A popular Franciscan preacher at the Mainz Cathedral, Johann Wild (1495-1554) was known for his irenic spirit and ability to accommodate his teaching to the needs of common people. While Paul’s greetings at the end of Romans are often passed over, Wild pauses to find their pastoral significance, and carefully notes the prospective benefits they contain for the reader.
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.
Commentary on Romans 16:1
This chapter has nearly nothing except for greetings. Nonetheless it is not useless. First, you have here the praises and titles with which Christians ought to be praised. For they are not praised by their riches, power or eloquence, but by their love, innocence, obedience, strength of faith, faithfulness of service, etc. Next you also see a marvelous simplicity in the titles adjoined to them, for some he calls “helpers in Christ,” others “servants of the church,” still others “excellent in Christ” and yet others people “who labor much.” These are the titles of those who preside over the church. Finally, you see that women and servants are not excluded from Paul’s greeting and ministry. For “there is neither male nor female,” etc. Thus he calls Phoebe “sister,” and then “a servant of the church.” But how women may serve you can find in Titus 2. He adds in commending her that she had helped many others and also himself, for respect for others has the promise also of long life on earth. Thus Abraham and Lot attained the honor of hosting even angels as guests. And so, because Phoebe had helped others, she attained the honor of hosting the apostle.
Romans 9–16, eds. Philip D. W. Krey and Peter D.S. Krey, Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT Vol. VIII, 241.
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