Romans 16 - Outline of Romans (Book Notes menu page)
VII. Personal Messages and Benediction, 15:14 - 16:27
B. Paul's Personal Greetings, to individual members of the family of God (16:1-16)
C. Paul's concluding Admonition and Benediction (16:17-27)
16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister {ie., a female believer},
which is a servant
{GK=diakonos} of the church which is at Cenchrea:
16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh
{ie., in a manner worthy of} saints,
and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you:
for she hath been a succourer
{ie., helper} of many, and of myself also.
Cenchrea was a town about 9 miles east of Corinth.
Paul wrote this letter to the Romans from Corinth. As he departed to the east, enroute to Jerusalem through the port of Cenchrea (Acts 18:18), Phebe was apparently preparing to travel west, enroute to Rome.
Phebe is called a 'servant.' The word used suggests that she had an official role in the church.
She was to be received "in the Lord," who is the basis of the common fellowship of believers.
Phebe was "a succourer" {GK=protatis, a female guardian, a protectoress} of many.
Her purpose was to ensure the success of others. As she had assisted {or, 'stood by'} others, they were to stand by her.
16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
16:4 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.
16:5 Likewise [greet] the church that is in their house.
Aquilla and his wife, Priscilla, were Jews who shared Paul's trade of tentmaking.
Paul met and won them to the Lord in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3).
They had grown rapidly, in their knowledge of the Lord, and became active in His service. They discipled Apollos (and probably many others), sometimes traveled with Paul, and often hosted a church in their house (Acts 18:24-26; 1Cor 16:19; 2Tim 4:19). Apparently, the political situation had changed, and they had returned to Rome.
In the early days, believers met together in private homes. Several house churches are mentioned in this chapter. Church buildings did not appear until the third century A.D.
Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
This gentile man may have been the first believer in Greece.
Throughout this chapter, the words ''salute'' and ''greet'' are alternate translations of the same word.
16:6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
The word used for 'labor' speaks of wearisome toil to the point of exhaustion.
16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners,
who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
my kinsmen - ie., these were Jews (cp. Rom 9:3) who had put their trust in Christ.
Junia is a feminine name. Perhaps they were husband and wife.
who are of note among the apostles...-
ie., Their good reputation was known to the apostles in Jerusalem.
This phrase could also mean that they were noteworthy 'messengers' of the Gospel.
(The word 'apostle' is used in this sense in Php 2:25; 2Cor 8:23.)
who were in Christ before me...- Note that these were 'in Christ' as of a definite date.
When a person is identified with Christ by faith, he is, from that moment, justified before God (Joh 3:18; Acts 13:39). Paul ''recalls the time when he, a persecutor of the saints, learned with bitterness of spirit that his relatives, Andronicus and Junia, were 'baptised into Christ' and thus publicly proclaimed their renunciation of good works as a ground of salvation and their acceptance of Christ.'' [Stifler]
who were... my fellowprisoners.-
Perhaps, in those days of Paul's ignorant zeal, he had cast them into prison, but they had prayed for his salvation. Since then, in one of Paul's many imprisonments for Christ, he had been privileged to suffer humiliation together with them for their Lord.
16:8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
16:9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
beloved {GK=agapetos, dearly beloved, well beloved}- cp. v.5; Php 4:1; 1Joh 3:14
What is it that should endear our brothers and sisters to our hearts?
It is that they, also, are 'in Christ' and beloved of God.
16:10 Salute Apelles approved {GK=dokimos, tested} in Christ.
He had 'stood the test' in some situation.
Tradition says he was the bishop of Smyrna or Heraclea.
Smyrna is nearly synonymous with persecution. cp. Rev 2:8-11
Salute them which are of Aristobulus' [household].
16:11 Salute Herodion my kinsman.
Greet them that be of the [household] of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
Note that the word 'household' is inserted (twice). The reference is not to the immediate families of these men, but rather, to the house churches for which these men had responsibility. The believers who assembled in the houses of these elders, were 'with them,' or 'pertained to them.'
16:12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord.
Perhaps these were sisters. Their names mean 'Delicate' and 'Dainty.'
But they 'labored' to weariness and exhaustion.
(Mary, v.6, and Persis, below, labored similarly.)
Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
16:13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Rufus was the son of Simon, a Cyrenian, who carried Jesus' cross. Mark 15:21
Perhaps the family of Rufus, and especially his mother, had been supportive of Paul, during the period immediately following his conversion, while other Christians were suspicious and wary of their former persecutor, and were less than welcoming.
16:14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes,
and the brethren which are with them.
16:15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas,
and all the saints which are with them.
Here are two more house churches, each with multiple elders.
16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss.
'an holy kiss' was an expression of sincere affection for fellow members of God's family, whom He has set apart from the world for Himself, as His own children. As He has made them holy and pure, so, their expression of affection was also to be holy and pure.
(cp. Acts 20:37; 2Cor 13:11-13; 1The 5:26,27; 1Pet 5:14)
The churches of Christ salute you.
