Colossians: Chapters 1-3


Chapters 1-3


Editor’s comment. These Bible notes are taken primarily from Andrew Womack’s commentary (which the editor at times modified) and John Wesley’s commentary (unmodified). Occasionally, The Passion Translation and English Standard Version notes are seen. These edited notes, presented verse by verse, may provide useful background information/insight for the reader in his or her personal devotions or in bible study/sermon preparation.





TPT: Subtitle: Heaven’s Hope. Author Paul wrote to the church at Colossae in AD 60-61. What a glorious HOPE lives within us! Our hope of Glory. Paul did not start the church and may not have visited it. Colossae (a small city of Phrygia) is about 100 miles east Ephesus on the Lycus River, and the church was probably planted by Epaphras (of Colossae) during Paul’s three year stay in Ephesus (AD 52-55). Perhaps the church began as a house church in the home of Philemon. Coins found show the worship of Roman gods. A Jewish presence would have been strong.


Epaphras was in Rome with Paul when the letter was written.


Chapter 1.


Verse 1.


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


ESV. Some false teaching threatened the church.


Womack. In nine of Paul’s thirteen epistles, he designated himself as an “apostle.” Paul did not choose to be an apostle, nor was he chosen by others to be an apostle. He received his apostolic commission from the risen Christ (Acts 9:3-6, 22:6-15; 1 Corinthians 9:1, and 15:8-9), and showed the signs of an apostle by miraculous power (2 Corinthians 12:12).

Timothy is first mentioned in Acts 16:1, where he is a disciple with a Jewish-Christian mother (and grandmother) and a Greek father. Paul met Timothy on his second missionary journey (Acts 19:22), and that led to a special bond between them that lasted throughout Paul’s ministry. Timothy was Paul’s “own son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2), “my workfellow” (Romans 16:21), one of the “servants of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:1), “our brother” (2 Corinthians 1:1), and “my dearly beloved son” (2 Timothy 1:2).


Timothy was with Paul when he was in prison. Paul’s feelings for Timothy are best expressed in Philippians 2:20-22 - “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.” It was to Timothy that Paul wrote his last letter from Rome (2 Timothy 4:6-8), encouraging Timothy to fulfill his ministry (2 Timothy 4:5).


Verse 2.


“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”


Wesley: to the saints-Saints are in union with God. And brethren — Since saints are in union with God, they are also in union with other brethren who are in union with God. They must be unified due to their dual possession in Christ.


Womack. Paul’s greeting “Grace be unto you and peace” is in all thirteen of his letters (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, this verse, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2,1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, and Philemon 3). God the Father and Jesus Christ are always the source of Grace and Peace.


Grace and peace are the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), and they operate in our lives through our knowledge of Him through His Word. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2-4).


Verse 3.


“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.”


Wesley:  There is a near resemblance between this epistle, and those to the Ephesians and Philippians.


Womack. With the exceptions of Galatians and Titus, Paul’s letters begin with thanksgiving to God (Romans 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:4, 2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:3, this verse, 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:3, and Philemon 4). Thanksgiving to God in the early church was expressed for deliverance from enemies (Psalms 44:7), His goodness and mercy (Psalms 100:4-5), His grace and acceptance of us through Christ (Ephesians 1:6), forgiveness of our sins and healing for our bodies (Psalms 103:2-4 and Luke 17:15-16), Christ’s deliverance of the believer from the principle of sin (Romans 6:17-18), the unspeakable gift of grace in Christ (2 Corinthians 9:15), and the like precious faith of all Christians (Romans 1:8). Thanksgiving is expressed through His saints (Psalms 145:10), people’s lips (Hebrews 13:15), the righteous (Psalms 140:13), and prayer (Colossians 4:2).


Verse 4.


“Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints.”


ESV. Faith and love are based on hope – something objective in the sense of “a thing hoped for” that Christians can anticipate with confidence because it is laid up for them in heaven. No earthly ruler or demonic agent can rob believers of hope.


One of the fruits of Christ’s love in us is faith. Paul stated, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6).


Wesley. Love is the completion of our salvation. Faith is the “handmaid of love.... Biblical faith is so entangled with love...that it does not exist without [it]....” True Christianity is for us to ‘have the mind of Christ,’ which is demonstrated in love for God and neighbor.”


Wesley con’t. The Christian’s freedom is not freedom from guilt or release from hell but the freedom to love with God’s love which is shed abroad in the heart by the indwelling Holy Spirit. In his ‘Plain Account,’ Wesley summarized freedom as ‘nothing higher and nothing lower than governing the heart and life, through all our tempers, words, and actions’” (Five Views on Sanctification, Zondervan Publishing; brackets mine).”


Christ’s love not only brings people to Himself (Romans 2:4), it is the force that reaches out to others (1 John 4:20). Paul thanked God for the love that the Colossians had shown to each other.


ESV. The Word of Truth contrast with empty deceit in 2:8.


Verse 5.


“because of the hope, which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.”


Wesley: Ye heard before — They heard the gospel before Paul wrote to them. In the word of truth, of the gospel — The truth of the gospel preached to you.



We have hope for this life. Jesus gives us abundant life (John 10:10). But if our hope is in this life only, we are of all men most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:19). Heaven is a real place and is part of the truth of the Gospel.

The Gospel gave the Colossians such a hope of the future (in heaven) that it affected their present lives. For this, Paul gave thanks to God (Colossians 1:3).


Verse 6.


ESV. It’s been 30 years since the resurrection and Pentecost.


“Which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth.”


The Gospel is a message for all mankind – for all ethnic groups, cultural groups, all nations, in all ages. It’s the good news that God, in Christ, has come to seek and save those who are lost (Matthew 18:11-14 and Luke 19:10). “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matthew 24:14). “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19). “And ye shall be witnesses unto me...unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). “Having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6).

The Gospel is alive and produces fruit (Matthew 13:8 and James 3:17). The fruit consists of peoples’ conversions (Romans 1:13); eternal life (John 4:36); the life of Christ manifested in the believer (John 15:4-5); holiness (Romans 6:22); good works (Colossians 1:10); love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23); and goodness, righteousness, and truth (2 Corinthians 9:10, Ephesians 5:9, and Philippians 1:11).


Wesley: It bringeth forth fruit in all the world — In every place where the gospel is preached, it brings forth fruit.

Ye knew the grace of God in truth — You personally experienced the gracious power of God.

Verse 7.


“As you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf.”


Epaphras founded the church at Colossae. His name means “lovely.” He imparted to the church faith and love, praying always for them. See 4:12.


Paul says that Epaphras is a “fellow servant.” That term is used ten times in the New Testament (e.g. Matthew 18:28-29, 31, 33, 24:49; Colossians 1:7, and it is “one who serves the same master with who with others acknowledges the same Lord” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). Paul connected Epaphras’ ministry with his own by using this term.

Verse 8.


“Who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.”


Colossians 4:12 says Epaphras was “one of you,” meaning that Epaphras was a Colossian. The implication is that Epaphras brought the Gospel to Colossae. In Philemon 23, Paul called Epaphras “my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.”

Faithfulness is a prized characteristic that separates godly ministers from all the rest. Faithfulness carries the idea of being loyal, reliable, and having or being full of faith. Paul spoke of only a few of his associates as faithful, such as Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21 and Colossians 4:7), Epaphras (this verse), Onesimus (Colossians 4:9), and Timothy (1 Corinthians 4:17). Faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and must be developed in our lives as we look to Him.


Epaphras declared the love of the Colossians for the Paul. The Colossians had never met Paul, yet they loved him “through the Spirit.”

Wesley: your love in the Spirit — God’s supernatural love wrought in you by the presence of power of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 9.


“For this reason, we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”


Paul expresses his love for the Colossians by praying for them.

Two apostolic characteristics were that they gave themselves continually to prayer and to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word (Acts 6:4). In this letter, Paul prayed for them first (Colossians 1:9-14). Through prayer, God gives knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and strength to help others in their spiritual walk, even without the physical presence of the prayer. The prophetess Anna “served God” night and day through prayer (Luke 2:36-37). Trusting faith in God is a vehicle that works on the behalf of others.

Paul wanted the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. The word “filled” means “to put into as much as can be held” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Such knowledge is to permeate all of one’s being.

Knowledge of God’s will be foundational in developing Christian character. Only with the knowledge of God’s will would the Colossians be able to “walk worthy of the Lord” and be “fruitful in every good work” (Colossians 1:10). Christians must be understanding God’s will for them. How can they get it? First, want it. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” We must seek with all their heart. Second, the Holy Spirit dispenses God’s wisdom. One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s will to us (John 16:13). We must depend on Him. Finally, we must study the Scriptures because they reveal the will of God for us. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, we must be filled with God’s Word. God’s Word is His will.

Paul wanted the Colossians to be filled with spiritual understanding. All spiritual understanding originates from and conforms to God’s Word.

The Greek word for “wisdom,” “SOPHIA,” is used fifty-one times in the New Testament, including six times in Colossians (Colossians 1:9, 28; 2:3, 23; 3:16; and 4:5). Wisdom is more than just knowledge; it is the ability to use knowledge correctly. The Greek word “SUNESIS” was translated “understanding” a total of six times in the New Testament (Mark 12:33; Luke 2:47; 1 Corinthians 1:19; Colossians 1:9, 2:2; and 2 Timothy 2:7). It literally means “a mental putting together” (Strong’s Concordance). The words “wisdom” and “understanding” are used in combination a total of fifty-three times in Scripture. To utilize our facilities fully, wisdom and understanding must work together.


Wesley: We pray for you — This was mentioned in general, Colossians 1:3, but now more particularly. That ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will — Of his revealed will. In all wisdom — With all the spiritual wisdom from above. And spiritual understanding — To discern by that light whatever agrees with, or differs from, his will.


Verse 10.


“That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”


ESV. “To walk” is a Jewish metaphor for behavior or manner of conduct. Every good work is viewed as the fruit of salvation in a Christian’s life and not to enter a relationship with Christ.


If we are filled with the knowledge of God’s will, we will have the benefits listed here and in Colossians 1:11. We can walk worthy of the Lord, please Him, and be fruitful only if we know His will. Knowing God’s will be not a one-time experience; rather, we increase in that knowledge.  Colossians 1:11: We will be strengthened through God’s power “unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.”

Being filled with the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9) results in a lifestyle that is pleasing unto the Lord. “Walk,” is a pattern of conduct, or a lifestyle (1 John 1:7, 2 John 1:6, and 3 John 1:3-4). It means acting in conformity to our union with Christ (Romans 7:4).

How can we “walk worthy of the Lord”? Only with Jesus. “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5), but with Him, you “can do all things (the will of God)” (Philippians 4:13). The secret to the Christian life is living from the strength and resources of Christ Himself (Galatians 2:20). As Martin Luther wrote in “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “Did we in our own strength confide, / our striving would be losing, / were not the right man on our side, / the man of God’s own choosing.”

