(Epʹa·phras; contraction of Epaphroditus).
A faithful minister of Christ who, by preaching the good news, acquainted the Colossians with the undeserved kindness of God, and thus very likely was instrumental in establishing the congregation at Colossae. At the time of Paul’s first imprisonment, Epaphras came to Rome, bringing an encouraging report in regard to the love and steadfastness of the Colossian congregation. (Col. 1:4-8) Evidently he remained in Rome, at least for a time, since Paul, in writing his letter to the Colossians, includes Epaphras’ greetings and assures them that this slave of Jesus Christ always exerts himself “in your behalf in his prayers, that you may finally stand complete and with firm conviction in all the will of God.” As testified by Paul, this beloved fellow slave also put forth great efforts in behalf of the brothers in Laodicea and Hierapolis. (Col. 4:12, 13) Then, too, in writing to Philemon, Paul conveys the greetings of Epaphras and refers to him as “my fellow captive in union with Christ.” (Philem. 23) Epaphras is not to be confused with Epaphroditus from Philippi.