Colossians 1:1-5



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Colossians 1:1-5 Commentary
Commentary Updated February 11, 2016

Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God and Timothy our brother, (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Paulos apostolos Christou Iesou dia thelematos Theou kai Timotheos o adelphos 
Amplified: PAUL, AN apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother,
Barclay This is a letter from Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and from Timothy, the brother (
Westminster Press)
KJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
Lightfoot: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by no personal merit but by God’s gracious will alone, and Timothy, our brother in the faith,
Wuest: Paul, an ambassador of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother (
Young's Literal: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Timotheus the brother

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Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians Commentary - Pdf
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-8 What Do you Believe In? Theodore Epp
Colossians 1:3 Starving Prayer - Alexander Whyte
Colossians 1:4-5 Faith, Love and Hope - W. H. G. Thomas
Colossians 1:4-5 Hope Laid Up for You in Heaven - W. H. G. Thomas
Colossians 1:9-12 Living to Please God - Epp

Colossians 1:9-12 Power to Meet & to Give Thanks-Elisabeth Elliot (scroll) 
Colossians 1:11 Acceptance of God's Dispensations by Mary Wilder Tileston
Colossians 1:12 Inheritance of the Saints by Mary Wilder Tileston

Colossians 1:12-14 A New Beginning by Theodore Epp

Colossians 1:13-19  Christ Eternal! by Theodore Epp

Colossians 1:13 Members of the Kingdom by Mary Wilder Tileston
Colossians 1:27 Is Christ Born in Us? by Mary Wilder Tileston

Colossians 1:27 Jesus In Your Heart by Mary Wilder Tileston 
Colossians 1:29 Power for You-Today! by Theodore Epp

Colossians 1:21-29 Christ In You - Theodore Epp

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-2 God's Grace in a Greeting

Colossians 1:3-8 The Good News That Changes Lives

Colossians 1:9-14 A Prayer for Maturity

Colossians 1:12-14 The Ultimate Reason for Thanks

Colossians 1:15-20 Our Creator/Our Redeemer

Colossians 1:15-20 Reconciled to God
Colossians 1:28-29 We Proclaim Him
Colossians 1:28-29 We Preach Christ

Colossians:1:1-14 Faith, Love, Hope
Colossians:1:15 -29 Christ For Me, In Me, Through Me
Colossians 1 Commentary -Gnomon of the New Testament
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Resources
Colossians 1 Over 100 pages of resources
Colossians 1:24-2:5 Discovering Your Purpose
Colossians:1:15 -23 The Supreme Question of Life
Colossians 1 Commentary - Lange's Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary (by H C G Moule)
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-17 Commentary (Colossians - same but complete and Pdf)

Colossians 1:23-2:7 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-8 Notes, Colossians 1 Survey, Colossians 1:9-11 In Depth
Colossians Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary, Colossians 1 Practical Remarks
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians Commentary - scroll down to page 125
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians Commentary - Executable Outlines
Colossians 1 To The Church At Colossae

Colossians 1:5 The Hope Laid Up In Heaven
Colossians 1:15-20 The Pre-Eminent Christ
Colossians 1:15-20 The Fullness in Christ
Colossians 1:20 The Great Reconciler

Colossians 1:23 The Hope Of Glory

Colossians 1:24 The Ministry of Suffering
Colossians 1:25 Paul Admonishes Our Church Today
Colossians 1:29 Striving According To His Working

Colossians 1:1-8, Col 1:9-14, Col 1:15-20, Col 1:21-23, Col 1:24-29
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-2 Sermon - Incomparable Christ I
Colossians 1:1-8 Sermon - Incomparable Christ II
Colossians 1:9-14 Sermon - Incomparable Christ III
Colossians 1:13-20 Sermon - Incomparable Christ IV
Colossians 1:15-20 Sermon - Incomparable Christ V
Colossians 1:13-23 Sermon - Incomparable Christ VI
Colossians 1:24-28 Sermon - Incomparable Christ VII
Colossians 1:24-2:5 Sermon - Incomparable Christ VIII
Colossians 1 Commentary

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians: Christ has Everything that you Need
Colossians 1:1-14 Transformation, 15-23 Reconciliation; 1:24-2:5
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-29 What a Great Savior

Colossians 1:1-29 What a Great Savior

Colossians 1:1-29 What A Savior

Colossians 1:3-23 All Fulness in Christ

Colossians 1:12-14 Thanksgiving

Colossians 1:18 The Pre-eminence of Christ-The Father's Love and Honor of His Son

Colossians 1:18 The Pre-eminence of Christ in the Trinity

Colossians 1:18 The Pre-eminence of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Colossians 1:18 The Pre-eminence of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Colossians 1:19 All Fulness in Christ

Colossians 1:19 All Fulness in Christ

Colossians 1:27 The Hope of Glory

Colossians 1:27 The Hope of Glory

Colossians 1:27 What is Salvation - The Life of God in You

Colossians 1:28 Perfect In Christ

Colossians 1:28 Perfect in Christ

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-2, Col 1:3-5, , 1:5-8, 1:9-15, 1:9-14, 1:14-15

Colossians 1:15-20  Christ the King, 1:21-23, 1:24-29
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary 
Colossians 1 Commentary - 20 studies on Christology
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:27 Christ in You the Hope of Glory
Colossians 1 Commentary
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Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians Notes - enter Scripture - then click "Read" under notes 
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Colossians - The Doctrine of Christ (Col 1:15-20)
Colossians - The Doctrine of Salvation in Colossians-Redemption, Reconciliation
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary

Colossians 1 Commentary 
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-2, 1:3-8, 1:9-14, 1:15-20, 1:21-23, 1:24-29

Colossians  Studies in Bibliotheca Sacra - 12 part series
Colossians background; Colossians 1:1-2: Paul's Greeting
Colossians 1:3-8: Paul’s Gratitude for the Colossians
The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians
Colossians 1:1-2 His Tactful Approach
Colossians 1:3-11 His Courteous Address
Colossians 1:12-29 His Main Emphasis
Colossians 1:1-8, Colossians 1:9-14, Colossians 1:15-18,
Colossians 1:19-23, Colossians 1:24-29 
Colossians 1 Commentary

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-2 Introduction to Colossians

Colossians 1:3-8 The Gospel Truth

Colossians 1:9 Being Filled with the Knowledge of God's Will

Colossians 1:9-11 The Fruit of Knowledge

Colossians 1:12-14 What Makes Christians Most Thankful

Colossians 1:12-14 Giving Thanks for God's Deliverance

Colossians 1:15-19 Christ Above All 
Colossians 1:15-19 The Image of the Invisible God 
Colossians 1:15-20 The Child Who Was God

Colossians 1:20-23 Reconciled to God 
Colossians 1:23-29 Paul's Servant Ministry

Colossians 1:24-25 Paul's Ministry-- To Fulfill the Word of God
Colossians 1:24-29 Ministers: Servants of God 
Colossians 1:24-2:23 Complete in Christ - 8 pt Study Guide - See dropdown
Colossians 1:26-29: Paul's Ministry- Mystery of Christ in Us

Colossians 1:1,2 The Writer and the Readers
Colossians 1:3-8 The Prelude
Colossians 1:9-12 The Prayer
Colossians 1:12-14 The Father's Gifts through the Son (scroll down)
Colossians 1:15-18 The Glory of the Son in His Relation to the Father...
Colossians 1:19-22 The Reconciling Son
Colossians 1:22,23 The Ultimate Purpose of Reconciliation... (scroll down)
Colossians 1:24-27 Joy in Suffering, and Triumph in the Methods and Aim

Colossians 1:28-29 The Christian Ministry in its Theme, Methods and Aim
Colossians 1:1-2 Saints, Believers, Brethren  

Colossians 1:5 The Gospel Hope

Colossians 1:11 All Power

Colossians 1:12 Thankful For Inheritance

Colossians 1:29 Christian Endeavour
Colossians 1:1-12 Called To Be Thinking Christians

Colossians 1:13-23 Firm In The Faith

Colossians 1:24-29 Suffering For The Church

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary

Colossians Notes & Outlines - 16 page Pdf
Colossians 1 Commentary- Mp3's
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 - Defender's Study Bible - see links to notes on right side
Colossians 1:1-8 Salutation
Colossians 1:9-14 The Apostle's Prayer for the Colossians
Colossians 1:15-20 The Pre-Eminence of the Son of God
Colossians 1:21-29 Redemption Applied
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-8 What's So Special About our Gospel?
Colossians 1:15-18 Just Tell Us About Jesus
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Notes
Colossians 1:1-8 Evidence of Life
Colossians 1:9-12 A Prayer to Pray for One Another

Colossians 1:13-14 Out of Darkness

Colossians 1:15-17 The Glory of Christ to the Creation

Colossians 1:18-20 The Glory of Christ to the Redeemed

Colossians 1:21-23 Reconciled!

