Have you ever found yourself wondering about the “Final Greetings” passage that concludes most of the New Testament letters? Who are these people, and why does Paul or Peter remark on them? These names remind us that the Bible is written by human authors under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, and that the books that we treasure in the New Testament were written to real churches in real history. They note actual people, and answer real questions, and grant us a glimpse into life in the early church.
A Treasure of Information
We live in an unprecedented time of access to information. We can pull numerous translations of the Bible up on our phone, scour the internet for commentary and articles, and listen to sermons from famed preachers and teachers around the globe. I cherish the ability to listen to some of my favorite preachers throughout the week, or grow doctrinally through a more focused podcast or article. BUT, what if, in the midst of all of this information, we are missing the most important treasure among us, our brothers and sisters fellowshipping alongside us in our local church.
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God… And say to Archippus, ‘See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.’ I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” Colossians 4:12; 17-18 (ESV)
These are real people that Paul is referencing at the end of this letter, and although the Colossian Church looks to Paul and his teaching, Archippus provides daily leadership, discipleship and instruction, he is a treasure among the congregation.
A Challenge to Look to the Treasure Among Us
As we read these final greetings in many of the New Testament letters, let them be reminders of the treasure that we have among us. The Christians who have remained faithful in the face of adversity. The ones who strenuously contend for the faith. Those who take time to prepare and teach us. Those who quietly serve preparing for our worship gathering and fellowship events. Those who have knees calloused from hours of prayer on behalf of the saints. Those who serve on behalf of the church in our community.
So I encourage you, enjoy the unprecedented access that we have to biblical and theological information through books, podcasts, online sermons, and electronic readers. BUT don’t miss out on the treasure among us. Look around Christian, we have treasure among us that we may grow in obedience to the Word, striving to finish the race that God has marked out for us.