Romans 16:7
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
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(7) Junia.—Or, possibly, “Junias” (for Junianus), a man’s name.

My kinsmen.—From the number of persons (six in all, and those not only in Rome but also in Greece and Macedonia) to whom the title is given in this chapter, it would seem as if the word “kinsmen” was to be taken in a wider sense than that which it usually bears. It probably means members of the same nation—Jew like myself.

Fellow-prisoners.—It is not at all known to what this refers. The only imprisonment of St. Paul recorded in the Acts after this date would be that at Philippi, but allusions such as those in 2Corinthians 6:5; 2Corinthians 11:23, at once show the defectiveness of the narrative, and point to occasions when the persons mentioned might easily have shared imprisonment with him.

Of note among the apostles.—An ambiguous expression, which might mean, and, judging by the word alone, would perhaps more naturally be taken to mean, “distinguished as Apostles themselves.” This sense is not to be disregarded as absolutely impossible, for the title “Apostles” does not appear to have been limited to the Twelve. It is decidedly more probable that James, the Lord’s brother, who is called an Apostle in Galatians 1:19, and elsewhere, was not identical with James the son of Alphæus. And, however this may be, there can be no question about Barnabas, who is called an Apostle in Acts 14:14. St. Paul himself seems to draw a distinction between “the Twelve” and “all the Apostles,” in 1Corinthians 15:7. Still, on the whole, it seems best to suppose that the phrase “of note among the Apostles” means, “highly esteemed by the apostolic circle.”

Were in Christ. . . .i.e., became Christians.

Romans 16:7-8. Salute Andronicus and Junia — Or, Junias rather, it being evidently the name of a man, as appears from the apostle’s terming them both his kinsmen — And saying, that they were of note among the apostles. My fellow-prisoners — That is, imprisoned for the gospel as I was. At the time when this epistle was written, Paul had been in prison often, 2 Corinthians 11:23. On some of these occasions, the persons here named had been imprisoned with him; but where or when that happened, is not known. Who also were in Christ before me — Converted to the faith of Christ before I was. From these two persons being Christians before Paul, joined with their being of note among the apostles, Origen infers that they were of the number of the seventy disciples: but that is quite uncertain. Their being called the apostle’s kinsmen, does not necessarily imply that they were his relations: he might term them so, as well as several others, mentioned in this chapter, merely because they were of the same nation with himself. The names, however, of many here saluted, show them to have been Greeks, or of Greek extraction. We may therefore conjecture, that they had formerly settled themselves at Rome, for the sake of commerce, or of exercising their particular trades; but, being afterward banished, by the Emperor Claudius, under the denomination of Jews, they had retired, some of them into Greece, others into the Lesser Asia, and others into Judea, where, it is supposed, they became known to the apostle in the course of his travels through these countries. These, with many others, returned to Rome in consequence of the death of Claudius, and re-established the church in its former lustre. See on chap. Romans 1:7-8.

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.My kinsmen - In Romans 9:3, the apostle 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 Romans 16:11, it seems probable that they were remote relatives of the apostle.

My fellow-prisoners - Paul was often in prison; and it is probable that on some of those occasions they had been confined with him; compare 2 Corinthians 11:23, "In prisons more frequent."

Who are of note - The word translated "of note" ἐπίσημοι episēmoi, denotes properly those who are "marked," designated, or distinguished in any way, used either in a good or bad sense; compare Matthew 27:16. Here it is used in a good sense.

Among the apostles - This does not mean that they "were" apostles, as has been sometimes supposed. For,

(1) There is no account of their having been appointed as such.

(2) the expression is not one which would have been used if they "had" been. It would have been "who were distinguished apostles;" compare Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Philippians 1:1.

(3) it by no means implies that they were apostles All that the expression fairly implies is, that they were known to the other apostles; that they were regarded by them as worthy of their affection and confidence; that they had been known by them, as Paul immediately adds, before "he" was himself converted. They had been converted "before" he was, and were distinguished in Jerusalem among the early Christians, and honored with the friendship of the other apostles.

(4) the design of the office of "apostles" was to bear "witness" to the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and miracles of Christ; compare Matthew 10; Acts 1:21, Acts 1:26; Acts 22:15. As there is no evidence that they had been "witnesses" of these things; or appointed to it, it is improbable that they were set apart to the apostolic office.

(5) the word "apostles" is used sometimes to designate "messengers" of churches; or those who were "sent" from one church to another on some important business, and "if" this expression meant that they "were" apostles, it could only be in some such sense as having obtained deserved credit and eminence in that business; see Philippians 2:25; 2 Corinthians 8:23.

