"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).
The main body of the Epistle ended with the blessing in 15:13. This was followed by a postscript added to the church in Rome (15:14-33). Reasons for thinking this final section was added as a postscript addressed to the Ephesians include: Phoebe was a deacon or servant of the church in Cenchreae (16:1) which was the port area for Corinth. Paul worked with Prisca and Aquila (16:3) in Corinth, and they travelled with him to begin the work in Ephesus (Acts 18:18-19, 26). Epaenetus was the first convert in Asia (16:5), the Roman Province that included Ephesus.
The various names suggest that Paul knew these Christians personally (16:8-16) as a result of a long stay (Acts 19:8-10; 20:17). The church to which writes met in at several different house churches (16:5, 10, 11, 14, 15). Paul would have been concerned to see them empowered by the Holy Spirit as in Acts 19:6.
16:1-2 Phoebe is a diakonos, which in this case means she was a servant of her church (see note on 12:7). She had helped Paul in Corinth, and now she needs to be welcomed and helped in her work in some other place, probably Ephesus.
16:3-4 Paul had worked with Aquila and Priscilla as a tentmaker, and Paul left them in Ephesus to begin the work there (Acts 18:18-19). They were able to help Apollos into a fuller experience of faith (18:26). We might guess that he needed to learn the power of the Spirit instead of the merely human energy of his oratory and knowledge of the scriptures (Acts 18:24-25; compare Acts 19:2-6).
16:5-15 Priscilla and Aquila had a house church in their home, as did the families of Aristobulus, Narcissus, Asynchritus, and Philologus and probably others.
16:16 The holy kiss is mentioned five times (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). It was probably a hug, as is still common among males in the Middle East. Among Christians it had obviously become a sign of warm family affection. The fact that it is mentioned in five different epistles suggests that it had become a sign of Christian love. "Love one another with mutual affection" (Romans 12:10).
16:17-20 The warning against divisiveness addressed in the postscript to the Roman church (15:5-6) is repeated in this postscript.
16:21-24 Timothy was probably converted during a first mission in Lystra and Derbe, and joined Paul's mission team during the second visit (Acts 14:6-8, 20-23; 16:1-3; 18:5).
The final doxology is different from the blessing of the Spirit in 15:13. But we note the words "strengthen you according to my gospel," which again picks up the idea of being empowered by the Holy Spirit.
16:25-27 We saw how the mystery of the Spirit being poured out was an important theme in "the prophetic writings" (see 9:4 under "promises"). That mystery is now disclosed in the proclamation of Jesus Christ to the nations (explained more fully in Ephesians 3:3- 6).
"The obedience of faith" was not just a faith about God, or about Jesus the Son, or the attempt to obey Jesus, commands, or be Christlike, but a turning from one's own energy to the power of the Holy Spirit. As we have seen, the power of the Holy Spirit is not just one manifestation but a creative empowering of a church as a body in a very wide variety of ways such as gifts, fruit, prayer, endurance, sacrifice, and goodnewsing.
16:27 Paul's repeats his previous astonishment at the wisdom and glory of what has been revealed to him (11:33-36).