E-Mail Bible Class


BC Weekly DigestMonday, February 23 1998

In this issue:

	Colossians 4:1-4
	Colossians 4:5,6
	Colossians 4:7-9

Colossians 4:1-4

Colossians 4:1-4 (OPV)
1 Masters, give your slaves what is just and fair, knowing
that you also have a Master in heaven. 
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with 
3 while you also pray for us, that God may open a door for
the word so we may speak the mystery of Christ, for which 
I have also been imprisoned,
4 so I may make it known, as I ought to speak.
4:1 "Masters, give your slaves what is just and fair"
  Slaves were completely at the mercy of their master. 
Since slaves were "valuable property" they were often quite
well treated by their master in the master's own interest!
But evil masters were free to treat their slaves any way
they wished.
  Paul told the Corinthians not to become slaves of men 
(1 Cor 7:23). Sometimes people incorrectly accuse the New 
Testament of condoning slavery. Christians are to overcome
evil with good, however, and slavery is overcome on a 
spiritual level. If a master gives his slaves what is just
and fair, that is more than many employers do today! So 
maybe they should think about this verse as well! 
  To see a beautiful example of the persuasive, spiritual 
force of Christianity with regard to slavery, read Paul's
letter to Philemon which was sent along with his run-away
slave, Onesimus, who had become a Christian in the 
4:2 "Continue steadfastly in prayer"
  Or, as Paul had written to the Thessalonians, "Pray 
without ceasing" (1 Thes 5:17).
  Because members of Western society have been trained to 
be 'practical' and feel like they always have to be doing
something 'productive' it is sometimes difficult for them
to appreciate the value of long periods of prayer. But from
the Biblical viewpoint, prayer definitely is productive 
'work'! This is true because in reality -- something we
too often forget -- our other work is productive only if it
is blessed by God. And prayer makes a difference with God.
  We have the example of Anna: "And there was one Anna, a 
prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher
(she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven
years from her virginity, and she had been a widow even 
unto fourscore and four years), who departed not from the 
temple, worshipping with fastings and supplications night 
and day" (Luke 2:36,37 ASV).
  And Jesus prayed all night before he commissioned His 
twelve apostles (Luke 6:12,13).
4:2 "Watching therein with thanksgiving"
  Jesus tells us to "Watch and pray" (Matt 26:41; Mark 
13:33; 14:38). This means that a Christian must be alert
like a soldier on guard duty. We too have an enemy who 
tries to sneak up on us to do us harm. 
  As we ask for God's blessings we must always be mindful
of what He has already done for us, and be thankful.
  "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and 
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made 
known unto God" (Phil 4:6 ASV).
4:3 "That God may open a door for the word"
  Paul asks the Colossians to remember his imprisonment
(4:18) but notice that he does not ask specifically for 
them to pray that he be let out of prison! He wants them to
pray that God will open a door for the word! In or out of
prison, Paul is going to be preaching the word, and he 
wants the door to be opened for the word. That might 
involve his prison door being opened, but then again it 
might not. Much of Paul's writing was done in prison. (I
sometimes think I might be able to get more writing done
if I were in prison for a while!) And on more than one 
occasion God used his imprisonment as a means of spreading
the word.
4:4 "So I may make it known, as I ought to speak"
  Paul wanted them to pray that he might speak God's word
properly and courageously. 
  What we pray for often indicates our measure of 
spirituality. Do we pray for superficial things or
do we pray for things that really matter?
Roy Davison


