THE BOOK OF ROMANS
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
Greetings and Love Expressed
1 I (1) commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at (B) Cenchrea;
Cenchrea was the port for Corinth on the eastern side of the isthmus, and remains of the ancient harbor are visible in the water today. Paul had his hair cut here because of a vow, and then set sail from the harbor, concluding his 18-month stay in Corinth (on his second journey; Acts 18:18).
A short note on the office of Deaconess (woman servant).
The office of Deaconess was most needful on account of the rigid separation of the sexes in that day. Female “helpers” had the care of the poor and the sick among the women of the Church. In these passages it seem probably that Typhena, Tryphosa, and Persis, whom Paul commends for their labor in the Lord were deaconesses (Rom 16:1, 12).
In the early Church the apostolical constitution distinguished “deaconess” from “widows” and “virgins,” and prescribed their duties. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 5 that deaconesses were to be the wife of one husband (no word on whether one at a time or only one ever), having been tested over time for these qualifications, hospital to strangers, washing the feet of the saints, relieving the afflicted, and diligently following every good work.
Women were inducted as deaconesses by the laying of hands, but not ordained to this position.
He need for women “servants of the Lord” arose from the customs and usages of the ancient world, which forbade the intimate association of the sexes in public assemblies. It is plain that the deaconesses had other duties than those of keepers of the entrances of the church appointed for women, they assisted with baptism and instructed candidates for the faith. They were employed in works of charity and relief where heathen public opinion would not permit the presence of the male deacons.
According to Unger Phoebe, or Phebe (Gk foibh foib-A, meaning radiant), she was as deaconess (servant) of the Church at Cenchrea, commended by Paul to the Church of Rome, who had been a recipient of her kindness (Rom 16:1-2). She seems to have been on the eve of setting out for Rome on some important business, the nature of which is unknown.
2 that you (C) receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the (D) saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.
Paul is very pointed as to how the Romans should receive Phoebe, “in a manner worthy of the saints.” It almost seems like there may have been something about Phoebe, perhaps her past, that may have made a difference to them. However, it’s my feeling that since Paul has almost reprimanded the members of the Roman Church for their judgmental attitudes toward one another, that the problem was in the Roman Church and not in Phoebe. In a time of rigid separation of the sexes it would seem that she must have been an extraordinary woman to have been remembered and spoken of so strongly by Paul as one who had been a helper of many, Paul included.
3 Greet (E) Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers (F) in (G) Christ Jesus, 4 who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
The Application Study Bible says, “Priscilla and Aquila were a married couple who had become Paul’s close friends. They, along with all other Jews, had been expelled from Rome by the Emperor (Acts 18:2, 3) and had moved to Corinth. There they met Paul and invited him to live with them. They were Christians before they met Paul, and probably told him much about the Roman church. Like Paul, Priscilla and Aquila were missionaries. The helped believers in Ephesus (Ats 18:18-28), in Rome, when they were allowed to return, and again at Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:19).”
Priscilla (diminutive of Prisca) means “little old lady.” Can you imagine her parents naming her so. She and her husband are mentioned in Acts 18; Romans 16; and 2 Timothy 4.
It is possible that they were a couple of some means as they sponsored the church in their home. It was also they who took upon themselves to theologically teach and correct the great church leader Apollos early in his career.
5 also greet (H) the church that is in their house Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the (I) first convert to Christ from (J) Asia.
First off, what a wonderful honor to be named in the Scriptures!
Somebody had to be first. In all of the Asian territories, as far as Paul knew, Epaenetus (ep-en-net-us), one very close to Paul, was the first to receive Christ. We find him here in Rome.
6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my (K) kinsmen and my (L) fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were (M) in Christ before me (born again before Paul was). 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker (N) in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, the approved (O) in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my (P) kinsman (most likely meaning a Jew). Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet (Q) Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine (women who led Paul in his early faith). 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all (R) the saints who are with them.
Paul’s personal greetings went to Romans, and Greeks, Jews and Gentiles, men and women, prisoners and prominent citizens. The church’s base was broad: it crossed cultural, social, and economic lines. From this list we learn that the Christian Community was mobile. Though Paul had not yet been to Rome, he had met these people in other places on his journeys.
