Personal Greetings, Rom. 16
Paul wraps up his epic letter to Rome with personal greetings. Although Paul had not been to Rome at the time of this writing, he had come to know many in the church at Rome. God’s people had been busy traveling here and there, doing the business of the kingdom (Matt. 6:33). The common acquaintances mentioned by Paul are outstanding examples of service to Christ. We want to be among those listed “when the roll is called up yonder” ( Luke 10:20). In the meantime, are we among those known to be faithful down here? What of our service in the local church? Can God depend on us to get the job done? Can the elders depend on us to fill needed positions of service? Can the deacons depend on us to assist in the many works of the church? Where will we be when the roll is called down here?
Modern theologians often seize on opportunities to revise the roles of leadership and service outlined in the New Testament. Male leadership in the church is not man’s invention, but God’s plan. God has his reasons and happy are those who accept and follow his plan (1 Tim. 2:11-15). Otherwise, there will always be disappointment and perhaps disobedience. There is no reason to interpret the role of Phoebe, a servant from Cenchrea, to be any different from multitudes of other faithful women servants. Service is about just that, service, not recognition (Matt. 20:28). Some believe that Junias (female name) was an apostle. Andronicus and Junias were known to the apostles and held in high esteem by them. Why read modern agendas into the inspired text? God has plenty of work for all of us in his kingdom. There is a place for all our talents. One third of those mentioned in Paul’s greetings are faithful females. You are so important.
Local churches often met in homes in early New Testament times (16:5). Or in a marketplace, or a school, or outside. The command to assemble is not an option; where we assemble is determined by necessity and opportunity (Heb. 10:25). Togetherness and faithfulness. God’s people are a collective force. The very word “church” begs for assembly. Being “called out” is in the term, but the emphasis is on assembling to serve. A safe and healthy return to our full and enthusiastic worship assemblies is essential. May God bless local churches with determination to stick together at all times.
Paul warns the church to watch out for those who cause division (16:17-18). Our every word and deed should contribute to the strength and well-being of the church. Stick with the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15). Follow the lead of the elders (Heb. 13:17). We are traveling a rough and rocky road through this life to heaven’s paradise. Paul’s conclusion: “Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen” (16:15-27). May God bless the reading of his word.
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of the book of Acts. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.