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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Romans 16



Verse 1

commend. See Romans 3:5.

unto = to.

Phebe. Only here; "bright", or "pure", the feminine of Phoebus, otherwise Apollo, the sun-god. Her name indicates a convert from paganism. She was probably the bearer of the epistle to Rome. See Introduction Notes, p. 1661.

which = who.

servant. App-190.

church. Greek. ekklesia. App-186.

at. App-104.

Cenchrea. See Acts 18:18.

Verse 2

That = In order that.

Lord. App-98.

as . . . saints. Literally worthily of the saints. Greek. axios ton hagion. Compare Ephesians 4:1. Philippians 1:1, Philippians 1:27. Co Romans 1:1, Romans 1:10. 1 Thessalonians 2:12. 3 John 1:6.

assist = stand by. See Romans 6:13. Compare Acts 27:23.

business = thing. Greek. pragma. See Acts 5:4.

hath = may have.

succourer. Greek. prostatis, protectress. Compare Latin. patronus, a defender of meaner persons. Athenian writers use the word of such as took care of strangers. Compare 1 Timothy 5:9, 1 Timothy 5:10.

Verse 3

Greet = Salute. See Acts 18:22.

Priscilla and Aquila. The texts read Prisca (dim.) as in 2 Timothy 4:19. See Acts 18:2, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 16:19, for all we know of these helpers. Whether converts of Paul is not clear, but they were deeply taught in the Scriptures and the "Way" of God, as is shown in Acts 18:26.

helpers = fellow-labourers. Greek. sunergos. Compare Philippians 1:4, Philippians 1:3. See 1 Corinthians 3:9.

Christ Jesus. App-98.

Verse 4

for App-104.

life. App-110and App-170.

laid . . . necks = risked their own lives. A similar expression occurs in a roll from Herculaneum c. 160 B.C.

necks = neck.

give thanks. See Acts 27:35. The occasion is nowhere mentioned.

Verse 5

in their house. See 1 Corinthians 16:19.

Salute. Same Greek. word as for "Greet", Romans 16:3.

wellbeloved. See App-135.

Epaenetus. Only here.

firstfruits. Compare Acts 18:27; Acts 19:21, Acts 19:22; 1 Corinthians 16:15.

Achaia. The texts read "Asia".

Christ. App-98.

Verse 6

Mary. Greek. Mariam. The only Hebrew name in this list.

who . . . us. On an inscription from a Roman cemetery, about the second century A.D., a wife records of her husband, "who laboured much for me".

bestowed . . . labour = laboured. Greek. kopiao. Compare Luke 5:5. John 4:6.

us. The texts read "you".

Verse 7

Andronicus. Only here.

Junia. The accusative case case may indicate either masculine Juntas, or feminine Junia.

kinsmen. Greek. sungenes. Literal here; in Romans 9:3 it is figurative. Benjamites and probably near relatives. Here. Romans 16:11, and Acts 23:16, are the only references to Paul"s relatives.

fellowprisoners. Greek. sunaichmalotos; literally a war-captive. Only here; Co Romans 1:4, Romans 1:10. Philemon 1:23.

of note = eminent. Greek. episemos. Only here and Matthew 27:16.

among. App-104.

apostles. App-189.

who . . . me. Read "who before me also were in Christ".

before. App-104.

Verse 8

Amplias. Only here.

beloved. As in Romans 16:5.

Verse 9

Urbane = Urban (masc). A Latin name.

Stachys. Masculine. Only here.

Verse 10

Apelles. Masculine. Only here. A Greek name frequently adopted by Jews.

approved = the approved, a term pointing to one of tried excellence. See Romans 14:18.

Aristobulus. Only here. A Greek name.

household. Literally those from among the (ones) of Aristobulus. He himself may not have been a Christian, and those referred to may have been of his family, or slaves. Compare Philippians 1:4, Philippians 1:22.

Verse 11

Herodion. Greek masculine name.

Narcissus. Only here. Common Greek name (masc).

which = who.

Verse 12

Tryphena and Tryphosa. Only here. Greek, feminine names.

labour, laboured. As in Romans 16:6.

the beloved. Not "my" as in Romans 8:9.

