Personal Greeting: (Romans 16:1-16)
This chapter provides insight into Paul's ministry and the importance of prayer. His recollections of nearly 40 names explain for itself his love towards fellow workers and their involvement in the ministries. There was mutual trust among them. It shows the importance of teamwork and communication among believers for healthy ministry. Paul starts this chapter with the commendation of Phoebe (Romans 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 servants of God 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 have risked their lives for Paul when they identified with him. Paul’s friendship with them was so intense that he mentions their names in two other epistles (1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 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's 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 by 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” (Acts 13:1). Simon’s mother evidently treated Paul as her own son. Maybe 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 backgrounds. Paul advises Christians to greet one another with a 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: (Romans 16:17-24)
There will always be opposition to Lord's work. This often takes place by divisive behavior and unbiblical teachings. Paul warns believers against false teachers who cause division among them. Paul does not permit us to seek unity at the price of truth. The false teachers influence new believers with their misguided teachings. They should be avoided (Romans 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 controlled by Satan and stir up strife among believers. Paul encourages believers that God will accomplish his purposes and brings down the enemies in the end. Christians are on the winning side (Matthew 16:20). God will accomplish his purposes and bring 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. Paul had a special affection toward Timothy because he was a proven fellow worker (Philippians 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 at Rome. Gaius was the brother whom Paul baptized at Corinth. Paul was his guest while he was in Corinth. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends his greetings. Paul sets a good example in his ministry for us to follow.
The Concluding Doxology: (Romans 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 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 through the gospel 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 the gospel of Jesus Christ. God in his matchless wisdom saves sinners through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 16:27). The gospel message is the good news that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone and in Christ alone. Paul concludes the epistle with praise and worship. Do you know Jesus? 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 (Romans 10:13). God will save you and sustain you with his power as you trust in Christ and obey his Word. To God be the glory forevermore through Jesus Christ. Amen.