Romans 16:13

13 Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be his very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me.

Romans 16:13 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 16:13

Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord
This was a Roman name; frequent mention is made Jewish writings F21 of one Turnus Rufus, a Roman officer, that destroyed the temple, and ploughed up the city of Jerusalem; the name was in use among the Cyrenians, for one of the sons of Simon of Cyrene, whom the Jews compelled to carry the cross of Christ, was so called, ( Mark 15:21 ) ; and some have thought that the same person is here meant, nor is it unlikely; he is said to be one of the seventy disciples, and to be bishop of Thebes; (See Gill on Luke 10:1). The apostle knew him, and that as one "chosen in the Lord"; meaning either that he was a choice believer in Christ, an excellent Christian, one of the highest form; for though all true believers have like precious faith, yet some are strong, and others weak, in the exercise of it; this man was eminent for his faith in Christ: or he might be one that was chosen to some office in the church, as to that of a deacon, or pastor; though had this been the case, it is much the particular office was not mentioned: rather therefore this is to be understood of his being chosen in Christ to grace and glory and that from all eternity; for the phrase is only used in one place more, ( Ephesians 1:4 ) ; and there most manifestly designs the election of persons in Christ, before the foundation of the world; which election is made not "for" Christ, or the sake of his merits, his blood, righteousness and sacrifice, which have no causal influence on this act, and which purely arises from the love and grace of God; nor merely "by" him as God equal with the Father, though this is true; but "in" him, as the head and representative of the chosen ones: this instance, as others, shows that election is not of nations, nor churches, but of particular persons; and so expresses the distinguishing, free, and sovereign grace of God in it, that one and not another should be chosen; though these are on an equal foot, and so not owing to foreseen faith, holiness, and good works. The apostle knew this man to be a chosen vessel, not by immediate revelation, or divine inspiration, but by his faith in Christ, and love to him, and by the power of the Gospel on him; and so may anyone know himself, or another man hereby to be chosen, and ought in a judgment of charity so to think of him, as long as his life is agreeably to his profession; see ( 1 Thessalonians 1:4 1 Thessalonians 1:5 ) . The apostle not only salutes this man, but his mother also, who doubtless was a believer in Christ, and highly respected by him:

and his mother and mine;
the mother of Rufus in nature, and his mother in affection; and who very probably had endeared herself to the apostle by some kind offices, which she, as a Christian, had performed towards him; for the apostle cannot mean his own natural mother, besides Rufus's, whom he salutes, and whom Anselm on the place suggests might be at Rome; since it can hardly be thought he would have passed the mention of her in so transient a manner.


F21 T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 69. 2. T. Bab. Nedar. fol. 50. 2. Avoda Zara, fol. 20. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 65. 2. Juchasin, fol. 36. 2.

Romans 16:13 In-Context

11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. Greet the Lord’s people from the household of Narcissus.
12 Give my greetings to Tryphena and Tryphosa, the Lord’s workers, and to dear Persis, who has worked so hard for the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be his very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me.
14 Give my greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who meet with them.
15 Give my greetings to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and to Olympas and all the believers who meet with them.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.