Paul Sends His Loving Greetings
1Now, let me introduce to you our dear and beloved sister in the faith, Phoebe, a shining minister # 16:1 Or “deaconess” or “servant,” which would imply she may have held an office in the church. The name Phoebe means “shining,” “radiant,” “bright,” “prophetic.” It is likely that the church in Cenchrea was a house church. of the church in Cenchrea. # 16:1 Or modern-day Kenchreai, which in the days of Paul was a large port city about four miles (seven kilometers) southeast of Corinth in Greece. See also Acts 18:18. 2I am sending her with this letter and ask that you shower her with your hospitality when she arrives. Embrace her with honor, as is fitting for one who belongs to the Lord and is set apart for him. So provide her whatever she may need, for she’s been a great leader and champion # 16:2 The Greek word prostatis means “the one who goes first,” “a leading officer presiding over many,” “a protecting patroness who oversees the affairs of others,” “a champion defender.” It is clear that Phoebe was considered a leader, a champion, a heroic woman who was most likely quite wealthy and brought blessings to others. The term prostatis implies a great status (as used in classical Greek) and denotes a high position in the church. Paul honors a total of thirty-seven people in this last chapter of Romans. Their names have gone down in church history as wonderful servants of Jesus. Their names are recorded for eternity here in God’s eternal Word. Church tradition states that most of those named here were martyred for their faith. Imagine dear sister Phoebe carrying with her a letter to Rome that contained the greatest wealth of Christian theology. A copy of that letter she carried is the letter you are now reading! for many—I know, for she’s been that for even me!
3Give my love # 16:3 The Aramaic word used throughout this chapter for “greetings” or “love” is “send peace.” to Prisca and Aquila, # 16:3 Prisca was a diminutive form of Priscilla (“long life”). She and her husband, Aquila (“eagle”), were tentmakers like Paul. They were not only business partners, but partners with him in ministry. See Acts 18:2, 18, 26; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19. my partners in ministry serving the Anointed One, Jesus, 4for they’ve risked their own lives to save mine. I’m so thankful for them, and not just I, but all the congregations among the non-Jewish people respect them for their ministry. 5Also give my loving greetings to all the believers in their house church.
And greet Epenetus, # 16:5 Or “Epaenetus,” which means “praiseworthy.” who was the first convert to Christ in the Roman province of Asia, # 16:5 Or “the firstfruit [convert] of Asia” (Minor). The Roman province of Asia is modern-day Turkey. The Aramaic has Epenetus as the first convert from Achaia, a region of Greece. for I love him dearly.
6And give my greetings to Miriam, # 16:6 Or “Mary.” The Hebrew name Miriam is taken from the Hebrew root and Ugaritic noun mrym, which means “height,” “summit,” “exalted” (excellent). who has toiled and labored extremely hard to benefit you. # 16:6 The Aramaic is “to beautify you.”
7Make sure that my relatives Andronicus and Junia # 16:7 Throughout the first twelve hundred years of church history, Andronicus (“victorious one”) and Junia (“youthful”) were considered to be husband and wife. A small number of manuscripts have “Julia.” Paul calls them his relatives, or “[Jewish] kinsmen.” The Aramaic meaning of Junia is “little dove.” are honored, for they’re my fellow captives # 16:7 Or “prisoners.” It is possible that Paul is using this term as a metaphor; that is, they were prisoners of the love of Christ. See Song. 8:6, which uses the Hebrew word for “prison cell” or “seal.” who bear the distinctive mark of being outstanding and well-known apostles, # 16:7 It is clear in the text that Junia, along with her husband, Andronicus, was a well-known apostle. (The Greek word episemos means “famous, prominent, outstanding.”) Jesus chose twelve men and called them apostles, but the Twelve were not the only ones identified in the New Testament as apostles (“sent ones”). There are others, including Matthias, Paul, Barnabas, Andronicus, and Junia. See Acts 14:13; Eph. 4:11–13. and who were joined into the Anointed One before me.
8Give my regards to Ampliatus, # 16:8 Ampliatus was a common name given to slaves, and it means “large one.” The Eastern Orthodox Church recognizes him as one of the seventy disciples whom Jesus sent out. He is believed to have become the bishop of Bulgaria. whom I love, for he is joined into the Lord.
9And give my loving greetings to Urbanus, # 16:9 Urbanus was also a common name given to slaves. It means “polite one.” our partner in ministry serving the Anointed One, and also to Stachus, # 16:9 Or Stachys (“head of grain”). He is said to have been one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent out. He eventually became the bishop of Byzantium. whom I love.
