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Colossians 1:7-8

A Good Report

7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; 8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.

This is the completion of the sentence begun in the third verse. Paul is thanking God for the faith, love and hope of the Colossians and for that "word of truth of the gospel" (v.5), which brought forth fruit among them as well as the knowledge of God's grace in truth (v.6).

"As ye also learned of Epaphras..." This was to confirm that the doctrine taught by Epaphras was the true word of God. The Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges says that the Greek word ἐμάθετε, emathate (Ye learned) is "To be given its full force, implying some continuance of instruction." So Epaphras was probably not finished with his work in Colosse.

Epaphras is believed to be the founder of the Colossian church and had evidently visited Paul to report on the church's progress. He was either a native of Colosse or had lived there most of his life (Col. 4:12). While it is not mentioned in this epistle, Philemon 1:23 tells us that Epaphras was a fellow prisoner with Paul in Rome. Both letters are thought to have been written in the year 62 AD, but it is possible that Epaphras was arrested after the letter to the Colossians had been sent and before the one to Philemon.

In this letter, Epaphras is considered to be "our dear fellowservant." Actually, the Greek word agapetos is used, meaning "beloved." This certainly elevated his esteem among the Colossians, for to be considered a beloved co-worker with the apostle would indeed have been a great honor. Furthermore, for the Colossian church, Epaphras was a faithful servant, one who would never compromise the truth and would sacrifice much for the church's spiritual security.

Paul was probably trying to build the church's confidence in the teachings of Epaphras in order to contradict the false teachings of others who were trying to steer the church away from the truth.

"Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit." Some believe that this refers to the love that they had for Paul, which was conveyed to him by Epaphras. Perhaps there were even some supplies or money sent by him for Paul's support and ministry. Certainly, since they had never met Paul, it was a love inspired by the Holy Spirit.

John Calvin wrote, "I take to mean, spiritual love, according to the view of Chrysostom,.. Now, spiritual love is of such a nature as has no view to the world, but is consecrated to the service of piety, and has, as it were, an internal root, while carnal friendships depend on external causes."

John Gill wrote, "...or this their love was "in the Holy Spirit", as the Ethiopic version reads it; it was a fruit of the Spirit of God, which he had implanted in their hearts in regeneration, as is also love to God, and likewise to Christ."

Ministers love to tell others of the faith, hope and love of their people. Epaphras delivered this message to Paul, and Paul, in return, had written to the Colossians that he was thankful for all that he had heard concerning them.

Before The Throne:

Is your pastor excited when he has the opportunity to tell others about your faith and service? Would he be willing to call you a beloved co-worker and fellow servant of Christ? Pray about that. Ask God what you can do to help your pastor bring glory to the name of Christ and to save others through the gospel of Christ from the consequences of their sins.

For Further Study:

** Epaphras. Col 4:12; Phlm 1:23; ** a. Num 12:7; Matt 24:45; Matt 25:21; 1Cor 4:2, 17; 1Cor 7:25; 2Cor 11:23; Eph 5:21; 1Tim 4:6; 2Tim 2:2; Heb 2:17; Heb 3:2;

(v.8 ) ** Col 1:4; Rom 5:5; Rom 15:30; Gal 5:22; 2Tim 1:7; 1Pet 1:22;


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