Finishing up Romans:
Romans 12 -- Paul reminds us that the Church is not an organization but an organism. We are all members (various parts and pieces) of the Body of Christ. Apart from the body (and apart from Jesus)we can do nothing. Together we can do great things!
Romans 13 -- be good citizens.
Romans 14 -- Practical advice on living the Christian life. The key element of this chapter is Paul reminding us that we are responsible for the influence we have on others -- our lives are living examples of Christ.
Romans 15 -- Paul finally gives the reason for writing this systematic letter of introduction: He plans to visit Rome on his way to Spain. Paul feels called to preach where no one has every preached before and feels called to go to Spain. He is going to stop in Rome, gather support and go on. We do not know if Paul ever made it to Spain. Tradition makes it unlikely. When Paul took the offering for the poor to Jerusalem from the Churches in Macedonia and Greece, he was arrested for being the center of a Riot. To save his life, and his honor, he appeals to Rome and is eventually sent there for trial. The Book of Acts has Paul preaching under house arrest in Rome. Tradition tells us that Paul was martyred in Rome -- if that is the case then he never made it to Spain.
Romans 16 -- Paul sends greetings to everyone in the church in Rome that he knows. It is in interesting list. 16:7 Andonicus and Junia are listed as "prominent among the Apostles" which essentially means they are listed as Apostles. Junia is the Latin form of the Hebrew name Johanna. It is speculated in some circles that this is the same Johanna who was a witness to the resurrection in the gospel. It is curious to have a woman listed with the apostles in this manner. Note also verse 22 "Tertius" is the actually writer of this letter -- Paul was dictating and Tertius is his secretary.
I am looking forward to 1 Corinthians and some more regular postings.