4:2 -6 τῇ προσευχῇ προσκαρτερεῖτε, γρηγοροῦντες ἐν αὐτῇ ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ,  προσευχόμενοι ἅμα καὶ περὶ ἡμῶν, ἵνα ὁ θεὸς ἀνοίξῃ ἡμῖν θύραν τοῦ λόγου. Λαλῆσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, δι’ ὃ καὶ δέδεμαι,  ἵνα φανερώσω αὐτὸ ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι.  ἐν σοφίᾳ περιπατεῖτε πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω τὸν καιρὸν ἐξαγοραζόμενοι.  ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν πάντοτε ἐν χάριτι, ἅλατι ἠρτυμένος, εἰδέναι πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ ἀποκρίνεσθαι.
Paul moves to a new series of imperatives which instruct the Colossian Christians with respect to prayer (vv. 2-4), wise action (v.5) and grace-filled speech (v.6). In each case the main idea is defined by following adverbial participles. The first imperative προσκαρτερεῖτε communicates the idea of attaching oneself to another in order to be able to assist or persistence in a certain activity and so to be busy. It is present active in form. The preceding noun τῇ προσευχῇ indicates what these believers should be ready with or busy with, namely “in prayer” and its initial position suggests emphasis in the clause. Paul modifies this command with two adverbial participles γρηγοροῦντες…προσευχόμενοι, both present tense forms. This first suggests that their busyness in prayer will require vigilant attention and will not be a natural devotion. The following phrase ἐν αὐτῇ clarifies that this vigilance or watchfulness relates specifically to the activity of prayer. Perhaps Paul here is reflecting on their awareness of coming judgment. The second phrase ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ emphasizes that this watchful, vigilant praying occurs in association with “thanksgiving.” Perhaps this is the ‘attitude’ in which persevering prayer is offered. What are they being vigilant about? Is it preparation for the Messiah’s return (cf. Mark 13:37)? Is it the realities of spiritual warfare as Paul has outlined them in the previous sections of this letter?
Paul emphasizes his focus on prayer through the second adverbial participle προσευχόμενοι. He indicates a second purpose, namely that their prayers “at the same time (ἅμα)” should be directed (καὶ περὶ ἡμῶν) towards the spiritual success of Paul’s ministry. The καί here is emphatic. The two ἵνα clauses that follow give further specification to Paul’s prayer requests. The first of these clauses may be an indirect imperative, because prayers to God often are cast in the form of imperatives (cf. the Lord’s Prayer). The second (v.4), however, probably is a purpose or result clause.
The first ἵνα clause has an aorist subjunctive verb (ἀνοίξῃ) whose object τὴν θύραν is used metaphorically to define opportunity for spiritual ministry, i.e. an open door. The dative ἡμῖν identifies those for whom this door is opened and the subject names the one responsible to open this door, in this case God himself. The genitive τοῦ λόγου defines what kind of “door” Paul is talking about, namely an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. He affirms this by the infinitive of purpose λαλῆσαι whose object is τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, something Paul has mentioned before in this epistle (1:26-27) (note that some texts read τοῦ θεοῦ). Paul’s imprisonment derives explicitly from his devotion to this Gospel. The relative clause introduced by δι’ ὃ has the perfect verb δέδεμαι which implies that his imprisonment happened some time ago and he continues in that condition. The emphatic καί marks the verb.
The second ἵνα clause voices the outcome Paul expects from their prayers. The main verb is the aorist subjunctive φανερώσω which means “I might reveal, make known, show” (cf. previous usage of this verb in 3:3). The following ὡς clause can indicate manner or perhaps cause. I think manner here is more applicable and so Paul desires to have the courage to make the Gospel known “in the manner it is necessary for me to speak.” What lies behind this necessity could be divine impulse or something that is consistent with human custom. The impersonal verb δεῖ normally takes a complementary infinitive (λαλῆσαι).
