VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Phoebe. The bearer of the epistle. The word means bright. In classical Greek an epithet of Artemis (Diana) the sister of Phoebus Apollo.
Servant (diakonon). The word may be either masculine or feminine. Commonly explained as deaconess. The term diakonissa deaconess is found only in ecclesiastical Greek. The "Apostolical Constitutions" 70 distinguish deaconesses from widows and virgins, prescribe their duties, and a form for their ordination. Pliny the younger, about A.D. 104, appears to refer to them in his letter to Trajan, in which he speaks of the torture of two maids who were called minestrae (female ministers). The office seems to have been confined mainly to widows, though virgins were not absolutely excluded. Their duties were to take care of the sick and poor, to minister to martyrs and confessors in prison, to instruct catechumens, to assist at the baptism of women, and to exercise a general supervision over the female church-members. Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis (ver. 12) may have belonged to this class. See on 1 Tim. v. 3-16.
Conybeare ("Life and Epistles of St. Paul") assumes that Phoebe was a widow, on the ground that she could not, according to Greek manners, have been mentioned as acting in the independent manner described, either if her husband had been living or she had been unmarried. Renan says: "Phoebe carried under the folds of her robe the whole future of Christian theology."
Cenchrea. More correctly, Cenchreae. Compare Acts xviii. 18 Corinth, from which the epistle was sent, was situated on an isthmus, and had three ports, Cenchreae on the east side, and Lechaeum on the west of the isthmus, with Schoenus, a smaller port, also on the eastern side, at the narrowest point of the isthmus. Cenchreae was nine miles from Corinth. It was a thriving town, commanding a large trade with Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, Thessalonica, and the other cities of the Aegean. It contained temples of Venus, Aesculapius, and Isis. The church there was perhaps a branch of that at Corinth.
Succorer (prostativ). Only here in the New Testament. The word means patroness. It may refer to her official duties. The word is an honorable one, and accords with her official position.
Fellow-workers. In christian labor, as they had been in tent-making.
Laid down their own necks (ton eautwn trachlon upeqhkan). Laid down is, literally, placed under (the axe). Whether the expression is literal or figurative, or if literal, when the incident occurred, cannot be determined.
Numerous guilds or clubs existed at Rome for furnishing proper burial rites to the poor. Extant inscriptions testify to the existence of nearly eighty of these, each consisting of the members of a different trade or profession, or united in the worship of some deity. The Christians availed themselves of this practice in order to evade Trajan's edict against clubs, which included their own ordinary assemblies, but which made a special exception in favor of associations consisting of poorer members of society, who met to contribute to funeral expenses. This led to the use of the catacombs, or of buildings erected over them for this purpose. 72 The expression here denotes, not the whole church, but that portion of it which met at Aquila's house.
Epaenetus. A Greek name, meaning praised. It is, however; impossible to infer the nationality from the name with any certainty, since it was common for the Jews to have a second name, which they adopted during their residence in heathen countries. Compare John Mark (Acts xii. 12); Justus (Acts i. 23); Niger (Acts xiii. 1); Crispus (Acts xviii. 8). The first fruits of Achaia. The best texts read of Asia. An early convert of the Roman province of Asia. See on Acts ii. 9 This is adduced as an argument that this chapter was addressed to Ephesus. 73
Bestowed labor (ekopiasen). See on Luke v. 5.
Kinsmen (suggeneiv). The primary meaning is related by blood; but it is used in the wider sense of fellow-countrymen. So ch. ix. 3.
Of note (epishmoi). A good rendering etymologically, the word meaning, literally, bearing a mark (shma, nota).
Fellow prisoners (sunaicmalwtouv). See on captives, Luke iv. 18.
Stachys. Meaning an ear of corn.
Them which are of Aristobulus' household. Possibly household slaves. They might have borne the name of Aristobulus even if they had passed into the service of another master, since household slaves thus transferred, continued to bear the name of their former proprietor. Lightfoot thinks that this Aristobulus may have been the grandson of Herod the Great, who was still living in the time of Claudius.
And mine. Delicately intimating her maternal care for him.
Avoid (ekklinate). Better, as Rev, turn aside. Not only keep out of their way, but remove from it if you fall in with them.
Good words (crhstologiav). Only here in the New Testament. Lit., good speaking. The compounded adjective crhs tov is used rather in its secondary sense of mild, pleasant So Rev., smooth speech.
Deceive (ejxapatwsin) Better, as Rev., beguile. It is not merely making a false impression, but practically leading astray Simple (akakwn). Only here and Heb. vii. 26. Lit., not evil. Rev., innocent. Bengel says: "An indifferent word. They are called so who are merely without positive wickedness, when they ought to abound also in prudence, and to guard against other men's wickedness."
Wrote (grayav). Better Rev., write. The epistolary aorist. See on 1 John ii. 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.
Chamberlain (oikonomov). See on Luke xvi. 1. The word appears in the New Testament in two senses: 1. The slave who was employed to give the other slaves their rations. So Luke vii. 42. 2. The land-steward, as Luke xvi. 1. Probably here the administrator of the city lands.
Stablish (sthrixai). See on 1 Pet. v. 10 Mystery. See on ch. xi. 25. The divine plan of redemption. The particular mystery of the conversion of the Gentiles, which is emphasized in Eph. iii. 3-9; Col. i. 26, is included, but the reference is not to be limited to this.
Kept secret (sesighmenou). Rev., more accurately, kept in silence. In Eph. iii. 9; Col. i. 26, ajpokekrummenon hidden away, is used.