Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 15

From Jerusalem to Illyricum

Romans 15:19

Illyricum is the country that today is called Albania. It is on the north west side of Greece. Paul mentions it as the furthest place where he had declared the gospel (the good news about Christ). That is, it was the furthest place in a north and west direction. In the opposite direction (south and east), the furthest place was Jerusalem. The two places are about 1000 miles (1600 kilometres) apart.

God had given Paul the desire to declare the gospel in places where people did not know Christ. There were many such places in the nations round the Mediterranean sea, between Jerusalem and Illyricum. The Book of Acts records Paul's principal journeys, and some of the main events on those journeys. However, much of the time Paul was probably travelling to small towns, where he only remained for a few days. The Book of Acts does not give the details of those journeys. Also, it does not record his journey to or towards Illyricum; nor most of the events in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. Clearly, Paul did much more than even the Book of Acts records.

Paul did not choose where he would go. Instead, he prayed and he allowed the Holy Spirit to guide him (Acts 16:6-10). Paul depended very much on the power of the Holy Spirit to do this work. He himself was not strong enough to do it - he depended on Christ for the strength to do God's work (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Like all the first Christians, Paul did not depend on words alone as he declared the gospel. In every place, the Holy Spirit was active and powerful (Mark 16:16-19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4). God cured ill people, and astonishing things happened. During the lives of those first Christians, God did even more wonderful things than he did during Christ's life on earth (John 14:12).

Next part: A church leader's work in places where there are no Christians (Romans 15:20-21)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.