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Tuesday, April 16th, 2024
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 16

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Verses 1-2

Vv. 1, 2. “ Now I commend unto you Phoebe, our sister, which is a deaconess of the church of Cenchrea, that ye receive her in the Lord as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she may have need of you; for also she hath been a succorer of many and of myself.

Here, according to some, begins a private note entrusted by the apostle to the bearers (Semler), or to the female bearer (Eichhorn), of this Epistle, to indicate the principal persons to be saluted in the churches which were to be visited by the way. Some moderns, D. Schulz, Reuss, Ewald, Laurent, Renan, etc., even think they can, either from the starting-point (Cenchrea), or from certain names in the salutations which follow, positively determine the church for which this note was composed. It was, they hold, the church of Ephesus. We shall examine step by step as we proceed the reasons alleged in favor of this supposition. We only remark here, that many of those who reject the salutations, Romans 16:3-16, from the Epistle to the Romans, yet regard Rom 16:1-2 as having belonged to it (Scholten, Volkmar, Schultz). We note besides, as to the rest of this chapter, the following observation of Schultz: “As long as the destination to the church of Rome of all the parts of chap. 16 can be maintained, this view ought to be preferred to every other.” And, indeed, it will always be difficult to understand how a leaf of salutations intended for the church of Ephesus, or any other, should have strayed into the copy of our Epistle deposited in the archives of the church of Rome (see the remarks at the end of this chapter).

It has generally been admitted that Phoebe was the bearer of our Epistle, and no doubt with reason. For otherwise how are we to explain this so special personal recommendation? Comp. Colossians 4:7; Ephesians 6:21. Paul mentions two titles which point her out for the interest of the Christians of Rome; she is a sister, and, moreover, a servant of the Lord, invested consequently with an ecclesiastical office. It has been denied that at so remote a period the office of deaconess could already be in existence. But why, if there were deacons (Romans 12:7; Act 6:1 et seq.; Php 1:1 ), should there not have been also from primitive times a similar office discharged by women, members of the church? With what right can we allege that the office mentioned Rom 12:8 belonged only to men? It seems to us impossible to think that the widows spoken of, 1Ti 5:3 et seq., were not persons invested with an ecclesiastical office. And in any case, the ministrations of beneficence of a private nature, mentioned in our Epistle ( Rom 12:7 ), must have been carried out in good measure by sisters. And why should not a rich and devoted woman, who had for a time occupied herself with such work, have borne, even without ecclesiastical consecration, the title of deaconess? If our passage had a later origin than the first centnry, there would certainly have been introduced here, instead of the word διάκονος ( deacon), which is the masculine term originally applied to both sexes, the feminine title διακόνισσα ( deaconess), already in use in the second century. Comp. the letter in which Pliny relates that he has been obliged to torture two of those servants who are called ministrae (evidently a translation of διακόνισσαι ). There were so many services to be rendered to the poor, to orphans, to strangers, to the sick, which women only could discharge! As is observed by Schaff, the profound separation between the sexes in the East must also have contributed to render a female diaconate altogether indispensable.

The participle οὖσαν , who is, expressly denotes that Phoebe is still, at the time of Paul's writing, invested with this office.

Cenchrea was the port of Corinth toward the east, on the Egean Sea; and hence it has been inferred that Phoebe was going rather to Ephesus than to Rome. The proof is far from convincing. “The person in question,” says Schultz himself, “is not a Corinthian who is passing through Cenchrea, but, on the contrary, a woman of Cenchrea who is passing through Corinth, and who is consequently on her way to the west.” A good answer as an argument ad hominem. But, speaking freely, what a puerility is criticism thus handled.

Vv. 2. In the Lord: in the profound feeling of the communion with Him, which binds into one body all the members of the church.

The expression: as becometh saints, may signify, becoming saints who are received, like Phoebe, or saints who are called to receive, like the Romans. It is absolutely necessary to choose between the two meanings?

There is a correlation between the two terms παριστάναι , to stand beside in order to hold up, and προστάτις ( protectress, patroness), one who stands before in order to guide or protect. Hence it appears that Phoebe had bestowed care on Paul himself, perhaps during his stay at Cenchrea, mentioned Acts 18:18, and on occasion of an illness. M. Renan informs us that “this poor woman started on a wild winter journey across the Archipelago without any other resource than Paul's recommendation.” Then he adds: “It is more natural to suppose that Paul recommended Phoebe to the Ephesians, whom he knew, than to the Romans, whom he did not know.” As if the titles given to Phoebe, cited Romans 16:1-2, were not enough to interest any church whatever in her!

Verses 1-16

Thirtieth Passage (16:1-16). Recommendations, Salutations, Warning.

It is the apostle's custom, when closing his letters, to treat a number of particular subjects of a more or less personal nature, such as special salutations, commissions, or warnings; comp. 1 Corinthians 16:10-22 (particularly Rom 16:22 ); 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Colossians 4:7-18; Php 4:10-23 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:25-28. He does so in our Epistle.

And first, Romans 16:1-2, the recommendation of the deaconess Phoebe.

Verses 1-27

Epistolary Conclusion. 15:14-16:27.

WE have said that the Epistle to the Romans is a didactic treatise, doctrinal and practical, contained in a letter. The treatise is now closed, and the letter begins again. It is easy to show, indeed, that the part about to follow is closely correlated to the epistolary preface which preceded the treatise ( Rom 1:1-15 ). The apostle apologizes for the liberty with which he writes to the Christians of Rome, by reminding them of his mission to the Gentiles ( Rom 15:14-16 ). This passage corresponds to Romans 1:14-15, where he declares himself a debtor for the gospel to all Gentiles, the Romans included. He explains ( Rom 15:17-24 ) what has kept him hitherto in the east. Thus he completes what he had said, Romans 1:11-13, of the impossibility he had before found in the way of visiting Rome. The personal salutations which we find in the first part of chap. 16 correspond to the address, Romans 1:7: “To all that are at Rome, beloved of God.” Finally, the doxology which closes at once chap. 16 and the whole Epistle ( Rom 15:25-27 ) brings us back to the idea with which the letter had opened ( Rom 1:1-2 ): that of the fulfilment of the divine plan by the gospel promised beforehand in the O. T. Thus the circle is completed; on every other view (whether the end of the Epistle be put at chap. 11 or at chap. 14) it is broken.

This conclusion contains the following passages:

(1) Romans 15:14-33, where the apostle gives explanations of a personal nature regarding his letter, his work in general, his approaching visit to Rome, and the journey which he must first make to Jerusalem.

(2) Romans 16:1-16: Recommendations and salutations of the apostle.

(3) Romans 15:17-20: A warning in regard to the probable arrival of Judaizers in the church of Rome.

(4) Romans 15:21-24: The salutations of his fellow-workers.

(5) Romans 15:25-27: The doxology which closes the Epistle.

Verses 3-6

Vv. 3-5a. Salute Prisca and Aquilas, my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus, 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 and the church that meets in their house.

Aquilas and his wife Prisca (or Priscilla) were Jews, natives of Pontus, in Asia Minor. They were established at Rome as tent-makers, when the edict of Claudius, which expelled Israelites from the capital, obliged them to emigrate. They had been settled for a short time at Corinth, when Paul arrived there for the first time in the year 53. Their common occupation drew them together, and Paul soon brought them to the knowledge of Christ ( Act 18:2 ). For it is absolutely arbitrary to represent them as already Christians when they left Rome. This opinion arises only from the tendency to derive the propagation of the gospel at Rome from the Jewish synagogue. But it is excluded by the expression of the Acts: τινὰ ᾿Ιουδαῖον , a certain Jew. Luke would have added the epithet μαθητήν , disciple; comp. Acts 16:1. When, two years later, the apostle left Corinth with the intention of going to found a mission at Ephesus, Aquilas and his wife repaired to the latter city, while Paul proceeded first to visit Jerusalem and Antioch. Their intention certainly was to prepare the way for him in the capital of the province of Asia, then to support his ministry there, as they had done at Corinth; comp. Acts 18:18-21.

