Romans 16:15
Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
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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.Chosen in the Lord - "Elect" in the Lord; that is, a chosen follower of Christ.

And his mother and mine - "His mother in a literal sense, and mine in a figurative one." An instance of the delicacy and tenderness of Paul; of his love for this disciple and his mother, as if he were of the same family. Religion 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 special attachments. See what the Lord Jesus declared in Matthew 12:47-50, and his tender address to John when he was on the cross; John 19:26-27.

14, 15. Salute Asyncritus, &c.—These have been thought to be the names of ten less notable Christians than those already named. But this will hardly be supposed if it be observed that they are divided into two pairs of five each, and that after the first of these pairs it is added, "and the brethren which are with them," while after the second pair we have the words, "and all the saints which are with them." 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. 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. Our apostle 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. Julia; probably the wife of Philologus.

Olympas; this is thought to be the name of a man, rather than of a woman.

All the saints which are with them; that are in their several families: see Romans 16:14. There were, doubtless, many more Christians in the church of Rome, but either they were of no great note, or else not known to the apostle: and indeed it is matter of admiration, that he, who was never at Rome, should know the name and proper characters of so many there. And because he sendeth salutations to so many brethren at Rome, and makes no mention of Peter, it may be rationally inferred, that Peter was not there at the writing of this Epistle. It is questionable whether ever he were there at all; but it is without question, that he came not thither in the beginning of Claudius’s reign, and in the forty-fifth year of our Lord, as the Romanists report; nor was he bishop there for the space of five and twenty years, as they affirm.

Salute Philologus, and Julia,.... The first of these is a Greek name, and the name of a man, and signifies a lover of learning. This name Atteius assumed to himself, which Eratosthenes had done before him, because of his great learning (y); this man is reckoned among the seventy disciples, and is said to be bishop of Sinope: See Gill on Luke 10:1. Julia is a woman's name, and Roman, probably the wife of the former; one of Stephens's copies read, "Junia":

Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them; who all dwelt together also in one family; and were saints, by separation, imputation, and the effectual calling; were called to be saints, and lived as such, and had a place in the apostle's affections on that account: Nerio, or Neriene, according to Gellius (z), was a name with the Sabines, signifying "strength", from whence came Nero; and Olympas is the same with Olympius, said to be of the seventy disciples, and a Roman martyr; See Gill on Luke 10:1. It deserves some notice, that among all the persons here mentioned by name, known by the apostle to be at Rome, that he takes no notice of Peter; which surely he would have done, had he been, as the Papists say, bishop of Rome, and resided there.

(y) Suetonius de illustr. Gram. c. 10. (z) Noct. Attic, l. 13. c. 22.

Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
Romans 16:15. Philologus and Julia, as connected here, were probably husband and wife; or, as in the next pair, brother and sister. Both, especially the latter, are among the commonest slave names. There are Acts of Nereus and Achilleus in the Acta Sanctorum connected with the early Roman Church. “The sister’s name is not given, but one Nereis was a member of the [imperial] household about this time, as appears from an inscription already quoted” (Lightfoot, loc. cit., p. 177). Olympas is a contraction of Olympiodorus. τοὺς σὺν αὐτοῖς πάντας ἁγίους: see on last verse. The πάντας may suggest that a larger number of persons is to be included here.

15. Philologus] A Greek name.

Julia] Possibly the wife of Philologus.—The name may (as in the case of Junia: see note on Romans 16:7;) be really Julias, i.e., Julianus; a masculine name. But the mention just after of “Nereus and his sister” weighs, however lightly, in the other direction. So Meyer.

Nereus] A Greek name; that of a minor sea-god, tutelar of the Mediterranean under Poseidon. See second note on Romans 16:1.

Olympas] A Greek masculine name.

the saints which are with them] See last note on Romans 16:14.

At the close of this long roll of names we cannot but remark on it as a noble and beautiful illustration of the “family-affection of Christianity.” It is often observed that a peculiar charm attaches to successions of names,

“Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellenore;”

and such a rhythmical charm is not absent here. But far above it is the charm of the pure intense spiritual intimacy of hearts, an intimacy created by the possession of “one Lord, one Hope,” and which with the advent of the Gospel touched the weary world as a new and unknown visitor from heaven. We might quote many parallels from later Christian literature; but one will be enough—the dying farewell to his flock of a man who had no small measure of the holy love and zeal of St Paul—Felix Neff, the “Apostle of the Hautes Alpes.” Two days before his death (April, 1829,) “being scarcely able to see, he traced the following lines at different intervals, in large and irregular characters, which filled a page: ‘Adieu, dear friend André Blanc; Antoine Blanc; the Pelissiers, whom I dearly love; François Dumont and his wife; Isaac and his wife; Aimé Deslois; Emilie Bonnet, &c., &c., Alexandrine, and their mother—all, all the brethren and sisters at Mens—Adieu, adieu. I am departing to our Father (je monte vers notre Père) in perfect peace.—Victory, victory, victory, by Jesus Christ.—Felix Neff.’ ” (Vie, Toulouse, 1875.)

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