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THE COMMENDATION OF
COMPANIONS AND HELPERS IN A SERIES OF SALUTATIONS, WITH WHICH IS JOINED A
WARNING AGAINST SEPARATISTIC FALSE TEACHERS (JEWS AND GENTILES), WHO COULD
HINDER AND EVEN DESTROY ROME’S DESTINY AND HIS APOSTOLIC MISSION. YET THE
GOD OF PEACE WILL SHORTLY BRUISE SATAN (JUDAISTIC AND PAGANISTIC ERRORS)
UNDER THEIR FEET.
A. Phebe of Corinth
1I commend unto you
Phebe our sister, which [who] is a servant [deaconess] of the church which
is at Cenchrea: 2That
ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in
whatsoever business she hath [may have] need of you: for she [too] hath been
a succourer of many, and of myself also.
B. Roman friends
and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus: 4Who
have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give
also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise
the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is
unto Christ. Greet [Salute] Mary, who bestowed much labour on us [or,
Andronicus and Junia [or,
my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among5
the apostles, who also 8were
in Christ before me. Greet [Salute] Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.
[Urbanus], our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
10Salute Apelles [the]
approved in Christ. Salute them which [who] are of Aristobulus’
household [the household of
Herodion my kinsman. Greet [Salute] them that be of the
household of Narcissus,
are in the Lord. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord.
Salute the beloved Persis, which [who] laboured much in the Lord.
[the] chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes [Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas],6
and the brethren which [who] are with them.
15Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and
his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which [who] are with them.
another with a holy kiss. The [All the]7
churches of Christ salute you.
C. Warning against false teachers
17Now I beseech
you, brethren, [to] mark them which [those who] cause divisions and offences
contrary to the doctrine [teaching]8
which ye have 18[omit
have] learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord
Christ, but their own belly; and by [their] good words and fair speeches10
deceive the hearts of the simple. 19For
your obedience is come abroad unto all men.
I am glad [rejoice] therefore on your behalf [over you]:11
but] yet I would have you wise unto [concerning]that which is good, and
simple [harmless] concerning evil. 20And
the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ be
with you. Amen [omit
of Phebe the deaconess; vers. 1, 2.—B. The salutations to his Roman friends
and companions in their household churches, and the commendations therein
expressed; vers. 3–16.—C. Warning against false teachers, who create
dissension. Benediction; vers. 17–20.
In the Apostle’s salutations he does not merely take
cognizance of friendly relations in a good-natured way, but rather designs,
with a distinct section of his Epistle, and in the wise and sincere form of
his salutations, to awaken in the Church at Rome the consciousness that, in
its principal elements, it is indirectly a Pauline church—that is, one
appropriated by him in his universal efforts.*
Comp., on this point, the Introduction,
p. 33, and the construction of the Epistle. It is characteristic, that
Aquila and Priscilla stand at the head of those whom he salutes; by their
settlement in Ephesus they bad already prepared for his connection there,
just as they now had done in Rome, and afterward do again in Ephesus; 2 Tim.
4:19. And so there are many among those saluted who have preceded him, as
his precursors. The whole body of those greeted is made up of different
classes. Some are helpers of his missionary labors, who have labored with
him, and part of whom have exposed themselves to dangers for him: Prisca,
Aquila, Mary, Andronicus, Junia, and Urbanus. A number of them are his
relatives, such as Andronicus, Junia, and Herodion; or very near friends, as
Rufus and his mother. Besides, there are those whom he can distinguish as
disciples converted through his instrumentality, or well-known friends:
Epenetus, Amplias, Stachys, Apelles; perhaps also Tryphena, Tryphosa, and
Persis. We can further distinguish companies, a church in the house of
Aquila, an assembly at the houses of Hermes, Hermas, and their companions;
at the houses of Philologus, Julia, and their companions. Perhaps the
believers in the households of Aristobulus and of Narcissus also form
separate divisions of the Church.
A. Vers. 1 and 2.—Ver. 1. I
commend. [Both an introduction and a
commendation are implied. The description consists of two parts: First, she
is a sister, which is the general ground for welcoming her; then, more
specially, she is a deaconess, who had faithfully discharged her duty (ver.
2). The name is derived from
Phœbus (Apollo), but there is nothing remarkable in this, since the
etymology would be as little recalled then, as now, in the case of proper
names.—R.] See 2 Cor. 5:12. Phebe is usually regarded as the bearer of the
Who is a deaconess;
On the institution of deaconesses, comp. Church History and the Pastoral
Epistles. Meyer furnishes the special literature on p. 539. [The word
occurs frequently in later ecclesiastical Greek. Pliny, in the celebrated
letter to Trajan, says: “Necessarium credidi,
ex duabus ancillis quœ
dicebantur, quid esset veri et per tormenta quœrere.”
Their duties were, to take care of the sick, poor, and strangers in the
female portion of the Church. “This office was the more needful on account
of the rigid separation of the sexes at that day, especially among the
Greeks” (Schaff). Meyer refers to Bingham,
Orig. i. pp. 341–366; Schoene,
Geschichtsforsch. über d. Kirchlich. Gebräuche,
iii. pp. 102 ff.; Herzog, Encykloped.,
iii. p. 368; Neander, Pflanzung,
i. p. 265 f. The last named argues that the deaconesses must not be
confounded with the
χῆραι of 1 Tim. 5:3–16. See, however, Lange’s
Comm. in loco. We
may add: Schaff, Apostolic Church,
p. 135; Suicer, Thesaurus, sub voce.
Of Phebe, Conybeare says (St. Paul,
ii. p. 154): “She was a widow of consideration and wealth, who acted as one
of the deaconesses of the Church, and was now about to sail to Rome upon
some private business, apparently connected with a lawsuit in which she was
engaged.” He adds: “She could not (according to Greek manners) have been
mentioned as acting in the independent manner described, either if her
husband had been living or if she had been unmarried.”—R.]
Cenchrea. The eastern
seaport of Corinth (see the Encyclopædias).
Ver. 2. That ye receive her
in the Lord. She should be received with
Christian interest.—And that ye assist her
[χαὶ παραστῆτε αὐτῇ.
The verb is frequently used as a legal term, hence the conjecture of
Conybeare, that her business at Rome was connected with a lawsuit.—R.] It is
hardly probable that the early Church employed deaconesses to travel in the
discharge of official business; the business of Phebe seems to have been of
a personal character.
[For she too,
χαὶ γὰρ αὐτή.
She herself also,
(this one).—R.] The reason why the Romans should zealously support her in
her affairs does not lie in an official call to Rome, but in her services
for the churches at home, and for the Apostle in particular.
is a specially honorable designation. [It may refer to her official duties,
but not necessarily so. The idea it implies is of service bestowed by a
superior on inferiors.—Of myself also.
“When and where, we know not. It is not improbable that she may have been,
like Lydia, one whose heart the Lord opened at the first preaching of Paul,
and whose house was his lodging;” Alford.—R.]
B. Vers. 3-16.—Ver. 3.
Prisca. [This is the real name;
Priscilla is the
diminutive, according to the common mode of forming such appellations.—R.]
She belonged, like Phebe, to the women who were prominent because of the
energy of their faith, and deserved the honorable position before the name
of her husband, Aquila (comp. Acts 18:2). See 2 Tim. 4:19. [The frequent
sneers at Paul about his views respecting the female sex and their
prerogatives might be spared us, were this chapter carefully read. The order
here is a sufficient answer: the wife’s name first, because she was
foremost, no doubt. The standard is, after all, capacity, not sex. Both are
called “my helpers,” and it would seem that, as such, they were both engaged
in spiritual labors, which term includes vastly more than public
Ver. 4. Their own necks.
