Thursday, 20 February 2014
Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Romans 16:15
As with the previous list of names, none of these are mentioned anywhere else in Scripture. “Philologus and Julia” are probably a married couple, or they could be otherwise related. The name Philolologos comes from the Greek words philos – “beloved” and logos – “word.” Thus his name means something like “fond of talk.” This is probably a name he acquired later in life, unless he was a noisy baby at birth…! Along with these two, Paul mentions “Nereus and his sister.” Because of stating this, the conclusion that Philologus and Julia are married, rather than siblings or of some other family-type relationship, is the most likely. Next the address is made to Olympas.
These are all singled out because Paul had befriended them somewhere along his travels. But along with them, he notes any that he hasn’t met or who he is unaware of with the all-inclusive “and all the saints who are with them.” In this statement, he is ensuring he doesn’t miss someone and thus offend.
Having now gone through the entire list of names that Paul is familiar with, this is a good point to note that the church is up and running in Rome and there is no mention of Peter in the entire list. Thus, it negates the Catholic view that Peter was there and in charge as the “first Pope.” There are many other such confirmations throughout the New Testament that Peter was not ever granted such authority. It is only by misusing Scripture and individual verses that such a concept could be held to. Rather, the church was organized, efficient, and without the need of an everlasting dynasty. Instead, the saints were the church and it is to them that Paul has made these many greetings.
Life application: Tradition is often based on a misuse of Scripture or it is entirely the invention of man. Either way, overuse of church tradition and a lack of adherence to the words of Scripture are two of the most destructive impediments to sound theology and proper doctrine. The more tradition, the less the Bible is needed. Let us not error in this way, but let us hold firmly to the Bible as our final authority on all matters of our religion.
Lord, help me to remember that Your word is where my doctrine and practice must come from. Help me not to get so caught up in traditions and men’s teachings that I miss the wonder of the word of instruction that You gave. Help me to learn, accept, and apply this marvelous gift from You to every aspect of my life. And as I do, I know I will continue to be more pleasing to You. Amen.