Romans 16
ICC New Testament Commentary
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

16:1-16. I commend to you Phoebe our sister. Receive her as becometh members of a Christian Church. For she has stood by many others, and myself as well (vv. 1, 2).

Greet Prisca and Aquila. Greet all those whose names or persons I know, who are members of your community (vv. 3-16).

1. συνίστημι. The ordinary word for to ‘commend,’ ‘introduce’; see on 3:5, a derivative of which appears in the phrase συστατικαὶ ἐπιστολαί (2 Corinthians 3:1; for its use in the later ecclesiastical writings see Suicer, Thesaurus). These letters played a very large part in the organization of the Church, for the tie of hospitality (cf. 12:13), implying also the reception to communion, was the great bond which united the separate local Churches together, and some protection became necessary against imposture.

φοίβην. Nothing is otherwise known of Phoebe, nor can we learn anything from the name. She was presumably the bearer of this letter.

διάκονον, ‘a deaconess.’ The only place in which this office is referred to by name in the N. T. (for 1 Timothy 3:11, 1 Timothy 5:3 ff. cannot be quoted). The younger Pliny (Ep. X. xcvi. 8) speaks of ministrae: quo magis necessarium credidi ex duabus ancillis, quae ministrae dicebantur, quid esset veri et per tormenta quaerere. They do not appear elsewhere to be referred to in any certain second-century writing; but constant reference to them occurs in the Apostolic Constitutions, in the earlier books under the name of διάκονος (2:26; 3:15), in the later of διακόνισσα (8:19, 20, 28). Of the exact relation of the ‘deaconess’ to the ‘widows’ (1 Timothy 5:3) it is not necessary to speak, as we have no sufficient evidence for so early a date; it is quite clear that later they were distinct as bodies, and that the widows were considered inferior to the deaconesses (Apost. Const. iii. 7); it is probable however that the deaconesses were for the most part chosen from the widows. That the reference to a ‘deaconess’ is in no sense an anachronism may be inferred both from the importance of διακονία in the early Church, which had quite clearly made it necessary for special male officials to be appointed, and from the separate and secluded life of women. From the very beginning of Christianity—more particularly in fact at the beginning—there must have been a want felt for women to perform for women the functions which the deacons performed for men. Illustrations of this need in baptism, in visiting the women’s part of a house, in introducing women to the deacon or bishop, may be found in the Apostolical Constitutions (iii. 15, &c.). So much is clear. An office in the Church of this character, we may argue on á priori grounds, there must have been; but an order in the more ecclesiastical sense of the term need not have existed. διάκονος is technical, but need hardly be more so than is προστάτις in ver. 2. (The arguments of Lucht against the authenticity of portions of these two verses are examined very fully by Mangold, Der Römerbrief und seine geschichtlichen Voraussetzung, pp. 136 ff.)

τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς ἐν Κεγχρεαῖς. Cenchreae was the port of Corinth on the Saronic Gulf. During St. Paul’s stay at Corinth that city had become the centre of missionary activity throughout all Achaia (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:1), and the port towards Ephesus, a place where there must have been many Jews living, could easily be a centre of the Christian Church. Its position would afford particularly an opportunity for the exercise by Phoebe of the special duties of hospitality.

2. ἀξίως τῶν ἁγίων, ‘in a manner worthy of the saints,’ i. e. ‘of the Church.’ Not only to provide for her wants, but to admit her to every spiritual privilege as ‘in the Lord.’

προστάτις, a ‘succourer’ or ‘helper’; this almost technical word is suggested by παραστῆτε. It is the feminine form of προστάτης, used like the Latin patronus for the legal representative of the foreigner. In Jewish communities it meant the legal representative of wealthy patron: see Schürer, Die Gemeinde-Verfassung, &c., Ins. 31: ενθαδε κειτε " γαιχ προχτατηχ " οχιοχ εζηχεν " ετη οβ εν ειρη " κοιμηχιχ χοψ, cf. also C.I.G. 5361. We also find the word used of an office-bearer in a heathen religious association, see Foucart, Associations Religieuses, p. 202, Ins. 20, line 34 (= C.I.G. 126) δοκιμαζέτω δὲ ὁ προστάτης καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερανιστὴς καὶ ὁ γραμματεὺς καὶ οἱ ταμίαι καὶ σύνδικοι. Here the expression suggests that Phoebe was a person of some wealth and position who was thus able to act as patroness of a small and struggling community.

3. Πρίσκαν καὶ Ἀκύλαν. So the MSS. here by preponderating authority for Πρίσκιλλα κ. Ἀ. Priscilla is a diminutive for Prisca, and both are Roman names.

In Acts 18:2 the reading is Ἀκύλαν … καὶ Πρίσκιλλαν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ, in ver. 18 Πρίσκιλλα καὶ Ἀκύλας; in 1 Corinthians 16:19 Ἀκύλας καὶ Πρίσκα (so א B M, P, Boh., but A C D E F G, &c., Vulg. Syrr. Πρίσκιλλα); in 2 Timothy 4:19 Πρίσκαν καὶ Ἀκύλαν (by preponderating authority). The fact that Prisca is so often mentioned first suggests that she was the more important of the two.

4. οἵτινες … τὸν ἑαυτῶν τράχηλον κ.τ.λ. probably refers to some great danger which they had run on his behalf. It may have been the great tumult at Ephesus, although this was somewhat recent. If so the danger then incurred may have been the reason that they had left that city and returned for a time to Rome. The special reference to the Churches of the Gentiles perhaps arises from the fact that, owing to their somewhat nomadic life, they were well known to many Christian Churches.

Aquila and Priscilla

The movements of Aquila and Priscilla have been considered to be so complicated as to throw doubts on the authenticity of this section of the Epistle, or to suggest that it was addressed not to the Church at Rome, but to the Church of Ephesus.

From Acts 18:1, Acts 18:2 we learn that Aquila was a Jew of Pontus. He and his wife Prisca had been compelled to leave Rome in 52 a.d. by the decree of Claudius. They retired to Corinth, where they first became acquainted with St. Paul. With him they went to Ephesus, where they remained some time; they were there when the first Epistle to the Corinthians was written, and had a church in their house (ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς ἐν Κυρίῳ πολλὰ Ἀκύλας καὶ Πρίσκα σὺν τῇ κατʼ οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίᾳ 1 Corinthians 16:19). This Epistle was written probably about twelve months before the Epistle to the Romans. In 2 Timothy 4:19, written in all probability at least eight years later, they appear again at Ephesus.

Now, is not the life ascribed to them too nomadic? And is not the coincidence of the church in their house remarkable? The answer is that a nomadic life was the characteristic of Jews at that day, and was certainly a characteristic of Aquila and Priscilla (Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, p. 299, and Renan, Les Apôtres, pp. 96, 97, Zahn, Skizzen, p. 169). We know that although Aquila was a Jew of Pontus, yet he and his wife lived, within the space of a few years, at Rome, at Corinth, and at Ephesus. Is it then extremely improbable that they should travel in after years, probably for the sake of their business? And if it were so, would they not be likely to make their house, wherever they were, a place in which Christians could meet together?

