Paul begins with his apostleship, his authority and qualifications, 1 Cor
14.37; 15.10; he wrote the very words of God.
To Christians, who are holy and faithful, see also Eph 1.1. We are made
holy, through faith in Christ, and we must live as holy people. We are faithful,
in the sense that we have faith, but we must grow in faithfulness.
We experience grace and peace together and individually. Mercy is
experienced individually, 1 Tim 1.2; 2 Tim 1.2; Titus 1.4.
Paul prayed for the church at Colosse, and commended the church. This is
true of the other letters, except Galatians.
See 1 Thess 1.3. Faith and hope and love; three rocks of our faith. Where
the church is characterised by these things, then that is indicative of
obedience and spiritual strength.
We heard, also v9; Paul had not been to Colosse, but he had heard
much about them, and he had a responsibility for them.
The word of the truth of the gospel; there is the truth (Eph 1.13),
Gods truth. Therefore we have confidence in its power, it is the source of
our hope, and the ground of godly character.
Our faith is in Christ Jesus, the One who gave Himself for us. Faith in
anything else, or anyone else, is useless. Our love is to be for all the saints,
without discrimination, see 1 Thess 3.12.
The gospel has an effect, bringing forth fruit. Any fruit is because of
Gods grace and faithfulness; He accepts us as we are, and He works in us to
make us more like Christ.
Paul commends Epaphras, who had reported the condition of the church to
Pauls overall theme, 1.9 4.6, is the
pre-eminence of Jesus Christ. This answers a particular error which related to
the person of Christ. This appears to be a brand of Gnosticism, with a
Pauls prayer for the Colossian Christians is not dissimilar to that
prayed for the Ephesians. The letters were written around the same time. Paul
prays for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding (Eph 1.17-18), that they might
lead a life worthy (Eph 4.1), that they might be strengthened with might (Eph
3.16), according to His power (Eph 1.19), and Paul was ceaseless in his prayers
for them (Eph 1.16).
Pauls prayer was first a request for spiritual knowledge, wisdom and
understanding, not the philosophy of man (2.8), nor the appearance of wisdom
Such knowledge and wisdom and understanding is not for intellectual
benefit, but for a practical purpose;
that they might lead a life worthy of the Lord;
that they might please Him in every way, living
a life of consistent godliness;
that they might be fruitful in every good work;
that they might grow in their knowledge of God.
As we get to know God
better, we grow in obedience and Christ-likeness; this is an upward spiral of
We gain strength and power from the knowledge of God; He enables us to
live as we should. Gods power is at work in our lives. In Eph 1.19 this is
resurrection power, producing newness of life.
long-suffering with joy; being able to continue in the face of great difficulty,
Heb 12.2. This is not some stony-faced grittiness, but powerful and joyful
Thankfulness to God, for He has qualified us, making us ready for Heaven,
to share in His own glory. This theme of thankfulness continues through the
that God has delivered us (1.13);
the uniqueness of pre-eminence of Christ
the change in our lives (1.21-23);
the joy we have even in sufferings (1.24);
our satisfaction in service (1.25);
the privilege of seeing Christ revealed in His
Paul puts strong emphasis on the person of Jesus Christ, answering the
error that taught that Christians need something more than Christ; the so-called
Jesus plus teaching.
Gods work in saving us, which is achieved through Jesus Christ. This
is a once-for-all, completed work.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness.
He has brought us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. This contrasts
with the kingdom of darkness from which we were delivered.
Paul does not often
use kingdom. Here he is describing the wonderful truth that we belong to
Christ, and are under His protection and headship.
We have redemption and
forgiveness in Christ.
All these things are
found only in Christ, and nothing can be added, His salvation cannot be
improved. These things are finished, completed. One of the errors in Colosse,
and elsewhere, was that there was something else, into which the christian
had to be initiated. Pauls opening salvo is that we have everything in
Christ, our salvation is complete. Should anyone doubt this, he then describes
the supremacy of Christ (v15-18). God has highly exalted His Son; and He has
entered into the glory which He had before the world was created (John 17.5).
The invisible God has been made known to us by Jesus Christ (John 1.18;
Heb 1.2-3). The One who is the image of the invisible God must also be God
Himself. He was in the form of God (Phil 2.6).
The phrase first-born means pre-eminent over all creation (1 Cor
15.27; Heb 2.8), not a part of creation. Further, He is the first-born from
among the dead (1 Cor 15.20; Acts 13.33).
All things were created by Him, therefore He is not created. This
includes things seen and unseen (John 1.3). All things were created for Him,
that He might be glorified (Eph 1.10).
As the pre-eminent One, Christ also preceded all things; He was before
me was the testimony of John Baptist (John 1.30). Christ also sustains all
things; the continuing of creation depends upon the word of His power (Heb 1.3).
He is the Head of the body, the church (1 Cor 15.20). He was first-born
from among the dead, that He might be Lord of all, Rom 14.9. The intention and
plan of God is that in all things Jesus Christ might have the pre-eminence.
The whole Godhead dwelt in Christ; He was never less than God, He was
always fully God.
The cross brings peace and reconciliation. The enmity is serious (John
3.19; 1 John 1.5), and God cannot change so as to accommodate sinful man, Mal
3.6. The only means was therefore that God become a man, and die, Col 3.20; Heb
9.22; Acts 4.12.
Alienated and enemies, we became reconciled. He has reconciled us by His
grace and initiative.
The purpose of Gods salvation, and Pauls ministry; this sentence
continues in v29.
We note that Christ truly had a physical body, answering another error,
that He was only a spiritual being, without a body.
Only by Christs work can we be holy and blameless and irreproachable
in His sight. If God holds nothing against us, then we can be free from the
accusations of the enemy, and our fellow men. We also share in Christs own
ministry of reconciliation, 2 Cor 5.18.
These verses, in parenthesis; Pauls ministry was about Jesus Christ,
and Paul had become His servant.
The true Christian, like the tree in Psalm 1, is grounded and steadfast.
See also 2.7, about continuing faithful in the one true faith, the hope of the
The same gospel had been proclaimed throughout the Roman Empire, and Paul
had given his life so that others might hear.
One aspect of Pauls faithful service, he had suffered for the
Colossians. Paul had been called to suffer (Acts 9.16); the wording here
pictures a loving parent suffering for the good of his child.
By explaining something of the cost involved in making Christ known, and
in building the church, Paul prepares the minds of his readers for the rebukes
on chapter 2.
Paul had been called by God, and he was seeking to fulfil Gods
He was therefore committed to others, to you, that they might know
Christ and truly follow Him. He was also committed to proclaiming the word of
God in its fullness; not just a few thoughts but declaring the whole will of
God (Acts 20.27).
The mystery which had been kept hidden was now revealed to the saints, 1
Cor 2.9-10; 1 Tim 3.16; such spiritual things can only be understood by the
converted person, the saints.
Gods plan was to reveal the mystery, the riches of the glory of the
mystery. This is not just some secret knowledge, but something glorious and
worth knowing; Christ is you the hope of glory.
This mystery contrasts with the Gnostic doctrine (address in ch2 and elsewhere
in the N.T.) which claimed a secret knowledge, known only to a few initiates.
Since the mystery is in Christ, and has been revealed in Him, we must
preach Christ, and work to present each one mature in Christ. We therefore seek
right belief (ch 2), and right living (ch 3).
Since these things are true, Paul could give himself to serve Christ.
Notice that he was only able to serve and strive through Christs strength.
1 2 3 4