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Chapter 16

16:1 I commend [sunistēmi]. The regular word for letters of commendation as in 2Co 3:1 [sustatikōn epistolōn]. See also Ro 3:5. So here verses 1, 2 constitute Paul’s recommendation of Phoebe, the bearer of the Epistle. Nothing else is known of her, though her name [Phoibē] means bright or radiant. Sister [adelphēn]. In Christ, not in the flesh. Who is a servant of the church [ousan diakonon tēs ekklēsias]. The etymology of [diakonos] we have had repeatedly. The only question here is whether it is used in a general sense or in a technical sense as in Php 1:1; 1Ti 3:8-13. In favour of the technical sense of “deacon” or “deaconess” is the addition of “[tēs ekklēsias]” (of the church). In some sense Phoebe was a servant or minister of the church in Cenchreae. Besides, right in the midst of the discussion in 1Ti 3:8-13 Paul has a discussion of [gunaikas] (verse 11) either as women as deaconesses or as the wives of deacons (less likely though possible). The Apostolic Constitutions has numerous allusions to deaconesses. The strict separation of the sexes made something like deaconesses necessary for baptism, visiting the women, etc. Cenchreae, as the eastern port of Corinth, called for much service of this kind. Whether the deaconesses were a separate organization on a par with the deacons we do not know nor whether they were the widows alluded to in 1Ti 5:9f.

16:2 Worthily of the saints [axiōs tōn hagiōn]. Adverb with the genitive as in Php 1:27 because the adjective [axios] is used with the genitive (Lu 3:8). “Receive her in a way worthy of the saints.” This word [hagios] had come to be the accepted term for followers of Christ. Assist her [parastēte]. Second aorist (intransitive) active subjunctive of [paristēmi], to stand by, with the dative case (“beside her”), the very word used by Paul of the help of Jesus in his trial [parestē], 2Ti 4:17). Used with [hina] as [prosdexēsthe]. In whatsoever matter [en hōi pragmati]. Incorporation of the antecedent [pragmati] into the relative clause [hōi]. She may have need of you [an humōn chrēizēi]. Indefinite relative clause with [an] and the present subjunctive of [chrēizō] with genitive. A succourer [prostatis]. Old and rare feminine form for the masculine [prostatēs], from [proistēmi] [prostateō], common, but not in the N.T.), here only in the N.T. and not in the papyri. The word illustrates her work as [diakonon] and is perhaps suggested here by [parastēte], just before. Of mine own self [emou autou]. “Of me myself.”

16:3 In verses 3-16 Paul sends his greetings to various brethren and sisters in Rome. Prisca and Aquila [Priskan kai Akulan]. This order always (Ac 18:18, 26; 2Ti 4:19, and here) save in Ac 18:2; 1Co 16:19, showing that Prisca was the more prominent. Priscilla is a diminutive of Prisca, a name for women in the Acilian gens. She may have been a noble Roman lady, but her husband was a Jew of Pontus and a tent-maker by trade. They were driven from Rome by Claudius, came to Corinth, then to Ephesus, then back to Rome, and again to Ephesus. They were good travelling Christians. My fellow-workers [tous sunergous mou]. Both in tent-making and in Christian service in Corinth and Ephesus.

16:4 Laid down their own necks [ton heautōn trachelon hupethēkan]. First aorist active of [hupotithēmi], old verb to place under (the axe of the executioner), only here in N.T. in this sense, though in 1Ti 4:16 to suggest. If literal or figurative, the incident may be connected with the uproar created by Demetrius in Ephesus. Certainly Paul felt deep obligation toward them (see Ac 20:34). Not only I [ouk egō monos]. Rather, “not I alone” (adjective [monos]. The Gentile churches also (great mission workers).

16:5 The church that is in their house [tēn kat’ oikon autōn ekklēsian]. The early Christians had no church buildings. See also Ac 12:2; 1Co 16:19; Phm 1:2; Col 4:15. The Roman Christians had probably several such homes where they would meet. Epainetus [Epaineton]. Nothing is known of him except this item, “the first-fruits of Asia” [aparchē tēs Asias]. An early convert from the province of Asia. Cf. Ac 2:9; 1Co 16:15 (about Stephanus and Achaia).

16:6 Mary [Marian]. Some MSS. have [Mariam], the Hebrew form. The name indicates a Jewish Christian in Rome. Paul praises her toil. See Lu 5:5.

