15:30 to contend along with me Paul urges Roman believers to pray earnestly for him, suggesting that it will aid his work.
15:30 the love of the Spirit. This phrase occurs only here in Scripture and refers to Paul’s love for the Holy Spirit, not the Spirit’s love for him (cf. Ps 143:10).
15:30, 31 prayers … that I may be rescued. Many Jews in Judea rejected the gospel and were prepared to attack Paul when he returned. Aware of the trouble that awaited him (Ac 20:22–24), he wanted the Roman Christians to pray for his deliverance only so he could complete the ministry the Lord had given him. Their prayers were answered in that he met with success in Jerusalem (Ac 21:17, 19, 20) and was delivered from death, but not imprisonment (Ac 21:10, 11; 23:11).
15:30 — Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me .…
God loves to answer the faithful prayers of believers that are offered on behalf of other believers. Paul, the great apostle, frequently asked others to pray for him. God wants us praying regularly for each other.
15:30 The apostle closes this section with a fervent appeal for their prayers. The basis on which he appeals is their mutual union with the Lord Jesus Christ and their love which came from the Holy Spirit. He asks them to agonize in prayers to God for him. As Lenski says, “This calls for prayers into which one puts his whole heart and soul as do the contestants in the arena.”
30. I exhort you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit …
The very wording indicates that Paul is deeply conscious of the need of the prayers of the church for him. Note the solemnity of the expression, “by our Lord Jesus Christ,” referring to the Savior in all the fulness of his being and meaning for the church. Note especially “our,” for he is both Paul’s Lord and the Lord of the addressed.
Paul appeals to “our Lord Jesus Christ” because it was that same Lord who had sacrificed himself for Paul out of love for him (Gal. 2:20), and who had personally appointed him to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 22:17–22).
He appeals also to “the love of the Spirit,” probably indicating (though not all agree) that very love which the Spirit has poured out into the hearts of all those who belong to Christ (Rom. 5:5) and who therefore can be expected to pray for one another.
- Description of the Character of the Requested Prayer
… to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me …
There is nothing superficial about genuine prayer. Isaiah describes it as a taking hold of God (64:7). For Jacob—that is “Israel”—it was a wrestling with God (Gen. 32:24–30). And Paul here similarly calls it a struggle. Cf. Col. 2:1; 4:12. The apostle desires that the Roman believers join him in an intensely earnest and yearning petition.
30. By the love of the Spirit. That is, the love which the Spirit imparts and maintains (cf. 5:5).
Strive together with me. ‘Be my allies in the fight’ (neb). Perhaps he seeks their co-operation not only in prayer regarding the delicate situation awaiting him in Jerusalem, but also in his wider ministry.
30 The fulfillment of Paul’s hope to come to the Romans “with the fullness of the blessing of Christ” (v. 29) depends on what will happen when Paul goes to Jerusalem with the collection. And so he “now” requests that the Roman Christians pray for him. The word Paul uses for his request is one that can be translated simply “ask” but might here have the stronger sense “urge” (so most English versions).158 Paul stresses the urgency of this prayer request by adding two parallel prepositional phrases: “through our Lord Jesus Christ” and “through the love of the Spirit.” The first “through” (Gk. dia) might be paraphrased “in the name of”: it introduces the authority by which Paul makes his request. The second, on the other hand, identifies the ground of the request.160 “Love of the Spirit” might mean “the love of the Spirit for us”; but, in a context where relations among Christians have been so central, it probably indicates “your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit” (NLT). This love is the believer’s response to God’s effusive love: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”163
Paul’s request is that the Roman Christians “strive together” with him in prayer. Paul’s use of the metaphor of fighting or wrestling may imply something about the nature of the prayer that he is requesting. The situation he faces in Jerusalem is serious and fraught with danger—for Paul personally and for the gospel. The verb may simply emphasize the need for strenuous prayer. But it could also connote opposition—not that of God (“wrestling with God in prayer”)166 nor that of the Jerusalem authorities, but that of the spiritual powers.168 Though so many are unknown personally to him, Paul can nevertheless ask the Roman Christians to identify with him in his own struggle so that they might sincerely pray on his behalf. As Calvin remarks, Paul “shows how the godly ought to pray for their brethren, that they are to assume their person, as though they were placed in the same difficulties.”170
