Philippians 2:25-30 (NIV): But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
In today's 2-minute Bible Study podcast, the Apostle Paul demonstrates the qualities of a humble servant through Epaphroditus.
Biblical scholars state that Paul carefully crafted his words in the original Greek language when describing Epaphroditus. Listen now to discover the message Paul was sending to the church in Philippi and why.
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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.
In Philippians chapter 2, Paul encourages believers to live a humble life that chooses to demonstrate the love of Christ for others by putting others' needs before their own. The Apostle Paul uses a man named Epaphroditus to demonstrate these qualities.
The church in Philippi sent a financial gift with Epaphroditus for Paul while he was in house arrest awaiting trial in Rome. Not only was he to deliver this money, but he was also to stay and be Paul’s personal servant, and this was no small task. Just the fact that Epaphroditus was willing to be associated with Paul meant he was risking his life.
Now, Epaphroditus got deathly ill during his time in Rome, and the church in Philippi got worried not knowing of his fate. Epaphroditus wanted to return home to assure them he was fine BUT there was a problem. You see, going home would mean that Epaphroditus would be viewed a quitter. So, Paul writes a glowing testimonial for Epaphroditus to silence anyone who might use that word. In chapter 2 verse 25, “Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need.”
According to William Barclay’s commentary, it’s challenging to translate Paul’s carefully crafted words here for Epaphroditus.
Not only is Paul saying that Epaphroditus is family who works alongside Paul with one heart and one purpose and willing to put his life in danger, but Paul also calls him “messenger.” In Greek, this word means apostle or sent one. It’s like Paul is putting Epaphroditus in the same league as Paul and the other apostles of Christ. And the word Paul chose for "minister," as in he “ministered to my need,” was an honorable word used in the secular community for someone who serves in public office at his own expense.
So, your Simple Truth for today: Just like Epaphroditus, we are to live a humble life serving Christ and men.
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