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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Colossians 1

 

 

Verse 1-2

Salutation (Greeting) - This passage of Scripture is called the salutation and is found in all thirteen of Paul's New Testament epistles and is used as an introduction to his letters. Paul wrote his salutations as a signature of authenticity ( 2 Thessalonians 3:17) just like we place our signature today at the end of a document. He may have written entire epistles as indicated in Philemon 1:19. However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write most of his letters (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).

2 Thessalonians 3:17, "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write."

In Colossians 1:1-2 Paul gives his opening salutation to the believers in Colossi.

Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,

Colossians 1:1 — "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God" - Comments (1) - To those churches and individuals in which Paul displayed his apostleship over them in order to give correction and doctrine, he introduces himself as "an apostle of Jesus Christ" ( Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1 and Titus 1:1). To the Philippians Paul describes himself as a "servant." This is because within the context of this epistle Paul will give examples of himself ( Philippians 1:12-20), of Jesus Christ ( Philippians 2:1-11), of Timothy ( Philippians 2:19-24) and of Epaphroditus ( Philippians 2:25-30) as servants who laid aside their own wills and in order that to fulfill the will of those in authority over them. For this is the message and theme of Paul's epistle to the Philippians. To Philemon Paul declares himself as a "prisoner of Jesus Christ," because his message to Philemon was about a slave, or prisoner, who was serving Philemon. In his two letters to the church of Thessalonica Paul defers the use of a title in order to equate himself as co-workers with Silas and Timothy. He will refer to his apostleship in 1 Thessalonians 2:6, but he will be mindful to use it in the plural form as a co-worker with Silas and Timothy. This is because he emphasizes their need to labour together until Jesus returns.

Comments (2) - Paul refers to his office as an apostle in nine of his thirteen epistles. In contrast, John never referred to his office. Some scholars suggest that Paul makes this reference because he was often challenged by others in this office, unlike John. Peter also opens his epistles stating his apostleship in the Lord.

Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:2 — "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse" - Comments- Paul addresses his Church epistles to the "saints." This description for his recipients reflects the underlying theme of his epistles, which is the sanctification of the Church. In contrast, Peter addresses his first epistle to the "the strangers scattered," or "sojourners," which is a reflection of its theme of the perseverance of the saints.

The epistles of Paul were written to the church, not to lost people, to people who were born again, not to the world. All of Paul"s epistles were written to believers. This is a very important point in interpreting many passages in his epistles.

Colossians 1:2 — "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" - Comments (The Pauline Greeting) - Scholars discuss the meaning of Paul's epistolary greetings from two different angles, either an historical approach or a theological approach.

(1) The Historical Approach - The historical approach evaluates the history behind the use of the words "grace" and "peace" in traditional greetings, with this duet of words limited in antiquity to New Testament literature. J. Vernon McGee says the word "grace" in Paul's greetings was a formal greeting used in Greek letters of his day, while the word "peace" was the customary Jewish greeting. 70] More specifically, John Grassmick says the Greek word χαίρειν was a common greeting in classical Greek epistles (note this use in Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26, James 1:1), so that χάρις was a "word play" Paul used in conjunction with the Hebrew greeting "peace." 71] Thus, Paul would be respectfully addressing both Greeks and Jews in the early Church. However, Paul uses these same two words in his epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon , which weakens the idea that Paul intended to make such a distinction between two ethnic groups when using "grace" and "peace." Perhaps this greeting became customary for Paul and lost its distinctive elements.

70] J. Vernon McGee, The Epistle to the Romans , in Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1998), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Romans 1:1.

71] John D. Grassmick, "Epistolary Genre," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

(2) The Theological Approach- Another view is proposed by James Denny, who explains the relationship of these two words as a cause and effect. He says that grace is God's unmerited favor upon mankind, and the peace is the result of receiving His grace and forgiveness of sins. 72] In a similar statement, Charles Simeon says the phrase "‘grace and peace' comprehended all the blessings of the Gospel." 73]

72] James Denney, The Epistles to the Thessalonians, in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 15-16.

73] Charles Simeon, 2 Peter , in Horae Homileticae, vol 20: James to Jude (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833), 285.

Comments (The Pauline Blessing) - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host ( Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle open every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God's peace and grace upon his readers. Matthew 10:13 shows that you can bless a house by speaking God"s peace upon it.

Matthew 10:13, "And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you."

This practice of speaking blessings upon God's children may have its roots in the Priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27, where God instructed Moses to have the priests speak a blessing upon the children of Israel. We see in Ruth 2:4 that this blessing became a part of the Jewish culture when greeting people. Boaz blessed his workers in the field and his reapers replied with a blessing.

Ruth 2:4, "And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee."

We also see this practiced by the king in 2 Samuel 15:20 where David says, "mercy and truth be with thee."

2 Samuel 15:20, "Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee."

Song of Solomon , this word of blessing was a part of the Hebrew and Jewish culture. This provides us the background as to why Paul was speaking a blessing upon the church at Colossi, especially that God would grant them more of His grace and abiding peace that they would have otherwise not known. In faith, we too, can receive this same blessing into our lives. Paul actually pronounces and invokes a blessing of divine grace and peace upon his readers with these words, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." I do not believe this blessing is unconditional, but rather conditional. In other words, it is based upon the response of his hearers. The more they obey these divine truths laid forth in this epistle, the more God's grace and peace is multiplied in their lives. We recall how the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, with six tribes standing upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people and six tribes upon Mount Ebal to curse the disobedient ( Deuteronomy 27:11-26). Thus, the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28:1-68 were placed upon the land. All who obeyed the Law received these blessings, and all who disobeyed received this list of curses. In the same way, Paul invokes a blessing into the body of Christ for all who will hearken unto the divine truths of this epistle.

