The Epistle of Colossians **
** Written to the Church of the Body of Christ -- born again believers.† There are seven (7) Church Epistles written directly to born again believers today.† Each epistle beginning with Romans is either a DOCTRINE, REPROOF, OR CORRECTION epistle.† The epistle of COLOSSIANS is a CORRECTION epistle written to correct the doctrinal error that crept into the church at Colosse.† The purpose of this epistle was to get the believers back on track -- back to believing rightly.
[ **† A prerequisite to understanding this teaching and the type of study pattern used makes it necessary for you to first study The Epistle of James Chapter One.† Please† read at least the first three paragraphs of the teaching "The Epistle of James Chapter One" before proceeding.] ††
1, 2, 3, 4.† Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our† brother, 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.† We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,† Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have† to all the saints,
Literal:† Paul, an apostle, a messenger, one sent forth of Jesus Christ by the Will of God and Timotheus our brother.† To the saints (men who have Christ as the ground of their life) and faithful brethren in Christ in Colosse.† Grace, or divine favor be unto you and peace - a state of rest and untroubled, undisturbed† well-being, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.† We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ praying for you continually, having heard of your faith (i.e. a firmly relying confidence in what we hear from God in His Word) in Christ Jesus and of the love ** which you have towards all the saints.
†** This word 'love' here deserves special attention and is quite a revelation.† It denotes love which springs from admiration and veneration (i.e. to look upon with feelings of deep respect; revere) and which chooses its object with decision of will, and denotes a self-denying and compassionate devotion to it.† It is love in its fullest conceivable form.
5, 6, 7, 8, 9.†† For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;† 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:† As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant,† who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.† 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.
Literal:† On account of the hope which is laid up or laid away for you in the heavens which you heard of before in the word (as connected with the inward thought - spoken) of truth of the good news of salvation - the gospel.† Which are come to you even as also in all the world and brings forth fruit to one's self, even as also among you from the day in which you heard the truth of the gospel, AND to know fully or well the grace of God in truth.† (Regarding 'the truth', you gave heed to it with special recognition and attention so you know it fully or well.)† Even as also you learned from Epaphras our beloved fellow-bondman or fellowservant† (a bondservant is a person bound to service without pay; a slave.† However, the Master takes care of all that servant/slave's needs and then some desires also) who is a faithful and believing servant of Christ for you.† Who also made manifest, evident, visible and clear to us your love in the Spirit.† On account of this also, we, from the day which we heard of it, do not stop or cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge (that has a powerful influence on the knower) of His Will in all wisdom (a right application of knowledge) and spiritual understanding.
This spiritual knowledge which has a powerful influence on the knower ALWAYS TAKES PRECEDENCE over natural knowledge, which is knowledge gotten by the five senses and is worldly in origin.† It presides over and is superior to and is always more reliable than natural knowledge.† The choice is to walk by the spirit or by the senses.† One is the way of life and the other is the way of death.† You learn spiritual knowledge by renewing the mind to the Word of God.† That is what you are doing right now. The KEY TO POWER in your life and walk with God is the renewed mind.
10. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in [by] the knowledge of God;†
Literal: †That you might walk worthy or in a becoming manner of equal value, of the Lord, bringing forth fruit in every good work (what is brought into being or accomplished by labor) and increasing or growing by the knowledge of God.
This word 'knowledge' here is important since it refers to knowledge that is acquired by a thorough participation on the part of the knower.† It is that same knowledge that has a powerful influence on the knower.† This goes back to JAMES and being a doer AND NOT JUST A HEARER.† It is the 'doing' knowledge of God.† This refers to the believer who takes ACTION on the knowledge acquired from the Word in his everyday life.† The word 'increasing' here also supports this line of thought.† It means to grow or GROW UP by APPLYING and allowing the knowledge of the Word active participation in every area of your life.† Again, back to the DOING, the ACTION as compared to all the studying and knowledge and then mentally assenting to the Word and deceiving your own self.† Take a situation and apply the Word to that specific situation, pray about it and then take action on that goal or idea and God must take care of it.† You will then see signs, miracles, and wonders.
11. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness [joy];
Literal:† Strengthened with all of God's might (natural, moral, and physical ability) according to his brilliant and glorious exerted power and superior strength, and patient endurance and forbearance (self control) joy, delight or gladness.
