Who is approved
Who belong to the family
ἀσπάσασθε Ἀπελλῆν τὸν δόκιμον ἐν Χριστῷ. ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἐκ τῶν Ἀριστοβούλου.
Paul said to greet Apelles (ἀσπάσασθε Ἀπελλῆν), who was approved in Christ (ὸν δόκιμον ἐν Χριστῷ). They should also greet (ἀσπάσασθε) those who belonged to the family of Aristobulus (τοὺς ἐκ τῶν Ἀριστοβούλου). Only the Pauline letters used this word δόκιμον, that means tested, approved, or acceptable. Paul wanted the Roman Christians to greet Apelles, a tried and true Christian, as well as those from the Aristobulus family. It was not clear whether Apelles was part of this family or not. There was no further description of Apelles or the family of Aristobulus. At the same time, there was no indication of how Paul knew either Apelles or the Aristobulus family. Do you know a good Christian family?
Our fellow worker
Greet my beloved Stachys!”
ἀσπάσασθε Οὐρβανὸν τὸν συνεργὸν ἡμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ καὶ Στάχυν τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου.
Paul said to greet Urbanus (ἀσπάσασθε Οὐρβανὸν), their fellow worker (τὸν συνεργὸν ἡμῶν) in Christ (ἐν Χριστῷ). He also wanted them to greet his beloved Stachys (καὶ Στάχυν τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου). Only the Pauline letters used this word συνεργὸν, that means a fellow worker, associate, or helper. Paul wanted the Roman Christians to greet Urbanus, a fellow Christian worker. Who is this Urbanus? There was no further description about him except that he was a Christian worker. There was no indication of how Paul knew about him either. Then there was his beloved Stachys, another unknown person, whom Paul somehow knew, without any information as to how and where he knew Stachys. Do you know a lot of Christian people?
My beloved in the Lord.”
ἀσπάσασθε Ἀμπλιᾶτον τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου ἐν Κυρίῳ.
Paul said to greet Ampliatus (ἀσπάσασθε Ἀμπλιᾶτον), his beloved in the Lord (τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου ἐν Κυρίῳ). Paul wanted these Roman Christians to greet Ampliatus. Who is this Roman Christian? There was no further description about him and no indication of how Paul knew him either. He simply was a well-liked Roman Christian. Do you know people who are good Christians?
And my fellow prisoners.
They are men of note
Among the apostles.
They were in Christ
ἀσπάσασθε Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ.
Paul said the Romans should greet (ἀσπάσασθε) Andronicus (Ἀνδρόνικον) and Junias (καὶ Ἰουνίαν), kinsmen or relatives of Paul (τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου) and his fellow prisoners (συναιχμαλώτους μου). They were men of note (οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι) among the apostles (ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις). They came (γέγοναν) to Christ (ἐν Χριστῷ) before Paul (οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ). Only the Pauline letters used this word συναιχμαλώτους, that means a fellow prisoner. Paul wanted the Roman Christians to greet Andronicus and Junias. However, he gave no more information about them. They were somehow related to Paul as Jewish Christians, as well as being fellow prisoners with Paul. However, there is no indication of when and where they were imprisoned with Paul. They apparently were Christians before Paul’s conversion, and thus well known among the apostles. Do you know anyone who was put in prison for being a Christian?
Who has worked hard
ἀσπάσασθε Μαριάν, ἥτις πολλὰ ἐκοπίασεν εἰς ὑμᾶς.
Paul said to greet Mary (ἀσπάσασθε Μαριάν), who has worked hard (ἥτις πολλὰ ἐκοπίασεν) among you (εἰς ὑμᾶς). Paul wanted the Roman Christians to greet Mary, who had been working or toiling hard or much among them. Who is this Mary? There was no further description about her except that she was a busy hard worker among the Roman Christians. There is no indication of how Paul knew her either. Do you know how many different Mary’s there are in the Greek New Testament writings?
“Greet also the church
In their house!
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
Who was the first convert
καὶ τὴν κατ’ οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίαν. ἀσπάσασθε Ἐπαίνετον τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου, ὅς ἐστιν ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀσίας εἰς Χριστόν.
Paul said greet also the church (ἐκκλησίαν) in their house (καὶ τὴν κατ’ οἶκον)! Greet (ἀσπάσασθε) my beloved (τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου) Epaenetus (Ἐπαίνετον), who was the first convert (ὅς ἐστιν ἀπαρχὴ) in Asia (τῆς Ἀσίας) for Christ (εἰς Χριστόν). Perhaps, many of the people met in the house of Aquila and Priscilla that would have been common for this growing Christian community. Paul gave a shout out to Epaenetus. His name never appeared elsewhere in the biblical writings. However, he seems to be one of the first converts to Christianity in Asia Minor. Paul called him the first fruit for Christ. Where this conversion took place is not clear. Who was the first in your family to be a Christian?
Had risked their necks
For my life.
I give thanks
Not only to them,
But also all the churches
Of the gentiles.”