It is this salutation more than anything else which has given rise to the supposition that our entire list was addressed to Ephesus. But could not this husband and wife, who had emigrated from Pontus to Rome, then from Rome to Corinth, and lastly, from Corinth to Ephesus, have returned to Rome, their former domicile, after the imperial edict had fallen into desuetude? This is the more admissible as the object of this return is easily understood. We know from Acts 19:21, that even at Ephesus Paul had already formed the plan of proceeding to Rome as soon as he had finished his work in Asia and Greece. Aquilas and Priscilla, who had been so useful to him at Corinth, who had even gone to Ephesus with him with a view to his approaching mission, might a second time, by proceeding from Ephesus to Rome, do for him what they had done by leaving Corinth for Ephesus. The passage, James 4:13, shows with what ease rich Jewish traders travelled from one large city to another. “To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and buy and sell and get gain.” Objection is taken from the short time which had elapsed since the end of Paul's sojourn at Ephesus: ten months only, it is said, from the spring of the year 57, when at Ephesus he wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians (chap. Rom 16:8 ), and when he conveys greetings from Aquilas and Priscilla ( Rom 16:19 ), to the beginning of 58, when it is alleged he wrote the Epistle to the Romans from Corinth. But we think there is a mistake in putting only ten months' interval between the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Epistle to the Romans. A profound study of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, as well as of the Acts, leads to a wholly different result. From the spring of the year 57, when Paul left Ephesus, to the time when he made the stay at Corinth, during which he composed our Epistle, there elapsed, we think, nearly two years, from Easter 57 to February 59. Such an interval fully suffices to explain the new change of Aquilas and Priscilla, and their return to Rome. In the fact that many years later, about the year 66, and perhaps on occasion of the persecution of Nero (in 64), they are again settled at Ephesus, where Paul sends them a salutation, 2 Timothy 4:19, there is nothing to surprise us.

The form Prisca is certainly authentic in the Epistle to the Romans; the diminutive Priscilla, which is read in the T. R., is found only in some Mnn. In the Acts (Acts 18:2; Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26, and 1Co 16:19 ), the latter form is found in all the documents. In 2 Timothy 4:19, the two readings exist, but the majority are in favor of Prisca, as in Romans. There is also variation in the reciprocal position of the two names. The wife is placed here first, as in Act 18:18 and 2 Timothy 4:19. Probably she was superior to her husband, either in ability or Christian activity.

Vv. 4. The qualitative pronoun οἵτινες signifies: as people who...The expression: to put the neck under ( the axe), is no doubt figurative; but in any case it implies the act of exposing one's life. We do not know where or when this event took place. Was it at Corinth, on occasion of the scene described Act 18:12 et seq.? or was it not rather at Ephesus, in one or other of the cases to which allusion is made in the words, 1Co 15:32 and 2Co 1:8 ? The apostle reminds the Romans that they had thereby rendered service to all the churches of the Gentile world, and consequently to them also. This passage proves two things 1st. That these words, intended to recommend Aquilas and Priscilla, were not addressed to the church of Ephesus, where the event referred to probably too place; for Paul undoubtedly means to give his readers information. 2d. That the church to which he addressed them was itself one of those churches of the Gentile world whose gratitude these two persons had deserved; a new proof of the Gentile origin of the Christians of Rome.

Ver. 5a The expression: the church that is in their house, may have three meanings. Either it denotes the entire assembly of the servants and workpeople residing and working with them; or it applies to that portion of the church which had its usual place of meeting in their house; or finally, the words apply to the whole church of the capital, which held its plenary meetings at their house; comp. 1 Corinthians 14:23. This last sense is incompatible with the preposition κατά , the meaning of which is distributive, and supposes other places of worship ( Rom 16:14-15 ). The first is improbable, for the term ἐκκλησία , church, would not suit a purely private gathering. The second is therefore the only possible one; comp. 1 Corinthians 16:19. Schultz thinks we may conclude from these words that Aquilas was invested with the office of elder in the church of Ephesus where he lived, and that, consequently, he could not so easily change his domicile. One must surely be at a loss for good reasons to imagine such a one as this.

What is certain is, that these two persons are saluted here, not only as particular friends of St. Paul, but because of the important part they played in the work of his apostleship. The passage, Acts 18:24-28, presents an example of their activity, and of the powerful influence they exercised; and it is most probable that what they had been at Ephesus, they had also been at Rome, from the day when they returned to it. In a word, they were evangelists of the first order. This is what recommends them to the respectful attention of the church, and assigns them the first rank in this list of apostolic salutations. This circumstance throws light on the character of the whole list.

Vv. 5b, 6. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who was the first-fruits of Asia unto Christ.Salute Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.

Epenetus is to us an unknown personage. According to the Received reading, he would be the first convert of Achaia, consequently a native of Corinth, which could hardly be reconciled with 1 Corinthians 16:15. This reading probably arises from the copyist thinking that Paul meant to speak of the country from which he was writing. The true reading is certainly of Asia. Meyer concludes, from the fact that Epenetus was the first convert in this province, that he must have been a Jew, because Paul preached first of all in the synagogue; as if Aquilas and Priscilla, who had preceded Paul at Ephesus, might not have met with and converted a Gentile in that city before Paul arrived, and proclaimed the gospel in full synagogue! The Greek name of Epenetus would rather lead us to think him a Gentile; he was the first-fruits of the Gentiles converted at Ephesus. Here again the critics find an undeniable proof of the destination of this list to the church of Ephesus. But if, as is probable, Epenetus was the fruit of the labors of Aquilas, anterior even to those of Paul, he might very naturally have accompanied the evangelist-pair from Ephesus to Rome, to take part in their work in that great city. Hence the intimate relation which the apostle here establishes between these three persons; hence also the honorable title which he gives to this last before all the church.

The regimen εἰς Χριστόν , unto Christ, makes Christ the person to whom the first-fruits are offered.

Vv. 6. We know nothing of this Mary saluted in Romans 16:6; her name indicates her Jewish origin, even if, with some Mjj., we read Μαρίαν .

If, with almost all the Mjj., we read εἰς ὑμᾶς , on you, Mary would be one who had rendered herself particularly useful in the church of Rome, perhaps by her devotion during some epidemic which had raged in the church. But would Paul thus remind the church of a thing which, in that case, it knew much better than himself? Besides, all the persons saluted here are so because of some connection or other with the apostle; this is what makes us prefer the reading εἰς ἡμᾶς , on us. Like Phoebe, like Aquilas and Priscilla, she had actively taken part in the work of Paul, and occupied herself by ministering to those who surrounded him; and now from the east she had gone to Rome, like so many others.

Verses 3-16

To the recommendation of Phoebe, the apostle joins a list of salutations, which might indeed still be called recommendations; for the imperative ἀσπάσασθε , greet, fifteen times repeated, is addressed to the whole church. It is, in fact, the church itself which he charges to transmit this mark of affection to its different objects. How was this commission carried out? Probably, at the time when the letter was read in full assembly of the church, the president expressed to the person designated, in some way or other, the mark of distinction which the apostle had bestowed on him. Most critics of the present day hold that this list of salutations cannot have been written by Paul with a view to the church of Rome, which he had not yet visited. How then could he have known so many persons in it? The persons in question, therefore, were friends of the apostle in a church which he had himself founded, and, to all appearance, in the church of Ephesus. Accident has willed that this list should be joined afterward to the Epistle to the Romans (see especially Reuss, Epîtres Pauliniennes, pp. 19, 20). Bauer, Lucht, etc., go still further: they think that this list was composed later by a forger, who thought good to make Paul pen the names of several notable persons of the church of Rome, in order to produce an advantageous impression on this church, which was always somewhat unfavorably disposed toward the apostle. “A very improbable procedure,” observes Schultz. “And how,” asks this writer with reason, “would the forger in this case have forgotten Clement,” who should surely have figured at the head? For the rest, let us study the list itself.

Verses 7-8

Vv. 7, 8. “ Salute Andronicus and Junias, my countrymen and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, and who also have been in Christ before me.Salute Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.

The word Junian might be taken as the accusative of a female name, Junia, to denote the sister or wife of Andronicus. But the end of the verse leads us rather to think of a man of the name of Junias.