We see this obligation of the recipients in the translation by Beck of 2 Peter 1:2, "As you know God and our Lord Jesus, may you enjoy more and more of His love and peace."


Verses 3-8

Paul's Recognition of Their Faith and Love in Christ- After greeting the church at Colossi ( Colossians 1:1-2), Paul opens with a word of thanksgiving by recognizing their faith and love in Christ and giving praise to God ( Colossians 1:3-8).

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

Colossians 1:3 — "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" - Comments- The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, His deity and Godhead as a part of the trinity is the foundation of the Christian faith. This doctrine was severely attacked for the first few centuries of the early church. Here, Paul bases his epistle on this foundation, which is the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was the result of His resurrection from the dead.

We see the adversity that Jesus faced by calling God His Father.

John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."

Colossians 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,

Colossians 1:4Comments- Colossians 1:4 sums up the Ten Commandments as we learn in Matthew 22:34-40 when Jesus explained to the Pharisees that Law can be summed up in loving God and loving our neighbour.

Matthew 22:37-40, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

In Colossians 1:4 Paul is commending these saints for having a love for God through their faith in Jesus Christ and for their love towards one another. The first four of the Ten Commandments tell us how to love God and the last six Commandments teach us how to love our neighbour.

Colossians 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

Colossians 1:5"the hope which is laid up for you in heaven"- What are we hoping for when we get to heaven?

1. A reward:

Matthew 5:12, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

2. A crown of righteousness:

2 Timothy 4:8, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judges , shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

3. An inheritance:

1 Peter 1:4, "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,"

"which is laid up for you in heaven" - Some things we will not receive from God until that day of redemption from this body of corruption.

Colossians 1:4-5Comments - Three Great Virtues- These two verse describe the church at Colossi as walking in the three greatest virtues, "faith, hope, and love," as listed in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." In these three words are found the work and offices of the Trinity in relation to the Church (see 1 Peter 1:2).

1 Peter 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."

We place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by our obedience to Him. As a result, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the love of God is poured forth within us ( Romans 5:5) in order to bring about our sanctification. We are then able direct our hope on the divine plan that the Heavenly Father has prepared for each of us through His foreknowledge, no longer setting our affections on the things of this world, but towards heaven.

Romans 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

We also see this three-fold emphasis in 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 when Paul refers to their faith, love and hope in relation to awaiting for the Second Coming of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:3, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;"

1 Thessalonians 1:9, "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

Colossians 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

Colossians 1:6 — "and bringeth forth fruit" - Comments- Many modern translations read, "bringeth forth fruit and increasing" (ASV).

ASV, "which is come unto you; even as it is also in all the world bearing fruit and increasing, as it doth in you also, since the day ye heard and knew the grace of God in truth;"

In the phrase "bearing fruit and increasing," which Paul uses again in Colossians 1:10 as, "being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God," he describes our Christian experience by using the analogy of a tree bearing fruit and its seed bringing forth new trees. In the same way that a tree grows up and bears fruit, and its seed falls to the ground and brings forth a new tree, so do we grow up in our Christian life and bring forth fruit well pleasing unto God and causing others to come into the Kingdom of God. This analogy from nature is similar to other passages in the New Testament ( Acts 6:7; Acts 19:20, 1 Corinthians , James 1:18).

Acts 6:7 "and the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied."

Acts 19:20, "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

1 Corinthians 4:15, "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."

James 1:18, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

Colossians 1:6 — "since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth" - Comments- The Colossians understood and came to realize God's saving grace; for they experienced it in their lives.

Colossians 1:6Comments- The subject this passage in Colossians 1:3-8 is "the word of the truth of the gospel" ( Colossians 1:5). God's Word produces fruit and God's Word grows within our hearts.

Isaiah 55:8-11, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

John 15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

Acts 6:7 "and the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied"

Acts 12:24, "But the word of God grew and multiplied."

1 Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

Also, the parable of the sower, Mark 4:2-9; Mark 4:13-20.

Colossians 1:7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;

Colossians 1:8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.

Colossians 1:8Comments- God instilled in these believers a genuine love from their hearts. When we are saved, the love of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit ( Romans 5:5). This divine love becomes a part of our new creation in Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."


Verses 3-11

Introduction: The Preeminence of Christ over the Colossians - In Colossians 1:3-11 Paul places emphasis upon the preeminence of Christ over the church at Colossi. After greeting the church at Colossi ( Colossians 1:1-2), Paul opens with a word of thanksgiving by recognizing their faith and love in Christ and giving praise to God ( Colossians 1:3-8). He then prays for these believers to come to the full knowledge of the revelation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives ( Colossians 1:9-11). We can see the theme of Colossians within Paul's prayer in this passage of Scripture. Paul prays for them to come to the knowledge of the riches that have been given to us in Christ Jesus ( Colossians 1:9) so that we will be able to walk in the fullness of that knowledge ( Colossians 1:10) by being strengthened with His glorious power ( Colossians 1:11). In the book of Colossians , Paul reveals the riches of our inheritance in Christ Jesus so that the saints can walk in this understanding and revelation. He calls them "saints in light" who are walking in this revelation ( Colossians 1:12) and it is only the saints who are walking in the light of this knowledge and understanding that able to partake of the inheritance that is reserved for them ( Colossians 1:12).

