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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Romans 16

 

 

Verses 1-27

Romans 16:1. I commend to you Phebe — a servant of the church. διακονον, a deaconess of the church at Cenehrea, the eastern port of Corinth, where Paul shaved his head, that he might be purified on returning to Asia. Acts 18:18. A deaconess in the oriental churches corresponded with a matron of the synagogue. She was ordained; and their forms of ordination still exist in the Greek church; they prophesied, and helped the apostles in the Lord. They visited the sick among the women, to whom ministers had no access; they carried the elements of bread and wine from the Lord’s table, first hallowed by the bishop, to the chambers of their afflicted sisters. Such offices were essential in all the oriental churches.

Romans 16:2. That you assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you. Love makes all nations one family in the Lord. It is likely that at a proper season she had sailed to Rome, to lay in a convenient assortment of goods. How much may holy women assist ministers in the work of the Lord; and how much are members of the church bound to assist one another.

Romans 16:3. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus. The wife is here put before the husband, being no doubt, like Phebe, an eminent deaconess in the church. They had come from Pontus in Asia, where they had risked their own lives to shelter Paul; acts of faith worthy of record in the annals of grace. We find them at Corinth, as may be seen in the note on Acts 18:2. They had accompanied him from Greece to Ephesus, and resided there when he wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians. Acts 18:18.

Dr. Lardner, and also Dr. Paley, observe here, on the chronology of time when Paul wrote to the Romans, that “had the notes of time in this epistle fixed the writing to any date prior to Paul’s first residence at Corinth, the salutation of Aquila and Priscilla had contradicted the history. Had the notes of time fixed it during that residence at Corinth, or during his journey to Jerusalem, or during his progress through lesser Asia, when he reached Antioch; an equal contradiction had occurred, for during all this time they appear to have been in Ephesus. Acts 18:2; Acts 18:26. Had the notes of time fixed the writing of this epistle to be contemporary with that, or prior to it, a similar contradiction would have ensued. First, because Aquila and Priscilla were then with Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:19; and secondly, the history does not allow us to suppose that between the time of their becoming acquainted with him, and the writing of that epistle, they could have gone back to Rome, so as to be saluted in an epistle to that city, and then to have returned to Ephesus, so as to be with him in saluting the church at Corinth.” This view of the facts, places the subject in a perspicuous light.

Romans 16:7. Salute Andronicus and Junia. These were Benjamites, converted to the faith in Jerusalem, before Saul had begun to persecute the saints. Seniority in grace has a claim to deference.

Romans 16:13. Salute Rufus, whose father, as some suppose, had carried the cross on which the Saviour died. Mark 15:21. His mother also having been a mother to Paul in the east, it is farther supposed that the family had been driven to Italy by judaical persecutions.

Romans 16:14. Salute Asyncritus and Phlegon. Both these names occur in the Roman martyrology, and as disciples of Paul while in Greece. Many of these names designate nobility, or dignity by office. Their parents must at least have sustained those dignities, else they would be a reproach to men in common life.

Romans 16:16. Salute one another with a holy kiss. In synagogues and churches, the women sat apart from the men, and it was usual for sisters so disposed, to embrace each other, and renew the pledges of peace and love when they parted.

Romans 16:20. The God of peace, the giver of all good, shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. By the destruction of idols, as foretold in Genesis 3:15. Revelation 12:9.

Romans 16:24. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. And it must be his grace, if grace at all, for all grace and truth came by him. The word often signifies our redemption, because for our sakes he became poor, that we might be made rich. It comprises the gospel in all its plenitude, even the grace of God which brings salvation to all men. Titus 2:11. The privileges of the church are often understood by that term; for by him we have access into all the grace in which we stand. Romans 5:2. But the term has a special regard to the work of grace on the heart, concerning which we are exhorted to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour; and that our faith and love may abound yet more and more. This benediction is repeated in five other epistles, where the apostle prays that a superabundance of grace in all its characters and glory may rest upon all the saints, and daily refresh their souls from the overflowing fountain of life.

Romans 16:25-26. The revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. A secret which could not be known till it was revealed. The word comprises all revelations of the will of God to man. Hence the following phrases: The wisdom of God in a mystery. 1 Corinthians 2:7. The mystery of godliness, or of the gospel. 1 Timothy 3:16. The fellowship of the mystery. Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 6:19. The mystery of his will; the riches of the glory of the mystery which the gospel reveals to the gentiles. Colossians 1:26-27. But even now we know but in part. The curtains of futurity shall be farther uplifted; for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, the things that God hath prepared for those that love him.

The gentile mythology had also its mysteries. Our Gothic fathers had their runes. The priests of all temples affected mysteries; the depths of Satan, the mystery of iniquity and of Babylon, the mother of harlots. Revelation 17:5.

Romans 16:27. To God only wise be glory. With these benedictions and doxologies they usually dismissed the church.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Romans 16:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/romans-16.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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