The expression συγγενεῖς μου may signify: my kinsmen, or my countrymen ( Rom 9:3 ). The first meaning seems, in itself, the more natural; but in Romans 16:11; Rom 16:21 this term is applied to other persons, two of whom (Jason and Sosipater) appear to be Macedonians (Acts 17:5; Act 20:4 ). The wider meaning, that of countrymen, thus becomes the more probable. Even Schultz finds a proof in these words that Paul wrote these lines to a church of Gentile origin (“ my countrymen”). Hence it has been concluded that these salutations could not be addressed to the church of Rome. From the same circumstance we, for our part, on the contrary, conclude that the church of Rome was not Jewish-Christian. It has been asked when these two Christians of Jewish origin could have been imprisoned with St. Paul? Neither the Acts nor the previous Epistles furnish an answer to this question. But the descriptions in 2Co 6:5 et seq., and Rom 11:23 et seq., allude to so many unknown circumstances in the apostle's life, that this ignorance ought not to excite our surprise. In chap. 15 of his Epistle to the Corinthians, Clement of Rome enumerates seven captivities of the apostle, and we know of only four (Philippi, Jerusalem, Caesarea, Rome). Probably the event in question belongs to a period anterior to his missionary journeys (comp. the end of the verse).

Most critics of the present day agree in explaining the following words in this sense: “well known by the apostles” (the Twelve). But what a strange title of honor: the apostles know them! And can the ἐν , in, have such a meaning: “illustrious with, that is to say, in the opinion of the apostles.” Meyer quotes the phrase of Euripides: ἐπίσημος ἐν βροτοῖς , illustrious with mortals, or in their eyes. But why not translate quite simply: illustrious amidst or among mortals? And similarly, and with still more reason, here: illustrious among those numerous evangelists who, by their missionary labors in the countries of the East, have merited the name of apostles. This title, indeed, could in certain cases have a wider sense than it has in our Gospels; thus, Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14, it is applied to Barnabas, as it is indirectly, 1 Corinthians 9:5. So we call the missionary Brainerd, the apostle of the Indians. Such another, the apostle of China or of the Indies.

A last title of honor: these two men preceded Paul himself in the faith. They belong, therefore, to that primitive church of Jerusalem whose members, as years elapse, take ever a more venerable character in the eyes of all the churches. The Greco-Latin reading: “the apostles who were before me,” is an evident corruption of the text.

Verse 8

Vv. 8. The Alexs.: Ampliaton; the others, following an abridged form: Amplian. Paul, having no special distinction to mention as belonging to this person, contents himself with pointing him out to the respect of the church by the expression of his affection; and that is enough, for it is an affection in the Lord, which consequently implies in Amplias devotion to His service.

Verses 9-10

Vv. 9, 10. “ Salute Urbanus, our fellow-worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. Salute Apelles [the brother] approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.

Urbanus, a Latin name signifying citizen; Stachys, a Greek name signifying an ear of corn. In speaking of the former as his fellow-worker, Paul says: our (comp. the on us, Rom 16:6 ), because it is the apostolic work which is in question with all the workers who engage in it along with him; speaking of his personal friendship, he says: my.

Verse 10

Vv. 10. Apelles: a frequent name for freedmen at Rome, especially among Jews. Every one knows the Credat judoeus Apella of Horace. Δόκιμος , the Christian who has passed his trials, who has shown himself steadfast in his course.

The last words may denote the Christians who are of the number of Aristobulus' children, or those who belong to his house as servants. The expression used agrees better with the second meaning. It was a large house, Jewish perhaps, to which the gospel had found access.

Verses 11-12

Vv. 11, 12. “ Salute Herodion my countryman. Salute them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute Persis the beloved, which labored much in the Lord.

Here, again, συγγενής may signify either countryman or kinsman (see Rom 16:7 ). The Roman writers Suetonius, Pliny, Tacitus, speak of a freedman of Claudius, of the name of Narcissus. Is it the house of this imperial favorite which is here referred to? He himself had been executed four years before the composition of our Epistle; but his house might still exist at Rome.

Verse 12

Vv. 12. Paul speaks here of three women, the two former of whom were distinguished at this time, and the third had been distinguished previously in the service of the Lord and of the church, like Priscilla and Mary. The two former were probably sisters; their almost identical names come from the verb τρυφᾶν , to live voluptuously. Paul wishes evidently to contrast this meaning of their name with that of the epithet κοπιώσας , who work laboriously. They are in Christ the opposite of what their name expresses.

Persis, a woman of Persia. Foreigners were often designated by the name of their native country (Lydia, a Lydian). Meyer points out the delicacy with which Paul here omits the pronoun μου ( my). Probably she was an aged woman: Paul says: labored.

Verse 13

Vv. 13. “ Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

The term chosen cannot be taken here in the sense in which it applies to all Christians: it must denote something special. Hofmann, judging from what follows, understands: “The man whom I have specially chosen as my brother in the Lord.” But in this sense the pronoun μου ( my) could not be wanting. As what is the better is willingly chosen, the word ἐκλεκτός , chosen, takes the sense of distinguished, excellent. This is certainly the meaning of the epithet here, as in 2 John 1:1; 2 John 1:13. The following words: “his mother and mine,” prove that Paul was united to this family by the closest ties that he had even lived in it. And if we remember that Mark, writing his Gospel at Rome, was pleased to designate Simon of Cyrene, who carried the cross of Jesus, as “the father of Alexander and Rufus,” we shall be naturally led to hold that this family had removed from Jerusalem to Rome, where Rufus occupied a distinguished place in the church. It was therefore during the years of his youth, when he was studying at Jerusalem, that Paul had lived in the bosom of this family, and had enjoyed the motherly care of Simon's wife.

Verses 14-15

Vv. 14, 15. “ Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brethren which are with them. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

The personages whose names follow are not designated by any epithet of distinction; but it was honor enough to be marked out, were it only by name, to the respectful attention of the whole church of Rome.

The last words of both of the Romans 16:14-15: and the brethren who are with them, prove that the persons just named are so, not simply as believers, but as directors of a whole assembly which is accustomed to meet around them. They lived, no doubt, in different quarters, and formed, besides the group which met in the house of Aquilas, two distinct assemblies.

Hermas was regarded by Origen as the author of the work famous in the primitive church, entitled the Pastor of Hermas. But it seems now established by the Fragment of Muratori that this writing dates only from the second half of the second century, and that Hermas is a wholly different person from the man who is here saluted by the apostle.

Olympas (perhaps an abbreviation of Olympiodorus) is certainly here a man's name.

Verse 15

Vv. 15. Julia (for such is the true reading) is undoubtedly the wife of Philologus.

Verse 16

Vv. 16. “ Salute one another with an holy kiss. All the churches of Christ salute you.

The apostle has just saluted in his own name the influential members of the different flocks of the church of Rome; but he naturally feels the need of also testifying his affection to the whole church; and he charges all its members to do so for him toward another. For this purpose they are to use the customary form of the brotherly kiss. If we did not know positively from the Fathers, particularly Tertullian ( osculum pacis) in the De Oratione, c. 14 (comp. 1Pe 5:14 ) that the reference here is to an external rite, we should be tempted to hold the opinion of Calvin and Philippi, according to which we must give the term holy kiss a purely spiritual meaning: the salutation of brotherly love. But we learn from the Apostolic Constitutions that at a later time rules were laid down to remove from this custom all that might be offensive in it, so that it is more probable the term ought to be taken literally. We may be assured that in the apostolic churches all was done with order and dignity. This is what is expressed by the epithet ἅγιον , holy, which recurs 1Co 16:20 , 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. Probably the president of the assembly gave the kiss to the brother who sat next him, and he to his neighbor, while the same thing took place on the part of the women.

While the apostle in thought sees the Christians of Rome saluting one another by this sign of brotherhood, a greater spectacle is presented to his mind, that of all the churches already composing Christendom, and which are likewise united by the bond of communion in Christ. He has just himself traversed the churches of Greece and Asia; he has spoken to them of his already formed plan of proceeding to Rome (Acts 19:21; Act 20:25 ), and they have all charged him with their salutations to their sister in the capital of the world. Now is the time for him to discharge this commission. Through his instrumentality, the members of Christ's body scattered over the earth salute one another with a holy kiss, just like the members of the church which he is addressing. The T. R. has rejected the word all, no doubt because it was not understood how Paul could send greetings from other churches than those among which he was at the time.

