September 27th Colossians 4
1: Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Find ways to teach
2: Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 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: 4: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5: Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
D. Epilogue Personal greetings
7: All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 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. 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;) 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. 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. 13: For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14: Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15: Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 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. 17: And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.
Farewell and blessing
18: The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
Having given instruction to wives, husbands, children and servants Paul now brings this portion to an end with instruction for masters. (Verse 1 should really be part of chapter 3) He says, masters are to be fair to their servants because they too have a master in heaven. This instruction applies as much to employers as much as slave masters. The Apostles and the church never undermined slavery in the Roman Empire, except that Paul said if a slave can win his freedom he is recommended to do so. And so therefore the church lived in peace with the politics of Rome on this issue. Paul encourages them to continue in prayer and to be watchful in thanksgiving. And he says pray for us that God would give us opportunities to preach the word – to speak of the mystery of Christ – because it is for this reason that he is in chains. And he asks that they might pray that he will preach this truth as he aught to preach it. Paul says, live wisely in the world using your time to the best advantage. He says let your speech be always with kindness, and tastefully done so that you might know how to answer every people who questions you regarding your faith. Lastly Paul brings a number of personal messages. He says Tychicus will tell you how l am getting along. He is a much loved brother in the Lord, a faithful minister and fellow-servant. Paul says, l sent him to you so that he might find out how you are getting along and to bring comfort to you. He also says that he is sending Onesimus who is a faithful and much loved brother and who is from your church. They will both tell you how things are done here. Aristarchus who is also in prison with me sends you greetings and Marcus the nephew of Barnabas. (This is the Mark that left Paul on his first missionary journey and who was the cause of a great rift between Paul and Barnabas. Paul had sent an apostolic commandment to the Colossians that they must receive Mark when he comes.) Paul includes a man originally called Jesus who is now called Justus who is a Jew. (Many of the people he was working with were Gentiles) Then he says these men at the moment are my fellow workers unto the Kingdom of God and they have been a strength to me. Paul says that Epaphras who is from Colossi and who is a servant of Christ sends you greetings. He works very hard in prayer that you might stand mature and complete in Gods will. He says l bear witness before God that he has a great zeal for you and for the church of Laodicea and Hierapolis. Luke the much loved doctor and Demus send their greetings. Then Paul says will you greet on out behalf the church at Laodicea and brother Nymphas and the that meets in his house. And Paul says when you read this letter out in the church will you cause it to be read at Laodicea too. And will you also read the letter that has been written to Laodicea. Tell Archippus that he pay attention to the he has received from the Lord to bring it to completion. This last part of the letter was written by Pauls own hand. He closes with the touching plea. Remember my chains.