Colossians 4:9

It is interesting what you come across in Scripture if you attempt to just look at what it says and think about how it would have been received originally.

With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.

Onesimus had not been a brother when the people in Colosse knew him before. But now, because he is a Christian, he is a brother and considered to be “one of” them. He had not been baptized into their membership. He had not even been saved when he lived there before, but already he is one of them.

Maybe New Testament churches had a slightly looser idea of church membership than some of us do.

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  1. Well, I’m sure I could be wrong.

    But, here’s where the thought came from at least:

    Colossians is written “to the saints and faithful brethren which are at Colosse.” I assume that means the church there. If it doesn’t, then the book is not written to a church. If it does, then Epaphras (1:7; 4:12) and Onesimus (4:9) are one of them. I figure “them” refers to the church. Maybe it broadly refers to all Colossian people. But then, does the rest of the book refer to all Colossian people?

    These things just get me to thinking. And I have been accused of thinking too much. The types of things that make me think the most are when I see something in the Bible that seems a little different that the accepted norms.

    So, there’s your help. I’m probably wrong, but that’s how I got those thoughts.

  2. Why not assume this? Onesimus was saved and then baptized into the church at Rome where he was when Paul mediated his reconciliation with Philemon. Philemon was a key man in the church at Colossae. What Paul wanted was for the group there to accept him as a member, even though he was a slave. A slave could become a member of a church, including a runaway slave, which is what Onesimus was. When he says “one of you,” he is saying that Onesimus is one of their number, to be counted as a member along with everyone else.

  3. I just thought it interesting that Paul considered Onesimus to be “one of them” when he had not been “one of them” yet. So he was saved and baptized in Rome, but that is just the point. Onesimus was not a Colossian Christian in a strict sense of the words, but Paul said that he was.

  4. I believe that Biblical ecclesiology and then historical view has been membership. My belief is that to overturn an assumption of that historic view of membership would need to come out and say it. That’s why I go over it. I don’t mind your questions.

  5. PV
    I’m not sure what your thinking was on this, but as a listener I can tell you it was a blessing to hear it. The way you emphasized the Onesimis was a slave, yet still “One of Them” was encouraging.

    The fact that you don’t have to be some one special important to be a Child of God. It doesn’t matter what your postion in life, man woman, child, or slave, once you are a Christian, postion doesn’t matter, what matters is the words “Well done” That is comforting to this nobody.

    I actually was going to blog about the lesson, then I got busy, things came up and I forgot. But it was a very good lesson.

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