on Romans 16 :5
The Church that is in their house - In these primitive times no such places existed as those which we now term churches; the word always signifying the congregation or assembly of believers, and not the place they assembled in. See the term defined at the end of the notes, Matthew 16:28 (note).
Epenetus - the first fruits of Achaia - In 1 Corinthians 16:15, the house or family of Stephanas is said to be the first fruits of Achaia: how then can it be said here, that Epenetus was the first fruits, or first person who had received the Gospel in that district? Ans. - Epenetus might have been one of the family of Stephanas; for it is not said that Stephanas was the first fruits, but his house or family; and there can be no impropriety in supposing that one of that house or family was called Epenetus; and that this person, being the only one of the family now at Rome, might be mentioned as the first fruits of Achaia; that is, one of that family which first received the Gospel in that country. This would rationally account for the apparent difficulty, were we sure that Αχαιας, of Achaia, was the true reading: but this is more than doubtful, for Ασιας, of Asia, is the reading of ABCDEFG, some others; the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala; and some of the chief of the fathers. On this evidence Griesbach has admitted it into the text. Yet the other reading is sufficiently natural, for the reasons already assigned.
on Romans 16 :5
The church that is in their house - Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned Acts 18:26 as having received "Apollos" into their family, to instruct him more perfectly. The church in their house is also mentioned 1 Corinthians 16:19. This may mean either the church that was accustomed to assemble for worship at their hospitable mansion; or it may mean their own family with their guests, regarded as a "church." In those times Christians had no houses erected for public worship, and were therefore compelled to meet in their private dwellings.
Salute - The same word before translated "greet."
Who is the first-fruits - One who first embraced Christianity under my preaching in Achaia. The "first-fruits" were a small part of the harvest, which was first gathered and offered to the Lord; Exodus 22:29; Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 2:12; Deuteronomy 18:4. In allusion to this, Paul calls Epenetus the first-fruits of the great spiritual harvest which had been gathered in Achaia.
Achaia - See the note at Romans 15:26. This name and those which follow are chiefly "Greek," but we know little of the persons mentioned, except what is here recorded.
on Romans 16 :5
16:5 Salute the church that is in their house - Aquila had been driven from Rome in the reign of Claudius, but was now returned, and performed the same part there which Caius did at Corinth, Rom 16:23. Where any Christian had a large house, there they all assembled together though as yet the Christians at Rome had neither bishops nor deacons. So far were they from any shadow of papal power. Nay, there does not appear to have been then in the whole city any more than one of these domestic churches. Otherwise there can be no doubt but St. Paul would have saluted them also. Epenetus - Although the apostle had never been at Rome, yet had he many acquaintance there. But here is no mention of Linus or Cemens; whence it appears, they did not come to Rome till after this. The firstfruits of Asia - The first convert in the proconsular Asia.