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Romans Chapter Sixteen


Romans 16

Never having known the Roman Christians as an assembly, Paul sends many personal salutations. This was the link which subsisted. We see how touchingly his heart dwells upon all the details of service which attached him to those who had rendered it. He who by grace had searched into all the counsels of God, who had been admitted to see that which could not be made known to man here below, remembered all that these humble Christians-these devoted women-had done for him and for the Lord. This is love; it is the real proof of the power of the Spirit of God; it is the bond of charity.

We have also here a precious and most perfect rule for our walk, namely, to be simple concerning evil, and wise unto that which is good. Christianity alone could have given such a rule; for it provides a walk that is positively good, and wisdom to walk in it. As Christians we may be simple concerning evil. What a deliverance! While the man of the world must needs acquaint himself with evil, in order to avoid it in this world of snares and of artifice, he must corrupt his mind, accustom himself to think of evil, in order not to be entrapped by it. But soon there should be entire deliverance-soon should Satan be trodden under their feet.

We see also that the apostle did not write his letters himself, but employed a brother to do it. Here it was one named Tertius (v. 22). Deeply concerned at the condition of the Galatians, he wrote himself the letter addressed to them; but the salutation at the end of this, as of other epistles, was in his own hand in order to verify the contents of the epistle. (1 Corinthians 16:21; 2 Thessalonians 3:17, in which the feigned epistle alluded to in 2 Thessalonians 2 gave occasion to state this proof, which he always gave, that an epistle was truly his.) We see likewise, by this little circumstance, that he attached a solemn and authoritative character to his epistles, that they were not merely the effusions of a spiritual heart, but that in writing them he knew and would have others understand, that they were worthy of consideration and of being preserved as authorities, as the expression and exercise of his apostolic mission, and were to be received as such; that is to say, as possessing the Lord's authority, with which he was furnished by the power of the Holy Ghost. They were letters from the Lord by his means, even as his words had also been (1 Thess. 2:13, and 1 Cor. 14:37).

We have yet to observe, with regard to the three verses at the end of the epistle, that they are, as it were, detached from all the rest, introducing, in the form of a doxology, the suggestion of a truth, the communication of which distinguished the apostle's teaching. He does not develop it here. The task which the Holy Ghost accomplished in this epistle, was the presentation of the soul individually before God according to the divine thoughts. Nevertheless this connects itself immediately with the position of the body; and the doctrine respecting the body, the assembly, cannot be separated from it. Now the apostle informs us distinctly, that the mystery, the assembly, and the gathering together in one of all things under Christ, had been entirely unknown: God had been silent on that subject in the times which were defined by the word ages, the assembly not forming a part of that course of events, and of the ways of God on earth. But the mystery was now revealed and communicated to the Gentiles by prophetic writings-not "the writings of the prophets." The epistles addressed to the Gentiles possessed this character; they were prophetic writings-a fresh proof of the character of the epistles in the New Testament.

He who has understood the doctrine of this epistle, and of the writings of Paul in general, will readily apprehend the significance of this postscript. The epistle itself develops with divine perfection and fulness how a soul can stand before God in this world, and the grace and righteousness of God, maintaining withal His counsels as to Israel.

── John DarbySynopsis of Romans


Romans 16

Chapter Contents

The apostle recommends Phebe to the church at Rome, and greets several friends there. (1-16) Cautions the church against such as made divisions. (17-20) Christian salutations. (21-24) The epistle concludes with ascribing glory to God. (25-27)

Commentary on Romans 16:1-16

(Read Romans 16:1-16)

Paul recommends Phebe to the Christians at Rome. It becomes Christians to help one another in their affairs, especially strangers; we know not what help we may need ourselves. Paul asks help for one that had been helpful to many; he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Though the care of all the churches came upon him daily, yet he could remember many persons, and send salutations to each, with particular characters of them, and express concern for them. Lest any should feel themselves hurt, as if Paul had forgotten them, he sends his remembrances to the rest, as brethren and saints, though not named. He adds, in the close, a general salutation to them all, in the name of the churches of Christ.