30 At the time of writing, Paul was aware of Jewish opposition to him and his work. The attempt on his life when he was about to leave for Jerusalem (Ac 20:3) clearly shows that his apprehension was justified. Paul had received prophetic warnings of what awaited him in Jerusalem (21:11), and he seems to have had a premonition of what lay ahead (Ac 20:22–25). He had experienced deadly peril before and knew that prayer was the great resource in such hazardous times (2 Co 1:10–11); so he requests prayer now—the kind involving wrestling (“join me in my struggle”) before the throne of grace, that the evil designs of his enemies may be thwarted (cf. Eph 6:18–20). In doing so, he enforces his request by presenting it in the name of him whom all believers adore, “our Lord Jesus Christ”—and adding “by the love of the Spirit.” This is a subjective genitive and could mean the love for one another that the Spirit inspires in believers (Gal 5:22). But since the phrase is coupled apparently equally with that of the person of Christ, it is probably better to understand it as the love that the Spirit has (cf. 5:5). The warmth of the expression is enough to warn us against thinking of the Spirit rather impersonally as signifying the power of God. Paul had already affirmed the Spirit’s deity and equality with Father and Son (2 Co 13:14).
Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, (15:30a)
A fifth implied characteristic of a person who faithfully fulfills his divine calling is that of having a clear purpose in his service for the Lord. The preposition by has the sense of “on behalf of,” or “with regard to.” Now I urge you introduces the exhortation to the readers to pray for his protection and ministry. Before giving that exhortation, Paul declared unequivocally that the overriding purpose for his request was to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ. He told the believers at Corinth, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:23), which is to say for Christ’s sake, the source and power of the gospel. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (10:31).
In a following letter to Corinth Paul declared, “We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord.… For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:5, 11). “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses,” he confessed, “with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake” (12:10). In his closing remarks to the Galatian churches Paul wrote, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brandmarks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). And to the Philippians he said, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).
The faithful Christian witnesses for the sake of those who need the Lord and he serves for the sake of those who need help, but his supreme motive always should be to serve His Lord and Savior, in whose name and by whose power he ministers to others.
Paul rejoiced in the fact that, if he succeeded in reaching Jerusalem with the contribution of the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, Christ would be glorified, within the church and before the onlooking world. The Lord would be glorified by the willing and loving generosity of the Gentile contributors as well as by the grateful reception of the gift by the Jews to whom it was sent. Christ is always honored and glorified when His church is unified in His name and in His service.
Not only did Paul minister on behalf of the glory of Christ but also for the sake of the love of the Spirit. This phrase and the idea it expresses are not found elsewhere in Scripture. Some have interpreted this phrase as meaning the Holy Spirit’s love for Paul. As part of the Godhead, the Spirit certainly has the same love for the world as a whole and for believers in particular as do the Father and the Son. The context, however, seems to indicate that Paul was speaking of his love for the Spirit, rather than the Spirit’s love for him. Paul’s great love for God obviously included love for the Holy Spirit as well as for God the Father and God the Son. David expressed a similar sentiment when he wrote, “Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God; let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Ps. 143:10, emphasis added). In both instances the Holy Spirit is praised and, by implication, is loved.
Devotion to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and love for His Holy Spirit should be the foremost and ultimate motive for all Christian living and service. In gratitude for the divine grace by which Christ saved us and for the divine power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us, everything we think, say, and do should express our love for them and bring them glory and honor.
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 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 15:30). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ro 15:30). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1740). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 496). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
 Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, p. 265). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
 Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 925–926). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
 Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 223–224). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 349–351). Chicago: Moody Press.