Amplified: For I bear him testimony that he has labored hard in your behalf and for [the believers] in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Phillips: From my own observation I can tell you that he has a real passion for your welfare, and for that of the churches of Laodicea and Hierapolis. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: for I bear witness to him that he has much toil on your behalf and on behalf of those in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for I do testify to him, that he hath much zeal for you, and those in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.
FOR I BEAR HIM WITNESS THAT HE HAS A DEEP CONCERN FOR YOU AND FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN LAODICEA AND HIERAPOLIS: marturo (1SPAI) gar auto hoti echei (3SPAI) polun ponon huper humon kai ton en Laodikeia kai ton en Ierapolei: (Ro 10:2; 2Co 8:3)
Warren Wiersbe comments on Epaphras' prayer life writing:
What was causing Epaphras to have pain in his heart for Laodicea? Did he see the beginning of their going astray? Not that they are in GROSS SIN-- that is not what makes God want to vomit. It's COMPLACENCY that makes God want to vomit. What about you and I? Are we COMPLACENT about our Christianity? We make think that we are all right because we are not living in gross sin, but instead are living a respectable life, among the pillars of the community… you walk through the streets and everyone in Laodicea likes you and THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Jesus has warned us to beware when all men speak well of you!
This church appears to be complacent-COMPLACENCY IN CHRISTIANITY IS DEADLY. Apathetic about their relationship with Jesus Christ. You also see a church that apparently is COMPROMISED (as the subsequent demise suggests) -- they have a religion but not a relationship. They have slipped. Jesus is outside. He wants to come in and dine with them, to fellowship with them.
Laodicea and Hierapolis - click this map for the geographic relationships of Laodicea (means "justice of the people" - description), Hierapolis (means "holy city" - see description) and Colossae (means "punishment" - see description).
Phillips: Luke, our beloved doctor and Demas send their best wishes. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: There greets you Luke, the physician, the beloved one, and Demas. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Salute you doth Lukas, the beloved physician, and Demas;
LUKE, THE BELOVED PHYSICIAN, SENDS YOU HIS GREETINGS: aspazetai (3SPMI) humas Loukas o iatros o agapetos: (2Timothy 4:11 Philemon 1:24)
From this verse that we know that Luke, Paul's companion on his voyage to Rome (Acts 21:2) was a physician.
Luke was Paul’s personal physician, as well as his close friend. He was a Gentile believer (see Colossians 4:11 where Paul says that Aristarchus… Mark… Jesus who is called Justus are the only Jews who are his fellow workers - implying Luke is not a Jew, for he is certainly a fellow worker with Paul) who traveled frequently with Paul on his missionary voyages. It may, in fact, have been Paul’s recurring illnesses on the first missionary journey that prompted him to take Luke along on the second. Like Paul, he was an educated, cultured man, as evidenced by the literary quality of his Greek in his gospel and the book of Acts. His conversations with Paul were undoubtedly stimulating.
Luke is mentioned by name only two other times in the New Testament. All three times his name appears, it does so in Paul’s writings from prison
After joining Paul on his second missionary journey, he was with him for most of the remainder of Paul’s life.
Nothing definite is known about Luke’s background. According to the church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome, he was born in Syrian Antioch. Some have speculated that he was Titus’s brother, that he knew Paul when Paul was a student at Tarsus, and that he was a freed slave from the household of Theophilus (Mentioned in the prologue to Acts). Those speculations, however, cannot be proved.
Luke was the prototype of the medical missionary. Not everyone in the Lord’s service has to have a seminary degree. God’s work needs specialists too. Luke surrendered his special talent to God, giving up what might have been a lucrative private practice. In return, God gave him the privilege of writing a sizable portion of the New Testament, and of being the beloved companion of the apostle Paul.
In Paul's final letter, 2 Timothy (See note on 2Ti 4:10) we read that Demas had forsaken Paul and fled to Thessalonica, having loved the things of this present world more than the things of Christ. Since Colossians and Philemon were written during the same time period (see chronological chart below), Demas’ backsliding must have been rapid. What a tragedy!
Was Demas genuinely saved? In the final analysis that is God's business. In the meantime it is worth noting that as Billy Graham has said,
Putting the question of Demas' salvation aside, is your salvation secure because it was genuine repentance and belief and not a "mind game"? Not just intellectual gymnastics but internal transformation? Not just knowledge in the head but a change in the heart, a genuine regeneration which is evidenced by a supernatural desire and general predilection (not perfection) for the things of God… His presence in quietness and prayer, His word in times of study, memorization and meditation, His sure hope of heaven, His saints in fellowship, His conviction and discipline when we sin, etc.
Demas goes from "fellow worker" to simply "Demas" to lover of "this present world"! The first two mentions were during Paul's first imprisonment and the last here in Timothy during his second imprisonment in Rome.
The lure of the world became irresistible to Demas, and he abandoned both Paul and the ministry. We see here the basic principle taught by our Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry that
Jesus had His Judas, and Paul had his Demas. Anyone who has been in the ministry long enough has shared in that heartbreaking experience. Isn't it interesting and somewhat comforting to note that even the two greatest leaders the world has ever known had those who failed them. In a similar manner, anyone who has been a Christian long enough has known the heartache and sense of loss when some mentor or leader who for whatever reason chooses to abandon the faith and fall in love with the world.
If believers today would read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, they’d meet Mr. Hold-the-World, Mr. Save-All, and Mr. Money-Love and would see what Bunyan thought about Demas, the one-time associate of Paul who fell in love with “this present world”.
Every saint, be he pastor or pew member, needs to remember this passage, so he is aware of the potential for those who, while ostensibly steadfast and faithful, choose to forsake in the hour of need. If this has happened to you, beloved, remember that Jesus is able to sympathize, for in His hour of greatest need His disciples all left Him and fled. (Mark 14:50) Therefore…
Amplified: Give my greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the assembly (the church) which meets in her house.
Phillips: My own greetings to the Christians in Laodicea, and to Nymphas and the congregation who meet in her house.
Wuest: Greet the brethren in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the [local] assembly [which meets] in her home.
Young's Literal: salute ye those in Laodicea -- brethren, and Nymphas, and the assembly in his house
GREET THE BRETHREN WHO ARE IN LAODICEA AND ALSO NYMPHA AND THE CHURCH THAT IS IN HER HOUSE:
Greet (782) (aspazomai from a + spao = draw out as a sword, pull, breathe) (aorist imperative) means to enfold in arms, welcome, embrace. It is spoken of those who meet or separate. This is one final expression of Paul's paternal love. Aspazomai is constantly used in the papyri for conveying the greetings at the end of a letter.
The brethren - This term is often used today amongst believers, but probably most often in a more formal manner and not with the deeper sense that this term carried in the early church, for in those days a mutual care for members of the Family was noteworthy and was obvious to those outside of Christ. "See how these Christians love one another" was the observation of many of the on lookers. The same description is sometimes used about those in church today, but sadly is more often spoken with a sarcastic, skeptical twist than with a sense of awe.
In Laodicea - click this map for the geographic relationships of Laodicea (means "justice of the people" - description), Hierapolis (means "holy city" - see description) and Colossae (means "punishment" - see description).
The brethren who are in Laodicea - Brethren in this context indicates fellow believers who composed the church in Laodicea. This church received a stern warning from our Lord some 30 years later in the book of Revelation. What happened to them in such a short time period? Were some of the original "church members" still alive or had a completely new generation been born who lacked the fervor of the parent church? In the next verse Paul instructs them to have Colossians read to them which surely was done and yet from what Jesus says below strongly suggests they do not heed the Word they heard, at least in a lasting way.
Jesus gives His assessment of the church at Laodicea declaring…
Guy King makes a practical and pithy comment on the church at Laodicea…
The church that is in her house - The churches met in homes, and believers would frequently itinerate from home to home. They fellowshipped together around the Word of God. They fellowshipped together in the breaking of bread in memory of our Lord’s death and resurrection (for the early church's plan for "church growth" see Acts 2:42-47 noting especially how the church was growing day by day!). The program of teaching the Word and evangelism was carried out from these little centers.
Whether or not the early Christians built actual church buildings in which to meet, we do not know. There is no mention of such in the New Testament. Probably in most cases, they met in individual homes, as many churches do today, especially in countries where organized Christian worship is forbidden.
With all of the stress in the modern church on large and luxurious buildings, it is refreshing to be reminded that, for many years, the Christian church met and grew in the homes of believers
MacDonald comments that…
Lightfoot reminds us:
Pentecost (in comments on his exposition of Philemon) writes that…
Amplified: And when this epistle has been read before you, [see] that it is read also in the assembly (the church) of the Laodiceans, and also [see] that you yourselves in turn read the [letter that comes to you] from Laodicea.
Phillips: When you have had this letter read in your church, see that the Laodiceans have it read in their church too; and see that you read the letter I have written to them.
Wuest: And when this letter is read in your presence, see to it that also it is read in the assembly of the Laodiceans, and the letter from Laodicea, see to it that you also read it.
Young's Literal: and when the epistle may be read with you, cause that also in the assembly of the Laodiceans it may be read, and the epistle from Laodicea that ye also may read
AND WHEN THIS LETTER IS READ AMONG YOU, HAVE IT ALSO READ IN THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS AND YOU, FOR YOUR PART READ MY LETTER THAT IS COMING FROM LAODICEA: kai hotan anagnosthe (3SAPS) par' humin e epistole, poiesate (2PAAM) hina kai en te Laodikeon ekklesia anagnosthe, (3SAPS) kai ten ek Laodikeias hina kai humeis anagnote. (2PAAS): (1Thes 5:27)
When this letter is read - Guzik comments that…
Read (314) (anaginosko from aná = emphatic, again + ginosko = know <> know again) literally to know again or to recognize again. It came to mean to distinguish between, to know accurately and then to read.
In the NT anaginosko is only used with the meaning of to read (albeit once in a figurative sense of men "reading" the lives of the Corinthian saints as one would an actual written letter), especially referring to reading aloud and to public reading. In Acts 8:28, 30, 32 we see the Ethiopian eunuch is reading in private (until encountered by Phillip!).
Surely one cannot miss the point that the pure milk of God's Word is to have a vital and central role in the corporate worship of the church at Colossae.
Anaginosko is found in the papyri in the reading aloud of a petition or of the reading aloud of a will. In another use anaginosko refers to copies of an edict set up in public places "in full view of those who wish to read (anaginosko)."
The church of the Laodiceans - see relation to Hierapolis and Colossae on this Map
Read my letter that is coming from Laodicea - We do not know what Letter Paul refers to in this instruction. Some believe that this was the letter to the Ephesians but that notion is largely speculation.
Vincent comments that Paul refers to…
Amplified: And say to Archippus, See that you discharge carefully [the duties of] the ministry and fulfill the stewardship which you have received in the Lord.
Phillips: A brief message to Archippus: God ordained you to your work - see that you don't fail him!
Wuest: And say to Archippus, Be ever keeping a watchful eye upon the ministry which you received in the Lord, that you discharge it fully.
Young's Literal: and say to Archippus, 'See to the ministration that thou didst receive in the Lord, that thou mayest fulfil it.'
AND SAY TO ARCHIPPUS TAKE HEED TO THE MINISTRY WHICH YOU RECEIVED IN THE LORD: kai eipate (2PAAM) Archippo blepe (2PAAM) ten diakonian hos parelabes [2AAI] en Kuriôi: (Philemon 1:2) (Lv 10:3; Nu 18:5; 2Chr 29:11; Ezek 44:23,24; Acts 20:28; 1Ti 4:16; 1Ti 6:11, 12, 13, 14,20; 2Ti 4:1, 1, 2, 3, 5) (Acts 1:17; 14:23; 1Cor 4:1,2; Ep 4:11; 1Ti 4:6,14; 2Ti 1:6; 2:2)
Say (3004) (lego) has the basic sense of “to gather with the twofold nuance of repetition and separation. Note that Paul like a military commander issues an order (aorist imperative) to be carried out without delay, even implying a sense of urgency.
TDNT summarizes the etymology of lego…
Archippus (archippos) is a name which most resources record as meaning "master of the horse"
Archippus is described by Paul as our fellow soldier (Phile 1:2) which suggests that he was willing to suffer hardship (this was the lot of soldiers in Paul's day) and was actively engaged in Christian work, not allowing himself to be entangled in the affairs of everyday life (see notes on Paul's comparison of a Christian disciple with the metaphor of a soldier - 2 Timothy 2:3; 2:4). (Related resources - Three Kinds of Soldiers - Ten Principles of Warfare; Roman Soldier by Edward Gibbon (from Decline & Fall of Roman Empire; The Roman Soldier - Description from Jewish Historian Josephus; A Few Soldier Stories and Sermons)
Take heed (991) (blepo) can denote simple voluntary observation and so mean to look at, behold. Many NT uses convey the sense of becoming aware of or taking notice of something, of perceiving or discerning or understanding. In the aorist imperative the meaning is to do this and do it now, even conveying a sense of urgency. Paul, Archippus' fellow soldier and "commanding general" is issuing an order for Archippus to "Keep your eyes open, stay aware, be discerning, understand your ministry". As an aside Paul's The solemn charge need not imply Archippus' actual dereliction of duty.