10Don’t forget to greet Apelles # 16:10 Apelles means “called one.” for me, for he’s been tested and found to be approved by the Anointed One. # 16:10 Or “the Lord knows, not we, the tests he endured.”
And extend warm greetings to all those of Aristobolos’s house church. # 16:10 Or “those of Aristobolos”; by implication, those connected to Aristobolos, or, his “house church.” The word household is not found in the Greek text. Aristobolos means “best counselor.” Traditionally he is known as one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent out, and he brought the gospel to Britain.
11Give my love to my relative Herodion, # 16:11 Herodion’s name means “heroic.” He was traditionally considered as one of Jesus’ seventy disciples. He later became the bishop of Neoparthia (Iraq), where he was beaten to death by the Jews but was resurrected and continued to preach the gospel. It is believed that he was eventually beheaded in Rome on the same day Peter was martyred. and also to all those of the house church of Narcissus, # 16:11 Or “those of Narcissus.” Although nearly every translation adds the word household, it is not found in the text. By implication, this would be those meeting as a church in his house. Narcissus’ name means “astonished” (or “stupefied”). Some have identified him as a close friend of Emperor Claudius. for they too are joined into the Lord.
12Please greet Tryphena # 16:12 Tryphena means “living luxuriously.” Some have identified her as Antonia Tryphaena (10 BC—AD 55), the princess of the Bosporan kingdom of eastern Crimea, and connected to the queen of Thrace. This would mean that she was royal and wealthy. and Tryphosa, # 16:12 Tryphosa can also mean “living luxuriously” or “triple [three-fold] shining.” Some scholars believe that Tryphena and Tryphosa were twin sisters born into royalty. for they are women who have diligently served the Lord.
To Persis, # 16:12 Persis means “to take by storm.” She was a woman from Persia (Iranian background) who was a godly servant and passionate follower of Jesus. who is much loved and faithful in her ministry for the Lord, I send my greetings.
13And Rufus, # 16:13 Rufus means “red.” It is believed that he was the son of Simon of Cyrene (Libya) who helped Jesus carry his cross to Calvary. See Mark 15:21. for he is especially chosen by the Lord. And I greet his mother, who was like a mother to me.
14I cannot forget to mention my esteemed friends Asyncritus, # 16:14 Asyncritus means “incomparable.” The Orthodox Church recognizes him as an apostle. He became the bishop of the church of Hyracania (Turkey). In this verse Paul joins five men together. They could have represented the five-fold ministry of Eph. 4:11, or they may have been leaders of house churches, for there were others who were “with” them and connected to them. Phlegon, # 16:14 Phlegon means “burning one.” He was considered to be one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent out. The Orthodox Church recognizes him as an apostle who became the bishop of Marathon in Thrace. Hermes, # 16:14 Hermes means “preacher of the deity.” He was considered to be one of the seventy sent out by Jesus and later became the bishop of Dalmatia. Patrobas, # 16:14 Patrobas means “fatherly” (paternal). He likewise was one of the seventy sent by Jesus and later became the bishop of Neapolis (Naples). Hermas, # 16:14 Hermas was one of the seventy and later became the bishop of Philipopoulis (Bulgaria). There are interesting traditions surrounding Hermas. It is said that he was a very wealthy man but fell into poverty because of his sins. He was visited by an “angel of repentance,” who accompanied him for the rest of his life until he was martyred. There are writings known as “The Shepherd of Hermas” that some scholars attribute to him. and all the brothers and sisters who meet with them.
15Give my regards to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and also Olympas # 16:15 Philologus means “talkative.” He was recognized by the Orthodox Church as an apostle of Christ. It is likely that Julia was his wife and Nereus and his sister were their children. Olympas means “heavenly.” The Orthodox Church recognizes Olympas as an apostle who was mentored by Peter and was beheaded the same day Peter was martyred in Rome. Philologus and Olympas apparently had a measure of influence over a number of “holy believers” in the faith. The majority of the people named in this chapter were not Jewish, and many of their names indicate that they were former slaves. God can bless and anoint anyone who turns to him in faith. and all the holy believers who meet with them.
16Greet each other with a holy kiss of God’s love. # 16:16 What makes a kiss holy is that it comes from the love of God. See Song. 1:2. All the believers in all the congregations of the Messiah send their greetings to all of you.
