The Epistle of COLOSSIANS
[ ** 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. If [since] ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Literal: If or since you were raised with Christ spiritually, seek after and strive to find those things which are heavenly things or are heaven above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.
2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Literal: Set your affection, thinking and opinions of the mind and understanding on things that are above - on that which is heavenly (heavenly things).
Think on the things of God and meditate on His Word throughout the day. "Set your affection on things above" not on things on or of the earth. You need to take your mind by force and make it behave by telling it what to think on such as the return of Christ. Watch what you feed into it. You can and are supposed to enjoy things here on earth as long as they do not get before your priority of God first in your thoughts and actions in your life.
3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Literal: For you died spiritually and your life was concealed and kept secret in conjunction, fellowship or agreement with Christ in God.
'In' meaning "with the primary idea of rest" in God -- 'a being or remaining within.' Spiritually you were dead but in God's foreknowledge your life was kept secret concerning your union with Christ which gave you back your spiritual life which you need to survive for eternity. It is possible that God is referring to the mystery here where no one, not even Christ, knew what it was but we don't want to guess! Our future and destiny was truly concealed from anyone but God Himself by the mystery. Christ is the only way we can have any spiritual life and again, this secret was kept from everyone. You must remember that God sees the past, present, and future at one time and when He says we are dead, He is seeing the past and could be referring to it as the 'now'. Also, when He sees the future, He could be referring to it as if it were the present. This needs to be understood to understand the Word.
More research resulted in the following explanation which is even clearer. 'For you are dead' meaning that without spiritual life, we are referred to as dead. In other words, to be carnally minded is death. At this point, Romans speaks clearly:
Romans 8: 6 -- For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
The aforementioned attempts are made only to more clearly understand Colossians 3: 3 and are not meant, by any means, to bring private interpretation into the picture. To be carnally minded is death so God is saying that your life is hidden with or in union with Christ in God. The word' hid' is to conceal or keep secret and the mystery was the greatest secret ever kept. To hide is to cloak or cover which is a figure of speech meaning to completely watch over, take care of, and shield from harm.
4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Literal: When Christ, our life, may be manifested or shall appear, then also, you, with him, shall be manifested or made apparent in glory.
'Glory' is renown, honor, or recognition, brightness; it is the appearance which attracts attention. We shall share some of the glory with Jesus Christ. It is then that we shall be able to fully appreciate that we are completely, absolutely complete in Him (remember Colossians 2: 10). We will be part of the splendor, glory and brightness of the return of Jesus Christ.
5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Literal: Put to death or make dead, therefore, your members (parts of the human body) which are on the earth; [each term is dealt with separately] ........................
Blow to smithereens or make dead the following:
1) Fornication which is spiritual idolatry or whoredom which is not keeping God FIRST in your life. The Lexicon points out that the word 'fornication' is used of idolatry in the Church in the New Testament. The word fornication here refers to spiritual idolatry -- putting anything before God.
2) Uncleanness which is impurity as opposed to holiness; in an ethical sense, it is impurity in general; morally impure, evil, wicked, depraved, and sinful.
3) Inordinate Affection which is a passion, affection, lust or concupiscence which is not regulated and lacks restraint or moderation.
4) Evil Concupiscence which is an evil desire or yearning; it is a mental desire (not the object desired). The word 'evil' here embraces every form of evil whether moral or physical; the evil habit of the mind which could be in the form of meanness, cowardice, and sometimes malice. (Remember that 'concupiscence' denotes the inward passion of the mind in a good or bad sense.)
5) and Covetousness which is 'a having more'; the will to have more (a larger portion, advantage, superiority). Covetous thoughts could lead to plans of fraud and extortion.
6) which is Idolatry or idol worship - putting anything before God in your life. The latter part of this verse states that covetousness which is always wanting more and more, 'keeping up with the Jones', more power, more money, more recognition, more cars, more clothes -- THIS IS IDOLATRY which is the greatest sin - not seeking first the kingdom of God in your life. When you put the above examples and many others ahead of God in your life, you are worshipping an idol. It is no different than worshiping a statue from God's point of view. Idolatry takes on many different forms today than in Biblical times for the most part. You must keep God first and foremost in your life! 'Foremost' means first in place or time; first in rank or importance; leading; before all else; first. Covetousness is idol worship.
