Bible Book: Colossians 4

1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equitable, knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaven.
2 Continue in prayer and watch therein with thanksgiving,.
There have always been masters and servants. And each often thought to have full say on his own field. The inclination to act as a dictator still is in us and a believer has no better nature than other people. We ought to realize that we have a Lord in heaven who has the right of say. We are obliged to be obedient to Him and it is our duty to act according to the principles of that heavenly Master. 
Our own self easily jumps to the foreground and therefore we need to pray and be watchful, and we must not forget how dependent we are and how grateful we ought to be. Is not all we have a gift of God, power, health, money and other possessions, a position as employer, all given by God. And the greatest thing, the love of God through Jesus Christ and to know Him! 

3 besides praying also for us that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds,
4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Even Paul and his co-workers realized their dependence on God in order to be able to meet their calling. He therefore asked for prayer, and so he also involved the readers in the work for the Lord.
He was a prisoner, but saw it as part of Gods way, convinced that the Lord knew what the use of it was. Imprisonment he saw as no reason to suppose that the Lord had dismissed him from his task.
The mystery of Christ has been mentioned in Ephesians 3:4 with the addition, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel. 
Was that the reason that Paul was a captive? No doubt indeed. In his report in Acts 22:21 he had said that the Lord told him: I will send thee far hence unto the gentiles. Upon those words the Jews had cried: Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he should live. 
From that day they tried to kill him. That led to his long-lasting imprisonment and finally to his journey to the emperor in Rome. 
The Romans did not fear him or his work, but the Jews hated him and wanted his life by reason of the insult, that God preferred heathen people and not Israel. 

5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outsiders, redeeming the time.
There is a preaching without words. It is the daily life of the Christians. Their speech belongs to it, but not exclusively. We not always realize that not only the Lord sees us, but men as well.
What they see of us may confirm the oral message, but can also contradict it. The Lord could urge the Jews to believe his works they had seen. Can we do that as well?

6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Our speech belongs to being witnesses. Our character and what we have learned play a part in it. We can have the good habit of speaking friendly, a good habit indeed, provided we do not speak too sweet and say sweet things even with relations to sin. That would be wrong. In our speech there should be salt, what stops corruption. The other side is, that our way of speaking ought not to discourage people; we should not act as a fire-eater. Of the Lord it is written that He spoke gracious words, but salt He omitted not.

7 Tychicus, who is a beloved brother and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord, shall declare unto you all my circumstances.
8 I have sent him unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your state and comfort your hearts,
9 and with him Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.
Tychikus has been a co-worker, who carried the epistle to Colosse, together with Onesimus, the beloved one, who was from Colosse, a slave of brother Philemon. For him Onesimus had a second epistle of the apostle, the epistle to Philemon. Both travellers could at the same time tell all about the servants of the Lord in prison in Rome.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and also Mark, Barnabas’ sister’s son (concerning whom ye received instructions that if he come unto you, receive him),
11 and Jesus who is called Justus, who are of the Circumcision. These only are my fellow workers for the Kingdom of God, who have been a comfort unto me.
Aristarchus had travelled with Paul to Rome from the start. 
In Acts we do not find that he too was a prisoner. But he was one.
Mark was the nephew of Barnabas, who departed from Paul and Barnabas during their first journey and had not been deemed good enough to go with them the second time. Meanwhile things had changed. Paul could recommend him and he did it. In 2 Timothy 4:11 he even could write that he was profitable for the ministry. And the Holy Spirit deemed him suited to write a whole gospel.
Mark and Justus were the only Jews who were co-workers with Paul in his work for the Lord. He found more support from believers who were not Jews. It must have been disappointing for him and the two he mentioned must have been a consolation.
Why not more support from Jewish believers? Probably there was some suspicion against the apostle (see Acts 21:21-24), because he did not preach the law. 
It is remarkable that at present we have the same collision between Messianic Jews and other Christians. So we have to be watchful on that point. 

12 Epaphras, a servant of Christ who is one of you, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
13 For I bear him record that he hath a great zeal for you and for those who are in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis.
Epafras, a man from Colosse, also was imprisoned. He therefore had reason to bemoan his fate. But that servant of Christ was occupied with other thoughts. He was labouring in prayers, not because of his fate, but being worried about the spiritual welfare of the believers in Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis. He so much worried about them, that not only the Lord heard his prayers, but the apostle as well had seen it. So he has been a true and loving brother. 

14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. 
Luke has long been inseparable from Paul. Demas is mentioned without any further addition. From Timothy we know that he later departed (2 Timothy 4:10), because of love for the world. It makes us remember, that we not only should be zealous for the Lord, but above all need perseverance, which the Lord will give if we pray for it.

15 Salute the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church which is in his house.
Obviously Laodicea and Colosse have been very much connected with each other. The next verse confirms that:

16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
That remark confirms that both churches were related and had much in common. There has been a epistle to Laodicea. The Spirit has not thought it necessary that we know what has been written to them.

17 And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it."
A stimulation can be necessary, if at least it is a matter of serving the Lord. It now and again happens that someone will serve in a way the Lord has not destined him for nor given the capability. Then a stimulation would not be right and we therefore have to be careful and remember that we do not know the heart.

18 The salutation by the hand of me, Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
That salutation with the hand of Paul possibly has been added in order to prevent that epistles would be sent with the name of Paul, whereas he had not written them. An indication that such things happened, we find in 2 Thessalonians 3:17
The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. (see also 2:2).
J. Ph. Buddingh