Published on October 23, 2014
1. COLOSSIAS 4 COMMETARY Written and edited by Glenn Pease 1. Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. 1. Since you also are under a master and love it that he treats you right and fair, do the same for those who are under you. If you are a slave of Christ and experience his grace and love, you are to pass on to those of your own slaves the same Christ-like grace and love. Do unto others as has been done unto you. That is the bottom line in all relationships of life, and especially in relationships where you have the power to choose non-loving behavior. Masters can easily become mean in dealing with slaves, and they need to be reminded that they have a responsibility to pass on the grace they have received to those who need it from them. 2. It is not true that the . T. supports slavery. It allows only for slavery that is Christian and thus not the slavery at all that was so oppressive. The servant and master relationship is to be like that of God and His servants and therefore a blessing for them both. If a master treats his slaves in a way that is right and fair they will be blest and not hate slavery. It will be very much like an employer and employee relationship. Paul is not writing to the Roman pagan master but to the Christians, and they are to set the example that will rid slavery of its terrible effects. If all slaves were just set free they would have been set free to die. The better way was to make their lives better so that slavery would not be the awful thing it had come to be. Bad things can become good if good men practice Christian principles and love those who otherwise would feel hated and oppressed. Here Paul is saying the master is to make provision for his slaves so that their lives are comfortable and not miserable. They are not to be deprived but to be supplied with what makes their lives liveable. Do to them what you want your master in heaven to do to you. Be Godlike in your treatment of slaves. This is to make them more like your family than slaves. 2B. Don’t abuse your might Causing fear and fright:Just do what is rightIn your Master’s sight.
2. 3. It is not true that the . T. supports slavery. It allows only for slavery that is Christian and thus not the slavery at all that was so oppressive. The servant and master relationship is to be like that of God and His servants and, therefore, a blessing for them both. If a master treats his slaves in a way that is right and fair they will be blest. It will be very much like an employer and employee relationship. Paul is not writing to the Roman pagan master but to the Christians, and they are to set the example that will rid slavery of its terrible effects. If all slaves were just set free they would have been set free to die. The better way was to make their lives better so that slavery would not be the awful thing it had come to be. Bad things can become good if good men practice Christian principles, and love those who otherwise would feel hated and oppressed. Here Paul is saying the master is to make provision for his slaves so that their lives are comfortable and not miserable. They are not to be deprived but to be supplied with what makes their lives livable. Do to them what you want your master in heaven to do to you. Be Godlike in your treatment of slaves. This is to make them more like your family than slaves. 4. BARES, "Masters, give unto your servants ... - See the notes at Eph_6:9. That which is just and equal - What they ought to have; what is fairly their due. The apostle here, probably, refers to bondmen or slaves, and the propriety of this rule is apparent. Such persons were subject to their masters’ control; their time and services were at their disposal, and they could not enforce their just and equal claims by an appeal to the laws. They were, therefore, dependent on the equity and kindness of their masters. There can be no doubt that not a few who were converted to the Christian faith were held to involuntary servitude (see 1 Cor. 7); and it is as clear that the apostles did not design to make a violent disruption of these bonds, or to lead the slaves to rise and murder their masters; see the notes at 1Ti_6:1-4. But it is equally clear that they meant to represent slavery as a hard and undesirable condition; that they intended to instruct the slaves to embrace the earliest opportunity to be free which was presented 1Co_7:21; and that they meant to suggest such considerations, and to lay down such principles as would lead masters to emancipate their slaves, and thus ultimately to abolish it. Among these principles are such as these: (1) That all men were of one and the same blood; Act_17:26. (2) That they were all redeemed by the same Saviour, and were brethren; 1Ti_6:2; Phm_1:16. If redeemed; if they were “brethren;” if they were heirs of glory, they were not “chattels,” or “things;” and how could a Christian conscientiously hold or regard them as property? (3) That they were to “render them that which was just and equal.” What would follow from this if fairly applied? What would be just and equal to a man in those circumstances? Would it not be. (a) to compensate him fairly for his labor; to furnish him an adequate remuneration for what he had earned? But this would strike a blow at the root of slavery - for one of the elementary principles of it is, that there must be “unrequited labor;” that is, the slave must earn as much more than he receives as will do his part in maintaining the master in idleness, for it is of the very essence of the system that he is to be maintained in indolence by the slaves which he owns - or just so far as he owns a slave. If he were disposed to earn his own living, he would not need the labor of slaves. No one ever yet became the permanent owner of a slave from benevolence to him, or because he desired
3. to pay him fully for his work, or because he meant himself to work in order to maintain his slave in indolence. (b) If a man should in fact render to his slaves “that which is just and equal,” would he not restore them to freedom? Have they not been deprived of their liberty by injustice, and would not “justice” restore it? What has the slave done to forfeit his liberty? If he should make him “equal” in rights to himself, or to what he is by nature, would he not emancipate him? Has he not been reduced to his present condition by withholding that which is “equal?” Has he “equal” rights, and “equal” privileges with other men? Has he not been cut off from them by denying him the equality to which he is entitled in the arrangements of God’s government? Can he be held at all without violating all the just notions of equality? Though, therefore, it may be true that this passage only enjoins the rendering of that which was” just” and “equal” in their condition as slaves, yet it contains a principle which would” lay the axe at the root” of slavery, and would lead a conscientious Christian to the feeling that his slaves ought to be free. These principles actually effected the freedom of slaves in the Roman empire in a few centuries after Christianity was introduced, and they are destined to effect it yet all over the world. Knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven - Notes, Eph_6:9. 5.... CCCCLLLLAAAARRRRKKKKEEEE,,,, """"Masters, give unto your servants - This verse should have been added to the preceding, to which it properly belongs; and this chapter should have begun with Col_4:2. That which is just and equal - As they are bondmen or slaves of whom the apostle speaks, we may at once see with what propriety this exhortation is given. The condition of slaves among the Greeks and Romans was wretched in the extreme; they could appeal to no law; and they could neither expect justice nor equity. The apostle, therefore, informs the proprietors of these slaves that they should act towards them both according to justice and equity; for God, their Master, required this of them, and would at last call them to account for their conduct in this respect. Justice and equity required that they should have proper food, proper raiment, due rest, and no more than moderate work. This is a lesson that all masters throughout the universe should carefully learn. Do not treat your servants as if God had made them of an inferior blood to yours. 6. GILL, "Masters, give unto your servants,.... This verse properly belongs to the preceding chapter, with which it should have been concluded. It is indeed strange, that those who made the division of chapters and verses should separate this from the former chapter, to which it so manifestly belongs, and begin a new one with it, when it has no connection with what follows; for the apostle having observed the duty of servants to their masters, proceeds to direct masters to the discharge of their duty to their servants, by giving them that which is just and equal: proper food and raiment, which is sufficient and fitting for them; the wages due unto them by law or contract; using them with gentleness and humanity, taking care of them when under affliction, and in sickness; encouraging the diligent and laborious by an addition to their salaries; correcting the disobedient within just bounds, not with too much rigour and severity; and carrying it with an even hand to all, not preferring or indulging one before another, without any reason: knowing that ye also have a master in heaven: See Gill on Eph_6:9.
