From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

(= ‘favoured by Aphrodite [Venus],’ ‘comely’)

Epaphroditus was a loading member and delegate or messenger of the Philippian Church, mentioned only in  Philippians 2:25;  Philippians 4:18. He arrived in Rome during St. Paul’s earlier imprisonment with a substantial ‘gift’ (presumably of money) from the Philippian Christians to the Apostle, of whose impoverishment they had heard. After fulfilling his commission, and strengthening, through his own warmly affectionate personality, the bond of communion between the Apostle and his ‘dearly beloved’ Philippian converts, Epaphroditus remained in Rome partly to render personal service to St. Paul, as the representative of the devoted Philippians, and partly to take a share in the ‘work of Christ’ as the Apostle’s colleague in missionary ministry. St. Paul describes him as ‘my brother, and fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier,’ implying at once ‘common sympathies, labours undertaken in common, and community in suffering and struggle’ (J. S. Howson, Companions of St. Paul , p. 235). The ‘true yoke-fellow,’ also, of  Philippians 4:3 is believed by Lightfoot ( Philippians 4, 1878, p. 158) to be most probably Epaphroditus, since ‘in his case alone there would be no risk of making the reference unintelligible by the suppression of the name.’ His evangelistic zeal, however, combined with devotion to St. Paul, over-taxed his strength, and became the occasion of severe illness-which almost issued in death ( Philippians 2:27;  Philippians 2:30). It is notable that St. Paul, whose power of working miracles is frequently referred to ( Acts 14:10;  Acts 28:8,  2 Corinthians 12:12), did not exercise it in the case of Epaphroditus. It was a power which, ‘great as it was, was not his own, to use at his own will’ (Barry in Ellicott’s Com. on NT , 1884,  Philippians 2:27). Some inner voice doubtless enabled apostles to know when the time for working a miracle had come. But ‘the prayer of a righteous man availeth much’; and earnest supplications were doubtless offered up in Rome by St. Paul and the Church there for the recovery of Epaphroditus. These prayers were heard. ‘God also, last I should have sorrow on sorrow’ ( Philippians 2:27).

Mean while the Philippians had heard of their delegate’s illness, and by and by their anxiety became known at Rome. Partly to relieve that solicitude and to satisfy the ‘longing’ of Epaphroditus; partly to convey the Apostle’s grateful acknowledgment of the recent gift; partly also, we may presume (although with delicate consideration this reason is not expressly stated), in order that the invalid’s health may be fully restored through entire rest such as he would not take in Rome, the Apostle sends him back to Philippi with a cordial testimony to his zealous labours and chivalrous service. Epaphroditus thereafter disappears from NT history, leaving behind him the fragrant memory of self-forgetful and self-sacrificing devotion at once to the person of St. Paul and to the cause of Christ.

Theodoret ( Com . on  Philippians 2:25) represents Epaphroditus (with some hesitation) as ‘bishop’ of Philippi. Pseudo-Dorotheus includes him (without probability, however, since nothing suggests that he was a Hebrew) among the Seventy of  Luke 10:1; and he calls him ‘bishop’ of Andriace, the port of Myra in Lycia. In virtue of the designation ἀπόστολος ( Philippians 2:25) the Greek Church places Epaphroditus in the same rank with Barnabas, Silas, and others; but the contest suggests the original meaning, ‘messenger.’

Literature.-H. S. Seekings, Men of Pauline Circle , 1914; J. S. Howson, Companions of St. Paul , 1871; E. B. Redlich, St. Paul and his Companions , 1913, p. 230; J. A. Beet, in Expositor , 3rd ser. ix. [1889] 64ff.; Commentaries of Ellicott, Eadie, Lightfoot, Vincent, Weiss, von Soden. See also articles in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , and Encyclopaedia Biblica .

Henry Cowan.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

Epaphroditus: of which Epaphras is a contraction. But Epaphroditus of the Philippian church is probably distinct from Epaphras of the Colossian church. Probably a presbyter at Philippi. After Tychicus and Onesimus had departed from Rome carrying the epistles to Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, Paul was cheered by the arrival of Epaphroditus with the Philippian contribution. But that faithful "brother, companion in labor, and fellow soldier," being probably in delicate health in setting out, had brought on himself a dangerous sickness by the fatigues of the journey to Rome ( Philippians 2:25-26;  Philippians 2:30;  Philippians 4:18). On recovery he "longed" to return to his Philippian flock, and in person relieve their anxiety on his behalf.

So Paul "supposed it necessary to send Epaphroditus" to them, being "their messenger" (apostle, i.e. one of the "apostles" or "messengers of the churches " as distinct from the twelve and Paul commissioned by Christ:  Romans 16:7;  2 Corinthians 8:23). Paul charges them, "Receive him in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation, because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me" (their lack having been not of the will but of the opportunity,  Philippians 4:10). From the marked exhortations to "receive Epaphroditus with all gladness," etc., Alford conjectures that the "heaviness" of Epaphroditus was not solely owing to his strong affection, but that there must have been something behind respecting him.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

EPAPHRODITUS . Mentioned by St. Paul in   Philippians 2:25-30;   Philippians 4:18 , and described by him as his ‘brother, fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier’ (  Philippians 2:25 ). He was the messenger by whom the Philippians sent the offerings which fully supplied the necessities of St. Paul during his first Roman imprisonment (  Philippians 2:25 ,   Philippians 4:18 ). In Rome he laboured so zealously for the Church and for the Apostle as to ‘hazard’ his life (  Philippians 2:30 ); indeed, he came ‘nigh unto death,’ but God had mercy on him, and the Apostle was spared this ‘sorrow upon sorrow’ (  Philippians 2:27 ). News of his illness reached Philippi, and the distress thus caused his friends made him long to return (  Philippians 2:26 ). St. Paul therefore sent him ‘the more diligently,’ thus relieving their minds, and at the same time lessening his own sorrows by his knowledge of their joy at receiving him back in health. Apparently the Epistle to the Philippians was sent by him.

