Romans 16:22
I Tertius, who wrote this letter, salute you in the Lord.
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(22) Tertius.—The Apostle’s amanuensis. It was the custom of St. Paul to add a few words of parting benedictory encouragement or admonition in his own handwriting, partly as a mark of his own personal interest in his readers, and partly as a precaution against forgery. (See especially Galatians 6:11, and 2Thessalonians 3:17.) We have observed in the course of this Commentary how frequently the involved and broken style is to be accounted for by this habit of dictation, and, as it would seem, not very punctilious revision. We have the thoughts and words of the Apostle as they came warm from his own mind.



Romans 16:22

One sometimes sees in old religious pictures, in some obscure corner, a tiny kneeling figure, the portrait of the artist. So Tertius here gets leave to hold the pen for a moment on his own account, and from Corinth sends his greeting to his unknown brethren in Rome. Apparently he was a stranger to them, and needed to introduce himself. He is never heard of before or since. For one brief moment he is visible, like a star of a low magnitude, shining out for a moment between two banks of darkness and then swallowed up. Judging by his name, he was probably a Roman, and possibly had some connection with Italy, but clearly was a stranger to the Church in Rome. We do not know whether he was a resident in Corinth, where he wrote this epistle, or one of Paul’s travelling companions. Probably he was the former, as his name never recurs in any of Paul’s letters. One can understand the impulse which led him for one moment to come out of obscurity and to take up personal relations with those who had so long enjoyed his pen. He would fain float across the deep gulf of alienation a thread of love which looked like gossamer, but has proved to be stronger than centuries and revolutions.

This humble and modest greeting is an expression of a sentiment which the world may smile at, but which, being ‘in the Lord,’ partakes of immortality. No doubt the world’s hate drove more closely together all the disciples in primitive times; but the yearning of Tertius for some little corner in the love of his Roman brethren might well influence us to-day. There ought to be an effort of imagination going out towards unknown brethren. Christian love is not meant to be kept within the limits of sight and personal knowledge; it should overleap the narrow bounds of the communities to which we belong, and expatiate over the whole wide field. The great Shepherd has prescribed for us the limits to the very edge of which our Christian love should consciously go forth, and has rebuked the narrowness to which we are prone, when He has said, ‘Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.’ We are all too prone to let identities of opinion and of polity, or even the accident of locality, set bounds to our consciousness of brotherhood; and the example of this little gush of affection, that reaches out a hand across the ocean and grasps the hands of unknown partakers in the common life of the one Lord, may well shame us out of our narrowness, and quicken us into a wide perception and deepened feeling towards all who in every place call up Jesus Christ as their Lord-’both their Lord and ours.’

Another lesson which we may learn from Tertius’ characterisation of himself is the dignity of subordinate work towards a great end. His office as amanuensis was very humble, but it was quite as necessary as Paul’s inspired fervour. It is to him that we owe our possession of the Epistle; it is to him that Paul owed it that he was able to record in imperishable words the thoughts that welled up in his mind, and would have been lost if Tertius had not been at his side. The power generated in the boilers does its work through machines of which each little cog-wheel is as indispensable as the great shafts. Members of the body which seem to be ‘more feeble, are necessary.’ Every note in a great concerted piece of music, and every instrument, down to the triangle and the little drum in the great orchestra, is necessary. This lesson of the dignity of subordinate work needs to be laid to heart both by those who think themselves to be capable of more important service, and by those who have to recognise that the less honourable tasks are all for which they are fit. To the former it may preach humility, the latter it may encourage. We are all very ignorant of what is great and what is small in the matter of our Christian service, and we have sometimes to look very closely and to clear away a great many vulgar misconceptions before we can clearly discriminate between mites and talents. ‘We know not which may prosper, whether this or that’; and in our ignorance of what it may please God to bring out of any service faithfully rendered to Him, we had better not be too sure that true service is ever small, or that the work that attracts attention and is christened by men ‘great’ is really so in His eyes. It is well to have the noble ambition to ‘desire earnestly the greater gifts,’ but it is better to ‘follow the more excellent way,’ and to seek after the love which knows nothing of great or small, and without which prophecy and the knowledge of all mysteries, and all conspicuous and all the shining qualities profit nothing.