4. 7. HENRY, "The apostle proceeds with the duty of masters to their servants, which might have been joined to the foregoing chapter, and is a part of that discourse. Here observe, 1. Justice is required of them: Give unto your servants that which is just and equal (Col_4:1), not only strict justice, but equity and kindness. Be faithful to your promises to them, and perform your agreements; not defrauding them of their dues, nor keeping back by fraud the hire of the labourers, Jam_5:4. Require no more of them than they are able to perform; and do not lay unreasonable burdens upon them, and beyond their strength. Provide for them what is fit, supply proper food and physic, and allow them such liberties as may fit them the better for cheerful service and make it the easier to them, and this though they be employed in the meanest and lowest offices, and of another country and a different religion from yourselves. 2. A good reason for this regard: “Knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. You who are masters of others have a Master yourself, and are servants of another Lord. You are not lords of yourselves, and are accountable to one above you. Deal with your servants as you expect God should deal with you, and as those who believe they must give an account. You are both servants of the same Lord in the different relations in which you stand, and are equally accountable to him at last. Knowing that your Master also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him,” Eph_6:9. 8. CALVIN, "Masters, what is just. He mentions first, what is just, by which term he expresses that kindness, as to which he has given injunction in the Epistle to the Ephesians. (Ephesians 6:8.) But as masters, looking down as it were from aloft, despise the condition of servants, so that they think that they are bound by no law, Paul brings them under control, (462) because both are equally under subjection to the authority of God. Hence that equity of which he makes mention. And mutual equity. Some understand it otherwise, but I have no doubt that Paul here employed ἰσἰτητα to mean analogical (463) or distributive right, (464) as in Ephesians, τἰ αἰτἰ, (the same things.) (465) For masters have not their servants bound to them in such a manner as not to owe something to them in their turn, as analogical right to be in force among all ranks. (466) 9. BI, "The duty of masters. They are not required to abdicate their mastership, but to exercise it as a service for Christ. 1. Justice has reference to servants as workers. They are to receive fair remuneration. The price of labour is generally regulated by supply and demand. This is a maxim of political economy. Wages cannot be fixed by fancy and philanthropy. If I can get work done for 6s. a day, why should I give 7s.? Still, there is great scope for the exercise of religion. Servants may be ignorant of the market price of labour, and it is unrighteous to take advantage of it. It might be difficult on the grounds of political economy to say that the squire or farmer should give more than 10s. or 12s. a week when he can get abundance of labour at that price, but it is not difficult to see how this would not satisfy a Christian master. It is surely wrong to show more care for the horses which draw the plough than for the man who holds it. The man who has found out the lowest price at which some starving needlewoman will do “slop” work, the mistress who makes a workhouse girl her drudge for a mere pittance, may do
5. what they think is just; but hardly if a Christian. 2. Equal involves equality as well as equity, and has in it the element of reciprocity. (1) If by the energy and skill of his operatives an employer is greatly benefitted, should all the profits be his? Is it right after a series of successful years, when a reaction sets in, to close a factory and send the hands adrift? Some employers have kept on, and been rewarded with attachment and devotion. (2) Servants should be treated as having like feelings and sensibilities with their masters. They ought not to be, as in many cases they are, treated as destitute of feeling. (3) Nor must it be forgotten that they have characters to be cultivated, and much depends on your example and treatment. It is not to be expected that they will give their best efforts for those who are reckless in their habits and indifferent to just claims. “Like master, like man.” (4) Servants have souls to be saved. A clergyman waited on the principals of a large city house and asked for facilities to attend to the spiritual good of the employees. He was promptly told that the firm had nothing to do with their souls. Happily Christian employers are now waking up to their responsibility (Joh_13:13-15). II. The motive by which this is enforced—“Knowing,” etc. The servant is required to serve his master as if he were serving Christ, and the master is to use his authority as if he too were serving Christ. Many masters hold the responsibility of servants, and yet ignore their own. Nothing is more displeasing to God than this (Job_31:13-15). The issues of the great day depend on our conduct towards each other. What we have done to the poorest Christ will regard as having been done to Himself. (J. Spence, D. D.) Master and man Observe— 1. The first step towards righteousness between master and man, mistress and maid, is to respect the relation. 2. Every human being has a right to himself, consistent with the rights of others. When he sells himself, hands or brains, for honourable ends, he is to be respected. The cook makes as respectable sale of her arts in the kitchen as the owner of the real estate in renting a house. Here is safety. The poorest creature you employ never contracted to sell self-respect. 3. The strong, moreover, should bear the infirmities of the weak. 4. You may be conscience to your servants. What are the servants, for the most part? Grown-up children. They ape you; talk large, as you do at times; try to dress like you. You are your servant’s example—the keeper of his conscience. You pray every morning for your wife, your children, your property, clear down to the fence at the rear of the lot behind the stable, but never for Jack in the stable. 5. There should be a reciprocity of interest felt between a Christian master and his man. Nothing in social life has been more admirable than the magnificent loyalty of old servants. Read of it in the armour-bearers of Hebrew kings, the squires of days of chivalry. After faithful years he, the old servant, tried and true, did the honours of the castle, and set the turret pennant for great festivals. He spread the plates, and made the feast ready in oaken halls; he conducted fair and brave to their chambers.
