In The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians we read of a man named Epaphras. This man had traveled by unknown means to the city of Rome from the city of Colosse.
By stating unknown we are recognizing the fact that people in those days either walked or traveled by caravan long distances. However, we do not specifically know why Epaphras came to Rome. He could have come on business, been brought by Roman request, or have come particularly to seek out the apostle Paul for wisdom and direction.
Whatever his reason for coming to the capital of the empire, he did wind up face to face with the apostle during the time of Paul’s confinement.
We learn several things about Epaphras during this particular period as stated in the epistle.
A Saved Man
In Colossians 1:7 and 4:12-13 we learn that Epaphras was a saved man who served Christ.
His position in Colosse and the surrounding cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis was as a minister. Whether that was as the pastor of a church body or as a traveling evangelist or circuit preacher is of little consequence. He was definitely ministering and evangelizing the area.
A Faithful Man
The above verses also tell us that Epaphras was faithful.
Not only was he faithful to Christ, but he was faithful to those to whom he ministered. He spoke highly about the positive traits of the church.
Although by reading the Scriptures we can infer that he also spoke of conditions concerning the church. Those were spoken of only because of Epaphras’ desire for help in ministering and establishing the saints in their personal walk with the Lord.
A Positive Man
His conversation was as any minister’s should be.
He spoke of the love shown by the Colossians toward each other, their faithfulness to Jesus Christ, their reception of the gospel, and the fruit that was being displayed by the church. He also spoke highly of their love of spiritual things (Col. 1:4-8; 2:5). In no way was he negative of the members of the body of Christ where he served.
A Praying Man
We also see that Epaphras was a prayer warrior (Col. 4:12-13).
Scripture tells us that he was “always labouring fervently” in prayers. His prayers were not general; they were specific requests to God. Those requests manifest to us his desire to see the church “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
His burden is further shown by his great zeal.
It is refreshing to hear a minister speak excitedly about his congregants and the growth that is being experienced by the individual members of the body.
Epaphras’s focus was on what was right about the church.
His concerns focused on what would help the church go further in their walk with Christ. He wasted no time in gleaning from Paul instruction that would help him further his ministry to these people.
A Standing Man
Epaphras is also mentioned in Philemon 23. Here he is described as being a “fellowprisoner.”
Was he arrested while visiting the city, arrested while ministering in Colosse and then brought forcefully to Rome, or arrested later and brought back to Rome, we do not know. We only know his stand for Christ led to his imprisonment of some sort.
The mention of his name in Paul’s letter to Philemon lets us know that Epaphras remained faithful in spite of difficult circumstances.
Faithfulness is a character trait that each of us should covet especially in these times of uncertainly. Faithfulness, service, zeal, and prayerfulness should be the description of every saint’s character.