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Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Colossians 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "Masters, give unto your servants" (hoi kurioi tois doulois parechesthe) "ye Masters, supply to your slaves," Christian servants not only owe obedience and subjection to their masters in the flesh but Masters also owe fair treatment; justice, equity and kindness to their servants, Micah 6:8; Luke 6:31.

2) "That which is just and equal" (to dikaion kai ten hisoteta) "The thing that is just and on basis of equality." The master should treat his servant as a brother in Christ, with respectful integrity, as he would like his servant to deal with him, Proverbs 20:7; Philippians 4:8.

3) "Knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven" (eidotes hoti kai humeis echete kurion en ourano) "perceiving that ye also have a Master in heaven," one to whom you must give account for every word and deed, Ephesians 6:9; Leviticus 25:42-43; Deuteronomy 15:11-18. Services contracted by an individual for himself or a member of his family was of Divine sanction under both the Jewish law and New Testament direction.

Limited bondage, slavery, or servitude, is still practiced though not as binding as it one time was, throughout the United States and in most parts of the world. For instance, (1) twenty-four hour contractual services of husbands and wives to businesses and corporations, (2) Fixed contractual sale of talent, time, and bodily availability to parties in the sports world, and (3) Armed Services, commitments and political commitments constitute varying forms of voluntary and/or compulsory servitude, a principal generally Bible approved.

Verse 2

1) "Continue in prayer" (te proseuche proskartereite) continue ye in the prayer (life)," persistently, progressively, never fainting, Luke 18:1-7. Persevere in and at prayer, Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; Hebrews 13:15.

2) "And watch in the same with thanksgiving" (gregorountes en aute en eucharistia) "Watching in (it, the prayer life) with gratitude, "thanksgiving. The watchfulness is to be against temptation and’ against losing one’s influence and rewards, Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41; 2 John 1:8; Ephesians 5:20; Ephesians 6:18.

Verse 3

1) "Withal praying also for us" (proseuchomenoi hama kai peri hemon) "praying together also concerning us," Romans 15:30-32, for deliverance, acceptable service, safe and a joyful trip.

2) "That God would open unto us a door of utterance,”(hina ho theos anoikse hemin thuran tou logou) “In order that God may open to us a door of the word;" Paul believed that God would hear and answer the prayers of individuals and churches for him, Acts 10:4; Acts 14:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 16:8; James 5:15-16.

3) "To speak the mystery of Christ" (Lalesai to musterion tou Christou) "to speak the mystery of Christ," In redemption of man, the universe, and the preaching of the gospel to all the world through the Church. Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:9-11; Ephesians 5:32; 1 Timothy 3:15-16.

4) "For which I am also in bonds" (di’ ho kai dedemai) Because of which I have indeed been bound," or "on account of which," the preaching of the gospel. Paul desired prayers of the Colossians that he might be freed from his prison chains to preach the gospel without bonds again, Philemon 1:22; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Ephesians 6:20; Colossians 4:18; 2 Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 10:34; Hebrews 13:3.

THE MINISTER’S PRAYER-BOOK: A once popular minister gradually lost his influence and congregation. The blame was laid entirely upon him. Some of his church officials went to talk with him on the subject He replied, "I am quite sensible of all you say; for I feel it to be true; and the reason of it is, I have lost my prayer-book." He explained: "once my preaching was acceptable; and many were edified by it, and members were added to the Church, which was then in a prosperous state. But we were then a praying people. Many joined in prayer that my preaching might be blessed to the conversion of sinners and to the edification of saints. This, by the blessing of God, made us prosper. Prayer was restrained, and the present condition of things followed. Let us return to the same means, and the same results may be expected." They followed the suggestion; and in a short time the minister was as popular as he had ever been, and the Church was in a flourishing state.

-Gray & Adams

Verse 4

1) "That I may make it manifest" (hina phaneroso auto) " In order that I may manifest it," the mystery of Christ, the gospel, through the Church, Ephesians 3:8-11; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 3:15-16; Titus 1:3.

2) "As I ought to speak" (hos dei me lalesai) "As it becomes or behooves me to speak" up and speak out, in the power of the spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:4-8; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 2:17. Paul felt that he had an obligation to speak the Word of the gospel with much boldness, even under bonds. Acts 4:13; Acts 4:29; Acts 4:31; Philippians 1:20.

Verse 5

1) "Walk in wisdom" (en sophia peripateite) "Walk ye, or conduct yourselves in wisdom;" as "sheep in the midst of wolves, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matthew 10:16-28; James 1:5; Ephesians 5:15.