6. On errands of knightly valour, he accompanied his lord; he carried the helmet, the shield, the gauntlets, the armour all, and bore the banner of the house; he gave the battle-cry, and when, borne down, his liege would fall, the old servant bore him from the field; and so he won the right to wear golden spurs—no longer a servant, but a knight of the line. In comparison with this shining loyalty of a barbarous age, how pitiful the frequent bickerings and mutual hurt of Christian times. An old family servant, after ten years, comes to look upon your home as her home—all she has in this world. She has clung to you in five movings, and knew just where everything belonged. She knows your ways, moods, likes and dislikes. She has had her flare-ups, and you forgave and said nothing; in return, she has seen flare-ups above her floor, and said nothing. She’s been sick, and you waited for her recovery—how she thanked you; and that winter you were all sick she paid you back with interest. She prefers you to the savings bank. She has known Master Charley from birth, and has nigh spoiled him; and that other one down in Greenwood she remembers, and surprises you by saying, “This is the 15th of May, the day he died.” God bless you, good creature. She has wept in the doorway at three of your funerals; she has laughed in the doorway at two household marriages; and how she boasts of her cake. You leave everything in her hands and go on long journeys; you return and find all safe, and exclaim, “God bless her; she shall stay with us until she goes on that long, long journey.” All this is possible. But it is only possible to those who carry Christ’s rule everywhere, even the rule of this text. Brethren, let us treat all artizans, serving tradesmen, labourers, and workers as we wish Christ to treat us, till the time when He shall “call us no longer servants, but friends.” (Emory J. Haynes.) Masters deal unequally many ways 1. When they require inconvenient things; for though the servant must obey, yet the master sins in requiring unequal things. 2. When they impose more work than they have strength to do. 3. When they turn them away when they are sick; for it is equal that as thou hast had their labour when they were well, so thou shouldest keep them when they are sick. 4. When they restrain them of liberty for their souls. If thou have the work of their bodies, it is equal that thou take care for their souls; and if they serve thee six days, it is very equal thou shouldest proclaim liberty to them to do God’s work on the Sabbath day. 5. When they restrain and withhold their meat and wages. 6. When they send them out of their service empty, after many years’ bondage, and not provide that they may have some means to live afterwards. 7. When they hear every word that men say of their servants (Ecc_7:23). 8. When they bring up their servants delicately (Pro_27:23). 9. When they leave the whole care of their earthly business to their servants, and fail to know the state of them for themselves (Pro_27:23). (N. Byfield.)
7. 2. Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 1. Paul does not say, “Once in a while take time to pray.” He says “Devote yourselves to prayer.” That is making prayer a major part of the Christian life, and there is good reason for it being so, for prayer is the key to victorious living. John Eadie has written concerning the prayers of the saints: 2. “Human entreaty has shut up heaven, and has again opened it. At the voice of a man the sun stood still. Prayer has sweetened the bitter fountain, divided the sea, and stilled its waves. It has disbanded armies, and prevented conflict; it has shortened battle, and given victory to the right. It has conferred temporal abundance, as in the case of Jabez; and given effect to medical appliances, as in the case of Hezekiah. It has quenched the mouths of lions, and opened the gates of the prison-house. As Jesus prayed in the river, the dove alighted on Him; and as he prayed on the hill, he was transfigured. The glory of God was manifested to Moses when he asked it, and the grace of Christ to Paul when he besought it. ot a moment elapsed between the petition of the crucified thief and its glorious answer. Before Daniel concluded his devotion, the celestial messenger stood at his side. The praying church brought down upon itself Pentecostal effusion.” "O thou by whom we come to God- The Life, the Truth, the Way, The path of prayer Thyself hast trod, Lord, teach us how to pray." 3. Devoting yourself to prayer means to be making prayer a perpetual part of daily living. Someone said, “Prayer is not an option in life. Prayer is not a panic button to press only when in extreme trouble. Prayer is conversation with God, presenting our selves honestly before God. Prayer is listening as we hear what God wants to tell us. Prayer is practicing the presence of God in every moment. Spurgeon says, "Prayer pulls the robe below, and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give but an occasional pluck at the robe; but he who wins with heaven is the man who grasps the robe boldly and pulls continuously, with all his might." 3B. John Eadie has written concerning the prayers of the saints: Human entreaty has shut up heaven, and has again opened it. At the voice of a man the sun stood still. Prayer has sweetened the bitter fountain, divided the sea, and stilled its waves. It has disbanded
8. armies, and prevented conflict; it has shortened battle, and given victory to the right. It has conferred temporal abundance, as in the case of Jabez; and given effect to medical appliances, as in the case of Hezekiah. It has quenched the mouths of lions, and opened the gates of the prison-house. As Jesus prayed in the river, the dove alighted on Him; and as he prayed on the hill, he was transfigured. The glory of God was manifested to Moses when he asked it, and the grace of Christ to Paul when he besought it. ot a moment elapsed between the petition of the crucified thief and its glorious answer. Before Daniel concluded his devotion, the celestial messenger stood at his side. The praying church brought down upon itself Pentecostal effusion. "O thou by whom we come to God- The Life, the Truth, the Way, The path of prayer Thyself hast trod, Lord, teach us how to pray." "Prayer is not an optional in life. Prayer is not a panic button to press only when in extreme trouble. Prayer is conversation with God, presenting ourselves honestly before God. Prayer is listening as we hear what God wants to tell us. Prayer is practicing the presence of God in every moment. 4. BARES, "Continue in prayer - That is, do not neglect it; observe it at all stated times; maintain the spirit of prayer, and embrace all proper occasions to engage in it; compare the Luk_18:1 note; Eph_6:18 note; 1Th_4:17 note. And watch in the same with thanksgiving - Watch for favorable opportunities; watch that your mind may be in a right frame when you pray: and watch, that when your mind is in a right frame you may not neglect to pray; see the Eph_6:18 note; Phi_4:6. 5. CLARKE, "Continue in prayer - This was the apostle’s general advice to all; without this, neither wives, husbands, children, parents, servants, nor masters, could fulfill the duties which God, in their respective stations, required of them. All might, power, and life come from God; his creatures are continually dependent upon him for all these: to earnest, persevering prayer, he has promised every supply; but he who prays not has no promise. How few wives feel it their duty to pray to God to give them grace to behave as wives! How few husbands pray for the grace suited to their situation, that they may be able to fulfill its duties! The like may be said of children, parents, servants, and masters. As every situation in life has its peculiar duties, trials, etc.; so to every situation there is peculiar grace appointed. No man can fulfill the duties of any station without the grace suited to that station. The grace suited to him, as a member of society in general, will not be sufficient for him as a husband, father, or master. Many proper marriages become unhappy in the end, because the parties have not earnestly besought God for the grace necessary for them as husbands and wives. This is the origin of family broils in general; and a proper attention to the apostle’s advice would prevent them all. Watch in the same - Be always on your guard; and when you have got the requisite grace by praying, take care of it, and bring it into its proper action by watchfulness; by which you will know when, and where, and how to apply it.
