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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Romans 16

 

 

Verse 1

Romans 16:1. φοίβην, Phœbe) The Christians retained the names borrowed from the heathen gods, as a memorial of the heathenism, which they had abandoned.— οὖσαν διάκονον, who is a [servant] minister) without the office of teaching. She might have been considered as a minister in respect of this very errand, on which she was sent.— κεγχρεαῖς, at Cenchrea) near Corinth.


Verse 2

Romans 16:2. ἐν κυρίῳ, in the Lord) There is very frequent mention of the Lord, Christ, in this chapter: In the Lord: at the present day we say, in a Christian manner [as Christians]. The phrase is peculiar to Paul, but often used.— καὶ γὰρ, for even) a strong argument, 1 Corinthians 16:15-16; Philippians 2:29. There is an all-embracing [comprehensive] relationship among believers: Phœbe is recommended to the Romans for acts of kindness, which she had done far from Rome.— προστάτις, a succourer) We may believe, that Phœbe was wealthy, but she did not shrink by subterfuges from the duty of ministering, in the case of strangers, the needy, etc.; nor did she regard in the case of [on the part of] her fellow-citizens, who were wholly intent on self-interest, the opinion entertained of her bad economy.— πολλῶν, of many) Believers ought to return a favour not only to him, who has been of service to themselves, but also to him, who has been of service to others.


Verse 3

Romans 16:3. ἀσπάσασθε, salute) We should observe the politeness of the apostle in writing the salutations; the friendly feeling of believers in joining theirs with his, Romans 16:21-22; again, the humility of the former in attending to them, and the love of the latter in the frequent use of them.— πρίσκαν, Prisca) strong testimony sufficiently confirms this reading; Baumgarten prefers πρίσκιλλαν, Priscilla.(165) A holy woman in Italy seems to have borne the Latin name Priscilla, which is a diminutive, Acts 18:2, but in the Church the name, Prisca, is more dignified. The name of the wife is put here before that of the husband, because she was the more distinguished of the two in the Church; Acts 18:18 : or even because in this passage there had gone before the mention of a woman, Phœbe.— ἀκύλαν, Aquila) The proper names of believers, Roman, Hebrew and Greek, set down promiscuously, show the riches of Grace in the New Testament exceeding all expectation [Ephesians 3:20].— συνεργοὺς, fellow-workers) in teaching, or else, protecting: See the following verse.


Verse 4

Romans 16:4. οἵτινες, who) They are individually distinguished by their own respective graces, or duties; but Scripture never praises any one so as to give him any ground for extolling himself, but for praising God and rejoicing in Him.— ὑπέθηκαν) The force of the verb is not unsuitably explained by the noun ὑποθήκη, a stake laid down.— αἱ ἐκκλησίαι, the churches) even the Church at Rome, for the preservation of Paul, and we still are bound in some measure to give thanks to Aquila and Priscilla, or we shall do so hereafter.


Verse 5

Romans 16:5. κατʼ οἷκον, in the house) When any Christian was the possessor of a spacious mansion, he gave it as a place for meeting together. Hitherto the believers at Rome had neither bishops nor ministers. Therefore they had nothing at that time resembling the papacy. It does not appear that there were more of these house-churches then at Rome; otherwise Paul would have mentioned them also [as he does those in this ch.] Aquila therefore was at Rome, what Gaius was at Corinth, ch. Romans 16:23; although the persecution had particularly pressed upon him, Acts 18:2.— ἐπαίνετον, Epaenetus) Paul had not hitherto been at Rome, and yet he had many intimate acquaintances there from Asia, or even from Greece, Palestine, Cilicia, Syria. There is no mention here of Linus or Clement, whence we may conclude, that they came to Rome afterwards.— ἀπαρχὴ, first fruits) This is evidently a title of approbation, 1 Corinthians 16:15.— ἀχαΐας) others have ἀσίας,(166) and Grotius, along with the British writers quoted by Wolfius approves of it, with whom he says, how far he is correct I know not, that Whitby agrees. D. Hauberus in particular supports ἀχαΐας, and somewhat too liberally ascribes to the transcribers the same skill in reasoning, for which he himself is remarkable. Bibl. Betracht., Part 3, page 93. See Appendix. crit. Ed. ii., on this passage.


