World Wide Study Bible
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4. Instructions and Final Greetings
1Masters, render unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. 2Continue stedfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; 3withal praying for us also, that God may open unto us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; 4that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one. 7All my affairs shall Tychicus make known unto you, the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord: 8whom I have sent you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts; 9together with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things that are done here. 10Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (touching whom ye received commandments; if he come unto you, receive him), 11and Jesus that is called Justus, who are of the circumcision: these only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God, men that have been a comfort unto me. 12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, saluteth you, always striving for you in his prayers, that ye may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13For I bear him witness, that he hath much labor for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for them in Hierapolis. 14Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas salute you. 15Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in their house. 16And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea. 17And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you.
7. Tychicus—(See on Eph 6:2).
who is a beloved brother—rather, "the beloved brother"; the article "the" marks him as well known to them.
8. for the same purpose—Greek, "for this very purpose."
that he might know your estate—Translate, "that he may know your state": answering to Col 4:7. So one very old manuscript and Vulgate read. But the oldest manuscripts and the old Latin versions, "that YE may know OUR state." However, the latter reading seems likely to have crept in from Eph 6:22. Paul was the more anxious to know the state of the Colossians, on account of the seductions to which they were exposed from false teachers; owing to which he had "great conflict for" them (Col 2:1).
comfort your hearts—distressed as ye are by my imprisonment, as well as by your own trials.
9. Onesimus—the slave mentioned in the Epistle to Philemon (Phm 10, 16), "a brother beloved."
a faithful … brother—rather, "the faithful brother," he being known to the Colossians as the slave of Philemon, their fellow townsman and fellow Christian.
one of you—belonging to your city.
They shall make known unto you all things—Greek, "all the things here." This substantial repetition of "all my state shall Tychicus declare unto you," strongly favors the reading of English Version in Col 4:8, "that he might (may) know your state," as it is unlikely the same thing should be stated thrice.
10. Aristarchus—a Macedonian of Thessalonica (Ac 27:2), who was dragged into the theater at Ephesus, during the tumult with Gaius, they being "Paul's companions in travel." He accompanied Paul to Asia (Ac 20:4), and subsequently (Ac 27:2) to Rome. He was now at Rome with Paul (compare Phm 23, 24). As he is here spoken of as Paul's "fellow prisoner," but in Phm 24 as Paul's "fellow laborer"; and vice versa, Epaphras in Phm 23, as his "fellow prisoner," but here (Col 1:7) "fellow servant," Meyer in Alford, conjectures that Paul's friends voluntarily shared his imprisonment by turns, Aristarchus being his fellow prisoner when he wrote to the Colossians, Epaphras when he wrote to Philemon. The Greek for "fellow prisoner" is literally, fellow captive, an image from prisoners taken in warfare, Christians being "fellow soldiers" (Php 2:25; Phm 2), whose warfare is "the good fight of faith."
sister's son—rather, "cousin," or "kinsman to Barnabas"; the latter being the better known is introduced to designate Mark. The relationship naturally accounts for Barnabas' selection of Mark as his companion when otherwise qualified; and also for Mark's mother's house at Jerusalem being the place of resort of Christians there (Ac 12:12). The family belonged to Cyprus (Ac 4:36); this accounts for Barnabas' choice of Cyprus as the first station on their journey (Ac 13:4), and for Mark's accompanying them readily so far, it being the country of his family; and for Paul's rejecting him at the second journey for not having gone further than Perga, in Pamphylia, but having gone thence home to his mother at Jerusalem (Mt 10:37) on the first journey (Ac 13:13).
touching whom—namely, Mark.
ye received commandments—possibly before the writing of this Epistle; or the "commandments" were verbal by Tychicus, and accompanying this letter, since the past tense was used by the ancients (where we use the present) in relation to the time which it would be when the letter was read by the Colossians. Thus (Phm 19), "I have written," for "I write." The substance of them was, "If he come unto you, receive him." Paul's rejection of him on his second missionary journey, because he had turned back at Perga on the first journey (Ac 13:13; 15:37-39), had caused an alienation between himself and Barnabas. Christian love soon healed the breach; for here he implies his restored confidence in Mark, makes honorable allusion to Barnabas, and desires that those at Colosse who had regarded Mark in consequence of that past error with suspicion, should now "receive" him with kindness. Colosse is only about one hundred ten miles from Perga, and less than twenty from the confines of Pisidia, through which province Paul and Barnabas preached on their return during the same journey. Hence, though Paul had not personally visited the Colossian Church, they knew of the past unfaithfulness of Mark; and needed this recommendation of him, after the temporary cloud on him, so as to receive him, now that he was about to visit them as an evangelist. Again, in Paul's last imprisonment, he, for the last time, speaks of Mark (2Ti 4:11).
