The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans 15:13, 16, 18-19, 30

This next Sunday, January 17, 2021, I plan to teach a lesson at The Sanctuary UPC that examines the work of the Holy Spirit in Romans 15:13, 16, 18-19, 30. The study guide for this lesson is posted below. It is excerpted from my book The Holy Spirit: A Commentary.

As I have done with the previous two lessons in this series, I plan to post the video from this class by Monday, January 18. The study guide for the first lesson in this series was posted on January 2, 2021; the video followed on January 3. This lesson covered Romans 8:8-27. The study guide for the second lesson in the series was posted on January 8, and the video on January 10.

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans 15:13, 16, 18-19, 30

January 17, 2021

Daniel L. Segraves, Teacher

Twitter: @danielsegraves

[1] The only way believers can abound in hope is by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Nothing can develop biblical hope apart from the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Hope is not positive thinking, positive mental attitude, or possibility thinking. It results only by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit within.

[2] Paul’s reference to “the offering of the Gentiles” seems intended to remind his Jewish readers that the Gentiles’ salvation was accomplished by the will of God (Romans 15:16). Thus, there was no reason for Jewish believers to hold Gentile brethren at arm’s length. If Gentiles were acceptable to God, they should be acceptable to Jewish Christians. (See Romans 15:4-12.) If Gentiles were sanctified, or set apart unto God, by the Holy Spirit, no legitimate reason remained for Jewish Christians to reject them.

[3] How Christ accomplished the conversion of Gentiles through Paul was “in word and deed . . . in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Romans 15:18-19).[1] Paul’s ministry was not limited to a vocal declaration of the gospel; it included confirming the word with signs following. Nothing in Scripture suggests God intended to restrict this kind of ministry to the first century.[2],[3]

[4] Paul was apparently in Corinth when he wrote his letter to the Romans. He knew difficulties awaited him in Jerusalem. (See Acts 20:22-24; 21:4, 10-14.) Even though Agabus, a prophet, and other believers warned Paul about the consequences of going to Jerusalem, he did not hesitate to pray for deliverance. He was not unwilling to face whatever was in store, but he was no fatalist. Since no man is omniscient, there is always a place for prayer for deliverance from difficulties – even those that are foretold, unless God specifically declares His refusal to remove the obstacles. So Paul appealed for prayers “through the Lord Jesus Christ,” or based on the believers’ unity together in Him (see Romans 6:3-8; 12:4-5), and “through the love of the Spirit,” meaning the love that results from the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 15:30).

Summary of the Holy Spirit in Romans

  1. The Spirit declared Jesus to be the Son of God by the Spirit’s role in His resurrection from the dead.
  1. The Old Testament practice of circumcision symbolized New Testament realities involving the Spirit.
  1. The Spirit produces hope and love, and believers are to be led by the Spirit.
  1. The kingdom of God does not involve what believers eat or drink. It involves the Holy Spirit.
  1. Signs and wonders accomplished by the Spirit play a vital role in the spread of the gospel.

[1] The phrase “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me” (KJV) is not the way we would typically express this idea today, so Paul’s point is somewhat obscured. Today’s translations tend to render this phrase something like this: “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed” (Romans 15:18, ESV). Compare this verse with Acts 15:12; 21:19 to see that what Paul attributes to Christ in Romans he attributes to God in Acts.

[2] See Mark 16:17-20; Acts 13:9-12; 14:3, 8-10, 19-20; 19:11-12; 20:9-12; 28:1-8; I Corinthians 2:1-5; II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4.

[3] My Master of Arts in Exegetical Theology thesis is titled “That Which Is Perfect (I Corinthians 13:10): A Non-Eschatological Approach.” This thesis, which I submitted in June 1993, examines the claim that the spiritual gifts have ceased. It is available at for $2.99.