Remember My Chains

Bible Reading: Colossians 4:7-18

Colossians 4:18, “Remember my chains.”

The Puritan, John Bunyan, was locked up in prison by the Church of England for preaching the gospel. He used the time to study and write and said: “I never knew all there was in the Bible until I spent those years in jail.” During his imprisonment, he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, a bestselling fictional allegory of the Christian life. His book has encouraged countless souls, having sold some 250 million copies!

Paul likewise wrote this and other epistles from prison.  His imprisonment was the direct result of his preaching the gospel of grace.  He faced countless trials, seemingly everywhere he went.  Most often it was religious Jews and Judaizers who sought his demise.  All he needed to do to avoid trouble and imprisonment was stop preaching the gospel of grace.  But that’s not something he was willing to do.  He had previously spoken to the Colossians of such matters (Colossians 1:24-25). 

His willingness to endure such suffering spoke to His love for Jesus.  Nothing mattered more to him than Jesus (Philippians 3:7-8).  As far as he was concerned, sharing the gospel was akin to bringing unsearchable riches of Jesus to those he served (Ephesians 3:8).  The love of Jesus compelled him to go to all those places, and in love for Jesus, he faithfully carried out his ministry.

He wrote the so-called “prison epistles” as he was chained to a Roman guard.  And he wanted the believers in Colossae to know that.  Not that he might gain sympathy, but they would know of the tremendous worth of Jesus and the gospel message he was proclaiming.  And so that they would pray for him.  Even as we are likewise commanded to “remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:3).

Henry Alford has also noted that “these words extend further than to mere pecuniary support, or even mere prayers: they were ever to keep before them the fact that one who so deeply cared for them, and loved them, and to whom their perils of false doctrine occasioned such anxiety, was a prisoner in chains: and that remembrance was to work and produce its various fruits—of prayer for him, of affectionate remembrance of his wants, of deep regard for his words.”

One other thing should come to mind as we remember Paul’s chains.  Though Paul was imprisoned, the Word of God cannot be (2 Timothy 2:9).  History is filled with examples of this truism.

Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). For two thousand years, Jesus has been building His church and the gospel message has rounded the world. Wherever it’s gone, it has been met with great opposition. So, it is to this very day. But just as the tomb could not contain Jesus, so it is impossible to lock up the Word. It is as the church father Tertullian once said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

It is as Charles Colson has said: “The Bible—banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints.”


Holy Bible, Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am.

Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to show a Savior’s love;
Mine thou art to guide and guard;
Mine to punish or reward.

Mine to comfort in distress;
Suffering in this wilderness;
Mine to show, by living faith,
Man can triumph over death.

Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
O thou holy Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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