Romans 16 Lesson

Loving our neighbor

The Apostle Paul names more than twenty-five people in Chapter 16.   Some are his relatives; some are people that he was in prison with; all are workers for the Lord.  

It is easy to read these lists without paying much attention to them. That would be a mistake. There is always something to learn from God’s inspired word!

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he wrote:

  • All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

So what is God trying to teach us in Chapter 16?

To help answer that question, we will review the people that Paul referred to in his letter and what he had to say about each of them:

  • Phoebe - a servant of the church in Cenchrea.   A helper of many.
  • Prisca and Aquila – they “Risked their own necks” for Paul’s life.  
  • Epaenetus - Was “Beloved” by Paul and was also the first convert to Christ from Asia.
  • Mary – “Who has worked hard for you.”
  • Andronicus and Junias.   Paul knew both from prison and had respect for them.   He refers to them as his kinsmen who were, “Outstanding among the apostles,” and who were in Christ before Paul was.   Google defines Kinsman as, “A blood relative, especially a male, or a relative by marriage.”   So Andronicus and Junias were relatives of Paul’s.  
  • Ampliatus.   Beloved in the Lord.
  • Urbanus – Our fellow worker in Christ.
  • Stachys – My beloved.
  • Apelles – The approved in Christ.
  • Those of the household of Aristobulus.  
  • Herodion – My kinsman (Another relative of Paul’s).
  • Those of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
  • Tryphaena and Tryphosa – Workers in the Lord.
  • Persis – The beloved who has worked hard in the Lord.
  • Rufus – A choice man in the Lord.
  • Rufus’ mother.
  • Paul’s mother.
  • Asyncritus.
  • Phlegun.
  • Hermes.
  • Patrobas.
  • Hermas and the brethren with them.
  • Philologus and Julia.
  • Nereus and his sister.
  • Olympas and all the saints who are with them.

TAKEAWAYS FOR US

Paul knew a lot of people.He not only knew their names; he knew about their lives.   He knew what they had been through, and where they were from. This did not happen by accident. It happened because Paul showed people that he cared, and because he got involved in their lives.

That is important to recognize.   Why?   Because of the influence that Paul had on these people, and the influence that they had on him.

There is a saying, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If we are too busy to spend time getting to know people, then there is something in our lives that needs to change. To put it another way, “When life is not adding up, it’s time to start subtracting.”

God wants us to know each other. More than that, He wants us to love one another!

When asked what the two greatest commandments were, Jesus replied:

[if !supportLists] · “You shall love the Lord your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” – Mathew 22:36-40.

As you read the above scripture, ask yourself, “Can we really love our neighbor if we do not know them?”

The answer is obvious.

Of all the commandments written in the Bible, only loving God is placed above loving our neighbor. When we show love to our neighbor, God is glorified.

Jesus said:

  • “Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ” – Mathew 5:16.

There is another important reason God wants us to get to know our neighbors, it is one of the best ways to share the Gospel.

If we want to be more successful in our evangelical efforts, we need to let others know that we care about them by taking the time to get to know them.

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.  For this, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.” – Romans 13:8-10.

Comments

Michael

I don't think there is any substitute for breaking bread with somebody. Whether in our home or out at a restaurant, taking the time to eat with somebody and find out a little bit more about them shows that we care and helps strengthen relationships.

Reply
Pat Dermody


People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care .” I really like this quotation of yours. During this pandemic we find ourselves with a lot of free time on our hands. It is a time we can sit by Idly watching TV or reading or we can use it to show people that we care. There are people out there living alone Or who are alone in nursing homes and might appreciate a phone call Or a note. There are neighbors who may need assistance with getting groceries or help in their yard. Pause and think about how you can show somebody you know
that you care

Reply
Bruce Bruinsma

Events impact people and leave lasting memories that live on. The events of today play a rooe in our tomorrow’s

Reply
John
Bruce Bruinsma

Amen

Reply
John

We can use technology to get to know people better as well. With the worldwide pandemic, more people are using technology to connect and reconnect with loved ones in their lives. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Reply