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THE COMMENDATION OF COMPANIONS AND HELPERS IN A SERIES OF SALUTATIONS, WITH WHICH IS JOINED A WARNING AGAINST SEPARATISTIC FALSE TEACHERS (JEWS AND GENTILES), WHO COULD HINDER AND EVEN DESTROY ROME’S DESTINY AND HIS APOSTOLIC MISSION. YET THE GOD OF PEACE WILL SHORTLY BRUISE SATAN (JUDAISTIC AND PAGANISTIC ERRORS) UNDER THEIR FEET.
A. Phebe of Corinth
1I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which [who] is a servant [deaconess] of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath [may have] need of you: for she [too] hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
B. Roman friends
3Greet Priscilla [Prisca]1 and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus: 4Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks,5but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet [salute] the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is the first-fruits6of Achaia [Asia]2 unto Christ. Greet [Salute] Mary, who bestowed much labour on us [or, you].3 7Salute Andronicus and Junia [or, Junias],4 my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among5 the apostles, who also 8were in Christ before me. Greet [Salute] Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9Salute Urbane [Urbanus], our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10Salute Apelles [the] approved in Christ. Salute them which [who] are of Aristobulus’ household [the household of Aristobulus]. 11Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet [Salute] them that be of the household of Narcissus, which12[who] are in the Lord. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which [who] laboured much in the Lord. 13Salute Rufus [the] chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes [Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas],6 and the brethren which [who] are with them. 15Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which [who] are with them. 16Salute one another with a holy kiss. The [All the]7 churches of Christ salute you.
C. Warning against false teachers
17Now I beseech you, brethren, [to] mark them which [those who] cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine [teaching]8 which ye have 18[omit have] learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus [omit Jesus]9 Christ, but their own belly; and by [their] good words and fair speeches10 deceive the hearts of the simple. 19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad [rejoice] therefore on your behalf [over you]:11 but [omit but] yet I would have you wise unto [concerning]that which is good, and simple [harmless] concerning evil. 20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen [omit Amen.]12
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Summary.—A. Commendation of Phebe the deaconess; Romans 16:1-2.—B. The salutations to his Roman friends and companions in their household churches, and the commendations therein expressed; Romans 16:3-16.—C. Warning against false teachers, who create dissension. Benediction; Romans 16:17-20.
In the Apostle’s salutations he does not merely take cognizance of friendly relations in a good-natured way, but rather designs, with a distinct section of his Epistle, and in the wise and sincere form of his salutations, to awaken in the Church at Rome the consciousness that, in its principal elements, it is indirectly a Pauline church—that is, one appropriated by him in his universal efforts.13 Comp., on this point, the Introduction, p. 33, and the construction of the Epistle. It is characteristic, that Aquila and Priscilla stand at the head of those whom he salutes; by their settlement in Ephesus they bad already prepared for his connection there, just as they now had done in Rome, and afterward do again in Ephesus; 2 Timothy 4:19. And so there are many among those saluted who have preceded him, as his precursors. The whole body of those greeted is made up of different classes. Some are helpers of his missionary labors, who have labored with him, and part of whom have exposed themselves to dangers for him: Prisca, Aquila, Mary, Andronicus, Junia, and Urbanus. A number of them are his relatives, such as Andronicus, Junia, and Herodion; or very near friends, as Rufus and his mother. Besides, there are those whom he can distinguish as disciples converted through his instrumentality, or well-known friends: Epenetus, Amplias, Stachys, Apelles; perhaps also Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis. We can further distinguish companies, a church in the house of Aquila, an assembly at the houses of Hermes, Hermas, and their companions; at the houses of Philologus, Julia, and their companions. Perhaps the believers in the households of Aristobulus and of Narcissus also form separate divisions of the Church.
A. Romans 16:1-2.
Romans 16:1. I commend. [Both an introduction and a commendation are implied. The description consists of two parts: First, she is a sister, which is the general ground for welcoming her; then, more specially, she is a deaconess, who had faithfully discharged her duty (Romans 16:2). The name is derived from Φοῖβος, Phœbus (Apollo), but there is nothing remarkable in this, since the etymology would be as little recalled then, as now, in the case of proper names.—R.] See 2 Corinthians 5:12. Phebe is usually regarded as the bearer of the Epistle.
Who is a deaconess; διάχονος. On the institution of deaconesses, comp. Church History and the Pastoral Epistles. Meyer furnishes the special literature on p. 539. [The word διαχόονισσα occurs frequently in later ecclesiastical Greek. Pliny, in the celebrated letter to Trajan, says: “Necessarium credidi, ex duabus ancillis quœ ministrÆ dicebantur, quid esset veri et per tormenta quœrere.” Their duties were, to take care of the sick, poor, and strangers in the female portion of the Church. “This office was the more needful on account of the rigid separation of the sexes at that day, especially among the Greeks” (Schaff). Meyer refers to Bingham, Orig. i. pp. 341–366; Schoene, Geschichtsforsch. über d. Kirchlich. Gebräuche, iii. pp. 102 ff.; Herzog, Encykloped., iii. p. 368; Neander, Pflanzung, i. p. 265 f. The last named argues that the deaconesses must not be confounded with the χῆραι of 1 Timothy 5:3-16. See, however, Lange’s Comm. in loco. We may add: Schaff, Apostolic Church, p. 135; Suicer, Thesaurus, sub voce. Of Phebe, Conybeare says (St. Paul, ii. p. 154): “She was a widow of consideration and wealth, who acted as one of the deaconesses of the Church, and was now about to sail to Rome upon some private business, apparently connected with a lawsuit in which she was engaged.” He adds: “She could not (according to Greek manners) have been mentioned as acting in the independent manner described, either if her husband had been living or if she had been unmarried.”—R.]
Cenchrea. The eastern seaport of Corinth (see the Encyclopædias).
Romans 16:2. That ye receive her in the Lord. She should be received with Christian interest.—And that ye assist her [χαὶ παραστῆτε αὐτῇ. The verb is frequently used as a legal term, hence the conjecture of Conybeare, that her business at Rome was connected with a lawsuit.—R.] It is hardly probable that the early Church employed deaconesses to travel in the discharge of official business; the business of Phebe seems to have been of a personal character.
[For she too, χαὶ γὰρ αὐτή. She herself also, not αὒτη (this one).—R.] The reason why the Romans should zealously support her in her affairs does not lie in an official call to Rome, but in her services for the churches at home, and for the Apostle in particular. Προστάτις is a specially honorable designation. [It may refer to her official duties, but not necessarily so. The idea it implies is of service bestowed by a superior on inferiors.—Of myself also. “When and where, we know not. It is not improbable that she may have been, like Lydia, one whose heart the Lord opened at the first preaching of Paul, and whose house was his lodging;” Alford.—R.]
B. Romans 16:3-16.
Romans 16:3. Prisca. [This is the real name; Priscilla is the diminutive, according to the common mode of forming such appellations.—R.] She belonged, like Phebe, to the women who were prominent because of the energy of their faith, and deserved the honorable position before the name of her husband, Aquila (comp. Acts 18:2). See 2 Timothy 4:19. [The frequent sneers at Paul about his views respecting the female sex and their prerogatives might be spared us, were this chapter carefully read. The order here is a sufficient answer: the wife’s name first, because she was foremost, no doubt. The standard is, after all, capacity, not sex. Both are called “my helpers,” and it would seem that, as such, they were both engaged in spiritual labors, which term includes vastly more than public preaching.—R.]
