Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Colossians 4 (web)

4:1 Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal,
knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

 Praying and Behaving Wisely

4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving;
4:3 praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word,
to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds;
4:4 that I may reveal it as I ought to speak.

4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,
that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Final Greetings

4:7 All my affairs will be made known to you by Tychicus,
the beloved brother, faithful servant, and fellow bondservant in the Lord.
4:8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose,
that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,
4:9 together with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.
They will make known to you everything that is going on here.

4:10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas
(concerning whom you received commandments, "if he comes to you, receive him"),
4:11 and Jesus who is called Justus, who are of the circumcision.
These are my only fellow workers for the Kingdom of God, men who have been a comfort to me.

4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you,
always striving for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
4:13 For I testify about him, that he has great zeal for you,
and for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis.

4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you.

4:15 Greet the brothers who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the assembly that is in his house.

4:16 When this letter has been read among you,
cause it to be read also in the assembly of the Laodiceans;
and that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

4:17 Tell Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it."

4:18 The salutation of me, Paul, with my own hand: remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

Discussion Questions

vs 1 Is slavery sin?
vs 2 How would you characterize the lifestyle of a person you would consider to be devoted to prayer?
vs 3 Take time to pray for opportunities to evangelize, both for yourself and missionaries.
vs 4 Can you give an example of a clear presentation of the gospel?
vs 6 What does it mean for a conversation to be seasoned with salt? (Matt 5:13)
vs 7,8 What is it about your circumstances that you would like to share with others that will encourage their hearts?
vs 12 Who was Epaphras wrestling against? How would you put in your own words the three categories of things that he prayed for the Colossians?



Col 4:1
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Paul continues his instructions concerning vertical relationships. And while master-slave relationships such as was present back then may not be the case today, yet there are many similar relationships, such as boss-employee. The distinction being just a matter of degree.

In fact we as Christians have willingly entered into the ultimate master-slave relationship - namely our relationship with the Lord, as noted here "we have a Master in heaven". For "you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God" Rom 6:22a

And just as the Lord does, so also those in positions of authority are to be gracious to those under their authority. In Eph 6:9 Paul instructs masters concerning their servants, "Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him." Thus we have in the Lord Jesus a model of how authority should graciously exercise their authority.

Pray for an Open Door

Col 4:2-4 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

Though God knows what is best, in order for us to be involved with Him in the ministry God often withholds doing what is best until we have prayed about it. So get involved with God in His ministry by praying.

Now as "faith comes from hearing the message" Rom 10:17, it is essential people hear the message. But for them to hear one, of course needs messengers, and thus Jesus said, "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Mt 9:38 Secondly the messengers needs opportunities to share the message. Pray for that. And thirdly people's hearts need to be open to receive the message, such as when Paul shared the message to Lydia, "The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul." Acts 16:14

Furthermore, the manner in which the gospel should be preached is with boldness, free from the fear of man. Don't be intimidated when presenting the Word of God. Pray for the boldness of the messengers. For courage communicates conviction. "Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold." 2Cor 3:12 "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness." Acts 4:29  And likewise Paul requests in Ephesians 6:19,20 "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Be a Wise Guy

Col 4:5,6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

And again as Colossians is a reflection of Ephesians Paul instructs, "Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Eph 5:15,16

Realize here in Colossians this instruction follows Paul asking for prayer concerning an open door for evangelism. This should be the main thing on the mind of the saint with regards to opportunities. Makes most of opportunities for the purpose of evangelism.

For some, opportunities comes in the form of questions asked in view of our hope and our convictions lived in opposition to our circumstances. Peter writes, "Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." 1Peter 3:14-16 For "the heart of the righteous studies how to answer" Pr 15:28a

A Faithful Messenger

Col 4:7,8 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.

Tychicus is also mentioned in Acts 20:4, Eph 6:21, 2Tim 4:12, Titus 3:12 In Acts 20 we find him as one of Paul's traveling companions on his third missionary journey.  Ephesians, written almost concurrently with Colossians says almost the exact same thing. "Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you." Eph 6:21,22 And Paul made mention of sending 'Tychicus to Ephesus in 2Tim 4:12, when Paul was in jail in Rome, near the end of his life.

