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by Wayne Blank
As stated in the verses below, Stephanas was one of the few people who were personally baptized by the apostle Paul, not because Paul didn't regard Baptism (see also The Origin of Baptism) as very important (Paul himself was baptized upon conversion) but rather that there were many others who tended to it i.e. "first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:28 KJV). Paul himself was baptized by a "lay member," Ananias (Acts 9:10-19). These verses also reveal how the Church sometimes had, and has, personality clashes among strong-willed people (Paul and Peter apparently stayed well clear of each other most of the time).
"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas [i.e. Peter]; and I of Christ."
Stephanas' household is referred to here as "the firstfruits of Achaia," meaning that they were among the first Christians in that region. The King James use of the word "addicted" in "they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints" is used to translate the original Greek word (pronounced) tas-so which means assigned; they assigned, or dedicated, themselves to the service of the church, as plainly described by Paul:
"But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries."
Fact Finder: Where was Achaia?