Romans 16:4. Their own necks. Meyer translates the ὑπέθηχαν literally: have laid under, under the executioner’s axe. But there has been no mention made in Paul’s previous history of the executioner’s axe. Even Meyer himself doubts whether we should take the expression in its exact meaning. Since Paul was a member of their family, they were answerable for him in the tumults that arose in Corinth and Ephesus (Acts 18:12; Acts 19:23).—What they did for the Apostle, was done for all the churches of the Gentiles.
Romans 16:5. Likewise salute the church that is in their house [καὶ τὴν κατ̓ οἶκον αὐτῶνἐκκλησίαν]. The definite prototype of an apostolical household church, the type of the later parish. At the same time, the single household churches in Rome are already connected by the bond of fellowship into one spiritual church. Accordingly, the church in the house is almost = the assembly in a certain house.14 Tholuck: “In the metropolis, which was at that time about four miles in circumference, there were not less than five of them (comp. Kist, in Illgen’s Zeitschrift für hist. Theologie, ii., 2d part, p. 65).”
Epenetus. “Unknown, as all the following ones to Romans 16:15. (Rufus may be the son of Simon; Mark 15:21.) The legends of the Fathers made the most of them martyrs and bishops, and the Synopsis of Dorotheus misplaces the most of them among the seventy disciples;” Meyer.
The first-fruits of Asia [ἀπαρχὴ τῇς̓ Ασίας. See Textual Note 2]. Asia proconsularis. The reading Achaia is less authenticated, and creates difficulty, inasmuch as, in 1 Corinthians 16:15, Stephanas is mentioned as the first-fruits of Achaia. On the solution of this difficulty (by supposing that Epenetus was a member of the household of Stephanas, now in Rome), see Tholuck, p. 738.—[Εἰς χριστόν. Meyer, Philippi: with reference to Christ; De Wette, Lange: for Christ. The meaning obviously is: first converted to Christ.—R.] The first-fruits, or those first converted, were generally the natural leaders of the incipient churches.
Romans 16:6. Mary. Not more definitely known. There is no need of explaining that the reading, bestowed much labor15 on us, is much more natural than the other, on you, for elsewhere the Apostle always brings out prominently the relations of the persons saluted to his own labors. [See Textual Note 3.—R.]
Romans 16:7. And Junia (or Junias). The word has often been taken, and by Chrysostom [Grotius] among the rest, as a feminine noun, Junia; it seems more probable that it is Junias, an abbreviation of Junianus (see Tholuck, p. 739). [If feminine, it is the name of the wife or sister of Andronicus; the Rec. accents thus: Ἰουςίαν, which indicates the feminine. Most editors (not Tregelles): Ἰουνιᾶν. It is as impossible as it is unnecessary to decide the question, though Meyer thinks the added description favors the masculine form.—R.]
My kinsmen. The expression συγγενεῖς has been understood by Olshausen, and others, in the broader sense of fellow-countrymen; against which it has been remarked that, in that case, others than Jewish Christians have received this designation, besides the three thus denominated. Dr. Baur finds in these kinsmen not only a mark of the unauthenticity of chap. 16, but even of the unfairness of the author, who, by this fiction, would make for the Apostle the favorable appearance of having sustained a more intimate relation to the Jewish-Christian Church in Rome.
My fellow-prisoners [συναιχμαλώτους μου]. Further particulars are not known. But as, according to Acts 23:16, the Apostle had a nephew in Jerusalem who took a deep interest in his cause, and as it is said of Andronicus and Junias, or Junia, that they were before him in Christ—that is, were believers—so it is natural to make a family from the names of Andronicus, Junias, or better, Junia and Herodion, and to suppose that these, as the early converted kinsmen of Paul, had already made an impression in Jerusalem upon the unconverted Paul, and, after his conversion, had taken an interest in him in his captivity. Then, these were specially adapted, like Aquila and Priscilla, to prepare the way for him in Rome. This would also give a simple explanation to among the apostles, ἐν τοῖς . They were, highly respected as believers among the apostles in Jerusalem. So also Meyer: “distinguished—that is, most honorably known to the apostles. Thus Beza, Grotius, and most others; De Wette, Fritzsche, and Philippi. They take the right ground, for ἀπόστολος is never used by Paul in the broader sense (as Acts 14:4-14), and therefore cannot be explained, with Origen, Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, &c., and Tholuck: among [i. e., among the number of] the Apostles.” See Meyer for hypotheses respecting their conversion.
Romans 16:8. Amplias. An abbreviation of Ampliaton.—[Beloved in the Lord, “beloved in the bonds of Christian fellowship” (Alford).—R.]
Romans 16:9. Urbanus—Stachys. The Apostle’s distinctions result from an exact view.
Romans 16:10. Apelles. This has been confounded (by Origen, and others) with Apollos, but without any ground whatever. [Comp. Horace, Sat., i 5. 100. Supposed to be a freedman, but the name was common among this class (Meyer, Philippi). There are various conjectures about the grouping of freedmen and slaves in these verses.—R.]
The approved [τὸν δόκιμον]. A predicate of tested steadfastness in faith.—Who are of the household of Aristobulus. That is, the Christians in the household, probably slaves of Aristobulus. See the additional ἐν κυρίω in the following verse. [Alford: “It does not follow that either Aristobulus or Narcissus were themselves Christians. Only those of their familiœ (τούς ἐκ τῶν) are here saluted who were ἐν κυρίω̣; for we must understand this also after Ἀριστοβούλου.”—R.]
Romans 16:11. Narcissus. Grotius, Neander, and others, have regarded him as a freedman of Claudius (Sueton., Claud. 28). [This freedman, however, was put to death two or three years before this Epistle was written. It is possible that the salutation is addressed to his family, known thus after his death.—R.]
Romans 16:12. Persis. [The name is derived from Persia, as the native country of the bearer; but it is not known that it was borne for this reason in this particular instance.—R.] She is thus candidly distinguished from the two just named.
Romans 16:13. Rufus. See Commentary, Mark, p. 151.—The chosen. A very expressive distinction. [Not merely “elect in Christ,” but a chosen man, a distinguished Christian (Hodge).—R.]—His mother and mine [καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶἐμοῦ. “His mother by nature, mine by maternal kindness” (Webster and Wilkinson).—R.]. Fervid expression of gratitude for the enjoyment of friendly care.
Romans 16:14. Hermas. This verse contains a numerous group, probably intimately associated, and less known to the Apostle. Hermas has been regarded by Origen and Eusebius as the author of the work: Ὁ ποιμήν. But this author belongs to the middle of the second century.—The brethren who are with them [τούς σὺν αὐτοῖς ]. This, as well as the expression in Romans 16:15 : All the saints who are with them, has been understood as referring to a household church. Incidental hypotheses: (1) Christian associations for common business pursuits, &c. (Fritzsche, Philippi). (2) Missionary unions (Reiche). [The latter is quite improbable.—R. ]
Romans 16:15. Julia. Probably the wife of Philologus; for, in what follows, she is distinguished from the sister of Nereus.
Romans 16:16. With a holy kiss. Ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίω̣, 1 Thessalonians 5:26. Comp. 1 Peter 5:14 : ἐν φιλήματι . “In Tertullian, it is the osculum pacis; the fraternal kiss after the finished prayer in the assemblies of the Christians is mentioned by Justin Martyr (M. Revelation 1:0. Op. 65);” Tholuck.—For further particulars, see Meyer and Winer. The continuance of this Oriental Christian custom of connecting the salutation and the kiss as an expression of fellowship and of common festivals, is known in the Greek church (see Luke 7:45).
