In the salutation twenty-six persons are named. Two-thirds of these names are Greek, which, in all probability, are names of persons the apostle had actually known in his work in Asia. Phoebe was specially recommended. His old friends, Priscilla and Aquila, were evidently back in Rome again (Acts 18:2). The chief interest of this passage centers, however, in the apostle's incidentally revealed consciousness of the interrelationships of the saints as being dependent on the common relationship to Christ. Notice carefully the phrases which indicate this. "In the Lord," "In Christ Jesus," "Unto Christ," "In Christ," "In the Lord," "In the Lord," 'In the Lord," "In the Lord" (verses Romans 16:2-3; Romans 16:5; Romans 16:7-13). Thus the impulse of love, the bond of service, the principle of fellowship are always union with Christ.
The consciousness of unity in Christ so evident in the salutations now caused a solemn word of warning. In a scathing sentence the apostle refers to teachers that ''serve . . . their own belly."
Fitting is the benediction at this point, reminding all who are confronting conflict of the channel through which the promise of ultimate victory has been made possible of fulfilment: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." How beautiful is this revelation of fellow ship in service in the closing salutations. For instance, Tertius, who had written the words as Paul dictated them, was also a fellow laborer; and he adds his greeting to the rest. Gaius, too, his host, sends his message of love. A man of note, Erastus, the treasurer of the city, and one of whom we know only that he was "the brother."
All closes with a doxology in which the apostle thinks of that perpetual purpose of love which, having been kept in silence through ages, has now been manifested in this Evangel, that through all the coming ages there may be the song of glory to God; and he reverently ascribes the glory to whom it is thus evidently due.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25