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Bible Commentaries
Colossians 4

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Masters. This is part of the thought in the previous chapter. Slave owners, foremen, managers, etc., are to be fair with those they have authority over, and treat them like human beings. The whole world and everything in it changes for the one who is in Christ!

Verse 2


Be persistent in prayer. Make prayer a regular habit (see Luke 18:1; Acts 1:14; Ephesians 6:18). God knows our prayer (Revelation 8:3-4). Keep alert. Examine your motives (James 4:3). Also, prayer is not a “substitute” for action (Matthew 25:1-13). With thanks to God. Let your thanks rise up to God like the “sweet smell of incense” (Revelation 5:8).

Verse 3


Pray also for us. Ask God to give a good opportunity to preach Christ! Note the spirit of this. To tell the secret of Christ. The Good News of God’s act in Christ to set men free! It was a secret until it was revealed. (See 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; 1 Corinthians 4:1; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 1:26; Colossians 2:2.) In prison. See notes on Ephesians 6:20; Philippians 1:7.

Verse 4


To make it clear. Paul had to speak to be understood (compare 1 Corinthians 14:19) to show people how to be set free from their sins.

Verse 5


Be wise. Do not deliberately bring persecution on yourselves. Use every opportunity to honor God with your life by doing good to others.

Verse 6


Your speech. You can drive people away by your talk. Be pleasant and interesting, so you can say a good word for Christ to others. The right answer. Present the Truth in the best way (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). And, know what you are talking about!

Verse 7


Our dear brother Tychicus. See Ephesians 6:21 for note on Tychicus. Letters had to be carried privately by messengers, since they had no postal system such as we have. This man was one of Paul’s most trusted associates (Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12). He delivered this letter from Paul to the Colossians and the letter to the Ephesians at the same time.

Verse 8


That is why I am sending him to you. Tychicus was to deliver the letters to the churches and also to work to strengthen them. He was an “evangelist” (see note on Ephesians 4:11).

Verse 9


With him goes Onesimus. He is the runaway slave mentioned in the letter to Philemon. Colossae was his home, and he is returning to Philemon as a “Christian brother.” Tychicus must have delivered the letter to Philemon at this same time.

Verse 10


Aristarchus. One of Paul’s associates. He was from Thessalonica (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4; Acts 27:2). He is mentioned in Philemon 1:24. Mark. He was with Paul and Barnabas on the first tour of missions (Acts 13:5). Some think the death of Barnabas is implied in John Mark being with Paul at this time. To welcome him. There may have been some doubt about Mark because of his previous failure (Acts 15:37-38), but he had since demonstrated his faith, and Paul places his seal of approval on him.

Verse 11


Joshua called Justus. Only mentioned here. [Jesus and Joshua are the same name in Hebrew.] Most of the “evangelists” who worked with Paul must have been Gentiles, but this man was probably a Roman Jew.

Verse 12


Greetings from Epaphras. See Colossians 1:7. He may have helped begin the church at Colossae, and was a member there. Prays fervently for you. Even though far away, he works for them through prayer. [This strongly implies the power of prayer.]

Verse 13


His hard work. Epaphras felt an obligation toward the churches at Colossae, Hierapolis and Laodicea. He may have helped begin them, and had been their teacher.

Verse 14


Luke. Luke was a doctor of medicine and also a historian (Luke 1:1-4). He was a Gentile. Demas. One of Paul’s associates, perhaps the one who “wrote down” this letter of Paul’s. He is mentioned favorably in Philemon 1:24, but seems to have “gone bad” (2 Timothy 4:10).

Verse 15


Nympha. [This name could belong to either a man or woman.] She was one of the Christians in Laodicea, and a “house-church” (which was separate from the main congregation) met in her home. Some large churches met in temples, etc., (Acts 2:46), but “house-churches” were also common (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 1:2). [The church in Jerusalem may have had 100,000 members at its peak.]

Verse 16


Make sure it is read also. Paul intended that copies of his letters would be “passed around” between churches. The letter which Laodicea would send them was Ephesians.

Verse 17


And tell Archippus. He was another of Paul’s associates (Philemon 1:2). Some important mission had been assigned to him.

Verse 18


With my own hand. Paul dictated his letters to a helper (Romans 16:22), but often added a few words in his own handwriting (Galatians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 16:21). Do not forget my chains. He mentions his being in prison three times in this chapter (Colossians 4:3; Colossians 4:10; Colossians 4:18). His meaning is: “Be willing to spend yourself for Christ.” (Compare 2 Corinthians 12:15)

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Colossians 4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/colossians-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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