Meyer translates the
ὑπέθηχαν literally: have
laid under, under the
executioner’s axe. But there has been no mention made in Paul’s previous
history of the executioner’s axe. Even Meyer himself doubts whether we
should take the expression in its exact meaning. Since Paul was a member of
their family, they were answerable for him in the tumults that arose in
Corinth and Ephesus (Acts 18:12; 19:23).—What they did for the Apostle, was
done for all the churches of the Gentiles.
Ver. 5. Likewise salute the
church that is in their house [καὶ
τὴν κατ̓ οἶκον αὐτῶνἐκκλησίαν]. The definite
prototype of an apostolical household church, the type of the later parish.
At the same time, the single household churches in Rome are already
connected by the bond of fellowship into one spiritual church. Accordingly,
the church in the house is almost = the assembly in a certain house.*
Tholuck: “In the metropolis, which was at that time about four miles in
circumference, there were not less than five of them (comp. Kist, in
Illgen’s Zeitschrift für hist. Theologie,
ii., 2d part, p. 65).”
Epenetus. “Unknown, as
all the following ones to ver. 15. (Rufus may be the son of Simon; Mark
15:21.) The legends of the Fathers made the most of them martyrs and
bishops, and the Synopsis
of Dorotheus misplaces the most of them among the seventy disciples;” Meyer.
The first-fruits of Asia
[ἀπαρχὴ τῇς̓ Ασίας.
See Textual Note
Asia proconsularis. The
reading Achaia is less authenticated, and creates difficulty, inasmuch as,
in 1 Cor. 16:15, Stephanas is mentioned as the first-fruits of Achaia. On
the solution of this difficulty (by supposing that Epenetus was a member of
the household of Stephanas, now in Rome), see Tholuck, p. 738.—[Εἰς
χριστόν. Meyer, Philippi:
with reference to Christ;
De Wette, Lange: for Christ.
The meaning obviously is: first converted to Christ.—R.] The first-fruits,
or those first converted, were generally the natural leaders of the
Ver. 6. Mary.
Not more definitely known. There is no need of explaining that the reading,
bestowed much labor†
on us, is much
more natural than the other, on you,
for elsewhere the Apostle always brings out prominently the relations of the
persons saluted to his own labors. [See Textual
Ver. 7. And Junia
(or Junias). The
word has often been taken, and by Chrysostom [Grotius] among the rest, as a
feminine noun, Junia; it seems more probable that it is Junias, an
abbreviation of Junianus (see Tholuck, p. 739). [If feminine, it is the name
of the wife or sister of Andronicus; the Rec.
accents thus: Ἰουςίαν,
which indicates the feminine. Most editors (not Tregelles):
It is as impossible as it is unnecessary to decide the question, though
Meyer thinks the added description favors the masculine form.—R.]
My kinsmen. The
has been understood by Olshausen, and others, in the broader sense of
against which it has been remarked that, in that case, others than Jewish
Christians have received this designation, besides the three thus
denominated. Dr. Baur finds in these kinsmen not only a mark of the
unauthenticity of chap. 16, but even of the unfairness of the author, who,
by this fiction, would make for the Apostle the favorable appearance of
having sustained a more intimate relation to the Jewish-Christian Church in
My fellow-prisoners [συναιχμαλώτους
μου]. Further particulars are not known. But as,
according to Acts 23:16, the Apostle had a nephew in Jerusalem who took a
deep interest in his cause, and as it is said of Andronicus and Junias, or
Junia, that they were before him in Christ—that is, were believers—so it is
natural to make a family from the names of Andronicus, Junias, or better,
Junia and Herodion, and to suppose that these, as the early converted
kinsmen of Paul, had already made an impression in Jerusalem upon the
unconverted Paul, and, after his conversion, had taken an interest in him in
his captivity. Then, these were specially adapted, like Aquila and
Priscilla, to prepare the way for him in Rome. This would also give a simple
explanation to among the apostles,
ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις.
They were, highly respected as believers among the apostles in Jerusalem. So
also Meyer: “distinguished—that is, most honorably known to the apostles.
Thus Beza, Grotius, and most others; De Wette, Fritzsche, and Philippi. They
take the right ground, for
is never used by Paul in the broader sense (as Acts 14:4–14), and therefore
cannot be explained, with Origen, Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, &c., and
Tholuck: among [i.
e., among the number of]
See Meyer for hypotheses respecting their conversion.
Ver. 8. Amplias.
An abbreviation of Ampliaton.—[Beloved in the
Lord, “beloved in
the bonds of Christian fellowship”
Ver. 9. Urbanus—Stachys.
The Apostle’s distinctions result from an exact view.
Ver. 10. Apelles.
This has been confounded (by Origen, and others) with Apollos, but without
any ground whatever. [Comp. Horace, Sat.,
i 5. 100. Supposed to be a freedman, but the name was common among this
class (Meyer, Philippi). There are various conjectures about the grouping of
freedmen and slaves in these verses.—R.]
The approved [τὸν
δόκιμον]. A predicate of tested steadfastness in
faith.—Who are of the household of Aristobulus.
That is, the Christians in the household, probably slaves of Aristobulus.
See the additional ἐν
κυρίω in the following verse. [Alford: “It does
not follow that either Aristobulus or Narcissus were
themselves Christians. Only
those of their familiœ
(τούς ἐκ τῶν)
are here saluted who were
for we must understand this also after
Ver. 11. Narcissus.
Grotius, Neander, and others, have regarded him as a freedman of Claudius
28). [This freedman, however, was put to death two or three years before
this Epistle was written. It is possible that the salutation is addressed to
his family, known thus after his death.—R.]
Ver. 12. Persis.
[The name is derived from Persia, as the native country of the bearer; but
it is not known that it was borne for this reason in this particular
instance.—R.] She is thus candidly distinguished from the two just named.
Ver. 13. Rufus.
See Commentary, Mark,
p. 151.—The chosen.
A very expressive distinction. [Not merely “elect in Christ,” but a chosen
man, a distinguished Christian (Hodge).—R.]—His
mother and mine [καὶ
τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶἐμοῦ. “His
mother by nature, mine
by maternal kindness” (Webster and Wilkinson).—R.]. Fervid expression of
gratitude for the enjoyment of friendly care.
Ver. 14. Hermas.
This verse contains a numerous group, probably intimately associated, and
less known to the Apostle. Hermas has been regarded by Origen and Eusebius
as the author of the work:
But this author belongs to the middle of the second century.—The
brethren who are with them [τούς
σὺν αὐτοῖς ἀδελφούς]. This, as well as the
expression in ver. 15: All the saints who are
with them, has been understood as referring to
a household church. Incidental hypotheses: (1) Christian associations for
common business pursuits, &c. (Fritzsche, Philippi). (2) Missionary unions
(Reiche). [The latter is quite improbable.—R. ]
Ver. 15. Julia.
Probably the wife of Philologus; for, in what follows, she is distinguished
from the sister of Nereus.
Ver. 16. With a holy kiss.
Ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίω̣,
1 Thess. 5:26. Comp. 1 Peter 5:14:
ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης.
