Romans 16:1-16

Romans 16:1-16
Feast of Mary Magdalene – A Women’s Lectionary


I commendA to you our sisterB Phoebe,C

Notes on verse 1a

A “commend” = sunistemi. 16x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + histemi (to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast). This is to establish, exhibit, demonstrate, stand together, prove.
B “sister” = adelphe. From adelphos (brother in a literal or figurative sense); {from a (with, sharing) + delphus (womb)}. This is sister in a literal or figurative sense.
C “Phoebe” = Phoibe. 1x in NT. From phoibos (bright); probably related to phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is Phoebe, meaning “bright” or “radiant” or “pure” or “prophet.” See

a deaconD of the churchE at Cenchreae,F 

Notes on verse 1b

D “deacon” = diakonos. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is a servant, minister, waiter, or attendant. It is used for a person who performs a service, including religious service. This is the root of the word “deacon.”
E “church” = ekklesia. From ek (from, out from) + kaleo to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is properly a calling out or an assembly. It was used to refer to a church.
F “Cenchreae” = Kegchreai. 2x in NT. Perhaps from kegchros (millet). This is Cenchrea or Cenchreae.

so that you may welcomeG her in the Lord,H as is fittingI for the saints,J

Notes on verse 2a

G “welcome” = prosdechomai. 14x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is to receive, welcome, expect, accept. It is reception with a warm, personal welcome or active waiting. It can also mean endurance or patience.
H “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
I “fitting” = axios. 6x in NT. From axios (related to weight or worth – deserving, suitable, corresponding, due reward); from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go). This is worthily or appropriately. It is when something is held to have the same worth as its real value.
J “saints” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.

and helpK her in whateverL she may requireM from you,

Notes on verse 2b

K “help” = paristemi. Related to “commend” in v1. From para (from beside, by) + histemi (see note A above). This is literally to place by stand. It can mean to present, exhibit, appear, bring, stand by, or prove. It can also mean to be ready, to assist, to yield, or to commend.
L {untranslated} = pragma. 11x in NT. From prasso (to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit; to accomplish, attend, or commit). This is an action, matter, or business. It is something done on a regular basis that is done in order to get something done.
M “require” = chrezo. 5x in NT. From chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary); from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request) This is to need, want, or desire.

for she has beenN a benefactorO of manyP and of myself as well.

Notes on verse 2c

N “been” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
O “benefactor” = prostatis. Related to “commend” in v1 & “help” in v2. 1x in NT. From proistemi (to set over, engage, lead, manage); {from pro (before, earlier than, ahead, prior) + histemi (see note A above)}. This is a patroness or helper.
P “many” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.

GreetQ PriscaR and Aquila,S

Notes on verse 3a

Q “greet” = aspazomai. Perhaps from a (with, together with) + a form of spao (to draw, draw out, pull). This is to welcome, salute, or greet. It can also be to embrace or acclaim.
R “Prisca” = Priska. 3x in NT. From Latin priscus (Priscus, a male name); from Latin priscus (ancient, former); from prae (first, earlier). This is Prisca, meaning “of earlier times.” See &
S “Aquila” = Akulas. 6x in NT. From Latin Aquila (Aquila); from aquila (eagle); perhaps related to aquilus (“blackish, the color of darkness”); perhaps from aqua (water). This is Aquila, meaning eagle. See

my coworkersT in ChristU Jesus,V 

Notes on verse 3b

T “coworkers” = sunergos. 13x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + the base of ergon (work, task, deed, labor, effort) {from ergo (to work, accomplish, do)}. This is co-worker, associate, helper, co-laborer or one’s companion during labor.
U “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
V “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.

who riskedW their necksX for my life,Y

Notes on verse 4a

W “risked” = hupotithemi. 2x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is to place under, to sketch an outline, to make known, risk, put before.
X “necks” = trachelos. 7x in NT. Probably from trachus (rough, uneven). This is the neck or throat. It can also refer to an embrace. It shares a root with the word “trachea.”
Y “life” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.

to whom not onlyZ I give thanksAA but also allBB the churches of the gentiles.CC 

Notes on verse 4b

Z “only” = monos. Perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is alone, single, remaining, mere, desolate.
AA “give thanks” = eucharisteo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); {from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards)}. This is giving thanks, being thankful. It is a recognition that God’s grace is good and actively showing gratitude. It can also be used for saying grace before eating. This is where “eucharist” comes from.
BB “all” = pas. This is all or every.
CC “gentiles” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.