9. With thanksgiving - Being always grateful to God, who has called you into such a state of salvation, and affords you such abundant means and opportunities to glorify him. 6. GILL, "Continue in prayer,.... This is not said particularly to masters, as in the foregoing verse, but to all the members of the church in general; for the apostle having taken notice of some special duties relating to persons in different stations of life, returns to such as were common to them all; as this of prayer to God is, for such prayer is intended; for though the object is not expressed here, he is in the following verse, and the Mediator Christ is supposed, and also the Holy Spirit, whose assistance is necessary to it. The things exhorted to, and required in prayer, are, first, as in this clause, continuance in it, which does not mean that men should be always formally praying to God; nor can it be thought that saints are always in praying frames of soul, though such are always desirable; but it intends frequency and constancy in prayer, in opposition to an entire restraint and omission of it, and to a performance of it but now and then, or very rarely; for though Christians are not, as the Jews were, bound to certain stated hours of prayer, so many times in a day, yet a day should not pass without prayer to God; for their daily cases call for it; their lives, their health, their daily bread, and all their temporal enjoyments, which depend on his daily goodness, providence, and power; their spiritual affairs, the renewing of the inward man day by day, fresh supplies of grace for new service; their daily trials and afflictions, their continued enemies, sin, Satan, and the world, all fully show the necessity of daily prayer: besides, God does not always immediately answer the prayers of his people, he will be sought unto time after time, even for a blessing he intends to give; and therefore the saints should not be discouraged, but continue in prayer till they receive the mercy, and their importunity is a means of enjoying it, as in the case of the poor widow; and which is an encouraging reason why men should pray always, and not faint. Add to this, that constant prayer is a means of keeping up a spiritual acquaintance, intercourse, and familiarity with God, and of the soul alive in the vigorous exercise of the graces of the Spirit, and of preserving the saints from temptations and sin; for, generally speaking, restraining prayer before God, and casting off his fear, go together. The next things requisite in prayer are watchfulness and thankfulness: and watch in the same with thanksgiving. There is not only a watchfulness unto it, previous to a man's entrance on it, as in Eph_6:18 but a watchfulness in it, which is opposed both to sleepiness of body, and to coldness and indifference of mind, to all careless airs and negligent manner of performing it; and designs an intenseness of mind, an application of thought, and fervency of devotion, and affection in it. It lies in a concern, that the heart be lift up, with the hands to God; in a care, that what is asked is according to the will of God, and that the whole be performed in sincerity, faith, and fear. This is what the Jews call תפלה עיון , "the attention of prayer" (f), and הלב כונת , "the intention of the heart"; and which, they say (g), is the root of prayer, the main and principal thing in it; and that every prayer which is not with intention, is no prayer (h); and which, they observe, lies in this, that a man turns his heart from all (other) thoughts, and seems to himself as if he stood before the divine Majesty. To this thanksgiving must be added; see Phi_4:6 for this is well pleasing to God; and the contrary, an ungrateful spirit, is highly resented by him. Besides, a believer has always mercies to bless God for, as well as favours to ask at his hands; nor is he ever in such a situation, either in temporals or spirituals, but he has something to bless God for.
10. Moreover, how should it be expected that a person should succeed in a present request, who is not thankful for a former kindness? 7. HENRY, "If this be considered as connected with the foregoing verse, then we may observe that it is part of the duty which masters owe their servants to pray with them, and to pray daily with them, or continue in prayer. They must not only do justly and kindly by them, but act a Christian and religious part, and be concerned for their souls as well as their bodies: “As parts of your charge, and under your influence, be concerned for the blessing of God upon them, as well as the success of your affairs in their hands.” And this is the duty of every one - to continue in prayer. “Keep up your constant times of prayer, without being diverted from it by other business; keep your hearts close to the duty, without wandering or deadness, and even to the end of it: Watching the same.” Christians should lay hold of all opportunities for prayer, and choose the fittest seasons, which are least liable to disturbance from other things, and keep their minds lively in the duty, and in suitable frames. -With thanksgiving, or solemn acknowledgment of the mercies received. Thanksgiving must have a part in every prayer. 8. John Piper writes of... a story about D. L. Moody making a visit to Scotland in the 1800's and opening one of his talks at a local grade school with the rhetorical question, What is prayer? To his amazement, hundreds of children's hands went up. So he decided to call on a lad near the front, who promptly stood up and said, "Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies." This is the answer to question #78 in the Westminster Catechism. To this Moody responded by saying, "Be thankful, son, that you were born in Scotland." (Devote Yourselves to Prayer, a sermon by John Piper) A similar exhortation is to pray without ceasing, (1Th 5:17-note), which enjoins, not uninterrupted, but constantly recurring prayer. Like every other spiritual activity, such a devoted attitude toward prayer calls for diligence, lest its power be forgotten and its occasions and opportunities be allowed to slip away. The maintenance of an effective spiritual life depends upon intercourse with the God of our salvation. Steadfastness in prayer is to be our continual mindset because of the many hindrances to fervent prayer which are inherent in the nature (saved but still weak in these bodies of flesh) and in the surroundings (busyness) of believers. While the chief emphasis of this last chapter of Colossians is upon the Christian’s life in the world, Paul fittingly begins with prayer since it is the foundation and source of power for such a life. 8B. John MacArthur records the following story illustrating the boldness believers should have when wrestling with God in prayer... In 1540 Luther’s great friend and assistant, Friedrich Myconius, became sick and was expected to die within a short time. On his bed he wrote a loving farewell note to Luther with a trembling hand. Luther received the letter and sent back a reply: “ I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have need of thee in the work of reforming the church.… The Lord will never let me hear that thou art dead, but will-permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God. ”Those words are shocking to us, but they were certainly heartfelt. Although Myconius had already lost the ability to speak when
