And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard…
All who took an interest in Christianity in Rome, both Jews and Gentiles, gathered to him. Perhaps there was not a day of the two years of his imprisonment but he had such visitors. The Roman Christians learned to go to that room as to an oracle or shrine. Many a Christian teacher got his sword sharpened there; and new energy began to diffuse itself through the Christian circles of the city. Many an anxious father brought his son, many a friend his friend, hoping that a word from the apostle's lips might waken the sleeping conscience. Many a wanderer, stumbling in there by chance, came out a new man. Such an one was Onesimus, a slave from Colossae, who arrived in Rome as a runaway, but was sent hack to his Christian master, Philemon, no longer as a slave, but as a brother beloved. Still more interesting visitors came. At all periods of his life he exercised strong fascination over young men. They were attracted by the manly soul within him, in which they found sympathy with their aspiration or inspiration for the noblest work. These youthful friends, who were scattered over the world in the work of Christ, flocked to him at Rome. Timothy and Luke, Mark and Aristarchus, Tychicus and Epaphras, and many more came, to drink afresh at the well of his ever-springing wisdom and earnestness. And he sent them forth again to carry messages to his churches, or bring him news of their condition. Of his spiritual children in the distance he never ceased to think. Daily he was wandering in imagination among the glens of Galatia and along the shores of Asia and Greece; every night he was praying for the Christians of Antioch and Ephesus, of Philippi and Thessalonica and Corinth. Nor were gratifying proofs a wanting that they were remembering him. Now and then there would appear in his lodging a deputy from some distant church, bringing the greetings of his converts or, perhaps, a contribution to meet his temporal wants, or craving his decision on some point of doctrine or practice about which difficulty had arisen. These messengers were not sent empty away: they carried warm-hearted messages or golden words of counsel from their apostolic friend. Some of them carried far more. When Epaphroditus, a deputy from the church at Philippi, which had sent to their dear father in Christ an offering of love, was returning home, Paul sent with him, in acknowledgment of their kindness, the Epistle to the Philippians, the most beautiful of all his letters, in which he lays bare his very heart and every sentence glows with love more tender than a woman's. When the slave Onesimus was sent back to Colossae, he received as the branch of peace to offer to his master the exquisite little Epistle to Philemon, a priceless monument of Christian courtesy. He carried, too, a letter addressed to the church of the town in which his master lived, the Epistle to the Colossians.
(J. Stalker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.