Meet my boys Lapper and Blur from college. They have "real" names, but their nicknames are more user friendly and capture something of their personalities.
Ephaphroditus was a close friend of the Apostle Paul, we can see this in his letter to the Philippians:
I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. - Philippians 2:25-30
In Paul’s caring reference to Epaphroditus, I think we gain a sense of how the special relationship between the Church and those who labor on her behalf should be. This is a feature of the passage I hope to unpack for the congregation a bit this Sunday.
Something that made me wonder, however, relates to Paul's friendship with Epaphroditus and others. That's a long name to be calling your homey. What do you think Paul really called his friends?
Epaphroditus: E-Pap? Phro? E-Man? E? Big E? E-Ditty? Ditus?
Silas: Siley? Siles?
Barnabas: Barney? Barns? Barnzey? Barna? Bassy?
Mark: Marky Mark? Markus? JM? Johnny M? J. Mark's the spot? Chicken? Wussie?
Priscilla: Prissy? Cilla? Cilly?
Aquila: Ackie? Quila? Quils? Quilster?
Tychicus: Tike? Tikey? Cus? Cussy? Special T?
Trophimus: Trophy? Trophe? Phimus?
Onesiphorus: O? Owny? Onezy? Siphor? Siphes? Phor? Phorus?
Titus: I better leave this one...
Luke: Doc? Dr.L? Lukey?