Greet also the church in their house.DD Greet my belovedEE Epaenetus,FF who was the first convertGG in AsiaHH for Christ. 

Notes on verse 5

DD “house” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.
EE “beloved” = agapetos. From agape (love, goodwill, benevolence; God’s divine love); from agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is Beloved or very dear one. It is a title for the Messiah, but also for Christians. Properly, this is one who personally experiences God’s love.
FF “Epaenetus” = Epainetos. 1x in NT. From epaineo (to praise or laud; to give someone the credit they are due); {from epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aineo (to praise, praise God); {from ainos (praise, saying, story, proverb)}}. This is Epaenetus, meaning “praiseworthy” or “praised.”
GG “first convert” = aparche. 8x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + arche (origin, beginning, rule; can refer to the power of a magistrate or a king; it is the first thing as being the starting point or the most important); {from archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power)}. This is first fruit or gift. It is the beginning of sacrifice – so the first crops of the season. It is also used figuratively of early converts in a specific location.
HH “Asia” = Asia. 18x in NT. Perhaps from Hittite assuwa (22 allied ancient states in Anatolia) OR Aegean asis (muddy, silty) OR Semitic root asu (rising or light; Asia as land to the east). This is Asia, the Roman province, which consisted of western Asia Minor. See

Greet Mary,II who has workedJJ very hardKK for you. 

Notes on verse 6

II “Mary” = Maria. From Hebrew Miryam (Aaron and Moses’s sister); from marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam or Mary.
JJ “worked” = kopiao. From kopos (labor that leads to exhaustion, depletion, weariness, fatigue; working until worn out); from kopto (to cut, strike, cut off; beating the chest to lament and so to mourn). This is working with effort, whether of the body or mind, growing weary, feeling tired, working hard.
KK “very hard” = polus. Same as “many” in v2. See note P above.

Greet AndronicusLL and Junia,MM my fellow IsraelitesNN who were in prison withOO me;

Notes on verse 7a

LL “Andronicus” = Andronikos. 1x in NT. From aner (man, male, sir, husband) + nikos (victory, triumph – especially a conquest); {from nike (victory, conquest; figurative for what makes one successful)}. This is Andronicus, meaning “man of victory” or “victory of men.” See
MM “Junia” = Iounias. 1x in NT. From Latin Iuno (Juno, a goddess); from iuven (relating to youth). This is Junia, a name meaning “the younger.” See
NN “fellow Israelites” = suggenes. Related to “been” in v2. 12x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (see note N above)}. This is relative, kinsman, offspring, or otherwise someone from the same stock. It can also be used for a fellow countryman.
OO “in prison with” = sunaichmalotos. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + aichmalotos (a prisoner or captive in war); {from aichme (a spear) + haliskomai (taken or conquered) or halosis (capturing); from haliskomai (see above); from haireomai (to take, choose, or prefer); probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is a fellow prisoner or captive.

they are prominentPP among the apostles,QQ and they wereRR in Christ before I was. 

Notes on verse 7b

PP “prominent” = episemos. 2x in NT. From epi (on, upon, among, what is fitting) + the same as semaino (to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known); {from sema (a sign or mark)}. This is prominent, conspicuous, remarkable, or notorious.
QQ “apostles” = apostolos. Related to “commend” in v1 & “help” and “benefactor” in v2. From apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for); {probably from histemi (see note A above)}}. This is a messenger – someone sent out on a mission as an envoy or delegate. It can also refer to someone set at liberty. Generally, this is a messenger who is meant to be a representative of the one who sent them. They are thus, set apart on a mission literally or figuratively.
RR “were” = ginomai. Same as “been” in v2. See note N above.

