The Epistle of COLOSSIANS
[ ** A prerequisite to understanding this teaching and the type of study pattern used makes it necessary for you to first study The Epistle of James Chapter One. Please read at least the first three paragraphs of the teaching "The Epistle of James Chapter One" before proceeding.]
1. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Literal: Masters, give unto those who serve you that which is just and that which is fair and equitable (just and equal), knowing that you also have a Master (Jesus Christ) in the heavens.
A 'Master' here is a lord, principal, ruler, or employer who assumes and exercises power with reference also to a wife, children and servants. If you are in a position to exercise power, it must not be abused but your treatment of the people who serve you must be carried out in a just and equitable manner because you also have a Master in heaven, Jesus Christ.
2. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Literal: Steadfastly continue and persevere in prayer and watch and keep awake in prayer with thanksgiving and gratitude.
Luke 18: 1 -- And he spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (in their minds):
I Thessalonians 5: 18 -- In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We must pray every day and always be thankful. Remember, you cannot be negative when you are thankful. Control your thinking to be thankful and focus on all the blessings God has given you. You need to force your mind to think what the Word says or else your mind becomes lazy. It is influenced all day by what you see and hear in the world if you allow yourself to be world-influenced as compared to Word-conditioned. You must bring your mind back to the Word all day every day or you will be distracted, become negative and then get out of fellowship. Start now and practice the right way of thinking until it becomes a habit. Stay sharp on this and remember that everything you do, you do for the glory of God, your Father.
3. Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Literal: In addition praying also for us that God may open to us a door of access or opportunity to speak the Word of God regarding the mystery of Christ in you, on account of which also I have been bound to account for.
4. That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Literal: That I may show openly or make it manifest and known, as it is morally necessary and proper for me to speak.
It is necessary for you to speak the Word regarding the mystery of Christ; it is something you must do. You must make it known since the ministry of reconciliation has been committed to you.
5. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Literal: Walk in wisdom (a right application of knowledge acquired from the Word) toward those that are without or outside of the knowledge of the Word, redeeming the time.
This term 'redeeming the time' is most interesting. 'Redeem' here means to buy up from the power of possession of anyone; to recover, buy back or get back. Time is a limited resource. Instead of wasting it by allowing the enemy to use it up, recover it or get it back using that time walking in wisdom to make known the mystery of Christ to those who are without that knowledge. The word 'time' is most interesting. It means the RIGHT TIME, SUITABLE OR CONVENIENT TIME: the opportune point of time at which a thing SHOULD BE DONE. When this opportune time arrives, you must share the Word with those that are without. You must recover this opportunity which is occurring at exactly the right time. Stay sharp on this and when God shows you this opportunity, you must be ready with the Word and speak it forth. God will open the door for you to speak the Word at the perfect time it should be spoken. God's timing is perfect and you must be ready when God changes the light from red to green. You must be able to change gears without missing a shift. Keep studying, renewing and applying God's Word and you will be ready.
6. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Literal (in part): Let your spoken words be always with grace, which is a kind, affectionate, pleasing nature and inclining disposition (to have a preference or liking) and a beauty of speech expressing a gracious disposition and friendly willingness.
Literal (complete verse): Let your spoken words be always with grace expressing a kind, affectionate and pleasing nature, fitly prepared or seasoned with salt, that you should know how you should answer or respond to every man.
When your words are seasoned with salt, you mean what you say and say what you mean and you are able to reply to questions never being stumped or at a loss for the proper words when you respond. No man backs you in a corner when you know and apply the Word in your life. You always know what to say, when and how to say it.
7. All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:
Literal: All the things concerning me, Tychicus will make known to you, who is a beloved brother and faithful servant and fellowbondman in the Lord.
8. Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;
Literal: Whom I sent to you for this very same thing, that he might know the things concerning you, and might comfort, encourage and cheer up instilling confidence in your hearts.
This word 'comfort' is used in the New Testament only in the imperative -- 'cheer up!! take courage!!' Paul sent Tychicus to these saints to edify and build them up. He must have been strong in the Scriptures and a great leader in order to help the believers correct the doctrinal error which had crept into the church at Colosse. God still sends leaders into certain areas to encourage believers and instill confidence in them concerning God's Word and His promises and to help them manifest the more than abundant life.
9. With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.
Literal: Along with Tychicus came Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is of you. They will make known, declare, and reveal to you all things here. (Another reference to Onesimus is made in Philemon verse 10).
10. Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabus, touching whom ye received commandments: (if he come unto you, receive him;)
The last phrase of the Scripture should be in a parenthesis.
Literal: Aristarchus, my fellowprisoner salutes, embraces, or greets you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you received orders or commandments, (if he comes to you, receive him).
