*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Romans 15:12-13 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Romans 15:12
  • Romans 15:13

Paul shows that Isaiah predicted Jesus would be a descendant of Jesse and would become the ruler of the Gentiles and bring hope to them. Paul offers a blessing, asking that God would give peace to Christians and that we would hope in the power of the Spirit.

Paul continues quoting Old Testament Scriptures that demonstrate God’s intention and promise to redeem the Gentiles.

Again Isaiah says,

There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

Jesse was the father of King David and God promised David that the Messiah would come from his family line and rule forever (2 Samuel 7:12-17). This of course refers to Jesus. This promise has particular relevance because Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome, which is filled with Gentile believers whose faith was spoken of throughout the world (Romans 1:8). This time Paul actually provides a reference, telling the believers in Rome he is quoting from Isaiah. He doesn’t add the reference (Romans 11:10) because at that point in history the numbers and chapters had not been added. The chapter and verse breaks are not original, they were added later to facilitate study.

Paul then offers a blessing and prayer of sorts, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The letter is coming to a close, and Paul offers further encouragement that his readers continue to place their hope in God. He uses Isaiah’s prophecy to prove Christ’s acceptance of the Gentiles; Christ is the root of Jesse, He has inherited the earth (Philippians 2:8-11), and the Gentiles now praise Him (Romans 1:8), and have hope in Him. Christ has conquered, and we who believe in Him experience God’s mercy and grace.

Throughout this chapter, Paul has encouraged the believers that they can have hope. Paul has said that God gives us hope through perseverance (verse 4), Scripture (verse 4), Christ (verse 12), and the Holy Spirit (verse 13). We have joy and peace when we anticipate and believe that the promises of God will be fulfilled; when we have faith in God we are granted hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Much of Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was to clarify that living the way God designed us to live comes through faith, not law, sin, or flesh. Paul has contended with competing Jewish “authorities” who slandered Paul’s gospel (Romans 3:8). He soundly defeated this slander, showing that righteousness (living as God designed) is accomplished by faith. Living by faith looks like following the Holy Spirit, the Helper (Romans 8:13-17).

Paul is clearly telling his audience that he hopes now, at the end of this letter, they would be at peace, and rest in hope in the Spirit, rather than worry about following the law. Paul has emphasized faith in God, rather than rule-following, and this is accomplished through the Holy Spirit, who dwells inside each believer. In verse 13, it is also by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can be full of hope. Hope, joy, and peace, are given to us by God and the Spirit, by living out our faith.

Biblical Text

12 Again Isaiah says,

“There shall come the root of Jesse,

And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,

In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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