Romans 16
People's New Testament
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
16:1 Personal Salutations


The Bearer of the Letter Commended. The Church Asked to Give Her Aid in the Work That Calls Her to. Rome. Greetings for Old Friends and Fellow-Laborers. A Household Church. Warned Against Divisions. Farewell Benediction.

I commend unto you Phebe, our sister. Evidently the bearer of the letter, a sister in Christ. In this list of persons greeted, a number are women, and the greetings show how highly Paul esteemed woman's work in the church.

A servant. The word is diakonia ( deacon ) in the Greek. The word also means servant, as rendered, but we know that there were deaconesses in the church of the first century, and Paul, in giving her a recommendation, no doubt mentions her office. To say that she was a servant of the church, would convey no special distinction. In the East, where women were so much secluded, deaconesses would be a necessity. Paul evidently refers to them (1Ti 5:9,10). Ignatius, a companion of the apostles, mentions them in one of his epistles, and Pliny does also, in his famous letter to Trajan, early in the second century.

Which is at Cenchrea. Paul wrote this letter at Corinth; Cenchrea was its seaport, on the Aegean Sea, about nine miles from the city. A small town with the old name still marks its site.

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.
16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord. Give her a Christian welcome.

And that ye assist her. The term used in the Greek, paristemi, is a legal one; hence it is supposed that some kind of legal business called her to Rome.

She hath been a succorer of many. This would result from her office as a deaconess. Among those ministered to was the apostle himself.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila. These active fellow-workers had first aided Paul at Corinth (Ac 18:2); then they went to Ephesus, and prepared the way for his work there (Ac 18:26); they had now returned to Rome, their former home. Some have argued that this greeting could not have been sent to Rome, from the fact that Paul had left them at Ephesus. It was the natural thing for them to go back home, when they could safely do so, and Godet says that from two or three years had passed since Paul left them at Ephesus, which gives ample time for a change of residence. The fact that the name of the wife comes first here, and in Ac 18:2, seems to imply that she was the more efficient. They are also named in 1Co 16:19 2Ti 4:19.
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.
16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks. It is evident that at some time they had endured great peril for Paul's sake. That only a small part of his perils have been recorded, we know from 2Co 11:23-27.

But also all the churches of the Gentiles. Are under a debt of gratitude to Priscilla and Aquila.

Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. As the early Christians had no houses of worship, they met in the homes of prominent brethren. In the large cities there would be several such groups. One of these in Rome met in the house of Priscilla and Aquila.

Epaenetus. He is not mentioned elsewhere.

Who is the firstfruits of Achaia. Asia, as in the Revised Version, is the true reading. The family of Stephanas were the first converts of Achaia (1Co 16:15).

Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
16:6 Greet Mary. A large number of those named were personal acquaintances of Paul; some had rendered him special service; many were, no doubt, his own converts. Of most of them we know nothing, save that he places them in this honorable roll.
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen. Countrymen.

My fellowprisoners. When confined with Paul, we do not know.

Of note among the apostles. Well and favorably known to the apostles.

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.
16:10 Salute them who are of Aristobulus' household. Aristobulus was either dead, or not a believer. The household is, perhaps, his slaves. Great Romans had hundreds of slaves, usually white, many of them cultured. Thousands of the early Christians were gathered from these.
Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
16:11 Of the household of Narcissus. At the time Paul wrote, a favorite of Nero, named Narcissus, was all powerful in Rome. He probably meant a number of his servants having accepted Christ.
Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
16:12 Tryphaena, Tryphosa,... Persis. These are the names of women. From the fact stated of them, there were probably deaconesses.
Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
16:13 Salute Rufus. Some have supposed this to be the Rufus named in Mr 15:21. His father was of Cyrene.

And his mother and mine. Paul had certainly met Rufus' mother elsewhere, for he not only greets her, but says she had been a mother to him.

Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
16:14 Hermas. Supposed by some to have been the author of an early Christian writing, called The Shepherd of Hermas, which still remains.
Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
16:15 And all the saints which are with them. Probably another household church, which met with those just named.
Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The kiss is still a common salutation in the East, and was in New Testament times. See Lu 7:45 2Sa 20:9 1Pe 5:14 The custom is still preserved in the Greek churches.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
16:17 Mark them which cause divisions. Judaizing, or other false teachers, who disturbed the Gentile churches by urging them to keep the law of Moses, or by teaching some heresy. Read the Epistle to the Galatians. See PNT Ga 2:10. They were not to listen to them, and were to 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.
16:18 Serve not our Lord Jesus Christ. These men, like many other false teachers, were more devoted to their own appetites than to Christ.

The simple. Innocent in the Revised Version. The unsuspecting.

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.
16:19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. Your reputation as Good Christians is so well known that you ought not to be deceived by these false teachers.
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
16:20 The God of peace shall bruise Satan. Shall give you the victory.
Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
16:21 Timothy. That Timothy was with Paul at this time, we learn from Ac 20:4. He joins with other companions of Paul in greetings.

Lucius. Possibly, Lucius of Cyrene (Ac 13:1).

Jason. Possibly the one named in Ac 17:5.

Sosipater. The same name as Sopater. See Ac 20:4.

Kinsmen. Countrymen; Jews.

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
16:22 I, Tertius. Otherwise unknown.

Who wrote this epistle. Paul dictated the letter, and Tertius acted as scribe.

Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
16:23 Gaius, mine host. Paul baptized a Gaius at Corinth (1Co 1:14). The name occurs several times. He was noted for his hospitality.

Erastus the chamberlain. The city treasurer, hence a man of high position. The name occurs in Ac 19:22 2Ti 4:20.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
16:24 The grace of our Lord. At the close of his greetings, Paul adds his benediction. He had already given it in Ro 16:20. It is now written with his own hand (2Th 3:17). He also adds a doxology (Ro 16:25-27), which makes a noble conclusion.
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,
16:25 To him that is able. They are commended to God.

According to the revelation of the mystery. The mystery of the gospel, and especially of the salvation of the Gentiles. See Ro 11:25. A mystery is a divine purpose that had been kept secret. When God's glorious purpose was revealed, the mystery was made known.

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:
16:26 Now is made manifest. The apostles were engaged in declaring this mystery to the world.
To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
16:27 To God the only wise. The source of all wisdom.
The People's New Testament by B.W. Johnson [1891]

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