Two Sentences

Two Sentences

Phoebe was only mentioned one time in the New Testament. In Romans 16:1-2 the Apostle Paul tells the Christians in Rome: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.”

Those two sentences are jam-packed with information about our leading lady. Let’s dig deeper.

It seems obvious that in the first century A.D., most letter writers didn’t carry their own letters. Why would Paul write a letter if he was going to see the recipients in person? Much like letter writers today use the post office, in ancient times, emissaries carried letters on behalf of their writers. It was common for letter writers to include an introduction of the person(s) who brought the letter on their behalf. When Paul introduces `Phoebe, from Cenchrea,’ it’s logical to assume that Phoebe was person who brought Paul’s letter nearly 1000 miles from Corinth, Greece all the way to Rome.

What else can we super-sleuth from this one verse? Well, when Paul says “Welcome her [Phoebe] in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people,” we know that Phoebe was a Christian. We also hear that Paul expects brothers and sisters united in Christianity to treat each other with respect and Christian love–whether or not we have ever met before. Paul wants Phoebe to be honored and to be warmly welcomed into their lives.

Paul goes on to tell his friends in Rome, “…give her any help she may need from you…” There are so many possibilities as to what kind of help Phoebe may have needed while in Rome. In the third book of the Phoebe’s Journey series, you’ll read all about the work I’ve imagined Phoebe doing in Rome. Of course, Paul doesn’t specify any business reason for Phoebe to have traveled to Rome, but we can use our imaginations.

Paul wraps up his introduction of Phoebe, “…she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.” Phoebe was obviously special in Paul’s eyes. Doesn’t that sentence make you wonder about the kindnesses she showed to her fellow Christians, and especially the Apostle Paul?

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