- What can we learn about phoebe from her name and the place where she lived (see Note 1), from the description of her as ‘sister’ and ‘deaconess of the church’, and from the service that she rendered? What did Paul ask for her from the Christians at Rome, and on what grounds?
- Looking down the list of names, note the references to:
(a) diligent service;
(b) sufferings borne for Christ; and
(c) Christian character. Cf. 2 Cor. 5:9, 10.
- How often do you find the phrase ‘in the Lord’ or ‘in Christ Jesus’ or ‘in Christ’? Notice also the different connections in which it is used. What significance do you attach to the phrase?
- Verse 1. The name phoebe, being that of a goddess, suggests that Phoebe had a heathen background. But now she is a sister in Lord, one of the household of faith. Cenchrea, the easter port of Corinth, was not an easy place in which to live as a Christian.
- Verse 7. ‘My relatives’: this probably means ‘fellow countrymen’, fellow prisoners’; they may at the time have been imprisoned with Paul because of the gospel.
- Verse 13. Rufus, possibly the same as in Mark 15:21.