On á priori grounds we cannot argue against the possibility of these changes. Are there any positive arguments for connecting them with the Roman Church? De Rossi, in the course of his archaeological investigations, has suggested two traces of their influence, both of which deserve investigation.

(i) Amongst the older churches of Rome is one on the Aventine bearing the name of St. Prisca, which gives a title to one of the Roman Cardinals. Now there is considerable evidence for connecting this with the names of Aquila and Priscilla. In the Liber Pontificalis, in the life of Leo III (795-816), it is described as the ‘titulus Aquilae et Priscae’ (Duchesne, Lib. Pont. II. p. 20); in the legendary Acts of St. Prisca (which apparently date from the tenth century) it is stated that the body of St. Prisca was translated from the place on the Ostian road where she had been buried, and transferred to the church of St. Aquila and Prisca on the Aventine (Acta Sanctorum, Jan. Tom. ii. p. 187 et deduxerunt ipsam ad urbem Romam cum hymnis et canticis spiritualibus, iuxta Arcum Romanum in ecclesia sanctorum Martyrum Aquilae et Priscae), and the tradition is put very clearly in an inscription apparently of the tenth century which formerly stood over the door of the church (C. Ins. Christ. ii. p. 443):

Haec domus est Aquilae seu Priscae Virginis Almae

Quos lupe Paule tuo ore vehis domino

Hic Petre divini Tribuebas fercula verbi

Sepius hocce loco sacrificans domino.

Many later testimonies are referred to by De Rossi, but they need not here be cited.

For the theory that this church is on the site of the house of Prisca and Aquila, De Rossi finds additional support in a bronze diploma found in 1776 in the garden of the church bearing the name of G. Marius Pudens Cornelianus: for in the legendary Acts of Pudens, Pudenziana, and Praxedis, Priscilla is stated to have been the mother of Pudens (Acta Sanct. Mai. Tom. iv. p. 297), and this implies some connexion between the names of Aquila and Priscilla and the family of Pudens.

The theory is a plausible one, but will hardly at present stand examination. In the first place the name of Aquila and Priscilla (or Prisca) is not the oldest borne by the church; from the fourth to the eighth century it seems always to have been the titulus S. Priscae (see Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, 1:501, 51745), and although the origin of this name is itself doubtful, it is hardly likely that if the locality had borne the name of Aquila and Priscilla, that name would first have been lost and then revived. It is much more probable that the later name is an attempt to connect the biblical account with this spot and to explain the origin of the name of Prisca.

Nor is the second piece of evidence of any greater weight. The acts of Pudens and his daughters, supposed to be narrated by the person called St. Pastor, who was a contemporary of Pius the bishop and addressed his letters to Timothy, are clearly legendary, and little or no stress can be laid on the mention of Priscilla as the mother of Pudens. The object of the Acta is in fact to invent a history for martyrs whose names were known, and who were for some reason grouped together. But why were they thus grouped? The reason probably is given in the statement at the end, that they were buried in the cemetery of Priscilla. These names would probably be found in the fourth century in that cemetery, attached to graves close to one another, and would form the groundwork of the Acta. There may still be some connexion between the names, which may or may not be discovered, but there is not at present any historical evidence for connecting the titulus St. Priscae with the Aquila and Priscilla of the N. T. (see de Rossi, Bull. Arch. Christ. Ser. i. No. 5 (1867), p. 45 ff.)

(ii) A second line of argument seems more fruitful. The explorations of De Rossi in the Coemeterium Priscillae, outside the Porta Salaria, have resulted in the discovery that as the Coemeterium Domitillae starts from a burying-place of Domitilla and her family, so that of Priscilla originates in the burying-place of Acilius Glabrio and other members of the Acilian gens. This seems to corroborate the statement of Dio Cassius (67:14) that the Acilius Glabrio who was consul with Trajan in a.d. 91 was a Christian and died as such, and implies that Christianity had penetrated into this as into other leading Roman families. Now the connexion with the subject immediately before us is as follows. The same researches have shown that a name of the females of the Acilian gens is Priscilla or Prisca. For instance, in one inscription we read:


C. V.


Aquila was a Jew of Pontus: how then does it happen that his wife, if not he himself, bore a Roman name? The answer seems to be suggested by these discoveries. They were freedmen of a member of the Acilian gens, as Clemens the Roman bishop was very probably the freedman of Flavius Clemens. The name Prisca or Priscilla would naturally come to an adherent of the family. The origin of the name Aquila is more doubtful, but it too might be borne by a Roman freedman. If this suggestion be correct, then both the names of these two Roman Christians and the existence of Christianity in a leading Roman family are explained.

Two other inscriptions may be quoted, as perhaps of interest. The first is clearly Christian:

Aauiliae Priscae in Pace.

The second C.I.L. vi.12273 may be so. The term Renata might suggest that it is but also might be Mithraic:

D. M.


QVAE ∙ V ∙ A ∙ N …





The argument is not demonstrative, but seems to make the return of Aquila and Priscilla to Rome, and their permanent connexion with the Roman Church, probable. See De Rossi, Bull. Arch. Christ. Ser. iv. No. 6 (1888-9), p. 129 Aquila e Prisca et gli Acilii Glabrioni.

Dr. Hort (Rom. and Eph. pp. 12-14), following a suggestion made by Dr. Plumptre (Biblical Studies, p. 417), points out that it is a curious fact that in four out of the six places in which the names occur that of the wife is the first mentioned. He connects the name with the cemetery of St. Prisca, and suggests that Prisca was herself a member of some distinguished Roman family. He points out that only Aquila is called a Jew from Pontus, not his wife. There is nothing inconsistent in this theory with that of the previous argument; and if it be true much is explained. It may however be suggested that for a noble Roman lady to travel about with a Jewish husband engaged in mercantile or even artisan work is hardly probable; and that the theory which sees in them freed members of a great household is perhaps the most probable.

5. καὶ τὴν κατʼ οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίαν. There is no decisive evidence until the third century of the existence of special buildings used for churches. The references seem all to be to places in private houses, sometimes very probably houses of a large size. In the N.T. we have first of all (Acts 12:12) the house of Mary, the mother of John, where many were collected together and praying. Colossians 4:15 ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἀδελφούς, καὶ Νυμφᾶν, καὶ τὴν κατʼ οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίαν: Philemon 1:2 καὶ τῇ κατʼ οἶκόν σον ἐκκλησίᾳ: besides 1 Corinthians 16:19. At a later date we have Clem. Recog. x. 71 Theophilus, domus suae ingentem basilicam ecclesiae nomine consecraret: De Rossi, Roma Sott. i. p. 209 Collegium quod est in domo Sergiae Paulinae. So in Rome several of the oldest churches appear to have been built on the sites of houses used for Christian worship. So perhaps San Clemente is on the site of the house of T. Flavius Clemens the consul (see Lightfoot, Clement. p. 94).

There is no reason to suppose that this Church was the meeting-place of all the Roman Christians; similar bodies seem to be implied in vv. 14, 15. We may compare Acta Iustini Martyris § 2 (Ruinart) where however the speaker is of course intentionally vague: Quaesivit Praefectus, quem in locum Christiani convenirent. Cui respondit Iustinus, eo unumquemque convenire quo vellet ac posset. An, inquit, existimas omnes nos in eumdem locum convenire solitos? Minime res ita se habet … Tunc praefectus: Age, inquit, dicas, quem in locum conveniatis, et discipulos tuos congreges. Respondit Iustinus: Ego prope domum Martini cuiusdam, ad balneum cognomento Timiotinum, hactenus mansi.

