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Bible Commentaries
Romans 16

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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Romans 16:0


Personal GreetingsSister Phoebe RecommendedGreetingsPersonal GreetingsGreetings and Good Wishes
Romans 16:1-2Romans 16:1-2Romans 16:1-2Romans 16:1-2Romans 16:1-2
Greeting Roman Saints
Romans 16:3-16Romans 16:3-16Romans 16:3-16Romans 16:3-5aRomans 16:3-5a
Romans 16:5-7Romans 16:5-16
Romans 16:8-11
Romans 16:12-15
Romans 16:16
Avoid Divisive Persons Final InstructionsA Warning and First Postscript
Romans 16:17-20Romans 16:17-20Romans 16:17-20Romans 16:17-20aRomans 16:17-20
Romans 16:20-21
Greetings From Paul's Friends Last Greetings and Second Postscript
Romans 16:21-23Romans 16:21-24Romans 16:21 Romans 16:21-23
Romans 16:22Romans 16:22
Romans 16:23Romans 16:23
DoxologyBenediction Concluding Prayer of PraiseDoxology
Romans 16:25-27Romans 16:25-27Romans 16:25-27Romans 16:25-26Romans 16:25-27
Romans 16:27



This is a study guide commentary ,which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. Notice that all of the women in this closing section were fellow-workers with Paul in the gospel (cf. Philippians 4:3): Phoebe in Romans 16:1; Prisca in Romans 16:3; Mary in Romans 16:6; Junia (or Junias-if so it was a man) in Romans 16:7; Tryphaena and Tryphosa in Romans 16:12; Persis in Romans 16:12; "his mother" in Romans 16:13; Julia in Romans 16:15; and "his sister" in Romans 16:15. Be careful of dogmatism in the area of women in ministry. All believers are gifted (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:11), full-time ministers (cf. Ephesians 4:12).

In this list we have a woman deacon, Phoebe, and a possible woman-apostle, Junia (cf. Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-21). It is difficult to know how to handle this issue biblically because of the seemingly paradoxical statements of Paul such as 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 compared with 14:34.

B. Notice the possible racial backgrounds of these names

1. believing Jews: Aquila, Prisca, Andronicus, Junias, Mary [some MSS have Mariam];

2. Roman noble family names: Prisca, Ampliatus, Apelles, Narcissus, Julia, Philologus;

3. Jewish noble family names: Aristobulus, Herodion.

C. Verses Romans 16:1-16 are Paul's personal greetings, while verse Romans 16:17-20 are his closing warnings against false teachers. In verses Romans 16:21-23 the mission team sends greetings from Corinth.

D. The discussion of Romans 16:0 in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary by F. F. Bruce is very helpful. If you are interested in a detailed study of the names found in this chapter, read pages 266-284.

E. There is some doubt about where the letter closes. A closing appears several times at the end of Romans 14:15 (MS P46) and 16, in the ancient Greek manuscripts. However, the traditional close of Romans 16:25-27 appears in MSS P61, א, B, C and D as well as the Greek text used by Clement of Rome (A.D. 95).

Verse Romans 16:24 does not appear in the older Greek manuscripts, P46, P61, א, A, B, C, nor the Latin Vulgate or the Greek text used by Origen of Alexandria. For a full discussion of the variants see Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, pp. 533-536.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. How did Paul know all of these people in the Roman church when he had never been there?

2. Is there any biblical evidence for women deacons (cf. Romans 16:1; 1 Timothy 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:3-16)?

3. What is the implication of so many women being listed in this chapter?

4. Describe the methods and message of the false teachers (Romans 16:17-18).

Verses 1-2

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Romans 16:1-2 1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Romans 16:1 "I commend to you" Verses Romans 16:1-2 function as a letter of recommendation for deaconess Phoebe. She probably carried Paul's letter to Rome. There are several other examples of these letters of introduction or recommendation in the NT (cf. Acts 18:27; 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 8:18-24; and Philippians 2:19-30).