“In Tertullian, it is the osculum pacis;
the fraternal kiss after the finished prayer in the assemblies of the
Christians is mentioned by Justin Martyr (M. Apol. 1. Op. 65);” Tholuck.—For
further particulars, see Meyer and Winer. The continuance of this Oriental
Christian custom of connecting the salutation and the kiss as an expression
of fellowship and of common festivals, is known in the Greek church (see
All the churches [αἱ
ἐκκλησίαι πᾶσαι. See
As Paul has made known in many churches his intention of going to Rome, and
because of this opportunity had received many salutations for Rome, he
regarded himself sufficiently warranted to greet Rome in the name of all the
churches, particularly of those which he had established. Grotius limits the
expression to the Grecian churches; others, in other ways. [Stuart,
Olshausen, to the churches in Corinth and vicinity; Bengel, to those he had
C. Vers. 17-20.—Ver. 17. Now
I beseech you, brethren. A warning against
those who cause divisions and variances is very properly connected with the
hearty and solemn injunction for the universal preservation of unity and
harmony. See an analogous instance in Eph. 6:10 ff. This section is,
therefore, by no means “supplementary,”
as Meyer holds it to be. On the contrary, it is observed, by both him and
Tholuck, that it may be inferred from the position of the Apostle’s words
(at the conclusion), and their brevity, that the false teachers here
designated have not yet
found entrance into the Church. He already knew that they existed,and that
they increased both intensively and extensively; therefore he could—as he
subsequently did in his farewell address at Miletus, when setting out for
Ephesus—here definitely predict their presence in Rome. Carpzov has had in
mind the differences in chaps. 14 and 15; Clericus, and others, the early
heathen philosophers. In both, the idea of Christian false teachers is
wanting. Others have decided them to be Libertines. That the Apostle, at all
events, had in view, besides the future Judaizing and Ebionitic zealots for
the law, the gnosticizing and antinomian spirits of the future, is proved on
looking at the arrangement for the reception of both these tendencies, which
he, according to chaps, xiv. and xv., unquestionably found already in the
Church. According to De Wette, the kind of false teachers here mentioned
cannot be more specifically determined; according to Tholuck, with reference
to Phil. 3:2, &c, the zealots of the law are meant.
[Alford says: “Judging by
the text itself, we infer that these teachers
were similar to those pointed out in Phil. 3:2, &c.:
unprincipled and selfish persons, seducing others for
their own gain; whether Judaizers or not, does
not appear; but considering that the great opponents of the Apostle were of
this party, we may perhaps infer that they also belonged to it.”—R.]
To mark [σκοπεῖν.
To notice carefully; used in Phil. 3:17, with reference to those who should
be imitated; more intensive than
(Meyer).—R.] This, and the avoiding of them, Krehl thinks can be referred
only to present false teachers, which is very properly opposed by Tholuck.—[Divisions
τὰς διχοστασίας καὶ τὰ σκάνδαλα.
The articles point to known divisions and scandals, whether Paul referred to
any particular persons or not. Dr. Hodge seems disposed to refer the first
word to doctrinal divisions, the latter to moral offences; so Webster and
Wilkinson. Philippi and Meyer seem to refer the first to divisions, however
occasioned, and the latter to temptations to depart from the gospel ground
of faith and life. The objection to the former distinction is, that the
“divisions” hinted at in the Epistle were mainly of an ethical rather than a
doctrinal origin.—Contrary to the teaching,
παρὰ τὴν διδαχήν.
On the preposition, see Gal. 1:8, Lange’s Comm.,
p. 19. Most German commentators are disposed to reject at least the
exclusive reference to doctrinal instruction. As our English word
dogmatic theology, we
which includes all instruction.—A commendation of their teachers is implied,
which hints at the indirect Pauline origin of the Church.—Avoid
ἐκκλίνατε ἀπ̓ αὐτῶν.
There is no reference to official excommunication, but to personal treatment
of those who might or might not be church members.—R.]
Ver. 18. Serve not our Lord
ἡμῶν χριστῷ οὐ δουλεύουσιν. See
See chap. 2:8; Phil. 3:19; 2 Cor. 2:20. Fanaticism, by its confusion of
spiritual and carnal affections and motives, degenerates into disguised
sensualism.—Their own belly
[τῆ ἑαυτῶν κοιλίᾳ].
This is a symbol of their self-interest, selfishness, sensuality, and of
their final aiming at a mere life of pleasure; comp. 1 Tim. 6:5; Titus 1:11.
And by their good words and fair speeches
[διὰ τῆς χρηστολογίας
καὶ εὐλλογίας. See
Comp. 2 Cor. 11:14. By good words they represent themselves in a rosy light,
and by flattering speeches, their hearers. For further particulars, see
Tholuck, p. 741. Melanchthon understands, by
religious blessings and promises; for example, those of the monks. [Hodge
takes the two words as synonymous. Meyer thinks the former characterizes the
tenor, and the
latter the form,
of their words. χρηστ.
is found only here in the New Testament. The view given by Dr. Lange is
The simple [τῶν
ἀκάκων. The unwary]. Those who, as such, can be
easily deceived. [How many were deceiving and deceived, appears from Phil.
1:15, written from Rome a few years afterward.—R.]
Ver. 19. For your obedience
[ἡ γὰρὑμῶν ὑπακοή].
is explained in different ways:
1. It implies, indirectly, that they also are not free
from this ἀκακία
(Origen, Fritzsche). [Dr. Hodge takes obedience as *AP*=
obedient disposition, and,
with others, regards this as implying a liability to be led astray. But
“obedience,” without further definition, would mean the “obedience of
faith,” in this Epistle at least; besides, this view implies that their
obedience was not altogether of a commendable character.—R.]
2. It implies an antithesis; as for the Roman Christians,
he knows that they, as being obedient to the gospel, cannot be so easily
deceived (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Meyer).*
specifies a second ground for ver. 17 (Tholuck, De Wette, Philippi). [So
Alford. But Meyer correctly says, that
is never repeated thus in a strictly coördinate relation. Alford finds also
a slight reproof here.—R.]
Explanation (1) is, as it seems to us, very aptly
modified by Rückert. Since they succeeded in deceiving the simple, they will
think that they
can also easily find an entrance to you, for they regard your obedience,
which is everywhere known, as that very simplicity. [This avoids the
objection to which the view, as held by Dr. Hodge, is open. Still, Meyer
seems nearest the true explanation.—R.]
I rejoice therefore over you
[ἐφ̓ ὑμῖνοὖν χαίρω.
See Textual Note11.
The emphatic position of
favors Meyer’s view of
γάρ, while the next clause, with its adversative
seems to introduce the real warning.—R.] It is, at all events, desirable
that they allow themselves to be warned, according to the rule which the
Apostle lays down.
א. A. C, Rec.,
which seems to be an interpolation on account of
which follows.—R.] They should be receptive inquirers after what is good.
But, on the other hand, they should be as unreceptive of, and unteachable
in, what is bad, as if they were simple-hearted people.—Harmless.
[Dr. Lange renders: ungelehrig, einfältig,
simple, as in E. V. But
harmless seems to be
preferable, especially as another Greek word has been rendered “simple” just
before (ver. 18).—R.] Meyer explains
by pure [i.
e., unmixed with, free from, evil], which does
not make an antithesis to the foregoing (comp. 1 Cor. 14:20). Matt. 10:16,
on the contrary, constitutes a harmonious antithesis to the whole passage.
For different expositions of the
see Tholuck. [Dr. Hodge: “Wise, so that good may result, and simple, so that
evil may not be done;” so most commentators.—R.]