Paul’s second imperative in this section (περιπατεῖτε) is also a present imperative. He may be urging them to continue walking or to begin walking, i.e. live ethically. The “walking” language fits either Greek or Jewish ethical thought. He defines the nature of this walking by two prepositional phrases and an adverbial participle. The first phrase expresses how their ethical practice should be informed (ἐν σοφίᾳ). The theme of wisdom was important in Colossians 2. Presumably this wisdom is found in the gospel and God’s revelation through Moses and the prophets. The second phrase identifies a group who are attentive to the Colossians’ ethical behaviour – πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω i.e. those (Jew and non-Jew) external to the Colosse church community. The adverbial participle ἐξαγοραζόμενοι (present middle) may describe how the believers are to behave (“by making use of”) or be merely temporal in force (“as you make use”). Τὸν καιρὸν tends to identify specific opportunity rather than general time. To “buy up” or “purchase” opportunity suggests that people take advantage of the opportunities presented. This is the sense of the phrase in the Greek translation of Daniel 2:8 (cf. Ephesians 5:16). Presumably the application of godly wisdom will instruct them how to use each opportunity to greatest advantage for God’s glory.
The last in this series of imperatives does not have a formal verb and focuses upon communication (v.6). The subject ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν probably refers to the sharing of their faith in testimony (note the prior emphasis upon Paul’s message and speaking in vv.3-4). Presumably we should implicitly read an imperative form of εἰμι. The predicate is composed of the adverb πάντοτε (always, consistently) and the phrase ἐν χάριτι which defines the manner of the communication – informed by grace, characterized by grace. Whose grace is involved here? Is it God’s grace or the individual’s ‘natural’ graciousness, i.e. in courteous manner, or the individual as endowed with the Spirit’s grace? Paul adds a metaphor ἅλατι ἠρτυμένος (perfect passive participle related to λόγος and modified by the dative of means ἅλατι. The verb ἀρτύω describes the preparation or seasoning of food. In some contexts this metaphor describes witty, pungent speech. It seems Paul wants presentations of the gospel that are gripping and not apathetic. Finally, Paul adds the perfect infinitive εἰδέναι, perhaps giving the purpose or result expected. It is completed by the indirect interrogative πῶς δεῖ with the complementary infinitive ἀποκρίνεσθαι (respond, answer). The subject of the infinitive is in the accusative case (ὑμᾶς).
4:7-9 τὰ κατ’ ἐμὲ πάντα γνωρίσει ὑμῖν Τύχικος ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφὸς καὶ πιστὸς διάκονος καὶ σύνδουλος ἐν κυρίῳ,  ὅν ἔπεμψα πρὸς ὑμᾶς εἰς αῦτὂ τοῦτο, ἵνα γνῶτε τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν καὶ παρακαλέσῃ τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν,  σὺν Ὀνησίμῳ τῶ πιστῷ καὶ ἀγαπητῷ ἀδελφῷ, ὅς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν· πάντα ὑμῖν γνωρίσουσιν τὰ ὧδε.
In this section Paul turns to personal matters. He indicates that he is sending this letter with Tychikos and Onesimus. He gives testimony to the spiritual integrity of each one. Perhaps Paul’s personal letter to Philemon is with Onesimus as well on this journey. When they arrive at Colosse they will γνωρίσουσιν (make known) how everything is. So the written letter is only part of the communication that will occur when Tychikos and Onesimus arrive.
In vv. 7-8 Tychikos is the subject. He is defined by three appositional nouns: ἀδελφός, διάκονος, σύνδουλος. Each of these in turn is modified by an adjective or phrase. The object of the main verb is placed first in the clause (τὰ κατ’ἐμὲ πάντα). Paul completes this sentence with a relative clause affirming that Tychikos comes with Paul’s approval and with a distinct purpose (εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο). The concluding ἵνα clause belongs with the relative clause, as Paul spells out the mandate of Tychikos. In the first case he will enable them to know τὰ γνῶτε περὶ ἡμῶν. In the second case he will “encourage your hearts,” presumably with this good news among other things.
