Phoebe was the courier of Paul to the Roman Christians. She was a prominent Christian worker in the little seaport of Cenchrea, just across the isthmus and 10 miles from Corinth. Paul was writing at Corinth and the guest of another wealthy friend name Gaius. Phoebe apparently had business in Rome and was about to make the journey, about AD 58.

Paul probably dictated two letters to Tertius. The first was a long one to the Christians at Rome and the second, a short note. Phoebe was going to Ephesus on business, and Paul wrote this letter for her to give to friends of his among the Christians there. As a stranger in the city, and a woman, she would greatly appreciate their hospitality. Paul had spent three years there and had many friends there.
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