Verse 7

Romans 16:7. συγγενεῖς, kinsmen) So Romans 16:11; Romans 16:21. They were Jews, ch. Romans 9:3.— ἀποστόλοις, among the apostles) They had seen the Lord, 1 Corinthians 15:6; hence they are called apostles, using the word in a wider meaning, although some of them perhaps after the ascension of the Lord turned to the faith by means of the first sermons of Peter. Others might be veterans, and I acknowledge as such the brethren, who numbered more than five hundred. The passage quoted from 1 Cor. implies, that there was a multitude of those, who had seen Christ and were from that fact capable of giving the apostolic testimony.— πρὸ ἐμοῦ, before me) Age makes men venerable, especially in Christ. Among the men of old, it was a mark of veneration to have the precedence by four years.(167)γεγόνασιν ἐν χριστ, ,) they began to be in Christ.

“Tam venerabile erat præcedere quatuor annis.”—ED.


Verse 8

Romans 16:8. ἐν κυρίῳ, in the Lord) Construed with beloved; for greet or salute at Romans 16:6 and throughout the chapter is employed absolutely [and it is not therefore to be connected with ἐν κυρίῳ].


Verse 9

Romans 16:9. ἡμῶν, of us. Comp. Romans 16:21.(168)


Verse 10

Romans 16:10. τὸν δόκιμον, approved) an incomparable epithet [This man was of tried excellence.—V. g.]— τοὺς ἐκ τῶν) Perhaps Aristobulus was dead, and Narcissus too, Romans 16:11, and all in their respective families had not been converted. Some of them seem not to have been known by face to Paul, but by the report of their piety. Faith does not make men peevish, but affable. Not even the dignity of the apostolic office was any hindrance to Paul.


Verse 11

Romans 16:11. ὄντας, who are) Therefore a part of that family were heathens.


Verse 12

Romans 16:12. τὰς κοπιώσας, who laboured) although they have their name [ τρυφαινα, τρυφῶσα] from τρυφὴ, a luxurious life; as Näom (agreeable). It is probable that these two were sisters according to the flesh.


Verse 13

Romans 16:13. ἐκλεκτὸν, chosen) a remarkable title, 2 John, Romans 16:1; Romans 16:13, 1 Timothy 5:21.


Verse 14

Romans 16:14. ἀσύγκριτον, κ. τ. λ., Asyncritus, etc.) Paul joins those together, among whom there was a peculiar tie of relationship, neighbourhood, etc. The salutation offered by name to the more humble, who were perhaps not aware that they were so much as known to the apostle, could not but greatly cheer their hearts.


Verse 16

Romans 16:16. ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους, salute ye one another) supply: in my name.— ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ, with a holy kiss) This was the flower of faith and love. The kiss of love, 1 Peter 5:14. This was the practice after prayers. Paul mentions the holy kiss at the conclusion of the first epistle to the Thessalonians, of both his epistles to the Corinthians, and of this to the Romans. Paul wrote these epistles at the earliest period. Afterwards purity of love was in some cases extinct or abuses arose, for in writing to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, when he was in prison, he gave no charge concerning this kiss. The difference has regard to the time, not to the place, for the Philippians were in Macedonia, as well as the Thessalonians. I do not say however that the difference of time was altogether the only reason, why the holy kiss was commanded or not commanded. In the second Epistle to the Thessalonians there was no need to give directions about it so soon after the first had been received. The condition of the Galatians at that time rendered such directions unsuitable.— αἱ ἐκκλησίαι(169)) the churches) with whom I have been, ch. Romans 15:26. He had made known to them, that he was writing to Rome.

DGfg omit ἀσπαζ. ὑμ. αἱ ἐκκλ. πᾶσαι τ. χριστοῦ, but add these words at the end of ver. 21. ABC Vulg. have all the words, including πᾶσαι, which Rec. Text omits without any good authority.—ED.


