Epistle to the Colossians

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This is generally believed to have been written by Paul during his two years’ imprisonment at Rome (A.D. 61-2), notwithstanding that Meyer and other critics refer it to the imprisonment of Paul at Caesarea. The personal glory of Christ as head of the body, the church, is specially brought out. The hope before the saints is in heaven: they are viewed as risen, but not seated in the heavenlies in Christ, as in the Epistle to the Ephesians. The life of the new man is dwelt on, but the Holy Spirit is only once mentioned: “your love in the Spirit.”
After the salutation, and thanking God for what Paul had heard of their faith (for apparently he had not been to Colosse) he at once prays for them that they might be filled with the full knowledge of God’s will; might walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all things; and might be strengthened with all power (Col. 1: 9-11). Then he gives thanks for what God had done for them, which is true of all Christians (Col. 1:12-1412Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:12‑14)). The glories of Christ follow: as man, and as the Creator-God: He is head of the body, the church (Col. 1:15-1915Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; (Colossians 1:15‑19)). All fullness was pleased to dwell in Him, and by Him, to reconcile all things to Himself (or itself), having made peace through the blood of His cross: the saints were already reconciled if they continued in the faith (which would prove their reality) (Col. 1:20-2420And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: (Colossians 1:20‑24)). Paul had a double ministry: in the gospel (Col. 1:2323If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Colossians 1:23)); and in the church (Col. 1:2525Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; (Colossians 1:25)). His sufferings in his body filled up the (non-atoning) sufferings of Christ; and the revelation he had, concerning the mystery of the church, filled up the word of God (not as to time, for some portions were added afterward, but as to the circle of subjects). Paul labored to present every man perfect (that is, full grown) in Christ.
Colossians 2. Paul was deeply anxious for the welfare of the saints, that they might be rooted, built up, and established in the faith, lest they should be led astray by the philosophy of the world and the deceitful teaching of men, which would in no way minister Christ to them. In Him dwelt “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” and they were “complete in Him:” nothing must be allowed to come between them. In Christ they had the reality of the things signified in the ordinances of circumcision and baptism. They had died and were risen with Christ. The saints were warned in Colossians 2:16-1716Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16‑17) against being entangled with the Jewish things; and with the occult philosophy of the fleshly mind of the Gentile: all of which was in contrast and in opposition to holding Christ as Head. Having died with Christ they were set free from all the ordinances of men. This has been called the negative side.
Colossians 3. This gives the positive side, being “risen with Christ.” Their mind was to be set on things above, as heavenly people walking on earth. When the Lord appeared they would appear with Him in glory. Christ was their life, and in consistency therewith they were to mortify—put to death—all that sprang from the motions of the flesh. A catalog of things is given which were to be practically put off, because the old man had been put off with his deeds. Then having put on the new man, a catalog of things is given which in consistency therewith were to be put on (the display of Christ, who is “in each one”); above all things was love. Peace was to rule their hearts, and the word of Christ to dwell in them; helping one another with their songs. Exhortations follow to wives, husbands, children, fathers, and servants. Practical Christianity should be manifest in every station of life.
Colossians 4. Exhortations to masters, and then to all. Tychicus and Onesimus would declare to them the affairs of Paul. Salutations follow. The epistle was to be read to the church of the Laodiceans, and some epistle coming to them from Laodicea was to be read at Colosse. (Perhaps the epistle to the Ephesians was being circulated from church to church.) A message to Archippus: the salutation by the hand of Paul, and a, request to remember his bonds close the epistle with “Grace be with you. Amen.”

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