Who were in Christ ... - Who were "converted" before I was. The meaning is clear. The expression, "in Christ," means to be united to him, to be interested in his religion, to be Christians.

7. Andronicus and Junia—or, 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—or, "relatives."

and my fellow prisoners—on what occasion, it is impossible to say, as the apostle elsewhere tells us that he was "in prisons more frequent" (2Co 11:23).

which are of note among the apostles—Those who think the word "apostle" is used in a lax sense, in the Acts and Epistles, take this to mean "noted apostles" [Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, Bengel, Olshausen, Tholuck, Alford, Jowett]; others, who are not clear that the word "apostle" is applied to any without the circle of the Twelve, save where the connection or some qualifying words show that the literal meaning of "one sent" is the thing intended, understand by the expression used here, "persons esteemed by the apostles" [Beza, Grotius, De Wette, Meyer, Fritzsche, Stuart, Philippi, Hodge]. And of course, if "Junia" is to be taken for a woman, this latter must be the meaning.

who also were in Christ before me—The apostle writes as if he envied them this priority in the faith. And, indeed, if to be "in Christ" be the most enviable human condition, the earlier the date of this blessed translation, the greater the grace of it. This latter statement about Andronicus and Junia seems to throw some light on the preceding one. Very possibly they may have been among the first-fruits of Peter's labors, gained to Christ either on the day of Pentecost or on some of the succeeding 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 our apostle, though he came late in contact with the other apostles, if he was aware of this fact, would have pleasure in alluding to it.

Salute Andronicus and Junia; it may be rendered Junius. Some think this Junia was a woman, and the wife of Andronicus; others take them both for men.

My kinsmen; so he calls them, either because they were Jews, Romans 9:3; or because they were of the same tribe; or because they were more nearly related to him by consanguinity and affinity.

My fellow prisoners; i.e. they had been imprisoned for the gospel, as well as he: the apostle had been often in prison himself, 2 Corinthians 11:23. We read, Acts 16:23, of his being imprisoned at Philippi, and it may be these two were his fellow prisoners, for we read of other prisoners there besides Paul and Silas, Romans 16:25,26.

Who are of note among the apostles; i.e. they were well known to the apostles, and were in good esteem with them: not only the twelve, together with Paul and Barnabas, but other teachers are sometimes called apostles, or messengers; see 2 Corinthians 8:23 Philippians 2:25. Some have thought these two, Andronicus and Junia, were of the number of the seventy disciples, who are mentioned Luke 10:1. Others, that they were of the one hundred and twenty, who are mentioned in Acts 1:15; or of those that were converted by the first preaching of Peter, and the rest, Acts 2:41 4:4. By what follows, it appeareth they were of considerable standing in Christianity.

Who also were in Christ before me: there are three things for which he commends these two persons: the first is, their sufferings for Christ; the second is, their fame among the apostles; and the third is, their forwardness in conversion. This was Mnason’s commendation, Acts 21:16. When he saith, they

were in Christ, he intimates the virtue and power of faith to incorporate us into Christ, as branches into a vine.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen,.... According to the flesh, being perhaps not only of the same nation, Jews, but also of the same tribe, the tribe of Benjamin, and even of the same family, and might be nearly allied in blood. And though the apostle did not value himself upon his carnal descent, yet he had a very great value and affection for his relations after the flesh, even though they were only of the same nation; see Romans 9:3; and especially for such as were partakers of the grace of God, as these his kinsmen were. These were their Gentile names, the one Greek, the other Latin; but both were Jews. Grotius thinks that their Jewish names were, the one Masinissa, and the other Naarah; and that the latter was the wife of the former, but they rather seem both to be men; Junia should be read Junias, a contraction of Junilius:

and my fellow prisoners; either at Philippi, or in some other place; for though we read only of the apostle's being in prison at that place, and at Rome, yet it is certain from his own account, 2 Corinthians 11:23; that he was frequently imprisoned; and Clement of Rome says, he was seven times in bonds (o), at one of which times these were bound with him, but when and where is not known. This is a greater character of them, and a greater honour to them, than to be called his kinsmen after the flesh:

who are of note among the apostles; were well known by, and in great account with the twelve apostles, though not of their number; they might be converted by them, and be followers of them in Judea; they are thought by some to be of the number of the seventy disciples, whom Christ himself sent forth to preach: Andronicus particularly is mentioned among them, and said to be bishop of Pannonia, or rather of Spain; See Gill on ; however, they might be preachers of the Gospel, and be persons of great fame and renown as such; for which reason they might be called apostles, that being a name sometimes given to ordinary ministers of the word, and to such who were messengers of the churches, 2 Corinthians 8:23, as these might be, and were famous for their prudent, faithful, and diligent discharge of their office and duty:

who also were in Christ before me; which is to be understood, not of their secret being in Christ, as being loved by him, chosen in him, given to him, and represented by him in the covenant of grace; for they had not a place in Christ's heart, or a share in his love before him; wherefore the Arabic version is not only a bad one, but carries a false sense in it; which renders the clause thus, "who were in the love of Christ before me": nor were they chosen in Christ before him, for all the elect were chosen together in him before the foundation of the world; nor were they given to him, put into his hands, and made his care and charge before him; nor were they considered in Christ as their covenant head before him; Christ became their surety for them together, and received grace, blessings, and promises for them, and they in him before the world began; and was their common head and representative in time, in their nature; and they were all together crucified, buried, and raised with him, and set down with him in heavenly places together. But they were in the profession of faith, and in the church of Christ, and in the ministry of the word before him, being converted and brought to the faith of Christ before he was; which is the saints' open being in Christ, and is the effect and evidence of their being secretly in him from everlasting: this is to be created in Christ, or made new creatures in him; to be brought to believe in him, and even into him for righteousness, pardon, peace, acceptance, and eternal life, which are in him; and to live upon him, and in him, and derive all light and life, grace and strength, joy, peace, and comfort from him, as the branch derives its sap and nourishment from the vine, in which it is; and in this sense these men were in Christ before the apostle; they were converted persons, professors of religion, members of a church, and Gospel ministers before him: and though this is nothing in the business of salvation, who is called first or last; the one is equally as safe and as happy as the other; the thief that was called at the last hour, and the last man that will be called by grace in the world; yet it is a great blessing and mercy to be converted early; hereby a multitude of sins is prevented, and more, service done for Christ. And doubtless the apostle had this in view, and therefore gives these his kinsmen the preference to himself, that whilst he was a blasphemer of Christ, a persecutor of his people, and injurious to his interest, these made a profession of his name, preached his Gospel, and served his cause: it shows also, that they were persevering Christians, were pillars in the house of God, and never went out; and on account of their constancy and long standing, were worthy of respect. The apostle rises gradually in the character of these persons; as it was more to be fellow prisoners with him than to be his kinsmen, so it was more to be of note among the apostles, or to be eminent preachers of the Gospel, than to be fellow prisoners with him; and it was more to be in Christ than them all, than to be Paul's kinsmen, fellow prisoners with him, or to be known and approved of by the apostles, to be messengers of churches, preachers of the word, or even to be apostles themselves, and the chiefest of them; for such are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, are complete and perfect in him, are safe and secure, and can never perish; and being once in Christ, are always in him, and will be found in him living and dying, and at judgment.

(o) Epist. ad Corinth. p. 14.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in {d} Christ before me.

(d) Ingrafted by faith.

Romans 16:7. Ἰουνίαν] is taken by Chrysostom, Grotius, and others, including Reiche, as feminine (Junia, who is then to be regarded probably as the wife or sister of Andronicus); but by most of the more recent expositors as a masculine name, Junias, equivalent to Junianus (therefore to be accented Ἰουνιᾶς). No decision can be arrived at, although the following description, Romans 16:7 (in opposition to Fritzsche), commends the latter supposition.

συγγενεῖς] is explained by many (including Reiche, de Wette, Hofmann) as member of the same race or people (according to Romans 9:3). But the explanation kinsmen is to be preferred, partly because the word itself, without other definition in the context, immediately points to this (Mark 6:4; Acts 10:24, et al.); partly because it is only in this sense that it has a significance of special commendation; especially as in Rome there were many Jewish-Christians, and hence one does not see how the epithet was to be something characteristic in the particular case of those named, if it signified only kindred in the sense of belonging to the same people. We know too little of the apostle’s kindred (comp. also Acts 23:16), to reject this explanation on account of Romans 16:11; Romans 16:21, or to venture to employ it in throwing suspicion on the genuineness of the chapter (Baur). But Reiche’s reason—that Andronicus and Junias are expressly designated as Jews, because it would just be non-Jews who were saluted—is quite futile, since the nationality of those previously saluted is unknown to us, and Aquila and Prisca were likewise Jews.[42] Just as groundlessly, Hofmann thinks that in an epistle to the Gentile-Christian church the kinsmen of the apostle would be Jews. This is purely arbitrary, and yields, besides, for the designation of the persons intended an element, which, in the case of the actual relatives of the Jewish-Christian apostle, is quite obvious of itself, and the mention of which, moreover, in presence of the Gentile-Christians, would have been somewhat indelicate.