Commentary on Romans 16:17-20

(Read Romans 16:17-20)

How earnest, how endearing are these exhortations! Whatever differs from the sound doctrine of the Scriptures, opens a door to divisions and offences. If truth be forsaken, unity and peace will not last long. Many call Christ, Master and Lord, who are far from serving him. But they serve their carnal, sensual, worldly interests. They corrupt the head by deceiving the heart; perverting the judgments by winding themselves into the affections. We have great need to keep our hearts with all diligence. It has been the common policy of seducers to set upon those who are softened by convictions. A pliable temper is good when under good guidance, otherwise it may be easily led astray. Be so wise as not to be deceived, yet so simple as not to be deceivers. The blessing the apostle expects from God, is victory over Satan. This includes all designs and devices of Satan against souls, to defile, disturb, and destroy them; all his attempts to keep us from the peace of heaven here, and the possession of heaven hereafter. When Satan seems to prevail, and we are ready to give up all as lost, then will the God of peace interpose in our behalf. Hold out therefore, faith and patience, yet a little while. If the grace of Christ be with us, who can prevail against us?

Commentary on Romans 16:21-24

(Read Romans 16:21-24)

The apostle adds affectionate remembrances from persons with him, known to the Roman Christians. It is a great comfort to see the holiness and usefulness of our kindred. Not many mighty, not many noble are called, but some are. It is lawful for believers to bear civil offices; and it were to be wished that all offices in Christian states, and in the church, were bestowed upon prudent and steady Christians.

Commentary on Romans 16:25-27

(Read Romans 16:25-27)

That which establishes souls, is, the plain preaching of Jesus Christ. Our redemption and salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, are, without controversy, a great mystery of godliness. And yet, blessed be God, there is as much of this mystery made plain as will bring us to heaven, if we do not wilfully neglect so great salvation. Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel, and the Sun of Righteousness is risen on the world. The Scriptures of the prophets, what they left in writing, is not only made plain in itself, but by it this mystery is made known to all nations. Christ is salvation to all nations. And the gospel is revealed, not to be talked of and disputed about, but to be submitted to. The obedience of faith is that obedience which is paid to the word of faith, and which comes by the grace of faith. All the glory that passes from fallen man to God, so as to be accepted of him, must go through the Lord Jesus, in whom alone our persons and doings are, or can be, pleasing to God. Of his righteousness we must make mention, even of his only; who, as he is the Mediator of all our prayers, so he is, and will be, to eternity, the Mediator of all our praises. Remembering that we are called to the obedience of faith, and that every degree of wisdom is from the only wise God, we should, by word and deed, render glory to him through Jesus Christ; that so the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with us for ever.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Romans


Romans 16

Verse 1

[1] I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

I commend unto you Phebe — The bearer of this letter.

A servant — The Greek word is a deaconness.

Of the church in Cenchrea — In the apostolic age, some grave and pious women were appointed deaconnesses in every church. It was their office, not to teach publicly, but to visit the sick, the women in particular, and to minister to them both in their temporal and spiritual necessities.

Verse 2

[2] That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

In the Lord — That is, for the Lord's sake, and in a Christian manner. St. Paul seems fond of this expression.

Verse 4

[4] Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Who have for my life, as it were, laid down their own necks - That is, exposed themselves to the utmost danger.

But likewise all the churches of the gentiles — Even that at Rome, for preserving so valuable a life.

Verse 5

[5] Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

Salute the church that is in their house — Aquila had been driven from Rome in the reign of Claudius, but was now returned, and performed the same part there which Caius did at Corinth, Romans 16:23. Where any Christian had a large house, there they all assembled together though as yet the Christians at Rome had neither bishops nor deacons. So far were they from any shadow of papal power. Nay, there does not appear to have been then in the whole city any more than one of these domestic churches. Otherwise there can be no doubt but St. Paul would have saluted them also.

