Colossians 4
Vincent's Word Studies
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Masters, etc.

The best texts attach this verse to the preceding chapter.

Render (παρέχεσθε)

The Greek implies on your part.

Equal (τὴν ἰσότητα)

Lit., the equality. Not equality of condition, but the brotherly equality growing out of the Christian relation in which there is neither bond nor free. See on Plm 1:16.

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Continue (προσκαρτερεῖτε)

See on Acts 1:14. Compare Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46; Acts 6:4; Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Rev., correctly, continue steadfastly.

Watching (γρηγοροῦντες)

See on Mark 13:35; see on 1 Peter 5:8. In Ephesians 6:18, ἀγρυπνοῦντες watching is used, on which see Mark 13:33.

Therein (ἐν αὐτῇ)

In prayer. Compare thereunto, Ephesians 6:18.

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:
Door of utterance (θύραν τοῦ λόγου)

Rev., better, a door for the world. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Revelation 3:8. See also entering in, 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:1. And the parallel passage, Ephesians 6:19. There may be an allusion to a release from imprisonment.

That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
That I may make it manifest (ἵνα φανερώσω)

Compare speak boldly, Ephesians 6:20. That connects with the clause that God-Christ.

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
In wisdom (ἐν σοφίᾳ)

Compare Ephesians 5:15, as wise.

Those that are without (τοὺς ἔξω)

As 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12. Compare τοὺς ἔσω those within, 1 Corinthians 5:12.

Redeeming the time (τὸν καιρὸν ἐξαγοραζόμενοι)

Compare Ephesians 5:16, and Daniel 2:8, Sept. The word is used in the New Testament only by Paul, Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16. The compounded preposition ἐξ has the meaning out of; as Galatians 3:13, "Christ redeemed us out of the curse," etc., and out and out, fully. So here and Ephesians 5:16, buy up. Rev., in margin, buying up the opportunity. The favorable opportunity becomes ours at the price of duty.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Seasoned with salt (ἅλατι ἠρτυμένος)

Both words only here in Paul. The metaphor is from the office of salt in rendering palatable. Both in Greek and Latin authors, salt was used to express the pungency and wittiness of speech. Horace speaks of having praised a poet for rubbing the city with abundant salt, i.e., for having wittily satirized certain parties so as to make them smart as if rubbed with salt, and so as to excite the laughter of those who are not hit ("Satires," 1 x., 3). Lightfoot gives some interesting citations from Plutarch, in which, as here, grace and salt are combined. Thus: "The many call salt χάριτας graces, because, mingled with most things, it makes them agreeable and pleasant to the taste." Seasoned is, literally, prepared. It is not likely that the fact has any connection with this expression, but it is interesting to recall Herodotus' story of a salt lake in the neighborhood of Colossae, which has been identified, and which still supplies the whole surrounding country with salt (vii., 30). The exhortation to well-seasoned and becoming speech is expanded in Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:4, in a warning against corrupt communication.

All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:

Mentioned Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12.

Minister (διάκονος)

Probably to Paul himself. Compare Acts 19:22; Acts 20:4. Scarcely in the official sense of deacon.

Fellow-servant (σύνδουλος)

Used by Paul only here and Colossians 1:7, of Epaphras. By this term he designates Tychicus as, in common with himself, a servant of Jesus Christ. Probably not with a strict, but with a quasi official reference.

Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;
I have sent

Epistolary aorist. Tychicus carried the letter.

He might know your estate (γνῷ τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν)

The correct reading is γνῶτε τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν ye might know the things about us, or our estate. Compare Ephesians 6:21.

With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.

See on Plm 1:10.

The faithful and beloved brother

Whom the Colossians had known only as the worthless, runaway slave. See Plm 1:11, Plm 1:16.

Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
Aristarchus, my fellow-prisoner

See on Plm 1:23, Plm 1:24. Unnecessary difficulty is made over the fact that the term fellow-prisoner is applied to Epaphras in Plm 1:23, and not to Aristarchus; while here the case is reversed. It is not necessary to suppose that the two had changed places, or that the captivity was voluntary, if a literal captivity was meant. All the three terms fellow-prisoner, fellow-servant, fellow-worker - might be applied to both; and, as Dwight remarks, "Reasons unknown to us may easily have determined the use of one word or the other, independently of the question as to the particular time when they were in imprisonment."


See on Plm 1:24.

Sister's son (ἀνεψιός)

Only here in the New Testament. Rev., correctly, cousin. The sense of nephew did not attach to the word until very late. Lightfoot remains that this incidental notice explains why Barnabas should have taken a more favorable view of Mark's defection than Paul, Acts 15:37, Acts 15:39.

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.
Jesus Justus

Not mentioned elsewhere. The only one of these names not mentioned in the salutations of the Epistle to Philemon.

Have been a comfort (ἐγενήθησαν παρηγορία)

Παρηγορία comfort, only here in the New Testament. Properly, an address, an exhortation: an exhortation for the purpose of encouraging: hence a comfort. Plutarch, in his "Life of Cimon," uses it with πένθους grief; a comfort, for grief; and in his "Life of Pericles," of consolation for a dead son. Aretaeus, a medical writer, of the assuaging of a paroxysm. This word, and the kindred adjectives παρηγορικός and παρηγορητικός soothing, are common in medical writings. So Galen, of soothing fictions, pretenses to quiet the diseased. Have been is, more strictly, have proved.

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.
Laboring fervently (ἀγωνιζόμενος)

Rev., striving. See on Colossians 1:29; see on Colossians 2:1. Compare Romans 15:30.

Perfect (τέλειοι)

See on 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 2:7; see on 1 Corinthians 1:28.

Complete (πεπληροφορημένοι)

See on most surely believed, Luke 1:1; and compare full assurance, Colossians 2:2. Rev., fully assured.

In all the will (ἐν παντὶ θελήματι)

Lit., in every will. Will means the thing willed, as Luke 12:47; James 5:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Hence used sometimes in the plural, as Acts 13:22, shall do all my will (θελήματα), i.e., perform all the things willed by me. Ephesians 2:3, desires, strictly willings. So here the sense is, everything willed by God. The connection is apparently with σταθῆτε ye may stand. For a similar construction see John 8:44; Romans 5:2; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 1 Corinthians 16:13. As Meyer observes, this connection gives stand both a modal definition (perfect and fully assured) and a local definition (in all the will).

For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
Zeal (ζῆλον)

Read πόνον labor, which occurs elsewhere only in Revelation 16:10, Revelation 16:11; Revelation 21:4, in the sense of pain. Πονος labor is from the root of πένομαι to work for one's daily bread, and thence to be poor. Πόνος toil, πένης one who works for his daily bread, and πονηρός wicked, have a common root. See on wickedness, Mark 7:22. In their original conceptions, κόπος labor (1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 6:5) emphasizes the fatigue of labor: μόχθος hard labor (2 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:9), the hardship: πόνος the effort, but πόνος has passed, in the New Testament, in every instance but this, into the meaning of pain.


The cities are named in geographical order. Laodicaea and Hierapolis faced each other on the north and south sides of the Lycus valley, about six miles apart. Colossae was ten or twelve miles farther up the stream. Hierapolis owed its celebrity to its warm mineral springs, its baths, and its trade in dyed wools. It was a center of the worship of the Phrygian goddess Cybele, whose rites were administered by mutilated priests known as Galli, and of other rites representing different oriental cults. Hence the name Hierapolis or sacred city.

Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Luke - Demas

See on Plm 1:24.

The beloved physician

See Introduction to Luke.

Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

Probably contracted from Nymphodorus, as Artemas from Artemidorus (Titus 3:12): Zenas from Zenodorus (Titus 3:13); Olympas from Olympiodorus (Romans 16:15).

The Church

Compare Plm 1:2; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Acts 12:12.

His house (αὐτοῦ)

Others read αὐτῶν their (so Rev., Lightfoot, Meyer). Others, as Westcott and Hort, αὐτῆς her, regarding the name as female, Nympha. It is difficult, however, to know to whom the plural can refer. Some explain, Nymphas and his family. Meyer refers it to the brethren at Laodicaea and Nymphas, and thinks that the allusion is to a foreign church in filial association with the church at Laodicaea, and holding its meetings in the same place.

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.
The epistle from Laodicaea (τὴν ἐκ Λαοδικείας)

That is, the letter left at Laodicaea, and to be obtained by you from the church there. This letter cannot be positively identified. The composition known as the Epistle to the Laodicaeans is a late and clumsy forgery, existing only in Latin MSS., and made up chiefly of disconnected passages from Philippians, with a few from other epistles.

And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
With mine own hand

The letter was written by an amanuensis, Paul adding his autograph.

Grace be with you

On the benedictions, see on 2 Corinthians 13:14. This short form occurs only here, 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:22.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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