We can discern in Tertius’ words a little touch of what we may call pride in his work. No doubt he knew it to be subordinate, but he also knew it to be needful; and no doubt he had put all his strength into doing it well. No man will put his best into any task which he does not undertake in such a spirit. It is a very plain piece of homely wisdom that ‘what is worth doing at all is worth doing well.’ Without a lavish expenditure of the utmost care and effort, our work will tend to be slovenly and unpleasing to God, and man, and to ourselves. We may be sure there were no blots and bits of careless writing in Tertius’ manuscript, and that he would not have claimed the friendly feelings of his Roman brethren, if he had not felt that he had put his best into the writing of this epistle. The great word of King David has a very wide application. ‘I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.’

Tertius’ salutation may suggest to us the best thing by which to be remembered. All his life before and after the hours spent at Paul’s side has sunk in oblivion. He wished to be known only as having written the Epistle. Christian souls ought to desire to live chiefly in the remembrance of those to whom they have been known as having done some little bit of work for Jesus Christ. We may well ask ourselves whether there is anything in our lives by which we should thus wish to be remembered. All our many activities will sink into silence; but if the stream of our life, which has borne along down its course so much mud and sand, has brought some grains of gold in the form of faithful and loving service to Christ and men-these will not be lost in the ocean, but treasured by Him. What we do for Jesus and to spread the knowledge of His name is the immortal part of our mortal lives, and abides in His memory and in blessed results in our own characters, when all the rest that made our busy and often stormy days has passed into oblivion. All that we know of Tertius who wrote this Epistle is that he wrote it. Well will it be for us if the summary of our lives be something like that of his!Romans 16:22-24. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle — While the apostle dictated it to me; or he might mean that he transcribed it from the apostle’s autograph: salute you in the Lord — The Lord Christ, our common Master. This sentence Tertius inserted by the apostle’s advice, or at least, permission. Gaius, mine host, by whom I am entertained here at Corinth; see 1 Corinthians 1:14 : and of the whole church — To all the members of which he shows great hospitality. Or the meaning may be, that the members of the church at Corinth met for some time in his house. Erastus the chamberlain of the city — Namely, of Corinth, saluteth you — The original expression, οικονομος της πολεως, is, literally, the steward of the city; but in the Vulgate version it is translated, arcarius civitatis, treasurer of the city. And Quartus a brother — That is, a Christian brother; or, as some think the expression implies, a Christian minister: doubtless he was a person of some note among the first Christians, otherwise his name would not have been inserted here. The grace of our Lord, &c., be with you all — This apostolical benediction, (which the apostle here repeats to testify still further his great affection for them, and his earnest desire of their welfare,) he always wrote with his own hand, to distinguish his genuine epistles from those that were forged in his name, 2 Thessalonians 3:17; and he commonly ended his letters with it. But on this occasion he added also, (it seems in his own hand-writing,) that grand doxology contained in the three following verses; in which he offers a solemn thanksgiving to God for the calling of the Gentiles by the apostle’s preaching Christ to them, according to the revelation of that mystery made to him, and according to God’s express commandment in the prophetic writings of the Jews. And as he had explained these subjects in the foregoing epistle, this doxology was placed at the conclusion of it with great propriety, and could not but be very acceptable to all the Gentiles.16:21-24 The apostle adds affectionate remembrances from persons with him, known to the Roman Christians. It is a great comfort to see the holiness and usefulness of our kindred. Not many mighty, not many noble are called, but some are. It is lawful for believers to bear civil offices; and it were to be wished that all offices in Christian states, and in the church, were bestowed upon prudent and steady Christians.I Tertius - Of Tertius nothing more is known than is mentioned here.

Who wrote this - It is evident that Paul employed an amanuensis to write this Epistle, and perhaps he commonly did it. Tertius, who thus wrote it, joins with the apostle in affectionate salutations to the brethren at Rome. To the Epistle, Paul signed his own name, and added a salutation in his own hand-writing. Colossians 4:18, "The salutation by the hand of me Paul;" and in 2 Thessalonians 3:17, he says that this was done in every epistle, 1 Corinthians 16:21.

In the Lord - As Christian brethren.

22. I, Tertius, who wrote this—"the"

epistle—as the apostle's amanuensis, or penman.

salute you in the Lord—So usually did the apostle dictate his epistles, that he calls the attention of the Galatians to the fact that to them he wrote with his own hand (Ga 6:11). But this Tertius would have the Romans to know that, far from being a mere scribe, his heart went out to them in Christian affection; and the apostle, by giving his salutation a place here, would show what sort of assistants he employed.

