Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Philemon 1:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Apphia. Απφια . Under the word Απφα Suidas says: Αδελφης και αδελφου ὑπακορισμα· Appha is the affectionate address of a brother or sister; or the diminutive of a brother and sister, used to express kindness and affection. Hence the apostle, referring to the meaning of the word, says: Και Απφιᾳ τῃ αδελφῃ αγαπητῃ· And to Apphia the beloved sister. Though αδελφῃ, sister, be not in our common text, it is found in AD*EFG, several others, the Itala, Vulgate, Slavonic, etc.; and is undoubtedly genuine.

Archippus, Αρχιππος . The ruler or master of the horse; from αρχων, a chief, and ἱππος, a horse. Heroes of old were, both among the Greeks and Trojans, celebrated for their skill in managing and taming the horse, and employing him in war; this frequently occurs in Homer. The import of the name of Archippus might suggest this idea to the apostle's mind, and lead him to say: Archippus our Fellow Soldier.

Suidas mentions a person of this name, who was once victor at the games, in the ninety-first Olympiad.

There was one of the pupils of Pythagoras of this name; and I introduce him here for the sake of a quotation from St. Jerome, (Apol. adv. Ruffin.), relative to the doctrines taught by him and his fellow disciple, Lysis: Φευκτεον πανταπασι και εκκοπτεον ασθενειαν μεν του σωματος, απαιδευσιαν δε της ψυχης, ακολασιαν δε της γαστρος, στασιν δε της πολεως, την δε διαφωνιαν απο της οικιας, και κοινῃ απο παντων το ακρατες· "By all means and methods these evils are to be shunned and cut off: effeminacy from the body; Ignorance from the soul; delicacies from the belly; sedition from the city; discord from the house; and, in general, intemperance from all things." Vid. Fab. Thes. Erud. Schol.

Onesimus, Ονησιμος . Useful or profitable; from ονημι, to help. The import of this name led the apostle to play upon the word thus: I beseech thee for any son Onesimus - which in time past was to thee Unprofitable, but now Profitable to thee and me.

To the Church in thy house - The congregation of Christians frequently assembling in Philemon's house; for at this time the Christians had neither temples, churches, nor chapels. See the note on Romans 16:5, and the reference there.

It is very probable that Apphia was the wife of Philemon, and Archippus, their son, the pastor of the Church at Philemon's house.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And to our beloved Apphia - This was a female (Greek ἀγαπητῇ agapētē), and was probably the wife of Philemon.

And Archippus our fellow-soldier - See the notes at Colossians 4:17. It has been supposed that he was a son of Philemon, and this would appear not to be improbable, as he was one of his family. On the term “fellow-soldier,” see the notes at Philemon 2:25. It is applied here to one who was a minister of the gospel, and who is spoken of in con nection with Paul as enlisted under the banners of the Captain of salvation, and waging a warfare with the wickedness of the world; compare the notes at 2 Timothy 2:3-4. That Archippus was a minister of the gospel, is clear from Colossians 4:17.

And to the church in thy house - Either the church that commonly met in his house, or more probably that was composed of his own family; compare the notes at Romans 16:5.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Faith in Christ, and love to him, should unite saints more closely than any outward relation can unite the people of the world. Paul in his private prayers was particular in remembering his friends. We must remember Christian friends much and often, as their cases may need, bearing them in our thoughts, and upon our hearts, before our God. Different sentiments and ways in what is not essential, must not make difference of affection, as to the truth. He inquired concerning his friends, as to the truth, growth, and fruitfulness of their graces, their faith in Christ, and love to him, and to all the saints. The good which Philemon did, was matter of joy and comfort to him and others, who therefore desired that he would continue and abound in good fruits, more and more, to God's honour.