Romans 16


Sincere Salutations to the Believers: Romans 16:1-27



Phebe, Phoebe (fe' be; radiant), was a Christian lady who was part of the church at Cenchrea. (Romans 16:1) Cenchrea (sen'kreah; pulverized, granular) which refers to a harbor of Corinth located about 8 miles E of the city. Phebe, the servant [lit. deaconess] made her home there. Paul commended or introduced her favorably to the Church of Rome. The apostle wanted the saints there to assist “her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she has been a succour [comfort] of many, and myself also” (Romans 16:2).


1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant [deaconess] of the church which is at Cenchrea:


16:1 In matchless grace God entrusted this epistle to the hand of a woman during difficult days. Christians throughout the centuries owes to Phebe a debt of honor, appreciation and gratitude. God watched over her to preserve this valuable manuscript that was delivered safely into the hands of the elders at Rome, and through them it was given to the whole church.


2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.


16:2 Having set forth the nature (Romans 15:14), power (Romans 15:19a), and extent (Romans 15:19b) of his ministry, the apostle begins the final portion of the epistle with salutations to many individuals in the Church of Rome. Only five or six are Jews (Aquila and Prisca, Andronicus, Junias, Herodion, and maybe Mary).


First Series: Salutation to Specific Saints: Romans 16: 3-20


3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:



·                 Priscilla (pris'sil'lah; ancient, little old woman), with her Christian Jewish husband Aquila, met Paul in the city of Corinth when the emperor Claudius ordered all the Jews to leave Rome in AD 49. Paul honors not only their friendship, but also their personal courage in spreading the gospel of redeeming grave. They were helpers in Christ Jesus, Who have for my life laid down their own necks. (Romans 16:3,4)


·                 Aquilla (ac'quilah; eagle), was a Jewish man born in Pontus. For a time he lived with his wife Priscilla in Rome. (Romans 16:3) He settled in Corinth where he worked as a tentmaker. Because he was of the same occupation, Paul lodged with him (Acts 18:13).







·       When the apostle began his travels to Syria, Aquila and Priscilla traveled with him from Corinth to Ephesus (Acts 18:18,19). At Ephesus the devout couple met Apollos and instructed him more fully in the Christian faith (Acts 18:26).


4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.



·       Epaenetus (epen'etus; praiseworthy), was one of the first to be converted to Christ from Achaia. (Romans 16:5) Achaia (akah'yah, lit. Asia), was a province of Rome in NW Greece. In 140 BC the Romans divided Greece into two provinces: Peloponnesus and Macedonia. When writing to the Church at Rome, Epaenetus was greeted by Paul and described as his beloved.


6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.



·       Mary, an unknown lady of great grace who labored on behalf of the apostle Paul. (Romans 16:6)


7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ [Christians] before me.



·       Andronicus (andronni'cus; conquering man), was Paul’s relative who shared a prison sentence with the apostle. (Romans 15:7)


·       Junia, was a certain disciple at the city of Rome, AD 60 who became a Christian before Paul and suffered imprisonment for the Savior. (Romans 16:7) The labors and sufferings of Junia and Andronicus were recognized among the original Twelve Apostles.


8 Greet Amplias my beloved [dear friend] in the Lord.



·       Amplias (am'pleas; enlarged), a common name among the slaves of Rome, was an early Christian companion of Paul who was fondly thought of in the Lord. (Romans 16:8)


9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.



·       Urbane (ur' bane; of the city, polite), was also a popular slave name. Urbane is recognized as our (Romans 16:9) rather than my (Rome. 16:3) helper in Christ [or fellow worker] which suggests that his spiritual gifts were widely recognized and used.


·       Stachys (sta'kis; an ear [of corn]) was a disciple in the Church of Rome. Paul sent him personal greetings. (Romans 16:9)


10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.



·       Apelles (apel'leze; called) was an approved Christian in Rome whom Paul greeted. (Romans 16:10) His faith had been proven to be genuine by some specific trial of faith. (cf. James 1:12)


·       Aristobulus (aristobu'lus; best advising; best counselor) was a Christian in Rome. Paul greeted his household, including any Christian slaves. (Romans 16:10 cf. 1 Cor. 1:2-6; 3:1)  Tradition presents Aristobulus as being a brother of Barnabas. He was ordained a bishop and ministered in Britain where he died.


11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.


·       Herodion (hero'deon), was a Christian at Rome, a Jewish kinsman of Paul (Romans 16:11).


·       Narcissus (narsis’ us; a well-known flower), was a member of the Church in Rome to whom Paul sent special greetings. (Romans 16:11)


12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.




·       Tryphaena (trifenah; delicate), and Tryphosa (trifo'sah, dainty) were two Christian woman of Rome to whom Paul sent a special salutation for their service for the Savior. (Romans 16:12).


·       Persis (pur'sis; that cuts or, divides, a horseman), was a beloved Christian lady in Rome to whom Paul sent greetings. (Romans 16:12) She gave much spiritual labor for the cause of Christ.


13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.