Verse 17

Romans 16:17. ἀδελφοὶ, brethren) While he is embracing in his mind, in Romans 16:16, the churches of Christ, exhortation suggests itself incidentally; for when it is concluded in the form of a parenthesis, they, who send salutations, are added to those, who receive them: Romans 16:21.— τοὺς τὰς) There were therefore such men at Rome. The second epistle to the Thessalonians, which was written before this to the Romans, may be compared, ch. 2— τὰς διχοστασίας, divisions) by which [what is even] good is not well defended.— ταʼ σκάνδαλα, offences) by which [what is positively] evil gains admittance.— ἐμάθετε, ye have learned) To have once for all learned constitutes an obligation, 1 Corinthians 15:1; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:9; Philippians 4:9; 2 Timothy 3:14.— ἐκκλίνατε) comp. στέλλεσθαι, 2 Thessalonians 3:6; παραιτοῦ, Titus 3:10; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 John Romans 16:10. There was not yet the form of a church at Rome. The admonition therefore is rather framed so as to apply to individuals, than to the whole body of believers. There is however a testimony regarding the future in this epistle to the Romans, as the Song of Moses was a rule to be followed by Israel.


Verse 18

Romans 16:18. οἱ τοιοῦτοι) such as these. The substance with its quality is denoted.— κοιλίᾳ, the belly) Philippians 3:19.— χρηστολογίας) as concerns themselves by promising.— εὐλογίας) as concerns you, by praising and flattering.— τῶν ἀκάκων) פתי, a word of a middle signification, μέσον, for the sake of euphemy (end.); which the LXX. translate ἄκακος, and which occurs more than once in Proverbs. They are called ἄκακοι, who are merely free from badness, whereas they should also be strong in prudence, and be on their guard against the κακίαν, the badness of others.


Verse 19

Romans 16:19. ὑπακοὴ, obedience) which belongs to οἱ ἀκάκοι, the simple. Their obedience itself, not merely its report, reached all, since by frequent intercourse believers from among the Romans came also to other places, and their obedience itself was observed face to face. It thus happens, that, as contagion is bad in the case of bad men, so it is good among the good, in a good sense.— πάντας, all) you, or others also.— ἀφίκετο) Hesychius explains ἀφίκετο by παρεγένετο.— τὸ ἐφʼ ὑμιν, as far as you are concerned) in opposition to those turbulent persons, who occasion him anxiety, not joy.— θέλω δὲ, but I wish) an antithesis: you are evidently not wanting in obedience and ἀκακία, simplicity; but you should add to them discretion.— σοφοὺς, wise) contrary to those, of whom Jeremiah speaks, Romans 4:22, σοφοί εἰσι τοῦ κακοποιῆσαι, τὸ δὲ καλῶς ποιῆσαι οὐκ ἐπέγνωσαν, they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.— ἀκεραίους) say, if any evil presents itself: I consider this a thing, which is alien to me; ἀκέραιος is taken here in a passive sense.(170)


Verse 20

Romans 16:20. δὲ, but) [not and, as Engl. Ver. has it)] The power of God, not your prudence, will bring it to pass.— τῆς εἰρήνης, of peace) an antithesis to seditious, Romans 16:17, see 1 Corinthians 14:33.— συντρίψει) the future, shall bruise Satan, when he shall bruise His apostles [viz. those breeders of divisions, Romans 16:17-18.]— τὸν σατανᾶν, Satan) the sower of strifes. Once in the course of this whole epistle he names the enemy, and nine times altogether in all his epistles, he calls him Satan; six times, the devil. Scripture indeed treats of God and Christ directly; of Satan and Antichrist indirectly.— ὑπό τοὺς πόδας, under your feet) Ephesians 6:15. Every victory achieved by faith is the cause of new grief to Satan.— ἐν τάχει) speedily, which refers to the beginnings of bruising [Satan, viz.] in the case of sudden danger [a sudden assault by him.]— ἀμήν) The transcribers very often added this word to prayers, although here almost all the copies are without it. Baumgarten however defends it.(171)


Verse 21

Romans 16:21. συνεργὸς, fellow-labourer) He is placed here before the kinsmen. His name however is not found in ch. Romans 1:1, because he had not been at Rome.


