Greetings and final instructionsArgument
Paul concludes his letter with a long list of greetings. Only Romans has a similar extended list. The people named, most of whom are men, have played a part in building Paul's relationship with the church at Colossae, a church he has never visited. Paul takes time to make a comment about each of those he has listed.
i] Context: See 1:1-2.
ii] Background: See 1:1-2
iii] Structure: Concluding notes and personal greetings:
The brothers who carry the letter to Colossae, v7-9:
Greetings from fellow believers, v10-14:
Greetings to fellow believers, v15-17:
Paul's personal greeting, v18.
The greetings are quite fulsome for an ancient letter, even so, the details are limited, since personal matters are usually conveyed by word of mouth. Tychicus and Onesimus will be able to fill in all the details, given that they are entrusted to deliver the letter to Colossae. The congregation would be very keen to know how Paul is fairing, and especially Epaphras, the founder of the church in Colossae.
Text - 4:7
Greetings and final instructions, v7-18: The brothers who carry the letter to Colossae, v7-9. Paul obviously has a high regard for Tychicus, a fellow brother, minister and servant of Jesus. Little is known of him, cf., Acts 20:4, Eph.6:21, Titus 3:12.
kat (kata) + acc. "about [me]" - [all the things] concerning [me, tychicus will make known to you]. Expressing reference / respect. The pronoun uJmin, "to you", serves as a dative of indirect object.
en + dat. "in [the Lord]" - [the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant] in [the lord]. Local, expressing space / metaphorical / incorporative union. The prepositional phrase may be linked with all three qualities; "a dear brother, ....... in union with the Lord." Again we strike this commonly used phrase, the meaning of which is usually dictated by the context, eg., Cassirer suggests "fellow bondsman in the Lord's service", but it could be as simple as "fellow believer."
Tychicus is to update the Colossians on how Paul and his friends in Rome are getting on, and to encourage them - strengthen their hearts. O'Brien sees this realized by impressing the apostle's teaching on the congregation.
eiV + acc. "for" - [whom i sent to you] to, into [this it = thing]. Here serving to express purpose; "for this purpose", REB. The aorist "I sent" is obviously not past referring, but simply identifying punctiliar / perfective action. The aorist is often used as a matter of form - an epistolary aorist; "I am sending", rather than "I have sent him to you", ESV.
iJna "that" - that [you might know]. Introducing an epexegetic clause specifying auto, "it" = "thing", namely, to update and encourage the Colossians.
ta "-" - the things [concerning us and that he might encourage the hearts of you]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the prepositional phrase "concerning us" into a substantive, direct object of the verb "to know." The preposition peri, "about, concerning", expresses reference / respect.
Onesimus will be traveling with Tychicus. He is presumably the same person referred to in Paul's letter to Philemon. Onesimus, a slave, having run away from Philemon, had somehow met Paul and come to know the Lord. He has obviously served Paul for a time, but now it is right that he return to his master in Colossae. Philemon is obviously a member of the Colossian congregation and so Onesimus returns as "a beloved brother, who is one of you."
sun + dat. "with" - and with [onesimus]. Expressing accompaniment / association.
tw/ pistw/ (iV) dat. "our faithful" - the faithful [and beloved brother]. With "beloved brother", dative in apposition to "Onesimus".
ex (ek) + gen. "one of [you]" - [who is] of [you]. Serving as a partitive genitive, "one of your own congregation", Phillips, as NIV, or source / origin, "faithful follower from your own group", CEV.
uJmin dat. pro. "[they will tell] you" - [all the things here they will make known] to you.
ii] Greetings from fellow believers, v10-14. Aristarchus is from Thessalonica in Macedonia, cf., Acts 19:19, 20:4, 27:2. "Fellow prisoner" may be metaphorical; like Paul he is a believer, or literal, he is in prison with Paul. Mark is probably the John Mark of Acts. Presumably Mark's cousin Barnabas is known to the Colossian believers. Mark had an earlier disagreement with Paul (cf., Acts 13:13, 15:39), but by this time was back in favor. The parenthetical note concerning the instructions about Mark is unclear, but Paul is certainly making the point that Mark is again a full member of his missionary team.
peri + gen. "about [him]" - [aristarchus greets you, the fellow-prisoner of me, and mark the cousin of barnabas] about [whom you received instructions]. Expressing reference / respect; "about, concerning."
ean + subj. "if [he comes to you]" - if, as may be the case, [he may come toward you, then receive him]. Introducing a third class conditional clause where the proposed condition has the possibility of coming true.
