“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, God will give me words so I’ll fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.” – The Apostle Paul, from Roman prison
Paul wrote from the heart of Rome while chained to the ankle of his assigned guard, then sent Tychicus to Colossae and Ephesus to deliver three such letters: Philemon, Colossians, and Ephesians.
Philemon is short, personal, and passionate – Paul pleads the virtues of forgiveness, brotherhood, and community. In Colossians, he writes to a church in a city he never visited – but we did (and, spoiler alert, it’s still covered with literally tons of dirt). However, his instructions on Christianity and “spirituality” (right worship and human philosophy) and how actions speak louder than words are still desperately relevant.
Paul stayed in Ephesus 3 years, helping establish it as a hub for church planting, before being thrown out of town – but he still loved the Ephesian church from prison. Besides sending them a treasure trove of instructions (marriage, faith and works, community), he reminded them to keep their spiritual eyes open for the REAL enemy.