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Romans 15:14--16:27

Context
Paul’s Motivation for Writing the Letter

15:14 But I myself am fully convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, 1  that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15:15 But I have written more boldly to you on some points so as to remind you, because of the grace given to me by God 15:16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I serve 2  the gospel of God 3  like a priest, so that the Gentiles may become an acceptable offering, 4  sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

15:17 So I boast 5  in Christ Jesus about the things that pertain to God. 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in order to bring about the obedience 6  of the Gentiles, by word and deed, 15:19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem even as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 15:20 And in this way I desire to preach where Christ has not been named, so as not to build on another person’s foundation, 15:21 but as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” 7 

Paul’s Intention of Visiting the Romans

15:22 This is the reason I was often hindered from coming to you. 15:23 But now there is nothing more to keep me 8  in these regions, and I have for many years desired 9  to come to you 15:24 when I go to Spain. For I hope to visit you when I pass through and that you will help me 10  on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.

15:25 But now I go to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia are pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 15:27 For they were pleased to do this, and indeed they are indebted to the Jerusalem saints. 11  For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are obligated also to minister to them in material things. 15:28 Therefore after I have completed this and have safely delivered this bounty to them, 12  I will set out for Spain by way of you, 15:29 and I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing.

15:30 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, 13  through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join fervently with me in prayer to God on my behalf. 15:31 Pray 14  that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea and that my ministry in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 15:32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 15:33 Now may the God of peace be with all of you. Amen. 15 

Personal Greetings

16:1 Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant 16  of the church in Cenchrea, 16:2 so that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with whatever help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many, including me.

16:3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, 17  my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 16:4 who risked their own necks for my life. Not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 16:5 Also greet the church in their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, 18  who was the first convert 19  to Christ in the province of Asia. 20  16:6 Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you. 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, 21  my compatriots 22  and my fellow prisoners. They are well known 23  to the apostles, 24  and they were in Christ before me. 16:8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. 16:9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my good friend Stachys. 16:10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 16:11 Greet Herodion, my compatriot. 25  Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 16:12 Greet Tryphena 26  and Tryphosa, laborers in the Lord. Greet my dear friend 27  Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 16:13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother who was also a mother to me. 28  16:14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters 29  with them. 16:15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the believers 30  who are with them. 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

16:17 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, 31  to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them! 16:18 For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds 32  of the naive. 16:19 Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 16:20 The God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my compatriots. 33  16:22 I, Tertius, who am writing this letter, greet you in the Lord. 16:23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and our brother Quartus greet you.

16:24 [[EMPTY]] 34 

16:25 35 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that had been kept secret for long ages, 16:26 but now is disclosed, and through the prophetic scriptures has been made known to all the nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – 16:27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever! Amen.

1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:13.

2 tn Grk “serving.” This is a continuation of the previous sentence in the Greek text, but in keeping with contemporary English style, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

3 tn The genitive in the phrase τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ (to euangelion tou qeou, “the gospel of God”) could be translated as either a subjective genitive (“the gospel which God brings”) or an objective genitive (“the gospel about God”). Either is grammatically possible. This is possibly an instance of a plenary genitive (see ExSyn 119-21; M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek, §§36-39). If so, an interplay between the two concepts is intended: The gospel which God brings is in fact the gospel about himself.

4 tn Grk “so that the offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable.” This could be understood to refer to an offering belonging to the Gentiles (a possessive genitive) or made by the Gentiles (subjective genitive), but more likely the phrase should be understood as an appositive genitive, with the Gentiles themselves consisting of the offering (so J. D. G. Dunn, Romans [WBC 38], 2:860). The latter view is reflected in the translation “so that the Gentiles may become an acceptable offering.”