11. Justus—that is, righteous; a common name among the Jews; Hebrew, "tzadik" (Ac 1:23).
of the circumcision—This implies that Epaphras, Luke, and Demas (Col 4:12, 14) were not of the circumcision. This agrees with Luke's Gentile name (the same as Lucanus), and the Gentile aspect of his Gospel.
These only, &c.—namely, of the Jews. For the Jewish teachers were generally opposed to the apostle of the Gentiles (Php 1:15). Epaphras, &c., were also fellow laborers, but Gentiles.
unto—that is, in promoting the Gospel kingdom.
which have been—Greek, "which have been made," or "have become," that is, inasmuch as they have become a comfort to me. The Greek implies comfort in forensic dangers; a different Greek word expresses comfort in domestic affliction [Bengel].
12. Christ—The oldest manuscripts add "Jesus."
in prayers—Translate as Greek, "in his prayers."
complete—The oldest manuscripts read, "fully assured." It is translated, "fully persuaded," Ro 4:21; 14:5. In the expression "perfect," he refers to what he has already said, Col 1:28; 2:2; 3:14. "Perfect" implies the attainment of the full maturity of a Christian. Bengel joins "in all the will of God" with "stand."
13. a great zeal—The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate have "much labor."
for you—lest you should be seduced (Col 2:4); a motive why you should be anxious for yourselves.
them that are in Laodicea … Hierapolis—churches probably founded by Epaphras, as the Church in Colosse was. Laodicea, called from Laodice, queen of Antiochus II, on the river Lycus, was, according to the subscription to First Timothy, "the chiefest city of Phrygia Pacatiana" (1Ti 6:21). All the three cities were destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 62 [Tacitus, Annals, 14.27]. Hierapolis was six Roman miles north of Laodicea.
14. It is conjectured that Luke "the beloved physician" (the same as the Evangelist), may have first become connected with Paul in professionally attending on him in the sickness under which he labored in Phrygia and Galatia (in which latter place he was detained by sickness), in the early part of that journey wherein Luke first is found in his company (Ac 16:10; compare Note, see on Ga 4:13). Thus the allusion to his medical profession is appropriate in writing to men of Phrygia. Luke ministered to Paul in his last imprisonment (2Ti 4:11).
Demas—included among his "fellow laborers" (Phm 24), but afterwards a deserter from him through love of this world (2Ti 4:10). He alone has here no honorable or descriptive epithet attached to his name. Perhaps, already, his real character was betraying itself.
15. Nymphas—of Laodicea.
church … in his house—So old manuscripts and Vulgate read. The oldest read, "THEIR house"; and one manuscript, "HER house," which makes Nymphas a woman.
16. the epistle from Laodicea—namely, the Epistle which I wrote to the Laodiceans, and which you will get from them on applying to them. Not the Epistle to the Ephesians. See Introduction to Ephesians and Introduction to Colossians. The Epistles from the apostles were publicly read in the church assemblies. Ignatius [Epistle to the Ephesians, 12], Polycarp [Epistle to the Philippians, 3.11,12], Clement [Epistle to the Corinthians, 1. 47], 1Th 5:27; Re 1:3, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear." Thus, they and the Gospels were put on a level with the Old Testament, which was similarly read (De 31:11). The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, besides those extant, other Epistles which He saw necessary for that day, and for particular churches; and which were not so for the Church of all ages and places. It is possible that as the Epistle to the Colossians was to be read for the edification of other churches besides that of Colosse; so the Epistle to the Ephesians was to be read in various churches besides Ephesus, and that Laodicea was the last of such churches before Colosse, whence he might designate the Epistle to the Ephesians here as "the Epistle from Laodicea." But it is equally possible that the Epistle meant was one to the Laodiceans themselves.
17. say to Archippus—The Colossians (not merely the clergy, but the laymen) are directed, "Speak ye to Archippus." This proves that Scripture belongs to the laity as well as the clergy; and that laymen may profitably admonish the clergy in particular cases when they do so in meekness. Bengel suggests that Archippus was perhaps prevented from going to the Church assembly by weak health or age. The word, "fulfil," accords with his ministry being near its close (Col 1:25; compare Phm 2). However, "fulfil" may mean, as in 2Ti 4:5, "make full proof of thy ministry." "Give all diligence to follow it out fully"; a monition perhaps needed by Archippus.
Remember my bonds—Already in this chapter he had mentioned his "bonds" (Col 4:3), and again Col 4:10, an incentive why they should love and pray (Col 4:3) for him; and still more, that they should, in reverential obedience to his monitions in this Epistle, shrink from the false teaching herein stigmatized, remembering what a conflict (Col 2:1) he had in their behalf amidst his bonds. "When we read of his chains, we should not forget that they moved over the paper as he wrote; his [right] hand was chained to the [left hand of the] soldier who kept him" [Alford].