Colossians 1:1-29 - Outline of Colossians (Book Notes menu page)
The letter to the Colossians is one of the four "prison epistles," which Paul wrote while in prison in Rome. These include: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. The first three epistles present a thorough picture of God's design for the NT church. The fourth is a personal letter to Philemon, which provides a wonderful illustration of reconciliation which rests upon imputed righteousness.

The three church epistles each have a specific emphasis:

All of these letters were apparently sent out at about the same time (c.64 AD). The letter to the Philippians was carried by Epaphroditus (Php 2:25; 4:18). The other three letters were carried by Tychicus, who was accompanied by other brothers, including Onesimus, who is the subject of the letter to Philemon (Eph 6:21; Col 4:7-9; Phm 1:10).

1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
and Timotheus [our] brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse:
Grace [be] unto you, and peace,
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul opens his letter, introducing himself as an apostle (ie., messenger, representative) of Jesus Christ. He had not taken this role to himself, but rather, he had been placed into it, "by the will of God."

Paul addresses his letter to "the saints," those who are set aside as holy unto the Lord. Who would that be? Persons who have done great miracles and who have been recognized by church leaders as more holy than the average Christian? No. In the NT, every true believer is set apart for God's purposes. Which is what Paul says here: "to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ." He does not have two categories of Christians in view (ie., saints and also lesser brethren who are nevertheless faithful). The word "faithful" can also be translated "believing." So, Paul is writing to the saints, who are the brethren believing in Christ, who happened to be living in Colosse.

The city of Colosse was an important political and economic hub. However, as far as we can tell from the NT record, Paul never visited there. Yet, his ministry reached to the church there. It could be said that Paul founded this church, not in person, but through men whom he discipled, during his extended teaching ministry at Ephesus, about 100 miles to the west (Acts 19:1-10). One of these men is mentioned by name in v.7.

Yet, it was not merely the ministry of men which had touched the Colossian believers. God the Father had ministered His "Grace and Peace" to them through the Lord Jesus Christ (v.2; Eph 2:8-10; Rom 5:1,2; Php 4:6,7). Therefore, Paul opens his letter with prayer to the One who is the source of grace and peace...

Paul's prayer is in two parts: Thanksgiving (v.3-8) and Request (v.9-14).

3. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying always for you,
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus,
and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints,
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,
whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as [it is] in all the world;
and bringeth forth fruit, as [it doth] also in you,
since the day ye heard [of it], and knew the grace of God in truth:
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant,
who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
Paul's prayer for these believers, whom he had never met, was continual ("praying always for you").

It was occasioned by the news that these people had placed their faith in Christ, and that the reality of their faith had been demonstrated in their love for other believers (v.4).

These things, in themselves, were reason for rejoicing and praise to God (Luk 15:7). No doubt, Paul was thankful to hear of their conversion, and that it was confirmed by their walk with the Lord.

But these are not the primary things for which he offers thanksgiving, in this prayer. Paul writes: "We give thanks to God (v.3)... For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven...(v.5)." They had a 'confident expectation reserved' for them, above and beyond the affairs of this earthly realm. Their hope was enduring and eternal in the heavens (2Cor 5:1).

The natural man does not have such a hope. Certainly, these gentiles had been in a hopeless state, until the Gospel of Christ had reached them and they had received it (Eph 2:11-13).

How had this message reached them? Through Epaphras (v.7), who like Paul, was a faithful servant of Christ. Paul had discipled Epaphras, who in turn had proclaimed the Gospel to the Colossians, and then returned to share with Paul what great things the Lord had done. Epaphras was one of many such servants, through whom the Gospel had gone out into "all the world" (v.6; ie., the whole Roman empire, Acts 19:10).

It is likely that Epaphras had served as the pastor in Colosse. But at the time of this writing, Epaphras also was imprisoned with Paul in Rome (Phm 1:23).

Yet, the ministry of the Gospel continues to prosper, even when its ministers are locked up in prison (as illustrated by Paul's experience, in Php 1:12-18).

In fact, wherever the Gospel goes, it brings forth fruit (v.6), in the lives of those who hear and believe (Rom 10:14-15), not because of the effective ministry of men, but because it is "the word of truth" from God, by which the Colossian believers "knew the grace of God in truth." The word "knew" {GK=epiginosko} refers to "full knowledge," a knowledge which is sufficient to meet their need. Paul repeatedly uses this word (in its verb or noun form) in this letter, to contrast the truth which we have in Christ, with the wisdom and so-called deeper understandings which are pursued by the unbelieving world.

