Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Colossians 4:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Say to Archippus - Who this person was we cannot tell; there have been various conjectures concerning him; some think he was bishop, or overseer of the Church at Colosse, in the absence of Epaphras. Whatever he was, it has been supposed that he had been remiss in discharging the duties of his office; and hence this direction of the apostle, which appears here in the light of a reprehension. But if the same person be meant as in the Epistle to Philemon, Philemon 1:2, whom St. Paul calls his fellow laborer and fellow soldier, it cannot be supposed that any reproof is here intended; for, as the Epistle to the Colossians, and that to Philemon, were evidently written about the end of the year 62, Archippus could not be a fellow laborer and fellow soldier of the apostle at Rome, and yet a delinquent at Colosse at the same time. It is more likely, therefore, that the words of the apostle convey no censure, but are rather intended to stir him up to farther diligence, and to encourage him in the work, seeing he had so much false doctrine and so many false teachers to contend with.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And say to Archippus - Archippus is mentioned also in Philemon 1:2. He is not elsewhere referred to in the New Testament, and nothing further is known of him.

Take heed to the ministry … - The Greek here is, τὴν διακονίαν tēn diakonian- meaning the office of ministering in divine things; but it is not certain precisely what office he held there. It seems probable from the language which the apostle applies to him - “the ministry” - (compare Acts 1:17, Acts 1:25; Acts 6:4; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:19; Romans 11:13; 1 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 3:7-9; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 6:3; Ephesians 4:12), that he was not a deacon, properly so called, but that he was a preacher of the word. In Philemon 1:2, he is mentioned by Paul as his “fellow-soldier,” and it is evident that the apostle meant to speak of him with honor. There is no evidence, as has been supposed by some, that he intended to imply, by what he said, that he had been remiss in the performance of his duties, but the apostle doubtless meant to encourage him and to excite him to increased ardor and zeal in the work of the Lord; compare the notes at Acts 20:28. It is always proper to caution even the most faithful and self-denying servants of the Lord to “take heed,” or see to it, that they perform their duties with fidelity. The office of the ministry is such, and the temptations to unfaithfulness are so great, that we need constant watchfulness.

That thou fulfil it - That there be nothing wanting, or lacking, in any of the departments of labor which you are called to perform.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.