Introduction to Romans Chapter 16
This chapter contains a recommendation of a single person, herein mentioned; a list of the chief of the saints at Rome, who are saluted by name, and some with singular encomiums; a caution to beware of false teachers; various salutations of persons that were with the apostle sent to the church at Rome; and the whole is concluded with a doxology, or an ascription of glory to God. First, a commendation is given of a woman, by whom this long letter was sent, who is described by her name, Phebe; by her spiritual relation, a sister in Christ; by her office or character, a servant of the church at Cenchrea, Romans 16:1, who is recommended to the saints at Rome, to receive her into their communion, conversation, and affection, as became them, and to assist her in every thing she might need from them; which is enforced by this reason, because she had been a succourer of the apostle, and many others,
Romans 16:2, and next follows a catalogue of the principal saints at Rome, to whom the apostle sends his Christian salutations; and among these stand, in the first place, Aquila and Priscilla, and the church in their house, Romans 16:3, who are described as greatly assisting to him in the cause of Christ, and as having a strong affection for him; which they showed by risking their lives on his account, for which he gives them thanks, as did all the churches: Secondly, Epaenetus is next saluted, as having a great interest in the apostle's affections, and as being one of the first converts in Achaia, Romans 16:5. Thirdly, a woman named Mary, who did her utmost to serve the apostle, and those that were with him, Romans 16:6. Fourthly, a couple of saints, Andronicus, and Junia, described by their relation to the apostle, his kinsmen; by their sufferings with him, fellow prisoners; by the fame and credit they were in among the Christians of the first rank, even the apostles; and by their early conversion, being converted before the apostle himself, Romans 16:7. Fifthly, next in the list is Amplias, who is saluted as in the Lord, and as beloved in him, Romans 16:8. Sixthly, two worthy men are joined together, Urban and Stachys; the one is saluted as an helper in Christ, and the other as beloved by the apostle, Romans 16:9. Seventhly, Apelles is next named, and commended as one approved in Christ. Eighthly, the family of Aristobulus is greeted, Romans 16:10. Ninthly, a kinsman of the apostle's, by name Herodion: and, Tenthly, the household of Narcissus, said to be in the Lord, Romans 16:11. Eleventhly, two excellent women are greeted, who had been indefatigable in the service of Christ: and, Twelfthly, another woman, by name Persis, a person to be respected and loved, on account of her labour in the Lord, Romans 16:12. Thirteenthly, Rufus is saluted as one chosen in Christ, and also his mother, and who was the mother of the apostle, Romans 16:13. Fourteenthly, five of the saints are joined together, who are mentioned by name, and other brethren with them, whose names are not set down, Romans 16:14, and, Lastly, five other saints, with all the brethren with them, are likewise saluted, Romans 16:15, and these, and all the members of the church, are exhorted to salute one another in an affectionate and chaste manner, who are told that all the churches saluted them,
Romans 16:16, then follows the exhortation to take care of false teachers, to mark them, and avoid them; who are described as schismatics and heretics, making divisions in the church, and preaching contrary to the Gospel taught and learned, Romans 16:17. The arguments or reasons made use of to enforce the exhortation, are taken partly from the characters of these teachers, being selfish men, who served not the Lord Jesus, but their own bellies; and deceivers, who by smooth words and plausible doctrines imposed upon simple minds,
Romans 16:18, and partly from the characters of the saints at Rome, who were simple and credulous, and ready to give in to everything that carried an appearance of truth; and though they were to be commended for their ready obedience to the Gospel, yet it became them to mingle wisdom and prudence with their simplicity and readiness to receive what appeared to be truth, Romans 16:19, and from a promise of victory over Satan and his emissaries in a short time; to which the apostle annexes his usual salutation, and "Amen", as if he had concluded the epistle,
Romans 16:20, but adds various salutations of persons that were with him, who desired to be remembered to the brethren at Rome, as Timotheus a fellow worker, Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, his kinsmen, Romans 16:21, Tertius the writer of the epistle, Romans 16:22, Gaius the host of the apostle, and of the whole church; Erastus, chamberlain of the city of Corinth, and Quartus a brother, Romans 16:23, and then the apostle repeats the above salutation, Romans 16:24, and yet still has not finished his epistle, but concludes with a doxology, Romans 16:25, in which is celebrated the power of God, in establishing his people according to the Gospel, commended by its being the preaching of Christ, and the revelation of the mystery hid from ages past; and the goodness of God is also taken notice of, in giving orders to make it manifest, and in making it manifest to the Gentiles, in order to bring them to the obedience of faith; and likewise the wisdom of God is observed, to whom wisdom alone belongs, and which is apparent in the Gospel before mentioned, and in all the methods of his grace, as well as providence; and glory to him, through Christ for ever, is wished and prayed for; and so ends this excellent and valuable epistle.