“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:”
King James Version (KJV)
16:1 I commend unto you Phebe - The bearer of this letter. A servant - The Greek word is a deaconness. Of the church in Cenchrea - In the apostolic age, some grave and pious women were appointed deaconnesses in every church. It was their office, not to teach publicly, but to visit the sick, the women in particular, and to minister to them both in their temporal and spiritual necessities.
Ro 16:1 Personal Salutations SUMMARY OF ROMANS 16: The Bearer of the Letter Commended. The Church Asked to Give Her Aid in the Work That Calls Her to. Rome. Greetings for Old Friends and Fellow-Laborers. A Household Church. Warned Against Divisions. Farewell Benediction. I commend unto you Phebe, our sister. Evidently the bearer of the letter, a sister in Christ. In this list of persons greeted, a number are women, and the greetings show how highly Paul esteemed woman's work in the church. A servant. The word is "diakonia" ("deacon") in the Greek. The word also means "servant", as rendered, but we know that there were deaconesses in the church of the first century, and Paul, in giving her a recommendation, no doubt mentions her office. To say that she was a servant of the church, would convey no special distinction. In the East, where women were so much secluded, deaconesses would be a necessity. Paul evidently refers to them (1Ti 5:9,10). Ignatius, a companion of the apostles, mentions them in one of his epistles, and Pliny does also, in his famous letter to Trajan, early in the second century. Which is at Cenchrea. Paul wrote this letter at Corinth; Cenchrea was its seaport, on the Aegean Sea, about nine miles from the city. A small town with the old name still marks its site.