1. I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;
1. Commendo antera vobis Phoeben sororem nostram, quae est ministra ecclesiae Cenchreensis;
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 succored of many, and of myself also.
2. Ut eam suscipiatis in Domino, ut dignum est sanctis, et adsitis ei in quocunque vobis eguerit negotio; etenim ipsa cum multis affuit, tum etiam mihi ipsi.
3. Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus;
3. Salutate Priscam et Acylam, cooperarios meos in Christo Iesu;
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:)
4. Qui pro anima mea suam ipsorum cervicem posuerunt, quibus non ego solus gratias ago, sed etiam omnes ecclesiae Gentium;
5. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is the first-fruits of Achaia unto Christ.
5. Et domesticam eorum ecclesiam. Salutate Epaenetum mihi dilectum qui est primitiae Achaiae in Domino.
6. Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.
6. Salutate Mariam, quae multum laboravit erga vos.
7. Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
7. Salutate Andronicum et Juniam, cognatos meos et cocaptivos meos, qui sunt insignes inter Apostolos, qui etiam ante me fuerunt in Christo.
8. Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.
8. Salutate Ampliam, dilectum meum in Domino.
9. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
9. Salutate Urbanurn, adjutorem nostrum in Christo et Stachyn dilectum meum.
10. Salute Apelies, approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.
10. Salutate Apellen, probatum in Christo. Salutate eos qui sunt ex Aristobuli familiaribns.
11. Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
11. Salutate Herodionem, cognatum meum. Salutate eos qui sunt ex Narcissi familiaribus, hos qui sunt in Domino.
12. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.
12. Salutate Tryphsenam et Tryphosam, quae laborant in Domino. Salutate Persidem dilectam, quae multum laboravit in Domino.
13. Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
13. Salutate Rufum electum in Domino et matrem illius ac meam.
14. Salute Asyneritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
14. Salutate Asynchritum, Phlegontem, Hermam, Patrobam, Mercurium, et qui cum his sunt fratres.
15. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
15. Salutate Philologum et Iuluiam, Nereum et sororem ejus, et Olympam, et qui cum his sunt omnes sanctos.
16. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
16. Salutate vos invicem in osculo sancto. Salutant vos ecelesiae Christi.
He first commends to them Phoebe, to whom he gave this Epistle to be brought to them; and, in the first place, he commends her on account of her office, for she performed a most honorable and a most holy function in the Church; and then he adduces another reason why they ought to receive her and to show her every kindness, for she had always been a helper to all the godly. As then she was an assistant 1 of the Cenchrean Church, he bids that on that account she should be received in the Lord; and by adding as it is meet for saints, he intimates that it would be unbecoming the servants of Christ not to show her honor and kindness. And since it behooves us to embrace in love all the members of Christ, we ought surely to regard and especially to love and honor those who perform a public office in the Church. And besides, as she had always been full of kindness to all, so he bids that help and assistance should now be given to her in all her concerns; for it is what courtesy requires, that he who is naturally disposed to kind-ness should not be forsaken when in need of aid, and to incline their minds the more, he numbers himself among those whom she had assisted.
But this service, of which he speaks as to what it was, he teaches us in another place, in 1 Timothy 5:9, for as the poor were supported from the public treasury of the Church, so they were taken care of by those in public offices, and for this charge widows were chosen, who being free from domestic concerns, and cumbered by no children, wished to consecrate themselves wholly to God by religious duties, they were therefore received into this office as those who had wholly given up themselves, and became bound to their charge in a manner like him, who having hired out his own labors, ceases to be free and to be his own master. Hence the Apostle accuses them of having violated their faith, who renounced the office which they had once undertaken, and as it behooved them to live in widowhood, he forbade them to be chosen under sixty years of age, (1 Timothy 5:9,11,) because he foresaw that under that age the vow of perpetual celibacy was dangerous, yea, liable to prove ruinous. This most sacred function, and very useful to the Church, when the state of things had become worse, degenerated into the idle order of Nuns; which, though corrupt at its beginning, and contrary to the word of God, has yet so fallen away from what it was at its commencement, that there is no difference between some of the sanctuaries of chastity and a common brothel.
