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1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Ver. 1. That which is just and equal ] See they must both to the well choosing and the well using of their servants.
Ye also have a master ] Ecclesiastes 5:8 ; "There be higher than they;" and wherein they deal proudly, God is above them, Exodus 18:11 .
2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Ver. 2. Continue in prayer ] Constant and instant in it, wait upon it, lay all aside for it (as the word προσκταρερειτε signifieth, Act 6:2 ); while prayar stands still, the trade of godliness stands still.
And watch in the same ] Against dulness of spirit, drowsiness of body, Satanic suggestions, secular distractions, &c.
With thanksgiving ] Have your thanks ready, for you are sure to speed.
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:
Ver. 3. Withal, praying also for us ] See Trapp on " Eph 6:19 " By the word a door is opened into heaven.
4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Ver. 4. As I ought to speak ] As every sound is not music, so neither is every pulpit discourse a sermon.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Ver. 5. Walk in wisdom ] Neither giving offence carelessly, nor taking offence causelessly.
Redeeming the time ] Opportunities are headlong, and must be timously laid hold on, or all is lost. See Trapp on " Eph 5:16 " It is said of Hooper the martyr, that he was spare of diet, sparer of words, and sparest of time. Latimer rose usually at two of the clock in a morning to his study. Bradford slept not commonly more than four hours in the night, and in his bed, till sleep came, his book went not out of his hand. He counted that hour not well spent wherein he did not some good, either with his pen, tongue, or study. These worthies well weighed what a modern writer hath well observed, that they that lose time are the greatest losers and wastefullest prodigals. For of all other possessions two may be had together, but two moments of time (much less two opportunities of time) cannot be possessed together.
6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Ver. 6. Seasoned with salt ] Of mortification and discretion: even our common communication must be so seasoned; as we powder most those meats that be most apt to putrefy, and as upon our uncomely parts we put the more comeliness.
7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:
Ver. 7. All my state shall Tychicus ] See Trapp on " Eph 6:21 "
8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;
Ver. 8. And comfort your hearts ] See Trapp on " Eph 6:22 "
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.
Ver. 9. With Onesimus a faithful ] Once unprofitable, but now profitable, faithful, and beloved. Plato went thrice to Sicily to convert Dionysius, and lost his labour. Polemo of a drunkard, by hearing Xenocrates, became a philosopher. But Ambrose saith well of him, si resipuit a vino, fuit semper tamen temulentus sacrilegio, if he repented of his drunkenness, yet he continued drunk with superstition. Philosophia non abscindit vitia, sed abscondit. Paul’s convert proved better, a faithful preacher and a beloved brother.
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;)
Ver. 10. Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas ] Hence Barnabas stood so stiff for him against Paul his faithful fellow traveller, Acts 15:37 . See Trapp on " Act 15:37 " Natural affection sways overly much with some good men, as it did with Eli, and perhaps with Samuel, 1Sa 8:1 ; 1 Samuel 8:3 .
If he come unto you, receive him ] St Paul had now a better opinion of him than once, when he broke with Barnabas about him. He was not of the Novatian opinion, never to think well again of those that had fallen through infirmity, albeit they repented. They are not to be liked, that say, I never liked him since, &c.
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.
Ver. 11. These only are my fellowworkers ] St Paul complains of fickle and false friends, that forsook him in his distress, as Demas, 2Ti 4:10 ; 2 Timothy 4:16 , that like Job’s friends proved miserable comforters, and as the brooks of Tema, which in a moisture swell, in a drought fail; or as the river Novanus in Lombardy, that at every midsummer solstice swelleth and runneth over the banks, but in mid-winter is clean dry. Howbeit Marcus, Aristarchus, Onesimus, Onesiphorus, and some few others, stuck to him. A great mercy: Optimum solatium, sodalitium, the greatest comfort and fraternity.
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.
Ver. 12. Epaphras, who is one of you ] See Colossians 1:7 . See Trapp on " Col 1:7 " This Epaphras is thought to be the same with Epaphroditus; as Sylvanus is called Silas, and Jehoshuah is called Joshua, by an abbreviature.
Always labouring fervently ] Constant and instant in prayer, according to thatColossians 4:2; Colossians 4:2 .
Complete in all the will of God ] Gr. πεπληρωμενοι , carried on end by it, with full career; as a ship is by a full gale.
That ye may stand perfect ] In his absence especially, for then the devil is most busy, as he was with the people when Moses was but a while in the mount, Exodus 32:1-6 .
13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
Ver. 13. And them that are in Laodicea ] A minister must be like the sun, that shineth not only within its own orb, but illighteneth all round about it and within the reach of it.
14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Ver. 14. And Demas ] He will needs be one, and is, but without any title of honour, as the rest. He began to be suspected; and he afterwards proved an utter apostate, and (as Dorotheus saith) an idol priest at Thessalonica.
15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
Ver. 15. Salute the brethren ] Christianity is no enemy to courtesy. It removes not, but rectifies it.
The brethren which are in Laodicea ] There God had his remnant, there Christ was Amen, the faithful and true witness, and there there were such as by a new creation of God were begotten again, even among so careless a multitude, Revelation 3:14 . There remain in Constantinople at this day above 20 churches of Christians; and in Thessalonica above 30, besides very many churches abroad in the province, &c. The whole country of Asia the Less, wherein stood Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, is now under the power and superstition of the Turk; yet no doubt God hath his remnant there. (Chytrae de statu Ecclesiar.)
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.
Ver. 16. Read the Epistle from Laodicea ] Other good books then must be read as well as the Scriptures; yet not idle pamphlets and love toys. These should be burnt, as those curious books were, Acts 19:18-20
17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Ver. 17. And say to Archippus ] Arehippus was a pastor of the Laodicean Church; so that before St John’s time in Patmos they began to cool.
Take heed to the ministry ] Gr. see to it, that is, to thyself, and to all the flock,Acts 20:28; Acts 20:28 ; cf. Ezekiel 34:31 , to strengthen the weak, to heal the infected: to splint the sprained, to reduce the wandering, to seek the lost, to cherish the strong: work enough. Age ergo quod tui muneris est, as Valentinian said to Ambrose. Clericus in oppido, piscis in arido, A preacher in the town, fish in the desert, saith another. "What is that to thee?" John 21:22 . The Church is thy proper element, the pulpit thy right ubi where, the sanctuary should be the centre of all thy circumference. It is a good hearing that the Levite makes haste home, Judges 19:10 . An honest man’s heart is the place where his calling is. And this charge, by how much the more sacred it is, so much the more attendance it expects. Even a day breaks square with those with a good conscience.
That thou fulfil it ] By preaching the word in season, out of season, &c., and so doing the work of an evangelist, fulfilling his ministry, 2 Timothy 4:2-5 . This to do the people were to excite their pastor; yet with all due respect and reverence to his office, 1 Timothy 5:1 , μη επιπληξης . An elder must not be lashed or jerked with the scourge of the tongue as a puny, but entreated as a father.
18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen. Written from Rome to Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.
Ver. 18. Remember my bonds ] To pray for me, and minister to me, &c. This he here inserteth as his last charge, that they may the better remember and practise it. Something we should leave with those we love that may stick by them, and stand them instead when we are gone or have done with them.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Colossians 4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30