Ver. 20. And the God of
peace, &c. [ὁ
δὲΘεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης, κ.τ.λ.] In the divine power of
the Spirit and Author of peace. It is just as the God of peace that He will
bruise Satan, who, by his false doctrines, causes divisions, and rends the
Church asunder. The
bruise, is the prophetic future; but not
optatively, according to Flatt [Stuart] (see 2 Cor. 11:15). The expression
is an allusion to Gen. 3:15.
The grace, &c. This is
the usual concluding benediction (see 2 Cor. 13:13). In 2 Thess. 3:16, 18, a
concluding salutation also follows the benediction. [The presence of the
benediction here has led to various conjectures: that Paul intended to
close, but afterward added the salutations; that ver. 24 is not genuine,
since it only repeats this doxology, &c. But the text is well sustained
here, except the final Amen
(see Textual Note12);
and certainly no one has a right to say that Paul shall always close his
Epistles in the same way, or to impugn either the genuineness of the text or
the inspiration of the author, because he does not conform to a certain mode
(however customary with him).—R.]
1. We become best acquainted with the nature of the
office of deaconess in apostolic times from the Pastoral Epistles. From
these it is evident, first of all, that this office was not of a missionary
character, but a local service in the Church, springing from Christian
consecration, and more exactly defined, by the restraint then placed on
women, by the general destination of the sex, as well as by age and
character. This form of the office in the early Church was succeeded, in the
Middle Ages, by the religious orders, which assumed, besides, a qualified
missionary function. Recent times have attempted glorious things in relation
to this office, and have accomplished great results; but the full
development of the matter from the idea of a local evangelical service, into
which, in its wider sense, all the female members of the Church are called,
remains a grand problem for the Evangelical Church. [Woman’s work in the
Christian women called to a diaconal Service; some to a more special, and
perhaps official, service of this nature.—The danger of the mediæval extreme
best avoided by regarding the Church as founded upon the family; not
intended to override it (see the household churches named here). How are we
Protestants ignoring this idea?—The diaconal service a priestly one (chap.
15:27); noble, however humble it appears.—R.]
2. The commendation of Phebe, a model for Christian
3. The Apostle’s salutations. Christianity is as
intensively personal in a holy sense, as actually free from the ungodly
respect of persons. The Apostle’s friends as preparers of his way, and
witnesses of his greatness and humility. His brief descriptions of them are
models of a proper estimation of persons, free from all flattery. A group of
constellations in the apostolic age, as a segment of that spiritual starry
sky which eternity will reveal.
4. The warning against the false teachers. See the
5. The Apostle’s glorious prophecy opens a still greater
future for Rome. We also read, in Matt, xiii., that it is Satan who sows the
tares among the wheat, and thereby causes offences. False teaching seems
here to be a ground of divisions and offences. The first practically evil
effect proceeds outwardly, the other comes inwardly.
6. It has been said, that the Apostle has pronounced too
hard a sentence on his opponents. But the Apostle had established the great
festival of peace, and therefore he must regard the enemies of God’s Church
of peace as just what they really are—the demoniacal disturbers of the
institution of a heavenly life on earth.
(The Homiletical and Practical
Notes are at the end of the chapter.)
THE GREETINGS OF THE
PAULINE CIRCLE TO THE CHURCH AT ROME, AND THE INVOCATION OF BLESSINGS BY
PAUL HIMSELF. HIS DOXOLOGICAL SEALING OF THE GOSPEL FOR ALL TIME BY A REAL
workfellow [saluteth you],1
and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you [omit
salute you]. 22I
Tertius, who wrote this23[the]
epistle, salute you in the Lord. Gaius mine host, and [the
host] of thewhole church, saluteth you.
Erastus the chamberlain [treasurer] of the city
24saluteth you, and
Quartus a [our] brother. The2
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be
with you all. Amen.
25Now to him that
is of power [who is able]3
to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret [in
silence] since the world began [during eternalages],
26But now is made
manifest, and by [through] the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the
commandment of the everlasting God, [is] made known to all nations for
[unto] the obedience of faith: 27To
God only wise, be
glory through Jesus Christ for ever [To the only wise God, through Jesus
Christ; to whom be the glory for ever].4
A. The salutations.—B. The doxology, in conformity with
the fundamental thought of the Epistle, in the form of a liturgical
antiphony. The everlasting Amen of the Church as a response to the
everlasting gospel of God, as an Amen: 1. To the proclamation of the. gospel
in general; 2. To Paul’s proclamation of the call of the Gentiles; 3. T
God's command to bear the gospel forth unto all nations, for the
consummation of which our Epistle is designed.
A. Vers. 21-24.—Ver. 21.
Timotheus. See Acts 20:4; also the
Not Luke (Origen, and others). “It is uncertain whether this is the Lucius
of Cyrene in Acts 13:1.”—Jason.
Comp. Acts 17:5.—Sosipater.
Acts 20:4. The identity is, at least, by no means improbable. [In regard to
these three persons commentators differ. All three
may be identical with those
mentioned in the Acts, yet all the names were common, while Sosipater and
Sopater (Acts 20:4) may be the same name, without the identity of persons
being thereby established.—My kinsmen,
See vers. 7, 11. It seems probable that some relationship more close than
that of fellow-Jew is here referred to.—R.]
Ver. 22. Tertius.
Probably an Italian (he has, without any ground, been identified with Silas;*
see Meyer). The writer of this Epistle, which Paul dictated to him. On other
untenable hypotheses (a clean copy; a translation into Greek), see Meyer. It
was natural that he should present his own salutation. [Tholuck considers
this irregularity a corroboration of the genuineness of the chapter.—R.]
Groundless suppositions: 1. Paul wrote from ver. 23 with his own hand
(Rambach); 2. From ver. 23, Tertius wrote in his own name (Glöckler).
[“Entirely groundless also is the view of Olshausen: Paul wrote the doxology
immediately after ver. 20, but on a special and small parchment, the vacant
side of which was used by the amanuensis, Tertius, in order to write vers.
21–24 in his own name;” Meyer. The internal evidence is altogether against
this.—In the Lord,
Wordsworth follows Origen in joining these words with what immediately
precedes, as implying that the work of an amanuensis, not less than that of
an apostle, is done “in the Lord.” Most commentators connect it with
which is preferable.—R.]
Ver. 23. Gaius.
Caius. See the Lexicons on the frequent occurrence of the name. The identity
with the Caius in 1 Cor. 1:14 is very probable; perhaps he is also the same
person as the Caius in Acts 20:4. Paul was now lodging with him, as he had
already done with others.—Probably also a household congregation gathered in
his house. [Or he may have been universal in his hospitality to Christians
Erastus. The city
treasurer. The same name in Acts 19:22 and 2 Tim. 4:20 does not seem to
denote the same person, unless, as Meyer remarks, Erastus had given up his
This shows how the Greeks transferred the sound of the Latin
Qu into their language.—R.]
A brother in a general Christian sense.
B. Vers. 25-27.—Ver. 25. Now
to him who is able to stablish you [Τῷ
δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι. To this dative, that of
ver. 27 corresponds, all that intervenes being dependent in some way upon
The real grammatical difficulty is therefore in ver. 27.—R.]
See chap. 1:11; 1 Thess. 3:2; 2 Thess. 2:17. He is very solicitous that the
Church in Rome be steadfast and faithful. He clothes his solicitude in the
form of a liturgical antiphony, in which he again takes up the first Amen,
in order to say Amen to the three solemn representations of the gospel of
God, in the name of the Roman Church, and of all God’s churches in general.
