Personal Greeting: 16:1-16.
This chapter provides insight into Paul's ministry and the importance of prayer. His recollections of so many names explain for itself, his love towards fellow workers and his prayer for them. There was mutual trust among them. It shows the importance of communication for any healthy ministry. Paul starts this chapter with the commendation of Phoebe (Rom 16:1). She was a dear sister in Christ from Cenchrea, a city of Corinth. She carried this epistle to Rome. Paul advises the Roman church to receive her for her commitment and involvement in the ministry. She helped many in their needs, including Paul. Paul singles out Priscilla and Aquila. They were with him in the ministry at Corinth and Ephesus. It is noteworthy that here, wife’s name is mentioned first. Paul greets the church in their house also. In fact they risked their lives for Paul. Paul’s friendship with them was so intense that he mentions their names in two other epistles (1 Cor 16:19; 2 Tim 4:19). Paul did not forget to greet Epaenetus, who is the first convert in Asia. Paul also greets Mary, who has worked so hard for the church. She is one among the six Mary mentioned in the New Testament. Paul greetings include relatives, fellow prisoners, coworkers, Herod’s household and slaves. The names of many godly women are mentioned in Paul’s greeting. Verse 13 says that ”Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well”. He was the son of Simon of Cyrene who bore the cross of Christ (Mark 15:21). Scholars suggest that when Barnabas brought Paul from Tarsus to help him in the ministry at Antioch, Paul probably stayed with someone named Simon, whose surname was Niger “dark skinned” (Act 13:1). Simon’s mother evidently treated Paul as her own son. May be that is why Paul refers to her as “his mother and mine”. The gospel of Christ has gone forth through shared labor and sacrifice of many from diverse background. Paul advises Christians to greet one another with holy kiss. In some Eastern churches it is still practiced but it is noticeably absent in the western churches. The Christian life and ministry are not done in isolation but in partnership with other believers.
Paul’s Admonition and Warning: 16:17-24.
Paul warns believers about false teachers who would cause division among them. Paul does not permit us to seek unity at the price of truth. Those who deny sound doctrines and influence innocent believer with their false teachings should be avoided (Rom 16:17-19). They serve their belly and not the Lord. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive many. The Christians should be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil (16:19). False teachers are under Satan’s control and will stir up strife among believers. Paul reminds believers that we are in the winning side because God has promised us victory (Matt 16:18). God accomplishes his purposes and brings down his enemies in the end. Paul gives the names of his inner circle of coworkers who are with him in Corinth. Paul was a strong leader, but he worked alongside others. He conveys Timothy’s greetings to believers. Timothy was of special affection to Paul because he was a proven fellow worker (Phil 2:20, 22). Tertius was Paul’s secretary who wrote this epistle. Paul dictated this epistle to him. Gaius and the whole church in his house greet the believers of Rome. Gaius was the brother whom Paul baptized at Corinth. Paul was his guest while he in Corinth. Erastus, the city treasurer sends his greetings to believers. Paul sets a good example in the ministry for us to follow.
The Concluding Doxology: 16:25-27.
This final paragraph of Romans concludes the letter with praise and worship of God. God reveals his wisdom and glory through the gospel. In this doxology Paul reminds believers that only God has the power to establish them and keep them from falling. Paul was called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gospel is not something man invented but the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. It was a mystery that was not clearly known in the Old Testament period. That mystery was that God was going to receive Jews and Gentiles in Christ. But now it is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. The preaching of the gospel is not for head knowledge but for transformation of life. Paul was not ashamed of gospel of Jesus Christ. God in his matchless wisdom is glorified through the preaching of the gospel (Rom 16:27). The gospel message is the good news that the salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone and in Christ alone. Paul concludes the epistle with praise and worship. How about you? Have you repented of your sins and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, why not? What prevents you from doing that? Now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom 10:9). For everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved (Rom 10:13). To God be the glory through Jesus Christ. Amen.