SUMMARY.--A Charge to Masters.
Prayer and Prudence Commended.
Tychicus, the Bearer of the Letter, Introduced.
Greetings from Brethren at Rome.
The Epistle of the Laodiceans.
1. Masters, give unto your servants. See notes on
This verse ought to have been joined to the section of the preceding
chapter in which mutual duties are enjoined.
It should be remarked that such a charge as this is not found in all
the profane writings of antiquity. Even in the pages of the moralists
a slave was regarded as a chattel with which the master had a right to
deal according to his will. The Christian rule, at once introduced into
the church, was for the master to treat his servants as he wished to be
treated by his Master in heaven, and to expect the same kind of
treatment that he meted out.
2-4. Continue in prayer. Prayer ought to be regular, habitual.
The Christian should every day have a season of prayer. See
Acts 1:14; Eph. 6:18.
Watch. Watch that you pray aright, in earnest, and ask for what
With thanksgiving. Let thanks for mercies given ascend as you ask
for new mercies.
3. Praying also for us. Note the spirit of this prayer; not a
thought of his ease, comfort, or even safety, but only that he may be
given full opportunity to preach Christ. So sublime a
self-forgetfulness in a suffering prisoner is almost divine.
The mystery of Christ. The gospel of Christ. It was a mystery,
i. e., a hidden truth until it was revealed. See
1 Cor. 4:1;
Eph. 6:19; Col. 1:26; 2:2.
In bonds. See notes on
5, 6. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without. Let your
conduct be prudent and sagacious. Do not provoke persecution.
Redeeming the time. Using every opportunity and seeking time to
do them good.
Redeeming. Buying by giving up your own pleasure.
6. Let your speech be always with grace. Use courteous speech,
calculated to attract rather than to repel.
Seasoned with salt. Food without seasoning is insipid. Let the
speech be so seasoned by "grace" that it will not be rejected with
That ye may know how, etc. So that your answer to
every man may be such as the case requires. The idea is to
always say what is pertinent and best for the occasion.
7-9. All my state shall Tychicus declare. See
for note on Tychicus. He carried the Epistle to the Ephesians, and that
to the Colossians on the same journey. He was probably a native of
Ephesus, and was one of Paul's most trusted evangelists. See
2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12.
It should be kept in mind that all Paul's Epistles were sent by
messengers. There were no postal arrangements for carrying private
letters such as exist in our times.
8. Whom I have sent. Not only to 
carry letters, but to ascertain the state of the churches, and to
instruct and comfort them. He came as an evangelist to help them
9. With Onesimus. A peculiar interest is connected with Onesimus
because he is the subject of the Epistle to Philemon.
He belonged to Colosse, was probably a slave of Philemon, and had fled
to Rome, and now returns as "a faithful and beloved brother." Tychicus
bore also at this time the letter to Philemon.
10-13. There follow Christian remembrances from several of
Aristarchus, my fellow-prisoner. A Macedonian from Thessalonica
(Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2).
He accompanied Paul from Jerusalem to Rome. He is named in
And Marcus. The old companion of Paul and Barnabas on their
first missionary tour.
Sister's son to Barnabas. It is now conceded that this should
be, "Cousin to Barnabas." Since in this year (probably A. D. 62)
Mark attends Paul, it is inferred that Barnabas was dead.
Touching whom. Mark.
Receive him. Perhaps these churches knew that at one time Paul
had refused to have Mark in his company
and hence would not have received him cordially without such a
11. And Jesus, which is called Justus. We only know of this man
that, like Mark, he was a Jewish Christian,
of the circumcision, and highly commended by Paul.
12. Epaphras. See note on
He is thought to have founded the church at Colosse.
One of you. A member of the Colossian church.
For you in prayers. In his absence from you he continues to
labor fervently for you in his prayers.
13. Them that are in Laodicea. The sister city near at hand
across the valley of the Lycus.
Hierapolis. Another city close at hand, in which a church had
been planted. Probably Epaphras planted it also.
14, 15. Luke. The historian. Note that two, Mark and Luke, were
both with Paul at this time. See
Introduction to Luke.
He was a Gentile.
Demas. Named also, and not to his credit, in
2 Tim. 4:10;
15. Nymphas. An inhabitant of Laodicea.
The church which is in his house. "His" in the Old Version;
"her" in the Vatican MS., but the best authority renders it "their
house;" i. e., the house of Nymphas and his family. In the
first century no church building existed, and the Christians met in
private houses. A portion, at least, of those in Laodicea met in the
house of Nymphas, and are greeted as "the church in their house."
Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19; Philemon 2.
16-18. Likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea. The Epistles
addressed to these contiguous churches were for each other. Tychicus no
doubt bore also a letter to the Laodiceans. Whether that letter was
lost, whether it is the Epistle to the Ephesians, or whether the letter
was a general letter to the churches of Asia, has been much discussed.
My own opinion is that more than one copy of the Ephesian letter was
made, one being delivered to the Ephesian church, and the other to the
church at Laodicea. Space will not permit of a discussion upon this
17. Say to Archippus. He is named in
He had some important work, and was possibly a preacher.
18. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Paul dictated his
epistles to an amanuensis
but was wont to add a salutation in his own hand
2 Thess. 3:17; 1 Cor. 16:21).
Remember my bonds. Three times this chapter he alludes to his
verses 3, 10, 18.
The thought is, "Be willing to suffer for the gospel even as I do."