As soon as the Colossian believers had put their faith in God's Word, the Holy Spirit of God began His work within them, bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit ('love' as expressed in godly living, v.4,8; Gal 5:22-24).
     Their knowledge, of God's working, was far deeper than intellectual theory, because God was working within them... and having begun His work, He would complete it (Php 1:6; 2:13; 1The 2:13).
     Their knowledge was full, not because of intellectual superiority on their part, but because they had come to know the overflowing grace of God toward them.
     Their knowledge was based upon the Word of the God, upon whom their hope rested.
     Faith, hope, love (v.4,5). These three are mentioned together in 1Cor 13:13. The greatest of these is love, for it will endure beyond this earthly realm, when the confident expectation, of faith and hope, has been realized (Heb 11:1; Rom 8:24,25). But Paul is writing to believers in the 'here and now,' where many troubles test the confidence of our hope.

Which brings us to the second part of Paul's prayer: his request.

9. For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it],
do not cease to pray for you,
and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power,
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12. Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness,
and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son
{lit., the Son of His love; GK=agape}:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood,
[even] the forgiveness of sins:
Paul presents several earnest petitions to the Lord, in behalf of these new believers.
The word "desire" (v.9) means "to beg, to crave." For what did he plead?
  1. that ye may be filled {GK=pleroo, filled up, fully furnished}
    with the knowledge {GK=epignosis, full knowledge} of His will...
    It is essential for the child of God to know and follow the Father's will. But how can he know it? Through the "wisdom" which God has revealed to us, in 'the word of truth' concerning Christ (v.4,5; Eph 1:8,9), and through the work of the Holy Spirit who gives us "spiritual understanding" of that which is written (v.9). The word "understanding" {GK=sunesis} refers to 'a bringing together of the thoughts.' The natural man cannot process the things of God. But the Holy Spirit teaches God's children the things which are on their Father's mind (1Cor 2:12-16; Joh 16:13-15).
  2. that ye may walk worthy of the Lord...
    • unto all pleasing - ie., not living selfishly, but for the good of others,
      and for the purpose of pleasing the Lord in everything. Rom 15:1,2; 1The 4:1
    • being fruitful in every good work.-
      The branches of the Vine are to bear fruit (Joh 15:5,8,16).
      The Holy Spirit produces the fruit (Gal 5:22,23), that we may accomplish the good works which God has ordained that we should do, to His glory (Eph 2:10; Php 1:11).
    • increasing in the knowledge of God...-
      The believer is to be growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2Pet 3:18). Yet, the knowledge which we have, in Him, is full and sufficient. The word for "knowledge" (in v.9,10) is GK=epignosis, full knowledge. It is accompanied by other words which emphasize its completeness (v.9) "being filled with... all... (v.10) "unto all pleasing... fruitful in every..."
         Paul is emphasizing that God's wise provision for His children is complete and sufficient for all their needs, whatever their stage of maturity. However, as God's children grow up into the likeness of Christ, they need to grow in their understanding of Him, and in their appropriation of His gracious provision, for such knowledge is all that is needed for life and godliness (2Pet 1:2,3; Col 2:4,6,7).
    • strengthened {GK=dunamoo, enabled, empowered}... (v.11,12)...
      • with all might {GK=dunamis, power},
        according to His glorious power {GK=kratos, dominion}...-
        All power {GK=exousia, authority} is given unto our Lord (Mat 28:18). It is to Him that we are to turn, to find His strength sufficient in our weakness (2Cor 12:9; Eph 3:16; 6:10; Php 4:13).
      • unto all patience {GK=hupomone, patient continuance}
        and longsuffering {GK=macrothumia, long endurance}...- ie., in the face of trials.-
        Consider the example of other saints (2Cor 6:4-6; Heb 11:34-38) and of Christ (Heb 12:1-3).
      • with joyfulness (Jam 1:2-4; 5:7,8)
      • giving thanks unto the Father...
        This is the goal of Paul's prayer: that these believers would appropriate the resources which God has provided for them (wisdom, spiritual understanding, supernatural strengthening, longsuffering endurance...) so that they would face every trial with joy and thanksgiving to God, because they know their hope is sure (v.5).
           Although our present earthly situation may be troubled, God has already rescued us from the realm of Satan's 'power' {GK=exousia, authority, v.13}. Our citizenship has been transferred out of the realm of spiritual darkness into the kingdom of light (in which sin cannot exist, 1Joh 1:5-7).
