Saturday, September 19, 2015

Romans Chapter 16 Part One

Romans 16:1-2

Personal greetings
The capital city of Rome was a magnet that drew people from all over the empire. In addition Paul’s travels to many of the major population centers — Jerusalem, Syrian Antioch, Philippi, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus — brought him into contact with the mobile segment of Roman society. These factors help explain the presence of Paul’s many friends in Rome, but his knowledge of their whereabouts remains a tribute to his deep concern for people.
Phoebe (which means “bright, radiant”) was Paul’s emissary to deliver this letter, so he wrote officially, I commend to you our sister Phoebe. The relationship mentioned is spiritual, not familial. Phoebe was a servant of the church in Cenchrea, a seaport a few miles east of Corinth (cf. Act_18:18. “Servant”: This is one passage used in support of the office of deaconess. No specific specifications however are given of such an office. Such women are better viewed as being either the wives of deacons, or godly widows who were supported financially by the church. Here it is best to understand Phoebe’s role to be that of “helper.”
In the early church, women servants cared for sick believers, the poor, strangers and those in prison. They instructed the women and children.
Whether Phebe had an official title or not, she had the great responsibility of delivering this letter to the Roman church.
Cenchrea is the little town east of Corinth from which Paul wrote Romans.
 The word diakonon, “servant,” is used for the office of deacon (Php_1:1; 1Ti_3:8, 1Ti_3:10, 1Ti_3:12) as well as used generally (Rom_15:8; 1Co_3:5). Use of the word with the phrase “of the church” strongly suggests some recognized position, a fact appropriate for a person serving as Paul’s emissary. Paul not only officially commended her (cf. 2Co_3:1), but also asked the Roman Christians to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help (lit., “and to stand by her in whatsoever matter”) she may need from you. Succourer means a patron. In many of Paul's writings, such as this, we see that many women ministered with him. Paul calls her his sister; she is not his sister in the flesh, but in the ministry.
Notice, also, that Paul says to help her in her business. In the first verse, he had told us that her business was as servant in the church. We see from this that, Paul is saying to help her in her ministry. She had been a great help to Paul, as well as others. Notice in this next Scripture in Jesus' own words what He feels toward these workers.
Matthew 10:40 "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." You see, when you receive a servant of God {male or female} you are, in fact, receiving the God that sent them.
Paul explained, for she has been a great help (prostatis, “a protectress, succorer”) to many people, including me. So they should help her since she had helped others.

Romans 16:3-5

This list of greetings (Rom_16:3-16) that Paul wanted conveyed to friends in Rome is the longest in any of his epistles. He mentioned 26 people by name, and referred to many others (Rom_16:5, Rom_16:10-11, Rom_16:13-15). Several women are included in the list: Priscilla (Rom_16:3), Mary (Rom_16:6), Tryphena and Tryphosa (Rom_16:12), Persis (Rom_16:12), Rufus’ mother (Rom_16:13), and Nereus’ sister (Rom_16:15). Two others are possibly women — Junias (Rom_16:7) and Julia (Rom_16:15).
Paul first met Priscilla and Aquila when he arrived in Corinth on his second missionary journey (Act_18:2) and worked with them at their trade of tentmaking. They had come to Corinth from Rome because of Claudius’ decree that all Jews must leave Rome. They accompanied Paul when he left Corinth (Act_18:18), but stayed in Ephesus when the party stopped briefly (Act_18:19). There they ministered to Apollos (Act_18:26) and undoubtedly to Paul during his stay in Ephesus on his third journey, because they sent greetings to the Corinthian Christians (1Co_16:19). Shortly after that, they must have moved back to Rome and still later returned to Ephesus (2Ti_4:19).
Paul paid them great praise, calling them my fellow workers in Christ Jesus and revealing that they risked their lives for me (lit., “they lay down their own neck for my soul”). In what way they risked their lives is not known. We know that these two had befriended Paul before. In fact, Paul lived with them and worked as a tentmaker while he ministered.
Acts 18:2-3 “And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them." "And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers."
John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
These two had been fellow workers with Paul on several occasions.
 All the Gentile churches, Paul added, were grateful to them. Paul also sent greetings to the church that met at their house. The Christians in Rome apparently worshiped in numerous homes such as Priscilla and Aquila’s. This couple had had a house church in Ephesus (1Co_16:19) and probably wherever they lived. Other churches in homes are mentioned in Col_4:15 and Phm_1:2.
Epenetus, to whom greetings were sent, is mentioned only here, but is called by Paul my dear friend (lit., “the one loved by me”; cf. Stachys, Rom_16:9). He was the first convert (lit., “the firstfruits”) to Christ in the province of Asia. Acts 18:27 "And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:"
We see for certain that Paul ministered in Achaia from this scripture. (Achaia – Located in Asia Minor or modern Turkey)
I Corinthians 16:15 "I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and [that] they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)" This Scripture shows the good fruits of the church that Paul started in Achaia.
Paul reached Asia, the western portion of modern-day Turkey, on his third missionary journey (Act_19:10), after having been prevented from going there on his second journey (Act_16:6). 

