Colossians 4:2-4:18

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Text: Colossians 4:2-18

CONCLUDING EXHORTATIONS

II. CONCLUDING EXHORTATIONS - 4:2-6

As Paul begins to conclude his letter to the Colossian believers, he exhorts them to do a number of things without elaborating at length on any of them. They are to continue in prayer (4:2), to pray for Paul (4:3-4), to conduct their lives wisely before unbelievers (4:5), to make the most of the time they have (4:5), and to be very careful not only in what they say but also in how they say it (4:6).

Colossians 4:2-6 - 2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Continue in prayer means be persisting in prayer, be persevering in prayer, or be busying yourselves with prayer.

And watch means be vigilant, be on the alert, be wide awake, or be watchful; and it corresponds closely to the phrase, Keep your eyes open. It implies that the believers are to be spiritually alert.

In the same is literally in it and means in prayer.

With thanksgiving indicates that thanksgiving is to accompany the believer's prayer as well as his staying alert spiritually.

Colossians 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Withal denotes the coincidence of two actions occurring at the same time meaning at the same time or together.

While the believers at Colosse are to continue in prayer and to be spiritually awake with thanksgiving, they are also to be praying for Paul.

The content of the Colossian believers' prayer is: that God would open unto us a door of utterance.

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

God (the Father)would open is God might open (or may open). God leads through open and closed doors, and believers do not always fully understand what God is doing. It is up to God whether He opens this door of opportunity or another door of opportunity.

Unto us is to us or for us and refers to Paul himself.

A door of utterance implies an opportunity for verbal testimony.

Of utterance is of the word, for the word, or for the message and implies for the gospel message. Paul's desire is that he be given the opportunity to proclaim the gospel freely.

To speak shows purpose and means in order that (or for the purpose that) I might speak. What Paul desires to speak is the mystery of Christ, i.e. the mystery about Christ. It is something which has been hidden from view in the past but is now clear to all. It refers to the gospel of Christ, which produces salvation in the lives of those who receive it.

For which is because of which.

I am . . . in bonds is referring to his present imprisonment in Rome. It is understood to mean I am bound or I am in prison.

Colossians 4:4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

That (i.e. in order that or for the purpose that) I (i.e. the Apostle Paul) may make it (i.e. the mystery about Christ = the gospel message) manifest is that I may make it known.

As I ought to speak is a comparative clause which means in the manner that I ought to speak or just as I ought to speak. It is Paul's desire that he be able to speak the gospel openly, freely, and clearly; and he wants people to pray for him in order that he might be given this opportunity. Paul had an inner compulsion to proclaim the gospel, but he needed an opportunity and an audience.

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Walk means live (or conduct) your lives or be (i.e. continue or keep on) living (or conducting your lives).

In wisdom indicates the sphere or realm in which believers are to be walking, living, or conducting their lives and is understood in the sense of wisely.

Toward them that are without is toward the ones outside and refers to unbelievers. They are not part of the local church because they have never been born again.

Redeeming means buying, buying out, or buying back. In this context it means simply making the most use of.

What the believers are to redeem is the time. A person only has so much time in life, and he will eventually run out of it. Consequently, he must make the most of whatever time or opportunities he has to live for and serve the Lord.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Let your speech be is your speech must be.

Alway is always or at all times.

With grace seasoned with salt indicates that a believer's speech should always be appropriate, regardless of the situation.

With grace implies that grace must be associated with or accompany one's speech and indicates the manner of his speaking.

The tense of seasoned with salt indicates an action completed in the past whose results have continued on, indicating a state of being.

Sometimes salt stings or hurts a little. This implies that the speech may sometimes sting or hurt a little.

Sometimes salt is curative, which implies that a believer's speech should cure certain ills or heal.

Sometimes salt is used as a preservative to keep meats from spoiling. The believer's speech should also be used in this manner in order to keep the speech or the conversations in which believers are engaged from deteriorating into something characterized by corruption.

That (i.e. in order that or for the purpose that) ye (i.e. you) may know (i.e. might be knowing in the sense of might be seeing, might be perceiving, or might be recognizing.

How ye ought to answer (i.e. how you must reply to) every man (i.e. every one or every person). The actual answer may be somewhat different under differing circumstances or to different individuals.

The believers must be able to handle every situation which arises so that their speech is seasoned with salt but is always characterized by grace as well.

