Philemon 1:23

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, Philemon 1:23

Paul now begins his final words to Philemon. He starts with greetings from five individuals. The first is found in this verse, Epaphras. This individual is mentioned in Colossians 1:7 & 4:12. In Colossians, he is called by Paul, “our dear fellow servant.” He is also noted there as a being from Colossae and “a bondservant of Christ.” Some tie him in with Epaphroditus who was seen in the letter to the Philippians. Epaphras is merely a shortened form of the same name, and so it is possible. However, as he is from Colossae, this is unlikely because Epaphroditus was elsewhere said to be from Philippi.

Here, Paul calls him, “my fellow prisoner.” This would be the reason for naming him first. As both were in prison, it would show a special bond existed. However, it is debated as to whether his bondage was literal or spiritual. It could be that he voluntarily shared in Paul’s confinement in order to assist him. Or, it could be that he was temporarily confined because his relations with Paul brought him under suspicion of the empire.

Whatever is specifically meant by the term, he is a fellow prisoner “in Christ Jesus.” The meaning of this is obvious. Regardless of his status as a prisoner, it is because of his faith in Christ that he is in this state. There with Paul, he also sends his greetings on to Philemon.

Life application: Paul was in prison, others with Paul were made prisoners, and countless other souls in Christian history have been imprisoned (and worse) for their faith. If such treatment comes upon us in the future, we need to understand that there is no shame in this. It is better to be in chains as a Christian than it is to deny Christ and walk about in earthly freedom.

Lord God, it’s difficult to think of how many people have been willing to give up their freedom, and even give up their lives, for the exalted name of Jesus. And yet these countless souls did just that. They realized that the glory ahead far outweighs any temporary gain in this fallen world. Should such a time come in our own lives, help us to be willing to follow in that same mindset. Give us strength in this, O God. Amen.

6 thoughts on “Philemon 1:23

  • Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 8:53 am

    One of my biggest fears! I know I am weak and I pray always for the lord to give me the strength to endure and follow through in any situations that test my faith and to not let me backslide in weakness but stand strong for him.

    We are another day closer to home

    Grace mercy and peace on you and yours
    God bless my friend(s)

  • Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Amen, Pastor!
    I can’t count the number of Christian Iraqis I knew who daily knew it could be the day they would be captured, and tortured for Christ, even told me so. One young lady refused to disguise as one of them wearing the head covering, she said that would mean she denied Christ. She said, “they can just put my head on a chopping board. ” Her name: Suzanne.
    God please continue to help her, trusting she is still alive, and her church, and comfort and give safety to those who refuse to deny you where the Word of God is outlawed.

    • Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      I will keep Suzanne in my prayers for sure and for all our brothers and sisters that are dealing with the UN imanginable life of daily persecution for the lord sake! I pray that I can be as strong as Suzanne when and if faced with the persecution she is facing! It always amazes me how some people virtually skate through life and others pay such a high price for their beliefs and causes. There but for the grace of God go I. Amen

  • Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 1:05 pm


  • Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    Amen, I agree that I want to be just as strong as Suzanne when the time comes! Thank you Gordon for praying for her and all the others, God bless you!

  • Sunday, July 29th, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    I can’t imagine what much of the world faces. We have it so very good here. And yet we do find many reasons to complain. Lord, please bless those who faithfully endure in their faith. Amen.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *