Colossians 4:10 MEANING

Colossians 4:10
(10) Aristarchus my fellowprisoner.--Apparently a Jew, one "of the circumcision" But he is "of Thessalonica," and is first named (in Acts 19:22) as dragged with Gaius into the theatre in the tumult at Ephesus; thence he accompanied St. Paul (Acts 20:4), at any rate as far as Asia, on his journey to Jerusalem. When, after two years' captivity, the Apostle starts from Caesarea on his voyage to Rome, Aristarchus is again named by St. Luke as "being with us" (Acts 27:2). From this fact, and from his being called here "my fellow-prisoner" (a name which there seems no adequate reason to consider as metaphorical), it would appear that, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, Aristarchus really shared his captivity. It is certainly not a little curious that in the Epistle to Philemon (Philemon 1:23-24), sent at the same time, it is Epaphras who is called the fellow-prisoner," while Aristarchus is simply classed among the fellow-labourers." This variation is interesting to us as one of the characteristic marks of independence and genuineness in the Epistles; but it can only be accounted for by mere conjecture, such as that of their alternately sharing the Apostle's captivity.

Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas.--The notices of John Mark in the New Testament are full of interest. This is the first notice of him since the day when St. Paul rejected him from his function of "ministration," because on the former journey he had "deserted" them at Perga, and had "not gone with them to the work" (Acts 15:38). Then he had gone with Barnabas to Cyprus, to take part in an easier work, nearer home and under the kindly guardianship of his uncle. Now the formal charge to the Colossian Church to "receive him"--a kind of "letter of commendation" (2 Corinthians 3:1)--evidently shows that they had known of him as under St. Paul's displeasure, and were now to learn that he had seen reason to restore him to his confidence. In the Epistle to Philemon Mark is named, as of course (Philemon 1:24), among his "fellow-labourers." In St. Paul's last Epistle, written almost with a dying hand (2 Timothy 4:11), there is a touch of peculiar pathos in the charge which he, left alone in prison with his old companion St. Luke, gives to Timothy to bring Mark, as now being right serviceable for the "ministration" from which he had once rejected him. Evidently St. Paul's old rebuke had done its work, and, if Mark did join him in his last hours, he probably thanked him for nothing so much as for the loving sternness of days gone by. Before this, if (as seems likely) he is the "Marcus, my son" of 1 Peter 5:13, he was with St. Peter, and must be identified with St. Mark the Evangelist, subsequently, as tradition has it, bishop and martyr at Alexandria.

Verse 10. - Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, saluteth you (Philemon 1:2, 23; Philippians 2:25; Romans 16:7). Aristarchus, as a Thessalonian, accompanied the apostle to Jerusalem, along with Tychicus the Asian (Acts 20:4), and was his companion at least during the first part of his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:2). In Philemon 1:23, 24 his name follows that of Mark as a "fellow worker" (comp. ver. 11) and of Epaphras "my fellow prisoner" (comp. Romans 16:7). "Fellow prisoner" (αἰχμαλωτός, captive, prisoner of war) differs from the "prisoner" (δέσμιος, one in bonds) of Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; Philemon 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:8. The supposition that these men were permitted as friends to share St. Paul's captivity in turn, is conjectural (see Meyer). Possibly the incident recorded in Acts 19:29 was attended by some temporary joint imprisonment of St. Paul and Aristarchus. As "a soldier of Christ Jesus," the apostle was himself now "a prisoner of war" (2 Timothy 2:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6); and therefore those who shared his sufferings were his "fellow prisoners," as they were his" fellow soldiers" (Philemon 1:2; Philippians 1:30) and his "fellow servants" (Colossians 1:7; Colossians 4:7). And Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, about whom you received commandments - if he should come to you, welcome him (Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11; 1 Peter 5:13). It is pleasant to find John Mark, who deserted the apostle in his first missionary journey (Acts 13:13), and on whose account he separated from Barnabas (Acts 15:37-40) ten years before, now taken again into his confidence and friendship (comp. 2 Timothy 4:11). And indeed it is evident that there was no permanent estrangement between the two great Gentile missionaries; for Mark is called "cousin of Barnabas" by way of recommendation (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1, 9, 13). Mary, the mother of John Mark, was a person of some consideration in the Church at Jerusalem (Acts 12:12), and through her he may have been related to Barnabas, who, though a Cypriot Jew, had property near Jerusalem (Acts 4:36, 37), and was also highly honoured by the mother Church (Acts 9:27; Acts 11:22-24; Acts 15:25, 26). Mark is, moreover, a link between the Apostles Paul and Peter. It is to the house of his mother that the latter betakes himself on his escape from Herod's prison (Acts 12:12). In 1 Peter 5:13 he appears, along with Silvanus (Silos), St. Paul's old comrade, in St. Peter's company, who calls him "my son." St. Peter was then at Babylon, where Mark may have arrived at the end of the journey eastwards which St. Paul here contemplates his undertaking. The striking correspondence of language and thought between St. Peter's First Epistle (addressed, moreover, to Churches of Asia Minor) and those of St. Paul to the Ephesians and Colossians (and, in an equal degree, that to the Romans) suggests the existence of some special connection at this time between the two writers, such as may well have been afforded by Mark, if, leaving Rome soon after the despatch of these letters, he travelled in their track by way of Asia Minor to join St. Peter at Babylon. At the time of St. Paul's second imprisonment, about four years later, Mark is again in Asia Minor in the neighbourhood of Timothy, and the apostle desires his services at Rome (2 Timothy 4:11). When or how the Colossians had received already directions concerning Mark, we have no means of knowing. His journey appears to have been postponed. The apostle must before this have communicated with the Colossians. The visit of Epaphras to Rome may have been due to some communication from him. "If he should come to you, give him a welcome," is the request the apostle now makes.

4:10-18 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.Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you,.... This man was a man of Macedonia, and a Thessalonian; Acts 19:29 which hinders not but that he might be of the circumcision, or a Jew, as is suggested in the following verse; for he might be born at Thessalonica, and yet be of Jewish parents; nor is his Greek name any objection to it, for the Jews themselves say, that the greatest part of the Israelites that were out of the land, their names are as the names of strangers (l): he was a constant companion of the apostle, and one of his fellow labourers, as in Plm 1:24 and now a prisoner with him at Rome; and who having some knowledge of the members of the church at Colosse, takes this opportunity of sending his Christian salutation to them:

and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas; the same with John Mark, whose mother's name was Mary, said here to be sister to Barnabas, Acts 12:12 concerning whom there was a difference between Paul and Barnabas, Acts 15:37, and is the same Mark that wrote the Gospel, and was converted by the Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:13 and who is said to have received his Gospel from him; he is also mentioned 2 Timothy 4:11 . The Arabic version calls him here, the "brother's son of Barnabas": and the Syriac version, , "his uncle's son": however, Barnabas being so great a man as he was, and so well known, it added some credit to Mark, that he was a relation of his:

touching whom ye received commandments; not concerning Barnabas, but Mark, concerning whom they had had letters of commendation, either from Barnabas or from Paul, to this purpose:

if he come unto you, receive him; for this was either the substance of those letters, or what the apostle now adds of his own, for the further confirmation of them; and that they might more readily and honourably receive him, when he should come unto them.

(l) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 11. 2.

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