Verse 9 introduces Onesimus. It would seem that the phrase σὺν Ὀνησίμῳ modifies the prior verb ἔπεμψα (v.8). Again, he is defined by an appositional noun (ἀδελφῷ), repeating the same bona fides that described Tychikos in v. 7. A new piece of information occurs in the relative clause ὅς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν. Whether they all knew Onesimus’ story is uncertain, but it is certainly probable. Paul defines their message as πάντα…τὰ ὧδε – all the things here, presumably referring to his imprisonment in Rome and the state of his litigation. Note how Paul places ὑμῖν in the place of prominence.
4:10-17 ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς Ἀρίσταρχος ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου καὶ Μᾶρκος ὁ ἀνεψιὸς Βαρναβᾶ (περὶ οὗ ἐλάβετε ἐντολάς, ἐὰν ἔλθῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς, δέξασθε αὐτόν)  καὶ Ἰησοῦς ὁ λεγόμενος Ἰοῦστος, οἱ ὄντες ἐκ περιτομῆς, οὗτοι μόνοι συνεργοὶ εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ, οἵτινες ἐγενήθησάν μοι παρηγορία.  ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς Ἐπαφρᾶς ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν, δοῦλος Χριστοῦ [‘Ιησοῦ], πάντοτε ἀγωνιζόμενος ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς, ἵνα σταθῆτε τέλειοι καὶ πεπλρηοφορημένοι ἐν παντὶ θελήματι τοῦ θεοῦ.  μαρτυρῶ γὰρ αὐτῷ ὅτι ἔχει πολὺν πόνον ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ καὶ τ[ςν ἐν Ἱεραπόλει.  ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς Λουκᾶς ὁ ἰατρὸς ὁ αγαπητὸς καὶ Δημᾶς.
 ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ Νύμφαν καὶ τὴν κατ’ οἶκον αὐτῆς ἐκκλησίαν.  καὶ ὅταν ἀναγνωσθῇ παρ’ ὑμῖν ἡ ἐπιστολή, ποιήσατε ἴνα καὶ ἐν τῇ Λαοδικέων ἐκκλησίᾳ ἀναγνωσθῇ, καὶ τὴν ἐκ Λαοδικείας ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀναγνῶτε.  καὶ εἴπατε Ἀρχίππῳ· βλέπε τὴν διακονίαν ἣν παρέλαβες ἐν κυρίῳ, ἵνα αὐτὴν πληροῖς.
Paul incorporates a long series of greetings, similar to what we find in Romans 16. He begins with a series of greetings from his group in Rome to the Colossian believers. First he presents greetings from Jewish Christians who are helping him in Rome – Aristarchus, Mark, Joshua Justus (vv. 10-11). Aristarchus is Paul’s συναιχμάλωτός μου presumably under arrest in Rome for his faith as well. Mark is identified as ἀνεψιος Βαρναβᾶ. It seems that Paul is unsure whether he will send Mark along with Tychikos and Onesimus. In the event that he does, they are to receive Mark. Paul registers uncertainty by using the third class condition (ἐὰν ἔλθῃ). Apparently Paul previously had given some instruction concerning Mark (περὶ οὗ ἐλάβετε ἐντολάς). In v. 11 he tells the Colossians that these men are οἱ ὄντες ἐκ περιτομῆς. It is unclear whether the following assertion means these Jewish Christians are his only coworkers or whether these are the only Jewish Christians among his whole entourage of Christian workers. Why does Paul include the phrase εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ at this point? Is it their Jewish connection that makes this important? He also notes that they have become μοι παρηγορία “a solace/comfort for me.” The enclitic pronoun μοι is probably a dative of advantage. Whether Paul is referring to comfort in his imprisonment or in his Gospel endeavours or both is unclear.