16 (S) Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
The middle eastern would be the well known touch of your cheek to the other persons cheek and then the same on the other side of the face.
The British “English” translation says, “Greet one another with a holy handshake.”
Whatever the culture, the meaning is the same. Greet one another affectionately.
TEACHING ON DISCERNMENT
17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances (T) contrary to the teaching which you learned, and (U) turn away from them.
The preceding chapters have taught us to be accepting of one another, to be in unity with each other, to hold each other up in the highest esteem and honor – even to the holding upon those of lesser common esteem to a place more pre-eminent than ourselves. – Why? For the sake of the Name of Jesus.
Now, we see the other side of the church coin – those who WILL NOT ascribe to the teachings of the scriptures, those who WILL NOT submit to the Will of God, especially in matters of Unity in the Body of Christ.
Paul says – “Turn Away From Them!” Paul intends that those who WILL NOT SUBMIT to Christ – within the organized Local Church are to be “Shunned,” if not even removed from the Body.
These are not the ones caught in sin or sins. These are not the ones who have not learned their lesions. These are those who willingly depart from the Unity of Christ in order to cause dissension or hinder the work of the members of the Local Body of Christ. Such should be first shunned, and then removed.
18 For such men are (V) slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of (W) their own appetites; and by their (X) smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
Why, because they have never submitted to the will of God in the area of Belief in Christ, and bowing the knee to Him. They talk like Christians, but they are deceivers and carry away those who should know better but are themselves weak in the Faith.
MORE ABOUT THE ROMANS
19 For the report of your obedience (Y) has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but (Z) I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.
A life verse for me. I would render it, “Be excellent at what is good, be innocent of what is evil.”
Be a Berean (Acts 17:10-12) “As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”
20 (AA) The God of peace will soon crush (AB) Satan under your feet (AC) The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
This verse seems to be just stuck in here, but it is an extension of the previous thought. God is in control – of everything. It is His responsibility to guard and protect you as you submit to Him. There are many evils in this world and many evils residing within the church. Paul says be discerning, take action when necessary, but remember that it is God’s business that you are about. Do not usurp His authority. It is not your place or responsibility to try to crush Satan and his evil world under your feet! It is the work of God. God will give you His grace to function and abide through all these things – but it will be GOD, the God of Peace, that will soon crush Satan – even under your very feet – but don’t you try to do it, the evil one is extremely powerful by design and creation. Leave the business of dealing with him in the hands of The Lord.
21 (AD) Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do (AE) Lucius and (AF) Jason and (AG) Sosipater, my (AH) kinsmen.
Timothy was a key person in the growth of the early church, traveling with Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-3). Later Paul wrote two letters to him as he worked (as a young pastor) to strengthen the churches in Ephesus (1 & 2 Timothy).
22 I, Tertius, who (AI) write this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Amanuensis – the personal scribe. A professional who by profession copied manuscripts, or as we would say, “took dictation” and transcribed it into careful text. It is thought that Paul suffered eye problems and that may have teen the “thorn” in the flesh which he spoke of that God would not take away. Whether or not that is true Paul still used a personal scribe to write his letters. It may also be, and again not direct proof, that Paul may have been sensitive to the Lord’s using him for revelation and he had no desire for anyone to collect “Paul’s autographs, or original writings, in order to encase, enshrine, or worship them.
23 (AJ) Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you (AK) Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother.
More “known” names by the Roman Church. People of importance for sure. Gaius, like Priscila and Aquila, was a prime supporter and facilities provider of the early church.
24 [[a] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.]
This verse may or may not be in the collection of manuscripts which user used to translate the version you read from. It is certainly a phrase Paul often used in his writings when either beginning or ending his letters, and easily may or may not have been on the Roman letter. It is not in the lists of the most trusted manuscripts but, It simply does not matter whether it is included or not in a translation since it contains no extraordinary doctrine or explicit revelation.
25 (AL) Now to Him who is able to establish you (AM) according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of (AN) the mystery which has been kept secret for (AO) long ages past, 26but now is manifested, and by (AP) the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to (AQ) obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, (AR) be the glory forever. Amen.
What a great way to end this wonderful extraordinary study.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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