Charles T. P. Grierson.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Epaphroditus ( E-Păf'Ro-D Î'Tus ), Venus-Like, Beautiful. A Christian who was sent from Philippi with contributions for Paul, while prisoner at Rome. There he was sick; and a delightful view is afforded of the apostle's tenderness of spirit by the way in which he speaks of one so dear to himself, and to the Philippian believers.  Philippians 2:25-30;  Philippians 4:18. He was the bearer of the epistle to Philippi. Some have imagined that he was identical with Epaphras, because the one name is a contracted form of the other; but we have no sufficient grounds for such a conclusion.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

A member of the church at Philipi, charged with the supplies which that church contributed for the relief of Paul while imprisoned at Rome,  Philippians 2:25   4:18 . This labor of love brought on him a serious illness at Rome, on which occasion we see how much he was esteemed and beloved both by Paul and the Philippians,  Philippians 2:25-30 . On his return he was the bearer of the epistle to them.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

One who brought supplies from Philippi to Paul, who styles him "my brother and companion in labour and fellow soldier." When with Paul at Rome he became very ill, 'nigh unto death.' The deep affection between him and the Philippian saints is very evident by his sorrow that they should have heard of his sickness. He hazarded his life by his association with Paul a prisoner.  Philippians 2:25;  Philippians 4:18 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Epaphrodi'tus. (Lovely). The full name of which Epaphras is a contraction.  Philemon 2:25;  Philemon 4:18.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

An eminent servant of the church at Philippi. ( Philippians 4:18)

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 Philippians 2:25 Philippians 2:29

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Philippians 2:25-30 4:10-18

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

( Ε᾿Παφρόδιτος , belonging To Aphrodite, or Venus), a messenger ( Ἀπόστολος ) of the Church at Philippi to the apostle Paul during his imprisonment at Rome, who was intrusted with their contributions for his support ( Philippians 2:25;  Philippians 4:18). A.D. 57. Paul's high estimate of his character (see Evans, Script. Biog. 2:300) is shown by an accumulation of honorable epithets ( Τὸν Ἀδελφόν , Καὶ Συνεργόν , Καὶ Συστρατιώτην Μου ), and by fervent expressions of gratitude for his recovery from a dangerous illness brought on in part by a generous disregard of his per. sonal welfare in ministering to the apostle ( Philippians 2:30). Epaphroditus, on his return to Philippi, was the bearer of the epistle which forms part of the canon. Grotius and some other critics conjecture that Epaphroditus was the same as the Epaphras mentioned in the epistle to the Colossians (see Sirk. De Epaphrodito Philippensiumn Apostolo, Lips. 1741; Strohbach, De Epaphra Colossensi, Lips. 1710). But, though the latter name may be a contraction of the former, the fact that Epaphras was most probably in prison at the time, sufficiently marks the distinction of the persons. The name Epaphroditus was by no means uncommon (see Tacit. Ann. 15:55; Sueton. Domit. 14; Joseph. Life, 76), as Wetstein has shown (Nov. Test. Gr. 2:273).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

ē̇ - paf - rō̇ - dı̄´tus ( Ἐπαφρόδιτος , Epaphróditos , "lovely"): Mentioned only in  Philippians 2:25;  Philippians 4:18 . The name corresponds to the Latin Venustus (= handsome), and was very common in the Roman period. "The name occurs very frequently in inscriptions both Greek and Latin, whether at full length Epaphroditus, or in its contracted form Epaphras" (Lightfoot, Philippians , 123). Epaphroditus was the delegate of the Christian community at Philippi, sent with their gift to Paul during his first Roman imprisonment. Paul calls him "my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier." "The three words are arranged in an ascending scale: common sympathy, common work, common danger and toil and suffering" (Lightfoot, l.c.). On his arrival at Rome, Epaphroditus devoted himself to "the work of Christ," both as Paul's attendant and as his assistant in missionary work. So assiduously did he labor that he lost his health, and "was sick nigh unto death." He recovered, however, and Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter to quiet the alarm of his friends, who had heard of his serious illness. Paul besought for him that the church should receive him with joy and hold him in honor.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Epaphrodi´tus a messenger of the church at Philippi to the Apostle Paul during his imprisonment at Rome, who was entrusted with their contributions for his support . Paul's high estimate of his character is shown by an accumulation of honorable epithets, and by fervent expressions of gratitude for his recovery from a dangerous illness brought on in part by a generous disregard of his personal welfare in ministering to the Apostle . Epaphroditus, on his return to Philippi, was the bearer of the epistle which forms part of the canon.