Names Of Romans 16

I dare you to read Romans 16 (NASB1995) and not stumble over the pronunciation of some of the names in this chapter.

There are 29 people mentioned in this chapter, and some of their names are difficult to say properly. The names Stachys, Tryphaena, and Asyncritus are especially hard, but we should do fine with Phoebe, Julia, and Timothy.

If you ever read Romans 16 in public, follow the OGV rule for reading Biblical names – read them confidently without pausing, whether it’s right or not, and those listening will think you are a Biblical scholar.

They don’t know how to pronounce the names either, so your confidence will sell it.

We learn a lot about the New Testament church by reading the names of Romans 16. The names are both Jew and Gentile, slave and free, and men and women.

The Roman church reflected what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28 . . . 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

Ten of the names mentioned are women, and some are given great honor. Let’s understand who some of these first-century sisters were . . .  

Verse 1:  Phoebe is called a servant or deacon, with the implication in verse 2 that she brought the Epistle of Romans to the Romans.

Verse 3:  Prisca (Priscilla). She is the companion of Aquila, and they both traveled together as missionaries throughout the Roman Empire.

Verse 7:  Junias is mentioned alongside her husband as “outstanding among the apostles.” This description of Junias has engendered countless discussions among scholars as to whether a woman in the New Testament was called an apostle.  

Please note that I’m not solving this issue today in Interruptions

I will mention that Junias is described as a prisoner and that imprisoned women in Roman times would often be tortured and physically abused. Junias was a true hero of the faith!

We also learn from the names of Romans 16 that . . . 

  • There was a growing church in Rome — a city that Paul had not yet visited.
  • The early Christians met in house churches (v. 5).
  • Paul mentored and discipled a great many brothers and sisters who impacted the entire Roman Empire.
  • The church of Rome was undergoing persecution, and Paul promised them that “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (v. 20)
  • Paul, with bad eyesight, had someone else write his dictated and inspired letters (v. 22).

As I’ve read Romans 16 through the years, I’ve often wondered, “If I had lived in Rome in the first century, would I have had the courage to follow Christ despite persecution?” And then I think, “Well, I’m living in the end times, so I may soon get to prove my faithfulness.”  

Those suffering in the New Testament had joy and often said during difficulties . . . 

To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever (v. 27). 

One final note, I typically translate the New Testament literally, but there is one command that, admittedly, I’m resistant to obeying . . . 

Greet one another with a holy kiss! (v. 16)

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