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.
10. Aristarchus—a Macedonian of Thessalonica (Ac 27:2), who was dragged into the theater at Ephesus, during the tumult with Gaius, they being "Paul's companions in travel." He accompanied Paul to Asia (Ac 20:4), and subsequently (Ac 27:2) to Rome. He was now at Rome with Paul (compare Phm 23, 24). As he is here spoken of as Paul's "fellow prisoner," but in Phm 24 as Paul's "fellow laborer"; and vice versa, Epaphras in Phm 23, as his "fellow prisoner," but here (Col 1:7) "fellow servant," Meyer in Alford, conjectures that Paul's friends voluntarily shared his imprisonment by turns, Aristarchus being his fellow prisoner when he wrote to the Colossians, Epaphras when he wrote to Philemon. The Greek for "fellow prisoner" is literally, fellow captive, an image from prisoners taken in warfare, Christians being "fellow soldiers" (Php 2:25; Phm 2), whose warfare is "the good fight of faith."
Mark—John Mark (Ac 12:12, 25); the Evangelist according to tradition.
sister's son—rather, "cousin," or "kinsman to Barnabas"; the latter being the better known is introduced to designate Mark. The relationship naturally accounts for Barnabas' selection of Mark as his companion when otherwise qualified; and also for Mark's mother's house at Jerusalem being the place of resort of Christians there (Ac 12:12). The family belonged to Cyprus (Ac 4:36); this accounts for Barnabas' choice of Cyprus as the first station on their journey (Ac 13:4), and for Mark's accompanying them readily so far, it being the country of his family; and for Paul's rejecting him at the second journey for not having gone further than Perga, in Pamphylia, but having gone thence home to his mother at Jerusalem (Mt 10:37) on the first journey (Ac 13:13).
touching whom—namely, Mark.
ye received commandments—possibly before the writing of this Epistle; or the "commandments" were verbal by Tychicus, and accompanying this letter, since the past tense was used by the ancients (where we use the present) in relation to the time which it would be when the letter was read by the Colossians. Thus (Phm 19), "I have written," for "I write." The substance of them was, "If he come unto you, receive him." Paul's rejection of him on his second missionary journey, because he had turned back at Perga on the first journey (Ac 13:13; 15:37-39), had caused an alienation between himself and Barnabas. Christian love soon healed the breach; for here he implies his restored confidence in Mark, makes honorable allusion to Barnabas, and desires that those at Colosse who had regarded Mark in consequence of that past error with suspicion, should now "receive" him with kindness. Colosse is only about one hundred ten miles from Perga, and less than twenty from the confines of Pisidia, through which province Paul and Barnabas preached on their return during the same journey. Hence, though Paul had not personally visited the Colossian Church, they knew of the past unfaithfulness of Mark; and needed this recommendation of him, after the temporary cloud on him, so as to receive him, now that he was about to visit them as an evangelist. Again, in Paul's last imprisonment, he, for the last time, speaks of Mark (2Ti 4:11).