Of all the biblical epistles, Paul’s epistles characteristically list names of men and women in the closing.
The Hebrew epistles do not do this. Most mention no one else, but when they do it is only one or two. Peter mentions Silvanus and Marcus in his first epistle. John mentions Gaius and Demetrius in 3 John. The writer of Hebrews mentions Timothy. That’s all.
In comparison Paul mentions 25 names in the closing of Romans alone. He gives dozens more mentions in his other epistles. He calls them his fellowlabourers, fellowhelpers, fellowprioners, fellowsoldiers, fellowworkers, and fellowheirs.
Paul laboured “by the grace of God…more abundantly than they all” (1 Cor 15:10), and at times he was also alone. But he needed help, and God provided it in the form of these other saints.
Paul shows his gratitude and love for his fellows in his letters.
When you study these fellows you will see that some have stories of failure, redemption, faithfulness, tension, partnership, separation, or leadership. We can learn from all of them.
Don’t neglect the list of names at the close of Paul’s epistles. Read about these fellows. Use a concordance to find all the places their names show up in Acts or other epistles to learn their lessons.
The most important thing it can teach us is our need for fellowship in the body of Christ, where every joint supplies.
For your edification,
Justin “fella” Johnson