| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 48 - Page 83 of 181 Index | Zoom | |
know for certain and, therefore, it is not wise to dogmatize. At a later date there was an
apocryphal letter entitled "The Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans", but this comes in the
category of apocryphal literature which was prominent in the early centuries, just as the
Book of Jasher and other so-called `lost books' stimulated other writers to issue
compositions bearing these titles.
Paul ends with a personal message to one member of the church:
"And say to Archippus, take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord,
that thou fulfil it" (4: 17).
Archippus is mentioned in Philemon 2 where the Apostle described him as his
`fellow-soldier', and it would seem that he was a member of Philemon's household and
possibly his son. What the ministry involved we do not know, but it was evidently
important enough for Paul to send him this stimulating message and it would have been
all the more effective because it would have been read before the whole church.
Archippus may have been slipping back spiritually and needed this reminder of his
responsibility to discharge his God-given ministry (literally `fill up', a typical Colossian
Paul now takes the pen from the amanuensis and concludes in his own handwriting
which was a guarantee of the genuineness of the letter:
"The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. Remember my bonds. Grace be
with you" (4: 18, R.V.).
We should note the last personal touch which was full of feeling, "Do not forget my
bonds". While he rejoiced in being, not the prisoner of Nero, but of Christ Jesus for us
Gentiles, yet there was a great personal cost he had to pay and it would do us all good to
remember at what price, even from a human standpoint, the precious Word of God has
come down to us, first of all through the faithful Apostle of the Gentiles, and then
through loyal successors, many of whom gladly gave their lives for the Lord Jesus.