(Ἀπελλῆς, a Greek name possibly contracted from Apollodorus, and apparently common among Jews of the Dispersion
).-Apelles, saluted by St. Paul in Romans 16:10,
is called ‘the approved in Christ’ (τὸν δόκιμον ἐν Χριστῷ). The phrase may indicate that he had been specially tested and tried by affliction or persecution, or that he was a Christian who had gained the approbation of the Church, sufficiently perhaps to be called to the ministry (cf. 1 Timothy 3:10
). Nothing is known of Apelles beyond this reference
Assuming the Roman destination of these salutations, he was probably a Jewish convert residing in Rome as a member of the Imperial household. As the salutation which follows is that to ‘the household of Aristobulus,’ it has been suggested that Apelles’ Christian activity may have lain in that direction. If Aristobulus (q.v.
) was the grandson of Herod, Apelles would no doubt find in his ‘household’ many members of his own race. The name Apelles is known to have belonged to the Imperial household. It was borne by a famous tragic actor in the time of the Emperor Caius (see Lightfoot, Philippians4, 1878, p. 174).
T. B. Allworthy.