Strong Christians should help weaker Christians
1 Some of us trust God with strong faith. We must help those believers whose faith is weaker. We must be patient with them. We should not just do things that will make us happy ourselves. 2 Instead, each of us should do things that will make other believers happy. We should help them to trust God more strongly. 3 Even Christ did not just do things that would make himself happy. It is written in the Bible that he said this: ‘People have insulted you, God. In that way they have insulted me also.’
4 Everything that people wrote in the Bible in past times is there to teach us something. Those words help us to be patient and strong. As a result, we can trust God to do what he has promised.
5 It is God himself who helps us to be patient and strong. So I pray that he will help you to agree with each other and to be friends. That is how Christ Jesus wants you to live. 6 As a result, all of you will praise God together with the same thoughts. You will all agree that God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is very great.
Christ saves both Jews and Gentiles
7 Christ has accepted you, so you must accept each other. In that way you will be praising God. 8 Remember this: Christ became a servant of the Jews so that they could understand God's true message. He showed them that God has now done what he promised to their ancestors. 9 The Gentiles also praise God because he has been kind to them. This is written in the Bible:
15:8God had promised to Israel's people that he would send his Messiah to save them. Jesus showed them that he himself is God's special Messiah. When Jesus came, God's promise became true.
‘I will tell the Gentiles about you, God.
I will praise you with songs, to show how great you are.’
10 It says also in the Bible:
‘Be very happy, you Gentiles!
Praise God together with his people.’
11 It says this also:
‘Say how great the Lord is, all you Gentiles.
All people, from every country, should say how great he is.’
12 God's prophet Isaiah says this:
‘The root of Jesse will arrive.
He will come to rule the Gentiles.
The Gentiles will trust him to save them.’
15:12See Isaiah 11:10. Jesse was King David's father. See 1 Samuel 16:1. Jesus was born as a baby many years after Jesse and David lived on the earth. The ‘root of Jesse’ means that Jesus belonged to Jesse and David's family. See Matthew 1:1-16. But it means also that Jesse and David come from Jesus. Jesus caused them to be alive, as a plant grows up from its root. The root is the part of the plant that is under the ground. Jesus is God. He has always been alive in God's home beyond the earth. He made everything and everyone else.
13 God is the one who causes us to hope for good things. I pray that God will bless you very much. I pray that he will cause you to be happy and to have peace in your minds. He will do this because you believe in him. As a result, God's Holy Spirit will make you strong with his power, so that you hope even more certainly.
Paul's reason for writing this letter
14 My Christian friends, I myself am completely sure that you are always good. You know everything about God's message, so that you are able to teach one another what is right. 15 I know that is true, but I still needed to write this letter to you. I have written to you strongly, so that you would remember certain things. Because God is kind, he has chosen me to serve him in this way. 16 I am a servant of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles. I tell people God's good news. I work like a priest so that God will accept the Gentiles. I offer them to God. The Holy Spirit has made them clean and so God accepts them.
17 So, I can be proud about my work. I can serve God well because I belong to Christ Jesus. 18 But I will only speak about the work that Christ has made me able to do. I have lived among the Gentiles and I have spoken God's message to them. They have obeyed God as a result of Christ's work through me. 19 God's Holy Spirit used his power to do many miracles. He caused many great and powerful things to happen. As a result, I have told the whole good news about Christ to many people. I have told it while I travelled all the way from Jerusalem city to Illyricum.
15:19Illyricum was a region near the Adriatic Sea, north and west from Greece. It was about where the north part of the country called Albania is now.
20 I want to go to places where nobody has ever told people about Christ before. I want to tell the good news to people in those places. That is what I have always wanted to do. I do not want to work in a place where someone else has already started to teach God's message. 21 This is written in the Bible about God's Messiah:
‘Those people that nobody ever told them about him will now see.
Those people who have never heard about him will now understand.’
Paul hopes to visit Rome soon
22 That is why, many times, I have not had a chance to visit you. 23 For many years I have been waiting for the chance to come. But now I have finished my work in these places here. 24 So, I hope to visit you while I am travelling to Spain. I will stay with you in Rome for a short time. I will really enjoy having some time together with you there. Then you can help me to continue my journey.
25 But now, I am ready to go to Jerusalem so that I can help God's people there. 26 Some of them are poor, and the Christians in Macedonia and Achaia wanted to help them. So, they got some money to send to those people. 27 The Christians in Macedonia and Achaia were happy to share what they had. But really, they have a duty to help the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. It is the Jews who shared good things from God to help the Gentiles in their spirits. So now the Gentiles ought to help the Jewish Christians with things that they need for their bodies.
15:27Macedonia included the north part of the country that we call Greece. It also included the south part of the country that we call Yugoslavia. Achaia was the south part of Greece.
28 So, I must take their gift safely to the Christians in Jerusalem. When I have finished that job, I will come to visit you. Then I will continue my journey to Spain. 29 When I visit you, I know that Christ will bless us very much while we are together.
30 My Christian friends, please pray for me as I do this difficult work. Together we belong to our Lord Jesus Christ. God's Spirit has given us love for each other. So I ask you to help me and to pray with me. 31 Pray that God will keep me safe from those people in Judea who have refused to believe in Jesus. Pray also that God's people at Jerusalem will happily accept the gift that I am taking to them.
15:31Judea was a region in the south part of Israel. Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, was in Judea.
32 If God agrees, I will then be able to come to you, and we will be happy together. I will enjoy having some rest while I stay there with you. 33 I pray that God will give you peace in your minds. I pray that he will be with all of you and help you. Amen.