Sister Deaconess Phoebe (Rom 16:1)

“I commend to you

Our sister Phoebe,

A deaconess

Of the church

At Cenchreae.”

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?

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