12, 13. Giving thanks unto the Father which [who] hath made us meet [adequate] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:† Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us† into the kingdom of his dear Son.
******* Now be REAL SHARP when studying the literal of this verse 13.† In the first place, for a kingdom to exist, the King must be present.† We know that at the present time, Jesus Christ is not present on the face of the earth.† He is seated in the heavenlies at the right hand of God.† The King James Version offers a very poor translation of this verse.† We have been translated into God's kingdom† BY THE WORK of his dear Son, Jesus Christ.† That is the accuracy of the rightly divided Word of God.† Now you are better able to understand the literal translation of verse 13.†
Literal:† Giving thanks to the Father who had made us sufficient and adequate and competent for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light.† Who had delivered or rescued us from the exercised power (exousia) or from the authority of darkness and had translated or transferred us into His (Godís) kingdom by the work of His dear Son.
Another literal translation according to usage of Colossians 1: 13 is:† "Who hath rescued us out from among the exercised or operative influence of darkness (kingdom) and separated us, bringing us as citizens into His kingdom by the work of His dear Son."
14. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even† the forgiveness [remission] of sins.
Literal:† In whom we have redemption though his blood, the remission of sins.
Redemption is the deliverance from the guilt and punishment of sin.† We are redeemed or set free as the result of the atonement or payment made by Jesus Christ for our sins.† We are redeemed or bought back by what Christ accomplished.† We never have to suffer from the guilt or the punishment of sin.† Unless we want to!† Even for broken fellowship, we simply confess it and get back in fellowship.† REDEMPTION IS ONE OF OUR SONSHIP RIGHTS.† You need to understand it and work it in your mind and heart and into your life.† You need to forget about yesterday and especially negative memories and never condemn yourself for anything.† Also don't punish yourself or feel guilty about anything.† This is especially true when you are doing your very best.† That is all God asks of you and He will take care of everything you will ever need and want in your life.† Have patience and wait on God.† He will bless you -- don't veer off this path.† Continue to shut the door on the adversary's organized nonsense and guard your heart and your mind.† JUST KEEP GOD FIRST, FIRST, FIRST!
15. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Watch your pronouns!† They play a key part in rightly dividing God's Word and especially where there is a parentheses in the Word of God which is evident in verses† 16 and 17.† But first, let's stay with our pattern and study the literal of verse 15.
Literal:† Who, (Jesus Christ) is the image or likeness of the invisible or unseen God, the firstborn of all creation.
*** The following two verses, 16 & 17, are a parenthetical statement which is a figure of speech that you need to study and understand in order to rightly divide God's Word and avoid private interpretation.
16. (For by him [God] 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 [God], and for him [God]:
Literal:† (For by Him (GOD) were all things created, the things in the heavens and things on the earth, things seen and the unseen ("visible and invisible"), whether thrones (i.e. a symbol of regal authority), or lordships (i.e. rule, dominion, rank or authority of a lord), or principalities (i.e. implies the use of supra-mundane powers over and above everyday worldly powers and implies the mutual rank of these powers as they relate to men), or exercised powers with the delegated liberty or authority of free movement insured as compared to simply having the ability.† All things were created by God and for God.
17. And he [God] is before all things, and by him [God] all things consist.)
Literal:† And He, God, is before all, and by Him all things cohere as parts connected naturally or logically by a common principle; they stand together or united in accord.
Another literal translation according to usage is:† And he (God) is before all things, and by him (God) all things consist [cohere; were created].)
Verses 16 and 17 are a parenthetical phrase.† It is a Figure of Speech WHICH IS AN EXPLANATION.† By not understanding this, private interpretation easily comes into being and people say that Jesus Christ created all things.† You must read from verse 15 DIRECTLY to verse 18 to avoid the loss of thought continuity and to get the rightly divided Word of God!
Now to verse 18 which continues the thought from the end of verse 15:
18. And he [Jesus Christ] is the head of the body,† the church:† who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things† he [Jesus Christ] might have the preeminence.