Ἐπαίνετος. Of him nothing is known: the name is not an uncommon one and occurs in inscriptions from Asia Minor, C.I.G. 2953 (from Ephesus), 3903 (from Phrygia). The following inscription from Rome is interesting, C.I.L. vi. 17171 dis ∙ man " epaeneti (sic) " epaeneti ∙ f " ephesio " t ∙ mvnivs " priscianvs " amico svo.

ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀσίας: i. e. one of the first converts made in the Roman province of Asia: cp. 1 Corinthians 16:15 οἴδατε τὴν οἰκίαν Στεφανᾶ, ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀχαίας, καὶ εἰς διακονίαν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἕταξαν ἑαυτούς. On the importance of first converts see Clem. Rom. § xlii κατὰ χώρας οὖν καὶ πόλεις κηρύσσοντες καθίστανον τὰς ἀπαρχὰς αὐτῶν, δοκιμάσαντες τῷ πνεύματι, εἰς ἐπισκόπους καὶ διακόνους τῶν μελλόντων πιστεύύειν.

This name caused great difficulty to Renan, ‘What ! had all the Church of Ephesus assembled at Rome?’ ‘All’ when analyzed is found to mean three persons of whom two had been residents at Rome, and the third may have been a native of Ephesus but is only said to have belonged to the province of Asia (cf. Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, p. 301). How probable it was that there should be foreigners in Rome attached to Christianity may be illustrated from the Acts of Justin which were quoted in the note on an earlier portion of the verse. These give an account of the martyrdom of seven persons, Justin himself, Charito, Charitana, Euelpistus, Hierax, Liberianus, and Paeon. Of these Justin we know was a native of Samaria, and had probably come to Rome from Ephesus, Euelpistus who was a slave of the Emperor was a native of Cappadocia, and Hierax was of Iconium in Phrygia. This was about 100 years later.

Ἀσίας is supported by preponderating authority (א A B C D F G, Vulg, Boh. Arm. Aeth., Orig.-lat. Jo.-Damasc. —rst.) against Ἀχαΐας (L P &c., Syrr., Chrys. Theodrt.).

For the idea of illustrating this chapter from inscriptions we are of course indebted to Bishop Lightfoot’s able article on Caesar’s household (Philippians, p. 169). Since that paper was written, the appearance of a portion of vol. vi. of the Corpus of Latin Inscriptions, that, namely, containing the inscriptions of the city of Rome; has both provided us with more extensive material and also placed it in a more convenient form for reference. We have therefore gone over the ground again, and either added new illustrations or given references to the Latin Corpus for inscriptions quoted by Lightfoot from older collections. Where we have not been able to identify these we have not, except in a few cases, thought it necessary to repeat his references. A large number of these names are found in Columbaria containing the monuments and ashes of members of the imperial household during the first century: these special collections are kept together in the Corpus (vi. 3926-8397). There is also a very large section devoted to other names belonging to the domus Augusti (vi. 8398-9101). A complete use of these materials will not be possible until the publication of the Indices to vol. vi. For a discussion of the general bearing of these references, see Introduction, § 9.

6. Μαρίαν (which is the correct reading) may like Μαριάμ be Jewish, but it may also be Roman. In favour of the latter alternative in this place it may be noticed that apparently in other cases where St. Paul is referring to Jews he distinguishes them by calling them his kinsmen (see on ver. 7). The following inscription from Rome unites two names in this list, C.I.L. vi. 22223 d ∙ m ∙ " mariae " ampliatae cet.; the next inscription is from the household, ib. 4394 mariae ∙ m ∙ l ∙ xanthe " nymphe ∙ fec ∙ de ∙ svo.

ἥτις πολλὰ ἐκοπίασεν εἰς ὑμᾶς This note is added, not for the sake of the Roman Church, but as words of praise for Maria herself.

Μαρίαν is read by A B C P, Boh. Arm.; Μαριάμ by א D E F G L, &c., Chrys. The evidence for εἰς ὑμᾶς, which is a difficult reading, is preponderating (א A B C P Syrr. Boh.), and it is practically supported by the Western group (D E F G, Vulg.), which have ἐν ὑμῖν. The correction εἰς ἡμᾶς is read by L, Chrys. and later authorities.

7. Ἀνδρόνικον: a Greek name found among members of the imperial household. The following inscription contains the names of two persons mentioned in this Epistle, both members of the household, C.I.L. vi. 5326 dis ∙ manibvs " c ∙ ivlivs ∙ heremes " vix ∙ ann ∙ xxxiii ∙ m ∙ v " dieb ∙ xiii " c ∙ ivlivs ∙ andronicvs " conlibertvs ∙ fec " bene ∙ merenti ∙ de ∙ se: see also 5325 and 11626 where it is the name of a slave.

Ἰουνίαν: there is some doubt as to whether this name is masculine, Ἰουνίας or Ἰουνιᾶς, a contraction of Junianus, or feminine Junia. Junia is of course a common Roman name, and in that case the two would probably be husband and wife; Junias on the other hand is less usual as a man’s name, but seems to represent a form of contraction common in this list, as Patrobas, Hermas, Olympas. If, as is probable, Andronicus and Junias are included among the Apostles (see below) then it is more probable that the name is masculine, although Chrysostom does not appear to consider the idea of a female apostle impossible: ‘And indeed to be apostles at all is a great thing. But to be even amongst these of note, just consider what a great encomium this is! But they were of note owing to their works, to their achievements. Oh! how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!’

τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου. St. Paul almost certainly means by ‘kinsmen,’ fellow-countrymen, and not relations. The word is used in this sense in 9:3, and it would be most improbable that there should be so many relations of St. Paul amongst the members of a distant Church (vv. 7, 11) and also in Macedonia (ver. 21); whereas it is specially significant and in accordance with the whole drift of the Epistle that he should specially mention as his kinsmen those members of a Gentile Church who were Jews.

καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου. Probably to be taken literally. Although St. Paul had not so far suffered any long imprisonment, he had certainly often been imprisoned for a short time as at Philippi, 2 Corinthians 11:23 ἐν φυλακαῖς περισσοτέρως; Clem. Rom. ad Cor. v ἑπτάκις δεσμὰ φορέσας. Nor is it necessary that the word should mean that Andronicus and Junias had suffered at the same time as St. Paul; he might quite well name them fellow-prisoners if they had like him been imprisoned for Christ’s sake. Metaphorical explanations of the words are too far-fetched to be probable.

οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις may mean either (1) well known to the Apostolic body, or (2) distinguished as Apostles. In favour of the latter interpretation, which is probably correct, are the following arguments. (i) The passage was apparently so taken by all patristic commentators. (ii) It is in accordance with the meaning of the words. ἐπίσημος, lit. ‘stamped,’ ‘marked,’ would be used of those who were selected from the Apostolic body as ‘distinguished,’ not of those known to the Apostolic body, or looked upon by the Apostles as illustrious; it may be translated ‘those of mark among the Apostles.’ (iii) It is in accordance with the wider use of the term ἀπόστολος. Bp. Lightfoot pointed out (Galatians, p. 93) that this word was clearly used both in a narrow sense of ‘the twelve’ and also in a wider sense which would include many others. His views have been corroborated and strengthened by the publication of the Didache. The existence of these ‘Apostles,’ itinerant Christian Evangelists, in Rome will suggest perhaps one of the methods by which the city had been evangelized.

οἵ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γεγόνασιν ἐν Χριστῷ. Andronicus and Junias had been converted before St. Paul: they therefore belonged to the earliest days of the Christian community; perhaps even they were of those who during the dispersion after the death of Stephen began almost immediately to spread the word in Cyprus and Syria (Acts 11:19). As Dr. Weymouth points out (On the Rendering into English of the Greek Aorist and Perfect, p. 26) the perfect should here be translated ‘were.’

‘It is utterly amazing,’ he writes, ‘that in Romans 16:7 οἱ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γεγόνασιν ἐν Χρ. is rendered in the RV. “who also have been in Christ before me.” The English idiom is here simply outraged. What officer in our Navy or Army would not stare at the βάρβαρος who should say of a senior officer, “He has been in the Service before me”? “He was in the Navy before me” is the only correct English form. … The English mind fastens on the idea of time defined by “before me,” and therefore uses the simple Past. … The Greek Perfect is correctly employed, because it is intended to convey, and does convey, the idea that they are still in Christ, while the English “have been” suggests precisely the contrary.’

8. Ἀμπλιᾶτος is the more correct reading for the abbreviated form Ἀμπλιᾶς which occurs in the TR. This is a common Roman slave name, and as such occurs in inscriptions of the imperial household. C.I.L. vi. 4899 ampliatvs " restitvto ∙ fratri " svo ∙ fecit ∙ merenti: 5154 C. vibivs ∙ firmvs ∙ C " vibio ∙ ampliato " patrono ∙ svo, &c., besides inscriptions quoted by Lft. But there is considerable evidence for connecting this name more closely with the Christian community in Rome. In the cemetery of Domitilla, now undoubtedly recognized as one of the earliest of Christian catacombs, is a chamber now known by the name of ‘Ampliatus’ owing to an inscription which it contains. This chamber is very early: pre-Christian in character if not in origin. The cell over which the name of Ampliatus is inscribed is a later insertion, which, from the style of its ornament, is ascribed to the end of the first or beginning of the second century. The inscription is in bold, well-formed letters of the same date. Not far off is another inscription, not earlier than the end of the second century, to members of apparently the same family. The two inscriptions are ampliat[i] and avreliae ∙ bonifatiae " conivgi ∙ incomparabili " verae castitatis feminae " qvae ∙ vixit ∙ ann ∙ xxv ∙ M ∙ II " dieb ∙ IIII ∙ hor ∙ vi " avrel ∙ Ampliatvs cvm " gordiano ∙ filio. The boldness of the lettering in the first inscription is striking. The personal name without any other distinction suggests a slave. Why then should any one in these circumstances receive the honour of an elaborately painted tomb? The most plausible explanation is that he was for some reason very prominent in the earliest Roman Church. The later inscription clearly suggests that there was a Christian family bearing this name; and the connexion with Domitilla seems to show that here we have the name of a slave or freedman through whom Christianity had penetrated into a second great Roman household. See de Rossi, Bull. Arch. Christ. Ser. iii. vol. 6 (1881), pp. 57-74; Athenaeum March 4, 1884, p. 289; the inscription is just referred to by Light-foot, Clement. i. p. 39.

9. Οὐρβανός:a common Roman slave name found among members of the household, C.I.L. vi. 4237 (quoted by Lft. from Murat. 920. 1) vrbanvs ∙ lydes ∙ avg ∙ l ∙ dispens " inmvnis ∙ dat ∙ hermae ∙ fratri ∙ et " cilicae ∙ patri: cf. 5604, 5605, and others, quoted by Lft. (Grut. p. 589. 10, p. 1070. 1).

τὸν συνεργὸν ἡμῶν. Where St. Paul is speaking of personal friends he uses the singular τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου: here he uses the plural because Urbanus was a fellow-worker with all those who worked for Christ.

Στάχυν: a rare Greek name, but found among members of the imperial household: C.I.L. vi. 8607 d. m. " m. vlpio ∙ avg ∙ l " eroti " ab ∙ epistvlis ∙ graecis " epaphroditvs " et ∙ stachys " caesar ∙ n ser " fratri ∙ karissimo ∙ et " clavdia ∙ formiana " fecervnt: cf. also inscriptions quoted by Lft.

10. Ἀπελλῆν. Again a name borne by members of the household and by Jews: amongst others by the famous tragic actor. See the instance quoted by Lft. and cf. Hor. Sat. I. v. 100 Credat Iudaeus Apella, non ego.

τὸν δόκιμον: cf. 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 10:18; 2 Corinthians 13:7. One who has shown himself an approved Christian.

τοὺς ἐκ τῶν Ἀριστοβούλου. The explanation of this name given by Lft. bears all the marks of probability. The younger Aristobulus was a grandson of Herod the Great, who apparently lived and died in Rome in a private station (Jos. Bell. Iud. II. xi. 6; Antiq. XX. i. 2); he was a friend and adherent of the Emperor Claudius. His household would naturally be οἱ Ἀριστοβούλου, and would presumably contain a considerable number of Jews and other orientals, and consequently of Christians. If, as is probable, Aristobulus was himself dead by this time, his household would probably have become united with the imperial household. It would, however, have continued to bear his name, just as we find servants of Livia’s household who had come from that of Maecenas called Maecenatiani (C. I. L. 6:4016, 4032), those from the household of Amyntas, Amyntiani (4035, cf. 8738): so also Agrippiani, Germaniciani. We might in the same way have Aristobuliani (cf. Lft. Phil. pp. 172,3).

11. Ἡρῳδίωνα τὸν συγγενῆ μου. A mention of the household of Aristobulus is followed by a name which at once suggests the Herod family, and is specially stated to have been that of a Jew. This seems to corroborate the argument of the preceding note.

τοὺς ἐκ τῶν Ναρκίσσου, ‘the household of Narcissus,’ ‘Narcissiani.’ The Narcissus in question was very possibly the well-known freedman of that name, who had been put to death by Agrippina shortly after the accession of Nero some three or four years before (Tac. Ann. xiii. 1; Dio Cass. lx. 34). His slaves would then in all probability become the property of the Emperor, and would help to swell the imperial household. The name is common, especially among slaves and freedmen, cf. C.I.L. vi.4123 (in the household of Livia), 4346, 5206 heliconis narcissi " avgnstiani " : 22875 narcissvs ∙ avg ∙ lib. Lft. quotes also the two names Ti. Claudius Narcissus (see below), Ti. Iulius Narcissus from Muratori, and also the form Narcissianus, ti ∙ clavdio ∙ sp ∙ f ∙ narcissiano (Murat. p. 1150. 4). The following inscription belongs to a somewhat later date: C.I.L. vi. 9035 d. m. " t ∙ flavivs ∙ avg ∙ lib " narcissvs ∙ fecit ∙ sibi " et ∙ coeliae ∙ sp ∙ filiae " ieriae ∙ conivgi ∙ svae …, and lower down t flavivs ∙ avg ∙ lib ∙ firmvs ∙ narcissianvs " relator ∙ avctionvm ∙ monvmentvm ∙ refecit. See also 9035 a. (Lightfoot, Phil. p. 173.)

