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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Colossians: Chapter 4)

4:1 {That which is just and equal} (\to dikaion kai tēn
. Paul changes from \to ison\ (like \to dikaion\, neuter
singular adjective with article for abstract idea)
to the
abstract substantive \isotēs\, old word, in N.T. only here and
2Co 8:13f. If employers always did this, there would be no
labour problem. {A Master in heaven} (\Kurion en ouranōi\). A
wholesome reminder to the effect that he keeps his eye on the
conduct of masters of men here towards their employees.

4:2 {Continue steadfastly} (\proskartereite\). See Mr 3:9; Ac
2:42,46 for this interesting word from \pros\ and \karteros\
(strong), common in the _Koinē_. {Watching} (\grēgorountes\).
Present active participle of \grēgoreō\, late present made on
perfect active stem \egrēgora\ with loss of \e-\, found first in

4:3 {Withal} (\hama\). At the same time. {That God may open}
(\hina ho theos anoixēi\). Common use of \hina\ and the
subjunctive (aorist), the sub-final use so common in the N.T. as
in the _Koinē_. {A door for the word} (\thuran tou logou\).
Objective genitive, a door for preaching. It is comforting to
other preachers to see the greatest of all preachers here asking
prayer that he may be set free again to preach. He uses this
figure elsewhere, once of a great and open door with many
adversaries in Ephesus (1Co 16:9), once of an open door that he
could not enter in Troas (2Co 2:12). {The mystery of Christ}
(\to mustērion tou Christou\). The genitive of apposition, the
mystery which is Christ (2:2), one that puts out of comparison
the foolish "mysteries" of the Gnostics. {For which I am also in
(\di' ho kai dedemai\). Perfect passive indicative of
\deō\. Paul is always conscious of this limitation, this chain.
At bottom he is a prisoner because of his preaching to the

4:4 {As I ought to speak} (\hōs dei me lalēsai\). Wonderful as
Paul's preaching was to his hearers and seems to us, he was never
satisfied with it. What preacher can be?

4:5 {Toward them that are without} (\pros tous exō\). A Pauline
phrase for those outside the churches (1Th 5:12; 1Co 5:12f.).
It takes wise walking to win them to Christ. {Redeeming the time}
(\ton kairon exagorazomenoi\). We all have the same time. Paul
goes into the open market and buys it up by using it rightly. See
the same metaphor in Eph 5:16.

4:6 {Seasoned with salt} (\halati ērtumenos\). The same verb
\artuō\ (old verb from \airō\, to fit, to arrange) about salt in
Mr 9:50; Lu 14:34. Nowhere else in the N.T. Not too much salt,
not too little. Plutarch uses salt of speech, the wit which
flavours speech (cf. Attic salt). Our word salacious is this same
word degenerated into vulgarity. Grace and salt (wit, sense) make
an ideal combination. Every teacher will sympathize with Paul's
desire "that ye know how ye must answer each one" (\eidenai pōs
dei humas heni ekastōi apokrinesthai\)
. Who does know?

4:7 {All my affairs} (\ta kat' eme panta\). "All the things
relating to me." The accusative case the object of \gnōrisei\.
The same idiom in Ac 25:14; Php 1:2. {Tychicus} (\Tuchikos\).
Mentioned also in Eph 6:21 as the bearer of that Epistle and
with the same verb \gnōrisei\ (future active of \gnōrizō\) and
with the same descriptive epithet as here (\ho agapētos adelphos
kai pistos diakonos en Kuriōi\, the beloved brother and faithful
minister in the Lord)
except that here we have also \kai
sundoulos\ (and fellow-servant). Abbott suggests that Paul adds
\sundoulos\ because he had used it of Epaphras in 1:7. Perhaps
\pistos\ goes with both substantives and means faithful to Paul
as well as to Christ.

4:8 {I have sent} (\epempsa\). Epistolary aorist active
indicative of \pempō\ as in Eph 6:22. {That ye may know} (\hina
. Second aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of
\ginōskō\, "that ye may come to know." This the correct text, not
\gnōi\ (third singular). {Our estate} (\ta peri hēmōn\). "The
things concerning us." {May comfort} (\parakalesēi\). First
aorist active subjunctive. Proper rendering here and not "may

4:9 {Together with Onesimus} (\sun Onēsimōi\). Co-bearer of the
letter with Tychicus and praised on a par with him, runaway slave
though he is. {Who is one of you} (\hos estin ex humōn\). Said
not as a reproach to Colossae for having such a man, but as a
privilege to the church in Colossae to give a proper welcome to
this returning converted slave and to treat him as a brother as
Paul argues to Philemon.

4:10 {Aristarchus} (\Aristarchos\). He was from Thessalonica and
accompanied Paul to Jerusalem with the collection (Ac 19:29;
and started with Paul to Rome (Ac 27:2; Phm 1:24).
Whether he has been with Paul all the time in Rome we do not
know, but he is here now. {My fellow-prisoner} (\ho
sunaichmalōtos mou\)
. One of Paul's compounds, found elsewhere
only in Lucian. Paul uses it of Epaphras in Phm 1:23, but
whether of actual voluntary imprisonment or of spiritual
imprisonment like \sunstratiōtes\ (fellow-soldier) in Php 2:25;
Phm 1:2 we do not know. Abbott argues for a literal imprisonment
and it is possible that some of Paul's co-workers (\sun-ergoi\)
voluntarily shared imprisonment with him by turns. {Mark}
(\Markos\). Once rejected by Paul for his defection in the work
(Ac 15:36-39), but now cordially commended because he had made
good again. {The cousin of Barnabas} (\ho anepsios Barnabā\). It
was used for "nephew" very late, clearly "cousin" here and common
so in the papyri. This kinship explains the interest of Barnabas
in Mark (Ac 12:25; 13:5; 15:36-39). {If he come unto you,
receive him}
(\ean elthēi pros humas dexasthe auton\). This third
class conditional sentence (\ean\ and second aorist active
subjunctive of \erchomai\)
gives the substance of the commands
(\entolas\) about Mark already sent, how we do not know. But
Paul's commendation of Mark is hearty and unreserved as he does
later in 2Ti 4:11. The verb \dechomai\ is the usual one for
hospitable reception (Mt 10:14; Joh 4:45) like \prosdechomai\
(Php 2:29) and \hupodechomai\ (Lu 10:38).

