A Christian friend of Paul at Ephesus, who came to Rome while the apostle was imprisoned there for the faith, and at a time when almost every one had forsaken him. This is supposed to have occurred during Paul's last imprisonment, not long before his death. Having found Paul in bonds, after long seeking him, he assisted him to the utmost of his power, and without regard to danger; for which the apostle implored the highest benedictions on him and his family, 2Ti 1:16-18; 4:19.
bringing profit, an Ephesian Christian who showed great kindness to Paul at Rome. He served him in many things, and had oft refreshed him. Paul expresses a warm interest in him and his household (2Ti 1:16-18; 4:19).
2Ti 1:16-18; 4:19; "the Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus (as Onesiphorus showed mercy), for he oft refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain (compare Mt 25:36,45), but when he was in Rome he sought me out very diligently and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy (as he found me) of the Lord in that day; and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus thou knowest very well." "Salute the household of Onesiphorus" (2Ti 4:19).
Absence from Ephesus probably is the cause of the expression; he had not yet returned from his visit to Rome. If the master were dead the household would not be called after his name. A good man's household shares in his blessing from God as in his deeds for God. Nowhere does Paul use prayers for the dead; Onesiphorus therefore was not dead. "The household of Stephanas" does not exclude "Stephanas" (1Co 1:16; 16:17) so "the household of Onesiphorus" does not necessarily exclude Onesiphorus.
The name of a Christian mentioned twice in St. Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy (2Ti 1:15-18; 4:19). From the first reference we learn that he showed special kindness to the Apostle during his imprisonment at Rome, when others, from whom he might have expected sympathy and help, held aloof from him; from the second we infer that he and his family lived at Ephesus. From St. Paul's expression 'the household of Onesiphorus,' it has been inferred that Onesiphorus himself was dead, and this text has been urged in proof of the lawfulness of prayers for the dead. There is much probability in this view, but the breathing of such a pious wish has nothing in common with the later abuses which gathered round this practice.
(bringing profit) is named twice only in the New Testament, viz.
and 2Tim 4:19 Paul mentions him in terms of grateful love as having a noble courage and generosity in his behalf, amid his trials as a prisoner at Rome, when others from whom he expected better things had deserted him.
Probably other members of the family were also active Christians.
It is evident from
that Onesiphorus had his home at Ephesus. (A.D. 64.)