Paul’s Final Instructions
17And now, dear brothers and sisters, I’d like to give one final word of caution: Watch out for those who cause divisions and offenses among you. When they antagonize you by speaking of things that are contrary to the teachings that you’ve received, don’t be caught in their snare! 18For people like this are not truly serving the Lord, our Messiah, but are being driven by their own desires for a following. # 16:18 Or “they are slaves of their bellies.” The metaphor used here is that they are driven by their desires to pull others into their group and thus divide the church. Utilizing their smooth words and well-rehearsed blessings, they seek to deceive the hearts of innocent ones.
19I’m so happy when I think of you, because everyone knows the testimony of your deep commitment of faith. So I want you to become scholars of all that is good and beautiful, and stay pure and innocent # 16:19 Or “unmixed.” when it comes to evil. 20And the God of peace will swiftly pound Satan to a pulp # 16:20 The Greek word suntribo means “to beat up someone to a jelly” (or pulp). See also Ps. 60:12. under your feet! And the wonderful favor of our Lord Jesus will surround you.
21My ministry partner, Timothy, # 16:21 Timothy was a spiritual son and ministry partner to the apostle Paul. See Acts 16:1–3. sends his loving greetings, along with Luke, # 16:21 Or “Lucius.” This seems to be the Luke who wrote Luke and Acts, but there remains considerable debate surrounding who that “Luke” may be. Jason, # 16:21 Jason also appears in Acts 17, where he opened his home to Paul, Silas, and Timothy while they were in Thessalonica. Tradition states that Jason was one of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus and was appointed the bishop of Tarsus by Paul. and Sosipater, # 16:21 According to church tradition, he was recognized as one of the seventy disciples and became the bishop of Iconium. my Jewish kinsmen. # 16:21 See Acts 20:4.
22(I, Tertius, # 16:22 Tertius, the copyist for Paul, was recognized in church history as one of the seventy disciples of Jesus. He became the bishop of Iconium after Sosipater and was eventually martyred. am the one transcribing this letter for Paul, and I too send my greetings to all of you, as a follower of the Lord.)
23My kind host here in Corinth, Gaius, # 16:23 This is most likely the Gaius whom Paul baptized (1 Cor. 1:14) and who became a ministry partner with Paul (Acts 19:29). Gaius means “happy,” “jolly.” likewise greets you, along with the entire congregation of his house church. Also, the city administrator Erastus # 16:23 Erastus was a political appointee who was undoubtedly of a high social status in the city of Corinth. His duties would have included being the treasurer of the city. Church tradition holds that he was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus and that he served as a minister (deacon) of the church in Jerusalem and later in Paneas. An excavation in Corinth uncovered a street with an ancient inscription dated to the first century AD. It read “Erastus . . . laid the pavement at his own expense.” His name means “loveable.” and our brother Quartus # 16:23 Quartus is recognized in church history as one of the seventy disciples sent by Jesus. He became the bishop of Beirut. Nikolai Velimirovic wrote that Quartus suffered greatly for his faith and won many converts to Christ through his ministry (Prologue from Ohrid). send their warm greetings.
24May the grace and favor of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, continually rest upon you all. # 16:24 The vast majority of Greek manuscripts have v. 24; however, some manuscripts, including the Aramaic, place this verse after v. 27. There is some external evidence that this verse was copied from v. 20 and placed here. Many scholars are divided over where or if this verse is to be placed in the text.
Paul Praises God
25I give all my praises and glory # 16:25 Implied in the text and supplied from v. 27 for the sake of English sentence length. This doxology of Paul (vv. 25–27) is found in three separate locations in different Greek manuscripts with a total of five variations. Most reliable manuscripts place it here. Some have it after 14:23, and a few place it after 15:33. Some include it twice in different placements. to the one who has more than enough power to make you strong and keep you steadfast through the promises found in my gospel; that is, the proclamation of Jesus, the Anointed One. This wonderful news includes the unveiling of the mystery kept secret # 16:25 Or “kept in [God’s] silence.” from the dawn of creation until now. 26This mystery is understood through the prophecies of the Scripture and by the decree of the eternal God. And it is now heard openly by all the nations, igniting within them a deep commitment of faith.
27Now to God, the only source of wisdom, be glorious praises for endless ages through Jesus, the Anointed One! Amen!
(Paul’s letter was transcribed by Tertius in Corinth and sent from Corinth and carried to Rome by Phoebe.) # 16:27 As translated from the Aramaic.