Q&A: What happened to the letter of Laodicea? Colossians 4:16

What happened to the letter of Laodicea? Colossians 4:16

Question

What happened to the letter of Laodicea? Colossians 4:16

Answer

Some suggest that Paul is referring to the letter to the Ephesians, which in some ancient manuscripts lacks a destination and which may have gone out as a circular letter (see The Reformation Study Bible Introduction to Ephesians, Date and Occasion). Since Tychicus was the bearer of the letter to the Ephesians as well (Eph. 6:21, 22), the conclusion that the Ephesian and Laodicean letters were one and the same would imply that Colossians and Ephesians were written at about the same time and that Tychicus traveled first to Laodicea and then to Colosse. However, it may be more natural to assume, on the basis of the more reflective style of Ephesians, that it was written some time after Colossians, and that Tychicus brought the Ephesian letter around to the churches on a subsequent trip (if, indeed, it was a circular letter). The best proposal for the identity of the letter from Laodicea is that it was a separate letter that has not survived.

Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. Reformation Study Bible: New King James Version. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).