A member of the church at Philipi, charged with the supplies which that church contributed for the relief of Paul while imprisoned at Rome, Php 2:25; 4:18. This labor of love brought on him a serious illness at Rome, on which occasion we see how much he was esteemed and beloved both by Paul and the Philippians, Php 2:25-30. On his return he was the bearer of the epistle to them.
fair, graceful; belonging to Aphrodite or Venus the messenger who came from Phillipi to the apostle when he was a prisoner at Rome (Php 2:25-30; 4:10-18). Paul mentions him in words of esteem and affection. On his return to Philippi he was the bearer of Paul's letter to the church there.
Epaphroditus: of which Epaphras is a contraction. But Epaphroditus of the Philippian church is probably distinct from Epaphras of the Colossian church. Probably a presbyter at Philippi. After Tychicus and Onesimus had departed from Rome carrying the epistles to Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, Paul was cheered by the arrival of Epaphroditus with the Philippian contribution. But that faithful "brother, companion in labor, and fellow soldier," being probably in delicate health in setting out, had brought on himself a dangerous sickness by the fatigues of the journey to Rome (Php 2:25-26,30; 4:18). On recovery he "longed" to return to his Philippian flock, and in person relieve their anxiety on his behalf.
So Paul "supposed it necessary to send Epaphroditus" to them, being "their messenger" (apostle, i.e. one of the "apostles" or "messengers of the churches " as distinct from the twelve and Paul commissioned by Christ: Ro 16:7; 2Co 8:23). Paul charges them, "Receive him in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation, because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me" (their lack having been not of the will but of the opportunity, Php 4:10). From the marked exhortations to "receive Epaphroditus with all gladness," etc., Alford conjectures that the "heaviness" of Epaphroditus was not solely owing to his strong affection, but that there must have been something behind respecting him.
Mentioned by St. Paul in Php 2:25-30; 4:18, and described by him as his 'brother, fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier' (Php 2:25). He was the messenger by whom the Philippians sent the offerings which fully supplied the necessities of St. Paul during his first Roman imprisonment (Php 2:25; 4:18). In Rome he laboured so zealously for the Church and for the Apostle as to 'hazard' his life (Php 2:30); indeed, he came 'nigh unto death,' but God had mercy on him, and the Apostle was spared this 'sorrow upon sorrow' (Php 2:27). News of his illness reached Philippi, and the distress thus caused his friends made him long to return (Php 2:26). St. Paul therefore sent him 'the more diligently,' thus relieving their minds, and at the same time lessening his own sorrows by his knowledge of their joy at receiving him back in health. Apparently the Epistle to the Philippians was sent by him.
Charles T. P. Grierson.
One who brought supplies from Philippi to Paul, who styles him "my brother and companion in labour and fellow soldier." When with Paul at Rome he became very ill, 'nigh unto death.' The deep affection between him and the Philippian saints is very evident by his sorrow that they should have heard of his sickness. He hazarded his life by his association with Paul a prisoner. Php 2:25; 4:18.