In addition to Paul's personal greetings, he conveyed general greetings from the assemblies of believers in Corinth (from where he was writing), to the believers, who were living in Rome.
   C. Paul's concluding Admonition and Benediction (Rom 16:17-27)
16:17 Now I beseech {GK=parakaleo, exhort, comfort} you, brethren,
{GK=skopeo, keep an eye on, be watchful of}
them which cause divisions
{ie., dissension}
and offences
{GK=skandalon, occasions to fall}
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned;
and avoid
{GK=ekklino, turn away from} them.
Here, Paul is warning God's family members concerning dangers from outsiders. Paul had previously spoken of dealing with certain divisive issues in the love and unity of the Spirit (ch. 14). Those issues were matters of practice and non-essential doctrine upon which the Scriptures allowed some breadth of understanding. However, it is not possible to maintain unity with those who contradict the core doctrines of the Faith, as taught in this epistle (eg., justification and sanctification by faith in Christ Jesus, who died for our sins and who rose again that we might have newness of life, in His righteousness). ''The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable...'' Jam 3:17; cp. Gal 1:6-9
16:18 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.
False teachers...
deceive the 'simple' {GK=akakos, without guile}- ie., the innocent, the unsuspecting,
who lack sufficient understanding of God's Word to avoid deception. cp. Eph 4:14
Note: The ''simplicity'' {GK=haplotes} that is in Christ (2Cor 11:3) is a different word,
meaning ''singleness of mind'' toward the truth.
16:19 For your obedience {ie., submission (to the truth)} is come abroad unto all [men].
I am glad
{or, I rejoice} therefore on your behalf:
Paul's joy is for visible evidence of Family characteristics in God's children.
His desire is that they would continue to grow in the knowledge of Truth, undiluted by deceptive false doctrines:
but yet I would have you
{GK=sophos, skilled in understanding} unto that which is good,
and simple
{GK=akeraios, without mixture, pure} concerning evil {GK=kakos}.
Like our Lord, who is 'harmless' {GK=akakos, without guile} and undefiled {ie., free of any pollution} (Heb 7:26), His followers ought to be discerning of that which is free of error, and 'harmless' {Gk=akeraios, pure} of all wickedness. cp. Mat 10:16; Php 2:15
16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.
The false teachers are Satan's servants (2Cor 11:13-15).
But soon, Satan and his servants will be forcefully brought into submission under the Truth, and under those who stand upon it.
'shortly' {GK=tachos, speedily} - ie., when the time comes, their judgment will be swift. 2Pet 2:1
In that day, we will be in a position of dominance over these enemies. Yet, we will not secure this victory. God will do it, in the Person of His Son. Satan and his followers will be crushed by the One to whom we are joined. cp. Gen 3:15; Rev 20:10
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you. Amen.
Next, those who were with Paul also sent their greetings to the church in Rome.--
16:21 Timotheus my workfellow, {cp. Php 2:19-23}
and Lucius
{Acts 13:1}, and Jason {Acts 17:5},
and Sosipater
{Acts 20:4}, my kinsmen, salute you.
16:22 I Tertius, who wrote
{GK=grapho} [this] epistle, salute you in the Lord.
Tertius was the scribe who penned the words, as dictated by Paul.
16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you.
Paul probably wrote his epistle in Gaius' house, which was also a meeting place of the church in Corinth. Gaius (or, others so named) is mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 1Cor 1:14; 3Joh 1:1.
Erastus the chamberlain {GK=oikonomos, steward, treasurer} of the city saluteth you,
and Quartus a brother.
Erastus was a Christian who held a public office.
The Erastus mentioned elsewhere, may be a different man (Acts 19:22 and 2Tim 4:20).
16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen.
Finally, Paul closes with a benediction.--
16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you
according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
Only God can establish the Church. cp. Rom 1:11; 14:4; Acts 20:32; Eph 3:20,21
He does so, in harmony with the totality of the Gospel message.
according to the revelation of the mystery,
which was kept secret since the world began,
ie., God's previously hidden plan, of salvation through the Gospel of Christ, by which believing Jews & Gentiles would be united in one Body, the Church of Christ. cp. Rom 11:25; Eph 3:3-6,9,10; 1Pet 1:10-12
16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets,
lit., by the prophetic writings - This refers to the NT writings.
     The OT prophets spoke of Christ's death and resurrection, and of justification by faith. But they did not foretell the Church age. Rather, they looked beyond it, to the age of Israel's restoration under their Messiah.
     In God's time, the Holy Spirit revealed (to NT prophets) the Church, consisting of one body of Jewish and Gentile believers united in Christ. cp. Joh 16:13-15; Gal 1:11,12; Eph 3:3-6
according to the commandment of the everlasting God,
made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
{cp. v.19; Rom 1:5,6}
16:27 To God only wise,
{cp. Rom 11:33-36}
[be] glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

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