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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Colossians 4



Verse 1

That which is just and equal (το δικαιον και την ισοτηταto dikaion kai tēn isotēta). Paul changes from το ισονto ison (like το δικαιονto dikaion neuter singular adjective with article for abstract idea) to the abstract substantive ισοτηςisotēs old word, in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 8:13. If employers always did this, there would be no labour problem.

A Master in heaven (Κυριον εν ουρανωιKurion en ouranōi). A wholesome reminder to the effect that he keeps his eye on the conduct of masters of men here towards their employees.

Verse 2

Continue steadfastly (προσκαρτερειτεproskartereite). See note on Mark 3:9, note on Acts 2:42, and Acts 2:46 for this interesting word from προςpros and καρτεροςkarteros (strong), common in the Koiné.

Watching (γρηγορουντεςgrēgorountes). Present active participle of γρηγορεωgrēgoreō late present made on perfect active stem εγρηγοραegrēgora with loss of ε found first in Aristotle.

Verse 3

Withal (αμαhama). At the same time.

That God may open (ινα ο τεος ανοιχηιhina ho theos anoixēi). Common use of ιναhina and the subjunctive (aorist), the sub-final use so common in the N.T. as in the Koiné.

A door for the word (τυραν του λογουthuran tou logou). Objective genitive, a door for preaching. It is comforting to other preachers to see the greatest of all preachers here asking prayer that he may be set free again to preach. He uses this figure elsewhere, once of a great and open door with many adversaries in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:9), once of an open door that he could not enter in Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12).

The mystery of Christ (το μυστηριον του Χριστουto mustērion tou Christou). The genitive of apposition, the mystery which is Christ (Colossians 2:2), one that puts out of comparison the foolish “mysteries” of the Gnostics.

For which I am also in bonds (δι ο και δεδεμαιdi' ho kai dedemai). Perfect passive indicative of δεωdeō Paul is always conscious of this limitation, this chain. At bottom he is a prisoner because of his preaching to the Gentiles.

Verse 4

As I ought to speak (ως δει με λαλησαιhōs dei me lalēsai). Wonderful as Paul‘s preaching was to his hearers and seems to us, he was never satisfied with it. What preacher can be?

Verse 5

Toward them that are without (προς τους εχωpros tous exō). A Pauline phrase for those outside the churches (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Corinthians 5:12.). It takes wise walking to win them to Christ.

Redeeming the time (τον καιρον εχαγοραζομενοιton kairon exagorazomenoi). We all have the same time. Paul goes into the open market and buys it up by using it rightly. See the same metaphor in Ephesians 5:16.

Verse 6

Seasoned with salt (αλατι ηρτυμενοςhalati ērtumenos). The same verb αρτυωartuō (old verb from αιρωairō to fit, to arrange) about salt in Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34. Nowhere else in the N.T. Not too much salt, not too little. Plutarch uses salt of speech, the wit which flavours speech (cf. Attic salt). Our word salacious is this same word degenerated into vulgarity. Grace and salt (wit, sense) make an ideal combination. Every teacher will sympathize with Paul‘s desire “that ye know how ye must answer each one” (ειδεναι πως δει υμας ενι εκαστωι αποκρινεσταιeidenai pōs dei humas heni ekastōi apokrinesthai). Who does know?

Verse 7

All my affairs (τα κατ εμε πανταta kat' eme panta). “All the things relating to me.” The accusative case the object of γνωρισειgnōrisei The same idiom in Acts 25:14; Philemon 1:2.

Tychicus (ΤυχικοςTuchikos). Mentioned also in Ephesians 6:21 as the bearer of that Epistle and with the same verb γνωρισειgnōrisei (future active of γνωριζωgnōrizō) and with the same descriptive epithet as here (ο αγαπητος αδελπος και πιστος διακονος εν Κυριωιho agapētos adelphos kai pistos diakonos en Kuriōi the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord) except that here we have also και συνδουλοςkai sundoulos (and fellow-servant). Abbott suggests that Paul adds συνδουλοςsundoulos because he had used it of Epaphras in Colossians 1:7. Perhaps πιστοςpistos goes with both substantives and means faithful to Paul as well as to Christ.

Verse 8

I have sent (επεμπσαepempsa). Epistolary aorist active indicative of πεμπωpempō as in Ephesians 6:22.

