What is the Catholic interpretation of Romans 16:1-2


#1

What is a Catholic interpretation of this verse? Please include sources of information if possible.

Romans 16:1-2
I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who serves the church at Cenchreae. 2 Receive her in the Lord's name, as God's people should, and give her any help she may need from you; for she herself has been a good friend to many people and also to me.

Thank you and peace be with you.


#2

Hmm... I think that you need to ask your question more precisely.

Are you asking "was Phoebe a 'deacon' in the sense that a man can be a 'deacon' in the 21st century Church?" ;)


#3

No I'm asking what is the exact meaning of this verse according to Catholic doctrine? What exactly is it referring to and how does it fit into the overall context of the rest of the chapter?

[quote="Gorgias, post:2, topic:322238"]
Hmm... I think that you need to ask your question more precisely.

Are you asking "was Phoebe a 'deacon' in the sense that a man can be a 'deacon' in the 21st century Church?" ;)

[/quote]


#4

Phoebe: Deacon and Benefactor

Paul commends another woman in Romans 16 who was a leader in Cenchreae, a port city near Corinth. “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a minister of the Church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the holy ones, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a benefactor to many and to me as well” (1-2).

The word minister (or servant) in modern translations is the Greek word diakonos (deacon). Phoebe is the only woman specifically named a deacon in the New Testament. In the days of Paul’s ministry the role of the deacon was evolving. It involved an official function of some kind, most likely a pastoral one. As the Church developed, the position of deacon was more specifically described. Fifty to 70 years later, 1 Timothy 3:8-13 outlines the requirements and obligations of the deacon.

In the present context, Paul’s reference to Phoebe is in the form of a letter of recommendation so that she will be welcomed with hospitality when she reaches the Christian community in Rome. By implication, Phoebe’s ministry includes travel to other places. Paul’s description of her, then, is significant. He recognizes her as a sister in the faith, a deacon or minister whose service is trustworthy, and finally as a “benefactor to many.”

This Greek word can also be translated “helper, protector or patron.” Paul notes that she was also a benefactor or patron to him personally, someone who helped him to spread the gospel.

Barbara Leonhard, O.S.F., a Sister of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana, is a student of Scripture, with a master’s in biblical studies and a Ph.D. in Christian spirituality. She now teaches and guides lay ministers and spiritual directors.

This is from St. Anthony Messenger


#5

Thank you do you have a link to the article?

[quote="18trouble, post:4, topic:322238"]
Phoebe: Deacon and Benefactor

Paul commends another woman in Romans 16 who was a leader in Cenchreae, a port city near Corinth. “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a minister of the Church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the holy ones, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a benefactor to many and to me as well” (1-2).

The word minister (or servant) in modern translations is the Greek word diakonos (deacon). Phoebe is the only woman specifically named a deacon in the New Testament. In the days of Paul’s ministry the role of the deacon was evolving. It involved an official function of some kind, most likely a pastoral one. As the Church developed, the position of deacon was more specifically described. Fifty to 70 years later, 1 Timothy 3:8-13 outlines the requirements and obligations of the deacon.

In the present context, Paul’s reference to Phoebe is in the form of a letter of recommendation so that she will be welcomed with hospitality when she reaches the Christian community in Rome. By implication, Phoebe’s ministry includes travel to other places. Paul’s description of her, then, is significant. He recognizes her as a sister in the faith, a deacon or minister whose service is trustworthy, and finally as a “benefactor to many.”

This Greek word can also be translated “helper, protector or patron.” Paul notes that she was also a benefactor or patron to him personally, someone who helped him to spread the gospel.

Barbara Leonhard, O.S.F., a Sister of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana, is a student of Scripture, with a master’s in biblical studies and a Ph.D. in Christian spirituality. She now teaches and guides lay ministers and spiritual directors.

