v. 16. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
v. 17. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.
v. 18. The salutation by the hand of me, Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you! Amen.
Although this apostolic epistle was addressed to the Christians at Colossae, its doctrines and admonitions were not intended for the Colossians alone. Paul expressly tells them that, after they have finished reading the letter, they should cause it to be read also in the congregation at Laodicea, whose interest in their affairs might be expected to be greater than that of any other congregation. In turn, they should take steps to read the epistle from Laodicea. This was either the epistle to the Ephesians, which was forwarded to other congregations from Ephesus, or it is a letter which was lost, probably in the earthquake which destroyed many cities of that region the next year.
Paul includes a message to one Archippus, the man who probably had succeeded Epaphras as bishop, or pastor, of the Colossian congregation: Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it. To have charge of any Christian congregation involves great responsibility, and the work should therefore be done at all times with the full realization of this solemn dignity. It is an office which requires zealous, untiring fulfillment, for even today it is given into the hands of the pastor by the action of the congregation in calling him. Both congregations and pastors should at all times remain conscious of this fact.
In concluding, Paul adds his personal greeting with his own hand, as in other letters, 1Co_16:21; 2Th_3:17. Once more he reminds the Colossians to keep his bonds in mind, to remember him, the captive for the sake of the Gospel, in their prayers. As for him, all his love for them is expressed in the one sentence: Grace be with you! The grace of God, which the Savior has earned for all men, is the basis of the faith and the power of the life of the Christians. This grace is not ours by our own reason or strength, it is the free gift of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
The apostle urges his readers to be diligent in prayer and to make intercession for him; he includes a recommendation of Tychicus and Onesimus; he sends greetings from various companions in Rome; he closes with a charge to Archippus and a final salutation.