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Remember, then, you employers, that your responsibility is to be fair and just towards those whom you employ, never forgetting that you yourselves have a heavenly employer.

Some simple, practical advice

2-4 Always maintain the habit of prayer: be both alert and thankful as you pray. Include us in your prayers, please, that God may open for us a door for the entrance of the Gospel. Pray that we may talk freely of the mystery of Christ (for which I am at present in chains), and that I may make that mystery plain to men, which I know is my duty.

5-6 Be wise in your behaviour towards non-Christians, and make the best possible use of your time. Speak pleasantly to them, but never sentimentally, and learn to give a proper answer to every questioner.

Greetings and farewell

7-9 Tychicus (a well-loved brother, a faithful minister and a fellow-servant of the Lord) will tell you all about my present circumstances. This is partly why I am sending him to you. The other reasons are that you may find out how we are all getting on, and that he may put new heart into you. With him is Onesimus one of your own congregation (well-loved and faithful, too). Between them they will tell you of conditions and activities here.

10-11 Aristarchus, who is also in prison here, sends greetings, and so does Barnabas’ cousin, Mark. I believe I told you before about him; if he does come to you, make him welcome. Jesus Justus, another Hebrew Christian, is here too. Only these few are working with me for the kingdom, but what a help they have been!

12-13 Epaphras, another member of your Church, and a real servant of Christ, sends his greeting. He works hard for you even here, for he prays constantly and earnestly for you, that you may become mature Christians, and may fulfil God’s will for you. From my own observation I can tell you that he has a real passion for your welfare, and for that of the churches of Laodicea and Hierapolis.

14 Luke, our beloved doctor and Demas send their best wishes.

15 My own greetings to the Christians in Laodicea, and to Nymphas and the congregation who meet in her house.

16 When you have had this letter read in your church, see that the Laodiceans have it read in their church too; and see that you read the letter I have written to them.

17 A brief message to Archippus: God ordained you to your work—see that you don’t fail him!

18 My personal greeting to you written by myself. Don’t forget I’m in prison. Grace be with you.