Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25)

“Still,

I think it necessary

To send to you

Epaphroditus,

My brother,

My co-worker,

My fellow soldier,

And your apostle.

He ministers

To my need.”

ἀναγκαῖον δὲ ἡγησάμην Ἐπαφρόδιτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συνστρατιώτην μου, ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον καὶ λειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου, πέμψαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς,

Paul said, “Still, I think it necessary (ἀναγκαῖον δὲ ἡγησάμην) to send to you (πέμψαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς) Epaphroditus (Ἐπαφρόδιτον), my brother (τὸν ἀδελφὸν), my co-worker (καὶ συνεργὸν), my fellow soldier (καὶ συνστρατιώτην μου), and your apostle (ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον).  He ministers (καὶ λειτουργὸν) to my needs (τῆς χρείας μου,).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word συνεργὸν, that means a fellow worker, an associate, or a helper, and the word λειτουργὸν, that means a public servant, a minister, a servant, official character, priest or Levite.  Only this Philippian letter uniquely used this word συνστρατιώτην, that means a fellow soldier in the Christian faith.  Not only is Paul not coming to the Philippians, but neither is Timothy.  Instead, Paul was sending Epaphroditus, regarded as the first Bishop of Philippi, who was an envoy of the Philippian church to assist Paul.  Epaphroditus was the delegate or apostle of that Christian community at Philippi. He brought the Philippian gift to Paul during his imprisonment.  He is described as an authoritative delegate, so that even Paul used the word apostle (ἀπόστολος) here.  He was sent also to minister (λειτουργὸν) to Paul’s need.  The designation λειτουργὸν derives from Greek civic use, indicating “public servant,” often one with financial resources to fulfill his functions.  Epaphroditus may have been not only an official of the Philippian church, but a person of means, able to supplement that community’s gift to Paul.  On his arrival, Epaphroditus devoted himself to the work of Christ, both as Paul’s attendant and as his assistant in the missionary work of spreading the gospel.  He was a fellow soldier or companion of Paul in his work, as a very helpful Christian brother. Do you know someone in charge of a Christian community?

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