Profiles of Grace.

As we finish Paul's list of greetings for those who are "in Christ," consider which description you identify with. What is your role in the pursuit of Gospel progress?

Hard Workers

Four people are described the same way in Romans 16:6 and 12. Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis all worked hard in the Lord. They were willing to grow weary in their service to the church.

Tryphaena and Tryphosa were sisters whose names meant "dainty" and "delicate." Their names indicate that they came from an affluent family. There is no indication that their other family members were saved, so we can imagine the conflict they likely experienced.

Persis' name indicates that she was a Persian woman, and Paul calls her a dear friend. She too labored to the point of exhaustion. The work of all these ladies had a divine source; it came out of their love and faith.

Andronicus and Junias

Romans 16:7 introduces us to another husband-wife team. Their Latin and Greek names show the diversity of the church. They were more likely of the same Jewish tribe as Paul, not close blood relatives, since Paul said he lost everything and everyone for following Christ (Philippians 3:8). This couple had been imprisoned for their allegiance to Christ. They are not called apostles, but were well-known as messengers of the Gospel.


Paul calls 2 men "beloved in the Lord" in Romans 16:8-9, Ampliatus and Stachys. That is all we know about them. They had a position in their church family because of his position in Christ. They may have been newer believers but were not left behind. They were loved by God and His people.


This Latin name means "refined" or "elegant." He was likely a man of the arts, from a higher social class. He was a teammate, assisting in Gospel work.


Romans 16:10 introduces a man whose name indicates he was a blue collar worker. Paul says he has been tested and approved. The same word appears in 2 Timothy 2:15. Apelles had endured persecution and been found genuine.


Romans 16:10-11 contains greetings to 2 households. History tells us that Aristobulus was the grandson of Herod the Great. His "household" probably consisted of his former slaves or servants. (He had likely died by the time the letter was written.) They had possibly formed a church body. Though these people were unlearned, not affluent or well-known, they were on equal footing "in Christ."

The household of Narcissus may have been another small church. Narcissus was probably not a believer himself. This group gives us an example of persevering in the faith even if one's boss does not share that faith (1 Peter 2:21-25).


The man mentioned in Romans 16:11 did not even have a proper name. He was a slave of Herod, a Jewish man who had probably been freed.


The man in Romans 16:13 is very probably the Rufus mentioned in Mark 15:21. The gospel of Mark was also written to Roman believers. Rufus' father had carried Jesus' cross. Like his father, Rufus was willing to go to any lengths to serve His Savior.

Paul had learned from Rufus' mother as from his own mom. She exhibits the value of spiritually mature womanhood.


The names found in Romans 16:14-15 have no description other than being "in Christ." They probably represent 2 more churches in Rome.

Paul ends his list of greetings with an exhortation to express their spiritual unity in a practical way. He shared greetings from "all the other churches" who shared the same ministry compassion and experience with the Roman believers.


It is probably safe to assume that all these Christians were generally optimistic people who knew the sufficient grace of God. They also knew God's impartiality. All that mattered was that they were all "in Christ." Even pastors are known first as being "in Christ," another believer serving in his area of gifting.

Application Points

  • Do you identify with anyone in the list of believers Paul greets in this chapter? If not, please talk with Pastor Tim and/or your discipler about how you can live out God's grace.
  • Do you know God's impartiality? Is being "in Christ" your primary identity and what you are known for?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:3 – Gospel work always has a divine source.