St Paul and Colossae
With Ephesus as a kind of missionary base, Paul’s influence filtered into the surrounding territory. One such satellite was the city of Colossae, about 120 miles east. Its fledgling Christian community was started or furthered by the evangelization of Paul’s coworker Epaphras. Though we know next to nothing about him, Epaphras is described as Paul’s “beloved fellow slave” (Col. 1:17) and as “fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus” (Phlm 23). Paul acknowledges that the Colossians had been graced through the ministry of Epaphras who, he went on, “is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit” (Col. 1:7-8). Though Paul was clearly a singular dynamic force in spreading the gospel, he had a significant coterie of helpers, including Barnabas, Timothy, Silvanus, Luke, John Mark, Titus, Sosthenes, Epaphras and more.