Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.Romans 16:8
Ampliatus is one who was Paul’s particular friend, and also a genuine Christian. Amplias in Latin means “large”. It is contracted from the Latin ampliatus meaning enlarged. Ampliatus was a Latin Roman name – a masculine proper name. The Vulgate Latin reads “Ampliatus”, and so do the Alexandrian copy, and the Ethiopic version: some mss call him “Amphias”, and “Amphiatus”, and some say that this man was bishop of Odyssus. But whoever he was the apostle had a singular affection for him; and that not upon any external account, as natural relation, riches, honour, learning, or for any other reason but because he was in Christ, numbered among the believers, and so in a spiritual relation to the apostle; a “brother” of his, as the Ethiopic version here calls him; and because he was honoured with the gifts and graces of the Spirit, and for his usefulness in the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Ampliatus was a name found common among slaves in Rome. In fact in the cemetery of Domitilla, one of the earliest Christian catacombs, there is a rather grand tomb with the name Ampliatus engraved on it. Because it only has one name on it the inference is that this is the name of a slave. A free man would have had a number of different names and not just one. Because this tomb was elaborate it is likely that the church was involved in providing a fine tomb for the respected member of the church despite the fact he was a slave. Adding evidence to the fact that there was no distinction between slave or free in the church in Rome. The name Ampliatus was found in juxtaposition with Urbanus in a list of imperial freedmen on an inscription dated to 115 AD. Isn’t it interesting that these are listed together in Paul’s letter to the Romans and so too are they listed together in an engraved list of freedmen dating from 115 AD.
The catacombs of Domatilla are located in the suburb of San Domitilla in Rome. No one claims that the inscription commemorating Ampliatus is indeed the same Ampiatus mentioned in Romans 16:8. It would be incredible to think that is the case. It is not likely as the catacomb of San Domitilla began in the 2nd Century. Paul wrote the book of Romans between 56 and 58 AD. Given life spans of the populace back then it is unlikely Ampliatus would have survived that long to have been buried in the catacombs in the 2nd century. Especially as the life span of an ex-slave would have been that much shorter. These facts merely add interesting background to Ampliatus’s story.
To think that Paul would state that a Roman slave was a special friend of his says a lot about Paul himself. Of course this is not new. You just have to read the book of Philemon to see that Paul has done this kind of thing before over the slave Onesimus. It seems Ampliatus was yet another Onesimus. Just how many slaves did Paul befriend? Ask him when you see him.
God never wastes a hurt if we’ll let Him write His story with our lives.Steve Saint
Every time your faith is put on trial, your character is placed on the witness stand.AR Bernard
Your DESTINY is never attached to what you have LOST, but to what you have LEFT.T. D. Jakes