16:5-10

VERSES 5-7:  THREE PEOPLE ARE GREETED BY NAME
Three persons are here saluted by name.

1.         Epenetus (v. 5)
2.         Miriam (v. 6)
3.         Andronicus (with Junias) (v. 7)
Take not how Paul salutes the Christians at Rome, not in general, but particularly, and by name, that they might be convinced how particularly mindful he was of them. And as he mentions them by name in his salutations, it is not improbable but that he might mention them also by name in his supplications and private addresses to God. No doubt he bore them, and all converted by him, upon his heart, whenever he went in and out before the Lord. A spiritual father can never be forgetful of his spiritual children.

VERSE 5:  GREETINGS  TO THE CHURCH AND EPENTUS
“Likewise, greet the church that is in their house.  Salute my well beloved Epenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.”

“Likewise, greet the church that is in their house”
Literally:  “And {greet) the church at their house.”The Christians who worship there.

          The Christian assembly that met there for worship. Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned (Acts 18:26) as having received Apollos into their family, to instruct him more perfectly. The church in their house is also mentioned, (I Cor. 16:19). This may mean either the church that was accustomed to assemble for worship at their hospitable home, or it may mean their own family with their guests, regarded as a church. In those times Christians had no houses erected for public worship, and were therefore compelled to meet in their private dwellings.
          The Roman Christians had probably several such homes where they would meet. In these primitive times no such places existed as those which we now term churches; the word always signifying the congregation or assembly of believers, and not the place they assembled in.  It is not until the Fourth Century that there is any evidence of special buildings used for churches.

“salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the first-fruits of Achaia unto Christ” 
Literally:  “Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is a firstfruit of Achaia for Christ.”–Epenetus may have been a member of the family of Stephanas (I Cor. 16:15).

           EPAENTUS:  (Grk–Epaineton)—a Greek name, meaning “praised.”  It is impossible to infer the nationality from the name, since it was common for the Jews to have a second name, which they adopted during their residence in Gentile country (compare John  Mark—Acts 12:12).  He is not mentioned anywhere else in the N.T.

FIRST-FRUITS(Grk–aparchê)—that is, one of the first converts in the Roman province of Achaia.

          OF ACHAIA: (Grk–Achaias)—In I Cor. 16:15 it is said that “the household of Stephanas was the first-fruit of Achaia”; and though if Epaenetus was one of that family, or if he were one of the group first converted there, the two statements might be reconciled.  Epaenetus, as the first believer in that region called Proconsular Asia, was dear to Paul.

“I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that is the first fruits of Achaia, and {that} they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints)(I Cor. 15:16).

None of the names mentioned from verses 5-15 are otherwise known. It is probable that these persons were formerly residents in Greece, and that Paul had become acquainted with them there, but that they had since moved to Rome.  One wonders at the number of them, considering that Paul had never been at Rome. But as Rome was then the center of the civilized world, to and from which journeys were continually taken to the remotest parts, there is no great difficulty in supposing that so active a travelling missionary as Paul, would in course of time, make the acquaintance of a considerable number of the Christians then residing at Rome.

VERSE 6:
“Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.”

“Greet Mary”
Literally:  “Greet Miriam”–The name indicates a
Jewish Christian in Rome.

“who bestowed much labor on us.
Literally:  “Who did much labor for us.”–Nothing more is known of her but this honorable mention of her name.  What this woman’s labor on the Romans was we are not told, except  that it was abundant.Her works, though hidden from man, are with God; and her name is recorded with honor in His Book of Life.  There are six women with this name listed in the N.T.

           LABOR:  (Grk.–kopiaô)–Literally in the Greek–“to work till one is weary.”  Although Priscilla and Acquila are called “fellow workers,”  it is interesting that the mention of   exhausting work is restricted to women.

VERSE 7:
“Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”

            “Salute Andronicus and Junia”
            Literally:  “Greet Andronicus and Junias.”– The first is a Greek name found even in the imperial household. The second name can be either masculine or feminine.

          ANDRONICUS:  (Grk.–Andronikon)—A Greek name, and the name has been identified with a slave in the Imperial household.

          JUNIA (Grk.–Iounias)As it might be, “Junias,” a contracted form of “Junianus”; in this case, it is a man's name. But if, as is more probable, the word be, as in our version, “Junia,” the person meant was no doubt either the wife or the sister of Andronicus.

“my kinsmen and fellow prisoners”–Possibly only fellow-countrymen as in 9:13.

Keep in mind that Paul calls all the Jews his kinsmen, and it has been doubted whether he means anything more here than that they were fellow-Jews. But as many others who were Jews are mentioned here without this appellation, and as he especially designates these persons, and Herodian, (v. 11) it seems probable that they were remote relatives of his.

          KINSMEN:  (Grk.–sungeneis)–Really signifies relatives, whether male or female, and as Junia may probably be the name of a woman, the wife of Andronicus, it would be better to say “relatives” rather than kinsmen.  But it is possible that Paul means no more than that they were fellow Jews; for, in 9:3, he calls all the Jews his “kinsmen” according to the flesh.

“my fellow prisoners”
Literally: “And fellow prisoners”–Paul was often in prison; and it is probable that on some of those occasions they had been confined with him. Comp. II Cor. 11:23, “In prisons more frequent.” As Paul was in prison often, it is likely that these persons shared this honor with him on some occasion, which is not distinctly marked.

“who are of note among the apostles”
Literally: “noted among the apostles.”–Meaning: “those esteemed by the apostles.”

