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Paul's letter to the Romans

chapter  16

Closing greetings

Substantial divergences amongst early manuscripts of Romans provide evidence for 'editorial' activity by those who passed the letter down to us,  particularly in this final chapter.   Scholars theorize that Marcion and his movement had a lot to do with it.   Marcion had an unorthodox attitude to the Christian writings,  and didn't hesitate to make his own amendments to them.   Certainly the final doxology doesn't sound like Paul,  and most agree that this is an addition.   That raises the question about how Romans did actually end.   It could not have been at verse 24.   Fortunately these uncertainties do not affect the real substance of the letter.   Without pretending to solve the text-critical problems,  we here offer the first sixteen verses as a credible conclusion.

Commentators have been surprised that Paul seems to know so many people in Rome if he has never been there,  but there is no real problem in that.   There is no need to suppose that this is a catalogue of greetings that was originally sent somewhere else.   It certainly does originate with Paul.   We note the considerable number of women mentioned,  some of them holding positions of leadership.   Most startling is his salutation to 'Andronicus and Junia,  outstanding apostles'.   Junia is a woman's name.   (The corresponding masculine name was Junianus.)   Andronicus and Junia are rather obviously a husband and wife team.   But most translators still assume that a man,  'Junias',  must be the person referred to in this text.

I commend to you our sister Phoebe,  deaconess of the congregation at Cenchreae.   Give her a Christian welcome.   Help her with anything she needs.   She herself has greatly helped many,  including me.   My greetings to Prisca and Aquila,  my Christian fellow-workers.   They risked their lives to save mine,  and not only I but all the Gentile congregations are grateful to them.   Greetings,  also,  to the congregation that meets in their house.

Greetings to my dear friend Epaenetus,  the first Asian convert,  and to Mary who has worked hard for you.   Greet Andronicus and Junia my compatriots and at one time my fellow-prisoners.   They have been outstanding apostles,  and they were Christians before I was.

Greetings to Ampliatus my friend in the Lord,  to Urban my fellow-worker in Christ,  and to my friend Stachys.   Greetings to Apelles,  well-tested in Christ's service,  to everyone in the household of Aristobulus,  to Herodion my compatriot,  and to the Christians in the household of Narcissus.

Please pass on greetings,  too,  to Tryphaena and Tryphosa,  toilers for the Lord,  and to my friend Persis who has long served him.   Greetings to Rufus,  another outstanding servant of Christ,  and to his mother,  whom I call mother too.   Greet Asyncritus,  Phlegon,  Hermes,  Patrobas,  Hermas,  and all the people in their fellowship.   Greet Philologus and Julia,  Nereus and his sister,  and Olympas and all God's people who are linked with them.

Greet one another with the kiss of peace.   All the churches of Christ send you their greetings.

  paraphrase and notes by Evan Lewis


Making connections with Paul the apostle
What Paul did NOT write

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