Romans 16:6-7

Mary is identified simply as one who worked very hard (“toiled much”; cf. Rom_16:12). Some Greek manuscripts read Mariam, the Hebrew form, which probably identifies this woman as a Jew.
Andronicus and Junias, greeted together, may have been husband and wife; Junias can be either masculine or feminine. Paul called them my relatives, which probably refers to a tribal, not a family kinship (cf. Rom_9:3). He also mentioned four other “relatives” (Rom_16:11, Rom_16:21). He said Andronicus and Junias had been in prison with him (lit., “my fellow prisoners”); when or where this occurred is not mentioned (cf. 2Co_11:23). Paul commended them as outstanding (episēmoi, lit., “having a mark [sēma] on them,” therefore “illustrious, notable, outstanding”) among the apostles. Very little is written in the Bible about Adronicus. A history book states that he became bishop of Pannonia. His name means man-conquering. He and Junia seemed to be blood relations of Paul.
“Note among the apostles” just means they were well known to the apostles. The New Testament knows only the 12 apostles plus Matthis and Paul. The office of apostle was not extended beyond this number. Andronicus and Junia (a woman) are not apostles.
Their ministry with Paul, and perhaps with Peter and some of the other apostles in Jerusalem before Paul was converted, was well known and appreciated by the apostles.
The word “apostles” is probably used here in the broader, general sense in which Barnabas, Silas, and others were called apostles (Act_14:14; 1Th_2:7). Or it could mean the apostles in the limited sense, referring to the reputation this pair had among the Twelve. Paul added, They were (perf. tense, “they came to be and still are”) in Christ before I was. So they had been believers for about 25 years. 

Romans 16:8-11

Ampliatus was one Paul loved in the Lord. This was high praise from the apostle. Amplias was a common name among the emperor’s household slaves at that time; he may have been one of those in “Caesar’s household”. Urbanus was called our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys was addressed as my dear friend (lit., “the one loved by me”; cf. Epenetus, Rom_16:5). Urbane means polite or of the city.
Stachys is said by historians {not the Bible} to have been bishop of Byzantium. Tradition, also, has him to be one of the 70 disciples. This is an uncommon Greek name meaning “ear of corn.” He was obviously closed to Paul, but the details are not know for sure.
Paul said Apelles was tested and approved (ton dokimon, “the one approved through testing”; cf. the same word trans. “approved,” Rom_14:18; the related infinitive dokimazein is trans. “to test and approve,” Rom_12:2). Just the fact that Apelles was approved of Christ tells us that he was probably one of the 70 sent out to minister by Jesus. Some historians believe he was the bishop at Smyrna.
Without naming other individuals Paul sent greetings to those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.  A household may have included family members and servants. Aristobulus is another that is only mentioned here in the Bible, but seems to have been in the early converts to Christianity. His name means counselor.
Since his household is mentioned, probably some in his house received the Lord as Savior.
As Paul does not greet him personally, some think he was probably not a believer.
Historians say that he was a brother to Barnabus. One noted biblical scholar believers that he was the brother of Herod Agrippa I and the grandson of Herod the Great. (However, the Gr. simply has “those out of, belonging to Aristobulus”; cf. Rom_16:11). 
 Herodion was greeted as my relative, but once again the relationship was probably tribal and not familial (cf. Rom_16:7, Rom_16:21). The name may identify this person as belonging to Herod’s family. Once again without naming individuals Paul sent greetings to those in the household of Narcissus (lit., “those out of, belonging to Narcissus”; cf. Rom_16:10). But Paul restricted his greetings to the ones who are in the Lord, which probably indicated Narcissus’ family was divided spiritually. “Herodion”: Related to the Herod family and so perhaps associated with the household of Aristobulus.
“My kingsman” meaning, he may have been one of Paul’s Jewish relatives.
Narcissus: Some scholars believe that this was the Emperor Claudius’ secretary. If so, two households within the palace had Christians in them. 