This is from St. Anthony Messenger

[/quote]


#6

Sorry,
Not really sure how to do a link, but copied and pasted this website:

americancatholic.org/Messenger/Jul2006/Feature2.asp

hope that works!
:)

It looks right, that's a first for me. ;)

I did look this up in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, the footnote says, "Because ancient inns and hotels were often infested with prostitutes and bandits, Christians who traveled usually depended upon the hospitality of other believers. Deacon may denote an office or simply one who serves. Cenchreae was Corinth's seaport to the east."

Peace,
RC :)


#7

=Aydan;10597226]What is a Catholic interpretation of this verse? Please include sources of information if possible.

Romans 16:1-2
I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who serves the church at Cenchreae. 2 Receive her in the Lord's name, as God's people should, and give her any help she may need from you; for she herself has been a good friend to many people and also to me.

Thank you and peace be with you.

Placed in its context I wonder why the question?

This is merely a female convert being thanked publically for her good works. Obviously she has supplied some of the material needs Paul as a human being needs to survive.
Nothing more and nothing less.:shrug:

*Verses 1-4 *"And I commend to you Phebe, our sister, who is in the ministry of the church, that is in Cenchrae: That you receive her in the Lord as becometh saints; and that you assist her in whatsoever business she shall have need of you. For she also hath assisted many, and myself also. Salute Prisca and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, (Who have for my life laid down their own necks: to whom not I only give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles,)"


#8

It worked just fine:) thank you. Actually sharing links is pretty easy all you have to do is cut and paste whatever link you want to share.

[quote="18trouble, post:6, topic:322238"]
Sorry,
Not really sure how to do a link, but copied and pasted this website:

americancatholic.org/Messenger/Jul2006/Feature2.asp

hope that works!
:)

[/quote]


#9

I asked the question for several reasons. I wanted to increase my biblical knowledge. A fellow Catholic was asking about it on facebook so I wanted to find an answer. It is also important that as Catholics we understand this particular passage properly because it's one of the versus that Protestants and even some Catholics are using to try to justify having female priests. Therefore I needed to understand the proper context so that I could defend Catholicism properly.

[quote="PJM, post:7, topic:322238"]
Placed in its context I wonder why the question?

This is merely a female convert being thanked publically for her good works. Obviously she has supplied some of the material needs Paul as a human being needs to survive.
Nothing more and nothing less.:shrug:

*Verses 1-4 *"And I commend to you Phebe, our sister, who is in the ministry of the church, that is in Cenchrae: That you receive her in the Lord as becometh saints; and that you assist her in whatsoever business she shall have need of you. For she also hath assisted many, and myself also. Salute Prisca and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, (Who have for my life laid down their own necks: to whom not I only give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles,)"

[/quote]


#10

Phoebe was a deacon. They needed female deacons in the early days when most people were adult converts. Someone had to baptize & chrismate the women catechumens (who would’ve been nude like the men)! :slight_smile:

John Chrysostom had 300 female deacons (he diakonos, masculine word for ‘deacon’, but with a feminine article) at Constantinople around A.D. 400.


#11

From the Catholic Encyclopedia
newadvent.org/cathen/04651a.htm
.............
Functions of deaconesses
There can be no doubt that in their first institution the deaconesses were intended to discharge those same charitable offices, connected with the temporal well being of their poorer fellow Christians, which were performed for the men by the deacons. But in one particular, viz., the instruction and baptism of catechumens, their duties involved service of a more spiritual kind. The universal prevalence of baptism by immersion and the anointing of the whole body which preceded it, rendered it a matter of propriety that in this ceremony the functions of the deacons should be discharged by women. The Didascalia Apostolorum (III, 12; see Funk, Didascalia, etc., I, 208) explicitly direct that the deaconesses are to perform this function. It is probable that this was the starting point for the intervention of women in many other ritual observances even in the sanctuary. .......There is much more in the entry for those interested.


#12

This has been a really interesting discussion. Thank you for your help everyone.


#13

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