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Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2 To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.


Paul Thanks God for the Colossians

3 In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. 7This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

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Col 1:1-29. Address: Introduction: Confirming Epaphras' Teaching: The Glories of Christ: Thanksgiving and Prayer for the Colossians: His Own Ministry of the Mystery.

1. by the will of GodGreek, "through," &c. (compare Note, see on 1Co 1:1).

Timothy—(Compare Notes, see on 2Co 1:1 and Php 1:1). He was with Paul at the time of writing in Rome. He had been companion of Paul in his first tour through Phrygia, in which Colosse was. Hence the Colossians seem to have associated him with Paul in their affections, and the apostle joins him with himself in the address. Neither, probably, had seen the Colossian Church (compare Col 2:1); but had seen, during their tour through Phrygia, individual Colossians, as Epaphras, Philemon, Archippus, and Apphia (Phm 2), who when converted brought the Gospel to their native city.

2. Colosse—written in the oldest manuscripts, "Colasse." As "saints" implies union with God, so "the faithful brethren" union with Christian men [Bengel].

and the Lord Jesus Christ—supported by some oldest manuscripts omitted by others of equal antiquity.

3. Thanksgiving for the "faith, hope, and love" of the Colossians. So in the twin Epistle sent at the same time and by the same bearer, Tychicus (Eph 1:15, 16).

We—I and Timothy.

and the Father—So some of the oldest manuscripts read. But others better omit the "and," which probably crept in from Eph 1:3.

praying always for you—with thanksgiving (Php 4:6). See Col 1:4.

4. Since we heard—literally, "Having heard." The language implies that he had only heard of, and not seen, them (Col 2:1). Compare Ro 1:8, where like language is used of a Church which he had not at the time visited.

love … to all—the absent, as well as those present [Bengel].

5. For—to be joined with the words immediately preceding: "The love which ye have to all the saints because of (literally, 'on account of') the hope," &c. The hope of eternal life will never be in us an inactive principle but will always produce "love." This passage is abused by Romanists, as if the hope of salvation depended upon works. A false argument. It does not follow that our hope is founded on our works because we are strongly stimulated to live well; since nothing is more effectual for this purpose than the sense of God's free grace [Calvin].

laid up—a treasure laid up so as to be out of danger of being lost (2Ti 4:8). Faith, love, and hope (Col 1:4, 5), comprise the sum of Christianity. Compare Col 1:23, "the hope of the Gospel."

in heavenGreek, "in the heavens."

whereof ye heard before—namely, at the time when it was preached to you.

in the word, &c.—That "hope" formed part of "the word of the truth of the Gospel" (compare Eph 1:13), that is, part of the Gospel truth preached unto you.

6. Which is come unto youGreek, "Which is present among you," that is, which has come to, and remains with, you. He speaks of the word as a living person present among them.

as it is in all the worldvirtually, as it was by this time preached in the leading parts of the then known world; potentially, as Christ's command was that the Gospel should be preached to all nations, and not be limited, as the law was, to the Jews (Mt 13:38; 24:14; 28:19). However, the true reading, and that of the oldest manuscripts, is that which omits the following "and," thus (the "it is" of English Version is not in the original Greek): "As in all the world it is bringing forth fruit and growing (so the oldest manuscripts read; English Version omits 'and growing,' without good authority), even as it doth in you also." Then what is asserted is not that the Gospel has been preached in all the world, but that it is bearing fruits of righteousness, and (like a tree growing at the same time that it is bearing fruit) growing in numbers of its converts in, or throughout, all the world.

heard of it—rather, "heard it."

and knew—rather, "came to know"; became fully experimentally acquainted with.

the grace of God in truth—that is, in its truth, and with true knowledge [Alford].

7. As ye also learned—"Also" is omitted in the oldest manuscripts. The insertion implied that those inserting it thought that Paul had preached the Gospel to the Colossians as well as Epaphras, Whereas the omission in the oldest manuscripts implies that Epaphras alone was the founder of the Church at Colosse.

of—"from Epaphras."

dearGreek, "beloved."

fellow servant—namely, of Christ. In Phm 23 he calls him "my fellow prisoner." It is possible that Epaphras may have been apprehended for his zealous labors in Asia Minor; but more probable that Paul gave him the title; as his faithful companion in his imprisonment (compare Note, see on Col 4:10, as to Meyer's conjecture).

who is for you, &c.—Translate, "who is faithful in your behalf as a minister of Christ"; hinting that he is one not to be set aside for the new and erroneous teachers (Col 2:1-23). Most of the oldest manuscripts read, "for (or 'in behalf of') US." Vulgate, however, with one of the oldest manuscripts, supports English Version.

8. your love—(Col 1:4); "to all the saints."

in the Spirit—the sphere or element IN which alone true love is found; as distinguished from the state of those "in the flesh" (Ro 8:9). Yet even they needed to be stirred up to greater love (Col 3:12-14). Love is the first and chief fruit of the Spirit (Ga 5:22).