It is a singular honor which he ascribes here to Prisca and Aquila, especially with regard to a woman. The modesty of the holy man does on this account more clearly shine forth; for he disdained not to have a woman as his associate in the work of the Lord; nor was he ashamed to confess this. She was the wife of Aquila, and Luke calls her Priscilla. (Acts 18:2.) 3
What he adds respecting the Church in their house is worthy of being observed; for he could not have more splendidly adorned their household than by giving it the title of a Church. The word congregation, which Erasmus has adopted, I do not approve; for it is plainly evident, that Paul, by way of honor, had used the sacred name of Church. 5
6. He again testifies his gratitude, in recording the kindness of Mary to him. Nor is there any doubt but that he commemorates these praises, in order to recommend those whom he praised to the Romans. 7
It is further to be noticed, that we hear nothing here of splendid and magnificent titles, by which we might conclude that men high in rank were Christians; for all those whom Paul mentions were the obscure and the ignoble at Rome.
Paul however seems not here positively to have enjoined a ceremony, but only exhorts them to cherish brotherly love; and he distinguishes it from the profane friendships of the world, which, for the most part, are either disguised or attained by vices, or retained by wicked arts, and never tend to any good. By sending salutations from the Churches, 11 he was endeavoring, as much as he could, to bind all the members of Christ by the mutual bond of love.
2 So reads Griesbach; it is the same with Priscilla. See Acts 18:2,26, and 2 Timothy 4:19, where she is also called Prisca. Names in former times, as well as now, were sometimes used in a abbreviated form. -- Ed.
3 Whether Aquila was a laymen or not, the Apostle connects his wife with him in the work of cooperation with him in his ministerial work; and we see by Acts 18:26, that they both taught Apollos. It is somewhat singular, that the wife, not only here but in several other instances, though not in all, is mentioned before the husband. -- Ed.
5 Some of the Fathers considered that the family, being all religious, was the Church; but this is wholly inconsistent with the mode of expression that is used, and with the state of things at that time. They had no churches or temples to meet in; private houses were their churches. Superstitious ideas as to places of worship no doubt led men to seek such following, if he meant only the family, -- "Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with (
6 Epenetus, who is here called the first-fruit of Achaia, may have been off the family of Stephanas, who is said to have been the first-fruit in 1 Corinthians 16:15. But the majority of copies has Asia,
7 It is said of Mary, that she "labored much,"
8 It is not certain to what the Apostles refers; for we have no particular account of him hitherto as a prisoner, except for a short time at Philippi, Acts 16:23-40; and it is probable, that it was on that occasion that they had been his fellow-prisoners; for it appears from the narrative, that there were more prisoners than Paul and Silas, as it is said that the "prisoners" heard them singing, Romans 16:25; and Paul's saying to the jailer, in Romans 16:28, "we are all here," clearly implies that he had some with him besides Silas. -- Ed.
9 The words
10 It appears from Justin Martyr and Tertullian, that the early Christians kissed one another always after prayers, or at the end of the service. They did so, says Grotius, to "show that they were all equal; for the Persians and the orientals kissed the mouth of those only of the same rank, and gave their hands to be kissed by their inferiors." It was evidently a custom among the Jews. See 2 Samuel 20:9; Luke 7:45; Matthew 26:49. This "holy kiss" is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26. It is called the kiss of love, or charity, by Peter, 1 Peter 5:14. It was one of those things which arose from peculiar habits, and is not be considered as binding on all nations, any more than the washing of feet. The Apostle's object seems to have been, not to enjoin a rite, but to regulate a practice, already existing, and to preserve it from abuse: it was to be a holy kiss. -- Ed.
11 Griesbach approves of