Tertius; this was the apostle’s scribe or amanuensis,

who wrote this Epistle, either from his mouth, or from his papers: he put in this salutation by the apostle’s licence.

Salute you in the Lord; i.e. I wish you safety from the Lord. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle,.... This name is a Latin one, and perhaps the person might be a Roman, for the names Secundus, Tertius, Quartus, Quintus, &c. were common with the Romans; unless it may be thought, as it is by some, that this man was the same with Silas, who was a constant companion of the apostle; and the Hebrew word is the same as Tertius; he also is numbered among the seventy disciples, and said to be bishop of Iconium; See Gill on Luke 10:1. Whosoever he was, it is certain he was an amanuensis of the apostle, who wrote this letter, either from the apostle's notes, or from his mouth.

Salute you in the Lord. Some connect this phrase, "in the Lord", with the other, "wrote this epistle", and make the sense to be that he wrote this epistle for the Lord's sake, for his honour and glory; which he might do, though he wrote it not by inspiration, being only scribe to the apostle; but it is better connected with the word "salute", and the sense is, that his salutation was not a mere form, nor only concerned their temporal good, but their spiritual welfare; that he wished them well in the Lord, that they might have much communion with him, and larger measures of grace from him.

I Tertius, who {k} wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

(k) Wrote it as Paul uttered it.

Romans 16:22. Tertius, probably an Italian with whom the readers were acquainted, was at that time with Paul in Corinth, and wrote the letter, which the apostle dictated to him. The view that he made a fair copy of the apostolic draught (Beza, Grotius) is the more groundless, since Paul was wont to dictate his epistles (1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). In his own name Tertius writes his greeting; for it was very natural that, when he called the apostle’s attention to his personal wish to send a greeting, his own greeting (which Grotius and Laurent, without sufficient ground, relegate to the margin) would not be dictated by the apostle, but left to himself to express. In Romans 16:23, Paul again proceeds with his dictation. Quite groundlessly, Olshausen (following Eichhorn) thinks that Paul wrote the doxology immediately after Romans 16:20, and did so on a small separate piece of parchment, the other blank side of which the scribe Tertius used, in order to write on it in his own name Romans 16:21-24. But how incontestably ὁ συνεργός μου, Romans 16:21, points to Paul himself!

ἐν κυρίῳ] To be referred to ἀσπ.; the Christian salutation, offered in the consciousness of living fellowship with Christ. Comp. 1 Corinthians 16:19.Romans 16:22. ἐγὼ Τέρτιος ὁ γράψας τὴν ἐπιστολήν: the use of the first person is a striking indication of Paul’s courtesy. To have sent the greeting of his amanuensis in the third person would have been to treat him as a mere machine (Godet). ἐν Κυρίῳ goes with ἀσπάζομαι: it is as a Christian, not in virtue of any other relation he has to the Romans, that Tertius salutes them.22. I Tertius, &c.] This ver. may be read, I Tertius greet you, who wrote the Epistle in the Lord; i.e., who wrote it, (as the Apostle’s amanuensis,) in the spirit of a Christian, as a work of holy privilege and love. But the E. V. is also justified by the Greek, and is the more probable on the whole.

Tertius had a Latin name, and was perhaps a Roman, personally known to the Church at Rome. There is something strangely real and life-like in this sudden interposition of the amanuensis, with his own personal greeting.

who wrote this epistle] Letter-writing by amanuensis was very common in the days of St Paul; and if St Paul suffered in his eyes, as is not unlikely[49], he would be doubly sure to use such help. It was his custom (in his earliest Epistles, at least,) to write a few words at the close with his own hand. See 2 Thessalonians 3:17.—Cp. Galatians 6:11; where render, “See in what large letters I write to you, with my own hand.”

[49] See Introduction, i. § 32.Romans 16:22. Ἀσπάζομαι, I salute) Tertius either by the advice or good-natured permission of Paul put in this salutation. Paul dictated, from which it is evident, how ready the apostles were in producing their books, without the trouble of premeditation.—Τέρτις, Tertius) a Roman name. An amanuensis no doubt well known to the Romans.—ἐν, in) construed with I who wrote; an implied confession of faith.ITertius

Paul's amanuensis. See on Galatians 6:11.

Wrote (γράψας)

Better Rev., write. The epistolary aorist. See on 1 John 2:13. Godet remarks upon Paul's exquisite courtesy in leaving Tertius to salute in his own name. To dictate to him his own salutation would be to treat him as a machine.

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