Colossians 4 verses 15 and 16
15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters who are in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.
16 And after you have read this letter, have it read to the church of Laodicea. In turn, read the letter from Laodicea as well.
Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters who are in Laodicea – meaning Paul asked the Colossians to pass along his greetings to the Laodicean believers who were about 12 miles west on the Lycus River. Laodicea was already mentioned earlier in this chapter in verse 13.
Discussion Question: What else do we know about the spiritual state of the Laodicean church from the book of Revelation, chapter 3?
and to Nympha – she is only mentioned in this passage in the New Testament.
- Nympha means, Bridegroom, according to the blue letter bible lexicon.
- The name is pronounced Nuum-fa.
- Greek manuscripts differ on Nympha’s gender. An older Greek manuscript says, her, so many modern English translations translate Nympha as female.
- Some speculate she was wealthy since she lived in Laodicea and owned a house that could accommodate the church meetings.
- She was very hospitable to host the many church meetings in her home.
Discussion Questions: What deters us from being hospitable to the church? When is the last time you invited your spiritual brothers and sisters over to your home? What was involved in the preparations? How did you feel afterward?
and the church that meets in her house – meaning the Laodicean believers met in her house, or Nympha’s house was mentioned as a sub group of the overall church in Laodicea.
It is clear in the New Testament that believers met together primarily in individual’s homes. See below for other examples.
Acts 2:46 (NET) 46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts,
Acts 12:12 (NET)
When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
4 who risked their own necks for my life. Not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
5 Also greet the church in their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
Romans 16:23 (NET)
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and our brother Quartus greet you.
1 Corinthians 16:19 (NET) 19 The churches in the province of Asia send greetings to you. Aquila and Prisca greet you warmly in the Lord, with the church that meets in their house.
Philemon 1:2 (NET) 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your house.
And our passage….
Colossians 4:15 (NET) 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters who are in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.
1. Why do you think the early church met in the homes of individuals?
2. Describe the activities and offices of a New Testament church? Can these exist without a building?
3. What advantages do you see for a house based church? What disadvantages?
4. What advantages do you see for a church based in a building? What disadvantages?
And after you have read this letter, have it read to the church of Laodicea – this shows how Paul’s letters were circulated to other churches.
In turn, read the letter from Laodicea as well – meaning Paul also wrote a letter to the Laodiceans. Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans would have been in addition to John’s short rebuke from the Lord recorded in Revelation 3. However, Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans is lost to us today.
Why do you think Paul told them to read each other’s letters?
Why do churches today read the letters written to the ancient churches?
What do you think the Colossians did with the letters after they were read and circulated?
Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
Is Your Home Open to the Church like Nympha’s?
Is your faith lukewarm like the Laodiceans? How about the faith of your church? Are you all materially wealthy yet spiritually poor? I am your treasure. All material things will pass away, but in Me is found all eternal riches.
Be hospitable to My church. Open your heart and your doors to My people. Your hospitality will be well rewarded.
Be grateful for your church. My Spirit is alive there. I have given you an overseer and teacher, baptism, My supper, My words, My songs, and I have inspired your church to pray and serve others.
Cherish My letters penned through My servants. They are preserved all these centuries for you that you may know Me, the way of Salvation, and they are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.
See attached link for a radio show that discusses modern house churches.