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.” The Greek word for “pleasing” means a “desire to please” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). What pleases the Lord? Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” Therefore, faith pleases the Lord. This God-pleasing faith is specifically a faith in God’s grace and not in our acts of holiness. If our faith is in our actions, then that type of faith is not pleasing to the Lord (Romans 8:8). Our faith for justification must be in the Lord; then we can please to the Lord as actions flow out of that faith.

Doing good and giving is pleasing to the Lord (Hebrews 13:16). Offering prayers, especially for all in authority, pleases the Lord (1 Timothy 2:2-3, NIV). Basically, a lifestyle consistent with the Word pleases God if it originates from a heart of love and faith. Hebrews 11:5 states that before Enoch’s translation, he pleased God. Therefore, pleasing the Lord is possible and has great reward. We need to “find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).

Every good work bears fruit. The Colossians’ lives were to continually produce good works through and because of their union with Christ and for those good works to grow. Good works the fruit, not the root, of our salvation.

  • fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8)
  • good and evil fruit (Matthew 7:17)
  • fruits of the kingdom of God (Matthew 21:43)
  • fruit unto eternal life (John 4:36)
  • the fruit of abiding in Christ’s life (John 15:5)
  • fruit of discipleship (John 15:8)
  • the fruit, or harvest, of souls (Romans 1:13)
  • fruit unto holiness (Romans 6:22)
  • fruits of righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:10)
  • the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • fruit of goodness, righteousness, and truth (Ephesians 5:9)
  • fruit of one’s labor (Philippians 1:22)
  • fruit of giving (Philippians 4:17)
  • fruit of the Gospel (Colossians 1:6)
  • being fruitful in good works (this verse)
  • the fruit of our lips giving thanks to God (Hebrews 13:15)

Even Jesus had to increase in knowledge (Luke 2:52). At twelve years of age, He was asking the teachers questions (Luke 2:46).


Wesley: That, knowing his whole will, ye may walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing - So as actually to please him in all things; daily increasing in the living, experiential knowledge of God, our Father, Savior, Sanctifier.


Verse 11.


“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.”


ESV. The purpose of the Divine power is to enable the Christians to live virtuously.


Womack. The Greek word translated “strengthened” signifies continuous action. God doesn’t strengthen us one time; He continually strengthens us. Satan’s warfare against us doesn’t stop when we are born again. We need to be continuously strengthened by the power of God to overcome him.

Where does this strength/might come from? It comes from God through the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 says, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” The same Greek word that translated “power” in Acts 1:8 is translated “might” in this verse.

The word “longsuffering” primarily denotes self-restraint.  It “focuses our attention on that capacity for self-control despite circumstances that arouse the passions.” Patience and long-suffering are closely related. However, it seems that long-suffering is used more in relationships and involves forbearance, endurance, and slowness in avenging wrongs.

Wesley: Strengthened unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness — This is the highest point: not only to know, to do, to suffer, the whole will of God; but to suffer it to the end, not barely with patience, but with thankful joy.

Verse 12.


“Giving thanks to the father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”


An “inheritance” is an “allotted portion” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). It is “eternal life” in Matthew 19:29 – “And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon describes it as “the part which one will have in eternal salvation...eternal salvation itself...i.e. the eternal salvation which God has assigned” and all the benefits and blessings of which it consists of.


ESV. God has made Gentiles ‘saints’ – holy ones or consecrated people through the redemption that He procured in Christ.


Wesley: Who, by justifying and sanctifying us, hath made us acceptable for glory.


Verse 13.


“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”


“Who hath delivered” us. Deliverance is complete, of all of us, as a one-time action. We walk by faith in that which God’s grace has already freely given us. Romans 6:11 states, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We don’t reckon ourselves as becoming dead to sin; instead, we reckon ourselves already dead, because we are dead through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are not heading toward victory; we are coming from a victory–the victory of Christ over the devil, which has already taken place. Since we have already been delivered “from the power of darkness,” satan does not have any real power over us. His only weapons are deception and intimidation.

ESV. Just as God delivered His people from Egypt, He has delivered them from the dominion of darkness, the realm of satan and the power of evil. The Kingdom of His beloved Son is the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.

Wesley: Power detains reluctant captives; a kingdom cherishes willing subjects. His beloved Son — This is treated of in the fifteenth and following verses. Colossians 1:15


Verse 14.


“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

“Redemption” means “a buying back, a setting free by paying a ransom price.” See also Luke 21:28; Romans 3:24, 8:23; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:7, 14, 4:30; Hebrews 9:15, and 11:35. God created us for Himself, but we sold ourselves into slavery to the devil. The Lord bought us back through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s shed blood provides our redemption. No amount of effort, human works, or our own righteousness can bring us divine favor. Christ’s blood was God’s gift to provide payment for our sin. In the Old Testament, sin was so serious, it demanded punishment by death. Ezekiel 18:20 states, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” The shedding of blood in the O.T. sacrifices symbolized this death penalty. The blood of Jesus was not symbolic but the actual life of God (Leviticus 17:11) that purchased our redemption. The Scriptures mention several things that the blood of Jesus accomplished for us: 1) it purchased the church of God (Acts 20:28), 2) it instituted the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25), 3) it brought us close to God (Ephesians 2:13), and 4) it provided peace (Colossians 1:20). The blood of Jesus 5) purges our consciences (Hebrews 9:14), 6) gives us boldness to enter the holy place (Hebrews 10:19), 7) and cleanses us of all sin (1 John 1:7 and Revelation 1:5). It enables us to 8) overcome the devil (Revelation 12:11) and 9) provides propitiation (Romans 3:25), 10) justification (Romans 5:9), 11) remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22), 12) sanctification (Hebrews 13:12), and 13) eternal redemption (Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:12).

The shed blood of Jesus allowed God to forgive our sins. His shed blood covered all the sins of mankind–past, present, and future. God’s ultimate plan for us is not forgiveness of our sins but that is a necessary step. His real goal in salvation is that we have an eternal, love relationship with Him. Our sins have been forgiven so that we may enter intimacy with the Lord.


ESV. Redemption means deliverance or liberation and forgiveness of sins for the believer.


Wesley:  The voluntary passion and sacrifice of Jesus appeased the Father's wrath, obtained pardon and acceptance for us, and, consequently, dissolved the dominion and power which Satan had over us through our sins. So that forgiveness is the beginning of redemption, as the resurrection is the completion of it.


Verse 15.


“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”


Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus is the express image of the Father. The Amplified Bible translates says “[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation.

Today’s English Version says: “Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things.” The German Common Language Version says, “In the Son the invisible God became visible for us.”


God the Father is invisible to our natural senses, but He has and will be seen.

Isaiah said that Jesus had no beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2). Philippians 2:7 says that Jesus’ physical body was “made in the likeness of men.” Jesus totally represented the Father in actions, nature, and character. Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus gave us an exact image (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father’s heart. We are predestined “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). As surely “as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49), and we don’t have to wait for eternity for this to happen. As we now behold the glory of the Lord, we “are changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“Firstborn” is used in the sense of first in importance. The context of this verse is that (see Colossians 1:18) Paul said Jesus was to have the preeminence in all things. Jesus “is before all things, and by him all things consist of” (Colossians 1:17). The Jews understood “firstborn” to refer to position and rank. In other words, the firstborn (according to Jewish custom) was his father’s heir. All that his father possessed was his. This term signifies that the Son is the “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). Taken in context, this passage clearly reveals that all things in heaven and earth were created by the Son and for the Son (Colossians 1:16-17). By virtue of this fact, the Son stands as Ruler, Creator, and Firstborn.

ESV. Paul depicts Christ in terms like the presentation of “wisdom” in Proverbs 8. See Pro. 8: 27, 30. Jesus existed eternally as the Son, with the Father and the Holy Spirit. What Paul had in mind were the rights and privileges of a firstborn son, especially the son of a monarch who would inherit sovereignty. See Ps. 89:27.


Wesley: Who is — By describing the glory of Christ, and his pre-eminence over the highest angels, the apostle lays a foundation for the reproof of all worshippers of angels. The image of the invisible God —None can represent accurately the Invisible God. Only Jesus can do so. Jesus, in his divine nature and character, makes the Father known. The first begotten of every creature — That is, begotten before every creature, subsisting before all worlds, before all time, from all eternity.


Verse 16.


For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.


Jesus is preeminent (Colossians 1:18) over creation because He is its Creator. This includes things in heaven, things on earth, things under the earth, whether visible or invisible. Christ created the material universe as well as thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. These refer to the various ranks of angels. Jesus is the Creator of angels, and as such, angels worship Him (Hebrews 1:6). Nehemiah 9:6 states that angels worship Jehovah.


ESV. Jesus was the agent of creation through whom God made the heavens and the earth (Jo. 1:3). All spiritual powers were created by Jesus. Jesus is also the goal of creation for everything was created by Him and for Him.


Wesley: For — This explains the latter part of the preceding verse. Through implies something prior to the particles by and for; so, denoting the beginning, the progress, and the end. Him — This word, frequently repeated, signifies his supreme majesty, and excludes every creature. Were created all things that are in heaven — And heaven itself. But the inhabitants are named, because more noble than the house. Invisible — The several species of which are subjoined. Thrones are superior to dominions, principalities, to powers. Perhaps the two latter may express their office about other creatures: the two former may refer to God, who maketh them his chariots, and, as it were, rideth upon their wings.



Verse 17.


“And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”


All things were made through Christ (John 1:3,1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 3:9, and Hebrews 1:1-2). All things continue to exist through Him (Acts 17:28 and Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Christ, the Word, (John 1:1) existed before creation and, through Him, all creation was brought forth and now exists.


ESV. Jesus sustains His creation.


Wesley: And he is before all things — It is not said, he was he is from everlasting to everlasting. And by him all things consist of — The original expression not only implies, that he sustains all things in being, but more directly, all things were and are compacted in him into one system. He is the cement, as well as support, of the universe. And is he less than the supreme God?


Verse 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 may have the preeminence.”


Christ the creator of everything, and He is also the head of the church. The church is a family (Ephesians 3:15), a vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), a kingdom (Matthew 5:20, Luke 17:20-21, and Colossians 1:13), a building (1 Corinthians 3:9 and Ephesians 2:21), a flock (John 10:1-16, Acts 20:28, and 1 Peter 5:2-3), and a bride (Revelation 21:2,9; and 22:17). The description of Christ’s church as His body has no Old Testament equivalent. The church is a living organism, and as such, it has life, with its head being Christ Jesus. As head, He is chief, supreme, and Lord of His church.


