Greet Apelles, a good man whom Christ approves. (Rom 16:10)
Origen wondered whether this wasn’t the same person as Apollos the Alexandrian Jew, whom Aquila and Priscilla met with at Ephesus. But if indeed it had been Apollos who was intended, one feels Paul the apostle would doubtless had more to say about him. It would not have been a one liner but something similar to Priscilla and Aquila, given that fact that Apollos was such an eminent and remarkable preacher and church leader. While the character statement given in this case is very considerable one expects Paul would have had more to say if indeed it have been Apollos he was referring to. Besides Apollos did not live at Rome.
Some say Apelles was one of the seventy disciples, and a bishop of Smyrna; However, he was one that was approved in Christ; not he that commended himself. It is the approval of God that is the key, not self approval or even the approval of others. Often times what is highly esteemed of men is abominable in the sight of God. The Arabic version renders it, "in the religion of Christ"; in which he was sincere, upright, and faithful; his faith was unfeigned, his love without pretense. As a preacher of the word, he did not corrupt it, but in sincerity, and as in the sight of God and Christ, spoke it boldly. If only a private believer, he was one that desired the sincere milk of the word, of his being in Christ, united to him, and closely attached to his service and interest, and considered it an honour to do it.
Wow what high praise for a disciple. Apelles name means “called” so putting it all together from the context, he is “called, tested and approved by Christ”. Wow that is a high commendation. One that any one of us would be proud to bear. No wonder Paul wants his greetings passed on to such a man.
I think it is funny sometimes what is written by the commentators. It is like they must go on and on and reach a certain length in the comment they write. On looking at what the commentators have written about Apelles I get the sense they are filling up space. I will fill no more space. This is what Paul has said about him. He was a worthy follower of the Lord and significant acquaintance of Paul’s who didn’t want to forget him. May Apelles become a challenge and an example for us despite the fact this is all we know about him.
You can only go as high as your ability can take you and stay as long as your character will hold you. Tommy Tenney