5 tc ‡ After οὖν (oun), several important Alexandrian and Western mss (B C D F G 81 365 pc) have τήν (thn). The article is lacking in א A Ψ 33 1739 1881 Ï however. Ì46 supplies a relative pronoun and has a different reading entirely (“which I have [as a] boast”). Articles were frequently introduced to clarify the meaning of the text. In this instance, since the word modified (καύχησιν, kauchsin) is third declension, a visual oversight (resulting in omission) is less likely. Hence, the shorter reading is probably original. The difference in translation between these first two options is negligible (“I have the boast” or “I have a boast”). NA27 puts the article in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity.

tn Grk “Therefore I have a boast.”

6 tn Grk “unto obedience.”

7 sn A quotation from Isa 52:15.

8 tn Grk “now no longer having a place…I have.”

9 tn Grk “but having a desire…for many years.”

10 tn Grk “and to be helped by you.” The passive construction was changed to an active one in the translation.

11 tn Grk “to them”; the referent (the Jerusalem saints) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn Grk “have sealed this fruit to them.”

13 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:13.

14 tn Verses 30-31 form one long sentence in the Greek but have been divided into two distinct sentences for clarity in English.

15 tc Some mss lack the word “Amen” here, one of them (Ì46) also inserting 16:25-27 at this point. See the tc note at 16:25 for more information.

16 tn Or “deaconess.” It is debated whether διάκονος (diakonos) here refers to a specific office within the church. One contextual argument used to support this view is that Phoebe is associated with a particular church, Cenchrea, and as such would therefore be a deacon of that church. In the NT some who are called διάκονος are related to a particular church, yet the scholarly consensus is that such individuals are not deacons, but “servants” or “ministers” (other viable translations for διάκονος). For example, Epaphras is associated with the church in Colossians and is called a διάκονος in Col 1:7, but no contemporary translation regards him as a deacon. In 1 Tim 4:6 Paul calls Timothy a διάκονος; Timothy was associated with the church in Ephesus, but he obviously was not a deacon. In addition, the lexical evidence leans away from this view: Within the NT, the διακον- word group rarely functions with a technical nuance. In any case, the evidence is not compelling either way. The view accepted in the translation above is that Phoebe was a servant of the church, not a deaconess, although this conclusion should be regarded as tentative.

17 sn On Prisca and Aquila see also Acts 18:2, 18, 26; 1 Cor 16:19; 2 Tim 4:19. In the NT “Priscilla” and “Prisca” are the same person. The author of Acts uses the full name Priscilla, while Paul uses the diminutive form Prisca.

18 sn The spelling Epenetus is also used by NIV, NLT; the name is alternately spelled Epaenetus (NASB, NKJV, NRSV).

19 tn Grk “first fruit.” This is a figurative use referring to Epenetus as the first Christian convert in the region.

20 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.

21 tn Or “Junias.”

sn The feminine name Junia, though common in Latin, is quite rare in Greek (apparently only three instances of it occur in Greek literature outside Rom 16:7, according to the data in the TLG [D. Moo, Romans [NICNT], 922]). The masculine Junias (as a contraction for Junianas), however, is rarer still: Only one instance of the masculine name is known in extant Greek literature (Epiphanius mentions Junias in his Index discipulorum 125). Further, since there are apparently other husband-wife teams mentioned in this salutation (Prisca and Aquila [v. 3], Philologus and Julia [v. 15]), it might be natural to think of Junia as a feminine name. (This ought not be pressed too far, however, for in v. 12 all three individuals are women [though the first two are linked together], and in vv. 9-11 all the individuals are men.) In Greek only a difference of accent distinguishes between Junias (male) and Junia (female). If it refers to a woman, it is possible (1) that she had the gift of apostleship (not the office), or (2) that she was not an apostle but along with Andronicus was esteemed by (or among) the apostles. As well, the term “prominent” probably means “well known,” suggesting that Andronicus and Junia(s) were well known to the apostles (see note on the phrase “well known” which follows).

22 tn Or “kinsmen,” “relatives,” “fellow countrymen.”