2) "Toward them that are without" (pros tous ekso) toward the ones without or outside (the church)" those of the world, especially, so as not to lose their influence by making a bad impression of the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 3:7.

3) "Redeeming the time" (ton kaison eksagorazomenoi) "Redeeming the season, span of time" continually promoting the gospel, as a zealous salesman in a marketplace, crying favorably of his goods, Ephesians 5:16; Time is a commodity that once spent is gone forever. This awareness, children of God should daily be awake, Romans 13:11; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Galatians 6:10.

Verse 6

1) "Let your speech be always with grace" (ho logos humon pantote en chariti) "Let your speech be always in grace;" Our Lord so spoke, Luke 4:22, graciousness, pleasantness, in sweetness of disposition, to influence the unsaved especially, Proverbs 25:11; 2 Peter 3:18.

2) "Seasoned with salt" (halati ertumenos) "having been seasoned with salt;" with pleasant wit, to preserve from corruption, and make palatable, pleasant to the taste. Salt symbolized purity, durability, and hospitality. To eat bread and salt together was to make an unbreakable friendship, Matthew 5:13; Luke 14:34.

3) "That ye may know how ye ought to answer every man,"(eidenai pos dei humas eni hekasto apokrinesthai) to perceive how it behooves you to answer each one;" to respond with influence upon every person. To have fit speech, speech with grace, one must not only have fit words but also fit character, and a becoming disposition of attitude, to respond effectively in light-bearing and witnessing for the Master, to those who either inquire about or scoff at your faith, 1 Peter 3:15; Matthew 12:34-37; Luke 4:22, describes the graciousness of our Lord’s speech; and officers were impressed by his speech. John 7:46; Psalms 45:2.

Verse 7


1) "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you" (ta kat I eme panta gnorisei humin Tuchikos) "Tychicus will make known to you all the things about me;" Tychicus was from the province of Asia Minor, mentioned in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12.

2) "The beloved brother" (ho agapetos adelphos) "The beloved brother;" the term brother is usually taken to express his relation to the Church. See Ephesians 6:21.

3) "And faithful minister" (kai pistos diakonos) "and faithful minister, even a worker in common things," to help provide Paul’s physical needs. The term minister is derived from (Gk diakonos) meaning a physical helper in material things, needs. In such Tychicus had been faithful to Paul.

4) "And fellowservant in the Lord" (kai sundoulos en kurio) "colleague-slave in the Lord;" or fellowservant. Tychicus had been a very close slave-like intimate laborer with Paul in his prison ministry, and delivery of messages to sister churches who had supported him, 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12. He is also thought to have been imprisoned with Paul for a time, due to Paul’s use of this term (sundoulos). He had perhaps been arrested, imprisoned, and detained for a while, then released, after which he remained in Rome to work, witness and help care for Paul’s prison needs.

Verse 8

1) "Whom I have sent unto you" (hon epempsa pros humas) Whom I sent (on his way) to you all;" or "I am sending," with his permission or willingness. The term sending (epempsa) was used as "sending by influence" not by (Gk. stello) commission authority, John 20:27.

2) "For the same purpose" (eis auto touto) "For this very thing," the thing introduced in Colossians 4:7, to disclose to them his state or condition and encourage the brethren of Colosse, Ephesians 6:22.

3) "That he might know your estate" (hina gnote ta peri hemon) "in order that you all the things concerning us might now;" Paul wished to relieve the anxiety of the Colossians regarding his welfare,

4) "And comfort your hearts" (kai parakalese tas kardias humon) "and in order that he might comfort your heart;" or bring relief from anxiety of emotions to them, Colossians 2:2; Ephesians 6:22. This function was not given to Onesimus who was not a (sundoulos) fellowservant or colleague-slave in the Lord. The name of Tychicus occurs in inscriptions and on old coins in Asia Minor.

Verse 9

1) "With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother," (sun onesimo to pisto kai agapeto adelpho) This is the second of seven (7) brethren from Rome listed successively who sent or carried introductions and greetings to the Church at Colosse and other church brethren in Asia Minor. Tychicus and Onesimus were sent by Paul, as friends to greet the Church at Colosse, Philemon 1:10. He was the converted run away slave of Philemon.

2) "Who is one of you" (hos estin eks humon) "Who is of you," belongs to your city, where Philemon lived and in whose home or house a Church was meeting. Philemon 1:1-2.

3) "They shall make known unto you” (humin gnorisousin) ’They will make known to you, give you current information, bring you up to date on my (Paul’s state) of health and faith and that of his encounter with the Roman law.

