Category Archives: the churches of the Gentiles

Fellow Workers in Romans 16 – Michael E. Brooks

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in
Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my
life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all
the churches of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:3,4).

I read Romans 16 with much greater appreciation
now than I did several years ago. I must confess
that at one time I considered it merely a rather
tedious collection of personal notes from Paul
that had little relevance or meaning to Christians
today. I suspect that others have shared those
views. After all, what difference does it make to
us whether the Romans said hello to Rufus and his
mother (verse 13) or to the household of
Aristobulus (verse 10). Who were these people
anyway? Why should we care? What application or
doctrine can be derived from such details?

I no longer feel that way, however. For the past
twenty years God has given me the privilege of
traveling to a number of different countries where
I have met and worked with many Christians. I know
what it is to have coworkers who put their own
lives at risk for the Gospel’s sake, and sometimes
even for my sake. I have witnessed and sometimes
assisted those who have responded with faith to
the Gospel and who have obeyed the commands of
Christ, in spite of opposition and persecution. I
now better understand Paul’s love for Mary “who
labored much for us” (verse 6), and for Epaenetus,
“the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ” (verse 5).

The church in Rome had a remarkable collection of
workers, gathered apparently from many different
parts of the Empire. Paul, who had helped to
convert at least some of them and worked with
others, sends his love and regard for them in such
a way that not only would the church there know of
them and their work, but also so that Christians
of every age and in every place would respect and
admire them. Jesus said of the woman who anointed
him with perfume, “Wherever this gospel is
preached in the whole world, what this woman has
done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark
14:9). So the labors of Phoebe, Urbanus, and many
others in Rome are still being told today.

It is important for us to recognize that there are
still many faithful Christians laboring in the
Gospel throughout the world today. Faithful
workers have not vanished. Bangladesh, Nepal,
India, Brazil, Nigeria, Guyana, and the United
States, to name but a few, contain dedicated
servants of Christ, as do most other nations of
the world. According to brethren in Florence,
Alabama, only eight countries lack at least one
Church of Christ today. Wherever the Church
exists, it is because someone worked to preach the
Gospel and produce obedient faith. It is also
because work continues to build up and increase
those churches.

Let us give honor to the many little-known co-
workers of Christ who labor throughout the world.
In New Testament times it was the apostles who
received most of the attention. Today it may be
missionaries and preachers. But God knows and
loves all those who serve him. We are thankful for
every one of them, and pray God’s blessings upon

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Bible baptism is by immersion only (“burial,” Rom. 6:4), and once it is done, heaven puts that person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). After proper baptism a person has their sins forgiven (Acts 2:38).

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