Nothing is known of Justus, other than he is a Jew like Aristarchus and Mark. His Jewish name is Jesus, Greek for Joshua.
oJ legomenoV (legw) pres. pas. part. "who is called" - [jesus] the one being called [justus]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Jesus", as NIV.
oiJ onteV (eimi) pres. part. "these are" - the ones being. The participle serves as a substantive, nominative in apposition to Aristarchus, Mark and Jesus / Justus.
ek + gen. "-" - from [circumcision]. Expressing source / origin, "the only Jewish followers", CEV, or partitive, "the only ones of the circumcision", Berkeley.
eiV + acc. "for [the kingdom]" - [these only are my co-worker] into [the kingdom]. Here adverbial, expressing reference / respect, or purpose, in the sense of "advancing God's purpose and the prospect of his rule", Dunn; "for the establishment of the kingdom."
tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or, taking "kingdom" in a dynamic sense, "rule, reign", verbal, subjective.
moi dat. pro. "to me" - [who became] to me [an encouragement, comfort]. Dative of interest, advantage.
Like Onesimus, Epaphras is from Colossae, their brother in the Lord. He may well have founded the church in Colossae as a member of Paul's mission team. Paul says he is always in prayer for the church at Colossae, praying that they stand firm in their faith, that they grow in maturity and that they are fully convinced of God's will for them.
oJ ex (ek) + gen. "who is one of [you]" - [epaphras greets you] the one being from you. Probably eliptical, with the participle of the verb to-be w[n assumed. Again ex may express source / origin, "from you", or serve as a partitive genitive, "of you."
Cristou (oV) gen. "of Christ" - [a slave] of christ [jesus]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, "a slave belonging to", or verbal, objective, "as slave in service to."
agwnizomenoV (agwnizomai) pres. mid. part. "he is [always] wrestling" - striving, struggling [always]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting Epaphras; "who is always struggling."
en "in [prayer]" - in [the = his prayers]. Possibly instrumental, "by", or adverbial, temporal, "when he is offering prayers", Cassirer, or local, circumstance, indicating where the struggle takes place, namely, "in his prayers."
uper + gen. "for [you]" - on behalf of [you]. Expressing representation, "on behalf of", or advantage, "for the sake of / benefit of."
iJna + subj. "that" - that [you may stand mature, complete]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose.
peplhroforhmenoi (peplhroforew) perf. mid/pas. part. "fully assured" - [and] having been fully filled, assured, set, convinced. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of standing, "that you might stand, mature and thoroughly convinced", Berkeley, so Lightfoot.
en + dat. "in [all the will of God]" - The NIV has taken en as local, with the prepositional phrase modifying the verb "to stand"; stand where? "stand firm in the will of God." Campbell, on the other hand, has the prepositional phrase modifying "[mature and] fully assured", with en expressing reference / respect; "stand mature and assured with respect to the will of God", so also Zerwick - "and filled with everything that is God's will", O'Brien. So, Epaphras prays that the Colossians might have a mature understanding of the truth and be quite sure what God wants for them in their lives. The genitive "of God" is obviously verbal, subjective, what God wills for the Colossians.
Paul adds that Epaphras is not only working hard (present tense, durative aspect) for the congregation in Colossea, he is also striving for the congregations at Laodicea and Hierapolis, towns either side of Colossea in the Lycus valley. Obviously, Epaphras has ministered in all three congregations.
gar "-" - for. Neither cause nor reason, possibly just transitional, although Campbell suggests support.
autw/ dat. pro. "for him" - [i testify] to him. Dative of interest, advantage, so Harris, or reference / respect, so Campbell; "I bear him witness how deeply concerned he is about you", Berkeley.
oJti "that" - that [he has much labor]. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul testifies concerning Epaphras.
uJper + gen. "for you" - Expressing representation, "on behalf of", or advantage, "for the sake of / benefit of."
twn "those" - the ones [in laodicea and] the ones [in hierapolis]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the prepositional phrases into substantive, object of the preposition uJper.