9. we also—on our part.

heard it—(Col 1:4).

pray—Here he states what in particular he prays for; as in Col 1:3 he stated generally the fact of his praying for them.

to desire—"to make request."

might be filled—rather, "may be filled"; a verb, often found in this Epistle (Col 4:12, 17).

knowledgeGreek, "full and accurate knowledge." Akin to the Greek for "knew" (see on Col 1:6).

of his will—as to how ye ought to walk (Eph 5:17); as well as chiefly that "mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself; that in the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ" (Eph 1:9, 10); God's "will," whereby He eternally purposed to reconcile to Himself, and save men by Christ, not by angels, as the false teachers in some degree taught (Col 2:18) [Estius]. There seems to have been a want of knowledge among the Colossians; notwithstanding their general excellencies; hence he so often dwells on this subject (Col 1:28; Col 2:2, 3; 3:10, 13; 4:5, 6). On the contrary he less extols wisdom to the Corinthians, who were puffed up with the conceit of knowledge.

wisdom—often mentioned in this Epistle, as opposed to the (false) "philosophy" and "show of wisdom" (Col 2:8, 23; compare Eph 1:8).

understanding—sagacity to discern what on each occasion is suited to the place and the time; its seat is "the understanding" or intellect; wisdom is more general and has its seat in the whole compass of the faculties of the soul [Bengel]. "Wouldst thou know that the matters in the word of Christ are real things? Then never read them for mere knowledge sake" [Quoted by Gaussen.] Knowledge is desirable only when seasoned by "spiritual understanding."

10. Greek, "So as to walk"; so that ye may walk. True knowledge of God's will is inseparable from walking conformably to it.

worthy of the Lord—(Eph 4:1).

unto—so as in every way to be well-pleasing to God.

pleasing—literally, "desire of pleasing."

being fruitfulGreek, "bearing fruit." This is the first manifestation of their "walking worthy of the Lord." The second is, "increasing (growing) in the knowledge of God (or as the oldest manuscripts read, 'growing BY the full knowledge of God')"; thus, as the Gospel word (Col 1:6) was said to "bring forth fruit," and to "grow" in all the world, even as it did in the Colossians, ever since the day they knew the grace of God, so here it is Paul's prayer that they might continue to "bring forth fruit," and "grow" more and more by the full knowledge of God, the more that "knowledge" (Col 1:9) was imparted to them. The full knowledge of God is the real instrument of enlargement in soul and life of the believer [Alford]. The third manifestation of their walk is (Col 1:11), "Being strengthened with all might," &c. The fourth is (Col 1:12), "Giving thanks unto the Father," &c.

11. Greek, "Being made mighty with (literally, 'in') all might."

according to his glorious power—rather, "according to the power (the characteristic of 'His glory,' here appropriate to Paul's argument, Eph 1:19; 6:10; as its exuberant 'riches,' in Eph 3:16) of His glory." His power is inseparable from His glory (Ro 6:4).

unto all patience—so as to attain to all patient endurance; persevering, enduring continuance in the faith, in spite of trials of persecutors, and seductions of false teachers.

long-suffering—towards those whom one could repel. "Patience," or "endurance," is exercised in respect to those whom one cannot repel [Chrysostom].

with joyfulness—joyful endurance (Ac 16:25; Ro 5:3, 11).

12. You "giving thanks unto the Father." See on Col 1:10; this clause is connected with "that ye may be filled" (Col 1:9), and "that ye may walk" (Col 1:10). The connection is not, "We do not cease to pray for you (Col 1:9) giving thanks."

unto the Father—of Jesus Christ, and so our Father by adoption (Ga 3:26; 4:4-6).

which hath made us meetGreek, "who made us meet." Not "is making us meet" by progressive growth in holiness; but once for all made us meet. It is not primarily the Spirit's work that is meant here, as the text is often used; but the Father's work in putting us by adoption, once for all, in a new standing, namely, that of children. The believers meant here were in different stages of progressive sanctification; but in respect to the meetness specified here, they all alike had it from the Father, in Christ His Son, being "complete in Him" (Col 2:10). Compare Joh 17:17; Jude 1, "sanctified by God the Father"; 1Co 1:30. Still, secondarily, this once-for-all meetness contains in it the germ of sanctification, afterwards developed progressively in the life by the Father's Spirit in the believer. The Christian life of heavenliness is the first stage of heaven itself. There must, and will be, a personal meetness for heaven, where there is a judicial meetness.

to be partakers, &c.—Greek, "for the (or 'our') portion of the inheritance (Ac 20:32; 26:18; Eph 1:11) of the saints in light." "Light" begins in the believer here, descending from "the Father of lights" by Jesus, "the true light," and is perfected in the kingdom of light, which includes knowledge, purity, love, and joy. It is contrasted here with the "darkness" of the unconverted state (Col 1:13; compare 1Pe 2:9).

13. fromGreek, "out of the power," out of the sphere in which his power is exercised.

darkness—blindness, hatred, misery [Bengel].

translated—Those thus translated as to state, are also transformed as to character. Satan has an organized dominion with various orders of powers of evil (Eph 2:2; 6:12). But the term "kingdom" is rarely applied to his usurped rule (Mt 12:26); it is generally restricted to the kingdom of God.

his dear Son—rather as Greek, "the Son of His love": the Son on whom His love rests (Joh 17:26; Eph 1:6): contrasted with the "darkness" where all is hatred and hateful.

14. (Eph 1:7.)

redemption—rather as Greek, "our redemption."

through his blood—omitted in the oldest manuscripts; probably inserted from Eph 1:7.

sins—Translate as Greek, "our sins." The more general term: for which Eph 1:7, Greek, has, "our transgressions," the more special term.