What does Paul mean when he writes to the church in Rome to “welcome” one another? Merriam-webster.com gives the definition: to greet hospitably and with courtesy or cordiality. By that definition it would seem that all Paul wanted was for the church members to greet each other and be pleasant. But as we read the verses preceding this command, it is clear he has more then just “be nice” in mind.
A bible dictionary gives this definition of “proslambano” the Greek word transliterated welcome: to take into one’s society; to receive and treat with kindness. Keeping this meaning in mind let’s tackle what Paul said about welcoming one another.
Below is the first of two posts on how we are to “welcome one another as Christ welcomed us for the glory of God.”
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Romans 15:1
STRONG HEART…We who are strong in our faith have an obligation…
Whoa…OBLIGATION…that is a strong word there.
Yes, it literally means “to owe a debt”.
But to whom…the weak person?
No, but hold on to that question as we will deal with it later. Keep the verses below in mind as you consider your obligation to bear with the failings of the weak.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Romans 14:1
SURRENDERED HEART…We are not to seek to please ourselves…
Wait, if I welcome others I have to surrender my wants and desires, I can’t have it my way??
Think about it this way, to welcome one another with a surrendered heart we have to have the same attitude as Christ.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:2
So I am not to please myself, but to please my neighbor instead. What if pleasing my neighbor would mean doing something wrong? What does it really mean to please my neighbor for their good, to build them up?
So glad you asked, we are to have a servant’s heart toward our neighbor to please and build them up for their spiritual good. We are to speak and act in such way that encourages them and helps strengthen their faith. I think the verses below will help you get the picture.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
These are some hard commands…I need help!
Yes of course we all do. God knows we do, that is why He has given us His word that we might find encouragement and hope to endure. Reading, studying, praying, and memorizing His word, filling our hearts with Scripture, is the only way we can become the “welcomers” God has called us to be.
In the next post, we will discuss how Christ has welcomed us and how this welcoming can bring glory to God.