Romans 16. Lesson 28. The Names of Paul's Friends. The Names of God.

Key Notes: Paul addresses 20 or more people in a city he has not visited. Knowing names. The Names of God.

Romans 16 concludes with the personal page—attention to the details of individual lives. Paul lists 24 names of people in Rome, although he has never been there. Five families or houses are mentioned. 5–6 of of those he names were women. Later he sends greetings from eight who are with him in Corinth. Some are especially interesting.

16:1–2   Phoebe was a woman deacon, on an errand for the Church. She will probably arrive in Rome with Paul’s letter as the courier. She had helped many people and doubtless would do more with their assistance. They must give her whatever she asks for. We would love to know more about her and her mission.

16:3   Prisca and Aquilla were the most outstanding Christian couple of Paul’s era. They had worked with Paul making tents in Corinth. Much of what we know about them is in Acts 18 where they instructed Apollos. As of this letter, they were back in Rome and had a house church there.

16:5   Epaenetus was the first convert in Asia Minor. Paul remembers.

16:6   Mary, Tryphaena and Tryphosa, and Persis (16:12) were four hard workers.

16:7   Andronicus and Junias appear to be in prison but we do not know where, perhaps in Rome. They were "apostles", a term which is now extended beyond the original Twelve. They were “sent ones,” missionaries. There is debate as to whether Junias was a woman or a man.

16:8   The name "Ampliatus" is inscribed on the wall of the Catacombs in Rome.

16:12   Tryphaena and Tryphosa’s names translate “Dainty” and “Delicate” but their labors were hard.

16:13   Rufus may have been the son of Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus’ cross. Mk. 15:21

16:17–20   Then Paul appeals to the Romans to take note of those who cause dissension and to avoid them. Apparently they would lead believer astray: their deceptions were not innocent. Believers should be wise about what is good and honest about what is evil. Paul implies that then they will get victory over Satan. Crushing Satan under the heel is a reference to the first prophecy of defeat of Satan in Gen. 3:15. Then he gives them his fourth blessing.

16:21   The eight who are working with him in Corinth include Timothy, his fellow-worker, with Lucius, Jason and Sosipater.

16:22–24   Tertius is the only recording secretary who is identified in Paul’s writing.
Erastus is a man we should make special note of, because he was a Christian and the city treasurer in Corinth. His name was recently found on a square of public walkway. Christians in service to the Roman government were rare in those days. His work and the work of others doing public duty is discussed in Seek the Welfare of the City. (B.W. Winter; Eerdmans,’94; p.‘0–197)

16:25   Paul’s final blessing…
      To—the only Wise God—
      Him who is able to strengthen you
      By virtue of the Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
      Through the mystery now revealed through the prophets to all nations,
      As a result of the command of the Eternal God,
      To bring about the obedience of faith,
      To the only Wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ.


The obedience of faith is an expression unique to Romans:

  1:5  “ bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His Name among all the Gentiles.”
       15:18  “…to win obedience from the Gentiles….”
       16:19  “…your obedience is known to all….”
       16:26  “…to bring about the obedience of faith….”

We think of faith as toward God (Heb. 6:1; I John 3:21), reaching up to Him so that He will meet our needs for salvation and all its benefits. Obedience sounds like legalism, responding to rules—thou shalt nots. That is the antithesis of our “value-free” society. But the obedience of faith is the goal of our salvation. In that, God is glorified. The glory of God is the ultimate goal.

Paul is able to name the names and talk freely about 24 people in Rome, although he had never been there. He may know these people from other settings, before they moved to Rome, but others he may have never met. He has the gift of names. Most of us do not. We need to work at it. A person’s name is music to his or her ears. Make sure that everyone in the fellowship knows and can say the names of people in the group. Napoleon’s method of name memory was to write down the name on a piece of paper. If we say and see, we remember better.

Do we know God’s name? It is very important. It should be as familiar to us as our own names.

We call upon His Name. ~ Rom. 10:13
We believe in His Name. ~ John 1:12
We have remission in His Name. ~ Acts 2:38
We ask in His Name. ~ John 14:13
We baptize in His Name. ~ Matt. 28:19

(See attached notes on the Names of God)

Does God know my name?
“He calls out His own sheep by name.” (John 10:3)
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” (Isa. 43:1)
“…a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and thought on His Name.” (Mal. 3:16)

Do I hear His voice?
“Today, when you hear His voice, harden not your hearts….” (Heb. 3:8, 15)



The word “God” comes from Aryan “Ghutha” – to implore: the One to whom we pray.
The study of the names of God in Scripture suggests that imploring Him is not a biblical emphasis, but rather Him imploring us. OT names for God imply His giving much more than our asking.

When you think of God, what do you see? A cloud with lightning? A dazzling figure clothed in white? A mother or father? A beautiful scene?
Is God different from us? Does God think differently from us? (If we say "Jesus rose on the third day," would God say those same words?)  Is God kind or terrifying? Are you afraid of God?
Is God different in the OT (judging) and the NT (loving)?
Should I call God He or She or It?
What is God's real name? Does He have more than one name?
Is God the same as Allah?
Does anyone here know God?

