I, Tertius

papyrusFor my money, the Epistle to the church in Rome–the book of Romans more commonly–is the finest, most important letter in church history. Certainly in the canon. So who wrote this tremendous piece of work? The apostle Paul, right? Actually, no. That’s a bit of a trick question. Paul is the author–it is full of his words and thoughts–but the writer is another chap we only find out about towards the end of the letter:

I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. (Romans 16:22)

Tertius was apparently Paul’s writer–his amanuensis— as he dictated the letter to the Romans. Now, there might be any number of reasons for having a writer take down the letter for you. Some speculate that Paul had vision or health issues. Others point out that writing, in those days, was a much more difficult skill than reading. The materials required sharp, deft strokes that required training to develop. Tertius was a believer who was one such scribe.

I don’t know why, but this guy fascinates me. This is a verse in the Bible. This chap whom we don’t know anything about, really, was a part of this massively crucial piece of Christian history. And that largely because he knew how to write. He wasn’t an apostle. We don’t know that he was a teacher or preacher, a deacon, or particularly skilled in any area. All we know is that the brother had a technical skill and made himself available to Paul as a scribe.

There’s no big lesson I have beyond saying this: there are millions of Tertiuses sitting in the pews. Millions of ordinary Christians, with ordinary skills, doing ordinary things. And who knows what God will do with theses gifts? What ordinary skill is God currently using to get his extraordinary work done?

Soli Deo Gloria

2 thoughts on “I, Tertius

  1. I hope to meet him one day, too. We can guess some things about him, it seems, namely that he was Italian and that he was the third son of somebody.

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