Rom 15 concludes the discussion begun in the last chapter on the weak and the strong in the faith (here is the analysis of it in greater detail).
It also reveals elements that shows that the entire letter to the Romans forms one great chaistic structure:
1a) Rom 1:1-6, Introduction:
1) Rom 1:1, Apostle separated to the gospel of God;
2) Rom 1:2-4, Which He promised before through His prophets/ Scriptures concerning Jesus Christ;
3) Rom 1:5-6, Through whom we have received grace for obedience to the faith among all nations;
1b) Rom 1:7, Greeting;
1c) Rom 1:8-15, Paul’s ministry and past plans;
1d) Rom 1:16-3:31, Man deserves wrath but instead God has revealed His mercy in Jesus Christ;
1e) Rom 4:1-25, The promises made to the fathers reveal justification by faith;
1f) Rom 5:1-21, God has received us;
1g) Rom 6:1-23, Do not continue in sin;
1h) Rom 7:1-8:30, Righteous requirement of the Law fulfilled by walking in the Spirit not the flesh;
1i) Rom 8:31-39, God loves us in Jesus Christ;
central axis) Rom 9:1-11:32, God’s righteousness and faithfulness to save the world, both Gentile and Jew;
2i) Rom 12:1-13:8a, Practical application of the command to love one another;
2h) Rom 13:8b-10, Love the fulfillment of the Law;
2g) Rom 13:11-14, Cast off the works of darkness, put on the Lord Jesus Christ;
2f) Rom 14:1-15:7, Receive one another;
2e) Rom 15:8, Jesus Christ confirms the promises made to the fathers;
2d) Rom 15:9-13, That the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy;
2c) Rom 15:14-33, Paul’s ministry and future plans;
2b) Rom 16:1-24, Greetings;
2a) Rom 16:25-27, Benediction:
1) Rom 16:25a, Established according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ;
2) Rom 16:25b-26a, The revelation of the mystery now made manifest by the prophetic Scriptures;
3) Rom 26:b-27, Made known to all nations for obedience to the faith.
Once again, the matching pairs reveal much wisdom as we meditate on them! I saw the headline for this week’s Newsweek magazine (Resurrection week) on the corruption of the church, so instead, follow Jesus. Well, of course, our aim should always be to follow Him, as He has called us, and to not let the weaknesses or mistakes of men deter us from our high calling. Of course, the article had to repeat the tired mantra that the gospels and letters were written long after the events they claim to describe (the implication being, so if you throw out the Bible as well in your attempt to follow Jesus, no worries)!
Some might see this delving into chiastic structures and such a pointless exercise. But what I see in it — besides the understanding of the Scriptures; the heart of love and wisdom that the central points and pairings teach us — is the invisible inspiration of the Holy Spirit as His thumbprint on His Word, on the gospels, on the letters, assuring us that the Word that He has so faithfully preserved, from Genesis to Revelation, is in fact His Word, every letter of it. We can trust Him!
“The grass withers, and the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.” Isa 40:8.