The Greco-Latin text has transferred this second half of the verse to the end of Romans 16:21, with the evident intention of connecting it with the salutations of Paul's companions. But these have too private and personal a character to allow of the apostle appending to them so solemn a message as that of all the churches of the East to the church of Rome. This message must form an integral part of the letter; it is quite otherwise with these salutations (see below).

We are now in a position to judge of the question whether this passage belongs to our Epistle. In it twenty-six persons are individually designated twenty-four by their names. Of these names it may be said that one or two are Hebrew, five or six Latin, fifteen to sixteen Greek; three Christian communities assembling in different localities are mentioned (Romans 16:5; Rom 16:14-15 ); besides two groups having more of a private character ( Rom 16:10-11 ). It appears evident to us that the apostle feels the need of paying homage to all the faithful servants and all the devoted handmaids of the Lord who had aided in the foundation and development of this church, and before his arrival completed the task of the apostolate in this great city. Not only is the apostle concerned to testify to them his personal feelings; but he expresses himself in such a way as to force the church, so to speak, to take part as a whole in this public testimony of gratitude toward those to whom it owes its existence and prosperity. If such is the meaning of this truly unique passage in St. Paul's letters, does it not apply infinitely better to a church which, like that of Rome, had not yet seen an apostle within it, than to those of Ephesus or Corinth, where the entire activity of laying the foundation was, as it were, personified in a single individual? Hence those different expressions used by the apostle: “fellow-worker in the Lord,” “who labored,” or “who labor,” “all those who are with them,” and even once the use of the title apostle. We seem, as we read these numerous salutations, to have before us the spectacle of a beehive swarming on all sides with activity and labor in the midst of the vast field of the capital of the world, and we understand better the whole passage of chap. 12 relative to the varied gifts and numerous ministries, as well as the remarkable expression: πάντι τῷ ὄντι ἐν ὑμῖν , every man that is [as a worker] among you ( Rom 16:3 ). “Here is,” says Gaussen, “a picture to the life of a primitive church; we can see to what height the most ignorant and weak of its members can rise....We wonder at the progress already made by the word of God, solely through the labors of travellers, artisans, merchants, women, slaves, and freedmen who resided in Rome.” Not only did the apostle know a large number of these workers, because he had been connected with them in the East (Andronicus and Junias, Rufus and his mother, for example), or because he had converted them himself (Aquilas and Priscilla); but he also received hews from Rome, as is proved by the intimate details into which he entered in chap. 14; and he might thus know of the labors of many of those saluted, whom he did not know personally. Such is probably the case with the last persons designated, and to whose names he adds no description. The Greek origin of the most of these names constitutes no objection to the Roman domicile of those who bear them. What matters it to us that, as M. Renan says, after Father Garucci, the names in Jewish inscriptions at Rome are mostly of Latin origin? If there is any room for surprise, five or six Latin names would perhaps be more astonishing at Ephesus than fifteen or sixteen Greek names at Rome. Have we not proved over and over that this church was recruited much more largely from Gentiles than from Jews, and that especially it was founded by missionaries who had come from Syria, Asia, and Greece? M. Reuss no doubt asks what became of all those friends of Paul, when, some years later, he wrote from Rome his Epistles to the Colossians and Philippians; and later still, the Second to Timothy. But, in writing from Rome to the churches of Colosse and Philippi, he could only send salutations from individuals who knew them. And a little before the Second to Timothy, there occurred the persecution of Nero, which had for the time dispersed and almost annihilated the church of Rome. Our conclusion, therefore, is not only that this passage of salutations may have been written to the church of Rome, but that it could not have been addressed to any other more suitably. As at the present day, Paris or even Rome is a sort of rendezvous for numerous foreign Christians of both sexes, who go thither to found evangelistic works; so the great pagan Rome attracted at that time the religious attention and zeal of all the Christians of the East.

Let us remark, in closing, the exquisite delicacy and courtesy which guide the apostle in those distinguishing epithets with which he accompanies the names of the servants or handmaids of Christ whom he mentions. Each of those descriptive titles is as it were the rough draft of the new name which those persons shall bear in glory. Thus understood, this enumeration is no longer a dry nomenclature; it resembles a bouquet of newly-blown flowers, which diffuse refreshing odors.

Verses 17-18

Vv. 17, 18. “ Now I exhort you, brethren, to mark them which cause [the] divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and turn away from them. For these persons serve not Christ our Lord, but their own belly; and by fair speeches and benedictions deceive the hearts of the simple.

As observed by Hofmann, the apostle had regulated (chaps. 14 and 15) all that related to the internal differences which might exist in the church of Rome. But now the unity of all Christendom has just presented itself vividly to his mind; and remembering the divisions which trouble it in other churches, he thinks that they might penetrate from without into the bosom of this one. He has evidently in view those Judaizers who from Jerusalem had come down to trouble the church of Antioch, who from Syria had followed Paul step by step to Galatia, and even to Corinth, and who would be sure as soon as they heard of a church founded at Rome, to arrive on the spot, seeking to monopolize it for themselves. Facts proved that the anticipation of Paul was well founded. The beginning of the Epistle to the Philippians, written from Rome four or five years after ours, proves the pernicious activity of those fanatical partisans of the law in the church of Rome. Probably the party of the weak, chap. 14, had opened it to their entrance.

The description which follows contains details which are too minute to allow us, with Hofmann, to apply this warning to all false teachers in general, Gentile or Jew.

The article before the words divisions and offences, shows that the apostle has in view facts already known. But it does not follow that they had transpired in the church to which he was writing, as is alleged by those who maintain that this passage cannot have been addressed to the church of Rome. It was enough that these disorders were facts of notoriety in other churches, to warrant St. Paul in speaking as he does. And how could those who had labored with him in the churches of the East, and whom he has just been saluting in such numbers, Aquilas and Priscilla, for example, who had shared with him at Ephesus all the agonies of the great Corinthian conflict, have failed to know intimately the burning enmity with which the apostle was regarded by a certain number of Judeo-Christians? The term divisions refers to ecclesiastical divisions; the term offences, to the moral disorders which had so often accompanied them, particularly at Corinth; comp. 2 Corinthians 10-13

It is entirely false to conclude from the words: “contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned,” that Paul himself was the founder of the church to which this passage was addressed. He would have said more clearly in that case: “which ye learned of me; ” comp. Philippians 4:9. This passage says nothing more than Romans 6:17, where Paul gives thanks “because the Romans have obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine according to which they were taught.” The reference, here as there, is to Paul's gospel which had been taught to the Romans, not by himself, but by those of his fellow-laborers whom he has just saluted. The teaching opposed to this gospel is the legal system, which, according to this passage, as well as Romans 1:8; Romans 1:11-12, Romans 6:17, and the whole Epistle in general, had not yet got a footing at Rome.

These words are obviously sufficient, if they were really addressed to this church, to overthrow Baur's opinion as to its composition and tendency. As the expression: to mark, have the eyes open to ( σκοπεῖν ), refers to an enemy expected rather than present, we must apply the last words of the verse: avoid them, to the time when they shall be present, and shall seek to do their work. Then there will be no need even to enter into communication with them; all that is necessary will be simply to turn the back to them; and why? The following verse answers this question.

Verses 17-20

Critical conclusion regarding the passage, Romans 16:17-20.

The objections of Baur and Lucht to the composition of this passage by the Apostle Paul are of no weight. The only serious question is, whether the warning forms part of the Epistle to the Romans, or whether it was addressed, as is thought by so large a number of our modern critics, to the church of Ephesus. First of all, we have a right to ask how it could have happened that a warning addressed to Ephesus, and which had no force except in relation to those whom it personally concerned, made the journey from Ephesus to Rome, and was incorporated into the Epistle to the Romans? For ourselves, we know no probable explanation of such a phenomenon, nor any example of such a migration. But it is still more the intrinsic reasons which prevent us from holding this supposition. This passage applies more naturally to a church which was not instructed by the apostle personally, than to a church founded by him. He rejoices in its docile attitude to the gospel, as in a thing which he has learned, and the news of which will spread to many other ears than his ( Rom 16:19 ). This is not how one writes to his own disciples. Besides, is it conceivable that he would address to the church of Ephesus, that church within which he had recently passed three whole years, and where he had composed the Epistle to the Galatians and the First to the Corinthians, a passage in which the readers are reckoned as still strangers to the manoeuvres of the Judaizing adversaries, and ignorant of their character? What! Paul pass all this time in this church, between Galatia on the one side and Corinth on the other, and speak to them of those parties as persons against whom they still require to be put on their guard! No, such a warning can only concern a church situated at a distance from the theatre of conflict. This church is therefore quite naturally that of Rome.

