Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. (Romans 16:23)
Gaius, Erastus And Quartus
There are names in the Bible that jump off the page with familiarity, popularity, and recognizable stories attached to them. Most people would know who Adam and Eve were and would recognize names like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Peter, John, Paul, and of course Jesus Christ. There are many people in the Bible that nothing is known of them and yet they are enshrined on the pages of holy writ for all time. As the apostle Paul concludes his letter to the saints in Rome, he commends a host of Christians with nearly thirty people specifically named including men and women. Three of these individuals are Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus.
Gaius is a name found two other times in scripture. Paul mentions in his letter to Corinth that he was thankful he had not baptized any of the Corinthians except Crispus and Gaius. There was a controversy among the brethren of sectarianism with some appealing to Paul, to Apollos, to Peter, and Christ as to some type of spiritual badge of honor. The apostle John will also mention Gaius in his third epistle as a beloved saint. John’s love for Gaius is noted in the epistle as a faith rooted in truth and the life of Gaius as one exemplifying the qualities of Jesus Christ. There was a man named Diotrephes in the church that was causing a great deal of trouble and men like Gaius and another saint called Demetrius were the stabilizing force to neutralize the preeminent rule of Diotrephes upon the brethren.
One of the notes Paul makes about Gaius is he hosted the apostle in his own home. Considering the many places Paul had to stay in his work as a preacher, the home of Gaius was a splendid relief from the rigors of missionary work. Gaius seems to be a man of wealth who was willing to use his blessings for the work of the Lord. The house of Gaius was also the meeting place for the church at Corinth. Gaius was a man of great hospitality enjoying the abilities to help the church with his home which was no small undertaking. The character of Gaius was sterling. His example as a man of position but a man with a humble heart serving the Lord is clearly defined.
Erastus was the treasurer of the city of Corinth. This was a position of great influence and power. He presided over the financial affairs of the city. Serving as the steward of the city was an office of high respectability and responsibility to the Roman Empire. This suggests that many first-century Christians were people of note, influence, and power. The gospel can change the heart of a man who holds a high position of authority because the heart is willing to accept the grace of God. Luke mentions a helper of Paul in Ephesus named Erastus and it is unknown if this is the same man or not. It is suggested Paul’s reference to Erastus in the Roman letter was simply a designation of the former position held by Erastus but any conclusion is conjecture. In Paul’s final letter to Timothy, the apostle does mention that Erastus stayed in Corinth and could suggest the steward of Corinth had been involved in the mission work of Paul at one time.
Finally, Paul mentions Quartus. The letter to Rome is the only place where this saint is mentioned and all that is said of him is that he was a brother. It is interesting and should be noted that Quartus is mentioned in the same exhortation as Gaius and Erastus. What qualities Quartus had is unknown. His place in life whether rich or poor, a man of authority or a common man is unknown. He is listed with Gaius and Erastus, men of note and wealth, and to Quartus Paul simply says that he was a brother. It does not take away from Gaius and Erastus to recognize their place in the work of the Lord and all the contributions they gave to the Corinthian church, but Quartus stands out in the kindly tone of Paul calling him his brother. To be wealthy like Gaius would have been an advantage. Being the treasurer of a Roman city like Corinth was a place of great honor. But Quartus was a brother and while Gaius and Erastus were brethren also, the quality of the unknown man was that he was a brother in Christ to Paul.
Not every person can be like Gaius and Erastus but these two men would agree that to be called a brother was all that mattered. Quartus was a brother. Simple. Direct. Honorable. Defining. He may not have been a song leader, fill-in preacher, or Bible class teacher but he was a brother. His work may not have been recognized as much as Gaius and Erastus but Paul penned his name on a letter two thousand years saying Quartus was a brother. There are many saints like Quartus that quietly go about their lives showing Christ and the love of God with little or no fanfare. These are the saints that build churches up and keep them strong. They are at services every time the doors are open. The singing is infused with their joyful hearts singing to the Lord. Their kind words and humble presence encourages the downtrodden and weak. The examples of saints like Quartus are treasured. We are brethren. God bless the men and women who may only be known as brother so-and-so or sister so-and-so. We need those saints like Quartus. Lots of them.