I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1).
In Romans 16, thirty-five men and women are mentioned by name, all faithful co-laborers with the apostle Paul. Five terms are used to describe them. These same attributes should characterize Christian workers today: They were known as servants. Phebe . . . a servant (v.1). Greek, diakonon, from which we get our English word, deacon. It literally means, through the dust, which not only shows the servants humble position, but also that he works so hard he raises dust as he goes! They were known as helpers. Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus (v.3); Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ (v.9); She hath been a succourer [helper] of many, and of myself also (v.2). Being a helper is one position in the body of Christ that can be filled by anyone and everyone. They were known as laborers. Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us (v.6); Salute Typhena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord (v.12); Persis, which labored much in the Lord (v.12). Greek, agonizomai, or agonize. Our labor for Christ does not always go smoothly. They were well-beloved. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus (v.5); Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord (v.8); Salute . . . Stachys my beloved (v.9); Salute the beloved Persis (v.12). Greek, agapao. Co-laborers should be treated with loving respect. They were known as having been approved. Salute Apelles approved in Christ (v.10); that is, he was tested and found worthy. Every mans work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every mans work of what sort it is. If any mans work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward (I Corinthians 3:13,14). NPS