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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Colossians 4

Verse 1

Masters, etc. The best texts attach this verse to the preceding chapter. Render [παρεχεσθε] . The Greek implies on your part.

Equal [την ισοτητα] . Lit., the equality. Not equality of condition, but the brotherly equality growing out of the Christian relation in which there is neither bond nor free. See on Philippians 1:16.

Verse 2

Continue [προσκαρτερειτε] . See on Acts 1:14. Compare Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46; Acts 6:4; Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Rev., correctly, continue steadfastly.

Watching [γρηγορουντες] . See on Mark 13:35; 1 Peter 5:8. In Ephesians 6:18, ajgrupnountev watching is used, on which see Mark 13:33. Therein [εν αυτη] . In prayer. Compare thereunto, Ephesians 6:18.

Verse 3

Door of utterance (quran tou logou). Rev., better, a door for the world. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Revelation 3:8. See also entering in, 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:1. And the parallel passage, Ephesians 6:19. There may be an allusion to a release from imprisonment.

Verse 4

That I may make it manifest [ινα φανερωσω] . Compare speak boldly, Ephesians 6:20. That connects with the clause that God - Christ.

Verse 5

In wisdom [εν σοφια] . Compare Ephesians 5:15, as wise.

Those that are without [τους εξω] . As 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12. Compare touv esw those within, 1 Corinthians 5:12. Redeeming the time [τον καιρον εξαγοραζομενοι] . Compare Ephesians 5:16, and Daniel 2:8, Sept. The word is used in the New Testament only by Paul, Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16. The compounded preposition ejx has the meaning out of; as Galatians 3:13, "Christ redeemed us out of the curse," etc., and out and out, fully. So here and Ephesians 5:16, buy up. Rev., in margin, buying up the opportunity. The favorable opportunity becomes ours at the price of duty.

Verse 6

Seasoned with salt [αλατι ηρτυμενος] . Both words only here in Paul. The metaphor is from the office of salt in rendering palatable. Both in Greek and Latin authors, salt was used to express the pungency and wittiness of speech. Horace speaks of having praised a poet for rubbing the city with abundant salt, i e., for having wittily satirized certain parties so as to make them smart as if rubbed with salt, and so as to excite the laughter of those who are not hit (" Satires, "1 10, 3). Lightfoot gives some interesting citations from Plutarch, in which, as here, grace and salt are combined. Thus :" The many call salt caritav graces, because, mingled with most things, it makes them agreeable and pleasant to the taste. " Seasoned is, literally, prepared. It is not likely that the fact has any connection with this expression, but it is interesting to recall Herodotus' story of a salt lake in the neighborhood of Colossae, which has been identified, and which still supplies the whole surrounding country with salt (vii. 30). The exhortation to well - seasoned and becoming speech is expanded in Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:4, in a warning against corrupt communication.

Verse 7

Tychicus. Mentioned Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12.

Minister [διακονος] . Probably to Paul himself. Compare Acts 19:22; Acts 20:4. Scarcely in the official sense of deacon.

Fellow - servant [συνδουλος] . Used by Paul only here and ch. 1 7, of Epaphras. By this term he designates Tychicus as, in common with himself, a servant of Jesus Christ. Probably not with a strict, but with a quasi official reference.

Verse 8

I have sent. Epistolary aorist. Tychicus carried the letter.

He might know your estate [γνω τα περι υμων] . The correct reading is gnwte ta peri hJmwn ye might know the things about us, or our estate. Compare Ephesians 6:21.

Verse 9

Onesimus. See on Philippians 1:10.

The faithful and beloved brother. Whom the Colossians had known only as the worthless, runaway slave. See Philippians 1:11, Philippians 1:16.

Verse 10

Aristarchus, my fellow - prisoner. See on Philippians 1:23, Philippians 1:24.

Unnecessary difficulty is made over the fact that the term fellow - prisoner is applied to Epaphras in Philippians 1:23, and not to Aristarchus; while here the case is reversed. It is not necessary to suppose that the two had changed places, or that the captivity was voluntary, if a literal captivity was meant. All the three terms fellow - prisoner, fellow - servant, fellow - worker - might be applied to both; and, as Dwight remarks, "Reasons unknown to us may easily have determined the use of one word or the other, independently of the question as to the particular time when they were in imprisonment."

Mark. See on Philemon 1:24.

Sister's son [ανεψιος] . Only here in the New Testament. Rev., correctly, cousin. The sense of nephew did not attach to the word until very late. Lightfoot remains that this incidental notice explains why Barnabas should have taken a more favorable view of Mark's defection than Paul, Acts 14:37, Acts 14:39.