III. Conclusion - 4:7-18

In verses 7-9 Paul draws his letter to a close by mentioning that he had sent Tychicus and Onesimus to Colosse, carrying this letter with them. Aristarchus, Marcus, Jesus called Justus, Epaphras, Luke and Demas, who are with Paul at the time he writes Colossians, send greetings to the Colossian believers (4:10-14). Finally, Paul himself sends greetings and blessings (4:15-18).

1. Tychicus and Onesimus - Colossians 4:7-9

Tychicus and Onesimus, the bearers of this epistle, have been sent with it by Paul to Colosse. Tychicus is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord. He has been sent to learn firsthand what was happening in Colosse and how the Colossian believers were faring as well as to encourage them in the Lord. Tychicus has been accompanied by Onesimus. Together, Tychicus and Onesimus will make known to the Colossian believers how things are going with Paul.

Colossians 4:7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:

All my state means everything that is going on with me or all that is happening with me.

Shall Tychicus declare is shall Tychicus make known or shall Tychicus reveal.

Tychicus is described as who is a beloved brother and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord.

Beloved indicates a close relationship and suggests dearly loved or dear.

By brother Paul indicates that Tychicus is a fellow believer or fellow member of the family of God.

And a faithful (i.e. reliable, trustworthy, dependable, or one who inspires trust or confidence) minister (or servant).

And a fellowservant or a fellow slave. Along with the Apostle Paul and others in the church at Colosse as well as many believers living in many places in the world, Tychicus had voluntarily enslaved himself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, like the Colossian believers, he had surrendered himself once and for all time to live for the Lord Jesus Christ. As a slave of Jesus Christ, his only desire and purpose in life was to do his Master's bidding.

In the Lord suggests in the person of the Lord and means as a Christian and is understood with all three terms describing Tychicus as a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant.

Colossians 4:8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;

Whom refers to Tychicus.

I have sent is literally I sent. Actually, at the time Paul was writing this, he had not yet sent Tychicus to the church at Colosse because Tychicus is one of the ones who will carry this letter to the Colossians, as well as letters to the Ephesians, the Laodiceans, and Philemon. I have sent has been placed in a past tense because, although Paul had not yet actually sent him, by the time Tychicus would arrive in Colosse with this epistle, he would already have been sent by Paul. Have sent is understood from the perspective of the reader rather than from the perspective of the writer. This is common in Greek.

For the same purpose is literally unto the same thing and means for this very reason.

Paul's purpose in sending Tychicus is that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts.

That is understood as in order that or for the purpose that.

He (i.e. Tychicus) might know means he might learn of (ascertain or find out).

What Paul wants Tychicus to find out is your estate is the things concerning you or the things about you. Paul wants to find out how the Colossian believers are doing.

And introduces a second thing Paul wants Tychicus to do: comfort your hearts. Might is also understood with comfort. By might . . . comfort your hearts Paul means might encourage you or might cheer you up.

What Paul wants comforted, encouraged, or cheered up is your hearts, an example of a part being used to represent a whole. By hearts, Paul means you; and he wants this encouragement to be deep down in the innermost recesses of these Colossian believers' lives.

Colossians 4:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.

Verse 9 indicates that Tychicus will not be coming to Colosse alone, but that he will be coming with (i.e. together with) Onesimus.

Onesimus is the runaway slave who had fled from his master Philemon who lived in Colosse; and when he fled, he apparently stole something from Philemon. Somehow Onesimus had made his way to Rome where he met none other than the Apostle Paul. How he happened to meet Paul is not clear; but it suggests that inasmuch as the Apostle Paul was in prison, somehow Onesimus may have found himself in prison as well. In the course of events, Onesimus was saved; and Paul determined to send him back to his master Philemon. All of this is made clear in the epistle to Philemon, which Tychicus and Onesimus also carried to Colosse.

Onesimus is described as a faithful and beloved brother.

By faithful Paul means trustworthy, reliable, or dependable.

Who is one of you is literally who is of you and implies that he had come from among these people living in Colosse.

They (i.e. Tychicus and Onesimus) shall make known unto you means shall reveal to you or shall cause you to know. It is predictive of something which is certain to happen.

Unto you is simply to you Colossian believers.

What Tychicus and Onesimus will make known to the Colossian believers is all things which are done here. This phrase is literally all the things here. Paul is going to have Tychicus and Onesimus bring the Colossian believers up to date with all the news about how his imprisonment and trial are going.