Jesus was not the first person to be raised from the dead. Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead (1 Kings 17:22). Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son from the dead (2 Kings 4:35). One man came back to life when his body was tossed in the tomb of Elisha and touched Elisha’s dead bones (2 Kings 13:21). Jesus raised three people from the dead (Luke 7:15, Matthew 9:25, and John 11:44) prior to His own resurrection.

However, no one had been resurrected as Jesus was. Jesus didn’t just come back to life to have to die again; He was resurrected with a spiritual body that can never die (Romans 6:9). Jesus was also the first “born-again” person. He not only had a glorified body, but He also had a spirit that had been raised in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

1 Corinthians 15:20 refers to Jesus as the first fruits from the dead. That means He was the first, but there are more to come. That is referring to all believers who have been “born-again.” All Christians have new, born-again spirits, and they will receive glorified bodies at the second coming of Christ.


The word “preeminence” means “to be first (in rank or influence)” (Strong’s Concordance). The American Heritage Dictionary defines “preeminent” as “superior to...all others; outstanding.”


TPT. He is the firstborn from the dead or the firstborn heir in resurrection. He holds “first place” and is the Superior One.

Wesley: And — From the whole he now descends to the most eminent part, the church. He is the head of the church — Universal; the supreme and only head both of influence and of government to the whole body of believers. Who is — The repetition of the expression {Colossians 1:15} points out the entrance on a new paragraph. The beginning — Absolutely, the Eternal. The first begotten from the dead — From whose resurrection flows all the life, spiritual and eternal, of all his brethren.

That in all things — Whether of nature or grace. He might have the pre-eminence — Who can sound this depth?


Verse 19.


“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.


ESV. Like God filling the Temple. Ez. 44:4. Jesus bears God’s glory and possesses God’s glory, wisdom, power, and Spirit.

Wesley: For it pleased the Father that all fulness — All the fulness of God. Should dwell in him — Constantly, as in a temple; and always ready for our approach to him.

All divine fulness permanently resides in the Lord Jesus. This divine fulness was not something added to His Being, but it part of His essential Being - part of His constitution, and that permanently” (Wuest’s Word Studies of the Greek New Testament, Volume 1, p. 187).


The totality of everything that God is, is in Jesus. And we are in Jesus. Therefore, we have access to everything that God is. John 1:16 says, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Colossians 2:9-10 says, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

Today’s English Version translates this verse, “For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God.” The Amplified Bible renders this verse as, “For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him permanently.” Hallelujah!


TPT. Restored “back to Himself.”


ESV. Jesus will quell all rebellion against God. The cross is the pivotal point in human and cosmic history.


Verse 20.


“And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”


The peace that Paul speaks of is peace between God and man. Our peace with God was purchased with the awful price of Jesus’ blood. The price paid was greater than the sum of all of mankind’s sins. Total and complete peace is now ours.

Unrepentant people and fallen angels are not reconciled to God. But all things in heaven and on earth are coming back into harmony with God. Earthly things to be reconciled to God include those who have placed their faith in Christ, the animal creation (Romans 8:19-21), This physical world will be renovated and reconciled to God (Revelation 21:1). What are heaven things that will be reconciled to God if demonic powers are excluded? Sin may have affected not only people and this world, but the whole universe and heaven itself.

Wesley. Through the blood of the cross — The blood shed on the cross. Whether things on earth — Here the enmity began: therefore, this is mentioned first. Or things in heaven — Those who are now in paradise; the saints who died before Christ came.


Verse 21.


And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.


God did not reject us. We rejected God by exalting our wisdom above His wisdom. Since our minds led us away from God, mind renewal must occur to restore us back to God. At salvation, our spirits are born again. Our minds are not instantly changed. In fact, we must make our thinking change by believing the truths of God’s Word.

This reconciliation was accomplished through the death of our Lord Jesus (Colossians 1:22). The awful price that was paid indicates the greatness of the debt. This harmony wasn’t cheap and should not be taken lightly.

Wesley. And you that were alienated, and enemies — Actual alienation of affection makes habitual enmity. In your mind — Both your understanding and your affections. By wicked works — Which continually feed and increase inward alienation from, and enmity to, God. He hath now reconciled — From the moment ye believed.


Verse 22.


“In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”


We are holy, blameless, and unreproveable in His sight. God is a Spirit and sees us through our new, born-again spirits. Our born-again spirits are already righteous and truly holy.


TPT. You are “without indictment.”

By the body of his flesh — So distinguished from his body, the church. The body here denotes his entire manhood. Through death — Whereby he purchased the reconciliation which we receive by faith. To present you — The very end of that reconciliation. Holy — Toward God. Spotless — In yourselves. Unreprovable — As to your neighbor


Verse 23.


“If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”


“If” makes our being holy, blameless, and unreproveable conditional upon continuing in the faith. It’s our faith in what Jesus did for us that saved us, and our faith must continue to be in Christ, not in ourselves, to maintain salvation. Our holiness, righteousness, and justification are gifts that we receive in our spirits through Jesus.

The Greek word translated “grounded,” “THEMELIOO,” means “to lay a basis for” (Strong’s Concordance). It is translated “founded” in Matthew 7:25 and Luke 6:48 in Jesus’ parable of the man who built his house upon the rock. The house withstood the flood because it was “founded” upon a rock.

The English word “settle” was translated from the Greek means “sedentary, i.e. (by implication) immovable” (Strong’s Concordance). This doesn’t describe people acquainted with faith only, but those who are well established and can’t be moved from their faith in Christ.

Paul’s statement that the Gospel “was preached to every creature under heaven” isn’t literal. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The Gospel reaching every person will usher in the second coming of the Lord, and that hasn’t happened yet. Paul himself said he tried to preach the Gospel where Christ was not named (Romans 15:20); that means people who had not been reached yet. This statement is to be taken as a hyperbole; that is, an intentional exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis. The Gospel was spreading so fast and so far, that even the Pharisees of Jesus’ day said, “Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him” (John 12:19).

Wesley: ye continue in the faith — Otherwise, ye will lose all the blessings which ye have already begun to enjoy. And be not removed from the hope of the gospel — The glorious hope of perfect love. Which is preached — Is already begun to be preached to every creature under heaven


Verse 24.


“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”


TPT. The sufferings of Christ were complete, sufficient to transfer righteousness and forgiveness to every believer. Paul’s sufferings were meant to be an example of Christ and a testimony to his converts that his ministry was sincere.


Jesus said to Paul, “Why persecutest thou me?” Jesus takes anyone persecuting His people as persecuting Him. Paul recognized that anyone persecuting him was persecuting Jesus. Therefore, all the church’s suffering since His resurrection and before His return are Christ’s afflictions.

“THLIPSIS” is the Greek word translated “afflictions.” It means “pressure.” Afflictions, therefore, can be any pressure that come against us because of our stand for Christ.

Wesley. That which is behind of the sufferings of Christ — That which remains to be suffered by his members. These are termed the sufferings of Christ, 1. Because the suffering of any member is the suffering of the whole; and of the head especially, which supplies strength, spirits, sense, and motion to all2. Because they are for his sake, for the testimony of his truth. And these also are necessary for the church; not to reconcile it to God, or satisfy for sin, (for that Christ did perfectly,) but for example to others, perfecting of the saints, and increasing their reward.

Verse 25.


‘Of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God, which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God.”


In the O.T., men’s sins were paid for on “credit.” Animal sacrifices could not redeem their sins (Hebrews 10:1-4). It signifying that payment was coming.

Wesley. According to the dispensation of God which is given me — Or the stewardship with which I am entrusted.

Verse 26.


“The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.”


The mystery to which Paul refers is the one which has “been hidden from ages and from generations,” (generations of people under the Old Testament era). They didn’t understand the New Covenant mysteries that were prophesied in the Old Covenant, because these mysteries could not be understood apart from divine revelation. In contrast, these mysteries are made “manifest” to us. The word “manifest” was means “to render apparent.” That which was hidden is now made apparent to those who receive the ministry of the Holy Spirit.


Wesley. The mystery — Namely, Christ both justifying and sanctifying gentiles, as well as Jews. Which hath been comparatively hid from former ages and past generations of men.


Verse 27.


“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”


God wants to give us a supernatural revelation of Christ living in us. “Amen, so be it.” See Eph. 1: 15-23; 2 Thes. 2:14.

This mystery is made manifest to the saints. God not only wants us to know this mystery but also “the riches of the glory of this mystery.”

For New Testament saints, the truth is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Messiah’s coming was predicted in the Old Testament, but that He would indwell us was beyond anyone’s imagination. However, Christ, by the Holy Spirit, permanently resides in all believers (Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, and Ephesians 2:22.

The Lord’s commitment to indwell, never leave us, and never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) shows His great love for us. What does it matter what others think of us given how much Jesus thinks of us? Our Father wants to make “the riches of the glory of this mystery” known unto us.

Wesley. Christ dwelling and reigning in you, The hope of glory - The ground of your hope.

Verse 28.


“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”


Paul preached in two ways: warning and teaching. “Warning” carries the idea of cautioning, making aware of potential danger, notifying to stay away, or admonishing as to action. “Teaching” is instructing, training, and imparting knowledge and spiritual truth.


Every believer carries out the great commission (Matthew 28:20). “Warning” and “teaching” are done in all “wisdom.” Paul’s words and actions were as wise as possible in every circumstance. The result was to bring people into maturity (perfection) in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:13, 2 Timothy 3:17, Hebrews 6:1, and 1 Peter 5:10).


We can be presented perfect before God only through Christ Jesus. When we put our faith in Jesus, He gives us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).


Wesley. We teach the ignorant and admonish them that are already taught.


Verse 29.


“To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”


Paul used the word “KOPIAO” to describe his “labor.” It means “to labor with wearisome effort” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). It is in the present tense - a continuous and habitual action. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10, emphasis mine).

The word “striving” is also in the present tense. This word carries the idea of competing in the gymnastic games and striving to obtain (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). Jesus Christ and His grace were the source of Paul’s strength and ministry. Grace is not a passive theological concept but a life-giving power that manifests through our weaknesses as we depend upon (exercise faith in) the living Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9). The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “For this I labor [unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.”

Chapter 2.

Verse 1.

“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.”

Paul interceded for these Colossians and Laodiceans just as he did for the Galatians 4:19 - “I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Paul desired maturity for these new believers and continually prayed for them (Colossians 1:3 and 9-17).

Wesley. How great a conflict — Of care, desire, prayer. As many as have not seen my face —

therefore, in writing to the Colossians, he refrains from those familiar appellations, "Brethren," "Beloved."


TPT. The Greek word “agon” (from which we get agony) means an intense conflict and struggle. This could imply Paul’s apostolic intercession for them.




Verse 2.


“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ.”


Womack. Paul’s prayer for the Colossians was that their hearts would be comforted, encouraged, and knit together in love with other believers. Christians are part of a body, and the body only functions well when it is knit together in love. It’s the whole body of Christ manifesting Christ that we are seeking.