There is a pressure to rename God, to make Him more appropriate to modern thinking. He must be more a part of us, a part of nature, and more mysterious.
* German radicals of the 30's spoke of God as eternal creative power, divine force, great mother.
*To Gnostics, God was eternal silence, primal ground, incomprehensible one, totally other.
*Christian mystics described God as God above God; a unity which is the unifying source of all unity, a super-essential essence, a mind beyond the reach of mind, a word beyond utterance. (Dionysius). The secret silence, the source, the abyss, the one, absolute existence. (Meister Eckhart)
*To feminists God is the womb of being, primal matrix, immanent mother.
*The existentialist Tillich called Him God above God, the infinite abyss, the infinite ground and depth of all being, the spiritual presence, the eternal now, the unconditional, being-itself.
*John Doe refers to Him as The Man Upstairs.
*In process theology, He is the fellow-sufferer who understands. (Whitehead).
*Liberation theology speaks of the courage to struggle, and the event of self-liberating love.
(from Theology of Word and Spirit. D.G. Bloesch, IVP,’92; p. 84–94)

The name of God represents His person.
We do not usually think this way. To us names are rather trivial, sometimes meaningless. Our name is not us; our picture is not us. The person is subtle and indefinable. But God's names tell us who He is, and the Name represents His Person. We do not have power over God because we know His name. He has power over us, and He makes His name the explanation of His person.

[God said to Moses] “You have found favor in My sight and I know you by name.” (Ex.33:17)
“[Moses said] ‘I pray Thee, show me Your glory.’  And He said, ‘I will make all My Goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you My Name, The Lord....” (Ex. 33:18–19)
“For Your Name's sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.” (Psa. 25:11)
“The Name of the Lord is a strong tower;  the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” (Prov. 18:10)
“…you have not believed in the Name of the Only Son of God.” (John 3:18)
“You were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (I Cor. 6:11)
“While I was with them, I kept them in Your Name which You have given Me.” (John 17:12)

“You shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put His Name and make His habitation there.” (Deut 12:5)
“…baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19)
“There is no other Name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“…the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow….” (Phil. 2:9)

In the English Old Testament, “God” is the translation of Elohim, or El, or Alah. “LORD” is the English translation of Hebrew JHWH. “Lord” is the English translation of Adonai. The words are often compounded. El or Elohim is generic; JHWH is personal, and Adonai is relational.
In NT Greek, God is "Theos". Lord is "Kurios".

El ~ The name signifies power, also preeminence, and majesty.
He is “…the El of Israel who gives power and strength to His people.” (Psa. 68:35)
“… the great and mighty and terrible El, who keeps covenant and steadfast love....” (Neh. 9:32)
“… The El who girded me with strength and made my way safe.” (Psa. 18:32)

Elohim ~ Used 2570x in OT. It is the word which is used in Gen.1 thirty-two times for God as creator. It is the plural of Eloah (cognate with Allah), one who makes an oath, and closely related to El. Elohim is used as a singular noun to refer to God, but in other contexts as a plural for gods, or even spiritual or earthly powers such as judges. (Ps. 82:6). But in the name Elohim there are hints of plurality in God, not a plurality of majesty but a plurality of power and personality. No earthly king in Scripture says "We".
“See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no Elohim beside Me.” (Deut. 32:39)
“Let Us make man in Our image.” (Gen. 1:26)
“Let Us go down and there confuse their language.” (Gen. 11:7)
“Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?” (Isa. 6:8)

El Elyon ~ The Most High God (Gen 14:18). Melchizedek is priest of El Elyon, the Most High God.
“I have sworn to JHWH El Elyon (The Lord God Most High), maker of heaven and earth.”
(Gen. 14:22). Attribute: transcendence.

El Roi ~ God who sees (Gen. 16:13). Hagar called the Angel of the Lord by this name when He found her in the desert by a spring: "Thou art a God of seeing." Attribute: omniscience.

El Shaddai ~ God Almighty. Shad means breast. It connotes all-sufficiency, overflowing blessing, exuberance. It is translated “pantokrator” in Greek or “omnipotens” in Latin. It is the name best known to the patriarchs.
“I am El Shaddai; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.” (Gen. 17:1, 2)
“El Shaddai bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you that you may be a multitude of peoples.” (Isaac blessing Jacob, Gen. 28:3)
“I am El Shaddai; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a collection of nations shall come from you and kings shall spring from you.” --God blessing Jacob. (Gen. 35:11).
“From the El of your father who will help you; by Shaddai who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessing of the breasts and of the womb.” (Jacob blessing Joseph, Gen. 49:25)  Attribute: omnipotence, goodness, mercy.

El Olam ~ The Everlasting God (Gen. 21:33). "Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God."
“From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” (Psa. 90:2)  Attribute: eternity.

