Colossians 4

Fellow Workers

1 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, 1knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
2 2Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
3 praying at the same time 3for us as well, that God will open up to us a 4door for 5the word, so that we may speak forth 6the mystery of Christ, for which I have also 7been imprisoned;
4 that I may make it clear 8in the way I ought to speak.
5 9Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward 10outsiders *, 11making the most of the opportunity.
6 12Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with 13salt, so that you will know how you should 14respond to each person.
7 15As to all my affairs, 16Tychicus, our 17beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information.
8 18For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances * and that he may 19encourage your hearts;
9 and with him 20Onesimus, our faithful and 21beloved brother, 22who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.
10 23Aristarchus, my 24fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also 25Barnabas's cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; 26if he comes to you, welcome him);
11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only 27fellow workers for the kingdom of God 28who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me.
12 29Epaphras, 30who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always 31laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand 32perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.
13 For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in 33Laodicea and Hierapolis.
14 34Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also 35Demas.
15 Greet the brethren who are in 36Laodicea and also Nympha and 37the church that is in her house.
16 38When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part 39read my letter that is coming from 40Laodicea.
17 Say to 41Archippus, "Take heed to the 42ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it."
18 I, Paul, 43write this greeting with my own hand. 44Remember my 45imprisonment. 46Grace be with you.

Colossians 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Masters to do their duty towards servants. (1) Persons of all ranks to persevere in prayer, and Christian prudence. (2-6) The apostle refers to others for an account of his affairs. (7-9) Sends greetings; and concludes with a blessing. (10-18)

Verse 1 The apostle proceeds with the duty of masters to their servants. Not only justice is required of them, but strict equity and kindness. Let them deal with servants as they expect God should deal with themselves.

Verses 2-6 No duties can be done aright, unless we persevere in fervent prayer, and watch therein with thanksgiving. The people are to pray particularly for their ministers. Believers are exhorted to right conduct towards unbelievers. Be careful in all converse with them, to do them good, and recommend religion by all fit means. Diligence in redeeming time, commends religion to the good opinion of others. Even what is only carelessness may cause a lasting prejudice against the truth. Let all discourse be discreet and seasonable, as becomes Christians. Though it be not always of grace, it must always be with grace. Though our discourse be of that which is common, yet it must be in a Christian manner. Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse, and keeps it from corrupting. It is not enough to answer what is asked, unless we answer aright also.

Verses 7-9 Ministers are servants to Christ, and fellow-servants to one another. They have one Lord, though they have different stations and powers for service. It is a great comfort under the troubles and difficulties of life, to have fellow Christians caring for us. Circumstances of life make no difference in the spiritual relation among sincere Christians; they partake of the same privileges, and are entitled to the same regards. What amazing changes Divine grace makes! Faithless servants become faithful and beloved brethren, and some who had done wrong, become fellow-workers of good.

Verses 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.

Cross References 46

  • 1. Ephesians 6:9
  • 2. Acts 1:14; Ephesians 6:18
  • 3. Ephesians 6:19
  • 4. Acts 14:27
  • 5. 2 Timothy 4:2
  • 6. Ephesians 3:3, 4; Ephesians 6:19
  • 7. Ephesians 6:20
  • 8. Ephesians 6:20
  • 9. Ephesians 5:15
  • 10. Mark 4:11
  • 11. Ephesians 5:16
  • 12. Ephesians 4:29
  • 13. Mark 9:50
  • 14. 1 Peter 3:15
  • 15. Colossians 4:7-9: {Ephesians 6:21, 22}
  • 16. Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12
  • 17. Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 1:7
  • 18. Ephesians 6:22
  • 19. Colossians 2:2
  • 20. Philemon 10
  • 21. Colossians 1:7
  • 22. Colossians 4:12
  • 23. Acts 19:29; Acts 27:2; Philemon 24
  • 24. Romans 16:7
  • 25. Acts 4:36; Acts 12:12, 25; Acts 15:37, 39
  • 26. 2 Timothy 4:11
  • 27. Romans 16:3
  • 28. Acts 11:2
  • 29. Colossians 1:7; Philemon 23
  • 30. Colossians 4:9
  • 31. Romans 15:30
  • 32. Colossians 1:28
  • 33. Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:15
  • 34. 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24
  • 35. 2 Timothy 4:10; Philemon 24
  • 36. Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:13, 16
  • 37. Romans 16:5
  • 38. 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:14
  • 39. 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:14
  • 40. Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:13, 15
  • 41. Philemon 2
  • 42. 2 Timothy 4:5
  • 43. 1 Corinthians 16:21
  • 44. Hebrews 13:3
  • 45. Philippians 1:7; Colossians 4:3
  • 46. 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15; Hebrews 13:25

Footnotes 16

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with an exhortation to masters to behave towards their servants in a just and equitable manner, from the consideration of their having a master in heaven, which should have concluded the preceding one; and in it the apostle gives some general exhortations, and some particular instructions about reading this, and another epistle, and stirring up their minister to his duty; and great part of it is taken up in expressing his love to the Colossians, and in the salutations of others, and of himself. The general exhortations are to prayer, with watchfulness and thankfulness, not only for themselves, but especially for the ministers of the Gospel, Col 4:2-4 and next to a wise behaviour towards them that were of the world, Col 4:5 and also to a prudent conversation, particularly in language, with everyone, Col 4:6. And then the apostle proceeds to declare his great affection for them, and care of them, which he showed by sending two proper persons to them from him, partly to make known his affairs to them, and partly to know the state and condition they were in, and comfort them, Col 4:7-9 and next follow the salutations of various persons to them, who are mentioned by name, and whose characters are given, Col 4:10-15. And then he orders them to read this epistle in the church of Laodicea, and also that which came from that place, Col 4:16 and to admonish Archippus to take heed to, and fulfil his ministry, since it was what he had received in the Lord, Col 4:17. And then closes the epistle with his own salutation and benediction, entreating a remembrance of him and his bonds, Col 4:18.

Colossians 4 Commentaries

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