·       Rufus (ru' fus; red), was one included by Paul among those in Rome to whom he sent special greetings. (Romans 16:13) His mother was also honored as being a spiritual mother to Paul.



Another man by this name was the brother of Alexander and the son of Simon the Cyrenian, whom the Jews forced to help bear the cross of Christ on His way to Calvary (Mark 15:21).


14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.



·       Asyncritus (asin'critus; incomparable or, unlike) was a Christian in Rome whom Paul greeted in the Lord prior to his visit to the great city. (Romans 16:14) He was probably a slave.


·       Phlegon (fle'gon; burning), was a Christian disciple at the church in Rome to whom Paul sent greetings. He was probably a slave.


·       Hermas (her'mas), was a Christian who resided in Rome. (Romans 16:14) He was probably a slave.


·       Patrobas (pat'robas; life of his father), was a Christian in the city of Rome to whom Paul sent a greeting. (Romans 16:14) He was probably a slave.


·       Hermes (her'mees; gain, refuge), was a Christian in Rome to whom Paul wrote. (Romans 16:14) He too was probably a slave.


15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.



·       Philologogus (filol'ogus; fond of talk), was a Christian disciple in Rome to whom Paul sent greeting. (Romans 16:15) He may have been the husband of Julia.


·       Julia (ju'leah), is the feminine of Julius. Julia was a woman who was a disciple at the city of Rome. (Romans 16:15)


·       Nereus (ne' reus; a lamp), is the name of a Roman Christian to whom Paul sent greetings, AD 60. He may have been servant of the emperor of Rome. (Romans 16:15) His sister is not named.


·       Olympas (olim'pas; heavenly), was a prominent believer in the house church at Rome. (Romans 16:15)


16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple [harmless] concerning evil.

20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.


Second Series: Salutations from Specific Saints Romans 16:21-27


21 Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute [greet] you.



·       Timothy (tim' othy; beloved of God), was taught the Law of God by his mother and grandmother (1 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). His mother was a Jewess and his father was a Greek (Acts 16:13).

      Timothy was converted at Lystra when Paul made his first visit there (Acts 14:6; 2 Tim. 1:5). The apostle Paul wanted Timothy to journey with him on his missionary work. After he was circumcised by the apostle, Timothy was set apart by the laying on of hands (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6; 4:5).


      He traveled with Luke and Silvanus to Phillippi (Acts 16:12), where he was entrusted with the care of a church. Timothy appears at Berea, later uniting with Paul at Athens. From Athens, Timothy was sent to Thessalonica (1 Thess. 3:2).


·       He returned to Athens. His name is associated with Paul's who wrote to the city of Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1) and to the Church of Rome. (Romans 16:21).

Timothy was also with Paul when the apostle wrote the Epistles to the Philippians, to the Colossians, and to Philemon (Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1; Phil. 1). Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to oversee the care for the church (2 Tim. 1:4).


·       Lucius (lushi’ us, Lat. for Lucius, surnamed the Cyrenain), was one of the prophets and teachers who ministered at Antioch. In the year AD 45, moved by the Holy Spirit, he ordained Barnabas and Paul to the work of the ministry. (Acts 13:1; Romans 16:21)


·       Jason (ja' sun; healing), provided for the needs of Paul and Silas in Thessalonica. When a mob wanted to hurt Paul but could not find him, they dragged Jason before the ruler who released him (Acts 17:59).


·       Sosipater (sosip'atur; savior of his father), was a kinsman of Paul who sent greetings by the letter of Paul to the church at Rome. (Romans 16:21; note Acts 20:4)


22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. 



·       Tertius (tur'sheus; third), was a disciple who acted as an amanuensis [secretary] to the Apostle Paul in the writing of The Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:22) He may the same as Titius Justus of Acts 18:7.


23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you.  Erastus the chamberlain [treasurer] of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.



·       Gaius (gah'yus), was a resident of the city of Corinth whom Paul baptized. (1 Cor. 1:14) Christians assembled in the home of Gaius. (Romans 16:23)


24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 



·       Erastus (eras'tus; beloved), was the treasurer [chamberlain] of the city (perhaps Corinth cf. 2 Tim. 4:20). He was one of the first converts to Christianity (Romans 16:23).


·       Quartus (quar'tus; a fourth), refers to a Christian from the city of Corinth who sent greetings by way of Paul to Rome.


25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,


16:25 The revelation of the mystery (Rom. 16:25) Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, the revelation of the mystery is made manifest.

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery;

(as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by

 the faith of Him” (Ephesians 3:1-12 cf. Col. 1:26ff). 

What a wonderful truth it is that God loves Gentiles as well as Jews. God loves the nations as He has loved Israel. In matchless grace the gospel goes forth calling souls to salvation. No wonder Paul says, and all who love Christ says with him,  “To God only wise, be glory

through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.”


26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever.  Amen.


Special Note:

Six Separate Topics: Romans 16:5-25


16:5-25 Woven into fabric of the apostle’s concluding comments are six special topics that are worthy of brief consideration.


