Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:CHAPTER 16
Phoebe (which means “radiant”) is first mentioned. She was probably a person of great influence and wealth, for she had been a succorer of many, including the Apostle. She is heartily commended to the assembly in Rome, to be received in the Lord, worthily of the Saints. Then that interesting pair of fellow workers of the Apostle Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, are saluted. To follow their wanderings and interest in the Gospel we have to omit here; see Acts 18:1-3; Acts 18:18-19; Acts 18:26; 1Corinthians 16:19; 2Timothy 4:19. At what time they laid down their necks for the life of the Apostle we do not know. The assembly met in their house. Then the first convert of the province of Asia, the beloved Epaenetus is greeted. Many, who had labored much; Andronicus and Junius, who were in the Lord before Paul, and others are greeted. Little do we know of all these names, but their records are on high and at the judgment seat of Christ they and their abundant labors and sufferings will be made manifest.
(Not till the third century have we any proofs of the existence of buildings set apart for Christian worship. Not only were most of the churches too poor to build meeting-places, but, until Christianity became the religion of the empire, the privacy and secrecy possible in a meeting held in a dwelling-house were important considerations. The wealthier members of a church seem to have put one of their rooms at the disposal of the brethren for this purpose. First comes the Upper Room, in which our Lord held his Last Supper with his disciples (Matthew 26:18), and then the house of Mary in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12), although this may have been the same place. In Ephesus the house of Aquila and Priscilla was a meeting-place (1Corinthians 16:19), as it was in Rome also. At Laodicea the church met in the house of Nymphas (Colossians 4:15), and at Colosse in the house of Philemon (Romans 16:2). Although there may have been in Rome one house in which the whole body of Christians met, yet it would seem that it was usual to hold meetings in a number of houses. The phrases, “and the brethren that are with them” (Romans 16:14), and “all the saints that are with them” (15), seem to imply separate groups of believers.--A.E. Garvie.)
There is a warning against those who create divisions and give occasions to stumbling, contrary to the doctrine they had learned. These were probably teachers like those who disturbed the Galatians and these teachers were to be shunned--”turn away from them.” To create divisions in the body of Christ is a work of the flesh and a serious matter. “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly, and by kind and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the guileless.” How often this is the case with false teachers in our own times. Destructive critics, false teachers, deniers of the Gospel of Grace are often in character very amiable and kind. Such is especially true of Christian Science with their leaders; the blasphemies of that cult are generally covered up by kind and fair speeches. And Satan, who is behind all these things, will shortly be bruised under the feet of His people. Complete victory over all evil is promised for His people and will surely come.
And now the final salutations and the conclusion in praise. “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”