All the churches [αἱ ἐκκλησίαι πᾶσαι. See Textual Note7]. As Paul has made known in many churches his intention of going to Rome, and because of this opportunity had received many salutations for Rome, he regarded himself sufficiently warranted to greet Rome in the name of all the churches, particularly of those which he had established. Grotius limits the expression to the Grecian churches; others, in other ways. [Stuart, Olshausen, to the churches in Corinth and vicinity; Bengel, to those he had visited.—R.]
C. Romans 16:17-20.
Romans 16:17. Now I beseech you, brethren. A warning against those who cause divisions and variances is very properly connected with the hearty and solemn injunction for the universal preservation of unity and harmony. See an analogous instance in Ephesians 6:10 ff. This section is, therefore, by no means “supplementary,” as Meyer holds it to be. On the contrary, it is observed, by both him and Tholuck, that it may be inferred from the position of the Apostle’s words (at the conclusion), and their brevity, that the false teachers here designated have not yet found entrance into the Church. He already knew that they existed,and that they increased both intensively and extensively; therefore he could—as he subsequently did in his farewell address at Miletus, when setting out for Ephesus—here definitely predict their presence in Rome. Carpzov has had in mind the differences in chaps. 14 and 15; Clericus, and others, the early heathen philosophers. In both, the idea of Christian false teachers is wanting. Others have decided them to be Libertines. That the Apostle, at all events, had in view, besides the future Judaizing and Ebionitic zealots for the law, the gnosticizing and antinomian spirits of the future, is proved on looking at the arrangement for the reception of both these tendencies, which he, according to chaps, xiv. and xv., unquestionably found already in the Church. According to De Wette, the kind of false teachers here mentioned cannot be more specifically determined; according to Tholuck, with reference to Philippians 3:2, &c, the zealots of the law are meant.
[Alford says: “Judging by the text itself, we infer that these teachers were similar to those pointed out in Philippians 3:2, &c.: unprincipled and selfish persons, seducing others for their own gain; whether Judaizers or not, does not appear; but considering that the great opponents of the Apostle were of this party, we may perhaps infer that they also belonged to it.”—R.]
To mark [σκοπεῖν. To notice carefully; used in Philippians 3:17, with reference to those who should be imitated; more intensive than βλέπειν (Meyer).—R.] This, and the avoiding of them, Krehl thinks can be referred only to present false teachers, which is very properly opposed by Tholuck.—[Divisions and offences, τὰς διχοστασίας καὶ τὰ σκάνδαλα. The articles point to known divisions and scandals, whether Paul referred to any particular persons or not. Dr. Hodge seems disposed to refer the first word to doctrinal divisions, the latter to moral offences; so Webster and Wilkinson. Philippi and Meyer seem to refer the first to divisions, however occasioned, and the latter to temptations to depart from the gospel ground of faith and life. The objection to the former distinction is, that the “divisions” hinted at in the Epistle were mainly of an ethical rather than a doctrinal origin.—Contrary to the teaching, παρὰ τὴν διδαχήν. On the preposition, see Galatians 1:8, Lange’s Comm., p. 19. Most German commentators are disposed to reject at least the exclusive reference to doctrinal instruction. As our English word doctrine suggests dogmatic theology, we substitute teaching, which includes all instruction.—A commendation of their teachers is implied, which hints at the indirect Pauline origin of the Church.—Avoid them, ἐκκλίνατε ̓ αὐτῶν. There is no reference to official excommunication, but to personal treatment of those who might or might not be church members.—R.]
Romans 16:18. Serve not our Lord Christ [τῶκυρίω̣ ἡμῶν χριστῷ οὐ δουλεύουσιν. See Textual Note9]. See Romans 2:8; Philippians 3:19; Philippians 2:0 Cor. 2:20. Fanaticism, by its confusion of spiritual and carnal affections and motives, degenerates into disguised sensualism.—Their own belly [τῆ ἑαυτῶν κοιλίᾳ]. This is a symbol of their self-interest, selfishness, sensuality, and of their final aiming at a mere life of pleasure; comp. 1 Timothy 6:5; Titus 1:11.
And by their good words and fair speeches [διὰ τῆς χρηστολογίας καὶ εὐλλογίας. See Textual Note10]. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:14. By good words they represent themselves in a rosy light, and by flattering speeches, their hearers. For further particulars, see Tholuck, p. 741. Melanchthon understands, by εὐλογια, religious blessings and promises; for example, those of the monks. [Hodge takes the two words as synonymous. Meyer thinks the former characterizes the tenor, and the latter the form, of their words. χρηστ. is found only here in the New Testament. The view given by Dr. Lange is quite tenable.—R.]
The simple [τῶν . The unwary]. Those who, as such, can be easily deceived. [How many were deceiving and deceived, appears from Philippians 1:15, written from Rome a few years afterward.—R.]
Romans 16:19. For your obedience [ἡ γὰρὑμῶν ὑπακοή]. The γάρ is explained in different ways:
1. It implies, indirectly, that they also are not free from this ἀκακία (Origen, Fritzsche). [Dr. Hodge takes obedience as *AP*= obedient disposition, and, with others, regards this as implying a liability to be led astray. But “obedience,” without further definition, would mean the “obedience of faith,” in this Epistle at least; besides, this view implies that their obedience was not altogether of a commendable character.—R.]
2. It implies an antithesis; as for the Roman Christians, he knows that they, as being obedient to the gospel, cannot be so easily deceived (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Meyer).
3. The γάρ specifies a second ground for Romans 16:17 (Tholuck, De Wette, Philippi). [So Alford. But Meyer correctly says, that γάρ is never repeated thus in a strictly coördinate relation. Alford finds also a slight reproof here.—R.]
Explanation (1) is, as it seems to us, very aptly modified by Rückert. Since they succeeded in deceiving the simple, they will think that they can also easily find an entrance to you, for they regard your obedience, which is everywhere known, as that very simplicity. [This avoids the objection to which the view, as held by Dr. Hodge, is open. Still, Meyer seems nearest the true explanation.—R.]
I rejoice therefore over you [ἐφ̓ ὑμῖνοὖν χαίρω. See Textual Note11. The emphatic position of ἐφ̓ ὑμῖν favors Meyer’s view of γάρ, while the next clause, with its adversative δέ, seems to introduce the real warning.—R.] It is, at all events, desirable that they allow themselves to be warned, according to the rule which the Apostle lays down.
Wise [σοφούς. א. A. C, Rec., insert μέν, which seems to be an interpolation on account of δέ, which follows.—R.] They should be receptive inquirers after what is good. But, on the other hand, they should be as unreceptive of, and unteachable in, what is bad, as if they were simple-hearted people.—Harmless. [Dr. Lange renders: ungelehrig, einfältig, simple, as in E. V. But harmless seems to be preferable, especially as another Greek word has been rendered “simple” just before (Romans 16:18).—R.] Meyer explains ἀκεραίους by pure [i. e., unmixed with, free from, evil], which does not make an antithesis to the foregoing (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:20). Matthew 10:16, on the contrary, constitutes a harmonious antithesis to the whole passage. For different expositions of the ἀκεραίους, see Tholuck. [Dr. Hodge: “Wise, so that good may result, and simple, so that evil may not be done;” so most commentators.—R.]
Romans 16:20. And the God of peace, &c. [ὁ δὲΘεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης, κ.τ.λ.] In the divine power of the Spirit and Author of peace. It is just as the God of peace that He will bruise Satan, who, by his false doctrines, causes divisions, and rends the Church asunder. The συντρίψει, shall bruise, is the prophetic future; but not optatively, according to Flatt [Stuart] (see 2 Corinthians 11:15). The expression is an allusion to Genesis 3:15.