16:7 Andronicus and Junias [Andronicou kai Iounian]. The first is a Greek name found even in the imperial household. The second name can be either masculine or feminine. Kinsmen [suggeneis]. Probably only fellow-countrymen as in 9:13. Fellow-prisoners [sunaichmalōtus]. Late word and rare (in Lucian). One of Paul’s frequent compounds with [sun]. Literally, fellow captives in war. Perhaps they had shared one of Paul’s numerous imprisonments (2Co 11:23). In N.T. only here, Phm 1:23; Col 4:10. Of note [episēmoi]. Stamped, marked [epi sēma]. Old word, only here and Mt 27:16 (bad sense) in N.T. Among the apostles [en tois apostolois]. Naturally this means that they are counted among the apostles in the general sense true of Barnabas, James, the brother of Christ, Silas, and others. But it can mean simply that they were famous in the circle of the apostles in the technical sense. Who have been in Christ before me [hoi kai pro emou gegonan en Christōi]. Andronicus and Junias were converted before Paul was. Note [gegonan] (Koinē form by analogy) instead of the usual second perfect active indicative form [gegonasin], which some MSS. have. The perfect tense notes that they are still in Christ.

16:8 Ampliatus [Ampliaton]. Some MSS. have a contracted form Amplias.

16:9 Urbanus [Ourbanon]. “A common Roman slave name found among members of the household” (Sanday and Headlam). A Latin adjective from urbs, city (city-bred). Stachys [Stachun]. A Greek name, rare, but among members of the imperial household. It means a head or ear of grain (Mt 12:1).

16:10 Apelles [Apellēn]. A name among Jews and a famous tragic actor also. The approved [ton dokimon]. The tried and true (1Co 11:19; 2Co 10:18; 13:7). Them which are of the household of Aristobulus [tous ek tōn Aristoboulou]. The younger Aristobulus was a grandson of Herod the Great. Lightfoot suggests that some of the servants in this household had become Christians, Aristobulus being dead.

16:11 Herodion [Herōidiōna]. Probably one belonging to the Herod family like that above. Kinsman [suggenē]. Merely fellow-countryman. Them of the household of Narcissus [tous ek tōn Narkissou]. “Narcissiani.” There was a famous freedman of this name who was put to death by Agrippa. Perhaps members of his household.

16:12 Tryphaena and Tryphosa [Truphainan kai Truphōsan]. Probably sisters and possibly twins. Both names come from the same root, the verb [truphaō], to live luxuriously (Jas 5:5). Denney suggests “Dainty and Disdain.” Persis [Persida]. A freedwoman was so named. She is not Paul’s “beloved,” but the “beloved” of the whole church.

16:13 Rufus [Rouphon]. A very common slave name, possibly the Rufus of Mr 15:21. The word means “red.” The chosen [ton eklekton]. Not “the elect,” but “the select.” And mine [kai emou]. Paul’s appreciation of her maternal care once, not his real mother.

16:14 Asyncritus [Asunkriton]. There is an inscription of a freedman of Augustus with this name. Phlegon [Phlegonta]. No light on this name till the historian of the second century A.D. Hermes [Hermēn]. A very common slave name. Patrobas [Patroban]. Name of a freedman of Nero, abbreviated form of Patrobius. Hermas [Hermān]. Not the author of the Shepherd of Hermas. Common as a slave name, shortened form of Hermagoras, Hermogenes, etc. The brethren that are with them [tous sun autois adelphous]. Perhaps a little church in the house of some one.

16:15 Philologus [Philologon]. Another common slave name. Julia [Ioulian]. The commonest name for female slaves in the imperial household because of Julius Caesar. Possibly these two were husband and wife. Nereus [Nērea]. Found in inscriptions of the imperial household. But the sister’s name is not given. One wonders why. Olympas [Olumpān]. Possibly an abbreviation for Olympiodorus. All the saints that are with them [tous sun autois pantas hagious]. Possibly another church in the house. These unnamed, the “and others,” constitute the great majority in all our churches.

16:16 With a holy kiss [en philēmati hagiōi]. The near-east mode of salutation as hand-shaking in the Western. In China one shakes hands with himself. Men kissed men and women kissed women. See 1Th 5:26; 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12.

16:17 Mark [skopeite]. Keep an eye on so as to avoid. [Skopos] is the goal, [skopeō] means keeping your eye on the goal. Divisions [dichostasias]. Old word for “standings apart,” cleavages. In N.T. only here and Ga 5:20. Those which are causing [tous—poiountas]. This articular participle clause has within it not only the objects of the participle but the relative clause [hēn humeis emathete] (which you learned), a thoroughly Greek idiom.