We cannot walk worthy of God, nor please Him nor be fruitful ( Colossians 1:10) unless we first know His will for our lives. This comes by first knowing His Word, which produces wisdom in our minds and also by spiritual Revelation , which is a work of the Holy Spirit making His Word personal in our daily walk ( Colossians 1:9). As we study God's Word and come to know His "logos" Word, and as we learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit giving us divine revelations as "rhema" words, we are then able to pursue God's plan in our lives. As we learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit and to stay filled with the Spirit ( Colossians 1:11), we become men of God, filled with faith in His Word and filled with the anointing of the Holy Ghost, as were Stephen and Barnabas in the book of Acts. It is for this reason these two men were very fruitful in the work of the Lord.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Paul's Recognition of Their Faith and Love in Christ — Colossians 1:3-8

2. Paul's Prayer for Understanding Christ's Preeminence — Colossians 1:9-11

A Comparison of Themes - We can compare the introductory passages of Ephesians , Colossians and 1Thessalonians and see how they share a common function. These three epistles emphasize the role of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in God's plan of redemption. Ephesians focuses upon the Father, Colossians the Song of Solomon , and 1Thessalonians the Holy Spirit. Just as Ephesians 1:3-23 serves to introduce the Father's role in redemption, before expounding upon each role of the Trinity, so does Colossians 1:3-11 introduce the Son's role and 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 introduces the role of the Holy Spirit. We see in all three epistles how Paul follows this introductory passage with an exposition of the role of the Trinity in redemption.


Verses 9-11

Paul's Prayer for Understanding Christ's Preeminence - Paul begins many of his epistles with a prayer, a feature typical of ancient Greco-Roman epistles as well, 74] with each prayer reflecting the respective themes of these epistles. For example, Paul's prayer of thanksgiving to the church at Rome ( Romans 1:8-12) reflects the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in redeeming mankind. Paul's prayer of thanks for the Corinthians ( 1 Corinthians 1:4-8) reflects the theme of the sanctification of believers so that the gifts of the Spirit can operate through them as mature believers walking in love. Paul's prayer to the Corinthians of blessing to God for comforting them in their tribulations ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-7) reflects the theme of higher level of sanctification so that believers will bear the sufferings of Christ and partake of His consolation. Paul's prayer to the Ephesians ( Ephesians 1:15-22) reflects the theme of the believer's participation in God the Father's great plan of redemption, as they come to the revelation this divine plan in their lives. Paul's prayer to the Philippians ( Philippians 1:3-11) reflects the theme of the believer's role of participating with those whom God the Father has called to minister redemption for mankind. Paul's prayer to the Colossians ( Colossians 1:9-16) reflects the theme of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the life of every believer, as they walk worthy of Him in pleasing Him. Paul's prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians ( 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4) reflects the theme of the role of the Holy Spirit in our complete sanctification, spirit, soul, and body. Paul's second prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians ( 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4) reflects the theme of maturity in the believer's sanctification.

74] John Grassmick says many ancient Greek and Roman epistles open with a "health wish" and a prayer to their god in behalf of the recipient. See John D. Grassmick, "Epistolary Genre," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

We can see the theme of Colossians within Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. Paul prays for them to come to the knowledge of the riches that have been given to us in Christ Jesus ( Colossians 1:9) so that we will be able to walk in the fullness of that knowledge ( Colossians 1:10) by being strengthened with His glorious power ( Colossians 1:11), and thus be able to partake of our inheritance which is reserved only for those saints who are walking in the light of this knowledge and understanding ( Colossians 1:12). We cannot serve the Lord and please Him with a lifestyle of carnal reasoning. We must have spiritual insight and discernment from the Holy Spirit, which Paul calls "all spiritual wisdom and understanding." In the book of Colossians Paul reveals the riches of our inheritance in Christ Jesus so that the saints can walk in this understanding and revelation. He calls them "saints in light" who are walking in this revelation ( Colossians 1:12). Thus, the phrase "all spiritual wisdom and understanding" also describes a person who is walking with a renewed mind and understanding the way of God and how to be led by the Spirit. He is one who has the Spirit of God operating in his life and revealing God's divine will to him on a continual basis. This is how we are "filled with the knowledge of His will" ( Colossians 1:9). This results in a life that pleases God and bears spiritual fruit in the Kingdom of God.

We cannot walk worthy of God, nor please Him nor be fruitful ( Colossians 1:10) unless we first know His will for our lives. This comes by first knowing His Word, which produces wisdom in our minds and also by spiritual Revelation , which is a work of the Holy Spirit making His Word personal in our daily walk ( Colossians 1:9). As we study God's Word and come to know His "logos" Word and as we learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit giving us divine revelations as "rhema" words, we are then able to pursue God's plan in our lives. As we learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit and to stay filled with the Spirit ( Colossians 1:11), we become men of God, filled with faith in His Word and filled with the anointing of the Holy Ghost, as were Stephen and Barnabas in the book of Acts. These two men were very fruitful in the work of the Lord.

Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Colossians 1:9 — "For this cause" - Comments - Paul writes, "for this cause" because of their faith in Jesus (verse 4) and because of their love towards one another (verses 4, 8); because they had received the Gospel and were growing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:9 — "be filled with the knowledge of his will" - Comments - They will be filled with the knowledge of His will by renewing your mind with God's Word ( Romans 12:2).

Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Colossians 1:9 — "in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" - Comments - The phrase "in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" refers to our understanding in the ways of God, or in understanding the spiritual laws of God. With this understand is needed His wisdom to show us how to apply this understanding to our daily living. Just because we have understanding in the Scriptures does not mean that we can apply it properly without the wisdom of God to guide us and properly manage this understanding of the spiritual realm.

Someone once gave a clear distinction between knowledge and wisdom. "Knowledge is the apprehension of the truth in one's mind, but wisdom is the application of truth to one's life." Bob Yandian says that "knowledge is taking in the Word of God," and wisdom is "the correct output or application of that knowledge." 75] However, we may also see Paul using these two words in Colossians 1:9 as synonyms as he will do often throughout this epistle to the Colossians.

75] Bob Yandian, Salt and Light: The Sermon on the Mount (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harrison House, c 1983, 1988), 11.

Paul's New Testament epistles are the best source for bringing us into this divine wisdom and spiritual understanding in order to walk worthy of His calling. Of course, the entire Scriptures are also a source for such spiritual understanding in how to conduct our daily lives.

Colossians 1:9Comments - The epistle of Colossians opens and closes with a prayer for them to fulfill the will of God in their lives ( Colossians 4:12).

Colossians 4:12, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Colossians 1:10"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing" - Comments- You cannot walk worthy of the Lord until you are filled with the knowledge of His will (verse 9), and thus, you know how the Lord wants you to walk.

The result and purpose of learning God's will for our daily conduct (verse 9) is so that we can move readily to do God's will (verse 10). Another way to say it is that learning God's will (verse 9) results in doing God's will (verse 10).

Colossians 1:10"being fruitful in every good work" - Comments - Jesus told us that we become fruitful in the Kingdom of God by abiding in Him and He in us ( John 15:5; John 15:16).

John 15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

This phrase means that we are not meant to just survive, but to be victorious in every area of our lives.

Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Colossians 1:11 — "unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness" - Comments- We understand that the phrase "unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness" refers to the perseverance of the saints. The place to find this theme taught to us is in the epistles of Hebrews through Jude. Note how patience and joy are dealt with in a number of verses in the General Epistles:

James 1:2, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;"

1 Peter 1:6-7, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"

Illustration:

Acts 5:41, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."

Colossians 1:11Comments- When we begin such walk in spiritual wisdom that pleases God, we will face resistance from the enemy, the god of this world; however, we overcome by patiently serving Him. In order for us to persevere during trials and maintain our joy, the inner man must be stronger than the outer man during trials ( Proverbs 24:10).

Proverbs 24:10, "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small."

We must learn to tap into His power that strengthens our inner Prayer of Manasseh , so that we continue to bear fruit and grow with patience and longsuffering while being filled with the joy of the Lord. We see Paul praying for this inner power twice in Ephesians (Eh Colossians 1:19; Colossians 3:16).

Ephesians 1:19, "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,"

Ephesians 3:16, "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;"

Also, we see how Paul endured and laboured because of this inner anointing of the Holy spirit that strengthened him ( Colossians 1:29).

Colossians 1:29, "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."


Verses 12-18

The Role of the Father in Christ's Preeminence - Colossians 1:12-18 gives us the purpose of the redemptive work of Christ over His Creation, which is to reconcile all things to Himself. God the Father plans to first redeemed mankind back to Himself ( Colossians 1:13-14). This will be followed by the redemption of all Creation ( Colossians 1:15-17). Then, all of God's creation will be brought back into the perfect harmony and unity that it was created for ( Colossians 1:18-22). This is the inheritance that we are to partake of as saints "in light." We see this sequence of events stated in Romans 8:19-21 where Paul notes that creation is eagerly awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God. For at that time, God will recreate a new heaven and a new earth and we will together enter into eternity.

Romans 8:19-21, "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Colossians 1:12 — "12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet" - Word Study on "meet" - Strong says the Greek word "meet" ( ἱ κανό ω) (G 2427) means, "to enable, qualify." Note the same word used in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

Comments- This phrase means that God has given us the ability to do something that we could not do ourselves.

Colossians 1:12 — "to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" - Comments- In this prayer, Paul prays for us to come to the knowledge of the riches that have been given to us in Christ Jesus ( Colossians 1:9) so that we will be able to walk in the fullness of that knowledge ( Colossians 1:10) by being strengthened with His glorious power ( Colossians 1:11), and thus be able to partake of our inheritance which is reserved only for those saints who are walking in the light of this knowledge and understanding ( Colossians 1:12). Thus, Paul is praying for us to walk in the light of the revelation of our inheritance in Christ Jesus. He prays for us to come to know this truth so that we can walk in it. Paul uses a similar phrase in his epistle to the Ephesians by exhorting them to "walk as children of light" ( Ephesians 5:8).

