Romans Chapter 16


This chapter is the farewell address from Paul to the recipients of this Epistle. The entire chapter is dedicated to this purpose. He extends greeting to those he knows at Rome and gives final instructions to the church. He then ends with a doxology.

Rom 16:1 It is my desire to say a good word for Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchreae:

Paul commended, or introduced Phoebe to the person or persons that received this Epistle. This was a common practice when many letter carriers were individuals carrying letters from a friend or an acquaintance to another person. It is apparent that Phoebe either carried this letter to the church at Rome or was with the party that carried it.

It is historically accurate to say that Rome had an efficient postal system. The good roads in the empire allowed individuals and official letter carriers to safely and easily move mail. The postal system was begun by Augustus, the Caesar that ruled the Roman Empire when the Baby Jesus was born. Augustus was born Gaius, Octavius Thurinus, and was known simply as Octavianus or Octavian until he became Emperor Caesar Augustus. He ruled from 27BC until 14 AD. This means that Jesus Messiah, if born on 3 BC on our calendar, would have been 11 Years old when Augustus died.

The Pax Romana, the Roman peace that lasted 200 years was credited to Augustus because, after he ended wars that had gone on for 100 years, he became the leader of Rome (but not yet Caesar), and instituted several reforms. He was popular among the bourgeoise (basically the Roman middle class), the nobility, and the ruling class. He improved the existing Roman roads and built many new roads, thus giving the everyone good access to all parts of the Empire. He instituted a uniform system of currency, and greatly improved the tax and revenue system. He improved the infrastructure of the empire with roads, bridges, and aqueducts, and he instituted the Cursus Publicus, which was the Roman postal system. The improved roads and infrastructure greatly facilitated travel and thus allowed the postal system to flourish. Because of the reforms, trade was increased, which allowed an increase in the relative wealth of Roman citizens. The postal system remained intact until at least the end of Empire in the 5th Century.

Historians give credit to Augustus for the Pax Romana. I have a different view. What was the one event that surpasses all other historical events and that occurred during the reign of Caesar Augustus? It was the birth of Christ. His birth occurred precisely at a time when Augustus had already ruled about 25 years and had completed most of his reforms. I give credit to Whom it is due, and it is due to Yahweh God.

Paul told us earlier in this Epistle that Yahweh God ordains and places our leaders in office. Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God (KJV).” Or, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (NKJV).”

Not only does God ordain and appoint all leaders throughout History, but He also establishes all kingdoms, nation states, and empires, countries and governments throughout history (Dan 4:25, Col 1:16). Yahweh God used the Roman Empire to establish Augustus as leader and thus the Pax Romana. That was because the appointed time for Messiah to be born coincided with the Pax Romana. Consequently, the Roman peace was established by God for the very purpose of providing a period of peace to allow Christianity to flourish and increase in numbers.

The persecutions against Christians by both Romans and Israelites did not harm the Pax Romana in any way. What those persecutions did was cause Christianity to spread because Christians fled from the persecutions and thus spread the Gospel. This allowed Paul, the other twelve Apostles, and other Christians to preach the Gospel throughout the empire in relative peace.

Phoebe was a believer in Christ, hence a sister to all believers, from the town of Cenchreae, modern Κεχριές, Kechries (kek-ree-ez’), Greece. It was a seaport of ancient Corinth. In fact, the ruins of the harbor still exist there and are visible on many online maps.

It is of interest to note that the Greek for “Phoebe our sister, which is a servant” is “φοιβην την αδελφην ημων ουσαν διακονον,” is literally, Phoebe, the sister of us, a servant, or deaconess (διακονον diakonon from diakonos), from the church at Cenchreae. A deacon is a servant and deaconess is a woman servant. However, deaconesses, unlike Deacons (Act 6:1-7; 1 Tim 3:13), did not serve in an official capacity and they did not have ecclesiastical authority over the men.

Rom 16:2  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 succourer of many, and of myself also.

When you receive her into your assembly, understand that she is a true Believer in Christ. Accordingly, you need to receive her as a fellow-servant and a fellow believer. Paul is making sure that she is not treated like most women were in those days, that is, like a second-class citizen. That is because she has been a patroness who has cared for others and provided for them and was a leader to the needy. This adds to the notion that she was a deaconess.

The word translated succourer (προστατις, prostatis) tells us that she was “a woman set over others; a female guardian, protectress, patroness, caring for the affairs of others and aiding them with her resources” (Thayer Definition). Several translations state the she was a leader over others, including Paul. This does not, however, imply that she was officially a church leader or that she took ecclesiastical authority over men. It implies that she was a leader when she was helping those in need. When a nurse tends to the sick, he or she necessarily takes a leadership role in their healing. This is a similar situation.

