The Closing Salutations

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 12
Col. 4:7-187All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11And 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. 12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16And 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. 17And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen. <<Written from Rome to Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.>> (Colossians 4:7‑18).
The salutations with which the epistle closes present a beautiful picture of the Christian love, the mutual interest in one another's circumstances, and the tender regard for the spiritual welfare of the Lord's people, that existed in the Christian circle in the days before the church, as a united witness for God, became ruined, and the people of God became divided and scattered.
Vv. 7-9. Two brothers in the Lord—Tychicus and Onesimus—were linked together in the service of carrying this letter to the Colossian assembly. Very happily the apostle can speak of Tychicus as, not only a "brother," but "a beloved brother"; not only as a "minister," but as "a faithful minister"; and not only a "servant," but, as a "fellow-servant" with the apostle in the Lord. These Christian traits were so evenly combined in this servant that his love did not hinder his faithfulness, nor his faithfulness preclude his fellowship with others. Onesimus, one of the Colossian saints is also commended as a faithful and beloved brother, though nothing is said to indicate that he took part in public ministry. Probably he was not a gifted brother. Remembering that he was socially a slave, the commendation he receives from Paul would show how thoroughly he answered to the exhortations given for the slave in this epistle.
These two brothers would make known to the Colossian brethren "all things" in connection with Paul and the Lord's interests at Rome. In order to bring back a report to the apostle, Tychicus would learn their state, and at the same time would encourage their hearts by letting them know of the apostle's deep interest in them. Love counted on their interest in the apostle, even as his love desired to know their welfare.
Vv. 10, 11. The apostle then mentions three brethren of the circumcision: Firstly, Aristarchus, who at the time of writing was a fellow-prisoner with the apostle, had been a companion in Paul's travels (Acts 19:2929And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. (Acts 19:29)); a fellow sufferer on the shipwreck (Acts 27:22And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. (Acts 27:2)); a fellow-laborer in service (Philemon. 24); and at last is a fellow-prisoner in the apostle's bonds; secondly, Mark, the relative of Barnabas, concerning whom they had already received commandments that were not necessary to repeat, nor probably suited for a public letter. It would seem that the Colossian assembly had heard that Mark had once turned back from the work and, coming under the displeasure of the apostle, had sailed to Cyprus with his relative Barnabas (Acts 15:37-3937And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; (Acts 15:37‑39)). Paul would have them now to know how thoroughly Mark had regained his confidence by specially commending him for their reception if he carne to them. These two brothers, with Justus, were apparently the only brothers of the circumcision, working with the apostle for the kingdom of God, who had been a comfort to him in his imprisonment at Rome.
Vv. 12, 13. Already we have learned from the early part of the epistle that Epaphras had labored amongst the Colossian saints as a faithful minister of Christ. Now we learn that, though no longer with them, he still labored fervently in prayer, for them and the saints in the neighboring towns of Laodicea and Hierapolis. It would seem that he realized that the enemy was making a definite attack upon these assemblies in order to draw them away from Christ by religious devices. In the presence of this opposition the apostle speaks of Epaphras as "combating earnestly for you in prayers" (N. Tn.) A wholesome and encouraging reminder that prayer is a powerful weapon in meeting the opposition of the enemy. Moreover, Epaphras not only desired that the efforts of the enemy might be frustrated, but also, that the saints might "stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." He realized that if full grown Christians, and established in the truth according to the will of God, they would be able to stand against every attack of the enemy.
V. 14. Luke is referred to as "the beloved physician," proving that his earthly calling, as a physician, was not incompatible with his yet higher call to ministry as the companion of the apostle in his travels, and as the inspired writer of the Gospel.
The mention of Demas without a word of commendation is ominous in the light of the final mention of Demas, in the Second Epistle to Timothy, from which we learn that he had forsaken Paul, having loved this present world. It spoke well for the apostle that he was one with whom no man could continue who loves this present world.
Vv. 15, 16. Salutations are sent to the brethren at Laodicea and to one whose house was the gathering place of an assembly of God's people. The apostle apparently saw that the assembly at Laodicea was exposed to the same dangers that were threatening the assembly at Colosse, and therefore specially directs that this epistle be read in their midst. From their after history it would seem that they took but little heed to, or soon forgot, the solemn warnings of the epistle against the intrusion of religious flesh which leads the soul away from Christ, "to the satisfying of the flesh" (2: 8, 18, 23). So finally it comes to pass that they were spoiled through "vain deceit," were "vainly puffed up" and were so satisfied with themselves that they boast in their spiritual riches, and can In the Epistle to the Colossians the Spirit of God has unfolded to us through the apostle Paul some of the highest truths of Christianity: that Christ is the "Head of the body" with the emphasis on the glories of Christ as that Head. These glorious truths are presented as an antidote to the error that was coming in amongst the saints at Colosse. "The author shows us, in his usual concise expository style, how that "holding fast the Head" will preserve us from similar errors that the Church is facing today.