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by Wayne Blank
"To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse"
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints" (Colossians 1:1-4 KJV)
The epistle also reveals a reality that all of God's servants of the Gospel have had to live by - no man can physically be in many places at the same time. Most of the people who benefited from Paul's ministry hadn't even met him in person (a truth that has been magnified through the centuries as people read the writings of Paul in the New Testament), but that point is irrelevant. Paul taught by means of the Holy Spirit, and it was by means of the Holy Spirit that people both "heard" him and were "with" him i.e. "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the Spirit" (see below).
"For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the Spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ." (Colossians 2:1-5 KJV)
In Paul's absence (apart from his required travels to preach the Gospel, by the time that Paul wrote the epistle to the Colossians, he was a prisoner of the Romans), it was an associate of Paul, Epaphras, who was "a faithful minister of Christ" to the Colossians.
"As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit." (Colossians 1:7-8 KJV)
Epaphras may himself have had an associate, Archippus, who was a minister (minister means servant; see Minister) to, or from among, the Colossians.
"And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it" (Colossians 4:17 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who wrote most of the epistles in the New Testament?