Colossians 4:14-18

14. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.

14. Salutat vos Lucas medicus dilectus, et Demas.

15. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

15. Salutate fratres qui sunt Laodiceae, et Nympham, et Ecclesiam quae est domi ipsius;

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.

16. Et quum lecta fuerit apud vos epistola, facite ut etiam in Laodicensium Ecclesia legatur: et eam quae ex Laodicea est ut vos legatis.

17. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.

17. Et dicite Archippo: Vide ministerium quod accepisti in Domino, ut illud impleas.

18. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
Written from Rome to the Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.

18. Salutatio, mea manu Pauli. Memores estote vinculorum meorum. Gratia vobiscum. Amen.
Missa e Roma per Tychicum et Onesimum.


14. Luke saluteth you. I do not agree with those who understand this to be Luke the Evangelist; for I am of opinion that he was too well known to stand in need of such a designation, and he would have been signalized by a more magnificent eulogium. He would, undoubtedly, have called him his fellow-helper, or at least his companion and participant in his conflicts. I rather conjecture that he was absent at that time, and that it is another of the same name that is called a physician, to distinguish him from the other. Demas, of whom he makes mention, is undoubtedly the person of whom he complains -- that he afterwards deserted him. (2 Timothy 4:10.)

When he speaks of the Church which was in the house of Nymphas, let us bear in mind, that, in the instance of one household, a rule is laid down as to what it becomes all Christian households to be -- that they be so many little Churches. 1 Let every one, therefore, know that this charge is laid upon him -- that he is to train up his house in the fear of the Lord, to keep it under a holy discipline, and, in fine, to form in it the likeness of a Church.

16. Let it be read in the Church of the Laodiceans. Hence, though it was addressed to the Colossians, it was, nevertheless, necessary that it should be profitable to others. The same view must also be taken of all the Epistles. They were indeed, in the first instance, addressed to particular Churches, but, as they contain doctrine that is always in force, and is common to all ages, it is of no importance what title they bear, for the subject matter belongs to us. It has been groundlessly supposed that the other Epistle of which he makes mention was written by Paul, and those labor under a double mistake who think that it was written by Paul to the Laodiceans. I have no doubt that it was an Epistle that had been sent to Paul, the perusal of which might be profitable to the Colossians, as neighboring towns have usually many things in common. There was, however, an exceedingly gross imposture in the circumstance that some worthless person, I know not who, had the audacity to forge, under this pretext, an Epistle, that is so insipid, 2 that nothing can be conceived to be more foreign to Paul's spirit.

17. Say to Archippus. So far as I can conjecture, this Archippus was, in the mean time, discharging the office of pastor, during the absence of Epaphras; but perhaps he was not of such a disposition as to be sufficiently diligent of himself without being stirred up. Paul, accordingly, would have him be more fully encouraged by the exhortation of the whole Church. He might have admonished him in his own name individually; but he gives this charge to the Colossians that they may know that they must themselves employ incitements, 3 if they see their pastor cold, and the pastor himself does not refuse to be admonished by the Church. For the ministers of the word are endowed with signal authority, but such at the same time as is not exempt from laws. Hence, it is necessary that they should shew themselves teachable if they would duly teach others. As to Paul's calling attention again 4 to his bonds, he intimates by this that he was in no slight degree afflicted. For he was mindful of human infirmity, and without doubt he felt some twinges of it in himself, inasmuch as he was so very urgent that all pious persons, should be mindful of his distresses. It is, however, no evidence of distrust, that he calls in from all quarters the helps that were appointed him by the Lord. The subscription, with his own hand, means, as we have seen elsewhere, that there were even then spurious epistles in circulation, so that it was necessary to provide against imposition. 5


1 See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 2:p. 78.

2 "Contrefaire et mettre en auant vne lettre comme escrite par sainct Paul aux Laodiciens, voire si sotte et badine;" -- "To forge and put forward a letter as if written by St. Paul to the Laodiceans, and that too so foolish and silly."

3 "Qu'eux -- mesmes aussi doyuent faire des remonstrances et inciter leur pasteur;" -- "That they must themselves employ remonstrances and stir up their pastor."

4 Paul had previously made mention of his bonds, in the 3d verse of the chapter. -- Ed.

5 "Que des lors on faisoit courir des epistres a faux titre, et sous le nom des seruiteurs de Dieu: a laquelle meschancete il leur estoit force de remedier par quelque moyen;" -- "That even then they put into circulation epistles under a false title, and in the name of the servants of God: to which wickedness he was under the necessity of employing a remedy by some means."