Colossians 1:24-27 Mystery No Longer!

Colossians 1:28-29 Heart of the Ministry

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary (Expositor's Greek Testament)
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:3-8 The Fruit of Hope: Love
Colossians 1:15-23: Why Hope? Gospel!
Colossians 1:24-29: Called to Suffer & Rejoice
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1 1:1b 1:1c Intro/Outline
Colossians 1:2 1:2b 1:3 1:3b 1:3c Commentary
Colossians 1:4 1:4b 1:5 1:5b Commentary
Colossians 1: Greek Word Studies
Colossians 1:1-2 - The Author and the Readers
Colossians 1:3-8 The Grounds for Gratitude
Colossians 1:9-14 The Petition for Full Knowledge of God's Will
Colossians 1:15-20 The Preeminence of Christ
Colossians 1:21-23 The Change from Heathen to Christian
Colossians 1:24-2:5 The Mystery of God in Christ Made Manifest
Colossians 1:1-2: Introduction to Colossians
Colossians 1:3-5: Love is Evident Because of Hope
Colossians 1:5-8: Gospel: Word of Truth
Colossians 1:9-10: Filled with the Knowledge of His Will
Colossians 1:10-14: Strengthened with All Power
Colossians 1:15-17: Supremacy of Christ in Creation
Colossians 1:18-20: Supremacy of Christ in Reconciliation
Colossians 1:21-23: Holy, Blameless, and Beyond Reproach
Colossians 1:24-27: Ministry God Entrusted to the Church
Colossians 1:1-14 Understand and Live Truth

Colossians 1:15-20 Awed by His Greatness - Text - Rightly Divided

Colossians 1:1-6 Colossians Introduction
Colossians 1:3-11 The Will Of God

Colossians 1:12-14 Reasons To Rejoice

Colossians 1:15-19 Enlarging Our View Of Christ

Colossians 1:19-23 Reconciliation

Colossians 1:24-27 The Hope Of Glory

Colossians 1:28-29 True Ministry

Colossians Commentary - verse by verse
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Sermons - click arrow to advance to next verse
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:3-6 Paul's Commendation of the Gospel

Colossians 1:9-13 Prayer for Growth in Grace

Colossians 1:16-18 The Glory of Christ

Colossians 1:19 The Fulness of Christ

Colossians 1:21 Sanctification the End of Redemption

Colossians 1:27 Christ in Us The Hope of Glory
Colossians 1:28 Preaching Christ

Colossians 1:9,10, Colossians 1:12, Colossians 1:18, 1:18b

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary (another source)
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:5:  Devotional
Colossians 1:5: The Hope Laid Up in Heaven
Colossians 1:9-10 Spiritual Knowledge: It's Practical Results
Colossians 1:12-13: Special Thanksgiving to the Father 
Colossians 1:13: Deliverance from the Power of Darkness
Colossians 1:16 Christ the Creator - Study Notes
Colossians 1:16 Christ the Creator
Colossians 1:18 The Head of the Church
Colossians 1:19: All Fullness in Christ 
Colossians 1:18 The Fulness of Christ the Treasury of the Saints 
Colossians 1:23 Stand Fast
Colossians 1:27 Christ in You
Colossians 1:28 Perfection in Christ 
Colossians 1:29 Work In Us and Work By Us

Colossians 1 Exposition
Studies in Colossians
Colossians 1:1-8: Where Hope Begins

Colossians 1:9-14:Growing Up

Colossians 1:15-17: Master of the Universe

Colossians 1:18-20: The Reason for the Season

Colossians 1:21-29: The Great Mystery
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary - more than 20 meditations on Colossians 1
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary - 30 messages on Colossians 1
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary - expanded version

Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1: Greek Word Studies
Colossians 1 Illustrations
Colossians download first of 12 lessons
Colossians 1:1-12 The prayer of Paul 
Colossians 1:13-18 The person of Christ 
Colossians 1:19-23 The work of Christ
Colossians 1:24-29 The church of Christ 
Colossians 1 Commentary

PAUL, AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST: Paulos apostolos Christou Iesou:


As you read this short letter, remember that Paul wrote one of the greatest descriptions of Jesus Christ ever penned from a dark, damp, dirty prison cell! Prison was a powerful pulpit for this Spirit filled man. What prison are you in today? God's Spirit can accomplish God's will through you just as He did through his instrument, Paul. Do you believe this true? Are you willing? May He turn all our prisons into pulpits for proclamation of the good (great) news of Jesus Christ until all the world has heard! Amen

Romans tells us how to enter into fellowship with Christ. Ephesians and Colossians tell us how to abide therein! First we come out of bondage, then we are brought into the banqueting house! Ephesians and Colossians represent the highest, fullest, richest presentation of Christianity! "It has been said that if you want to understand the true nature of Jesus Christ, you should study the first chapter of John’s Gospel, the 19th chapter of Revelation, and the Book of Colossians. If you have those three under your belt, you will have a solid understand of who Jesus is and what He desires to do in our world today." (Salvato)

As you read and study Colossians keep Paul's pattern of presentation in mind - Colossians 1-2 are doctrinal and corrective whereas Colossians 3-4 are practical and reassuring. The first 2 chapters present Christ as our Lord, Chapter 3 presents Christ as our Life and Chapter 4 presents Christ as our Love.  The first two chapters present Christ's person and work and the last two His peace and presence. While it might be tempting to rush through the first 2 chapters to get to the practical exhortations beginning in Colossians 3, this would be a great mistake, because sound doctrine is the basis and framework for sincere practice. You simply cannot practice the exhortations and commands in the last half if you do not have a sure foundation in the first half.

First orthodoxy, then orthopraxy!

As Chuck Swindoll says "Your view of Jesus Christ will impact every area of your life. Many today want only practical instruction and helps for living, eschewing “esoteric” topics such as doctrine and theology because they seem to be out of touch with their day-to-day reality. Paul’s view was different. He saw that the Christological problems in the Colossian church had practical importance as well. Believers have died with Christ; therefore, we need to die to our sins. We have also been raised with Christ; therefore, we must live well in Him and put on qualities that are motivated by Christian love. And because He is Lord over all, the life of the Christian is a life of submission to Jesus. Are you following after Jesus as you should? Our faith in Jesus Christ should transform the relationships we have in every area of our lives—in our homes, our churches, and our world. (Colossians Overview

Warren Wiersbe - The message of this letter is greatly needed today. I hear too many voices telling me that I need something more than Jesus Christ—some exciting experience, some new doctrine, some addition to my Christian experience. But Paul affirms that what I need is appropriation of what I already have in Christ. ‘And ye are complete in Him.’ I also hear voices that want to judge me and rob me of the glorious liberty I have in  Christ. How encouraging to hear Paul say: ‘Let no man beguile you, let no man spoil you, let no man judge you.’ The fullness of Christ is all that I need, and all man-made regulations and disciplines cannot replace the riches I have in God’s Son....Do we have any of this heresy today? Yes, we do; and it is just as deceptive and dangerous! When we make Jesus Christ and the Christian revelation only part of a total religious system or philosophy, we cease to give Him the preeminence. When we strive for ‘spiritual perfection’ or ‘spiritual fullness’ by means of formulas, disciplines, or rituals, we go backward instead of forward. Christian believers must beware of  mixing their Christian faith with such alluring things as yoga, transcendental meditation, Oriental mysticism, and the like. We must also beware of ‘deeper life’ teachers who offer a system for victory and fullness that bypasses devotion to Jesus Christ. In all things, He must have the preeminence.!” (Quoted by Paul Apple)

Warren Wiersbe's Outline (Quoted by Paul Apple)
Theme: Jesus Christ is Preeminent (Colossians 1:18)

1. In the Gospel message – Colossians 1:1-12
2. In redemption – Colossians 1:13-14
3. In Creation – Colossians 1:15-17
4. In the church – Colossians 1:18-23
5. In Paul’s ministry – Colossians 1:24-29


1. Beware of empty philosophies – Colossians 2:1-10
2. Beware of religious legalism – Colossians 2:11-17
3. Beware of man-made disciplines – Colossians 2:18-23


1. In personal purity – Colossians 3:1-11
2. In Christian fellowship – Colossians 3:12-17
3. In the home – Colossians 3:18-21
4. In daily work – Colossians 3:22-4:1
5. In Christian witness – Colossians 4:2-6
6. In Christian service – Colossians 4:7-18


Vaughan: Theme: “absolute supremacy and sole sufficiency of Christ.” (Quoted by Paul Apple)


Charles Wesley wrote Jesus, Lover of My Soul with these great words (in bold below) which could have been the theme of Colossians -


Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find.

