A study of Colossians 4:15-18 reveals the importance of authentic relationships in the church, making disciples, and ministry engagement of church members.

A study of Colossians 4:15-18 reveals the importance of authentic relationships in the church

V.15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

As Paul concludes his theological teaching he turns his attention to another important matter. Fostering authentic relationships. Because he asks the Colossians to greet the brothers at Laodicea and the house church that meets in the home of Nympha.

Start up churches in first century Christianity often met in homes. Especially since congregations were usually small. But hosting regular meetings in a home is no small thing. Then or now, because it takes much preparation. Perhaps specifically mentioning Nympha in his greeting was a way to affirm her.

Regardless, it reminds us that Christianity is a journey of faith with other believers. And those relationships must be intentionally nurtured and maintained.

A study of Colossians 4:15-18 reveals the importance in making disciples

V.16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

Paul’s apostolic teaching was considered authoritative by the early Christians. And his letters were passed around and read among the churches. But rather than let a ministry position inflate his ego, he recognized his own sin, unworthiness, and God’s grace to him. Look at Romans 7:15-20, 1 Timothy 1:15, and 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 for examples.

Nevertheless, Paul recognized his teaching as authoritative because he instructs the Colossians to swap letters with the Laodiceans. Did he know his writing was inspired by the Holy Spirit? It’s unclear if he knew, but we know because 1 Timothy 3:16-17 confirms it.

What happened to the letter to Laodicea? Some scholars speculate it was today’s book of Ephesians and others say the original letter was lost. Regardless, we know our Bible today is God’s complete word and we need not worry about anything missing.

A study of Colossians 4:15-18 reveals the importance of ministry engagement of church members

V.17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

We get more background information about Archippus in Paul’s letter to Philemon where he calls him a “fellow soldier.” Philemon hosted a house church and Archippus was part of it. And some scholars suggest, possibly his son. The title “fellow soldier” indicates a ministerial role. Perhaps as a pastor, but more likely a lay leader.

And notice the ministry was “received in the Lord.” In other words, God calls lay leaders into ministry too. Because pastors can’t possibly carry out church ministry by themselves. Of course, that doesn’t mean every church volunteer position requires a special calling. Often, the only qualification is a willing spirit and obedient heart. But when God calls we should respond with obedience.

On a practical note, pastors often prayerfully seek God’s guidance for filling various church leadership roles. And from pastoral experience I can tell you He often brings certain people to mind. So if a staff member approaches you about a particular ministry opportunity in your church, don’t immediately turn it down. It might be God’s way of calling you.

V.18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

In the midst of Paul’s concern for the Colossians he asked for their thoughts and prayers on his behalf. He was still in prison, uncertain of the future, and needed prayer support. A good reminder that while pastors often pray faithfully FOR their congregation, they still need prayers from FROM their congregation too.

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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