11. Luther’s letter came, he recovered completely and lived six more years to survive Luther himself by two months. (MacArthur, J. Colossians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos) 8C. Piper writes that prayer is... A Wartime Walkie-Talkie, Not a Domestic Intercom. Prayer is the walkie-talkie on the battlefield of the world. It calls on God for courage (Ephesians 6:19). It calls in for troop deployment and target location (Acts 13:1, 2, 3). It calls in for protection and air cover (Matthew 6:13; Luke 21:36). It calls in for firepower to blast open a way for the Word (Colossians 4:3). It calls in for the miracle of healing for the wounded soldiers (James 5:16). It calls in for supplies for the forces (Matthew 6:11; Philippians 4:6). And it calls in for needed reinforcements (Matthew 9:38). This is the place of prayer—on the battlefield of the world. It is a wartime walkie-talkie for spiritual warfare, not a domestic intercom to increase the comforts of the saints. And one of the reasons it malfunctions in the hands of so many Christian soldiers is that they have gone AWOL. (Piper, J. The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's delight in Being God. Page 343-372. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah Publishers) 8D. Spurgeon writes... It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, "Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;" and just as we are about to close the volume, the "Amen" of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob-there a Daniel who prayed three times a day-and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in his Word, he intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If he has said much about prayer, it is because he knows we have much need of it. So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Dost thou want nothing? Then, I fear thou dost not know thy poverty. Hast thou no mercy to ask of God? Then, may the Lord's mercy show thee thy misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father's face, and live in thy Father's love. Pray that this year thou mayst be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter oftener into the banqueting-house of his love. Pray that thou mayst be an example and a blessing unto others, and that thou mayst live more to the glory of thy Master. The motto for this year must be, "Continue in prayer." (Morning and Evening) 8E. EBC, PRECEPTS FOR THE INNERMOST AND OUTERMOST LIFE So ends the ethical portion of the Epistle. A glance over the series of practical exhortations, from the beginning of the preceding chapter onwards, will show that, in general terms we may say that they deal successively with a Christian’s duties to himself, the Church, and the family. And now, these last advices touch the two extremes of life, the first of them having reference to the hidden life of prayer, and the second and third to the outward, busy life of the market place and the street. That bringing together of the extremes seems to be the link of connection here. The Christian life is first regarded as
12. gathered into itself-coiled as it were on its centre, like some strong spring. Next, it is regarded as it operates in the world, and, like the uncoiling spring, gives motion to wheels and pinions. These two sides of experience and duty are often hard to blend harmoniously. The conflict between busy Martha, who serves, and quiet Mary, who only sits and gazes, goes on in every age and in every heart. Here we may find, in some measure, the principle of reconciliation between their antagonistic claims. Here is, at all events, the protest against allowing either to oust the other. Continual prayer is to blend with unwearied action. We are so to walk the dusty ways of life as to be ever in the secret place of the Most High. "Continue steadfastly in prayer," and withal let there be no unwholesome withdrawal from the duties and relationships of the outer world, but let the prayer pass into, first, a wise walk, and second, an ever-gracious speech. I. So we have here, first, an exhortation to a hidden life of constant prayer. The word rendered "continue" in the Authorised Version, and more fully in the Revised Version by "continue steadfastly," is frequently found in reference to prayer, as well as in other connections. A mere enumeration of some of these instances may help to illustrate its full meaning. "We will give ourselves to prayer," said the apostles in proposing the creation of the office of deacon. "Continuing instant in prayer," says Paul to the Roman Church. "They continuing daily with one accord in the Temple" is the description of the early believers after Pentecost. Simon Magus is said to have "continued with Philip," where there is evidently the idea of close adherence as well as of uninterrupted companionship. These examples seem to show that the word implies both earnestness and continuity; so that this injunction not only covers the ground of Paul’s other exhortation, "Pray without ceasing," but includes fervour also. The Christian life, then, ought to be one of unbroken prayer. What manner of prayer can that be which is to be continuous through a life that must needs be full of toil on outward things? How can such a precept be obeyed? Surely there is no need for paring down its comprehensiveness, and saying that it merely means-a very frequent recurrence to devout exercises, as often as the pressure of daily duties will permit. That is not the direction in which the harmonising of such a precept with the obvious necessities of our position is to be sought. We must seek it in a more inward and spiritual notion of prayer. We must separate between the form and the substance, the treasure and the earthen vessel which carries it. What is prayer? Not the utterance of words-they are but the vehicle; but the attitude of the spirit. Communion, aspiration, and submission, these three are the elements of prayer-and these three may be diffused through a life. It is possible, though difficult. There may be unbroken communion, a constant consciousness of God’s presence, and of our contact with Him, thrilling through our souls and freshening them, like some breath of spring reaching the toilers in choky factories and busy streets; or even if the communion do not run like an absolutely unbroken line of light through our lives, the points may be so near together as all but to touch. In such communion words are needless. When spirits draw closest together there is no need for speech. Silently the heart may be kept fragrant with God’s felt presence, and sunny with the light of His face. There are towns nestling beneath the Alps, every narrow filthy alley of which looks to the great solemn snow peaks, and the inhabitants, amid all the squalor of their surroundings, have that apocalypse of wonder ever before them, if they would only lift their eyes. So we, if we will, may live with the majesties and beauties of the great white throne and of Him that sat on it closing every vista and filling the end of every commonplace passage in our lives. In like manner, there may be a continual, unspoken and unbroken presence of the second element of prayer, which is aspiration, or desire after God. All circumstances,
