Colossians 4:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

New Living Translation
After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them.

English Standard Version
And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

Berean Study Bible
After this letter has been read among you, make sure that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

Berean Literal Bible
And when the letter shall be read among you, cause that it may be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you also may read the one from Laodicea.

New American Standard Bible
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.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

International Standard Version
When this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and be sure to read the one from Laodicea.

NET Bible
And after you have read this letter, have it read to the church of Laodicea. In turn, read the letter from Laodicea as well.

New Heart English Bible
When this letter has been read among you, cause it to be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And whenever this letter is read to you, cause it to be read in the church of Laidiqia and read that which was written from Laidiqia.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
After you have read this letter, read it in the church at Laodicea. Make sure that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

New American Standard 1977
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.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones} of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

King James 2000 Bible
And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

American King James Version
And when this letter is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you likewise read the letter from Laodicea.

American Standard Version
And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when this epistle shall have been read with you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans: and that you read that which is of the Laodiceans.

Darby Bible Translation
And when the letter has been read among you, cause that it be read also in the assembly of Laodiceans, and that ye also read that from Laodicea.

English Revised Version
And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea.

Webster's Bible Translation
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.

Weymouth New Testament
And when this Letter has been read among you, let it be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans, and you in turn must read the one I am sending to Laodicea.

World English Bible
When this letter has been read among you, cause it to be read also in the assembly of the Laodiceans; and that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

Young's Literal Translation
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;
Study Bible
Sharing This Letter
15Greet the brothers in Laodicea, as well as Nympha and the church that meets at her house. 16After this letter has been read among you, make sure that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea. 17Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”…
Cross References
Colossians 2:1
I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me face to face,

Colossians 4:13
For I testify about him that he goes to great pains for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Colossians 4:15
Greet the brothers in Laodicea, as well as Nympha and the church that meets at her house.

1 Thessalonians 5:27
I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

2 Thessalonians 3:14
Take note of anyone who does not obey the instructions we have given in this letter. Do not associate with him, so that he may be ashamed.
Treasury of Scripture

And when this letter is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you likewise read the letter from Laodicea.

1 Thessalonians 5:27 I charge you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the holy brothers.

(16) When this epistle.--In the implied direction to read this Epistle in the Church--a direction expressly given under like circumstances to the Church at Thessalonica (1Thessalonians 5:27)--we discern the method of first publication of the Apostolic Epistles; in the direction to interchange Epistles with the Laodicean Church, we trace the way in which these Epistles became more widely diffused, and recognised as authoritative in the Church at large. Thus it was that they were "canonised," i.e., accepted as a part of the "canon" or rule of divine truth. The likelihood, or unlikelihood, of this public reading has an important bearing on the question of the authenticity of some of the books, which were placed among the "doubtful" by Eusebius and other ancient authorities. The fact that other books (such as our so-called Apocryphal books) were also publicly read was the cause of their being wrongly confused with the books of Holy Scripture.

The epistle from Laodicea.--The question, What was this "Epistle from Laodicea"? has given birth to a crowd of conjectures, of which an admirable and exhaustive examination will be found in Dr. Lightfoot's Excursus on this verse. But many of these may be at once dismissed. It seems perfectly clear, from the obvious parallelism of this Epistle from Laodicea with the Epistle to the Colossians itself, that it was a letter not from the Laodicean Church, not from any other Apostle, or Apostolic writer, but from St. Paul himself, either written at Laodicea, or (as is more likely) written to the Laodicean Church, and to be sent "from Laodicea" to Coloss. Hence the question is narrowed to a single alternative--(1) Is it an Epistle which has been lost, or, at any rate, not found in the canon? This is, of course, possible; it cannot be necessary, as it is certainly difficult, to suppose that all St. Paul's Epistles have been preserved to us in Holy Scripture. Now, there is extant an "Epistle to the Laodiceans," circulated in the West, and known only in the Latin, although it has been thought to bear traces of translation from a Greek original. This letter (for which see Excursus B.) is obviously a forgery, probably not of early date, being little more than a tame compilation of phrases from St. Paul's Epistles. Putting this unhesitatingly aside, we may suppose the letter to have been lost. But this is a supposition merely arbitrary, and not to be adopted, except in default of something which has a better claim to attention. (2) Is it some other of St. Paul's known Epistles? The only letter which is noticed in our ordinary copies of the Greek Testament as written from Laodicea is the First Epistle to Timothy; but this is put out of the question, both in date and character; and, moreover, the very idea of a letter written from Laodicea at this time is negatived by St. Paul's declaration (Colossians 2:1) that the Laodiceans had not seen his face in the flesh. A fourth century tradition declares our "Epistle to the Hebrews" to have been written to the Laodiceans; but (setting aside all question of the authorship) the whole character and argument of the Epistle make this extremely unlikely. Far the most probable supposition identifies it with our "Epistle to the Ephesians." For the reasons for supposing this an encyclical letter, see Introduction to that Epistle. In particular it should not be forgotten that Marcion expressly calls it an "Epistle to the Laodiceans." Laodicea lay lower down the valley, and was the larger town: an encyclical letter might well be left there to be sent on to Coloss. The two Epistles, as we have seen, have both strong likeness and marked distinction. Nothing could be more natural than that they should be interchanged, according to the direction of the text.