23 tn Or “prominent, outstanding, famous.” The term ἐπίσημος (epishmo") is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known”). The key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts. When a comparative notion is seen, that to which ἐπίσημος is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case (cf., e.g., 3 Macc 6:1 [Ελεαζαρος δέ τις ἀνὴρ ἐπίσημος τῶν ἀπὸ τής χώρας ἱερέων “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country”]; cf. also Pss. Sol. 17:30). When, however, an elative notion is found, ἐν (en) plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon (cf. Pss. Sol. 2:6). Although ἐν plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ἐν plus) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients. In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.” See M. H. Burer and D. B. Wallace, “Was Junia Really an Apostle? A Re-examination of Rom 16.7,” NTS 47 (2001): 76-91, who argue for the elative notion here.

24 tn Or “among the apostles.” See discussion in the note on “well known” for these options.

25 tn Or “kinsman,” “relative,” “fellow countryman.”

26 sn The spelling Tryphena is also used by NIV, NKJV, NLT; the name is alternately spelled Tryphaena (NASB, NRSV).

27 tn Grk “Greet the beloved.”

28 tn Grk “and his mother and mine.”

29 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:13.

30 tn Grk “saints.”

31 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:13.

32 tn Grk “hearts.”

33 tn Grk “kinsmen, relatives, fellow countrymen.”

34 tc Most mss (D [F G 629 without “Jesus Christ”] Ψ [630] 1881 Ï al) include here 16:24 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen.” Other mss (P 33 104 365 pc) include the verse after 16:27. The verse is entirely lacking in Ì46,61 (א A) B C 81 1739 2464 pc co. The strength of the external evidence, combined with uncertainty in other mss over where the verse should be located and the fact that it is a repetition of v. 20b, strongly favors omission of the verse. The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.

35 tc There is a considerable degree of difference among the mss regarding the presence and position of the doxology of 16:25-27. Five situations present themselves from the ms tradition. The doxology is found in the ancient witnesses in three separate locations: (1) here after 16:23 (Ì61 א B C D 81 365 630 1739 2464 al co), (2) after 14:23 (Ψ 0209vid Ï), or (3) after 15:33 (Ì46). The situation is further complicated in that some of the mss have these verses in two places: (4) after 14:23 and after 16:23 (A P 33 104 2805 pc); or (5) after 14:23 and after 15:33 (1506). The uncertain position of the doxology might suggest that it was added by later scribes. But since the mss containing the doxology are so early and widespread, it almost certainly belongs in Romans; it is only a question of where. Further, the witnesses that omit the doxology are few: F G 629 Hiermss. (And of these, G has a blank space of several lines large enough for the doxology to belong there.) Only two positions (after chapter 14 only and at the end of the letter only) deserve particular notice because the situation of the mss showing the doxology in two places dates back to the 5th century. Later copyists, faced with the doxology in two different places in the mss they knew, may have decided to copy the doxology in both places, since they were unwilling to consciously omit any text. Because the textual disruption of the doxology is so early, TCGNT 472 suggests two possibilities: either (1) that Paul may have sent two different copies of Romans – a copy lacking chapter 16 and a copy with the full text of the epistle as we now have it, or (2) Marcion or some of his followers circulated a shortened form of the epistle that lacked chapters 15 and 16. Those mss that lacked chapters 15-16 would naturally conclude with some kind of doxology after chapter 14. On the other hand, H. Gamble (The Textual History of the Letter to the Romans [SD], 123-32) argues for the position of the doxology at 14:23, since to put the doxology at 16:25 would violate Paul’s normal pattern of a grace-benediction at the close of the letter. Gamble further argues for the inclusion of 16:24, since the mss that put the doxology after chapter 14 almost always present 16:24 as the letter’s closing, whereas most of the mss that put the doxology at its traditional position drop 16:24, perhaps because it would be redundant before 16:25-27. A decision is difficult, but the weight of external evidence, since it is both early and geographically widespread, suggests that the doxology belongs here after 16:23. For a full discussion, see TCGNT 470-73.



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