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Bible Commentaries
Romans 16

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

6:1 Rom 16:1. Servant is from DIAKONOS which is usually translated "deacon." Having the feminine inflection in the composition at this place, it could be rendered "deaconess," and it is so defined by Thayer. He then explains it to mean "a woman to whom the care of either poor or sick women was entrusted." Robinson gives the same information; but neither the New Testament nor any secular authors that I have seen, say anything about official deaconesses. Phebe was a member of the church at Cenchrea, a harbor of Corinth, and she served there in the capacity described above.

Verse 2

6:2 Rom 16:2. Business is from PRAGMA, which Thayer defines at this place, "a matter of law, case, suit." Phebe needed to go to Rome on some legal affair, and in that big city she would naturally need some assistance. Paul tells the brethren to receive her as a saint (disciple of Christ), and to help her for her good example of assisting others, including himself.

Verse 3

3-4 Rom 16:3-4. These worthy disciples had once been banished from Rome (Act 18:2), but had returned home after some time. While at Ephesus they did some important work just preceding that of the apostle (Act 18:24-26), and they otherwise rendered faithful service to him. Laid down their own necks is figurative, referring to the risks to their own lives they had run for him.

Verse 5

6:5 Rom 16:5. The church that is in their house. In the early years of the church, the disciples did not have church buildings in every place, hence they conducted their services in the homes of the brethren; the home of Priscilla and Aquila was one of such places. Achaia is another name for "Asia" at this place according to both Moffatt and the American Standard Version. 1Co 16:15 says that the house of Stephanas was the first fruits of Achaia.

Verse 6

6:6 Rom 16:6. All we can know of this woman is what is said here. She had rendered some kind of service for Paul for which be wished her to be remembered.

Verse 7

6:7 Rom 16:7. In the King James Version, the terms "greet" and "salute" aide used interchangeably as they well may be, since they both come from the word ASPAZOMAI, which means a gesture of good will in whatever form it may be performed. Who also were in Christ before me. This statement is against the theory of unconditional predestination, which claims that God determined "from all eternity" Just who was to be saved. If that were true, it would be impossible for any person to be in Christ before another, since all would have been placed in Him by divine decree at the same time.

Verse 8

8-9 Rom 16:8-9. The persons named had helped the apostle in some way. I have no information as to the nature of their services.

Verse 10

:10 Rom 16:10. There is no separate word in the Greek for household. The marginal reading is "friends," which is correct as the name Aristobulus is in the possessive form. Smith's Bible Dictionary says he is reputed by legend to have been a preacher.

Verse 11

-12 Rom 16:11-12. Kinsman is used in the sense of a fellow-countryman. All. of the persons here are given "honorable mention" because they had labored much in the Lord.

Verse 13

:13 Rom 16:13. His mother and mine is a term of tender appreciation for the favors Rufus' mother had shown to Paul; she had been like a mother to him.

Verse 14

-15 Rom 16:14-15. The works of reference that I have seen do not know much about these persons, other than to ascribe to them an active interest in the Lord's work.

Verse 16

:16 Rom 16:16. Holy kiss. I have examined a number of dictionaries and histories, as well as four lexicons, and they all represent the kiss to have been a form of salute between persons of both sexes, the custom dating back to ancient times. The instruction of the apostle, then, was not to start any new form of salutation for the kiss was in use centuries before he was born. The point is in the word holy, and it means for the salutation to be sincere and not one of hypocrisy as was that of Judas. The word "church" in the King James Version of the New Testament is always from EKKLESIA, and its primary meaning according to Thayer is "A gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly." Robinson gives the simple definition, "A convocation, assembly, congregation." The word has no religious significance unless it is associated with some other word. Hence our phrase means those who have been "called out" by Christ to "assemble in His name." Any group of men and women thus called out would be one of the assemblies or congregations or churches of Christ.

Verse 17

:17 Rom 16:17. To mark means to observe very carefully in order to discover the nature of the person's conduct. There is not much difference between divisions and offences, considerting their results. The first means that which causes disunion in a body of people, and the second means that which causes someone to stumble along the pathway of life. These things are always wrong, hence the proviso contrary to the doctrine which you have learned is stated to signify that such theories have not been taught by any true teacher of the Gospel. To avoid is more than merely a refusal to accept, but Thayer defines it to "keep aloof from, one's society; to shun one." Christians should keep no company with such characters, but should shun them as they would Satan.

Verse 18

:18 Rom 16:18. Belly is from KOILIA, and Thayer defines it at this place, "the gullet [throat, or what goes down it], and he explains it to mean, "to be given up to the pleasures of the palate, to gluttony." The motive of these divisive characters is to gain the confidence of their victims, in the hope of obtaining something from them to consume upon their appetite. The simple refers to those who do not suspect anything wrong in the workings of these teachers, and hence are easily deceived thereby.