This word blepo in secular Greek was used of bringing a ship to land. Think of your life as a "ship of faith" moving through the fog, avoiding the dangerous reefs by keeping your focus on the Lighthouse on the shore.
Spiritual gifts are a stewardship for which believers are accountable to God. Peter indicated that believers are to use gifts “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (see note 1 Peter 4:10). Not to exercise gifts properly is to fail one’s stewardship. This fact surely must have motivated Paul’s exhortation to Archippus.
Guzik rightly concludes that in this passage Paul offers…
Paul reminded Archippus that his ministry was a gift from God, and that he was a steward of God who would one day have to give an account of his work. Since the Lord gave him his ministry, the Lord could also help him carry it out in the right way. Ministry is not something we do for God; it is something God does in and through us. The NT introduces a radically new attitude toward ministry. Diakonia is not the activity of a lesser to a greater, but is the lifestyle of a follower of the Lord Jesus
Paul uses same word group diakonia that he used to describe the faithful minister Tychicus (see note Colossians 4:7). So this list of people starts with an example of a faithful man & ends with a charge to a man to be faithful. Indeed this is the charge Paul would give to us all as he ends this epistle.
Received (3880) (paralambano from para = beside + lambano = appropriate, receive) means to receive from another, to receive alongside or to take to oneself (into close association). To receive something transmitted, as spiritual instruction or truth (see 1Cor 11:23, Gal 1:9) or a ministry here in Colossians 4:17. The aorist tense looks back to the point in time when the Archippus heard the call to ministry.
Received from the Lord - Paul uses this same idea describing his reception of the gospel message from the Lord
Moule contends, that in the Lord suggests an official ministry, such as elder or deacon, but any spiritual ministry, whether official or not, may be described as received in the Lord.
Note that ministry is something we seek per se, but something God gives (received in the Lord). Inherent in the verb received is also the idea of accepting what one has been allotted in ministry. There is also the idea of taking this ministry to oneself, giving the picture that one should wholeheartedly embrace the good thing bestowed which has come down from above (James 1:15). Ministry is Christ in us the hope of glory flowing through us touching those He puts us into contact with for the expansion of His Kingdom and His glory, not for our reputation or our glory. Our job is to fulfill our divine assignment and bring great glory to the Father (see note Matthew 5:16)
What ministry has Your Lord assigned to you, beloved?
Will you be a faithful steward and hear "Well, done"?
Don't procrastinate in fulfilling your ministry in His power and for His glory. There are many works that men do to please or impress others, but supernatural ministry is Christ in you, His Spirit enabling the work, and the Father receiving all the glory. (see note Matthew 5:16) How wonderful would it be to be able to say…
We are standing on the edge of eternity. The King will soon return to reward His faithful stewards and servants. Redeem the time. Store up for yourself treasure in heaven (see note Mt 6:20).
THAT YOU MAY FULFILL IT: hina auten plerois (2SPAS): (2Timothy 4:5 see notes)
That (2443) (hina) introduces a purpose clause and in this case explains that the purpose of telling Archippus to take heed was that he might fulfill God's ministry through him.
Fulfill (4137) (pleroo) (Click word study of pleroo) means to make full, to fill up, to fill to the brim, to cause to abound. In this verse pleroo means to fulfill the duties and demands that had been entrusted to him -- to carry them out, to perform them fully, to accomplish them.
Fulfill in this context conveys the idea that God had a definite purpose (ministry) for His servant Archippus to accomplish or "fill to the brim". Remember that your Father also has a definite purpose for your new life in Christ, as Paul explained in Ephesians writing that…
He works in us and through us to complete those good works that He has prepared for us. Fulfill also parallels the theme of Colossians—the fullness of Jesus Christ available to each believer. We are now able to fulfill our ministries because we have been filled full of Christ Jesus.
In his last known letter Paul exhorts his young disciple Timothy to
Remember that Christ is example (of ministry) and we are to follow in His steps (see note 1 Peter 2:21) Jesus' ministry was solely that which the Father had given Him, for as Jesus Himself explained
And so we note that when His disciples returned from the city (after going to procure food) they began
Did Jesus fulfill His ministry, bringing His work to completion? In John just before He is crucified, Jesus prays to His Father and declares
Then dear disciple, go and do likewise, fulfilling whatever ministry the Father has given you to do, that by it He might be greatly glorified.
