Biblical People

Biblical People: Julia and the Sister of Nereus

Paul concludes his personal greetings at the end of his letter to the church in Rome by running through a list of names: Philologus, Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas. He doesn’t explain why these folks are important to him or worthy of mention, but they are. 

This reminds me of someone receiving an award and giving an acceptance speech. Often we don’t know why certain people are mentioned, but they do. Hearing their name in a public setting affirms their importance to the person receiving the award.

In the same way, Julia and the sister of Nereus are two women Paul publicly acknowledges. (The gender of Olympas is unclear.) Though we don’t know why Paul affirms this ladies’ importance. For them, this needs to be enough.

Sometimes what we do, even though extensive, may receive only passing mention—if any. May we accept such commendation, with the knowledge that God is fully aware of all the good we have done. His opinion is what matters most.

Are we willing to work hard even if we receive only passing praise for our efforts?

[Discover more about these women in Romans 16:15.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at