Paul and Romans 16

While stateside (wading through the endless visa process), I’ve been attending a BSF bible study. (Click the link for info) Every week, I gather with several hundred women to worship, then into smaller groups for digging deeper into the Word. What a gift this has been!

I really love digging deeper into Scripture; trying to figure out things and discovering new perspectives. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed this study is the questions – oh, the questions!

The book of Romans ends with a long list of people; some Paul is greeting and some he is thanking. I’ve always kind of jumped over this thinking, “I don’t know these people, so this isn’t important for me.” How wrong! Even the lists of names that seem so boring are there for a reason. So…what’s the reason?

The questions in this week’s study include:

“Why would Paul include this list of people?”

“What does this list reveal about Paul’s ministry?”

“What principles for Christian ministry are revealed through this list?”

“Which of all these people interests you the most? Why?”

and the kicker: “What does this teach you about the value of relationships in Christian ministry?”


I’ve always thought of Paul as being kind of a lone wolf. He went on these long missionary journeys and there were a few people here and there that traveled or worked with him, or served him for a time, or met a few needs here and there, but basically, he was an itinerant preacher.

That is NOT what Romans 16 shows!

Paul had a TEAM of supporters – even relatives and friends who were in prison with him – and he did none of his ministry “alone”. How did I not know that?

So often, we talk about the theology, the doctrine, the principles that are in Scripture – IMPORTANT STUFF! – but we fail to look at the humanity of the people writing and what their lives looked like day-to-day.PAUL. Even PAUL had a TEAM of supporters around him to help him with the work, to help him stay focused, to study with and learn more about Jesus with, to bounce ideas off, to supply food, shelter, and clothing to him, people that were arrested and imprisoned with him, and – in verse 13, even a dear woman who “has been a mother to me, too”. What did that look like? What does a mother of a grown man do? What support does she give her grown son? Cooking meals? Opening her home? Giving advice, love, emotional support? EVEN PAUL needed this!

So here’s the question: How many missionaries in today’s world serve alone?

Here’s a better question: How many FEEL alone?

THIS is why Villa Sollievo was born. No one should serve alone.

But I can’t help them alone, either. Please, help me help missionaries in Europe and around the Mediterranean not serve alone.

COME to help! SUPPORT financially! PRAY!

*in the link above, find “Italy- Project 9” in the dropdown*

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