Epenetus — Although the apostle had never been at Rome, yet had he many acquaintance there. But here is no mention of Linus or Cemens; whence it appears, they did not come to Rome till after this.

The firstfruits of Asia — The first convert in the proconsular Asia.

Verse 7

[7] Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Who are of note among the apostles — They seem to have been some of the most early converts.

Fellowprisoners — For the gospel's sake.

Verse 9

[9] Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Our fellowlabourer — Mine and Timothy's, verse 21. Romans 16:21

Verse 11

[11] Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

Those of the family of Aristobulus and Narcissus, who are in the Lord - It seems only part of their families were converted. Probably, some of them were not known to St. Paul by face, but only by character. Faith does not create moroseness, but courtesy, which even the gravity of an apostle did not hinder.

Verse 12

[12] Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.

Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa — Probably they were two sisters.

Verse 13

[13] Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Salute Rufus — Perhaps the same that is mentioned, Mark 15:21.

And his mother and mine — This expression may only denote the tender care which Rufus's mother had taken of him.

Verse 14

[14] Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.

Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, … — He seems to join those together, who were joined by kindred, nearness of habitation, or any other circumstance. It could not but encourage the poor especially, to be saluted by name, who perhaps did not know that the apostle bad ever heard of them. It is observable, that whilst the apostle forgets none who are worthy, yet he adjusts the nature of his salutation to the degrees of worth in those whom he salutes.

Verse 15

[15] Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

Salute all the saints — Had St. Peter been then at Rome, St. Paul would doubtless have saluted him by name; since no one in this numerous catalogue was of an eminence comparable to his. But if he was not then at Rome, the whole Roman tradition, with regard to the succession of their bishops, fails in the most fundamental article.

Verse 16

[16] Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

Salute one another with an holy kiss — Termed by St. Peter, "the kiss of love," 1 Peter 5:14. So the ancient Christians concluded all their solemn offices; the men saluting the men, and the women the women. And this apostolical custom seems to have continued for some ages in all Christian churches.

Verse 17

[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Mark them who cause divisions — Such there were, therefore, at Rome also.

Avoid them — Avoid all unnecessary intercourse with them.

Verse 18

[18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

By good words — Concerning themselves, making great promises.

And fair speeches — Concerning you, praising and flattering you.

The harmless — Who, doing no ill themselves, are not upon their guard against them that do.

Verse 19

[19] For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

But I would have you — Not only obedient, but discreet also.

Wise with regard to that which is good — As knowing in this as possible.

And simple with regard to that which is evil — As ignorant of this as possible.

Verse 20

[20] And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

And the God of peace — The Author and Lover of it, giving a blessing to your discretion.

Shall bruise Satan under your feet — Shall defeat all the artifices of that sower of tares, and unite you more and more together in love.

Verse 21

[21] Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.

Timotheus my fellowlabourer — Here he is named even before St. Paul's kinsmen. But as he had never been at Rome, he is not named in the beginning of the epistle.

Verse 22

[22] I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you — Tertius, who wrote what the apostle dictated, inserted this, either by St. Paul's exhortation or ready permission.

Caius — The Corinthian, 1 Corinthians 1:14.

My host, and of the whole church — Who probably met for some time in his house.

Verse 23

[23] Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

The chamberlain of the city — Of Corinth.

Verse 25

[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Now to him who is able — The last words of this epistle exactly answer the first, chapter i. 1-5: Romans 1:1-5: in particular, concerning the power of God, the gospel, Jesus Christ, the scriptures, the obedience of faith, all nations.

To establish you — Both Jews and gentiles.

According to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ — That is, according to the tenor of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which I preach.

According to the revelation of the mystery — Of the calling of the gentiles, which, as plainly as it was foretold in the Prophets, was still hid from many even of the believing Jews.

Verse 26

[26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

According to the commandment — The foundation of the apostolical office.

