Greet the Lord’s people from the household of Narcissus.Romans 16:11
Some have thought that Narcissus is the same man that Suetonius and other writers say was secretary to Claudius Caesar; a very great favourite of his, who amassed a great deal of wealth under him, and was raised to great honour and dignity by him. He was also reputed to be a very wicked man. If it is this Narcissus then it is hardly likely that Paul is sending greetings to him. Note that Paul doesn’t include Narcissus himself in the greetings, just the believers from his household. Perhaps because he is that evil man, or perhaps because he was not at home. Hilary, the deacon says he was a presbyter and abroad, performing his office in foreign parts. The other alternative was that he was dead, or not a believer. If he was the same Narcissus as Claudius’s favourite, he was dead before this time, being miserably put to death by Agrippina (s), the wife of Claudius; and justly punished for his being the cause of the destruction of others. If that is the case then the poor servants were called, and chosen, and faithful, while the rich master is passed by, and left to perish in unbelief. The Lord is no respecter of persons or status. Only the Christian believers of that family that were converted to the Lord were saluted by Paul.
The meaning of Narcissus’s name. Literally it means “stupefaction” or “a narcotic”. There was a flower called narke which induced such a state. Of course one can’t go past the meaning as it comes down to us today in the English language. Narcissistic or narcissism – the self absorption of one who is selfish and totally self absorbed, concentrating on pleasures and pleasing oneself. Given all of the comment above and the meaning of the mans name my guess is that he was not the kind of man Paul would acknowledge whoever he was. But his household are certainly recognised by Paul. Perhaps even more so because they have become Christians in such an unlikely setting.
It is clear that Paul’s main driving force or attraction for those he greeted was the quality of their life or walk in the Lord. It is this which draws special mention or commendation from Paul. May it be so for you too.
A recipe for having friends: Be one.Anon
Live so the preacher won’t have to tell lies at your funeral.Anon