Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 15:32-16:5
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 15:30-32
vs 30-32 (my paraphrase): Because we serve the same Lord and because the Holy Spirit has placed in our hearts a love for one another, I urgently appeal to you to join me as I agonize in prayer over my upcoming journey to Israel. Please pray that I’ll be rescued from those in Judea who have rejected the Messiah, and also pray that the financial gift I’ll be bringing from the churches in Greece to help the impoverished believers in Jerusalem will be well-received, since many in the church there still walk in legalism and misunderstand the righteousness of faith which I preach (Ac 21:17-22). It’s possible they will reject me or the gift. And please pray that after this mission is complete, if it’s God’s will (Ro 1:10), I’ll come to Rome full of joy and be spiritually refreshed when I’m there with you.

Monday: Romans 15:33
v33: Paul closes these personal remarks (Ro 15:14-32) with a brief blessing. He simply says (my translation), “And may the God of peace be with all of you. Amen.” One of the most prominent challenges for the church of his day was persevering harmony between Jews and Gentiles. He has already spent much of this letter coaching Roman believers, both Jews and Gentiles, on how to get along with each other and attempting to convince them that their unity was vitally important to God. And here, at the end of his letter, he has just finished asking them to pray for his mission to Jerusalem because the tension there (between Jew and Gentile) was even more severe than in Rome. So it’s no accident he asks the “God of peace” to be with them. The cultural separation between these groups was growing and it had the potential to tear apart the Lord’s church. If evangelization of the lost was going to continue, such strife must be deliberately laid aside and God could provide the power to help them do this.

Tuesday: Romans 16:1
v1: Paul introduces a Greek woman named Phoebe (the name of the Greek moon-goddess). Undoubtedly it was she who carried his letter from Corinth to Rome and delivered it to the elders of the church. He tells them she has his strong personal recommendation) I commend to you…” Literally: “I stand with her”), he calls her “our sister”, and then states that either she is a “deacon of the church”, meaning she functions in some type of recognized ministry, or simply that she is a woman who has greatly served the church in her hometown. Kencgrea was a busy seaport near Corinth on the eastern side of the narrow strip of land which connects northern and southern Greece.

Wednesday: Romans 16:1, 2
v1 (continued): In ancient times, goods were regularly transported from one side to the other to avoid the long trip around southern Greece. In Paul’s day Corinth had become a Roman colony and the administrative center of the province of Achaia, so there would have been a regular schedule of ships sailing to Rome. v2: Paul asks them to warmly welcome her into the fellowship of the church and to assist her in whatever practical ways she might have needed. His choice of words implies she might be traveling to Rome on business. He says she’s very deserving of such help because she had provided just that sort of care to many others, including himself. He uses a word to describe her which tells us she was likely a wealthy, dignified woman who had been very generous toward believers in her city. A church may have gathered in her home and she may have regularly provided hospitality to traveling ministers.

Thursday: Romans 16:3, 4
vs3-4: The word translated here as “greet” means to greet with an embrace (hug) and maybe a kiss on the cheek. Paul is asking believers in Rome to convey this kind of warm greeting to his dear friends Prisca (short for Priscilla) and Aquila, and he calls them his “co-workers” in Christ Jesus. Then he mentions that they had risked their lives to rescue him. He literally says they had “placed their necks under” (the executioner’s ax) on his behalf. There is no way of knowing where this bravery took place but Luke records that they were present with Paul when he was involved in violent incidents at both Corinth (Ac 18:1-18) and Ephesus (Ac 18:19, 26; 22-20:1), so there are two possibilities we know about. Paul says not only is he grateful for what they did, but that all the Gentile churches he had planted owed them a debt of gratitude as well. Their heroism preserved the man God would send to evangelize and teach them. Had he died, many might never have heard the gospel.

Friday: Romans 16:5
v5: Paul also sends his greetings to the “church in their house”. This couple had opened their home to serve as a gathering place when they lived in Ephesus (1Co 16:19) and they had probably done so in Corinth as well (Ac 18:1-3, 11, 18, 19), and now having returned to Rome, they again had opened their home. Since first century believers had no formal buildings in which to gather, meetings were generally held in private homes. Larger public outdoor gatherings were held for evangelism and teaching (Ac 2:46; 5:42, 12:12; 20:20; 1Co 16:19; Col 4:15, Phm 2). So when we think of the early church we need to think of it as a collection of numerous house meetings scattered throughout a particular city. An interesting suggestion has been made that as a tentmaker, Aquila might have hosted larger numbers than normal by erecting a tent on his property since by trade he was a tent maker (Ac 18:3) (Jameison Fausset, Brown, A Commentary, Part 2, Romans, p 278, Eerdmans, reprint 1982).

Saturday: Romans 16:5
v5 (continued): It’s quite likely that much of Paul’s knowledge about the condition of the churches in Rome came to him from Priscilla and Aquila. Afterall, they had worked together in ministry for years in two previous cities. So one would expect them to write to Paul to tell him about the spiritual health of the churches in the capitol of the empire. Some have questioned how Paul could know so many names in a city he had never visited. One very obvious possibility is that those listed in verses five through thirteen attended the church in Priscilla and Aquila’s home and were individuals who were also known to Paul. If that is the case, then after saying, “greet the church that is in their house” the names that follow (up to verse 14) are all members of that church. Of course Priscilla and Aquila would have joyfully mentioned the names of mutual friends when they wrote to Paul. He, then, is responding and remembering. (This insight was proposed by Zahn, Commentar zum N.T. Leipzig, 1910, and reported by R. St J. Parry in The Epistle to the Romans, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1912).

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