Journal – December 13, 2020
1 Samuel 25:23
23 Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground.
PAUL’S OWN GREETINGS
I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquilla, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risk their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.
Vs. 1-2 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.In all probability Phoebe brought this epistle to Rome. Cenchrea was one of the ports for Corinth, Romans was written in Corinth. She was a diakonos deaconess of that church. Paul wanted to be sure she received any assistance needed.
Vs. 3-4 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. They were tentmakers as was Paul, he stayed with them at Corinth. By risking their necks can be interpreted as they came close to losing their heads when Paul was in trouble and they came to his defense. They were also well known by all the churches of the Gentiles.
Vs. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ. These two Christians made their home a church for worship. Paul remembers Epaenetus, first one saved under his ministry in Achaia.
Vs. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. Labored much, Mary probably one of earliest members of the church at Rome, its organization was probably due to her influence.
Vs. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. They were Jews and known by the apostles, we do not know when they were in prison with Paul, we do know they were saved before Paul.
Vs. 8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. The love Christians have for each other.
Vs. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. Urbanus, probably a Roman Christian. Paul loves Stachys, his brother in Christ.
Vs. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. Apelles has the distinction of being approved in Christ because of peculiar trials and temptations he perseveringly endured and was proven thereby. Aristobulus is mentioned because there were believers in his household.
Vs. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. The name Herodian and the context suggest that he was Jewish and of the household or Herod family. It is possible that he is related to Paul. Lightfoot wrote that Narcissus was a powerful freedman that was put to death shortly after Nero became Caesar; therefore, some years before Paul wrote this epistle.
Vs. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. Tryphena and Tryphosa are thought to have been sisters. Persis is also a woman. All three are said to have labored in the Lord. It might have been indelicate for Paul to have called any of the three my beloved.
Vs. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. It may be that this Rufus is the same person mentioned in Mark 15:21, the son of Simon of Cyrene. The eklektos—chosen in the Lord does not refer to election in Christ Ephesians 1:4—just as He chose us in Him, which is to salvation. It means choice and points to some eminence belonging to Rufus. The mother of Rufus was not literally Paul’s mother, it means she had performed the part of a mother to him, we don’t know when or where.
Vs. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. The names in this verse and the brethren with them indicate a certain community of believers in a particular location or even vocation, all of the male sex.
Vs. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Julia is probably a woman and the wife of Philologus. Nereus and his sister, along with Olympas and all the saints who are with them form a community of both male and female Christians meeting together as a church.
Vs. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you. Romans is not the first epistle to tell us to greet one another with a holy kiss, we find Christians admonished to greet with a holy kiss in (1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:20), then the Apostle Peter says give the kiss of love (1 Peter 5:14). We find this custom of a friendly greeting by a kiss when the Lord Jesus Christ rebuked Simon the Pharisee, you gave Me no kiss (Luke 7:45) after being invited to his house. This was a token of Christian love. Now a kiss given on its own account may be a token of hypocrisy. The Lord asked Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? (Luke 22:48). Paul characterizes the Christian kiss as a holy kiss and distinguishes it from all that is erotic or sensual. I agree with John Murray that the lack of a kiss in the Western Church might show a lack of ardor of the church’s First Love. I remember an incident that happened well over fifty years ago, this matter was brought up in a conversation that Brother Bill Chadwick, myself and others were involved in, the kiss was brought up and Bill settled the matter by giving me a kiss on the cheek—the discussion was over. The final salutation given in this verse: The churches of Christ greet you, Paul is so identified with all the churches, especially the Gentile churches he has planted, that he can say the churches.
Looking back over the portion of this chapter we have covered just consider how far apart these people were, over hundreds of miles. Remember there were no telephones to contact one another, the only way mail was delivered was for someone to make the trip and carry it, no post offices. Going by way of sea, riding a mule or walking was the usual mode of transportation. But Paul loved and remembered them, was able to call off their names, and had some idea of how they were doing, called them beloved and praised them for their faithful service to him and one another and for their labor in the Lord.
Think about it, do you love others like that, how about those individuals that are different from you? Some Christians enjoy books and quiet so that they may read and take pains to comprehend what they are reading. Then when they do mingle with other Christians, they are revealing what the Spirit has taught them that they might build others up in the faith. Christians are made up of all kinds of people, some are very visible and loud, others are quiet and withdrawn, but all of them have been saved by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, we ought to love and care for them by seeking God’s face and praying for them. This would be following in the footsteps of the greatest natural man that ever lived, the Apostle Paul.
How do you suppose Paul came to know and love so many Christians? I think it was because he was thinking about them and praying for them rather than about himself. He had received word about contentions among the church at Corinth that threatened to divide it. Some bragged about being of Paul, others Apollos, or Peter, and of course some were of Christ. So, Paul asked the church, what is Appolos? What is Paul or Peter? Were just servants through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Appolos watered it, but God made it grow. In this spirit
that appreciates and values the work of other Christians. We see this spirit in Paul’s writings. That is the spirit we need to have in all that we do—we are to show forth the Lord Jesus Christ in every breath we draw, every word we speak and in all our thoughts.
Catechism Question 49
Q: What does the preface to the Ten Commandments teach?
A: The preface to the Ten Commandments teaches us that because God is the Lord, and our God and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all His commandments.
1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.