If it is so, Weizsäcker's opinion as to the state of this church and the object of our letter is at once set aside. This critic thinks that the Epistle to the Romans was called forth by the necessity of combating a Judaizing movement which at that very time showed itself in the church. But our passage evidently points to the danger as yet to come. The letter may not have been written without the intention of forearming the church; but it cannot have had the intention of combating the enemy as already present.

Verse 18

Vv. 18. The parties referred to are men at once sensual and hypocritical; it is therefore under the influence of a deep moral aversion that the Christians of Rome are called to avoid them. They serve their sensual appetites, and not Christ. This feature reminds us of Philippians 3:19, words which apply to the same individuals: “whose god is their belly, and who mind earthly things;” comp. also 2 Corinthians 11:20-21: “If a man bring you into bondage, devour you, take of you, ye suffer it.” It is this sensual and insolent conduct which Paul characterizes, Philippians 3:2, in the severe terms: “Beware of dogs; beware of evil workers.” The gospel ministry was to these people a means of gain, and gain the means of satisfying their gross passions. They were the Tartuffes of the period. Another point of resemblance identifies them more completely still with the type drawn by Molière: they present themselves with a benignant style of speech ( χρηστολογία ), and with fatherly benedictions ( εὐλογίαι ); and the simple ( ἄκακοι , literally, the innocent), who suspect no evil, allow themselves to be caught with these devout airs and paternal tone. Was it necessary, as Schultz holds, that these men should be already present to account for Paul speaking thus in regard to them? Had he not learned to know them in this light in Galatia and at Corinth, and could he not portray them to the church of Rome, that they might be recognized immediately on their appearing?

Verse 19

Vv. 19. “ For the report of your obedience is come abroad unto all; I am glad therefore on your behalf.But yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple unto that which is evil.

This verse has been connected with the preceding in different ways. Thol., Mey., Philip. find in it a reason for peace: “You will be able to resist them; for every one knows your obedience to the pure gospel.” But the for in this sense cannot be explained except in a forced way (see Meyer), and Paul would have required to say in any case: “For I know”..., and not: “For all know”...Origen explains: “I warn you thus; for ye are yourselves of the number of those simple ( ἄκακοι ), whose obedient docility is well known.” But how are we to reconcile such a statement with the eulogies bestowed on the knowledge and experience of the readers, Rom 15:14-15 ? It is to no purpose to answer that this very saying proves that the passage is not addressed to the Romans. For the Ephesians, who had for three years enjoyed Paul's presence and his teaching in public and private, and who had been witnesses of his most strenuous conflicts with the Judaizers, might far less be designated ἄκακοι , innocent, than the Christians of Rome, who had never seen an apostle. Calvin and others understand thus: “I warn you in this way, because I desire that to your obedience, universally known, you would add both the wisdom and simplicity which shall secure you from seduction.” This meaning is good; but it does not account for the idea placed at the head of the verse: “Your obedience has come abroad unto all.” It is on these words that Rückert has with good reason rested his explanation; for they are the key to the following sentences. He explains: “If I warn you as I have just done ( Rom 16:17-18 ), it is because the report of your obedience to the gospel having already spread everywhere, those men will not fail to hear your church spoken of, and to break in on you to make gain of your faith, as they have done elsewhere.” Taken in this sense, the saying is a repetition of Romans 1:8: “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” The apostle adds how rejoiced he is because of their evangelical convictions, but how indispensable it is that in order to preserve them, they should join to the wise discernment of what it is good to do, the simple and hearty horror of what is evil.

The reading of the T. R.: τὸ ἐφ᾿ ὑμῖν , in that which concerns you, must be set aside. It is too slenderly supported, and there is no reason for here contrasting the Romans with other churches. Of the two other readings, the Greco-Lat., which places the verb χαίρω , I rejoice, first, ought to give place to that of the Alexs., which begins with the words: ἐφ᾿ ὑμῖν οὖν , on your behalf therefore. This clause connects the sentence closely with the preceding. Their attachment to evangelical truth rejoices the apostle (comp, the: Thanks be to God, Rom 6:17 ). Only they must persevere, and for that end the apostle desires that to their obedience to the truth they should add two things: discernment and simplicity.

A moralist writing on this subject would probably have said: “wisdom as concerning evil, and simplicity as concerning good. ” St. Paul does the opposite. And here again we can show that he is speaking “by the grace given unto him.” In regard to what is evil, there are no two questions. The sentence once pronounced in the conscience: it is evil! everything is said. Woe to him who thereafter still disputes and reasons? An abler than he (comp. Rom 16:20 ) will not fail to take him in the snare. There is but one thing to be done: to turn from it ( Rom 16:17 ). Hence, as concerns evil, the one thing needed is simplicity. It is not so in regard to good. When a thing is recognized as good, all has not yet been said. Here, on the contrary, it is that there is need of prudence not to spoil a good thing by the unwise or unskilful way in which it is gone about. Different questions present themselves: Is it the time for doing it? How should one address himself to it to succeed? Who should put his hand to the work? etc., etc. All, questions which demand a certain measure of wisdom, of discernment, of practical ability, of σοφία . In the case of evil, woe to the able! Ability makes dupes. In the case of good, woe to the simple! Simplicity is the parent of mistakes.

The T. R. places μέν , without doubt, after the word σοφούς , wise; which would lead to the sense: “I would, that while ye are wise in good, ye should be simple as regards evil.” This form makes all the weight of the recommendation fall on the second proposition. But the word wise, σοφούς , too evidently forms a contrast to the word ἄκακοι , innocent, to allow us to give it so secondary a position. The first proposition should, in Paul's recommendation, be on the same line as the second. As much clear-sightedness is needed to discern the corruption of adversaries under their fair exteriors, as of simplicity to avoid them after having discerned them.

It is to be remarked, that to denote simplicity, Paul in this verse uses quite a different term from that in the preceding. There he had in view men ignorant of evil, who are easily duped; hence the use of the term ἄκακος , innocent. Here Paul wishes to speak of the moral rectitude which, the instant it knows evil, breaks with it. Hence the term ἀκέραιος , literally, not mixed, exempt from impure alloy. This saying of the apostle may serve to explain the precept of Jesus, Matthew 10:16: “simple as doves, wise as serpents.” Comp. also 1Co 14:20 and 2 Corinthians 11:3.

We should like to know what forger would have hit on such a word?

Verse 20

Vv. 20. “ Now, the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet quickly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

From the visible enemy who threatens, the apostle's eye turns to thine visible world, where he discovers on the one side the more formidable enemy of whom his earthly adversaries are the instruments, and on the other, the all-powerful ally on whose succor the church can reckon in this struggle. The connection between Rom 16:19-20 may find its explanation in Rom 16:13-15 of 2 Corinthians 11:0, where the apostle thus expresses himself in regard to Judaizing disturbers: “Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ; and no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness. Their end shall be according to their works.”

The expression: God of peace, is designedly chosen to describe God as one who, if the church fulfils its task well in these circumstances, will take care to overthrow the designs of its adversaries, and preserve harmony among the faithful.

The term συντρίψει , shall bruise, is evidently an allusion to the ancient promise, Genesis 3:15, which strange to say is referred to nowhere else in the N. T.

The words ἐν τάχει are ordinarily translated by soon, which would signify: “at a time near this when I write you.” It is because of this translation that Schultz and many others find here the idea of Christ's near return. But the word ταχύς and its derivatives do not denote the imminence, the nearness of the event. They denote the celerity with which it is accomplished. The ταχέες πόδες , in Homer, are feet which move quickly and not soon; a tachygraph is a man who writes quickly and not near one. The Greek has the word εὐθύς ( straight, who goes right to his end) and its derivatives to express imminence. Paul means, therefore, not that the victory will be near, but that it will be speedily gained, once the conflict is begun. When the believer fights with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:0), the conflict is never long.

