The Book of Romans
Relationship of Christians to One another
Paul closed the book of Romans by greeting a least twenty-six (one third of them women) by name and he sent greetings to several who were meeting in house churches. The letter closed with greetings from nine believers who were with Paul when he wrote the letter. Chapter sixteen shows that Paul built his ministry by being a friend and a soul winner. Paul did not live an isolated life, he had many friends in the Lord and he appreciated each of them. Paul’s friends were a help and encouragement to him personally and in his ministry. Paul multiplied himself in the lives of his friends and associates in the ministry.
I. Some Friends to Greet, Vs. 1-16.
- Vs 1-2, I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
- Phebe was a member of the church at Cenchrea and she carried the letter to the believers at Rome. Phebe was probably won to Christ during Paul’s ministry in Corinth.
- The word translated “servant” is the feminine of deacon. Phebe may have been a “deaconess” in the church. This is possible, because there were women in the early church who served by visiting the sick, assisting the young women, and helping the poor. Paul stated that Phebe had been a helper to himself and other Christians.
- Vs. 3-4, Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Priscilla and Aquila worked in the same trade as Paul, tent making. This married couple is never mentioned separately, perhaps because they ministered so effectively together. They instructed Apollos and risk their lives for Paul. At the time of Paul’s writing they were in Rome and a church met in their home.
- Paul referred to four of his friends as beloved. One was the first convert in Asia. Others were kinsmen having reference that they were Jews. Paul considered Rufus’ mother as his own. Some mentioned by Paul had been in prison with Paul for the preaching of the gospel.
- Paul’s list of friends show the part that people played in Paul’s ministry and the ministry of the churches.
II. Foes to Avoid, Vs. 17-20.
- Not everyone was working with Paul for the spreading of the Gospel. There were some, for selfish reasons, who were dividing the churches by teaching false doctrine. These people were probably the same Judaizers who had given Paul trouble in other churches. Instead of preaching the truth, these men spread their own religious propaganda, using deceit and cleaver speeches. We have the same problem today, and Christians must beware of these false teachers. Paul gives two instruction: Mark them (identify), and avoid them.
- The issue is a matter of obedience to the Lord and a testimony to others. The issue is not making or keeping friends, but pleasing the Lord and maintaining a consistent testimony. Romans 16:20 suggest that these false teachers really come from Satan, and one-day even he will be completely defeated.
III. Some Faithful Servants to Honor, Vs. 21-27.
- The roll call of heroes included Timothy, Paul’s son in the faith. Lucius and Sosipater, fellow Jews. Jason was probably a Gentile. Tertius was the secretary who wrote the letter as Paul dictated it. Gaius was the man in whose home Paul was residing at Corinth. Apparently there was an assembly of believer meeting in Gaius home. Erastus held a high office in Corinth. The Gospel had reached into high places and in low places in the city of Corinth.
- The closing benediction reflects Paul’s special ministry to the Gentiles. The “mystery” has to do with God’s program of uniting believing Jews and Gentiles into the church. This was Paul’s special message. It was because of this message that the Judaizers persecuted Paul. Both Jews and Gentiles in the Roman church needed to know what God’s program was.
- Christians are established by the truth, which explains why Paul wrote this letter. Paul explained God’s plan of salvation to Christians so they would be established, and so that they would be able to share the truth with the lost.
Our study of Romans should make us more stable in the faith, and more excited to share Christ with others. And the result? “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever.”
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867