Adonai ~ The plural of Adon, Lord, master. It is used 300x in OT for God, 215x for other lords.
“O my Adonai (Lord), I am not eloquent… O my Adonai, send, I pray, some other person.” (Ex.4:10, 13)
We admit that we know God when we call Him Lord. The name connotes the relationship; the relationship cannot exist without both beings involved.
 “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” (I Cor. 12:3)
We are His possession, and He does with us as He pleases. I am His and He does with me as He pleases.

JHWH ~ Used 6820x in OT. It is a compound of J' with 'havah, or yada, the verb "to be". The pronunciation is uncertain: Jehovah, or Yahweh. It is first used in Gen. 2:2. The Name is elaborated in Ex. 3:13. “If they ask me...what is His name, what shall I say to them? God said to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” This name had been written in Genesis, but its significance was only clarified now when God spoke to Moses.

This name is unlike all the others which derive from His works. This name deals with the essence of God. It is God's proper name. The Hebrew may say The Elohim", but never The JHWH". It suggests self-existence, immutability, eternity, personality. He is the One who Is, the One who Was, the One who is to Come.
His name was known to Israel before the revelation to Moses, but not as the covenant name, the deliverance name. It was originally not understood as a personal name.
“JHWH descended in the cloud... and proclaimed JHWH by name. And JHWH passed before him and proclaimed, JHWH, JHWH, an Elohim merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:5–6)  Attribute: life, personality, immutability.

JHWH Jireh ~ God provides.
“Abraham called the name of that place JHWH-jireh”, because the Lord provided a Lamb as a sacrifice.” (Gen. 22:14)
Mt. Moriah was the site of this offering. (Gen. 22:2). Solomon built the Temple there, where David had offered the sacrifice that stopped the plague. (II Chron. 3:1). Attribute: faithfulness.

JHWH Rophe ~ God heals. At Marah, Moses made the water drinkable. God said, “…if you will diligently hearken to the voice of JHWH thy God and do what is right in His eyes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians, for I am JHWH Rophe.” (Ex. 15:26). He healed the waters; He could prevent Israel's illnesses. Attribute: mercy, goodness.

JHWH Nissi ~ God is my banner (Ex. 17:15). After the defeat of the Amalekites, Moses built an altar and named it JHWH Nissi, saying "a hand upon the banner of the Lord."  Attribute: omnipotence / power for us.

JHWH M'Kaddesh ~ God sanctifies
“Sanctify yourselves therefore and be ye holy, for I am JHWH your God. I am JHWH who sanctify you.” (Lev. 20:7, 8)
This chapter in Leviticus deals with many of the wicked practices of the Canaanites, with emphasis on their sexual impurity – adultery, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, child sacrifice, spiritism, etc. Holiness is being set apart for God. Things that are set apart for God are: ourselves, one day a week, one tenth of our income, select other people, the church in the service of God. Without God's sanctifying grace, Israel would be vomited out of the land like the Canaanites. Attribute: holiness.

JHWH Shalom ~ God is peace (Judges 6:24). Israel had been enslaved to the Midianites because of their wickedness. The angel of JHWH came to Gideon and commissioned him to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Gideon built an altar and said "God is peace". Israel would be at peace because God had intervened and spared Israel from the marauding of the Midianites. Attribute: goodness / peace for us.

JHWH Sabaoth ~ Lord of Hosts (I Sam. 1:3). Hannah and Elkanah came up to worship JHWH Sabaoth at Shiloh (first reference). It is a commonly used name in the prophets (88x in Jeremiah), except Daniel who speaks of the God of Heaven.
“ commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” (Josh. 5:14)
“I (David) come to you in the name of JHWH Sabaoth, the God of the armies of Israel….” (I Sam. 17:45)
“Who is this King of Glory? JHWH Sabaoth – He is the King of glory.” (Psa. 24:10)
“JHWH Sabaoth is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psa. 46:11)
“As a lion or as a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called forth against him, is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise – so JHWH Sabaoth will come down to fight upon Mount Zion...” (Isa. 31:4f). Attribute: omnipotence (to save).

JHWH Rohi ~ God is my shepherd. (Psa. 23:1). Attribute: mercy and goodness; salvation for us.

Qedosh Israel ~ The Holy One of Israel. It is found 31x (NRSV), mostly in Isaiah.
“…they have despised the Holy One of Israel.” (Isa. 1:4)  Attribute: holiness.

JHWH Tsidkenu ~ God our righteousness
“…I will raise up for David a righteous branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel dwell securely. And this is the name by which He will be called, JHWH Tsidkenu.” (Jer. 23:5, 6)

Jeremiah said that a king on David's throne will bear the name of JHWH, as our righteousness. This word came to Israel in the last days before the exile, when the kings were totally corrupt, and there was chaos and crime. Attribute: righteousness, justice.
Christ is our righteousness. “…Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” (I Cor. 1:30).

JHWH Shammah ~ God is there
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is there.” (Ezek. 48:35). The glory of God left Jerusalem. (Ezek. 10). The glory of the Lord returns to the visionary temple (Ezek. 43:4), presumably in the last days. Attribute: immanence.