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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
Romans 16

 

 

Verse 1-2

‘I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church that is at Cenchreae, that you receive her in the Lord, worthily of the saints, and that you assist her in whatever matter she may have need of you, for she herself also has been a helper of many, and of my own self.’

Phoebe may well have been the one who bore Paul’s letter to Rome. Letters of commendation were a regular feature of the times and enabled travellers to find a welcome in places where they themselves were unknown. She is described as ‘a servant (diakonon) of the church which is in Cenchreae’ (8 miles from Corinth), a service being fulfilled by being ‘a helper of many’. This probably refers to compassionate help to the poor and the sick, and possibly ministry among women, rather than to official ministerial help. ‘And to myself’ indicates that the designations are not necessarily to be seen as official. It is doubtful whether at this time there were official ‘deaconesses’ in the churches, but if not, Phoebe clearly came close to it.

She was to be ‘received in the LORD’, that is, accepted as a genuine fellow-Christian, and ‘worthily of the saints (fellow-Christians)’, that is as befits those who love their brothers and sisters. It was clear that she had some purpose in coming to Rome, a purpose that might need assistance from ‘locals’ and he urges the church to supply that need, in view of the fact that she has regularly been a supplier of assistance to the needy, and even to himself.


Verses 1-16

1). Final Greetings And Exhortations (16:1-16).

It is unusual to find such a detailed list of people to be greeted in Paul’s letters. Indeed, in most of his letters no specific person is individually greeted. The exceptions are Colossians (‘the brothers and sisters who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church which is in his house -- and say to Archippus --’) and 2 Timothy (‘Priscilla and Aquila and the house of Onesiphorus’). But here in Romans we have a long list. We may thus enquire as to why this is so. The obvious answer is that he was writing to a church which was not known to him personally, and where he wanted to establish his credentials, the situation being that he therefore greeted all those whom he knew by name, knowing that no one who was not mentioned could be offended, for any others who knew him would consider that any omission was due to Paul’s lack of knowledge of their presence in Rome. This explains why he went against his common practise.

He commences the list by commending Phoebe to the church, and he closes it with a salutation from the servants of Christ. In between he gives the names of those to be ‘saluted’. Note the references to ‘house churches’. There were no church buildings, and Christian gatherings would therefore regularly take place in large houses owned by wealthy Christians. Whilst even the largest houses would not accommodate more than around eighty, a much larger number could gather in the courtyards of the house (compare the situation described regarding the High Priest’s house in John 18:15-27). There were clearly a number of such house churches in Rome (many would be unknown to Paul). The first names in the list are of those well known to Paul (Romans 16:2-8), followed by some who are seemingly less well known.

It should be noted how many of the names listed are of women. Paul clearly recognised the contribution that women made in the activities of the church, but their activities appear mainly to be those of expressing compassion and doing good towards all. Thus we have Phoebe, ‘the helper of many, including Paul’; Prisca, the wife of Aquila, Paul’s ‘fellow-workers’; Mary ‘who bestowed much labour on you’; Junia ‘my fellow-prisoner’; Tryphaena and Tryphosa, ‘who labour in the Lord’; Persis ‘who laboured much in the Lord’; Rufus’ mother, who had been like a mother to Paul; Julia; and Nereus’ sister. This serves to demonstrate that any idea that Paul had little regard for women is totally wrong.


Verses 1-27

4). Final Greetings (16:1-27).

We now come to the close of the letter. This final chapter divides up into three subsections:

1) Final greetings and exhortations (Romans 16:1-16).

2) Exhortation to beware of those who divide the church and of the need to be wise to what is good, with the assurance that God will cause them to triumph against Satan’s deceitfulness (Romans 16:17-20).

3) Greetings from fellow-labourers in the Gospel (Romans 16:21-23).


