As we move into the letter’s lengthy conclusion, we see a noticeable shift in tone. Paul now speaks mostly in personal terms, writing about his current situation and plans as well as mentioning numerous names of members and coworkers in his final greetings. Similar to the opening of the letter, Paul once again writes about his calling as a minister of the gospel. It is on this basis that he has written to the believers in Rome very boldly and preached from city to city. Even his closing doxology is intimately tied to the message and goal of the gospel.
Did You Know...?
- Paul a Minister of the Gospel (15:14–21)
- Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome (15:22–33)
- Commendation of Phoebe (16:1–2)
- Greetings to Believers in Rome (16:3–16)
- Exhortation to Be Discerning (16:17–20)
- Greetings From Paul’s Coworkers (16:21–24)
- Doxology (16:25–27)
How does Paul’s calling determine his actions and choices?Hide Answer
1. Paul found it necessary to remind the Roman believers about a few things in his letter because his calling as a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles compelled him to help the believers mature spiritually (Rom 15:14–16).
2. Paul made it his ambition to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named. He fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ by preaching from Jerusalem to Illyricum (Rom 15:17–21).
What can we learn from Paul in shaping our own goals in life?Hide Answer
We have been called to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). Whatever occupations we may hold in this world, let us aim to live and act in ways that draw others to God and bring glory to Him.
What does Paul say about his relationship with God when he speaks of his ministry?Hide Answer
1. Paul considers it God’s grace to him to be a minister of Christ Jesus in the priestly service of the gospel of God (Rom 15:15–16).
2. He takes pride not in what he has done but what Christ has accomplished through him (Rom 15:17–19). Christ is involved in every aspect of his ministry.
3. He calls his ministry his work for God (Rom 15:17). In other words, he thinks of himself as a servant of God.
What is Paul’s plan according to this segment?Hide Answer
Paul plans to visit the believers in Rome on his way to Spain after delivering the gifts of the churches in Macedonia and Achaia to the church in Jerusalem.
How did the churches in Macedonia and Achaia exemplify unity in the body of Christ?Hide Answer
The churches in Macedonia and Achaia consisted mostly of Gentile believers. But they did not let racial boundaries, cultural barriers, or the long distance get in the way of their love for the fellow believers in Jerusalem. Just as the church in Jerusalem generously helped them by sending them missionaries, now the churches in Macedonia and Achaia reciprocated by giving the church in Jerusalem material help.
What are some ways we can assist other churches around the globe?
What does it mean to strive together in prayers?Hide Answer
In Ephesians 6:18, Paul urges the believers to pray with alertness and perseverance. These words were in the context of the believers’ struggles with the powers of darkness in the spiritual realm. Thus, prayer is very much a part of the war against evil forces.
From Paul’s appeal in Romans 15:30–33, we can see that Paul was thinking about the potential opposition from the unbelievers in Judea. He was also hoping that his service for Jerusalem would be acceptable to the saints. It was for these reasons that he asked the believers to strive together with him in prayer. We may see, therefore, that prayer is a proactive way to face hindrances and challenges in the ministry. It is an effort that requires watchfulness and perseverance. When believers pray together with the same purpose, such prayer is aptly called “striving together.”
How would you welcome someone “in a way worthy of the saints”?Hide Answer
The Lord Jesus taught us to receive even the least of our brethren in His name (Mt 18:5; 25:40). We are to honor every believer because they are all dear to Him. All saints, therefore, are worthy of the greatest hospitality.
Record the numerous descriptions Paul writes about the various individuals mentioned in his greetings.Hide Answer
1. “Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well.” (3–4)
2. “Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia” (5)
3. “Mary, who has worked hard for you” (6)
4. “Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.” (7–8)
5. “Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord” (8)
6. “Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ” (9)
7. “my beloved Stachys” (9)
8. “Apelles, who is approved in Christ” (10)
9. “my kinsman Herodion” (11)
10. “those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa” (12)
11. “the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord” (12)
12. “Rufus, chosen in the Lord” (13)
13. “[Rufus’] mother, who has been a mother to me as well” (13)
What are some of the lessons we can learn from these descriptions?Hide Answer
We may see in Paul’s personal greetings the bond between him and the believers, particularly his coworkers. As servants of Christ, we are not isolated from our brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, the more we serve God and even suffer together, the more we develop a deep affection with our brethren and fellow workers.
What problem does Paul address in this segment?Hide Answer
The deception of those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to sound doctrine.
In what ways would a divisive person do things to serve his own appetite?Hide Answer
Verse 6 tells us that those who caused division in the church deceived believers through smooth talk and flattery. A divisive person garners support for their own ambitions by winning people’s hearts. They may go all out to show that they care and understand while they put down those who disagree with them. They do all this to serve their own personal agenda.
What does this teach us about our motive and action in the church?Hide Answer
We need to be careful of even the smallest personal agenda when we interact with others or serve in the church. Let all acts of kindness be done out a pure heart. Never portray another person in a negative light with the intention to win others to ourselves.
Explain how we should be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.Hide Answer
The Bible teaches us to grow in the knowledge of God in all spiritual wisdom and understanding while we walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and bear fruit in every good work (Col 1:9–10). In other words, we need to continue to learn to do all things in ways that align with God’s will. This is how we can become ever wiser as to what is good.
But when it comes to evil things, we are to be innocent. This means that we should not allow any impure motives or thoughts to enter our hearts and minds. Those who are wise in the world use clever schemes to achieve their own ambitions, but as believers we must rid ourselves of such evil in our dealings with one another.
Paul writes that God will soon crush Satan under the feet of the believers. What do you think this means?Hide Answer
We have a choice to present our members either to sin as instruments for unrighteousness or to God as instruments for righteousness. When we submit to God and resist the devil, the devil will flee from us (Jas 4:7). God has chosen us to reign with Christ. If we are willing to endure sufferings as we learn to submit to God’s will, we can reign with Christ (2 Tim 2:11–12), and the second death will have no power over us (Rev 20:6). Through our submission to God, God will crush Satan under our feet.
How will you be the means by which God crushes Satan?
Record what Paul says about God is in this doxology.Hide Answer
1. God is able to strengthen us.
2. By the command of the eternal God the mystery that was kept secret for long ages has been made known to all nations.
3. God has made known this mystery to bring about the obedience of faith.
What does it mean to you personally that God is able to strengthen you?Hide Answer
Because God is our strength, we do not need to feel discouraged in moments of weakness. Instead, it is in our weakness that we depend on the Lord even more and experience His power (cf. 2 Cor 12:8–10).