We need to gain a full revelation of Christ us, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 1 John 3:19 says we assure our hearts before Him. Then 1 John 3:20-21 says that when our hearts condemn us not (i.e., we are assured), we have confidence toward God. So, confidence is part of having our hearts assured.

Paul wanted to see the Colossians so he could ensure they were grounded in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. This verse describes what Paul wanted to make sure they knew and experienced. It gives us insight to the things Paul’s ministry accomplished in the lives of people. Paul prayed for the Colossians 1) to be comforted and encouraged through the Holy Spirit. 2) for love to abound among the brethren. 3) for the revelation of Christ in them to be unveiled among the believers.

The Greek word translated “knit together” means “to unite” (Strong’s Concordance). Through God’s love, each believer in following Christ fully, becomes intertwined with and inseparable from other believers who are also committed to the Lordship of Jesus.

Paul prayed that the Colossians receive full revelation of the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27. He used six words to modify “mystery.” (1) “acknowledgment” of the mystery – acknowledging it means “the act of recognizing its truth and present existence. “Christ in us” is already a reality for every believer. That’s happened when we were born again. Paul said we were to 2) “understand” the mystery. We need a revelation of what “Jesus living in us fully now” means to us. To “understand” means “a. To perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of something, b. To know by...experience.” We understand by faith (Hebrews 11:3). Paul said that we need 3) the assurance of understanding. The word “assure” means “to be so certain of a truth that the mind is at rest.” We pursue this truth (Christ living in me) until we are at perfect rest and peace, even to the point of “full assurance.”  Paul also spoke of the 4) “riches” of this full assurance and, ultimately, “all riches” of this full assurance. We press toward the mark (Philippians 3:14) until we receive have the highest level of acknowledgment, understanding, and assurance possible.

Wesley. Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the acknowledgment of the mystery of God — That is, unto the fullest and clearest understanding and knowledge of the gospel.


Verse 3.


“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”


All truth, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are in Christ, and we are in Christ. Everything we need to know and understand is found in Christ. Psalms 119:100 says, “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.”

It’s ALL knowledge. (Colossians 1:16). Every natural law, everything that can be known in the physical world, the intellectual world, exists in Christ.

We are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and He is in us (Romans 8:9 and 1 John 4:15); therefore, all the “wisdom and knowledge” of God is in our born-again spirits.

Christ’s treasures of wisdom and knowledge are infinite. He always knows what to do to fix any problem. We have access to His wisdom as we abide in Christ.


Verse 4.


“Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.”


Jesus is the source of all knowledge and wisdom to keep Colossians from being led astray through false teachings. Satan attacked what God said to Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1), likewise, Satan entices us to look somewhere besides Jesus for our wisdom. If we refuse instruction that deviates from what Jesus taught, we are safe.

“Persuasive language” is language “to convince by argument.”

Paul demonstrated God’s Word through the Spirit with power (1 Corinthians 2:4). The Gospel was never to be persuasive arguments; rather, it’s demonstration of God’s power by the Holy Spirit working through those who proclaim it.


Verse 5.


“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.


Through prayer for them, Paul saw in his spirit the order and the steadfastness of the Colossians’ faith. See also 1 Corinthians 5:3-4.

TPT. Literally means “unbroken battle formation.”

Verse 6.

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”

We receive forgiveness for our forgiveness of sins the same way we receive our healing, our deliverance, or whatever else we need: by faith. Salvation didn’t come because of our holiness or goodness (Titus 3:5). We received it by putting faith in Jesus as our Savior (Ephesians 2:8). We receive everything else the same way.

We receive Christ by putting our faith in God’s grace. We come “just as I am, without one plea.” Not by fasting, paying our tithes, reading the Word, or praying an hour each day, yet we received the greatest miracle of all–the new birth. After receiving Christ by faith, many fall back into thinking that after salvation, they earn God’s blessings by works. But if we start by grace, we must continue by grace. See Galatians 3:1-3.

TPT. “Progress further into your union with Him.”

Wesley. So, walk in him — In the same faith, love, holiness.

Verse 7.

“Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

Wesley. Rooted in him — As the vine. Built — On the sure foundation.


When we are born again, we receive God’s supernatural faith as a gift. We need to be rooted and built up in that faith. We abound in faith is with thanksgiving. No one has strong faith who isn’t thankful. Just as faith without works is dead (James 2:17 and 20), so faith without praise is on life support.

Paul likened spiritual growth in the Christian’s life to the growth process in a tree. First step: the seed is planted. Growth takes place until the tree is firmly established and able to withstand the elements.

Faith is complete with thanksgiving. If you see the answer to your prayers, praise to God will come out. Thanksgiving is a vital part of faith, and faith isn’t complete without it.

Verse 8.


“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”


“Beware” (“to be on guard”) comes from the Middle English words “ben war,” which pictures a soldier on guard duty being alert for the enemy. We are in a spiritual battle - in constant conflict with the kingdom of Satan and his forces. We can’t go to sleep, can’t go on leave, can’t go AWOL, and can’t get a discharge.

“Spoil” (KJV) is from the Greek word meaning “‘to carry off booty’ carry one off as a captive. If we don’t maintain a constant vigil, our enemy can rob us of Christ’s great riches within us. We need to be on guard against the “philosophy” or mindset of this world.

Some think Satan has supernatural power to overpower us and force us to obey his desires. That’s not true. Satan’s only power is deception, and that’s what Paul was warning the Colossians against here. In Genesis 3:1, the devil didn’t choose a powerful animal to come against Eve. He chose the most subtle. Because he had no power or authority to force Adam and Eve to do anything, he had to deceive them into believing his lie, and then they destroyed themselves. Satan uses the same tactics on us. We must be on guard against the devil’s deceit.

The definition of the Greek word translated “philosophy” is “Jewish sophistry.” “Sophistry” is “plausible but faulty or misleading argumentation.” This describes systems of thought. In this instance, Paul warns against the “Law mentality” of the Old Testament versus the New Testament mentality of grace.

The Phillips translation renders the phrase “vain deceit” as “high-sounding nonsense.” The Greek words mean “empty delusion.” This world’s philosophy is foolishness compared to God’s wisdom.

“Rudiment” means “a fundamental element, principle, or skill” (American Heritage Dictionary). The NIV reads “rudiments of the world” as “the basic principles of this world.” These words describe the “philosophy” Paul had just mentioned.


Wesley. Through philosophy and empty deceit — That is, through the empty deceit of philosophy blended with Christianity. This the apostle condemns, 1. Because it was empty and deceitful, promising happiness, but giving none2. Because it was grounded, not on solid reason, but the traditions of men, Zeno, Epicurus, and the rest. And 3. Because it was so shallow and superficial, not advancing beyond the knowledge of sensible things; no, not beyond the first rudiments of them9, For in him dwelleth - Inhabiteth, continually abideth, all the fulness of the Godhead. Believers are "filled with all the fulness of God," Ephesians 3:19. But in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead; the fullest Godhead; not only divine powers, but divine nature, Colossians 1:19. Bodily — Personally, really, substantially. The very substance of God, if one might so speak, dwells in Christ in the fullest sense.


Verse 9.


“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”


Every quality, characteristic and ability that God is and has been in Christ (Colossians 1:19), and we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, every quality, characteristic, and ability that God is and has been ours for the believing.


Jesus had the fullness of God’s nature in Him. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). The French Common Language Translation translates this verse “For everything that God is has become embodied in Christ, to be completely present in him.”


The Father is the head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3); the Son is the only begotten of the Father (2 John 1:3), and the Holy Ghost proceeds from both the Father and the Son (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; and 16:7-15).” The plural name for God in the Old Testament is “ELOHIM,” and it was used over 2,600 times. The plural pronouns used by God are found in Genesis 1:26 - “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (emphasis mine); Genesis 11:7 - “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language” (emphasis mine); Isaiah 6:8 - “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (emphasis mine); and Genesis 3:22 - “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us” (emphasis mine).


Wesley. For in him dwelleth - Inhabiteth, continually abideth, all the fulness of the Godhead. Believers are "filled with all the fulness of God," Ephesians 3:19 . But in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead; the most full Godhead; not only divine powers, but divine nature, Colossians 1:19 . Bodily - Personally, really, substantially. The very substance of God, if one might so speak, dwells in Christ in the fullest sense.


Verse 10.


“And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principalities.”


The Greek word translated “complete” means “to make replete, i.e. to be plentifully supplied or abounding.

This completion is in Christ or in our born-again spirits. It is drawn out through faith.

Paul had said in Colossians 2:4 that he wanted to keep the Colossians from being deceived. Recognition of our completeness in Christ is a safeguard against deception. Prior to salvation, we are incomplete, and there is a constant striving in all of us to satisfy that hunger. Through the new birth, however, we are complete in Christ, and our hunger should only be for more revelation of what we already have in Christ.

Satisfaction with Christ disarms Satan’s lies. Part of temptation is dissatisfaction. Adam and Eve would not have eaten of the forbidden fruit if they hadn’t been made to feel dissatisfied (by satan) with what they had. Through Satan’s lie, they were led to believe that they didn’t have it all (Genesis 3:5) when they did. They were more like God before they ate of the fruit than after eating it. Their dissatisfaction was a preliminary step to their action of sin. Satan tempts us the same way he came against Adam and Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3).

A full revelation of our completeness in Christ will keep us from chasing after all the things the devil has to offer. If anyone tells us that Christ isn’t enough, that we need something more, then that’s the devil trying to turn us away from our completeness in Christ.

Paul made a comparison. He had said Jesus had the fullness of God in Him (Colossians 2:9). Likewise, we have the fullness of Christ in us. That makes us complete (perfect) in Him, in our spirits. In righteousness, authority, and power, our born-again spirits are identical to Christ’s spirit, because our born-again spirits are the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). God sent His Spirit into our hearts crying “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).


TPT. Head could be translated “source.”

Wesley. And ye — Who believe.

Are filled with him — John 1:16. Christ is filled with God, and ye are filled with Christ. And ye are filled by him. The fulness of Christ overflows his church, Psalm 133:3. He is originally full. We are filled by him with wisdom and holiness.

Who is the head of all principality and power — Of angels as well as men Not from angels therefore, but from their head, are we to ask whatever we stand in need of.

Verse 11.


“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.”


If a man is circumcised, it doesn’t grow back. Likewise, once the Lord has put away our sinful nature, it doesn’t grow back. The only reason we still sin is not because it’s our nature; rather, it’s because we haven’t renewed our minds.

Romans 2:29: New Testament circumcision is that of the heart, and not of the flesh.