Dr. Plumptre (Biblical Studies, p. 428) refers to the following interesting inscription. It may be found in C.I.L. v. 154* being reputed to have come from Ferrara. d. m. " clavdiae " dicaeosynae " ti ∙ clavdivs " narcissvs " lib. aeid. coiv " pientissimae " et frvgalissi " b. m. Tiberius Claudius suggests the first century, but the genuineness of the Ins. is not sufficiently attested. The editor of the fifth volume of the Corpus writes: Testimonia auctorum aut incertorum … aut fraudulentorum de loco cum parum defendant titulum cum exclusi, quamquam fieri potest ut sit genuinus nec multum corruptus. The name Dicaeosyne is curious but is found elsewhere C.I.L. iii. 2391; vi. 25866: x. 649. There is nothing distinctively Christian about it.

12. Τρύφαιναν καὶ Τρυφῶσαν are generally supposed to have been two sisters. Amongst inscriptions of the household we have 4866 d. m. " varia ∙ tryphosa " patrona ∙ et " m. eppivs ∙ clemens " : 5035 d. m. " tryphaena " valeria ∙ tryphaena " matri ∙ b ∙ m ∙ f ∙ et " valerius ∙ fvtianvs (quoted by Lft. from Acc. di Archeol. xi. p. 375): 5343 telesphorvs ∙ et ∙ tryphaena, 5774, 6054 and other inscriptions quoted by Lft. Attention is drawn to the contrast between the names which imply ‘delicate,’ ‘dainty,’ and their labours in the Lord.

The name Tryphaena has some interest in the early history of the Church as being that of the queen who plays such a prominent part in the story of Paul and Thecla, and who is known to have been a real character.

Περσίδα. The name appears as that of a freedwoman, C.I.L. vi. 23959 dis ∙ manib " per ∙ sidi. l. ved " vs ∙ mithres " vxori. It does not appear among the inscriptions of the household.

13. ʼΡοῦφον: one of the commonest of slave names. This Rufus is commonly identified with the one mentioned in Mark 15:21, where Simon of Cyrene is called the father of Alexander and Rufus. St. Mark probably wrote at Rome, and he seems to speak of Rufus as some one well known.

τὸν ἐκλεκτὸν ἐν Κυρίῳ. ‘Elect’ is probably not here used in the technical sense ‘chosen of God,’—this would not be a feature to distinguish Rufus from any other Christian,—but it probably means ‘eminent,’ ‘distinguished for his special excellence,’ and the addition of ἐν Κυρίῳ means ‘eminent as a Christian’ (2 John 1:1; 1 Peter 2:6). So in English phraseology the words ‘a chosen vessel’ are used of all Christians generally, or to distinguish some one of marked excellence from his fellows.

καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐμοῦ. St. Paul means that she had showed him on some occasion all the care of a mother, and that therefore he felt for her all the affection of a son.

14. Ἀσύγκριτον: the following inscription is of a freedman of Augustus who bore this name, C.I.L. vi. 12565 d. m. " asyncreto " avg ∙ lib ∙ fecit ∙ fl " avia ∙ svccessa " patrono bene " merenti. The name Flavia suggests that it is somewhat later than St. Paul’s time.

φλέγοντα. The inscriptions seem to throw no light on this name. The most famous person bearing it was the historian of the second century who is referred to by Origen, and who gave some information concerning the Christians.

Ἑρμῆν: one of the commonest of slave names, occurring constantly among members of the imperial household.

Πατρόβαν. An abbreviated form of Patrobius. This name was borne by a well-known freedman of Nero, who was put to death by Galba (Tac. Hist. i. 49; ii. 95). Lft. quotes instances of other freedmen bearing it: ti ∙ cl ∙ avg ∙ l ∙ patrobivs (Grut. p. 610. 3), and ti ∙ clavdio ∙ patrobio (Murat. p. 1329).

Ἑρμᾶς is likewise an abbreviation for various names, Hermagoras, Hermerus, Hermodorus, Hermogenes. It is common among slaves, but not so much so as Hermes. Some fathers and modern writers have identified this Hermas with the author of the ‘Shepherd,’ an identification which is almost certainly wrong.

καὶ τοὺς σὺν αὐτοῖς ἀδελφούς. This and the similar expression in the next verse seem to imply that these persons formed a small Christian community by themselves.

15. φιλόλογος. A common slave name. Numerous instances are quoted from inscriptions of the imperial household: C.I.L. vi. 4116 dama ∙ liviae ∙ l ∙ cas … " phoebvs ∙ philologi " quoted by Lft. from Gorius, Mon. Liv. p. 168; he also quotes Murat. p. 1586. 3, p. 2043. 2; Grut. p. 630. 1. He is generally supposed to be the brother or the husband of Julia, in the latter case Nereus, his sister Nerias, and Olympas may be their children.

Ἰουλίαν. Probably the commonest of all Roman female names, certainly the commonest among slaves in the imperial household. The following inscription is interesting: C.I.L. vi. 20416 d. m. " ivliae nerei ∙ f ∙ " clavdiae. The name Julia Tryphosa occurs 20715-7 in one case apparently in a Christian inscription.

Νηρέα. This name is found in inscriptions of the imperial household, C. I. L. vi. 4344 nerevs ∙ nat ∙ german " pevcennvs ∙ germanici " anvs ∙ neronis ∙ caesaris. It is best known in the Roman Church in connexion with the Acts of Nereus and Achilleus, the eunuch chamberlains of Domitilla (see Acta Sanctorum May. iii. p. 2; Texte und Untersuchungen, Band xi. Heft 2). These names were, however, older than that legend, as seems to be shown by the inscription of Damasus (Bull. Arch. Christ. 1874, p. 20 sq.; C. Ins. Christ. ii. p. 31) which represents them as soldiers. The origin of the legend was probably that in the catacomb of Domitilla and near to her tomb, appeared these two names very prominently; this became the groundwork for the later romance. An inscription of Achilleus has been found in the cemetery of Domitilla on a stone column with a corresponding column which may have borne the name of Nereus: both date from the fourth or fifth century (Bull. Arch. Christ. 1875, p. 8 sq.). These of course are later commemorations of earlier martyrs, and it may well be that the name of Nereus was in an early inscription (like that of Ampliatus above). In any case the name is one connected with the early history of the Roman Church; and the fact that Nereus is combined with Achilleus, a name which does not appear in the Romans, suggests that the origin of the legend was archaeological, and that it was not derived from this Epistle (Lightfoot, Clement. i. p. 51; Lipsius Apokr. Apgesch. ii. 106 ff.).

Ὀλυμπᾶς: an abbreviated form like several in this list, apparently for Ὀλυμπιόδωρος.

16. ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ: so 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14 ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης. The earliest reference to the ‘kiss of peace’ as a regular part of the Christian service is in Just. Mart. Apol. i. 65 ἀλλήλους φιλήματι ἀσπαζόμεθα παυσάμενοι τῶν εὐχῶν. It is mentioned in Tert. de Orat. 14 (osculum pacis); Const. Apost. ii. 57. 12; viii. 5. 5; and it became a regular part of the Liturgy. Cf. Origen ad loc.: Ex hoc sermone, aliisque nonnullis similibus, mos ecclesiis traditus est, ut post orationes osculo se invicem suscipiant fratres. Hoc autem osculum sanctum appellat Apostolus.

αἱ ἐκκλησίαι πᾶσαι τοῦ Χριστοῦ: this phrase is unique in the N.T. Phrases used by St. Paul are αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῶν ἁγίων, ἡ ἐκκλησία τοῦ θεοῦ, αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τοῦ θεοῦ, ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Ἰουδαίας ταῖς ἐν Χριστῷ (Galatians 1:22), τῶν ἐκκλησίων του θεοῦ τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, and in Acts 20:28 we have the uncertain passage τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Κυρίου or τοῦ Θεοῦ, where Θεός must, if the correct reading, be used of Χριστός. It is a habit of St. Paul to speak on behalf of the churches as a whole: cf. 16:4; 1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 11:28; and Hort suggests that this unique phrase is used to express ‘the way in which the Church of Rome was an object of love and respect to Jewish and Gentile Churches alike’ (Rom. and Eph. i. 52).


16:17-20. Beware of those breeders of division and mischief-makers who pervert the Gospel which you were taught. Men such as these are devoted not to Christ but to their own unworthy aims. By their plausible and flattering speech they deceive the unwary. I give you this warning, because your loyalty is well known, and I would have you free from every taint of evil. God will speedily crush Satan beneath your feet.

May the grace of Christ be with you.

17-20. A warning against evil teachers probably of a Jewish character. Commentators have felt that there is something unusual in a vehement outburst like this, coming at the end of an Epistle so completely destitute of direct controversy. But after all as Hort points out (Rom. and Eph. pp. 53-55) it is not unnatural. Against errors such as these St. Paul has throughout been warning his readers indirectly, he has been building up his hearers against them by laying down broad principles of life and conduct, and now just at the end, just before he finishes, he gives one definite and direct warning against false teachers. It was probably not against teachers actually in Rome, but against such as he knew of as existing in other churches which he had founded, whose advent to Rome he dreads.

It has been suggested again that ‘St. Paul finds it difficult to finish.’ There is a certain truth in that statement, but it is hardly one which ought to detain us long. When a writer has very much to say, when he is full of zeal and earnestness, there must be much which will break out from him, and may make his letters somewhat formless. To a thoughtful reader the suppressed emotion implied and the absence of regular method will really be proofs of authenticity. It may be noted that we find in the Epistle to the Philippians just the same characteristics: there also in 3:1, just apparently as he is going to finish the Epistle, the Apostle makes a digression against false teachers.

17. σκοπεῖν, ‘to mark and avoid.’ The same word is used in Php 3:17 συμμιμηταί μου γίνεσθε, ἀδελφοί, καὶ σκοπεῖτε τοὺς οὕτω περιπατοῦντας in exactly the opposite sense, ‘to mark so as to follow.’

διχοστασίαι: cf. Galatians 5:20. Those divisions which are the result of the spirit of strife and rivalry (ἔρις and ζῆλος) and which eventually if persisted in lead to αἱρέσεις. The σκάνδαλα are the hindrances to Christian progress caused by these embittered relations.

τὴν διδαχήν, not ‘Paulinism,’ but that common basis of Christian doctrine which St. Paul shared with all other teachers (1 Corinthians 15:1), and with which the teaching of the Judaizers was in his opinion inconsistent.

ἐκκλίνατε: cf. Romans 3:11. The ordinary construction is with ἀπό and the genitive (a) of the cause avoided ἀπὸ κακοῦ (1 Peter 3:11), or (b) of the person.

18. These false teachers are described as being self-interested in their motives, specious and deceptive in their manners. Cf. Php 3:19 ὦν τὸ τέλος ἀπώλεια, ὦν ὁ θεὸς ἡ κοιλία, καὶ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ αἰσχύνῃ αὐτῶν, οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες.

τῇ ἑαυτῶν κοιλίᾳ. These words do not in this case appear to mean that their habits are lax and epicurean, but that their motives are interested, and their conceptions and objects are inadequate. So Origen: Sed et quid causae sit, qua iurgia in ecclesiis suscitantur, et lites, divini Spiritus instinctu aperit. Ventris, inquit, gratia: hoc est, quaestus et cupiditatis. The meaning is the same probably in the somewhat parallel passages Php 3:17-21; Col_2:20-4. So Hort (Judaistic Christianity, p. 124) explains ταπεινοφροσύνη to mean ‘a grovelling habit of mind, choosing lower things as the primary sphere of religion, and not τὰ ἄνω, the region in which Christ is seated at God’s right hand.’

Χρηστολογίας καὶ εὐλογίας, ‘fair and flattering speech.’ In illustration of the first word all commentators quote Jul. Capitolinus, Pertinax 13 (in Hist. August): χρηστολόγον eum appellantes qui bene loqueretur et male faceret. The use of εὐλογία which generally means ‘praise,’ ‘laudation,’ or ‘blessing’ (cp. 15:29), in a bad sense as here of ‘flattering’ or ‘specious’ language is rare. An instance is quoted in the dictionaries from Aesop. Fab. 229, p. 150, ed. Av. ἐὰν σὺ εὐλογίας εὐπορῇς ἔγωγέ σου οὐ κήδομαι.

19. ἡ γὰρ ὑμῶν ὑπακοή. ‘I exhort and warn you because your excellence and fidelity although they give me great cause for rejoicing increase my anxiety.’ These words seem definitely to imply that there were not as yet any dissensions or erroneous teaching in the Church. They are (as has been noticed) quite inconsistent with the supposed Ebionite character of the Church. When that theory was given up, all ground for holding these words spurious was taken away.

θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς. St. Paul wishes to give this warning without at the same time saying anything to injure their feelings. He gives it because he wishes them to be discreet and wary, and therefore blameless. In Matthew 10:16 the disciples are to be φρόνιμοι and ἀκέραιοι: see also Php 2:15.

20. ὁ δὲ Θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης. See on 15:13. It is the ‘God of peace’ who will thus overthrow Satan, because the effect of these divisions is to break up the peace of the Church.

συντρίψει: ‘will throw him under your feet, that you may trample upon him.’

τὸν Σατανᾶν. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 St. Paul writes ‘for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness.’ The ministers of Satan are looked upon as impersonating Satan himself, and therefore if the Church keeps at peace it will trample Satan and his wiles under foot.

ἡ χάρις κ.τ.λ. St. Paul closes this warning with a salutation as at the end of an Epistle.

There is very considerable divergence in different authorities as to the benedictions which they insert in these concluding verses.

(1) The TR. reads in ver. 20 ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ [Χριστοῦ] μεθʼ ὑμῶν.

This is supported by א A B C L P, &c., Vulg. &c., Orig.-lat.

It is omitted by D E F G Sedul.