Ephesians 5:8, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"

Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Colossians 1:13 — "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness" - Scripture References- Note these Scripture references to Satan's kingdom of darkness:

Matthew 13:38, "The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;"

John 8:44, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

Acts 13:10, "And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?"

Acts 26:18, "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

Ephesians 2:2, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"

1 John 3:7-10, "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."

Colossians 1:13 — "and hath translated us" - Word Study on "translated" - Strong says the Greek verb ( μεθιστά νω) (G 3179) means, "to transfer, carry away, dispose," and figuratively, "exchange, seduce." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 5 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "remove 2, put out 1, turn away 1, translate 1."

Comments- Paul well knew of how God had translated Enoch to heaven. I believe that Paul wrote the epistle of Hebrews and referred to this translation.

Hebrews 11:5, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

Paul also knew how Elijah was taken up in the fiery chariot. Paul knew of the miraculous translation of Philip the evangelist into the desert in order to preach to the Ethiopian eunuch. Thus, Paul finds this Greek word fitting to describe how we are spiritually translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son.

Colossians 1:13 — "into the kingdom of his dear Son" - Comments- This phrase is unique to the Scriptures. The only other place where the Kingdom of Heaven is called the Kingdom of the Son of God is in Hebrew Colossians 1:8. This is because the epistles of Colossians and Hebrews place emphasis upon the office and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, in contrast to the emphasis placed upon God the Father and the Holy Spirit found in other New Testament books.

Hebrews 1:8, "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."

"of his dear son" - Colossians 1:14-20 begins to discuss His dear Song of Solomon , Jesus.

Colossians 1:13Comments- Jesus spoiled the principalities and powers and powers of darkness. What did He take from them when He spoiled them? He took us out from under their dominion of darkness and destroyed their power over us. Therefore, Satan has no legal authority to rule or dominate over the least believer in the kingdom of God. However, we must learn to walk in our rightful place of authority or Satan will defeat us.

The power of darkness is the same as someone living under the law of sin and death. Those who live in the kingdom of His dear Son live under the law of the Spirit of live in Christ Jesus. If a person who has now been translated into the kingdom of God continues to walk and talk like someone who is under the power of darkness, then the laws of sin and death will continue to operate in his life. In order for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus to operate in his life, he must behave like a child of God is supposed to behave in the Kingdom of God. He must replace doubt and unbelief with faith in the Word of God. He must learn to speak the Word of God and be obedient to the Spirit of God.

Illustration- Perhaps a good illustration of this transformation is found in a dream that the Lord gave to me in the mid-1990's. I was serving in my church in the ministry of helps as an altar worker. This meant that during each altar call we were to follow those who responded to the altar call back into a prayer room and pray with them. One Sunday morning the Lord gave me a dream in which I found myself in my local church during an altar call. As people responded and began to step out into the aisle and walk forward I saw them immediately transformed into children of light. In other words, I saw this transformation taking place in the spiritual realm, though in the natural we see nothing but a person making his way down the aisle. But I saw these people transformed from sinners into saints in their spirits. I later made my way to church that morning, keenly aware of my impressionable dream a few hours ago. During church the altar call was made, people responded and I followed them into the prayer room along with the associate pastor and other altar workers. Suddenly, the associate pastor, Tom Leuther, who was over the altar work, received an emergency call and had to leave the prayer room. He looked at me and quickly asked me to lead this brief meeting by speaking to those who had responded and turn them over to prayer ministers. As I stood up and began to speak to these people I remembered my dream and was very aware of the incredible transformation that each one of them had made.

The Lord seemed to tell me that this "translation" from darkness into light takes place at the speed of light; for God is light (22March 2009).

Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Colossians 1:15 "Who is the image of the invisible God" - Scripture References- Note:

John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

John 14:9, "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"

2 Corinthians 4:4, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Hebrews 1:3, "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"

Colossians 1:15 "the firstborn of every creature" - Scripture References- Note:

Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Colossians 1:16 — "For by Him were all things created" - Illustration- When my nephew, Brandon, was five years old, he was asked where rainbows come from. "JESUS" was his quick response.

Colossians 1:16 — "all things were created by him, and for him" - Comments- Everything that we perceive and do in this life must be understood in light of who Jesus Christ is and the purpose and plan of God has designed for Jesus. He is "heir" of all things ( Hebrews 1:2). We should submit our lives to Him so that He can accomplish His will upon earth through us.

Hebrews 1:2, "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Song of Solomon , whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;"

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Colossians 1:17 "by Him all things consist" - Scripture References- Note:

Hebrews 11:3, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:18"that in all things he might have the preeminence" - Comments - To have the preeminence means, "to be first, to have the first place" (BDAG), that Isaiah , to be held in highest honor or position.


Verses 12-29

The Preeminence of Christ in Christian Doctrine- The doctrinal application in Colossians can be divided into the office and ministry of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. The epistle of Colossians explains their role of redemption in light of Christ Jesus as Head of the Church.