The grace, &c. This is the usual concluding benediction (see 2 Corinthians 13:13). In 2 Thessalonians 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:18, a concluding salutation also follows the benediction. [The presence of the benediction here has led to various conjectures: that Paul intended to close, but afterward added the salutations; that Romans 16:24 is not genuine, since it only repeats this doxology, &c. But the text is well sustained here, except the final Amen (see Textual Note12); and certainly no one has a right to say that Paul shall always close his Epistles in the same way, or to impugn either the genuineness of the text or the inspiration of the author, because he does not conform to a certain mode (however customary with him).—R.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. We become best acquainted with the nature of the office of deaconess in apostolic times from the Pastoral Epistles. From these it is evident, first of all, that this office was not of a missionary character, but a local service in the Church, springing from Christian consecration, and more exactly defined, by the restraint then placed on women, by the general destination of the sex, as well as by age and character. This form of the office in the early Church was succeeded, in the Middle Ages, by the religious orders, which assumed, besides, a qualified missionary function. Recent times have attempted glorious things in relation to this office, and have accomplished great results; but the full development of the matter from the idea of a local evangelical service, into which, in its wider sense, all the female members of the Church are called, remains a grand problem for the Evangelical Church. [Woman’s work in the Church diaconal, not ministerial.—All Christian women called to a diaconal Service; some to a more special, and perhaps official, service of this nature.—The danger of the mediæval extreme best avoided by regarding the Church as founded upon the family; not intended to override it (see the household churches named here). How are we Protestants ignoring this idea?—The diaconal service a priestly one (Romans 15:27); noble, however humble it appears.—R.]
2. The commendation of Phebe, a model for Christian commendations.
3. The Apostle’s salutations. Christianity is as intensively personal in a holy sense, as actually free from the ungodly respect of persons. The Apostle’s friends as preparers of his way, and witnesses of his greatness and humility. His brief descriptions of them are models of a proper estimation of persons, free from all flattery. A group of constellations in the apostolic age, as a segment of that spiritual starry sky which eternity will reveal.
4. The warning against the false teachers. See the Exeg. Notes.
5. The Apostle’s glorious prophecy opens a still greater future for Rome. We also read, in Matt, xiii., that it is Satan who sows the tares among the wheat, and thereby causes offences. False teaching seems here to be a ground of divisions and offences. The first practically evil effect proceeds outwardly, the other comes inwardly.
6. It has been said, that the Apostle has pronounced too hard a sentence on his opponents. But the Apostle had established the great festival of peace, and therefore he must regard the enemies of God’s Church of peace as just what they really are—the demoniacal disturbers of the institution of a heavenly life on earth.
(The Homiletical and Practical Notes are in Romans 16:21-27.)
Romans 16:3; Romans 16:3.—[Instead of Πρίσκιλλαν (Rec., versions and fathers), we find Πρίσκαν in א. A. B. C. D. F. L., cursives, &c. Universally received now.
Romans 16:5; Romans 16:5.—[Rec., with D2 3. L., Syriac versions, and fathers: Ἀχαί̇ας. א. A. B. C. D1. F., most versions, Latin fathers: Ἀσίας. De Wette defends the former on the authority of the Peshito, and also because the difficulty arising from 1 Corinthians 16:15, where Stephanas is called the first-fruits of Achaia, might have occasioned the change into Ἀσίας. But the probability is rather that the parallel passage was written on the margin, and thus crept into the text; and as the Epistle was written in Achaia, the error was readily retained. The reading Ἀσίας is accepted by most modern editors and commentators.
Romans 16:6; Romans 16:6.—[Rec., C2. L., versions and fathers: ἡμᾶς; D. F.: ἐν ὑμῖν; א. A. B. C1., versions and fathers: ὑμᾶς. The tending last mentioned is adopted by Griesbach, Lachmann, Meyer, Alford, Tregelles; that of the Rec., by Tischendorf (Exodus 2:0), De Wette Philippi, Lange. The internal evidence is strongly in its favor. See the Exeg. Notes.—Rec., with א. D. F. L.: Μαριαμ; A. B. C., Peshito: Μαρίαν. The latter is preferred by Lachmann, Tischendorf (Exodus 2:0), Alford, Tregelles.
Romans 16:7; Romans 16:7.—[See the Exeg. Notes.
Romans 16:7; Romans 16:7.—[Among the apostles is ambiguous. It may imply: among the apostles, as of their number, or simply that the apostles held them in high repute. The latter is decidedly preferable. See the Exeg. Notes.
Romans 16:14; Romans 16:14.—[א. A. B. C. D1. F., most versions, sustain the order: Ἑρμῆν, Πατρόβαν, Ἑρμᾶν; adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, and most modern editors. That of the Rec. is supported by D3. L., some Greek fathers.
Romans 16:16; Romans 16:16.—[The authority for πᾶσαι is overwhelming (א. A. B. C. L., most versions and fathers). The omission arose from the question as to whether the Apostle could speak for all the churches.
Romans 16:17; Romans 16:17.—[On teaching in preference to doctrine, see Romans 10:17, p. 212, and the Exeg. Notes.
Romans 16:18; Romans 16:18.—[The Rec. inserts Ἰησοῦ, but it is not found in any of the known uncial MSS., and is omitted in a number of versions.
Romans 16:18; Romans 16:18.—[D1. F. omit καὶ εὐλογίας; found in א. A. B. C., most versions. Probably omitted from the transcriber’s mistaking the end of the previous word for that of εὐλογίας. So modern editors.
Romans 16:19; Romans 16:19.—[The Rec. has: χαίρω οῦ̓ν τὸ ἐφ̓ ὑμῖν, which is sustained by a number of versions, and by א3.; the order is found in D. F., which omit τό, however. א1. A. B. C. L.: ἐφ̓ ὑμἴν οῦ̓ν χαίρω; adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Tregelles. De Wette and Philippi retain the order of the Rec. Besides the preponderant uncial authority, it is properly urged against the reading of the Rec., that it gives the more usual order, hence likely to be an alteration. Dr. Lange calls it a correct exegetical gloss.
Romans 16:20; Romans 16:20.—[None of the uncial MSS. now known support the Ἀμήν of the Rec., which is accordingly rejected by all critical editors.—Alford, Tregelles, and others, bracket Χριστοῦ, which is not found in א. B.; but it seems best to retain it.—R.]
[Ford: “Some persons, regarding this chapter as containing little more than a register of names, treat it with comparative indifference; thereby defrauding their souls of much good. St. Chrysostom, in his day, had cause to complain of the same neglect shown by many to the conclusion of this Epistle. Hence he bestows special pains in explaining it. ‘It is possible,’ he writes, ‘even from bare names to find a treasure:’ and then he at once proceeds to disclose what the treasure is.” The list of names shows: (1) Paul’s personal regard; (2) The high place he accords to women; (3) The constitution of the Roman Church; (4) The great influence he exerted, if so many friends could be found in a church he had never visited. (5) The undying name received from his friendly mention, is a type of the eternal blessing which belongs to those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Evidently there are not many rich or great in this list—few of whom we know any thing save what is here hinted; yet these names abide, while those of the wealthy and honored have been forgotten. Even Horace and Livy give no such extended fame as Paul has done to his friends and acquaintances at Rome.—R.]
[Dr. Hodge suggests that, as a tent-maker, Aquila had better accommodations for such an assembly than most of the Christians. See Alford in loco, where he quotes Justin Martyr’s statements about these assemblies. Certainly there is no warrant for supposing that only the household servants, &c., are meant.—It is clear that the early Church was formed quite as much upon the household model as upon that of the synagogue. No form of church government should ignore this, nor can Christianity make true progress at the expense of the family. As the religion of Jesus Christ has sanctified household relations, and elevated them all, how far is the Church responsible for the manifestations of moral decay in social life? May not the schisms in families, produced by sectarian propagandism, so far interfere with any thing akin to these household churches, as to exercise a deteriorating influence? Certainly it is difficult to conceive, that any Christians at Rome would lay in wait for Prisca’s children, to decoy them with presents to some other assembly. Yet that is a recognized form of ecclesiastical (I will not say Christian) effort in these days!—R.]
[The verb κοπιᾷν, when not followed by λόγῳ, refers to practical activity, not to preaching and teaching. Here, probably, some acts of womanly kindness are intended, such as Paul would be more likely to have received than the whole Roman Church. Hence “us” is more probably correct than “you.” Besides, why should Paul add this description, were she so well known to that Church?—R.]
[Luther: welche sind berühmte Apostel. Yet even so high an Anglican as Dr. Wordsworth accepts the view of Meyer and Lange. An able defence of the less restricted use of the term ἀπόστολος will be found in Lightfoot, Galatians, pp. 92 ff. Still, in every case where Paul uses the word, it can he referred to others than himself and the Twelve only by catachresis. In 2 Corinthians 8:23, the article is omitted, and the word has obviously no ecclesiastical sense. Alford thinks the meaning adopted above “would imply that Paul had more frequent intercourse with the other apostles than we know that he had.” Yet how strange that “noted apostles” should require this certification from Paul.—R.]
[Meyer finds the ground for this antithesis in the position of ἀκάκων … ὑμῶν, and paraphrases: “Not without ground do I say the hearts of the simple; for you they will not seduce, because you do not belong to the simple; but you are so noted for your obedience (to the gospel), that it is everywhere known; about you I am therefore glad, yet I would have you wise and pure,” &c. “An elegant mingling of the warning with the expression of firm confidence.” This view is now favored by Philippi, and is nor open to the objection urged against (1), nor does it present any grammatical difficulty whatever.—R.]
THE GREETINGS OF THE PAULINE CIRCLE TO THE CHURCH AT ROME, AND THE INVOCATION OF BLESSINGS BY PAUL HIMSELF. HIS DOXOLOGICAL SEALING OF THE GOSPEL FOR ALL TIME BY A REAL ANTIPHONICAL AMEN
21Timotheus my workfellow [saluteth you],18 and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you [omit salute you]. 22I Tertius, who wrote this23[the] epistle, salute you in the Lord. Gaius mine host, and [the host] of thewhole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain [treasurer] of the city 24saluteth you, and Quartus a [our] brother. The19 grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25Now to him that is of power [who is able]20 to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret [in silence] since the world began [during eternalages], 26But now is made manifest, and by [through] the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, [is] made known to all nations for [unto] the obedience of faith: 27To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever [To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever].21 Amen.
[To The Romans.]22
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
A. The salutations.—B. The doxology, in conformity with the fundamental thought of the Epistle, in the form of a liturgical antiphony. The everlasting Amen of the Church as a response to the everlasting gospel of God, as an Amen: 1. To the proclamation of the. gospel in general; 2. To Paul’s proclamation of the call of the Gentiles; 3. T God's command to bear the gospel forth unto all nations, for the consummation of which our Epistle is designed.
A. Romans 16:21-24.
Romans 16:21. Timotheus. See Acts 20:4; also the Encyclopædias.23—Lucius. Not Luke (Origen, and others). “It is uncertain whether this is the Lucius of Cyrene in Acts 13:1.”—Jason. Comp. Acts 17:5.—Sosipater. Acts 20:4. The identity is, at least, by no means improbable. [In regard to these three persons commentators differ. All three may be identical with those mentioned in the Acts, yet all the names were common, while Sosipater and Sopater (Acts 20:4) may be the same name, without the identity of persons being thereby established.—My kinsmen, συγγενεῖς μου. See Romans 16:7; Romans 16:11. It seems probable that some relationship more close than that of fellow-Jew is here referred to.—R.]
Romans 16:22. Tertius. Probably an Italian (he has, without any ground, been identified with Silas;24 see Meyer). The writer of this Epistle, which Paul dictated to him. On other untenable hypotheses (a clean copy; a translation into Greek), see Meyer. It was natural that he should present his own salutation. [Tholuck considers this irregularity a corroboration of the genuineness of the chapter.—R.] Groundless suppositions: 1. Paul wrote from Romans 16:23 with his own hand (Rambach); 2. From Romans 16:23, Tertius wrote in his own name (Glöckler). [“Entirely groundless also is the view of Olshausen: Paul wrote the doxology immediately after Romans 16:20, but on a special and small parchment, the vacant side of which was used by the amanuensis, Tertius, in order to write Romans 16:21-24 in his own name;” Meyer. The internal evidence is altogether against this.—In the Lord, ἐν κυρίω. Wordsworth follows Origen in joining these words with what immediately precedes, as implying that the work of an amanuensis, not less than that of an apostle, is done “in the Lord.” Most commentators connect it with ἀσπάζομαι, which is preferable.—R.]
Romans 16:23. Gaius. Caius. See the Lexicons on the frequent occurrence of the name. The identity with the Caius in 1 Corinthians 1:14 is very probable; perhaps he is also the same person as the Caius in Acts 20:4. Paul was now lodging with him, as he had already done with others.—Probably also a household congregation gathered in his house. [Or he may have been universal in his hospitality to Christians (Alford).—R.]
Erastus. The city treasurer. The same name in Acts 19:22 and 2 Timothy 4:20 does not seem to denote the same person, unless, as Meyer remarks, Erastus had given up his position.—Quartus [Κούαρτος. This shows how the Greeks transferred the sound of the Latin Qu into their language.—R.] A brother in a general Christian sense.
B. Romans 16:25-27.
Romans 16:25. Now to him who is able to stablish you [Τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι. To this dative, that of Romans 16:27 corresponds, all that intervenes being dependent in some way upon δυναμένῳ. The real grammatical difficulty is therefore in Romans 16:27.—R.] Στηρίξαι. See Romans 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:17. He is very solicitous that the Church in Rome be steadfast and faithful. He clothes his solicitude in the form of a liturgical antiphony, in which he again takes up the first Amen, in order to say Amen to the three solemn representations of the gospel of God, in the name of the Roman Church, and of all God’s churches in general. Comp. the liturgical meaning of the Amen in 1 Corinthians 14:16.
According to my gospel [κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μον]. According to this view of the doxology, we do not explain κατά in reference to my gospel, but according to my gospel, as an antiphony to my gospel—and, mentally, for the first, second, and third time. If we mistake this liturgical form, this doxology becomes a network of exegetical difficulties. The first κατά is explained by Meyer: may He establish you in relation to my gospel, that you may remain perseveringly true to my gospel. For other explanations, see the same author, p. 551 f. [Philippi, Alford, and others, agree, in the main, with Meyer: in reference to—i. e., in my gospel; He can establish you, or, “in subordination to, and according to the requirements of” (Alford), my gospel. Dr. Hodge prefers through, which is scarcely defensible lexically. Dr. Lange’s view of the preposition depends on his view of the doxology as a whole.—R.]
And the preaching of Jesus Christ [καὶτὸ κήρυγμα Ἰησαῦ χριστοῦ]. As it is not only spread abroad in his gospel, but also outside of it, in all the world. Explanations: 1. The preaching concerning Christ (Luther, Calvin, Tholuck, and Philippi); 2. The preaching which Christ causes to be promulgated through him (Meyer, and others); 3. The preaching of Christ during His stay on earth (Grotius).25
According to the revelation [κατὰ . The κατά is taken by Meyer, and others, as coördinate to the former one, and dependent on στηρίξαι; by Tholuck, and others, as dependent on the whole opening clause, in the sense of in consequence of; by Alford, and others, as subordinate to κήρυγμα.—R.] This is the specific designation of the universality of the gospel according to Paul’s view; Ephesians 3:3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26, &c.—The mystery relates particularly to the freedom or national enlargement of the gospel. [Philippi, and others, unnecessarily limit mystery here to this enlargement of the gospel. It seems best to take it in its full meaning. See Romans 11:25.—R:]
Romans 16:26. [But now is made manifest, φανερωθέντος δὲ νῦν. This is obviously in antithesis to the latter part of the preceding verse. The question respecting the relation of the clauses is, however, a difficult one. Beza, Flatt, Meyer, De Wette, and others, join these words closely with Romans 16:25, making the rest of this verse subordinate to γνωρισθέντος. They render somewhat thus: “But which is made manifest in the present age, and by means of the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the everlasting God, is made known unto all nations, in order to lead them to the obedience of the faith.” Hodge, Alford, and others, join together the first part of the verse as far as “the everlasting God;” while Dr. Lange takes the third as coordinate to the first and second. Besides, there is room for a great variety of opinion in regard to the relation of the different phrases.—R.]
Through the Scriptures of the prophets [διά τε γραφῶν προφητικῶν. The presence of τε seems to favor the connection with what follows, but Dr. Lange renders “as through,” &c., thus adopting the other view.—R.] By this addition, Paul proves that this present revelation, whose special organ is Paul himself, is not neologically new, but according to the analogy of faith. Through the Scriptures of the prophets means, that their sense has now become fully clear.26
According to the commandment of the everlasting God [κατ̓ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ αἰωνίον Θεοῦ. See Textual Note3, on Dr. Lange’s rendering.—R.] Here Meyer’s view of the construction of κατά scarce does not hold good any longer, and therefore he makes the third principal proposition as a supplement to the second: and by means of the prophetic writings according to the commandment of the everlasting God, &c. This commandment is the last form, the last word, because it brings very near to the Church at Borne the obligatory duty of interesting itself in the work of the world’s conversion. The commandment of the eternal God should, as an injunction continually resounding, find an eternal reëcho in the Amen of the Church.27
Romans 16:27. To the only wise God, &c. [μόνω̣σοφῷ Θεῷ, κ.τ.λ.] Meyer: “To the only wise God through Jesus Christ.”28 Curious words! Better: To the only wise God be the glory through Christ (Luther, Beza [E. V.] ). Yet the ᾦ opposes this view, if we refer it to Christ. The ᾦ, indeed, has been cancelled by Beza and Grotius, according to cursives 33, 72, and Rufinus; but it stands firm, and is also no obstruction to the proper construction of this doxology. For by all means there belongs to Christ, or the Lamb, the honor of unsealing the book of God’s mysteries, and in eternity the Church can utter thanksgiving and praise to Him for it in the Amen of the Church. Comp. Revelation 5:12. [It must be added, however, that while the glory may be very properly ascribed to Christ, it is grammatically harsh to refer the relative ᾦ to Christ, since Θεᾦ is the leading word in this verse, and by implication throughout.—R].
Because the force of the last Amen was mistaken, many supposed that the Apostle was gradually led, by the parentheses, from the doxology to God, to the doxology to Christ (Tholuck, Philippi). Such a great obscurity would be a bad crown to his grand and clear work. Besides, the previous repetition μόνω̣ σοφῷ Θεῷ is against it. Other suppositions—that the ᾦ is a pleonasm, standing for αὐτῷ29—as well as the proposed supplements, prove only that there must be a mistake in the whole conception of the doxology. We may regard it as removed by the liturgical construction of the conclusion corresponding to the fundamental liturgical thought of the Epistle. The Amen of eternity shall again ascend to God through Christ, just as the eternal gospel has come from God to man through Him. But we do not read τὸ , because the conclusion is not didactic, but a prayer.
[Dr. Lange thus avoids an anacoluthon, by making a double doxology, as it were—to God an eternally accordant Amen, to Christ the glory. It must be confessed that this view is novel, with scarcely an analogy in the New Testament or elsewhere; yet it is beautiful, poetic, and appropriate. For the Apostle, in closing such an Epistle as this, must have been filled with thoughts not less grand than these. Still, should we accept the view of Meyer, the thought remains grand, Pauline, and appropriate. (See Winer, p. 528, on the anacoluthon.) For he who had dived so deeply into the riches of the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, might well close by declaring that God was revealed as absolute wisdom in Jesus Christ, and ascribe to Him, as such, the glory forever. And when, through the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to this gospel, the mystery of God’s love in Jesus Christ shall be made known to all nations, and they, through the knowledge of the revealed Scriptures, become obedient in faith, then to Him, whose wisdom shall be thus revealed, be all the glory. The true antiphonical Amen is pronounced by those who labor for and await that glory, who to-day, with uplifted heads, expect the final triumph, not less than he who closes his great Epistle in such confidence.—R.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See the Exeg. Notes.
2. The doxology is presented to God, as the only wise, in the same sense as His wisdom, in the economy of salvation, is glorified at the conclusion of chap. xi.
3. On the liturgical meaning of the Amen, comp. Deuteronomy 27:15 ff.; Psalms 106:48; 1 Chronicles 16:36; 1 Corinthians 14:16; but especially Ephesians 3:21.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The abundance of apostolic salutations (Romans 16:1-16).—The Apostle’s good memory of his friends (Romans 16:1-16).—Phebe, a pattern for every Christian deaconess. 1. Every one, like her, should minister to the poor and sick in the Church of the Lord; 2. Every one, like her, should not teach God’s word, but bring it over, as Phebe brought the Epistle to the Romans to Rome (Romans 16:1-2).—The evangelical office of the deaconess arose from living faith: 1. In the apostolic Church; 2. In the Middle Ages; 3. At the present time.—How should our churches act toward the deaconesses?—He who exercises love may also lay claim to love (Romans 16:2).—Aquila and Priscilla, a Christian couple of the apostolic age; comp. Acts 18:2; Acts 18:26 (vers 3, 4).—Aquila and Priscilla contrasted with Ananias and Sapphira; comp. Acts 5:1 ff.—The Christian Church originally a household church (Romans 16:5).—The family, the birthplace of Christian service in the Gentile world; comp. Acts 10:17; Acts 16:34; Acts 16:40; Acts 18:7; 1 Corinthians 16:19 (Romans 16:5).—The Marys of the New Testament. 1. Mary, the mother of our Lord; 2. Mary, the sister of the mother of Jesus; 3. Mary of Bethany; 4. Mary Magdalene; 5. Mary, the mother of John Mark 6:0. The Roman Mary (Romans 16:6).—See the Concordance.
The Marys of the New Testament grouped in pairs. 1. Two of them belong to the immediate family of Jesus; 2. Two are friends of our Lord; 3. Two are protectresses of His apostles (Romans 16:6).—The various yet well-considered designations of the individuals saluted by the Apostle: Helpers in Christ (Romans 16:3); well-beloved, my beloved, beloved (Romans 16:5; Romans 16:9; Romans 16:12); beloved in the Lord (Romans 16:8); approved in Christ (Romans 16:10); chosen in the Lord (Romans 16:13); sister (Romans 16:1).—The salutation with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16).—The holy kiss of fraternal fellowship, and the Judas-kiss of the betrayer (Romans 16:16).
Luther, on Romans 16:17 : This is said against all doctrines of men.
