Romans 16:1-16

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Text: Romans 16

PAUL'S GREETINGS

TO THE ROMAN BELIEVERS

INTRODUCTION:

In Romans 15:12 Paul completes the body of his epistle to the Romans, and in Romans 15:13 he begins his conclusion.

As part of this conclusion in chapter 16, Paul commends Phebe to the Roman believers (16:1-2) and sends greetings to various people (16:3-16) before making some closing comments (16:17-27).

In 16:1-27, we see a number of believers whom Paul mentions and some things we might learn from their lives.

It is interesting to me that these people were not all big shots, big famous names. They seem to be ordinary people who loved the Lord and lived for the Lord. It is a demonstration that God does not overlook our service for him, no matter how insignificant our service may appear to be in some people's eyes.

If we were to write a list of characteristics deemed important to the Lord in fundamentalism today, we might find considerable differences from the sort of things God lists for us here. Perhaps we are looking at the wrong things today.

I. A COMMENDATION FOR PHEBE - 16:1-2

Romans 16:1-2 - (1) I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: (2) That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

In verses 1-2 Paul writes a commendation for Phebe. She was apparently going from where Paul was to Rome, and she apparently carried with her the Epistle to the Romans.

I commend to you Phebe our sister is I present (i.e. introduce or recommend) to you Roman believers, a lady who believes named Phebe.

Phebe is described as a servant (or helper) of the church which is at Cenchrea, the seaport of Corinth, located on the eastern side of the isthmus. It suggests that Paul was in Corinth when he wrote this epistle.

Romans 16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

That ye receive her in the Lord as becometh saints is in order that (or for the purpose that) you welcome her in Christ (or as a believer) in a manner worthy of the saints. It provides us with a procedure for a transfer of membership from one congregation to another.

Not only were they to receive her, but they were also to assist her, i.e. to aid her (or to help her).

In whatever business she hath need of you is limited only by whatever needs might arise. It is in whatever undertaking, (whatever occupation or whatever task) she may need your help.

The reason they are asked to assist her is for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

For is understood in the sense of because.

She hath been a succourer of many and of myself also is she has been a protectress (i.e. a patroness or a helper). Apparently, she was well-to-do financially and had been very generous to many of the believers and also to Paul.

II. GREETINGS TO VARIOUS PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH AT ROME - 16:3-16

In verses 3-16 Paul sends greetings to various people in the church at Rome. Greet is the same word translated salute in a number of these verses.

1. Priscilla and Aquila - 16:3-5a

Romans 16:3-5 a - (3) Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: (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. (5a) Likewise greet the church that is in their house. . . .

We read about Priscilla and Aquila in a number of places in the Bible.

Acts 18:2-3 - (2) And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus (which is located in present-day northern Turkey along the Black Sea), lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius {the Roman Emperor from AD 41-54. He succeeded Caligula and was succeeded by Nero.} had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. (3) And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

Acts 18:18-19 - (18) And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. (19) And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

Acts 18:24-28 - (24) And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. (25) This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. (26) And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. (27) And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: (28) For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Aquila and Priscilla were with Paul in Ephesus when he wrote I Corinthians.

I Corinthians 16:19 - The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Priscilla and Aquila are described as my helpers (i.e. my fellow workers) in Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus suggests in the things pertaining to Christ, i.e. in spiritual matters.

We have seen Priscilla and Aquila previously in Acts 18 and I Corinthians 16 . Later, they are found in Ephesus. Apparently they were now back in Rome for a while. They had previously lived in Rome, but were expelled along with others who were Jews. They were of the same trade as Paul, indicating that they were tentmakers, and they found one another in Corinth. Later on in II Timothy Paul sends greetings to them, but at that time they were apparently located back in Ephesus.

Romans 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.

Who for my life laid down their own necks is such ones who on behalf of my life risked their own necks. It suggests that they put their lives in danger for the Apostle Paul.

Unto whom not I only give thanks but also all the churches of the Gentiles refers to Priscilla and Aquila. All the churches of the Gentiles joined Paul in giving thanks for Priscilla and Aquila because their putting their lives on the line for Paul enabled him to continue his ministry and thereby be a blessing to these churches.

Romans 16:5 a - Likewise greet the church that is in their house. . . .

Priscilla and Aquila not only served the Lord with their lives but also opened up their own home to house a church in Rome as they had previously done in Ephesus.

2. Epaenetus - 16:5b

Romans 16:5 b - . . . Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

Greet my dearly loved Epaenetus who is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture.

He is described as the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ, i.e. the first one saved in southern Greece.

3. Mary - 16:6

Romans 16:6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.

Inasmuch as Mary is a common name in the New Testament, we have no idea who this Mary is or what she may have done elsewhere.

Who bestowed much labor on us is such a one who worked hard (i.e. strived or struggled) greatly (or often). She served the Lord diligently in assisting Paul.

4. Andronicus and Junia - 16:7

Romans 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.

Salute is the term meaning greet.

Andronicus and Junia are not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture.

