Lesson from March 21st, 2009
Colossians 4: 7-18
This is the last section of the letter to the Colossians. While it does not address a major theological issue or even a significant practical issue directly, there are still elements of these dynamics held within it. As we examine it closely we learn things about Paul’s ministry, his friends and companions, and the nature of Christian relationships. This is also the time to look back across the letter and to try to summarize what we have learned.
The passage mentions many individuals; here is a brief description of each one with help from William Barclay’s commentary.
Tychicus – A personal envoy for Paul. He is probably the one who took Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to that church (Ephesians 6:21)and an offering to the poor of Jerusalem as mentioned in Acts 20:4.
Onesimus – He is the runaway slave that reached Roman and that Paul sends back to his master, Philemon.
Aristarchus – A faithful companion of Paul. A Macedonian from Thessalonica (Acts 20:4). He was present when the mob rioted in the Temple of Diana in Ephesus and the mob captured him (Acts19:29). He is now a fellow prisoner in Rom with Paul.
Mark – The gospel writer. He was very close to Peter, so much so that Peter referred to him as his son (I Peter 5:13). He went with Paul on his first missionary journey but had found it too difficult and so he came back early (Acts 13:13). Paul would not take him on the second missionary journey, but Barnabas did. According to tradition, Mark took the gospel to Egypt and founded the church in Alexandria. He was with Paul in his imprisonment (Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:11).
Jesus, who was called Justus, we know nothing of him except his name.
Epaphras – A leader in the church at Colosse and likely the one who began the church there (Colossians 1:7). Perhaps the elder for the churches at Hierapolis and Laodicaea as well.
Luke – The gospel writer and physician who was with Paul to the end(2 Timothy 4:11).
Demas – A fellow worker with Paul (Philemon 24). But later he is also mentioned as one who had forsaken Paul out of love for the world (2 Timothy 4:10).
Nymphas- The church met in his home, we know nothing in addition to this.
1. Your group is a detective team, investigating Christianity and chapter 4, verses 7 – 18, what can you deduce about Paul and about Christians from these verses? Make a list of attributes/characteristics.
2. Look back over the letter, if you had to describe it in one sentence (30 words or less), how would you do so?