A Study in the Book of Colossians

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Epaphras is described as a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf. This doesn't mean that Epaphras was superior to the other Christians in Colosse. The word minister does not mean "superior"; it means "one who serves. And is bringing forth fruit: Paul was thankful that the gospel was bringing forth fruit over all the world , even while Paul was in a Roman prison. For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;.

To ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will: First, Paul prayed that they would have a knowledge of His will , informed by a true spiritual understanding. To know God and what He requires of us is our first responsibility. To the point in which be judged the church to be deficient he turned his prayerful attention.

He would not have them ignorant. He knew that spiritual ignorance is the constant source of error, instability, and sorrow; and therefore he desired that they might be soundly taught in the things of God. That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him: Second, Paul prayed that they would live according to the same knowledge they received, living out a walk worthy of the Lord. This is a familiar pattern, repeated over and over again in the New Testament.

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Study Guide for Colossians 1 by David Guzik

Our walk is based on our knowledge of God and our understanding of His will. Being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. This is how we can be fully pleasing to God and how we can have a worthy walk. This is an echo of Jesus' thought in John If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. Does a little child need comforting?

Can you stand up and vindicate a glorious truth before thousands? Does a poor saint need a bit of dinner from your table? Send it to her. Let works of obedience, testimony, zeal, charity, piety, and philanthropy all be found in your life. Do not select big things as your special line, but glorify the Lord also in the littles - ' fruitful in every good work. Strengthened with all might: As we walk worthy of the Lord , His strength is there to help us meet all of life's challenges, and to endure and overcome problems with circumstances patience and people longsuffering with joy.

Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us: In the divine administration, the Father is mentioned in connection with the broad sweep of His plan of redemption.

He is the Person of the Trinity who initiates the plan of the ages. To be partakers of the inheritance of the saints: It is the Father who qualifies us, not our own works. We gain this as an inheritance , instead of earning it as a wage. He has delivered us from the power of darkness: Christians have been delivered from Satan's domain.

The word has the idea of a rescue by a sovereign power. Another place where this same phrase for power of darkness is used is in Luke The power of darkness may be seen in its effects, and for those who have been delivered … from the power of darkness these effects should be less and less evident in the life. He is not our king; he has no rights over us; we do not obey him; we will not listen to his temptations. And conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love: According to Barclay, the word we translate conveyed had a special significance in the ancient world.

When one empire conquered another, the custom was to take the population of the defeated empire and transfer it completely to the conqueror's land. It is in this sense that Paul says we have been conveyed into God's kingdom. Everything we have and everything we are now belongs to Him. In whom we have redemption through His blood: Redemption has the idea of release by a legal ransom. The price for our release was paid by the blood of Jesus. This is one reason why pleading the blood of Jesus - in the right sense, not in a magical or superstitious sense - has such great significance in spiritual warfare.

It shows the "receipt" of our lawful purchase as redeemed people. One of the great sticky questions of theology is to whom was the price paid? Some say it was to God that the ransom price was paid, but we were prisoners of Satan's kingdom. Others say it was to Satan that the ransom price was paid, but what does God owe to Satan? This question probably simply extends the metaphor too far.

The forgiveness of sins: The word translated forgiveness is the ancient Greek word aphesis , most literally rendered "a sending away. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.

All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Paul started out thanking the Father for His plan of redemption Colossians 1: He couldn't do that without also thinking of the Son, who is the great Redeemer. Most scholars think that Colossians 1: This is entirely possible, but can't be proven one way or another. He is the image of the invisible God: The word translated image the ancient Greek word eikon expressed two ideas. If Paul meant that Jesus was merely similar to the Father, he would have used the ancient Greek word homoioma , which speaks merely of similar appearance.

It means that "Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father.

In the exalted Christ the unknowable God becomes known. Paul used this important and meaningful word with great purpose. The firstborn over all creation: Firstborn the ancient Greek word prototokos can describe either priority in time or supremacy in rank. As Paul used it here, he probably had both ideas in mind, with Jesus being before all created things and Jesus being of a supremely different order than all created things.

Firstborn is also used of Jesus in Colossians 1: In no way does the title firstborn indicate that Jesus is less than God. Ancient rabbis used firstborn as a Messianic title: Nathan in Shemoth Rabba , cited in Lightfoot. Bishop Lightfoot, a noted Greek scholar, on the use of both eikon image and prototokos firstborn: For by Him all things were created: There is no doubt that Jesus is the author of all creation.

He Himself is not a created being. When we behold the wonder and the glory of the world Jesus created , we worship and honor Him all the more. Comets have vapor trails up to 10, miles long. If you could capture all that vapor, and put it in a bottle, the amount of vapor actually present in the bottle would take up less than 1 cubic inch of space. Saturn's rings are , miles in circumference, but only about a foot thick. If the sun were the size of a softball, the star Antares would be the size of a house. If the sun were the size of a beachball, and put on top of the Empire State Building, the nearest group of stars would be as far as way as Australia is to the Empire State Building.

A star known as LP is a so called white dwarf. It is smaller than the state of Texas; yet it is so dense that if a cubic inch of it were brought to earth, it would weigh more than 1. The earth travels around the sun about eight times the speed of a bullet fired from a gun. There are more insects in one square mile of rural land than there are human beings on the entire earth. Bees make their own air conditioning. When the weather gets hot, and threatens to melt the wax in the hive, one group of bees will go to the entrance of the hive, and another will stay inside.