2. Greetings from Paul's Fellow Laborers - Colossians 4:10-14

Aristarchus, Marcus, Jesus called Justus, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas, who are all with Paul as he writes Colossians, send their greetings to the believers in Colosse. Aristarchus is Paul's fellow prisoner, and Mark is Barnabas' cousin (4:10). Jesus called Justus, a third Jew, likewise sends greetings to the Colossian believers (4:11). Epaphras, who labors fervently for the Colossian believers in prayers that they might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, sends greetings also (4:12). He is zealous for the believers in Colosse as well as for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis (4:13). Finally, Luke and Demas send greetings (4:14).

Colossians 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)

Aristarchus is mentioned by name. He is first seen in Acts 19:29 in Ephesus, where we learn that he was from Macedonia, that he was one of Paul's traveling companions, and that he was caught by the mob and forced into the theater.

When Paul was being transported as a prisoner to Rome, Aristarchus was with him. He is also identified as a Macedonian from Thessalonica.

Aristarchus is described as my fellowprisoner, which suggests that he and Paul had spent time together in prison, most likely in Rome, although the text does not specifically state where they had been imprisoned together.

Saluteth you is greets you.

Marcus or Mark, the writer of the gospel which bears his name. He had accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey; but for some reason which was never fully explained in the New Testament, he had abandoned Paul and Barnabas and had returned from that missionary journey. As a consequence, when Paul and Barnabas were ready to go on a second missionary journey, Barnabas insisted on taking Mark with him a second time, but Paul said, No; and he said no so strongly that he and Barnabas split up and never took another missionary trip together.

Marcus is described as sister's son (i.e. cousin) to Barnabas.

Touching whom is concerning whom (i.e. concerning Mark).

Ye is you Colossian believers.

Received commandments is received orders or commands. Somehow the Colossian believers had already received instructions from Paul regarding Mark.

If he come unto you implies uncertainty about whether Mark will actually come to the Colossian believers.

But if Mark should happen to come, the Colossian believers are to receive him, which implies that they are to welcome him and look after him.

Colossians 4:11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

Jesus which is called Justus. Justus is a surname for this man named Jesus. Similarly, John Mark was named John and had a surname of Mark.

Who are of the circumcision means that Aristarchus, Marcus (or Mark), and Jesus called Justus are Jews.

These only is these alone and implies these and no others or these rather than others.

Are my fellowworkers means (are my) helpers.

Unto the kingdom of God implies unto the royal power (or rule) of God and suggests it was in the proclamation of the gospel message itself that these men were Paul's helpers.

Which refers to the quality of the individuals mentioned and is understood as such ones who or who to be sure.

Which have been means such ones who were or who to be sure became. What they were, became, or have become is a comfort unto me, i.e. a source of encouragement to me. Although many other Jews had been a comfort or encouragement to Paul at other times, they were not available to be a comfort or source of encouragement to him at this time. As a consequence, these three Jews are singled out as having been with Paul and having been enabled to be a comfort or source of encouragement to him.

Just as they were an encouragement to Paul, we need to seek to be an encouragement to others.

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

According to Colossians 1:7 , Epaphras appears to have been the one who established the local church in Colosse. He had come from Colosse and had declared unto Paul the Colossians' love for Paul. Now Epaphras is sending greetings back to the church at Colosse.

Who is one of you is the one from you or the one out from among you. It means that Epaphras was one of the Colossian believers. However, circumstances had placed Epaphras in Rome; so, he was saying hello to his friends at home.

Epaphras is described as a servant of Christ, i.e. a slave of Christ. Epaphras had voluntarily enslaved himself to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was his desire in life to do his Master's bidding.

Saluteth you is greets you or sends you greetings.

Always is at all times and describes labouring fervently, which describes Epaphras. It means striving, fighting, or struggling. Although it is used of any struggle, it suggests wrestling.

For you is on behalf of you Colossian believers.

In prayers indicates where Epaphras is fighting, struggling, or wrestling on behalf of the Colossian believers.

That (i.e. in order that or for the purpose that) ye (i.e. you Colossian believers) may stand (i.e. may appear) perfect (i.e. fully developed) and complete (i.e. filled full) in all the will of God (i.e. in everything God desires for you in His perfect plan for your lives).

Colossians 4:13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.

I bear him (i.e. Epaphras) record is I bear witness to him or I am a witness to him.