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name;
I am all unrighteousness:
False and full of sin I am;
Thou art full of truth and grace.
(Play this great hymn to Him)


Recommended Resources for a Overview of Colossians::

Background on Colossians - Hampton Keathley, III (excellent!)
Colossians Overview - John MacArthur

Analysis of Colossians - James Van Dine

Book of Colossians Overview - Charles Swindoll (see chart in upper right)

Colossians Overview - NIV Study Bible

Keys to Colossians - William Orr

Paul...apostle was a man with a mission ("missionary" is the word in Latin which corresponds to apostle)  having been commissioned by Christ Himself, Whose will was made known in ((Acts 9:15 22:14, 15, 21 26:16, 17,18). See in depth article on Paul the Apostle.

Paul  (3972) is from Latin, Paulos meaning "little, small". Before his Damascus Road experience he was known by his Hebrew name Saul (Greek Saulos) which means "desired" or "ask" (derived from Hebrew word for "ask")

Paul further explained that he was "an apostle not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead." (Gal 1:1-note)

Paul was commissioned as Christ's "chosen instrument" (Acts 9:15) and ambassador to the Gentiles with a message of reconciliation (Ro 5:11-note, 2Co 5:18,19), a message that he "neither received...from man, nor was... taught, but ... through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal 1:12-note).

In (Ro 1:5) Paul added that "through (Jesus Christ our Lord) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake.

Peake explains why Paul used apostle in this opening - "The reference to his apostleship is not due to any attack on his apostolic authority or teaching, as in the case of the Epistles to the Galatians or Corinthians, but, as in the Epistle to the Romans, to the fact that he was unknown to those to whom he was writing. Similarly reference is made to it in the Epistle to the Ephesians, the letter being sent to Churches, to some of which, probably, Paul was unknown. In writing to the Macedonian Churches it is not mentioned, for they had been founded by him and remained loyal." (Colossians 1 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)

In Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting of The Last Supper, our Lord’s hands are empty. And therein lies an inspiring story. Da Vinci dedicated 3 years to this painting, determined that it would be his crowning work. Before the unveiling, he decided to show it to a friend for whose opinion he had the utmost respect. The friend’s praise was unbounded. “The cup in Jesus’ hand,” he said, “is especially beautiful.” Disappointed at once Da Vinci began to paint out the cup. Astonished, the distinguished friend asked for an explanation. “Nothing,” Da Vinci explained, “must distract from the figure of Christ.” Da Vinci focused attention solely on Christ by removing the distraction of the cup. Having removed the cup, he had to do something with the hand. The left hand was already outstretched just above the table, lifting, as if to bless and command. Now the right hand, also empty, was also outstretched invitingly. This seems to have been Paul’s purpose in this postcard to the church of Colossae. (from Brian Bell)

Other articles on Paul...

Paul - Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Paul the Apostle - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Paul the Apostle - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Paul - Holman Bible Dictionary

Paul - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Paul (2) - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Apostle (652) (apostolos [word study] from apostello = send in turn from apo = off from + stello = send) (Click for another discussion) which literally means "sent one". Apostolos was a technical word designating an individual sent from someone else with the sender's commission, the necessary credentials, the sender's authority and the implicit responsibility to accomplish a mission or assignment. In a word an apostle is a "sent one!"

Beloved, are we not all "SENT ONES" in a practical sense? Indeed,  As far as your neighbors are concerned, YOU are Christ's ambassador, whether you like it or not. And who is your neighbor? Whoever is near (the root meaning of the word neighbor! See neighbor = plesion) We have a charge to proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Pe 2:9-10-note) We to live in such a way before the fallen world that we "sanctify Christ as Lord in (our) hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks (us) to give an account for the hope that is in (us), yet with gentleness and reverence." (1Pe 3:15-note) Let our watchword be "Here I am Lord. Send me!" (Isa 6:8-note, cp 1Cor 1:17) Take courage, for you do not have to do it on your own...just follow the template of the faithful brethren and "filled with the Holy Spirit, (begin) to speak the Word of God (the Gospel) with boldness." (Acts 4:31, cp Acts 1:8-note, Acts 9:28, 14:3, 18:26, 19:8, Eph 6:20, 1Th 2:2)

Secular Greek writer Demosthenes gives a word picture of "apostolos" noting that it was used to describe a cargo ship sent out with a load. Demosthenes also described a naval fleet as "apostles" sent out to accomplish a mission.

William Barclay -  The word apostolos literally means one who is sent out. Paul's right to speak is that he has been sent out by God to be his ambassador to the Gentiles. Moreover, he is an apostle by the will of God. That office is not something which he has earned or achieved; it is something which has been given him by God. "You did not choose me," said Jesus, "but I chose you" (John 15:16). Here, right at the outset of the letter, is the whole doctrine of grace. A man is not what he has made himself, but what God has made him. (Colossians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Apostolos - 80x in 79v - Matt 10:2; Mark 3:14; 6:30; Luke 6:13; 9:10; 11:49; 17:5; 22:14; 24:10; John 13:16; Acts 1:2, 26; 2:37, 42f; 4:33, 35ff; 5:2, 12, 18, 29, 40; 6:6; 8:1, 14, 18; 9:27; 11:1; 14:4, 14; 15:2, 4, 6, 22f; 16:4; Rom 1:1; 11:13; 16:7; 1 Cor 1:1; 4:9; 9:1f, 5; 12:28f; 15:7, 9; 2Cor 1:1; 8:23; 11:5, 13; 12:11f; Gal 1:1, 17, 19; Eph 1:1; 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; Phil 2:25; Col 1:1; 1Th 2:7; 1Ti 1:1; 2:7; 2 Tim 1:1, 11; Titus 1:1; Heb 3:1; 1 Pet 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; 3:2; Jude 1:17; Rev 2:2; 18:20; 21:14. NAS = apostle(19), apostles(52), apostles'(5), messenger(1), messengers(1), is sent(1).

The English word "ambassador" is a good translation of apostolos because an ambassador is "an official envoy of high rank appointed by one of higher rank and authority in the government to represent and transact its business at the seat of government of some other power."

Paul thought of himself as an ambassador of the King of kings, sent by Him to the Gentiles with credentials (miracles he performed) and the commission, "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me (Acts 26:17, 18, cp other references to his ministry to the Gentiles - Ro 11:13, Gal 2:7-8, 1Ti 2:7)

To reemphasize the word apostle as Paul uses it here does not merely refer to one who has a message to announce, but to an appointed representative with an official status who is provided with the credentials of his office. Apostle is also used once to describe Jesus Christ the Sent from the Father (Heb 3:1-note; John 20:21).

Paul apparently wrote while he was in prison at Rome (Col 4:18-note) and sent the letter to them by Tychicus (Col 4:7-note), by whom he also sent the Ephesian letter, presumably at the same time (Ep 6:21, 22-note), as well as the letter to Philemon.

As someone has written “Out of 95 verses in Colossians, 78 have a marked resemblance to Ephesians.” The difference is that in Ephesians the primary subject is the Church; while in Colossians the primary subject is Christ!