Starke: Christianity does not abrogate worldly transactions and external business, but rather directs them aright, and brings a blessing upon them (Romans 16:2).—Hedinger: How beautiful! Pious women in the service of the Church, taking care of widows, children, the poor, and the sick! Oh, how sadly has this zeal died out in the Church; every one is for himself in his own house! Yet who does not see the footprints of a God still living? (Romans 16:2.)
Spener: We see, at least, that women are prohibited from no spiritual employment, with the exception of the public office of the ministry (Romans 16:2).—With a holy kiss, without any wantonness, actual or imagined (Romans 16:16).
Heubner: Commendations of the Christian are very different from merely worldly ones, for they have a holy cause and a holy purpose (Romans 16:1-2).—Natural weakness, strengthened by grace, accomplishes much (Romans 16:6 ff.).—The true Christian must read all these names with hearty interest, even though we know but little or nothing of their works. Their names stand in the Book of Life.—Celebrity, so called, is something very ambiguous; the lowest faithful servant of Christ is more than the most admired worldly hero.—Pious souls can even wish to remain concealed, λαθεῖν (Romans 16:5-6 ff.).—The kiss can be most unholy and most holy (Romans 16:16).
[Burkitt, on Romans 16:5-7 : O happy houses, and thrice happy householders, whose families are little churches for piety and devotion!—Observe: 1. That seniority in grace is a very great honor: and to be in Christ before others, is a transcendent prerogative. 2. That God will have the good works of all His saints, and the services especially which are done to His ministers and ambassadors by any of His people, to be applauded, valued, and recorded.—Henry: In Christian congregations there should be lesser societies, linked together in love and converse, and taking opportunities of being often together.—Doddridge: Many women have been eminently useful. The most valuable ministers have often been assisted by them in the success of their work, while their pious care, under the restraint of the strictest modesty and decorum, has happily and effectually influenced children, servants, and young friends; yea, has been the means of sowing the seeds of religion in tender minds, before they have been capable of coming under ministerial care.—Scott: We should hope the best of others, and commend what is good in their conduct.—Hodge: The social relations in which Christians stand to each other as relatives, countrymen, friends, should not be allowed to give character to their feelings and conduct to the exclusion of the more important relation which they bear to Christ. It is as friends, helpers, fellow-laborers in the Lord, that they are to be recognized.—Barnes: Religion binds the hearts of all who embrace it tenderly together. It makes them feel that they are one great family, united by tender ties, and joined by peculiar attachments.—J. F. H.]
Warning against disturbers of the Church. The Apostle pronounces against them: 1. With all frankness, designating them, a. as those who cause divisions and offences; b. whom the others should avoid, because they are not in Christ, but serve themselves, and deceive simple hearts by honeyed words and false speeches. 2. With all confidence in the members of the Church at Rome; because, a. their obedience is come abroad unto all men; b. he himself is glad on their behalf; c. but desires that they be very careful, wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 3. With the strongest hope in the God of peace, who he expects will shortly bruise Satan under the feet of believers (Romans 16:17-20).—On divisions and offences in the Church (Romans 16:17).—We can cause offence, not only by a bad life, but also by bad teaching (Romans 16:17).—Good words and fair speeches very easily deceive simple hearts (Romans 16:18).—Not every thing which tastes sweet is healthy, nor is every thing which has a pleasing sound true (Romans 16:18).
Wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil! Comp. Mat 10:16; 1 Corinthians 14:20 (Romans 16:19).—The God of peace conquers, Satan is trodden upon (Romans 16:20).—To God alone be glory through Jesus Christ forever! Amen (Romans 16:25-27).
Starke, Hedinger: Christians are not dumb blocks (Psalms 119:100; Psalms 119:104); but industrious, wise, zealous in that which is good, full of excellent counsel and wise execution. But it is owing to their godly simplicity and love that they do not understand wickedness, intrigues, and all kinds of low tricks (especially when men make themselves pleasant, according to the flesh, by shifting about, talking politics, and flattering with the cross of Christ), and are often deceived (Romans 16:19).
Spener: A lie cannot stand long, but must finally be exposed (Romans 16:20).
Bengel: In this whole Epistle the Apostle mentions the enemy but once; in all his Epistles he mentions Satan nine times, and the devil six times (Romans 16:20).
Lisco: Warning against deceiRomans Romans 16:1. Import; 2. Description of false teachers; 3. Ground of warning; 4. Comfort (Romans 16:17-24).—The ascription of praise to God, and the wish for His blessing. 1. The subject of the ascription of praise; 2. Its ground (Romans 16:25-27).
Heubner: The holiest union can be dissolved by evil desire and unbelief; the purpose of the evil spirit is always separation and destruction (Divide et impera!). This takes place especially by means of false teachers (Romans 16:17-18).—The world is wise in doing evil, and unskilful in doing good (Romans 16:19).—By God and His Spirit we can conquer Satan and his works. Christ has begun to destroy the works of Satan, though the task is not yet finished (Romans 16:20).
[Farindon: on Romans 16:20 : If the devil inspire evil thoughts, God is both able and willing to inspire good; and in all our trials, in all time of our tribulation, and in all time of our wealth, in the hour of death and in the day of judgment, His “grace is sufficient for” us.
[Jeremy Taylor: All people who desire the benefit of the gospel are bound to have a fellowship and society with these saints, and communicate with them in their holy things, in their faith, and in their hope, and in their sacraments, and in their prayers, and in their public assemblies, and in their government; and must do to them all the acts of charity and mutual help which they can and are required to; and without this communion of saints, and a conjunction with them who believe in God through Jesus Christ, there is no salvation to be expected: which communion must be kept in inward things always, and by all persons, and testified by outward acts always, when it is possible, and may be done upon just and holy conditions.
[Burkitt: God is only wise, because all wisdom is derived from Him; all the wisdom of angels and men is but a ray from His light, a drop from His ocean. Let the wisdom of God, in all His dealings with us and ours, be admired and adored by us; for all His works of providence are as orderly and perfect as His works of creation, though we perceive it not.
[Henry: Mark those that cause divisions; mark the method they take, the end they drive at; there is no need of a piercing, watchful eye, to discern the danger we are in from such people; for commonly the pretences are plausible, when the projects are very pernicious. Do not look only at the divisions and offences, but run up those streams to the fountain, and mark those that cause them; and especially that in them which causes these divisions and offences; those lusts on each side, whence come these wars and fightings. A danger discovered is half prevented.
[Scott: In order to maintain communion with the Lord and with His saints uninterrupted, avoid, with decided disapprobation, those persons who aim to prejudice believers against each other, to draw them off from faithful pastors, or to seduce them into strange doctrines, contrary to the simple truths of God’s word.
[Clarke: The Church of God has ever been troubled with pretended pastors, men who feed themselves, and not the flock; men who are too proud to beg, and too lazy to work; who have neither grace nor gifts to plant the standard of the cross on the devil’s territories, and, by the power of Christ, make inroads upon his kingdom, and spoil him of his subjects. By sowing the seeds of dissensions, by means of doubtful disputations, and the propagation of scandals; by glaring and insinuating speeches—for they affect elegance and good breeding—they rend Christian congregations, form a party for themselves, and thus live on the spoils of the Church of God.
[Hodge: However much the Church may be distracted and troubled, error and its advocates cannot finally prevail. Satan is a conquered enemy with a lengthened chain.
[Barnes: Let men make peace their prime object, resolve to love all who are Christians, and it will be an infallible gauge by which to measure the arguments of those who seek to promote alienations and contentions.
