Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit.Romans 16:6
There are many women called Mary in the Bible but there is no reason to think that this Mary is one of the others mentioned. Remember Paul has not been to Rome before sending this letter. Some think that Priscilla and Aquila have told Paul about this Mary and her hard work. Others think this Mary had been at one of those places where Paul was, though has now moved to Rome, and had personally ministered to Paul. The reason for that is the textual variations that occur with this verse. Most copies read, “you”; the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions: and indeed it seems most likely that the persons on whom this good woman bestowed so much labour were the saints at Rome, where she lived, rather than the apostle and his companions. But there are some documents that read “us” which lead people to suppose that these persons were formerly residents in Greece, and that the apostle had become acquainted with them there, but that they had now moved to Rome. Still others think Paul speaks of her labour as done for him because it was done for his friends and fellow-labourers, and he took what was done to them as done to himself.
Her name Mary is Miriam in Hebrew; whether she was of Jewish extract is not certain, and who she was is not known. Some have conjectured her to be the same that Ignatius wrote an epistle to; not Mary of Castabilis, but of Naples, who was at Rome in the time of Linus, the Latin version reads “Cletus”, and of Clement, on whom he bestows very great character. Calling her most faithful, worthy of God, and a bearer of Christ, and in all things wise and in another letter of his he represents her as exceeding learned, an exemplar of a godly women, and having a church in her house. But both these epistles are thought to be falsely ascribed to him, and so not to be depended on.
What is clear is that she was untiring in assisting and supplying them, in a very generous and liberal manner, with all the necessities of life; and was exceedingly useful in encouraging the ministers of the Gospel, and in promoting the interest of Christ. True love never struggles at labour, but rather takes a pleasure in it; where there is much love there will be much labour. We don’t know what exactly it was that Mary did for the saints in Rome but we know that she worked very hard on their behalf. Literally Paul is referring to her as “Mary the Toiler”. Now that is a good label to have in Christian circles. Her works may be hidden from man and have no record in history other than what is recorded in Romans 16:6 but God knows exactly and He has recorded her name and her deeds in the Lamb’s book of Life. Now you have to admit that is awesome. Pretty good too to have your name recorded in the Scripture and to have come to Paul’s attention.
Simple truth: It’s good to receive compliments, and it’s even better to give them.Sid Mohede
We don’t do good to GAIN the favour of God, but we do good because WE ARE favoured by God!A R Bernard