1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 2I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. 3Greet Priscilla[b] and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5Greet 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. 6Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 7Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord. 9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 11Greet Herodion, my relative. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12Greet 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. 13Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. 14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them. 15Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them. 16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
17I urge you, brothers, 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. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
21Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.
22I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23Gaius, 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.[c]
25Now 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, 26but 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— 27to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Romans is a fantastic book. One can be carried away by the doctrines Paul teaches… and one can be carried away with knowledge Paul and forget that we must apply this book to our own life.
Some scholars seem to think that this chapter is either a second letter or a separate letter from the rest of the book. Yet, I see that it is part of the Book as the ones delivering would pass through Ephesus on their way to Rome. Here we see Paul greet many in Ephesus. Maybe, Paul had two motives here in doing this. One could be to greet and love on the people in Ephesus. The other would be to show the love of the churches outside of Rome to further encourage those in Rome toward unity in Christ.
Paul greets his “family”. Some may be blood relatives and others “Blood” relatives. It is heart warming to read the different greetings. Of interest for all the “doctrine” we have Phoebe who is referred to as a “Servant” but the word is the feminine form of “deacon”. This sets some who believe women should not be in leadership in the church on their heads. But it is worthy to notice for all the arguments, that Paul addresses this woman this way without issue.
Aquila and Priscilla, or the eagle and the woman as Aquila means eagle had eagle eyes that could find great men of God like Apollos (Acts 18) as well as Paul himself (Acts 18). These mighty workers of God were very important to Paul as they come up in a few other letters he writes. They seemed to be mentioned as equals and as a team. Man and wife who work side by side with each other and with Paul. They also placed themselves in danger to protect Paul.
Paul addresses Epainetus, whose name means “praised”, was his first convert in Achaia which is part of Greece.
Mariam, could possibly be the Mother of Jesus, who was with John. This is speculation as there are at least 6 Mary’s in the scripture. Yet, we do know Jesus told John to watch over His mother.
Noting that some names are gentiles and some are Jew should be a clue to this being a call for unity. Andronicus who name means “man of victory” was a Jew.
Junias which is a woman’s name is called an “apostle” in reading one way, yet it could also be read she was known by the apostles. It is not clear, be she notable as one or know by again a woman is held in high esteem by Paul.
Amplias which means “enlarged” is a Roman Christian meanin he was from Rome and also a gentile.
Skipping a few we find Herodion, a relative of paul and this phrase, “Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.” This seems to be a Roman official who had were believers.
I do not mean to not mention some. I wish I could write more on each person. Maybe someday I could.
One though that has an interesting story is Rufus. He was a disciple of Paul as thought in tradition, was Bishop of Avignon (though there is no hard evidence of this) though he was bishop to a few other churches. He later was living in Rome when Paul sent this greeting. During the persecution of Trajan, Polycarp speaks of Rufus and Ignatius of Antioch who were put to death in Rome, in his letter to the Philippians.
“17. I urge you, brothers, 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 naive people. 19. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over 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.”
This is some of the greatest advice. It seems futile to engage those who are divisive as they cannot see the harm they do others. As I have engaged these types of people I find that their own ambition clouds their ability to see that this does nothing for the Kingdom. It is best to avoid and ignore them. If only I would take my own advise! These people try to persuade the naïve with smooth talk and flattery and spread lies, rumors and slander others, so they can have personal gain be that monetary or the attention of others. The great danger is that they desire the accolades of men exchange it for the works of God. It is best to be ignorant of the evil of these people and leave them to God who will crush Satan under His feet. Giving room for God to work is the best advice I could give. Paul states that a blessing of Grace to those who encounter such people.
“I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.”
This can be confusing to the casual reader. Did not Paul write this book? Then why is this Tertius saying he did? Often one would dictate a letter and another would literally write the words down. This happens even today in business as a secretary will “take a letter” yet the letter is from the one who dictated the letter. So, there is no issue as to the authorship of Romans. Yet, even Tertius sends greeting also.
“25. 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, 26. 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-- 27. to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
This salutation could take a whole chapter to unpack in and of it’s self.
Paul showed us a great mystery. This mystery was Christ Jesus Himself. It was revealed in the Gospel and proclamation of Jesus. Without Jesus the prophetic writings make little sense, yet with Jesus we can not only change on a personal level; we can also have power to reach the nations with the message of Jesus Christ. To this I agree with Paul that we give glory forever through Jesus Christ for God’s great wisdom.