[M’Clintock: There is nothing in religion incompatible with the natural affections. Nay, you will find that he who loves God most, has the strongest and most trustworthy love for kindred and friends. The human affections are purged of all dross by the fire of love to God. A heart full of charity prompts to all good and kind actions, just when they are called for. It will give tears, when tears and sympathy can bless or save; it will give sacrifice, when sacrifice can help or save some suffering soul. Earnest love to God must display itself in tender attributes, in good, kind, and gentle ministrations—in all forms of benevolence and personal sacrifice. And these things become the more easy, the more we know of the love of God.
[Homiletical Literature on Romans 16:17 : John Reading, Serm. (London, 1642); G. Croft, The Evils of Separation, Bampton Lect., 163; Johnson Grant, The Primitive Church, Disc. (1843), 204.—On Romans 16:19 : John Jortin, Religious Wisdom, Serm., vol. 1:300; Bishop Hurd, Sermons, Works, vol. 6:215; John Morley, Disc., 99; Joseph Hordern, The Christian’s Wisdom and Simplicity, Serm., 199; A. N. Darnell, Serm., 247; C. Simeon, Practical Wisdom Recommended, Works, vol. 15:592.—On Romans 16:27 : Charnock, The Wisdom of God, Works, vol. 2:146; Daniel Whitby, The Wisdom of God, Sermon on the Attributes of God, vol. 1:226; G. Burder, The Wisdom of God, Village Sermons, vi.—J. F. H.]
Romans 16:21; Romans 16:21.—[The Rec., with D3. L., and a few minor authorities, reads: ἀσπάζονται. א. A. B. C. D1. F.: ἀσπάζεται; adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, &c, since the alteration to the plural (from the number of persons named) was so likely to occur.—The E. V. must therefore be emended as above.
Romans 16:24; Romans 16:24.—[This verse is wanting in א. A. B. C., and in other important authorities. In some cursives, and in some copies of the Peshito, it is found after Romans 16:27. D. F. L., Greek and Latin fathers, insert it here. It is rejected by Lachmann, Koppe, Reiche, Tregelles; bracketted by Alford; accepted by Meyer and Lange (Tischendorf varies). It wan not inserted to form a proper ending to the Epistle, since the authorities which omit it have the concluding doxology; but was probably omitted on account of the unusual combination of the benediction and doxology. So Dr. Lange, who makes the doxology a liturgical antiphony, expanding the “Amen” of this verse, and of course retains Romans 16:24-27 in this place.
 Romans 16:25.—[The emendations are from the revisions of the Amer. Bible Union, Five Ang. Clergymen, and Noyes. Dr. Lange’s rendering is, in some respects peculiar: “But to Him, who can make you strong (Romans 1:11): According to (as an antiphony to) my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ,—according to the revelation of the mystery; that was kept in silence since eternal ages; but that has been now made manifest, as through the prophetical Scriptures;—according to the command of the everlasting God, made known among all nations for the purpose of their obedience of faith:
To the only wise God—
Through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory—
Into eternity an (accordant) Amen.”
It will be noticed that this differs from the usual view, in some of its details as well as in the liturgical view it presents. See further the Exeg. Notes.
 Romans 16:27.—[On the concluding Doxology. (1) Romans 16:25-27 are found here, in א. B. C. D., Vulgate, Peshito, and other versions, in some fathers. So the Rec., Erasmus, Beza (eds. 3–5), Bengel, Koppe, Lachmann, Scholz, Fritzsche, De Wette, Rückert, Philippi, Tischendorf, Tholuck, Ewald, Meyer, Alford, Tregelles, Lange, and many others. (2) The stand after Romans 14:23 in L., nearly all cursives (Alford says 192), in the Greek lectionaries, in Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, &c. This position is accepted by Beza (Exodus 1:2), Grotius, Mill, Wetstein, Paulus, Eichhorn (and most of those who deny the integrity of the Epistle), but not by the latest critical editors. (3) They are found in both places in A. and a few cursives, which is indefensible. (4) They are omitted in D3. (or rather marked for erasure by the corrector) F. G. (both, however, leaving a space in chap. 14, as if intending to insert there), Marcion, some manuscripts in Jerome. Schmidt, Reiche, Krehl reject them as not genuine.—We inquire, then:
I. Is this Doxology genuine? A careful scrutiny of the external authorities as given above justifies the opinion of Alford: “Its genuineness as a part of the Epistle is placed beyond all reasonable doubt.” The few authorities which omit it altogether, seem to have done so with no intention of rejecting it. The variation in position is so readily accounted for, as to east little doubt on the genuineness. Nor is the internal evidence against it. The style is Pauline. Though the other Pauline doxologies are simpler, this was the close of the greatest Epistle. Reiche thinks that, owing to the personal character of chaps. 15, 16, the public reading closed with chap. 14; that then a doxology was spoken, which crept into the text at that point, and afterward was transferred to the close. But this is mere conjecture. (See Meyer.)
II. What, then, is its true position? We answer, without hesitation, at the close of chap. 16. (1) The weight, if not the number of diplomatic authorities favors this position. (2) In accounting for the variation, it is much easier to account for the change from this place to chap. 14, than for the reverse. The doxology forms an unusual conclusion; it was preceded by the usual closing benediction; the words ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι would seem to point to the “weak” (chap. 14). Other theories are advanced, but this seems the simplest explanation of the change.—The repetition in some authorities is easily accounted for, since the early criticism could not decide where it properly belonged, and yet feared to reject; the omission arose from the same doubt (since F. G. both have a blank space in chap. 14).—Dr. Lange’s view of the connection renders extended critical discussion unnecessary.—R.]
[Subscription. That of the Rec. is probably correct, but not genuine. א. A. B1. C. D. G. have: πρὸς Ῥωμαίους; to this B2. and others add: ἐγράφη ; G.: ἐτελέσθη.—R.]
[Comp. Van Oosterzee (Lange’s Comm.), 1 Timothy Introd., § 1.—R.]
[The ground of this supposed identity is that the Hebrew word answering to the Latin Tertius (שְׁלִישִׁי) sounds like Silas. But the latter is a contraction from Silvanus.—R.]
[Of these, (3) seems most untenable. (1) makes this phrase an extension of the preceding one; (2) an explanation of it. They are not, however, contradictory of each other. Dr. Lange seems really to combine them.—R.]
[The sense is accordingly much the same, whether this phrase limit “made manifest” or “made known.” In the former case, the thought is supplementary: “It is made manifest in these gospel times, and that, too, by means of the prophetic writings;” in the latter, more emphasis would rest upon it. It is objected to the latter, that the writings of the prophets were not actually the means employed in the universal diffusion of the gospel; to the former, that there is an incongruity in thus speaking of a mystery “kept in silence,” and yet made manifest now by writings of the earlier date. Either of these may be readily met. On grammatical grounds the preference should be given to the connection with what follows, unless Dr. Lange’s syntax be adopted, which, by taking the following Kara as coordinate to the previous ones, precludes this view.—R.]
[If Dr. Lange’s view be not accepted, then Meyer’s is to be preferred: This general making known took place: (1) By means of the prophetic Scriptures; (2) According to the command of God; (3) For the establishment of the obedience of faith; (4) Among all nations. So most commentators.—The word αἰωνίου, everlasting, has been deemed superfluous; yet it seems specially appropriate.—“The first εἰς indicates the aim—in order to their becoming obedient to the faith: the second, the local extent of the manifestation” (Alford).—R.]
[“To God, who through Christ appears as the only wise; so wise, that, in comparison with Him, the predicate wise can be attributed to no other being, the absolutely wise;” Meyer. This view now meets with much favor.—R.]
[Hodge: “To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to Him, I say, be glory forever.” So Stuart, taking ᾧ in the demonstrative sense.—R.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Romans 16". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29