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  • This is the closing chapter of the book, and I think now is a good time to remind you that this is a letter. In this last section, Paul spends most of his time saying hello to people and asking for their help with this project or that. Pretty routine stuff, actually. But there are two things that stand out to me here.

    The first is the diversity of names Paul includes here, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and other names are mentioned throughout the chapter. So how is this significant? You have to remember that Paul, even though he was a Roman citizen, was also a Jew, and not only a Jew, but a Pharisee. The Jews did not normally associate with any other group outside their community, except for reasons of business or administration, but here we have an example of Paul stepping out of those constraints by speaking lovingly of people other than Jews.

    Secondly, this reminds me of family, not just friends. When I talk to my mother or brother, inevitably we get around to the “how is everyone” part of the conversation. You always want to know about family, how they are, what they are doing, etc., and this is what Paul is really confirming. For him, these people are not just acquaintances, but family.

    Feel free to listen to “We are family!” while reading this.


    I ask you to greet Phebe of Cenchea, who is delivering this letter, with open arms when she arrives there. Please help her in any way you can with her mission. She has been a comfort to me and many others.

    Priscilla and Aquila will also be coming soon. They are my helpers in Christ Jesus, and have even risked their lives for me. I thank God for them every day, just as I thank Him for all the churches of the Gentiles. The church of their house is strong in the faith, so greet them as brothers and sisters, especially Epaenetius, who is the first soul brought to our Lord from Achaia.

    Say hello to Mary, who gave often of herself to care for me. Also greet Andronicus and Junia, my cousins and fellow prisoners who are known to the apostles and were believers before me.

    Greet Ampilas as beloved of God. Say hello to Urbane, my helper in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. Say hello to Apelles, who is strong in the faith and the entire household of Aristobulus. Also say hello to Heredion, my cousin, and send my love to the faithful in the house of Narcissus.

    Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa in their service to the Lord, and their fellow worker Persis.

    Say Hi to Rufus, and his mother, and mine, and also Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brothers and sisters in Christ who are with them.

    Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and also Olympas and all the believers with them.

    When you greet one another, do so with a holy kiss.

    All the churches send their love to you.

    Avoid those who preach a gospel other than what you have heard from me, or those who want to debate endlessly. They do not serve our Lord Jesus, but are con men looking to profit from the weakness of new converts. They put on a good show, but are not interested in serving God, only themselves.

    Your witness is talked about by people where ever I have traveled, so you need to be careful in your associations. Stick to the basics, and avoid the appearance of impropriety. God will protect you from Satan's henchmen.

    The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you always. Amen.

    Timothy, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater all send their love.

    I, Tertius, who wrote this at Paul's instruction, and Gaius, my benefactor, and all of the church who meet at his home salute you, as do Erastus the chamberlain, and Quartus.

    The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you. Amen.

    So I return to my work, knowing the Holy Spirit will work in you all to ground you in the gospel and in the preaching and words of Jesus Christ, who was the promised messiah kept hidden from the beginning of time.

    For He is now revealed by the fulfilling of the prophecies of the scriptures given by God and made plain to all nations by our obedience to the will of the Holy Spirit.

    To God, who is wisdom incarnate, be all glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

    Written from Corinth and delivered by Phebe.

    Commentary

    And you thought you had a big family.

    It is likely this letter was dictated by Paul when he was well along in years and probably not in the best of health. But we can see how much passion and care are included in his words by this careful and detailed list of people to greet.

    How do you feel about your family?

    I hope you are having a blessed day.

    Fred
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