Colossians 4:1-18 - Outline of Colossians (Book Notes menu page)
1. Masters, give unto [your] servants that which is just and equal;
knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
[See the Book Notes on Colossians 3:22- 4:1, for comments on v.1.]
2. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
3 Withal praying also for us,
that God would open unto us a door of utterance,
to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
    The importance of prayer for Christ's servants...
continue {persevere} in prayer, and watch {be vigilant}... with thanksgiving...
praying... for us...
  • that God would open unto us a door of utterance...-
    ie., for opportunities to proclaim the Gospel, the message concerning the formerly hidden, but now revealed, mystery of Christ and His church (Col 1:26,27; Eph 1:9-12; 3:4-6).
  • that I would make it manifest as I ought to speak...-
    ie., for ability to present the message clearly, and in the manner necessary to communicate the truth to the hearers. 1Cor 2:4,5; 2Cor 3:5,6; Eph 6:20; 2The 3:1
5. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
6 Let your speech [be] alway with grace, seasoned with salt,
that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
    The importance of witness toward unbelievers...
walk in wisdom toward them that are without {ie., toward those who are outside of the Faith}...
  • redeeming {buying up} the time...- The day of salvation is fleeting. 2Cor 6:1,2
    The time for proclaiming the Gospel is vanishing away. Eph 5:15,16
  • let your speech be also with grace, seasoned with salt...-
    The manner in which the message is proclaimed is important. The purifying truth must not be compromised (salt purifies, Mat 5:13). Yet, it must be presented graciously, with the kindness that God has extended to us (Eph 2:4-7; Titus 3:4,5). The manner of approach will not be the same for "every man" (1Pet 3:15).
7. All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you,
[who is] a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:
8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose,
that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;
9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is [one] of you.
They shall make known unto you all things which [are done] here.
10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you,
and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom
ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision.
These only [are my] fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God,
which have been a comfort unto me.
12 Epaphras, who is [one] of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you,
always labouring fervently for you in prayers,
that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you,
and them [that are] in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
    Personal greetings from those who were with Paul at the time of writing this epistle...
Tychicus - The messenger who carried the letters to Ephesus, Colosse, and Philemon.
Tychicus had a long history as a faithful co-laborer with Paul. Eph 6:21; Acts 20:4; 2Tim 4:12; Titus 3:12
Onesimus - a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.
Onesimus was a slave who had run away from his master, in Colosse, and had fled to Rome, where Paul had won him to the Lord. Onesimus, accompanied by a letter from Paul, was returning to his master, Philemon (Phm 1:10-19).
     Together, Tychicus and Onesimus would tell the Colossian believers about Paul's imprisonment, legal proceedings, and ministry in Rome (eg., Php 1:12-f).
Aristarchus, my fellowprisoner -
Aristarchus was a Thessalonian who accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey (Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2), and who was now apparently imprisoned with Paul (v.10; Phm 1:23,24).
Marcus, the nephew of Barnabas -
As a young man, Marcus had turned back from the work, during Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 15:37-39). But through the mentoring of Barnabas, and also Peter (1Pet 5:13), he had become profitable to the work (2Tim 4:11). Paul was now able to recommend him to minister in various churches.
Jesus... called Justus - This brother was one of a few Jewish believers who were with Paul.
This group included Aristarchus, Marcus, and Justus. They, being his countrymen, were a special comfort {GK=paregoria, consolation} to Paul, who carried a great burden for the unbelieving Jews (Rom 9:1-3).
Epaphras, who is one of you...
Epaphras, who had brought the Gospel to Colosse and established the church there (Col 1:7), was now a prisoner with Paul in Rome (Phm 1:23). Yet, he continued to care for the spiritual well-being of his flock, laboring fervently {GK=agonizomai, agonizing} in prayer for them. His burden in prayer is parallel to that of Paul (compare v.12,13 with Col 1:9-12 and 2:1-4). The cities of Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis were in close proximity to one another.
Luke - a Gentile believer, a physician, and the author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts,
had accompanied Paul from the time of his departure from Troas into Macedonia, during Paul's second missionary journey (Acts 16:6-11, note the change from "they" to "we"), and was still with him as the time of his execution drew near (2Tim 4:6,11).
Demas - another Gentile, who at this time was a fellow laborer with Paul (Phm 1:24).
But a year or two later, when the time of Paul's departure drew near, Demas forsook him (2Tim 4:10).
15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea,
and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
16 And when this epistle is read among you,
cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans;
and that ye likewise read the [epistle] from Laodicea.
17 And say to Archippus,
Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord,
that thou fulfil it.
18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul.
Remember my bonds. Grace [be] with you. Amen.
    Personal greetings to the recipients of the letter...
Salute {greet}- the brothers in Laodicea (a neighboring city, about 6 miles from Colosse).
...Nymphas and the church which is in his house.
This is the only mention of this man by name. It was common for believers to gather in private homes, as there were no church buildings at this time, early in church history (eg., Rom 16:5, Phm 1:2).
the epistle from Laodicea...- It may be that Paul wrote a letter to the Laodicean church,
which has not been preserved. However, some believe that this refers to the letter to the Ephesians.
say to Archippus, take heed to thy ministry...
Archippus is mentioned, in Phm 1:2, as a member of the church that met in Philemon's house. It could be that he was Philemon's son. It appears that he had taken up the work of the ministry in Colosse, perhaps due to the absence of Epaphras.
     It is not clear whether Paul intended his admonition as correction or direction for this young minister. (Compare his admonitions to others: Acts 20:28; 1Tim 4:6,14,16; 6:11-14,20; 2Tim 1:6; 2:2; 4:1-5).
     In any case, the warning was to be taken seriously. The Lord, who commissions His servants, holds each of them accountable to faithfully fulfill their calling (2Tim 4:5).
the salutation by the hand of... Paul -
Paul closed his letter with a brief line of personal greeting in his own handwriting, asking them to remember to pray for him in his imprisonment, and commending them to the grace of God (cp. Col 1:2).

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