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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Romans 16

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 16

Romans 16:3. πρίσκαν] Elz.: πρίσκιλλαν, against decisive evidence. After Acts 18:2; 1 Corinthians 16:19 (Elz.).

Romans 16:5. ἀσίας] Elz. has ἀχαΐας, against almost equally decisive evidence; but it is defended by Ammon and de Wette on the testimony of the Peschito, and because 1 Corinthians 16:15 might certainly give occasion for changing ἀχ. into ἀς. But the reading ἀχ. might readily also have come into the text through the mere marginal writing of the parallel passage 1 Cor. l.c., especially if it was considered that Paul wrote his letter in Achaia; hence the greatly preponderant external attestation in favour of ἀς. retains its validity.

Romans 16:6. ὕμᾶς] approved by Griesb., adopted also by Lachm. and Tisch. 8, according to A B C* א* min. Syr. utr. Arr. Copt. Aeth. But Elz., Scholz, Tisch. 7, Fritzsche have ἡμᾶς. Since Paul in the context sends greeting to persons who stood in a peculiar relation to himself, and thereby the alteration of ὑ μᾱ͂ ς into ἡμᾶς was very easily suggested, the more does the external evidence turn the scale in favour of ὑμᾶς, especially as the reading ἐν ὑμῖν in D E F G, Vulg. It. Ruf. Ambrosiast. attests the original εἰς ὑμᾶς (of which it is an interpretation).

Romans 16:7. οἳγέγον.] D E F G: τοῖς πρὸ ἐμοῦ. Gloss, following on a mistaken reference of the relative to ἀποστόλοις.

Romans 16:14. The order of the names: ἑρμῆν, πατρόβαν, ἑρμᾶν (so Lachm. and Tisch., also Fritzsche) is rendered certain by A B C D* F G P א, min. VSS. Ruf.

Romans 16:16. πᾶσαι] is wanting in Elz., but is justly adopted by Griesb., following Mill, and by later editors on decisive evidence, and because it might easily give offence.

Romans 16:18. καὶ εὐλογίας] is wanting in D E F G, min. It. Omitted through the homoeoteleuton.

Romans 16:19. ἐφʼ ὑμῖν] The ordinary reading of τό before ἐφʼ ὑμῖν has the greatest preponderance of evidence against it. Lachm. and Tisch.: ἐφʼ ὑμῖν οὖν χαίρω, as A B C L P א*, min. Dam. Ruf. read. Rightly: the sequence of the words in the Recepta ( χαίρω οὖν first) is the ordinary one.

After Romans 16:20, ἀμήν in Elz. is condemned by decisive testimony.

Romans 16:21. ἀσπάζονται] Decisive witnesses have ἀσπάζεται. Commended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm., Tisch., and Fritzsche. The plural came to be introduced on account of the plurality of persons.

Romans 16:24 is wanting entirely in A B C א, 5, 137, Copt. Aeth. Vulg. ms. Harl.* Ruf.; it is found after Romans 16:27 in P, 17, 80, Syr. Arm. Aeth. Erp. Ambrosiast. Omitted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8; rejected also by Koppe and Reiche, who think that it is an interpolated repetition of the benediction, Romans 16:20, which, after the transference of Romans 16:25-27 to the end of chap. 14, was added in order not to leave the epistle without a conclusion. But the witnesses for omission are precisely those which have the doxology Romans 16:25-27 in the ordinary place, either merely in this place (as B C א, 137), or likewise also after chap. 14 (as A P, 5); and the witnesses for the transposition of the verse to the end are likewise not those, which have the doxology merely after chap. 14 or not at all. Hence we may with safety conclude that Romans 16:24 was omitted or transposed for the reason that copyists stumbled partly at the fact that Paul, contrary to his manner elsewhere, should have joined a blessing and a doxology together, and partly at least at the circumstance that he should have placed the latter after the former (all other epistles conclude with the blessing).

On the doxology, Romans 16:25-27. This is found (1) at the end of chap. 16., in B C D* E א, 16, 66, τοῖς παλαίοις ἀντιγράφοις this doxology stands at the end of chap. 14.">(33) 80, 137, 176, codd. in Ruf. codd. in Erasm. Syr. Erp. Copt. Aeth. Vulg. ms. and ed. Clar. Germ. Ruf. Ambrosiast. Pel. and the other Latin Fathers. (2) It is found at the end of chap. 14 in L and almost all min.; further, in the Greek lectionaries, the Arab. VSS., in Polyglots, Syr. p. Goth. (?) Slav. ms. and ed. codd. in Ruf. Chrys. Theodoret, Damasc. Theophyl. Oecum. Theodul. (3) It is found at both places in A P, 5, 17, 109, lat. Finally (4), it is not found at all in D***(34) F G (where, however, after chap. 14, a gap of six lines is left), codd. in Erasm. codd. in Jerome,(35) Marcion. See the complete examination of the evidence in Reiche, Comm. crit., and Tisch. 8, also Lucht, p. 49 ff.

Among the critics and exegetes, (1) the ordinary position in chap. 16 has been maintained by the Complut. Erasm. Steph. Beza (ed. 3–5), Calvin, Bengel, Koppe, Böhme, Rinck, Lachmann, Köllner, Scholz, Fritzsche, de Wette, Rückert, Reithmayr, Philippi, Tischendorf, Tholuck, Ewald, van Hengel, and others. (2) The position after Romans 14:23 has been approved by Grotius, Mill, Wetstein, and Semler, following Beza (ed. 1 and 2); Griesbach and Matthiae removed it to that place in their critical texts; and Morus, Paulus, Eichhorn, Klee, Schrader, Hofmann, Laurent, and others agree thereto. (3) The verses were rejected as spurious by Schmidt, Einl. in’s N. T. p. 227, Reiche, Krehl, Lucht.

Now the question is: Is the doxology genuine? and if it is, has it its original position at the close of chap. 14 or of chap. 16? We answer: I. The doxology is genuine. For (a) the witnesses for entire omission are, as against the preponderance of those who have it in one of the two passages or in both, much too weak, especially as the transposition and double insertion are very capable of explanation (see below), (b) The language and the entire character of it are highly Pauline,—a fact which even opponents must admit, who accordingly assume its compilation out of Pauline phrases.(36) (c) The contents of it admirably suit the entire contents of the epistle. (d) The internal reasons adduced against it by its assailants are completely untenable. It is maintained (see especially Reiche, and comp. Lucht): ( α) That at each place, where the doxology appears, it is unsuitable. But it appears as disturbing the connection only after Romans 14:23, and it is not at all unsuitable after chap. 16, where it rather, after the closing wishes more than once repeated, forms with great appropriateness and emphasis the main conclusion which now actually ensues. ( β) That it has not the simplicity of the Pauline doxologies, is pompous, overloaded, etc. It is certainly more bulky and laboured than others; but no other Pauline doxology stands at the end of an entire epistle where the great power of thought in the writing concentrated itself in feeling—no other at the end of a section, the purport and importance of which can be compared with that of the entire Epistle to the Romans. Hence it can by no means appear strange that such a doxology has obtained the character of overflowing fulness from the whole recollection of what had been written,—a collective recollection which, so far from being fitted to beget in a rich and lively disposition only an ordinary and plain thanksgiving to God, is fitted rather to produce an outpouring of fervour and fulness of thought, under the influence of which the interest of easy expression and of simple presentation falls into the background. ( γ) That the whole conception is uncertain, many expressions and combinations are obscure, unusual, even quite unintelligible; and ( δ) that the conjunction of εὐαγγ. μου καὶ τ. κήρυγμα . χ. is un-Pauline and unsuitable; as is in like manner φανερωθέντος, which verb is never used by Paul of the utterances of the prophets,—groundless occasions of offence, which are made to disappear by a correct explanation. On such internal grounds Reiche builds the hypothesis, that in the public reading the merely epistolary last two chapters were omitted; that the public reading thus ended at Romans 14:23; and the doxology spoken at the end of that reading was written first on the margin, afterwards also in the text, consequently after Romans 14:23, whence copyists, on recognising its unsuitable position, removed it to the end of the epistle. It is thus the work of an anagnostes, who compiled it clumsily from Pauline formulas, and that in imitation of the conclusion of the Epistle of Jude.(37) In opposition to this whole view, it is particularly to be borne in mind: (1) that the assumption that only the doctrinal part of the epistle was publicly read is a pure fancy, and is as much at variance with the high reverence for what was apostolic, as with the circumstance that, according to the lectionaries, these very chapters 15 and 16 consist wholly of sections for reading; (2) that at least Romans 15:1-13 would have been included in the reading, and the doxology must thus have obtained its place after Romans 15:13; (3) that the presumed custom of uttering a doxology when the reading of an apostolic writing was finished, does not at all admit of proof; (4) that a Pauline doxology would have been chosen for imitation more naturally than that of Jude 1:24-25, as indeed, conversely, Jude l.c. would more naturally presuppose an acquaintance with our passage; (5) that τὸ εὐαγγ. μου was not at all suitable to the person of an anagnostes; and indeed an imitative reader was hardly in the position and mood to pour forth an expression of praise in so overflowing a gush, and thereby in anacoluthic construction. But when Lucht refuses a Pauline character to the doxology, in respect not merely of form and diction, but also of the thought which it contains, and recognises in it a gnosticizing and conciliatory stamp, this judgment rests on misinterpretations in detail and on presuppositions, which lie altogether outside the range of the N. T., along with a recourse to the rejection of the genuineness not merely of the Pastoral epistles, but also of the so-called epistles of the captivity.

