ONESIPHORUS, A LOYAL FRIEND OF PAUL (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

We know about Onesiphorus from the second letter of St. Paul to Timothy. This is what Paul writes about Onesiphorus and his family: May the Lord show mercy to the family of Onesiphorus, because he cheered me up many times. He was not ashamed that I am in prison, but as soon as he arrived in Rome, he started looking for me until he found me. May the Lord grant him his mercy on that Day! And you know very well how much he did for me in Ephesus (2 Tim.1,16-18).

From this short description of Onesiphorus and Pauls blessings on and the prayer for his family, we get a fair idea about Onesiphorus, his services and his family. Pauls description indicates that Onesiphorus is loyal and helpful friend to him and that he was a affable character.

Then, at the end of the second letter to Timothy Paul sends greetings to the family of Onesiphorus indicating that either Onesiphorus is still with Paul serving him or perhaps he must have already died.

The biblical scholar Herbert Lockyer has highlighted four traits of the admirable life of Onesiphorus. First, he was repeatedly kind. Paul says he cheered me up many times. It is certainly refreshing for an evangelist like Paul to find some one like Onesiphorus to cheer him up at the end of a tiring and exhausting day.

Second, Onesiphorus associated himself with Paul in his suffering. In Pauls words Onesiphorus was not ashamed that I am in Prison. As a friend of Paul, Onesiphorus understood Paul and his prison life. He was a big soul who brought cheers and consolation to Paul in chain.

Third, As a true friend Onesiphorus searched and found Paul. Paul is full of appreciation for Onesiphorus for the fact that when he reached Rome, he started looking for me until he found me. In a big city like Rome without the communication facilities of today, it was not an easy task for Onesiphorus to search and find Paul. But he did search for Paul with patience and love until he found him.

Fourth, Paul blessed the household of Onesiphorus with love and gratitude for his services and kindness to him. May the Lord grant him his mercy on that Day! And you know very well how much he did for me in Ephesus.

Here the reference to or the blessing for the family of Onesiphorus shows us that Paul must have been well acquainted not only with Onesiphorus but also his whole family. Paul must have enjoyed the love and hospitality of Onesiphorus family during his ministry and perhaps also during his imprisonment at Ephesus.

Onesiphorus remained a loyal and hospitable friend of Paul even since he has known him till his end in Rome. (contact the author : यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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