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Romans 15

Paul's Ministry Plans

Proper "Boasting"

In Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God (Romans 15:17).

Boasting (Gk. kauchēsis) was an act of pride. In 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Paul spoke of his “crown of boasting,” which was the church at Thessalonica. Both passages fit well in an athletic setting, where the victor boasts of his accomplishment. This is illustrated by this bronze statue of two athletes shown boasting of their victory. Their upraised arms likely once held delicate olive leaf crowns, a common prize for the winner of an athletic competition.

Beyond Macedonia

From Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:19).

Illyricum was a province on the western edge of ancient Greece, facing Italy across the Adriatic Sea. It was known to the Romans as Dalmatia. Today the region is within the modern countries of Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, and even northern Albania. This is the only reference in Scripture to Paul having visited Illyricum, although it is not far from some of his known stops in Macedonia. The ancient stone road pictured here is the Via Egnatia. This would have been the road Paul used to travel, for example, from the port city Neapolis into Macedonia.

End of a Season

But now, with no further place for me in these regions … (Romans 15:23)

It seems that Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans from Corinth. If this is correct, his words communicate the belief that he has accomplished all he could in that area and would feel more profitable working elsewhere. The snow in this photo of the city is suggestive of Paul’s feeling that his season at Corinth had come to a close.

Approaching Rome

I hope to see you as I travel through and to be helped on my journey by you (Romans 15:24).

The Appian Way was named after Appius Claudius Caecus, the Roman censor who built the first section as a military road to the south in 312 BC during the Samnite Wars. The Forum of Appius, which sat close to the canal pictured here, was probably constructed by him as well and named after him. Roman Christians met up with Paul on his way to Rome while he was in this area. In response, Luke writes that Paul thanked God and took courage (Acts 28:15). While under different circumstances than he imagined, Paul did indeed receive the help he had hoped for from the church in Rome.

Joined to Jewish Roots

The Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual things (Romans 15:27).

Gentiles who received the gospel were the recipients of many of the promises that had been made to and through the Jews. Paul spoke of the Gentiles being “grafted in,” a way to illustrate how Gentiles became part of the faith that had first been revealed to the Jewish people. The church in this photo memorializes the place where Moses, one of the giants of the Jewish faith, looked across the Jordan Valley to the Promised Land.

Paul's Destination

That I may come to you in joy through the will of God, and together with you find rest (Romans 15:32).

Paul would eventually come to rest in Rome in a house of his own where he was able to preach the gospel freely (Acts 28:30-31), though the road there was likely quite different than he had imagined. The Church of San Paolo Alla Regola is a traditional place where Paul was held while under house arrest in Rome. Given the late date of this tradition, and the fact that other traditions exist, it is difficult to hold to this tradition with any confidence.

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