Colossians 1:1-14

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

To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Observation

  • The letter is from Paul and Timothy.
  • Paul is an apostle of Christ Jesus.
  • Paul is an apostle by the will of God.
  • The letter written to Christians at Colossae.
  • Paul greets the Colossians with grace and peace from God the Father
  • Paul refers to God as our Father.
  • Paul always thanked God for the Colossians when he prayed.
  • Paul had not been to Colossae but only heard of their faith.
  • Paul heard of their faith in Christ.
  • Paul heard of their love for all saints.
  • Paul thanked God for the hope the Colossians had laid up for them in heaven.
  • The Colossians had known of the hope they had in heaven because they had heard the gospel.
  • The word of truth is the gospel.
  • The gospel had come to the Colossians.
  • The gospel was being heard throughout the world.
  • The gospel was bearing fruit and increasing throughout the world as it did with the Colossians.
  • The gospel bore fruit from the day they heard and understood the grace of God in truth.
  • The Colossians had heard the gospel from Epaphras.
  • Epaphras was a fellow servant of Christ with Paul.
  • Epaphras was a fellow minister of Christ with Paul.
  • Epaphras was a minister to the Colossians.
  • Epaphras was the one who let Paul and his party know about the Colossians love in the Spirit.
  • Paul prayed for the Colossians from the day he heard about the Colossians’ faith.
  • Paul’s prayer for the Colossians was that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in spiritual wisdom and understanding.
  • Paul exhorted the Colossians to live in a manner that was worthy of the Lord
  • Living in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord would be:
    • Living to fully please Him
    • Bearing fruit in everything we did
    • Increase in knowledge of God
  • Paul prayed that the Colossians be strengthened with all power so they:
    • could endure
    • have patience
    • have joy
    • give thanks to the Father
  • The Father qualified the Colossians to share in the inheritance of the saints.
  • The Father has delivered us from the domain of darkness
  • The Father has transferred us to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  • We have redemption in Jesus Christ.
  • We have forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ.

Interpretation

Note that Paul does not congratulate the Colossians on their life in Christ; rather, he gives thanks for it. First of all, the Colossians did nothing to earn or win it. It was totally a gift from God. So too, we need to recognize that all good gifts come for the goodness and kindness of God.

Paul is thankful for the Colossians’ faith and love. What set them apart was their faith and love. These are unquestionably gifts from God. But Paul is not thankful simply for any faith. He is thankful for their faith in Christ. Paul is does not stop at saying that he is thankful for their love, but their love of the saints. Paul does not intend to exclude love for others, but rather there should be a special embracing of other Christians. Yes, we should love everyone. After all we are all created in the image of God. However, Paul here is recognizing degrees of love. There is a special love for other Christians because we share a common grace.

The Colossians had a hope reserved for them in Heaven. Faith, hope, and love, are central to the Christian’s life (Romans 5:2–5; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Hebrews 10:22–24). They are gifts of God, not virtues we produced ourselves. Paul recognizes the sovereignty of God in salvation (Ephesians 1:4; 2:8). This is not simply Paul’s understanding or interpretation of the Gospel because he points out this is nothing new. The Colossians already knew this. Epaphras had already taught them the same thing.

The Colossians had received the Gospel and they were bearing the fruit of the Gospel. Paul let them know that the Gospel is bearing fruit throughout the whole world which was to serve as an encouragement to the Colossians. Paul also commends the Colossians because they immediately embraced the Gospel. As soon as they heard and understood it, they started bearing fruit. Paul praised them for their perseverance in the word of truth, which is the Gospel.

Paul says he has prayed daily for the Colossians from the day he heard about them. He prays that they may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and with Spiritual wisdom. The Colossians were living according to the truth, but Paul implies that their knowledge is incomplete. Paul wanted them be completely filled with an understanding of the doctrine of Christ. In praying for the Colossians to have a fuller understanding of the doctrines of Christ, Paul is praying for them to be drawn closer to Christ.

Paul admonishes the Colossians to live in a manner that is worthy of the Lord, such a life bears fruit. If we increase in the knowledge of God we will bear fruit. Knowledge is more than simple intellectual knowledge. It is an existential knowledge as well. It is a full and complete knowledge. Paul instructs them to do good works because it is through the doing of the word and not simply studying it we know God. (James 1:22)

Paul also prays that the Colossians be strengthened so that they may endure and process patience. This is not simply patience alone but patience along with joy, while giving thanks to the Father. We give thanks to the Father because; it is the Father who qualifies us for our inheritance.

God has delivered us from darkness. And God Himself transferred us to the kingdom of Christ. It is Christ work and nothing else. Keeping our eye on Christ and what Christ did for us, brings the strength that Paul prayed for, the strength to endure.

Application

Just as Paul gave thanks for the Colossians, so to, we ought to give thanks for the gifts He gives to others. We need to give thanks for every good gift, including those received by others.

The gospel bears fruit where ever it is taught and preached. The fact that the Gospel was and is bearing fruit throughout the whole world severed as an encouragement to the Colossians as it should to us. If we take our eyes off of ourselves we can see the fruit of the Gospel everywhere.

Satan strives to obscure Christ from our vision. He knows that by obscuring Christ we are open to every type of false doctrine. Therefore, the only way to retain and/or restore pure doctrine is to place Christ and His blessings in full view so His excellence may be perceived. It is Christ who redeems us. And it is through Christ our sins have been forgiven.

Let us not ignore the study of scripture but let us not simply read and study. We need to know God through our experiences as well as through our head. Note I did not say we need to experience God rather than know Him through our heads. This is a both/and rather than an either/or. We should not ignore either one. Through both we have a fuller understanding and knowledge of God.

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