Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers…
1. His relation to the Colossians. "Who is one of you." A native of their city, like Onesimus.
2. His office. "A servant of Jesus Christ" - a title often applied to the apostle by himself, and once applied to Timothy (Philippians 1:1) - to indicate his considerable services in the cause of Christ's gospel. He was the founder of the Church at Colossae.
3. His love to them. "Always wrestling for you in prayers that ye may stand fast, perfect and fully assured in all the will of God." His love was manifest in his constant and anxious prayers for his flock. Consider:
(1) The manner of his prayers. "Always wrestling for you in prayers."
(a) He was in an agony of prayer for them
) because of the greatness of the dangers that encompassed them;
) because of the fear of his prayers being lost;
) because of the tenderness of his love for them. He was truly "fervent in spirit."
(b) He was always wrestling in prayer for them,
) We must be constant in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
) It maintains fervency of spirit.
) It has the greater prospect of a favourable answer.
(2) The matter of his prayers. "That ye may stand fast, perfect and fully assured in all the will of God." It is a prayer for the stability of the Colossians, in view of the possible dangers of apostasy. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he felt" (1 Corinthians 10:12). "God is able to establish us" (1 Corinthians 15:1). This stability is manifest in two things.
(a) Maturity. "Perfect." Epaphras prays that the flock may stand fast in a complete and universal obedience. This they cannot do without labouring for much knowledge (1 Corinthians 14:20), exercising themselves in the Word of righteousness (Hebrews 5:14), allowing patience to have her perfect work (James 3:1; James 1:5).
(b) Firm persuasion. "Fully assured in all the will of God." There was to be no vacillation or falling away, but a sure conviction of the truth of God's will. The Judaeo-Gnostics made a pretension to a perfection of wisdom, and found its sphere in the secrets of heavenly existence. Believers find it in the sphere of God's will.
4. His zealous labours for the welfare of all the Churches in the Lycus valley. "For I bear him witness, that he hath much labour for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for them in Hierapolis." He was probably the founder of all three Churches, which were within a short distance of each other. The apostle commends him to the Colossians that he may increase their respect and love for him on his return from Rome.
II. LUKE. "The beloved physician." This was the evangelist, who had travelled with the apostle on his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1), and then from Jerusalem to Rome two years later (Acts 27:2), and now again was in his company. He was apparently the apostle's only companion at the end of his second imprisonment (2 Timothy 4:11): "Only Luke is with me." He was doubly beloved, both as physician and evangelist, for the weak health of the apostle, both in prison and out of it, needed his professional care.
1. He was probably a Thessalonian. (2 Timothy 4:10.) Twice again his name occurs in company with that of Luke (Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:10).
2. There is here a bare mention of his name, without a word of commendation. Perhaps the apostle had an insight into his real character. His name occurs significantly last of all among the six who greet the Colossians.
3. He deserts the apostle in the near prospect of his end. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" (2 Timothy 4:10). Yet, at present, he keeps his standing among the companions of the apostle and receives a due recognition. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.