13. whether duty, sorrow, or joy, should and may be used to stamp more deeply on my consciousness the sense of my weakness and need; and every moment, with its experience of God’s swift and punctual grace, and all my communion with Him which unveils to me His beauty-should combine to move longings for Him, for more of Him. The very deepest cry of the heart which understands its own yearnings is for the living God; and perpetual as the hunger of the spirit for the food which will stay its profound desires, will be the prayer, though it may often be voiceless, of the soul which knows where alone that food is. Continual too may be our submission to His will, which is an essential of all prayer. Many people’s notion is that our prayer is urging our wishes on God, and that His answer is giving us what we desire. But true prayer is the meeting in harmony of God’s will and man’s, and its deepest expression is not, Do this, because I desire it, O Lord; but, I do this because Thou desirest it, O Lord. That submission may be the very spring of all life, and whatsoever work is done in such spirit, however "secular" and however small it be, were it making buttons, is truly prayer. So there should run all through our lives the music of that continual prayer, heard beneath all our varying occupations like some prolonged deep bass note, that bears up and gives dignity to the lighter melody that rises and falls and changes above it, like the spray on the crest of a great wave. Our lives will then be noble and grave, and woven into a harmonious unity, when they are based upon continual communion with, continual desire after, and continual submission to, God. If they are not, they will be worth nothing and will come to nothing. But such continuity of prayer is not to be attained without effort; therefore Paul goes on to say, "Watching therein." We are apt to do drowsily whatever we do constantly. Men fall asleep at any continuous work. There is also the constant influence of externals, drawing our thoughts away from their true home in God, so that if we are to keep up continuous devotion, we shall have to rouse ourselves often when in the very act of dropping off to sleep. "Awake up, my glory!" we shall often have to say to our souls. Do we not all know that subtly approaching languor? and have we not often caught ourselves in the very act of falling asleep at our prayers? We must make distinct and resolute efforts to rouse ourselves-we must concentrate our attention and apply the needed stimulants, and bring the interest and activity of our whole nature to bear on this work of continual prayer, else it will become drowsy mumbling as of a man but half awake. The world has strong opiates for the soul, and we must steadfastly resist their influence, if we are to "continue in prayer." One way of so watching is to have and to observe definite times of spoken prayer. We hear much nowadays about the small value of times and forms of prayer, and how, as I have been saying, true prayer is independent of these, and needs no words. All that, of course, is true; but when the practical conclusion is drawn that therefore we can do without the outward form, a grave mistake, full of mischief, is committed. I do not, for my part, believe in a devotion diffused through a life and never concentrated and coming to the surface in visible outward acts or audible words; and, as far as I have seen, the men whose religion is spread all through their lives most really are the men who keep the central reservoir full, if I may so say, by regular and frequent hours and words of prayer. The Christ, whose whole life was devotion and communion with the Father, had His night’s on the mountains, and rising up a great while before day, He watched unto prayer. We must do the like. One more word has still to be said. This continual prayer is to be "with thanksgiving"- again the injunction so frequent in this letter, in such various connections. Every prayer should be blended with gratitude, without the perfume of which, the incense of devotion
14. lacks one element of fragrance. The sense of need, or the consciousness of sin, may evoke "strong crying and tears," but the completest prayer rises confident from a grateful heart, which weaves memory into hope, and asks much because it has received much. A true recognition of the loving kindness of the past has much to do with making our communion sweet, our desires believing, our submission cheerful. Thankfulness is the feather that wings the arrow of prayer-the height from which our souls rise most easily to the sky. 9. BI, "We are here instructed to pray with I. Earnest perseverance. 1. The word rendered’“ continue” means to apply with ardour and assiduity to any difficult and laborious thing until you shall have brought it to the wished-for end, and obtained the victory. Two things, therefore, are involved (1) Earnestness, or intention of mind, which is necessary, because (a) occasions for prayer are such as ought to excite the mind ,seriously and with the whole strength. The magnitude of our intention is wont to correspond with the magnitude of the business in hand. To seek the good things of God perfunctorily. What is this but to mock God? (b) Dead and sleepy prayers from a mind wandering or benumbed neither reach heaven nor move God to hear. Our prayer is a messenger between God and us; but if the messenger loiters or falls asleep, he will neither reach his destination nor effect his business. “With what effrontery,” says Cyprian, “dost thou require to be heard of God, when thou dost not thyself hear thy own voice.” (c) The heart inflamed with this spiritual heat grows soft, and is dilated, and becomes more apt and capable for receiving the Divine gifts. (d) The saints in Scripture thus prayed. Jacob (Gen_32:28), Moses, the psalmists (Jas_5:1). (2) Assiduity or frequency (Luk_18:1; 1Th_5:17). Not that we are to be ever on our knees, but that the desire of prayer is never laid aside either by weariness of expectation or despair of obtaining it, and that God should be frequently pleaded with. Inducements to this. (a) We have constant causes for prayer—the blessings we have, the blessings we want, and the evils we suffer. (b) Constancy is the most effectual means of obtaining what we seek (Luk_ 18:1-43.; Mat_15:1-39.). (c) This perseverance greatly contributes to the declaring, increasing, and strengthening of cur faith (Psa_5:3). 2. Instructions. (1) Regarding intention. (a) Whereas we are exhorted to fervour, we must conclude that we are so frigid and torpid as to need a monitor to arouse us (Mat_26:40). (b) We need the Spirit of prayer (Rom_8:2).
