Bible-Studys.ORG on Colossians 4
Colossians 4:7 "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, [who is] a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord:"
a beloved brother … a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord”: In describing Tychicus (believed to be the Colossians’ pastor), in such glowing terms, Paul puts his apostolic stamp of approval on him, so the church will accept his ministry as he deals with the current heresy.
Name means “Lucky!” The name means “fortuitous” or “fortunate.” He was one of the Gentile converts Paul took to Jerusalem as a representative of the Gentile Churches (Acts. 20:4).
He was a reliable companion of Paul and a capable leader, since he was considered as a replacement for Titus and Timothy on separate occasions (2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). He had the responsibility to deliver Paul’s letters to the Colossians, the Ephesians (Eph. 6:21), and Philemon (verse 9).
We see that Paul is sending Tychicus to them. Paul gives him a recommendation, when he calls him, beloved brother.
“Fellow servant”: We also see in this, that he was a capable minister. Perhaps, Paul had trained Tychicus as he traveled with him.
Colossians 4:8 "Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;"
Paul was very interested in what became of these Christians, and it appears that Tychicus was to bring a report back to Paul on their growth in the Lord. They had desired Paul to come, but since he was in chains, he sent Tychicus in his place. This showed the loving care of Paul for these people.
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."
“Onesimus”: The runaway slave whose return to his master was the basis for Paul’s letter to Philemon.
“With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you”: This prepares the Colossians for the return of Onesimus, the runaway slave who stole from his master Philemon, a prominent member in the Colossian church. Paul hopes this remark, along with the letter to Philemon, will gain for Onesimus, a new Christian, forgiveness and acceptance on the part of the church.
Onesimus was apparently a native of Colossae and the slave of Philemon. He fled from and probably robbed Philemon (Philemon 18). During his travels, he reaches Rome, hears the gospel, and is saved.
Paul then writes to Philemon exhorting him to restore Onesimus, not only as a slave, but as a brother in Christ. Paul uses this opportunity to teach both the position (Philemon), and the responsibility (chapter 3), of Christian slaves.
Jesus had taught them to send them out by twos. I believe that it was important for two to go out, so they could have the power of the prayer of agreement. I still believe that it would be much better, if two ministers could work together in a church.
Possibly, one of the reasons it was him going instead of someone else, is the fact that he knew the country.
Colossians 4:10 "Aristarchus ( ARIS-tarchus )my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)"
“Aristarchus”: The Greek name of a Jewish (verse 11), native of Thessalonica (Acts 20:4; 27:2). He was one of Paul’s companions who was seized by a rioting mob in Ephesus (Acts 19:29), and also accompanied Paul on his trip to Jerusalem and his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:2).
Aristarchus was a Thessalonian. It seems that he had gone to Rome with Paul. Whether he was in chains, or not, we cannot tell. Perhaps, he was just staying in the place where Paul was under house arrest. At any rate, he was with Paul.
“Marcus” will probably visit the Colossian assembly in the near future. The Colossians may be hesitant to welcome him, since he once abandoned Paul on the mission field (Acts 15:36-39). To ensure that this does not happen, Paul describes Marcus (John Mark) as the cousin of Barnabas, a highly-esteemed Christian, and gives the Colossians instructions to receive him.
This Marcus is the same one that had caused a division between Paul and Barnabus earlier. This is the same as John Mark who went with Paul on the first missionary journey. Sometime during the journey, he left Paul. It seems that this was several years after that happening (it could have been about ten years).
Mark, after having fallen out of favor with Paul for some time, he is seen here as one of Paul’s key helpers (2 Tim. 4:11).
The mother of John Mark was thought of very highly in the church in Jerusalem. It is good to know that Paul forgave him, and even recommends him here. Paul tells them to receive John Mark, if he comes, as a brother.
Colossians 4:11 "And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only [are my] fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me."
“Jesus which is called Justus”: Possibly one of the Roman Jews who believed Paul’s message (Acts 28:24).
“Who are of the circumcision” identifies Aristarchus, Marcus (verse 10), and Justus as Jewish Christians. Of all Jews converted to Christ, only these three are known to have been Paul’s fellow workers in the ministry.
The name Jesus was sometimes Joshua. It seems in this case, it is Justus, however. This name means just, or righteous. Notice this has to do with the Jews (of the circumcision). Paul is saying that these are brothers that are still with him here in Rome.
Colossians 4:12 "Epaphras, who is [one] of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."
“Epaphras”: The church at Colossae began during Paul’s 3 year ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19). Its founder was not Paul, who had never been there (2:1); but Epaphras (1:5-7), who apparently was saved during a visit to Ephesus, then likely started the church in Colossae when he returned home.
“That ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” means that “you may appear perfect and fully assured in all His will” (Luke 1:23, 29). This refers to the Colossians being ushered into God’s heavenly presence in a morally perfect state. When this someday occurs, their experience of progressive maturity and assurance will have preceded it.
“Perfect and complete”: His goal for the Colossian believers was the same as Paul’s (1:28 – 2:2).
It appears that Epaphras was a native of Colossae. It also appears that he was devoted to the work of Christ (servant of Christ). We see that he is sending greetings to his people in Paul's letter. There is no more important job in a church than the job of prayer intercessor. Any church is just as strong as the prayers that are prayed for it.
This is unusual in that the desire of the prayer is made known here. Paul says, the desire of the prayers was that they would be in the perfect will of God.
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."
Tychicus labored not only in the Colossian assembly, but also in the churches at Laodicea and Hierapolis. These cities were six miles apart and 12 miles from Colossae.
