New Defender's Study Bible Notes
16:17 divisions and offences. These two problem areas mean literally “dissension and scandal” (the Greek for “offenses” is skandalon). These would be caused by deviations from sound Biblical doctrine and behavior, respectively. The church has been under attack by Satan with these two weapons ever since its beginning (note Romans 16:20), and Paul was warning the Roman Christians to watch out for these before they appeared (note also Paul’s warning to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:27-31).
16:18 fair speeches. Those who promote doctrinal tangents or worldly morality in the church often have charismatic personalities and are attractive in speech, able to “beguile” (more accurate connotation than “deceive”) those who are naive in their attitude toward Scripture and toward smooth-talking teachings. Christians need to learn to test all teaching by Scripture, taken in full context with other Scripture. Note Isaiah 8:20 and Acts 17:11.