Eph 1:1
Eph 1:2
Eph 1:3
Eph 1:7
Eph 1:10
Eph 1:15-17
Eph 1:18
Eph 1:21
Eph 1:22
Eph 2:1,12
Eph 2:5
Eph 2:15
Eph 2:16
Eph 3:1
Eph 3:2
Eph 3:3
Eph 3:7
Eph 3:8
Eph 4:1
Eph 4:2
Eph 4:3
Eph 4:15
Eph 4:19
Eph 4:22
Eph 4:25
Eph 4:29
Eph 4:31
Eph 4:32
Eph 5:3
Eph 5:4
Eph 5:5
Eph 5:6
Eph 5:15
Eph 5:19
Eph 5:21
Eph 5:25
Eph 6:1
Eph 6:4
Eph 6:5
Eph 6:9
Eph 6:18
Eph 6:21
Col 1:1
Col 1:2
Col 1:3
Col 1:14
Col 1:20
Col 1:3, 4
Col 1:27
Col 1:16
Col 1:18
Col 1:21
Col 2:13
Col 2:14
Col 1:20
Col 1:24
Col 1:25
Col 1:26
Col 1:23, 25
Col 1:27
Col 1:10
Col 3:12
Col 3:14
Col 2:19
Col 3:1, 5
Col 3:8
Col 3:8
Col 3:8; 4:6
Col 3:8
Col 3:12
Col 3:5
Col 3:8
Col 3:5
Col 3:6
Col 4:5
Col 3:16
Col 3:18
Col 3:19
Col 3:20
Col 3:21
Col 3:22
Col 4:1
Col 4:2
Col 4:7

Apostle - (Click here or here for more notes on apostle

Related Resources on Apostle:

Apostles - Nave's Topical Bible

Apostle - Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Apostle - American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Apostle - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Apostles - Holman Bible Dictionary

Apostles - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Apostle - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Apostle - Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Apostle - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Apostle and Apostleship - The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Apostle - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

BY THE WILL OF GOD: dia thelematos theou: (Ro 1:1-note; 1Co 1:1 2Co 1:1, Ep 1:1-note, 2Ti 1:1-note)

By (1223) (dia) is the Greek preposition dia, which means "through" and in this context describes that which "intervenes between the act of the will and the effect and through which the effect proceeds" (Zodhiates). Stated another way, dia describes the channel (God' will is the channel) of the act (Paul's appointment as an apostle). The will of God is the means by which Paul had become an apostle.

Moule - The will of God is regarded as the means of the Apostle’s consecration, because with God to will implies the provision of the means of fulfilment. See Galatians 1:1 for the deep certainty of a direct Divine commission which underlay such a phrase in St Paul’s mind. He knew himself to be “a vessel of choice, to bear the name” (Acts 9:15) of his Lord. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Will (2307) (thelema [word study] used of God's will in 49 of 64 NT uses, 3 uses relating to Jesus' humanity, 3 to the Father in the parables and only 9 uses referring to man's will)  refers to a desire which comes from one’s heart or emotions and is what one wishes or has determined shall be done.

Thelema refers not to will which is conceived as a demand but an inclination of pleasure towards that which is liked, which pleases and creates joy. Thus God’s will signifies His gracious disposition toward something, what God Himself does of His own good pleasure. Vine explains thelema in this verse this way "thelema of God often signifies His determined resolve; here, however, it expresses His gracious design. These meanings are to be discerned in the passages where His will has reference to the lives and conduct of believers, as, e.g., in 1Th 4:3 and 1Th 5:18."

Here in Col 1:1 thelema refers to God’s gracious disposition. The point is that Paul was not a self made minister but one called by God because that is what God determined should come to pass. How easy it is to miss His will in this life and instead to "kick against the goads" building "mud pie ministries" when we could be bearing much fruit, proving that we are His disciples (Jn 15:8) and letting our "light shine before men in such a way that they may see (our) good works, and glorify (our) Father Who is in heaven". (Mt 5:16-note)

Guzik -  "Some of us could write, "pastor by the will of God" or "evangelist by the will of God" or "pray-er by the will of God" or "encourager by the will of God" or "supporter by the will of God." We all have our role to play, and God wants us to walk in it!

If we are in ministry (and to one degree or other ALL of us are in ministry, some "unofficially" and some "officially") the question should resound in our ears "Am I where I am in ministry by His will or my will? It's a question pondering, for apart from Him we can do absolutely nothing of eternal value (Jn 15:5).

Thelema - 62x in 58v - Mt 6:10; 7:21; 12:50; 18:14; 21:31; 26:42; Mark 3:35; Luke 12:47; 22:42; 23:25; Jn 1:13; 4:34; 5:30; 6:38, 39, 40; 7:17; 9:31; Acts 13:22; 21:14; 22:14; Ro 1:10-note; Ro 2:18-note; Ro 12:2-note; Ro 15:32-note; 1Cor 1:1; 7:37; 16:12; 2Cor 1:1; 8:5; Gal 1:4; Ep 1:1-note, Ep 1:5-note, Ep 1:9-note, Ep 1:11-note; Ep 2:3-note; Ep 5:17-note; Ep 6:6-note; Col 1:1-note, Col 1:9-note; Col 4:12-note; 1Th 4:3-note; 1Th 5:18-note; 2Ti 1:1-note; 2Ti 2:26-note; He 10:7-note, He 10:9-note, He 10:10-note, He 10:36-note; He 13:21-note; 1Pe 2:15-note; 1Pe 3:17-note; 1Pe 4:2-note, 1Pe 4:19-note; 2Pe 1:21-note; 1Jn 2:17; 5:14; Rev 4:11-note. NAS =  desire(1), desires(1), will(57).

Timothy (5095) time = worth or merit of some object + theos = God) means "honoring God." The Greek word for "honor" (time) has in it the ideas of  reverence and veneration. What a great name Timothy had and as best we can discern from Scripture he lived up to it!

McClintock - Timotheus as the name is given in the AV. (Timothy occurs 24 verses in NT = Acts 16:1; 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Ro 16:21; 1Cor 4:17; 16:10; 2Cor 1:1, 19; Phil 1:1; 2:19; Col 1:1; 1Th 1:1; 3:2, 6; 2Th 1:1; 1Ti 1:2, 18; 6:20; 2Ti 1:2; Philemon 1:1; Heb 13:23), one of the most interesting of Paul's converts of whom we have an account in the New Test. Fortunately we have tolerably copious details of his history and relations in the frequent references to him in that apostle's letters to the various churches, as well as in those addressed to him personally. (See Complete Entry)

Hoehner - Timothy is joined with Paul as a coauthor in the salutation here, as also in 2Cor 1:1; Phil 1:1; 1Thess 1:1; 2Thess 1:1; Philemon 1:1.  (Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol. 16: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, Philemon)

Turner adds that "Timothy, who was not an apostle and did not have Paul's authority, was considered by Paul to be his equal when it came to servanthood. (Quoted from Apple's Philippians Commentary)

Matthew Henry offers an interesting thought that "Though Paul was alone divinely inspired, he joins Timothy with himself, to express his own humility, and put honor upon Timothy. Those who are aged, and strong, and eminent, should pay respect to, and support the reputation of, those who are younger, and weaker, and of less note."

In the letter to the Thessalonians Paul refers to "Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ." (1Th 3:2). Paul gave him a lofty testimony writing "Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid; for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am." (1Cor 16:10) In the letter to Philippi Paul gave him a warm, wonderful description writing "I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare." (Phil 2:20-note) /font> where the Greek word for kindred spirit is isopsuchos (ísos = equal + psuche = soul, mind, life) and literally means one of equal soul, one who is like–minded, one who is of similar character and energized by the same motives. Timothy was indeed a man after Paul's own heart, one in thought, feeling, and spirit with Paul and his love for the church of Jesus Christ. Mathematically speaking their "triangles were congruent." The idea is that Timothy thought like Paul and had a similar perspective so that he would likely interpret a situation much like Paul would if he had been present. Paul could rely on any report from Timothy as being similar to one he himself would have brought back. If you have a "Timothy,"  then count yourself as greatly blessed. If you are a "Timothy" to a "Paul," then may God be greatly praised!

More Articles on Timothy:

Timothy - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Timothy - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Timothy - Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Timothy - Holman Bible Dictionary

Timothy - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Our brother (adelphos from the prefix a = denoting unity + delphús = womb) is literally one born from same womb, but used figuratively to describe close association of a group of persons having well-defined membership and in the context of the New Testament clearly refers to fellow believers in Christ and so in the family of God and thus united by the bond of affection. Brother speaks of the intimacy of fellowship -- Do you ever refer to your fellow Christians as "Brother?"

Barclay - With himself Paul associates Timothy; and he gives him a lovely title. He calls him the brother, a title which is given to Quartus (Romans 16:23); to Sosthenes (1 Corinthians 1:1); to Apollos (1 Corinthians 16:12). The fundamental necessity for Christian service and for Christian office is brotherliness. Premanand, highborn Indian who became a Christian, tells in his autobiography of Father E. F. Brown of the Oxford Mission in Calcutta. E. F. Brown was every man's friend; but he was specially the friend of the hackney carriage drivers, the carters, the tram conductors, the menial servants, and the hundreds of poor street boys. Later in his life, when he was travelling about India, Premanand would often meet people who had stayed in Calcutta, and they would always ask for E. F. Brown, saying, "Is that friend of the Calcutta street boys still alive, who used to walk arm-in-arm with the poor?" Sir Henry Lunn tells how his father used to describe his grandfather: "He was a friend of the poor without patronage, and of the rich without subservience." To use our modern idiom, the first necessity for Christian service is the ability to "get alongside" all kinds of people. Timothy is not described as the preacher, the teacher, the theologian, the administrator, but as the brother. He who walks in aloofness can never be a real servant of Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Elsewhere Paul refers to "Timothy, my son" (1Ti 1:18) and "Timothy, my beloved son" (2Ti 1:2-note) suggesting a father-son relationship in the spiritual realm. The spiritual relationship between Paul and Timothy begs the question "Do you have a brother in Christ who you would call your spiritual father and discipler?" In 2012, as we see the modern church in America being led by younger, more energetic men, the crucial question to ponder if you are one of those younger men is this -- "Do you have a Paul (discipling me) and a Barnabas (encouraging me)?" I see a hesitancy or reticence on the part of many younger church leaders (men and women) to actively seek out a mature older person to disciple them and I am not sure why this is occurring. If this describes you, it is a mistake, for Solomon wrote that "The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old." (Pr 20:29NLT) W A Criswell commented "Young men delight to show strength and agility of body; whereas in old age physical strength is often replaced by wisdom and experience (Pr 16:31)."

(Note: Not exhaustive & dates are approximate)


Paul's first missionary journey took him to Lystra, probably Timothy's home town, so that Timothy either witnessed or heard of Paul's stoning.

Acts 14
esp Acts 14:19


Paul's second missionary journey again to Lystra, where Paul chose Timothy to come with him

Acts 16:1, 2, 3


Timothy followed Paul as they trekked westward across Turkey to Philippi where Timothy witnessed Paul and Silas being beaten and imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel

 Acts 16:22, 23


1Corinthians written - Paul sends Timothy  his beloved, faithful "child" in the Lord to remind them of his ways

1Co 4:17


Philippians written - excellent summary of Timothy's character based on over 10 years as a co-laborer in Christ

Php 2:19, 20, 21, 22


Paul's last written communication was to Timothy

2 Ti 1:1, 2

When we study Paul’s epistles we see that each has a dominant theme. In Romans, it is justification by faith. In Ephesians, it is the mystery of Christ and his Church. In Philippians, it is the joy which Christ brings. In Colossians, it is the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as the Head of all creation and of the Church. There is no book in the New Testament, including John’s Gospel, which presents such a comprehensive picture of the fullness of Christ as found in Colossians. Accordingly, there is no writing better-equipped to draw our hearts (our minds, our desires, etc) upward than the book of Colossians.


Colossae was located about 80 miles inland from the city of Ephesus, in the Lycus River Valley, in what is today the western part of Turkey (click on map below to enlarge or more photos of Colossae click


Click this map for the geographic relationships of Laodicea ("justice of the people" - description), Hierapolis ("holy city" - see description) and Colossae ("punishment" - see description). Located about a hundred miles east of Ephesus, its nearest neighbors were Laodicea (ten miles away) and Hierapolis (thirteen miles away). … In Paul’s day it was only an insignificant market town." (Vaughan) In fact Lightfoot said, “Colossae was the most unimportant town to which Paul ever wrote a letter.” "An unimportant town maybe, but surely not an unimportant people!" (Bell)


The tributaries of the Lycus River brought a calcareous deposit of a peculiar kind that choked up the streams and made arches and fantastic grottoes. In spite of this there was much fertility in the valley. At one time Colossae was one of the prominent towns of the valley. Herodotus describes Xerxes’ march westward in 480 B.C. writing that "He came to Colossae, a great city of Phrygia situated at a spot where the river Lycus plunges into a chasm and disappears. Antiochus III (223-187 B.C.) transported about two thousand Jews from Mesopotamia to Phrygia and Lydia (Jos., Ant., 12:147-53). By the NT era Colossae was a small town in the shadow of its nearby neighbors, Laodicea and Hierapolis. Apparently the Colossian church came into being during Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, because Acts 19:10 says that Paul remained in Ephesus "for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” Thus a new, thriving church sprouted in Colossae though Paul had never been there himself. Although the specific word is not mentioned by Paul, most scholars agree that Paul wrote Colossae to counter the growing influence of Gnostics (Gnosticism) who considered themselves of superior knowledge who could help “lesser” ones attain deeper spirituality. Gnosticism is from gnosis, “to know” and thus Gnostics were the “people in the know” who considered themselves the spiritual elite. According to them, it was by knowledge as opposed to faith, that humanity was to be regenerated. Faith was suited only to the rude masses, the animal-men. Gnostics held the basic doctrine that matter (physical or created) was evil and that only the spirit was good. They reasoned that God could not be involved in creation, because being perfect he could not touch matter which was intrinsically evil. Therefore, the world came into being through a complicated process as God put forth thousands of emanations (or lesser gods), each of which was a little more distant from him, so that finally there was an emanation (a little god) so distant from God that it could touch matter and create the world. Of course, this lesser god of creation was so far removed from the ultimate God that it was evil. This reasoning led to the belief that Jesus Christ, if he really was the Son of God, could not have taken on a human body because matter is evil. This delusion spawned the Gnostic lie that Jesus was only a ghost-like phantom. To the Gnostics, Christ was not Creator, the Incarnation was not real, and Christ was not enough! So the Gnostics built a system by which one could begin with Christ and work one’s way up the series of emanations to God. In Colossae, this system (gnosis) appears to have consisted of ascetic disciplines (Col 2:20-23-note),  mysticism, and legalism, all complex and proudly intellectual.


Kenneth Wuest - "From these philosophical speculations, two opposing codes of ethics emerged, a rigid asceticism and an unrestrained license. The problem confronting the Gnostic was as follows: Since matter is evil, how can one avoid its baneful influence and thus keep his higher nature unsullied? The answer, according to one group, was a rigid asceticism. All contact with matter should be reduced to a minimum. Thus, the material part of man would be subdued and mortified. One should live on a spare diet and abstain from marriage. The edible flesh of animals was forbidden. The anointing of the body with olive oil, so necessary in hot climates, was prohibited. But with others, such a negative course of procedure produced but slight and inadequate results. These argued that matter is everywhere. One cannot escape contact with it. Therefore, one should cultivate an entire indifference to the world of sense. One should not give matter any thought one way or the other, but just follow one’s own impulses. (this sounds all too modern doesn't it?)...This group argued that the ascetic principle gives a certain importance to matter, and thus he fails to assert his own independence to it. The true rule of life is to treat matter as foreign or alien to one, and as something towards which one has no duties or obligations, and which one can use or leave unused as one likes. This philosophy led to unbridled license...Paul warns every man and teaches every man in every wisdom, that he may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. The word “perfect” was the term applied by the Gnostics to members of the exclusive group which possessed the superior wisdom. The Gnostics made much of wisdom (sophia), intelligence (sunesis), and knowledge (epignosis). Paul takes up the language of the Gnostics and translates it to the higher spheres of Christian thought. Against the false wisdom of the Gnostics, the apostle sets the true wisdom of the gospel. The initiatory rites of these Gnostics in which certain were inducted into their order, were secret mysteries. Paul sets over against these the fact that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in that comprehensive mystery, the knowledge of God in Christ. Paul had also to combat the Gnostic teaching of successive emanations from deity, the angelic mediators who were responsible for the act of creation, and for the headship of the spiritual creation, which took the place of the Lord Jesus as Creator of the universe and Head of the Church. The apostle meets these false doctrines by showing that “all things were created by Him,” and “He is Head of the body, the Church.” As to the teaching of the Gnostic to the effect that the divine essence is distributed among the angelic emanations from deity, Paul declares that the pleroma, or plenitude of the divine essence is permanently at home in the Lord Jesus. For the totality of the divine essence, the Gnostics had this word pleroma, “fulness” or “plenitude.” Paul says that Jesus Christ is not only the chief manifestation of the divine nature. He exhausts the God-head. In Him resides the totality of the divine powers and attributes. From the necessities imposed upon Paul by the character of the Gnostic heresy, it is easy to see that as Bishop Lightfoot says: “The doctrine of the Person of Christ is here stated with greater precision and fulness than in any other of St. Paul’s epistles.”