Andronicus is a male name, but Junia could be a male name or a female name. We do not know, but ancient commentators viewed them as husband and wife.

They are described as my kinsmen which means my fellow countrymen, which suggests that they were Jews.

They were also my fellowprisoners. It appears that they were in jail at the same time as Paul, but we cannot be certain where. In II Corinthians 11:23 Paul says that he was in prisons more often than the false apostles. At this time in Paul's life, the Scripture only gives Philippi as a place where Paul was in prison, but there apparently were other places as well.

Andronicus and Junia are also described by who are of note among the apostles, i.e. such ones who are prominent among the twelve apostles. This suggests that the twelve apostles were well acquainted with Andronicus and Junia.

Who also were in Christ before me indicates that they were saved prior to the time that Paul was saved.

5. Amplias - 16:8

Romans 16:8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.

A common slave name, but we have no idea who he was.

My beloved in the Lord, i.e. Paul loved him in Christ.

6. Urbane - 16:9a

Romans 16:9 a - Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ. . . .

Salute is the same word translated greet throughout this passage.

Urbane is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture.

He is described as our helper (i.e. fellow worker) in Christ (i.e. in the person of Christ) and indicates in matters pertaining to Christ or in Christian service.

7. Stachys - 16:9

Romans 16:9 b - Salute . . . Stachys my beloved.

Stachys whom we do not see mentioned elsewhere is described as my beloved. He is my dear Stachys. We do not know anything about him; but Paul did; and he loved him. The Lord also knew all about him and loved him.

8. Apelles - 16:10a

Romans 16:10 a - Salute Apelles approved in Christ. . . .

Salute is greet.

Apelles is a common Jewish name, but we do not know anything about him aside from this passage.

Approved in Christ means approved as a believer by testing, tried and true as a believer, genuine in his position as a Christian.

9. Those who are of Aristobulus' household - 16:10b

Romans 16:10 b - . . . Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.

Salute is greet.

Those which are of Aristobulus' household are those who belong to Aristobulus, suggesting his wife, his dependents, and any slaves which might be found in the household. Although Aristobulus was a common name, he is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture.

10. Herodion - 16:11a

Romans 16:11 a - Salute Herodion my kinsman.

Salute is greet.

Herodion my kinsman suggests Herodion my fellow countryman or Herodion my fellow citizen is undoubtedly a Jewish Christian. He is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture.

11. Those who are of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord - 16:11b

Romans 16:11 b - Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

Them that are of the household of Narcissus refers to any who are within his household whether his wife, children, or slaves.

Narcissus is a name found frequently among slaves as well as freedmen.

Which (i.e. Who) are in the Lord suggests that they are saved people and in Christ.

12. Tryphena and Tryphosa - 16:12a

Romans 16:12 a - Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord.

Salute is greet.

Tryphena and Tryphosa are women who worked hard and toiled to the point of weariness in the Lord. Other than what is said in this verse, nothing is know of them.

13. Persis - 16:12b

Romans 16:12 b - Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.

Salute is greet.

Persis is a female name, and beloved indicates that she was dearly loved by Paul and others.

Who labored much = worked hard often, toiled earnestly, strived greatly, or struggled greatly, suggesting the weariness which accompanies their hard work in the Lord.

In the Lord suggests where this labor was done, and it indicates that it was in Christian labor as Christian servants in Christian work. It was in the Lord's work.

14. Rufus - 16:13a

Romans 16:13 a - Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord. . . .

Salute is greet.

Rufus is a common Latin name, but we know nothing of him; but the Lord knows all about him.

Chosen in the Lord is select in the Lord, choice in the Lord, excellent in the Lord

15. Rufus' mother and mine - 16:13b

Romans 16:13 b - Salute . . . his mother and mine.

His mother and mine = lit. the mother of him (i.e. of Rufus) and of me. Thus, there is only one woman in view here.

Were Rufus and Paul brothers?

Did Rufus' mother treat Paul as if he were her own son?

16. Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them - 16:14

Romans 16:14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.

Salute is greet.

These are all male names; and we know nothing about any of them, but the Lord knows everything about them.

17. Philologus, Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them - 16:15

Romans 16:15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

Philologus is a male name.

Julia is a female name. Were they related? We don't know. Were they husband and wife? We don't know. Were they brother and sister? Again, we don't know.

Nereus is a male name.

Nereus' sister is obviously a female.

Olympas is a male name.

The saints which are with them may be males or females, but we do not know who they were; but the Lord knows.

18. Salute one another with a holy kiss - 16:16a

Romans 16:16 a - Salute one another with an holy kiss.

Salute one another is greet each other.

With an holy kiss is a typical Christian greeting of the day. Today, we greet with a handshake. It has been suggested that in our culture a holy kiss is equivalent to a hearty handshake.

19. The churches of Christ salute you - 16:16b

Romans 16:16 b - The churches of Christ salute you.

The churches of Christ salute you refers to churches which are filled with believers. They send greetings to the believers in Rome.

Scriptures
Series

This sermon is the 7th part of the series, Study of Titus. Other sermons in this series are: