Apphia the Unknown

Apphia the Unknown

In the second verse of the letter to Philemon, Paul mentions two obscure people, Apphia and Archippus. Some people speculate that because they are listed together they are marriage partners or ministry partners. While we don’t know for sure, what is clear is that Apphia is listed first.

It would have been counter-cultural in that day to list a female before a male (or perhaps to even list her at all). But God, through Paul, uses this as a means to elevate the status of women, affirming their role in his church. This is not to make women superior to men, but to bring them to a point of parity.

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What is interesting about Apphia is that this is the only mention of her in the Bible, so we have no idea what she did that was so worthy to garner such a prominent place in this letter. It would be safe to assume that she was worthy of this, be it through her character, her faith, her service, or some other noteworthy trait.

Like Apphia, who we are and the things we do may be largely unknown, but God does know—and that’s what counts.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Philemon, and today’s post is on Philemon 1:2.]

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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