)

Paul is saying, “I have a ready mind. I was only prevented by the providence of God from visiting you long ago. His time is best: in the mean time I write, by His direction, to comfort and instruct you.” Paul was not only ready to preach in the imperial capital itself, he was eager to do it.

“to you that are in Rome”
Literally:  “To you in Rome.”  This refers to the Church there in Rome, not to the general population of the city itself. 

Keep in mind that Paul was a Jew, and the Romans despised the Jews.  Also, he would be opposed by the Jews in the city for he was preaching a message that the Jews had rejected.  Here he wished to be, preaching about a Christ that the Jewish nation had officially rejected, of a Christ who had been crucified by a Roman governor.  This verse ends the introduction to this epistle.