Epaphras (Col. 4:12)

“Epaphras,

Who is one of you,

A servant of Jesus Christ,

Greets you.

He is always wrestling

In his prayers

On your behalf.

Thus,

You may stand

Mature

And fully assured

In everything

That God wills.”

ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς Ἐπαφρᾶς ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν, δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, πάντοτε ἀγωνιζόμενος ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς, ἵνα σταθῆτε τέλειοι καὶ πεπληροφορημένοι ἐν παντὶ θελήματι τοῦ Θεοῦ.

Paul said, “Epaphras (Ἐπαφρᾶς), who is one of you (ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν), a servant of Jesus Christ (δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ), greets you (ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς).  He is always wrestling or struggling (πάντοτε ἀγωνιζόμενος) in his prayers (ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς) on your behalf (ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν).  Thus, you may stand (ἵνα σταθῆτε) mature (τέλειοι) and fully assured (καὶ πεπληροφορημένοι) in everything (ἐν παντὶ) that God wills (θελήματι τοῦ Θεοῦ).”  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.  Paul called Epaphras one of them, from Colossae, as a fellow servant of Jesus Christ.  Paul cited Epaphras at the beginning of this epistle in chapter 1:7.  In the letter to Philemon, chapter 1:24, Paul was also mentioned Epaphras as a fellow prisoner.  Thus, he clearly was with Paul during the time of his imprisonment.  Have you ever known anyone in prison?

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?