"Phoebe" Her name meant "bright" or "radiant."

NASB, NKJV"who is a servant of the church" NRSV"a deacon of the church" TEV"who serves the church" NJB"a deaconess of the church"

This is the term diakonos. It is an accusative singular feminine form. It is the Greek term for minister/servant. It is used (1) of Christ in Romans 15:8; Mark 10:45; (2) of Paul in Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23, Colossians 1:25; and (3) of deacons in Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:11.

There is evidence in both the NT and early post-biblical church writings for the office of deaconess. Another example of women in local church ministry in the NT is "the widows' roll" of the Pastorals (cf. 1 Timothy 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:3-16). The RSV, Amplified, and Phillips translations have "deaconess" in Romans 16:1. The NASB and NIV have it in the footnotes. The NEB has "who holds office." All believers are called, gifted, full-time ministers (cf. Ephesians 4:12). Some are called to leadership ministry roles. Our traditions must give way to Scripture! These early deacons and deaconesses were servants, not executive boards.

M. R. Vincent, Word Studies, vol. 2, pp. 752 and 1196, says that the Apostolical Constitutions, dating from the late second or early third century, makes a distinction between the duties and ordination of female church helpers.

1. deaconesses

2. widows (cf. 1 Timothy 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:9-10)

3. virgins (cf. Acts 21:9 and possibly 1 Corinthians 7:34)

These duties involved

1. caring for the sick

2. caring for those physically persecuted

3. visiting those in prison for the faith

4. teaching new believers

5. assisting in baptism of women

6. some overseeing of female church members


"church" See Special Topic below.


"Cenchraea" This was one of two seaports of Corinth. This one was on the eastern side (cf. Acts 18:18).

Romans 16:2 "that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy" This is an aorist middle [deponent] subjunctive of prosdechomai, which means "to receive kindly as a guest" (cf. Philippians 2:29). Paul trusted this lady and wanted the church to receive her and help her on his behalf. The very fact that he needed to say this shows the cultural climate.

"saints" This term means "holy ones." It describes not only a believers' position in Jesus, but also hopefully their godly lives, progressively characterizing their new holy position in Christ. The term "saint" is always in the plural except once in Philippians (Romans 4:21) and even there it is in a corporate sense. To be a Christian is to be part of a believing community, a family, a body. The modern church in the west has depreciated this corporate aspect of biblical faith! See Special Topic: Saints at Romans 1:7.

"help her in whatever matter she may have need of you" There are two subjunctives. The first, paristçmi (aorist active), means "to stand by so as to aid." The second, chrçzô (present active), means "to help with whatever is required" (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:1).

This referred to material provisions for itinerant ministers. This was the purpose of letters of recommendation.

NASB, NKJV"has been a helper of many" NRSV"has been a benefactor of many" TEV"for she herself has been a good friend to many people" NJB"has looked after a great many people"

This term, proistatis, is found only here in the NT. This could have referred to physical or financial help. This word originally referred to a wealthy patroness. Since Phoebe was traveling to Rome (cf. Romans 16:1) and had helped many (cf. Romans 16:2), this may be historically true of her.

Verses 3-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Romans 16:3-16 3Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. 6Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. 12Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. 14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. 15Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

Romans 16:3 "Prisca and Aquila" Luke calls her "Priscilla." She is often named before her husband, which was culturally very unusual (cf. Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19). Possibly she was of Roman nobility or the dominant personality of this couple. Both Paul and this couple were tent-makers or leather workers. Paul calls them "fellow workers in Christ Jesus." He possibly heard of the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman church from this couple.

Romans 16:4 "risked their own necks" This is an idiom from the term for an "executioner's axe." The Bible is silent on what Paul meant by this phrase.

"to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles" Paul was very grateful for the friendship and active help of this couple. He even expands their service to "all the churches of the Gentiles." What a sweeping affirmation and thanksgiving! It might refer to their encouraging and informing ministry to Apollos (cf. Acts 18:24-28).