II. The position of the doxology after Romans 16:24 is the original one. For (a) the external witnesses for this view are preponderant, not indeed in number, but in value. See above, and compare Gabler, Praef. ad Griesb., Opusc. p. 24. (b) Its position at the end of chap. 16 was quite fitted to excite offence and to occasion a transposition, partly because no other epistle of the apostle concludes with a doxology; partly because here even the usual formal conclusion of an epistle (the apostolical blessing) immediately precedes; partly because ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι seemed specially to refer back to the section respecting the weak in faith. The latter point was decisive at the same time as to the place to which—the connection between chap. 14 and 15 as a unity being far from sufficiently appreciated—the doxology was referred, namely after Romans 14:23, where there is the last direct mention of the weak, while Romans 15:1 then turns directly to the strong. Several other defenders of the ordinary position (see especially Koppe, Exc. II. p. 404; Gabler, l.c. p. 26; Bertholdt, Einleit. VI. § 715; Hug, Einl. II. p. 397, with whom Reithmayr agrees) thought, indeed, that the omission of at least chap. 16 in the reading of the letter had occasioned the beautiful and weighty doxology, which it was desired should not be excluded from the reading, to be placed after chap. 14—not after chap. 15, either (Bertholdt, Hug) because chap. 15 has already a conclusion, or because the supposed reference of στηρίξαι to the weak in faith pointed out that place. But the whole supposition that an integral portion of the epistle was omitted in reading is entirely incapable of being established. Not more plausible is the theory to which Rinck has recourse (comp. already Zeger and Böhme): “In codd. ex recensione Marcionis perscriptis librarios, ipso fortasse Marcione auctore, clausulam ex fine epistolae assuisse, et postquam quod deerat a correctoribus suppletum esset, alios hanc clausulam iterasse, alios hinc, alios illinc, alios utrimque ejecisse” (Lucubr. crit. p. 135). Marcion himself and his disciples rejected (Origen, interpr. Ruf.), indeed, the doxology on account of its contents (see especially Romans 16:26, διά τε γραφῶν προφητικῶν); but the orthodox certainly did not concern themselves with Marcionitic copies; indeed, Origen says expressly, that in the copies “quae non sunt a Marcione temerata,” the doxology is found differently placed either after chap. 14 or after chap. 16 Ewald, regarding Romans 16:3-20 as the fragment of an epistle to the Ephesians, believes that a reader somewhere about the beginning of the second century observed the heterogeneous character of that portion, but then excised too much, namely chap. 15 and 16. Such a copy, in his view, Marcion had; but now that chap. 14 was without a proper conclusion, at least the doxology Romans 16:25-27 came to be appended thereto by other copyists. But apart from the above opinion respecting Romans 16:3-20 in itself (see, in opposition to it, the critical notes on chap. 15), it would not be at all easy to see why they should not have removed merely Romans 16:3-20 from the copies, and why, instead of this, chap. 16 should have been entirely excised, and even chap. 15 in addition. To explain this, the smaller importance of this chapter—which, moreover, is assumed without historical warrant—does not suffice.

Further, if the genuineness of the doxology itself, as well as its customary position, is to be esteemed assured, it follows at the same time from what we have said (1) in respect of the duplication of the doxology after chap. 14 and 16 in critical authorities, that it proceeds from those who, while aware of the difference as to the place of the words, were not able or did not venture to decide respecting the original position, and hence, taking the certain for the uncertain, inserted the words in both places; (2) in respect of the entire omission in authorities, that it is the work of an old precarious criticism, which drew from the uncertain position the conclusion of non-genuineness, along with which there operated the consideration, that the doxology was unsuitable after Romans 14:23 as interrupting the connection, and after Romans 16:24 as having its place even after the concluding wish.


Verse 1-2

Romans 16:1-2. Recommendation ( συνίστημι, comp. 2 Corinthians 5:12, et al.; see Jacobs, ad Anthol. IX. p. 438; Bornemann, ad Xen. Symp. iv. 63, p. 154) of Phoebe, who is held to be the bearer of the epistle,—a supposition which there is nothing to contradict. In the twofold predicate, ἀδελφ. ἡμῶν (our, i.e. my and your Christian sister) and οὖσαν διάκ. κ. τ. λ., there lies a twofold motive, a more general and a more special one, for attending to the commendation.

διάκονον] feminine, as Dem. 762. 4 : διάκονον, τις ἐχρῆτο. The designation by the word διακόνισσα, not used in classical Greek, is found only subsequently, as frequently in the Constitutt. apost. See, on these ministrae, as they are called in Pliny, Ep. x. 97, the female attendants on the poor, sick, and strangers of the church, Bingham, Orig. I. pp. 341–366; Schoene, Geschichtsforsch. üb. d. kirchl. Gebr. III. p. 102 ff.; Herzog, in his Encykl. III. p. 368 f. Very groundlessly Lucht, because this service in the church was of later date (but comp. Romans 12:7; Philippians 1:1), pronounces the words οὖσανκεγχρ. not to belong to Paul, and ascribes them to the supposed editor. Respecting the χῆραι, 1 Timothy 5:9, see Huther in loc.

κεγχρεαί, eastern port of Corinth, on the Saronic Gulf. See Wetstein. Comp. on Acts 18:18.

ἵνα αὐτὴν, κ. τ. λ.] Aim of the commendation.

ἐν κυρίῳ] characterizes the προσδέχεσθαι as Christian; it is to be no common service of hospitality, but to take place in Christ, i.e. so that it is fulfilled in the fellowship of Christ, in virtue of which one lives and moves in Christ. Comp. Philippians 2:29.

ἀξίως τῶν ἁγίων] either: as it is becoming for saints (Christians) to receive fellow-Christians (so ordinarily), or: “sicut sanctos excipi oportet,” Grotius, Chrysostom. The former (so also Fritzsche and Philippi) is the correct explanation, because most naturally suggesting itself, as modal definition of the action of receiving.

καὶ γὰρ αὐτή] nam et ipsa, for she also on her part (not αὕτη, haec).

προστάτις] a directrix, protectress (Lucian, bis accus. 29; Dio Cass. xlii. 39; Dindorf, Soph. O. C. 459, and Praef. ad Soph. p. LXI.; Lobeck, Paralip. p. 271). She became (i.e. se praestitit, Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 7. 4) a patrona multorum through the exercise of her calling. Paul might, indeed, have written παραστάτις, corresponding to παραστῆτε (Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 32; Soph. Trach. 891, Oed. C. 559; comp. ἐν νόσοις παραστάτις Musonius in Stob. fl. p. 416, 43); but he selects the word which is conformable to her official position, and more honourable.