Persia. Greek feminine name.

Verse 13

Rufus. Common Latin name. Perhaps the Rufus of Mark 15:21.

chosen = the elect (brother). See Romans 8:33. Compare 1 Timothy 5:21. 2 John 1:13 :. The term marks some special manifestation of grace, as in that of Apelles, v. 10.

his . . . mine. Implying tender relationship.

Verse 14

Asyncritus, &c. Five Greek masc names. Only here. See Acts 14:12.

Hermas. Not to be identified with the author of "The Shepherd of Hermas", written about 120 A.D.

Verse 15

Philologus, &c. These names Occurs only here. "Nereus" was a sea-god of the Aegean, and this convert may have retained his original pagan name.

saints. Like the "brethren" of Romans 16:14, known to God, bat not to Paul by name.

Verse 16

an = a.

holy kiss. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:20. 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26. 1 Peter 5:14. The kiss was, and is, in the East a sign of respect and affection. Compare the other two occurances of philema, kiss, Luke 7:45; Luke 22:48. See Acts 20:37.

The. The texts read "All the"; i.e. those specifically mentioned or referred to above.

Verse 17

beseech. App-134. Compare Romans 12:8.

mark = to mark. See Luke 11:35.

divisions = factions. Greek. dichostasia. Only here; 1 Corinthians 3:3. Galatians 1:5, Galatians 1:20.

offences = stumbling-blocks, as in Romans 11:9

contrary to. App-104.

doctrine See Romans 6:17.

have learned = learned.

avoid = turn away. Compare Romans 3:12. 1 Peter 3:11.

them = from (App-104.) them.

Verse 18

serve. App-190.

Jesus. The texts omit.

belly. See John 7:38.

good . . . speeches = their fine words and flatteries.

good words. Greek. chrestologia. Only here.

fair speeches. Greek. eulogia. Occurs sixteen times (eleven translated "blessing"). See Romans 15:29.

deceive = deceive thoroughly. Greek. exapatao. Occurs: Romans 7:11. 1 Corinthians 3:18. 2 Corinthians 11:3. 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The usual word for "deceive" means "to lead astray" (App-128).

simple = guileless. Greek. akakos. Only here and Hebrews 7:26.

Verse 19

come abroad. Greek. aphikneomai. Only here.

am glad = rejoice. See Romans 12:12.

on . . . behalf. App-104.

yet . . . have = I wish you indeed to be.

would. App-102.

wise. See Romans 1:14.

good = the good.

simple = harmless. Greek. akeraios. Only here; Matthew 10:16. Philippians 1:2, Philippians 1:15.

concerning. App-104.

evil = the evil.

Verse 20

the God, &c. See Romans 15:33.

God. App-98.

bruise = crush in pieces, or utterly. Greek. suntribo. Elsewhere, Matthew 12:20. Mark 5:4; Mark 14:3. Luke 4:18; Luke 9:39. John 19:36. Revelation 2:27.

shortly = with speed. Greek. en (App-104.) tachei.

The grace, &c. Each one of Paul"s Epp. ends with a benedictory prayer that "grace" may be with churches and individuals alike.

grace. App-184.

Amen. The texts, except B. E., omit.

Verse 21


Timotheus = Timothy. See Acts 16:1.

workfellow = fellow-labourer. See Romans 16:3.

Lucius. Probably referred to in Acts 13:1. Not Luke.

Jason. Only here, unless the Jason of Acts 17:5, Acts 17:7.

Sosipater. May be the Bercean of Acts 20:4.

kinsmen, i.e. of amanuensis. See Romans 16:7.

Verse 22

Tertius. Probably a Roman, writing to Romans.

Verse 23

Gaius. Common Roman name. May be the same as in Acts 19:29, or of Derbe, Acts 20:4, but almost certainly Gaius of 1 Corinthians 1:14. The Gaius of 3 John 1:1, evidently a man of position, is probably another person.

Erastus. Perhaps the same as in 2 Timothy 4:20. The name, a Greek one, occurs: Acts 19:22.

chamberlain = treasurer. Greek. oikonomos. Occurs ten times, rendered "steward" in eight. See Luke 12:42.

