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Colossians 4

 

In New Testament times, most of the Christian churches were “house churches” or “house fellowships” (Philemon 1-2). Perhaps in places where there was much persecution against Christians, the believers met in homes so as not to attract attention. But probably in most cases they met in homes because there was not enough money to build a separate church building.

16 The letter mentioned here which Paul wrote to the Laodiceans has been lost.

17 Paul here gives a special admonition to Archippus, a member of the Colossian church. Let Paul’s word to Archippus be for every one of us: See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord. And let us, like Paul, be able to say at the end of our lives: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

18 Up through verse 17, Paul has dictated this letter to a scribe. But now in verse 18, he writes in his own hand, so that the Colossians may know that this letter has truly been sent from Paul.

Paul writes: Remember my chains. In most of his letters, Paul asks for the prayers of his readers. We must not neglect to pray for our fellow workers in Christ. Especially we must pray for those in prison, and minister to their needs whenever we can (see Matthew 25:36; Hebrews 13:3).

 

1 For further discussion, see General Article: How We Got Our Bible.

2 Satan and his evil spirits fear God, because they know that in the end they will be punished and destroyed. Believers, however, haw the assurance of salvation and eternal life. Hi us they have no fear of eternal punishment. Fear of God is only the first step of wisdom; once we have believed, our fear of God is replaced by love for Him (Psalm 2:11; 1 John 4:18 and comment).

3 Some people would answer that anyone who “stops believing” never truly believed to begin with. This may be true; there is no way to prove it one way or another. Only God knows who has truly believed; only God is in a position to judge men’s hearts.

4 There is a difference between Christ’s suffering and the believer’s suffering. Christ’s suffering was for our redemption, for our salvation. Our suffering, on the other hand, is for the propagation of the Gospel. Our suffering is not complete because there is still much work to do to spread the Gospel throughout the world. The Gospel spreads most rapidly through the suffering of believers.

5 Laodicea was eleven miles from Colosse; Paul wanted this letter read in the church there also (see Colossians 4:15-16 and comment).

6 In place of the words sinful nature, some versions of the Bible say “flesh,” which is the literal translation of the Greek. For further discussion, see Galatians 5:13,16-17,24; Word List: Flesh.

7 I here is a sense in which we cannot completely “cut away” or “put off” our sinful nature as long as we are alive on this earth. Without the overruling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, our sinful nature will always try to reassert itself.

But, in another sense, through the Spirit, we can render the sinful nature powerless, lifeless; we can “crucify’it” (Galatians 5:24). This is what Paul means here by the putting off of the sinful nature. It means putting off the power and control of the sinful nature in our lives.

8 The Jewish law is written in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It is the law that God gave to the Jewish people. For further discussion, see Word List: Law.

9 Satan is the prince of this world (John 12:31). For further discussion, see Word List: Satan.

10 Worldly men are men who love the world more than they love God.

11 The expression “kingdom of Satan” has two meanings, which are closely related. First, it means Satan’s authority and power. Second, it means the world; because it is in the world that Satan exercises his authority.

It should be noted, however, that the “kingdom of Satan” is not limited to this physical world. Satan also rules over spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

12 In place of the word barbarian, some versions of the Bible say “speakers of other languages,” which is the literal translation of the Greek text. The meaning is essentially the same. The educated Greek-speaking people of New Testament times considered anyone who didn’t speak Greek to be a barbarian.

13 The Scythians were residents of the uncivilized country of Scythia, which is now part of southern Russia.

14 Even though Mark’s Gospel is the second Gospel in the New Testament, most Bible scholars believe that it was actually the first to be written.

 

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