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Bible Commentaries
Colossians 1

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-14


Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (1:1-14)

The chief cause of Paul’s thanksgiving is that the Colossians have accepted the gospel and come into union with Jesus Christ (1:1-3). This gospel, which they heard originally from Epaphras, is not just another of the many new religions of the day. It is the universal gospel that is preached everywhere and changes the lives of people of all nations and cultures. It proves its power in the new attitude of love that believers show to one another and to others (4-8).
Paul prays that in addition to having love, the Colossians will increase in knowledge. This knowledge is not like the theorizing of the Gnostics, which leads only to feelings of superiority and selfsatisfaction. It is a personal and practical knowledge of God and his will, which will produce a healthy spiritual life of fruitfulness for God. Right behaviour will only be possible as they have right knowledge (9-10). The power to live such a life with patience and joy comes from God alone. Through Christ he has saved them from the powers of evil and made them fit to share the good things that he has prepared for them in his kingdom (11-14).

Verses 15-23

Christ and his work (1:15-23)

Having completed his introduction, Paul begins immediately to correct the wrong ideas that had been taught. The teaching he gives in verses 15-23 provides a basis for what follows in the remainder of the letter.
Christ is not some part-angelic being, but God himself. God is invisible, yet people can see him and know him in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God and therefore was not created. He existed before creation, and is superior to all created things (15). In fact, he himself is the Creator. He is the source and controller of all things, seen and unseen, including the world of angelic beings that the false teachers liked to talk about. More than that, he is the goal of all creation; all things exist for his glory (16-17).
Because of his eternal godhead, Jesus is the source and the head of the physical creation. Because of his triumphant resurrection, he is the source and the head of the new creation, the church. As head, he is the sovereign ruler. He is not a mixture of God and angel, but has in himself the full nature and power of God (18-19). The only way that sinful creation, including men and women, can be reconciled to God is by Jesus Christ. Only through his death can people be brought back to a state of harmony with God (20).
The Colossians should know this, for they themselves have experienced his divine power in saving them from sin. Their salvation has been entirely by Christ, who took upon himself a physical body like theirs and, in that body, bore their sin. Angelic powers can add nothing to what Christ has already done. If the Colossians want finally to stand before God in the perfection of Christ, they must hold firmly to the truth that the work of Christ is complete and perfect. This truth is the foundation of the gospel wherever that gospel is preached, and it cannot be changed to suit human theories and philosophies (21-23).

Verses 24-29

Paul’s service for Christ (1:24-2:5)

Some of the Colossians, confused by the clever arguments of the false teachers, might be tempted to accept their teaching. They might think that this teaching is more advanced, and therefore nearer the truth, than what they heard from Epaphras. Paul emphasizes that the gospel he and Epaphras preach is the only gospel. It has the authority of Christ, and its genuineness is proved in the experiences of those who preach it. Paul illustrates all this from his own life. The Gnostics appoint themselves teachers, but Paul was appointed by Christ. By enduring sufferings in the service of Christ, he is sharing in the sufferings of Christ (24-25).

Paul’s message reveals to people the plan of God that had not been made known to previous generations. This secret plan is that Gentiles are to be his people, indwelt by Christ (26-27). (For the meaning of ‘secret plan’, or ‘mystery’, see notes on Ephesians 1:7-10; Ephesians 3:3-6.)

Once the apostle has brought people to know Christ, he must teach and instruct them so that they might grow to spiritual maturity. Paul knows that much hard work is necessary in order to reach this goal (28-29).
Paul’s concern for the churches in Colossae and Laodicea (churches that he has never visited) shows that his interest is not merely with churches that he himself has founded. He wants all churches to be strong, through the believers loving one another and having a full understanding of their riches in Christ. The hidden treasures of wisdom are found in him, not in Gnosticism (2:1-3). The Colossians must maintain the orderly fellowship and strong faith they have had in Christ from the beginning. They must examine all teaching carefully, and not allow themselves to be easily led astray by the arguments of the false teachers (4-5).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Colossians 1". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/colossians-1.html. 2005.
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