The nature of circumcision requires that it not be flaunted. It’s a private matter between God and the individual. Biblically speaking, the uncircumcised were identified with that which was unholy and unclean (Isaiah 52:1; Ezekiel 44:7, and 9). In both the Old and New Testaments, “uncircumcision” illustrated a need for the cleansing of the heart (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4, 9:26; Acts 7:51; and Romans 2:29).


For Gentiles to be included in the circumcision was to include them God’s family. The circumcision was made without hands. Paul referred to spiritual circumcision of the heart.


Circumcision was the putting off the body of sins. Our sinful nature was cut away and discarded through the sacrifice of Christ in the same way that the foreskin is cut away and discarded from a male. The physical act of circumcision is a picture of spiritual circumcision. To be born again is to have spiritual circumcision.

Wesley. By whom also ye have been circumcised — Ye have received the spiritual blessings typified of old by circumcision.

With a circumcision not performed with hands — By an inward, spiritual operation. In putting off, not a little skin, but the whole body of the sins of the flesh - All the sins of your evil nature.

By the circumcision of Christ — By that spiritual circumcision which Christ works in your heart.

Verse 12.


“Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”


We aren’t raised from the dead by our virtue. We’re raised from the dead through faith God. As He raised Jesus from the dead, so He raises us from the dead.

We are risen with Christ through faith of the operation of God who raised Christ from the dead. If a person doesn’t believe Christ was raised from the dead, they can’t be raised either (Romans 10:9).

This “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh” occurs now of salvation, when one is buried with Christ in baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13) and raised with Him through faith in God’s power. Paul’s point is that the spiritual circumcision is an accomplished fact in the born-again spirit. It’s a reality in our spirits (Galatians 5:24) that only must be appropriated in our flesh.


To “appropriate” is “to take possession of” – “to make one’s own.” Christ provided everything for us and placed it in our born-again spirits, but we take possession of it. We draw these new-creation realities out of our spirits through the renewing of our minds.

Wesley. Which he wrought in you, when ye were as it were buried with him in baptism - The ancient manner of baptizing by immersion is as manifestly alluded to here, as the other manner of baptizing by sprinkling or pouring of water is, Hebrews 10:22. But no stress is laid on the age of the baptized, or the manner of performing it, in one or the other; but only on our being risen with Christ, through the powerful operation of God in the soul; which we cannot but know assuredly, if it really is so: and if we do not experience this, our baptism has not answered the end of its institution.

By which ye are also risen with him — From the death of sin to the life of holiness. It does not appear, that in all this St. Paul speaks of justification at all, but of sanctification altogether.

Verse 13.


“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”


According to Hebrews 10:10-14, this means past, present, and future sins. The atonement of Christ takes away all our sins – even future ones. Jesus died for our sins 2,000 years ago, before we ever committed sins.

This death is spiritual death resulting from sin. People without Christ may be physically alive, but they live in a state of spiritual death. They’re alienated from the life of God, controlled by the old nature, having no hope, being by nature the children of wrath, and controlled by the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:1-6, 12, 4:18; and 5:19-21).

Being quickened, or made alive with Christ, abolishes spiritual death. We are seated with Christ Jesus in the presence of God (Colossians 3:1).

All the benefits of our salvation (Colossians 2:11-13), all happened through Christ and took place as Christ Jesus gained them for us. His experience became our experience. We don’t personally overcome sin. Jesus overcome sin for us, and He lives out that through us. Jesus has conquered death, and we have His resurrection power living in us.

Wesley. And you who were dead — Doubly dead to God, not only wallowing in trespasses, outward sins, but also in the uncircumcision of your flesh - A beautiful expression for original sin, the inbred corruption of your nature, your uncircumcised heart and affections.

Hath he — God the Father.

Quickened together with him — Making you partakers of the power of his resurrection. It is evident the apostle thus far speaks, not of justification, but of sanctification only.

Verse 14.

“Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

“Blotting out” or “wiped out” means “to smear out or obliterate. Jesus smeared out, blotted out, and obliterated the Old Testament Law that was against us. He forgave our transgressions of the OT law. Then He did away with the law as a means of obtaining righteousness. Now we relate to God by faith in Jesus and remain in Him. Where there is no Law, there is no transgression (Romans 4:15).

“He took away our transgressions against the righteous Law and then removed the law itself as a means of obtaining righteousness. Jesus took the Law or any set of rules to obtain righteousness, as documents, and nailed it to His cross. He wrote across the bill: “Paid in Full.” The New Testament believer is no longer under the Law or law as a means of obtaining righteousness.

The Law and any set of rules to obtain right standing with God are always against us and contrary to us. We cannot do it. Even after coming to saving faith in Christ, some Christians embrace the Old Testament Law or other law as something that God gave us to direct us toward right standing with God. That’s not the case. The O.T. Law was given to show us our sin, not our Savior. The Law was condemning, and it empowered sin in our lives.

Wesley. Those who have not put their faith in Christ are still under the Law with its wrath and negative effects.

Having blotted out — in consequence of his gracious decrees, that Christ should come into the world to save sinners, and that whosoever believeth on him should have everlasting life.

The handwriting against us — Where a debt is contracted, it is usually testified by some handwriting; and when the debt is forgiven, the handwriting is destroyed, either by blotting it out, by taking it away, or by tearing it. The apostle expresses in all these three ways, God's destroying the handwriting, which was contrary to us, or at enmity with us. This was not properly our sins themselves, (they were the debt,) but their guilt and cry before God.

Verse 15.

“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

Jesus conquered and spoiled Satan and his forces. He stripped them of all their power and authority. He made an exhibit of them – He paraded them to highlight their defeat. “Triumphing over” means “to make an acclamatory procession of those conquered.

It’s what the Romans called “a triumphant procession.” (Same word in 2 Corinthians 2:14.) The Romans took conquered kings or generals, stripped them naked, tied them to a horse or chariot, cut off their big toes and thumbs, and held a victory parade. This showed all Roman citizens that the enemy would never cause them any more trouble. The king or general couldn’t hold a sword (no thumbs) nor walk normally (no toes).

That’s what God did with the devil. Jesus totally spoiled him. Satan has no power or authority to oppress us anymore. Satan doesn’t want us to know that he has been defeated.

One of the words that made up the compound Greek for “spoil” means “to strip.” Jesus stripped Satan and all his powers. He is naked and powerless. “The picture is that of a Roman general’s triumph. A victorious Roman general marched his army through the streets of Rome, with the defeated kings, army, and peoples in tow. They were openly branded as his spoils.

Jesus is a conqueror – one who enjoys a cosmic triumph, and in his triumphal procession are the powers of evil, beaten forever, for everyone to see.” Satan’s only weapon against us is deception.

The Phillips New Testament Bible renders this phrase as “he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act!”

What is the “it” that Jesus triumphed in over Satan? “It” was the Law. The devil had used our failure to fulfill the Law as a club to beat us and convince us that God could never accept us. In that sense, the Law was one of Satan’s greatest tools for separating us from God. What Satan used to minister condemnation to us, Jesus used to condemn Satan. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law and used it to satisfy all God’s demands for justice by bearing man’s sins. The just died for the unjust and thereby liberated the unjust from the jurisdiction of the Law.

Wesley. And having spoiled the principalities and powers — The evil angels, of their usurped dominion.

He — God the Father.

Exposed them openly — Before all the hosts of hell and heaven.

Triumphing over them in or by him — By Christ. Thus, the paragraph begins with Christ, goes on with him, and ends with him.

Verse 16.

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths.”

O.T. scripture stated that a person who didn’t keep these laws could be killed. But Christ took these laws and nailed them to His cross (Colossians 2:14), thereby freeing us from their observance.

Most Christians don’t observe the Old Testament dietary laws (1 Timothy 4:1-5), the laws regarding special feasts and new moon sacrifices (Ezekiel 46:6). Four of the five things listed in this verse have been recognized by the N.T. church as symbolic. Some observe the sabbath, but under our New Covenant with God, we now live in a continual Sabbath.

The dietary laws, feast days, new moon offerings, and the Sabbath all represented Christ and what He would accomplish (Hebrews 4). Now that we have Christ, each one of these things has served its purpose and is no longer necessary to observe. The Sabbath was a picture of a relationship with God that Jesus has now opened to all who believe. The Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ.

Wesley. Therefore — Seeing these things are so.

Let none judge you — That is, regard none who judge you.

In meat or drink — For not observing the ceremonial law in these or any other particulars. Or in respect of a yearly feast, the new moon, or the weekly Jewish sabbaths.

Verse 17.

“Which is a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”

Wesley. Which are but a lifeless shadow; but the body, the substance, is of Christ.

What is a shadow? It’s not reality, but it gives us information, or it foreshadows reality.

If I walked around the corner of a building and saw your shadow, I would not try to hug your shadow. Likewise, the Sabbath and the other four things listed in Colossians 2:16 were shadows of New Testament realities. Those who cling to the shadow are missing the real person of Jesus and the rest that is now ours in Him.

“Shadow” can also mean “a faint indication.” When used as a verb, it means “to represent vaguely, mysteriously, or prophetically.” Each of the things listed in Colossians 2:16 served to represent something that the Messiah would accomplish. Now that Jesus the Messiah has come, the representation isn’t necessary. The New International Version translates this verse as “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”



Verse 18.

“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”

The Old English wording of this verse is awkward. The Message Bible translates this verse as, “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.”

It could be said it this way: “Don’t let any person deceive you into thinking that you are going to lose a reward if you don’t practice self-denial or worship angels.” In Scripture, angels always refused worship and told people to worship God alone (Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9). Worshiping angels is forbidden in the Bible. Although humility is a godly thing, Colossians 2:23 further expands on what Paul was speaking against, showing this to be a false humility that is nothing more than just asceticism, or extreme self-denial.

Wesley. Out of pretended humility, they worshipped angels, as not daring to apply immediately to God. Yet this really sprung from their being puffed up: (the constant forerunner of a fall, Proverbs 16:18) so far was it from being an instance of true humility.

Verse 19.

“And not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”

Paul criticizes those who don’t give Jesus His rightful place. In the previous verses, Paul spoke about exalting Jesus above all the Old Testament rituals that foreshowed His coming. Now he speaks against who emphasize worshiping angels and self-denial, without placing Jesus as the Head. The head is above every other part of the body in position and importance. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus, not the observance of rituals.

Jesus is the Head of the body of Christ, but the head doesn’t do all the work. The head directs, but the body must function also. Likewise, for the body of Christ to increase, every part of the body contributes and functions under the direction of the Head.

Wesley. And not holding the head — He does not hold Christ, who does not trust in him alone. All the members are nourished by faith and knit together by love and mutual sympathy.

Verse 20.

“Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations.”

The dictionary defines “rudiments” as “a fundamental element, principle, or something in an incipient form.” We could describe the O.T. laws as “incipient” or “undeveloped” compared to the better N.T. revelation (2 Corinthians 3:7-10). Why would anyone want to go back to the Law?

