Romans 16:5: Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.
The local church met in private homes at the very beginning. (See Acts 12:12; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philem. 2.) Sanday writes, “There is no decisive evidence until the third century of the existence of special buildings used for churches.” It is the belief of many folk today, and I have found this belief for years, that the church which began in the home will return to meeting in the home. Many of these great big buildings we call churches, with great steeples on them, are nothing more than a pile of brick, stone, and mortar. They are mausoleums, not living churches that contain a real, living body of believers. The church was never intended to be spoken of as a building. For the first three centuries the church was the body of believers and met in homes like that of Aquila and Priscilla. Epaenetus is a Greek name meaning “praised.” Evidently he was Paul’s first convert in the Roman province of Achaia. 1
- When you think of “the church,” do you think of a building or of the people that occupy the building?
- Firstfruits was the joyful evidence that God was speaking to people that received the gospel message for the first time. Have you ever considered each day as a new day to bear “firstfruits” to glorify God? If we receive His word each day, we should want to live out that truth and to bear fruit.
Lord, teach how to pray for my church family each day, and please make me fruitful.
1. McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Epistles Romans, Nashville: Thomas Nelson.