15. (c) Prayers that are not understood are of little moment, which condemns those of the Papists in an unknown tongue. Paul condemns them (1Co_14:16). Augustine says: “The people ought to understand the prayers of their priests, that they may have their attention fixed upon God by a common feeling.” Even Roman theologians have condemned them. Parisiensis says: “It is reckoned among the follies of that messenger (i.e., prayer) that he neither cares nor thinks of those concerns except this alone, that he offers a petition to God, and is altogether ignorant of what it contains, and what is sought by it. And these things are manifest in all those praying persons who mutter with their lips alone, understanding nothing whatever of those things which the words of their prayers signify.” And Cajetan confesses “that it is better for the edification of the Church,” and founds it on 1Co_14:1-40. (2) Regarding perseverance. (a) We must take care not to be drawn away from prayer by pleasure, business, etc. For if you cut the nerves you leave the whole body without motion and strength; so if you set aside prayer, the nerve of the soul, you maim the man and deprive him of spiritual motion. (b) The misery of the ungodly; who, as they are void of faith and love, cannot pray except for form’s sake, and what is more miserable than to be cut off from the fountain of blessedness? Conversely we learn tile blessedness of the godly. II. Watchfulness. 1. Nightly vigils. (1) The Christians of the apostle’s times, on account of their enemies, were often compelled to nocturnal assemblies (Act_12:12; Act_20:7). The custom was continued long after the need of it had ceased; but was subsequently abandoned because of abuses. Hence the sermons of the fathers on the vigils of the Nativity, Easter, the Martyrs, etc. (2) Besides these public vigils, holy men sometimes spent sleepless nights in private devotion (Psa_22:2; Psa_77:6; Act_16:25; Mat_26:38-39; 2Co_6:5). 2. The vigils of the mind. The mind is watchful when no ways asleep in sin and worldly things, but always lively. To this we are called by Christ (Mar_13:35-36; Rev_3:2; Rev_16:15); by Paul (1Co_16:13; 1Th_5:6); by Peter (1Pe_5:8). 3. Instructions. Hence is inferred (1) the sottishness of our age: we sleep at prayers in the open day; our fathers spent whole nights in prayer. (2) Our impiety and vanity: for vigils among us are scarcely destined to anything but folly or wickedness. (3) Then he raises his voice to God in vain who sleeps in his life. (4) The prayers of the ungodly are dreams, recited while the heart is asleep in sin. III. Thanksgiving. 1. Petitioners should be grateful for blessings already granted. Aristotle wisely
16. observed: “A return is required to preserve friendship,” but we can return to God nothing but gratitude (Psa_116:12). 2. Thanks are due for things (1) deferred: for they are delayed only till a more advantageous time, and that we may esteem them more when bestowed. (2) Denied; because God knew they would be hurtful, and those useful which we deprecated. 3. Hence we are taught (1) that men are more prone to ask or complain than to be thankful. (2) That ungrateful men are not fit to pray. (3) That good and evil must not be measured by our sense, but left to the judgment of God our Father, who will always send us the best things (1Th_5:18). (Bishop Davenant.) Prayer I. Continue. Let not your intercessions be as the morning cloud. How prevalent we are in adversity; but what about prosperity? 1. The duty on the part of (1) convinced sinners. Pray on till the blessing comes. (2) Saints—not only for temporal blessings, but for more faith, holiness, usefulness. The more we pray the riper will be our graces. (3) Churches. Pentecost, as every great revival, was preceded by persevering prayer. 2. This duty need not interfere with others—our business, e.g. Prayer to the neglect of business was sternly condemned by Paul in the case of the Thessalonians. You may not always be in the exercise, but you may always be in the spirit of prayer. If not always shooting your arrows up to heaven, keep your bow well stringed. 3. Reasons for this duty. (1) God will answer. “Ask, and ye shall receive”—not always at once, but in God’s time; pray till that comes. (2) The world will be blessed. Continue, then, to pray till Christ become the universal King. (3) Souls shall be saved. (4) Satan’s castle shall be destroyed—not with one blow of the battering-ram, however. But batter away till it falls. II. Watch. 1. For you will be drowsy if you watch not. How many men and Churches are asleep in prayer because they do not watch. 2. For as soon as you begin to pray enemies will commence to attack. No one was ever in earnest without finding that the devil was in earnest too. 3. Watch while you pray for propitious events which may help you in the answer to
17. your prayer. We cannot make the wind blow, but we can spread the sails; and when the Spirit comes we may be ready. 4. Watch for fresh arguments for prayer. Heaven’s gate is not to be stormed by one weapon, but by many. 5. Watch for the answers. When you post a letter to your friend you watch for the answer. III. Give thanks. We should not go to God as mournful beings who plead piteously with a hard master who loves not to give. When you give a penny to a beggar you like to see him smile, and you give at the next application because of previous gratitude. So go to God with a thankful mind. (C. H. Spurgeon.) Some qualities of prayer With the Scriptures as our guide we cannot question the obligation or value of prayer. The qualities here spoken of are— I. Steadfastness (RV.) (Act_1:14; Act_12:5). The word means earnest adherence and attention, whether to a person or a thing. How weary we grow of prayer! How glad some formal worshippers are when the benediction is pronounced. This is a word against— 1. Neglectors of God’s worship. 2. Forgetters of private devotion. II. Watchfulness (Eph_6:18). 1. Against wandering thoughts. 2. Against unbelief. 3. Against dulness and heaviness. III. Thankfulness. St. Paul’s idea of this duty may be gathered from the fact that the word he here employs, although rare elsewhere, is found thirty-seven times in his writings, and is often joined to prayer. To be always asking and never thanking cannot be right. Whenever we pray we must utter thanks. (Family Churchman.) Continuance in prayer Anglers, though they have fished many hours and caught nothing, do not therefore break their rod and line, but draw out the hook and look at their bait, which, it may be, was fallen off or not well hung on, and mend it, and then throw it in again. So when thou hast been earnest in thy prayers, and yet received no answer, reflect upon them; consider whether something were not amiss either in thy preparation or thy manner or thy petition. It is possible thou mightest desire stones instead of bread, or forget to deliver thy petition to the only Master of requests, the Lord Jesus, that He might present them to the Father. No wonder, then, thou hast failed. Be diligent to find out the fault, amend it, and then fall to work again with confidence that thou wilt not labour in vain. The archer, if he shoot once, and again, and miss the mark, considereth whether he did not shoot too high or too low, or too much on the right or the left, and then taketh the same arrow again, only reformeth his former error, and winneth the wager. (G. Swinnock, M. A.)