They are to be courteous and respectful of her because she has been an overwhelming helper in her church. Paul is commanding them to not disrespect her because she is a woman, for she has been an invaluable member of the congregation at Cenchreae. They were to treat her as such. They were to succor her as she did others.

Rom 16:3-5a  Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:  (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. (5a) Likewise greet the church that is in their house.

Paul met Aquila and his wife Priscilla at Corinth. They had moved there because Claudius Caesar had kicked all the Jews out of Rome. They were of the same craft as Paul; they were tentmakers. For this reason, Paul spent considerable time with them. They had a church or assembly of believers that met in their house in Corinth.

While at Corinth Paul preached in the synagogue and persuaded some of the Jews and Gentiles. When he began to preach Christ to the Jews there, many of them resisted the Gospel. Paul then moved to the house of Justus at another location in Corinth where he taught in a synagogue adjoined to the house of Justus. Later, the Jews there attacked Paul. The Synagogue leader, Crispus, became a believer.

After that persecution (Act 18:12), He and Priscilla and Aquila traveled to Ephesus. Paul parted with them at Ephesus (Act 18:21) and went to Caesarea, Antioch, Galatia, and Phrygia.

Apollos, an Egyptian Christian from Alexandria, was preaching boldly in the synagogue at Ephesus. Priscilla and Aquila were evidently more versed in the “Way of God” or Christianity than Apollos and were able to teach him more about the tenants of the faith. (Act 18:26).

The couple likely accompanied Paul in areas dangerous to Christians and helped him out of several scrapes. We know they were with him at Corinth, and it is possible that the couple were present when Paul was persecuted there.

There is enough evidence on the Scriptures to state that Priscilla and Aquila were an important couple to Paul and can postulate that they had worked and witnessed together often during Paul’s ministry. Paul thanked them for and all the Gentile churches that helped him. We see Priscilla and Aquila in these verses: Act 18:2, 18, 26; Rom 16:3; 1 Cor 16:19; and 2 Tim 14:19.

Rom 16:5b  Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

We know from John Gill’s commentary that Epaenetus was from Carthage and is in the lists by the Pseudo-Dorotheus and Pseudo-Hippolytus1 of the seventy disciples that Jesus sent out in Luke 10:1. See John Gill’s commentary on Luke 10:1. Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions consider him the Bishop of Carthage. Paul tells us that He was one of the first Christian converts from the Greek region of Achaia which is essentially the modern Greek Prefecture of Achaia.

Rom 16:6  Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.

Some versions such as the Vulgate, Douay Reims Bible, Syrixa, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions say “much labor on you” instead of “on us.” Either is acceptable and both tell us Mary was a hard worker. We don’t know who this Mary was. Some have speculated that she was from Naples or Rome. She was obviously a tireless worker.

Rom 16:7  Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

By kinsmen, Paul likely meant they were fellow Jew or perhaps from the same tribe (see Rom 9:3). Andronicus is in the list of the seventy sent out by Christ in Luke 10:1. Some speculate that Androcinus and Junia were married and that Junia was the wife. But Junia, or Junias, is a male name which is short for Junilius.

Apparently, they were prisoners with Paul on some occasion. They were known to the Apostles and were saved before Paul’s Damascus Road experience and conversion.

Rom 16:8  Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.

The Greek Orthodox church considers him to be among the seventy disciples of Luke 10:1. There is a man in the list of the seventy sent out by Christ in Luke 10:1 called “Amphias, of Odyssus, sometimes called Amphiatus.” Amplias may have been the same person. He may also have been the Bishop of Odyssus (Odessas or modern Varna, Bulgaria).

Rom 16:9  Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Urban, or Urbanus, bishop of Macedonia in in the Catholic list who many speculate to be this Urban. It is not clear, however that they are the same. Stachys, bishop at Byzantium is also in the list, again the provenance is not sure.

Rom 16:11  Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

Herodian of Tarsus is also in the list of the seventy, Paul was from Tarsus hence the reference to his kinsman Herodian. Narcissus of Athens is in the list as well.

Rom 16:12  Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.

These three are supposed to be women, the first two being sisters. In every commentary available to me all were called women. They were obviously great workers, possibly deaconesses, or servants in their churches.

Rom 16:13  Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Rufus is identified in Mark 15:1 as the son of Simon the Cyrenian who was ordered by the Roman soldiers to Carry the cross of Christ to Golgotha. This is very possibly that Rufus, who was also numbered among the seventy and was said to be Bishop of Thebes. Again, this is not absolute but is very possible. Paul probably considered Rufus’ mother to be as his own because of the kindness and love she showed Paul.

Rom 16:14  Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.

