Romans 16

Romans 16:1 Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea

"Sisterhood is indicated by Paul's recommendation of the bearer of the letter, called 'a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea' ("Rom. 16:1Rom. 16:1). Reference to her town, a little south of Corinth, helps establish Paul's location in writing Romans, but her Greek title of diakonos is intriguing. Because this is the word sometimes translated 'deacon' in the Bible, several translations want to make Phebe a 'deaconess.' This is not warranted, since that office is known only at a later period of Christian history, and since Paul often employs the term in the general sense of 'servant,' rendered 'minister' in the King James Bible. When Paul used the term of himself (as in "Col. 1:23Col. 1:23), he spoke of his role of service, not his office. Phebe may or may not have had an official calling in the Church; in either event she had helped many, and Paul also ("Rom. 16:1"Rom. 16:2Rom. 16:1-2)." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 170 - 171.)

Romans 16:3-15 Paul sends greetings to his acquaintances in Rome

It is truly remarkable that Paul sends greetings to so many individuals when, by tradition, he has not as yet visited Rome. How could he have known so many Roman saints?

"Romans has the longest list of greetings to individuals of any letter. Part of this is Paul's desire to cultivate friendships in an important place to be visited. The fact that he knew so many shows the effective communication network of the Early Church. The faith of the Saints at the world capital was 'spoken of throughout the whole world' (Rom. 1:8; also 16:19). Although Paul had not yet been there, he had no doubt met travelers and members from Rome, to whom he sent greetings. Before Paul was converted, Jewish visitors heard the apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:10), a process of investigation open thereafter at the three annual feasts that drew pilgrims from the world. When such contacts grew to conversions or when missionaries first visited Rome is not known. Now the apostle to the Gentiles sought to visit the Gentile political center, to build up the Church 'even as among other Gentiles' (Rom. 1:13).

"Romans 16 sends greetings to twenty-eight individuals in Rome, about a fourth of which were women. Families and Church circles were also included. And Paul sent greetings from nine members in Greece. Although identities are mostly obscure, these names show the intense personal relationships that Christ's gospel produced. Paul's letters shared eternal ideas, but his personal messages show the effective fellowship of the Church." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 170 - 171.)

Romans 16:3 Priscilla and Aquila

"Aquila and his wife Priscilla had 'lately come from Italy' when the Emperor Claudius had expelled the Jews 'from Rome' (Acts 18:2). They were strong missionaries, for they had convinced Apollos that he had only part of the truth (Acts 18:26). Paul found them so valuable that he brought them to Ephesus (Acts 18:18), from which place they sent greetings (1 Cor. 16:19). Afterward they were free to return to Rome... They had shared their knowledge of Jewish-Christian tensions at Rome when they labored with Paul on two missionary journeys after their expulsion. They probably kept in contact with the Saints there when they were away; there was a church 'in their house' after returning to Rome (Rom. 16:5)" (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 171 - 172.)

JST Romans 16:11 Greet them that be of the church of Narcissus

"The first mention [of the Christian community at Rome] occurs in Paul's epistle to the Romans, written about A.D. 58 or 59. By that time, there was a substantial group of Christians in the city. Although we possess no account of the first missionaries who preached there, we can infer from the way Paul arranges his greetings that at least five separate congregations or branches met in the homes of various members of the Church. (See Rom. 16:3-5, 10-11, 14-15.) Since no Christian meetinghouses were built until long after the first century, it would have been natural for branches to meet in private homes for worship." (S. Kent Brown, "Whither the Early Church?" Ensign, Oct. 1988, 8)

Romans 16:13 Rufus chosen in the Lord

Neal A. Maxwell

"Simon, the Cyrenian, wandered into Jerusalem on the very day of Christ's crucifixion and was pressed into service by Roman soldiers to help carry the Savior's cross. Simon's son, Rufus, joined the Church and was so well thought of by the Apostle Paul that the latter mentioned Rufus in his epistle to the Romans, describing him as 'chosen in the Lord' (Rom. 16:13) Was it, therefore, a mere accident that Simon 'who passed by, coming out of the country,' was asked to bear the cross of Jesus? (Mark 15:21)." ("A More Determined Discipleship," Ensign, Feb. 1979, 73)

Romans 16:17 mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine

Dean L. Larsen

"One who follows Paul through his proselyting journeys and his continuous efforts to 'confirm the churches' that grew out of his missionary successes receives some insight into the mammoth challenge faced by these early leaders to convert, organize, and stabilize a rapidly growing membership. Transportation and communication were restricted, so visits by the general officers of the church to the various areas of church growth were obviously infrequent. It is little wonder that Paul's letters to his dearly beloved saints are often touched by expressions of concern over unity, understanding, and charity among the members. This was typically true in his first epistle to the saints in Corinth, where he pleaded, 'Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.' (1 Cor. 1:10.)

"To the Roman members Paul wrote, 'Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.' (Rom. 16:17.)" ("The Challenges of Administering a Worldwide Church," Ensign, July 1974, 18, 20)

Romans 16:19 I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil

Spencer W. Kimball

"You will find that keeping free of entanglements of sin is made easier when we are uncomplicated and unyielding in our attitude toward sin. Sophistication cannot really change the nature of evil, though through sophistry some may attempt to diminish the significance of evil." ("The Savior: The Center of Our Lives," New Era, Apr. 1980, 36)

Spencer W. Kimball

"Now, my brothers and sisters, as we move into the last half of the Church's second century, let us keep our faith beautifully simple. May we, as Paul said, be 'wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil' (Rom. 16:19). Learn to recognize evil, and shun it always. May we keep Church programs and organizations simple. If we do, we will build to a thrilling and rewarding momentum in the days and months and years ahead. The Savior urged his followers to be 'wise as serpents, and harmless as doves' (Matt. 10:16). Let us follow that counsel today. Let us so live that if people speak critically of us they must do so falsely and without justification." ("Let Us Not Weary in Well Doing," Ensign, May 1980, 81)

Romans 16:22 I Tertius...wrote this epistle

"[In writing the epistles] it appears that Paul did not actually do the writing with his own hand, but dictated to a scribe, although he would sign the epistle himself. Hence we find in Rom. 16:22, 'I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you'; and in 1 Cor. 16:21, 'The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand'; and in 2 Thes. 3:17, 'The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write' (see also Col. 4:18; Philem. 1:19; Gal. 6:11)." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 325.)

Romans 16:25 the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began

To an endowed latter-day saint, there is nothing so mysterious about "the mysteries of godliness." Properly understood, they are the powerful, saving principles of the gospel and the sealing power which makes them binding.

"As commentators note, Paul's 'mystery' is not an eternal obscurity, something mystically beyond the understanding of unquestioning believers. Paul does not proclaim the mystery but 'the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages' (Rom. 16:25, JB)... The best dictionary of New Testament Greek says of 'mystery': 'Our literature uses it to mean the secret thoughts, plans, and dispensations of God which are hidden from the human reason . . . and hence must be revealed to those for whom they are intended.' In Ephesians and Colossians Paul mingles mystery and dispensation and revelation of salvation to the Gentile world. He is clearly talking of the premortal plan of salvation, a mystery to the world during times of apostasy, but known and proclaimed by the prophets in Paul's day." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 267)