Question: "Who was Nympha in the Bible?"
Answer: Nympha was a Laodicean Christian mentioned in Colossians 4:15. Paul instructed the Colossian church to pass on his greetings to the Laodiceans, including the Christians who met in Nympha’s home. Apart from what this one verse in Scripture tells us, nothing is definitively known of Nympha.
There is a question as to whether Nympha is a man or woman based on the form of the name in the Greek manuscripts. Some versions of the Bible translate the name as “Nymphas,” which is the male version of the name (KJV, NKJV, ERV, YLT). In contrast, other versions translate the name as “Nympha,” which is the female version of the name; these translations also state that the church met in “her” home (NIV, ESV, CSB, NASB, NET). A large variety of scholars believe that a proper reading of the text argues for the female form of the name, which is why most modern versions render the name “Nympha.” Notably, Nymphas means “bridegroom” in Greek, while Nympha means “bride” or “nymph-like.”
This believer named Nympha was a wealthy individual, owning a house large enough to accommodate regular meetings of the church. During New Testament times, meeting in someone’s house was a common practice for the church, as they did not have church buildings as most congregations do today (see Romans 16:3–5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 1:2). To receive many Christians into one’s home for a meeting required some space, and the larger house typically indicated that the host was affluent. In addition, we surmise from Revelation 3:17–18 that the church in Laodicea was generally well-to-do; as a prominent person in the church, Nympha was most likely proportionately well-to-do.
The New Testament mentions others, besides Nympha, who also hosted gatherings of Christians in their homes in other communities:
• Mary, the mother of John Mark, in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12)
• Lydia, a merchant living in Philippi (Acts 16:40)
• Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:19)
• Philemon and Apphia in Colossae (Philemon 1:2)
• (possibly) Titus Justus in Corinth (Acts 18:7)
As Paul sat in a Roman prison cell, he wrote the epistle to the Colossians, and he sent three greetings: one to the Colossian believers, who were the recipients of Paul’s letter; one to the believers in Laodicea, which was close by Colossae; and one to Nympha and the church in her house. We may not know much about Nympha (or Nymphas), but we can infer that she (or he) was prosperous, generous, and devout.