Philiologus and his Crowd
Give my greetings to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister and OlympasRomans 16:15
Philologus is a Greek name, the name of a man who is a lover of learning, a lover of reading and a lover of the Word. This man is reckoned among the seventy disciples, and is said to be Bishop of Sinope.
Julia is a woman’s name, and Roman, probably the wife of Philologus; one of Stephens’ copies reads “Junia”. This is hardly likely to be the same woman as mentioned in Rom 16:7.
Nereus, and his sister
Nerio, or Neriene, according to Gellius (z), was a name with the Sabines, signifying “strength”, Nero comes from the same root. Church tradition has it Flavius Clement and his wife Domitilla were Romans aristocrats of the day who became Christian. Domitilla is the one whose name is attached to the oldest Christian catacomb in Rome. (See Bible Gem 280) Flavius was executed for his faith and Domitilla was banished to Pontia. She was said to be a niece of Domitian who was emperor at the time. Since the 4th Century the church has associated Domitilla with Nereus.
Olympas is the same as Olympius, who is said to be of the seventy disciples, and a Roman martyr. Each one of these last named saints in Rome was special to Paul; special enough to mention their names specifically and all the saints which are with them and all those who dwelt together as one family; saints by separation, imputation, and calling. They were called to be saints and to live as saints too. Each of these had a place in the apostle’s affections on the basis of their faith in Christ.
“The brethren (brothers) which are with them,” and “ the saints which are with them.” Is there any difference? Brothers or Saints? There oughtn’t be. The brothers ought to be saints. Remember Romans is all about how sinners become saints. These are the ones who for Paul embodied the idea of being the saints of God. The people of God called to be set apart for the gospel.
These people clearly met together in a church at someone’s house working out their salvation in fear and trembling. Paul seems to have been kept informed as to the state of the church at Rome, both as to its members and their activities, probably by Priscilla and Aquila. He knows the names of people, he knows their qualities, their strengths, their weaknesses. This is what real church is all about. It can’t happen in the large gathering. That is too impersonal. The practical nature of Christianity has to take place one on one or in small intimate groups which are honest and transparent.
Paul was no name dropper to build up his own value in the eyes of others. He espoused the cause of the common person and the downtrodden as well as the big names and famous. That is seen clearly in the names of the ones he lists here in Romans 16.
But there is one name that is conspicuous by its absence. Can you work out which one that is?
We will deal with it tomorrow.
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.Jussar Badudu
A man without a view is like a ship without destination.Anon