Journey plans (Romans 15:22-29)
Because Paul has been so busy in Asia Minor and the Greek peninsula, he hadn’t had time to come to Rome (Romans 1:13). Now that these churches are well established and because of his desire to preach in new territory (Romans 15:20), he is running out of new places in these regions, so he plans to go to Spain. On his way to Spain, Paul plans to stop in Rome to enjoy the company of the brethren there and perhaps be aided on his trip to Spain.
Before going west, Paul has a duty to complete for the saints in Judea (Acts 19:21). At his urging, funds were gathered for the brethren who were suffering because of a famine and persecution (I Corinthians 16:1-2; II Corinthians 8:1-4; Acts 24:17). The brethren on the Greek peninsula were eager to send this gift because they had benefitted from the brethren in Judea. Judea had sent out the early teachers, such as Paul, into the Gentile world to teach the gospel. In sending aid, they were paying them back for the teaching they received (Galatians 6:6; I Corinthians 9:11).
After making sure the gift was delivered, Paul then planned to go to Rome and then Spain to bring the blessing of the gospel (Romans 1:11-12).
A man’s plans don’t always go as expected because man is not in full control of his life (Proverbs 16:9). One of the reasons we know the authenticity of the Scriptures is that what happened to Paul was not as he had planned it. The overall points were true. He did go to Jerusalem. He then went to Roman and history tells us he eventually went to Spain. But Paul spent two years in prison in Palestine because of the Jews. He came to Rome as a prisoner and spent another two years under house arrest awaiting his trial before Caesar (Acts 28:30-31). After visiting the churches in Asia Minor and the Greek Peninsula again, he finally made his trip to Spain. Romans was written before Paul’s imprisonment because he had no clue what was going to happen to him.
Request for prayers (Romans 15:30-32)
It wasn’t just Paul’s wish to go to Rome. He desired that the Romans pray for him to come to them safely as well. Paul’s request that they strive in together with him, which hints that he had some concerns about his trip. His concern was focused on the unbelieving Jews because Paul wasn’t popular in that region (Acts 21:21-22). He also was concerned that the Jewish Christians might not accept the aid sent to them from their Gentile brethren. One of Paul’s goals with the gift was to create a closer bond between the Jewish and Gentile Christians.
The third thing Paul desired was to be able to come to the brethren in Rome with joy (Romans 1:12). He always kept in mind that whatever happened had to be by God’s will (James 4:15; Acts 18:21; Romans 1:10; I Corinthians 4:19). Paul did arrive by the Lord’s will (Acts 23:11), though he came in chains.
Benediction (Romans 15:33)
Paul brings the teaching portion of his letter to a close with a prayer of peace for the brethren in Rome. It is a fitting conclusion after expressing his concerns over his reception by the Jews. This is Paul’s typical way to “sign” his letters (Romans 16:20; II Corinthians 13:11; I Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20).