Comp. the liturgical meaning of the Amen in 1 Cor. 14:16.
According to my gospel [κατὰ
τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μον]. According to this view of the
doxology, we do not explain
in reference to my gospel, but according to my gospel, as an antiphony to my
gospel—and, mentally, for the first, second, and third time. If we mistake
this liturgical form, this doxology becomes a network of exegetical
difficulties. The first
κατά is explained by Meyer: may He establish you
in relation to my gospel, that you may remain perseveringly true to my
gospel. For other explanations, see the same author, p. 551 f. [Philippi,
Alford, and others, agree, in the main, with Meyer:
in reference to—i. e., in
my gospel; He can establish you, or, “in subordination to, and according to
the requirements of” (Alford), my gospel. Dr. Hodge prefers
through, which is scarcely
defensible lexically. Dr. Lange’s view of the preposition depends on his
view of the doxology as a whole.—R.]
And the preaching of Jesus Christ
[καὶτὸ κήρυγμα Ἰησαῦ
χριστοῦ]. As it is not only spread abroad in his
gospel, but also outside of it, in all the world. Explanations: 1. The
preaching concerning Christ (Luther, Calvin, Tholuck, and Philippi); 2. The
preaching which Christ causes to be promulgated through him (Meyer, and
others); 3. The preaching of Christ during His stay on earth (Grotius).*
According to the revelation
is taken by Meyer, and others, as coördinate to the former one, and
dependent on στηρίξαι;
by Tholuck, and others, as dependent on the whole opening clause, in the
sense of in consequence of;
by Alford, and others, as subordinate to
This is the specific designation of the universality of the gospel according
to Paul’s view; Eph. 3:3, 9; Col. 1:26, &c.—The
mystery relates particularly to the freedom or
national enlargement of the gospel. [Philippi, and others, unnecessarily
here to this enlargement of the gospel. It seems best to take it in its full
meaning. See chap. 11:25.—R:]
Ver. 26. [But now is made
φανερωθέντος δὲ νῦν.
This is obviously in antithesis to the latter part of the preceding verse.
The question respecting the relation of the clauses is, however, a difficult
one. Beza, Flatt, Meyer, De Wette, and others, join these words closely with
ver. 25, making the rest of this verse subordinate to
They render somewhat thus: “But which is made manifest in the present age,
and by means of the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the
everlasting God, is made known unto all nations, in order to lead them to
the obedience of the faith.” Hodge, Alford, and others, join together the
first part of the verse as far as “the everlasting God;” while Dr. Lange
takes the third as coordinate to the first and second. Besides, there is
room for a great variety of opinion in regard to the relation of the
Through the Scriptures of the prophets
[διά τε γραφῶν
προφητικῶν. The presence of
seems to favor the connection with what follows, but Dr. Lange renders “as
through,” &c., thus adopting the other view.—R.] By this addition, Paul
proves that this present revelation, whose special organ is Paul himself, is
not neologically new, but according to the analogy of faith.
Through the Scriptures of the prophets
means, that their sense has now become fully clear.*
According to the commandment of the everlasting God
[κατ̓ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ
αἰωνίον Θεοῦ. See
on Dr. Lange’s rendering.—R.] Here Meyer’s view of the construction of
scarce does not hold good any longer, and therefore he makes the third
principal proposition as a supplement to the second:
and by means of the prophetic writings according to the
commandment of the everlasting God, &c. This
commandment is the last form, the last word, because it brings very near to
the Church at Borne the obligatory duty of interesting itself in the work of
the world’s conversion. The commandment of the
eternal God should, as an injunction
continually resounding, find an eternal reëcho in the Amen of the Church.†
Ver. 27. To the only wise
God, &c. [μόνω̣σοφῷ
Θεῷ, κ.τ.λ.] Meyer: “To the only wise God through
Curious words! Better: To the only wise God be the glory through Christ
(Luther, Beza [E. V.] ). Yet the
opposes this view, if we refer it to Christ. The
indeed, has been cancelled by Beza and Grotius, according to cursives 33,
72, and Rufinus; but it stands firm, and is also no obstruction to the
proper construction of this doxology. For by all means there belongs to
Christ, or the Lamb, the honor of unsealing the book of God’s mysteries, and
in eternity the Church can utter thanksgiving and praise to Him for it in
the Amen of the Church. Comp. Rev. 5:12. [It must be added, however, that
while the glory may be very properly ascribed to Christ, it is grammatically
harsh to refer the relative
Christ, since Θεᾦ
is the leading word in this verse, and by implication throughout.—R].
Because the force of the last
Amen was mistaken, many
supposed that the Apostle was gradually led, by the parentheses, from the
doxology to God, to the doxology to Christ (Tholuck, Philippi). Such a great
obscurity would be a bad crown to his grand and clear work. Besides, the
μόνω̣ σοφῷ Θεῷ is against it. Other
suppositions—that the ᾦ
is a pleonasm, standing for
well as the proposed supplements, prove only that there must be a mistake in
the whole conception of the doxology. We may regard it as removed by the
liturgical construction of the conclusion corresponding to the fundamental
liturgical thought of the Epistle. The Amen of eternity shall again ascend
to God through Christ, just as the eternal gospel has come from God to man
through Him. But we do not read
because the conclusion is not didactic, but a prayer.
[Dr. Lange thus avoids an anacoluthon, by making a double
doxology, as it were—to God an eternally accordant Amen, to Christ the
glory. It must be confessed that this view is novel, with scarcely an
analogy in the New Testament or elsewhere; yet it is beautiful, poetic, and
appropriate. For the Apostle, in closing such an Epistle as this, must have
been filled with thoughts not less grand than these. Still, should we accept
the view of Meyer, the thought remains grand, Pauline, and appropriate. (See
Winer, p. 528, on the anacoluthon.) For he who had dived so deeply into the
riches of the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, might well close by
declaring that God was revealed as absolute
wisdom in Jesus Christ, and ascribe to Him, as
such, the glory forever. And when, through the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to this gospel, the mystery of God’s love in Jesus Christ shall be
made known to all nations, and they, through the knowledge of the revealed
Scriptures, become obedient in faith, then to Him, whose wisdom shall be
thus revealed, be all the glory. The true antiphonical
Amen is pronounced by those
who labor for and await that glory, who to-day, with uplifted heads, expect
the final triumph, not less than he who closes his great Epistle in such
1. See the Exeg. Notes.
2. The doxology is presented to God, as the only wise, in
the same sense as His wisdom, in the economy of salvation, is glorified at
the conclusion of chap. xi.
3. On the liturgical meaning of the
Amen, comp. Deut. 27:15 ff.;
Ps. 106:48; 1 Chron. 16:36; 1 Cor. 14:16; but
especially Eph. 3:21.
The abundance of apostolic salutations (vers. 1–16).—The
Apostle’s good memory of his friends (vers. 1–16).—Phebe, a pattern for
every Christian deaconess. 1. Every one, like her, should minister to the
poor and sick in the Church of the Lord; 2. Every one, like her, should not
teach God’s word,
but bring it over,
as Phebe brought the Epistle to the Romans to Rome (vers. 1, 2).—The
evangelical office of the deaconess arose from living faith: 1. In the
apostolic Church; 2. In the Middle Ages; 3. At the present time.—How should
our churches act toward the deaconesses?—He who exercises love may also lay
claim to love (ver. 2).—Aquila and Priscilla, a Christian couple of the
apostolic age; comp. Acts 18:2, 26 (vers 3, 4).—Aquila and Priscilla
contrasted with Ananias and Sapphira; comp. Acts 5:1 ff.—The Christian
Church originally a household church (ver. 5).—The family, the birthplace of
Christian service in the Gentile world; comp. Acts 10:17; 16:34, 40; 18:7; 1
Cor. 16:19 (ver. 5).—The Marys of the New Testament. 1. Mary, the mother of
our Lord; 2. Mary, the sister of the mother of Jesus; 3. Mary of Bethany; 4.