οἵτινες ὑπὲρ τῆς ψυχῆς μου τὸν ἑαυτῶν τράχηλον ὑπέθηκαν, οἷς οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος εὐχαριστῶ ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσαι αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῶν ἐθνῶν,
Paul said that Aquila and Priscilla had risked (τὸν ἑαυτῶν ὑπέθηκαν) their necks (τράχηλον) for his life (οἵτινες ὑπὲρ τῆς ψυχῆς μου). He gave thanks not only to them (οἷς οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος εὐχαριστῶ), but also to all the churches of the gentiles (ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσαι αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῶν ἐθνῶν). Only the Pauline letters used this word ὑπέθηκαν, that means to place under, or lay down. Paul said that that Aquila and his wife Priscilla had put their necks on the line for him. This might have been at Ephesus in Acts, chapter 19:23. Paul wanted to give thanks to them, but also to all the other gentile communities and churches in Rome. Thus, Paul was thankful to all, both his Jewish Christian friends but all the gentile Christian communities in this large metropolitan area of Rome. Do you live in a town that has more than one Christian church?
My fellow workers
In Christ Jesus.”
Ἀσπάσασθε Πρίσκαν καὶ Ἀκύλαν τοὺς συνεργούς μου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,
Paul said to greet (Ἀσπάσασθε) Prisca (Πρίσκαν) and Aquila (καὶ Ἀκύλαν)! They were his fellow workers (τοὺς συνεργούς μου) in Christ Jesus (ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ). Only the Pauline letters used this word συνεργούς, that means a fellow worker, an associate, or a helper. Acts 18:2, indicated that in Corinth, Paul met a Jewish person named Aquila and his wife Priscilla, who had just recently come from Rome because the Emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews out of Rome. Apparently, there had been fights about the role of Jesus the Christ Messiah in the Jewish synagogues in Rome. Aquila was from Pontus, an area around the Black Sea, in northern modern-day Turkey. Claudius was the emperor from 41-54 CE, so that this decree might have been around 49-50 CE. Paul went to see this Jewish Roman couple living in Corinth. They were tent makers like him. They probably had returned to Rome. Their names also appeared in 1 Corinthians, chapter 16:19 and 2 Timothy, chapter 4:19. Do you have friends in other cities?
You may welcome Phoebe
In the Lord
As it is fitting
For the saints.
She may require
She has been a helper
And of myself as well.”
ἵνα αὐτὴν προσδέξησθε ἐν Κυρίῳ ἀξίως τῶν ἁγίων, καὶ παραστῆτε αὐτῇ ἐν ᾧ ἂν ὑμῶν χρῄζῃ πράγματι· καὶ γὰρ αὐτὴ προστάτις πολλῶν ἐγενήθη καὶ ἐμοῦ αὐτοῦ.
Paul said that they should welcome Phoebe (ἵνα αὐτὴν προσδέξησθε) in the Lord (ἐν Κυρίῳ) as it is fitting for the saints (ἀξίως τῶν ἁγίων). Help or assist her (καὶ παραστῆτε) in whatever she may require from you (ἐν ᾧ ἂν ὑμῶν χρῄζῃ πράγματι). She has been a helper or patroness (καὶ γὰρ αὐτὴ προστάτις) of many people (πολλῶν ἐγενήθη) and of himself as well (καὶ ἐμοῦ αὐτοῦ). Only the Pauline letters used this word προστάτις, that means a patroness, protectress, female guardian, or protector. Paul wanted the Roman Christians to treat Phoebe correctly. They should help her in any way that they could. She had been a helper to many people, including Paul himself. She may have been a woman of means. Paul thought highly enough of her to entrust her with this letter to the community of Christians in Rome. Have you ever been a messenger between two people?
“I commend to you
Our sister Phoebe,
Of the church
Συνίστημι δὲ ὑμῖν Φοίβην τὴν ἀδελφὴν ἡμῶν, οὖσαν διάκονον τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς ἐν Κενχρεαῖς,
Paul said that he commended to them (Συνίστημι δὲ ὑμῖν) our sister (τὴν ἀδελφὴν ἡμῶν) Phoebe (Φοίβην), a deaconess (οὖσαν διάκονον) of the church (τῆς ἐκκλησίας) at Cenchreae (τῆς ἐν Κενχρεαῖς). Perhaps both chapters 15 and 16 were later added to this letter. This chapter 16 may have been destined for the church at Ephesus. On the other hand, perhaps these were Jewish Christians who had been expelled from Rome and then returned there. The Emperor Claudius (41-54 CE) expelled Jews for the fights with the Christians between 49-53 CE. Paul may have met these expelled Jewish Christians in Greece. He wanted them to take care of Phoebe, a deaconess of the community or church at Cenchreae that was the Corinthian seaport town about five miles east of Corinth that was mentioned in Acts 18:18. Phoebe was probably the letter carrier of this letter. She had some official role with the Christian community in Cenchreae as a server or deacon. Traveling to and from Rome would have been difficult then, so Paul wanted the Roman Christians to be kind to her. Are you kind to visitors?