18. The necessity of persevering prayer In the black country of England you who have travelled will have observed fires which never in your recollection have been quenched. I believe there are some which have been kept burning for more than fifty years, both night and day, every day in the year. They are never allowed to go out, because we are informed that the manufacturers would find it amazingly expensive again to get the furnace to its needed red heat. Indeed, the blast furnace, I suppose, would all but ruin the proprietor if it were allowed to go out once every week; he would probably never get it up to its right heat until the time came for letting the fire out again. Now, as with these tremendous furnaces which must burn every day, or else they will be useless, they must be kept burning, or else it will be hard to get them up to the proper heat, so ought it to be in all the Churches of God; they should be as flaming fires both night and day; chaldron after chaldron of the coal of earnestness should be put to the furnace; all the fuel of earnestness which can be gathered from the hearts of men should be east upon the burning pile. The heavens should be always red with the glorious illumination, and then, then might you expect to see the Church prospering in her Divine business, and hard hearts melted before the fire of the Spirit. (C. H. Spurgeon.) The value of constant prayer There should run through all our lives the music of continual prayer, heard beneath all our varying occupations like some prolonged deep bass note, that bears up and gives dignity to the lighter melody that rises and falls and changes above it, like the spray on the crest of a great wave. Our lives will then be noble, and grave, and woven into a harmonious unity, when they are based upon continual communion with, continual desire after, and continual submission to, God. If they are not, they will be worth nothing, and will come to nothing. (A. Maclaren, D. D.) The power of constant prayer Some time ago, on the coast of the Isle of Wight, a woman thought she heard, in the midst of the howling tempest, the voice of a man. She listened; it was repeated; she strained her ear again, and she caught, amid the crack of the blast and the thundering of the winds, another cry for help. She ran at once to the beachmen, who launched their boat, and some three poor mariners who were clinging to the mast were saved. Had that cry been but once, and not again, either she might have doubted as to whether she had heard it at all, or else she would have drawn the melancholy conclusion that they had been swept into the watery waste, and that help would have come too late. So when a man prays but once, either we may think that he cries not at all, or else that his desires are swallowed up in the wild waste of his sins, and he himself is sucked down into the vortex of destruction. (C. H. Spurgeon.) Watchfulness in prayer Watch thereunto; as a sentinel suspecting the approach of an enemy; as a watchman guarding the city during the darkness of the night; as a physician attending all the symptoms of a disease; as the keeper of a prison watching an insidious and treacherous criminal. Our hearts need all this care; spiritual enemies are near; the darkness of the soul exposes it to danger; the disease of sin requires a watchful treatment; and the unparalleled deceitfulness of the affections can never safely be trusted for a moment. No; we must watch before prayer in order to dismiss the world from our thoughts, to gather up our minds in God, and to implore the Holy Spirit’s help. We must watch during
19. prayer; to guard against distraction, against the incursions of evil thoughts, against wanderings of mind, and decay of fervour in our supplications. We must watch after prayer, in order that we may act consistently with what we have been imploring of Almighty God, wait His time for answering us, and not lose the visitations of grace; for with God are the moments of life, of mercy, of enlargement, and of gracious consolation. (Bishop D. Wilson.) The need of watchfulness In riding along the south coast of England you may have noticed the old Martello towers in constant succession very near to each other. They are the result of an old scheme of protecting our coast from our ancient enemies. It was supposed that as soon as ever a French ship was seen in the distance the beacon would be fired at the Martello tower, and then, across old England, wherever her sons dwelt, there would flash the fiery signal news that the enemy was at hand, and every man would seize the weapon that was next to him to dash the invader from the shore. Now, we need that the Church of Christ should be guarded with Martello towers of sacred watchers, who shall day and night look out for the attack of the enemy. For the enemy will come; if he come not when we are prayerless, he will surely come when we are prayerful. He will show the cloven hoof as soon as ever we show the bended knee. If our motto be “Prayer,” his watchword will be “Fierce attack.” Watch, then, while ye continue in prayer. (C. H. Spurgeon.) Thanksgiving Every prayer should be blended with gratitude, without the perfume of which, the incense of devotion lacks one element of fragrance. The sense of need, or the consciousness of sin, may evoke “strong crying and tears,” but the completest prayer rises confident from a grateful heart, which weaves memory into hope, and asks much because it has received much. A true recognition of the lovingkindness of the past has much to do with making our communion sweet, our desires believing, our submission cheerful. Thankfulness is the feather that wings the arrow of prayer—the height from which our souls rise most easily to the sky. (A. Maclaren, D. D.) A day of thanksgiving I have heard that in New England, after the Puritans had settled there a long while, they used to have very often a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, till they had so many days of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, that at last a good senator proposed that they should change it for once, and have a day of thanksgiving. It is of little use to be always fasting; we ought sometimes to give thanks for mercies received. ( C. H. Spurgeon.) 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
20. 1. We see here that Paul did not go breaking doors down to share the good news. He waited and prayed for God to open the door for his message. People have to be ready to listen, and so wisdom waits for God to open the door to people who will do that and be open to responding to the Gospel. Paul did not want to waste precious time trying to reach people who were not prepared and ready. 2. Paul did not ask for prayer that he be set free from prison, but that he be set free to proclaim the mystery of Christ where it will be fruitful. He did not ask for an open door to escape from prison, but for an open door to help others escape from the prison of darkness into the kingdom of light in Christ. 2B. Paul was looking for an open door in prison, not to escape, but to share the gospel so that other might escape the eternal prison of hell. Paul wanted to make every situation one where he could witness for Christ. He does not ask for prayer to be set free but to be free to share Christ. He is there for preaching Christ,but he wants to do it more and more effectively. Sadler writes, "St. Paul, as if he were the merest novice in the ministry, asks the prayers of those to whom he wrote. Most of them must have been very inferior to himself in faith and holiness." 3. BARNES, "Withal - With all the supplications which you offer for other persons and things; or at the same time that you pray for them. Praying also for us - Notes, Eph_6:19-20; compare 2Co_1:11; Phi_1:19; Heb_ 13:18-19. That God would open to us a door of utterance - To preach the gospel. He earnestly desired to have liberty to preach the gospel, and asked them to pray that this might be restored to him; see the notes at Eph_6:19. To speak the mystery of Christ - Called in Eph_6:19, the “mystery of the gospel;” see the notes there. For which I also am in bonds - A prisoner at Rome; Notes, Eph_6:20. 4. CLARKE, "Praying also for us - Let the success and spread of the Gospel be ever dear to you; and neglect not to pray fervently to God that it may have free course, run, and be glorified. A door of utterance - Θυραντουλογου· The word θυρα, which commonly signifies a door, or such like entrance into a house or passage through a wall, is often used metaphorically for an entrance to any business, occasion or opportunity to commence or perform any particular work. So in Act_14:27 : The Door of faith is opened to the Gentiles; i.e. there is now an opportunity of preaching the Gospel to the nations of the earth. 1Co_16:9 : A great and effectual Door is opened unto m
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