16:18 But their own belly [alla tēi heautōn koiliāi]. Dative case after [douleuousin]. A blunt phrase like the same picture in Php 3:19 “whose god is the belly,” more truth than caricature in some cases. By their smooth and fair speech [dia tēs chrēstologias kai eulogias]. Two compounds of [logos] (speech), the first (from [chrēstos] and [logos] is very rare (here only in N.T.), the second is very common [eu] and [logos]. Beguile [exapatōsin]. Present active indicative of the double compound verb [exapataō] (see 2Th 2:3; 1Co 3:18). Of the innocent [tōn akakōn]. Old adjective [a] privative and [kakos], without evil or guile, in N.T. only here and Heb 7:26 (of Christ).

16:19 Is come abroad [aphiketo]. Second aorist middle indicative of [aphikneomai], old verb, to come from, then to arrive at, only here in N.T. Over you [eph’ humin]. “Upon you.” Simple unto that which is evil [akeraious eis to kakon]. Old adjective from [a] privative and [kerannumi], to mix. Unmixed with evil, unadulterated.

16:20 Shall bruise [suntripsei]. Future active of [suntribō], old verb, to rub together, to crush, to trample underfoot. Blessed promise of final victory over Satan by “the God of peace.” “Shortly” [en tachei]. As God counts time. Meanwhile patient loyalty from us.

16:21 Verses 21-23 form a sort of postscript with greetings from Paul’s companions in Corinth. Timothy was with Paul in Macedonia (2Co 1:1) before he came to Corinth. Lucius may be the one mentioned in Ac 13:1. Jason was once Paul’s host (Ac 17:5-9) in Thessalonica, Sosipater may be the longer form of Sopater of Ac 20:4. They are all Paul’s fellow-countrymen [suggeneis].

16:22 I Tertius [egō Tertios]. The amanuensis to whom Paul dictated the letter. See 2Th 3:17; 1Co 16:21; Col 4:18.

16:23 Gaius my host [Gaios ho xenos mou]. Perhaps the same Gaius of 1Co 1:14 (Ac 19:29; 20:4), but whether the one of 3Jo 1:1 we do not know. [Xenos] was a guest friend, and then either a stranger (Mt 25:35) or a host of strangers as here. This Gaius was plainly a man of some means as he was the host of all the church. Erastus (2Ti 4:20) was “the treasurer of the city” [ho oikonomos tēs poleōs], one of the outstanding men of Corinth, the “steward” (house-manager) or city manager. See Lu 12:42; 16:1. He is probably the administrator of the city’s property. Quartus [Kouartos]. Latin name for fourth.

16:24 Is not genuine, not in Aleph A B C Coptic.

16:25 Verses 25-27 conclude the noble Epistle with the finest of Paul’s doxologies. To him that is able [tōi dunamenōi]. Dative of the articular participle of [dunamai]. See similar idiom in Eph 3:20. To stablish [stērixai]. First aorist active infinitive of [stērizō], to make stable. According to my gospel [kata to euaggelion mou]. Same phrase in 2:16; 2Ti 2:8. Not a book, but Paul’s message as here set forth. The preaching [to kērugma]. The proclamation, the heralding. Of Jesus Christ [Iēsou Christou]. Objective genitive, “about Jesus Christ.” Revelation [apokalupsin]. “Unveiling.” Of the mystery [mustēriou]. Once unknown, but now revealed. Kept in silence [sesigēmenou]. Perfect passive participle of [sigaō], to be silent, state of silence. Through times eternal [chronois aiōniois]. Associative instrumental case, “along with times eternal” (Robertson, Grammar, p. 527). See 1Co 2:6, 7, 10.

16:26 But now is manifested [phanerōthentos de nun]. First aorist passive participle of [phaneroō], to make plain, genitive case in agreement with [mustēriou]. By the scriptures of the prophets [dia graphōn prophētikōn]. “By prophetic scriptures.” Witnessed by the law and the prophets (3:21). This thread runs all through Romans. According to the command of the eternal God [kat’ epitagēn tou aiōniou theou]. Paul conceives that God is in charge of the redemptive work and gives his orders (1:1-5; 10:15f.). The same adjective [aiōnios] is here applied to God that is used of eternal life and eternal punishment in Mt 25:46. Unto obedience of faith [eis hupakoēn tēs pisteōs]. See 1:5. Made known unto all the nations [eis panta ta ethnē gnōristhentos]. First aorist passive participle of [gnōrizō], still the genitive case agreeing with [mustēriou] in verse 25.

16:27 To the only wise God [monōi sophōi theōi]. Better, “to God alone wise.” See 1Ti 1:17 without [sophōi]. To whom [hōi]. Some MSS. omit.

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