In Romans 12:10, Paul gives the command of what we are to do: “Outdo one another in showing honor.” In Romans 16:1-16, he gives the model of what this actually looks like. It’s a list of names and requests for greetings. This isn’t a throwaway section to the letter. I’ve sat in a number of Bible studies where we’re tempted to functionally end the book right before these lists. But they’re not just lists; they are occasions for affirmation. They’re examples of what it looks like to create a culture of honor and affirmation in our families, friendships, and churches.
I commend to you our sister Phoebe
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus…
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ.
Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa.
Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord;
also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.
He didn’t have to say any of that, but he did. And God didn’t have to include any of this in the Bible, but he did. It’s here so that this kind of language would flow just as freely from our hearts to one another as it did for Paul. Who wouldn’t want to be included in a church with this kind of culture?