Romans 16:12-13

Paul sent greetings jointly to Tryphena and Tryphosa, identifying them as those women who work hard (“toil”) in the Lord. Tryphena and Tryphosa are not mentioned anywhere else. All we know is that they worked for the Lord. The only thing we know about Persis is that this was a woman who was a laborer for the Lord.
“Tryphena and Tryphosa”: Possibly twin sisters, who names mean “delicate and dainty”.
Then Persis, addressed as my dear friend (lit., “the one loved”), was another woman who has worked very hard (“toiled much”) in the Lord. Persis seems to be named after her native Persia since her work is spoken of in the past tense, she was probably older that the other two women in this verse. Interestingly four women were said to have “worked hard” (cf. Mary, Rom_16:6).
Whether Rufus is the same person mentioned in Mar_15:21 or not is uncertain. If so, then he, as a son of Simon of Cyrene, was a North African. Paul said Rufus was chosen in the Lord, a statement true of every believer (cf. Eph_1:4). Biblical scholars generally agree that he was one of the sons of Simon of Cyrene, the man enlisted to carry Jesus’ cross and was likely saved through that contact with Christ. Mark wrote his gospel in Rome, possibly after the letter to Rome was written, and circulated. Paul would not have mentioned Rufus if that name were not well known to the church in Rome.
“Chosen in the Lord”, meaning he was elected to salvation. This indicates he was widely known as an extraordinary believer because of his great love and service.
Rufus was not Paul’s natural brother. Rather Rufus’ mother, the wife of Simon of Cyrene, at some time had cared for Paul during his ministry travels.
Consequently the word translated “chosen” may mean “eminent,” since it was given to Rufus as a statement of distinction. The greeting included Rufus’ mother who, Paul said, had also been a mother to him. Paul obviously did not say she was his actual mother, but he had been the recipient of her motherly care.

Romans 16:14-16

The next five names mentioned together (Rom_16:14) evidently had something in common, perhaps as leaders of another house church. This may be indicated by the reference to the brothers with them. They are all common names, particularly among slaves.
Julia may have been the wife of Philologus. Two other husband-wife teams were Priscilla and Aquila (Rom_16:3) and (possibly) Andronicus and Junias (Rom_16:7). Nereus and his sister were then greeted, though the sister’s name is not given. And finally, greetings were sent to Olympas and all the saints with him. The only thing we know about Asyncritus is that the name means incomparable.
Phlegon means burning. Historians say he was one of the original 70 disciples of Christ.
Hermas is celebrated as a saint on May 9th by the Romans. Hermas means mercury.
Patrobas means life of his father. Little else is known of any of these Christians that Paul sent greetings to.
Philologus means fond of talk.
There were many Julias at this time, and no one knows for sure which one she is.
Nothing more is known of Nereus or Olympas.
This group may have been the leaders of another house church (cf. Rom_16:14).
Of all these individuals only Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament for certain; yet Paul knew them all individually and sent personal greetings to them and their associates. Paul cannot properly be charged with not being “a people person.” He closed this section with the command, Greet one another with a holy kiss. We notice, here, that this kiss was to be a holy kiss. This was not a passionate kiss, but a friendly kiss. Paul is explaining how the church must be together in Christ. We will list 4 of the Scriptures that speak of this greeting with a holy kiss.
I Corinthians 16:20 "All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss." II Corinthians 13:12 "Greet one another with an holy kiss."
I Thessalonians 5:26 "Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss." I Peter 5:14 "Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace [be] with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen."
Kissing of friends on the forehead, cheek or beard was common in the Old Testament. The Jews in the New Testament church carried on the practice, and it became especially precious to new believers, who were often outcasts from their own families because of their faith, because of the spiritual kinship it signified.
The mode of salutation similar to the handshake today and with a general word of salutation, all the churches of Christ send greetings (lit., “greet you”).

