(Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible) Colossians 1 This chapter embraces the following topics: (1) The usual salutation to the church; Colossians 1:1 MSG I, Paul, have been sent on special assignment by Christ as part of God's master plan. Together with my friend Timothy,
The writer is Paul, accompanied by Timothy. Paul claims to be sent on a special assignment by Christ. Why is there no doubt this is true? If you have faith in the writings of Luke, who wrote a good portion of the New Testament you’ll believe it’s true.
We remember Saul, the persecutor of Christ Church, was converted on the road to Damascus. He was blind for 3 days during that time he ate or drank nothing. You will recall Jesus came to Ananias in a dream and told him to go find Saul. What Jesus said to Ananias is proof positive that Paul is on special assignment from Jesus.
Acts 9:10 There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: "Ananias." "Yes, Master?" he answered. 11 "Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He's there praying.
12 He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again." 13 Ananias protested, "Master, you can't be serious. Everybody's talking about this man and the terrible things he's been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem!
14 And now he's shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us." 15 But the Master said, "Don't argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to Gentiles and kings and Jews.
16 And now I'm about to show him what he's in for--the hard suffering that goes with this job." 17 So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, "Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
18 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul's eyes--he could see again! He got to his feet, was baptized, 19 and sat down with them to a hearty meal. Saul spent a few days getting acquainted with the Damascus disciples, 20 but then went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places that this Jesus was the Son of God.
There can be no doubt Jesus hand picked a man zealous and aggressive in defending his religion. It just so happened there had been a “Changing of the Guard” so to speak, when the old religion of laws was nailed to the cross and the new Good News of the grace of God through the perfect blood sacrifice of God the Son on the cross replaced it.
We find that Saul who is now called Paul (His circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also given to him in infancy “for use in the Gentile world,” as “Saul” would be his Hebrew home-name.) (Easton Bible Dictionary) is just as zealous and aggressive in defending the Gospel, Good News, of Jesus, God’s Son, as he was the Law of Moses.
2 I greet the Christians and stalwart followers of Christ who live in Colosse. May everything good from God our Father be yours! Paul is writing to the stalwart followers of Christ , the Christians at Colosse. The King James Version calls these Christians Saints. Hence, if you belong to Christ you’re a Saint.
(2) Thanks to God for what He had done for the Colossians, and for the fruits of the gospel among them; 1:3-8 (3) Prayer that they might persevere in the same course, and might walk worthy of their calling; 1:9-11 . (4) An exhortation to render thanks to God for what He had done for them in redemption; 1:12-14 .
Paul gives the Saints at Colosse a pat on the back and complements their faith and work. He reminds them the Message of Jesus hasn’t changed. He encourages them not to give up because they are praying God will provide the strength they need, strength that spills over into Joy.
Now he reminds that God rescued them from the dead-end of sin and put them in the Kingdom of Jesus, His Son. 13 God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He's set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, 14 the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
He will dig you out of the pit and forgive your sins. Will you let him? If no, you doomed to repeat them! (5) A statement of the exalted dignity of the Redeemer; 1:15-18 .
15 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. He is the image of God. He tells us this Himself in John 14:9 MSG "You've been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don't understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, 'Where is the Father?'
16 For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels--everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He is the Creator, everything got started in him . Not only were they created by Him, but everything and everybody finds its purpose in him. You got started with a purpose in Him.
17 He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. He was before anything. This is logical if He created everything and He holds everything together.
(6) A statement of what Christ had done in the work of redemption, in making peace by the blood of his cross and reconciling the world to God; 1:19-20 .
18 And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and--leading the resurrection parade--he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. He is the organizer, head of the church and holds it all together. He is the firstborn so that in all things He will be supreme.
19 So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. 20 Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe--people and things, animals and atoms--get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.
From large to small, small as an atom, everything has its proper place in Him. And what’s more, even the broken, fractured, dislocated are repaired so to fit into their places. It all fits together because He shed His blood on the cross.
(7) Through this gospel, Paul says, they had been reconciled to God, and were now brought into a state in which they might be presented as holy and unblameable in his sight; 1:21-23 .
21 You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. 22 But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence.
Do you see a case study in your own life? That broken person you were before you accepted Jesus’ offer of salvation? It was His death on the cross that made it possible for your life to be put back together and bring you over to God’s side.