That ye may know (ινα γνωτεhina gnōte). Second aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of γινωσκωginōskō “that ye may come to know.” This the correct text, not γνωιgnōi (third singular).

Our estate (τα περι ημωνta peri hēmōn). “The things concerning us.”

May comfort (παρακαλεσηιparakalesēi). First aorist active subjunctive. Proper rendering here and not “may exhort.”

Verse 9

Together with Onesimus (συν Ονησιμωιsun Onēsimōi). Corinthians-bearer of the letter with Tychicus and praised on a par with him, runaway slave though he is.

Who is one of you (ος εστιν εχ υμωνhos estin ex humōn). Said not as a reproach to Colossae for having such a man, but as a privilege to the church in Colossae to give a proper welcome to this returning converted slave and to treat him as a brother as Paul argues to Philemon.

Verse 10

Aristarchus (ΑρισταρχοςAristarchos). He was from Thessalonica and accompanied Paul to Jerusalem with the collection (Acts 19:29; Acts 20:4) and started with Paul to Rome (Acts 27:2; Philemon 1:24). Whether he has been with Paul all the time in Rome we do not know, but he is here now.

My fellow-prisoner (ο συναιχμαλωτος μουho sunaichmalōtos mou). One of Paul‘s compounds, found elsewhere only in Lucian. Paul uses it of Epaphras in Philemon 1:23, but whether of actual voluntary imprisonment or of spiritual imprisonment like συνστρατιωτεςsunstratiōtes (fellow-soldier) in Philemon 2:25; Philemon 1:2 we do not know. Abbott argues for a literal imprisonment and it is possible that some of Paul‘s Corinthians-workers (συνεργοιsuṅergoi) voluntarily shared imprisonment with him by turns.

Mark (ΜαρκοςMarkos). Once rejected by Paul for his defection in the work (Acts 15:36-39), but now cordially commended because he had made good again.

The cousin of Barnabas (ο ανεπσιος αρναβαho anepsios Barnabā). It was used for “nephew” very late, clearly “cousin” here and common so in the papyri. This kinship explains the interest of Barnabas in Mark (Acts 12:25; Acts 13:5; Acts 15:36-39).

If he come unto you, receive him (εαν ελτηι προς υμας δεχαστε αυτονean elthēi pros humas dexasthe auton). This third class conditional sentence (εανean and second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομαιerchomai) gives the substance of the commands (εντολαςentolas) about Mark already sent, how we do not know. But Paul‘s commendation of Mark is hearty and unreserved as he does later in 2 Timothy 4:11. The verb δεχομαιdechomai is the usual one for hospitable reception (Matthew 10:14; John 4:45) like προσδεχομαιprosdechomai (Philemon 2:29) and υποδεχομαιhupodechomai (Luke 10:38).

Verse 11

Jesus which is called Justus (Ιησους ο λεγομενος ΙουστοςIēsous ho legomenos Ioustos). Another illustration of the frequency of the name Jesus (Joshua). The surname Justus is the Latin Justus for the Greek ΔικαιοςDikaios and the Hebrew Zadok and very common as a surname among the Jews. The name appears for two others in the N.T. (Acts 1:23; Acts 18:7).

Who are of the circumcision (οι οντες εκ περιτομηςhoi ontes ek peritomēs). Jewish Christians certainly, but not necessarily Judaizers like those so termed in Acts 11:3 (οι εκ περιτομηςhoi ek peritomēs Cf. Acts 15:1, Acts 15:5).

These only (ουτοι μονοιhoutoi monoi). “Of the circumcision” (Jews) he means.

A comfort unto me (μοι παρηγοριαmoi parēgoria). Ethical dative of personal interest. ΠαρηγοριαParēgoria is an old word (here only in N.T.) from παρηγορεωparēgoreō to make an address) and means solace, relief. A medical term. Curiously enough our word paregoric comes from it (παρηγορικοςparēgorikos).

Verse 12

Epaphras who is one of you (Επαπρας ο εχ υμωνEpaphrās ho ex humōn). See note on Colossians 1:7 for previous mention of this brother who had brought Paul news from Colossae.

Always striving for you (παντοτε αγωνιζομενος υπερ ημωνpantote agōnizomenos huper hēmōn). See note on Colossians 1:29 of Paul.

