Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
RELATION TO THE
AS TO THE
BEARERS OF THE
1. give--Greek "render": literally, "afford."
equal--that is, as the slaves owe their duties to you, so you
equally owe to them your duties as masters. Compare "ye masters
do the same things" (see on
ALFORD translates, "fairness," "equity," which
gives a large and liberal interpretation of justice in common matters
ye also--as well as they.
2. Continue--Greek, "Continue perseveringly," "persevere"
"watching thereunto"; here, "watch in the same," or
"in it," that is, in prayer: watching against the indolence as
to prayer, and in prayer, of our corrupt wills.
with thanksgiving--for everything, whether joyful, or sorrowful,
mercies temporal and spiritual, national, family, and individual
3. for us--myself and Timothy
a door of utterance--Translate, "a door for the word." Not as in
where power of "utterance" is his petition. Here it is an opportunity
for preaching the word, which would be best afforded by his
release from prison
to speak--so that we may speak.
the mystery of Christ--
for which . . . also--on account of which I am
(not only "an ambassador,"
but) ALSO in bonds.
4. ALFORD thinks that Paul asks their prayers for his release as if
it were the "only" way by which he could "make it (the Gospel) manifest"
as he ought. But while this is included in their subject of prayer,
Php 1:12, 13,
written somewhat later in his imprisonment, clearly shows that "a door
for the word" could be opened, and was opened, for its
manifestation, even while he remained imprisoned (compare
5. (See on
Eph 5:15, 16.)
in wisdom--practical Christian prudence.
them . . . without--Those not in the Christian brotherhood
The brethren, through love, will make allowances for an indiscreet act
or word of a brother; the world will make none. Therefore be the more
on your guard in your intercourse with the latter, lest you be a
stumbling-block to their conversion.
redeeming the time--The Greek expresses, buying up for yourselves,
and buying off from worldly vanities the opportunity, whenever
it is afforded you, of good to yourselves and others.
"Forestall the opportunity, that is, to buy up an article out of the
market, so as to make the largest profit from it"
6. with grace--Greek, "IN grace" as
Contrast the case of those "of the world" who "therefore speak of
Even the smallest leaf of the believer should be full of the sap of the
(Jer 17:7, 8).
His conversation should be cheerful without levity, serious without
as to Jesus' speech.
seasoned with salt--that is, the savor of fresh and lively
spiritual wisdom and earnestness, excluding all "corrupt communication,"
and also tasteless insipidity
Compare all the sacrifices seasoned with salt
Not far from Colosse, in Phrygia, there was a salt lake, which gives to
the image here the more appropriateness.
how ye ought to answer every man--
7. Tychicus--(See on
who is a beloved brother--rather, "the beloved brother"; the article
"the" marks him as well known to them.
8. for the same purpose--Greek, "for this very purpose."
that he might know your estate--Translate, "that he may know your
state": answering to
So one very old manuscript and Vulgate read. But the oldest
manuscripts and the old Latin versions, "that YE may know OUR state." However,
the latter reading seems likely to have crept in from
Paul was the more anxious to know the state of the Colossians, on
account of the seductions to which they were exposed from false
teachers; owing to which he had "great conflict for" them
comfort your hearts--distressed as ye are by my imprisonment, as
well as by your own trials.
9. Onesimus--the slave mentioned in the Epistle to Philemon
(Phm 10, 16),
"a brother beloved."
a faithful . . . brother--rather, "the faithful brother," he being
known to the Colossians as the slave of Philemon, their fellow townsman
and fellow Christian.
one of you--belonging to your city.
They shall make known unto you all things--Greek, "all
the things here." This substantial repetition of "all my state shall
Tychicus declare unto you," strongly favors the reading of English
"that he might (may) know your state," as it is unlikely the
same thing should be stated thrice.
10. Aristarchus--a Macedonian of Thessalonica
who was dragged into the theater at Ephesus, during the tumult with
Gaius, they being "Paul's companions in travel." He accompanied Paul to
to Rome. He was now at Rome with Paul (compare
Phm 23, 24).
As he is here spoken of as Paul's "fellow prisoner," but in
as Paul's "fellow laborer"; and vice versa, Epaphras in
as his "fellow prisoner," but here
conjectures that Paul's friends voluntarily shared his imprisonment by
turns, Aristarchus being his fellow prisoner when he wrote to the
Colossians, Epaphras when he wrote to Philemon. The Greek for
"fellow prisoner" is literally, fellow captive, an image from
prisoners taken in warfare, Christians being "fellow soldiers"
whose warfare is "the good fight of faith."
(Ac 12:12, 25);
the Evangelist according to tradition.
sister's son--rather, "cousin," or "kinsman to Barnabas"; the
latter being the better known is introduced to designate Mark. The
relationship naturally accounts for Barnabas' selection of Mark as his
companion when otherwise qualified; and also for Mark's mother's house
at Jerusalem being the place of resort of Christians there
The family belonged to Cyprus
this accounts for Barnabas' choice of Cyprus as the first station on
and for Mark's accompanying them readily so far, it being the country
of his family; and for Paul's rejecting him at the second journey for
not having gone further than Perga, in Pamphylia, but having gone
thence home to his mother at Jerusalem
on the first journey
touching whom--namely, Mark.
ye received commandments--possibly before the writing of this
Epistle; or the "commandments" were verbal by Tychicus, and
accompanying this letter, since the past tense was used by the
ancients (where we use the present) in relation to the time which it
would be when the letter was read by the Colossians. Thus
"I have written," for "I write." The substance of them was, "If he come
unto you, receive him." Paul's rejection of him on his second
missionary journey, because he had turned back at Perga on the first
(Ac 13:13; 15:37-39),
had caused an alienation between himself and Barnabas. Christian love
soon healed the breach; for here he implies his restored confidence in
Mark, makes honorable allusion to Barnabas, and desires that those at
Colosse who had regarded Mark in consequence of that past error with
suspicion, should now "receive" him with kindness. Colosse is only
about one hundred ten miles from Perga, and less than twenty from the
confines of Pisidia, through which province Paul and Barnabas preached
on their return during the same journey. Hence, though Paul had not
personally visited the Colossian Church, they knew of the past
unfaithfulness of Mark; and needed this recommendation of him, after
the temporary cloud on him, so as to receive him, now that he was about
to visit them as an evangelist. Again, in Paul's last imprisonment, he,
for the last time, speaks of Mark
11. Justus--that is, righteous; a common name among the Jews;
of the circumcision--This implies that Epaphras, Luke, and Demas
(Col 4:12, 14)
were not of the circumcision. This agrees with Luke's Gentile
name (the same as Lucanus), and the Gentile aspect of his Gospel.
These only, &c.--namely, of the Jews. For the Jewish teachers were
generally opposed to the apostle of the Gentiles
Epaphras, &c., were also fellow laborers, but Gentiles.
unto--that is, in promoting the Gospel kingdom.
which have been--Greek, "which have been made," or "have
become," that is, inasmuch as they have become a comfort to me. The
Greek implies comfort in forensic dangers; a different Greek
word expresses comfort in domestic affliction [BENGEL].
12. Christ--The oldest manuscripts add "Jesus."
labouring fervently--As the Greek, is the same,
translate, "striving earnestly" (see on
literally, "striving as in the agony of a contest."
in prayers--Translate as Greek, "in his prayers."
complete--The oldest manuscripts read, "fully assured." It is
translated, "fully persuaded,"
Ro 4:21; 14:5.
In the expression "perfect," he refers to what he has already said,
Col 1:28; 2:2; 3:14.
"Perfect" implies the attainment of the full maturity of a
Christian. BENGEL joins "in all the will of God"
13. a great zeal--The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate have
for you--lest you should be seduced
a motive why you should be anxious for yourselves.
them that are in Laodicea . . . Hierapolis--churches
probably founded by Epaphras, as the Church in Colosse was. Laodicea,
called from Laodice, queen of Antiochus II, on the river Lycus, was,
according to the subscription to First Timothy, "the chiefest city of
All the three cities were destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 62 [TACITUS, Annals,
14.27]. Hierapolis was six Roman miles north of Laodicea.
14. It is conjectured that Luke "the beloved physician" (the same as
the Evangelist), may have first become connected with Paul in
professionally attending on him in the sickness under which he labored
in Phrygia and Galatia (in which latter place he was detained by
sickness), in the early part of that journey wherein Luke first is found
in his company
compare Note, see on
Thus the allusion to his medical profession is appropriate in writing
to men of Phrygia. Luke ministered to Paul in his last imprisonment
Demas--included among his "fellow laborers"
but afterwards a deserter from him through love of this world
He alone has here no honorable or descriptive epithet attached to his
name. Perhaps, already, his real character was betraying itself.
15. Nymphas--of Laodicea.
church . . . in his house--So old manuscripts and Vulgate read.
The oldest read, "THEIR house"; and one manuscript,
"HER house," which
makes Nymphas a woman.
16. the epistle from Laodicea--namely, the Epistle which I wrote to
the Laodiceans, and which you will get from them on applying to
them. Not the Epistle to the Ephesians.
to Ephesians and
to Colossians. The Epistles from the apostles were publicly read in
the church assemblies. IGNATIUS [Epistle to the
Ephesians, 12], POLYCARP [Epistle to the
Philippians, 3.11,12], CLEMENT [Epistle to
the Corinthians, 1. 47],
"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear."
Thus, they and the Gospels were put on a level with the Old Testament,
which was similarly read
The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, besides those extant, other
Epistles which He saw necessary for that day, and for particular
churches; and which were not so for the Church of all ages and places.
It is possible that as the Epistle to the Colossians was to be read for
the edification of other churches besides that of Colosse; so the
Epistle to the Ephesians was to be read in various churches besides
Ephesus, and that Laodicea was the last of such churches before
Colosse, whence he might designate the Epistle to the Ephesians here as
"the Epistle from Laodicea." But it is equally possible that the
Epistle meant was one to the Laodiceans themselves.
17. say to Archippus--The Colossians (not merely the
clergy, but the laymen) are directed, "Speak ye to Archippus."
This proves that Scripture belongs to the laity as well as the clergy;
and that laymen may profitably admonish the clergy in particular cases
when they do so in meekness. BENGEL suggests that
Archippus was perhaps prevented from going to the Church assembly by
weak health or age. The word, "fulfil," accords with his ministry being
near its close
However, "fulfil" may mean, as in
"make full proof of thy ministry." "Give all diligence to follow
it out fully"; a monition perhaps needed by Archippus.
in the Lord--The element in which every work of the Christian, and
especially the Christian minister, is to be done
18. Paul's autograph salutation (so
attesting that the preceding letter, though written by an amanuensis,
is from himself.
Remember my bonds--Already in this chapter he had mentioned his
an incentive why they should love and pray
for him; and still more, that they should, in reverential obedience to
his monitions in this Epistle, shrink from the false teaching herein
stigmatized, remembering what a conflict
he had in their behalf amidst his bonds. "When we read of his
chains, we should not forget that they moved over the paper as he
wrote; his [right] hand was chained to the [left hand of the] soldier
who kept him" [ALFORD].
Grace be with you--Greek, "THE
grace" which every Christian
enjoys in some degree, and which flows from God in Christ by the Holy