ONESIPHORUS (Gr.'Opncrickopos, on-ay-sif'or-os, profit-bringer), a believer of Eph esus, who came to Rome during the second cap tivity of St. Paul in that city (A. D. about 64).
And having found out the apostle, who was in custody of a soldier, to whose arm his own was chained, was not ashamed of his chain, but attended him frequently, and rendered him all the services in his power. This faithful attach ment, at a time of calamity and desertion, was fully appreciated and well remembered by the apostle, who, in his Epistle to Timothy, care fully records the circumstance; and, after charg ing him to salute in his name 'the household of Onesiphorus.' expresses the most earnest and grateful wishes for his spiritual welfare (2 Tim. i:16-18). It would appear from this that One siphorus had then left Rome.
"It is not perfectly clear whether, at the time when St. Paul wrote, Oncsiphorus was alive or dead; but the references to his 'house' rather than to himself in 2 Tim. i:i6; iv :t9. and still
more the words. of the prayer in 2 Tim. i :18, 'The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day,' make it most probable that he was now dead (so De Wette, Huffier, Alford, Ellicott, Fairbairn, v. Soden). If so, the pas sage gains an additional interest from the use that has been made of it in connection with the argument for prayers for the dead. Thus it is appealed to in support of such a practice by Bishop Archibald Campbell in his anonymously published book on The Intermediate or Middle State of Departed Souls, 1713, p. 72; and amongst more recent writers by Plumptre (The Spirits in Prison, pp. 128, 266) and Luckock (After Death, p. 77, The Intermediate State, p. 211). Others, as Barrett (The Interntediate State, p. 113), find in the words no more than 'a pious wish:" (W. Locke, Hastings' Bib. Diet.)