Wesley. Therefore — The inference begun, Colossians 2:16; is continued. A new inference follows, Colossians 3:1.

If ye are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world — That is, if ye are dead with Christ, and so freed from them, why receive ye ordinances - Which Christ hath not enjoined, from which he hath made you free.

Verse 21.

“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.”

The Old Testament law dealt with holiness in outward actions. Jesus changes our heart, and then the outward actions change as a byproduct.

Wesley. Touch not — An unclean thing.

Taste not — Any forbidden meat.

Handle not — Any consecrated vessel.

Verse 22.

“Which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?”

Wesley. Perish in the using — Have no farther use, no influence on the mind.

Our rules and regulations about what are permissible or forbidden are the commandments of man. Jesus’ command: “Love God and love others” (Matthew 22:36-39 and 1 John 3:23). That sums up our obligation to God and man. Following these two commandments will cause everything else to fall into place.

Verse 23.

“These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

This harkens back to Colossians 2:18, where some preached extreme humility, self-denial, and worshiping of angels. These things look good on the surface, and many will accept this as wisdom. But they are self-imposed, self-strength rituals with no godly value.

The Amplified Bible: "These practices indeed have the appearance [that popularly passes as that] of wisdom in self-made religion and mock humility and severe treatment of the body (asceticism) but are of no value against sinful indulgence [because they do not honor God]."

Historically, self-denial through the strength of self, has been a part of false religion. Most religions teach an abasement of self; they do it as penitence to obtain salvation. This is not the denying of self that the Bible advocates. True self-denial is an enthroning of Christ above self. We have a new identity in Christ that replaces the “old self.” This isn’t done to obtain salvation but as a response of love to what Christ has already done for us. He gave His all for us, and we willingly give our all back to Him.

Self-denial to earn salvation is motivated by guilt and characterized by rigid rules. True Christianity is a relationship with Jesus that produces holiness as a fruit, not a root, of salvation. Holiness doesn’t come from the outside and work its way inside; rather, when we are born again, we become righteous, and we work that holiness out into our physical lives. Trying to destroy self through harsh laws arouses and strengthens the power of sin. Life should be a response to a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Living Bible paraphrases Colossians 2:20-23 as “Since you died, as it were, with Christ and this has set you free from following the world’s ideas of how to be saved–by doing good and obeying various rules–why do you keep right on following them anyway, still bound by such rules as not eating, tasting, or even touching certain foods? Such rules are mere human teachings, for food was made to be eaten and used up. These rules may seem good, for rules of this kind require strong devotion and are humiliating and hard on the body, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. They only make him proud.”

Wesley. Not sparing the body — Denying it many gratifications and putting it to many inconveniences. Yet they are not of any real value before God, nor do they, upon the whole, mortify, but satisfy, the flesh. They indulge our corrupt nature, our self-will, pride, and desire of being distinguished from others.

Chapter 3.

Verse 1.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.”

TPT. “Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honor, and authority.” The “right hand of God” is obviously the place of all power, honor, and authority, and glory.

Christ, and Christ’s things are above; the devil, and the devil’s things, are below - in opposite directions. We can’t seek both simultaneously. We choose and focus on one or the other. Since Paul commanded us to seek those things that are above shows that we have control over it. We have that ability.

All born-again believers are risen with Christ - our spirits are with Him. It’s an accomplished fact in our spirits. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” NIV

In Colossians 2:4, Paul’s instruction was to protect the people from being beguiled and from turning away from Christ. Their new life in Jesus gave them all they needed; they were complete in Him. This kept them from being drawn away. Christians are dead to law(s) dealing with externals (Colossians 2:20-23). Therefore, since we are dead to this world and risen with Christ (Romans 6:5), our focus is heavenly things. The Law, with its emphasis on actions, is one of those earthly things that no longer occupies us. If we focus on who we are in Christ and what He has given us, holiness will follow. Preoccupation with our earthly position (i.e., our actions of holiness) is a sure sign that we are not focused on our heavenly position.

“If we are risen with Christ, why do we seek things that are above? Why don’t we automatically experience resurrection life?” Answer: we are spirit beings, but we also have fleshly bodies that must be subjected to the Holy Spirit to experience the resurrection victory that is present in our spirits. To seek eternal realities by thinking, meditating, reasoning, and inquiring into them is our norm. To be occupied with Christ and His purposes releases Jesus’ resurrection power into our lives.

Paul didn’t list the “things which are above.” However, Jesus instructed us to think about our Father’s house. We meditate on God’s Word Day and night (Joshua 1:8). We think about our position in Christ. Philippians 4:8 - “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Wesley. If ye are risen, seek the things above — As Christ being risen, immediately went to heaven.

Verse 2.

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

We trust in the Holy Spirit’s ability to obey this command, but it’s our responsibility to initiate and obey.

The word translated “set your affection” means “to be mentally disposed in a certain direction); to interest oneself in something with concern or obedience.” It was used in Romans 8:5, “For they that are after the flesh do MIND the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be LIKEMINDED, having the same love, being of one accord of one MIND” (Philippians 2:2.

Therefore, the command related to the word translated “affection” is not a tender feeling toward someone or something. We are to focus our minds on heavenly things, not earthly things. Philippians 3:15 uses the same word to promise us, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus MINDED: and if in anything ye be otherwise MINDED, God shall reveal even this unto you.” Philippians 3:19, speaking of the lost, says, “Who MIND earthly things.”

The word “set” speaks of a permanent focus on heavenly things. David fixed his heart to praise the Lord so that even during great adversity, he remained steadfast (Psalms 57:7). Those who don’t have their hearts fixed on heavenly things before problems come are at increased risk of succumbing to temptation (2 Chronicles 12:14). The heart the driving force behind our actions. People cannot consistently act contrary to the intention of their hearts (Proverbs 4:23).

The Greek word “PHRONEO” is translated “set your affection” on. Paul used the word in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you.” This speaks of commanding the mind. Paul stated in Romans 8:5 that where people set their minds will determine whether they walk “after the flesh” or “after the Spirit” - “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (New Revised Standard Version). The way people think is related to the way they live (Proverbs 23:7). “The word expresses not only an activity of the intellect, but also a movement of the will; it is both interest and decision at the same time. See Mark 8:33, “But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (New King James Version, emphasis mine).

We are seated in heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6) and live life on earth from that perspective. Where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also (Matthew 6:21). If we place a higher value on what we have in Christ than what we have on earth, our hearts will follow. Thinking on the riches we have in Christ will turn our hearts toward heavenly things. Other scriptures that speak of setting the mind upon spiritual things are Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2, 4:4, 19:14, 57:7,63:6, 77:12, 104:34, 119:15, 99, 148, 143:5; Proverbs 4:23, 23:7; Luke 6:45; Romans 8:6; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5; 1 Timothy 4:15; and 1 Peter 4:1.

We are not to set our affections on earthly things. We must give thought to earthly things, because we live in a natural world. The Lord gave us our minds, and He wants us to use them. However, Paul earthly things are not to hold our interest to the point where our desires are set on them. See Matthew 6:19-33.

Wesley. If ye are risen, seek the things above — As Christ being risen, immediately went to heaven.

TPT. “Yes, feast on all the things of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities and not with the distraction of the natural realm.”

Verse 3.

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Wesley. For ye are dead — To the things on earth. And your real, spiritual life is hidden from the world, and laid up in God, with Christ - Who hath merited, promised, prepared it for us, and gives us the earnest and foretaste of it in our hearts.

What are we dead to? Romans 6:2, “God forbid. How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (see also 1 Peter 2:24). Galatians 2:19, “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God” (see also Romans 7:4). Colossians 2:20, “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances.” So, we can say for sure that we are dead to sin, dead to the Law, and dead from the rudiments of the Law.

The word “from,” in Colossians 2:20, means “so as not to be engaged in.” We are not to be engaged in the Law. We keep ourselves from the Law (as a means of achieving righteousness).

Christians are “dead.” The dead can’t be tempted. They can’t and don’t respond. Yet we can attest to the pull of sin in our lives (Romans 7:23 and James 1:15). One man said: “Christians claim to be dead, but I think they’ve only fainted.” So, in what sense have we died?

Biblically, death means separation, not annihilation. Adam and Eve didn’t cease to exist when they sinned, but they did die, becoming separated from God. At physical death, people don’t cease to exist, but their spirits and souls separate from their bodies. Likewise, our death to sin is a separation from sin and its penalties. The wage of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We were guilty of sin, and the death sentence was imposed on us. But Jesus died for us, paying our debt. We were crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). Now we are dead to, or separated from, sin and its penalty, which was death, or separation from God. Sin can never condemn us again. We are no longer liable for our sins in the sight of God. This is the good news of the Gospel.

The word “hid” is used metaphorically to means that our life is concealed in Christ and therefore we are safe. We as Christians have not yet been glorified and perfected in our flesh, but we are now justified, secure, and safe in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31-39).

Verse 4.

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Wesley. When Christ — The abruptness of the sentence surrounds us with sudden light. Our life — The fountain of holiness and glory. Shall appear — In the clouds of heaven.

Because my life is hidden with Christ in God, I will appear with Jesus in glory when He appears – as part of His gift of salvation to me that I received through faith.

“Glory” means “1. Great honor or distinction; Renown. 2. Highly praiseworthy. 3.  Majestic beauty. 5. A height of achievement.”

Christ is our life. He doesn’t give us life; He is our life (John 14:6). In 2 Corinthians 4:10, “Jesus’s life is manifested in our mortal bodies. Christianity is not us living for God but rather Christ living through us.

When Christ returns, we will appear with Him and be glorified with Him (Romans 8:19-21). 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Verse 5.

“Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

The word “NEKROO” translated “mortify,” means “to deaden or to subdue.” This takes effort on our part. It isn’t accomplished passively or automatically. A life without resistance to fleshly lusts will be overwhelmed with sin.

Covetousness is idolatry – we want something more than we want God’s will. (Psalms 10:3).

The word “mortify,” means “to discipline one’s body and appetites by self-denial.”
The Greek word “NEKROO,” from which “mortify” comes, means “to deaden or to subdue.” His command is to bring our bodies and souls under His control. He would be unjust to command it if we couldn’t do it. We can and we must if we want to experience the victory that Jesus provided for us–not because God will not answer our prayers unless we are holy, but because our un-holiness allows the devil to steal, kill, and destroy.

“Therefore” gives us the reason or motivation for this flesh mortification. We will share in Jesus’ glory when He comes (Colossians 3:4). Knowing our glorious future keeps us from living like those who have no hope.

