However, I thought it necessary to send Epaphroditus [back] to you. [He has been] my brother and companion in labor and my fellow soldier, as well as [having come as] your special messenger (apostle) and minister to my need.
[L But; or Meanwhile,] I thought ·I should [it necessary to] send back to you Epaphroditus [4:18], my ·brother in Christ [L brother] and coworker, ·who serves with me in Christ’s army [L and fellow soldier]. He was your messenger, sent as a ·servant [minister] to meet my needs.
I have considered it desirable, however, to send you Epaphroditus. He has been to me brother, fellow-worker and comrade-in-arms, as well as being the messenger you sent to see to my wants. He has been home-sick for you, and was worried because he knew that you had heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, very dangerously ill, but God had mercy on him—and incidentally on me as well, so that I did not have the sorrow of losing him to add to my sufferings. I am particularly anxious, therefore, to send him to you so that when you see him again you may be glad, and to know of your joy will lighten my own sorrows. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy! You should hold men like him in highest honour, for his loyalty to Christ brought him very near death—he risked his life to do for me in person what distance prevented you all from doing.
But for right now, I’m dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I’m sending him to help you out. He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he’s been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine. He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him—he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others.
But I think it’s necessary to send Epaphroditus back to you. He is my brother in the Lord. He is a worker and a soldier of Christ together with me. He is also your messenger. You sent him to take care of my needs.
But I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, the Ach b’Moshiach and fellow po’el (worker) and fellow chaiyal (soldier) of mine, but your shliach and keli kodesh (minister) of my need [4:18].
But for now, I feel a stirring in my heart to send Epaphroditus back to you immediately. He’s a friend to me and a wonderful brother and fellow soldier who has worked with me as we serve as ministers of the gospel. And you sent him as your apostle to minister to me in my need.
But for now, I think it is best to send Epaphroditus home to you. He has become my dear brother in the Lord. We have worked well together and fought great battles together, and he was an encouraging minister to me in my time of need.
I thought I must send Epaphroditus, our Christian brother, back to you. He has worked with me and has also been a soldier of Christ with me. He was your messenger and he brought your gift for my needs.
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