In that same letter in 2Timothy Paul noted that many of his team has abandoned him. "For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica——Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me." 2Tim 4:10,11 But Tychicus had continue to minister with him. That's what he means by "faithful". A Faithful minister who one who continues to minister faithfully through challenging difficulties. Such a person has himself been enouraged and thus has the capacity to encourage others.

Other Faithful Brothers

Col 4:9,10 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)

Onesimus was formerly the slave of Philemon (Philemon 1:10). He had run away and was converted by Paul who advised him to return to his master, but with the advice to Philemon to free him, which apparently he did. While God allowed forms of slavery under the Law of Moses, many don't realize that under the Law slaves who escaped their master were not to be forced to return. "If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand him over to his master. Let him live among you wherever he likes and in whatever town he chooses. Do not oppress him." Deut 23:15,16 Also from the fact that he mentions Onesimus indicates Paul was an old man at this time, as he mentioned in Philemon where he mentioned of Onesimus. "I then, as Paul— an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains." Phm 1:9b-10

Aristarchus was another who had travel with Paul, willing to face danger. In Ephesus he was seized by an angry mob for his faith. (Acts 19:29) He traveled with Paul as they escaped a plot by the Jews in Greece. (Acts 20:3) And he had associated with Paul at other times when in prisoned. (Phm 1:24) Pr 17:17 "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."

Interesting that Mark was mentioned. Paul actually had a falling out with Barnabus over Mark when Paul refused to take him along on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:37-39). What appeared to have happened on the first missionary journey was that Mark deserted them in Pamphylia, probably objecting to spreading of the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul was angry at this. However Mark appears to have changed his mind on the subject and became one of Paul's must trusted companions even to the end. "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." (2Tim 4:11). This is a testimony of God's ability to restore broken relationships in the body of Christ.

Wrestle in Prayer

Col 4:11-13 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Interesting also that Paul says that these three (Aristarcus, Justus, and Mark) were his only Jewish colaborers. What about the apostles? It is apparent that he thought of his ministry quite distinct from theirs, and that he was just referring to colaborers within his own ministry. But in fact, due to prejudice, very few Jewish Christians got involved in ministry to the Gentiles. In fact Peter and the other apostles - all Jews - had essentially washed their hands of Gentile Christians. "James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews." Gal 2:9 Have you noticed any people groups around your largely neglected due to prejudice?

Epaphras was actually the one who had first preached the gospel to the Colossians. His example of prayer is instructive in that the devout pray laboriously. Prayer is hard work. Prayer can be stressful. Jesus sweat blood in prayer. Yet I've notice prayers today more a matter of convenience and dominated with the shallow concerns of life. There's no depth to such prayer and little seriousness. And while prayers today are dominated by material concerns, most all of the prayers found in the New Testament letters make requests concerning spiritul things, such as here "that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured." So take time now to pray this.

See also Prayers of the New Testament Epistles.

Luke Warm

Col 4:14-16  Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

Luke, of course, wrote both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. The fact that in verse 11 he is not mentioned as among those of whom Paul said, "These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God", would lead one to believe Luke was a Gentile, but not conclusively. Luke was one of the most faithful to Paul, even compared to Demas here. For look consider what Paul later wrote to Timothy concerning these two.

"Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica——Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry." 2Tim 4:9-11

Though "loved" and "departed" are merely in the aorist, which only speaks of point in time events rather that characterizing one's lifestyle. But under stess, Demas broke and opted for the world, likely referring to being afraid to die with Paul due to the persecution he was suffering. Only Luke stayed. Though Paul called for Mark and Timothy to join him.

Verse 15,16 speaks of Laodicea. Realize while we call this the epistle to the Colossians, it was really written explicitly both to the Christians in Colossae and Laodicea. Laodicea later became infamous in Revelation chapter 3 as the luke warm church. Yet what the Lord told that church there later became one of the most utilized verses in evangelism today, namely, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Rev 3:20

Finish Your Work!

Col 4:17,18 Tell Archippus: "See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord." I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

According to Philemon 1:2, Archippus was having church meetings in his home. Who couldn't use a good kick in the pants to get on with their ministry. We're all procrastinators by nature. And we always need to be reminded and warned to finish our work.See that you complete the work that the Lord has given you.

"You, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 2Tim 4:5

And as was his custom, though he dictated most of his letters, he put his personal signurature on the end. Do you feel like you are in chains in your life? That's no excuse for not doing the ministry. For much of Paul's ministry he spent in chains.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015