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Classic Commentaries On Romans 16:17-18

1. Charles Hodge: "While he urges them to the kind reception of all faithful ministers and Christians, he enjoins upon them to have nothing to do with those who cause divisions and offenses. Those who cause these dissensions, Paul commands Christians, first, to mark, i.e. to notice carefully, and not allow them to pursue their corrupting course unheeded; and, secondly, to avoid, i.e. to break off connection with them...because they are wicked and injurious.they are not activated by zeal for the Lord Jesus, they are selfish.plausible and deceitful."

2. Robert Haldane: "The churches of Christ have here the most solemn injunction given, in the most earnest manner, with respect to a thing to which at one time or other they will all be found obnoxious.  They are warned against the artful attempts of dangerous hypocrites, who, for sinister and interested purposes, endeavor to make divisions in the churches with which they are united. Such persons are to be avoided.  Men, who from the view of exalting themselves, endeavor to sow divisions in the Church, are more to be shunned than if they were infected with pestilence; and the brethren who are connected with them ought not, from their confidence in their own steadfastness, to expose themselves to their conversation on such subjects.  Such persons are in the service of Satan, who will prevail to deceive the strongest of the people of God, if he obtains permission."

3. Matthew Henry: "How earnest, how endearing, are Paul's exhortations!  He teaches them, 1.  To see their danger: Mark those who cause divisions and offenses.  Our Master had himself foretold that divisions and offenses would come, but had entailed a woe on those by whom they come (Matt.  xviii.7), and against such we are cautioned.  Those who burden the church with dividing and offending impositions, who uphold and enforce those impositions, who introduce and propagate dividing and offending impositions, which are erroneous or justly suspected, who out of pride, ambition, affection of novelty, or the like, ceaselessly separate from their brethren, and by perverse disputes, censures and evil surmising, alienate the affections of Christians one from another; these cause divisions and offenses.Observe them, the method they take, the end they drive at. There is need of a piercing watchful eye to discern the danger we are in from such people; for commonly the pretenses are plausible, when the projects are very pernicious.  Do not look only at the divisions and offenses, but run up those streams to the fountain and mark those that cause them, and especially those that cause these divisions and offenses, those lusts on each side whence come these wars and fightings.  A danger discovered is half prevented.

a.  Shun all unnecessary communion and communication with them, lest you be leavened and infected by them.  Do not strike in with any dividing interests, nor embrace any of those principles or practices which are destructive of Christian and charity."

4. Kenneth Wuest: The passage refers to those who "caused dissension and generated bad tempers in the church" and "give outsiders cause to blaspheme, and to stumble at the gospel.Denny says,  "Divisions in the Church are Satan's work, and the suppression of them by the God of peace is a victory over Satan."

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