Paul always linked doctrinal truth with practical expression. As believers, Christ is our life, and one day we will manifest His magnificent glory. Therefore, we put to death (mortify) the sins of our body. Although Jesus paid our sin’s penalty and we are new creations (Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:17, and 21), sin still attacks our unredeemed humanity. Therefore, we continually yield and trust ourselves to the Holy Spirit and His power (Zechariah 4:6; Ephesians 5:18, and 6:17).

The English word “fornication” was translated from the Greek word “PORNEIA,” and it alludes to any illicit sexual intercourse including adultery, homosexuality, and intercourse with a close relative or with animals (Leviticus 18). Pornography is wrong because it is looking or lusting after someone else’s nakedness. The Scripture states that one’s own wife or husband is called one’s own nakedness (Leviticus 18:8 and Genesis 2:25).

“Uncleanness” is found in (Matthew 23:27; Romans 1:24, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19, 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:3, and 4:7). The word means “impurity.” Jesus came and dealt with impurity of the heart (Matthew 23:24-28). No doubt this is speaking of moral uncleanness. The Biblical antonym of uncleanness is holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

“Inordinate affection” refers to sexual passion that is “exceeds reasonable limits or is immoderate. See Romans 1:26 and 1 Thessalonians 4:5, where vile “affections” and the “lust” of concupiscence, are mentioned. In Romans 1:26, the word refers to homosexuality. It could also apply to improper sexual conduct within marriage.

“Concupiscence” is usually translated “lusts.” It means a “craving, longing...desire for what is forbidden.” The word has come to mean “sexual desire,” but it can be any strong or overpowering, evil desire. We should be passionate about things above, not earthly things.

“Covetousness” is the root of all sin, because it is a selfish desire. The original sin of Adam and Eve involved covetousness. They craved for themselves what God had not given them. They were not content with the perfection that God had given, and they felt they had to have more to be content.

Wesley. Mortify therefore — Put to death, slay with a continued stroke. Your members — Which together make up the body of sin. Which are upon the earth — Where they find their nourishment. Uncleanness — In act, word, or thought. Inordinate affection — Every passion which does not flow from and lead to the love of God. Evil desire — The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life. Covetousness — According to the derivation of the word, means the desire of having more, or of anything independent on God. Which is idolatry — Properly and directly; for it is giving the heart to a creature.

Verse 6.

“Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.”

The “children of disobedience” are those who are not born again. God placed the wrath for our sins on Jesus, and we won’t be punished. Those who reject Jesus will be punished, but not for their individual sins. The sins of the whole world have already been paid for (1 John 2:2 with Hebrews 9:12 and Hebrews 9:15). Those who reject Jesus will be judged for the singular sin of not believing on Jesus (John 16:9). That’s the greatest sin of all.

“APEITHEIA,” is translated “disobedience” and it means “obstinate and rebellious disbelief.” It speaks of a person who is obstinate and rebellious in sin, not one who sins through weakness.

Every person, whether saved or lost, is God’s child. The “children of disobedience” are the unsaved children of God who will suffer punishment.

Wesley. For which — Though the heathens lightly regarded them.

Verse 7.

“In which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.”

Some of these believers were guilty of the sins mentioned in Colossians 3:5, but Paul made a distinction between them and “the children of disobedience” (Colossians 3:6).

The phrase “when ye lived” is in the imperfect tense in the Greek. That tense is used to convey repeated, habitual, and customary action. The Colossians used to habitually commit the acts of immorality mentioned in Colossians 3:5.

Wesley. Living denotes the inward principle, walking, the outward acts.


Verse 8.

“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

Wesley. Wrath — Is lasting anger. Filthy discourse — And was there needed to warn even these saints of God against so gross and palpable a sin as this? O what is man, till perfect love casts out both fear and sin.

Jesus enables believers to stop inward sins of the heart (by removing the sin nature) and the outward sins mentioned in Colossians 3:5.

A person can be angry without seeking vengeance. But wrath and malice seek to do the other person harm. Blasphemy is malice toward God, whether in word or deed. “Filthy communication out of your mouth” applies to anything that isn’t godly.

Christians must put off some things. The Greek verb for “put off” means “the putting off of old clothes” (Acts 7:58). It’s the putting off the old (Colossians 3:10-11) and putting on the new. We put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication. All these sins have to do with one’s talk and speech.

Verse 9.

“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.”

Considering Colossians 3:8, lying is one of the filthy things people say out of their mouths. Only our flesh, or “old man,” would lie. Our born-again spirits will never lie.

The phrase “lie not one to another” begins a long sentence that ends in Colossians 3:11. The expression of “putting off” and “putting on” emphasize two different kinds of life. The “old man” refers to the old nature one had before accepting Christ. The “new man” is the new nature that is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24).

Our “old man” is dead and gone through the work of salvation. However, the old man’s vestments (attitudes and actions) hang around until we put them off. The Colossians had put off the “old man’s” deeds and put on the deeds of their newborn-again selves (Colossians 3:10).

Wesley. In knowledge — The knowledge of God, his will, his word.

Verse 10.

“And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”

Where — In which case, it matters not what a man is externally, whether Jew or gentile, circumcised, or uncircumcised, barbarian, void of all the advantages of education, yea, Scythian, of all barbarians most barbarous. But Christ is in all that are thus renewed and is all things in them and to them.

Our born-again spirits have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 John 2:20 says, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” That is only true in our new man or the spiritual part of us. Our minds must be renewed to the knowledge that is already present in our spiritual man (Romans 12:2).

Colossians 3:9 is not a complete sentence, nor an independent thought. Colossians 3:10-11 are one sentence. Putting on the “new man” is as important as putting off the “old man.” One can’t be done without the other. Often preachers emphasize denying the flesh (Colossians 3:5, 8). We can’t conquer our flesh in our strength; we must have God’s supernatural ability to accomplish that. The attributes of our born-again selves need to dominate our thoughts and actions. We don’t conquer the “old man” before the new is revealed. Instead, we receive the “new man” while we are still dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) as a gift of God’s grace. Then as our “new man” begins to manifest, the effects of our “old man” are diminished.

There are many attributes of the new, born-again spirit - one amazing attribute–is the spiritual mind. All Christians have two minds–the physical mind and the mind of the born-again spirit. believers who have not subjugated their physical minds to the control of their spiritual minds are “double-minded” and cannot receive from the Lord (James 1:5-8).

Renewing our mind is done through studying the Word of God and yielding through obedience to the revelation knowledge of the Holy Spirit. The mind of the born-again spirit like that of Christ’s, because the Spirit of Christ enters the believer at salvation. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “We have the mind of Christ.” The perfect knowledge of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, is present in the human spirit and can be drawn out and utilized by the believer by faith.

Verse 11.

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

In the spiritual realm, no divisions exist to divide people.

When we receive salvation through Jesus, we become a new man in the spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). We live from that newborn-again spirit man.

“Christ all.” This is speaking to believers. Christ does not dwell in those who have not accepted Him (Romans 8:9 and Revelation 3:20).

Everything that divides man is done away in Christ. The only thing that is important is being a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). God sees believers that way, and that’s the way they need to see each other.

Christ is in every person who has the “new man” spoken of in Colossians 3:10. Christ is all that matters, and He’s in every believer (Romans 8:9).

Wesley. Where — In which case, it matters not what a man is externally, whether Jew or gentile, circumcised, or uncircumcised, barbarian, void of all the advantages of education, yea, Scythian, of all barbarians most barbarous. But Christ is in all that are thus renewed and is all things in them and to them.

Verse 12.

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.”

“Therefore” refers to what was just said. We operate from the Spirit where divisions like race, gender, socio-economic status, and ethnicity do not exist; therefore, we extend the new man’s love, mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering toward others. See Colossians 3:10 speaks of putting on the new man and lists the characteristics of our born-again nature. Compare with Galatians 5:22-23.

In Colossians 3:5-9, the Colossian were to “put off” certain things. Beginning with this verse, he stated the things that they must “put on.”

“Put on” is translated from the Greek verb “ENDUO” meaning, “to sink into (clothing).”

The word “therefore” is linking Paul’s instruction about these things that we are to “put on” to his previous statements. In Colossians 3:11, he explained that all the things that divide us, such as race and religion, have been done away with in Christ. Therefore, or for that reason, we should walk in mercy, kindness, and so forth toward our fellow believers.

Paul pointed out that we are elect, holy, and beloved. All are gifts of God’s grace. Therefore, we should treat others with the same grace that we’ve been given.

Every believer has a new identity in Christ. That new identity produces the fruit of the Spirit expressed through godly behavior. This is not perfection but rather a new heart that leads to a new way of life. As Christians, we are the elect of God, holy and beloved. God’s “election” was not because of our own good works but according to His own purpose (plan) and grace (2 Timothy 1:9). Through “election,” believers are “holy” (set apart) and “beloved” (the object of God’s love).

The qualities with which we are to clothe ourselves in the “new man” are the following:

  • “Bowels of mercies.” “Bowels” were the seat of tender affections, kindness, benevolence, and compassion for Hebrews. “Mercy” is the “compassionate treatment” of an enemy, the “disposition to be kind and forgiving.” The first characteristic of the “new man” in Christ is compassion.


  • “Kindness” is showing sympathy, concern, and understanding, to others.
  • “Humbleness of mind” is the antidote for pride, which is the source of all our grief. Humility was one of Jesus’ dominant characteristics (Matthew 11:29), and it is the most cherished Christian virtue (Ephesians 4:2, Philippians 2:3, and 1 Peter 5:5).
  • “Meekness” is not weakness but rather gentleness. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and should be manifest in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • “Longsuffering” was translated from the Greek noun “MAKROTHUMIA,” and this word means “patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance.”
  • “Forbearance” (Colossians 3:13) means “to hold up...sustain...bear with, endure.”
  • “Forgiving one another” (Colossians 3:13) is one mark of Christians. Its foundation is Christ’s forgiveness of us.


Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Wesley. All who are thus renewed are elected of God, holy, and therefore the more beloved of him. Holiness is the consequence of their election, and God's superior love, of their holiness.

Verse 13.

“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Wesley. Forbearing one another — If anything is now wrong. And forgiving one another — What is past.

If we forgive as Christ forgave, there is no offense too great for us to forgive. Jesus forgave us before we asked, independent of what we deserved, and from greater sins that anyone else committed. We should do the same toward those who wrong us. Trust must be re-earned. But we forgive people regardless of their transgression against us. See Ephesians 4:31-32.

Believers fulfill God’s command to forgive as we have been forgiven when we draw on God’s ability that indwells us.

Verse 14.

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of….”

God’s love is like mortar. It holds all the individual elements of the Christian life together. Likewise, without God’s love, the truths of the Christian life would just be noise (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Paul continues his analogy of putting on Christian virtues as one would put on clothes. Here, he exhorted the Colossians to put on, over all these, love as the overcoat that covers everything else. Every other virtue must be done in God’s divine love.