They will then flap their wings all together, making a cross draft that pulls the hot air out of the hive, and draws cooler air inside. A single human chromosome contains twenty billion bits of information. How much information is that? If written in ordinary books, in ordinary language, it would take about four thousand volumes. According to Greek scholar A. Robertson, all things were created has the idea of "stand created" or "remain created.

It is a Christ-centric universe. Whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: As will be demonstrate in the rest of the letter, the Colossian Heresy seemed taken with an elaborate angelology, which effectively placed angels as mediators between God and man. Paul emphasized that whatever ranks of spirit beings there may be, Jesus created them all and they all ultimately answer to Him. He is before all things … who is the beginning: Centuries after Paul wrote a dangerous - yet popular - teacher named Arius claimed that Jesus was not truly God, and that there was a time when He did not exist.

Paul rightly understood and insisted that Jesus is before all things and is Himself the beginning. In Him all things consist: The idea that Jesus is both the unifying principle and the personal sustainer of all creation. But this preserving or continuing power is here ascribed to Christ. Head of the body, the church: This describes Jesus relationship to the church.

Here, head probably refers to Jesus' role as source of the church, even as we refer to the head of a river. That in all things He may have the preeminence: This is a fitting summary of verses Colossians 1: Adam Clarke on Colossians 1: Paul to have understood the terms which he used, he must have considered Jesus Christ as being truly and properly God Unless there be some secret way of understanding the 16 th and 17 th verses, which God has nowhere revealed, taken in their sober and rational sense and meaning they must forever settle this very important point.

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This translates the ancient Greek word pleroma , and was really just another way to say that Jesus is truly God. The word fullness was "a recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes. According to Vincent, pleroma was used by the Gnostic teachers in a technical sense, to express the sum-total of divine powers and attributes "Christ may have been ranked with these inferior images of the divine by the Colossian teachers.

Hence the significance of the assertion that the totality of the divine dwells in Him. Paul gathers them all up in Christ, a full and flat statement of the deity of Christ.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell: The ancient Greek word for dwell is here used in the sense of a permanent dwelling. There is an entirely different word used for the sense of a temporary dwelling place. Paul wanted to emphasize the idea that Jesus was not temporarily God, but is permanently God. When combined in the expression, ' all fullness ,' we have before us a superlative wealth of meaning.

Once it pleased the Father to bruise Him Isaiah On this summit we pause, looking like John, from Christ in His fullness of deity to the exhibition of that divine fullness in redemption consummated in heaven. The fullness has been put into Jesus Christ. Not into a church; not into a priesthood; not into a building; not into a sacrament; not into the saints; not into a method or a program, but in Jesus Christ Himself. It was put into Him as a "distribution point" - so that those who wanted more of God and all that He is could find it in Jesus Christ.

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Colossians 1

And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself: Jesus' atoning work is full and broad. Yet we should not take Colossians 1: Through the blood of the cross: Again we notice where the peace was made. We don't make our own peace with God, but Jesus made peace for us through His work on the cross. However, we should not regard the blood of the cross in a superstitious manner. It is not a magical potion, nor is it the literal blood of Jesus, literally applied that saves or cleanses us. If that were so, then His Roman executioners, splattered with His blood, would have been automatically saved, and the actual number of molecules of Jesus' literal blood would limit the number of people who could be saved.

The blood of the cross speaks to us of the real, physical death of Jesus Christ in our place, on our behalf, before God. That literal death in our place, and the literal judgment He bore on our behalf, is what saves us. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight; if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Who once were alienated: The ancient Greek word translated alienated apellotriomenous is literally "transferred to another owner. Belonging to the race of Adam, we are born alienated from God. Then as individuals, we each choose to accept and embrace that alienation with our wicked works. This means that in Jesus we are no longer alienated. The difference between a believer and a non-believer isn't merely forgiveness; there is a complete change of status. Yet now He has reconciled: God's answer to the problem of alienation is reconciliation , initiated by His work on the cross reconciled in the body of His flesh through death.

In the work of reconciliation, God didn't meet us halfway. God meets us all the way and invites us to accept it. One may use two different ways of understanding human need and God's salvation. Both of these are true; neither one should be promoted at the expense of the other. The phrase body of His flesh is redundant.

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Paul wanted to emphasize that this happened because of something that happened to a real man on a real cross. To present you holy, blameless, and irreproachable in His sight: This is the result of God's work of reconciliation. Taken together, these words show that in Jesus we are pure and can't even be justly accused of impurity. The idea of presenting us holy and blameless before God may recall the terminology used when priests inspected potential sacrifices. We are presented to God as a living sacrifice. A desire to be saved means a desire to be made holy, blameless and irreproachable , not merely a desire to escape the fires of hell on our own terms.

If indeed you continue in the faith: Those truly reconciled must truly persevere. Paul's main focus is continuing in the truth of the gospel continue in the faith … not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard. It is important for Christians to continue in godly conduct, but we are not saved by our godly conduct.

So it is even more important for Christians to continue in the truth of the gospel, because we are saved by grace through faith. Continuance is the test of reality. I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,. Be the first to find out when we launch new Equip Small Group Resources — just enter your details below.

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