Saturday, 18 March 2017
…as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, Colossians 1:7
Paul now introduces Epaphras whom he calls “our dear fellow servant.” He may or may not be the same as Epaphroditus who was seen in the letter to the Philippians. Epaphras is merely a shortened form of the same name, and so it is possible. However, in verse 4:12, Paul says that he “is one of you.” For this reason, it does appear he is not the same person. Either way, this individual was an evangelist, having taught the word of the Lord to those at Colossae. This is seen in the words, “as you also learned from Epaphras.” This is based on the previous verse which said, “since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth.”
Thus, the “bringing forth fruit” which Paul mentioned in verse 6 is realized in the evangelism of Epaphras. He was not just an evangelist, but one who was successful in his duties. In calling him “our dear fellow servant,” Paul uses a term that is seen 10 times in the New Testament, but his use of it will only be in this book. He uses the term here, and then he will use it once again when speaking of Tychicus in verse 4:7. It is a term which indicates “belonging to the same master,” and thus it is a term of endearment towards these two men. As Paul notes of Epaphras here, he is “a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf.”
There is a dispute as to whether the true reading is “on our behalf” or “on your behalf.” Either way, whether ministering for Paul and Timothy, or whether ministering for the good of those in Colossae, he was faithful in his ministry, and he is so recognized for it by Paul.
Life application: How are you perceived by the leaders of your church? Do they know you as a seat-warmer, a fair-weather attendee, or as a fellow servant who faithfully ministers in the church and towards others? The record is being compiled, and it will all be laid before the Lord on the day when we stand before Him for rewards or losses. Don’t waste right now… it counts forever.
Lord God, our record is being compiled concerning our faithfulness in ministering according to our calling. As the Lord has called us, so we have been given abilities to meet that calling. However, it is up to us to do something with them. Are we fair-weather Christians? Are we faithful seat-warmers? Are we willing to give 50% of our effort? Or are we going to go full-out and give heartily of ourselves now, knowing that what we do in this extremely short life counts for the ages of ages. Help us to think clearly on this, and to act wisely with the few hours we have been given. Amen.