Roman Faith House
Next Previous Index Tellout Home

Roman Faith House
Page 103

Centered on City

Household GardenThe Roman faith house did not operate like the Corinthian church. This, according to Robert Banks (1939-present), an Australian Biblical scholar, explained the rather unusual greeting in Romans 1.7, "To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints" instead of the normal "church" or "churches." Saint Paul wrote about "church or churches" in other letters for example 1 Corinthians 1.2 "to the church of God in Corinth" or Galatians 1.2 "to the churches in Galatia." Banks argued that since "ecclesia" for Saint Paul "cannot refer to a group of people scattered throughout a locality unless they all actually gather together, it was not possible for him to describe all the Christians in Rome as Roman faith households." E. Earl E. Ellis (1926-2010) the American Bible scholar in "Pauline Theology - Ministry and Society" also argued that "the whole church of Rome never assembled in one place."

Distinguished Households

In Romans 16, another Roman faith house may be distinguished. The "brothers" with Hermas may refer to a Roman house used both for Christian workers and for congregational meetings. The believers "from Caesar's house" in Philippians 4.21-22, "greet all God's people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God's people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen." Note that "amen" is absent in some manuscripts. The Roman synagogues of the Augustesians and the Agrippesians, were probably each a congregation centering on the freedmen and slaves of those two houses and meeting there. It is likely that they belonged to Narcissus, the wealthy freedman and confidant of the Emperor Claudius (10-54 AD) who was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy, and to Aristobulus, the brother of Herod Agrippa I, (BC 11-44 AD) who was King of Judea between 41-44 AD and who had lived in Rome. Upon their deaths, their households presumably became part of the imperial holdings but continued to be identified by their names in Romans 16.14. Various Roman houses were run by either Jewish or Gentile believers.✞

"Roman Faith House"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

^Top Page Next Previous