Note that it is not so much my work for Him but His work through me. Do you see the difference? (in terms of initiation, source, purpose, effect, etc).
Be encouraged dear saint. Don't let anyone try to demean your work in the Lord, no matter how menial it may appear to you in this presence age, for in eternity future it will receive an entirely different evaluation! Every believer possesses a God-given ministry (in the Lord) and so each of us can say as did Paul that we possess a
Ministry is both from the Father and for the Father's glory. Our motive should be to serve Him and seek to please Him in all things because we love Him Who first loved us. Suffering becomes an authenticating mark of a true minister of Christ (cf 2Cor 11:23-28), for the servant is not greater than the Lord. In His ministry on earth, Jesus knew suffering, opposition, and humiliation and His disciples are not to expect a "free pass" or exemption.
God-given ministry requires faithfulness, such as Tychicus modeled ("Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord," see note Ephesians 6:21). This quality, which is required before the Lord entrusts a person with a significant responsibility.
Faithfulness to the Father's ministry is seen particularly by obedience to the truth of God, for as Paul wrote to Timothy
Ministry requires loyalty to the Lord Jesus in whatever sphere He assigns, and a recognition that He alone is the Source of strength and enablement for service. Graciously He sets forth the pattern of service and also strengthens those He calls.
Guy King comments that the Archippus' ministry…
Amplified: I, Paul, [add this final] greeting, writing with my own hand. Remember I am still in prison and in chains. May grace (God’s unmerited favor and blessing) be with you! Amen (so be it).
Phillips: My personal greeting to you written by myself. Don't forget I'm in prison. Grace be with you.
Wuest: The greeting by my hand, the hand of Paul. Be remembering my bonds. The grace be with you.
Young's Literal: The salutation by the hand of me, Paul; remember my bonds; the grace is with you. Amen.
Paul customarily used an amanuensis (Recording secretary) when writing his letters, but frequently added a greeting with his own hand (cf. (1Co 16:21; 2Th 3:17 Philemon 1:19). It probably was not easy to sign one's name with a chain around one's wrist!
REMEMBER MY IMPRISONMENT: mnemoneuete (2PPAM) mou ton desmon: (2Ti 1:8; Heb 13:3)
Bearing in mind (3421) (mnemoneuo from mimnésko = recall to one's mind) means to keep in mind, exercise memory, call something to mind or recollect. The present imperative is a command for them to continually remember his imprisonment. The meaning is not that this memory was to occupy their minds to the exclusion of everything else but rather that their remembrance of his imprisonment would constantly recur. How could they do this practically speaking? Or asked another way, what should their remembrance of his chains stimulate? Surely, the most obvious answer is that when they thought about him, they should or would intercede on his behalf. What better way is there to remember the afflictions of fellow saints then to recall and take that recollection to the Lord in prayer! Can you imagine the "reward" that awaits those who had the privilege to pray for this mighty saint and thus co-labor with him fields that were white unto harvest? Seen in such a light, we understand that Paul's command to remember was in a sense an invitation to co-labor with him and to one day future share in the bountiful reward!
Imprisonment (1199) (desmon from déo = to bind) refers to a bond or band and then to a chain or shackle (of a prisoner). Paul was chained to a Roman guard during his imprisonment he at which time wrote epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Timothy, Titus and Philemon - the "prison epistles".
In Ephesians Paul had stated that he was "an ambassador in chains". A T Robertson remarks that
Expositors Greek Testament says
Henry Alford adds that…
Guzik observes that …
The writer of Hebrews echoes Paul's desire writing…
Remember is in the present imperative calling for this to be a habitual remembrance, not just for a moment in time.
Writing to Timothy Paul told his young protégée…
GRACE BE WITH YOU: he charis meth' humon: (Romans 16:20,24; 2Corinthians 13:14; 1Timothy 6:21; 2Timothy 4:22; Hebrews 13:25)
Grace (5485) (charis) (Click word study of charis) most likely refers to sanctifying grace, that transforming power which alone makes it possible to carry out Paul's instructions and commands in this epistle. God's undeserved favor, manifest in the saint's being enabled to work out his or her salvation in fear and trembling.
Guzik observes that …
And so we take our leave of Colossians with its exalted theme: the pre-eminence of Christ and His sufficiency for every believer. Beginning with grace, it appropriately concludes on the note of grace.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Guy King has these closing comments on Colossians…