We now need to know how we can partake of this glorious inheritance as saints in light ( Colossians 1:12). This is explained in Colossians 1:12-29 as Paul launches into a description of the role of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in bringing about the preeminence of Christ Jesus over all of Creation and over the Church in order to reconcile all of creation back to the Father. Paul first reveals the Father's role in redemption, then the role of the Song of Solomon , followed by the role of the Holy Spirit.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Role of the Father in Christ's Preeminence — Colossians 1:12-18

2. Role of Jesus Christ in His Own Preeminence — Colossians 1:19-23

3. Role of the Holy Spirit in Christ's Preeminence — Colossians 1:24-29


Verses 19-23

The Role of Jesus Christ in His Own Preeminence - In Colossians 1:19-23 Paul reveals the role of Jesus Christ in redeeming all things back to the Father. We read that through the blood of the Cross He made peace and reconciled all things in Heaven and on Earth so that He might present the Church holy and unblameable and unreproveable to the Father.

Colossians 1:21Comments- We quickly notice in the New Testament epistles how the word "blood" becomes synonymous with Jesus Christ's redemptive work on Calvary. We have a much better understand of this when we clearly view the tremendous suffering that Jesus Christ endured and the shedding of blood that he experienced during His Passion. The recent film "The Passion of Christ" produced by Mel Gibson which was released March 2004is one of the most accurate accounts of Jesus' sufferings every produced on film. When people view this film, they all come out of the movie and comment on how much blood was shed during the film. In the same way, those who witnessed the events of Calvary were also compelled to talk about the blood of Jesus Christ because it was the shedding of so much blood that became the signature of this particular death by our Savior.

Colossians 1:23 — "the hope of the gospel" - Hebrews 3:6 says, "the rejoicing of the hope". Both verses use "if", making a conditional clause.

Hebrews 3:6, "But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."


Verses 24-29

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Christ's Preeminence - In Colossians 1:24-29 Paul explains the role of the Holy Spirit in Christ's preeminence over the Church. Paul says that his personal ministry is to fulfill the sufferings of Christ in order to reveal to the Church the mystery hidden from the ages, which is Christ in us, our glorious hope. So the role of the Holy Spirit is to indwell each believer so that they will be made perfect in Christ Jesus and to empower those believers to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, the key phrase in this passage, "Christ in you, the hope of glory," is a reference to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Because the theme of the epistle to the Colossians is the lordship of Jesus Christ, Paul phrases this in reference to the indwelling of Jesus Christ rather than of the Holy Spirit.

Comparison of Themes - In this passage of Scripture, Paul tells the Colossians how God has called him to preach this message of the mystery of the Gospel, which is Christ in us, our glorious hope. Since the underlying theme of Colossians is the preeminence of Christ Jesus in bringing all things unto Himself, Paul discusses his divine commission from the perspective of this great mystery hidden from the ages. In contrast, Paul discusses his commission in Ephesians 3:1-13 from the perspective of God's foreknowledge of this calling, since the underlying theme of Ephesians is God the Father's foreknowledge and divine election to redeem mankind.

Christ In Us- Christ Jesus came to live in us in order that He might live through us. Paul states this in Colossians 1:28 by saying, "that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Not only has Christ Jesus redeemed us, but also He now lives in us and He works daily in our lives so that we will become little "Christs" walking around on earth, which is why we call ourselves Christians.

The Mystery Hidden from the Ages- In Colossians 1:26-27 Paul is referring to the mystery hidden from ages past, which is the revelation that God will come and dwell within His people, the Gentiles as well as the Jews. He calls it a mystery because the Old Testament makes no clear reference to the Church age. In fact, there are a number of Old Testament passages that combine prophecies of Christ's first and second coming with no reference to the two-thousand year period in between. It was such a mystery that even the ancient Jewish scholars did not foresee it coming because of such faint references to this event in the Old Testament. There would have been no way to correctly interpret those brief prophecies about the Church prior to Pentecost. Paul does reveal one of these prophecies from the Old Testament about the church in his second epistle to the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 6:16, "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Most scholars believe that is a reference to Leviticus 26:11-12 with possible allusions to this same event in several other Old Testament passages.

Leviticus 26:11-12, "And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people."

Exodus 25:8, "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."

Exodus 29:45, "And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God."

1 Kings 6:12-13, "Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel."

Jeremiah 32:37-39, "Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:"

Ezekiel 37:27, "My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Amazingly, this prophecy of how God will dwell in His people is also found in another ancient extra-biblical Jewish writing called The Book of Jubilees. Scholars believe that this book was written in the Hebrew language by a Pharisee between the year of the accession of Hyrcanus to the high priesthood in 135 and his breach with the Pharisees some years before his death in 105 B.C. In the opening chapter, God is speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai. He is telling Moses that the children of Israel are rebellious and stiff-necked. Moses then intercedes for Israel and God responds to this intercession by promising to one day come and dwell in them.

"And I will build My sanctuary in their midst, and I will dwell with them, and I will be their God and they shall be My people in truth and righteousness…And the Lord said unto Moses: ‘I know their contrariness and their thoughts and their stiffneckedness, and they will not be obedient till they confess their own sin and the sin of their fathers. And after this they will turn to Me in all uprightness and with all (their) heart and with all (their) soul, and I will circumcise the foreskin of their heart and the foreskin of the heart of their seed, and I will create in them a holy spirit, and I will cleanse them so that they shall not turn away from Me from that day unto eternity. And their souls will cleave to Me and to all My commandments, and they will fulfil My commandments, and I will be their Father and they shall be My children. And they all shall be called children of the living God, and every angel and every spirit shall know, yea, they shall know that these are My children, and that I am their Father in uprightness and righteousness, and that I love them." (The Book of Jubilees 117-18, 22-26) 76]

76] The Book of Jubilees, trans. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 2, ed. R. H. Charles, 1-82 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), 12-3.

