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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 16 - Verse 7

Verse 7. My kinsmen. In Ro 9:3, the apostle calls all the Jews his kinsmen, and it has been doubted whether he means anything more here than that they were fellow-Jews. But as many others who were Jews are mentioned here without this appellation, and as he especially designates these persons, and Herodian, (Ro 16:11,) it seems probable that they were remote relatives of the apostle.

My fellow prisoners. Paul was often in prison; and it is probable that on some of those occasions they had been confined with him. Comp. 2 Co 11:23, "In prisons more frequent."

Who are of note. The word translated of note, (epishmoi) denotes, properly, those who are marked, designated, or distinguished in any way; used either in a good or bad sense. Comp. Mt 27:16. Here it is used in a good sense.

Among the apostles. This does not mean that they were apostles, as has been sometimes supposed. For,

(1.) there is no account of their having been appointed as such.

(2.) The expression is not one which would have been used if they had been. It would have been, "who were distinguished apostles." Comp. Ro 1:1; 1 Co 1:1; 2 Co 1:1; Col 1:1.

 

(3.) It by no means implies that they were apostles. All that the expression fairly implies is, that they were known to the other apostles; that they were regarded by them as worthy of their affection and confidence; that they had been known by them, as Paul immediately adds, before he was himself converted. They had been converted before he was, and were distinguished in Jerusalem among the early Christians, and honoured with the friendship of the other apostles.

(4.) The design of the office of apostles was to bear witness to the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and miracles of Christ. Comp. Mt 10; Ac 1:21,22; 22:15.

As there is no evidence that they had been witnesses of these things, or appointed to it, it is improbable that they were set apart to the apostolic office,

(5.) The word apostles is used sometimes to designate messengers of churches; or those who were sent from one church to another on some important business; and if this expression meant that they were apostles, it could only be in some such sense as having obtained deserved credit and eminence in that business. See Php 2:25; 2 Co 8:23.

Who were in Christ, etc. Who were converted before I was. The meaning is clear. The expression, in Christ, means to be united to him, to be interested in his religion, to be Christians.

{t} "in Christ" Ga 1:22

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