Romans 16

This devotional is written by Mark Taylor.

Romans 16

Personal greetings
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.

3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.

5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.

Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.

6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.

7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.

9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.

10 Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test.

Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.

11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew.

Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.

12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.

Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.

13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.

14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them.

15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them.

16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

All the churches of Christ send greetings.

17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

21 Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.

22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.

23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.

Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.

25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith – 27 to the only wise God be glory for ever through Jesus Christ! Amen.


This is the final chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and he is signing off with these 'personal greetings'.
Here we can see the abounding love Paul has for his brothers and sisters in Christ, and how excited he is to see their work being carried out in the early church.
Yet in the previous chapter, Paul has a solemn, albeit hopeful, tone. This is true of many of Paul's letters, and his persistent hope through the struggles is something we can all take heart from.
Paul gives us a long list of names in these greetings, some of whom we may have heard before, and some of whom we haven't.
Theologian Leon Morris points out that the Letter to the Romans “was a letter to real people and, as far as we can see, ordinary people; it was not written to professional theologians.”
Also, I think it's important to note that a third of the 21 Christians who are greeted here are women. The relationship between Paul and women is a topic for theological debate that is beyond my knowledge.
However, as we see from Phoebe in verse 1, who is a deacon of the church in Cenchreae, it seems to me that Paul is pleased to see women in positions of authority, and women were also crucial in helping him to spread the good news.
Paul often threw in a caution after some kind of good news or greeting, and he does so here with quite a broad message about avoiding sin. As he says, "Everyone has heard about your obedience", and I think he is concerned about them being targeted as a result.
Paul rounds off the letter and the book of Romans by speaking about "the mystery kept secret since the world began", which is of course God's plan to send Jesus down to earth - the very heart of the reason for his ministry.
Pray that like Paul, we too can have hope when times are rough.

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