Verses 3-5

‘Salute Prisca and Aquila my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life laid down their own necks, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles, and the church which is in their house. ‘

Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila were a wife and husband (Acts 18:2) who had ministered alongside Paul and were fellow-tent-makers (Acts 18:3). They were residents of Rome who had been expelled by the Emperor Claudius when he had issued an Edict expelling all Jews from Rome (Acts 18:2). On his death many Jews would have returned there, as seemingly had Prisca and Aquila. Paul had met them in Corinth, in Greece (Acts 18:1-2), and they had later moved with Paul to Ephesus in Asia Minor (Acts 18:18 ff.), where they had assisted Apollos by guiding him into fuller truth (Acts 18:26). They were clearly widely travelled, possibly for business reasons. They were also seemingly fairly wealthy as is indicated by the fact that their house was large enough for a house church (‘the church which is in their house’). It is interesting that, as here, Prisca (Priscilla) is regularly named first. This suggests that she was of superior status to her husband socially. Bearing the name Prisca she may well have been connected, possibly as a freedwoman, with the aristocratic family of that name in Rome (freedmen and freedwomen tended to take the name of the families they were connected with).

Paul commends them as those who had risked their lives for his sake, although he does not tell us how. This may have been why ‘all the churches of the Gentiles’ gave thanks to them, although he may also have in mind the fruitful ministry that they had had among some of them. It is probable that he kept in close touch with them.


Verse 5

‘Salute Epaenetus my beloved, who is the firstfruits of Asia unto Christ.’

Epaenetus is mentioned nowhere else. This salutation may indicate that he was the first known convert who resulted from Paul’s ministry in Asia Minor. If so we can understand why he calls him ‘my beloved’ (compare Romans 16:8-9; Romans 16:12 b). A first convert is always a great joy. The fact that he is mentioned separately, with his own ‘salute’, is against any direct connection with Prisca and Aquila.


Verse 6

‘Salute Mary, who bestowed much labour on you.’

Mary was a common name both among Jews and Gentiles. He clearly knew her as being someone who gave herself in the service of others. That he knew what she was doing in Rome suggests some correspondence, either with her or with those who knew her (such as Prisca and Aquila).


Verse 7

‘Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also have been in Christ before me.’

Andronicus was a common Greek name. Junia may have been his wife. Or it may be a man’s name, Junias. Either way they were possibly Paul’s relatives, (whilst ‘my kinsmen’ could simply indicate that they were Jews (Romans 9:3) Paul here separates some Jews out from others as ‘my kinsmen’, and would thus seem to be indicating a closer relationship. Perhaps they were Benjamites) and interestingly they had become Christians before he did. They were seemingly converted during the first wave of Apostolic ministry, or even possibly through the teaching of Jesus Himself. They may have been Galileans, and among the 120 mentioned in Acts 1:15.

‘Outstanding, of note’ among the Apostles’ may simply signify that they were well known by the Apostles (possibly translating en as ‘in the eyes of’) and held in high esteem by the Apostles as a whole (for a similar use of en which differentiates the one spoken of from those that he is ‘among’ compare Romans 15:9; Luke 2:44; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 3:1 (in D G); etc).

‘The Apostles’, when used by Paul without qualification, usually refers to the twelve, plus James, the Lord’s brother, and himself. Whilst Paul occasionally speaks of messengers to the churches as being ‘apostles’ (those sent) in a general way (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:6), he nowhere speaks of Apostles as a group except when he is signifying the twelve plus James, and he, of course, included himself as an Apostle (see, however, 1 Thessalonians 2:6 where the significance of ‘we -- apostles’ is debatable). This verse is thus very flimsy evidence for actually making them ‘apostles’, even with its lesser meaning of ‘official messengers’. There is no reason for thinking of the position in 2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25 as being more than temporary. Andronicus and Junia(s) had clearly been in prison for Christ’s sake, possibly, although not necessarily, at the same time as, and along with, Paul.


Verse 8

‘Salute Ampliatus my beloved in the Lord.’

Ampliatus was a well attested name in Rome, commonly found in Roman inscriptions. It is attested among the imperial household. ‘My beloved in the Lord’ simply indicates a dear fellow-Christian (compare Romans 16:5; Romans 16:9; Romans 16:12), usually when he has nothing further to say about them.


Verse 9

‘Salute Urbanus our fellow-worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.’

Urbanus was a popular Roman name indicating ‘belonging to the urbs (the city)’. Note that he is not called ‘my fellow-worker’. Thus it probably signifies someone prominent in Christ’s service rather than someone who has worked with Paul. The name Stachys is attested in Rome, although it is not common. ‘My beloved’ may suggest he was known to Paul, possibly as one of his converts.