Victory will result from two factors, the one divine ( God shall bruise), the other human ( under your feet). God communicates strength; but it passes through the man who accepts and uses it.

To this warning there is attached in the T. R. and in the Alexs. a prayer of benediction, with this difference, that in the former this prayer is repeated word for word in Romans 16:24. The Greco-Lats. place it only in Romans 16:24. Of these three forms, that of the Alex. is the most probable; for it easily explains the other two. The Greco-Lats. have transposed this prayer, putting it after the salutations, Romans 16:21-23, to conform to the ordinary usage of the apostle; the Byz. text has combined the two forms. What confirms this supposition is, that the Greco-Lats. in general omit the doxology at the end of our chapter; now, they could not close the Epistle to the Romans with the words: “and Quartus our brother.” They were therefore obliged to transfer thither the prayer of Romans 16:20. Regarded here as authentic, this prayer is the counterpart of that which we find 1 Corinthians 16:23. It forms the general conclusion of the Epistle; for it has nothing sufficiently special to be applied only to the preceding warning. But why the salutations which still follow, Romans 16:21-23, and the final doxology, Rom 16:25-27 ? This is what we shall have to explain.

Verses 21-23

Vv. 21-23. “ Timothy my fellow-worker, saluteth you, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen.I Tertius, who wrote this Epistle, salute you in the Lord. Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the treasurer of the city saluteth you, and the brother Quartus.

After the farewell prayer, Romans 16:20, this passage of salutations excites surprise; for usually the salutations of Paul's fellow-laborers are placed before the final prayer. But there is a circumstance fitted to throw light on this exceptional fact; the mention of Timothy, Romans 16:21. Ordinarily, when Paul has this faithful fellow-laborer beside him, he mentions him in the address of the letter, as if to associate him in the very composition of the writing; comp. 1 and 2 Thess., 2 Cor., Col., Philip., Phil. If he does not do so in 1 Cor., it is because, according to the letter itself, Timothy was absent. In the Epistle to the Galatians, Timothy is embraced no doubt pre-eminently in the general expression: “And all the brethren who are with me” ( Rom 16:2 ). There remain, therefore, only Ephesians and Romans. This conjunction serves exactly to explain the particular fact which we are pointing out. For these two letters have this in common: that Paul wrote them in his capacity of apostle to the Gentiles, a dignity which he shared with no one; for it followed from a personal and special call ( Rom 1:1 ). And hence it is, that though Timothy was with him at the time he composed them (as appears in the case of the Romans from Romans 16:21, and in the case of the Ephesians from the addresses to the Colossians and Philemon written at the same time), he could not associate his disciple with him in an act so solemn, and which had a sort of official character. Now this is also the reason why those salutations from his fellowlaborers have been in this case placed outside of the letter properly so called. The official Epistle must first be closed before a place could be granted to a communication of an entirely private character.

We know that Timothy was at that moment at Corinth with the apostle, ready to join him in the journey to Jerusalem; this appears from Acts 20:4. This same passage explains to us the presence in this city, and at the same time, of another of the three fellow-laborers afterward named, Sosipater of Berea, in Macedonia. This name, which is probably identical with that of Sopater, Acts 20:4, belonged to one of the deputies delegated by the churches of Macedonia to represent them in the mission which Paul was about to carry out for them at Jerusalem ( 2Co 8:18 et seq.).

Jason was also of that province; for he is probably identical with Paul's host at Thessalonica, of whom mention is made, Acts 18:1-7. He had accompanied the deputies of Thessalonica and Berea whom Paul had appointed to meet together at Corinth, because he reckoned on embarking there for Palestine ( Act 20:3 ). The third person, Lucius, cannot be, as Origen thought, the evangelist Luke; for the Greek name of the latter ( Lucas) is an abbreviation of Lucanus, while Lucius certainly comes from the word lux. But it is not improbable that we have here again the Lucius of Cyrene, who had played an important part as prophet or teacher in the church of Antioch soon after its foundation. He was now fulfilling the same ministry in other churches, and so had come to Corinth. Paul designates these three last as his countrymen; for the meaning kinsmen, which some give to συγγενεῖς , cannot, as we have already seen, apply to so large a number of persons (comp. Romans 16:7; Rom 16:11 ).

Very probably these four fellow-laborers of the apostle had come into contact in the East with many of the persons whom Paul had just saluted at Rome in his own name for example, Aquilas, Epenetus, and the first of those who follow. Delicacy accordingly required Paul to add to his own, the salutations of these brethren who surrounded him.

Verse 22

Vv. 22. But Paul had beside him at this very time a fellow-laborer of a different kind, to whom he must also give a place. This was the friend who had lent him the help of his pen in his long work, the Tertius of this verse. Only, could he dictate to him his own salutation as he had dictated the preceding? No, that would have been to treat him as a simple machine. The apostle had too exquisite a sense of propriety to follow such a course. He ceases to dictate, and leaves Tertius himself to salute in his own name: “I Tertius.” This detail, insignificant in appearance, is not without its value. It lets us see what St. Paul was better than many graver actions. Here we have what may be called the politeness of the heart. Would a forger have thought of this?

Verse 23

Vv. 23. Yet another fellow-laborer, but of a wholly different kind: he is Paul's host, under whose roof he is composing this work. This Gaius can neither be the Gaius of Derbe in Asia Minor, Acts 20:4, nor the Gaius of a church in the neighborhood of Ephesus, 3 John 1:1. He is evidently the person of whom Paul speaks 1 Corinthians 1:14, one of the first believers of Corinth whom he had baptized with his own hand before the arrival of Silas and Timothy. Paul calls him at once his host and that of the whole church. These last words might signify that when the church of Corinth held a full meeting ( 1Co 14:23 ), it was at the house of Gaius that these assemblies took place. But there attaches to the term ξένος , host, rather the idea of welcome given to strangers. Paul means, therefore, no doubt that the house of Gaius is the place of hospitality by way of eminence, that which at Corinth is ever open to receive Christian strangers. From Gaius, the first member of the church of Corinth named here, the apostle naturally passes to two other distinguished Christians of the same church, and who had personal relations to some of the Christians of Rome. Erastus, occupying an exalted post in the administration of the city (probably as treasurer), cannot be the evangelist of this name mentioned Acts 19:22; he is more likely the person of whom Paul speaks 2 Timothy 4:20. We know nothing of Quartus.

One sees, then, that all these persons are placed with the order, tact, and discernment which never failed the apostle, even in the minutest details of his letters.

Verse 24

Vv. 24 in the T. R. is certainly unauthentic. Meyer quotes, to defend it, the repetition of the apostolic prayer, 2 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; but there no MS. omits it, while here it is not found in any of the four oldest MSS. It is easy to see that certain copyists have transposed it hither from Romans 16:20, to place it, as is customary, at the close of the salutations.

Critical conclusion regarding the passage, Romans 16:21-24.

This short passage is acknowledged to be authentic, and to belong to the Epistle to the Romans, by Volkmar and Schultz. The latter has brought out forcibly the proof in its favor arising from the enumeration of the deputies of Macedonia, Acts 20:4. He also rebuts the objection taken from the Latin origin of several of these names, by recalling the fact that Macedonia was peopled throughout with Roman colonists, which explains the propagation of Latin names in this province.

M. Renan infers from the salutations addressed in the name of several Macedonians, that we have here the conclusion of the copy intended for the church of Thessalonica. In arguing thus, he does not take account of the assembling in the city of Corinth of all the deputies of Greece and Asia who were to accompany Paul to Jerusalem.

We cannot discover in this passage the least word calculated to inspire doubts either as to its being composed by the apostle, or as to its original connection with the Epistle to the Romans.

Verses 25-27

Critical conclusion regarding the doxology, Romans 16:25-27, and regarding chaps. 15 and 16

The authenticity of Rom 16:25-27 has been combated in a thoroughgoing way by Reiche, Lucht, and Holtzmann. Hilgenfeld, who against these critics defends the authenticity of chaps. 15 and 16 in general, agrees with them on this point. M. Renan, on the contrary, ascribes the composition of this passage to the apostle; but he regards it as the final particular of the copy addressed to a church unknown. In this copy these verses joined on immediately, according to him, to the end of chap. 14 M. Reuss also supports their authenticity, and regards them as the conclusion of our Epistle, with which, according to him, they are intimately connected.

