The first and one of the foremost of the list of Christians in the last chapter of Romans (Ro 16:1-2). "A servant (Greek "deaconess") of the church at Cenchrea" (the eastern port of Corinth; where Paul had his head shorn for a vow: Ac 18:18). Pliny's letter to Trajan (A.D. 110) shows that deaconesses existed in the Eastern churches. Their duty was to minister to their own sex (1Ti 3:11 translated "deaconesses" literally, "women"). Phoebe was just going to Rome; Paul therefore commends her to their reception as "in the Lord," i.e. a genuine disciple: as becometh saints to receive saints; and to assist her in whatever she needed their help; for "she had been a succourer (by her money and her efforts) of many and of Paul himself." The female presbytery of widows above sixty is distinct from the deaconesses (1Ti 5:9-13). Phoebe was the bearer of this epistle, written from the neighbouring Corinth in the spring of A.D. 58.
The bearer of the Epistle to the Romans (Ro 16:1). She was a 'deaconess' of the church at Cenchre
(radiant) the first and one of the most important of the Christian persons the detailed mention of whom nearly all the last chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. (A.D.55.) What is said of her,
is worthy of special notice because of its bearing on the question of the deaconesses of the apostolic Church.