Paul lists several folks in the Roman church and sends his greetings. This small gesture at the end of the book of Romans reminds us that the bible is a historical book. The book of Romans was addressed and received by real people who made up the church in Rome. Paul knew many of the people he was writing too. These are the folks who would have known about his character. Some of them possibly knew him before his conversion and and witnessed the radical change in his life.
This chapter also reminds us that the bible is a personal book. Though Paul shared some fantastic theological information about grace, faith, and how salvations works its way out practically in our lives, he wasn’t writing in a vacuum. He was writing to a real church, made up of real people, who first received this letter. Some of those folks were even his family (16:7, 11) and some were like family (16:13).
Whenever I read chapters like this and I see the list of folks that Paul knew in Rome, I start thinking about how special all of those friendships must have been. I start thinking of my own list of folks. There are many folks who are special to me because God has used them in my life or used me in their life (or both). We share a deep kinship because of the work of the gospel in our lives.
Father, thank you for all the men and women you have used to shape my life. Thank you for using me to shape the lives of others. Thanks you for the kinship of special friends and mentors who have encourged us along the way. Use me to be a friend and encourager to others today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.