Romans 16:5 "the church" This refers to a people, not a building. The term meant "the called out ones." In the Greek OT, the Septuagint (LXX), this term was used to translate the Hebrew term qahal, translated "congregation." The early Church saw themselves as the natural successors and fulfillment of the OT "congregation of Israel," and not a sectarian splinter group. See Special Topic at Romans 16:1.

"that is in their house" The early Christians met in homes (cf. Romans 16:23; Acts 12:12; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15 and Philemon 1:2). Church buildings did not appear until the third century A.D.

"Epaenetus" This man's name means "praised."

"who is the first convert" This is also said of the household of Stephanas in 1 Corinthians 16:15.

"from Asia" This referred to the Roman province which made up the western one-third of modern Turkey.

Romans 16:6 "Mary, who has worked hard for you" Nothing is known about this person. She may have been a missionary from the Roman church. So many wonderful, godly believers are unknown to us but well known to God.

Romans 16:7 "my fellow prisoners" Modern scholars are not certain to what imprisonment this referred. Paul suffered much for his faith (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 2 Corinthians 11:25-28). He was in prison at Philippi, Caesarea, Rome, and probably other places as well (cf. Ephesus, 1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Corinthians 1:8).

"Junias" This name could be masculine or feminine, which must be determined by accent marks. There are Greek manuscript variations, "Iounian," is found in MSS א, A, B, C, D, F, G & P, but with no accent mark. The accented feminine form is found in MSS B2, D2, and 0150. The early papyrus manuscript P46 and some Vulgate and Coptic translations, as well as the Greek texts used by Jerome, have "Ioulian" which is feminine. Some scholars think that this was a scribal error. This feminine form does occur in Romans 16:15. It is possible that the two persons named in Romans 16:7 were

1. two Jewish believers who were imprisoned with Paul

2. a brother and sister

3. a husband and wife

If it is feminine and if the phrase "the apostles" referred to a wider use of that term than "the Twelve," then this was a lady apostle.

It is also interesting that the spelling "Junias" has not been found anywhere in Roman literature or inscriptions, but the name "Junia" was very common. It was a Roman family name. For more information on women in ministry see Women Leaders and the Church, by Linda L. Belleville, pp. 188 footnote 42.

NASB"who are outstanding among the apostles" NKJV"who are of note among the apostles" NRSV"they are prominent among the apostles" TEV"they are well known among the apostles" NJB"to those outstanding apostles"

This can refer to the Twelve, if so these two were well known to them, or to a wider group of ministers known as "apostles" (cf. Acts 14:4, Acts 14:14; Acts 18:5; 1 Corinthians 4:9; Galatians 1:19; Philippians 2:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:6). The context implies this wider usage, as in Ephesians 4:11, but the definite article implies the Twelve. See Special Topic: Send (Apostellô) at Romans 1:1.

"who also were in Christ before me" This obviously means they were saved and active in Christ's service before Paul's Damascus road experience.

Romans 16:8-16 The names in this section are unknown to scholarship. They are beloved of God and Paul, but their names and service are not recorded in the NT or early Christian literature. What is remarkable is that there is a mixture of (1) common slave names; (2) noble Roman; and (3) Jewish family names. There are men and women. There are wealthy freedman and itinerant preachers. There are foreigners from Persia. All barriers are down in the church of Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 3:22; Romans 10:12; Joel 2:28-32 [Acts 2:14-21]; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11)!

Romans 16:8 "Ampliatus" This name, like Prisca and Junia, was a well known Roman family name.

"my beloved in the Lord" The term "beloved" is used by God the Father for Jesus the Son in Matthew 3:17 and 17:5, which may be a title from the Servant Songs of Isaiah (cf. Matthew 12:18, quoting Isaiah 42:1). However, Paul uses it to address believers (cf. Romans 1:7; Romans 16:8, Romans 16:9; 1 Corinthians 4:14, 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 6:21; Philippians 2:12; Colossians 4:7, Colossians 4:9, Colossians 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:2; Philemon 1:16).

