An Unusual Study

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I just had an unusual Bible Study in Romans Chapter 16.

Normally, when I think of Romans 16, in my mind, it is a “Flyover” Chapter.  By that I mean, it is something that is skipped, or at least on a relative basis, something that I do not put the same emphasis on as I have on the other, more theological portions of Romans.

I have taught the Book of Romans many times in my 50 years of being a Christian, and truth be told, I have never given much shrift to Chapter 16, until recently.

I ask myself, what is there in Romans 16 worth spending time on?  In a recent study in Romans, I tried something different with this chapter by having the guys put together and present a 10-minute talk from any portion in Chapter 16 that they found worth discussing.

The topics they uncovered were eye-opening.  These included things like “How to handle people who cause dissension in our churches” (vs. 17-19), what it means that they will soon crush Satan under their feet (vs. 20), what it means to be “established” by God and the reference to “My Gospel” (vs. 25) and the meaning of “obedience of faith” in vs. 26.

But the most profound lesson was gained by thinking about all the names mentioned in the first part of the chapter.  

Thirty-five persons are named in this conclusion.  There were nine persons with Paul in Corinth when he wrote – eight men and one woman, Phoebe, and twenty-four persons at Rome who were greeted – seventeen men and seven women.  Besides these, there were two households in Rome mentioned.  The question came up, “How could Paul know so many people in a city that he had never been to?”

I was very impressed by the observations that the guys made – about the personal regard Paul had for these people, that there were at least three of his relatives mentioned, his high regard for women, the great influence that Paul exerted on people and how often Paul “commended” people, something that some cultures, (including a few Chinese) do not practice in their families.

Our conclusion:  The Apostle Paul cared about and loved people. He had relationships as described in the first half of Romans 16.  Paul was in the “People Business,” because God is in the people business.

If that helps us be more Christ-like in our walk, it could be one of the most beneficial take-aways from all of Romans, and to think, it came out of Romans 16!

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