The Unsung Hero’s of Missions: Romans 16:1-2
“1) I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2) that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.” Romans‬ ‭16:1-2‬
Paul now comes to his conclusion to the book of Romans. As is his custom, he uses his conclusion for introductions or personalized greetings.
In these first two verses, Paul introduces Phoebe, who was a deaconess at the church in Cenchrea. Some believe that she was part of the delegation charged to help carry this letter to Rome.
She was undoubtedly a godly and dignified woman for Paul says she was to be received in a manner worthy of the “saints.” (Vs 2) This word signifies “a holy or sanctified one.” She was by no means worldly or given to wanton pleasures. She was dedicated and set aside for Jesus.
By all indications, she was unmarried. Some believe she was mature in years and had a ministry to younger women. The believers in Rome were to take care of her needs because she was a helper to many, including Paul himself. She was an active part of the ministry team.
I like this entry in the text because it shows that godly women had an active ministry role in the early church. She may have filled a teaching role for women in the early church. Whatever the case, she was called, gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit for a broad and effective ministry at large in the early church. She seemed to have an itinerant ministry.
The same holds true for the modern missionary force around the world today. A significant number of them are single woman. God is using them to move mountains in many places and shore up manifold needs on these fields.
From my broad traveling ministry, I can say that single women who are sacrificing and serving Jesus in many roles are the unsung hero’s of the modern missionary movement. They outnumber single men four to one. Like Anna in Luke 2:36-38, they are often the prayer warriors and fire watchers undergirding the ministry. We owe them a debt of gratitude. I welcome them, commend them and I celebrate them. To God be the glory!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global