Verse 10

‘Salute those who are of Aristobulus.’

It is possible, although not certain, that the Aristobulus mentioned is the one who was the brother of Herod Agrippa I who lived in Rome as a private citizen and was known to Claudius as a friend. Note in this regard that ‘Herodion’ is mentioned immediately afterwards, possibly as a prominent member of that household especially known to Paul. To be ‘of Aristobulus’ simply indicated that they were connected at some stage with his large household of slaves and freedmen. They would carry the name with them when they moved on, probably into Caesar’s household, after Aristobulus died.


Verse 11

‘Salute those of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.’

The household of Narcissus was another prominent one in Rome if this refers to the powerful freedman of that name. These are slaves and freedmen from among his household who have become Christians. We do not know how Paul specifically knew of them.


Verse 12

‘Salute Persis the beloved, who laboured much in the Lord.’

The name Persis means ‘Persian woman’ and was found in Roman inscriptions. Note that it is ‘the beloved’ not ‘my beloved’. Paul may well have been wary of calling a woman ‘my beloved’. The contrast with Romans 16:12 a suggests that in some way she was outstanding. She ‘laboured much’ and was ‘beloved’.


Verse 13

‘Salute Rufus the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.’

The name Rufus was common in Rome, but the mention of his mother as one who had at some stage ‘mothered’ Paul immediately singles him out. Paul clearly had fond memories of Rufus’ mother. It may well be that this Rufus was the Rufus mentioned by Mark as one of the sons of the one who bore Jesus’ crosspiece, Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15:21). Mark, who wrote in Rome, would have mentioned him precisely because he was well known. That he was ‘chosen in the LORD’ may simply be the equivalent of ‘beloved’. But it may indicate that he had an especially successful ministry.


Verse 14

‘Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them.’

Nothing direct is known of any of these. Hermes was very common name as a slave name. Hermes was the god of good luck. Patrobas may well have been connected with the ‘household’ of Patrobius, a wealthy freedman of Nero. Hermas was also a very common name. Paul salutes these Christians along with their church group.


Verse 15

Salute Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.

Philologus and Julia were probably husband and wife. Julia’s name suggests a connection with Caesar’s household, as a slave or freedwoman. The name Philologus is also found connected with Caesar’s household. Nereus and his sister may have been their children. The name Nereus is also connected with Caesar’s household. He may never have received information about the sister’s name, but only have known that they had had a baby girl. They too had a church meeting in their house, which suggests some level of wealth, and Paul greets its members. Olympas was seemingly the only one of the members known to him. He was possibly a Christian household servant.


Verse 16

‘All the churches of Christ salute you.’

If the church members had at this point given the kiss of love to one another this salutation would come over with great effectiveness. It was in essence the kiss of love from ‘all the churches of Christ’, that is from all the churches with whom Paul had relations. Coming in a long list of salutes it does not, of course, indicate Rome’s superiority. ‘Salute’ simply indicates ‘greet’. Rather it indicates the warmth of Christian fellowship and a desire to bring the church at Rome within the sphere of all the other churches for which he can speak, as Paul is preparing to visit them.


Verse 17

‘Now I plead with you, brothers and sisters, mark those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which you learned: and turn away from them.’

The false teachers against whom he is warning were teaching ‘contrary to the doctrine which you learned’. There is no suggestion that they were antinomianists (those who taught the licence to indulge in the sins of the flesh). Indeed they were probably calling Paul an antinomian (Romans 3:8; Romans 6:1). They were rather those who rejected the idea of salvation through faith alone. They demanded circumcision for all who would be Messianists (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 6:12-13; Philippians 3:2-3), abstinence from unclean meats, and the observance of holy days and sabbaths (Colossians 2:16), all as necessary for salvation. As a consequence they caused division in the churches where they were found, and put stumblingblocks in the way of weak Christians. The church should therefore turn away from them. They were to be ostracised.


Verses 17-20

Warning Against False Teachers And The Final Triumph Of Our LORD Jesus Christ (16:17-20).