4) "All things which are done here" (panta ta hode) "All the things (or matters) here;" things that had happened and were happening to their church in Rome, Colossians 4:7, and other companion missionaries and helpers to Paul.

Verse 10

1) "Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you’ (aspazetai humas Aristarchos ho sunaichmalotos mou) ’Aristarchus my fellow-captive greets you." This is the third friend and fellow prisoner of Paul whose introduction and greetings are sent; He is said to have been one of the 70 apostles, Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Acts 27:2; He was of the Church of Thessalonica of the Macedonia Association.

2) "And Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas" (Kai Markos ho anepsios Barnaba) "and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas," (greets you). This is the John Mark who on Paul’s first Missionary journey deserted Paul and Barnabas to stay among his relatives at Salamis on the Island of Cyprus, Acts 12:12; Acts 13:5; Acts 15:37; Acts 15:39.

3) "Touching whom ye received commandments" (peri hou elabete entolas) “concerning whom you all received commandments," of which nothing is known; Though John Mark was once a person of contention with Paul, he became a profitable helper to him in later life so that Paul desired his company in Rome, 2 Timothy 4:11.

4) "If he come unto you receive him" (ean elthe pros humas) "if he should come to you, of his own accord, receive him." Paul endorsed John Mark’s later ministry and desired that the Church at Colosse hear, receive, and help him. Galatians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 2:7-11; Galatians 6:6.

Verse 11

1) "And Jesus, which is called Justus" (kai lesous ho legomenos loustos) "And Jesus, the one being named (called) Justus." Nothing else is known of this person in the New Testament. Two other disciples named Justus were Joseph Justus, Acts 1:23; and Titus Justus, a Gentile of Corinth, Acts 18:7.

2) "Who are of the circumcision" (ho ontes ek peri tomes) "of the ones being of (the) circumcision," from among the Jews, having become Christian, missionary helpers to Paul.

3) "These only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God" (houtoi monoi sunergoi eis ten Basileian tou theou) "These only are my colleague-workers for the kingdom of God," from among the circumcision or Jews. These were not his only fellow-workers but his only ones from among the Jews.

4) "Which have been a comfort unto me" (oitines egenethesan moi paregoria) "who have voluntarily become a comfort to me," apparently during some special incident, Philippians 2:17-24, as Timothy was through so much of PauI’s ministry, to the end. 2 Timothy 4:1-8.

Verse 12

1) "Epaphras, who is one of you" (Epaphras ho Eks humon) "Epaphras (being) one of you all," a member of the Church and citizen of the city of Colosse, Colossians 1:7; Philemon 1:23.

2) "A servant of Christ, saluteth you" (doulos Christou lesou aspazetai humas) "a servant of Christ Jesus greets you;" though a fellow-prisoner with Paul Epaphras was a servant of Christ, not merely under persecution but also while in prison. The Gospel is not bound. 2 Timothy 2:9; Acts 16:31-34.

3) "Always laboring fervently for you in prayers” (pantote agonizomenos huper humon en tais proseuchais) "(is) always struggling or agonizing on behalf of you in the prayers (he offers)," John 12:26; James 5:16.

4) "That ye may stand perfect" (hina stathete teleioi) "in order that you may all stand complete" upright, or like a soldier, a sentry, for Christ and the Church, Matthew 5:48.

5) "And complete in all the will of God" (Kai peplerophoremenoi en panti thelemati tou theou) "and having been fully assured in all the will of God," Ephesians 5:17; Romans 12:2; Colossians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:12.

Verse 13

1) "For I bear him record" (marturo gar auto) "For I bear witness to him," offer testimony to his sincere care for you all in Asia Minor, especially in the Church at Colosse and other churches of the immediate associational area, Job 16:19; Philippians 1:8; 3 John 1:12.

2) "That he hath a great zeal for you” (hoti echei polun ponon huper humon) "That he has much care or distress on behalf of you." It is believed that Epaphras had been either founder of or a former teacher in the Church at Colosse, in which capacity he also visited sister churches in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

3) "And them that are in Laodicea" (kai ton en Laodikeia) "and for (on behalf of) the ones in Laodicea;" a sister church near Colosse, perhaps in local association with the Church at Colosse, 2 Timothy 4:10-11.

4) "And them in Hierapolis " (kai ton en Hierapolei) and (on behalf of) the ones in Hierapolis," a mineral springs city about 20 miles northwest of Colosse where a New Testament Church was also located. This indicates that there was an association of Churches in this area of Asia Minor in which both Paul and Epaphras were earnestly interested.

