Colossians 4:16-18, “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.”
Here at the very end of Colossians, we come to Paul’s last chance to deliver instructions and greetings to the Christians at Colossae. Colossians 4:16 contains an interesting request that the letter be read to the church at Laodicea. We usually don’t find instructions from apostles to other churches, but such an instance here may reflect the close proximity of the two churches that would make it easy for them to share letters with one another. What this, in particular, shows us is that the teaching of the apostles applied to Christians of all places and times.
Paul mentions the “letter from Laodicea” in Colossians 4:16, which has led many Bible scholars to speculate on the identity of this unknown piece of writing. What this most likely means is that the letter to the Ephesians was intended for several churches and mentions Ephesians because Ephesus was the most well-known city in the area surrounding Laodicea. Even with that said, this is only speculation as we can’t definitively locate nor know the precise meaning of what this letter to the Laodicea is, nor it’s contents.
Colossians ends with a note that Paul wrote this letter in his hand (Colossians 4:18). Paul relied on a scribe to put his thoughts to paper, and after reading over what the scribe wrote, he approved it, and took the pen, and put down his final thoughts to this church. These words included a prayer for grace, which we should extend to all people.
Christians should be concerned for one another, and Paul’s request to “remember his chains” reflects this teaching. Christians should care about the suffering of other Christians, whether that’s in their local churches or someone in another part of the world. As the people of God, let us regularly pray and intercede for fellow Christians.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.