In today’s Scripture reading, Paul tells the Philippians to hold men like Epaphroditus in honor. My various dictionaries say that honour means: a good name; a clear sense of what is right; high regard.
Epaphroditus was to be honored for his work with Paul.
But, who is this Epaphroditus anyway?
And why are the Philippians, plus today’s readers, commanded to honor him?
We don’t know a lot about Epaphroditus — let’s call him Epap for short — as he is only mentioned twice in the entire Bible, both times are here in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. But what we do know about Epap is important, as God would not have included him in Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired writing if he wasn’t someone we should get to know.
Let’s look at what we know about Epap:
- He came from the city of Philippi, which was the second most important city in eastern Macedonia. It had a major travel route running through it and was an area controlled by the Roman Empire. Several gods would have been worshiped there. But it was also the home of Lydia, with her and other women having a large role in the formation of the Christian church that Paul established during his second missionary journey.
- Epap probably became a Christian through Paul’s missionary work and they became friends. Paul considered Epap to be a brother, coworker, and fellow soldier in the mission to tell the world about Jesus. Paul would not have included this information if he did not think highly of Epap.
- When Epap became ill, to the point of death, the Philippians were distressed when they heard about his illness. Epap was cared about by his friends and family back home.
- We learn from chapter 4 that Paul considered Epap to be the agent, on behave of the Philippians, of everything they could have sent or he could have asked for.
- We also learn of Paul’s decision to send Epap back to Philippi so they could rejoice that he was alive and well and in the work he had done for Paul.
Paul honored Epap with his words.
We, too, need to honor are brothers and sisters who labor for the Lord.
We need to honor those who, though ill, continue to provide for the needs they see around them. And we need to rejoice with those who serve Jesus.
Epap, though only mentioned briefly in Scripture, is a wonderful example for us to follow.
Today: Read Philippians 2:25-30