           The Father "hath made us meet" {rendered us fit, or qualified} for entrance into His realm of undimmed righteousness, through "His dear Son" (lit., the Son of His love), "in whom we have redemption {GK=apolutrosis, the ransom to set a slave free}, through His blood, even the forgiveness of {GK=aphesis, the release from bondage to} sins.
           Here is cause for true thanksgiving: "to the praise of the glory of [God's] grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Eph 1:6).
Members of Christ's kingdom need to know their King.
Members of Christ's body need to know Him who is the Head of the Body.
To have full knowledge of what it means to be "in Him," we need to understand Who He is.
Therefore, Paul directs our attention to the One in whom we have been reconciled to God.
15 Who is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of every creature:
16 For 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:
17 And he is before all things,
and by him all things consist.
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 might have the preeminence.
In whom... (v.14) - Paul directs our attention to the glories of "the Son of God's love,"
for, only in knowing Him, will we be filled with the knowledge of His will, and fully appreciate the hope that we have in Him.
Seven Superiorities of His Person are identified in this passage:
  1. Who is... the image of the invisible God...-
    God is Spirit (Joh 4:24). The eye of flesh cannot see Him, though it ought to perceive the handiwork of the Creator in the things which the invisible God has made (Rom 1:20). Yet, the human heart blocks out even that which can be plainly seen, because it has been blinded by Satan (2Cor 4:4-6).
       "The Son of God's love" (v.13,14) is the "image" {GK=eikon, visible representation, manifestation} of God. By observing Him, created beings can discern the character and Person of the invisible God. (See Joh 1:18; 14:9; 15:24; Heb 1:3a, where the "express image" {GK=charakter}, more than a visible depiction, is the precise expression of God's Person, stamped in human substance.)
  2. Who is... the firstborn of every creature {lit., of all creation}...-
    The word "creature" {GK=ktisis} encompasses every created thing, both animate and inanimate, and also the order and construction of all that has been made.
       The word "firstborn" {GK=prototokos, the first to be brought forth} does not refer to His birth. However, there is another word which speaks to that. The man, Jesus, was the "only begotten Son of God." The term "only begotten" {GK=monogenes} refers to the uniqueness of His coming into the world. He was the only man to be conceived of the Holy Ghost, to be born of a virgin. He was the only man born without a sinful nature. He was the unique Son of promise, the one man appointed and anointed to fulfill the Father's purposes. (eg., Joh 1:14,18; 3:16,18; 1Joh 4:9; cf. Heb 11:17,18, Abraham's 'only begotten son' foreshadowed God's unique Son, the promised Seed, who would be born through Isaac's lineage.)
       As 'the firstborn,' "the first to be brought forth of all creation" the uniqueness of the Son of God was evident, long before He became a man. He is set apart, not only from mankind, but from all created things, for He is the Creator (Joh 1:1-3).
       Furthermore, as the firstborn of all creation, the right of the firstborn belongs to Him. He is 'heir of all things.' He is the possessor of heaven and earth. He has full authority over the use and disposition of all creation. (Psa 89:27)
       The scriptures are clear that this right is His, not because He was the first one to be created, but rather because He is the Creator of all things. He is the "first to be brought forth" in that He is the beginning or source of all. He had no beginning, for His "goings forth are from of old, from everlasting" (Mic 5:2). (See Prov 8:22-24, which speaks of Christ's eternal existence as the wisdom of God. See also Isa 48:16, where the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah, is seen as eternally pre-existing in the Triune Godhead.) Here, in Colossians ch.1, verse 16 gives two points which explain what it means that He is the firstborn of all creation.
    1. For by him were all things created {GK=ktizo, founded, established}...-
      What things? All things...-
      • in heaven... in earth [eg., Sun, moon, stars, mountains, seas, and every living thing]
      • visible... invisible [eg., Molecules, atoms, electrons, quarks, matter, energy, physical and spiritual beings]
      • including every order and rank of authority, whether of men or angels.
        • thrones {GK=thronos, seats of power}
        • dominions {GK=kuriotes, lordship, governments}
        • principalities {GK=arche, magistrates, rulers}
        • powers {GK=exousia, authorities}
        As Creator, He has ultimate dominion over all of these entities (Eph 6:10-13; Psa 75:7)
    2. all things were created by Him {through means of Him} and for Him - that is...
      • to fulfill His purposes, Rom 11:36
      • for His pleasure, Rev 4:11 (where 'pleasure' is GK=thelema, will)