That this warning comes at the end of the letter rather than in the main part suggests that such false teachers were not seen by him as a major problem in the church at Rome. Indeed, as we have seen, he knew that the church in Rome had within their leadership people with whom he was well acquainted, and in whom he had great confidence. But he was well aware that no church was free from such false teachers, and that they therefore needed to be on their guard against them. The comment about Satan being shortly bruised under their feet especially suggests that there were some there who were causing trouble (possibly visiting wandering preachers), while not being a major threat.

The false teachers in question may well have been Judaistic ‘Christians’ who were overemphasising the salvation aspect of circumcision, obedience to the Law and the necessity of observing the Sabbath, and holy days and abstaining from ‘meats’ (compare Colossians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 11:3-22). Wherever there were a large number of Jewish Christians such would always arise, for at this time large numbers of Jewish Christians still religiously followed the practises of circumcision on the eighth day, abstaining from unclean foods, and observance of Jewish festivals and the Sabbath (as indeed many do today). It was only a short (but crucial) step from this to making them necessary for salvation. And it might even be that as he was concluding his letter he had received the news that certain Judaistic ‘Christian’ teachers who had continually plagued him, had now arrived in Rome, intending to cause similar problems to those which had occurred in Galatia (Romans 2:12-13; Romans 6:12-13), Philippi (Romans 3:2-3) and elsewhere.


Verse 18

‘For they who are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly, and by their smooth and fair speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent.’

Characteristic of such teachers was that they sought financial gain from their teaching enabling them to live richly (Titus 1:10-11; 1 Corinthians 6:13; Philippians 3:19; 1 Timothy 6:5; 2 Peter 2:3; Jude 1:12), and were smooth and glib tongued (1 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 10:10; Colossians 2:4). They were not really serving ‘our LORD Jesus’, but their own bellies (Philippians 3:2-3; Philippians 3:17-19). Others see the idea of ‘their own belly’ as having in mind asceticism and abstinence, allowing themselves to be ruled by what they should eat and drink (Romans 14:17).


Verse 19

‘For your obedience is come abroad to all men. I rejoice therefore over you, but I would have you wise to what is good, and simple to what is evil.’

In contrast to the teachers who ‘serve not our Lord Jesus Christ’ are the Roman Christians whose ‘obedience’ is spoken of everywhere. This obedience is ‘the obedience to faith among all nations’ (Romans 1:5). It indicates that he does not see the church in Rome as having as yet been much affected by such teaching, but is warning them of possible dangers. Thus they are to be wise with regard to what is good, including of course his own letter, but with regard to evil teaching they are to be ‘simple’ or ‘innocent’. That is, they are to let it pass over them without it affecting them.


Verse 20

‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’

This benediction looks back to Romans 1:7; Romans 3:24; Romans 5:2; etc. as He seeks that the unmerited favour of our LORD Jesus Christ might be with them as He acts on their behalf. This indeed is why Satan will be bruised under their feet. It is because ‘the LORD’ is with them, the One Who bound Satan and defeated his minions at the cross and will finally bruise his head (Matthew 12:28-29; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 20:2; Revelation 20:10; compare Luke 10:18; Luke 22:3; Luke 22:31).


Verse 21

‘Timothy my fellow-worker salutes you; and Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.’

Timothy is described as Paul’s fellow-worker. For a time he had been Paul’s constant companion, and his name was regularly included in Paul’s opening address in his letters. He would later have an important role as one of Paul’s deputies. But he was never called an Apostle, and when Paul stated that he himself was an Apostle he made the distinction quite clear, referring to ‘Timothy our brother’ (2 Corinthians; Colossians; see also 1 & 2 Thessalonians; Philippians; Philemon). Apostleship required being a witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:21-26).

Brief Note On Timothy.

Timothy was born of a mixed marriage. His mother was a Jewess and taught him the Old Testament Scriptures, and his father was a Greek (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5). He was a native of Lystra (in Asia Minor), and was highly thought of both there and in Iconium (Acts 16:1-2). It is probable that he was a convert of Paul’s first missionary journey and witnessed some of the tribulations (and triumphs) that Paul experienced (2 Timothy 3:10-11). His mother also became a Christian later.

