|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-16 Paul recommends Phebe to the Christians at Rome. It becomes Christians to help one another in their affairs, especially strangers; we know not what help we may need ourselves. Paul asks help for one that had been helpful to many; he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Though the care of all the churches came upon him daily, yet he could remember many persons, and send salutations to each, with particular characters of them, and express concern for them. Lest any should feel themselves hurt, as if Paul had forgotten them, he sends his remembrances to the rest, as brethren and saints, though not named. He adds, in the close, a general salutation to them all, in the name of the churches of Christ.
Verse 16. - Salute one another with an holy hiss. All the Churches of Christ salute you. For allusions to the kiss of peace among Christians, cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14. Justin Martyr ('Apol.,' 85) speaks of it as exchanged before the Eucharist, and it is alluded to by many Fathers, directed in the 'Apostolical Constitutions,' and has its place in ancient liturgies (see Bingham, 15. 3:3). St. Paul, of course, in enjoining it here and in other Epistles, has in view the concord which it expressed. In sending salutations from "all the Churches of Christ" (πᾶσαι, omitted in the Textus Receptus, having authority decidedly in its favour), he may be understood as conveying to the Roman Christians the feeling towards them that had been expressed generally by the Churches he had visited. He may have spoken wherever he went of his intention of visiting Rome, and perhaps of meanwhile sending a letter thither; and the several Churches may have charged him with kind messages. Before authenticating these salutations with his usual autographic benediction, he feels bound to add one additional warning. The thought occurs to him, and he cannot but give expression to it. The warning is against a class of persons whose mischievous activity he had had experience of elsewhere, and attempts by some of whom to disturb the peace of the Roman Church he may possibly have heard cf. They may have been Judaists, or others who taught views contrary to the received faith, and so caused divisions and offences in the Churches. For allusions to such elsewhere, cf. Galatians 1:6, seq.; Galatians 3:1, seq.; Colossians 2:8, seq.; 2 Corinthians 11:13, seq. For proof of such having been at work afterwards at Rome, cf. Philippians 1:15, seq.; Philippians 3:2, 17, seq.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Salute one another with an holy kiss,.... Christian salutation is a wishing all temporal, spiritual, and eternal happiness, to one another; and which, as it should be mutual, should be also hearty and sincere, and this is meant by the "holy kiss"; the allusion is to a common custom in most nations, used by friends at meeting or parting, to kiss each other, in token of their hearty love, and sincere affection and friendship for each other; and is called "holy", to distinguish it from an unchaste and lascivious one; and from an hypocritical and deceitful one, such an one as Joab gave to Amasa, when, inquiring of his health, he took him by the beard to kiss him, and stabbed him under the fifth rib, 2 Samuel 20:9; and as Judas, who cried, hail master, to Christ, and kissed him, and betrayed him into the hands of his enemies, Matthew 26:49. I say, it is an allusion to this custom, for it is only an allusion; the apostle did not mean that any outward action should be made use of, only that their Christian salutations should not be mere complaisance, or expressed by bare words, and outward gestures and actions, either of the hand or mouth; but that they should spring from real love and true friendship, and be without dissimulation, hearty and sincere:
the churches of Christ salute you. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "all the churches"; that is, in Greece, or in the neighbourhood where the apostle was, and who might know of his writing to this church, and thereby send their Christian salutations to it; or if they did not know of his writing, yet as he knew their sincere affections, and hearty good will to this church, and the members of it, he in their names sent greetings to them: this shows the communion of churches, and how they ought to wish and sincerely desire each other's welfare.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Salute one another with an holy kiss—So 1Co 16:20; 1Th 5:26; 1Pe 5:14. The custom prevailed among the Jews, and doubtless came from the East, where it still obtains. Its adoption into the Christian churches, as the symbol of a higher fellowship than it had ever expressed before, was probably as immediate as it was natural. In this case the apostle's desire seems to be that on receipt of his epistle, with its salutations, they should in this manner expressly testify their Christian affection. It afterwards came to have a fixed place in the church service, immediately after the celebration of the Supper, and continued long in use. In such matters, however, the state of society and the peculiarities of different places require to be studied.
The churches of Christ salute you—The true reading is, "All the churches"; the word "all" gradually falling out, as seeming probably to express more than the apostle would venture to affirm. But no more seems meant than to assure the Romans in what affectionate esteem they were held by the churches generally; all that knew he was writing to Rome having expressly asked their own salutations to be sent to them. (See Ro 16:19).
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