καὶ αὐτοῦ ἐμοῦ] and of myself, my own person (see on Romans 7:25). Historical proof of this cannot be given. Perhaps Paul had once been ill during a sojourn with the church of Cenchreae.


Verse 3-4

Romans 16:3-4. πρίσκα (2 Timothy 4:19) is not different from πρίσκιλλα; comp. on Acts 18:2.

Her husband(38) Aquila was a native of Pontus (Acts 18:1), and Reiche incorrectly conjectures that he was called Pontius Aquila, which name Luke erroneously referred to his native country;(39) for, looking to the close connection in which Aquila stood with Paul, and Paul again with Luke, a correct acquaintance with the matter must be presumed in the latter. This married couple, expelled from Rome as Jews under Claudius, had been converted at Corinth by Paul (see on Acts 18:1), had then migrated to Ephesus (Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 16:19), are now again in Rome, but, according to 2 Timothy 4:19, were at a later period once more in Ephesus.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] Distinctive character of συνεργούς; for labour for the gospel lives and moves in Christ as its very element. Comp. Romans 16:9; Romans 16:12.

Romans 16:4. The marks of parenthesis are to be omitted, because the construction is not interrupted.

οἵτινες κ. τ. λ.] Note the peculiar grounds assigned (quippe qui) for this and several following greetings.

ὑπέρ] not instead of, but for, in order to the saving of my life.

τὸν ἑαυτ. τράχηλ. ὑπέθηκαν] have submitted their own neck, namely, under the executioner’s axe. In the absence of historical information we can just as little decide with certainty on the question whether the expression is to be taken literally, that is, of a moment when they were to be actually executed but in some way or other were still saved, or (so the expositors) figuratively, of the incurring of an extreme danger to life—as on the question where the incident referred to took place? whether at Ephesus, Acts 19? or 2 Corinthians 1:8? or at Corinth, Acts 18:6 ff.? or elsewhere? or, generally, in the midst of labour and tribulation shared with Paul? Wetstein, Heumann, and Semler think of bail ( ὑπέθηκαν would then be: they gave pledge; see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 468). Possibly; but the nearest conception which offers itself as the words stand is that of τραχηλοκοπεῖν (Plut. Mor. p. 398 D), whether it be thought of as a reality or as a figure. The latter, however, is, as being said of both, the most probable. The readers knew what was meant.

τῶν ἐθνῶν] On account of this sacrifice for me, the apostle of the Gentiles. The notice contemplates the inclusion of the Roman church, which in fact was also a Gentile church.


Verses 3-16

Romans 16:3-16. The apostle’s salutations.


Verse 5

Romans 16:5. καὶ τὴν κατʼ οἰκ. αὐτ. ἐκκλ.] and the church which is in their house. Considering the size of Rome, it may be readily conceived that, besides the full assembly of the collective church, particular sectional assemblies were also formed, which were wont to meet in the houses of prominent members of the church. Such a house was that of Aquila and Priscilla, who had also in Ephesus given their dwelling for a similar object, 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2. Such house-churches are related therefore to the collective community, to which, as such, the epistles are directed, simply as the part, which has in addition its own special greeting, to the whole. Others (following Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, etc., with Koppe, Flatt, Klee, Glöckler) hold that the inmates of the household are intended. An arbitrary assumption of an unexampled hyperbole in the use of ἐκκλησία. That all the following saluted persons, up to Romans 16:12, were members of the house-church of Aquila and Prisca (Hofmann), is an arbitrary assumption, which is rendered very improbable by the repeated ἀσπάσασθε, forming in each case a fresh beginning.

ἐπαίνετον(40)] Unknown like all the following down to Romans 16:15, but see the note on ῥοῦφον, Romans 16:13. The traditions of the Fathers made most of them bishops and martyrs (see Justiniani, Comm., and Braun, Sel. sacr. i. 2. 29 ff.), and the Synopsis of Dorotheus places most of them among the seventy disciples. That Epaenetus had come to Rome with Aquila and Prisca (Hofmann), is very precariously conjectured from his being mentioned immediately after that couple.

ἀπαρχὴ τῆς ἀς. εἰς χ.] first-fruits of Asia (partitive genitive, see on Romans 8:23) in reference to Christ, i.e. that one of the Asiatics, who had first been converted to Christ.(41)

ἀς. is the western portion of Asia Minor, as in Acts 2:9; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Corinthians 1:8.


Verse 6

Romans 16:6. How far Mary had toiled much for the Romans ( εἰς ὑμᾶς), was as well known to the readers and to the apostle himself, who awards to her on that account the salutation of acknowledgment and commendation, as it is unknown to us. It may have happened abroad (as van Hengel and others think) or in Rome itself through eminent loving activity, possibly in a special emergency which was now past (hence not κοπιᾷ, but the aorist). Reiche refers ἐκοπ. to activity in teaching, for which, however, since the text annexes no definition (as in 1 Timothy 5:17), and since Mary is not more specially known, there is no reason, and generally, as respects public teaching (1 Corinthians 14:34-35), little probability. On εἰς, comp. Galatians 4:11.


Verse 7

Romans 16:7. ἰουνίαν] is taken by Chrysostom, Grotius, and others, including Reiche, as feminine (Junia, who is then to be regarded probably as the wife or sister of Andronicus); but by most of the more recent expositors as a masculine name, Junias, equivalent to Junianus (therefore to be accented ἰουνιᾶς). No decision can be arrived at, although the following description, Romans 16:7 (in opposition to Fritzsche), commends the latter supposition.

συγγενεῖς] is explained by many (including Reiche, de Wette, Hofmann) as member of the same race or people (according to Romans 9:3). But the explanation kinsmen is to be preferred, partly because the word itself, without other definition in the context, immediately points to this (Mark 6:4; Acts 10:24, et al.); partly because it is only in this sense that it has a significance of special commendation; especially as in Rome there were many Jewish-Christians, and hence one does not see how the epithet was to be something characteristic in the particular case of those named, if it signified only kindred in the sense of belonging to the same people. We know too little of the apostle’s kindred (comp. also Acts 23:16), to reject this explanation on account of Romans 16:11; Romans 16:21, or to venture to employ it in throwing suspicion on the genuineness of the chapter (Baur). But Reiche’s reason—that Andronicus and Junias are expressly designated as Jews, because it would just be non-Jews who were saluted—is quite futile, since the nationality of those previously saluted is unknown to us, and Aquila and Prisca were likewise Jews.(42) Just as groundlessly, Hofmann thinks that in an epistle to the Gentile-Christian church the kinsmen of the apostle would be Jews. This is purely arbitrary, and yields, besides, for the designation of the persons intended an element, which, in the case of the actual relatives of the Jewish-Christian apostle, is quite obvious of itself, and the mention of which, moreover, in presence of the Gentile-Christians, would have been somewhat indelicate.

Where and in what manner they had been imprisoned with Paul,(43) is, owing to the incompleteness of the information in the book of Acts (comp. on 2 Corinthians 6:5), entirely unknown. Clement, 1 Corinthians 5, states that Paul had seven times borne fetters. Ewald, in connection with his view that we have here a fragment of an epistle to the Ephesians, assumes that Andronicus and Junias, while Paul was imprisoned in Rome, lay at the same time confined in Ephesus; and Lucht perceives only the anachronism of a forger.

ἐπίσημοι ἐν τ. ἀποστ.] ἐπίσημος, like insignis, a vox media (comp. Matthew 27:16), here in the good sense: distinguished, i.e. most honourably known by the apostles. Comp. Eur. Hec. 379: ἐπίσημος ἐν βροτοῖς, Hippol. 103; Polyb. x. 3. 3, xv. 34. 3; Lucian, merc. cond. 28. So Beza, Grotius, and others, including Koppe, Flatt, Reiche, de Wette, Fritzsche, Philippi, van Hengel, Hofmann, and rightly; for ἀπόστολος is used by Paul only in 1 Corinthians 15:7 in the wider sense (comp. Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14), nevertheless even there with such restriction that James and the twelve are included in the reference. Hence we must not, especially considering our entire ignorance of the two persons, explain, with Origen, Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, Estius, Wolf, and many others, including Tholuck, Köllner, Rückert, Reithmayr, Ewald: distinguished among the apostles (in other words, distinguished apostles). That Andronicus and Junias were held in peculiar honour by the apostles, does not exclude their repute with the Christians generally, but rather points, for their especial commendation, to closer relations which they had with the apostles. Lucht misinterprets the expression οἱ ἀπόστ. of the original apostles in contrast to Paul.

