Online Bible Commentary
Obedience to the Faith
Romans 16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith-- 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome while on a three month visit to the church in Corinth, Greece in late 56 and early 57 A.D. during his third missionary journey. The letter is heavy with Christian Doctrine, Christian teaching.
The major doctrinal portion of the letter ends with chapter 11. The next section (chapters 12-15:13) takes this doctrine and applies it through practical Christian living.
This passage concludes the third, and final, section of the letter. This section is concerned with Paul’s plans for the future.
The Apostle Paul begins this passage by passing on greetings to the Roman Christians from some of his Christian friends, and fellow workers, in Corinth. Previously in this chapter Paul had sent his own greetings to the Roman Christians. Information on some of these friends are compliments of Smith’s Bible Dictionary.
He sends greetings from “Timothy, my fellow worker” (v. 21a). Timothy was a descendant of a devout Jewish mother and a Greek father. Timothy was a gentile by descent, since his father was a gentile.
Timothy had become Paul’s right-hand man since Paul’s second missionary journey. Paul thought of him as the son he never had.
Next, Paul sends greetings from “Lucius” (v. 21b). Paul describes Lucius as his countryman, a fellow Jew.
Lucius, according to tradition, was the Bishop of the church at Cenchrae, a town located about five miles southeast of Corinth. This could be the same Lucius as Lucius, the Cyrene, who was mentioned in Acts 13:1 as a prophet and teacher at the church of Antioch. He would also be one of the “men of Cyrene” mentioned in Acts 11:19-20.
Paul sends greetings from another fellow Jew, Jason (v. 21c). Jason, also called The Thessalonian, was mentioned in Acts 17 as helping Paul and Silas on the second missionary journey, for which he was attacked by a Jewish mob in Thessalonica.
Next, Paul sends greetings from “Sosipater”, another fellow Jew. (v. 21d). Sosipater is probably the same person as Sopater of Berea who was mentioned in Acts 20:4 as being part of Paul’s party that traveled with him when he left Corinth after writing this letter.
Paul’s amanuensis then inserts his own greeting into the letter he is writing when he writes “I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord.” (v. 22). The name Tertius means “third” and he was thought to be a Roman.
Next, Paul sends greetings from Gaius, who he describes as “my host and the host of the whole church” (v. 23a). There are references to a Gaius four times in the New Testament and this one is thought to be the one mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:14 as one of only two people in the church at Corinth that Paul baptized. This Gaius was now the “host” for the Corinth church.
Also, Paul sends greetings from “Erastus, the treasurer of the city” of Corinth (v. 23b). He is one of two people named Erastus mentioned in the New Testament. According to the traditions of the Greek church, this Erastus was the first treasurer of the church in Jerusalem and later the Bishop of Paneas.
Finally, Paul sends greetings from “Quartus”, who he describes as “a brother”, a fellow Christian (v. 23c). Tradition has it that Quartus was one of the “seventy” disciples and, later, became the Bishop of the church at Berytus” in about AD 50.
Paul concludes his greetings to the Roman Christians with his signature benediction when he writes “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (v. 24). This is the same benediction that Paul used to close out the last passage in verse 20, except this time he added the word “all” to the end.
Now, Paul comes to concluding this wonderful letter to the house churches in Rome. He writes a doxology of one long sentence that covers the last three verses of the Book of Romans, verses 25-27.
Paul writes “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith--to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”
Paul declares that God is the One who establishes the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hearts of believers. He previously wrote that God, the Holy Spirit, ministers to our human spirits (Romans 8:16).
Paul refers to the Gospel as “my gospel” which came from “the preaching of Jesus Christ” (v. 25a). Jesus revealed the Gospel directly to Paul during his three-year sabbatical in “Arabia and Damascus” (Galatians 1:12-17).
The Gospel is “the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began” (v. 25b). The mystery of the Gospel had been a relative “secret” since the beginning of time. The Old Testament Scriptures pointed to the coming of the Gospel, the coming of Jesus Christ, but the secret had not yet been made manifest.
The Gospel has “been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations” (v. 26a). The mystery of the Gospel has now finally been revealed to all people by the writers of the New Testament.
The Gospel is “ according to the commandment of the everlasting God” (v. 26c). It is given to us by the eternal God, through the Holy Spirit working in men.
The Gospel is given to us for the purpose of “obedience to the faith” (v. 26d). It is given so that men may be obedient, and be saved.
Paul closes this passage, and this letter, by giving all the glory to “God”, the One who, “alone”, is all “wise”, “Jesus Christ”. He writes “to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (v. 27).