2 Corinthians Chapter 4

2 Corinthians 4:1
I admire Paul greatly. In the face of all kinds of hardship, he still goes on with the ministry. Paul never stops being appreciative of the mercy the Lord Jesus showed him in stopping him and getting him on the right track. Paul is compelled from within himself to continue to minister.
When we see "faint not", we see all of the terrible obstacles that Paul faced. He faced stoning, shipwreck, imprisonment, and worst of all, rejection from his own people. This just meant that he worked even harder to bring this simple message of salvation to all who would listen.
The task of ministering the New Covenant was too noble to lose heart over. Since God had called him to proclaim it, Paul could not abandon his calling. Instead he trusted God to strengthen him.
2 Corinthians 4:2
Paul is saying, here, that he had totally turned his back on the world and the deceitfulness of riches. "Manifestation" means making real. We know that this was very real to him. His objective was to make people realize the simplicity and the necessity of receiving the Lord into their lives. Salvation is a daily walk with Jesus. We do not get forgiveness, and then go back into dishonesty.
The hidden things are referring to secret immoralities, hypocrisies, and the sins hidden deep in the darkness of one’s life.
We must walk daily in the salvation we have received. Paul had learned to do just that. Paul is expressing, here, the extreme importance of being honest with God, the people around you, and with you. The things of the world are laid aside.
This appears to be a reply by Paul to a direct and slanderous accusation against him, that he was a hypocrite, whose mask of piety hid a corrupt and shameful life.
2 Corinthians 4:3
Gospel means good news. No one wants to hide good news. Paul did not try to hide it from anyone. This is speaking of those who have eyes to see and do not see, and ears to hear and do not hear. The gospel was offered, but they just could not see it. They were lost.
The gospel is veiled to those who are perishing so the problem was not with the message or the messenger, but with the hearers headed for hell. The preacher cannot persuade people to believe; only God can do that. 
2 Corinthians 4:4:
The god of this world of course is Satan. This is speaking of the mind set expressed by the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. It encompasses the world’s philosophies, education and commerce.
Those who will not receive the gospel are those who are of this world. They do not want to let go of the world to receive this gospel. Satan blinds men to God’s truth through the world system he has created.
You cannot walk in the darkness of this world, and walk in the Light of God at the same time. The Light does away with darkness. Each of us is a free will agent. We can accept the Light of Jesus, or we can remain in the darkness. God will not force us to follow Him. It is our choice.
Christ is the image of God. We know that He is the Light. If His glorious Light shines in our heart, it totally does away with darkness. Accepting Christ is not a mind process. We must give Him our heart.
2 Corinthians 4:5
Paul is explaining, here, that he should not be their object of worship. Paul had made himself a servant to all mankind to win those he could to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is another word for Messiah. Christ, also means, the Anointed One. Jesus means Savior.
Notice that Paul did not stop with introducing them to Christ Jesus as their Savior, but included Jesus as Lord. When Paul says, that he is the servant of Jesus, it means that Paul has made Jesus his Lord.
The false teachers accused Paul of preaching for his own benefit, yet they were the ones guilty of doing so.
2 Corinthians 4:6
The word that God was translated from is Theos. The meaning of "Theos" is a Deity, Supreme Divinity, or Exceeding God.  Everything that was applied to this earth, or created, all became as the Word was spoken. Creator God is, also, the Spoken Word. The Light was eternal. It already existed. It was just commanded to shine its Light on the earth and give all things the power to be.
There was total darkness, and the Light shined, and did away with the darkness (Genesis chapter 1). This same Light that shined on the earth and gave all things the power to be, has taken up abode in the heart of the believer. This Light gives all believers in Christ the power to eternally be. He is Life. We know this Word, Creator, and Light, as Jesus Christ.
I can ask you one question, Christian. Are you filled with the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ? If you are, there is no darkness in you. Paul encountered this Light on the road to Damascus, and it changed Paul's life. From that moment on, Paul did not have to search for the Light. The Light lived in Paul.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
The same God who created physical light in the universe is the same God who must create supernatural light in the soul and usher believers from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light (Col. 1:13).
2 Corinthians 4:7
The "treasure" that the Christians have is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. The "earthen vessel" spoken of here, is the house of flesh. The flesh of man is from the dust of the earth. Our flesh is nothing.
The power of the Christian to minister is from Christ within him. The ministering of the Christian is Christ in him. We have been given power of attorney to use the name of Jesus. The real power in ministering is when we allow Christ to minister through us to the people.
2 Corinthians 4:8:
The following Scriptures can say it much better than I possibly could.
Romans 8:35-37 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" "As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the daylong; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."  "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