The content of Paul's testimony about Epaphras is that he hath (i.e. has) a great (i.e. strong, deep, or profound) zeal for (concerning or on behalf of) you Colossian believers, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.

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

Luke is the writer of the Gospel of Luke as well as The Acts of the Apostles. He is described as the beloved (i.e. dear or dearly loved) physician (i.e. medical doctor).

And introduces another person sending greetings: Demas. At this time, Demas was apparently living for the Lord.

Later on he will be seen in II Timothy 4:10 to have abandoned Paul. II Timothy 4:10 says, For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica. This later incident would occur approximately four to five years after the writing of Colossians.

Greet you means that both Luke and Demas are sending greetings to the Colossian believers. Greet is the same term translated saluteth in verses 10 and 12.

3. Greetings and Blessings from Paul - Colossians 4:15-18

Finally, Paul asks the believers in Colosse to greet fellow believers in Laodicea, Nymphas, and the church in Nymphas' house (4:15). Paul also asks that his letter to the Colossians be read in the church of the Laodiceans and that their letter from Paul be read in the church of the Colossians (4:16). Furthermore, Paul asks the Colossian believers to tell Archippus to be certain to fulfill the ministry to which he has been called. Paul then writes the final greeting with his own hand in which he asks the Colossian believers to remember his bonds while he wishes grace upon them (4:18).

Colossians 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

Salute means that the Colossian believers are to greet or be greeting some.

The ones that they are to greet are the brethren which are in Laodicea, the fellow believers who are from the town of Laodicea. The proximity of Laodicea to Colosse would make it possible, as well as practical, for the Colossian believers to greet the Laodicean believers on behalf of the Apostle Paul.

They are also to greet Nymphas as well as the church which was in his house. Except for what is stated in this passage, nothing is known about Nymphas. He may have been the pastor of the church in Laodicea to which he opened his home.

Colossians 4:16 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.

When this epistle is read among you is whenever this epistle is read aloud to you (or read publicly before you).

When (or whenever) implies certainty regarding the fact that this epistle will eventually be read publicly, but it implies uncertainty regarding the time when this is going to occur.

Cause is the word ordinarily translated do or make. Here it is used in the sense of cause this to happen.

That it (i.e. this letter to the Colossians) be read (aloud or in public) also in the church of the Laodiceans (i.e. in addition to its being read in the church at Colosse.

And that ye (i.e. you Colossian believers) likewise (i.e. also) read the epistle from Laodicea.

Colossians 4:17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

What is to be said, spoken, or asserted to Archippus is take heed to (i.e. watch out for, look out for, consider, or note) the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Archippus needs to direct his attention to the ministry or to keep his attention directed toward the ministry. Its tense indicates that its activity may already be in progress and be understood in the sense be (i.e. continue or keep on) taking heed to (watching out for, looking out for, considering, or noting) the ministry.

Paul makes another reference to Archippus in Philemon 2 where Archippus is referred to as our fellowsoldier. Inasmuch as Archippus was admonished to take heed to the ministry which he had in the Lord that he fulfill it, one may conclude that Archippus may have been the pastor of the church in Colosse.

Which you have received in the Lord suggests which you received (or took over) in the Lord.

That (i.e. in order that or for the purpose that) thou fulfill it is connected with take heed.

Thou is you (singular) and refers to Archippus.

Fulfill it is understood in the sense of complete it or perform it. Its present tense indicates that he may have already been doing what he was supposed to be doing and that he was being urged to keep on doing it in the sense of be (i.e. keep on or continue) fulfilling it, completing it, or performing it.

Archippus is not necessarily being admonished for failing to do what he should have been doing. Archippus is being told to be sure to carry out (or keep on carrying out) the ministry with which he has been entrusted in the Lord's service.

Colossians 4:18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

The salutation is the greeting.

By the hand of me Paul implies that the salutation has been written in Paul's own handwriting. This suggests that Paul may have written only verse 18 and that an amanuensis, scribe, secretary, or penman may actually have written the rest of this letter while Paul dictated it.

Remember my bonds admonishes the Colossian believers to remember that he is a prisoner and to pray for him. They are not to forget about him just because he is not able to be present with them.

Grace, i.e. unmerited (or undeserved) favor, be with you expresses Paul's wish for the Colossian believers.

Amen, which means truly or so be it, concludes the epistle.