Mary Magdalene; 5. Mary, the mother of John Mark; 6. The Roman Mary (ver.
6).—See the Concordance.
The Marys of the New Testament grouped in pairs. 1. Two
of them belong to the immediate family of Jesus; 2. Two are friends of our
Lord; 3. Two are protectresses of His apostles (ver. 6).—The various yet
well-considered designations of the individuals saluted by the Apostle:
Helpers in Christ (ver. 3); well-beloved, my beloved, beloved (vers. 5, 9,
12); beloved in the Lord (ver. 8); approved in Christ (ver. 10); chosen in
the Lord (ver. 13); sister (ver. 1).—The salutation with a holy kiss (ver.
16).—The holy kiss of fraternal fellowship, and the Judas-kiss of the
betrayer (ver. 16).
on ver. 17: This is said against all doctrines of men.
Christianity does not abrogate worldly transactions and external business,
but rather directs them aright, and brings a blessing upon them (ver. 2).—Hedinger:
How beautiful! Pious women in the service of the Church, taking care of
widows, children, the poor, and the sick! Oh, how sadly has this zeal died
out in the Church; every one is for himself in his own house! Yet who does
not see the footprints of a God still living? (ver. 2.)
We see, at least, that women are prohibited from no spiritual employment,
with the exception of the public office of the ministry (ver. 2).—With
a holy kiss,
without any wantonness, actual or imagined (ver. 16).
Commendations of the Christian are very different from merely worldly ones,
for they have a holy cause and a holy purpose (vers. 1, 2).—Natural
weakness, strengthened by grace, accomplishes much (ver. 6 ff.).—The true
Christian must read all these names with hearty interest, even though we
know but little or nothing of their works. Their names stand in the Book of
Life.—Celebrity, so called, is something very ambiguous; the lowest faithful
servant of Christ is more than the most admired worldly hero.—Pious souls
can even wish to remain concealed,
(vers. 5, 6 ff.).—The kiss can be most unholy and most holy (ver. 16).
on vers. 5–7: O happy houses, and thrice happy householders, whose families
are little churches for piety and devotion!—Observe: 1. That seniority in
grace is a very great honor: and to be in Christ before others, is a
transcendent prerogative. 2. That God will have the good works of all His
saints, and the services especially which are done to His ministers and
ambassadors by any of His people, to be applauded, valued, and recorded.—Henry:
In Christian congregations there should be lesser societies, linked together
in love and converse, and taking opportunities of being often together.—Doddridge:
Many women have been eminently useful. The most valuable ministers have
often been assisted by them in the success of their work, while their pious
care, under the restraint of the strictest modesty and decorum, has happily
and effectually influenced children, servants, and young friends; yea, has
been the means of sowing the seeds of religion in tender minds, before they
have been capable of coming under ministerial care.—Scott:
We should hope the best of others, and commend what is good in their
conduct.—Hodge: The social
relations in which Christians stand to each other as relatives, countrymen,
friends, should not be allowed to give character to their feelings and
conduct to the exclusion of the more important relation which they bear to
Christ. It is as friends, helpers, fellow-laborers in the Lord, that they
are to be recognized.—Barnes:
Religion binds the hearts of all who embrace it tenderly together. It makes
them feel that they are one great family, united by tender ties, and joined
by peculiar attachments.—J. F. H.]
Warning against disturbers of the Church. The Apostle
pronounces against them: 1. With all frankness, designating them,
a. as those who cause
divisions and offences; b.
whom the others should avoid, because they are not in Christ, but serve
themselves, and deceive simple hearts by honeyed words and false speeches.
2. With all confidence in the members of the Church at Rome; because,
a. their obedience is
come abroad unto all men; b.
he himself is glad on their behalf; c.
but desires that they be very careful, wise unto that which is good, and
simple concerning evil. 3. With the strongest hope in the God of peace, who
he expects will shortly bruise Satan under the feet of believers (vers.
17–20).—On divisions and offences in the Church (ver. 17).—We can cause
offence, not only by a bad life, but also by bad teaching (ver. 17).—Good
words and fair speeches very easily deceive simple hearts (ver. 18).—Not
every thing which tastes sweet is healthy, nor is every thing which has a
pleasing sound true (ver. 18).
Wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil!
Comp. Matt. 10:16; 1 Cor. 14:20 (ver. 19).—The God of peace conquers, Satan
is trodden upon (ver. 20).—To God alone be glory through Jesus Christ
forever! Amen (vers. 25–27).
Christians are not dumb blocks (Ps. 119:100, 104); but industrious, wise,
zealous in that which is good, full of excellent counsel and wise execution.
But it is owing to their godly simplicity and love that they do not
understand wickedness, intrigues, and all kinds of low tricks (especially
when men make themselves pleasant, according to the flesh, by shifting
about, talking politics, and flattering with the cross of Christ), and are
often deceived (ver. 19).
A lie cannot stand long, but must finally be exposed (ver. 20).
In this whole Epistle the Apostle mentions the
enemy but once; in all his Epistles he
nine times, and the devil
six times (ver. 20).
Warning against deceivers. 1. Import; 2. Description of false teachers; 3.
Ground of warning; 4. Comfort (vers. 17–24).—The ascription of praise to
God, and the wish for His blessing. 1. The subject of the ascription of
praise; 2. Its ground (vers. 25–27).
The holiest union can be dissolved by evil desire and unbelief; the purpose
of the evil spirit is always separation and destruction (Divide
et impera!). This takes place especially by
means of false teachers (vers. 17, 18).—The world is wise in doing evil, and
unskilful in doing good (ver. 19).—By God and His Spirit we can conquer
Satan and his works. Christ has begun to destroy the works of Satan, though
the task is not yet finished (ver. 20).
on ver. 20: If the devil inspire evil thoughts, God is both able and willing
to inspire good; and in all our trials, in all time of our tribulation, and
in all time of our wealth, in the hour of death and in the day of judgment,
His “grace is sufficient for” us.
All people who desire the benefit of the gospel are bound to have a
fellowship and society with these saints, and communicate with them in their
holy things, in their faith, and in their hope, and in their sacraments, and
in their prayers, and in their public assemblies, and in their government;
and must do to them all the acts of charity and mutual help which they can
and are required to; and without this communion of saints, and a conjunction
with them who believe in God through Jesus Christ, there is no salvation to
be expected: which communion must be kept in inward things always, and by
all persons, and testified by outward acts always, when it is possible, and
may be done upon just and holy conditions.
God is only wise, because all wisdom is derived from Him; all the wisdom of
angels and men is but a ray from His light, a drop from His ocean. Let the
wisdom of God, in all His dealings with us and ours, be admired and adored
by us; for all His works of providence are as orderly and perfect as His
works of creation, though we perceive it not.