  3. He is before all things - "before" has two senses: time and position.
  4. by Him all things consist {GK=sunistemi, stand together, remain together}
    He holds creation together. He sustains its order. Consider the power unleashed when the atom is loosed. Then consider the One who upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb 1:3; 2Pet 3:7).
  5. He is the Head of the Church...- ie., of the body of believers 'called out' from the world.
    • The Head holds total authority over the body. Eph 5:21-24
    • The Head is in vital organic union with the body. Eph 1:22,23
  6. He is the beginning {GK=arche, first in rank, chief, ruler, the source, origin, active cause}
    Everything begins with Him, who is over all: the universe, this earth, human life, the salvation of fallen man, the new birth, the church, our fellowship with God. Joh 1:1; 1Joh 1:1-3; Rev 1:8
  7. He is the firstborn {GK=prototokos, the first to be brought forth} from the dead -
    Joh 11:25,26; 1Cor 15:21-23; Rev 1:5,18
...that in all things he might have the preeminence {GK=proteus, first place}.
The superiorities of Christ, identified here, are to demonstrate that:
He is first in all things, not only in regard to the natural creation, but also in regard to the supernatural re-creation, which is "the church of the firstborn" (Heb 12:23).
How is it that our Bethlehem born Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is such an exalted Person, in such an exalted Position? The explanation follows...
19 For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, 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.
21 And you,
that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works,
yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death,
to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23 If 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;
"For it pleased the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell..."
The italicized words (in the KJV) are not present in the original, but were inserted by the translators to help clarify the meaning. A more literal translation reads:
"Because in Him it did please all the Fullness to dwell."
[adapted from the YLT, which renders the last word as "tabernacle" (which usually refers to a temporary dwelling place). However, here, the word 'dwell' {GK=katoikeo, to settle down} refers to a permanent dwelling place.]
The Lord Jesus Christ is in first place over all, because He is fully God. Col 2:9
Note that, in the passage before us, the Fullness was pleased, not only to dwell in Him (v.19),
but also (v.20) "to reconcile all things unto Himself," by Him in whom the Fullness dwells.
This reconciliation...
  • made peace...- ie., where there had been enmity.
    He resolved the war between the Kingdom of Light and the powers of darkness.
  • is through {by means of} the blood of His cross (Rom 5:1).
  • reconciles {GK=apokatallaso, completely changes the relationship of} all things to Him.
    "All things" includes (v.20,21):
    • things in earth (2Cor 5:18-20).
    • things in heaven (Heb 9:23,24).
      But note that "things under the earth" are excluded from this peace (for the kingdom of darkness will be destroyed in the lake of fire). Though unreconciled, they are compelled to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord of all. Php 2:10
    • You (ie., believers)...
You... hath He reconciled {GK=apokatallasso, fully changed}...-
     Changed from what to what? How? (v.21,22)
Changed from...
  • The essence of our former state {"sometime" means: once, in time past}:
  • The exhibition of our former state:
    • in our minds {ie., thoughts and imaginations} - Gen 6:5
    • in our wicked works {ie., the outworking of our wicked minds}
Changed to become, in His sight...
  • holy {ie., set apart from the world to serve the Father's good pleasure}
  • unblameable {GK=amomes, unblemished, without spot}
  • unreprovable {GK=anagklotos, unaccusable}
How was this change effected?
  • In the body of His flesh through death (Eph 2:14-16; Heb 1:3c).
    He took your former state upon Himself, and put it to death in Himself.
  • To present you...- {GK=paristemi, to establish alongside, to stand beside}
    He stands you alongside of Himself, in His likeness.
         See Rom 8:29, where the Father's purpose is that the believer be "conformed to the image {GK=eikon} of His Son." The Son is the image of the invisible God (v.15), for the Fullness dwells in Him. Believers are conformed to the image of the Son, as the Fullness of Christ dwells in those who are 'in Him.' Joh 1:16; Eph 1:22,23; 3:19
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel...-
Here is Paul's great concern, in this epistle: that believers would fully understand the fullness of the hope which they have received in Christ (v.3-5,9-10), and continue steadfastly standing on that hope, lest they move away from Christ in pursuit of empty human philosophies.
