“Salute Herodion my kinsman.  Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.”

“Herodion my kinsman”– Paul also has several women as well as men remembered and   saluted, and their services for Christ and his ministers recorded. God will have none of His faithful servants forgotten, or any of their good deeds buried in oblivion.

           HERODION:  (Grk.–Hrôdiôna)–Probably a female Jewish convert, since her name ends in the letter “a,”, the ending for females.  She was probably a member of the Herodian dynasty.

“Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus”
Literally:  “Greet those of Narcissus.”–We cannot definitely identify this man.

          NARCISSUS:   (Grk.–Narkisos)–Some have identified him as the favorite of the emperor Claudius, but he was put to death by Nero before this epistle was written.  There was also a Narcissus who was a favorite of Nero and who was put to death by Galba when he became emperor after Nero.

“which are in the Lord.”
Literally: “Those being in the Lord.”–This may imply that others in his house, including probably himself, were not Christians; those only of that family that were converted to the Lord being saluted.

“Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord.  Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.”

“Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa who labor in the Lord”
Literally:  “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those laboring in {the} Lord.”--These were two active women there in the Roman church.  Probably sisters and possibly twins. Both names come from the same root, the Greek verb (truphaô)meaning “to live luxuriously” (James 5:5).

        TRYPHENA…TRYPHOSA:  (Grk.–Truphainan…Truphôsan)–Literally meaning, respectively, “Dainty”…“Delicate.”  They were very probably, like Phebe, “servants of the Church.”

            These were probably two faithful women, who performed the office of deaconesses, or who ministered to the sick, and who with Persis, thus by example, and perhaps by instruction, labored to promote the spread of Christianity. Pious females then, as now, were able to do much in their proper sphere to extend the truths and blessings of the Gospel.
            It is as if Paul is saying, “You may be called Dainty and Delicate, but you belie your names by working like slaves for the Lord.”  I can     almost imagine a twinkle in Paul’s eye as he dictated his greeting to this women.

“the beloved Persis”
Literally:  “Persis the beloved.”–Of her Paul says that she labored much in the Lord.

           PERSIS:  (Grk.–Persida)–A freedwoman was so named.  The name literally means, “Persian woman.” The aorist (past) tense used here by Paul may point to some special occasion in the past. Or possibly Persis was an aged believer, whose day of toil, being over, was now viewed as one act of loving work for Christ.

Vincent, in his translation of this verse, has this to say about Persis:  “Greet Persis, the beloved who was such that she labored to the point of exhaustion with reference to many things in the Lord.”

           BELOVED:  (Grk.–agapêtên)– She is not Paul's “beloved,” but the beloved of the whole church. We learn from this, that Christian women, as well as men, labored in the ministry of the Word.  In those times of simplicity all persons, whether men or women, who had received the knowledge of the truth, believed it to be their duty to propagate it to the uttermost of their power.

“which labored much in the Lord”
Literally:  “Who many things has labored in {the}Lord.”--Possibly referring not so much to to official services, such as would fall to the deaconesses, but to such higher Christian labors–yet within the sphere competent to woman–such as Priscilla bestowed on Apollos and others (Acts 18:18).

“Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.”

            “Rufus chosen in the Lord”
            Literally:  “Rufus, the elect in {the} Lord
”–One of great excellence in Christianity.

RUFUS: (Grk.–Rhouphos)—The word means “red.”

            We read in Mark 15:21 that Simon of Cyrene, who was compelled to bear our Lord's cross, was “the father of Alexander and Rufus.”  But if this Rufus was the son of this Simon, then this woman could not have been the mother of Paul, for he was not from where this Simon of  Cyrene was from, which was the Roman province of Cyrenaica, that was located in North Africa (a part of modern day Lybia).  But Paul was from Tarsus, a town in the Roman province of Cilicia, that is located in what is now Turkey.


           CHOSEN: (Grk.–ton eklekton)–Literally:  “the chosen.”  Elect in the Lord; that is, a chosen follower of Christ; a choice man, as we would say. So the Greek word (eklekton) often signifies.

           IN THE LORD:  (Grk.–en Kurioi)–not meaning “who is one of the elect,” as every believer is, but “the choice” or “precious one” in the Lord. (See I Peter 2:4; II John 1:13).

            “his mother and mine.”–She may have been Paul’s birth mother, with Rufus being Paul’s brother.

            The name Rufus means, “red,” or “red hair one.”  He may have got this name because he had red hair, and Rufus was more of a nickname, rather than his given name.  Many Jews have red hair; even King David, as a young boy, was said to have had red hair and a ruddy, or red, complexion.   
            With the persecution of believers that was taking place in Jerusalem, Rome would be a logical place for Rufus to flee to and to take his mother for refuge, especially since, as I contend, that Rufus and Paul had grown up among the Roman legions; being what we would today call, “army brats.”  If this be so, then their mother, since she had been a Roman army wife, would have had many old army acquaintances back in Rome and had for years lived among Roman military families.   And being the wife (or widow) of a Roman Army centurion (probably even a Senior Centurion, or a primus ordines–first ranker), she would have been held in much respect there in Rome.   Also, we do know that Paul did have contact with his immediate family there in Jerusalem, for we are told that his own sister sent her son to him while he was being held prisoner there in the Fortress Antonia to warn him of a plot against his life (Acts 23:16).
           I wonder: why do commentators seem to work so hard to remove the “humanness” from the apostle Paul?  These commentators need to take the apostles down of the pedestals of saintly holiness and perfectness on which they have placed them and put them back down upon the human race where they belong.  The the Christian faith binds the hearts of all who embrace it tenderly together. It makes them feel that they are one great family, united by tender ties, and joined by peculiar attachments. See what the Lord Jesus declared in Matt. 12:47-50, and his tender address to John when He was on the cross, John 19:28,27.