Romans 16:9 "Urbanus" The name means "city dweller" or "city bred."

"in Christ" This is a repeated phrase, along with "in the Lord," throughout this chapter. These Christian workers were all part of one family, one Savior.

"Stachys" This is a rare name which means "ear" (of grain). Archaeology has found this name associated with Caesar's family.

Romans 16:10 "the approved in Christ" This idiomatic phrase refers to one who had gone through trials and remained faithful. See Special Topic at Romans 2:18.

"those of the household" Some scholars speculate that this phrase refers to slaves in the domestic service of Aristobulus and not family members, and the same is true of the phrase in Romans 16:11, "those of the household of Narcissus."

"of Aristobulus" Some scholars (Lightfoot) speculate that this was the brother of Herod Agrippa I (who in Acts 12:0 had the Apostle James killed). If so, it shows how the gospel had begun to permeate this royal Idumean family.

Romans 16:11 "Herodian" This may have been a slave of the family of Herod.

"those of the household of Narcissus" This may have referred to the well known servant of Emperor Claudius. If so, it shows how the gospel had begun to permeate the Roman royalty.

Romans 16:12 "Tryphaena" This name means "dainty."

"Tryphosa" This name means "delicate." They were possibly sisters, even twins.

"worked hard" The term has the connotation of labor "to the point of exhaustion."

"Persis" This means "Persian woman."

Romans 16:13 "Rufus" This name means "red" or "red-headed." There is an apparently well known Rufus in Rome (cf. Mark 15:21). Whether he can be identified with this person is uncertain but surely possible.

NASB"a choice man in the Lord" NKJV, NRSV"chosen in the Lord" TEV"that outstanding worker in the Lord's service" NJB"a chosen servant of the Lord"

This is literally "the elect one." Here the term relates not only to God's call, but also to his lifestyle service. His mother also treated Paul with great affection.

Romans 16:14 "Hermes" This is the name of the god of good luck. It was a very common slave name of the first century Greco-Roman world.

Romans 16:15 "all the saints" See SPECIAL TOPIC: SAINTS at Romans 1:7.

Romans 16:16 "holy kiss" There is no early evidence of who kissed who, or when, or where. In the synagogue, whose form of greeting was continued in the church, the men kissed men on the cheek and the women kissed the women (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). This act of greeting became a problem within the church because it was misunderstood by unbelievers and, therefore, was stopped in some churches, although Justin Martyr mentions it in the second century.

Verses 17-20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Romans 16:17-20 17Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Romans 16:17 This warning seems to break into the context unexpectedly. However, Paul may have included it as a contrast to godly itinerant ministers. There is a list in Romans 16:17-18 of what these false teachers were doing.

1. they stirred up divisions

2. they put hindrances in the believer's way

3. they taught in opposition to the instruction the church had given

4. they were serving their own base appetites

5. they were deceiving the hearts of unsuspecting people by their smooth, flattering talk

This list is not related to the weak and strong believers of Romans 14:1-13.

"turn away from them" This is a present active imperative. This is a recurrent theme (cf. Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 John 1:10).

Romans 16:18

NASB, NRSV TEV"their own appetites" NKJV"their own belly" NJB"their own greed"

This is literally "bellies" (cf. Philippians 3:19; Titus 1:12). The false teachers turned everything to their own base interests.

"by their smooth and flattering speech" False teachers are often physically attractive and have dynamic personalities (cf. Colossians 2:4). They are often very logical in their presentations. Beware! Some possible biblical tests to identify false teachers are found in Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Deuteronomy 18:22; Matthew 7:0; Philippians 3:2-3, Philippians 3:18-19; 1 John 4:1-3.