Verse 19

:19 Rom 16:19. Obedience is come denotes that the report of. their obedience had become generally known, and for this the apostle was rejoicing. Wise and simple are used as contrasts, with the idea that no one can know too much about that which is good, but the less we have to do with things that are evil, the better will be our condition.

Verse 20

:20 Rom 16:20. Shortly is a comparative term, for the final victory over Satan is not to be until the end. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev 2:10). The endless life of happiness awaiting the faithful after death is so great that the span of life is "but for a moment" (2Co 4:17).

Verse 21

:21 Rom 16:21. Timotheus is the same as Timothy, and he is called the work-fellow of Paul because he was associated with him in his travels (Act 16:1-3), and also was a close friend in Christ in many of the trials of the apostle. He had good reason to join in the salutations to the brethren at Rome, because he had been in contact with many of them in other places. Paul refers to Lucius among his kinsmen, and the Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary places him with the one mentioned in Act 13:1. Smith's Bible Dictionary says he was a fellow tribesman of Paul, and that tradition recognized him as a bishop of the church of Chenchrea. Jason was the man who entertained Paul and Silas in Act 17:5-9, for which he was persecuted by the mob. It is significant that he would join his salutation with others being sent by Paul. There is not much said about Sosipater, but he was of sufficient importance to have Paul include him with the group that was sending salutations to the brethren at Rome.

Verse 22

:22 Rom 16:22. The Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary says the following of Tertius: "The aman-nuensis [secretary] who penned Paul's Epistle to the Romans and who sent his salutation, along with others' to the church at Rome." Paul usually had someone else to do the writing of the epistles as he dictated them, then he signed them which made them his epistles officially.

Verse 23

:23 Rom 16:23. Gaius mine host means he was the one who provided headquarters for Paul when he was in Corinth. He was also the one whom the apostle baptized in that city (1Co 1:14). He was said to be very hospitable, and that accounts for the fact that he entertained a whole congregation. Erastus the chamberlain. The third word is from OIKONOMOS which Thayer defines as follows: "The superintendent of the city's finances, the treasurer of the city." It is important to know that a disciple of Christ would be entrusted with such an important position. This circumstance is also against the theory of some professed disciples today, who say that it is wrong for Christians to have anything to do with civil government, and who even go so far as to object to casting a vote. Yet we here have an instance of one of the brethren of Paul who did "take part in politics" to the extent that he held an important position as a servant of the government. What is commonly called "politics" is usually very corrupt, but that is because a good thing is being abused. Since civil governments exist by divine ordinance (chapter 13:1-6), it is a serious error to assert that Christians do wrong to have any part in their administration.

Verse 24

:24 Rom 16:24. Grace is from CHARIS and it has been so rendered 129 times in. the King James Version. It is rendered also by benefit 1 time, favor 6, liberality 1, thank 3, thanks 4. Thayer gives as its primary definition, "sweetness, charm, loveliness," and explains it to signify "that which affords joy, pleasure, delight." Other definitions are, "good-will, loving kindness, favor; kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved." Amen is from the Greek word AMEN; it occurs in the Greek New Testament 150 times, and has been rendered "amen" 50 times, and "verily" 100 times in the King James Version. Thayer says that at the beginning of a discourse it means "surely, of a truth, truly." He says a repetition of the word as John alone uses it, has the force of a superlative, "most assuredly," and at the close of a sentence it means, "so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled." Thayer further says historically, "it was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues into the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed had offered up a solemn pray to God, the others in attendance responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own." With this short but impressive sentence, Paul begins the closing words of apostolic and brotherly interest in his brethren at Rome.

Verse 25

:25 Rom 16:25. My Gospel means the Gospel that Paul was preaching, and that it was the power by which they were to be stablished (made firm), communicated to them by preaching. A mystery is anything not known, and such was the case regarding the great system of salvation through Christ.

Verse 26

:26 Rom 16:26. It was then (in Paul's day) made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, referring to the predictions in the Old Testament. It was made known to all nations. ( See chapter 10:18; Col 1:23.) For the obelience of faith means it was revealed to all nations to the end that all might obey it from the motive of faith.

Verse 27

:27 Rom 16:27. This is similar in sentiment to verse 24. God only wise means to give Him credit for the origin of all true wisdom. Such a Being is worthy of all glory, and it should be offered through the name of His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, and it should be attributed to him for all the coming ages. AMEN.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Romans 16". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/romans-16.html. 1952.
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