Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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ROMANS - Chapter 16

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Romans 16

Supplemental Commentary:

Conclusion:  Personal Explanations and Greetings  15, 14 -- 16, 27 (continued)

16, 1-2:  Commendation of Phoebe.  A Gentile convert, from her name and the designation sister, a deaconess, since she was in the ministry of the church (1 Tim. 5, 1 ff), Phoebe probably was the bearer of this letter to the Romans.  Cenchrae was some eight miles from Corinth, and its seaport on the Aegean sea.  It is not known how she assisted Paul and others; probably in a financial way.

16, 3-16:  Greetings to Individuals.    3 f.  Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila had helped Paul and the young churches at Corinth and Ephesus (Acts 18, 2 ff; 1 Cor. 16, 19; 2 Tim. 4, 19).  We do not know how they risked their lives for Paul.    5.  The church . . . in their house: the early Christians met in the larger houses for religious services.    6-16.  Nothing is known with certainty of those whose names are mentioned here.  Some of the names are Greek, others Latin, and that of Mary is Hebrew.  Rufus may be the one mentioned in Mark 15, 21, since the Second Gospel was written at Rome.

16, 17-20:  Warning to Trouble-makers.    17.  Watch: to observe closely, to mark.    18.  Do not serve Christ, etc.: probably in the sense that they lived more for riches.  Smooth words and flattery were their means.    19.  For connects with "I exhort" of v.17; or we must supply "A word to you is sufficient, for your faith . . ."  Wise: discreet; guileless: uncontaminated by evil.    20:  Satan: who inspires these trouble-makers to disturb the peace of the Church.  The grace, etc.: only this help will enable them to triumph over Satan.

16, 21-24:  Greetings from Corinth.    21.  Timothy: he was also with St. Paul when he wrote 2 Cor., Phil., 1 and 2 Thess., and Philem.; he was himself the recipient of two letters from St. Paul.  My fellow-laborer: this may be needed since Timothy was probably not known to the Romans.  Lucius: probably the one from Cyrene mentioned in Acts 13, 1.  Jason: may be Paul's host named in Acts 17, 5 ff.  Sosipater: may be the one introduced in Acts 20, 4.  He and Lucius were Macedonians.    22.  Tertius: this is the only instance in which the scribe or amanuensis interjects his own greetings in Paul's Epistles.  He was probably acquainted with the Romans.    23.  Gaius: probably the same as the one given in 1 Cor. 1, 14.  According to the Greek he was host of the whole church, i.e., the Christians probably met in his home.  Erastus: hardly the one mentioned in Acts 19, 22; but probably the one of 2 Tim. 4, 20.  Quartus is otherwise unknown.    24.  This verse is not in the Greek; it is found in a few Latin codices which recopied it from 20, with the addition of all.

16, 25-27:  Doxology.    25.  My gospel: this passage makes it evident that St. Paul's teaching in no way differed from that of the other Apostles, for he had as yet not preached to the Romans.  What this gospel was is explained by the expression and the preaching of Jesus Christ: i.e., concerned with Jesus.  According to the revelation, etc.: the preaching and gospel dealt with the manifestation of the mystery explained in Eph.  Cf. Eph. 3, 6.  Kept in silence: from all eternity the divine plan, known only to God, was to redeem mankind through Jesus Christ.    26.  Now: since the advent of Christ.  The mystery had been revealed, or rather foretold, in an obscure way by the Prophets.  Made known, etc.: by the preaching of the Apostles.  According to the precept, etc.: all this was according to the decree of God.

This doxology sums up the teaching of the Epistle.  God who is able to strengthen: the gospel is the power of God (1, 16).  My gospel: Paul's commission to preach to the Gentiles (15, 14 ff).  The preaching of Jesus Christ: cf. 10, 5-14.  The revelation of the mystery: the subject of 9-11.  Through the writings of the prophets: cf. 1, 2; also his constant appeal to the Old Testament in this Epistle.  According to the precept, etc.: cf. 10, 15 and 1, 1.  Obedience to faith: cf. 1, 5; the aim of all his apostolic effort.

Joseph L. Lilly, C.M.


Confraternity Bible:

Commendation of Phoebe  1 But I commend to you Phoebe, our sister, who is in the ministry of the church at Cenchrae, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord as becomes saints, and that you may assist her in whatever business she may have need of you.  For she too has assisted many, including myself.

Greetings to Individuals  3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, 4 who for my life have risked their own necks.  To them not only I give thanks but also all the churches of the Gentiles.  5 Greet also the church that is in their house.  Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first-fruits of Asia to Christ.  6 Greet Mary who has labored much among you.  7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow-prisoners, who are distinguished among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.  8 Greet Ampliatus, beloved to me in the Lord. 9  Greet Urbanus, our helper in Christ, and my beloved Stachys.  10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ.  11 Greet the members of Aristobulus' household.  Greet Herodion, my kinsman.  Greet the members of Narcissus' household who are in the Lord.  12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa who labor in the Lord.  Greet the beloved Persis who has labored much in the Lord.  13 Greet Rufus, the elect in the Lord, and her who is his mother and mine.  14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren was are with them.  15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympias, and all the saints who are with them.  16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the churches of Christ greet you.

Warning of Trouble-makers  17 Now I exhort you, brethren, that you watch those who cause dissensions and scandals contrary to the doctrine that you have learned, and avoid them.  18 For such do not serve Christ our Lord but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattery deceive the hearts of the simple.  19 For your submission to the faith has been published everywhere.  I rejoice therefore over you.  Yet I would have you wise as to what is good, and guileless as to what is evil.  20 But the God of peace will speedily crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Greetings from Corinth  21 Timothy, my fellow-laborer, greets you, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen.  22 I, Tertius, who have written this epistle, greet you in the Lord.  23 Gaius, my host, and the host of the whole church, greets you.  Erastus, the city treasurer, and Quartus, our brother, greet you.  [24 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, amen.]

Doxology  25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you in accordance with my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept in silence from eternal ages, 26 which is manifest now through the writings of the prophets according to the precept of the eternal God, and made known to all the Gentiles to bring about obedience to faith--- 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be honor forever and ever.  Amen.