Mark those that cause divisions; mark the method they take, the end they
drive at; there is no need of a piercing, watchful eye, to discern the
danger we are in from such people; for commonly the pretences are plausible,
when the projects are very pernicious. Do not look only at the divisions and
offences, but run up those streams to the fountain, and mark those that
cause them; and especially that in them which causes these divisions and
offences; those lusts on each side, whence come these wars and fightings. A
danger discovered is half prevented.
order to maintain communion with the Lord and with His saints uninterrupted,
avoid, with decided disapprobation, those persons who aim to prejudice
believers against each other, to draw them off from faithful pastors, or to
seduce them into strange doctrines, contrary to the simple truths of God’s
The Church of God has ever been troubled with pretended pastors, men who
feed themselves, and not the flock; men who are too proud to beg, and too
lazy to work; who have neither grace nor gifts to plant the standard of the
cross on the devil’s territories, and, by the power of Christ, make inroads
upon his kingdom, and spoil him of his subjects. By sowing the seeds of
dissensions, by means of doubtful disputations, and the propagation of
scandals; by glaring and insinuating speeches—for they affect elegance and
good breeding—they rend Christian congregations, form a party for
themselves, and thus live on the spoils of the Church of God.
However much the Church may be distracted and troubled, error and its
advocates cannot finally prevail. Satan is a conquered enemy with a
Let men make peace their prime object, resolve to love all who are
Christians, and it will be an infallible gauge by which to measure the
arguments of those who seek to promote alienations and contentions.
There is nothing in religion incompatible with the natural affections. Nay,
you will find that he who loves God most, has the strongest and most
trustworthy love for kindred and friends. The human affections are purged of
all dross by the fire of love to God. A heart full of charity prompts to all
good and kind actions, just when they are called for. It will give tears,
when tears and sympathy can bless or save; it will give sacrifice, when
sacrifice can help or save some suffering soul. Earnest love to God
must display itself in
tender attributes, in good, kind, and gentle ministrations—in
all forms of benevolence
and personal sacrifice. And these things become the more easy, the more we
know of the love of God.
Literature on ver.
17: John Reading,
Serm. (London, 1642); G.
The Evils of Separation, Bampton Lect.,
163; Johnson Grant,
The Primitive Church, Disc.
(1843), 204.—On ver. 19: John Jortin,
Religious Wisdom, Serm.,
vol. 1:300; Bishop Hurd,
vol. 6:215; John Morley,
The Christian’s Wisdom and Simplicity, Serm.,
199; A. N. Darnell,
Serm., 247; C.
Practical Wisdom Recommended, Works,
vol. 15:592.—On ver. 27: Charnock,
The Wisdom of God, Works,
vol. 2:146; Daniel Whitby,
The Wisdom of God, Sermon on the Attributes of
God, vol. 1:226; G.
The Wisdom of God, Village Sermons,
vi.—J. F. H.]
Ver. 3.—[Instead of
versions and fathers), we find
א. A. B. C. D. F. L., cursives, &c.
Universally received now.
L., Syriac versions, and fathers:
א. A. B. C. D1.
F., most versions, Latin fathers:
De Wette defends the former on the authority of the Peshito, and
also because the difficulty arising from 1 Cor. 16:15, where
Stephanas is called the first-fruits of
Achaia, might have
occasioned the change into
But the probability is rather that the parallel passage was written
on the margin, and thus crept into the text; and as the Epistle was
written in Achaia, the error was readily retained. The reading
is accepted by most modern editors and commentators.
L., versions and fathers:
D. F.: ἐν ὑμῖν;
א. A. B. C1.,
versions and fathers:
The tending last mentioned is adopted by Griesbach, Lachmann, Meyer,
Alford, Tregelles; that of the Rec.,
by Tischendorf (ed. 2), De Wette Philippi, Lange. The internal
evidence is strongly in its favor. See the
א. D. F. L.:
A. B. C., Peshito:
The latter is preferred by Lachmann, Tischendorf (ed. 2), Alford,
Ver. 7.—[See the
the apostles is ambiguous. It may
imply: among the apostles, as of their number, or simply that the
apostles held them in high repute. The latter is decidedly
preferable. See the Exeg. Notes.
A. B. C. D1.
F., most versions, sustain the order:
Ἑρμῆν, Πατρόβαν, Ἑρμᾶν;
adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, and most modern editors.
That of the Rec.
is supported by D3.
L., some Greek fathers.
Ver. 16.—[The authority for
is overwhelming (א.
A. B. C. L., most versions and fathers). The omission arose from the
question as to whether the Apostle could speak for
all the churches.
preference to doctrine,
see chap. 10:17, p. 212, and the Exeg.
but it is not found in any of the known uncial MSS., and is omitted
in a number of versions.
F. omit καὶ
εὐλογίας; found in
א. A. B. C., most versions. Probably
omitted from the transcriber’s mistaking the end of the previous
word for that of
So modern editors.
χαίρω οῦ̓ν τὸ ἐφ̓ ὑμῖν,
which is sustained by a number of versions, and by
the order is found in D. F., which omit
A. B. C. L.: ἐφ̓
ὑμἴν οῦ̓ν χαίρω; adopted by Lachmann,
Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Tregelles. De Wette and Philippi retain
the order of the Rec.
Besides the preponderant uncial authority, it is properly urged
against the reading of the Rec.,
that it gives the more usual order, hence likely to be an
alteration. Dr. Lange calls it a correct exegetical gloss.
Ver. 20.—[None of the uncial
MSS. now known support the
of the Rec.,
which is accordingly rejected by all critical editors.—Alford,
Tregelles, and others, bracket
which is not found in
א. B.; but it seems best to retain it.—R.]
[Ford: “Some persons, regarding
this chapter as containing little more than a register of
names, treat it
with comparative indifference; thereby defrauding their souls of
much good. St. Chrysostom, in his day, had cause to complain of the
same neglect shown by many to the conclusion of this Epistle. Hence
he bestows special pains in explaining it. ‘It is possible,’ he
writes, ‘even from bare names
to find a treasure:’ and then he at once proceeds to disclose what
the treasure is.” The list of names shows: (1) Paul’s personal
regard; (2) The high place he accords to women; (3) The constitution
of the Roman Church; (4) The great influence he exerted, if so many
friends could be found in a church he had never visited. (5) The
undying name received from his friendly mention, is a type of the
eternal blessing which belongs to those whose names are written in
the Lamb’s Book of Life. Evidently there are not many rich or great
in this list—few of whom we know any thing save what is here hinted;
yet these names abide, while those of the wealthy and honored have
been forgotten. Even Horace and Livy give no such extended fame as
Paul has done to his friends and acquaintances at Rome.—R.]
[Dr. Hodge suggests that, as a
tent-maker, Aquila had better accommodations for such an assembly
than most of the Christians. See Alford in
loco, where he quotes Justin Martyr’s
statements about these assemblies. Certainly there is no warrant for
supposing that only the household servants, &c., are meant.—It is
clear that the early Church was formed quite as much upon the
household model as upon that of the synagogue. No form of church
government should ignore this, nor can Christianity make true
progress at the expense of the family. As the religion of Jesus
Christ has sanctified household relations, and elevated them all,
how far is the Church responsible for the manifestations of moral
decay in social life? May not the schisms in families, produced by
sectarian propagandism, so far interfere with any thing akin to
these household churches, as to exercise a deteriorating influence?
Certainly it is difficult to conceive, that any Christians at Rome
would lay in wait for Prisca’s children, to decoy them with presents
to some other assembly. Yet that is a recognized form of
ecclesiastical (I will not say Christian) effort in these days!—R.]
when not followed by
refers to practical activity, not to preaching and teaching. Here,
probably, some acts of womanly kindness are intended, such as Paul
would be more likely to have received than the whole Roman Church.