Literal:† And he (Jesus Christ) is the head (chief part) of the body as a whole, of the church - the assembly.† Jesus Christ is the head of the body of the church of God of which we are a part of that body. Who (Jesus Christ) is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.† Jesus Christ is the first and only person ever to be raised from the dead and still living and is seated at the right hand of God.† The purpose being that he might be, in all things, having or holding the first place or the highest dignity (might have the preeminence).
Can you see how easily private interpretation can come about as a result of not understanding this figure of speech called a parentheses?!!† The pronoun† in verse 15 is referring to Jesus Christ-the Son of God.† This same continuity of thought follows in verse 18.† However, the pronouns in verses 16 and 17, which are in parentheses, are referring to God Almighty.†† By not properly understanding figures of speech, you simply cannot rightly divide God's perfect Word.† Can you see the importance of this lesson?† Go back and take a second look and a third look until you completely understand this point.† How hard did you study your college courses or how much time did you put in that new procedure that you had to learn at your job??!!† My God, people -- this is God's Word -- this is how we're supposed to be living -- by His rule book.† There is no real life outside of God's Word.† It's all a well disguised mass of organized confusion that will always let you down just when you need some power in your life.† Trust me.† I've been there.
19. For it pleased the† Father† that in him should all fulness dwell;
Before going on to the literal translation, it should be pointed out that this is another very poor translation from the King James Version.† Take note of the words 'the Father'† which are in italics.† You should know by now that words in italics are added by the translators.† They are not a part of the original God-breathed Word.† In this particular situation, they appear to throw the whole verse to smithereens and confusion.† That's what private interpretation does.† A much more clear and accurate translation of this verse 19 is presented in the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament.† The following is that literal translation:
Literal:† Because in him (Jesus Christ), all the fulness was pleased to dwell.
Isn't that a simple and† beautiful scripture when rightly divided?† It's so easy to see how words in italics result, most often, in private interpretation.† That's why you must work the Word on your own with God helping you to find the closest to the original God-breathed Word.
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.
[Note:† This is another verse where the italicized words† in the King James Version are unnecessary.]
Literal:† And by him to reconcile* all things to himself making peace or reconciliation through the blood of his cross or stake (nailed to for execution or crucifixion), by him whether things in earth or things in heaven.
* This word 'reconcile' means that no impediment remains to unity and peace.† To put away all enmity that amity follows as the result of changing one state into another.
21, 22.† And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your† mind by wicked works, yet now hath he [Jesus Christ] reconciled.† In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
Literal:† And you once being alienated (kept apart from or away from) and enemies (hostile to and in conflict with) in the mind by wicked works or deeds yet now he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death.
[The word 'mind' here is mature thought; the reflective exercise of the heart; consciousness called into† exercise by the moral affections].
['Wicked' is that which causes sorrow or pain as causing evil to others; evil in nature or quality].
Literal continued..... To present (stand near or stand by) you holy† (pure and sacred) AND unblameable (spotless, without stain or blemish) AND unreproveable (not able to accuse; blamed but undeserving of the blame) in his sight or before him.
The following is another clearer literal translation according to usage of verses 21 and 22:
And you who at one time were alienated and enemies in your mind by evil works causing sorrow and pain to others, yet now Jesus Christ removed all impediments to unity and peace with the Father, in the body of Jesus Christ's flesh as a result of his death on the cross.† To stand nearby us and present us as set apart and holy and sacred, pure and without any stain or blemish and undeserving of blame or accusation before Him (God) or in His (God's) presence.
HOWEVER ALL OF THE ABOVE DEPENDS ON ONE CONDITION AND THAT IS :
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;
Literal:† If indeed you continue in the faith or firmly relying confidence in what we hear from God in His Word founded and firm (Interlinear) -- grounded and settled (KJV). If you continue in the hearing and the doing of the Will of God sinking your feet in the cemented foundation of the Word of God and letting it dry and also being seated, staying firm and steadfast and not moving from the principles of the Word in your life and in your actions.† You willfully continue to renew your mind to the Word.† "If you continue in the faith grounded and settled", and be not moved away or removed from the hope of the good news of the promise of salvation, which you heard, which was proclaimed or announced publicly in all the creation which is under heaven, of which, I Paul became a servant.