Paul adds a further greeting from Luke, the beloved physician, traditionally believed to be the author of the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, cf., Phil.24, 2Tim.4:10. A greeting also from Demas, mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:10 as a brother who later drifted from the faith. As with Epaphras, all three are obviously Gentiles.
oJ iatroV oJ agaphtoV adj. "our dear friend [Luke]" - [luke] the physician the beloved [greets you and demas]. "The beloved physician", nominative standing in apposition to "Luke".
iii] Greetings to fellow believers, v15-17.
kat (kata) "in [her house]" - [greet the brothers in laodicea and nympha and the church] at [the house of her]. Local use of the preposition expressing space; "the church that meets in her house", CEV. The verb "greet" is aorist, punctiliar / perfective, indicating a specific instruction. Masculine variants exist; "Nymphas", "his house" - an example of first century sexism! It is likely that at this time most Christian congregations gathered in private homes.
Paul now gives instructions regarding the exchange of the letters sent to the Colossians and the Laodiceans. The letter Paul refers to, sent to the Laodiceans, is presumably penned by Paul himself. Given the high regard for Paul's letters, it is strange that it would be lost. Some suggest it is actually Ephesians, given that Ephesians presents as a general letter circulated to a number of Paul's mission churches. Paul makes the point that the letters are to be read in church, indicating why they present more as a homily / sermon than a letter.
oJtan + subj. "after" - [and] whenever [the epistle is read]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause.
par (para) + dat. "to [you]" - Local, sphere; "in the sight of, before."
iJna + subj. "[see] that" - [do = see to it] that [and = also in the church of laodiceans it may be read, and see to it] that [also you may read]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech / command, expressing what Paul instructs.
thn ek + gen. "the letter from [Laodicea]" - the epistle from [laodecia]. The article thn turns the prepositional phrase "from Laodicea" into a substantive, object of the verb "to read", while the preposition ek, "from", expresses source / origin.
Paul gives special instructions to Archippus, namely, that he complete the ministry the Lord has given him. The actual service is not stated, nor do we know much of Archippus. He is obviously ministering in Colossae, but his service is unknown. The only other mention of him is found in Philemon 2.
Arcippw/ (oV) dat. "[Tell] Archippus" - [and say] to archippus. Dative of indirect object.
iJna "that" - [the ministry which you received in the lord, see] that [you fulfill, complete it]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech / command, expressing what Archippus should see to.
en "in [the Lord]" - Again we strike this prepositional phrase. The preposition is probably local, space, possibly expressing incorporative union, such that Archippus has received this ministry in relation to the Lord, as one belonging to the Lord, as a believer - "as a servant of the Lord", Cassirer. Yet, the sense is more like "at the hand of the Lord", "in the Lord's service", Barclay; this is a ministry "that the Lord has given him to do", CEV.
Paul's farewell postscript, added in his own hand, the rough and ready hand of a tent maker. He asks that the Colossians remember his imprisonment, obviously, remember in prayer. He then offers a prayer / blessing for his readers, and does so with a word that sums up the gospel, the grace of God - "God's undeserved, unconditional, unmerited love and favor shown toward sinful mankind in Christ", Pfitzner.
paulou (oV) gen. "Paul" - [the greeting in my hand] of paul. The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin; "from Paul."
th/ ... ceiri (r roV) dat. "in [my own] hand" - The dative is instrumental, expressing means, "by my hand."
twn desmwn (oV) gen. "chains" - [remember] the chains [of me]. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to make mention of, remember."
meq (meta) + gen. "with [you]" - [the grace be] with [you]. Expressing association / accompaniment. An optative verb to-be is assumed, expressing a wish-prayer.