Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 1
God did great things through Paul’s life; but God was also doing great things through the lives of other Christians, too. Paul understood that fact, and here, he tells us about one of those other Christians, a man called Epaphras.
It seems that God had not sent Paul to Colosse (2:1). Instead, God sent Epaphras there. We know very little about Epaphras. We do not know how or when he became a Christian, for example. However, we know that he went to Colosse to declare the gospel, the message about Christ. Many people there both heard and understood that message (1:6). They put their trust in Christ and so they established the first church there. Epaphras also declared God’s message in Laodicea and Hierapolis (4:13). Perhaps he established the churches there too. These places were all in the same region, about 10 miles or 15 kilometres apart.
After that, as Paul explains in Philemon 23, Epaphras became a prisoner with Paul in Rome. Acts 28:16 and 28:30 tell us that Paul rented a house there; a soldier guarded him, so that Paul could not leave. Clearly therefore, Paul shared that house with Epaphras.
Epaphras impressed Paul very much. There were other church leaders who were jealous of Paul (Philippians 1:15-18). Epaphras was not among them. He had taught Colosse’s Christians to love Paul, although they had not met him (1:8). In fact, he taught them to love all Christians (1:4).
Epaphras’s prayers also impressed Paul (4:12). They were living together; Paul saw how eagerly he prayed. Especially, Epaphras prayed for Colosse’s Christians. He was now separate from them; but he did not consider that his work for God on their behalf had ended. Instead, Epaphras used his time as a prisoner to pray for them whenever he could.
Next part: The full knowledge of God's will (Colossians 1:9)
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© 2019, Keith Simons.