Of the eternal God — A more proper epithet could not be. A new dispensation infers no change in God. Known unto him are all his works, and every variation of them, from eternity.

Made known to all nations — Not barely that they might know, but enjoy it also, through obeying the faith.

Verse 27

[27] To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

To the only wise God — Whose manifold wisdom is known in the church through the gospel, Ephesians 3:10. "To him who is able," and, to the wise God," are joined, as 1 Corinthians 1:24, where Christ is styled "the wisdom of God," and "the power of God." To him be glory through Christ Jesus for ever - And let every believer say, Amen!

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Romans


Chapter 16. Greetings and Praising

Wise about What Is Good
Innocent about What Is Evil

I. Commend Phoebe Seriously

  1. Sister in the Lord
  2. A Servant of the Church
  3. Help in Love

II. The Billboard of Successful Saints

  1. Risk Lives
  2. Work Hard in the Lord
  3. Paul's Relatives

III. Resist Temptations Contrary to the Teaching

  1. Behave with Care
  2. Crush Satan
  3. Glory Be to God
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Sixteen General Review
1) To be impressed with such Christians as Phoebe, Priscilla, and
2) To understand the warning against those who cause division
In this last chapter, Paul closes with miscellaneous instructions, 
greetings, warnings, and a doxology.  Of particular note are his
comments concerning Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea (1-2).
Also, his greetings to Priscilla and Aquila remind us of how
instrumental this couple was in the spread of the gospel (3-5a).  The
remaining greetings from Paul remind us that there were many others who
contributed to the growth of the church in the first century (5b-16).
A final warning is given against those who would cause divisions and 
occasions of stumbling contrary to what Paul had taught in this epistle 
(17-18).  For above all else, Paul wanted to ensure their continued 
obedience in the gospel (19-20).
Paul's companions at Corinth add their greetings (21-24), and Paul 
closes this wonderful epistle with an expression of praise to God for 
the revelation of the gospel which was leading to the obedience of 
faith among all nations (25-27).
      1. A servant of the church in Cenchrea (1)
      2. To receive her in a worthy manner, helping her along (2)
      1. To Priscilla and Aquila (3-5a)
      2. To various others (5b-16)
   C. A FINAL WARNING (17-20)
      1. Against those who selfishly cause divisions and offenses
      2. To continue in obedience, for God will give them victory
      1. From Timothy and others (21)
      2. From Tertius, Paul's "amanuensis" [personal scribe] (22)
      3. From brethren at Corinth (23-24)
      1. According to the gospel and preaching of Jesus Christ (25a)
      2. According to the mystery once secret, but now revealed and 
         made known to all nations (25b-26)
         a. Made known by the prophetic Scriptures (26a)
         b. Made known for obedience to the faith (26b)
1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Concluding Instructions And Farewells (1-24)
   - Paul's Doxology (25-27)
2) How does Paul describe Phoebe? (1-2)
   - A servant of the church; a helper of Paul and of many
3) How does Paul describe Priscilla and Aquila? (3-4)
   - Fellow workers; who risked their necks for Paul's life
4) How does Paul describe those who cause division and offenses? (18)
   - They serve not the Lord, but their own belly
5) Is the "mystery" referred to in verse 25 still hidden? (25-26)
   - No, it has been revealed and made known through preaching and the
     Scriptures to all nations
6) What is the objective of the gospel according to verse 26?
   - Obedience to the faith


--《Executable Outlines


Greetings and Praising

Wise about What Is Good

Innocent about What Is Evil


I.  Commend Phoebe Seriously

1.    Sister in the Lord

2.    A Servant of the Church

3.    Help in Love

II.The Billboard if Successful Saints

1.    Risk Lives

2.    Work Hard in the Lord

3.    Paul’s Relatives

III.       Resist Temptations Contrary to the Teaching

1.    Behave with Care

2.    Crush Satan

3.    Glory Be to God

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament