1Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, realizing that you too have a Master in heaven.
Prayer and Apostolic Spirit. 2Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving;a 3at the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison,b 4that I may make it clear, as I must speak. 5Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.c 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one.
Tychicus and Onesimus. 7Tychicus,* my beloved brother, trustworthy minister, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news of me.d 8I am sending him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us and that he may encourage your hearts, 9together with Onesimus, a trustworthy and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.e
From Paul’s Co-Workers. 10Aristarchus,* my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions; if he comes to you, receive him),f 11and Jesus,* who is called Justus, who are of the circumcision; these alone are my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12Epaphras* sends you greetings; he is one of you, a slave of Christ [Jesus], always striving for you in his prayers so that you may be perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.g 13For I can testify that he works very hard for you and for those in Laodicea* and those in Hierapolis. 14Luke* the beloved physician sends greetings, as does Demas.h
A Message for the Laodiceans. 15Give greetings to the brothers in Laodicea and to Nympha and to the church in her house.* 16And when this letter is read before you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and you yourselves read the one from Laodicea.* 17And tell Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry* that you received in the Lord.”i
18The greeting is in my own hand,* Paul’s. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.j
* [4:7–18] Paul concludes with greetings and information concerning various Christians known to the Colossians.
* [4:7] Tychicus: Acts 20:4 mentions his role in the collection for Jerusalem; Eph 6:21 repeats what is said here; see also 2 Tm 4:12; Ti 3:12.
* [4:10] Aristarchus: a Thessalonian who was with Paul at Ephesus and Caesarea and on the voyage to Rome (Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2). Mark: also referred to at Phlm 24 and 2 Tm 4:11 and, as “John Mark,” in Acts (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:13; 15:37–40). See also 1 Pt 5:13 and the note there. Traditionally the author of the second gospel.
* [4:11] Jesus: a then common Jewish name, the Greek form of Joshua.
* [4:12] Epaphras: see notes on Col 1:3–8 and Col 1:7.
* [4:13] Laodicea: see note on Col 2:1. Hierapolis: a city northeast of Laodicea and northwest of Colossae.
* [4:14] Luke: only here described as a medical doctor; cf. Phlm 24 and 2 Tm 4:11. Traditionally the author of the third gospel. Demas: cf. Phlm 24; he later deserted Paul (2 Tm 4:10).
* [4:15] Nympha and…her house: some manuscripts read a masculine for the house-church leader, “Nymphas and…his house.”
* [4:16] The one from Laodicea: either a letter by Paul that has been lost or the Letter to the Ephesians (cf. note on Eph 1:1 in Ephesus).
* [4:17] Fulfill the ministry: usually taken to mean that Archippus, the son of Philemon and Apphia (Phlm 1–2), is “pastor” at Colossae. An alternate interpretation is that Archippus, not Philemon, is the owner of the slave Onesimus and that Paul is asking Archippus to complete the service he has received in the Lord by sending Onesimus back to minister to Paul in his captivity (cf. Phlm 20).
* [4:18] My own hand: a postscript in Paul’s own hand was his custom; cf. Gal 6:11–18 and 2 Thes 3:17–18.
a. [4:2] Lk 18:1; Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18–20; 1 Thes 5:17.
b. [4:3] Rom 15:30; 1 Cor 16:9; Eph 6:19; 2 Thes 3:1.
d. [4:7] Acts 20:4; Eph 6:21–22; Phil 1:12.
f. [4:10] Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2 / Acts 12:12, 25; 13:13; 15:37, 40; 2 Tm 4:11; Phlm 24; 1 Pt 5:13.
h. [4:14] Phlm 24; 2 Tm 4:10–11.
j. [4:18] 1 Cor 16:21; Gal 6:11; Eph 3:1; 2 Thes 3:17.