From Paulís long list of names, it is not possible to identify the main leaders of Romeís church. Paul loves and respects all these people, he sends personal greetings for so many of them. He is eager to encourage all Romeís loyal Christians.
However, it seems likely that Andronicus and Junias (verse 7) were among the principal leaders. Paul knew them well, and he respected them greatly. They had long trusted Christ, and they had gained knowledge and experience. They had also suffered for their belief in Christ; in fact on one occasion they went to prison with Paul. That was a common experience in Paulís life (2 Corinthians 11:23). On such occasions, Paul did not allow his situation to upset him. Instead, he encouraged the Christians who were in prison with him to sing and to praise God with him (Acts 16:25; compare Matthew 5:11-12).
Paulís personal greetings show his strong desire to encourage people in their relationship with God. He frequently mentions the love that they share as Godís people (verses 8, 9 and 12), or their work for God (verses 9 and 12). He reminds them that God has chosen them to be his special people (verse 13); God is pleased with them (verse 10). Most of the people in verses 7 to 14 are men, but verse 12 refers to three women.
An interesting greeting is to those Christians who belong to the houses of Aristobulus (verse 10) and Narcissus (verse 11). There were many great palaces in Rome, and large numbers of slaves worked at each of them. It may be, therefore, that Paulís greetings here are for Christian slaves. Paul cared about the slaves, and he was pleased to declare the gospel, the message about Christ, to them. It seems that many of them became Christians (1 Corinthians 7:21-22; Colossians 3:22-24).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.