Colossians 4

Colossians 4:10

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him);

Barnabas was the first Christian in Jerusalem to recognize the hand of God on Saul’s life. Joseph Barnabas was a Levite from Cyprus (Acts 4:36). He became one of Saul’s closest friends and most important coworkers.

Colossians 4:12

Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

(a) Epaphras, who planted the church in Colossae (Col. 1:7), possibly heard the gospel from Paul while the apostle was based in Ephesus. Sometime later, Epaphras visited Paul in prison in Rome, perhaps to get Paul’s insight into the false teaching threatening his church (Col. 2:8, 16-23).

(b) A bondslave of Jesus Christ; see entry for Rom. 1:1.

Colossians 4:13

For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Laodicea and Hierapolis were two towns located close to Colossae in the Lycus Valley. In addition to his letter to the Colossians, Paul also sent a letter to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16). However, that letter has not survived.

Colossians 4:14

Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.

(a) Luke, the beloved physician wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Dr. Luke travelled with Paul and was with him in Rome when this letter was written.

(b) The beloved. See entry for Col. 1:7.

(c) Also Demas. Demas, a fellow worker, famously abandoned Paul in Rome leaving him with only Luke for company (2 Tim. 4:10-11).

Colossians 4:15

Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house.

(a) Brethren. In the New Testament, the word brethren typically refers to Christian brothers and sisters (see entry for Heb. 2:11).

(b) Nympha. At a time when the church only met in people’s homes, several women were recognized as church leaders. Priscilla was one (Rom. 16:3), Chloe was another (1 Cor. 1:11), and so was Nympha. We know very little about Nympha other than she lived somewhere in the Lycus Valley (Hierapolis?). Was she a pastor? Did she lead the church that met in her house? She must have done so, for Paul greets no one else in her church.

Colossians 4:16

When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea.

The church of the Laodiceans. There is no record that Paul visited either Laodicea or Colossae, but both churches were on his mind (Col. 2:1). He sent each church a letter instructing them to swap with the other once their own letter had been read. Sadly, his letter to the Laodiceans has not survived.

Colossians 4:17

Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

(a) Archippus, the son of Philemon (Phm. 1:2), was named as the first bishop of the church of Laodicea by Clement in his Apostolical Constitutions.

(b) Take heed to the ministry. In other words, “Do your job.” Was Archippus a discouraged pastor? Was he a bad bishop? We can only speculate. But it seems he may have been negligent in preach¬ing the gospel. If so, could this be the reason why the Laodicean church was so strenuously rebuked by the Lord? See entry for Rev. 3:14.

Colossians 4:18

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.

Paul sometimes finishes his letters by saying “the Lord be with you” (2 Th. 3:16), and sometimes he closes by saying “grace be with you” (Eph. 6:24; Col. 4:18; 1 Tim. 6:21). There is no difference (Phm. 1:25; 2 Tim 4:22). To have the Lord is to have his grace.

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