Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 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. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider:
1. What is the theme or purpose of this passage? With what sort of tone (rebuking, emphatic, compassionate, etc.) does Paul close out this epistle? Thinking back over the previous lessons, give a 3-5 sentence synopsis of Colossians in your own words.
2. List the people Paul mentions by name in this passage, noting the words of praise he has for each. Paul did not take those who served with him in ministry for granted. Are you thankful for those who serve in the various ministries of your church? What are some ways you can show appreciation to others who serve in ministry alongside you (and over you) at your church?
3. What else do we know about Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Barnabas, Epaphras, Luke, Demas, and Archippus? How can cross-referencing give us a fuller picture and better understanding of a passage we’re studying?
4. Examine and describe the ministry roles each person in this passage fulfilled in the Body of Christ in light of 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. How does Colossians 4:7-18 demonstrate the need for various people to carry out various “services and activities”? How does this passage show value for a variety of servanthood roles and ministries, even those we might consider small or unimportant? Think about your church and Christianity at large. Do we place a greater value on those who serve in “spotlight” (“important”) roles compared to those who serve in obscure (“unimportant”) roles? How does 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 speak to this?
5. Note the words “encourage your hearts” (8), “they have been a comfort to me” (11), “struggling on your behalf in his prayers” (12), and “the church in her house” (15). How were encouragement, comfort, prayer, and hospitality crucial to the early church? Are they just as crucial to the church today? Is your church particularly strong or weak in any of these areas? How could your church improve in these areas?
How can you serve your church in the areas of encouragement, comfort, prayer, and hospitality? Think of one specific thing you can do for your church or a particular person in your church in each of these four areas, and do them over the next week. For example:
Monday: Write an e-mail encouraging my pastor.
Tuesday: Visit one of my church’s members who is hospitalized or a shut-in.
Wednesday: Pray through my church’s prayer list.
Thursday: Invite the lady who visited my church on Sunday for coffee.