Paul moves in vv. 12-13 to focus on Epaphras and his greeting. Again, as with Onesimus, he is ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν, connected with the Colossian congregation (cf. 1:7 – the evangelist in Colosse). Like Paul he is δοῦλος Χριστοῦ, an appositional structure. The present middle participle ἀγωνιζόμενος depicts the spiritual engagement of Epaphras on their behalf. It was πάντοτε and demonstrated itself primarily ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς. The content of these prayers is provided in the ἵνα clause. The aorist passive subjunctive σταθῆτε is intransitive (BAGD 382b; BDF § 97) “that you may stand.” The predicate adjective τέλειοι and adjectival participle πεπληροφορημένοι (perfect passive participle (cf. Romans 4:21; Luke 1:1)) define how they are to express their Christian convictions – with maturity and fully assured (describing a state or condition that is ongoing). Both adjectives probably receive definition from the prepositional phrase ἐν παντὶ θελήματι τοῦ θεοῦ. Paul adds an explanatory γάρ clause to explain his profuse praise for Epaphras. Μαρτυρῶ…αὐτῷ ὅτι… expresses Paul’s specific testimony. He affirms the significant work (πολὺν πόνον) that Epaphras has given for those in Colosse (ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν), as well as Laodicea and Hierapolis. The use of the article followed by the prepositional phrase substantivizes the phrase (i.e. those in Laodicea).
The other two people who share greetings are Luke (ὁ ἱατρὸς ὁ ἀγαπητὸς the beloved physician) and Demas.
In vv. 15-17 Paul gives instructions to the Colossians about sharing his letter and other matters. In v. 15 the church at Laodicea has his attention. He uses the aorist middle imperative ἀσπάσασθε to command the Colossian believers to share his greetings with the Laodicean believers, especially Νύμφαν. The textual tradition is split as to whether this is a male or female. Some have the feminine third person possessive pronoun αὐτῆς and some read the masculine form αὐτοῦ (τὴν κατ’ οἶκον αὐτῆς ἐκκλησίαν). The church at Laodicea meets in this person’s home. The proper noun has two different accentuation patterns, depending on whether the name refers to a male (Νυμφᾶς) or a female (Νύμφα). Again, the tradition is mixed. Some used the pronoun αὐτῶν indicating that the church met in the house of the brothers and Nymphas. The καὶ…καὶ structure does not mean “both…and” here, but either “especially…and” or “also…and.” What are the implications of Paul’s use of ἐκκλησία in this context?
A second imperative requires that “you cause or act in a manner” (ποιήσατε) that results in a certain outcome (ἵνα), “whenever” the letter is read. The main clause is preceded by a general, temporal clause (ὅταν whenever) describing the time (uncertain) when this letter should be read “among you” (παρ’ ὑμῖν). The verb is aorist passive subjunctive (ἀναγνωσθῇ). Was this a repeated public reading? Who would be responsible to preserve the letters? Did these churches have to exchange their particular letters or were copies made and then shared? The ἵνα clause used the same verb form, limited by the prepositional phrase describing location (ἐν τῇ Λαοδικέων ἐκκλησίᾳ). The Laodicean church is to reciprocate and share its letter from Paul with the Colossian Christians. Note the repeated emphatic καί and explicit pronoun as subject (ὑμεῖς).
Finally, (v. 17) Paul has some specific instructions (εἴπατε) for a person named Archippus. The dative indicates that this individual is the recipient of the instruction. Paul provides his instruction in direct speech, giving it greater rhetorical prominence, perhaps. The present imperative Βλέπε means “to direct attention, attend to.” The accusative noun τὴν διακονίαν may be part of the ἵνα clause (note the accusative pronoun αὐτὴν), but preposed again for emphasis. We do not know what this “service” is, but Paul affirms that Archippus has received the charge for this ministry ἐν κυρίῳ. This might mean it was given by Paul in his role as apostle or in some way he received it directly from the Lord as Paul did his ministry. The verb πληροῖς is present subjunctive and means “fulfill, accomplish.” If διακονία refers primarily to a service of communication, then is Archippus one who may be teaching some of the ideas Paul is criticizing in this letter?
4:18 ὁ ἀσπασμὸς τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ Παύλου. μνημονεύετέ μου τῶν δεσμῶν. ἡ χάρις μεθ’ ὑμῶν.
The final verse in the letter has three independent clauses. The first has no verb but affirms that Paul is the author (τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ in my hand). The second is a present imperative μνημονεύετέ urging them to remember “my chains,” i.e. my desperate circumstances. The placement of the enclitic pronoun may give prominence to the verb. This may be a final appeal for prayer or a subtle request for other kinds of assistance. Finally, we have the normal concluding appeal to God that his grace would be μεθ’ ὑμῶν.