Personal Matters and Doxology, 15:14-16:27
Paul concludes his letter to the Romans with a beautiful liturgical doxology.
i] Context: See 1:1-7.
ii] Background: See 1:8-15.
iii] Structure: This passage, serving as a concluding doxology, presents as follows:
The object of the wish-prayer:
The one able to ground the Roman believers in Paul's gospel, v25a;
The secret now revealed to bring about obedience of faith, v25b-26.
May God be glorified, v27.
iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.
Wand in The New Testament Letters shapes the doxology this way:
To God all-wise be glory
Who strength has given to men
By making known his secret
Long hid from human kin.
Prophetic voices told it
To ears that closed again,
But now to faithful Pagans
He makes the mystery plain.
Paul tells us that the manifestation of the mystery / the proclamation of Jesus Christ / Paul's euaggelion, "gospel / important news", once secret, now revealed, serves an eternal purpose, namely, "the obedience of faith", even of Gentiles, ie., "to lead them to the obedience which is born of faith", Barclay. To this end let God be glorified.
This doxology is often regarded as a later addition and not from Paul's hand, cf., Cranfield. The argument is that it was composed to round off what seems like an incomplete letter. The arguments are inconclusive and so we are best to treat this passage as a concluding doxology which ends the epistle with the same sentiments with which it was commenced.
vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 16:25
Doxology, v25-27. Paul gives glory to the God, the one who is well able to "establish", to confirm, the Romans in their commitment to the gospel, ie., confirm in the sense of strengthen their commitment to, their belief in, the gospel. The NIV has "establish you by my gospel", but "by" or "through", is probably better translated "according to", "in alignment with". So, Paul gives glory to the God who is well able to keep the Roman believers aligned to gospel truth.
de "now" - but, and. Transitional connective; "now ....."
tw/ dunamenw/ (dunamai) dat. pres. pas. part. "to him who is able" - to the one being able. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object; "let be ascribed (hJ doxa v27) glory to the one who is able ....." Having the power to make something possible, cf. Eph.3:20, Jd.24. "To him whose power can establish you firmly", Bruce.
sthrixai (sthrissw) inf. "to establish" - to make firm, make stable, set up, fix firmly [you]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verbal aspect of the substantive participle, "is able." The gospel can strengthen the believer, cf. 1:11. "To him who can strengthen you by my gospel", Moffatt.
kata + acc. "by / in accordance with" - according to. Expressing a standard, "in conformity with, in accordance with", "who is able to confirm you in accord with my gospel", Cranfield.
to euaggelion mou "my gospel" - the important message of me. The word "gospel" means "important news". In the NT it came to stand for the particular message conveyed by Jesus which encapsulated a radical reinstatement / restoration of the covenant = "the new covenant." The genitive mou, "my", is adjectival, not possessive, owned by Paul, but rather attributive, limiting "gospel"; "the gospel which was exegeted by Paul under the guiding hand of the Spirit." So, "my" means the gospel which Paul preaches and which he received from Christ; "the gospel which I preach", Cassirer.
kai "-" - and. Here most probably epexegetic, specifying "my gospel."
khrugma (a) "the proclamation / the message I proclaim" - the proclamation. This word is a technical term for the apostolic preaching of the cross and resurrection of Christ. The phrase, introduced by an epexegetic kai, serves to explain the word euaggelion, "gospel".
Ihsou Cristou (oV) gen. "of Jesus Christ / about Jesus Christ" - The genitive my be classified as: ablative, source / origin, "from Jesus Christ"; verbal, subjective, "preaching done by Christ", ie. Christ "is the author .... in his earthly manifestation", Gerhard Friedrich, TDNT 1964/2; verbal, objective, "the preaching about Jesus Christ", identifying the content of what is preached, Morris, Moo, Dunn, etc.
kata + acc. "according to / in keeping with" - Expressing a standard, as above, so NIV, but possibly expressing cause, so Harris, or basis, so Moo. It is likely that this prepositional clause stands in apposition to the first:
"To him who is able to make you stand four-square,
as the good news I preach and the message Jesus Christ proclaimed promised that he can,
that good news and that proclamation which came in the revelation of the secret purpose of God", Barclay
apokaluyin (iV ewV) "the revelation" - unveiling, revelation. "The full unveiling of the mystery", Bruce.
musthriou (on) gen. "of the mystery" - of mystery. The genitive may be classified as: adverbial, reference, "with reference to"; verbal, objective, "the disclosing of that secret purpose", Phillips. The "mystery" is a divine secret, once hidden, now revealed.
sisighmenou (sigaw) perf. pas. part. "hidden" - having been kept secret, silent, hidden. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "gospel / mystery"; "which ..... has been kept secret", the perfect tense being extensive. The gospel unveils the mystery, once hidden, but now revealed. "That purpose which for long ages was veiled in silence", Barclay.
cronoiV (oV) dat. "for long ages past" - in times [eternal]. The dative is adverbial, temporal / dative of time, duration.
