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Only a secretary

November 1997 | by Paul Mahan

Tertius is only mentioned on one occasion in the whole of Scripture. We find his name at the end of Paul’s epistle to the Romans where he sends his greetings to the saints in Rome, introducing himself as the one who ‘wrote this epistle’ (Romans 16:22). This does not mean, of course, that the Epistle to the Romans was written by Tertius and not Paul. We know that Paul wrote it, and he says so clearly in the very first verse. What then was the role of Tertius? He was simply a secretary who wrote what Paul dictated.

For some reason Paul himself was not able to write the epistle himself, so he made use of the services of Tertius.

The role of Tertius was a humble role, but it was an important one. He may have thought himself to be unimportant — only one mention in the whole of Scripture — yet he fulfilled a function with which the Lord had entrusted him, and he did it faithfully.

There is no one unimportant in the Kingdom of God. Paul, using the analogy of the body, writes, ‘God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as he pleased…’ and then adds, ‘those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary’ (1 Corinthians 12:14-23).

Yes, Tertius was only a secretary taking dictation, but what a high honour and privilege was his. We may not think that we are important, but how many seemingly insignificant preachers and church members God has used to the salvation of many. How far-reaching is the Word of God, though it may travel through small conduits and earthen vessels. Tertius may have thought that he was writing just another letter, but he did it nonetheless cheerfully. So be content to be a Tertius, believer; and do what you do, with all your might, ‘as to the Lord’. You never know what the Lord might be pleased to do through your humble service