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APPHIA (ăf'ĭ-a, ăp'fĭ-a, Gr. Apphia). Called “our beloved” in KJV, “our sister” in ASV, RSV, NIV, following a different text. A Christian of Colosse, believed to be the wife of Philemon and mother of Archippus (Phlm.1.2).

APPHIA ăf’ ĭ ə (̓Απφία, G722, meaning not known; inscrs. indicate it is prob. native Phrygian. Douay VS form, Appia). A lady included in the salutation of the Epistle to Philemon (v. 2), designated “our sister” (ἡ ἀδελφή, “the sister”) in the Christian sense (KJV “our dearly beloved” follows TR). The position of her name implies that she was the wife of Philemon; his sister (literally) is grammatically possible. As a member of the household, she would be directly involved in the decision concerning Onesimus.

Tradition says she was stoned to death under Nero, along with Philemon and Archippus. November 22 is sacred to her memory in the Greek Orthodox Church.


J. B. Lightfoot, Colossians and Philemon (1900), 304-306; T. Zahn, Introduction to NT (1909), I, 458; MM (1949), 73.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

af’-i-a, ap’-fi-a (Apphia, dative case of Apphia; in Phm 1:2, though Apphia, Amphia, and Appia, also occur): A Christian of Colosse, probably the wife of Philemon; certainly a member of his household, greeted as "the sister" the Revised Version, margin. In the Greek church, November 22 is sacred to her memory. It has been supposed, since this epistle concerns one household exclusively, that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and the mother or sister of Archippus (which see). She was stoned to death with Philemon, Onesimus, and Archippus in the reign of Nero. (See Lightfoot, Col., 372.)

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