Romans 16 Study Notes


16:1-2 Phoebe was the probable carrier of this letter to Rome. Paul commended her for her service.

16:3-4 Prisca and Aquila (Ac 18:1-3,18,26; 2Tm 4:19) were Paul’s coworkers. They had churches in their homes, they instructed Apollos, and they risked their own necks to save Paul.

16:5 Epaenetus means “beloved.” He was Asia’s first convert to Christ. Asia refers to the Roman province of that name in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey).

16:6 Several women are the recipients of Paul’s greeting: Prisca, Mary, Junia, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus’s mother, and Julia.

16:7 The phrase noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles is variously translated as “well-known to the apostles” or as “outstanding among the apostles.” The word “apostle” can be used in a nontechnical sense, referring to a messenger rather than a commissioned apostle such as Paul.

16:8 Paul listed several as my dear friend: Epaenetus, Ampliatus, Stachys, and Persis.

16:9 Listed as coworkers are Prisca and Aquila, and Urbanus.

16:10 Only Apelles is described as approved in Christ.

16:11 Herodion is called my fellow Jew, as were Andronicus and Junia in v. 7.

16:12 Several are described with worked (very) hard (in the Lord): Mary (v. 6), Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis.

16:13 Rufus was possibly the same Rufus whose father (“Simon of Cyrene”) helped carry Jesus’s cross to Golgotha (Mk 15:21-22). Only he is described as chosen in the Lord.

16:16 This encouragement to greet one another with a holy kiss is also found in 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; 1Th 5:26.

16:17-20 Satan and false teachers will always assail the church (Ac 20:28-29; 2Co 11:13-15; Gl 5:10-12; Php 3:2,18-20; Col 2:16-19). Paul warned believers at Rome to be alert and avoid false teachers. Illustrating the familiar both/and relation between divine sovereignty and human responsibility to choose, we must be diligent in the battle against darkness, but ultimate victory is assured (The God of peace will soon crush Satan).

16:21 Timothy was Paul’s close friend and coworker since the second missionary journey. Lucius is unknown. Jason is probably the one who gave Paul hospitality in Thessalonica (Ac 17:5-9). Sosipater is probably the Sopater from Berea who accompanied Paul for a while (Ac 20:4).

16:22-23 Scholars debate the role of the scribe (in this case, Tertius) in ancient writings. Did they typically take dictation word-for-word, or was their composition taken down in shorthand or perhaps a summary manner? Biblical teaching about divine inspiration of the biblical author commends the first suggestion. Erastus, who had a responsible position as city treasurer, may be the same as that in Ac 19:22 and 2Tm 4:20.

16:25-27 By my gospel, Paul did not mean his preaching did not reflect God’s direct revelation (see Gl 1:11-12). He meant the gospel as he had faithfully preached it: a gospel of grace for all. In ages past this gospel was a mystery kept silent as God directed history until “the time came to completion” (Gl 4:4). In Christ the “mystery” is revealed to the world. In mentioning the obedience of faith, Paul concludes his letter where he began (1:5).