4 And to you masters: treat your slaves fairly and do what is right, knowing that you, too, have a Master in heaven.
Family life has changed since Paul’s day. Today, sociologists talk about modern families as “nuclear”: two parents with one or two children. In Colossae, as elsewhere in Paul’s world, families were extended by nature: they consisted of a husband, a wife, lots of children, servants, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others. So when Paul addresses the family, he does not envision the modern version of it. He addresses the main family members: wives, husbands, children, fathers, and then slaves. The family reflects the order God desires in the church. Each member is to be responsible to the whole, and love and respect are to serve as the guiding principles within family relationships. Paul and Peter both use the term “submission” within family and church relationships as a description of order and support.
2 Pray, and keep praying. Be alert and thankful when you pray. 3 And while you are at it, add us to your prayers. Pray that God would open doors and windows and minds and eyes and hearts for the word so we can go on telling the mystery of the Anointed, for this is exactly why I am currently imprisoned. 4 Pray that I will proclaim this message clearly and fearlessly as I should.
5 Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. 6 When you speak the word, speak it gracefully (as if seasoned with salt), so you will know how to respond to everyone rightly.
7-9 I am sending this letter by Tychicus and Onesimus, both dear brothers. Tychicus has been a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. He will update you on me and my[a] situation here, and he will no doubt be an encouragement to you. Onesimus is one of you; and he, too, has been faithful. You will get the whole story from them.
10 My cellmate Aristarchus sends his love, as does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. (You’ve been sent instructions about him, so if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, also called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only workers in God’s kingdom here who are of the circumcision, and they are a great comfort to me.
12 Epaphras, another one of your hometown fellows and a servant of Jesus the Anointed sends his regards and wants you to know how passionately and sincerely he speaks to the Lord about you. He prays for your spiritual journey, that you will continue to mature and stand tall in the kind of confidence that comes from knowing God’s will. 13 I can testify to his zeal for you and those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
14 Luke, the beloved doctor, says hello; and so does Demas. 15 Send my well wishes to the brothers and sisters of Laodicea, especially Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After this letter has been read among you, see that it is also read to the church of Laodicea, and make sure you publicly share the letter I am sending to them. 17 Tell Archippus, “Take care that you complete the service you received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, am signing this letter in my own hand. Remember that I am chained. Grace be with you all.
- 4:7-9 Some manuscripts read “so he may know about your.”