πρὸ ἐμοῦ] That they had been converted exactly at Pentecost (Grotius, Koppe), is just as little capable of proof, as that they had been the first preachers of the gospel in Rome (Wolf).

γεγόνασιν ἐν χ.] not: became apostles in Christ (Reithmayr, following Origen), but: became Christians, entered the fellowship of Christ, attained to the ἐν χριστῷ εἶναι. They were thus ἀρχαῖοι μαθηταί (Acts 21:16). “Venerabiles facit aetas, in Christo maxime,” Bengel. On γίνεσθαι ἐν, see Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, p. 295, ed. 3; comp. on Philippians 2:7.


Verse 8-9

Romans 16:8-9. ἀμπλιᾶν] the abbreviated ἀμπλιάτον, as codd., VSS., and Fathers actually read, a name which (in form like Donatus, Fortunatus, etc., see Grotius) was frequent; see Gruter, Ind.

ἐν κυρίῳ] gives to the ἀγαπ. μ. the specific Christian character; comp. on Romans 16:2.

τ. συνεργ. ἡμῶν] ἡμῶν refers, since Paul speaks always of himself in the singular here, to the readers along with himself, comp. Romans 16:1, not to those named in Romans 16:3-8 (van Hengel). He was probably a stranger who was at this time in Rome, and united his activity with that of Roman Christians towards the extension and furtherance of the gospel, whereby he was a fellow-labourer of the apostle and of the readers.

The name στάχυς: Inscr. 268.


Verse 10

Romans 16:10. Apelles (comp. Hor. Sat. I. v. 100) is not to be confounded with the celebrated Apollos (Acts 18:24; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4), as Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Grotius, and others have done. Whether he was a freedman remains an open question, owing to the frequency of the name, which also occurs of freedmen.

τὸν δόκιμον ἐν χ.] i.e. the tried Christian. Christ, the personal object of his believing fidelity, is conceived as the element wherein he is approved. Comp. φρόνιμος ἐν χ., 1 Corinthians 4:10, and similar passages.

τοὺς ἐκ τῶν ἀριστοβούλου] those of the people (perhaps: slaves) of Aristobulus, comp. 1 Corinthians 1:11. That Paul means the Christians among them, is self-evident; in the similar salutation, Romans 16:11, he adds it redundantly. Aristobulus himself was therefore no Christian; unless he (so Grotius) had been already dead, in which case he might have been a Christian.


Verse 11-12

Romans 16:11-12. Narcissus is by Grotius, Michaelis, and Neander, held to be the powerful freedman of Claudius (Suet. Claud. 28; Tacit. Ann. xi. 29 ff., xii. 57). It is possible, although Narcissus, according to Tacitus, Ann. xiii. 1, was already dead (see Wieseler, Chronol. p. 371 ff.). A decision, however, cannot be arrived at; but, considering the frequency of the name, the suspicion of an anachronism (Lucht) is groundless.

The three women, Romans 16:12, perhaps deaconesses, are otherwise unknown. Note how Persis is distinguished above the two previously named women; as also how delicately Paul has not added μου, after τὴν ἀγαπητήν, as with the men’s names, Romans 16:8-9, although he means his sentiment of love towards Persis. Observe, also, the distinction between κοπιώσας (present) and ἐκοπίασεν. The particular circumstances of the case are unknown to us.


Verse 13

Romans 16:13. Rufus may be the son of Simon of Cyrene, Mark 15:21. Comp. in loc. The fact that in Mark, who probably wrote in Rome, the man is assumed to be well known, would agree with the eulogy here: τὸν ἐκλεκτὸν ἐν κυρίῳ, the elect one in the fellowship of the Lord, i.e. who is distinguished as a Christian.(44) For if these words denoted merely the Christian, “who in fellowship with the Lord is chosen to blessedness” (Reiche), they would not—as is, nevertheless, the case with all the remaining predicates—express a special element of commendation.

καὶ ἐμοῦ] pregnant, delicate, and grateful hint of the peculiar love and care which Paul (where and how, is entirely unknown(45)) had enjoyed at her hands. Comp. Romans 16:2; 1 Corinthians 16:18; Philemon 1:11; and see on 1 Corinthians 1:2.


Verse 14-15

Romans 16:14-15. Hermas was not, as already Origen declared him to be, the composer of the book ποιμήν,(46) which, according to the Canon Muratorianus, is said to have been composed by a brother of the Roman bishop Pius I., and in any case belongs to no earlier period than the second century.

κ. τ. σὺν αὐτῷ ἀδελφ.] It is possible, but on account of the more general designation deviating from Romans 16:5, not probable, that those named here as well as in Romans 16:15 were members, well known to the apostle, of two ἐκκλησίαι in Rome (so Hofmann), according to which view by the brethren with them would be meant the remaining persons taking part in these assemblies, for the most part doubtless unknown to him. It is possible also that some other Christian associations unknown to us (Fritzsche and Philippi think of associations of trade and commerce) are intended. We have no knowledge on this point. Reiche thinks of two mission-societies. But πάντες, Romans 16:15, points to a considerable number, and there is no trace in the Book of Acts of so formal and numerous mission-societies; they were doubtless still foreign to that period. Probably also Paul would have given some thoughtful indication or other of this important characteristic point.

The whole of the names in Romans 16:14-15 are found in Gruter and elsewhere.

Julia appears to have been the wife of Philologus; the analogy of the following νηρέα κ. τὴν ἀδελφὴν αὐτοῦ makes it less probable that the name denotes a man (Julias, comp. on Romans 16:7).


Verse 16

Romans 16:16. The series of greetings which Paul has to offer from himself is concluded. But he now desires that his readers should also exchange greetings among one another, reciprocally, and that with the loving sign of the holy kiss. The subject of this greeting is thus every member of the church himself, who kisses another (see on 1 Corinthians 16:20), not Paul, so that meo nomine should be supplied (Bengel, Koppe). This is forbidden by ἀλλήλους. Comp. 1 Cor. l.c.; 2 Corinthians 13:12; Justin, Ap. i. 65. The case is otherwise with 1 Thessalonians 5:26 (see Lünemann in loc.).

The ancient custom, especially in the East, and particularly among the Jews, of uniting a greeting with a kiss, gave birth to the Christian practice of the ἅγιον φίλημα (1 Peter 5:14 : φιλήμα ἀγάπης; Const. ap. ii. 57. 12, viii. 5. 5 : τὸ ἐν κυρίῳ φίλημα, Tertullian, de orat. 4 : osculum pacis), termed ἅγιον, because it was no profane thing, but had Christian consecration, expressing the holy Christian fellowship of love.(47)

πᾶσαι] From many churches greetings had been doubtless entrusted to the apostle for the Romans, since he had certainly not previously withheld from them his project of travelling to Rome (perhaps also, of writing thither beforehand). Concerning the rest, what Erasmus says holds good: “Quoniam cognovit omnium erga Romanos studium, omnium nomine salutat.” The universal shape of the utterance by no means justifies us in pronouncing this greeting not to be the apostle’s, and deriving it from 1 Corinthians 16:19-20 (Lucht); it rather corresponds entirely to that cordial and buoyant consciousness of fellowship, in which he did not feel himself prompted narrowly to examine his summary expression. Others arbitrarily limit πᾶσαι to the Greek churches (Grotius), or simply to the churches in Corinth and its ports (Michaelis, Olshausen, and others), or at least to those in which Paul had been (Bengel).


