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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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(Οὐρβανός, a Latin name, common among slaves and found in inscriptions of the Imperial household)

Urbanus is saluted by St. Paul in Romans 16:9 and described as ‘our fellow-worker in Christ’ (τὸν συνεργὸν ἡμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ). Prisca and Aquila are saluted in Romans 16:3 as ‘my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus,’ and Timothy is referred to in Romans 16:21 as ‘my fellow-worker.’ Elsewhere the term is used of Aristarchus (Colossians 4:11, Philemon 1:24), Clement and others (Philippians 4:3), Demas (Philemon 1:24), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), Jesus Justus (Colossians 4:11), Luke (Philemon 1:24), Mark (Colossians 4:10, Philemon 1:24), Philemon (Philemon 1:2), Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23). It is the commonest of the designations used by St. Paul (cf. the use of the verb in connexion with the household of Stephanas, 1 Corinthians 16:18 : ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑποτάσσησθε τοῖς τοιούτοις καὶ παντὶ τῷ συνεργοῦντι καὶ κοπιῶντι). The Apostle and his fellow-workers were also fellow-workers with God (1 Corinthians 3:9, θεοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν συνεργοί). Outside St. Paul’s Epistles the only other use of συνεργός in the NT is 3 John 1:8, where hospitality to Christians is commended,’ that we may be fellow-workers with the truth.’ Nothing further is known to us of the form which the work of Urbanus took, but it is clear that he assisted the Apostle in his missionary labours in some way well known to the readers of these salutations. We shall suppose him to have been resident at the time of writing in Rome or in Ephesus, according to our view of the destination of Romans 16. ‘In the adjective “our” the Apostle may include with himself either the pair he has just named [Prisca and Aquila], or the whole of those mentioned in the list before Urban us; or, on the other hand, his constant companions like Timothy, Silvanus, and Titus’ (see C. von Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age, Eng. translation , i. [1894] 394).

T. B. Allworthy.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Urbanus'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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