Terms of Endearment

In Paul’s thirteen epistles he mentions 82 people by name.  All but two or three are considered to be in the community of faith; fourteen are women; sixteen are mentioned more than once.  There’s diversity in ethnicity, occupation, rank, and geographical location. 

Paul uses 32 terms of endearment to describe these brothers and sisters.  Here are some of these terms.

  • Some of them were his companions as it related to the realm of Scriptural instruction and authority: fellow apostles, pillars of the church.
  • Others Paul considered to be those genuine people who were willing to minister to physical and spiritual needs: refreshed my spirit, supplied what was lacking, hospitable, a great help to missionaries, worked hard for God, traveling companions.
  • There were others who focused their support on the unity of the body, the church, as a whole: servant of the church, had a church in their home, the whole household gave greeting.
  • There were those who took the great commission seriously. Their vital concern was the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom of God: fellow worker in spreading the gospel, fellow workers in the kingdom of God, profitable partners for the ministry, messengers of good news and encouragement.
  • He had companions of the next generation that he was mentoring: son I love, my dear son in the faith.
  • He referred to some as those who were front-line kingdom warriors: faithful servants, fellow soldiers, fellow workers in Christ, faithful in the Lord, companions in labor.
  • There were those who gave the last full measure: fellow prisoners, tested and appointed in Christ, those who risked their lives.