Verse 17

Romans 16:17. σκοπεῖν] to have in view, in order, namely, to guard against; comp. βλέπετε, Philippians 3:2; but σκοπεῖν, speculari, is stronger, comp. also Philippians 3:17.

τὰς διχοστ.] comp. Galatians 5:20; 1 Maccabees 3:29; Dem. 423. 4; Plat. Legg. i. p. 630 A Dion. Hal. viii. 72. The article denotes those anti-Pauline divisions and offences, σκάνδαλα,—i.e. temptations to departure from the true Christian faith and life, well known to the readers,—which at that time arose in so many quarters in Pauline churches, and might readily threaten the Romans also.

ἐκκλίνατε ἀπʼ αὐτῶν] turn away from them, shun them, go out of their way. Comp. 1 Peter 3:11; Psalms 119:102; Sirach 22:11; Thucyd. v. 73. 3; more usually with the accusative. Grotius rashly concludes: “non fuisse tunc conventus communes aut presbyterium Romae; alioquin voluisset tales excommunicari.” Paul rather counsels a rule of conduct for each individual member of the church, leaving the measures to be adopted on the part of the church, in case of necessity, to the church-government there (which was one regularly organized, in opposition to Bengel, see Romans 12:6 ff.). The disturbers, besides, against whom they are warned, are in fact viewed not as members of the church, but as intruders from without. Comp. Acts 15:1; Galatians 2:4.

The reference to the doctrine received certainly implies a church having Pauline instruction, but not exactly one founded by Paul himself (Ewald), like that at Ephesus. Comp. Romans 6:17; Colossians 1:23.


Verses 17-20

Romans 16:17-20. A warning, added by way of supplement, against the erroneous teachers who were then at work. This very supplementary position given to the warning, as well as its brevity, hardly entering at all into the subject itself (comp. on the other hand, the detailed treatment in chap. 14 15 of a less important contrast), evinces that Paul is not here speaking, as Wieseler, following older interpreters, holds, against such as already were actually making divisions in Rome. He would have treated so dangerous an evil in the doctrinal connection of the epistle and at length, not in such a manner as to show that it only occurred to him at the close to add a warning word. Hence this is to be regarded as directed against an evil possibly setting in. Doubtless he was apprehensive from the manifold experience acquired by him, that, as elsewhere (comp. Galatians 3:6; Galatians 3:11 ff.; Colossians 2:8 ff.; Philippians 3:2 ff., Philippians 3:18-19; 2 Corinthians 11:13 ff.), so also in Rome, Jewish zealots for the law(48) might arise and cause divisions in their controversy with Pauline Christianity. This occasioned his warning, from which his readers knew to what kind of persons it referred,—a warning, therefore, against danger, such as he gave subsequently to the Philippians also (Philippians 3), to whom the evil must have been all the nearer. Paul might, however, the more readily consider it enough to bring in this warning only supplementary and briefly, since in Rome the Gentile-Christian element was the preponderant one, and the mind of the church in general was so strongly in favour of the Pauline gospel (Romans 16:19-20; Romans 6:17), that a permanent Judaistic influence was at present not yet to be apprehended. How, notwithstanding, an anti-Pauline doctrinal agitation took place later in Rome, see Philippians 1:15 ff. Moreover, the precautionary destination of our passage, and that in presence of the greatness of the danger, is sufficient to make us understand its contents and expression as well as its isolated position at the close. At least there does not appear any necessity for setting it down as an original constituent portion of an epistle addressed to a church founded by Paul himself, namely, to the church of the Ephesians (Ewald, Lucht).


Verse 18

Romans 16:18. Reason assigned for the injunction of Romans 16:17.

οἱ τοιοῦτοι] “hi tales; notatur substantia cum sua qualitate,” Bengel.

οὐ δουλ.] Note the position of the negation; the thought is: to the Lord they refuse service, but their own belly they serve. Thereby they belonged to the category of the ἐχθροὶ τοῦ σταυροῦ τ. χρ., Philippians 3:18.

On τῇ κοιλίᾳ δουλεύειν, τῇ γαστρὶ δουλεύειν, abdomini servire (Seneca, de benef. vii. 26), as a designation of selfishness, bent only on good cheer in eating and drinking, comp. on Philippians 3:19; Jacobs, ad Anthol. IX. p. 416. For this object the sectaries sought to make use of the influence and following which they obtained. Comp. Lucian, de morte Peregr. 11 ff. Behind their teaching, although this was not itself of an Epicurean nature (Hofmann), there lurked, hypocritically concealed, the tendency to epicurean practice.

διὰ τῆς χρηστολ. κ. εὐλογ.] by means of the kind (having a good-natured sound) and fair-set language, which they hold. On χρηστολ. comp. Jul. Capitol, vit. Pertin. 13; Eustath. p. 1437, 53, and the classical λόγοι χρηστοί, λέγειν χρηστά κ. τ. λ.; on εὐλογία, language finely expressed (here: fine phrases), Plat. Rep. p. 400 D Lucian, Lexiph. 1; Aesop. 229. The two words characterize contents ( χρηστολ.) and form ( εὐλ.); hence it is preferable to take εὐλογ. in the above signification than in the ordinary one of praise, extolling (Philippi). Comp. Luther: stately language.

τῶν ἀκάκων] of the guileless (Hebrews 7:26), who themselves have nothing evil in their mind, and are prepared for nothing evil. See Wetstein in loc.; Ruhnken, ad Tim. p. 56; Schaefer, ad Greg. Cor. p. 342.

The assertion that Paul appears too severe in the accusation of his opponents (Rückert) cannot be made good. He writes from long and ample experience.


Verse 19

Romans 16:19. Not a second ground assigned for, or justification of, the warning of Romans 16:17 (Tholuck, de Wette, Philippi; comp. also Reithmayr and Hofmann); for this use of a second really co-ordinated γάρ is nowhere to be assumed in the N. T. See on the contrary, on Romans 8:6. Nor is it to be taken, with Fritzsche: “nam vos innocentibus qui facile decipiuntur hominibus annumerandos esse, ex eo intelligitur, quod vos Christo obedientes esse nemo ignorat;” for the latter is exactly the opposite of ready liability to seduction. Nor with Rückert: for the general diffusion of the news that you are such good Christians will soon bring those men to Rome, that they may sow their tares; which is not expressed. Nor yet again with Calvin and others, Reiche, and Köllner: for you are indeed good Christians, whereat I rejoice; but I desire, etc.—against which the expression, especially the want of μεν and the presence of οὖν, is decisive. In order to a correct understanding, one should note the emphatically prefixed ὑμῶν which stands in correlation—and that antithetic—with τῶν ἀκάκων. Hence (as also Philippi admits, comp. van Hengel): “not without reason do I say: the hearts of the guileless; for you they will not lead astray, because you do not belong to such as the mere ἄκακοι, but distinguish yourselves so much by obedience (towards the gospel), that this has become universally known; respecting you therefore (here, too, ἐφʼ ὑμῖν stands first emphatically; see the critical notes) I rejoice,(49) yet desire that you may be wise and pure,”—a delicate combination of warning with the expression of firm confidence. Strangely, Lucht, comparing Acts 20:29, assigns Romans 16:19 to an epistle to the Ephesians.

εἰς τὰ ἀγαθ.] in reference to the good, which you have to do. By this general expression Paul means specially fidelity towards the pure gospel.

ἀκεραίους εἰς τὸ κακόν] pure in reference to evil, so that you keep yourselves unmixed with it, free from it. Comp. Philippians 2:15, Matthew 10:16; and see respecting ἀκεραῖος generally, Ruhnken, ad Tim. p. 18.


Verse 20

Romans 16:20. Encouraging promise; hence συντρίψει is not with Flatt to be taken as optative, contrary to linguistic usage, nor is the erroneous gloss of the reading συντρίψαι (A, 67**, Theodoret, Oec., Jer., Ambros., Rup.) to be approved.

Paul regards the sectaries, because they are servants not of Christ, but of their belly (Romans 16:18), as organs of Satan (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:15); hence his figurative expression of the thought, founded on Genesis 3:15 : “The God of peace will grant you (when the authors of division appear amongst you) shortly the complete victory over them.”

As θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης (pacificus) God appears in contrast to those ποιοῦντες τὰς διχοστασίας (Romans 16:17). Comp. on Romans 15:33.

The bruising of Satan and treading him under feet takes place in God’s power; hence θεὸς κ. τ. λ. Comp. 1 Maccabees 3:22 (and Grimm in loc.), Romans 4:10, et al.

χάρις κ. τ. λ.] The grace of our Lord, etc.; therewith, as with the usual concluding blessing of his epistles, Paul would close. But he has as yet delivered no special greetings from those around him at Corinth, whether it be that they are now for the first time entrusted to him, or that he now for the first time observes that he has not yet mentioned them in what precedes (as after Romans 16:16). This induces him now further to add Romans 16:21-23 after the conclusion already written down in Romans 16:20; then to repeat the above blessing in Romans 16:24; and finally, after recalling anew all which he had delivered to the Romans, in a full outburst of deeply moved piety to make the doxology, Romans 16:25-27, the final close of the entire letter.


Verse 21

Romans 16:21. τιμόθ.] It may surprise us that he is not brought forward at the head of the epistle as its joint writer (as in 2 Corinthians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1), since he was at that time with Paul. But it is possible that he was absent just when Paul began to compose the epistle, and hence the apostle availed himself in the writing of it of the hand of a more subordinate person, who had no place in the superscription (Romans 16:22); it is possible also that the matter took this shape for the inward reason, that Paul deemed it suitable to appear with his epistle before the Roman church, to which he was still so strange, in all his unique and undivided apostolic authority.

λούκιος] Not identical with Luke, as Origen, Semler, and others held;(50) but whether with Lucius of Cyrene, Acts 13:1, is uncertain. Just as little can it (even after Lucht’s attempt) be ascertained, whether ἰάσων is the same who is mentioned in Acts 17:5. σωσίπατρος may be one with σώπατρος, Acts 20:4; yet both names, σωσίπ. And σώπ., are frequently found in the Greek writers.

συγγενεῖς] as Romans 16:7; Romans 16:11. Why it should be reckoned ‘more than improbable” (Hofmann) that Paul had at that time three kinsmen in Rome (Romans 16:7; Romans 16:11), and three in his neighbourhood at the time of writing, it is not at all easy to see.


Verse 22

Romans 16:22. Tertius, probably an Italian with whom the readers were acquainted, was at that time with Paul in Corinth, and wrote the letter, which the apostle dictated to him. The view that he made a fair copy of the apostolic draught (Beza, Grotius) is the more groundless, since Paul was wont to dictate his epistles (1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). In his own name Tertius writes his greeting; for it was very natural that, when he called the apostle’s attention to his personal wish to send a greeting, his own greeting (which Grotius and Laurent, without sufficient ground, relegate to the margin) would not be dictated by the apostle, but left to himself to express. In Romans 16:23, Paul again proceeds with his dictation. Quite groundlessly, Olshausen (following Eichhorn) thinks that Paul wrote the doxology immediately after Romans 16:20, and did so on a small separate piece of parchment, the other blank side of which the scribe Tertius used, in order to write on it in his own name Romans 16:21-24. But how incontestably συνεργός μου, Romans 16:21, points to Paul himself!

ἐν κυρίῳ] To be referred to ἀσπ.; the Christian salutation, offered in the consciousness of living fellowship with Christ. Comp. 1 Corinthians 16:19.


Verse 23

Romans 16:23. γάϊος] Perhaps the same who is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:14; it may at the same time be assumed, that the person mentioned in Acts 20:4 (not also he who appears in Acts 19:29) is not a different one, against which the circumstance that he was of Derbe is no proof. But considering the great frequency of the name (see also 3 John 1:1; Constitt. ap. vii. 46. 1; Martyr. Polyc. 22), no decision can be given. Origen: “Fertur traditione majorum, quod hic Cajus fuit episcopus Thessalonicensis ecclesiae.”

ξένος, guest-friend, is in the Greek writers not merely the person entertained, but also, as here, the entertainer (see Sturz, Lex. Xen. III. p. 218; Duncan, ed. Rost. p. 799). Paul lodged with Caius, as during his first sojourn in Corinth with Aquila, and then with Justus (Acts 18:1-7).

καὶ τῆς ἐκκλ. ὅλ.] Whether this be a reference to the circumstance that Caius gave his house for the meetings of the church (Grotius), or to the fact that, while the apostle lodged with him, there were at the same time very numerous visits of persons belonging to the church of Corinth, whom Caius hospitably received,—a view which corresponds better to the thoughtfully chosen designation—in any case ξένος does not stand to τῆς ἐκκλ. ὅλ. in the same strict relation as to μου. Comp. Romans 16:13, τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐμοῦ. If the lodging of those coming from abroad (Hofmann, following Erasmus and others) were meant, τῆς ἐκκλ. ὅλης would have been understood of the collective Christian body, and the hyperbolical expression would appear more jesting than thoughtful. Comp. rather on ἐκκλησία ὅλη, 1 Corinthians 14:23, also Romans 5:11, Romans 15:22. Nor is the expression suitable to the Roman church, in so far, namely, as Paul converted many of its members during their exile (Märcker), because it would be too disproportionate.

ἔραστος] Different from the one mentioned in Acts 19:22 and 2 Timothy 4:20; for the person sending greeting here was not, like Timothy, a travelling assistant of the apostle, but administrator of the city-chest, city-chamberlain in Corinth (arcarius civitatis, see Wetstein); unless we should assume—for which, however, no necessity presents itself—that he had given up his civic position and is here designated according to his former office (Pelagius, Estius, Calovius, Klee, and others, comp. also Reiche). For another, but forced explanation, see Otto, Pastoralbr. p. 55. The name Erastus was very frequent. The less are we, with Lucht, to discover an error in Acts 19:22 and 2 Timothy 4:20. Grotius, moreover, has rightly observed: “Vides jam ab initio, quamquam paucos, aliquos tamen fuisse Christianos in dignitate positos.” Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:26 ff.

Respecting Quartus absolutely nothing is known. Were ἀδελφός a brother according to the flesh, namely of Erastus, Paul would have added αὐτοῦ (comp. Romans 16:15); hence it is to be understood in the sense of Christian brotherhood, and to be assumed that the relations of this Quartus suggested to the apostle no more precise predicate, and were well known to the readers.


Verse 24

Romans 16:24. In 2 Thessalonians 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:18, the closing blessing is also repeated. Wolf aptly observes: “Ita hodienum, ubi epistola vale dicto consummata est, et alia paucis commemoranda menti se adhuc offerunt, scribere solemus: vale iterum.”


Verse 25

Romans 16:25. στηρίξαι] to make firm and stedfast. Luke 22:32; Romans 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:17, et al. The description of God by τῷ δυναμένῳ ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι corresponds to the entire scope of the epistle. Comp. Romans 1:11 (in opposition to Lucht).

ὑμᾶς] ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας, 1 Thessalonians 3:13.

κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγ. μου] is closely connected with στηρ. (to strengthen in respect of my gospel), so that we are not to supply in fide (Koppe, de Wette, van Hengel) or the like (Reiche: “in the religious and moral life”); but the sense is not different from στηρ. ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ. μου (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Peter 1:12), namely: so to operate upon you that you may remain stedfastly faithful to my gospel, and not become addicted to doctrines and principles deviating from it. More far-fetched is the explanation of others (taking κατά in the sense of the rule): “so to strengthen you, that you may now live and act according to my gospel,” Köllner (comp. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Wolf, Koppe, Tholuck); or ( κατά of the regulative modal character): after the fashion of my gospel (Hofmann).