23 You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message--just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.
How could anyone turn their back on such a great gift? When someone saves a person or people from death they are touted as a hero. Everyone praises and holds them up high so they get the complements they deserve. How much more should Jesus, the Son of God, be praised and lifted up?
(8) Of this gospel, Paul says he was a minister; in preaching it he had been called to endure trials, but those trials he endured with joy; and in preaching this gospel he used the utmost diligence, warning every man, and teaching every person in all wisdom, so that he might present each one perfect in Christ Jesus; 1:24-29 .
24 I want you to know how glad I am that it's me sitting here in this jail and not you. There's a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world--the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church's part of that suffering.
25 When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God's way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth. Do you recall Jesus’ words to Ananias that He was going to show Saul how much he must suffer in doing the work laid out for him? We see many times in Paul’s life the extent of his suffering. Here he welcomes the suffering he must endure for Christ’s Church.
26 This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it's out in the open. 27 God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message. Being a Christian, He is in you. You will share in God’s glory.
28 We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. He is proclaimed so that we may be presented mature. Spiritual adults in Christ, no longer babes in Christ, mature and ripened Christians, the full-grown man in Christ. The relatively perfect will on that day of the presentation be fully developed as here. (Robertson’s Word Pictures)
Colossians 2 This entire chapter may be regarded as designed to guard the Colossians against the seductive influence of the false philosophy which tended to draw them away from the gospel.
It is evident from the chapter that there were at Colossae, or in the vicinity, professed instructors in religion, who taught an artful and plausible philosophy, adapting themselves to the prejudices of the people, and inculcating opinions that tended to lead them away from the truths which they had embraced.
These teachers were probably of Jewish origin, and had adopted many of the arts of a plausible rhetoric, from the prevailing philosophy in that region.
Against the seductive influences of this philosophy, it is the design of this chapter to guard them, and though the apostle does not seem to have intended to pursue an exact logical order; yet the argument in the chapter can be conveniently regarded as consisting of two parts:
A statement of the reasons why they should be on their guard against the arts of that philosophy; and a specification of the particular errors to which they were exposed:
<ul><li>A statement of the reasons why they should not allow themselves to be drawn away by the influence of the prevalent philosophy; 2:1-15 . </li></ul><ul><li>This also consists of two parts. </li></ul><ul><li>A. The importance of the subject; 2:1-7 . </li></ul>
(1) The apostle felt great solicitude for them, and for all whom he had not seen, that they might hold the truth in reference to the divine existence and perfections; 2:1-2 . (2) All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were in Christ, and it was, therefore, of the greatest importance to hold to the truth respecting him; 2:3 .
(3) They were in danger of being led astray by enticing words; 2:4 . (4) Paul says that he was with them in spirit, and he exhorted them, therefore, to remain rooted and grounded in the doctrines which they had received respecting the Saviour; 2:5-7 .
Colossians 2:6 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. 7 You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
“ As therefore you received Christ Jesus, The Master , now live him .” He says not merely, “You received” the doctrine of Christ, but “Jesus” Himself; this is the essence of faith. You have received once for all the Spirit of life in Christ; carry into practice that life in your walk. This is the main scope of the Epistle. (Jamison Fausset Brown Commentary)
<ul><li>B. Reasons why they should be steadfast and not drawn away by the influence of false philosophy; 2:8-15 . </li></ul><ul><li>The danger of depending on traditions and worldly principles in religion; of being “spoiled” or robbed by philosophy; 2:8 . </li></ul>
8 Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that's not the way of Christ.
(2) All that we need to desire is to be found in Christ; 2:9-10 . 9 Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don't need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. 10 When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.
(3) We have received through him the true circumcision - the putting away our sins; 2:11 . 11 Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It's not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you're already in--insiders--not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin.
(4) We have been buried with him in baptism, and have solemnly devoted ourselves to him, 2:12 . 12 If it's an initiation ritual you're after, you've already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ.
(5) We have been quickened by him; our sins have been forgiven; and everything that hindered our salvation has been taken out of the way by him, and he has triumphed over our foes; 2:13-15 . 13 When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive--right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven,
14 the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ's Cross. 15 He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets. II. Specification of particular errors to which they were exposed, or of particular things to be avoided; 2:16-23 .