Other Resources on Gnosticism


Gnostics - Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Gnosticism - CARM Theological Dictionary

Gnosticism - Holman Bible Dictionary

Gnosticism - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Gnosticism - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Gnostics - Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Gnosticism - 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Gnosticism - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Gnosticism - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Gnosticism - The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


Colossians 1:2 To the saints  and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: tois en Kolossais hagiois kai pistois adelphois en Christo; charis humin kai eirene apo Theou patros hemon. 
Amplified: To the saints (the consecrated people of God) and believing and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace (spiritual favor and blessing) to you and [heart] peace from God our Father.
Barclay to the dedicated people of God and faithful brothers in Christ who are in Colosse. Grace be to you and peace from God our Father. (
Westminster Press)
 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.
: to the consecrated people of God in Colosse, the brethren who are steadfast in their allegiance and faithful in Christ. May grace—the well-spring of all mercies—and peace—the crown of all blessings—be bestowed upon you from God our Father.
Young's Literal: to the saints in Colossae, and to the faithful brethren in Christ: Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!

TO THE SAINTS AND FAITHFUL BRETHREN: tois en Kolossais hagiois kai pistois adelphois:


Who is the recipient of this letter? Consider making of a list of what Paul teaches about the recipients.

Saints (40) (hagios, the root hagi- = different, other) properly means different, set apart, distinct, holy. When hagios refers to believers in the NT it is describing them as set apart ones, separated ones, sanctified ones. 

Depending on the context hagios refers to whoever or whatever is set apart (sanctified) for a special purpose. As noted the idea of hagios is "different" so that a temple in the first century was called hagios ("holy") because it was different from other buildings. The same idea holds for believers who are called hagios because they are "different from the world" and share a "likeness of nature with the Lord."

Barclay - the root idea of the word (hagios) is separation (or different). A person who is hagios is different from others because he has been separated from the ordinary run in order specially to belong to God. This was the adjective by which the Jews described themselves; they were the hagios laos, the holy people, the nation which was quite different from other peoples because they in a special way belonged to God and were set apart for his service. When Paul calls the Christian hagios he means that he is different from other men because he specially belongs to God and to God's service. And that difference is not to be marked by withdrawal from ordinary life, but by showing there a quality which will mark him out. (1 Corinthians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Barclay's note on 1Pe 1:15 - The Temple is hagios because it is different from other buildings; the Sabbath is hagios because it is different from other days; the Christian is hagios because he is different from other men. The Christian is God's man by God's choice. He is chosen for a task in the world and for a destiny in eternity. He is chosen to live for God in time and with him in eternity. In the world he must obey his law and reproduce his life. There is laid on the Christian the task of being different. {from Barclay's Daily Study Bible - 1 Peter)

Barclay - The commonest word for the Christian in the New Testament is the Greek hagios (Greek #40), whose basic meaning is different. The Christian is not conformed to the world but transformed from the world (Romans 12:2). It is not a question of retiring from the world; it is a question of living differently within the world. (Revelation 18 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Barclay's note on Heb 12:14 "pursue...holiness" - "He must aim at holiness (hagiasmos). Hagiasmos has in it the same root as the adjective hagios, which is usually translated holy. The root meaning (of hagios) is always difference and separation. Although he lives in the world, the man who is hagios must always in one sense be different from it and separate from it. His standards are not the world's standards, nor his conduct the world's conduct. His aim is not to stand well with men but to stand well with God. Hagiasmos, as Westcott finely put it, is "the preparation for the presence of God." The life of the Christian is dominated by the constant memory that its greatest aim is to enter into the presence of God. (Hebrews 12 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

In the phrase the Holy Spirit, hagios describes the One Who is absolutely different, absolutely holy.

The idea inherent in hagios is the taking something filthy, washing it and setting it apart as something brand new, useful for a different purpose, which is a picture of salvation for we who were filthy with sin were washed in the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, and set apart to now be God's own possession.

Saints are those set apart from the world "delivered...from the domain of darkness" (Col 1:13-note)

This deliverance is effected "by the sanctifying work of the Spirit" (1Pe 1:2-note)

This deliverance is unto God "transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col 1:13-note)

The upshot of this divine transaction is that believers should now live holy lives (for example Col 3:5-note). 

A saint is like a boat -- the boat's purpose is fulfilled when it is in the water, but it's function and usefulness deteriorates when water gets in the boat. So too for saints when too much of the world gets into them. Saints must keep their "vessels" in the water of this world but not let the water of the world get into their "vessel"! Do you need to "bail" some of the water out of your "boat"? Paul has a parallel thought writing to young Timothy to take of the truth that "if a man cleanses himself from these (things, people that have an unholy influence), he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified (hagiazo - verb form of saint), useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." (2Ti 2:21-22-note) A Chinese proverb speaks to those saints trying to live in the world and of the world "One foot cannot stand on two boats!"

To reiterate the saint lives in the world, but he or she must always in one sense be different from the world and continually choose to separate himself or herself from the world. His standards are not the world's standards. (click for expository note on Romans 12:2 regarding not being squeezed into world's mold) He is "in the world" but not "of the world". 

A saint is someone who has become different from the world through salvation and is now set apart as "holy (different)" because he is "sanctified" (made like the Lord). This progresses as the believer advances in the process of "sanctification" (progressive sanctification)

Saints have been supernaturally set apart (sanctified by the Holy Spirit, 1Pe 1:2-note; 2Th 2:13, Ro 15:16-note, Acts 20:32, 26:18, 1Co 1:30, 6:11) for a special purpose (cp s 43:7, Ep 2:10-note, Mt 5:16-note, Php 2:15-note), set apart from the world (Gal 6:14, cp Jas 4:4, 1Jn 2:15, 16, 17), the power of Sin and the fallen flesh (Ro 6:6-note, Ro 6:11-note, Ro 6:12, 13, 6:14-note) and the dominion of the devil (Col 1:13-note, Acts 26:18, Heb 2:14, 15-note) and unto God (Ro 14:7, 8, 9-notes).

The fundamental ideas of a saint include...

One who is separated from sin (cf Ro 6;11, 12, 13, 14-notes)
One who then has the responsibility to choose to consecrate themselves daily to God as "living sacrifices" (Ro 12:1-
One who is devoted to His service
One who is a partaker of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4-
One who continually chooses to abstain from worldly defilement (
1Th 4:3-note 1Th 5:22-note, 2Ti 2:19-note, 1Pe 2:11-note)

Kenneth Wuest - "The believer in the Lord Jesus is set apart for God by the Holy Spirit, out of the First Adam with the latter’s sin and condemnation, into the Last Adam (Christ) with the latter’s righteousness and life. Thus, the worshipper of the God of the Bible partakes of the character of the God for Whom he is set apart. This is positional sanctification, an act of God performed at the moment a sinner puts his faith in the Lord Jesus (1Co 1:2). The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin from his life and producing His fruit, a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life, is called progressive sanctification (1Th 5:23-note). When our Lord sanctifies Himself, He sets Himself apart for God as the Sacrifice for sin (Jn 17:19, Heb 10:7-note)....There is positional sanctification, the (one time) act of God the Holy Spirit setting believing sinners apart in Christ Jesus. This is an act (occurring the moment we believed in the Gospel of Jesus) resulting in a position. There is progressive sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit producing (over time) in the lives of believers, a set apart life consistent with their new position. This (progressive sanctification) is a process, resulting finally in conformity to the image of Christ in glorification." (Greek Word Studies

 Wuest - "The word "saint" is the translation of a Greek word meaning "to set apart," in its verb, and "set apart ones," in its noun form. The pagan Greeks set apart buildings as temples, consecrating them for non-secular, and therefore, religious purposes. These became the objects of veneration and reverence. Thus, saints are believing sinners set apart from sin to holiness, set apart from Satan to God, thus being consecrated for Gods’ sacred fellowship and service. The word "saint" as a designation of a Christian, brings at once to our attention the duty of every believer, that of living a separated life. The words, "saint, sanctify, holy," are all translations of this same Greek root. They all speak of the absolute separation from evil and dedication to God, that must always be true of the Christian believer." (Ibid)

Vine - The holy person is not holy because some change has been wrought in him or her, but because such a one has been set apart for God. The designation is common to all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:1-note, etc.), and not merely to persons of exceptional godliness, whether living or dead. Sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, but a state into which God calls those who believe on Christ, and in which they begin their course as believers. Sanctification is firstly a relationship with God; it is used also of the separation of a believer from evil things and ways, and must be pursued earnestly and undeviatingly (Heb 12:14-note)."

