Read Romans 16
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.
Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.
9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.
10 Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test.
Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.
11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew.
Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.
Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.
14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them.
15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them.
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ send greetings.
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
21 Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.
22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.
Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings. 
25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
It would be tempting to focus our attention today on the diverse and interesting lives of the men and women Paul greets in the final pages of his letter. From co-workers, new converts, fellow prisoners, and his many brothers and sisters in Christ, Paul found them all deserving of a holy kiss to show his deep, abiding affection for each of them. His ability to recall with great detail so many people and the depth of his appreciation for each of them is amazing. Who might we greet with such intimate expressions of Christian love? Think of the people who have discipled you throughout the years. Perhaps your parents, college roommates, siblings, small group friends, pastors, mentors, and more. These relationships are important for a reason. They are transformative.
As Paul wraps up his kind greetings, he turns to what seems to be his final warning and strong exhortation in the book of Romans; “…watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them” (v. 17). Many scholars have written on this twin command to be vigilant in keeping an eye out for those who “by smooth talk and flattery…deceive the minds of naive people” (v. 18), and to be willing to walk away or avoid them. Paul understood the fragility of unity in the church and that the foundation for it was sound teaching and doctrinal integrity, which was being threatened then and now. It’s why he longed for the people of God to “be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (v.19). This is a desire we ought to have today as we seek to grow in the wisdom of the Word of God and flee the evil found in the wisdom of this present age.
Paul concludes his letter to the church in Rome with an expression of praise to God in verses 25-27, known as a doxology. It provides closure to his comprehensive teaching on Christianity by reaffirming the same gospel themes he opened his letter with in chapter 1 verses 1-7. From the mystery of the gospel, the revelations of the prophetic writings, our call to obedience of faith, and the ultimate aim of God’s glory being made known through Jesus Christ. May we delight in the body of Christ that surrounds us, the Word of God that unites us, and God’s glory being made known to the nations!
- Who has impacted your life with the love of God and gospel of Jesus Christ? Take a few minutes to write out your “greeting list” and pray for each of them today.
- Why is sound teaching so important for the local church? What teaching or doctrine do you need to learn more about it so you can better defend and proclaim the Word of God?
- What does it mean to be “wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil?” And what are specific ways you can pursue wisdom and innocence in your life?
Write out verses 25-27 and circle every mention of God or Jesus, underline all the statements that affirm what God has done for us, and identify what is the hope of the Gentiles and the ultimate aim of Christianity found in the final verse. Finally, share with someone today how the book of Romans has impacted your life.
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