We can be thankful with Paul in tribulation. Paul never once complained of the tribulations. He just stayed steadfast in the faith. That must be our lot, as well. We must not break under the pressures the world brings.
In verses 8 and 9 Paul gave four contrasting metaphors to show that his weakness did not cripple him, but actually strengthened him.
We must be like the old oak tree, which is rooted deeply and is not easily blown over. We must not keep our eyes focused on the problems around us. We must focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, who will see us through, if we do not faint.
I Peter 4:12-14 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:" "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding 
Joy." “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
2 Corinthians 4:9
The great promise of God to His own is that He will never leave us, or forsake us.
Hebrews 13:5 "[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." 
We see from the following Scripture, that we will not die until God is ready for us to come home.
Luke 21:18 "But there shall not a hair of your head perish." God has a set time for us to go to heaven. They may cast us down, but we will not give up the ghost, until God is ready for us to.
2 Corinthians 4:10:
The flesh must die for the spirit to live. On this earth, we are in this body of flesh. There will come a time when we will remove this flesh as a man removes a garment, and our spirit body will live.
The word “Always” indicates that the suffering Paul experienced was endless. And the suffering was a result of attacks against the “Lord Jesus,” not Paul and other believers. Those who hated Jesus took out their vengeance on those who represented Him.
Through Paul’s weakness, Christ was put on display. His suffering, the false apostles said, was evidence the God was not with him and he was a fraud. On the contrary, Paul affirmed that his suffering was the badge of his loyalty to Christ and the source of his power.
2 Corinthians 4:11
“Delivered unto death” refers to the transferring of a prisoner to the executioner. It was used to refer to Christ is being delivered to those who crucified Him but in this case, it refers to the potential physical death constantly faced by those who represented Christ.
“In our mortal flesh” is another term for Paul’s humanness, his physical body.
2 Corinthians 4:12
Paul faced death every day, yet he was willing to pay that price if it meant salvation for those to whom he preached.
2 Corinthians 4:13 
Paul remained true to his convictions, no matter the cost. He was not a pragmatist who would alter his message to suit his listeners. He was convinced of the power of God to act through the message he preached.
“Spirit of faith” means the attitude of faith, not the Holy Spirit. Paul had the same conviction about the power of the message as did the psalmist in Psalm 116:10 who in the midst of his troubles, confidently asked God to deliver him out of his troubles. He could confidently do so because he believed God would answer his prayer.
2 Corinthians 4:14
This is explained very well in the next two verses in Jesus' own Words.
John 11:25-26 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" 
It is the spirit man that never dies. Jesus rose from death of the body. He had a new body. It was taken from the old body, because it still had the nail prints in his hands. It was different enough, however, that the disciples did not recognize Him, until their understanding was opened.
We are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus. He will present us before His Father and the angels in heaven.
2 Corinthians 4:15
Everything, in and on the earth, was made for the use of man. God prepared the earth and then brought the man. God has always had the well-being of mankind in mind. God sent His Son to redeem us. Grace is not for God's sake, but for our sake. God gave us a way out {Jesus Christ}.
“To the glory of God” is the ultimate goal of all that the believer does.
2 Corinthians 4:16
Our physical body was not made for eternity. It is a fragile thing. It came from dust and unto dust it shall return. Our outward {flesh] man was made to die. The spirit, within the flesh, is the eternal being. The Spirit is made for eternity.
Our outward man, the physical body is in the process of decay and will eventually die. Paul was referring to the normal aging process.
Is renewed means, the growth and maturing process of the believer is constantly occurring. While the physical body is decaying, the inner self of the believer continues to grow and mature into Christ likeness.

2 Corinthians 4:17
The few little problems, we have while we are housed in a body of flesh, are nothing compared to the wonderful things God has in store for us. We will shed this body of flesh and live on with Jesus in our spiritual body.
I Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
From a human perspective, Paul’s own testimony lists a seemingly unbearable litany of sufferings and persecutions he endured throughout his life, yet he viewed them as weightless and lasting for only a brief moment.
“Eternal weight of glory”: For Paul, the future glory he would experience with the Lord far outweighed any suffering he experienced in this world. Paul understood that the greater the suffering, the greater would be his eternal glory.
2 Corinthians 4:18
So many times, we are told not to look to the things of earth which pass away. The earth, and everything in it, will pass away. Even the earth, itself, is of a temporary nature. This, again, is speaking of the flesh and the spirit. The flesh represents all that you can see with the physical eye. The spirit is not seen with the physical eye. The spirit is the hope of mankind. Faith is spirit. We have faith that all that God promised, He will do.
Pursuing God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the souls of men should consume the believer.