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Faithful saints read the Word of God. Colossians 4.16-18

The Work of Love: Colossians 4 (6)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 33.1-5
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

Sing Psalm 33.1-5
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Sing with rejoicing in the Lord, for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words, and let new songs of praise be sung!

Joyfully shout! His Word is true; He does His work in faithfulness.
His love prevails the whole world through; the Lord loves truth and righteousness.

Read Colossians 4.16-18

1. What were Paul’s instructions concerning his letters to the Colossians and the Laodiceans?

2. What did Paul desire for the Colossians at the end of his epistle?

The first Christians did not have Bibles. If a synagogue of Jews or a Jewish rabbi converted to the faith, they would have had some Old Testament scrolls. But the New Testament was a work in progress in Paul’s day. He understood that his letters were important in helping to bring the Old faith into the New era of the last days. This is why he wrote so many letters which make so many references to the Old Testament.

The letter to the Colossians would have been read in the congregation. The leader – probably Archippus (v. 17) – would have offered some comments following the reading. This would have been repeated many times. Then the letter would have been copied and sent around to other cities.

The same thing was happening in Laodicea. We don’t know why that letter hasn’t survived. But we see from these few verses how important the apostles considered their written works. They all had a sense that the Lord was giving them a new and timely and eternal Word for His people. The first Christians cherished these letters. They made thousands and thousands of copies of them and sent them to believers all around the Roman world and beyond.

Their zeal for the Word and faithfulness in hearing it shows us how we should cherish and feed on the Word in our day. Paul ends his letter where he began it, seeking the grace of the Lord for the believers in Colossae (v. 18; cf. 1.2). Reading and hearing the Word of God is integral to that.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Now when this epistle is read…” (4.16)
“…see that it is read also…” (4.16)
“…and that you likewise read…” (4.16)
Hmm. Something seems to stand out in this verse: read!

If you are reading this, then you can read. And the most important thing you can or will ever read is the word of God. Because in this word you can “Take heed” (4.17) to all the things that God wants you to know.

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jer. 15.16).
“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23.12).
“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119.130).
“But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (Jer. 20.9).
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119.105).
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” (Prov.30.5).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1.1,14).

We have been given the dual gifts of the written word and the living Word of God. Both come from the hand of God.

The living Word gives us life and the written word is our guide to life. Both are essential for fulfilling our individual ministries in life (Col. 4.17). “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4.12).

The Word is our joy; and required reading!

1. Do you find your reading of Scripture as satisfying, fulfilling, and edifying as it should be? What can you do to improve your reading.

2. Which fellow workers for the Kingdom encourage you in your walk with and work for the Lord? Have you thanked them?

3. How would you counsel a new believer to get started in regular reading and meditation in God’s Word?

Hence, though it was addressed to the Colossians, it was, nevertheless, necessary that it should be profitable to others. The same view must also be taken of all the Epistles. They were indeed, in the first instance, addressed to particular Churches, but, as they contain doctrine that is always in force, and is common to all ages, it is of no importance what title they bear, for the subject matter belongs to us. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Colossians 4.16

Lord, let my faith be only in Jesus, and only according to Your Word, so that I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 33.8-12, 20-22
Pray for a worldwide revival of God’s people and a great awakening of the lost world to the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom. Seek His counsel concerning how you may contribute to that great revival today.

Sing Psalm 33.8-12, 20-22
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Let all below now fear the Lord; let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by Jesus’ Word; let all on earth in Him confide.

He nullifies the nations’ plans; forever stands His sov’reign Word.
All they are blessed who with Him stand – the chosen people of the Lord.

God is our Helper and our Shield; upon us let Your grace descend!
We hope in You; to You we yield; we trust in Jesus to the end.T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to last week’s summary of our study in Colossians by clicking here.

Delighting in the Word

Our book, The Joy and Rejoicing of My Heart, can show you how to get more out of your time of reading and meditating in Scripture. Order your free copy by clicking here.

Personal Mission Field Workshop
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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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