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Sopater

Sopater, from the Greek name pronounced so-pat-ros, meaning the father who saves or savior of the father, was a Christian from Berea who accompanied the apostle Paul into Asia (see Paul's Ministry). Although referred to as a "kinsman" of Paul, that may have not necessarily meant a physical relative because Paul often spoke of fellow Christians in general as either his family or fellows in the work e.g. "Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen" (see below).

"And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea"

Although he may well have been present earlier, Sopater is first mentioned during Paul's Third Missionary Journey when "there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus." It was not just a simple journey, whether actually traveling or waiting for Paul to arrive or return - all the while they often faced the same danger.

Joppa

"And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.

And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas. And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread [see Christ's Feast of Unleavened Bread], and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days."(Acts 20:1-6 KJV)

Sopater was among those present at Troas who witnessed the miraculous raising from the dead of Eutychus who fell from a window during a very long sermon by Paul. Although some have mistaken that as a "Sunday" church service ("upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread"), it was actually a continuation of their observing the Sabbath together; since Paul was going to stay with them overnight, he continued preaching past sunset ("continued his speech until midnight"), which was the start of the first day of the week (Biblical days are counted from sunset to sunset). The next day, what some today call "Sunday," Paul did hard labor by walking over 20 miles to catch a ship to continue his voyage.

"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted." (Acts 20:7-11 KJV)

It is not certain that Sopater is also the "Sosipater" (i.e. a slightly different spelling, which is not an uncommon occurrence) who is mentioned later, but it seems very possible because Sopater and Sosipater are both accounted for in a group of associates of Paul that both times lists Timotheus (see the Fact Finder question below).

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Romans 16:17-24 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was the "Timotheos" mentioned in the verses above, who was the recipient of two of the Epistles of Paul, 1 and 2 Timothy?
See Timotheos


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