Presenting to you the verse Colossians 4:16, “After this letter has been read to your people, be sure to have it read in the church at Laodicea. And you should read the letter that I have sent to them” Paul advises the christians in Colosse to read the letter that he had written to the believers in Laodicea. If we have all the written letters of Paul in the New Testament, where is Paul’s letter to Laodicea? What happened to it?
ESV - 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.
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c. And that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea: Apparently, Paul wrote a letter to the Laodiceans that we do not have. We should not assume from this that our treasure of inspiration is incomplete. The Holy Spirit has chosen to preserve those letters that are inspired for the church in a universal sense. Paul was not inspired in this way every time he set pen to paper. i. It may be that this "missing" Laodicean letter was actually the letter to the Ephesians. "It is well-nigh certain that Ephesians was not written to the Church at Ephesus but was an encyclical letter meant to circulate among the Churches of Asia. It may be that this encyclical had reached Laodicea and was now on the way to Colosse." (Barclay) ii. There is a Latin letter of Paul to the Laodiceans and it was mentioned as early as the fifth century by Jerome. But Jerome himself called it a forgery and that most people in his day agreed that it was not authentic. It is mainly made up of phrases from Philippians and Galatians. Adam Clarke had a low opinion of this letter: "As to its being the work of St. Paul, little or nothing need be said; its barrenness of meaning, poverty of style, incoherency of manner, and total want of design and object, are a sufficient refutation of its pretensions." Courtesy of David Cuzik
There seems to be certain similarities between the seven letters to the seven churches and the writings of Paul. I would not read specific doctrine into it but would rather see it as a fingerprint of the Holy Spirit Ephesus Ephesus Smyrna Phillipians Pergamos Corinthians Thyatira Galatians Sardis Romans Philadelphia Thessalonians Laodecia Colossians These letters are written on different levels. For the individual -He who has an ear For the churches. They were local and real at the time The order they are written in shows similaraties to church history throughout time.
Archeological evidence confirms that the Laodicea church was located along the important trade route in Asia Minor and boasted of Industries manufacturing fine linen, gold smelting and eye salves. It also had a well developed water supply systems with public baths dispensing hot and cold water. The church most probably consisted of affluent members who were drawn from this rich industrial community being owners of industry, traders and their employees. Legend has it that when the city was destroyed by earthquake the leaders rejected aid from Rome and rebuilt the City on their own. It is against this backdrop that Jesus was addressing the church in his series of messages to the Seven Churches. This message to Laodicea is found in Rev 3:14-22. The first part consists of the description of the speaker. This is captured in Revelation 3:14. The second part is a portrayal of the recipients (Revelations 3:15-19) and the final part of the message conveys the exhortation and warning to them from Jesus Christ who identifies himself as the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness. These words have profound theological implications on His church. Christ as the Amen affirms His divine truthfulness. He is trustworthy and can be relied upon at all times by those who care to place their trust and faith in him. He is the True Witness in the court of judgment whose word is final. Jesus is also our advocate who stands by our side. Job prophetically alludes to the advocacy of Christ (Job19:16), and this claim is upheld in Hebrews 8:6 and 1 Timothy 2:5 which states “for there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The representation and mediation ministries are the hallmarks and emblems of Christ’s finished work at Calvary and the pride of His Church. Under Levitical law, a true witness is expected to render a reliable testimony and must be person whose moral standing is above reproach. He should be credible before the trial court where evidence must be backed by the witness testimony of a second reliable witness. The evidence of a single witness will not by itself be accepted for determination of murder case. On the converse, Christ’s testimony his is affirmed by the Father and the Holy Spirit whose purity and truthfulness is beyond human inquisition. If Jesus declares a person free of guilt that pronouncement cannot be questioned in any other human or divine court. Jesus affirms the validity of his testimony saying “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going…” (John 8:14). Jesus states that he knows the deeds of the Laodicean church community. His divine barometer captures the sad reality of a church undergoing spiritual decay. To the disappointment of the Master the church here is lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. The church should either embrace the hotness of Christ’s love and be wholly devoted to his tenets rather than the lukewarmness of lost devotion. They therefore deserved of Christ one thing, namely to be spat out of his mouth. If the church is cold, it no longer commands Christ’s commendations and approval. It would be a lost ministry, rejected by its Master and in danger of attracting the allure of the seducer who is Christ’s adversary. Jesus had not spat out the Laodicean church but was just about to do so if his warnings were not heeded in earnest. The Laodiceans had a chance to make spiritual amends which they should have seized with solemn urgency. They had an obligation to chart their spiritual path back to Christ and to commit their hearts, deeds and thoughts to Him. This is not merely a Laodicean duty. It is an obligation that cuts across the church ages to our contemporary Christian communities whose commitment to Christ often fails the calibration of the Master. When we are veiled by a false sense of earthly comfort, we are confronted with the risk of eternal rejection by Christ! We should watch and pray..
Jesus wrote a letter to the Laodicean church over in Revelation 3:14-22. It is the last of 7 letters to seven churches in chapters 2 & 3 - some good insights for the church today in them.
Like all the autograph copies of every book in the Bible they are lost in antiquity. I am grateful for the scribes that painstakingly copied these books over and over again.
There are many things that occurred during Jesus' ministry and that of the Apostles, BUT many were not written down and included in the "bible"... Jhn 20:30 NLT - The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. Jhn 20:31 NLT - But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. Jhn 21:25 NLT - Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. But having said that we know that what is included IS sifficient... 2Ti 3:16 NLT - All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2Ti 3:17 NLT - God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
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