He had close contact with Paul in his early days as a Christian, and when Paul wanted a replacement for Mark it is probable that he chose Timothy for that purpose (Acts 15:36 following), a choice confirmed by prophetic utterance (1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 4:14) and accompanied by the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6), which was a symbol of his identification with the work, and of the gift given to him by God giving him enablement in that ministry (2 Timothy 1:6). Whatever the situation he certainly accompanied Paul on his next missionary journey.

Although brought up by a Jewish mother he had not been circumcised, something which Paul saw fit to remedy, presumably because of his Jewish background, so as to make him more acceptable to Jews (he would later refuse to have the non-Jew Titus circumcised when the matter became an issue as a test of orthodoxy).

He accompanied Paul continually and was used by Paul as an emissary to various churches, although clearly, at least initially, somewhat timid, being with Paul during part of his imprisonment and acting again as his emissary (2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10-11; Romans 16:21; Acts 20:4-5).

When Paul was released from prison and continued his ministry in the East (assuming that this was so), he apparently left Timothy at Ephesus to supervise the churches (1 Timothy 1:3), commissioning him to deal with false teachers, to supervise public worship and to appoint church officials. When Paul was unable to rejoin him, Paul sent him the pastoral epistles to direct him in these tasks, and possibly in order to strengthen his authority. Timothy himself would later be imprisoned for his faith (Hebrews 13:23).

End of note.

‘And Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.’ Lucius has been identified by some with Lucius of Cyrene, mentioned in Acts 13:1; others have identified him with Luke the evangelist who wrote the Gospel. The latter identification might be seen as supported by the fact that the author of the ‘we’ sections was with Paul at the time (Acts 20:5 ff.), while no other Lucius is mentioned as being with Paul at the time (Acts 20:4). The author Loukas would not, of course, have mentioned himself directly. Lucius was a recognised variant of Loukas. Luke was certainly be present during his imprisonment(s) in Rome (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11). If it was Luke then a comma must separate Lucius from the following two names which were those of Christian Jews (‘my kinsmen’). But in the nature of the case no certainty can be reached.

Jason may well be the Jason who was host to Paul on his first visit to Thessalonica (Acts 17:6-7; Acts 17:9), Sosipater may well be the ‘Sopater of Berea’ who was one of the delegates who would take ‘the collection’ to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4).


Verses 21-24

Greetings From His Fellow-Workers (16:21-24).

Paul now sends greeting from his fellow-workers. He may well have had in mind the need to establish the authority of those referred to in the service of the Gospel. They were, as it were, his lieutenants.


Verse 22

‘I Tertius, who write the letter, salute you in the Lord.’

Tertius was here seen as acting as Paul’s amanuensis, and adds his own greeting to the letter. It is probable, in view of the Pauline style of the letter, that in this case his duties were restricted to writing word by word in accord with Paul’s dictation, although often an amanuensis could have a much greater impact on the style of a letter.


Verse 23

‘Gaius my host, and of the whole church, salutes you.’

This Gaius is probably the Gaius of Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14). He was clearly giving hospitality to Paul, and his description as ‘host of the whole church’ may suggest that he had prime responsibility among Christians in Corinth for acting as host to visitors. (He would have had to have had a huge house indeed in order to be able to act as host to the whole church).


Verse 23-24

Erastus is probably cited as the most influential Christian in Corinth at the time. He was the city treasurer at Corinth. A Latin inscription has been discovered which states ‘Erastus laid this pavement at his own expense in appreciation of his appointment as aedile’. The aedile was appointed for one year and was responsible for the city streets and buildings, and for certain finances. It must be seen as quite likely that a city treasurer (oikonomos) would be appointed to such a post. That Paul was associated with the city treasurer would add greatly to his standing in some Roman eyes. Erastus was a common name, so this is probably not the Erastus mentioned in Acts 19:21-22. Quartus is otherwise unknown. That he is the only one in the list of greetings to be called ‘the brother’ may suggest that he was in fact Erastus’ genuine brother, or it may simply indicate that he was a Christian.


