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