The expression τὸ εὐαγγελ. μου, the gospel preached by me, cannot, seeing that in Rome Pauline Christianity was in the ascendant, be accounted, on an impartial consideration of the apostolic consciousness, and in comparison with Romans 2:16 (see also 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:8; Galatians 2:2), as in itself surprising, least of all when we attend to the added: καὶ τὸ κήρυγμα ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. This, namely, far from aiming at a conciliatory comparison with the preaching of the other apostles (Lucht), is a more precise definition of τὸ εὐαγγ. μου, proceeding from the humble piety of the apostle. As he wrote or uttered the latter expression, he at once vividly felt that his gospel was withal nothing else than the preaching which Christ Himself caused to go forth (through him as His organ); and by making this addition, he satisfies his own principle: οὐ γὰρ τολμήσω λαλεῖν τι ὧν οὐ κατειργάσατο χριστὸς διʼ ἐμοῦ λόγῳ κ. ἔργῳ, Romans 15:18. Comp. on the thought, Ephesians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 13:3. This humility, amidst all the boldness in other respects of his apostolic consciousness, suggested itself the more to his heart, because in connection with a praise of God. With this view of the genitive agree substantially Rückert, de Wette, Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald. The more usual explanation: the preaching concerning Christ (Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, and many others, including Köllner, Tholuck (?), Reithmayr, Philippi), yields after τὸ εὐαγγ. μου somewhat of tautology, and forfeits the thoughtful correlation between μου and ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. The personal oral preaching of Christ Himself during His earthly life (Grotius, Wolf, Koppe, Böhme, Hofmann), to which Paul never expressly refers in his epistles (not even in Galatians 5:1), is not to he thought of.

κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν μυστηρ. κ. τ. λ.] co-ordinated to the preceding κατὰχριστοῦ, and likewise dependent on στηρίξαι. In the exalted feeling of the sublime dignity of the gospel, in so far as he has just designated it as the κήρυγμα of Jesus Christ, the apostle cannot leave the description of its character without also designating it further according to its grand and sacred contents (not according to its novelty, as Hofmann explains, which lies neither in the text nor in the connection), and that with a theocratic glance back upon the primitive counsel of salvation of God: as revelation of a secret kept in silence in eternal times (comp. Colossians 1:26; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 2:7). Note the bipartite character of the designation by the twofold κατά, according to which Paul sets forth the gospel, (1) ratione subjecti, as his gospel and κήρυγμα of Christ, and (2) ratione objecti, as the revelation of the primitive sacred mystery.

The second κατά is to be taken quite like the first (comp. Colossians 2:8); but Paul designates the divine decree of the redemption of the world(51) as μυστήριον (comp. generally on Romans 11:25), in so far as it, formed indeed by God from eternity (hidden in God, Ephesians 3:9), and in the fulness of time accomplished by Christ, was first disclosed(52) through the gospel, i.e. laid open to human contemplation (Ephesians 3:4; Ephesians 3:8-9; Ephesians 6:19); hence the gospel is the actual ἀποκάλυψις of this secret. The article was not requisite with ἀποκ., since the following genitive has no article, and, besides, a preposition precedes (Winer, p. 118 f. [E. T. p. 155]; comp. 1 Peter 1:7). But μυστηρίου, if it was to be in itself the definite secret, must have had the article (Ephesians 3:3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26); hence we must explain “of a secret,” so that it is only the subsequent concrete description which expresses what secret is meant: “in respect to the revelation of a secret, which was kept silent in eternal times, but now has been brought to light,” etc. Among the varying explanations, the only one linguistically correct is that of Fritzsche (comp. Köllner, Rückert, Tholuck, and Philippi), who makes κατὰ ἀποκ. μυστ. dependent not merely on στηρίξαι, but on τῷ δὲ δυναμ. ὑμᾶς στηρ. taken together, and takes κατά as in consequence of, thus namely: “qui potest vos corroborare in … secundum patefactionem arcani, h. e. postquam facta est patefactio arcani, i. q. ἐπεὶ ἀπεκαλύφθη μυστήριον;” more exactly Rückert, Philippi, Tholuck: in correspondence with the revelation, etc. But no necessity exists for taking κατά here in another sense than previously (as e.g. there is such a necessity, obviously, with κατʼ ἐπιταγήν immediately below); on the contrary, after the words, “who is in a position to strengthen you in respect of the gospel,” the idea “secundum patefactionem arcani” would be superfluous and self-evident, and therefore the weighty mode of its expression would be without motive and turgid. It would be otherwise if κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν κ. τ. λ. were intended to establish not the ability of God, but His willingness. Incorrectly, in fine, Olshausen and older expositors think that τὸ γεγενημένον should be supplied: “which preaching has taken place through revelation of a secret,” etc. This Paul would have known how to say properly, had he meant it.

χρόνοις αἰων.] Period in which the σεσιγ. took place; Acts 8:11; Acts 13:20; Joshua 2:20; Winer, p. 205 [E. T. p. 273]; Kuhner, II. 1, p. 386. From the very beginning down to the time of the N. T. proclamation reach the χρόνοι αἰώνιοι, which are meant and popularly so designated. Bengel: “tempora primo sui initio aeternitatem quasi praeviam attingentia.” Comp. 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2. As at almost every word of the doxology, Lucht has taken offence at the expression χρόνοις αἰων.(53) And Reiche incorrectly understands the course of eternity down to the time of the prophets. For by ἀποκάλ. μυστηρ. κ. τ. λ. Paul wished to designate the New Testament gospel ( κήρυγμα ἰησου χριστοῦ), which therefore had not been preached before Christ; but he thinks of the prophetical predictions as the means used (Romans 16:26) for the making it known, and justly, since in them the publication has not yet taken place, but there is contained merely the still obscure preindication and preparatory promise (Romans 1:2) which were only to obtain their full and certain light through the far later ἀποκάλυψις of the mystery, and consequently were to serve as a medium of faith to the preaching which announces the secret of salvation. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 293. Suggestively Bengel remarks: “V. T. est tanquam horologium in suo cursu tacito; N. T. est sonitus et pulsus aeris.” The silence respecting the secret was first put an end to by the preaching of the N. T., so that now the φανέρωσις came in its place; and up to that time even the prophetic language was, in reference to the world, as yet a silence, because containing only συνεσκιασμένως (Theodoret) what afterwards (“a complemento,” Calovius) was to become through the evangelical preaching manifest, brought clearly to light (comp. Romans 1:19, Romans 3:21; Colossians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:10-11; 1 Peter 1:20; Titus 1:2-3; 2 Timothy 1:10).


Verses 25-27

Romans 16:25-27. As a final complete conclusion, we have now this praising of God, rich in contents, deep in feeling (perhaps added by the apostle’s own hand), in which the leading ideas contained in the whole epistle, as they had already found in the introduction, Romans 1:1-5, their preluding keynote, and again in Romans 11:33 ff. their preliminary doxological expression, now further receive, in the fullest unison of inspired piety, their concentrated outburst for the ultimate true consecration of the whole. No one but Hofmann, who assigns to these three verses their place after Romans 14:23 (see the critical notes), could deny that they form a doxology at all. According to him, τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ is to be connected with ὀφείλομεν, Romans 15:1, and to be governed by this verb (thus: to Him, who is able … we are debtors, etc.). This is, however, nothing less than a monstrosity of exegetical violence, and that, first, because the verses carry on their front the most immediate and characteristic stamp of a doxology (comp. especially Jude 1:24-25), in which even the ἀμήν is not wanting (comp. Romans 9:5, Romans 11:36); secondly, because the fulness and the powerful pathos of the passage would be quite disproportionate as a preparatory basis for the injunction that follows in Romans 15:1, and would be without corresponding motive; thirdly, because in Romans 16:25 ὑμᾶς stands, but in the supposed continuation, Romans 15:1, ἡμεῖς, which is an evidence against their mutual connection; and lastly, because the δέ, Romans 15:1, stands inexorably in the way. This δέ, namely, could not be the antithetic δέ of the apodosis and after participles, especially after absolute participles (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 372 ff.; Kühner, II. 2, p. 818; Baeumlein, Partik. pp. 92 f., 94), but only the resumptive (Kühner, II. 2, p. 815; Baeumlein, p. 97); and then Paul must have written not ὀφείλομεν δέ, but either αὐτῷ δὲ ὀφείλομεν, which αὐτῷ would reassume the previously described subject, or he must have put his δέ in Romans 16:27 along with μόνῳ σοφῷ θεῷ, and therefore somewhat thus: μόνῳ δὲ σοφῷ θεῷὀφείλομεν.