Ephesians 5: 5 -- For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (emphasis added)
For thought content, the verse needs to now be consolidated:
Literal of complete verse: Make dead your members which are upon the earth; fornication or spiritual idolatry, uncleanness or what is morally impure, evil and sinful, inordinate affection or a passion which lacks restraint or moderation, evil concupiscence which is evil mental desires, and covetousness which is the will to always want more and more, greed which is well above your need. ALL OF THESE ARE IDOLATRY WHICH IS IDOL WORSHIP and is the most common and greatest sin in the world today.
Matthew 22: 37, 38 -- Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
6. For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Literal: On account of these things comes the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience.
First of all, God is all light and in Him is no darkness at all so the phrase 'wrath of God' must be a figure of speech. God allows this wrath to happen because He is a just God, just also to the adversary himself. So this anger with a view to revenge (wrath) is allowed. The word disobedience is 'an unwillingness to be persuaded, willful unbelief that opposes itself to the gracious purpose of God.' Here's another example where "the wrath of God" is mentioned in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5: 6 -- Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. (emphasis added)
God says many things twice which establishes that fact. So if you don't make dead (change and eliminate via the renewed mind) the aforementioned actions and emotions which are all idolatry, you will experience the wrath of God.
7. In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
Literal: Among whom also you walked at some time or formerly when you were living in these things.
At some time, fornication, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, uncleanness, and covetousness were a part of your life. You lived every day in this idolatrous lifestyle.
8. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Literal: But now you are to also put off away from one's self and lay aside all these things: anger and wrath (the fermenting of the mind demonstrating a strong passion which may issue in revenge; the turbulent commotion of the mind; rage; the bursting forth of the flame; anger could be in combination with the desire for revenge) malice (badness including every form of evil, physical and moral; evil habits flowing from the wicked act of the mind; vice generally in all its forms) blasphemy (the very worst kind of slander; abuse; a disrespectful remark or action most often referring to any remark deliberately mocking or contemptuous of God) filthy communication out of your mouth (obscene language as a result of the tongue which is ungoverned and is an unruly evil; foul language).
You are to lay aside all these things. For the word 'anger', the Interlinear mentions the term 'indignation' which is anger or scorn resulting from injustice, ingratitude or meanness; righteous anger!!! Try not to react with anger but with wisdom and preventive believing. You are to lay this anger aside and put it off away from yourself. This is a type of anger and scorn you may be vulnerable to. Now that you are aware of it, you can be strong here and not fall for any trap and break fellowship. Be sharp. Remember wisdom and preventive believing to help you avoid the ingredients that may bring on feelings of indignation.
Colossians 3: 5 to 17 IS FOCUSING ON THE RENEWED MIND IN SOME DETAIL. Again, God backs up what is said here in Ephesians 4: 22 especially regarding the term 'put off'.
Ephesians 4: 22 -- That ye put off concerning the former conversation (conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.
That section in Ephesians is also stressing the renewed mind. Ephesians 4: 29 and 31 is also backing up Colossians 3: 8 along with Ephesians 4: 25 concerning lying in Colossians 3: 9. You should look up these verses in Ephesians.
9. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
Literal: Do not lie to and deceive one another seeing that you have put off (deprived by the force of your renewed mind; strip off, despoil, deprive) the worn out and decayed old man with his deeds.
Interesting is the word 'deeds' meaning a doing or the action being regarded as incomplete and in progress. You are to deprive the old man of his lies and stop him from completing any actions if he ever does complete anything. In your old man days, you may remember that you never completed anything you started. Without God, this is not unusual. If your old man tries to take you down that path, deprive by force, that manner of thinking, with the power of your renewed mind.
Romans 6: 6 -- Knowing this, that our old man is (was) crucified with him (Jesus Christ), that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
When Jesus Christ died, our old man died with him. You must put on the new man by renewing the mind as stated in the next verse. You must study God's Word. There is no other way to renew the mind!
10. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after [according to] the image of him that created him:
Literal: And having put on the new man that is being renewed into a clear and exact knowledge that has a powerful influence on the knower, according to the image (pattern of the original) of Him (God) that created him (Jesus Christ).
[Watch your pronouns!] Remember that the word 'knowledge' suggests a thorough participation on the part of the knower. Helping to understand this verse is a verse in Romans:
Romans 8: 29 -- For whom he (God) did foreknow, he (God) also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he (Jesus Christ) might be the firstborn among many brethren.
11. Where there is neither Greek nor [and] Jew, circumcision nor [and] uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [bondman] nor (delete ‘nor’ in italics) free: but Christ is all, and in all [in you].
Literal: Where there is not Greek (Gentile) and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian (not Greek, strange to Greek manners and language; a man who speaks a foreign or strange language), Scythian, bondman (a slave), free; but Christ is all things and in all in you.
Paul is explaining that when it comes to God's way of life and in reference to the renewed mind, we are all brothers and sisters. There is no distinction to be made among race, circumcision or not, what country you are from etc. God's Word via the renewed mind binds us all together as one and as equals. There is no respect of persons with God - He respects conditions only. We are to imitate God and also never respect persons as learned in James. Since Paul was correcting doctrinal error, this respect of persons must have crept into the teachings at Colosse. Keep the context, subject matter, and purpose of the Epistle in mind.
Although center references are added by man, they can have some benefit to this manner of study. In verse 11, the part about Greek and Jew is also mentioned in I Corinthians 12: 13; circumcision in Galatians 5: 6; Christ being in all things and in you is mentioned in Ephesians 1: 23.
12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Literal: Put on therefore, by the renewing of your mind, and as the elect (chosen out, preferred, selected) of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies or compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.
This verse is so dynamic regarding the renewed mind, we will study one word at a time as done previously with verse 5. This is VERY IMPORTANT MATERIAL for the renewed mind in your life which is your key to power.
First, God called us and in His foreknowledge He knew who would hear and accept. You were chosen by God Almighty before the very foundations of the world.
God refers to us as 'holy and beloved'. Holy means we are clean and pure and worthy of respect or reverence (that doesn't mean we will get it). We are spiritually pure and perfect and we belong to and are coming from God. 'Beloved' is a very interesting word. It is the giving of a decided preference to one object or person out of many. It sometimes implies regard and satisfaction. By being one of God's elect, you surely have a decided preference from God. 'Bowels of mercies' where bowels means the inward parts or the HEART which is the seat of the feelings. Put on the heart of mercies where mercies is another word for compassion as felt on witnessing misfortune or calamity; it is a sense of unhappiness for the ills of others; it is subjective compassion. It is referred to as bowels of mercies in the Word of God. 'Kindness' is also most interesting as applied to your walk. This is a doing or an inclination to do good (benevolence); kindly; charitable; it is being good-natured resulting in a kind act or favor. 'Humbleness of mind' is lowliness of mind or humility which is the state or quality of being humble; the absence of pride or self-assertion (self-assertion is the act of demanding recognition for oneself or insisting upon one's rights). Overall, this renewed mind change allows you to become more humble ridding yourself of pride and self-assertion. Remember that self-assertion is demanding recognition for one's self. When you scrape away distractions and the cause of the problem, you can then become humble to God and the things of God applied to your life. 'Meekness' which is patient and mild; not inclined to anger or resentment; gentle and kind. The Lexicon refers to this as mildness and enduring all things with an even temper; the exhibition of tenderness in bearing with others. You should endure all things with an even temper and express mildness, gentleness, patience and kindness. It is freedom from haughty self-sufficiency which is pride, contempt and scorn for others. Not being meek results in being too independent and having an attitude about it such as cockiness or pride. 'Longsuffering' which is patient endurance or restraint; self-control; to keep oneself in check; control oneself under provocation; putting up with others; tolerate. You need to keep in mind what God says and apply it to your life. You have to put off all these negative emotions. Keep away from the enemy's subtle messengers who bring out these negative emotions. Just keep away from anyone or anything that tends to make you unpeaceful. Keep God first and then follow your first thought and your heart and problems will disappear and blessings will manifest themselves in your life. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Flee fornication (spiritual idolatry). Force your mind to behave. Eventually the right way of thinking will become easier than the wrong way.