The following are the principal reasons alleged against the authenticity of the passage: (1) The entire omission of these verses in Marcion and in two Mjj., and their transposal to the end of chap. 14 in three Mjj. and in most of the Mnn. (2) The absence of similar sayings at the end of St. Paul's other Epistles. (3) The emphasis of the style and the heaping up of expressions which contrast with the ordinary sobriety of the Pauline language. (4) Certain echoes of expressions in use in the Gnostic systems of the second century. (5) The want of appropriateness and of all definite object.

1. As to Marcion, it is not surprising that he suppressed this passage, as well as so many others, in the letters of the one apostle whose authority he recognized. For this passage, by mentioning the prophetical writings, appeared to Marcion to connect the new revelation closely with that of the O. T., which absolutely contradicted his system.

We think we have explained at the end of chap. 14 the transference of these verses to that place in some documents, as well as their omission or repetition in a very few documents. The position of the doxology at the end of the Epistle certainly rests on the concurrence of the most numerous and weighty authorities. 2. It is not surprising that in a letter so exceptionally important as this the apostle should not be satisfied with concluding, as usual, with a simple benediction, but that he should feel the need of raising his soul heavenward in a solemn invocation on behalf of his readers. This writing embraced the first full exposition of the plan of salvation. If, on closing the different parts of the statement of this plan, his heart had been carried away by an impulse of adoration, this feeling must break forth in him still more powerfully at the moment when he is laying down his Philemon 1:3. It is true the heaping up of clauses is great; but it arises from the strength of this inward impulse, and has nothing which exceeds the natural measure of Paul's style. The participle γνωρισθέντος , made known, Romans 16:26, is accompanied by four regimens; but in that there is nothing suspicious. The participle ὁρισθέντος , established ( Rom 1:4 ), has three, and an attribute besides; and the verb ἐλάβομεν , we received (i, 5), has three also, and, moreover, two objects. The passage, chap. Romans 5:15-17, has given us a specimen of the way in which Paul's nimble and fertile mind succeeded in cramming into a single sentence a wonderful mass of expressions and ideas. The one question, therefore, is whether there is a superfluous accumulation of identical expressions; now this is what cannot be proved. We have established the deliberate intention and precise import of every term in these verses, 25-27, as well as throughout the rest of the Epistle. 4. The analogies which Lucht thinks he has discovered with certain Gnostic terms are purely imaginary. The reader will judge of this from the examples quoted by Meyer. The expression eternal ages, Lucht would have it, refers to the aeons of the Valentinian system. The term σεσιγημένου , kept secret, is related to the divine principle designated by the name σιγή , silence, in this same system. In speaking of prophetical writings, the author is alluding to the allegorical exegesis in use among the Gnostics.

Such criticism belongs to the domain of fancy, not of science. 5. The absence of definite aim cannot be charged against this passage, except in so far as the critic fails to understand the act of having recourse to God, which forms its essence, and which is intended to bring the whole church to the footstool of the throne from which strength comes down.

According to Reiche, the author of this doxology was an anagnost (public reader), who composed it with the help of the end of Jude's Epistle ( Rom 16:24-25 ), and of the last words of Hebrews 13:21. But when from the parallel in Jude there is removed the word σοφῷ , wise, which is unauthentic, and the τῷ δυναμένῳ , which proves nothing (Acts 20:32; Eph 4:20 ), what remains to justify the supposition of its being borrowed? The liturgical formula, Hebrews 13:21, is so common that it can prove nothing. Would a compiler so servile as the one supposed by Reiche have composed a piece of such originality as this, in which there are found united as in a final harmony, corresponding to the opening one ( Rom 1:1-7 ), all the principal ideas of the preceding composition?

Holtzmann, in his treatise on the letters to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, supposes this passage to be the work of the unknown author, who, about the end of the first century, took to collecting St. Paul's Epistles. He began by giving in the Epistle to the Ephesians an amplification of a very short Epistle addressed by Paul to the Colossians; then he revised this latter by means of his previous work; finally, he set himself also to complete the Epistle to the Romans by this doxology by means of some passages of Ephesians and Colossians, where the same hymnological tone and the same tendency to amplification are to be remarked. The parallels which we have quoted in the course of exegesis undoubtedly prove a certain analogy of thought and expression between our passage and these letters. But if Paul himself composed the latter three years after our Epistle, there is nothing wonderful in this coincidence. If, on the contrary, their author is a forger of the end of the first century, he must have had some point of departure in Paul's authentic writings for a composition of this kind, and the authenticity of our doxology is thus rendered probable by this very forgery. In any case, a forger would hardly have committed the apparent inaccuracy which is remarked in Romans 16:27. For it supposes an exaltation of feeling and thought which is at variance with a composition in cold blood.

Finally, to refute M. Renan's supposition, to which we have referred above, it is enough to read again the last verse of chap. 14: “What is not of faith is sin,” and to attempt to follow it up with our Romans 16:25: “To Him that is of power to stablish you,” etc., to measure the diametrical distance of ideas which separate these two verses, the one of which on this theory would be the sequel of the other!

There is but little more for us to add on chaps. Q5 and 16 taken as a whole. We have stated the numerous and contradictory hypotheses in which critics have indulged for more than a century in regard to these chapters. We have examined them passage by passage; they have appeared to us of little weight in detail; is it possible they have more force when applied to the whole? That Marcion rejected all, or perhaps only some parts of these chapters, is of no importance; for the dogmatic nature of the motives which guided him is evident. As to the fact that the Tübingen school feel themselves obliged to follow this example, by rejecting the whole or nearly the whole, the reason of this critical procedure is not less clear; for these chapters, accepted as authentic, overturn Baur's hypothesis regarding the composition of the church of Rome, the aim of our Epistle, and in general the position taken up by Paul in relation to Judaism.

If Irenaeus and Tertullian do not yet quote any passage from these last two chapters, it may only be an accident, like the absence of any quotation from the Epistle to Philemon in Irenaeus or in Clement of Alexandria.

The apparent multiplicity of conclusions is the thing which seems to have told most forcibly on the mind of modern critics. Some have even been led by this circumstance to regard the whole closing part of our Epistle as an accidental collection of detached leaves, unrelated to one another. We think this impression superficial; it is dissipated by a profounder study. We have found that the conclusion, Romans 15:13, is intended to close the exhortation to union begun in chap. 14, and that the prayer, Romans 15:33, is occasioned by the details which Paul has just given about his personal situation, and by the anxious fears he has expressed in regard to the journey which still lies between him and his arrival at Rome. The salutation of the churches, Romans 15:16, naturally attaches itself to those of the apostle. The prayer, Romans 16:20 a, is closely connected with the warning, in the form of a postscript, by which he has just put the church on its guard against the disturbers whose coming cannot be distant. Finally, the prayer which closes this verse is that which in all the other letters concludes the Epistle. As to the passage, Romans 16:23-24, it is an appendix containing salutations of a private nature, of a very secondary character, and which lie, strictly speaking, beyond the Epistle itself. The prayer, Rom 16:24 is certainly unauthentic. Finally, the doxology is a last word fitted to sum up the whole work, by raising the eyes of the readers, with those of St. Paul himself, to the heavenly source of all grace and strength. This forms a natural whole; if we examine the details closely, there is nothing in them betraying a conglomerate. Besides, when indulging in such suppositions as those before us, sufficient account is not taken of the respect with which the churches cherished the apostlic writings which they might possess. They preserved them as precious treasures in their archives, and it would not have been so easy for an individual to introduce into them unobserved changes. The Epistle of Clement of Rome was regularly read at Corinth in the second century. It was therefore always in hand. As much certainly was done for the apostolic writings. We know from declarations of the Fathers that these writings were kept at the house of one of the presbyters, and that they were copied and reproduced for other churches, which asked to have them, only under strict control, and with the sort of attestation formally given: correctly copied. We are therefore entitled to say, that so long as peremptory reasons do not force us to suspect the general tenor of the transmitted text, it has on its side the right of the first occupant.

