Epaphras (Col. 1:7)

“This you learned

From Epaphras,

Our beloved fellow servant.

He is our faithful minister

Of Christ.”

καθὼς ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ συνδούλου ἡμῶν, ὅς ἐστιν πιστὸς ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διάκονος τοῦ Χριστοῦ,

Paul said, “This you learned (καθὼς ἐμάθετε) from Epaphras (ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ), our beloved fellow servant (τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ συνδούλου ἡμῶν).  He is our faithful minister (ὅς ἐστιν πιστὸς ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διάκονος) of Christ (τοῦ Χριστοῦ).”  Little is known about Epaphras.  Perhaps he was a native of Colossae converted by Paul himself during his ministry in Ephesus.  This name is short for Epaphroditus (Ἐπαφρόδιτος), a common name in the first century meaning “lovely, fascinating, charming”.  Apparently, this is not the same person who delivered a gift to Paul from Philippi, mentioned in Philippians chapter 2:25 and 4:13.  The mention of a co-worker at this point in a Pauline epistle is unusual, and the strength of Paul’s endorsement is also striking.  Paul called Epaphras “our faithful minister,” since he had brought Paul good news of the progress of the gospel, of their faith in Christ Jesus and of their love toward all the saints.  Paul also regarded Epaphras as his beloved fellow-servant.  He was mentioned at the end of this epistle as someone from Colossae, not Philippi.  In Philemon, chapter 1:24, he was mentioned as a fellow prisoner with Paul.  Have you ever heard about Epaphras?

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