I usually skip over lists of names in the Scripture, much to my loss. My wife was reading Joshua 12-21 in her “reading the Bible through” goal for 2016, and I thought, If she can read all those names, I can at least read Paul’s catalog of names in Romans 16. So I read them. And I have been enriched and challenged to learn of Paul’s love and praise for all his co-laborers in the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ, and the importance of women to him at a time when women were considered a “house thing” or “property.”
Paul himself is overwhelmed with joy by the active involvement and support from the Roman Christians. He was delighted that different people were serving with their gifts (16).
Three highlights to provoke you to read the names are (1) that people are important to Paul, (2) the prominence of women in the church whom he highly praised, and (3) his inclusion of so many obscure names. His “Greet one another with a holy kiss” is an expression of warm, close fellowship, encouraging relationships, and mutual love of Christ being tangibly expressed.
To realize the impact of Paul’s personal roster acknowledgment of naming more than thirty workers and building up of one another in local churches that filled Paul full of joy (16:19), you will want to read the entire chapter of names, not skipping over any of them. It will challenge all of us modern day Christians to be as active and supportive of one another in the local church as they were.
What can we learn from Paul’s roster? It will encourage any of us who feels he’s a nobody to understand how important we are to Christ’s ministry. We can also see how we, like Paul, can love one another more from his praise of Priscilla and Aquila “who risked their lives for me” (3);“Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord” (8); “my dear friend Stachys” (9); and “Rufus’ mother who has been a mother to me” (11).
Faithfulness will be rewarded. Though you may seem like a nobody, to God you are a somebody (Malachi 3:16). You are special and loved by God. You are in the list of names in God’s Hall of Fame.
FLASH! I have a gift for the 10th visitor to my blog who includes a contact source and says how you have benefited from this study.
In case your missed last week, you might want to go back and read God and His Rainbow.