The mystery, now made known in the gospel and confirmed by the Old Testament scriptures, serves to bring about faith among the Gentiles.
de "but" - Adversative, contrasting the unveiled now with the veiled past.
nun "now" - Temporal. The "now" should by underline, "now, however", TEV.
fanerwqentoV (fanerow) gen. aor. pas. part. "revealed" - having been made manifest. This participle, as with gnwrisqentoV, "having been made know", is adjectival, attributive, limiting "gospel / mystery", "which .... has been kept secret .... but which now has been manifested [through the prophetic writings] and (te indicating a close connective) which has been made known [to all the nations]." It should not be read that the mystery is revealed through the prophets and law (obviously the Old Testament), but that it is revealed through the proclamation of the gospel which is confirmed by the law and the prophets.
dia + gen. "through [the prophetic writings]" - through [prophetic scriptures]. Instrumental, expressing means, "by means of"; "through the instrumentality of the prophetic writings", Cassirer.
kat (kata) + acc. "by" - according to. Expressing a standard; "in accord with, in conformity with", or basis, "based on the command", CEV.
epitaghn (h) "the command" - a command, order, instruction, decree.
tou aiwniou geou gen. "of the eternal God" - The genitive may be classified as verbal, subjective, "a command given by the eternal God", or ablative, source / origin, "a command from the eternal God." The sense of "eternal" is probably "ever-living", "the One who never dies", but also carrying the sense of "unchanging", "the never-changing One." "The eternal God's command", Cassirer.
eiV "so that" - into, to, for. The preposition is used twice in this Gk. sentence, the first being spacial, the second use here expresses purpose / end view; "which has been made known to all the nations ...... for the obedience of faith."
pistewV (iV ewV) gen. "[all nations might] believe and obey / [all the Gentiles might come to] the obedience that comes from faith" - [obedience] of faith [to all the Gentiles]. According to a command of the eternal God for (eiV, here purpose = "to bring about") the obedience of faith. For the genitive and the sense of the phrase see 1:5. The mystery is revealed in the gospel so that the nations may come to the "obedience of faith", ie. that right-standing before God which is by faith from first to last.
May God be glorified.
monw/ sofw/ qew/ dat. "to the only wise God" - to God alone wise. Standing in apposition to tw/ .. dunamenw/, "to him who is able", v25. The NIV, etc. holds that a common confusion between the adj. "alone" and the adv. "only" has taken place, cf. BDF. Yet, there is much to support a translation which takes both "alone" and "wise" as qualifying adjectives, "God is the only God, and he is a wise God"; "to the only God, who alone is all wise", TEV. Sadly, the CEV has slipped back into line with the NIV, NRSV, REB, NAB, .....
hJ doxa (a) "be glory" - Glory, the radiance of God's person, is most evident in "God's saving wisdom, in which the plan of the salvation of the world was conceived", Dumbrell.
dia + gen. "through [Jesus Christ]" - Expressing agency; "by, through Jesus Christ."
w|/ "[be glory]" - to whom [be the glory into the ages]. This resumptive demonstrative pronoun stands in apposition to both "the one who is able" and "the only wise God", encapsulating all that is said of God in v25-27, finally taking the ascription of glory; "to the only God who alone is wise, through Jesus Christ, to him [the only God, wise God, etc...] let glory be ascribed." We may have expected the definite article tw/, but "to whom" indicates possession of all the ascribed qualities. The natural antecedent of the relative in the Gk. is "Christ", implying that the ascription of glory is to Christ rather than God, but it is most likely that God is the intended object, as rendered in the NIV, contra Barrett. The optative ei[h, "be", is assumed. "To God be glory for ever. Amen", TNT.
eiV + acc. "forever" - into [the ages]. Idiomatic temporal use of the preposition; "for ever and ever."