Verse 25-26

‘Now to him who is able (tow dunamenow - to him that is of power) to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known to all the nations unto obedience of faith,’

The letter concludes with this final doxology which ties in closely with the opening chapter of Romans. For ‘to Him that is of power’ compare ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Romans 1:16); for ‘by the Scriptures of the Prophets’ compare ‘which he had promised previously in the Holy Scriptures’ (Romans 1:2). For ‘made known to all the nations unto obedience of faith’ compare ‘for obedience to the faith among all the nations’ (Romans 1:5). There appears to be a deliberate connection with the opening themes.

And the point that Paul is emphasising is that God is able to establish us ‘in accordance with my Gospel’ (compare Romans 2:16) and ‘the teaching of Jesus Christ’. The thought of being ‘established’ was found in Romans 1:11 where it was to be through Paul imparting to them some spiritual gift. Here that spiritual gift is seen to be in the form of ‘my Gospel’. By ‘my Gospel’ he of course means the Gospel that he holds to and has presented, which he elsewhere describes as ‘the Gospel of God’ (Romans 1:1), ‘the Gospel of His Son’ (Romans 1:9), ‘the Gospel’ (Romans 1:16). He is not claiming that it is unique to himself. And he immediately equates it with ‘the teaching of Jesus Christ’, for it was to Him that he looked as the source for what he taught. ‘The teaching of Jesus Christ’ could signify that his Gospel is in accordance with what Jesus Christ taught, and he makes clear in his letters that that was so. But more probably here the ‘teaching of Jesus Christ’ signifies ‘the teaching concerning Jesus Christ’, which is, however, clearly based on His teaching.

He then explains the even earlier source of the Gospel. It is, ‘according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known to all the nations unto obedience of faith.’

The Gospel is revealing ‘the mystery which has been kept in silence through times eternal, but is now manifested’. A ‘mystery is something hidden which is now revealed’. The fact that it has been ‘kept in silence through times eternal’ does not mean that there had been no indication of it previously, only that it had not been openly spoken of and clearly made known. It had rather been presented in veiled form until the time came for it to be fully manifested. The Old Testament Scriptures gave many indications of it, but these indications were expressed in veiled terms the meaning of which only became apparent when their fulfilment was revealed. But now in the Gospel those indications have been turned into clear revelation. The truth that they expressed has now been clearly revealed.

That is why the ‘Scriptures of the Prophets’ can now be called on as witnesses to and explanations of that ‘mystery’ (Romans 1:2; Romans 3:21), in order through them to make known to all nations the truth now revealed, so that they might respond in the obedience which springs from faith. It will be noted in this regard that Paul constantly calls on the Scriptures to back his arguments (e.g. in Romans 3:10-18; Romans 4:1-25; Romans 9:25-29; Romans 9:33; Romans 10:14-21; Romans 11:26-27). And this time of manifestation was not of man’s devising but was the consequence of the command of the eternal God, Who had existed throughout the times eternal when the Gospel had remained hidden. It was the eternal God Himself Who chose the time of revelation (compare Galatians 4:1).

‘To make known to all nations.’ This is what Paul has constantly argued throughout Romans, that the Good News of Christ is for all nations (e.g. Romans 1:14; Romans 1:16; Romans 4:16-18; Romans 9:25-26; Romans 10:18; Romans 10:20).

Thus the Gospel is the mystery now revealed, it is based on the Scriptures of the Prophets, and its present manifestation is the consequence of God’s command Who had now determined that that truth should be made known to all nations.


Verse 27

‘To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.’

‘To the only wise God -- to whom be glory for ever and ever’. Paul finishes with praise to the One Who is the only God, the One Who is supremely wise (compare Romans 11:32-34), as he considers the wonder of His way of salvation. And this wisdom of God has especially been revealed in His way of salvation offered through Jesus Christ. As he says in 1 Corinthians 1:30, ‘Christ is made to us wisdom from God, even righteousness, and sanctification and redemption’. For ‘the only God’ we can compare 1 Timothy 1:17 where we read, ‘and now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ Compare also Jude 1:18. And that that praise is offered ‘through Jesus Christ’, through Whom alone we can approach God, is emphasised here and is significant. For it is a reminder that central to God’s way of salvation is Jesus Christ, and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection, and that there is no other through whom we can approach God.

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Romans 16:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/romans-16.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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