|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:10-18 Paul had differed with Barnabas, on the account of this Mark, yet he is not only reconciled, but recommends him to the churches; an example of a truly Christian and forgiving spirit. If men have been guilty of a fault, it must not always be remembered against them. We must forget as well as forgive. The apostle had comfort in the communion of saints and ministers. One is his fellow-servant, another his fellow-prisoner, and all his fellow-workers, working out their own salvation, and endeavouring to promote the salvation of others. The effectual, fervent prayer is the prevailing prayer, and availeth much. The smiles, flatteries, or frowns of the world, the spirit of error, or the working of self-love, leads many to a way of preaching and living which comes far short of fulfilling their ministry. But those who preach the same doctrine as Paul, and follow his example, may expect the Divine favour and blessing.
Verse 13. - For I hear witness to him that he hath much labour (πὸνον for ζῆλον, Revised Text) for you (Colossians 1:29; Colossians 2:1; Philippians 2:19-23; 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Corinthians 16:15, 16). Πόνος occurs in the New Testament besides only in Revelation 16:10, 11 and Revelation 21:4, where it means "pain;" in classical Greek it implies "painful, distressful exertion" (comp. κοπιῶ, Colossians 1:29). It indicates the deep anxiety of Epaphras for this beloved and endangered Church. There is nothing here to point to "outward toil" (Lightfoot), any more than in Colossians 2:1. The apostle loves to commend his fellow labourers (Colossians 1:7; Philippians 2:20-22, 25, 26; 2 Corinthians 8:16-23). And for those in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis (vers. 15-17; Colossians 2:1). The Church in Hierapolis is added to that of Laodicea, singled out in Colossians 2:1 as a special object of the apostle's concern (on these cities, see Introduction, § 1). Whether Epaphras were the official head of these Churches or not, he could not but be deeply concerned in their welfare. Ver. 17 indicates the existence of a personal link between the Churches of Colossus and of Laodicea.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For I bear him record,.... The apostle was an eye and ear witness of his fervent prayers, his labour of love, and zealous affection for these saints and others; and therefore, as he judged he ought, he bears a testimony for him,
that he hath a great zeal for you; for their spiritual welfare, that the Gospel might continue with them, and they in that, against false teachers, and their attempts to subvert them; that they might grow in the grace of the Gospel, and walk worthy of it, and be at peace among themselves:
and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis; cities in Phrygia, which lay near to Colosse, the one being situated by the river Lycus, and the other by the Maeander; here were many believers, for whom Epaphras had a like zeal and affections as for the Colossians, and to whom very likely he had been useful, either in conversion or edification, or both. The apostle takes no notice to the Colossians of Epaphras being his fellow prisoner, as, he does in his epistle to Plm 1:23 it may be for this reason, lest they should be over much distressed and cast down with it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. a great zeal—The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate have "much labor."
for you—lest you should be seduced (Col 2:4); 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 Phrygia Pacatiana" (1Ti 6:21). 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.
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