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Colossians 4 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Masters, treat your slaves with justice and fairness, because you know that you also have a master in heaven.

Exhortation to Pray for the Success of Paul’s Mission

Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray[a] for us too, that[b] God may open a door for the message[c] so that we may proclaim[d] the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.[e] Pray that I may make it known as I should.[f] Conduct yourselves[g] with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.

Personal Greetings and Instructions

Tychicus, a dear brother, faithful minister, and fellow slave[h] in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.[i] I sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are doing[j] and that he may encourage your hearts. I sent him[k] with Onesimus, the faithful and dear brother, who is one of you.[l] They will tell[m] you about everything here.

10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him). 11 And Jesus who is called Justus also sends greetings. In terms of Jewish converts,[n] these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a slave[o] of Christ,[p] greets you. He is always struggling in prayer on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured[q] in all the will of God. 13 For I can testify that he has worked hard[r] for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke the physician and Demas[s] greet you. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters[t] who are in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her[u] house.[v] 16 And after[w] you have read this letter, have it read[x] to the church of Laodicea. In turn, read the letter from Laodicea[y] as well. 17 And tell Archippus, “See to it that you complete the ministry you received in the Lord.”

18 I, Paul, write this greeting by my own hand.[z] Remember my chains.[aa] Grace be with you.[ab]


  1. Colossians 4:3 tn Though προσευχόμενοι (proseuchomenoi) is an adverbial participle related to the previous imperative, προσκαρτερεῖτε (proskartereite), it is here translated as an independent clause due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  2. Colossians 4:3 tn The ἵνα (hina) clause has been rendered as substantival here, indicating the content of the prayer rather than the purpose for it. These two ideas are very similar and difficult to differentiate in this passage, but the conjunction ἵνα following a verb of praying is generally regarded as giving the content of the prayer.
  3. Colossians 4:3 tn Grk “that God may open for us a door of the word to speak the mystery of Christ.” The construction in Greek is somewhat awkward in this clause. The translation attempts to simplify this structure somewhat and yet communicate exactly what Paul is asking for.
  4. Colossians 4:3 tn Or “so that we may speak.”
  5. Colossians 4:3 tn Or “in prison.”
  6. Colossians 4:4 tn The phrase begins with the ἵνα (hina) clause and is subordinate to the imperative προσκαρτερεῖτε (proskartereite) in v. 2. The reference to the idea that Paul must make it known indicates that this clause is probably best viewed as purpose and not content, like the ἵνα of v. 3. It is the second purpose stated in the context; the first is expressed through the infinitive λαλῆσαι (lalēsai) in v. 3. The term “pray” at the beginning of the sentence is intended to pick up the imperative of v. 3.
  7. Colossians 4:5 tn Grk “walk.” The verb περιπατέω (peripateō) is a common NT idiom for one’s lifestyle, behavior, or manner of conduct (L&N 41.11).
  8. Colossians 4:7 tn See the note on “fellow slave” in 1:7.
  9. Colossians 4:7 tn Grk “all things according to me.”
  10. Colossians 4:8 tn Grk “the things concerning us.”
  11. Colossians 4:9 tn The Greek sentence continues v. 9 with the phrase “with Onesimus,” but this is awkward in English, so the verb “I sent” was inserted and a new sentence started at the beginning of v. 9 in the translation.
  12. Colossians 4:9 tn Grk “is of you.”
  13. Colossians 4:9 tn Grk “will make known to you.” This has been simplified in the translation to “will tell.”
  14. Colossians 4:11 tn Grk “those of the circumcision.” The verse as a whole is difficult to translate because it is unclear whether Paul is saying (1) that the only people working with him are Jewish converts at the time the letter is being written or previously, or (2) that Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justus were the only Jewish Christians who ever worked with him. Verses 12-14 appear to indicate that Luke and Demas, who were Gentiles, were also working currently with Paul. This is the view adopted in the translation. See M. J. Harris, Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT), 207-8.
  15. Colossians 4:12 tn See the note on “fellow slave” in 1:7.
  16. Colossians 4:12 tc ‡ Strong Alexandrian testimony, along with some other witnesses, suggests that ᾿Ιησοῦ (Iēsou, “Jesus”) follows Χριστοῦ (Christou, “Christ”; so א A B C I L 0278 33 81 365 629 1175 2464 al lat), but the evidence for the shorter reading is diverse (P46 D F G Ψ 075 1505 1739 1881 M it sy Ambst Hier), cutting across all major textual groups. There can be little motivation for omitting the name of Jesus; hence, the shorter reading is judged to be that of the initial text. NA28 has ᾿Ιησοῦ in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.
  17. Colossians 4:12 tn Or “filled.”
  18. Colossians 4:13 tn Grk “pain.” This word appears only three times in the NT outside of this verse (Rev 16:10, 11; 21:4) where the translation “pain” makes sense. For the present verse it has been translated “worked hard.” See BDAG 852 s.v. πόνος 1.
  19. Colossians 4:14 sn Demas is most likely the same individual mentioned in Phlm 24 and 2 Tim 4:10. Apparently, he later on abandoned the faith because of his love of the world.
  20. Colossians 4:15 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
  21. Colossians 4:15 tc If the name Nympha is accented with a circumflex on the ultima (Νυμφᾶν, Numphan), then it refers to a man; if it receives an acute accent on the penult (Νύμφαν), the reference is to a woman. Scribes that considered Nympha to be a man’s name had the corresponding masculine pronoun αὐτοῦ here (autou, “his”; so D [F G] Ψ [1505] M), while those who saw Nympha as a woman read the feminine αὐτῆς here (autēs, “her”; B 0278 6 1739[*] 1881 sa). Several mss (א A C P 075 33 81 104 326 1175 2464 bo) have αὐτῶν (autōn, “their”), perhaps because of indecisiveness on the gender of Nympha, perhaps because they included ἀδελφούς (adelphous, here translated “brothers and sisters”) as part of the referent. The harder reading is certainly αὐτῆς, and thus Nympha should be considered a woman.
  22. Colossians 4:15 tn Grk “the church in her house.” The meaning is that Paul sends greetings to the church that meets at Nympha’s house.
  23. Colossians 4:16 tn Grk “when.”
  24. Colossians 4:16 tn The construction beginning with the imperative ποιήσατε ἵναἀναγνωσθῇ (poiēsate hinaanagnōsthē) should be translated as “have it read” where the conjunction ἵνα functions to mark off its clause as the direct object of the imperative ποιήσατε. The content of the clause (“reading the letter”) is what Paul commands with the imperative ποιήσατε. Thus the translation “have it read” has been used here.
  25. Colossians 4:16 sn This letter is otherwise unknown, but some have suggested that it is the letter known today as Ephesians.
  26. Colossians 4:18 tn Grk “the greeting by my hand, of Paul.”
  27. Colossians 4:18 tn Or “my imprisonment.”
  28. Colossians 4:18 tc Most witnesses, including a few important ones (א2 D Ψ 075 0278 M lat sy), conclude this letter with ἀμήν (amēn, “amen”). Such a conclusion is routinely added by scribes to NT books because a few of these books originally had such an ending (cf. Rom 16:27; Gal 6:18; Jude 25). A majority of Greek witnesses have the concluding ἀμήν in every NT book except Acts, James, and 3 John (and even in these books, ἀμήν is found in some witnesses). It is thus a predictable variant. Further, the external evidence for the omission is quite compelling (א* A B C F G 048 6 33 81 1739* 1881 sa). The strongly preferred reading is therefore the omission of ἀμήν.
New English Translation (NET)

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Colossians 4 New International Version (NIV)

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Further Instructions

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Final Greetings

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant[a] in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our[b] circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews[c] among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”

18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.


  1. Colossians 4:7 Or slave; also in verse 12
  2. Colossians 4:8 Some manuscripts that he may know about your
  3. Colossians 4:11 Greek only ones of the circumcision group
New International Version (NIV)

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