J C Ryle - Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find it in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.

Richard A. Young "The adjective hagios (holy) is often used as a noun, meaning 'that which is holy.' In the singular it can be used for the sanctuary, sacrificial items, and Christ. In the plural it is used for angels, believers, and other devout persons. In reference to believers it is usually translated 'saints'" (Intermediate New Testament Greek, 82).

Hagios is Paul's favorite description of believers and designates the believer's position in Christ (see discussion of in Christ and in Christ Jesus) as holy or set apart from that which is secular, profane, and evil and dedicated unto

Saints are now to live in this present evil age (Gal 1:4) in a manner which reflects what we were redeemed and "re-created" to be (1Pe 2:24, 25-note; cp 2Co 7:1 - note) --- holy ones in character (character is what God knows we are; reputation is who other people think we are) and conduct, set apart by God to be exclusively His possession (1Co 6:19, 20, Titus 2:14-note) manifesting holiness of heart.


Gregg Allen - "A man or a woman doesn't become a "saint" by being good. Rather, they're already declared to be "saints" by God's grace; and are commanded to be good, because of what they already are." (God's Grace in a Greeting)

Contrary to some religious teachings, the Bible itself never uses the word hagios or saint to refer to a "special class" of believers who are a "notch above" the rest. In other words, the term saint does not refer to a condition bestowed on someone after death. Although you may have been taught that saints are a special, higher order of Christians who have accomplished extraordinary good deeds and lived an exemplary life, the Bible teaches that sainthood is not  an attainment but a state into which God by grace through faith calls men and women of all stations of life, whether under the Old or New Covenant. So now next time you meet a believer, address then as "Saint so-and-so" and watch the reaction! It goes without saying however that we often do not think or act like saints, in the popular sense. Remember that once we are saved, God sees us as He sees His Son, as "those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling." (1Co 1:2)  Certainly the Christians at Corinth were not saints because of their spiritual maturity (many were very immature - cf. 1Co 3:1, 2, 3), but because they were “saints by calling” a reference to their call to salvation.

A saint in Scripture is not flawless, but is someone who pursues holiness, which is a process, that begins at conversion and continues until death (Heb 12:14; 1Pet 1:16). And note that holiness is distinct from being "sanctimonious" ("religious") which often lacks true spirituality! Saints are people who sin less, but are not "sinless!"

Remember that we are all equal at the foot of His Cross! (cp 2Cor 3:5,6, saints have "a faith of the same kind" as Peter! - 2Pe 1:1-note)

Those who are holy in position (in Christ) now have the responsibility (and the power) to live holy in their experience (Christ like). Positional holiness is tantamount to justification, while experiential holiness represents progressive sanctification (growth in holiness or Christ likeness). (See related topic - Three Tenses of Salvation)

Hagios - 233x in 221v in the NT NAS - Mt 1:18, 20; 3:11; 4:5; 7:6; 12:32; 24:15; 27:52, 53; 28:19; Mk. 1:8, 24; 3:29; 6:20; 8:38; 12:36; 13:11; Lk 1:15, 35, 41, 49, 67, 70, 72; 2:23, 25, 26; 3:16, 22; 4:1, 34; 9:26; 10:21; 11:13; 12:10, 12; Jn. 1:33; 6:69; 14:26; 17:11; 20:22; Acts 1:2, 5, 8, 16; 2:4, 33, 38; 3:14, 21; 4:8, 25, 27, 30, 31; 5:3, 32; 6:5, 13; 7:33, 51, 55; 8:15, 17, 19; 9:13, 17, 31, 32, 41; 10:22, 38, 44, 45, 47; 11:15, 16, 24; 13:2, 4, 9, 52; 15:8, 28; 16:6; 19:2, 6; 20:23, 28; 21:11, 28; 26:10; 28:25; Ro 1:2, 7; 5:5; 7:12; 8:27; 9:1; 11:16; 12:1, 13; 14:17; 15:13, 16, 25, 26, 31; 16:2, 15, 16, 1Co 1:2; 3:17; 6:1, 2, 19; 7:14, 34; 12:3; 14:33; 16:1, 15, 20; 2Co. 1:1; 6:6; 8:4; 9:1, 12; 13:12, 13; Ep 1:1, 4, 13, 15, 18; 2:19, 21; 3:5, 8, 18; 4:12, 30; 5:3, 27; 6:18; Php 1:1; 4:21, 22; Col 1:2, 4, 12, 22, 26; 3:12; 1Th 1:5, 6; 3:13; 4:8; 5:26; 2Th 1:10; 1Ti 5:10; 2Ti 1:9, 14; Titus 3:5; Philemon 1:5, 7; He 2:4; 3:1, 7; 6:4, 10; 8:2; 9:1, 2, 3, 8, 12, 24, 25; 10:15, 19; 13:11, 24; 1Pe 1:12, 15, 16; 2:5, 9; 3:5; 2Pe 1:18, 21; 2:21; 3:2, 11; 1Jn 2:20; Jude 1:3, 14, 20; Re 3:7; 4:8; 5:8; 6:10; 8:3, 4; 11:2, 18; 13:7, 10; 14:10, 12; 16:6; 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:8; 20:6, 9; 21:2, 10; 22:11, 19)

Hagios - Translated (NAS) Holy(92), holy(62), Holy of Holies(1), holy one(5), holy ones(1), holy place(7), most holy(1), saint(1), saints(59), saints'(1), sanctuary(2).