Each of these is on the list of the seventy. Asyncritus was of Hyrcania.
Phlegon was of Marathon. Hermas was of Philippi. Patrobulus was of Puteoli. Hermes was of Dalmatia. There were other Christian brethren that accompanied these men, all who were assumed to be the Bishops of the towns listed with their names.

Rom 16:15  Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

Philologus from Sinope and Olympas from Rome are on the list of the seventy. Julia, Nereus, and the wife of Philologus are unknown and there is very little information about them.

Many commentators note the absence of Peter from this list. According to Roman tradition Peter was the first Bishop at Rome and would have been at Rome at this time. But no record exists of Peter at Rome at this time. This negates the Roman Catholic claim the he was ever Bishop of Rome.

Rom 16:16  Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

The holy kiss is not a kiss of betrayal like that of Iscariot (Mat 26:49; Mar 14:45) nor a kiss of deceit like that of Joab (2 Sam 20:9-10), nor should it be an immoral, sexual, or obscene kiss. It should be a holy and simple kiss, set apart to brothers and sisters in Christ, and lightly given.

Kissing is a greeting practiced in many countries, especially those in the Orient. It was a common practice there in Paul’s time and still is practiced there today. In the West, we do not greet with a kiss, so I believe that a holy handshake or a holy hug or simply a holy oral greeting is an adequate substitute for a holy kiss.

Such a greeting, whether it be a kiss, a handshake, a hug, or an oral greeting, should completely express the love we have for one another as Christian sisters and brothers. It should not be just superficial thing, but a real act of love, companionship, brother hood and friendship.

Rom 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

The doctrine of Christ being the only way to heaven was under attack in Paul’s day just as it is today. The, the Judaizers wanted all those who professed Christ as Lord and trust Him to save them from their sins to also be circumcised, obey the food laws, the Sabbaths, etc., were teaching against what they had learned from Paul. These Judaizers were causing divisions and offending Christians. Paul told the brethren to stay away from such people.

Today Christians are being persecuted for being elitist, bigoted, and intolerant when they claim Jesus is the only way. Those causing divisions today and offending Christ are the ones that say there are many ways to heaven. New Age religionists are especially vociferous that Christians are intolerant and wrong. This has gone so far as Christians being persecuted by governments for not accepting another’s belief. There are governments that pass laws basically prohibiting Christians from “discriminating” against those who claim many ways to heaven.

Paul tells us to avoid those preaching and teaching such division and false doctrine. Many of those teaching false doctrine today claim to be Christians. The word faith movement is an example of false doctrine being taught by those professing to be in Christ. Avoid them. Avoid all teachers of false doctrine.

How does one know whether or not doctrine is false?

The very best way to avoid being “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph 4:14 NKJV) is to be diligent in Bible study, prayer, and assembling together regularly in church. When we do that we are able to draw near to each other with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water; we are able to hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and we are able to consider one another in order to stir up love and good works in each other (compare Heb 10:22, 23, 24, 25).

Be like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to make sure Paul and Silas were teaching the truth (Act 17:11). Test everything anyone teaches about Christian doctrine with the Scriptures. If their words do not align with the Scriptures, discount what they say and avoid those teachers.

If someone you know and trust to be truthful makes a false statement, go to them with Christian love and point out their error to them. If you see an error that I have written, the point it out to me and if I have made a mistake, I will correct it; I have always done so.

Rom 16:18  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Whether or not they claim to be Christians or claim to follow Christ, these false teachers have their own agenda. That agenda often is to bilk money from the unsuspecting. There are many prominent false teachers out there. Many claim to be Christians but teach a false doctrine of Christ.

The word of faith teachers teach multiple falsehoods and heresies. An example of one such heresy is the Christ went to hell and was tortured by the Devil for 3 days. That is a wholesale lie and an absolutely extreme perversion of the Scripture. The word of faith teachers have many more such extreme distortions of the Scriptures.

New Age false teachers often mix Christ with other supposed deities and usually claim many ways to God. There is a prominent woman who is a New Age false teacher that circulates this nonsense and has deceived millions (we are not naming names in the treatise).

There are fake healers that use the Bible and claim to be anointed by God to heal. Many claim to be in direct contact with God. There are several of these well-known “healers” that are multimillionaires. Many of these “healers” are also word of faith teachers.

There are the academics who are not believers that circulate such falsehoods as Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, a respected moral leader, etc., but not God in the flesh. Do not believe them.

There are the “eschatology” teachers who sensationalize, embellish, and exaggerate the scriptures pertaining to the end times. They do so to get people to listen to them and buy their books, videos, and other paraphernalia.

There are the “Christian” teachers that are in it for the money. They will teach anything they must to get people to send them money. This includes all the above. Each of them has a money interest in what they do.

This is not an exhaustive list. Paul rightly puts it that they serve their own bellies.

