The Cavalry Scouts are the eyes and ears on the field for the United States Army, collecting information about enemy locations, weapons, and activity. This vital group helps commanders make informed decisions. Churches need scouts too, not for military action, but for spiritual warfare.
Some scholars think Romans 16 shouldn’t even be included in the book of Romans. Let’s face it, who would really miss a list of strange names? But I think, that after Paul talked about how strong and weak believers should get along and work together in chapters 14 and 15, he was reminded of some of his family and friends at the church in Rome who knew how to work together. These were the people who made up a church that the entire world was noticing (1:8).
This church had grabbed the attention of the selfishly false teachers in Rome. Paul urged them to be Christian “scouts” for one another and watch out for divisive and deceitful teachers. Paul warned his church family to avoid them (v. 17). Paul’s warning was necessary because these dividers and deceivers didn’t simply show up at the front door with badges identifying them as false teachers. Rather, their ideas slipped in through the basement. They might not even see themselves as problems, but they can be destructive.
Paul is not giving his readers permission to go around accusing people of teaching false doctrine out of selfish ambition. Instead, we are to look out and look after one another in avoiding false teachers. This takes wisdom and a pure and innocent heart (v. 19). He reminds us that before causing divisions, we are to approach the situation with a humble heart and wisdom.
>> Do you know a new believer in the faith who could use your encouragement? In addition to praying for this person, consider giving them trusted biblical resources that can help them grow in their understanding of God’s Word and His truth.
We owe all wisdom and growth to You, Father. Many of us know younger believers who need to grow in knowledge of Scripture. Give us wisdom to direct them to the right resources and to guide them away from false teaching.