Scripture Reading: Romans 12
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Servant—deakonos—deacon in a church—takes care of attending and serving the people in physical needs.
Succourer—patroness, an official position of help.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
Helpers—fellow worker, laborer, could refer to tent making as well as Christian labor.
Laid down necks—risked their lives, either in Corinth or Ephesus, to protect Paul.
In their house—no church buildings until third century. Not the whole church of the city, but the portion that met at their house.
Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.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.8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
Bestowed labor—abundantly spent herself, to tire out, work hard.
Kinsmen—either actual blood relation, or from same country.
Note apostles—marked out by the apostles,
In Christ—early converts, which is why they were noted by the apostles.
Beloved in the Lord—strong term of affection.
Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Approved in Christ—tried, acceptable, passed the test. Strong veteran of the faith.
Household in Lord—not all his family was saved.
Tryphena Tryphosa—possibly sisters, possibly names of slaves.
Labor—wearied, exhausted, hard work.
Rufus—mention in mark 15:21—Simon who carried Christ’s cross was father of a Rufus.
Chosen—the choice, or precious one in the Lord.
Mother and mine—his mom took motherly care of Paul.
Lots of unity and helping but then
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Mark—point out, notice, watch out for.
Divisions—disunion, dissention. Offences—did not take scruples of the weak into account.
Avoid—turn aside, keep out of their way.
Own belly—for their own selfish, temporal benefit.
Good words—about themselves, pleasant and smooth speech.
Fair speeches—flattering toward the audience.
Deceive—beguile, leading people astray.
Simple—unwary, unsuspecting, innocent, gullible—those who are not marking them!
--too often we give way too much benefit of the doubt, assume everyone and their mother is saved and desperately trying to label on our side.
--some need to use more skepticism; some less!
Key factor is whether you are helping or hurting people grow in Christ?