Laodicea was the seventh of the Asian cities addressed (in Revelation 2 and 3). It lay at the junction of east-west and north-south highways and in a fertile valley. It was located some distance from the other cities of Revelation, but was close to Colossae, being 11 miles northwest of that town (see note on 2:1).
Whereas Colossae was declining during the New Testament era, Laodicea was prospering and was noted for its black wool, medicinal powder, and banking. Laodicea did not possess its own water supply. Rather, water had to be piped through huge cubical blocks of stone from distant hot springs, and it arrived lukewarm.
In A.D. 60 the city, along with the neighboring towns of Colossae and Hierapolis, was greatly damaged by an earthquake. Of the seven churches of Revelation, Paul mentions only Ephesus and Laodicea. The church at Laodicea (like Colossae), was no doubt established by Paul’s coworkers while he was in Ephesus (Acts 19:10; Col. 2:1).
Paul also mentions a letter “from Laodicea” (verse 16), which the Colossian church was to read. This phrase omits of several interpretations, among them:
(1) A letter to Paul from them;
(2) A letter written by Paul from Laodicea;
(3) The letter to Philemon who may have lived in Laodicea; and
(4) The epistle known as Ephesians.
The church in Laodicea is mentioned in Revelation as one of the 7 churches. It seems they had fallen to a lukewarm condition at that time. It seems that Epaphras’ prayers were needed for this church. Perhaps, Epaphras was the one who started these churches, or perhaps he was an overseer. The Scripture does not say. We do know that he had great concern for them.
“Hierapolis”: A city in Phrygia 20 miles west of Colossae and 6 miles north of Laodicea.
Colossians 4:14 "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you."
Of all the individuals mentioned (in verse 7-14), only “Demas” is given no commendation by Paul. Perhaps Paul already senses some glaring flaw in his character. This verse may well foreshadow (2 Tim. 4:1), where “Luke, the beloved physician,” has remained loyal to Paul, but Demas has forsaken him.
Demas was a man who demonstrated substantial commitment to the Lord’s work before the attraction of the world led him to abandon Paul and the ministry (2 Tim. 4:9-10; Philemon 24).
“Luke”, mentioned by name only three times in the New Testament (verse 14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philemon 24), was nevertheless an important individual in early church history. Though not identified by name in his writings, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts for the following reasons:
(1) The author places himself with Paul on three occasions in Acts, which are indicated by the author’s use of “we” instead of “they” and other third-person references to the group. Of Paul’s companions, only Titus and Luke could have been with him on these occasions.
(2) The author demonstrates a knowledge of medicine. Luke was a physician (verse 14).
(3) Early traditions unanimously concur that Luke was the author of both acts and the third gospel.
Though he was a Gentile, he authored more of the New Testament than even Paul, writing over 28 percent of it. Many, including the early church historian Eusebius, identify Antioch of Syria as Luke’s home, which might explain why the Book of Acts gives much space to events in that city.
Luke enters the narrative of Acts when he joins Paul at Troas during the second journey (Acts 16:10). He remains with Paul only briefly, because when Paul leaves Philippi, Luke seemingly stays behind (Acts 16:40). At the end of Paul’s third journey, five years later, Luke rejoins Paul as he passes through Philippi (Acts 20:5-6).
Luke later continues with Paul on his way to Rome and during the two-year imprisonment (Acts 27, 28; Philemon 23, 24). Several years later, after Paul’s re-imprisonment in Rome, Luke supports him to the end (2 Tim. 4:11). Tradition says that Luke subsequently served the Lord in Greece until his death at the age of 84.
2 Timothy 4:11 "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."
Luke and Paul were good friends. This Demas is possibly, the one from (2 Timothy), that had forsaken Paul. At any rate, Paul did not give him a recommendation.
Colossians 4:15 "Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house."
While Paul greets all Laodicean Christians, he especially singles out “Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” If the church of Laodicea was too large for any one house, this likely refers to that part of it meeting in the house of Nymphas. (Church buildings set apart solely for church activities were not used until much later).
It appears that Nymphas was a man, or woman, who had turned their house into a church. Most Bible scholars believe this Nymphas to be a woman, and not a man. It really does not matter. The important thing is whoever it was, he or she was devoted to God. This person (male or female), was a leading member of the Laodicean church.
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”: This letter was to be publicly read in the churches in Colossae and in Laodicea.
“Epistle from Laodicea”: A separate letter from Paul, usually identified as the epistle to the Ephesians. The oldest manuscripts of Ephesians do not contain the words “in Ephesus,” indicating that likely it was a circular letter intended for several churches in the region. Tychicus may have delivered Ephesians to the church at Laodicea first.
This letter is more of a general nature, and it appears that it should be read in all the churches in this area.
Colossians 4:17 "And say to Archippus, (ar-KIP-us) Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it."
“Archippus”: Most likely the son of Philemon (Philemon 2). Paul’s message to him to fulfill his ministry is similar to the exhortation to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5).
“Take heed to the ministry” can be interpreted in one of two ways:
(1) It is a rebuke to Archippus for failing to finish his Christian service; or
(2) It may be Paul’s way of informing the Colossian church of his approval on Archippus’ ministry, and the church was to let him finish it.
It appears from this, that Archippus had an important job in the church at Laodicea. Whether he was pastor, we cannot say. It does appear that he has been discouraged, and Paul is telling him to stay in there and do the work that God has called him to do. Paul also says in this, that he was chosen of God for this job, he had not appointed himself.