I came to see Paul’s tender side.
When we look at Paul from the perspective of Romans 16, a new picture emerges.
When Paul wrote Romans from Corinth, around A.D. 55, he had not yet visited Rome. His letter to the church in Rome, a church worshipping at that time in the homes of members, turned out to be his most prominent letter, spelling out in more detail than in any of his other letters his theology of redemption in Christ. But in this article I focus on the epilogue of the epistle—on the list of greetings we find in chapter 16.
Priscilla and Aquila, Paul’s former colleagues in tent making, are mentioned first (verse 3). The couple had fled Rome during the persecutions by Emperor Claudius (Acts 18:2). Paul met them in Corinth and Ephesus, and here refers to them as “fellow workers in Christ Jesus.” Paul then greets Epenetus (verse 5), the first convert to Christ in what is now Turkey. Next he mentions Mary, one of many biblical characters with that name. She “worked very hard” for the church, he says (verse 6). (Let’s remember to look for her in the New Jerusalem and find out who she was.)