May 28: An Affirmation List

Read Romans 16:1-27

If you weren’t careful, you may have read much of this chapter the same way you probably do some of the genealogies of the Old Testament.  You know…those passages with lists of people where one person with an impossible name to pronounce begat a son or daughter with an impossible name to pronounce, lived an unheard of number of years, and then died.  Because of the repetitious ideas and the difficult names in passages like that, you may have the tendency to just zone out.

Of course, this chapter was different.  No one died.  But still, there was the repetition…this time of greetings rather than obituaries.  And still, there were some pretty unusual and challenging names.  Did you zone out as a result?

Just in case you did, you will want to go back and take a closer look at the kind of affirmation that fills those greetings.  Over and over, the apostle Paul is finding ways to express value to these people for who they are and what they do.

  • The great apostle affirms Phoebe as his sister, a helper, and a hostess.
  • He affirms Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis as hard working women.
  • Andronicus and Junias were, according to Paul, outstanding among the apostles.
  • Paul lifts Urbanus up, recognizing him as a fellow worker.
  • Stachys is recognized as a dear friend.
  • He described Apelles as tested and approved.
  • Paul affirms the mother of Rufus as one who had been like a mother to him.

Having written the rest of the letter in more general terms with corporate, plural second person “you” references, this more personal portion of the letter stands out.  How the hearts of those mentioned in these verses must have soared as they found their names recorded and their character and activities recognized.

Who would be on your list of people to affirm?  Perhaps this list gives you some ideas of the kinds of things you would like to express to them.  Perhaps it will help you to find the words to say.  Just make sure that you express that affirmation to others.

sbk