Verse 22

Romans 16:22. ἀσπάζομαι, I salute) Tertius either by the advice or good-natured permission of Paul put in this salutation. Paul dictated, from which it is evident, how ready the apostles were in producing their books, without the trouble of premeditation.— τέρτις, Tertius) a Roman name. An amanuensis no doubt well known to the Romans.— ἐν, in) construed with I who wrote; an implied confession of faith.


Verse 23

Romans 16:23. γάϊος, Gaius) a Corinthian, 1 Corinthians 1:14.— ὅλης, of the whole) For very many used to resort to Paul.(172)οἰκονόμος, the chamberlain) The faith of a man so very high in station could not but be a matter of joy to the Romans.— τῆς πόλεως, of the city) doubtless of Corinth.


Verse 24

Romans 16:24. χάριςἡμῶν) The Alexandrians were without this reading.(173)ἀ΄ήν, we have lately spoken of this particle.


Verse 25

Romans 16:25. τῷ δὲ, now to Him) As a doxology concludes the disquisition, ch. Romans 11:36, so it now concludes the whole epistle. So 2 Peter 3:18; Jude 1:25. The last words of this epistle plainly correspond to the first, ch. Romans 1:1-5; especially in regard to “the Power of God,” the ‘Gospel,’ ‘Jesus Christ,’ the ‘Scriptures, the “obedience of faith,” “all nations.”— δυναμένῳ, that is of powerκατὰ τὸ εὐαγγελιόν μου, according to my Gospel) The power of God is certain, Romans 1:16; Acts 20:32, note.— ὑμᾶς, you) Jews and Gentiles.— στηρίξαι) we have the same word, Romans 1:11.— ἀποκάλυψιν) This same word is found at Romans 1:17.— κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν must be construed with εὐαγγελιόν μου.— μυστηρίου, of the mystery) concerning the Gentiles being made of the same body, Ephesians 3:3; Ephesians 3:6.— χρόνοις ἀιωνίοις, since the world began) [during the eternal ages], from the time, when not only men, but even angels, were created, to both of whom the mystery had been at first unknown, Ephesians 3:9-10. The times are denoted, which with their first commencement as it were touch upon the previous eternity, and are, so to speak, mixed with it; not eternity itself, of which times are only the streams; for the phrase, BEFORE eternal ages (Engl. Ver. before the world began) is used at 2 Timothy 1:9; Psalms 77 (76):6, ἡμέοας ἀρχαίας καὶ ἔτη αἰώνια.— σεσιγημένου, kept secret) The Old Testament is like a clock in its silent course: the New Testament like the sound of brass, that is struck [viz. brazen cymbals, or drums]. In the Scriptures of the prophets, the calling of the Gentiles had been foretold; but the Jews did not understand it.


Verse 26

Romans 16:26. φανερωθέντος, made manifest) Colossians 1:26; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:3.— ἐπιταγὴν, commandment) The foundation of his apostleship, 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:3.— τοῦ αἰωνίου θεοῦ, of the eternal God) a very proper epithet, comp. the preceding verse, during the eternal ages, so Titus 1:2. The silence on the part of God presupposes eternal knowledge, Acts 15:18. The new Economy implies no change in God Himself; His own work is well known to Him from eternity. Comp. presently after, to Him who is the only wise.— ἔθνη, nations) not merely that they may know, but also that they may enjoy [the blessing so known].


Verse 27

Romans 16:27. σοφῷ) to the wise) The wisdom of God is glorified by means of the Gospel in the Church, Ephesians 3:10; who is of power [able] Romans 16:25, and to the wise [both predicated of God], are joined together in this passage, as 1 Corinthians 1:24, where Christ is said to be the power of God and the wisdom of God.— , to whom) is put for αὐτῷ, to Him. So ὧν, ch. Romans 3:14; comp. 2 Timothy 3:11; Acts 26:7; 2 Corinthians 4:6, note, LXX., Isaiah 5:28. There would be a hiatus in the sentence without a pronoun.(174)ἀμήν, amen) and let every believing reader say, Amen.(175)

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 16:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-16.html. 1897.

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Sunday, November 17th, 2019
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