“Salute Asyncritus, Phelgon, Hermas, Patrobas, Heremes, and the brethren which are with them.”
This is the second of the three gatherings of saints in Rome here mentioned by Paul.

“Asyncritus, Phelgon, Hermas, Patrobas, Heremes
(Grk.– Asugkritos, Phlegonta, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermês)—These have been thought to be the names of ten less notable Christians than those already named.

            ASYNCRITUS:  (Grk.–Asugkritos)-He was numbered among the Seventy Disciples sent out by Jesus. He was a pastor in Hyrcania, in Asia.  His name means, “incomparable.

PHELGON:  (Grk.–Phlegonta)–Phlegon of Marathon: one of the Seventy Disciples, and pastor in Marathon.  His name means, “zealous; burning.”

          HERMAS:  (Grk.–Hermas)–Another one of the Seventy Disciples.  He was a pastor in Dalmatia (an ancient Roman province in what is now Croatia).  He is said to be the pastor at Philippi, or Aquileia, The name is another form of Hermes.  He was said to be the author of “The Shepherd,” a celebrated religious romance, sometimes compared as such to the Pilgrim’s Progress. 

          PATROBAS:  (Grk.–Patrobas)–An abbreviated form of Patrobius).  A Christian in Rome, otherwise unknown, to whom Paul sent greetings.  He had a slave name.  The group with him had a house church.  Patrobas is a Roman name; Martial makes mention of it.  He is said to be another one of the Seventy Disciples, and to be pastor in Puteoli.

          HERMES:  (Grk.–Hermês)-We really know nothing about him, except he has a Greek name.  In Greek mythology, Hermes was the “messenger of the gods.”  It is from this that we get our term, hermeneutics, our word for Bible Interpretation.

          These little peeps into the rudimental forms which Christian fellowship first took in the great cities, though too indistinct for more than conjecture, are singularly interesting. Paul would seem to have been kept minutely informed as to the state of the church at Rome, both as to its membership and its varied activities, probably by Priscilla and Aquila.
          The early church believers gathered in simplicity in house churches.  And in these last days, where the
Laodicean spirit, and the so-called “Christian religion” is taking over most churches, and true believers are finding themselves unfed and often unwanted in these great “establishment churches.”  More and more, these saints of God are meeting together in their homes, as the early Christians did.  Soon, even (or should I say, “especially) here in America this may soon be the only place where true believers can assemble to worship God and be taught His Word.

            “and the brethren which are with them.”
            Literally:  “And the brothers with them.”–Perhaps a little church in the house of some one.

This perhaps hardly means that each of the five in both pairs had “a church at his house,” else probably this would have been more expressly said. But at least it would seem to indicate that they were each a center of some few Christians who met at his house–it may be for further instruction, for prayer, for missionary purposes, or for some other Christian objects.

“Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.”

“Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas”
Literally:  “Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas.”

PHILOLOGUS:  (Grk.–Philologos)—Another common slave name.

JULIA:  (Grk.–Ioulia)–The commonest name for female slaves in the imperial household because of Julius Caesar. She may be the wife of Philologus.

          NEREUS:  (Grk.–Nêreus)—Found in inscriptions of the imperial household. But the sister's name is not given.  One wonders why. There are Acts of Nereus and Achilleus in the Acta Sanctorum connected with the early Roman Church.

OLYMPAS: (Grk.–Olumpas)—This is possibly an abbreviation for Olympiodorus.

            “all the saints that are with them”

Literally:  “All the saints with them.”–Possibly another “house church,” or a church meeting in the house. These unnamed, the “and others,”  constitute the great majority in all our churches.

Of these several persons, though much has been conjectured, nothing certain is known.  Even the names of some are so ambiguous that we know not whether they were men or women.  They were persons well known to Paul, and undoubtedly were such as had gone from different places where the apostle had preached to sojourn or settle at Rome.  One thing we may remark, that there is no mention of Peter, who, according to the Roman and papist catalogue of bishops, must have been at Rome at this time; if he were not now at Rome. the foundation stone of Rome’s  ascendancy, of Peter's supremacy, and of the uninterrupted succession, is taken away, and the whole fabric falls to the ground.

            UNDERSTAND:  If Peter were at Rome at this time, as the Roman Catholic Church contends, Paul would have sent his salutations to him in the first place; but if he were there, is it likely that he should have been passed by, while Andronicus and Junia are mentioned as of note among the apostles, (v. 7), and that Paul should call on the people to remedy the disorders that had crept in among themselves; should not these directions have been given to Peter, the head of the Church? 
           And if there were a Church, in the papist sense of the word, founded there, of which
Peter was the head, is it likely that that Church should be in the house of Priscilla and Aquila, (v. 5). But it is a loss of time to refute such ridiculous and groundless pretensions.  It is very likely that Peter, so far from being universal bishop at Rome, never saw the city in his life.  This would also refute the tradition that Peter was crucified upside down there in Rome.