Paul Sends Greetings to Friends And Churches

The class assignment was to write a short paper on “Things I am Most Thankful For.” One fourth-grade boy put first, “My glasses. They keep the boys from punching me and the girls from kissing me.” (Henry Fielding - in Who Said That by George Sweeting p. 48) … More

Appreciation

In this chapter Paul sends greeting to at least 26 people by name, as well as two unnamed saints, and to the people in several churches who were meeting in homes. It shows that Paul was a real “people person.” His great heart embraced all the people of God, and his love for them provoked him to take a keen interest in them. He had many friends and he deeply appreciated them for all they had done for him and for the cause of Christ.

There is certainly a big lesson here for all of us, and especially those of us who have been involved in a public ministry. In any ministry for the Lord it takes many people behind the scenes who usually are unknown to men. We need to be very thoughtful and express our appreciation to those who support us and cause the Lord’s work to go forward. Thank you letters and times of verbal expression are so important. The ministry the Lord has given to us is multiplied by the number of friends and associates we have around us.

Most of these people that Paul mentions we know very little about. It is interesting to note that several women are mentioned in this list. Phoebe was a business woman involved in the church at Cenchrea and was the one who carried Paul’s letter to Rome (vv. 1-2). Priscilla and Aquila were almost like members of his own family (vv. 3-4). He had first met them in Corinth on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:2) and worked with them in tent making. They had come to Corinth from Rome when Claudius declared that all Jews must leave Rome. They accompanied Paul to Ephesus (Acts 18:18) and helped him there. Eventually they had moved back to Rome and one of the many house churches met in their home (v. 5). He mentions Epaenetus the first convert to Christ in Asia. Paul could only share his appreciation to all of these devoted saints in Rome (vv. 3-16).

Application

The home of Priscilla and Aquila was a home that radiated appreciation to Paul for his friendship, fellowship and love. If one is a stranger in a strange town or a strange land, one of the most valuable things in the world is to have a home away from home to go to. It takes away loneliness and protects from temptation. Often I think of my home as a place where I can go and shut the door and keep the world out: but equally my home needs to be a place that is open door to others. An open door, an open hand, and an open heart should be characteristics in my life.

Romans 16:1-16 (English Standard Version)

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

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