Paul saw that his ministry was complete in the region from Jerusalem east to Illyricum (modern Croatia) and he made plans to visit the believers in Rome, as he traveled west to Spain.
Paul found that there were no more areas in this region that had no news of the gospel. He saw that there was no further place for [him] in these regions and he now has the opportunity to visit Rome. Since I have had for many years a longing to come to you, he begins to make plans to go see the believers in Rome by way of his visit to Spain, which at this point was under Roman control. Whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while.
Paul thinks very highly of the believers in Rome and knows he will enjoy and be encouraged by their company. In Romans chapter 1:11-12 he more fully explained what he hoped to gain from his visit with the believers in Rome:
“For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
Paul hoped to encourage the believers and help them grow and knew that the time together would encourage him as well. Throughout Romans, Paul has emphasized the importance of believers caring for one another. In Romans 12 Paul talked about the church as a body, with each member doing its part. Paul planned to visit and encourage the believers in person and knew they would do the same for him and help him with his physical needs as well.
23 but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you 24 whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while
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