"the deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting" This is a present active indicative denoting ongoing deception. These apparently new or naive believers were vulnerable ("inexperienced in evil").

Romans 16:19 "the report of your obedience has reached to all" This is referred to in Romans 1:8. This is one of Paul's hyperboles.

"be wise. . .in what is good, and innocent in what is evil" This reflects the teaching of Jesus (cf. Matthew 10:16; Luke 10:3).

Romans 16:20 "the God of peace" This is a wonderful title for God (cf. Romans 15:33; Romans 16:2 Cor. 13:16; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 13:20).

"will soon crush Satan under your feet" This is an allusion to Genesis 3:15. The believer's relationship with the Messiah gives them victory also (cf. 1 John 5:18-20). This is an awesome promise and responsibility. In this context Satan epitomizes the confusion and division caused by false teachers which causes the church to lose its great commission focus. Behind false teachers is the demonic! The gospel, however, dispels darkness and evil for those who embrace it and live it. For a good book on this subject see Three Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, by Clinton E. Arnold.


"the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you" This is a common closing for Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:23; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 6:18; Philippians 4:23; Colossians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18 and also in Revelation 22:21). It was possibly written in his own hand. It was his way of verifying his letters (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18).

Verse 21

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Romans 16:21 21Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

Romans 16:21-23 These verses are a post script. Paul's co-workers at Corinth sent their greetings.

Romans 16:21 "Lucius" This could have been

1. Luke the physician (cf. Colossians 4:14), or possibly an idiom for "highly educated one"

2. Lucius of Cyrene (cf. Acts 13:1)

3. an unknown Christian

"Jason" This is possibly the Jason in whose house Paul stayed at Thessalonica (cf. Acts 17:5-9).

"Sosipater" This man is possibly the Sopater of Berea in Acts 20:4.

Verse 22

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Romans 16:22 22I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.

Romans 16:22 "I, Tertius, who write this letter" Paul used a scribe (amanuensis) to write his letters (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). I think Paul had poor eye sight and could not write the small, tight script needed to preserve space on a sheet of papyrus or leather scroll (cf. Galatians 6:18)!

Verses 23-24

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Romans 16:23-24 23Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. 24[The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.]

Romans 16:23 "Gaius" This could have been

1. Gaius Titius Justus of Acts 18:7

2. Gaius of Derbe (cf. Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; 1 Corinthians 1:14)

3. the Gaius of 3 John 1:0

"host to me and the whole church" This was the hospitality needed in the church. Some believers with resources allowed the traveling Christian ministers to room and board. Some, as this man, also opened his home to be the meeting place for gathered events. House churches were the norm for over a hundred years. See Special Topic: Church (Ekklesia) at Romans 16:1.

"Erastus, the city treasurer" He is also mentioned in Acts 19:22; 2 Timothy 4:20. He had an itinerant ministry connected to Paul.

"Quartus" This name in Latin means "fourth." He was possibly the brother of Tertius, which in Latin means "third" (cf. Romans 16:22).

Romans 16:24 This verse is not present in the early Greek manuscripts, P46,61, א, A, B, C, and 0150. It is found in some Greek manuscripts after Romans 16:23 and others after Romans 16:27. It is obviously not original with Paul. It is omitted in the NASB, NRSV, TEV and NJB translations. The UBS4 rates its omission as "certain" (A). It is an attempted close to the letter and is related to the problem of the closing doxology being at the end of Romans 14:15, and 16 in various ancient Greek texts.

Verses 25-27

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Romans 16:25-27 25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 16:25-27 This is one sentence in Greek. This benediction can be found in ancient Greek manuscripts, both at the end of Romans 14:0 and Romans 15:0. This context is a recapitulation of the major themes of the book possibly written in Paul's own hand.

Some believe that this doxology may have been

1. the cover letter for the cyclical letter of Ephesians

2. for those on the way to Rome because

a. Paul had never visited Rome, yet he says hello to twenty-six people

b. Romans 16:0 is the first mention of false teachers

c. this doxology appears in the Greek manuscripts at several different places.