Verse 14

1) "Luke the beloved physician" (Loukas ho hiatros ho agapetos) "Luke the physician, the beloved one," the evangelist, Luke who wrote both the books of Luke and Acts, not one of the circumcision, Colossians 4:11. He was loyal to Paul to death, 2 Timothy 4:11.

2) "And Demas greet you" (Kai demas aspazetai humas) “and Demas greet all of you;” Demas later forsook, deserted, or betrayed Paul, 2 Timothy 4:10, returning to a life of worldly ease, in Thessalonica. He may have been the scribe who wrote this letter or assisted Timothy in writing it for Paul. Philemon 1:24.

Verse 15

1) "Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea" (aspasasthe tous en Laodikeia adelphous) "Greet ye the brothers in Laodicea;" or extend them our good will and prayers. These are the brethren referred to as the church of Laodicea, Colossians 4:16.

2) "And Nymphas" (kai Numphan) "and (greet ye) Nymphas," (personally). This Greek spelling (Numphan) may be either masculine or feminine, a matter unclear in the original, but he or she was to receive greetings.

3) "And the church which is in his house." (kai ten kat oikon autes ekklesian) "and (greet ye) the church at his or her house;" this is another example of a New Testament church that met for worship in a private home. This was perhaps a different church from the chief church of Laodicea, making two churches located in the same city.

Verse 16

1) "And when this epistle is read among you" (kai’ hotan anagnosthe par humin he epistole) "and whenever this epistle is read before, (alongside) you all;" you of the Church at Colosse.

2) "Cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans;" (poiesate hina kai en te Laodikeon ekklesia anagnosthe) "you do (whatever is necessary) in order that it be also read in the church of the Laodiceans." One of the seven churches of Asia to whom the Evangelist John directed a letter, 1 Thessalonians 5:27; Revelation 3:14.

3) "And that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea" (kai ten ek Laodikeias hina kai humeis anagnote) "and the one epistle of Laodicea (do whatever is necessary) in order that you all read it;" Paul thus instructed that these churches share by exchange letters received from him, as circulatory in nature, helpful to each church that might read them; thus, they might help to "bear one another’s burdens" and fulfill the love-law of Christ, Galatians 6:2; John 13:34-35.

Verse 17

1) "And say to Archippus" (kai epiate Archippo) and tell Archippus;" or encourage Archippus, a minister who may have been at Laodicea, Philemon 1:2.

2) "Take heed to the ministry" (Blepete ten diakonian) "look to (keep your eye on) the ministry;" put it first foremost always, as he admonished the elders gathered at Ephesus, Acts 20:28. Give yourself wholly to it, 1 Timothy 4:15.

3) "Which thou hast received in the Lord" (hen parelabes en kurio) "which thou receivedst, in (the) Lord" alongside or from the calling of the Lord,” 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:6; Acts 20:24.

4) "That thou fulfill it" (hina autea plerois) "in order that thou mayest fulfill it;" to fulfill the ministry, -- (a) fight the good fight, (b) finish the course laid out, and (c) to keep (guard) the faith, trust, or system of teachings committed to the ordained ministry, leads to great rewards, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, as surely as to "all them" that love the appearing of the Lord, Hebrews 9:27-28; 1 John 3:1-3.

Verse 18

1) "The salutation by the hand of me Paul" (ho aspasmos to eme cheiri Paulou) "The greeting by the hand of me, Paul," or by my hand; to attest canonicity or authenticity, Paul took the pen in hand from his Amanuensis and wrote the final verse, See Romans 16:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11.

2) "Remember my bonds" (mnemoneuete mou ton desmon) "you all remember my chain-bonds," or “cherish my memory and pray for me in these chains," or these chain-binding bonds, Hebrews 13:3; Hebrews 10:34; Matthew 25:36. To remember means not only to pray for but also to offer some physical help, such as food, clothes, reading material, James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17-18.

3) "Grace be with you" Amen. (he charis meth’ hemon) "The grace (be) with you," – Oh! the longing of Paul for the Spiritual well-being or welfare of others! How much this is like his farewell to the Ephesian brethren. Acts 20:32-35.


In the mind of the politician, the machinist, the man of science, the man of trade, or any of the numerous classes which spend their intellectual energies on the things of time and sense, the expected result of their operations must occupy the first place, since it furnishes the only efficient motive for their exertions. But the defender of religious truth acts in obedience to the principle of duty, and leaves the result with God. The men who are, by office, the special standard-bearers in the army of Christ, are bound to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," whether their efforts are likely to be accounted the greatest or the least in the annals of human achievement


Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Colossians 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/colossians-4.html. 1985.
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