Greet Ampliatus,SS my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus,TT our coworker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys.UU 

Notes on verses 8-9

SS “Ampliatus” = Ampliatos. 1x in NT. From Latin Ampliatus (Ampliatus); from amplio (to delay decision, ennoble, enlarge, increase, magnify). This is Ampliatus or Amplias, which may be an imperial name. It may mean “enlarged.” See
TT “Urbanus” = Ourbanos. 1x in NT. From Latin urbanus (urbane, related to the city); from urbs (city). This is Urbanus, meaning “urbane.” See
UU “Stachys” = Stachus. Related to “commend” in v1 & “help” and “benefactor” in v2 & “apostles” in v7. 1x in NT. From the same as stachus (head of grain); perhaps from histemi (see note A above). This is Stachys or Stachus, meaning “head of grain.”

10 Greet Apelles,VV who is approvedWW in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus.XX 

Notes on verse 10

VV “Apelles” = Apelles. 1x in NT. From the same as Apollonia (Apollonia, a Macedonian city); from Apollon (the Greek god Apollo, who was god of “light, music, medicine, poetry, prophecy, dance, manly beauty”); possibly from Pre-Greek (to drive away) OR from Greek apollumi (to destroy) OR apolouon (washing) OR apoluon (delivering) OR haploun (simple) OR aeiballon (always shooting) OR a (not) + polus (parts). This is Apelles, perhaps meaning “assembly” or “of Apollo” or “of the destroyer.” See
WW “approved” = dokimos. Related to “welcome” in v2. 7x in NT. From dechomai (see note G above) or dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); {from dokos (opinion)}. This is what passes the test, approved, acceptable, genuine, verified.
XX “Aristobulus” = Aristobulos. Related to “first convert” in v5 & “be in prison with” in v7. 1x in NT. From the same as Aristarchos (Aristarchus, meaning “best leader” or “best ruling”); {from aristos (best); {from aristeuo (“to be the best)} + archos (leader); {from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power)}}. This is Aristobulus, meaning “best-counseling” or “best intention.” See

11 Greet my fellow Israelite Herodion.YY Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus.ZZ 12 Greet those workersAAA in the Lord,

Notes on verses 11-12a

YY “Herodion” = Herodion. From Herodes (Herod, perhaps meaning “hero’s song,” “Hera’s song,” or “heroic”); {perhaps from heros (hero, warrior) + oide (song, ode, legend, tale) [from aoide (song, ode, legend, tale) {from aeido (to sing) + e (this is added to verbs to make them nouns)}] OR from hera (Hera) + oide (same as above)}. This is Herodion, meaning “hero’s song” or “heroic.” See
ZZ “Narcissus” = Narkissos. 1x in NT. From Latin narcissus (narcissus flower); from Greek narke (numbness like a drug); from narkao (to become stiff or numb). This is Narcissus, meaning “narcissus” or “dopey” or “slow poke.” See
AAA “workers” = kopiao. Same as “worked” in v6. See note JJ above.

TryphaenaBBB and Tryphosa.CCC Greet the beloved Persis,DDD who has worked hard in the Lord. 

Notes on verse 12b

BBB “Tryphaena” = Truphaina. 1x in NT. From truphe (softness, luxury; moral decay from too much luxury or debauchery); from thrupto (to break or become weak from over-indulgence). This is Tryphaena, meaning “luxurious” or “precious little one.” See
CCC “Tryphosa” = Truphosa. Related to “Tryphaena” in v12. 1x in NT. From truphe (see note AAA above). This is Tryphosa, meaning “luxuriating” or “precious little two.” She may be Tryphaena’s sister – with a cutesy similar name. See
DDD “Persis” = Persis. 1x in NT. From Persikos (Persian); {from Old Persian Parsa (Persian); {maybe related to Sanskirt Parsu (Parsu, a tribe) or Sanskrit parasu (axe) or Proto-Iranian parcus (rib)}}. This is Persis, a woman’s name meaning “Persian.” See

13 Greet Rufus,EEE chosenFFF in the Lord, and greet his motherGGG—a mother to me also. 14 Greet Asyncritus,HHH Phlegon,III