So you stay holy and pure, without any spot or blemish and not able to be justifiably accused IF..... IF you continue in the Word and are not tricked out.† This only makes sense.† It becomes a way of life where the mind must constantly be renewed in contrast to walking by the senses.
Galatians 5: 16, 17 Ė This †I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.† For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:† and these [desires] are contrary the one to the other:† so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
The word 'hope' in verse 23 is also interesting in that it is a well-grounded expectation and a gladly and firmly held prospect of a future good.† It is the hope of the return of Christ that should keep you motivated --† not anything else should take precedence over that motivation.† You need to keep in mind the return of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.† You need to keep the return in mind more often during each day, circumstance and situation.
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:
Literal:† Now, I am rejoicing in my sufferings for you, and I am fulfilling that which is lacking or deficient in relation to the sufferings or tribulations of Christ in my flesh, for his (Jesus Christ's) body's sake which is the assembly or church.
Jesus Christ is the head of the church and we are members of his body.† We are the church of God.† Paul is rejoicing in afflictions and tribulations as Jesus Christ exhorts us to do in the gospel of Matthew:
Matthew 5: 12 -- Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:† for great is† your reward in heaven:† for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Paul is learning more and more about what Christ went through even though he will never fully understand the magnitude of Christ's sufferings.
25. Whereof I am [was] made a minister, according to the dispensation [oikonomia--administration] of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Literal:† Of which I became servant or am made a minister according to the administration (of a household, the administrative activity of the owner or the steward) of God given me towards you to fulfill or complete the Word of God.
The marginal note at the end of the verse is to preach fully the Word of God.† Fulfill here is to perform fully, complete or accomplish.
26. Even† the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Literal:† The mystery or secret which has been hidden away (from anyone) from ages and from generations but now was made manifest to his saints.† This mystery is now made apparent, shown openly -- made known.
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:
Literal:† To whom God did will to make known what is the riches of the glory (brilliance, splendour, brightness) of this mystery or secret among the Gentiles .......................................††††††††††††
WHICH IS CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY.
This is the mystery that was hidden away for many ages and generations.† You have the same spirit within you that Jesus Christ had upon him.† The more you renew your mind the more God can teach you and the more power of God you bring to pass in your life.† Give God a chance to work and wait on Him.† Study every day.†† God will see to it that you have enough time to get everything done that you need to do.† Keep your head in the Word.† Put God on the spot and let Him prove Himself to you.† You and God make a majority in every situation.
28. Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:†
Literal:† Whom we preach, announce, or set forth, admonishing or warning (confronting with the truth) every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, cleverness and skill in or from the church epistles which are written directly to the church of God of which you are a part - that we may present every man perfect, full and complete wanting nothing (grown up in spiritual maturity) IN CHRIST.
'In Christ' is the renewed mind which is the key to power in your life and walk with God.† You cannot be grown up in spiritual maturity unless you study and renew the mind -- 'in Christ'.† It is interesting to note that the previous verse mentions Christ 'in you' and the next verse mentions you 'in Christ'.† Christ in us is to be born again of the Spirit of God and you in Christ is the renewed mind part of your spiritual existence with God.† They work hand in hand.† What good is being born again regarding the abundant life if you do not renew the mind enabling you to have that more than abundant life.† Don't look around at what everyone else is doing.† Do the will of God.† Study and apply the Word to every area of your life.
The word admonish (warning) is interesting to study.† It means to warn; to reprove mildly; to inform or remind by way of a warning; to urge, exhort or advise -- to correct a fault; a mild rebuke or reprimand.
29. Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Literal:† Whereunto also I labour (requires believing) to the point of being weary or faint, striving like a competitor in a contest, according to his working (energy power in action - energemata - effectual operation, efficiency, active power) which worketh in me mightily or with an inherent power or natural capacity.
'Mightily' is also referring to moral as well as physical ability; it is miraculous energy.† Take notice that this miraculous energy takes place in us AS we labor and strive to the point of being weary like a competitor in a contest.† We believe it, ACT on it, then we see results.† Remember that the more than abundant life is being busy all the time doing God's Will but yet you are at peace at the same time.† There is no genuine life outside of God's Word.
Ecclesiastes 12: 13 -- Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:† Fear [reverence; respect] God, and keep his commandments:† for this is† the whole duty †of man.