     This verse does not call into question the eternal security of true believers. It is the Lord who keeps His own from falling away (Joh 10:27-30). Yet, His people are set apart from the world, through the Word of God, which they have received (Joh 17:14-17). Those whose lives rest securely upon the foundation of God's truth, will not depart from it.
     The Gospel message, which they received, was proclaimed by the apostle Paul...
24 Who 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:
25 Whereof I am made a minister,
according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you,
to fulfil the word of God;
26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations,
but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known
what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles;
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
28 Whom we preach,
warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom;
that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
The ministry "...whereof I Paul am made a minister..." (v.23-28) -
  • an overview of the task:
    It entailed the preaching {proclamation} to every creature {all creation} of the Gospel of Christ [which heralds: His Person (His being over all) and His Work (His blood shed for all)] to all who will hear. Those who hear and believe possess the hope, which Christ has purchased for them, in Himself (v.23).
  • its assignment: by appointment -
    • I... am made a minister {GK=diakonos, a servant, an errand runner}.
      This phrase is emphatic, in that, it occurs twice (v.23c,25a). Paul was placed into this ministry by the Creator of the universe, the Lord of the church, the Reconciler of all. Paul did not take this role to himself. Rather, he received it from God (v.1; Gal 1:1)
    • according to the dispensation {GK=oikonomia, stewardship, economy} which is given to me (v.25). Paul's ministry was assigned to him, according to God's will, not due to any merit in Paul (Eph 3:2-8).
  • its cost and rewards - It was a source of both joy and sorrow, for Paul.
       ...who now rejoice in my sufferings {GK=pathema, stress of body, emotions, mind} (v.24)
    • Paul is writing from prison.
    • He has experienced persecution, danger and deprivation, for the privilege of serving Christ and proclaiming His Word.
    • He bore these afflictions {GK=thlipsis, anguish, burdens} in his own fleshly body, for the sake of Christ's body, which is the Church.
  • its purpose -
    • "for you" - ("...given to me for you," v.24a,25b) -
      The stewardship which Paul had received from Christ, was not a position of personal exaltation, but rather a responsibility to serve the body of Christ. As Christ's servant, Paul was often under-appreciated, misunderstood, slandered, or even opposed by other members of the body (eg., 2Cor 12:14-19).
    • "to fill up that which is behind {GK=husterema, that which is lacking} of the sufferings of Christ..."- (see this word in 1The 3:10)
      This lack cannot be a deficiency in Christ's work of salvation, for that work is finished (Joh 19:30; Heb 10:10). The hope of each and every believer is perfectly secured by 'who Christ is' and 'what He has done' (v.19-22).
         But the body of Christ, made up of many believers, lacks maturity. We need to be filled with the knowledge of our Lord, if we are to be full of fruit, and full of joy in the face of opposition (v.9-11).
         Paul, as a member of Christ's body, was suffering for the welfare of the rest of the body... as a runner's sore leg muscles strain to carry his torso across the finish line.
         Paul's sufferings had nothing to do with the purchase of salvation. But he was stretched beyond measure in the process of bringing the unsaved to new birth, and spiritual babies to maturity (eg., Gal 4:19).
    • "to fulfill {GK=pleroo, fill up, complete} the word of God" -
           This word is translated: "fully preached" the Gospel (in Rom 15:19).
      What does Paul mean by 'fill up the Word of God'?
      1. v.25-27 - The Lord was using Paul to complete the written Word, which up to that time did not include the 'mystery,' which God had chosen not to reveal in OT times.
           Although God's purposes have been settled from ages past, He hid {GK=apokrupto, kept secret} certain things which He has made manifest {GK=phanero, brought to light} to NT saints {believers set apart to Christ}, including believing Gentiles.
      2. The Lord was using Paul to 'fill up' the understanding of Christ's body (v.9) concerning the Person of their Head, in whom all 'Fullness' dwells (v.15-19).
        (He explains in the following verses.)
    • to reveal a mystery... (v.26-28a); cp. Rom 16:25-26; 1Cor 2:7; Eph 3:3-6
      • the Mystery Defined: Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 3:3,4
        It was for this hope {confident expectation}, possessed by his readers through their faith in Christ, that Paul gave thanks, in v.3-5.
      • the Mystery Identified, not as a doctrine, but as a Person: "Whom we preach..."
        The mystery: of Christ and His Church in inseparable union, is expressed in two ways:
        • Christ in you... -
