Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the “Hall of Faith” or “Faith’s Hall of Fame.” I do not dispute this description, for it ﬁts when we consider the Old Testament heroes named in the chapter. Yet, I would suggest there is another “Hall of Faith” in Romans 16:1-15.
This “Hall” describes many faith heroes from the ﬁrst century. These Christians are named and noted for their faith and obedience during the early days of the church. Have we ever considered what this chapter has to say? Let me suggest that Paul, by the inspiration of God, opens a “window” for us to look and see some of the many faithful people living in the ﬁrst century. Their examples continue to shine today! Let us learn from the examples of:
- Phoebe (vv. 1-2), who was known by Paul and helped many brethren. Perhaps he met her after leaving Corinth (Acts 18:18).
- Aquila and Priscilla (vv. 3-5), who Paul met at Corinth, and who had risked their lives and suffered much for the cause of Christ.
- Epaenetus (v. 5), who was described as “the ﬁrst convert to Christ in Asia” (Does this mean he was of the household of Stephanus, 1 Cor. 16:15?). This thrills me to think of this brother who was willing to follow the Lord before anyone else in Asia had done so. He had no other example to follow, but stepped out in true faith to become a Christian and serve God.
- Mary (v. 6), who was a hard worker in the Lord, like Phoebe and Priscilla.
- Andonicus and Junia (v. 7) stand out as being “fellow prisoners” with Paul. They had been Christians longer than Paul, and were “well known to the apostles.” Why are they only mentioned here? Only God knows the reason. Yet, they stand out as noted servants of God.
- To this list of godly examples and faithful servants, we add Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus, Herodion, Narcissus, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, Philologus, Julia, Nereus, and Olympas. We also add scores of unnamed folks mentioned in this chapter, whose names are known only to God.
As I think about these folks, my heart soars contemplating their dedication and faithfulness. Perhaps we would not have what we do had it not been for faith heroes like these! They left a lasting impression. Follow their example!
Adapted from Jarrod M. Jacobs