Thursday: The Believers in Rome

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Rom. 1:8).

It is not known how the congregation in Rome was established. The tradition that the church was founded by Peter or Paul is without historical foundation.

Believers in Romw

Image © Providence Collection

Perhaps lay persons established it, converts on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts Chapter 2) who then visited or moved to Rome. Or perhaps at some later period converts moving to Rome witnessed to their faith in that world capital.

It is surprising that in just a few decades from Pentecost a congregation that apparently had received no apostolic visit should be so widely known. “Notwithstanding the opposition, twenty years after the crucifixion of Christ there was a live, earnest church in Rome. This church was strong and zealous, and the Lord worked for it.” – Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1067.

“Faith” here probably includes the broader sense of faithfulness; that is, faithfulness to the new way of life they had discovered in Christ.

Read Romans 15:14. How does Paul describe the church at Rome?

Here are three items that Paul selects as worthy of note in the Roman Christians’ experience:

  1. “Full of goodness.” Would people say this of our own experiences? As they associate with us, is it the abundance of goodness in us that attracts their attention?
  2. “Filled with all knowledge.” The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the importance of enlightenment, information, and knowledge. Christians are urged to study the Bible and to become well-informed as to its teachings. “The words, ‘A new heart also will I give you,’ mean, ‘A new mind will I give you.’ A change of heart is always attended by a clear conviction of Christian duty, an understanding of truth.” – Ellen G. White, My Life Today, p. 24.
  3. “Able . . . to admonish one another.” No one can thrive spiritually if isolated from fellow believers. We need to be able to encourage others and, at the same time, be encouraged by others.
What about your local church? What kind of reputation does it have? Or, even more important, does it even have one at all? What does your answer tell you about your local church? More important, if need be, how can you help improve the situation?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons