Paul's salutation (4:15-18)

(Paul's salutation)

Church of Laodicea & Nymphas

Paul then follows by saluting the brothers on the far side of Asia. “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas (寧法), and the church which is in his (NRSV, ‘her’; 和合本,「她」) house.” (4:15) Paul salutes the church of Laodicea instead of anyone in the church of Colosse for the reason found in C 4:16, where he charges: “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that is read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” The Colossians are to take this epistle to the Laodiceans for reading. So it is appropriate for Paul to salute the church of Laodicea in this epistle. He probably mentions similar greeting in the epistle of Laodiceans (this is a “lost” epistle) to salute the brethren in Colosse. Nymphas’ house is another example of home church. Since his (her) “house” church is mentioned together with the church of Laodicea, this may indicate that the church of Laodicea is right in his (her) house, and he (she) is the minister of the church. As mentioned above, Philemon 1:2 may indicate that the church of Colosse is in Philemon’s house, and he is the minister of the church. (refer to the next paragraph)


“And say to Archippus (亞基布), ‘Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.’ ” (4:17) It is interesting that Archippus is also mentioned in Philemon as one of the recipients besides Philemon and his “house” church. Philemon 1:1-2 says, “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy…unto Philemon…and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house.” Both Archippus and Philemon are in Colosse. And Paul also writes the epistle of Philemon to Archippus! It is very reasonable to believe that Archippus is in the “house” church of Philemon and he is a church minister there along with Philemon. Philemon is highly commended by Paul of his love and faith toward the Lord and all the saints. In Philemon 1:7, Paul has “great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother (「眾聖徒的心從你得了暢快」). Philemon is apt for the church minister.

In the epistle to the church of Colosse, Archippus is the last one named and is given such serious charge to heed his ministry and fulfill it. This indicates that Archippus is the minister of the church of Colosse. It is an apt conclusion that the church of Colosse is actually the “house” church of Philemon, and both Archippus and Philemon are the ministers of the church of Colosse. 


“The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.” (4:18) In his salutation at end of epistle, Paul first names the 6 brothers who are with him and who salute the church of Colosse. Then he mentions the brothers in Colosse and its neighborhood. After giving the serious charge to the leader of the church of Colosse, Paul salutes the church himself. He has not mentioned Timothy in his final greeting, perhaps because he has mentioned him at epistle’s beginning of his greeting.

Paul’s imprisonment is found in 1:24, 4:3, 4:10 and 4:18. Paul has mentioned in 4:3 to the Colossians to pray for him while he is in bonds. Now he repeats the same request in his final verse.

At end of Ephesians, Paul’s benediction is richer in content: Peace…love with faith…Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.” (E 6:23-24)