Where and in what manner they had been imprisoned with Paul,[43] is, owing to the incompleteness of the information in the book of Acts (comp. on 2 Corinthians 6:5), entirely unknown. Clement, 1 Corinthians 5, states that Paul had seven times borne fetters. Ewald, in connection with his view that we have here a fragment of an epistle to the Ephesians, assumes that Andronicus and Junias, while Paul was imprisoned in Rome, lay at the same time confined in Ephesus; and Lucht perceives only the anachronism of a forger.

ἐπίσημοι ἐν τ. ἀποστ.] ἐπίσημος, like insignis, a vox media (comp. Matthew 27:16), here in the good sense: distinguished, i.e. most honourably known by the apostles. Comp. Eur. Hec. 379: ἐπίσημος ἐν βροτοῖς, Hippol. 103; Polyb. x. 3. 3, xv. 34. 3; Lucian, merc. cond. 28. So Beza, Grotius, and others, including Koppe, Flatt, Reiche, de Wette, Fritzsche, Philippi, van Hengel, Hofmann, and rightly; for ἀπόστολος is used by Paul only in 1 Corinthians 15:7 in the wider sense (comp. Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14), nevertheless even there with such restriction that James and the twelve are included in the reference. Hence we must not, especially considering our entire ignorance of the two persons, explain, with Origen, Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, Estius, Wolf, and many others, including Tholuck, Köllner, Rückert, Reithmayr, Ewald: distinguished among the apostles (in other words, distinguished apostles). That Andronicus and Junias were held in peculiar honour by the apostles, does not exclude their repute with the Christians generally, but rather points, for their especial commendation, to closer relations which they had with the apostles. Lucht misinterprets the expression οἱ ἀπόστ. of the original apostles in contrast to Paul.

πρὸ ἐμοῦ] That they had been converted exactly at Pentecost (Grotius, Koppe), is just as little capable of proof, as that they had been the first preachers of the gospel in Rome (Wolf).

γεγόνασιν ἐν Χ.] not: became apostles in Christ (Reithmayr, following Origen), but: became Christians, entered the fellowship of Christ, attained to the ἐν Χριστῷ εἶναι. They were thus ἀρχαῖοι μαθηταί (Acts 21:16). “Venerabiles facit aetas, in Christo maxime,” Bengel. On γίνεσθαι ἐν, see Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, p. 295, ed. 3; comp. on Php 2:7.

[42] Probably Mary also—the name already points to this—was a Jewess; indeed, Epaenetus himself appears to have been a Jew (against Hofmann), since he is characterized generally as the first-fruits of Asia, not as ἀπαρχὴ τῶν ἐρνῶν of this country, and according to history, the Christian first-fruits of a country inhabited also by Jews were, as a rule, Jews. Comp. Acts 18:6; Acts 28:24 ff.

[43] The expression itself places the relation of their captivity under the figurative conception of captivity in war (Romans 7:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Ephesians 4:8). Comp. Lucian, Asin. 27; Photius, Bibl. p. 133, 8. As the Christians, and peculiarly the teachers and overseers in the service of Christ, their commander-in-chief, are συστρατιῶται amongst one another (see on Php 2:30, Philemon 1:2), so also are they, in captivity with one another, συναιχμάλωτοι (see on Colossians 4:10, Philemon 1:23). An arbitrary play of interpretation occurs in Hofmann: those whom Christ has won from the world and made His own, just as the apostle himself. Aptly Chrysostom points out the fellowship of suffering with Paul, implied in συναιχμάλ., as the most glorious crown of these men.