Rom 16:19  For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

The Roman Christians had a very good reputation. In Romans 1:8, Paul wrote this about them: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Paul expressed his approval of their obedience to the Gospel, to the Scriptures, and to Paul’s writings, many of which were already known as Scripture in Paul’s day (2 Pet 3:15 & 16).

But yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. This was the main reason Paul wrote this Epistle and all his other Epistles. He wanted to make sure the recipients of his epistles were well grounded in the Scriptures, in the doctrines of the Faith, and that they knew what was evil and avoided it. Reader, we, that is, you and I are also recipients of Paul’s Epistles and they make sure we are well grounded in the Scriptures, in the doctrines of the Faith, and that we know what is evil and avoid it.

What is good and simple concerning evil can be understood in this passage: Mat 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We are not to cause harm but be innocent and take what is good and teach it to the world. The world is a cold, dangerous, cruel, and hostile place. Accordingly, we are to also be wise and not foolish. As Paul wrote in Colossians:

Col 2:6-8 (NKJV), “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (7) rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (8) Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Rom 16:20  And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

This is the beginning of Paul’s farewell salutation. Because they were so well grounded in the truth, they will bruise Satan because they are following all the good things Paul has taught them about the Faith and they have been diligent in doing so.

The phrase, “bruise Satan” is an obvious reference to what God said in Genesis 3:15, when speaking to the serpent in the Garden, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” “Her seed” means Jesus Christ Wo bruised Satan by His triumph over death at the cross. The Romans, because of their faith in Christ, also bruised Satan, just as we do when we walk with Christ as in the quote above from Colossians.

Rom 16:21-23  Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.  (22)  I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.  (23)  Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

Paul dictated this farewell to Tertius, the scribe that wrote down Paul’s words in this Epistle. Tertius pens his farewell here. Paul mentions those who have meant the most to him in his sojourn as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

They are, Timothy, whom Paul considers his adopted son in the Faith (I Tim 1:12, 18; 2 Tim 1:3, 2:1), Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, whom Paul considered to be his kinsmen in Christ. He also mentioned the members of the church at Corinth where he was when he wrote the Epistle.

It is apparent that Erastus is the Chamberlain of Corinth because of the syntax. Paul is writing in the city of Corinth. When one references simply, “the city” it is understood that the person is talking about the city where he or she is currently located.

Thus, we are not violating any rules of rhetoric when we accept that Paul was discussing Corinth, which was his locale when he dictated this Epistle. Erastus, the chamberlain of Corinth, was a believer in Christ.

Rom 16:24  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Paul used a similar salutation often in his Epistles. We often use a final salutation in our letters. We say things like, “Yours Truly,” “Sincerely,” “Love,” etc. That is what Paul does here. This is Paul’s final salute to his associates and to his recipients.

But he also ends with a doxology, or praise of God and His Christ, to Whom Paul gives all credit for His calling:

Rom 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Yahweh God is all powerful.

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee (Jer 32:17).

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jer 32:27).

Yahweh God is able to establish us according to the Gospel of Christ that Paul taught:

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee (Gen 17:7).

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear (Psalm 119:38)

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (1 Pet 5:10).

The preaching of Jesus Christ. This is not the preaching of Paul himself. Paul preached what he received from Christ; he did not preach his words but the words of Jesus, our Christ.

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11-12).

The Mystery is the Gospel. Christ came and lived a sinless life. He gave Himself as the sacrifice to atone for all our sins for all time. He was sacrificed on the Cross and died for our sins. He was resurrected on the third day and is alive today making intercession for our sins. If we trust or believe in Him and His work at the cross, then we will receive eternal live and will arise from our death just as He arose from His death.

God revealed the Mystery of the Gospel to Paul of Tarsus. Paul explain this mystery in detail in Colossians 2:6-15. The underlined portion of the Scripture below adequately describes the Mystery of the Gospel that was hidden to God’s people from the creation of the world until the Ministry of Christ began at Cana.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:6-15 NKJV)

The mystery was kept secret since the world began

[God] having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Eph 1:9-10 NKJV)

Rom 16:26  But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

The mystery was revealed to Paul and consequently to the entire world when the time was right according to the purposes of God.

To me [Paul], who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. (Eph 3:8-10 NKJV)

Rom 16:27  To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

God is omniscient or all knowing. There in nothing He does not know. After all, He created the entire universe, therefore He must, without question, know everything about what He created. He also knows everything outside of His creation as well. His knowledge is infinite.

Paul gives all glory to Yahweh God though God’s only begotten Son, Jesus, the Christ (Messiah). Everything we read in Romans was given to Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and there is no error in the revelation the Spirit gave to Paul.


  1. The compiled lists are available in the Catholic Encyclopedia at
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