In Romans 16:3-15, Paul sends his greetings, mostly by name, to 25 of Romeís Christians, and to 5 groups. Paul had not yet been to Rome (1:10-13). So, he would only know the names of the leaders, and of people whom he had met elsewhere. It seems likely therefore that there were several hundred Christians in Rome, or perhaps even a few thousand. This was about 25 or 30 years after Christís death.
The first group that Paul greets is the church in the home of Prisca and Aquila (see our notes on verses 3 and 4). Probably, many of the first Christians churches began to meet in ordinary houses. Prisca and her husband Aquila worked at home (Acts 18:1-3), as most people did at that time. So, there was constant activity and probably many guests in their house. They were pleased to invite other people to join their prayers and Bible study. They were constantly available to discuss about Christ with those people (Acts 18:26). So, a group of Christians gathered, and they became a church. Perhaps, like the first Christians in Jerusalem they chose to eat together and to share their possessions (Acts 2:44-47).
The first person who becomes a Christian in any region has acted very bravely (compare 1 Corinthians 16:15). In the region then called Asia, which is now part of Turkey, that person was Epaenetus. Many people in that region would oppose the Christians (2 Corinthians 1:8). By his decision to trust Christ, Epaenetus was risking the loss of his home, his job and perhaps even his family. However, Epaenetus believed that, in Christ, he had found something much better (Matthew 13:44-46): a right relationship with God (8:31-39).
Epaenetus may have lost many friends, but he found Paul to be a true friend. He probably loved to study the Bible with Paul, who had such a strong relationship with Christ. They had plenty of opportunity to do that during the two years that Paul spent in Ephesus (Acts 19:8-10). Ephesus was the capital city of the region then called Asia.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.