Sunday, January 21, 2007

Epaphras (Colossians 1:7-8)

Epaphras means charming. Most likely he was a convert of Paul at Ephesus. He founded the church in his home town of Colosse (vs. 7) and was likely the founder of churches in near by Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col. 4:13). He traveled to Rome to minister to Paul on behalf of the Colossians (vs. 7). While in Rome he either voluntarily shared Paul's imprisonment or was possibly arrested for his christian beliefs (Philemon 23).

Even though there are only 5 verses in the Bible concerning Epaphras we learn a number of interesting things about him. 1) The Colossians learned the gospel from him so he was an effective evangelist (vs. 7). 2) Paul referred to him as a "dear fellow servant" and a bondservent indicating that he served the Lord in the same humble manner as Paul himself (vs. 7; 4:12). 3) He was a "faithful minister of Christ". Minister is the same word we get deacon from so he was taking care of Paul's personal needs on behalf of the Colossians (vs. 7). 4) He reported to Paul the condition of the Colossian church which most likely prompted him to write this letter (vs 8). 5) He is a Colossian (Col. 4:12). 6) He prayed for the Colossians with great intensity like that of an Olympic wrestler striving against an opponent (Col. 4:12). 7) Paul personally vouches for the great concern and labor he puts into prayer for the churches he started (Col. 4:13). 8) He spent time in prison with Paul (Philemon 23).

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