16 So don't put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. 17 All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ. 18 Don't tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They're a lot of hot air, that's all they are.
19 They're completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.
The chapter closes 2:20-23 with an earnest exhortation wholly to avoid these things; not to touch or taste or handle them. However plausible the pretences might be on which they were urged; whatever appearance of wisdom or humility there might be, the apostle assures them that there was no real honor in them, and that they were wholly to be avoided.
20 So, then, if with Christ you've put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? 21 "Don't touch this! Don't taste that! Don't go near this!"
22 Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? 23 Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they're just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.
Colossians 3 In the previous chapter, the apostle had showed what a true Christian ought not to follow after. He had warned the Colossians against the dangers of false philosophy, and the doctrines of erroneous teachers.
In this chapter, he teaches them what they ought to pursue and to seek. He therefore enjoins various duties in the different relations of life, which they ought to perform in such a way as to show that true religion had a controlling influence over their hearts. He specifies the following:
(1) The duty of setting the affections on things above; 3:1-4 . They were risen with Christ 2:12 , they were dead to sin 3:3 ; they were soon to be like Christ 3:4 , and they should, therefore, fix their affections on heavenly things.
Colossians 3:1 MSG So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. 2 Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ--that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.
3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life--even though invisible to spectators--is with Christ in God. He is your life. 4 When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too--the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
<ul><li>The duty of mortifying their corrupt passions and carnal propensities; 3:5-8 . </li></ul><ul><li>5 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. </li></ul>
6 It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. 7 It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. 8 But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
(3) The duty of speaking the truth, since they had put off the old man with his deeds; 3:9-11 . 9 Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. 10 Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.
<ul><li>Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. </li></ul><ul><li>The duty of kindness, gentleness, charity, and the spirit of peace; </li></ul><ul><li>3:12-15 . </li></ul>
12 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. 13 Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
14 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. 15 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness.
(5) The duty of edifying one another by psalms and songs of praise; 3:16-17 16 Let the Word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! 17 Let every detail in your lives--words, actions, whatever--be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
(6) The duty of wives, 3:18 ; 18 Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master. (7) Of husbands, 3:19 ; 19 Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don't take advantage of them.
(8) Of children, 3:20 ; 20 Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end. (9) Of Parents, 3:21 ; 21 Parents, don't come down too hard on your children or you'll crush their spirits.
<ul><li>Of servants, 3:22-25 . </li></ul><ul><li>22 Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. 23 Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, </li></ul>
24 confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. 25 The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being Christian doesn't cover up bad work.
This verse properly belongs to the preceding chapter, with which it should have been concluded. (Gill) Colossians 4:1 MSG And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don't forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master--God in heaven.
4:1-18 . Exhortations continued. To prayer: Wisdom in relation to the unconverted: As to the bearers of the epistle, Tychicus and Onesimus: Closing salutations. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary) 2 Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.
3 Don't forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I'm locked up in this jail. 4 Pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.
5 Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. 6 Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. 7 My good friend Tychicus will tell you all about me. He's a trusted minister and companion in the service of the Master.
8 I've sent him to you so that you would know how things are with us, and so he could encourage you in your faith. 9 And I've sent Onesimus with him. Onesimus is one of you, and has become such a trusted and dear brother! Together they'll bring you up-to-date on everything that has been going on here.
10 Aristarchus, who is in jail here with me, sends greetings; also Mark, cousin of Barnabas (you received a letter regarding him; if he shows up, welcome him); 11 and also Jesus, the one they call Justus. These are the only ones left from the old crowd who have stuck with me in working for God's kingdom. Don't think they haven't been a big help!
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, says hello. What a trooper he has been! He's been tireless in his prayers for you, praying that you'll stand firm, mature and confident in everything God wants you to do. 13 I've watched him closely, and can report on how hard he has worked for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
14 Luke, good friend and physician, and Demas both send greetings. 15 Say hello to our friends in Laodicea; also to Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After this letter has been read to you, make sure it gets read also in Laodicea. And get the letter that went to Laodicea and have it read to you.
17 And, oh, yes, tell Archippus, "Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your very best." 18 I'm signing off in my own handwriting--Paul. Remember to pray for me in this jail. Grace be with you.