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Bible Commentaries
Colossians 1

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verses 1-2


From Paul, who by God’s will is an apostle. Not elected or appointed, but chosen by God. And from our brother Timothy. Paul’s other letters written at this time, show that Timothy was in Rome. He is mentioned seven times in the introduction of Paul’s letters to the churches: here; in 2 Corinthians; Philippians; 1 Thessalonians; 2 Thessalonians and Philemon. To God’s people. This name was applied to all Christians. Paul calls them “faithful brothers.”

Verse 3


We always give thanks. Both Paul and Timothy made a regular habit of prayer for all the churches in their care.

Verse 4


For we have heard of your faith. Probably from Epaphras (who was a member of the church at Colossa – Colossians 1:7; Colossians 4:12), who was with Paul at Rome.

Verse 5


So your faith and love. He gives thanks for their hope of heaven, which is the basis for their faith and love. This hope was part of the gospel preached to them, and they look to the spiritual treasure kept safe in heaven for them.

Verse 6


Spreading through the whole world. The gospel spread freely among all the nations under Roman influence, and people from other nations took the gospel with them as they returned from Roman territory to their native lands. (See note on Matthew 24:14.) Just as it has among you. The gospel creates holy lives in those who listen to it.

Verse 7


You learned this from Epaphras. He is thought to be the one who planted the church here, acting by Paul’s direction [or perhaps assisting Paul]. We do not know where this Epaphras became a Christian, but possibly at Ephesus, the capital of the province, during Paul’s three year stay there. He is not the Epaphroditus of Philippians 2:25; Philippians 4:18. He is praised as a faithful worker, and is identified with the church there (Colossians 4:12).

Verse 8


He told us. He was with Paul at Rome as this was being written.

Verse 9


For this reason. Because of all that Paul had heard about them. We ask God to fill you. Knowledge would be their best protection against false teaching, and would make them more confident. The Holy Spirit gave the early church the wisdom and understanding which we now have in the form of the New Testament (1 Corinthians 12:8; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:8-9).

Verse 10


Then you will be able to live. They would praise God with their lives, by living as he wants them to do. Fruitful. Good works and knowledge honor God.

Verse 11


May you be made strong. God offers to give us strength, so we can be strong, even when falsely accused (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Verse 12


And give thanks. No matter what you may face, thank the Father and praise him. The Colossians had once been unfit for the Kingdom, but God had made them fit to receive every blessing in Christ. Light. Purity, truth. Darkness symbolizes evil, ignorance, etc.

Verse 13


He rescued us. We were prisoners of the power of darkness – Satan (compare Luke 22:53). Brought us safe into the Kingdom. God, through the gospel (Romans 1:16-17) had already rescued the Colossians from Satan’s power and they are now safe in the Kingdom of Jesus (his church). This took place when they were born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). Note this speaks of the Kingdom as already in existence.

Verse 14


By whom we are set free. God’s act in Christ. It is the totality of Christ’s sacrifice which is the basis of our being set free (Ephesians 1:7). Satan is holding the whole human race prisoner. Jesus made a way to escape.

Verse 15


Christ is the visible likeness. God is Spirit – invisible. Christ came and took a body of flesh – the Eternal Logos in human form (John 14:10; Hebrews 1:1-3). The firstborn Son. That is, he existed before creation began. It does not say he was the first created, but the firstborn. See John 1:2-3. Superior to all created things. Jesus was not created, but is God – the Logos.

Verse 16


For by him God created everything. He existed before any creation. God made everything by him. Compare John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2.The seen. The material universe. The unseen. Angels, both good and bad. This places Christ far above every angel, evil spirit, etc., including Satan [who is a fallen angel]. Everything and everyone, both angels and men, are included by the “spiritual powers, lords, rulers and authorities.” (Ephesians 1:21) Through him and for him. This shows Christ’s place. See also 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.

Verse 17


He existed before all things. He was with the Father before anything at all was created, including angels. In union with him. He is the one who placed them in their proper sequence. See also Hebrews 1:3-14.

Verse 18


He is the head of his body. The church [Matthew 16:18] is identified as the spiritual body of Christ, and he is its head. (See Ephesians 1:22) The source. Of the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Firstborn Son. He was the first to conquer death – rising from the dead never to be recaptured by death. See also 1 Corinthians 15:20.

Verse 19


The full nature of God. This can be understood of Christ’s humanity (Colossians 2:9), and also that “completeness” is in him.

Verse 20


Through the Son. See Ephesians 1:10. God made peace. God chose to focus his saving power through the historical act of Christ’s death. It is through the totality of this sin-offering that we can become friends with God and friends with each other. All things. Compare Romans 8:19-21. All of Creation seems to have been cursed in the sin of Adam. God has chosen to remove this curse through Christ.

Verse 21


You were far away. The evil things which mankind does and thinks makes them the enemies of God – hostile to him and to each other. Christians had been like that, but became new in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Verse 22


By means of the physical death of his Son. Not God – but rather men and women are changed through the physical death of Christ. Without Christ and the Cross, there could be no Good News! God has made this “bloody death” both the symbol and the reality of being accepted as God’s friend. Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. Holy, pure, faultless. God pronounces us “not guilty” as the result of our union with Christ (Galatians 3:26-29).

Verse 23


You must, of course, continue faithful. Our new relationship to God because of our union with Christ, requires us to live as God directs us to do, and, to hold firmly to every promise. The Devil will attempt to destroy hope. Which has been preached. See note on Colossians 1:6.

Verse 24


For by mean of my physical sufferings. He was in prison because he preached Christ. He could be happy because of the results of this suffering. I help complete. Christ’s sufferings on the Cross are complete! But, Christ shares the sufferings of his people. [“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4).] We have a work to do – in which Christ shares. (Compare Revelation 6:9-11)

Verse 25


Who gave me this task. God himself made Paul a servant of the church of Christ. In becoming a servant, Paul received an obligation (Ephesians 3:2). He was to live God’s message himself, and, to take it to everybody in the world.

Verse 26


Which Is the secret. See 1 Corinthians 2:9. God revealed himself in past ages, but his final and complete revelation in Jesus Christ was kept secret, even though it was “hinted at” through the prophets.

Verse 27


God’s plan is this. To make known his secret in and through Christ. And the secret is this. Christ living in the “people of God” [through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22; Romans 8:9-11)].

Verse 28


So we preach Christ to all men. God’s call is to everyone (John 6:45). Jesus sent his followers to “all peoples everywhere.” In order to bring. Those who are set free from sin by their union to Christ, and indoctrinated with Truth, will be approved by God.

Verse 29


To get this done. We call on the grace of Christ to help us get the job done. See Hebrews 4:16. Jesus uses the “hands” of the “people of God” to carry out his mission of bringing men and women to himself.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Colossians 1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/colossians-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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