Notes on verses 13-14a

EEE “Rufus” = Rhouphos. 2x in NT. From Sabellian Rufrae or Rufrium (proper names); related to Latin ruber (red, ruby). This is Rufus, meaning “red.” See
FFF “chosen” = eklektos. From eklego (to choose, select, elect); {from ek (from, from out of) + lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. This is to select or choose. It is making a personal choice – a favorite.
GGG “mother” = meter. This is mother in a literal or figurative sense.
HHH “Asyncritus” = Asugkritos. 1x in NT. From a (not, without) + sugkrino (to combine, compare, explain, collate); {from sun (with, together with) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging)}. This is Asyncritus, meaning “incomparable.”
III “Phlegon” = Phlegon. 1x in NT. From the same as phlox (flame, blaze); from phlego (to burn or flash). This is Phlegon, meaning “blazing” or “flame” or “scorching.” See

Hermes,JJJ Patrobas,KKK Hermas,LLL and the brothersMMM and sisters who are with them. 

Notes on verse 14b

JJJ “Hermes” = Hermes. 2x in NT. Perhaps from ereo (to say, tell, speak). This is Hermes, Greek god who was messenger to the other gods, also god of language. His name may mean “new declaration” or “supporting message” or “border crosser.” See
KKK “Patrobas” = Patrobas. 1x in NT. From Patrobios (Patrobios); {from pater (father, ancestor, elder, senior; father in a literal or figurative sense) + bios (life, livelihood, goods, wealth)} OR from pater (see above) + basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); {probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go}}. This is Patrobas, meaning “father’s life” or “life of the father” or “father is king.” See
LLL “Hermas” = Hermas. Related to “Hermes” in v14. 1x in NT. From Hermes (see note JJJ above). This is Hermas, with the same meaning as Hermes. See
MMM “brothers” = adelphos. Related to “sister” in v1. See note B above.

15 Greet Philologus,NNN Julia,OOO NereusPPP and his sister,

Notes on verse 15a

NNN “Philologus” = Philologos. Related to “chosen” in v13. 1x in NT. From philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); {from lego (see note FFF above)}. This is Philologos or Philologus, meaning “fond of words” or “student” or “scholar” or “talkative.” It shares roots with philology.  
OOO “Julia” = Ioulia. From Ioulios (Julius, a centurion); {from Latin iulus (soft hair) or from Old Latin Iovilios (from Jove); {from Iovis (Jove, Jupiter); from Proto-Indo-European dyws (sky, sky god)}}. This is Julia, perhaps a slave or someone who was freed. It means “downy” or “hairy.” See &
PPP “Nereus” = Nereus. 1x in NT. Perhaps from naus (wet, boat); {from nao (to float)} OR from Hebrew nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful) OR from Nereus (Nereus, a god of the sea). This is Nereus, meaning “he who shines” or “he who floats” or “fluvial.” See &

and Olympas,QQQ and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holyRRR kiss.SSS All the churches of Christ greet you.

Notes on verses 15b-16

QQQ “Olympas” = Olumpas. Related to “be in prison with” in v7 & “Aristobulus” in v10. 1x in NT. From Olumpos (Olympus, where 12 Greek gods are said to live); {perhaps from olai (barley groats) or Pre-Greek (mountain) or similar to ouranos (air, sky, the atmosphere, heaven; the sky that is visible; the spiritual heaven where God dwells; implies happiness, power, and eternity); {perhaps from oros (mountain, hill)}}. This is Olympas, meaning “as Olympus” or “good enough to be on Olympus” or “heavenly” or “heaven-descended” or “gathering/storage.” See &
RRR “holy” = hagios. Same as “saints” in v2. See note J above.
SSS “kiss” = philema. Related to “Philologus” in v15. 7x in NT. From phileo (friendship love and fondness with personal attachment; kiss as a sign of love deriving from this personal affection -cherishing); {from philos (see note NNN above)}. This is a kiss of friendship or other deep bond.

Image credit: “Dedication of Paul and Barnabas” by Frank Wesley.

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