1 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.

2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.

7 As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. 8 For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.

10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas' cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him); 11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision; and they have proved to be an encouragement to me.

12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.

15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. 16 And when this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea.

17 And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it."

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.  Version: NAS



  • [V.1 covered in study on chapter 3.]
  • In chapter 4, Paul urges the Colossians to devote themselves to the inner life (prayer, v.2ff) and the outer life (outreach, v.5ff).
    • They are to be devoted to prayer.
      • Alertness and thanksgiving are enjoined.
      • This includes praying for the apostle himself to be evangelistic!
        • Paul desires personal boldness, so that people might hear the message.
        • And clarity, so that people might understand the message.
    • They too are urged to be bold.
      • This means taking advantage of the opportunities God gives them, sharing with those around them.
      • It also means that their speech should be gracious. Every conversation, every opportunity to witness of Jesus Christ, is different, because people are different. Those sharing their faith must be flexible and adapt their words to the person and to the occasion.
  • He then mentions by name 10 friends known to the Colossians, extending greetings to them all.
    • Finally, Paul "signs off."
    • Once again he reminds them that he is a prisoner. This would not only encourage them to pray more earnestly for his ministry, but also to take his letter even more seriously.
    • He wishes them grace, a common wish in every one of Paul's letters.


  • We see tremendous collegiality and camaraderie in Paul's network of associates. He may have been single, but he was hardly a "loner." We all need relationships.
    • Tychicus (v.7): He had visited Paul in prison in Rome, and was bringing news to the Colossians -- including (probably) the letter itself. he is also mentioned in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12.
    • Onesimus (v.9): He was Philemon's runaway slave who had become a Christian through Paul's outreach in Rome. For more, see the book of Philemon.
    • Aristarchus (v.10): He had been a fellow worker with Paul for many years, but now was a fellow prisoner with Paul. See Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; and Philemon 24.
    • Mark (v.10): This is the cousin of Barnabas (Acts 12:12,25) over whose defection Paul and Barnabas had had a sharp disagreement (Acts 15:36-40). Now it seems they have been reconnected. See also 2 Timothy 4:11.
    • Justus (v.11): Jesus called Justus, one of three Justuses in the N.T., was, like Barnabas and Mark, from a Jewish background.
    • Epaphras (v.12): Having started the church in Colosse (1:7), Epaphras continues to pray for it. See also Philemon 23.
    • Luke (v.14): Paul's traveling companion, he was with him for many of his journeys in Acts. This is the only passage in which he is stated to be a doctor. He also wrote one quarter of the N.T.! (Paul's letters comprise another quarter.)
    • Demas (v.14): He is also mentioned as a fellow worker in Philemon 24. Tragically, he later left the Lord for the world (2 Timothy 4:10).
    • The Laodiceans (v.15): This Christian church is mentioned four times in Colossians (2:1; 4:3,15,16), as well as in Revelation (1:11; 3:14). Laodicea was a sister church to Colosse, and in the same part of the province. Some scholars believe the letter to the Laodiceans (v.16) may be Philemon, although there are other possibilities too.
    • Nympha (v.15): This sister in Christ hosted a church meeting. In early Christianity, homes served as venues for study, fellowship, and worship.
    • Archippus (v.17): This brother, also mentioned in Philemon 2, had a special ministry or responsibility. (We do not have enough information to determine what this ministry was.)
  • In verse 18, Paul takes over from his scribe, writing the final three sentences of the letter. This was his trademark, and a mark of the authenticity of the letter (lest an impostor attempt to trade on his name).

Thought questions:

  • Do I focus more on cultivating the inner life, or outward ministry? Is there balance or imbalance in my spiritual life?
  • Paul freely admitted his need for prayer -- to help him be a better leader, a better apostle, a better Christian. Do I tend to go in my own strength? Do I often ask others to pray for me?
  • Do I have a number of good Christian friends, or only a few? Do I realize my need for relationships?