A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of prayer, maturity and assurance in following God’s will, and loyal ministry workers.

A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of prayer

V.12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers…

Paul affirms Epaphras twice in this letter for his dedication to ministry. In 1:7 and again in V.12. Epaphras came to faith under Paul’s influence, then started the Colossian church and ministered in a pastoral role. He visited Paul in prison to express his concern about the false teaching that was negatively impacting the Colossians, and it prompted Paul’s letter to the church.

The Greek word for “struggling” is agōnizŏmai, which means to struggle, labor fervently, contend with an adversary. In other words, Epaphras was emotionally and spiritually invested in the Colossian church. And his prayers reflected the heart of a loving pastor fiercely battling spiritual forces on behalf of his flock.

A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of maturity and assurance in following God’s will.

That you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 

The Greek word for “mature” is tĕlĕiŏs, which means complete in mental and moral character. Not perfection, as in no sin. But it describes a disciple of Jesus who is growing and maturing in faith. The Greek word for “fully assured” is plērŏphŏrĕō, which means to carry out fully, completely assure, entirely accomplish, most surely believe, and make full proof of.

There’s a progression of thought in the word order–mature, fully assured, and will of God. As you grow in faith as a Christ-follower, you increase in knowledge and trust in God. This in turn, produces a greater sense of assurance in your understanding of God’s will.

However, in western Christianity, we tend to over emphasize God’s unknown will for each believer and ask: What is God’s will for my life? Although here, Paul may be speaking corporately. What was God’s will for the Colossian church?

Certainly, he had in mind the false teaching that was threatening the church. God’s will did not include false teaching in the church about Jesus Christ. But even considering God’s will for a church is limited. Instead, we should first ask, “What is God’s will for the world?”

A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of loyal ministry workers.

V.13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.

The Greek word for “worked” is pŏnŏs, which means to toil, hard labor, and anguish. In other words, Epaphras physically exerted himself to the point of perhaps, painful soreness. Because ministry has a physical component to it too. Programs are planned and organized. Curriculum material prepared. Facilities cleaned and set-up. And it all takes work. Although for Epaphras, it was obviously a labor of love. In addition, Laodicea and Hierapolis were neighboring cities that apparently, also had Christian churches. And Epaphras ministered there as well.

Paul mentions Luke with a tone of affection as the “beloved physician.” And again in Philemon 24 and in 2 Timothy 4:11 as Paul’s only companion. In Acts 27, it appears Luke traveled with Paul on his sea voyage to Rome and likely on other trips as well. We also know Luke was a Gentile who also authored the New Testament books of Luke and Acts.

Paul mentions Demas one more time in 2 Timothy 4:10 as a deserter in the middle of a missionary journey, “because he loved this world.” Indeed, a sad legacy to leave in scripture.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

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