Colossians 4:2-18

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Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

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

Observations

  • The Colossians were to continue in prayer.
  • They were to continue steadfastly in prayer.
  • They were to be watchful in prayer.
  • They were to pray with thanksgiving.
  • They were to pray for Paul and his party.
  • They were to pray that God would provide an opening to the word.
  • They were to pray that for an opening so Paul and his party could declare the mystery of Christ.
  • There is a mystery in Christ.
  • Paul was in prison because of the mystery of Christ.
  • They were to pray that Paul may make the mystery of Christ clear.
  • Paul ought to speak to make the mystery of Christ clear.
  • The Colossians were to walk with wisdom towards outsiders.
  • The Colossians were to make the best use of the time they had.
  • Their speech was always to be gracious.
  • Their speech is to be seasoned with salt.
  • They were to speak graciously so that they may know how they were to answer everyone.
  • Tychicus would tell the Colossians about Paul’s activity.
  • Trychicus was beloved brother.
  • Trychicus was a fellow servant of the Lord with Paul.
  • Trychicus was a faithful minister of the Lord.
  • Paul sent Trychicus to let the Colossians know about his activities.
  • Paul sent Trychicus to encourage the Colossians.
  • Paul sent Trychicus to let the Colossians know how he was.
  • Paul sent Onesimus with Trychicus.
  • Onesimus was a faithful brother.
  • Onesimus was one of the Colossians.
  • Aristarchus was a prisoner with Paul.
  • Mark was a cousin of Barnabas.
  • The Colossians had received instructions about Mark.
  • If Mark came to the Colossians they were to welcome him.
  • Aristarchus, Mark and Jesus called Justus sent greetings.
  • Aristarchus, Mark and Jesus called Justus were Jews.
  • Aristarchus, Mark and Jesus called Justus were the only Jews with Paul.
  • Aristarchus, Mark and Jesus called Justus were a comfort to Paul.
  • Epaphras was one of the Colossians.
  • Epaphras is referred to in Chapter 1 as having taught the Colossians.
  • Epaphras sends greetings.
  • Epaphras prayed for the Colossians.
  • Epaphras was a servant of Christ.
  • Epaphras prayed that the Colossians would stand mature.
  • Epaphras prayed that the Colossians would be fully assured in all the will of God.
  • Paul was a witness that Epaphras worked for both the Colossians and those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
  • Luke, the physician sent greetings.
  • Demas sent greetings.
  • The Colossians were to send Paul’s greeting to the church at Laodicea.
  • The Colossians were to send Paul’s greeting to Nympha and to the church that met in her house.
  • Once the letter was read to the Colossians they were to send it to the church at Laodicea.
  • Paul wrote a letter to Laodicea.
  • The Colossians were to read the letter he wrote to the Laodiceans.
  • Archippus was to fulfill the ministry he received from the Lord.
  • Paul asked that they remember his chains.
  • Paul wrote the final greeting with his own hand.

Interpretation

Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison. Clearly that it was an unpleasant experience. Yet Paul does not ask for them to appeal to any earthly authority, judge, or ruler. He asks them to pray. Paul, the apostle Paul, asks that the Colossians pray for him. He was in need and coveted their prayers. Even so he does not ask them to pray for his release or that he is delivered from danger. He does not ask them to pray that he can bear up under the circumstances. He asks that they pray that he can speak the word of God clearly and plainly for he can only speak as directed and aided by the Lord. He calls the gospel the mystery of Christ which is why it must be spoken of clearly. Lastly, he mentions his danger.

Paul’s instructions are that the Colossians too may speak plainly and clearly with wisdom to those who are outside the faith.

Paul sent a Trychicus and Onesimus with this letter. This is a demonstration of his concerns for the Colossians and the gospel. For while he is in prison and in danger of losing his life he none-the-less sent Tychicus to let them know what is happening. Paul’s love is further demonstrated by his addressing Onesimus. Onesimus was a slave and thief. But here Paul calls him, “our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.”

Onesimus was probably also carrying the letter Paul wrote to Philemon where he refers to Onesimus. “I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.” Philemon verse 10

Application

We are commanded us to pray for each other. This is nothing less than an exercise of love. We should not only pray for each other, but we should also, diligently to seek the prayers of others.

Paul refers to those who are unbelievers as “outsiders.” Why is Paul concerned about those outside the community of believers? There are three reasons. First, “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind. (Leviticus 19:14) We should be careful not to drive unbelievers from bad to worse by wounds we inflect because of our carelessness. They then would hold Christianity and therefore Christ in more and more in abhorrence. Secondly, we are not to give any reason to detract from the honor and glory of the gospel. If so, the name of Christ would be dishonored and persons would be rendered more hostile toward the gospel. Finally, when we mix with unbelievers in day to day living, we are not defiled by their pollutions, and little by little become profane.

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