Commendations & Greetings
16:1-2 Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with whatever help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many, including me.
It appears that Paul sent his letter to the church in Rome by the hand of a messenger, a woman named Pheobe, though it is certainly not to be supposed that she travelled alone. The fact that Paul trusted her with this important task is itself a recommendation of her character, but in just case this were questioned, Paul adds his recommendation in writing. Pheobe was a deaconess in the church at Cenchrea which Paul had visited (Acts 18: 18) and she might have been accompanying Paul on his travels at the time of writing. Paul exhorts the church to receive her in the Lord as is fitting for fellow Christians and give her all the help she needs in carrying out the work which he had entrusted to her. She had helped Paul and others on many occasions.
16:3-5 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. Not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Also greet the church in their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
Priscilla and Aquila were old friends of Paul's. He had met them in Corinth when they had been ordered to leave Rome (Acts 18: 1 -2). They later returned and so Paul sends them greetings in this letter. They had risked their lives to save Paul's and so he had special reason to give thanks for them, as did all who were later saved through Paul’s ministry. But in addition, wherever they had gone, they had served the church. They had encouraged the early ministry of Apollos (Acts 18.24-26) and had allowed Paul to live and work in their home Acts 18.1-3. Even when they returned to Rome, during times of persecution, they held meetings in their home. Paul adds his greeting to those who met with them. Epaenetus was well known to Paul, for he was the first to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour during Paul’s ministry in the region of Achaia (Asia).
16:6 Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you.
Another woman he commends is Mary who had worked very hard for the apostles, probably in supporting prayer.
16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
Paul wants to be remembered to two fellow Jews who at one time were prisoners with him. They were men who held in high esteem by the apostles (Peter, John etc.) And were believers before him.
16:8-12 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my good friend Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my compatriot. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, laborers in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.
What impresses us most about this passage is that the apostle Paul, who had travelled to so many parts of the world and met thousands of believers, was a man who loved individuals. He remembers them here by name - what they had done for him and meant to him. There is no room in the Christian church for our being ungrateful or removed from one another. Paul sends personal greetings to Amplias and Strachys, who were very dear to him; Urbanus, Tryhena, Tryphosa and Pesis who had worked for Christ alongside him; Apelles, who had suffered for Christ and since he had stood in the faith, was approved in Christ; Aristobulus and his family; Herodion, a Jew and possibly a relative of Paul’s; together with all those Christians who met together in Narcissus' house. All these were mentioned and thought of in personal terms by Paul.
16:13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother who was also a mother to me.
He also wished to be remembered to Rufus who was prominent as a servant of Christ, thought to have been the son of Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15: 21). His mother had also been like a mother to Paul.
16:14-15 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters with them. Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the believers who are with them.
Greetings to a host of people.
16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
Paul ends this section by exhorting the church to greet each other with an holy or blessed kiss (Luke 7: 44, 1 Pet. 5: 14) and by conveying greetings to the Roman Christians on behalf of the other Gentile churches he had founded.
16:17 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them!
After all Paul has said in this letter about tolerating one another, he now draws a line. He tells us to deliberately avoid certain people. Those who try to lead us away from Christ, turn us from our faith or teach us things which differ from the truth we have learned. We are not to listen to them for a moment, but to completely turn away from them and avoid them. The Bible warns that even inside the church there are men and women who are like wolves in sheep's clothing, trying to lead astray and devour sincere believers (Math. 7: 15, Acts 20: 29). DRW: Do not waste your time contending with them but rather give time to proclaiming the truth.
16:18 For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive.
These people do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ but are His enemies. In seeking to satisfy their own unspiritual desires, they prove that their God is their belly (Phil 3: 18 - 19). They use clever sounding words and flattery to deceive those who are weak in the faith.
16:19 Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.
Paul was pleased that their loyalty and obedience to Christ was well known around the world. His joy was based on the fact that they were living out their faith in Christ - walking in the truth ( 3 Jn 1v4). Yet with apostolic authority he writes to them to ensure that they might be well versed in the wholesome things of God, whilst remaining as ignorant as possible about what is evil.
16:20 The God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
In the battle between good and evil, Paul was in no doubt about the final outcome. The God of Peace will give his children victory over all of Satan’s schemes since Christ has already conquered Satan and will very soon return to completely crush him (Rev. 20: 10).
Paul completes this section by praying the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would be with the church in Rome. Amen.
16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my compatriots.
Individuals who were with Paul also wished their greetings to be conveyed to the church in Rome. Timothy was Paul’s co-worker and his beloved son in the faith (1 Tim. 1: 2). The others were fellow Jews.
16:22-24 I, Tertius, who am writing this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and our brother Quartus greet you. (TEXT OMITTED)
Paul dictated his letter to a man named Tertius, who wrote it down. He now adds his own personal greeting to the church. He was staying at the home of Gaius where the church also met. John refers to him as the wellbeloved Gaius (3 John 1:1). Erastus was a person with civic authority in the city of Corinth (treasurer) and Quartus was another brother who wished to send his greetings. Paul is probably here conveying the greeting of his companions to the church- the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
The Benediction - Glory to God for His Plan of Salvation
16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that had been kept secret for long ages,
It is little wonder, having outlined in earlier chapters the plan of God’s salvation that Paul concludes his letter by ascribing glory to the One who has brought about such a salvation for mankind. God is able to make all who believe strong and steadfast to the end in the faith which is in Christ, a faith which is according to the gospel which Paul had preached. This gospel, although it had not been revealed to men in the days before Christ came, was actually planned and purposed by God before time began.
16:26 but now is disclosed, and through the prophetic scriptures has been made known to all the nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith --
Now it was being made known through the prophetic Scriptures (O.T.) to every man in every nation, just as Christ had commanded (Mark 16: 15) so that many might be brought to salvation through faith in Jesus.
16:27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever! Amen.
To God, who alone is wise enough to plan and bring this salvation to perfection, be glory both now and for evermore. Amen.
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