Hence “us” is more probably correct than “you.” Besides, why should
Paul add this description, were she so well known to that
sind berühmte Apostel. Yet even so
high an Anglican as Dr. Wordsworth accepts the view of Meyer and
Lange. An able defence of the less restricted use of the term
will be found in Lightfoot, Galatians,
pp. 92 ff. Still, in every case where Paul uses the word, it can he
referred to others than himself and the Twelve only by catachresis.
In 2 Cor. 8:23, the article is omitted, and the word has obviously
no ecclesiastical sense. Alford thinks the meaning adopted above
“would imply that Paul had more frequent intercourse with the other
apostles than we know that he had.” Yet how strange that “noted
apostles” should require this certification from Paul.—R.]
[Meyer finds the ground for this antithesis
in the position of
ἀκάκων … ὑμῶν,
and paraphrases: “Not without ground do I say the hearts of
the simple; for
will not seduce, because you
do not belong to the simple; but you
are so noted for your obedience (to
the gospel), that it is everywhere known;
about you I am
therefore glad, yet I would have you wise and pure,” &c. “An elegant
mingling of the warning with the expression of firm confidence.”
This view is now favored by Philippi, and is nor open to the
objection urged against (1), nor does it present any grammatical
Rec., with D3.
L., and a few minor authorities, reads:
א. A. B. C. D1.
adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, &c, since the
alteration to the plural (from the number of persons named) was so
likely to occur.—The E. V. must therefore be emended as above.
Ver. 24.—[This verse is wanting
א. A. B. C., and in other important
authorities. In some cursives, and in some copies of the Peshito, it
is found after ver. 27. D. F. L., Greek and Latin fathers, insert it
here. It is rejected by Lachmann, Koppe, Reiche, Tregelles;
bracketted by Alford; accepted by Meyer and Lange (Tischendorf
varies). It wan not inserted to form a proper ending to the Epistle,
since the authorities which omit it have the concluding doxology;
but was probably omitted on account of the unusual combination of
the benediction and doxology. So Dr. Lange, who makes the doxology a
liturgical antiphony, expanding the “Amen” of this verse, and of
course retains vers. 24–27 in this place.
Ver. 25.—[The emendations are from the
revisions of the Amer. Bible Union, Five Ang. Clergymen, and
Noyes. Dr. Lange’s rendering is, in some respects peculiar: “But
to Him, who can make you strong (Chap. 1:11): According to (as
an antiphony to) my gospel and the preaching of Jesus
Christ,—according to the revelation of the mystery; that was
kept in silence since eternal ages; but that has been now made
manifest, as through the prophetical Scriptures;—according to
the command of the everlasting God, made known among all nations
for the purpose of their obedience of faith:
To the only wise God—
Through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory—
Into eternity an (accordant)
It will be noticed that this differs from the
usual view, in some of its details as well as in the liturgical
view it presents. See further the
Ver. 27.—[On the
concluding Doxology. (1) Vers.
25–27 are found here, in
א. B. C. D., Vulgate, Peshito, and
other versions, in some fathers. So the
Beza (eds. 3–5), Bengel, Koppe, Lachmann, Scholz, Fritzsche, De
Wette, Rückert, Philippi, Tischendorf, Tholuck, Ewald, Meyer,
Alford, Tregelles, Lange, and many others. (2) The stand after
chap. 14:23 in L., nearly all cursives (Alford says 192), in the
Greek lectionaries, in Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, &c.
This position is accepted by Beza (eds. 1, 2), Grotius, Mill,
Wetstein, Paulus, Eichhorn (and most of those who deny the
integrity of the Epistle), but not by the latest critical
editors. (3) They are found in both places in A. and a few
cursives, which is indefensible. (4) They are omitted in D3.
(or rather marked for erasure by the corrector) F. G. (both,
however, leaving a space in chap. 14, as if intending to insert
there), Marcion, some manuscripts in Jerome. Schmidt, Reiche,
Krehl reject them as not genuine.—We inquire, then:
I. Is this Doxology
careful scrutiny of the external authorities as given above
justifies the opinion of Alford: “Its genuineness as a part of
the Epistle is placed beyond all
reasonable doubt.” The few
authorities which omit it altogether, seem to have done so with
no intention of rejecting it. The variation in position is so
readily accounted for, as to east little doubt on the
genuineness. Nor is the internal evidence against it. The style
is Pauline. Though the other Pauline doxologies are simpler,
this was the close of the greatest Epistle. Reiche thinks that,
owing to the personal character of chaps. 15, 16, the public
reading closed with chap. 14; that then a doxology was spoken,
which crept into the text at that point, and afterward was
transferred to the close. But this is mere conjecture. (See
II. What, then, is its
We answer, without hesitation, at the close of chap. 16. (1) The
weight, if not the number of diplomatic authorities favors this
position. (2) In accounting for the variation, it is much easier
to account for the change from this place to chap. 14, than for
the reverse. The doxology forms an unusual conclusion; it was
preceded by the usual closing benediction; the words
would seem to point to the “weak” (chap. 14). Other theories are
advanced, but this seems the simplest explanation of the
change.—The repetition in some authorities is easily accounted
for, since the early criticism could not decide where it
properly belonged, and yet feared to reject; the omission arose
from the same doubt (since F. G. both have a blank space in
chap. 14).—Dr. Lange’s view of the connection renders extended
critical discussion unnecessary.—R.]
That of the Rec.
is probably correct, but not genuine.
א. A. B1.
C. D. G. have:
πρὸς Ῥωμαίους; to this B2.
and others add:
ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Κορίνθου; G.:
[Comp. Van Oosterzee (Lange’s
Introd., § 1.—R.]
[The ground of this supposed
identity is that the Hebrew word answering to the Latin
sounds like Silas. But the latter is a contraction from
[Of these, (3) seems most
untenable. (1) makes this phrase an extension of the preceding one;
(2) an explanation of it. They are not, however, contradictory of
each other. Dr. Lange seems really to combine them.—R.]
[The sense is accordingly much
the same, whether this phrase limit “made manifest” or “made known.”
In the former case, the thought is supplementary: “It is made
manifest in these gospel times, and that, too, by means of the
prophetic writings;” in the latter, more emphasis would rest upon
it. It is objected to the latter, that the writings of the prophets
were not actually the means employed in the universal diffusion of
the gospel; to the former, that there is an incongruity in thus
speaking of a mystery “kept in silence,” and yet made manifest now
by writings of the earlier date. Either of these may be readily met.
On grammatical grounds the preference should be given to the
connection with what follows, unless Dr. Lange’s syntax be adopted,
which, by taking the following Kara as coordinate to the previous
ones, precludes this view.—R.]
[If Dr. Lange’s view be not
accepted, then Meyer’s is to be preferred: This general making known
took place: (1) By means of the prophetic Scriptures; (2) According
to the command of God; (3) For the establishment of the obedience of
faith; (4) Among all nations. So most commentators.—The word
has been deemed superfluous; yet it seems specially
indicates the aim—in
order to their becoming obedient to the faith: the second, the
of the manifestation” (Alford).—R.]
God, who through Christ appears as the only wise;
so wise, that, in comparison with Him, the predicate
wise can be
attributed to no other being, the
absolutely wise;” Meyer. This view now
meets with much favor.—R.]
[Hodge: “To the only wise God,
through Jesus Christ, to Him, I say, be glory forever.” So Stuart,
in the demonstrative sense.—R.]