Verse 16. - And when this letter has been read among you, see to it (literally, cause) that it be read also in the Church of (the) Laodiceans (1 Thessalonians 5:27). For these two Churches were closely allied in origin and condition, as well as by situation and acquaintanceship (Colossians 2:1-5; Colossians 4:13). The leaven of the Colossian error was doubtless beginning to work in Laodicea also. The words addressed to Laodicea in the Apocalypse (Revelation 3:14-22) bear reference apparently to the language of this Epistle (Colossians 1:15-18); see Lightfoot, pp. 41, etc. The phrase, "Church of Laodiceans," corresponds to that used in the salutation of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, but is not found elsewhere in St. Paul. And that ye also read the letter from Laodicea. What was this letter? Clearly a letter from St. Paul which would be received at Laodicea, and which the Colossians were to obtain from there. The connection of this sentence with the foregoing, and the absence of any other definition of the words, "the letter (from Laodicea)," make this evident. Nothing further can be affirmed with certainty. But several considerations point to the probability that this missing Epistle is none other than our (so-called) Epistle to the Ephesians. For:

(1) Both letters were sent at the same time, and by the same messenger (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7).

(2) The relation between the two is more intimate than exists between any other of St. Paul's writings; they are twins, the birth of the same crisis in the condition of the Church and in the apostle's own mind. Each serves as a commentary on the other. And there are several important topics, lightly touched upon in this letter, on which the writer dilates at length in the other (comp. Colossians 1:9 b and Ephesians 1:17, 18; Colossians 1:23 b-25 and Ephesians 3:1-13; Colossians 1:18 a, 24 b, 2:19 and Ephesians 4:4-16, 5:23-32; Colossians 1:21, 27, 2:11-13, 3:11 and Ephesians 2; Colossians 1:18 ("Firstborn out of the dead"), 2:12 b and Ephesians 1:19-23; Colossians 3:12 ("God's elect") and Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 3:18, 19 and Ephesians 5:22-33). On the other hand, the main arguments of the Colossian letter are, as it seems, assumed and presupposed in the Ephesian (comp. Ephesians 1:10, 20 b-23, 2:20 b, 3:8 b-11, 19 b, 4:13 b with Colossians 1:15-20, 2:9, 10; Ephesians 4:14 with Colossians 2:4, 8, 16-23).

(3) The words ἐν Αφέδῳ in Ephesians 1:1 are of doubtful authenticity; and there is much in the internal character of that Epistle to favour the hypothesis, proposed by Archbishop Usher, that it was a circular letter, destined for a number of Churches in Asia Minor, of which Ephesus may have been the first and Laodicea the last (compare the order of Revelation 2:3.). In that case a copy of the Ephesian Epistle would be left at Laodicea by Tychicus on his way to Colossae. (See Introduction, § 6; compare that to Ephesians.)

(4) Marcion, in the middle of the second century (see Tertullian, 'Against Marcion,' 5:11, 17), entitled the Epistle to the Ephesians, "To the Laodiceans." It does not appear that his heretical views could have been furthered by this change. Probably his statement contains a fragment of ancient tradition, identifying the Epistle in question with that referred to by St. Paul in this passage.

(5) The expression, "the letter from Laodicea," would scarcely be used of a letter addressed simply to the Laodiceans and belonging properly to them; but would be quite appropriate to a more general Epistle transmitted from one place to another. There is extant in Latin a spurious epistle 'Ad Laodicenses,' which is traced back to the fourth century, and was widely accepted in the Middle Ages; but it is "a mere cento of Pauline phrases, strung together without any definite connection or any clear object" (Lightfoot). (On this curious forgery, and on the whole subject of "the Epistle from Laodicea," see Lightfoot's masterly discussion, pp. 274 - 300; also p. 37.) Meyer, on the other hand, in his 'Introduction to Ephesians,' pronounces strongly against "the circular hypothesis." And when this epistle is read amongst you, Which the apostle was now writing, and sent unto them; and which was to be read publicly, before the whole church; being sent not to any particular person, or persons, but to the whole body, and for their general good and instruction:

cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; his will was, that after it had been read to the church at Colosse, it should be sent, or at least a copy of it, to the church of the Laodiceans, in order to be read there: his reason might be, not only because this church was near them, but because it was in much the same situation, being infested with the same sort of false teachers; and therefore what was said to the one, was pertinent to the other:

and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea; which was not an epistle of the apostle to the Laodiceans, as some have thought, but one that was "written from" thence, as the Syriac version renders it. Marcion, the heretic, called the epistle to the Ephesians, the epistle to the Laodiceans, but without any reason; and others have forged an epistle which bears this name, and appears to be a collection out of others, and chiefly from the epistle to the Philippians; and which being short, and may gratify the curious who cannot otherwise come at it, I shall transcribe it, and is as follows (r).

"Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ; to the brethren which are of Laodicea, grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to Christ in every prayer of mine, that ye continue and persevere in good works, expecting the promise in the day of judgment: neither let the vain speeches of some that pretend to truth disturb you, so as to turn you from the truth of the Gospel which is preached by me; and now the Lord cause that those who belong to me may be serviceable for the furtherance of the truth of the Gospel, and doing kind actions, which are of salvation unto eternal life: and now my bonds are manifest which I suffer in Christ, in which I am glad and rejoice; and this is to my perpetual salvation which is done by your prayers, the Holy Ghost supplying, whether by life or by death; for me to live is life in Christ, and to die is joy; and he will do his own mercy in you, that ye may have the same love, and be unanimous: therefore, most beloved, as ye have heard of the presence of the Lord, so think ye, and do in fear, and you shall have life for ever; for it is God that worketh in you; and whatsoever ye do, do without sin; and what is best, most beloved, rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ, and take heed of all filth in all gain; let your petitions be openly with God, be ye steadfast in the sense of Christ: and whatsoever things are sound and true, and chaste and just, and lovely, do; and what ye have heard and received retain in the heart, and peace shall be with you. Salute all the brethren with an holy kiss; all the saints salute you; the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Cause this to be read to the Colossians, and that which is of the Colossians to you.''

Every one on reading it will easily see that it is a spurious piece, a collection out of other epistles, and very ill put together: however, the apostle here does not speak of any epistle written to the church of Laodicea, but of one that was written from thence; which some think was written by himself, and that he means his first epistle to Timothy, which is said to be written from Laodicea; and the rather, because in that the qualifications of the ministers of the Gospel are given; and also suitable instructions for the discharge of their work, and so very proper to be read in the presence of Archippus; who, from the following verse, seems to have been remiss and negligent, and needed stirring up to the performance of his office: but from Colossians 2:1 it appears, that the apostle had not been at Laodices when he wrote this, and had not so much as seen any of the faces of the brethren there in the flesh; it therefore seems rather to be an epistle which was sent from Laodicea to him, or to the Colossians; which having something in it very instructive and useful, the apostle desires it might be publicly read.

(r) Jachasin, fol. 87. 2. & 117. 1.16. 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. See [2436]Introduction to Ephesians and [2437]Introduction 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], 1Th 5:27; Re 1:3, "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 (De 31:11). 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.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.
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