Well we made it to the last chapter of Romans. If you are still here with me! Congratulations!
In this last chapter Paul taks some time to call out some people by name:
Romans 16:1-2 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
Paul recommends Phoebe a sister and servant of the church as someone the church ought to help on her travels. Paul saw the value of women in the church. The word servant is the same as a deacon. He compliments her as a woman of God worthy of being received by the saints.
Romans 16:3-5 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
This husband and wife duo united in devotion for the cause of Christ. Their home was a “home church.”
Romans 16: 6 Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us.
Epaenetus is one of the first converts in Achaia whom Paul called beloved.
Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Paul called Andronicus and Junia his countrymen, these women must have been fellow Jews, who also were in prison with Paul before. They were noted among the apostles meaning they were converts to Christ before Paul was.
Romans 16:8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.
David Guzik’s commentary says, “There is a tomb dating from the late first or early second century in the earliest Christian catacomb of Rome which bears the name AMPLIAS. Some suggest that this is the same person.”
And as we can see Paul affectionately names those whom he cared for, noting their specifics of relationship to him for the church at Rome
Romans 16:9-15 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved.10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
And he ends this section with, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” This sounds strange to us but in that culture to be greeted with a kiss was to show a genuine greeting. This was how they expressed welcome and camaraderie. Whatever way it is that we greet each other whether by a kiss, a hug, a handshake, or a fist bump it ought to be holy and full of genuine affection.
I love how Paul calls out to his friends of the Roman church and to those he has met along the way. The rich, the poor, the men of note, the women who have served, the free, the slave, young, and old. They were all a part of the work of the church. The gospel had made all these equals in the labor of God. What beauty to behold!
Thanks for Listening,