13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Literal: Bearing with one another, enduring and holding out (holding oneself upright), and graciously forgive and pardon one another, if anyone should find fault or blame or have a complaint against another, even as also Christ forgave you, so also you should do the same.
14. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Literal: And to all these, add the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, which is the bond (that which binds together) of perfectness or completeness (spoken of that which has reached its full and intended end.)
15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Literal: And let the peace of God preside, rule, umpire (be enthroned** as decider of everything) in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful and grateful. [** enthroned - to accord the highest place to]
16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Literal: Let the word of Christ inhabit or dwell in you richly and abundantly in all wisdom (right application of knowledge residing in the mind), giving instruction and direction to one another and admonishing, warning, instructing one another in psalms and hymns (festive song in praise of God) and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.
17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Literal: And everything, whatsoever you may do in spoken words or in your work or actions, business or employment, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Jesus Christ).
We need to do all things in the name of Jesus Christ. Christ is still your mediator between yourself and God. He goes to God and stands up for you. Give Jesus Christ the respect he surely deserves. All things are possible as a result of what he accomplished. Do all things to the glory of God but they are possible as a result of, or in the name of, Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior. All your needs are guaranteed to have been supplied by Christ Jesus.
18. Wives, submit [subject] yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Literal: Wives, submit or subject (under the authority or control of) yourselves to your own husbands as pertains to and is becoming in the Lord.
19. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Literal: Husbands, love and cherish with reverence, your wives, and be not angry and foster bitter feelings against them. (See Ephesians 5: 25)
20. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Literal: Children, obey and listen to your parents in all things; for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. (See Ephesians 6: 1)
21. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Literal: Fathers, do not irritate or provoke your children that they be not disturbed in their mind and lose courage and hope and enthusiasm (disheartened).
Ephesians 6: 4 – And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
A person or child who is provoked can become discouraged.
22. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
Literal: Servants, or employees, obey in all things your rulers or employers according to the flesh (outward form of human nature); not with eyeservice as menpleasers, but in singleness or simplicity of heart, RESPECTING God.
The context of this verse is referring back to Ephesians 6: 5 where ‘servants’ is referring to someone serving another or as an employee. ‘Masters’ is referring to an employer. Servants, or employees, obey in all things your rulers or employers according to the flesh (outward form of human nature); not with eyeservice as menpleasers, but in singleness or simplicity of heart, RESPECTING God.
23. And whatsoever ye do, do it [work] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Literal: And whatsoever you may do, work (to form by labor) heartily out of the whole man or from the heart, to or for the Lord and not for men.
Ephesians 6: 7 -- With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
You need to work from the heart for God because He is your Master -- your employer. You must imagine yourself going to work for God in your business or job and work for Him from the innermost part of your being -- your heart. YOU NEED TO REMIND YOURSELF OF THIS EVERY DAY! Now focus on this and enjoy yourself at work. You work for God and He loves you. Work hard and God will reward you. You need to focus on this until it becomes an everyday habit. Remind yourself. The next verse tells you 'why'.
24. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Literal: Knowing that from the Lord God, you shall receive into manifestation the reward, rendering or recompense (repayment given or done in return for something else) of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ.
Remember, you are an heir of God and a joint-heir of Jesus Christ. God has a lot to give. Change your attitude with the Word and enjoy the blessings God has waiting for you. Who do you live for? Who do you work for? Keep reminding yourself. The most important thing you can do is to keep God first and foremost and keep studying. Then apply what you've learned and keep doing your best.
25. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Literal: But he that does wrong, an act not in conformity with God's Word, shall receive for (bear or bring to oneself) what he did wrong and there is no respect or acceptance of persons -- no partiality.
God is not a respecter of persons, but of conditions only. We covered this in detail in the teachings in James and you must review and not forget what you've learned. It must be applied to your life. In this final verse of Colossians Chapter 3, God is saying that if a person does evil, he brings evil back upon him or herself. This is a law of God and it works with a mathematical exactness and a scientific precision every time.