Verse 11

Jesus Justus. Not mentioned elsewhere. The only one of these names not mentioned in the salutations of the Epistle to Philemon.

Have been a comfort [εγενηθησαν παρηγορια] . Parhgoria comfort, only here in the New Testament. Properly, an address, an exhortation : an exhortation for the purpose of encouraging : hence a comfort. Plutarch, in his "Life of Cimon," uses it with penqouv grief; a comfort, for grief; and in his "Life of Pericles," of consolation for a dead son. Aretaeus, a medical writer, of the assuaging of a paroxysm. This word, and the kindred adjectives parhgorikov and parhgorhtikov soothing, are common in medical writings. So Galen, of soothing fictions, pretenses to quiet the diseased. Have been is, more strictly, have proved.

Verse 12

Laboring fervently [αγωνιζομενος] . Rev., striving. See on ch. Colossians 1:29; Colossians 2:1. Compare Romans 14:30.

Perfect [τελειοι] . See on 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 2:7; ch. 1 28.

Complete [πεπληροφορημενοι] . See on most surely believed, Luke 1:1; and compare full assurance, ch. 2 2. Rev., fully assured.

In all the will [εν παντι θεληματι] . Lit., in every will. Will means the thing willed, as Luke 12:47; James 5:3 James 5:0; 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Hence used sometimes in the plural, as Acts 13:22, shall do all my will [θεληματα] , i e., perform all the things willed by me. Ephesians 2:3, desires, strictly willings. So here the sense is, everything willed by God. The connection is apparently with staqhte ye may stand. For a similar construction see John 8:44; Romans 5:2; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Corinthians 16:13. As Meyer observes, this connection gives stand both a modal definition (perfect and fully assured) and a local definition (in all the will).

Verse 13

Zeal [ζηλον] . Read ponon labor, which occurs elsewhere only in Revelation 16:10, Revelation 16:11; Revelation 21:4, in the sense of pain. Ponov labor is from the root of penomai to work for one's daily bread, and thence to be poor. Ponov toil, penhv one who works for his daily bread, and ponhrov wicked, have a common root. See on wickedness, Mark 7:22. In their original conceptions, kopov labor (1 Corinthians 14:58; 2 Corinthians 6:5) emphasizes the fatigue of labor : mocqov hard labor (2 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:9), the hardship : ponov the effort, but ponov has passed, in the New Testament, in every instance but this, into the meaning of pain. Hierapolis. The cities are named in geographical order. Laodicaea and Hierapolis faced each other on the north and south sides of the Lycus valley, about six miles apart. Colossae was ten or twelve miles farther up the stream. Hierapolis owed its celebrity to its warm mineral springs, its baths, and its trade in dyed wools. It was a center of the worship of the Phrygian goddess Cybele, 207 whose rites were administered by mutilated priests known as Galli, and of other rites representing different oriental cults. Hence the name Hierapolis or sacred city.

Verse 14

Luke - Demas. See on Philippians 1:24.

The beloved physician. See Introduction to Luke.

Verse 15

Nymphas. Probably contracted from Nymphodorus, as Artemas from Artemidorus (Titus 3:12) : Zenas from Zenodorus (Titus 3:13); Olympas from Olympiodorus (Romans 16:15).

The Church. Compare Philippians 1:2; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Acts 12:12.

His house [αυτου] . Others read aujtwn their (so Rev., Lightfoot, Meyer). Others, as Westcott and Hort, aujthv her, regarding the name as female, Nympha. It is difficult, however, to know to whom the plural can refer. Some explain, Nymphas and his family. Meyer refers it to the brethren at Laodicaea and Nymphas, and thinks that the allusion is to a foreign church in filial association with the church at Laodicaea, and holding its meetings in the same place.

Verse 16

The epistle from Laodicaea [την εκ λαοδικειας] . That is, the letter left at Laodicaea, and to be obtained by you from the church there. This letter cannot be positively identified. The composition known as the Epistle to the Laodicaeans is a late and clumsy forgery, existing only in Latin MSS., and made up chiefly of disconnected passages from Philippians, with a few from other epistles. 208

Verse 18

With mine own hand. The letter was written by an amanuensis, Paul adding his autograph.

Grace be with you. On the benedictions, see on 2 Corinthians 13:14. This short form occurs only here, 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:22.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Colossians 4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/colossians-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.