Revealed Mystery in the Ancient World- There are a number of mysteries mentioned by Paul in his New Testament epistles regarding our salvation that are not clearly understood; there is the mystery of Christ and His relationship to the Church ( Ephesians 5:32), of His indwelling presence in every believer ( Colossians 1:27), of the resurrection of the saints ( 1 Corinthians 15:51), and of the incarnation of Jesus Christ ( 1 Timothy 3:16).

Ephesians 5:32, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

1 Corinthians 15:51, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,"

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

The classical writers reveal that the concept of sacred mysteries being utters as divine oracles was practiced in the ancient world. Regarding the use of oracles, the ancient Greeks regarded divine oracles as a form of worship until the time of the Persian war (490-479 B.C.). 77] The temple of Apollo located at Delphi was famous in the ancient world for delivering oracles to men by those in a trance, or they interpreted dreams or patterns in nature. 78] The Greek historians Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) 79] and Plutarch (A.D 46-100) 80] mention this place of oracles in their writings. While the Romans as a nation did not regard oracles as a religious practice, this custom continued within the Empire, but not without the contempt of the Romans. 81] This practice was later outlawed under the Roman emperor Theodosius (A.D 379-385). 82] King Saul's visit to the witch of Endor shows its popularity among ancient eastern cultures ( 1 Samuel 28:7-25). The damsel who prophesied over Paul and Barnabas in Philippi is an example of the proliferation of divination in the New Testament times ( Acts 16:16-24). The Sibylline Oracles, 83] a collection of Greek oracles compiled by Jews and Christians in the early centuries before and after Christ, reflect the widespread popularity that the Sibyl prophetesses held in ancient Greek and Roman history. Regarding the concept of "mysteries" ( μυστή ριον) revealed through oracles, Plutarch, writing about the Pythian priestesses who prophesied at Delphi, speaks of "interpreters of the sacred mysteries." 84] Thus, when Paul refers to the mysteries hidden from the ages being revealed to the Church ( Romans 16:25, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 1:26; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 4:3, 1 Timothy 3:9), or when Luke , Paul, and Peter speak of the "oracles" ( λόγιον) (G 3051) of God ( Acts 7:38, Romans 3:2, Hebrews 5:12, 1 Peter 4:11), they are speaking in a cultural language that the Greeks and Romans understood, where pagans frequently sought oracles through divine utterance at the temples to reveal hidden mysteries for their lives.

77] C. H. Prichard, "Oracle," in A Dictionary of the Bible, vol 3, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901), 629.

78] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Oracle."

79] Herodotus writes, "…and he [Dorieus] asked the Spartans for a company of folks, whom he took away as colonists; he neither enquired of the oracle at Delphi in what land he should plant his settlement, nor did aught else that was customary…" (Histories 542) See Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1938), 46-47.

80] Plutarch tells us that the Sibylline prophetesses of Delphi used poetic verses with their prophecies, saying, "…for when we drew near that part of the rock which joins to the senate-house, which by common fame was the seat of the first Sibyl that came to Delphi from Helicon, where she was bred by the Muses…Serapio made mention of certain verses of hers, wherein she had extolled herself as one that should never cease to prophesy even after her death…" (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 9) He later writes, "…but I am constrained to claim your first promise, to tell me the reason wherefore now the Pythian prophetess no longer delivers her oracles in poetic numbers and measures…and also the temple of Tellus, to which the oracle appertained, and where the answers were delivered in verses and song." (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 17) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch's Essays and Miscellanies, vol 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 77, 86-87.

81] The Roman poet Lucan (A.D 39-65) reflects the contempt for such oracles by the Romans when he writes, "They had now come to the Temple, the only one which among the Libyan nations the uncivilized Garamantes possess. There stands Jupiter, the foreteller of destiny, as they relate; but not either brandishing the lightnings or like to ours, but Ammon with crooked horns." (Pharsalia 9593-598) See H. T. Riley, The Pharsalia of Lucan (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 359.

82] C. H. Prichard, "Oracle," In A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings (), 629.

83] The Sibylline Oracles, trans. H. C. O. Lanchester, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol 2, ed. R. H. Charles (electronic edition), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004).

84] Plutarch writes, "The interpreters of the sacred mysteries acted without any regard to us, who desired them to contract their relation into as few words as might be, and to pass by the most part of the inscriptions." (Wherefore the Pythian Priestess Now Ceases to Deliver Her Oracles in Verse 2) See William W. Goodwin, Plutarch's Essays and Miscellanies, vol 3 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1911), 70.

Romans 16:25, "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,"

1 Corinthians 2:7, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden Wisdom of Solomon , which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"

Ephesians 1:9, "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:"

Ephesians 3:3-4, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)"

Ephesians 3:9, "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"

Ephesians 6:19, "And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,"

Colossians 1:26, "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:"

Colossians 2:2, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;"

Colossians 4:3, "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:"

1 Timothy 3:9, "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."

Acts 7:38, "This is Hebrews , that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:"

Romans 3:2, "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

Hebrews 5:12, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

1 Peter 4:11, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

The reference to pillars and foundations of the Church in 1 Timothy 3:15 suggests that Paul had in mind the ancient Greek and Roman temples with their practice of divination, and that he compares this pagan scene of worship to the New Testament Church and the Holy Scriptures, which serve as its pillars and foundation.

