What does it say? Paul greeted specific friends, gave a warning about divisive people, and concluded with a doxology praising God.
What does it mean? Thirty-three people are mentioned by name in the last chapter of Romans. Paul, like Jesus, wasn’t too busy or important to notice individuals. It’s easy to quickly pass over a list of names in Scripture, but who they are teaches an important lesson. The early church was filled with all kinds of people: Jews, Greeks, city officials, slaves, the rich, and the poor. It wasn’t social status or race that caused division. Paul warned the church to avoid those who didn’t believe correct doctrine (Romans 1-11) because their words were deceptive, and they served their own desires rather than God’s.
How should I respond? There are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people. Yet God brings people together in local churches for His purpose. Do you have a genuine love for believers who are socially or racially different from you? Each person in your Christian community is important and should be valued. However, there will always be people who cause division in the church. Will you commit to avoid debates with them and focus on the vision cast by your pastor and church leaders? When Jesus is the common denominator, differences between people fade, and God’s purpose is accomplished.