Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
Colossians Ch.4 / 4 Ch.s
* Masters to do their duty towards servants. (1) Persons of all
ranks to persevere in prayer, and Christian prudence. (2-6) The
apostle refers to others for an account of his affairs. (7-9)
Sends greetings; and concludes with a blessing. (10-18)
#1 The apostle proceeds with the duty of masters to their
servants. Not only justice is required of them, but strict
equity and kindness. Let them deal with servants as they expect
God should deal with themselves.
#2-6 No duties can be done aright, unless we persevere in
fervent prayer, and watch therein with thanksgiving. The people
are to pray particularly for their ministers. Believers are
exhorted to right conduct towards unbelievers. Be careful in all
converse with them, to do them good, and recommend religion by
all fit means. Diligence in redeeming time, commends religion to
the good opinion of others. Even what is only carelessness may
cause a lasting prejudice against the truth. Let all discourse
be discreet and seasonable, as becomes Christians. Though it be
not always of grace, it must always be with grace. Though our
discourse be of that which is common, yet it must be in a
Christian manner. Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse,
and keeps it from corrupting. It is not enough to answer what is
asked, unless we answer aright also.
#7-9 Ministers are servants to Christ, and fellow-servants to
one another. They have one Lord, though they have different
stations and powers for service. It is a great comfort under the
troubles and difficulties of life, to have fellow Christians
caring for us. Circumstances of life make no difference in the
spiritual relation among sincere Christians; they partake of the
same privileges, and are entitled to the same regards. What
amazing changes Divine grace makes! Faithless servants become
faithful and beloved brethren, and some who had done wrong,
become fellow-workers of good.
#10-18 Paul had differed with Barnabas, on the account of this
Mark, yet he is not only reconciled, but recommends him to the
churches; an example of a truly Christian and forgiving spirit.
If men have been guilty of a fault, it must not always be
remembered against them. We must forget as well as forgive. The
apostle had comfort in the communion of saints and ministers.
One is his fellow-servant, another his fellow-prisoner, and all
his fellow-workers, working out their own salvation, and
endeavouring to promote the salvation of others. The effectual,
fervent prayer is the prevailing prayer, and availeth much. The
smiles, flatteries, or frowns of the world, the spirit of error,
or the working of self-love, leads many to a way of preaching
and living which comes far short of fulfilling their ministry.
But those who preach the same doctrine as Paul, and follow his
example, may expect the Divine favour and blessing.