Thursday, June 17, 2021

Romans 16 Devotional Bible Study by Steve Wilson

Romans 16

As you read this chapter, I want you to think through why Paul is mentioning these people specifically. What makes them noteworthy? What are they doing? What kind of people are they being? What is the significance of the words he uses to describe them and his relationship to them?


Think about how you'd like to be described in a list like this, and how you can become more like one of the people mentioned here.


  • Who are you most like?
  • Who are you least like?
  • Who do you want to be more like?


My notes for the first time Paul uses a phrase are in italics following the verse.


Romans 16 – What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon[a][b] of the church in Cenchreae. 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.


Phoebe is the person delivering Paul’s letter to the Romans. He describes her as a sister, a deacon, and a benefactor.


Sister – So many times in the Church, we caution men and women to keep their distance in order to safeguard their marriages and avoid inappropriate relationships, and for good reason. Sexual and romantic temptation is real. At the same time, there is something very holy about a Christian man and woman being able to relate to each other as family. Paul and Phoebe had a God-honoring, mutually encouraging, loving relationship as siblings in Christ. I want to tell you today to keep your relationships pure, but don’t be so paranoid by possible temptation that you don’t open your heart to the potential brothers and sisters God has placed in your life.


Women, what Christian man can you be a sister to? Men, what Christian woman can you treat as a sister?


Deacon – The word “deacon” means “servant.” It’s an honored position in the Church, a position of leadership. But your honor comes from people knowing you love the Lord Jesus and have a heart to serve His people. Do you want to be known as someone who deserves the title Servant? How can you serve the people in your Church on a consistent basis?


Benefactor – Not only was Phoebe a serving person; she was also a giving person. Not only did she have her own funds to travel to Rome and personally deliver Paul’s letter, she helped other people financially. How can you manage your income and the wealth God gives you in such a way that you can benefit others? Who is God laying on your heart to help financially?


Greet Priscilla[c] and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.


Co-workers – Again, notice that Paul counts both a male and a female as his co-workers. Also, notice that when you call someone a co-worker, you’re recognizing they’re on equal footing with you. They’re not your employee or boss but your co-worker, a partner. Who can you partner with to perform ministry? Maybe you need to come alongside someone else and take part of their burden. Maybe you need to open yourself to invite someone else to join you in your ministry.


The church that meets at their house – How can you show hospitality for the sake of God’s work? What personal resources has God given you that you can also use for ministry?


Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.


Dear friend – We all need some dear friends, don’t we? People we can count on, people we can share anything with. How can you foster a friend relationship to become a dear friend to that person?


First convert – I’m sure Epenetus didn’t go around bragging about how he was the first convert in his state. But Paul bragged on him. He pointed Epenetus out as an example to other Christians. How can you balance humility while also telling your story and letting others learn from you?


Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.


Worked very hard for you – What are you working for? Who are you working for? Is what you’re putting effort into the same thing God wants you to put effort into?


Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among[d] the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.


My fellow Jews – Paul, a Jew, was a minister to the Gentiles; he loved Gentile Christians and accepted them as brothers and sisters, but he still had a heart connection to the Jews as being his own people. Gentile Christians were his adopted family, but Jewish Christians were family-of-origin who could stand with him in his belief in the Messiah. How good it is for family members to also be eternal Family members. I encourage you to especially value those in your family who share your love for Christ.


Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.


Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.


10 Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test.


Whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test – What tests have you faced? There are more trials ahead of you. Will you determine today to stay faithful to Jesus in the future?


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.


Chosen in the Lord – Sometimes, you can just tell God has their hand on someone. It might be to fulfill a certain purpose or for a season of spiritual growth in their life. When you recognize someone has been chosen, how can you encourage them? How can you become better attuned to the Spirit to be able for Him to use you in a specific way?


Who has been a mother to me – Sometimes, another Christian woman can show you the love of a mother. The relationship can be nurturing, encouraging, and admonishing all at the same time. Who can you seek out such a relationship with?


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.


Summary“Show holy affection for one another!!!”


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.


While we want to be affectionate toward fellow Christians, be aware that some who claim to be Christians are not. Avoid them. Do not let them join you.


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.


Who wrote down this letter – Paul had poor eyesight. It may have been the thorn in his flesh he prayed about. He learned to rely on other people, like Tertius, to write things down for him. What do you need to rely on others to do for you? Who can you offer to lean on you?


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. [24] [e]


The city’s director of public works – Serving the Lord directly through ministry to others is important, but so is serving the Lord indirectly through your occupation. Paul called out Erastus not for being a ministry co-worker or for working hard in the Lord but for his public office. How can you see your job, career, homemaking, caregiving, or other primary activities as service to God and His people?


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[f] faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.



  1. Romans 16:1 Or servant
  2. Romans 16:1 The word deacon refers here to a Christian designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in Phil. 1:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8,12.
  3. Romans 16:3 Greek Prisca, a variant of Priscilla
  4. Romans 16:7 Or are esteemed by
  5. Romans 16:24 Some manuscripts include here May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen.
  6. Romans 16:26 Or that is





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