Love, or “charity” (Greek - “AGAPE”), is the “bond of perfectness.” While walking in love, believers to be kind, long-suffering, and patient. The word “bond” is “that which binds together.” It is used in Colossians 2:19 of ligaments by which the members of the human body are united. Therefore, God’s love is like the body’s ligaments, holding different muscles together and making them function as one. Love is the key.

Wesley. The love of God contains the whole of Christian perfection and connects all the parts of it together.

Verse 15.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

The word translated “rule” means “to govern as “an umpire” would in a contest.

God’s peace governs or acts as an umpire in our lives. When we are conflicted, we act according to where we have the most peace.

“You” is the subject of this sentence. Let the peace of God act as umpire in your heart. “Let” means “to give permission; to allow.”

 “Let the peace of God act as umpire in your heart.” Wuest. The Amplified Bible says, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”

We can do certain things to facilitate the peace of God umpiring in our hearts. First, we should consider all options. Next, we should use our imaginations to explore what will happen with each choice. We should be able to discern a greater peace as we consider the option the Lord would have us take. That is not to say that there will be total peace with any of the choices. In our spirits, there will be total peace over the right choice, but we aren’t always totally in the Spirit; it is not unusual for there to be some turmoil. Just as an umpire must make a call, we need to be bold enough to follow the direction that gives the most peace. The rudder on a ship can’t give any direction until the ship is moving. The ship doesn’t have to be going full steam ahead for the rudder to work, but it does have to be moving. Likewise, we must act before the peace of God will give us perfect direction. Even if we make a mistake, we will have made it in faith, trying to follow the peace of God in our hearts. The Lord can bless a wrong decision made in faith from a pure heart more than He can bless indecision (Romans 14:23).

Wesley. And then the peace of God shall rule in your hearts - Shall sway every temper, affection, thought, as the reward (so the Greek word implies) of your preceding love and obedience.

Verse 16.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

The English word “richly” means “ample or abundant.” One of the ways to let the Word of Christ dwell in us is by singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. “Singing with grace” in our hearts is singing with gratitude in our hearts to God for His wonderful works. See also Ephesians 5:19.

Singing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” is one way we teach and admonish. Praise-and-worship at church is not just part of the preliminaries.  Anointed praise and worship are as important to the ministry of God’s Word as anointed teaching and preaching.

The early church was a singing church, and that has persisted throughout history. The Holy Spirit has kept it alive. Every great move of God has seen a proliferation of new praise-and-worship songs. Fresh praise and worship music is the product of God’s grace and an integral part of the move of God.

Before the New Testament scriptures were put into written form, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs were a primary source of Christian education. It is still one of the church’s most effective ways of communication. Music helps us recall and meditate on scriptural truth. Many people respond to music who would never listen to a sermon.

“Philo tells us that often they (1st century Christians) would spend the whole night in hymns and songs. One of the earliest descriptions of a Church service we possess is that of Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia, who sent a report of the activities of the Christians to Trajan, the Roman Emperor, in which he said, ‘They meet at dawn to sing a hymn to Christ as God.’”

Wesley. Let the word of Christ — So the apostle calls the whole scripture, and thereby asserts the divinity of his Master. Dwell — Not make a short stay, or an occasional visit, but take up its stated residence. Richly — In the largest measure, and with the greatest efficacy; to fill and govern the whole soul.

Verse 17.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

See Ephesians 5:20. Paul instructed the Ephesians in the same way.

Thanksgiving is a constant theme in the previous verses. Thankfulness helps us abound in faith (Colossians 2:7). Un-thankfulness is an end-times sign and is equated with blasphemy and unholiness in 2 Timothy 3:2. We need an attitude of gratitude. Un-thankfulness leads to depression.

If we “do everything in the name of the Lord” and “give thanks to the Lord for the ability to do it,” we would never commit sin, lie, steal, or slander another. See Colossians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

“Whatsoever ye do” encompasses all our words and all our actions. It conveys a continuous or habitual action. All things are to be done for God’s glory, in Jesus’ name, with thankfulness.

This is the second mention of thanksgiving in three verses. The peace of God in Colossians 3:15 is inseparable from thankfulness. Peace comes when our attention is fixed (Isaiah 26:3 and Romans 8:6) on Him. Thankfulness acknowledges God’s goodness. We cannot glorify God in words and deed if we are not thankful. Thanksgiving makes us abound in faith. All mature Christians are thankful, and all immature Christians are not thankful. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God” (Psalms 50:23).

Wesley. In the name — In the power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus. Giving thanks unto God - The Holy Ghost. And the Father through him — Christ.

Verse 18.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

Wives submit to their own husbands, not to men in general. See also Ephesians 5:22. But before wives were to submit to their husbands, both were to submit to one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21).

We are to consider the other as more important than ourselves in marriage. The man is to love his wife as Christ loves the church.

Paul’s letters to the Colossians and Ephesians are similar. Paul began his instruction about submission in marriage by saying, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Submission in marriage is not one-sided. This verse places limitations on submission in marriage, and these, if understood, will stop the abuses that have caused some to throw out the truth with the error. First, Paul said women are to submit to their husbands. He did not say that women in general are to submit to men in general. Second, the wife is to submit only “as it is fit in the Lord.” This limits the submission of the wife to her husband (there is a difference between submission and obedience. The major counterbalance is that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Wesley. Wives, submit — Or be subject to. It is properly a military term, alluding to that entire submission that soldiers pay to their general. Ephesians 5:22.

Verse 19.

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.”

Husbands are commanded to love their wives (see also Ephesians 5:25), and wives are commanded to reverence, or respect, their husbands (Ephesians 5:33).

The word “bitter” is “animosity,” “resentfulness,” “disappointment.” The NIV says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”

A parallel scripture is Ephesians 5:25 - “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.” The Greek verb for “love” used in this verse and Ephesians 5:25 is “AGAPAO.” It’s the same love that God showed toward us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). We may fail, yet Christ continues to love us and never becomes bitter against us. It is this kind of love–best understood as seeking the welfare and benefit of another–that “AGAPE” and AGAPAO describe. Love is a choice, empowered through the Holy Spirit to do what the well-being of the other requires, not the love of emotion or passion.

Wesley. Be not bitter — (Which may be without any appearance of anger) either in word or spirit.

Verse 20.

“Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”

Wesley. Lest they be discouraged — Which may occasion their turning either desperate or stupid.

Ephesians 6:1: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” Parents are not authorized, and children should not obey, if parents tell them to do ungodly things.

Children who honor and obey their parents (Proverbs 1:8, 6:20, 7:1, 23:22; Ephesians 6:1). Please the Lord. Long life and prosperous days (Ephesians 6:3) come to children who honor their parents. Some godly children have been Isaac (Genesis 22:6-10), Samuel (1 Samuel 2:18), David (1 Samuel 17:20 and Psalms 71:5), Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:3), Esther (Esther 2:20), John the Baptist (Luke 1:76-80), Jesus (Luke 2:49), and Timothy (2 Timothy 3:15). Other exhortations to children include hearkening unto their parents’ instruction (Proverbs 1:8, 6:20, and 23:22), remembering the Creator in the days of their youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1), caring for and repaying their parents (1 Timothy 5:4), respecting their fathers and mothers (Leviticus 19:3), learning the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15), fearing the Lord (Psalms 34:11), and hearkening unto wisdom (Proverbs 13:1). Obedience to parents as stated in this verse is to be in “all things.” The only exception is when parents demand something contrary to God’s ways and decrees (Acts 5:29).

Verse 21.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

See also Ephesians 6:4: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

The word translated “discouraged” means “to be spiritless, i.e. disheartened.” The NIV translation says, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” They are not discouraged at birth.

Paul turns to the responsibility of the parents, especially fathers. “Provoke” carries the idea of inciting them to anger or resentment, making them bitter, or disturbing or troubling their minds. This leads to discouragement. “Discouraged” means “to be disheartened, dispirited, and broken in spirit.” Other parental responsibilities include teaching (Deuteronomy 6:7 and 20-22), training (Proverbs 22:6 and Isaiah 38:19), nurturing (Ephesians 6:4), controlling (1 Timothy 3:4), chastening (Deuteronomy 21:18), providing for (2 Corinthians 12:14), and loving (Titus 2:4).

Verse 22.

“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.”

Wesley. Eyeservice — Being more diligent under their eye than at other times. Singleness of heart — A simple intention of doing right, without looking any farther. Fearing God — That is, acting from this principle.

Paul advocated salvation to change hearts, and as hearts changed, society would change. These commands are interpreted considering the customs and laws of Paul’s day.

In the same context, Paul spoke of women submitting themselves unto their husbands. Should that be interpreted according to the customs of that day? I believe so. Women are supposed to obey their husbands in the Lord today, but some of the instructions, like in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, must be interpreted considering the customs of the day, just as Paul’s instructions to slaves.

The phrase “according to the flesh” clarifies the limit to which a master could exercise authority over a slave (or an employer over an employee). The mastery Paul was speaking of here was only in the physical realm. No one has spiritual authority over us except Christ who is our head (1 Corinthians 11:3).

Verse 23.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

Wesley. Heartily — Cheerfully, diligently. Men pleasers are soon dejected and made angry: the single-hearted are never displeased or disappointed; because they have another aim, which the good or evil treatment of those they serve cannot disappoint.

See also Ephesians 6:6-7. In everything we do and say, let us do it as unto Jesus.

“Heartily” denotes from the heart – our service is performed for our heavenly master, Christ.

NIV: “Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Verse 24.

“Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” See also Col. 3:23.


Verse 25.


“But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”


All people are equitably and eternally judged if they are outside of Christ. Every person outside of Christ gets what he/she deserves. If we are in Christ, we get what Jesus deserves.

Scripture teaches that salvation is a gift offered to the least deserving (Romans 4:5). Our actions cannot earn salvation. If our good deeds were needed for salvation, no one would be saved (Romans 3:23). So, those who receive the gift of salvation by putting faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8) “receive the reward of the inheritance” (Colossians 3:24), which is Christ’s inheritance. Although we don’t deserve it, we receive Christ’s inheritance, because we are joint heirs with Him. However, this verse speaks of those who do not receive the gift of salvation. They will be held accountable for their actions, and there will be no mercy. Mercy is abundant and free, but it’s only found in Christ.

Without Christ’s redemptive work in our lives, we will give an account for the wrong we have done (and it won’t be balanced against the good we have done). Those who have not received salvation by faith will not be shown favoritism or partiality in the Day of Judgment– “the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done.” The Apostle Paul’s discourse before Felix rendered a similar statement - “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance [self-control], and judgment to come, Felix trembled [he was afraid], and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25). Although God’s salvation is “free,” it must be received (John 1:12). Those who do not receive God’s gift will be punished eternally (Romans 6:23).




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