Colossians 4:5,6

Colossians 4:5,6 (OPV)
5 Walk in wisdom in the presence of outsiders, making full
use of the time.
6 Always let your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt,
that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
4:5 "Walk in wisdom"
  Paul had prayed that the brethren at Colossae might 
"be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual
wisdom and understanding" (Col 1:9). In Christ all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden (Col 2:3).
They were to beware of human forms of worship that may 
have an appearance of wisdom, but actually are worthless
(Col 2:23). And the word of Christ was to dwell in them
richly with all wisdom (Col 3:16). All this enables them 
to "walk in wisdom."
  "But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God,
who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it 
shall be given him" (James 1:5 ASV).
4:5 "In the presence of outsiders"
  Followers of Christ are conscious of their function as 
salt and light in the world. They remember the words of 
Christ: "Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a 
hill cannot be hid. Neither do [men] light a lamp, and put
it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto
all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine 
before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father who is in heaven" (Matt 5:14-16 ASV).
4:5 "Making full use of the time"
 The time we have is a gift from God to be spent wisely. 
Christians should not waste time.
  In Ephesians we read: "Look therefore carefully how ye 
walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, 
because the days are evil" (Eph 5:15,16 ASV).
4:6 "Always let your speech be with grace, seasoned with 
  Notice that this is directed to all Christians, not just
to church leaders. All Christians should strive to speak as
well as they can, so they can communicate the good news 
about Jesus to others. This does not mean that all 
Christians must be orators. This refers to how we speak 
during our normal activities from day to day.
  When I went off to college as a young man I had three
goals: to improve my ability to speak, my ability to write,
and my knowledge of the Word of God, so what I spoke and
wrote would be right.
4:6 "That you may know how you ought to answer each one"
  Notice again that this is addressed to all Christians. 
Many people have questions about the meaning of life, about
the things taught by various religions and philosophies, 
and when they are confronted by the life of a Christian, 
this can also cause them to ask questions.
  Properly responding to the questions that are asked is 
an important part of spreading the word of God among men. 
This of course requires knowledge first of all, but it also
has to do with HOW we answer.
  Brother Marshal Keeble, an effective black evangelist of
the previous generation, once explained it this way to a 
group of us young preachers. He compared preaching to a 
butcher selling hamburger. When you go to the butcher shop
for a pound of hamburger, you want the hamburger. But you 
don't want the butcher to stick his hand in the hamburger,
spat it on the counter and say: "There's your hamburger!"
You want him to wrap it up!
  Let us pray for wisdom that we might know how to answer 
each one.
Roy Davison


Colossians 4:7-9

Colossians 4:7-9 (OPV)
7 All my affairs will be made known to you by Tychicus, 
a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-slave
in the Lord,
8 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you
may know our circumstances, and that he may encourage your
9 together with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother,
who is one of you. They will make known to you everything
[that has happened] here.
4:7 "Tychicus"
  We first read of Tychicus in Acts 20:4. He accompanied 
Paul as he returned from Greece through Asia, on his way
to Troas. It is stated that Tychicus was "of Asia."
  Paul also sent Tychicus to Ephesus to tell the brethren
there how he was doing: "But that ye also may know my 
affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and 
faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you 
all things" (Eph 6:21 ASV).
  In his second letter to Timothy, Paul mentions: "But 
Tychicus I sent to Ephesus" (2 Tim 4:12 ASV), and in his
letter to Titus he states: "When I shall send Artemas unto
thee, or Tychicus, give diligence to come unto me to 
Nicopolis: for there I have determined to winter" 
(Titus 3:12 ASV).
  Although few details are given, we notice that Tychicus
was someone Paul could depend on over a period of many 
years. What better commendation could any of us receive
than what Paul says of Tychicus: "a beloved brother and 
faithful minister and fellow-slave in the Lord."
4:8 "That he may encourage your hearts"
  Notice Paul's concern for the brethren at Colossae and
his confidence that Tychicus would be a blessing to them.
4:9 "Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one
of you"
  Onesimus, who had been a run-away slave of Philemon,
became a Christian through Paul's preaching (Philemon 10).
Again we see the power of the gospel. Onesimus had been 
"unprofitable" to his master (Philemon 11). But now
Paul calls him "a faithful and beloved brother."
  Paul's statement "who is one of you" indicates that
Onesimus either came from Colossae or lived there.
  Just like Tychicus and Onesimus were faithful servants 
of God in the first century, although we know little about
them, in the same way the Lord also has many faithful 
servants throughout the world today, who are completely 
unknown to us, but who go about "encouraging the hearts" 
of their brethren.
Roy Davison