Verse 26

Romans 16:26. Contrast of χρόνοις αἰων. σεσιγ.

But which has been made manifest in the present time, and by means of prophetic writings, according to the commandment of the eternal God, in order to produce obedience of faith, has been made known among all nations. In this happy relation of the present time, with regard to that which the χρόνοι αἰώνιοι lacked, how powerful a motive to the praise of God!

φανερωθέντος δὲ νῦν] Comp. Colossians 1:26, νυνὶ δὲ ἐφανερώθη, in the same contrast; but here the stress lies, in contradistinction to the immediately preceding σεσιγημ., on φανερωθ. Reiche’s observation, that the φανέρωσις is never attributed to the prophets, is not at all applicable; for it is not in fact ascribed to the prophets here, and φανερωθ. is not even connected with διὰ γραφ. προφ., which τε(54) undoubtedly assigns to the following participle γνωρισθ.(55) The mystery has, namely, in the Christian present been clearly placed in the light, has been made an object of knowledge (comp. on Romans 1:19), a result obviously accomplished through the gospel (comp. Colossians 1:26; Titus 1:3); and with this φανέρωσις, in and by itself, there was connected in further concrete development the general publication of the secret, as it is more precisely designated by διά τε γραφῶνγνωρισθ. This general publication was, namely, one which took place (1) by means of prophetic writings (comp. Romans 1:2), inasmuch as, after the precedent of Jesus Himself (John 5:39; Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44), it was brought into connection with the prophecies of the O. T. testifying beforehand (1 Peter 1:11), the fulfilment of the same was exhibited, and they were employed as a proof and confirmation of the evangelical preaching (comp. also Acts 17:11), and generally as a medium enabling the latter to produce knowledge and faith. (2) It took place at the command of God (Romans 10:17; Titus 1:3), whose servants (Romans 1:9) and stewards of His mysteries (1 Corinthians 4:1) the apostles are, conscious of His command (Galatians 1:1; Galatians 1:15). (3) It was made in order to produce obedience towards the faith (comp. on Romans 1:5), and that (4) among all nations.

τοῦ αἰωνίου θεοῦ] αἰων. is not a faint allusion to χρόνοις αἰωνίοις (Reiche); but stands in a very natural and apt relation of meaning thereto, since it is only as eternal (Baruch 4:8; Baruch 4:22; Hist. Susann. 42) that God could dispose of the eternal times and of the present, so that what was kept silent in the former should be made known in the latter.

εἰς π. τ. ἔθνη] Consequently the publication was not confined to the Jews, but was accomplished among all Gentile peoples; comp. Romans 1:5. As to εἰς of the direction, comp. John 8:26, and see on Mark 1:39; Mark 14:9.


Verse 27

Romans 16:27. ΄όνῳ σοφῷ θεῷ διὰ ἰησοῦ χ.] to be closely connected (without a comma after θεῷ): to the through Jesus Christ only wise God, i.e. to the God who through Christ has shown Himself as the alone wise, so wise, that in comparison with Him this predicate can be applied to no other being (comp. Luke 18:19; John 17:3; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Maccabees 1:25), the absolutely wise. Comp. Plato, Phaedr. p. 278 D Diog. Laert. i. 12; Philo, de migr. Abr. I. p. 457. 4. The connection: “to the alone wise God be the glory through Christ” (Pesch., Chrysostom, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Estius, Grotius, Morus, van Hengel, and several others), is inadmissible because of , which indeed is omitted by Beza and Grotius after the Complut. edition, but is critically so certified (it is wanting merely in B) that it can only appear to have been omitted with a view to relieve the construction; although Rückert also sees himself forced to omit it, and Ewald (comp. Märcker, p. 8), while retaining the , so translates as if it ran διὰ . χ. δόξα. Thus, too, Hofmann connects the words, seeking through the dative μόνῳ σοφῷ θεῷ to bring them into government with ὀφείλομεν, Romans 15:1 (see on Romans 16:25-27). Instances of such a prefixing of parts of sentences having an emphasis before the relative are found, indeed, in the Greek writers (Schaefer, App. ad Dem. IV. p. 462; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaedr. pp. 238 A, 363 A comp. on Acts 1:2); yet in the N. T. we have no passage of this kind (wrongly Hofmann adduces 1 Peter 4:11, Hebrews 13:21, as bearing on this); and it would not be easy to perceive any special reason why Paul should have so uniquely laid stress on διὰ . χ.

The description of God, begun on the side of His power in Romans 16:25, passes over at the conclusion of the doxology into the emphasizing of His wisdom, to which the representation of the gospel as ἀποκάλυψις μυστηρίουγνωρισθέντος involuntarily led him in a very natural process of thought; for so long as the mystery was covered by silence, the wisdom of God in its highest potency was not yet brought to light,—a result which took place by the very means of that ἀποκάλυψις. Comp. Romans 11:32-34. This at the same time applies against Reiche, who believes μόνῳ σοφῷ to be unsuitable here and to be taken from Jude 1:25 var. (the spurious addition σοφῷ, Jude 1:25, as also in 1 Timothy 1:17, has manifestly flowed from our passage).

διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ] i.e. through the appearance and the whole work of Jesus Christ. Thereby God caused Himself to be practically recognised as the alone wise. Comp. Romans 11:33 ff.; Ephesians 3:8 ff. Similarly, in Jude 1:25, διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ κ. τ. λ. is connected, not with the following δόξα, but with the preceding σωτῆρι ἡμῶν. Too narrowly, Fritzsche limits διὰ . χ., in accordance with Colossians 2:3 (but see in loc.), to the contents of His teaching. It is precisely the facts which bring to light the wisdom of the divine measures in the execution of the plan of redemption through Christ,—the death and the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus (Romans 4:24-25, Romans 8:34, et al.),—that form the sum and substance of the conception of our διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ.

] In the lively pressure of the great intermediate thoughts connected with the mention of the gospel, Romans 16:24-25, the syntactic connection has escaped the apostle. Not taking note that τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ and the resumptive μόνῳ σοφῷ θεῷ are still without their government, he adds, as though they had already received it at the beginning of the over-full sentence (through χάρις δὲ τῷ δυναμένῳ κ. τ. λ. or the like), the expression—still remaining due—of the praise itself by means of the (critically certain) relative, so that now the above datives are left to stand as anacoluthic. Comp. Acts 24:5-6, and the remark thereon. See also Winer, p. 528 [E. T. p. 710]; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 252. Others, indeed, think that Paul allowed himself to be induced by the intermediate thoughts to turn from the doxology to God at first designed, and to direct the tribute of praise to Christ instead, the Mediator and Revealer of the wisdom of God, so as thereby mediately to praise God Himself. See especially Philippi, also Reithmayr, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Tholuck (doubtfully). Such doxologies as if to God, are found addressed to Christ doubtless in Hebrews 13:21, 2 Timothy 4:18, Revelation 1:6, and later in Clement et al., but in the really apostolical writings nowhere at all (see on Romans 9:5); and that Paul here still, even after the intermediate observations, retained the idea of praising God, so that must accordingly be referred not to Christ, but to God, is quite clearly proved by the resumptive μόνῳ σοφῷ θεῷ. For a formally quite similar anacoluthon(56) in the doxology, see Martyr. Polyc. 20: τῷ δυναμένῳ πάντας ἡμᾶς εἰσαγαγεῖν ἐν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι κ. δωρεᾷ εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον αὐτοῦ βασιλείαν διὰ τοῦ παιδὸς αὐτοῦ μονογενοῦς ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, δόξα, τιμὴ, κράτος, μεγαλωσύνη εἰς αἰῶνας.

δόξα] sc. εἴη, not ἐστί, according to 1 Peter 4:11 (Hofmann), where the connection is different and ἔστιν must be written (Lachm.), and its emphasis is to be noted. The article designates the befitting honour, as in Romans 11:36.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 16:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-16.html. 1832.

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