4:11 {Jesus which is called Justus} (\Iēsous ho legomenos
. Another illustration of the frequency of the name
Jesus (Joshua). The surname Justus is the Latin _Justus_ for the
Greek \Dikaios\ and the Hebrew _Zadok_ and very common as a
surname among the Jews. The name appears for two others in the
N.T. (Ac 1:23; 18:7). {Who are of the circumcision} (\hoi ontes
ek peritomēs\)
. Jewish Christians certainly, but not necessarily
Judaizers like those so termed in Ac 11:3 (\hoi ek peritomēs\.
Cf. Ac 35:1,5)
. {These only} (\houtoi monoi\). "Of the
circumcision" (Jews) he means. {A comfort unto me} (\moi
. Ethical dative of personal interest. \Parēgoria\ is
an old word (here only in N.T.) from \parēgoreō\, to make an
address) and means solace, relief. A medical term. Curiously
enough our word paregoric comes from it (\parēgorikos\).

4:12 {Epaphras who is one of you} (\Epaphrās ho ex humōn\). See
1:7 for previous mention of this brother who had brought Paul
news from Colossae. {Always striving for you} (\pantote
agōnizomenos huper hēmōn\)
. See 1:29 of Paul. {That ye may
(\hina stathēte\). Final clause, first aorist passive
subjunctive (according to Aleph B) rather than the usual second
aorist active subjunctives (\stēte\) of \histēmi\ (according to A
C D)
. {Fully assured} (\peplērophorēmenoi\). Perfect passive
participle of \plērophoreō\, late compound, for which see Lu
1:1; Ro 14:5.

4:13 {And for them in Hierapolis} (\kai tōn en Hierāi Polei\).
The third of the three cities in the Lycus Valley which had not
seen Paul's face (2:1). It was across the valley from Laodicea.
Probably Epaphras had evangelized all three cities and all were
in peril from the Gnostics.

4:14 {Luke, the beloved physician} (\Loukas ho iatros ho
. Mentioned also in Phm 1:24; 2Ti 4:11. The author of
the Gospel and the Acts. Both Mark and Luke are with Paul at this
time, possibly also with copies of their Gospels with them. The
article here (repeated) may mean "my beloved physician." It would
seem certain that Luke looked after Paul's health and that Paul
loved him. Paul was Luke's hero, but it was not a one-sided
affection. It is beautiful to see preacher and physician warm
friends in the community. {Demas} (\Dēmas\). Just his name here
(a contraction of Demetrius), but in 2Ti 4:10 he is mentioned
as one who deserted Paul.

4:15 {Nymphas} (\Numphan\). That is masculine, if \autou\ (his)
is genuine (D E K L) after \kat' oikon\, but \Numpha\ (feminine)
if \autēs\ (her) is read (B 67). Aleph A C P read \autōn\
(their), perhaps including \adelphous\ (brethren) and so locating
this church (\ekklēsia\) in Laodicea. It was not till the third
century that separate buildings were used for church worship. See
Ro 16:5 for Prisca and Aquila. It is not possible to tell
whether it is "her" or "his" house here.

4:16 {When this epistle hath been read among you} (\hotan
anagnōsthēi par' humin hē epistolē\)
. Indefinite temporal clause
with \hotan\ (\hote an\) and the first aorist passive subjunctive
of \anaginōskō\. The epistle was read in public to the church
(Re 1:3). {Cause that} (\poiēsate hina\). Same idiom in Joh
11:37; Re 13:15. Old Greek preferred \hopōs\ for this idiom. See
1Th 5:27 for injunction for public reading of the Epistle.
{That ye also read} (\kai humeis anagnōte\). Second aorist active
subjunctive of \anaginōskō\, to read. {And the epistle from
(\kai tēn ek Laodikias\). The most likely meaning is
that the so-called Epistle to the Ephesians was a circular letter
to various churches in the province of Asia, one copy going to
Laodicea and to be passed on to Colossae as the Colossian letter
was to be sent on to Laodicea. This was done usually by copying
and keeping the original. See Eph 1:1 for further discussion of
this matter.

4:17 {Take heed} (\blepe\). Keep an eye on. {Thou hast received
in the Lord}
(\parelabes en Kuriōi\). Second aorist active
indicative of \paralambanō\, the verb used by Paul of getting his
message from the Lord (1Co 15:3). Clearly Archippus had a call
"in the Lord" as every preacher should have. {That thou fulfil
(\hina autēn plērois\). Present active subjunctive of
\plēroō\, "that thou keep on filling it full." It is a life-time

4:18 {Of me Paul with mine own hand} (\tēi emēi cheiri Paulou\).
More precisely, "with the hand of me Paul." The genitive \Paulou\
is in apposition with the idea in the possessive pronoun \emēi\,
which is itself in the instrumental case agreeing with \cheiri\.
So also 2Th 3:17; 1Co 16:21. {My bonds} (\mou tōn desmōn\).
Genitive case with \mnemoneuete\ (remember). The chain (\en
halusei\ Eph 6:20)
clanked afresh as Paul took the pen to sign
the salutation. He was not likely to forget it himself

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Colossians: Chapter 4)