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Living Boldly: Acknowledging and Overcoming Fear

God's Word for Today Romans 16

May 19, 2012


There are thirty-five persons mentioned by name in this chapter. All were either believers living in Rome or they were believers who were with the apostle Paul who was in Corinth when he wrote this letter. You can read how Paul loved those he was with and those he was writing too, a mutual love they all had for each other, as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Commendation of Phoebe verses 1-2

1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae,

1ข้าพเจ้าขอฝากน้องสาวของเราไว้กับท่าน   คือเฟบีผู้เป็นมัคนายิกาในคริสตจักรที่อยู่ในเมืองเคนเครีย

2that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

2ขอท่านรับนางไว้ในพระนามขององค์พระผู้เป็นเจ้า   ตามควรแก่ธรรมิกชน   และขอให้ท่านช่วยนางในทุกสิ่งที่นางต้องการ   เพราะนางได้ช่วยสงเคราะห์คนหลายคนรวมทั้งข้าพเจ้าด้วย  

The chapter begins with a commendation of Phebe, the woman who brought this letter to Rome. Phoebe is the first believer mentioned here. By her name, we can know, she was a Gentile.  There were many Gentiles in the church at Rome. Apparently she was a very prominent woman in the church, one who was able to travel. She is called a "servant of the church which is at Cenchrea." Cenchrea is the eastern seaport of Corinth. There is a narrow body of land with the port of Cenchrea on one side and the port of Corinth on the other.  In those days you either had to sail way around, or a boat could be drug across the land.  About 100 years ago a canal was dug to connect the two ports so ships can just sail right through.  Paul went to Cenchrea, the eastern port of Corinth, where he could find a ship going east, when he sailed toward Syria.  When I stood at the ruins of ancient Corinth, I looked down and saw in the distance Cenchrea. On that clear day, it looked much closer, but it is about 10 kilometers from Corinth.  Apparently Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans while he was at Corinth, and Phoebe, who may have been a wealthy woman or a business woman, took it with her to Rome. She is called a servant of the church.  The Greek word diakonos is the same word used for deacon.

Jay Vernon Mc Gee says, "The church needs some of the insights and sensibilities that women possess. God has made a woman finer than a man, just as a watch is finer than an automobile. She has been given a sense that man doesn't have. For instance, she can watch a woman who is a complete stranger to her, and in five minutes she knows a great deal about her simply by observing her dress and her manner. Those of us who belong to the male side of the human race appear stupid at a time like that. We can see if she is good looking or not, but that is the extent of our observation. The church needs the insight that a woman has".

Paul apparently put into Phoebe's hand this letter to the Romans rather than trusting it to any other for delivery.   Paul, you see, was next going back to Jerusalem, and Phoebe brought his letter with her to Rome.  Now Paul sends his greetings to a number of other Christians in the church in Rome.

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