·       Home churches. (Romans 16:5) When the New Testament expression of the Church first met to worship, they generally did so in private homes. Such a physical setting allowed for a less formal leadership structure.


·       A forum was provided for an active participation by all with emphasis on  the priesthood of believers. Relationships were emphasized and  nurtured by singing of songs,  apostolic doctrine, teaching,  communion, prayer, testimonies,

exhortations, and expressions of  affection. (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 12:611;  Romans 16:16)  The institutional church that exists today emerged with the passage of time. The local assembly of believers is generally characterized today by a formal structure (i.e. a building, legal incorporation and staff), and a paid clergy (Pastors, etc.).


·       The need for verbal and physical affection. (Romans 16: 16) A spirit of gratitude, along with verbal and

physical expressions of love, should be part of the Christian fellowship. Notice how often Paul refers to someone as my beloved, my helper etc.


·                 Church Discipline. (Romans 16:17,18 cf. Matt. 18:15-17) While church discipline is certainly commanded by the Scriptures, it much be something more than a religious judicial process against immorality and doctrinal error. Church discipline is to take place within the context of a loving and caring pastoral environment. It is to be under girded by instruction in righteousness, and permeated by gentleness and humility on the part of those who dare to administer discipline (Matt. 7:15; 28:20; John 21:15-17; Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:14-26; Titus 2; Heb. 13:17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Tit. 1:10-14; 3:9-11).


·                 The defeat of Satan. (Romans 16:20) The Christian is wise to acknowledge the reality of Satan, take his opposition seriously, and understand his various strategies. There is a spiritual warfare and every Christian is part of it. However,


Christ has already won the ultimate victory over the greatest enemy of heaven and earth. (Heb. 2:14) Satan is a strong creature but he is not divine. He is neither omniscient nor omnipotent, nor is he omnipresent. Moreover, His ultimate destiny is the Lake of Fire. (Rev. 20:10)




A Grand Doxology: Romans 16:25-27



The Epistle to the Romans comes to an end with a doxology that also serves as a summary of the message that Paul preached in love. In this closing paragraph, we have a great doctrinal declaration: God, the only true God, is of power to stablish those who believe in Him and receive Him as their God. Paul says that God establishes them according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ. Paul, like all other God ordained, Godsent ministers, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ – and the Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus according to the Scriptures.

Writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul said, “Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: By which ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:14). Paul had a singular subject: The death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus according to the Scriptures” (Romans, Oliver B. Greene).

It is the gospel that calls forth the greatest praises from the souls of the saints who love the Savior and value His redemptive work at Calvary. And what a privilege it is to be used of God to tell the greatest story ever told. It is the story of Jesus and His love.



There is a wonderful old story about how Christ returned to heaven after the ordeal of Calvary and after His resurrection. The marks of His great sufferings were still visible. An angel approached the Lord and said to him, “You must have suffered terribly for men down there. Jesus said simply enough, I did. Do they all know about what you did for them?” asked the angel.

No”, responded the Lord, “Not yet. Only a few know so far. Well,” said the angel, “what have you done that the rest of mankind might know?”

And Jesus replied, “I have asked Peter and James and John and the rest of the disciples and their converts to make it their business to share with others and they in turn with still others until the fartherest man on the widest circle of the globe has heard the gospel.”

The angel looked skeptical, for he knew all too well the frailty of fallen humanity. “Oh”, he said, “but what if Peter and James and John and others forget? What if they grow weary in well doing? What if they grow tired of telling the story? What then? Do you not have other plans?”

And Jesus answered, “I have no other plans. I’m counting on them.”




















































Leader’s Study Guide


Questions on Romans 16


1.     What role did Phoebe play in the early church?


2.     How are individuals who bring disruption to the body of Christ to be treated? (Rom. 16:18).


3.     What physical display of affection is allowed within the body of Christ? (Rom. 16:16).


4.     Who wrote the text for Paul?


5.     What is the future of Satan?


Answers on Romans 16


1.     Phoebe was a Christian lady who, by being entrusted with Paul’s epistle to the Romans was viewed as a deaconess or servant of the Most High God. Her faithfulness in accomplishing her task is to be commended.


2.     Individuals who bring disruption to the body of Christ to be treated in a very severe manner. They are to be marked out and avoided.


3.     A holy kiss is proper within the body of Christ (Rom. 16:16).


4.     Tertius served as Paul’s secretary.


5.     Christ has already won the ultimate victory over the greatest enemy of heaven and earth. (Heb. 2:14)



Personal Application and Reflection


1.     Are there Christians you should write to and encourage in the faith? If so do that this week.


2.     Keeping in mind the apostolic injunction in Romans 16: 16 what should the position be of a Christian missionary that goes into a culture where public displays of affection is not allowed?


3.     Have you ever known of a case of church discipline? Do you think church discipline is still proper for the church in the twenty-first century? Explain.


4.     Why do you think relatively few individuals become Christians who have worldly wealth and position –though some do by God’s grace (Rom. 16: 23)?


5.     Should a Christian with a heathen name seek to change it? Why?