          OF NOTE: (Grk.–episemoi)–Meaning, those who are marked, designated, illustrious, or distinguished in any way; used either in a good or bad sense (comp. Matt. 27:16). Here it is used in a good sense.

Whether this intimates that they were noted apostles or only highly reputed by the apostles, is not absolutely clear; but it does seem to be probable. They were not only well known to Paul, but also to the rest of the apostles. This probably means that they are counted among the apostles in the general sense true of Barnabas, James, the brother of Jesus, Silas, and others. But it can mean simply that they were famous in the circle of the apostles in the technical sense.

“who also were in Christ before me”– That is, they were converted to Christianity before Paul was; possibly in the day of Pentecost, or perhaps even in the ministry of  Christ   Himself, or by that of the seventy disciples when Jesus sent them out.

They may have been the first-fruits of Peter’s labors, gained to Christ either on the Day of Pentecost or some of the following days.  In that case they may have attracted the special esteem of those apostles who for some time resided chiefly at Jerusalem and its neighborhood; and Paul, though he came late in contact with the other apostles, if he was aware of this fact, would have pleasure in alluding to it.

          IN CHRIST: (Grk.–en Christoi)-i.e., Christians. True Christianity does not destroy or lessen natural affection, but elevates and purifies it, and makes it the means of greatly   increased usefulness and enjoyment.

VERSE 8:
“Greet Amplias my beloved in {the} Lord.”
One who is my particular friend, and also a genuine Christian. An expression of real Christian affection.

AMPLIAS: (Grk.–Amplian)—Or  Ampliatus.   A common name for slaves and is found in the tombs of the early Christians in the catacombs.

There is an interesting story regarding this name Ampliatus.  In the cemetery of Domatilla, which is the earliest of the Christian catacomb in Rome, there is a decorated tomb with the single name, Ampliatus, carved on it in bold and decorative lettering.  The fact that the single name, Ampliatus, is carved on the tomb would indicate that this Ampliatus was a slave (for Roman citizens had three names:  a nomen–personal name, a praenomen–clan name) and a cognomen)-family name).   However, this elaborate tomb, and the bold lettering, would indicated that he was a man of high rank, or distinction, in the Church.

VERSE 9:
“Salute Urban our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.”

“Salute Urban our helper in Christ,”
Literally:  “Greet Urbanus, our fellow-worker in Christ– That is, assistant in propagating the
Gospel of Christ, and serviceable to those whose work and office it was so to do.

The persons saluted by Paul are not men of fame in Rome, or noted for their dignity and greatness, or for their wealth and riches, but for their faithfulness and godliness, for laboring in the Lord, and for laboring much in the Lord; for being in Christ, and helpers in Christ. It is our faith that renders persons renowned, and no persons deserve so well to be remembered by us, as those who are most persevering and laborious in their services for God.

         URBAN:  (Latin–“Urbanus” Grk.–Ourbanon)—A Latin adjective from urbs,city(city-bred).  A common Roman slave name found among members of the imperial household.  A man's name. Who this Urbanus was we do not know know; what is here stated is that he  had been a fellow laborer with the apostles.

and Stachys my beloved.”
“and my beloved Stachys.”-

          STACHYS: (Grk.–Stachun)—A Greek name, rare, but among members of the imperial household.  It means a “head or ear of grain (Matt. 12:1). About him Paul says he is one of his particular friends.

“helper in Christ”–
Literally:  “Fellow worker of us in Christ.”–Christian helper in promoting Christianity.

Stachys is said to be one of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus, and pastor of Byzantium; According to the Roman martyrology, he was ordained pastor of the Byzantine church, by the apostle Andrew, but this is not to be depended on. However, because of his faith in Christ, Paul had Christian love for him, or on such like spiritual accounts, he was very dear to Paul.

VERSE 10:
“Salute Apelles approved in Christ.  Salute them which are of Aristobulus household.”

“Salute Apelles approved in Christ”
Literally:  “Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ.”  

SALUTE:  (Grk.–aspazomai)–Literally:  “greet.”

          APELLES:  (Grk.–Apellên)–This name is also found among the dependents of the emperor. Horace, in the well-known phrase, Credat Judæas Apella (Ep. 1, v. 100) takes it as a typical Jewish name.

A name common among Jews and a famous tragic actor of the day.  A man who, on different occasions, had given the highest proofs of the sincerity and depth of his faithfulness. Some suppose that Apelles was the same with Apollos; but whoever he was, he had given every demonstration of being a genuine Christian.

          APPROVE:  (Grk.–dokimazô)–Literally:  “the approved.”  An approved or tried Christian; approved and beloved by Christ. This may mean he had withstood some outstanding tests of his faith and had prevailed.

“which are of Aristobulus' household”
Literally:  “Those of Aristobulus.”–It would seem, from what is said of
Narcissus in verse 11, that this Aristobulus had not himself been a Christian; but that the Christians of his household simply were meant; very possibly some of his slaves.

          HOUSEHOLD:  (Grk.–oikos)–It is an interesting not that the word “household” is not in the original Greek text, either in this verse or in v. 11 in referring to Narcissus.   In Roman parlance, household may include wife, children and servants.

          It is doubted whether this person Aristobulus was converted, as Paul does not salute him, but rather he salutes the household of Aristobulus; or as some manuscripts read, his friendsAristobulus might have been a Roman of considerable distinction, who, though not converted himself, had Christians among his servants or his slaves.  But, whatever he was, it is possible that he was dead at this time, and therefore those of his household only are referred to by Paul. 
        There was a younger Aristobulus who was a grandson of Herod the Great.  Some suggest that some of the servants in this household had become Christians, although Aristobulus was dead.