July 27 - Romans 16:1-5

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.

Paul generally closes his epistles with personal greetings to those in the church that receive the specific letter. In this closing, we meet Phoebe and then we meet Priscilla and Aquila.

These last two people show up in his first letter to the Corinthians (16:19) and second letter to Timothy (4:19).  In Acts 18:24-28 we learn that Paul sailed from Corinth to Syria with the couple, after having his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow.  When they arrived at Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila stayed there and then went to Antioch.

It was in Ephesus, that a Jew named Apollos began to preach about God.  He had never known anything other than the baptism of John, but his preaching was effective, so Priscilla and Aquila invited him to their home in order to further explain “to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26b).

One of the most notable things about this couple is that their home is the center of a great deal of activity.  They host a church there that is foundational for Paul’s ministry and they bring others to their home in order to give them more instruction in the way of God.

It wasn't until scores of years later that Christians met in any building other than a home. Meetings were intimate and people’s spiritual needs were met.

When John Wesley’s small groups began meeting, these meetings were often held in homes.  They would pray, sing songs, read scripture and there was such a sense of intimate knowledge about each other, they confessed their sins to each other and lifted the others up in prayer.

One of the questions they asked each other was “How is it with your soul?”

Whether you meet with a small group, in a large congregation or find yourself far from an institutional church body, the question remains “How is it with your soul?”