          Colossians emphasizes the glorious fullness of the One who indwells His own. Believers, full of God's Wisdom within, have no need of worldly wisdom (Col 1:18,19).
             Christ, the Head, completes His body (Col 2:9,10).
        • You in Christ... -
          Ephesians emphasizes the undeserved grace of God, toward those who are 'in Christ' (Eph 1:3-7). Believing Jews and Gentiles, having been raised out of sin's deadness into Christ's life, are one body, in Him (Eph 3:6).
             Christ, the Head, is completed by His body (Eph 1:22,23).
29 Whereunto I also labour,
striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
2:1. For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you,
and [for] them at Laodicea,
and [for] as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
2:2 That their hearts might be comforted,
being knit together in love,
and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding,
to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The minister (1:28 - 2:3) - "...whereunto I also labour..."
  • Focused on the task: "Whereunto..." 1:28 - 2:1
    • "Whom we preach {katangello, to declare or proclaim a specific thing}..."
      Christ Himself is the message. We must proclaim Him. 1Cor 2:2-5; 2Cor 4:5; Rom 16:25
      • warning {GK=noutheteo, admonish}-
        ie., confronting the mind of the hearer with a firm stand on what is right and true, that he may discern and avoid error. eg., Col 3:16; Acts 20:31
      • teaching {GK=didasko, to impart doctrine}... in all wisdom {GK=sophia}.
        ie., imparting truth, with application to life (1Cor 2:4,5; Col 1:9c).
    • I labor {GK=topiao, toil to weariness}
      • striving {GK=agonizomai, straining as in athletic contest toward a goal}
      • according to His working {GK=energeia}, which worketh {GK=energeo} in me mightily {GK=dunamis}.-
        Paul's toil in ministry was energized by the power of Christ working within him (Gal 2:20). Apart from the Lord's strength, the minister would not have endured, and his ministry would not have been effective (Col 1:10,11; Joh 15:4,5).
    • I have great conflict {GK=agon, agony, contention} for you... (Col 2:1)
      Those, for whom Paul gave himself as a servant of the Lord, had little understanding of the burden on his heart. If only they could see his agony in their behalf -- both in enduring troubles (Php 1:30; 1The 2:2) and in laboring {GK=agonizomai} in prayer (Col 4:12) -- perhaps then (Paul thought), they would take his teaching and admonitions more seriously ("I would that ye knew...").
  • Focused on the goal (Col 2:2,3): "That..."
    • that we may present {GK=paristemi, 'stand you beside'; see this word in Col 1:22}
         every man perfect {GK=teleios, finished, complete} in Christ Jesus (1:28c; Eph 4:12,13).
    • that their hearts may be comforted {GK=parakaleo, called alongside}... (Col 2:2)
      • being knit together in love (cp. Php 2:1-4; Col 3:14)...
      • unto [the full knowledge] of... Christ, in whom is all wisdom and knowledge.-
        The knowledge of Christ surpasses all knowledge, for He is above all.
        As the minister makes Christ known, His people are drawn together around Him. As Christ's body is permeated with His love, its members are enabled to stand together in every crisis, in anticipation of the day when we will stand together with Him in glory.
           "The knowledge of God, and {ie., 'even'} of the Father, and {ie., 'even'} of Christ" is wealth beyond measure (Joh 17:3), as indicated by Paul's superlatives (in Col 2:2,3):
        • all riches {all abundance}
        • full assurance {GK=pleroforia, complete confidence} of understanding {GK=sunesis, comprehension, cp. 1:9},
        • the acknowledgement {GK=epignosis, full knowledge} of the mystery...
        • all treasures {GK=thesaurus, wealth} of wisdom {GK=sophia} and knowledge {GK=gnosis}
          These treasures were previously hidden, kept secret in past ages, but now revealed (as the mystery is proclaimed) in the gospel of Christ. Paul, as minister of the mystery, urgently desires that his spiritual children should discover the wealth that is theirs in Christ. 2Cor 4:6,7
      • in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.-
        It is as the minister leads the people to know Christ, rather than merely knowing about Him, that they will find their comfort in Him, for He is the ultimate Comforter (Col 2:2,3). He is our 'paraklete', our advocate with the Father (1Joh 2:1). He has given us the Holy Spirit, who is our comforter {GK=parakletos}, to dwell within us, to testify of Him, and to draw us into communion with Christ Himself (Joh 14:16-18). He walks with us. He is present with us. He is there when we need Him.
           The great concern, over which Paul agonized, was that believers would fully understand the fullness of their hope in Christ, and continue steadfastly clinging to Him, lest they be deceived and drawn away from Him who is the Fullness of God, in pursuit of empty human philosophies (as he explains in the following verses: Col 2:4-8).

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