That ye may stand (ινα στατητεhina stathēte). Final clause, first aorist passive subjunctive (according to Aleph B) rather than the usual second aorist active subjunctives (στητεstēte) of ιστημιhistēmi (according to A C D).

Fully assured (πεπληροπορημενοιpeplērophorēmenoi). Perfect passive participle of πληροπορεωplērophoreō late compound, for which see note on Luke 1:1; Romans 14:5.

Verse 13

And for them in Hierapolis (και των εν ιεραι Πολειkai tōn en Hierāi Polei). The third of the three cities in the Lycus Valley which had not seen Paul‘s face (Colossians 2:1). It was across the valley from Laodicea. Probably Epaphras had evangelized all three cities and all were in peril from the Gnostics.

Verse 14

Luke, the beloved physician (Λουκας ο ιατρος ο αγαπητοςLoukas ho iatros ho agapētos). Mentioned also in Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11. The author of the Gospel and the Acts. Both Mark and Luke are with Paul at this time, possibly also with copies of their Gospels with them. The article here (repeated) may mean “my beloved physician.” It would seem certain that Luke looked after Paul‘s health and that Paul loved him. Paul was Luke‘s hero, but it was not a one-sided affection. It is beautiful to see preacher and physician warm friends in the community.

Demas (ΔημαςDēmas). Just his name here (a contraction of Demetrius), but in 2 Timothy 4:10 he is mentioned as one who deserted Paul.

Verse 15

Nymphas (ΝυμπανNumphan). That is masculine, if αυτουautou (his) is genuine (D E K L) after κατ οικονkat' oikon but ΝυμπαNumpha (feminine) if αυτηςautēs (her) is read (B 67). Aleph A C P read αυτωνautōn (their), perhaps including αδελπουςadelphous (brethren) and so locating this church (εκκλησιαekklēsia) in Laodicea. It was not till the third century that separate buildings were used for church worship. See note on Romans 16:5 for Prisca and Aquila. It is not possible to tell whether it is “her” or “his” house here.

Verse 16

When this epistle hath been read among you (οταν αναγνωστηι παρ υμιν η επιστοληhotan anagnōsthēi par' humin hē epistolē). Indefinite temporal clause with οτανhotan (οτε ανhote an) and the first aorist passive subjunctive of αναγινωσκωanaginōskō The epistle was read in public to the church (Revelation 1:3).

Cause that (ποιησατε ιναpoiēsate hina). Same idiom in John 11:37; Revelation 13:15. Old Greek preferred οπωςhopōs for this idiom. See note on 1 Thessalonians 5:27 for injunction for public reading of the Epistle.

That ye also read (και υμεις αναγνωτεkai humeis anagnōte). Second aorist active subjunctive of αναγινωσκωanaginōskō to read.

And the epistle from Laodicea (και την εκ Λαοδικιαςkai tēn ek Laodikias). The most likely meaning is that the so-called Epistle to the Ephesians was a circular letter to various churches in the province of Asia, one copy going to Laodicea and to be passed on to Colossae as the Colossian letter was to be sent on to Laodicea. This was done usually by copying and keeping the original. See note on Ephesians 1:1 for further discussion of this matter.

Verse 17

Take heed (βλεπεblepe). Keep an eye on.

Thou hast received in the Lord (παρελαβες εν Κυριωιparelabes en Kuriōi). Second aorist active indicative of παραλαμβανωparalambanō the verb used by Paul of getting his message from the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:3). Clearly Archippus had a call “in the Lord” as every preacher should have.

That thou fulfil it (ινα αυτην πληροιςhina autēn plērois). Present active subjunctive of πληροωplēroō “that thou keep on filling it full.” It is a life-time job.

Verse 18

Of me Paul with mine own hand (τηι εμηι χειρι Παυλουtēi emēi cheiri Paulou). More precisely, “with the hand of me Paul.” The genitive ΠαυλουPaulou is in apposition with the idea in the possessive pronoun εμηιemēi which is itself in the instrumental case agreeing with χειριcheiri So also 2 Thessalonians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 16:21.

My bonds (μου των δεσμωνmou tōn desmōn). Genitive case with μνεμονευετεmnemoneuete (remember). The chain (εν αλυσειen halusei Ephesians 6:20) clanked afresh as Paul took the pen to sign the salutation. He was not likely to forget it himself



Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Colossians 4:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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