Quartus. Only here. Roman name.

a brother = the brother (in Christ, Romans 16:7).

Verse 24

The grace, &c. The amanuensis repeats the words which close the actual message of Paul, Romans 16:20, Some ancient texts omit this second benediction, and the Revised Version follows through not understanding the reason for the introduction of "the mystery", verses: Romans 16:25, Romans 16:26-27. There are clearly two postscripts, one after Romans 16:20, the other after Romans 16:24. The first closes the Ep. itself at the time of writing by Tertius in the spring of 58 A.D. The other was added by Paul himself during the first Roman imprisonment, and after Ephesians had been written. See longer Note below.

Verse 25


of power = able. Greek. dunamai, Compare Romans 8:39. See App-176.

stablish. See Romans 1:11.

according to. App-104.

gospel. App-140.

preaching. App-121.

Jesus Christ. App-98.

the = a.

revelation. App-106. Compare Ephesians 3:3.

mystery. Greek. musterion. App-193

which. . . secret = which (secret) has been kept in silence (Greek. sigao, Compare. Acts 15:12. 1 Corinthians 14:28; 1 Corinthians 14:30; 1 Corinthians 14:34).

since . . . began. App-151.


That the "doxology" is a postscript added by the apostle after he had arrived at, and was residing in, Rome (61-63 A, D.: see App-180), and was writing Ephesians, seems clear for the following reasons:

First, there is no question as to the genuineness or authenticity of these verses.

The question raised by their appearance not only after the close of the Epistle itself, but also after the postscript of the amanuensis, Tertius, is connected with the "mystery" "kept in silence from age-times but now manifested by means of prophetic writings". To find the subject-matter of Ephesians introduced suddenly, in such a position, and in the diction of this doxology, has been a difficulty for ancient transcribers and modern commentators alike.

The original manuscripts prove this by the position the doxology occupies in many of them.

In over 190 it stands after Romans 14:23.
In two or three it is wanting.
In some it appears in both places (i.e. after
Romans 14:23 and Romans 16:24).
In some, where the doxology stands as in the Authorized Version the second benediction (
Romans 16:24) is omitted.
This difficulty is shared by modern commentators. Some suppose the doxology was "the effusion of the fervent mind of the apostle on taking a general view of the Epistle".

Others say "it needs only to read the doxology to see that its main purpose is nothing lower than thanksgiving for the Universal Gospel as a whole, and that its weighty grandeur of tone belongs to the close not of a section, but of the whole Epistle. "

But the suggestion that this "postscript" was added later by the apostle removes all the difficulties, and shows that the minds of the ancient copyists were needlessly disturbed. The truth of the "mystery" had been lost long before the date of our oldest MSS. Hence the transcribers" excitement and perplexity. Had it been known, they would have at once understood that the doxology was subsequently added. 1 And the same remark applies to modern commentators.

Although Paul must have had the "secret" revealed to him beforehand, probably about 57 or 68 A.D., yet he was not permitted to publish the truths of the mystery in writing until after he was in Rome, and in prison. Consequently, when the Epistle was sent first to the Romans, it was closed by the second benediction (Romans 16:24).

Although given to him before the expiry of the period of grace enjoyed by the pentecostal church, he was not allowed to divulge it. So long as the offer of the Kingdom (see App-112, App-113, App-114) to earthly Israel was open, the "mystery" could not be made known.

But when the sentence of judicial blindness had been promulgated and the prophecy of Isa 6 fulfilled (Acts 28:26, Acts 28:27), then the glorious truths for the later-born were allowed to be set forth by "prophetic writings", viz. the prison epistles.

Therefore the apostle was guided by the Holy Spirit to add the postscript to Romans; thus completing in beautiful perfection the Divine arrangement of the Epistle (see Structure, p. 1661) and striking the key-note in the doctrinal teaching which is taken up and developed at large in Ephesians.

Footnotes: 1 This suggestion was first made by Bishop Lightfoot in Biblical Essays, and adopted by others.


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Romans 16:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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