20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, 21 but as it is written: “To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.” 22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you.
Paul now turned to reveal his strategy of reaching the maximum number of people for Christ.
Having said something about the geographical extent of his ministry, Paul now showed something of his philosophy of missions.
I have made it my aim to preach the gospel,
We can translate “aim” as ambition. Paul’s ambition was to be a pioneer missionary. It was his policy to reach the unreached.
not where Christ was named,
Paul’s desire was to be a pioneer missionary who opened virgin territory to the gospel. He wanted to go to areas where there were no converts.
lest I should build on another man’s foundation,
The idea here is to build on another man’s work in preaching the gospel. It should be noted that this was Paul’s aim and not a universal principle for all Christians. It is God’s will to build on previous ministries in some cases.
but [strong contrast] as it is written:
Paul quoted Isaiah 52:15 to show that God would reach Gentiles for Christ.
“To whom He was not announced, they shall see;
There are people who have never heard the gospel once; they will ultimately be confronted with its message.
And those who have not heard shall understand.”
Those who have not heard the gospel message will understand it. It is important to embrace the meaning of the gospel in order to embrace it adequately.
For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you.
Paul had a desire to come to Rome, but his philosophy of going to unreached areas hindered him from coming.
There are two levels of ambition for every believer.
Ambition can be good or bad. Many people have a lot of ambition but devote all their energy to furthering their own interests. This is a vice of successful people on the human level; it is not the vice of people with no goals.
Biblically, true ambition is to take the gifts and capacities that God gave us and use them for His honor and glory. That means that our chosen career should be lived for Him. Ambition for titles, place, and circumstance is too small for the mature Christian.
There is the story of a young man who dedicated his life for the ministry. A vice-president of a large company offered him a wonderful salary to work for him. The young man declined, saying that the salary was large enough but the job was not big enough. When we develop a passion for world evangelism, our career becomes a means to fill that goal.