Salute Apelles approved in Christ
Origen was in doubt whether this was not the same person with Apollos the Alexandrian Jew, whom Aquila and Priscilla met with at Ephesus; but had he been intended, the apostle would doubtless have said more of him, he being so eminent and remarkable a preacher of the Gospel; though indeed the character here given is very considerable; besides, Apollos did not live at Rome, though it was not impossible he might be there at this time. The name seems to be a Greek one, there was a famous painter of this name in Greece; though it was also used among the Jews, and this person here might possibly, be a Jew; for Horace F16 speaks of one of this name, when he says, "credat Judaeus Apella"; by whom he means, not, as many have thought, a circumcised Jew in general, but a particular person, a Jew of that name: but it is of no importance whether he was a Jew or a Gentile; some say he was one of the seventy disciples, and bishop of Smyrna; (See Gill on Luke 10:1). However, he was one that was approved in Christ; approved of God in Christ, who approves of none but in Christ; not of any on account of their own commendations, or those of others; for not he that commendeth himself is approved of God, nor whom others commend; and oftentimes what is highly esteemed of men, is abominable in the sight of God; nor does he approve of any on the score of their own works and duties, or as in themselves considered, whose righteousness in as filthy rags, and they themselves polluted and unclean; but as in Christ his well beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased, and with all in him; and so God's elect are, as this man was approved of in him the beloved, even in his own Son, in whom both persons and services are accepted: moreover he was approved of by Christ, and that from eternity, as presented to him in the glass of his Father's purposes and decrees; and in time, as adorned with his own grace, and clothed with his justifying righteousness, and as faithfully serving him in his day and generation: he was also proved to be in Christ; he had proved it to himself, to his own satisfaction, by observing, upon self-examination, that Christ was in him; and he had made it to appear to others, by his faith in Christ, love to him, zeal for him, and close attachment to his Gospel, against all errors and heresies, whereby they are approved are made manifest; and that in the face of all opposition and persecution: he was tried and proved, and so approved by a variety of tribulations and afflictions; his faith remained firm, and he abode by the interest of a Redeemer; and so he was tried, or proved, as 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 dissimulation, he was an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile: if a preacher of the word, he did not corrupt it, but in sincerity, and as in the sight of God and Christ, spoke it; and if only a private believer, he was one that desired the sincere milk of the word, and was in all respects a sincere upright man in Christ; so the word here used may be understood, being the reverse of (adokimov) , reprobate, rejected, spurious, adulterate and disapproved: in a word, this character shows, that he was not only approved of God and Christ, but of all good men, and particularly the apostle; and that on account of his being in Christ, united to him, and closely attached to his service and interest, and was an honour to it:
salute them which are of Aristobulus's household.
This was also a Greek name, though in use among the Jews; there was one of this name master of Ptolomy, king of Egypt, who was of Jewish extract, and of the priests,
``In the hundred fourscore and eighth year, the people that were at Jerusalem and in Judea, and the council, and Judas, sent greeting and health unto Aristobulus,One of the sons of Hyrcanus, the high priest of the Jews, was called by this name; Herod had a son of this name, and it was a name much in use in his family, and among his descendants: who this man was is not known, nor is he himself saluted by the apostle; either because he was now dead, or was absent from Rome at this time; for some say he was sent into Britain, our isle, to preach the Gospel, of which he is said to be bishop, and one of the seventy disciples; (See Gill on 10:1); or perhaps he might not be a believer in Christ, only his household believers, and therefore they only are taken notice of.
king Ptolemeus' master, who was of the stock of the anointed priests, and to the Jews that were in Egypt:'' (2 Maccabees 1:10)
F16 Serraon. l. 1. Satyr. 5. prope finem.