Verse 26

Vv. 26. With these times of silence there is contrasted that of divine speaking. The word νῦν , now, strongly expresses this contrast. The participle φανερωθέντος , manifested, refers to the inward revelation of the divine mystery by the Holy Spirit, which the apostles have received; comp. the perfectly similar expressions, Ephesians 3:5.

This act of revelation must necessarily be completed by another, as is indicated by the following participle: γνωρισθέντος , published, divulged. What the apostles received by revelation, they are not to keep to themselves; they are called to proclaim it throughout the whole world. These two participles are joined by the particle τέ , and. This mode of connection applies in Greek only to things of a homogeneous nature, and the one of which serves to complete the other. This peculiarity of the τέ suffices to set aside Hofmann's explanation, who translates: “manifested now and by the prophetical writings.” For the two notions of the time and mode of revelation are too heterogeneous to be thus connected. And, moreover, it would follow from this explanation that the second participle ( γνωρισθέντος , published) would be unconnected with the first by any conjunction, which is impossible. The Greco-Lats. and some versions omit the particle τέ . But it is a copyist's error well explained by Meyer. The words: by prophetical writings, were connected with the preceding participle ( φανερωθέντος , manifested), as nearer than the following one, and from this false connection arose the suppression of the τέ .

The second participle, γνωρισθέντος , made known, is defined by four clauses. The first refers to the cause: the divine command; the second to the means: the prophetical writings; the third to the end: the obedience of the faith; the fourth to the object: all the Gentiles.

The command of God sounded forth by the mouth of Jesus when He said: “Go ye and teach all nations.” This command was not the expression of a transient or secondary thought; it was the immutable and eternal thought, to which all the rest were subordinated, even the decree of creation. This is what the epithet eternal, given to God, is intended to remind us of. He remains exalted above all the phases through which the execution of His designs passes.

By the prophetical Scriptures, which are the means of the making known, all critics understand the prophetical books of the O. T. But how could Paul say: The gospel is proclaimed by these books? He has just declared, on the contrary, that they mystery had been kept secret up to the present time. It is answered, that the apostle is alluding to the use made of the writings of the prophets in apostolic preaching. But though these writings were a means of demonstration, they were not a means of making known; and yet this is what is expressed by the participle λνωρισθέντος . And, besides, why in this case reject the article which was necessary to designate these prophetical books as well-known writings; why say: “by writings ”...and not: “by the writings of the prophets?” It might be answered, that Paul expresses himself in the same way in the passage Romans 1:2; but there, the term prophets which precedes, and the epithet holy which accompanies, the word Scriptures, sufficiently determine the idea. It is not so here, where these writings are represented as the means of propagating a new revelation, and should consequently designate new prophetical writings. I think that the only explanation of this term in harmony with the apostle's thought is got from the passage which we have already quoted, Ephesians 3:3-6: “For God by revelation made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” The apostles are here called prophets, inasmuch as they are bearers of a new revelation. What then are their writings, if not prophetical writings? Paul himself feels that the letter which he has just written has this character, and that it ranks among the means which God is using to carry out the publication of the new revelation. It is therefore of this very letter, as well as of the other letters which had proceeded from his pen, or from that of his colleagues, that he is speaking in our passage. And from this point of view the absence of the article is easily explained. Paul really means: “by prophetical writings.” It is as it were a new series of inspired writings coming to complete the collection of the ancient and well-known books, even as the new revelation is the completion of the old.

The end is denoted by the words: for the obedience of faith; an expression which reproduces that of Romans 1:5, and the meaning of which is, as we have proved there, the obedience to God which consists of faith itself.

Finally, the object of the publication: to all the Gentiles (nations); an expression similar to that of Romans 1:5: among all the Gentiles. Paul thus ends where he had begun: with his apostleship to the Gentiles, which follows from the appearance of a new and final revelation, and of the full realization of God's eternal plan. The return to the ideas of Rom 1:1-5 is evident.

Verse 27

Vv. 27. The dative τῷ δυναμένῳ , to Him that is able, in Romans 16:25, has not yet found the verb on which it depends. It is evidently this same dative which, after the long developments contained in Romans 16:25-26, reappears in the words: to God only wise. The idea of God's power in Rom 16:25 was naturally connected with that of stablishing; and so the idea of the divine wisdom is joined here with the notion of the divine plan and its accomplishment, expounded in Romans 16:25-26. But on what does this dative of Romans 16:27, as well as that of Rom 16:25 which it takes up again, depend? Some answer: on the proposition following: “To Him is (or be) the glory!” But why in this case introduce the relative pronoun ᾧ , to whom? Why not say simply αὐτῷ , to Him? ( Eph 4:20-21 ). To make this construction admissible, all that would be necessary would be to reject this pronoun, as is done by the Vatic. and some Mnn. But these authorities are insufficient. And the reason of the omission is so easy to understand! Must it then be held, as Meyer and many others do, that we have here, exactly in the last sentence of the Epistle, an inaccuracy? It is supposed that Paul, carried away by the great thoughts expressed in Romans 16:25-26, forgot the dative with which he had begun the sentence in Romans 16:25, and continues as if the preceding proposition were finished. But this remote dative, which Paul is thought to have forgotten, is evidently reproduced in this one: to God only wise! He has it therefore still present to his mind. Tholuck, Philippi, and others refer the relative pronoun ᾧ , to whom, not to God, but to Jesus Christ; they hold that, according to the apostle's intention, the doxology was originally meant to apply to God, the author of the plan of salvation, but that Paul, on reaching the close of the period, applied it to Christ, who executes the plan: “To God powerful...and wise [be glory], by Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever.” This explanation would certainly be more tolerable than Meyer's. But we doubt whether the apostle's real meaning is thereby obtained. In fact, when he began his period with the words: To Him that is of power to stablish you, his intention was certainly not to terminate with this idea: To Him be glory! We glorify Him who has done the work; but as concerning Him who is able to do it, we look to Him to do it; we ask His succor; we express our confidence in Him and in His strength. Such was the inward direction of the apostle's heart when he began Rom 16:25 by saying: “To Him that is of power”..., exactly as when he closed his discourse to the elders of Ephesus, Acts 20:32, by saying: “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, to Him that is of power ( τῷ δυναμένῳ ) to build you up and give you the inheritance”...The idea understood, on which the dative of Rom 16:25 depends, is therefore that of commendation and confidence: “My eye, in closing, turns to Him who is able, and from whom I expect everything.” This impulse God ward, in which he desires his readers to join him, is so lively within his soul that he does not even feel the need of expressing it; he includes it in this reduplicated dative τῷ δυναμένῳ and μόνῳ σοφῷ Θεῷ ). And hence the proposition may be regarded as complete, and as terminating without any real inaccuracy in the doxological formula which closes the period and the whole Epistle: “whose is the glory”...The full form would be: “I look with you all to Him who can stablish you...to God only wise, through Jesus Christ whose is [or be] the glory!”

The clause: through Jesus Christ, is connected by Meyer with the word wise: “to God whose wisdom is manifested in Jesus Christ, in His person and work.” But the expression: only wise through Christ, would not signify: who has shown himself wise through Christ, but: who is really wise through Christ. And that is an idea which Paul could not enunciate. The words: through Jesus Christ, must therefore be referred to the understood thought which forms the basis of the whole preceding sentence: “I look to God, I wait on Him, for all that concerns you, through Jesus Christ.” It is through Jesus Christ that the apostle sends up his supplication, as it is through Jesus Christ that there will come down on the Romans the help of God only strong and only wise.

If it is so, the relative pronoun to whom refers rather to Jesus Christ than to God. But it must be added that in his view the author and executor of the plan of salvation are so closely united, that it is difficult in this final homage to separate God to whom He looks, from Jesus Christ in whose name he looks. In the passage Romans 1:7, the two substantives: God and Jesus Christ, are placed under the government of one and the same preposition; they may therefore be embraced here in one and the same pronoun.

The verb to be understood in the last proposition would certainly be ἔστω , let it be, if Paul had used the word δόξα , glory, without article. But with the article (“ the glory”) the verb ἐστί , is, must be preferred: “whose is the glory.” It belongs to Him wholly throughout all eternity. For He has done everything in that work of salvation just expounded in the writing now closed.

Bibliographical Information
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Romans 16". "Godet's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gsc/romans-16.html.
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