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body"s sake, which is the church:

Colossians 1:24 — "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you" - Comments (1) - How is someone able to endure afflictions and sufferings joyfully. The secret is found here in the words "for you," or "in your behalf." Paul saw a higher and loftier purpose to achieve in the midst of suffering. He saw the goal of serving others. One must have a higher goal in order to endure difficult times. The Joy of the Lord is our strength ( Nehemiah 8:10); therefore the joy of the Lord gives us strength.

Nehemiah 8:10, "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

Secondly, besides a goal, Paul suffered in behalf of others out of love; love for God and love for God"s people. Love "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

James 1:5 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;"

The word "count" means to reckon, or to consider. In other words, when you cannot see an expected end, you can believe in this end result.

The second part of this verse in Colossians 1:24 restates the same thing, much like Hebrew poetry restates a meaning.

A third motivation to endure sufferings joyfully is seen in the next verse. Paul states that he has a "dispensation," or divine commission, or a responsibility.

Comments (2) - One way that Paul was suffering in the behalf of the Colossians is that he was defending the Christian faith in the Roman court system. In the time of Paul, Rome saw the Christian religion as a sect of Judaism. Although Judaism was legalized, the Christian religion was considered illegal. If God allowed his defense before Caesar to win in the highest court of the Empire, this would allow all Christians the freedom to live and preach the Gospel unhindered.

Colossians 1:24 — "and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body"s sake" - Comments- Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Know this also, that there are sufferings yet to be accomplished in the body of the Church that I was not able to suffer on the cross. Did not Paul write ‘that ye fill up what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ'? Lo, I write unto you now that ye be patient, and that ye hold steady through the days that lie ahead, and know that the trials and suffering are working toward a consuming glory." 85]

85] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 126.

Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Colossians 1:25 — "according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you" - Comments- God gave Paul gifts and the offices of apostle and teacher. The stewardship of these gifts of God were used for the body of Christ Jesus so that God's Word might be fulfilled, i.e, those Scriptures in the Old Testament, which prophesied of the Gentiles' salvation and becoming children of God. To the degree that God gave Paul gifts and offices is the degree he is able to labor for the Lord.

Colossians 1:25"to fulfill the Word of God" - Comments- This Word of God is further defined in verses 26-27:

Verse 26 — 1. This Word has been hidden in ages past.

2. It is now revealed.

Verse 27 — What this revelation shows is Christ dwelling inside every believer. God wishes to make known the riches of this reality.

Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Colossians 1:27 — "To whom God would make known" - Comments- There are those times when the Spirit of God enlightens our hearts to the great truths of God"s Holy Word. We cannot gain this insight by human intellect alone. We understand the Scriptures only as God opens our eye by His Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:9 "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself."

Colossians 1:27 — "what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles" - Paul refers to this mystery again later in this epistle, which is the mystery of Christ and His relationship to the Church ( Colossians 4:3).

Colossians 4:3, "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:"

Colossians 1:28 — "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" - Comments- The key phrase in Colossians 1:24-29 is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Because the passage of Scripture is a reference to the role of the Holy Spirit in Christ's lordship over the Church, we man interpret this phrase to refer to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. However, because the theme of the epistle to the Colossians is the lordship of Jesus Christ, Paul phrases this in reference to the indwelling of Jesus Christ rather than of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the phrase "Christ" literally means "the anointed one," and refers to "the anointing" that dwells in every believer. This anointing is the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit living and dwelling inside a believer.

The role of the Holy Spirit in Christ's lordship over the Church is to make a way for Christ to dwell in us, and this is done by Him coming to dwell within us. Thus, Paul is easily able to call this "Christ in us."

In his epistle to the Galatians Paul will expound upon the role of the Church in Christ's lordship by exhorting us to "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh," ( Galatians 5:16). Thus, since Christ dwells in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are exhorted to be led by the Spirit as a way of allowing Christ to be lord over us.

"the hope of glory" - We were once without any hope.

Ephesians 2:11-13, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every Prayer of Manasseh , and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Colossians 1:28Comments- The process of completion, or maturity, into the likeness of Christ is called "sanctification". It is the office of the Holy Spirit to work in us and sanctify us before God. Thus, the phrase that Paul uses in Colossians 1:27 of "Christ in us" refer to the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell within the saints. Since the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the emphasis of Colossians , Paul uses the phrase "Christ in us" although He is referring to the Holy Spirit that is dwelling within us.

Colossians 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Colossians 1:29 — "Whereunto" - Comments- Or "unto which." Paul labors unto this purpose (verse 28), to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

If we want God working in our lives, we must labour according to the things that God wants to accomplish in our lives, and not labor for our own desires, which does not bring God's power alive with our lives.

Colossians 1:29Comments- Paul knew the offices and gifts and ministry to the Gentiles which God had called him to and he worked within those bounds. Every man of God needs to know his ministry and walk in that boundary and anointing, because outside of that work and ministry the anointing is not as operative. Paul was a preacher, a teacher and an apostle and had the gifts of the Spirit operating in his life.

Colossians 1:29 Scripture References- Note a similar statement by Paul in:

Ephesians 3:7, "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Colossians 1:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/colossians-1.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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