(2) In ver. 24 it reads ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χ. μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν. ὰμήν.

This is omitted by א A B C, Vulg. codd. (am. fuld. harl.) Boh. Aeth. Orig.-lat.

It is inserted by D E F G L;, &c., Vulg. Harcl. Chrys. &c. Of these F G L omit vv. 25-27, and therefore make these words the end of the Epistle.

(3) A third and smaller group puts these words at the end of ver. 27: P. 17, 80, Pesh. Arm. Ambrstr.

Analyzing these readings we find:

א A B C, Orig.-lat. have a benediction at ver. 21 only.

D E F G have one at ver. 24 only.

L, Vulg. clem., Chrys., and the mass of later authorities have it in both places.

P has it at ver. 21, and after ver. 27.

The correct text clearly has a benediction at ver. 21 and there only; it was afterwards moved to a place after ver. 24, which was very probably in some MSS. the end of the Epistle, and in later MSS., by a natural conflation, appears in both. See the Introduction, § 9.


16:21-23. All my companions—Timothy, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater—greet you. I Tertius, the amanuensis, also give you Christian greeting. So too do Gaius, and Erastus, treasurer of Corinth, and Quartus.

21-23. These three verses form a sort of postscript, added after the conclusion of the letter and containing the names of St. Paul’s companions.

21. Τιμόθεος had been with St. Paul in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 1:1): of his movements since then we have no knowledge. The μον with συνεργός is omitted by B.

Λούκιος might be the Lucius of Cyrene mentioned Acts 13:1. Ἰάσων is probably the one mentioned in Acts 17:5-7, Acts 17:9 as St. Paul’s host, and Σωσίπατρος may be the same as the Σώπατρος of Acts 20:4, who was a native of Berea. If these identifications are correct, two of these three names are connected with Macedonia, and this connexion is by no means improbable. They had attached themselves to St. Paul as his regular companions, or come to visit him from Thessalonica. In any case they were Jews (οἱ συγγενεῖς μου cf. ver. 7). It was natural that St. Paul should ledge with a fellow-countryman.

22. ὁ γράψας. St. Paul seems generally to have employed an amanuensis, see 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17, and cf. Galatians 6:11 ἴδετε πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί.

23. Γάϊος who is described as the host of St. Paul and of the whole Church is possibly the Gaius of 1 Corinthians 1:14. In all probability the Christian assembly met in his house. Erastus (cf. 2 Timothy 4:20) who held the important office of οἰκόνομος τῆς πόλεως, ‘the city treasurer,’ is presumably mentioned as the most influential member of the community.


16:25-27. And now let me give praise to God, who can make you firm believers, duly trained and established according to the Gospel that I proclaim, the preaching which announces Jesus the Messiah; that preaching in which God’s eternal purpose, the mystery of his working, kept silent since the world began, has been revealed, a purpose which the Prophets of old foretold, which has been preached now by God’s express command, which announces to all the Gentiles the message of obedience in faith: to God, I say, to Him who is alone wise, be the glory for ever through Jesus Messiah. Amen.

25-27. The Epistle concludes in a manner unusual in St. Paul with a doxology or ascription of praise, in which incidentally all the great thoughts of the Epistle are summed up. Although doxologies are not uncommon in these Epistles (Galatians 1:5; Romans 11:36), they are not usually so long or so heavily weighted; but Ephesians 3:21; Php 4:20; 1 Timothy 1:17 offer quite sufficient parallels; the two former at a not much later date. Ascriptions of praise at the conclusion of other Epp. are common, Hebrews 13:20, Hebrews 13:21; Judges 1:24, Judges 1:25; Clem. Rom. § lxv; Mart. Polyc. 20.

The various questions bearing on the genuineness of these verses and their positions in different MSS., have been sufficiently discussed in the Introduction, § 9. Here they are commented upon as a genuine and original conclusion to the Epistle exactly harmonizing with its contents. The commentary is mainly based on the paper by Hort published in Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, p. 321 ff.

25. τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑμᾶ· στηρίξαι: cf. Romans 14:4 στήκει ἢ πίπτει· σταθήσεται δέ· δυνατεῖ γὰρ ὁ Κύριος στῆσαι αὐτόν. A more exact parallel is furnished by Ephesians 3:20 τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ … ποιῆσαι … αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα. στηρίζω is confined in St. Paul to the earlier Epistles (Romans 1:11; and Thess.). δύναμαι, δυνατός, δυνατέω of God, with an infinitive, are common in this group. We are at once reminded that in i. ii St. Paul had stated that one of the purposes of his contemplated visit was to confer on them some spiritual gift that they might be established.

κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου: Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 2:8; cf. also Romans 11:28 κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. One salient feature of the Epistle is at once alluded to, that special Gospel of St. Paul which he desired to explain, and which is the main motive of this Epistle. St. Paul did not look upon this as antagonistic to the common faith of the Church, but as complementary to and explanatory of it. To expound this would especially lead to the ‘establishment’ of a Christian Church, for if rightly understood, it would promote the harmony of Jew and Gentile within it.

καὶ τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. The words κήρυγμα, κηρύσσειν occur throughout St. Paul’s Epp., but more especially in this second group. (Romans 10:8; 1 Corinthians 1:21, 1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 2:2, &c.) The genitive is clearly objective, the preaching ‘about Christ’; and the thought of St. Paul is most clearly indicated in Romans 10:8-12, which seems to be here summed up. St. Paul’s life was one of preaching. The object of his preaching was faith in Jesus the Messiah, and that name implies the two great aspects of the message, on the one hand salvation through faith in Him, on the other as a necessary consequence the universality of that salvation. The reference is clearly to just the thoughts which run through this Epistle, and which marked the period of the Judaistic controversies.

κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν μυστηρίου κ.τ.λ. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 2:7, 1 Corinthians 2:10 σοφίαν δε λαλοῦμεν ἐν τοῖς τελείοις … Θεοῦ σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ, τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην, ἢν προώρισεν ὁ Θεὸς πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων … ἡμῖν δὲ ἀπεκάλυψεν ὁ Θεὸς διὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος. Ephesians 3:3, Ephesians 3:5, Ephesians 3:6; Titus 1:2, Titus 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:9, 2 Timothy 1:10, and for separate phrases, Romans 1:16; Romans 3:21; Romans 11:25. This is the thought which underlies much of the argument of chaps. ix-xi, and is indirectly implied in the first eight chapters. It represents in fact, the conclusion which the Apostle has arrived at in musing over the difficulties which the problems of human history as he knew them had suggested. God who rules over all the aeons or periods in time, which have passed and which are to come, is working out an eternal purpose in the world. For ages it was a mystery, now in these last days it has been revealed: and this revelation explains the meaning of God’s working in the past. The thought then forms a transition from the point of view of the Romans to that of the Ephesians. It is not unknown in the Epp. of the second group, as the quotation from Corinthians shows; but there it represents rather the conclusion which is being arrived at by the Apostle, while in the Epp. of the Captivity it is assumed as already proved, and as the basis on which the idea of the Church is developed. The end of the Epistle to the Romans is the first place where we should expect this thought in a doxology, and coming there, it exactly brings out the force and purpose of the previous discussion.

