Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 16:12-17
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 16:12
v12: Apparently, Tryphaena and Tryphosa are two sisters, possibly even twins. Their names are Greek in origin. Again, as he did with Mary earlier (v6), Paul honors them for the work they had done in ministry. Persis (Persida) is a Greek name which means “a woman from Persia” (today: Iran). Her name may indicate that she was, or had been, a slave. In her case Paul doesn’t say she is “beloved by me”, he says she is “the beloved”, meaning someone dearly loved by the entire church. He honors her for her having done “much work in the Lord”.

Monday: Romans 16:13
v13: The man he greets named “Rufus” may well be one of the sons of Simon of Cyrene. Simon of Cyrene was the man who was forced to carry the heavy crossbar for Jesus, after the Lord stumbled under its weight on the way to be crucified. When describing that scene in his gospel, Mark adds a surprising side note. He identifies Simon as “the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mk 15:21). It seems obvious that he must have put that statement in to tell his readers that Simon was the father of two men whom they knew. Since it is generally assumed that Mark wrote his gospel while in Rome, with Peter as his primary source (1Pe 5:13), it is very likely that believers in Rome knew him because he lived in the city.

Tuesday: Romans 16:13
v13 (continued): Paul calls him “the chosen in the Lord” which is a term he applies elsewhere to all believers (Ro 8:33; Col 3:12), but in this context Paul is honoring each person for some special quality. So, in some way, Rufus’ call must have been unusual. Paul may be pointing to a specific event in which he was called to ministry, or, it is possible that he may be alluding to the particularly amazing circumstance under which Simon of Cyrene, and subsequently his family, came to meet Jesus. That family must have always treasured the unique way God called them to Himself (Mk 15:20-22).

Wednesday: Romans 16:13
v13 (continued): Here’s another surprising statement. Paul greets Rufus’ mother and says she had been a mother to him as well. We can only speculate as to where he encountered this family, but one possibility is the time Paul spent in Jerusalem about three years (Gal 1:17, 18) after his conversion (Ac 9:23-30), and another is the year he spent ministering with Barnabas in the church in Antioch (Ac 11:19-30). When Luke names some of the elders of that church he mentions “Simeon (Simon) who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene…” (Ac 13:1). Could that Simon be Simon of Cyrene? Did that family take Paul into their home during that season? If so, Rufus’ mother would indeed have been a “mother” to Paul as well.

Thursday: Romans 16:14, 15
v14: The names listed in this verse are all masculine. They may have been elders or deacons of a house church because Paul also greets “the brothers who are with them.” However, the fact that all these men have Greek names may indicate that they had moved to Rome from somewhere else and had formed a community there. It’s possible Paul had met them during his years in Ephesus or one of the other Greek cities where he had ministered. They might have accompanied Priscilla and Aquila when they returned to Rome. v15: Those listed in this verse may also be elders or deacons of a house church because Paul again greets “all the saints who are with them”. Philologus and Julia appear to be husband and wife. Paul mentions a man named Nereus along with his sister, but does not name her. He also greets a man named Olympas. All the names in this verse are also Greek, except Julia, which is Roman.

Friday: Romans 16:16
v16: Paul closes this section containing his personal greetings with the words, “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; 1Th 5:26; 1Pe 5:14). As we noted earlier (Ro 16:3, 4) the word translated here as “greet” means to greet with an embrace. It literally means to draw someone to oneself, which in common English means to “hug”. In many cultures around the world, when someone is loved and trusted like a member of the family, a slight kiss is given on the person’s cheek along with the hug. It is an expression of the warmest sort of affection and makes the statement, “I think of you like my own family”. By sending this sort of greeting Paul tells them he loves them like family. By adding “all the churches of Christ greet you” he is saying, “Not only do I feel this way about you, but so do all your brothers and sisters around the world”.

Saturday: Romans 16:17
v17: The very act of greeting people by name reminds Paul of how many dear friends he has in Rome, and that some are the fruit of his own ministry. His pastoral heart swells with concern for them. It seems like everywhere he planted churches religious mercenaries came in after him. At first they would pretend to be friendly, but their fruit was bad. They taught a corrupt gospel and split churches into bitter, quarrelling factions. Philippi (Php 3:2), Galatia (Gal 3:1-5), and Corinth (2Co 11:1-4, 20-22) had all endured this type of assault. And since their real motivation was to make money, it was certain that they would gravitate to a place like Rome with all of its wealth and power.

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