Her name was Nymphas

Her name in Hebrew means “bride”, coming from an ancient root that means “to marry”.  She lived out her prophetic name/union with Christ and led, ministered, and served the bride of Christ out of that union.

Her story:  Colossians 4:15-16

Nymphas is one of sixteen women who Paul mentions by name in his letters.  Unfortunately, her gender was hidden when her name was masculinized in some Greek manuscripts.  Perhaps a few scribes had difficulty with the idea that Paul was greeting a woman holding church meetings in her house, yet it was not uncommon for relatively wealthy women in the first century to host congregations for worship and fellowship, and care for them.  Now modern English translations have unanimously correctly identified her as female.  Looking at other passages that describe house churches and their leadership, we deduce that they gathered only around persons of some mark and leadership… described as beloved, fellow-laborer, one in whom “the saints are refreshed”, and minister.  From the beginning of the early church, wealthy women were attracted to Christianity, and they were among the church’s patrons and protectors.  Nymphas appears to be one such woman.  Leaders of local churches did what was necessary, what they were capable of, and what they were gifted for.  Due to her wealth, she was most likely literate, so she would have read and reread sermons, letters, and Scriptures.  Since Paul addressed her specifically, even though there were other house churches in the area, suggests she was a well-known church leader.

Her legacy for us:  Gender did not keep Nymphas from serving Jesus and His bride.  She used her wealth, position, abilities, and influence to honor God.

Our response to Him:  Do I allow my womanhood to disqualify or diminish my ability or influence?  How can I minister more fully from the identity You gave me?

This guest post was written by Shawn Martin, my creative, courageous, godly friend. I love hearing what God shows her and learning artsy things from her. She always invites me into conversations that encourage and challenge me to deepen my relationship with the Master Creator. Find Shawn’s artwork and journals at her Etsy shop at this link, CrownofBeautybySM.

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