The passage κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν down to γνωρισθέντος goes not with στηρίξαι but with κήρυγμα. The preaching of Christ was the revelation of the ‘mystery which had been hidden,’ and explained God’s purpose in the world.

26. In this verse we should certainly read διά τε γραφῶν προφητικῶν. The only Greek MSS. that omit τε are DE, and the authority of versions can hardly be quoted against it. Moreover, the sentence is much simpler if it be inserted. It couples together φανερωθέντος and γνωρισθέντος, and all the words from διά τε γραφῶν to the latter word should be taken together. εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη probably goes with εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως and not with γνωρισθέντος.

διά τε γραφῶν προφητικῶν … γνωρισθέντος. All the ideas in this sentence are exactly in accordance with the thoughts which run through this Epistle. The unity of the Old and New Testaments, the fact that Christ had come in accordance with the Scriptures (Romans 1:1, Romans 1:2), that the new method of salvation although apart from law, was witnessed to by the Law and the Prophets (μαρτυρουμένη ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν προφητῶν Romans 3:21), the constant allusion esp. in chaps. ix-xi to the Old Testament Scriptures; all these are summed up in the phrase διὰ γραφῶν προφητικῶν.

The same is true of the idea expressed by κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ αἰωνίου Θεοῦ. The mission given to the preachers of the Gospel is brought out generally in Romans 10:15 ff., the special command to the Apostle is dwelt on in the opening vv. 1-5, and the sense of commission is a constant thought of this period. With regard to the words, αἰωνίου is of course suggested by χρόνοις αἰωνίοις: cp. Baruch 4:8, Susanna (Theod.) 42 (LXX) 35. The formula κατʼ ἐπιταγήν occurs 1 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 8:8, but with quite a different meaning; in the sense of this passage it comes again in 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:3.

We find the phrase εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως in Romans 1:5. As Hort points out, the enlarged sense of ὑπακοή and ὑπακούω is confined to the earlier Epistles.

The last phrase εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη γνωρισθέντος hardly requires illustrating; it is a commonplace of the Epistle. In this passage still carrying on the explanation of κήρυγμα, four main ideas of the Apostolic preaching are touched upon—the continuity of the Gospel, the Apostolic commission, salvation through faith, the preaching to the Gentiles.

μόνῳ σοφῷ Θεῷ: a somewhat similar expression may be found in 1 Timothy 1:17, which at a later date was assimilated to this, σοφῷ being inserted. But the idea again sums up another line of thought in the Epistle—God is one, therefore He is God of both Jews and Greeks; the Gospel is one (3:29, 30). God is infinitely wise (ὦ βάθος πλούτου καὶ σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως Θεοῦ 11:33); even when we cannot follow His tracks, He is leading and guiding us, and the end will prove the depths of His wisdom.

27. ᾧ ἡ δόξα κ.τ.λ. The reading here is very difficult.

1. It would be easy and simple if following the authority of B. 33. 72, Pesh., Orig.-lat. we could omit ᾧ, or if we could read αὐτῷ with P. 31, 54 (Boh. cannot be quoted in favour of this reading; Wilkins’ translation which Tisch. follows is wrong). But both these look very much like corrections, and it is difficult to see how ᾧ came to be inserted if it was not part of the original text. Nor is it inexplicable. The Apostle’s mind is so full of the thoughts of the Epistle that they come crowding out, and have produced the heavily loaded phrases of the doxology; the structure of the sentence is thus lost, and he concludes with a well-known formula of praise ᾧ ἡ δόξα κ.τ.λ. (Galatians 1:15; 2 Timothy 4:18, Hebrews 13:21).

2. If the involved construction were the only difficulty caused by reading ᾧ, it would probably be right to retain it. But there are others more serious. How are the words διὰ Ἰ. Χ. to be taken? and what does ᾧ refer to?

(1) Grammatically the simplest solution is to suppose, with Lid., that ᾧ refers to Christ, and that St. Paul has changed the construction owing to the words διὰ Ἰ. Χ. He had intended to finish ‘to the only wise God through Christ Jesus be Glory,’ as in Judges 1:25 μόνῳ Θεῷ σωτῆρι ἡμῶν, διὰ Ἰ. Χ. τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν, δόξα, μεγαλωσύνη, κ.τ.λ., but the words Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ remind him that it is through the work of Christ that all this scheme has been developed; he therefore ascribes to Him the glory. This is the only possible construction if ᾧ be read, but it can hardly be correct; and that not because we can assert that on a priori grounds a doxology cannot be addressed to the Son, but because such a doxology would not be in place here. The whole purpose of these concluding verses is an ascription of praise to Him who is the only wise God.

(2) For this reason most commentators attempt to refer the ᾧ to Θεῷ. This in itself is not difficult: it resembles what is the probable construction in 1 Peter 4:11, and perhaps in Hebrews 13:21. But then διὰ Ἰ. Χ. becomes very difficult. To take it with σοφῷ would be impossible, and to transfer it into the relative clause would be insufferably harsh.

There is no doubt therefore that it is by far the easiest course to omit ᾧ. We have however the alternative of supposing that it is a blunder made by St. Paul’s secretary in the original letter. We have seen that some such hypothesis may explain the impossible reading in 4:12.

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας should be read with B C L, Harcl., Chrys. Cyr. Theodrt. τῶν αἰώνων was added in א A D E P, Vulg. Pesh. Boh., Orig.-lat. &c., owing to the influence of 1 Timothy 1:17.

The doxology sums up all the great ideas of the Epistle. The power of the Gospel which St. Paul was commissioned to preach; the revelation in it of the eternal purpose of God; its contents, faith; its sphere, all the nations of the earth; its author, the one wise God, whose wisdom is thus vindicated—all these thoughts had been continually dwelt on. And so at the end feeling how unfit a conclusion would be the jarring note of vv. 17-20, and wishing to ‘restore to the Epistle at its close its former serene loftiness,’ the Apostle adds these verses, writing them perhaps with his own hand in those large bold letters which seem to have formed a sort of authentication of his Epistles (Galatians 6:11), and thus gives an eloquent conclusion to his great argument.

&c. always qualify the word which precedes, not that which follows:

C.I.G. Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum.

אԠCod. Sinaiticus

B Cod. Vaticanus

P Cod. Porphyrianus

Boh. Bohairic.

A Cod. Alexandrinus

C Cod. Ephraemi Rescriptus

D Cod. Claromontanus

E Cod. Sangermanensis

F Cod. Augiensis

G Cod. Boernerianus

Vulg. Vulgate.

Syrr. Syriac.

C.I.L. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.

Arm. Armenian.

Aeth. Ethiopic.

Orig.-lat. Latin Version of Origen

L Cod. Angelicus

Chrys. Chrysostom.

Theodrt. Theodoret.

RV. Revised Version.

Lft. Lightfoot.

Jos. Josephus.

Tert. Tertullian.

Sedul. Sedulius.

codd. codices.

Harcl. Harclean.

Pesh. Peshitto.

Tisch. Tischendorf.

Lid. Liddon.

That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.
Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Now to him that is of power to stablish 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 scriptures of the prophets, 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 for ever. Amen.
ICC New Testament commentary on selected books

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