I, Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul, send my greetings, too, as one of the Lord’s followers. ()Romans 16:22
This name is a Latin one, and perhaps the person might be a Roman, for the names Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quartus, Quintus, were common with the Romans. These names are ordinal numbers in Latin. Meaning first born, second born, third born etc. Tertius is Third or Three. Like names in Bali. Some have suggested Tertius could well have been a slave. Often slaves were named Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quartus or Quintus. Meaning Number One. Number Two, Number Three etc. The problem with this theory is that slaves were not likely to have been schooled to the point of becoming an amanuensis, but it is not impossible.
Some eminent commentators suppose Tertius to be Silas – the companion of St. Paul. If this were so, it is strange that the name which is generally given him elsewhere in Scripture should not be used in this place. Some scholars have supposed Paul wrote this epistle in Syriac, and that Tertius translated it into Greek; but this can never agree with the declaration here: I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, [γραψας την επιστολην] not “translated” or “interpreted” it. It appears that Paul dictated it to him, and he wrote it down from the apostle’s mouth; and here introduces himself as joining with St. Paul in affectionate wishes for their welfare. Whoever he was he was so involved in the writing of the letter that he wanted to make it known to the Christians in Rome and down through the ages to us that he was a part of this process.
How could a “slave” include his name in such a prominent influential letter? Maybe Paul was distracted by those in the room and Tertius kept writing and couldn’t resist adding his name. Or perhaps Paul encouraged him to add his name because he been faithfully writing down what Paul dictated for days, so Paul said, “Put your name in here too Tertius.” We will never know this side of heaven. When you get up there ask Paul or Tertius if you really want to know.
The Use of an Amanuensis
It is evident that Paul employed an amanuensis to write this Epistle, and perhaps he commonly did it. Tertius, who thus wrote it, joins with the apostle in affectionate salutations to the brethren at Rome. To the Epistle, Paul signed his own name, and added a salutation in his own hand-writing. Col_4:18, “The salutation by the hand of me Paul;” and in 2Th_3:17, he says that this was done in every epistle, 1Cor_16:21. So often the apostle dictated his epistles, but he calls the attention of the Galatians to the fact that to them he wrote with his own hand (Gal_6:11).
There is debate as to whether the two following verses are the words of Tertius or Paul. What do you think?
Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.Mark Twain
If you had to be the person you are today for the rest of your life, would you be happy? If the answer is no, the power to change is IN YOU!A R Bernard