It is also possible that Paul made two copies, Romans 1-14 to Rome, Romans 1-16 to Ephesus. Usually these assertions are answered by

1. the fact that many of these early Christian workers traveled

2. the fact that no Greek manuscript of Romans is without Romans 16:0

3. the possibility that false teachers are implied in Romans 14:1-13

Romans 16:25 "to Him who is able" This is another wonderful title for God used three times in the NT (cf. Ephesians 3:20; Jude 1:24).

Notice how God establishes believers.

1. Paul's gospel presentation

2. the preaching about Jesus Christ

3. the revealing of God's eternal plan of salvation which had been kept secret (mystery)

Believers are enabled by the knowledge of the gospel. This gospel has now been made available to all!

"the mystery" God has a unified purpose for mankind's redemption that even preceded the fall (cf. Genesis 3:0). Hints of this plan are revealed in the OT (cf. Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:3; Exodus 19:5-6; and the universal passages in the Prophets). However this full agenda was not clear (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6-8). With the coming of Jesus and the Spirit it begins to become more obvious. Paul used the term "mystery" to describe this total redemptive plan (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1; Ephesians 2:11-13; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 4:3; 1 Timothy 1:9). However, he uses it in several different senses.

1. A partial hardening of Israel to allow Gentiles to be included . This influx of Gentiles will work as a mechanism for Jews to accept Jesus as the Christ of prophecy (cf. Romans 11:25-32).

2. The gospel was made known to the nations, which are all included in Christ and through Christ (cf. Romans 16:25-27; Colossians 2:2).

3. Believers' new bodies at the Second Coming (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:5-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

4. The summing up of all things in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:8-11).

5. The Gentiles and Jews are fellow-heirs (cf. Ephesians 2:11-13).

6. Intimacy of the relationship between Christ and the Church described in marriage terms (cf. Ephesians 5:22-33).

7. Gentiles included in the covenant people and indwelt by the Spirit of Christ so as to produce Christlike maturity, that is, restore the marred image of God in fallen humanity (cf. Genesis 6:5, Genesis 6:11-13; Genesis 8:21) of God in man (cf. Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 5:1; Genesis 9:6; Colossians 1:26-28).

8. The end-time Anti-Christ (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11).

9. An early church summary of the mystery is found in 1 Timothy 1:16.

Romans 16:26 "now is manifested" This mystery or plan of God has now been clearly revealed to all mankind.

It is the gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:11-13).

"and by the Scriptures" God has manifested this mystery in the person and work of Jesus. This was foretold by the OT prophets. The establishment of a NT church made up of believing Jews and Gentiles was always God's plan (cf. Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:3; Exodus 19:5-6; Jeremiah 31:31-34).

"eternal God" See Special Topic below.


"has been made known to all the nations" This is an aorist passive participle. It was placed last in the Greek sentence for emphasis. God has presented the gospel offer to the whole world, which was always His purpose (cf. Genesis 3:15)!

NASB"leading to obedience of faith" NKJV"for obedience to the faith" NRSV"to bring about the obedience of faith" TEV"leading to obedience of faith" NJB"to bring them to the obedience of faith"

There are different ways to understand this phrase; it may refer to

1. doctrine about Christ

2. trust in Christ

3. obedience to the gospel both initially and continually

Obedience (cf. Romans 1:5) must be combined theologically with the concept of repentance and faith (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16, Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21).

Romans 16:27 "the only wise God" This is an allusion to monotheism (see Special Topic at Romans 3:30, cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Christianity has only one God, just like Judaism, however, the full deity of Jesus and the full personality of the Spirit force us to a "tri-unity," Trinity (see Special Topic at Romans 8:11).

"be the glory forever" See note at Romans 3:23.

"Amen" See Special Topic at Romans 1:25.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Romans 16". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/romans-16.html. 2021.
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