Romans 16:7. Andronicus is a Greek name, which, like most names in this chapter, can be illustrated from inscriptions. Ἰουνίαν may be masculine (from Ἰουνίας, or Ἰουνιᾶς contraction of Junianus), or feminine (from Ἰουνία): probably the former. τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου: i.e., Jews. Cf. Romans 9:3. It is hardly possible that so many people in the Church addressed (see Romans 16:2; Romans 16:21) should be more closely connected with Paul than by the bond of nationality. But it was natural for him, in writing to a mainly Gentile Church, to distinguish those with whom he had this point of contact. Cf. Colossians 4:11. συναιχμαλώτους μου: this naturally means that on some occasion they had shared Paul’s imprisonment: it is doubtful whether it would be satisfied by the idea that they, like him, had also been imprisoned for Christ’s sake. The αἰχμάλωτος is a prisoner of war: Paul and his friends were all Salvation Army men. The phrase ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, men of mark among the Apostles, has the same ambiguity in Greek as in English. It might mean, well-known to the apostolic circle, or distinguished as Apostles. The latter sense is that in which it is taken by “all patristic commentators” (Sanday and Headlam), whose instinct for what words meant in a case of this kind must have been surer than that of a modern reader. It implies, of course, a wide sense of the word Apostle: for justification of which reference may be made to Lightfoot’s essay on the name and office of an Apostle (Galatians, 92 ff.) and Harnack, Lehre der zwölf Apostel, . 111–118. On the other hand, Paul’s use of the word Apostle is not such as to make it easy to believe that he thought of a large class of persons who might be so designated, a class so large that two otherwise unknown persons like Andronicus and Junias might be conspicuous in it. Hence scholars like Weiss and Gifford hold that what is meant here is that Andronicus and Junias were honourably known to the Twelve. οἱ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ: they had evidently been converted very early, and, like Mnason the Cypriot, were ἀρχαῖοι μαθηταί, Acts 21:16. On γέγοναν see Burton, Moods and Tenses, § 82. The English idiom does not allow of a perfect translation, but “were” is more idiomatic than “have been”.

7. Andronîcus and Junia] Or, perhaps, Juntas, i.e. Junianus (in a contracted form, as Lucas for Lucanus, Silas for Silvanus, &c.). There is no various reading, but the Gr. accusative may belong to either Junia (feminine) or Junias (masculine). It is impossible to decide, but perhaps the following expressions favour the view that we have here two Christian men.

my kinsmen] Of course in a literal sense, which alone can be distinctive here. Their names are Greek and Latin (respectively); but this was continually the case with Jews, (cp. Paulus, Crispus, Apollos, &c.). They were, we may assume, Benjamites at least, if not near relatives of St Paul’s.—Of his “kinsmen” we elsewhere (outside this chapter) hear only where his nephew is mentioned, Acts 23:16.

fellowprisoners] Strictly, fellowprisoners-of-war. Same word as Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:23. The word indicates that these Christians had once been in prison with St Paul (a glorious reminiscence) in the course of the warfare of Christian duty and suffering.

See 2 Corinthians 6:5; 2 Corinthians 11:23, for hints of the many (to us) unknown imprisonments of the Apostle. The last passage is specially instructive as proving that the Acts is a narrative of selection only.

of note among the apostles] The words may mean either (1) “distinguished Apostles,” or (2) “well known to, and honoured by, the Apostles.” If (1) is right, the word “Apostle” is used (as in the Gr. of 2 Corinthians 8:23; Php 2:25;) in its literal and wider sense of a messenger, and here probably (if so) a messenger of the Gospel, a missionary. The context, however, in 2 Corinthians 8 and Philippians 2, is of a kind which explains, and so justifies, such a reference more distinctly than the context here. We may suppose that St Paul would more naturally have written here, had (1) been his meaning, “of note among the apostles of the churches.” We incline, then, to the explanation (2):—these two Christians, possibly because of special deeds of love and help to others of the Apostles besides St Paul, were particularly honoured by the apostolic body.

in Christ before me] A beautiful and affecting tribute to these his “senior saints.”

Romans 16:7. Συγγενεῖς, kinsmen) So Romans 16:11; Romans 16:21. They were Jews, ch. Romans 9:3.—ἀποστόλοις, among the apostles) They had seen the Lord, 1 Corinthians 15:6; hence they are called apostles, using the word in a wider meaning, although some of them perhaps after the ascension of the Lord turned to the faith by means of the first sermons of Peter. Others might be veterans, and I acknowledge as such the brethren, who numbered more than five hundred. The passage quoted from 1 Cor. implies, that there was a multitude of those, who had seen Christ and were from that fact capable of giving the apostolic testimony.—πρὸ ἐμοῦ, before me) Age makes men venerable, especially in Christ. Among the men of old, it was a mark of veneration to have the precedence by four years.[167]—γεγόνασιν ἐν Χριστ, ,) they began to be in Christ.

[167] A quotation from Juvenal Sat. xiii. 58—

“Tam venerabile erat præcedere quatuor annis.”—ED.

Romans 16:7Andronicus and Junia

The latter name may be either masculine or feminine. If the latter, the person was probably the wife of Andronicus. If the former, the name is to be rendered Junias, as Rev. The following words point to this conclusion.

Kinsmen (συγγενεῖς)

The primary meaning is related by blood; but it is used in the wider sense of fellow-countrymen. So Romans 9:3.

Of note (ἐπίσημοι)

A good rendering etymologically, the word meaning, literally, bearing a mark (σῆμα, nota).

Fellow prisoners (συναιχμαλώτους)

See on captives, Luke 4:18.

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