Romans 16:23


Friday, 28 February 2014

Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. Romans 16:23

This verse is most probably a continuation of Tertius’ greeting which began in the previous verse, but it could be a return to Paul’s thoughts. Under the assumption that it is Tertius, in addition to his own greeting, he includes greetings from:

1) “Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church.” The word “host” carries the thought of a person who accommodates another in his house at his own expense, without charge or expected return. He simply opened his house and welcomed others in. This sounds much like Priscilla and Aquila whom Paul noted earlier in this chapter. The whole church met in their house.


The name Gaius (although not necessarily the same person) is first seen in Acts 19 during a time of trouble in Ephesus. A “Gaius of Derbe” is seen in Acts 20. Paul notes him in 1 Corinthians 1:14 as someone he personally baptized. And, Gaius, if the same individual, has the high honor of a letter being written to him which is included as a book of the Bible. 3 John 1:1 says, “To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.” To be so prominently displayed in the pages of the Bible, and to be so faithfully noted, is both rare and honoring of his Christian service.

2) “Erastus, the treasurer of the city” is noted in Acts 19:22. He was sent by Paul, along with Timothy, to minister in Macedonia. The treasurer of the city would be a high distinction within the Roman Empire and he would be considered a noble. This shows that Paul was probably speaking of him when he wrote this to the Corinthians –

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Saying “not many” implies that some were. Paul may have had him in his thoughts as he wrote about the varying types God has chosen. He is also mentioned one more time in 2 Timothy 4:20 – “Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.” Other than these things, nothing more is said about him in Scripture.

3) “Quartus, a brother.” There is something rather unusual here. The name “Tertius” means “three” and the name “Quartus” means “four.” At times, slaves were given no real names, but were simply numbered – “Hey Six, go get me some coffee.”

Because of this, it is possible that Tertius and Quartus were from the same household and either real brothers, born as slaves in the flesh; or brothers in Christ, reborn as slaves to Him. If this is so, then Paul’s words above (1 Corinthians 1:26-29) have all the more ring of truth about them!

Life application: Status, amount of wealth, type of employment, and other social identifiers don’t mean a thing in regards to our relationship with the Lord. The only thing that matters is whether we have received Jesus and what we are doing for Him. Don’t ever feel that you are somehow unworthy of His favor. He has accepted you and He is pleased with you.

Lord, Your word says that You have chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. I certainly feel weak at times – weak in my body, weak in my spirit, and weak in my faith. But I know that You have accepted me just as I am. I know Your grace is sufficient and Your love is eternal. Thank You for choosing even me. Amen.

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