Paul is going on to brief the saints concerning some of the leadership that is working with him.
If you want to take a look in the book of Acts chapter 15: 37 - 39, you will see that a serious division occurred later on among these believers. Barnabas wanted to take John (who surname was Mark) but Paul did not agree that John should go along on this particular journey. So Paul took Silas and went his separate way through Syria and Cicilia and Barnabas took Mark and sailed unto Cyprus. It was no different then than it is now. There were still arguments and divisions and problems in the Body of Christ due to man's shortcomings and weaknesses. It is never God's fault. It can't be since God is perfect and He is all light and in Him is no darkness and all.
11. And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.
Literal: And Jesus called Justus, who are of the circumcision (called out - chosen people). These only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who were to me a comfort, consolation and soothing.
This word 'comfort' is the verb form of the word that is used of medicines that alleviate (allays) irritation. The term 'fellowworkers' means those that work together with the same motives and objectives, cooperating and helping one another. These people comfort each other and lessen pain and grief with a soothing effect. This is how believers are to work together and be fellow workers for the kingdom of God. Paul goes on to mention more of these believers for the rest of this concluding chapter in Colossians.
12. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Literal: Epaphras, who is of you, a servant or bondman of Christ, salutes, embraces, and greets you, always striving or contending as with a competitor, for you in prayers to God, that you may be perfect and complete, fully persuaded concerning the will, wishes and desires of God.
This Will of God can only be known from His Word which is His Will. This can only be acquired by study. The word 'complete' is the Greek word 'pleroo' which means 'filled to capacity'. The word 'perfect' denotes that which has reached its end, term or limit -- complete, perfect, full, wanting nothing, with special reference to the end for which it was intended. 'Labouring' denotes striving or contending as with a competitor in a competition. It is interesting that this is in reference to prayers to God for these believers. So when you pray, it is part of your spiritual competition and it is most effective when done with believing from the heart. In actuality, we are spiritual athletes for God in a spiritual competition.
13. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
Literal: For I bear witness, confirm, or prove that he has much zeal (a forceful, intense feeling of intense passion) for you and them in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis.
14. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Literal: Luke, the beloved physician (dearly loved healer) and Demas greet, embrace and salute you.
The word 'greet' is used of those who meet and separate; "to draw to one's self" is another definition. Later on, in II Timothy 4: 10 it can be seen that Demas left the Ministry being tricked out and the reason being that he loved this present world! This leads me to believe that he could not have been rooted and grounded in the Word to be deceived into loving this world. He probably did not study and renew his mind and was therefore unable to think clearly. This is what can happen to any believer. The enemy may take the pressure off for a while when you are not studying so that it may appear that all is going well and then he waits for a time to strike you when and where it hurts when you thought everything was going well.
15. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
Literal: Salute or greet our brothers and sisters in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church or assembly in his house.
The homes in which the churches met in the first century were called houses of God. These homes were the pillars of the Church for these fellowships were built on the foundation of truth -- the Word of God.
16. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
Literal: And when this epistle or letter is read among you, cause that also it may be read in the church or assembly of the Laodiceans and also that you read from Laodicea this epistle.
A number of points need to brought out from this verse. In this verse, it is mentioned for the 2nd and 3rd time that this epistle or letter that Paul wrote to the Colossians also be read to the Laodiceans. Also, the word 'read' means "to know accurately or distinguish; to know by reading, and then simply, to read, learn by reading." That is how you are to read the Word of God, with the intent of knowing accurately and to distinguish principles that you need to know regarding your renewed mind walk and growth. And to recognize what and when you need to work on -- taking one principal at a time. You are not just to read words just for the sake of reading. Reading implies studying.
I Thessalonians 5: 27 -- I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. [emphasis added]
17. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Literal: And say to Archippus, Take heed or consider with a more intent, earnest, spiritual contemplation to the ministry or service which thou has received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Make sure and be certain that you perform fully, complete and accomplish it. That is the meaning of 'fulfil'. In Philemon 2, it can be seen that Archippus had a fellowship in his home. Paul is exhorting the believers to tell Archippus to take a close look with mental vision and to TAKE TO HEART the ministry that God has given him -- that he carries it out.
18. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
Literal: The salutation or greeting of myself, Paul, by my own hand. (Salutation also means a drawing to one's self, an embracing). Remember my bonds or imprisonment as a bonded slave to the Lord Jesus Christ to carry out the Word and Will of God. Grace, or divine favor be with you. Amen (truly or certainly).
The grace of God is no more hindered by sin than it is conditional upon works. It is God's grace and favor manifested towards mankind or to any individual.
This concludes the Church Epistle of Colossians which is written directly to you today in this Age of Grace to members of the Body of Christ. There is much to study, learn and apply from this great Epistle.