Hagios - some 523 uses in the non-apocryphal
Septuagint (LXX) - Ex 3:5 (holy ground); Ex 12:16; 15:11, 13; 16:23; 19:6; 22:31; 23:22; 26:33f; 28:2ff, 23, 30, 35, 38, 43; 29:29ff, 33, 37; 30:10, 13, 24f, 29, 31f, 35f; 31:11, 14f; 35:2, 19, 21, 35; 36:1, 3f, 6, 8; 37:29; 38:24, 26; 39:1, 30, 41; 40:9f, 13; Lev 2:3, 10; 4:6, 17; 5:15f; 6:16f, 25ff, 29f; 7:1, 6; 8:9, 31; 10:4, 10, 12ff, 17f; 11:44f; 12:4; 14:13; 16:2ff, 16f, 20, 23f, 27, 32f; 18:21; 19:2, 8, 24, 30; 20:3, 7, 26; 21:6ff, 12, 22f; 22:2ff, 6f, 10, 12, 14ff, 32; 23:2ff, 7f, 20f, 24, 27, 35ff; 24:9; 25:12; 26:2, 31; 27:3, 9f, 14, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30, 32f; Num 3:28, 31f, 38, 47, 50; 4:4, 12, 15f, 19f; 6:5, 8, 20; 7:9, 13, 19, 25, 31, 37, 43, 49, 55, 61, 67, 73, 79, 85; 8:19; 10:21; 15:40; 16:3, 5, 7; 18:1, 3, 5, 9f, 16f, 19, 32; 19:20; 28:7, 18, 25f; 29:1, 7, 12; 31:6; 35:25; Deut 7:6; 12:26; 14:2, 21; 23:14; 26:13, 15, 19; 28:9; Josh 5:15; 6:19; 24:15, 19; Jdg 13:7; 16:17; 1 Sam 2:2, 10; 6:20; 21:4; 1Kgs 6:16; 7:50f; 8:4, 6ff, 10; 2Kgs 4:9; 12:4, 18; 19:22; 1Chr 6:49; 9:29; 16:10, 29, 35; 22:19; 23:13, 28; 24:5; 26:26, 28; 28:12; 29:3, 16; 2Chr 3:8, 10; 4:22; 5:1, 5, 7, 9, 11; 6:2; 8:11; 15:18; 20:21; 23:6; 24:7; 29:5, 7, 21; 30:19, 24, 27; 31:14, 18; 35:3, 6, 13, 15; Ezra 2:63; 8:28; 9:2; Neh 7:65; 8:9ff; 9:14; 10:31, 33, 39; 11:1; Job 5:1; 6:10; 15:15; Ps 2:6; 3:4; 5:7; 11:4; 15:1; 16:3; 18:6; 20:2, 6; 22:3; 24:3; 28:2; 29:2; 33:21; 34:9; 43:3; 47:8; 48:1; 51:11; 56:1; 60:6; 63:2; 65:4; 68:5, 17, 24, 35; 71:22; 74:3; 77:13; 78:41; 79:1; 83:3; 87:1; 89:5, 7, 18, 20, 35; 96:9; 98:1; 99:3, 5, 9; 102:19; 103:1; 105:3, 42; 106:16, 47; 108:7; 110:3; 111:9; 134:1; 138:2; 145:21; 150:1; Prov 9:10; 30:3; Eccl 8:10; Isa 1:4; 4:3; 5:16, 19, 24; 6:3; 10:20; 11:9; 12:6; 14:27; 17:7; 23:18; 26:21; 27:1, 13; 29:23; 30:11f, 15, 19, 29; 31:1; 33:5; 35:8; 37:23; 40:25; 41:16, 20; 43:3, 14f, 28; 44:28; 45:11; 47:4; 48:2, 17; 49:7; 52:1, 10; 55:5; 56:7; 57:13, 15; 58:13; 60:9, 13f; 62:9, 12; 63:10f, 15, 18; 64:10f; 65:9, 11, 25; 66:20; Jer 2:2f; 3:16, 21; 4:11; 11:15; 25:30; 31:23; 50:29; 51:5, 51; Lam 4:1; Ezek 5:11; 7:24; 8:6; 9:6; 10:6f; 20:39f; 21:2; 22:8, 26; 23:38f; 24:21; 25:3; 28:14; 36:20ff, 38; 37:26, 28; 39:7, 25; 41:4, 21, 23, 25; 42:13f, 20; 43:7f, 12, 21; 44:1, 5, 7ff, 11, 13, 15f, 19, 23, 27; 45:1, 3f, 6f, 18; 46:19; 47:12; 48:8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 20f; Dan 4:1, 8f, 13, 17f, 22f, 34; 5:12; 6:3; 7:8, 18, 21f, 25, 27; 8:11, 13f, 24f; 9:16f, 20, 24, 26; 11:28, 30f, 45; 12:7; Hos 11:9, 12; Joel 2:1; 3:17; Amos 4:2; Obad 1:16f; Jonah 2:4, 7; Mic 1:2; Hab 1:12; 2:20; 3:3; Zeph 3:4, 11; Hag 2:12; Zech 2:12f; 8:3; 9:16; 14:5, 20f; Mal 2:11;

In the Old Testament many things and people were divinely set apart by God for His own purposes. The Tabernacle and Temple and all their furnishings-supremely the Ark of the Covenant and the holy of holies-were set apart to Him. The tribe of Levi was set apart for His priesthood, and the entire nation of Israel was set apart as His people. The tithes and offerings of the people of Israel consisted of money and other gifts specifically set apart for God. Under the New Covenant, however, such holy things as the Temple, priesthood, Ark, and tithes no longer exist. God’s only truly holy things on earth today are His people, those whom He has sovereignly and graciously set apart for Himself through Jesus Christ. The new temple of God and the new priesthood of God are His church.

Hagios is used throughout the New Testament to speak of anyone or anything that represents God’s holiness: Christ as the Holy One of God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father, holy Scriptures, holy angels, holy brethren, and so on. The secular and pagan use pictured a person separated and dedicated to the idolatrous "gods" and carried no idea of moral or spiritual purity. The manmade gods were as sinful and degraded as the men who made them and there simply was no need for a word that represented righteousness! The worshipper of the pagan god acquired the character of that pagan god and the religious ceremonies connected with its worship. The Greek temple at Corinth housed a large number of harlots who were connected with the "worship" of the Greek god. Thus, the set-apartness or holiness of the Greek worshipper was in character licentious, totally depraved, and sinful. 

Moule writes that saints are "Holy ones; men separated from sin to God. The word takes the man, or the community, on profession; as being what they ought to be. This is not to lower the native meaning of the word, but to use a well-understood hypothesis in the application of it. A saint is not merely a professing follower of Christ, but a professing follower assumed to be what he professes. He who is not this is in name only and not in deed a saint, faithful, a child of God, and the like. (The Epistle to the Philippians)

Matthew Henry comments that "Saints are accepted only by virtue of their being in Christ Jesus, or as they are Christians. Out of Christ the best saints (Ed note: are "ain'ts so to speak) will appear sinners, and unable to stand before God.

John Wesley - "The first priority of my life is to be holy, and the second goal of my life is to be a scholar."

C. S. Lewis - "Sainthood lies in the habit of referring the smallest actions to God."

William Barclay on hagios -  The word translated saint is hagios; and saint is a misleading translation. To modern ears it paints a picture of almost unworldly piety. Its connection is rather with stained glass windows than with the market-place. Although it is easy to see the meaning of hagios  it is hard to translate it. Hagios, and its Hebrew equivalent qadosh (Hebrew 06918), are usually translated holy. In Hebrew thought, if a thing is described as holy, the basic idea is that it is different from other things; it is in some sense set apart. The better to understand this, let us look at how holy is actually used in the Old Testament. When the regulations regarding the priesthood are being laid down, it is written: "They shall be holy to their God" (Leviticus 21:6). The priests were to be different from other men, for they were set apart for a special function. The tithe was the tenth part of all produce which was to be set apart for God, and it is laid down: "The tenth shall be holy to the Lord, because it is the Lord's" (Leviticus 27:30; Leviticus 27:32). The tithe was different from other things which could be used as food. The central part of the Temple was the Holy Place (Ex 26:33); it was different from all other places. The word was specially used of the Jewish nation itself. The Jews were a holy nation (Ex 19:6). They were holy unto the Lord; God had severed them from other nations that they might be his (Lev 20:26); it was they of all nations on the face of the earth whom God had specially known (Amos 3:2). The Jews were different from all other nations, for they had a special place in the purpose of God. But they refused to play the part which God meant them to play; when his Son came into the world, they failed to recognize him, and rejected and crucified him. The privileges and the responsibilities they should have had were taken away from the nation of Israel and given to the Church, which became the new Israel, the real people of God. Therefore, just as the Jews had once been hagios , holy, different, so now the Christians must be hagios ; the Christians are the holy ones, the different ones, the saints. Thus Paul in his pre-Christian days was a notorious persecutor of the saints, the hagioi  (Acts 9:13); Peter goes to visit the saints, the hagioi, at Lydda (Acts 9:32). To say that the Christians are the saints means, therefore, that the Christians are different from other people. Wherein does that difference lie? Paul addresses his people as saints in Christ Jesus. (Ed: See more on this phrase in comments below) No one can read his letters without seeing how often the phrases in Christ, in Christ Jesus, in the Lord occur. In Christ Jesus occurs 48 times, in Christ 34 times, and in the Lord 50 times. Clearly this was for Paul the very essence of Christianity. What did he mean? Marvin R. Vincent says that when Paul spoke of the Christian being in Christ, he meant that the Christian lives in Christ as a bird in the air, a fish in the water, the roots of a tree in the soil. What makes the Christian different is that he is always and everywhere conscious of the encircling presence of Jesus Christ. When Paul speaks of the saints in Christ Jesus, he means those who are different from other people and who are consecrated to God because of their special relationship to Jesus Christ--and that is what every Christian should be. (Philippians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Guy King notes that the word saint...

The word in itself has no moral or ethical connotation, but simply means, set apart.

- We speak of a church as a holy place - not that there is anything special about its brick and stone and wood, except that it is set apart for the worship of GOD.

- We speak of the Bible as a holy book - not that there is anything particular about its pages or binding, except that it is set apart for the conveyance to man of the inspired message of GOD.

- We speak of the sacramental element as holy bread - not that it is in any sense different from ordinary bread, except that it is set apart in the service to be a reminder to us of the broken body of the crucified Son of GOD.

In just that sense the Christian becomes, as it were automatically, a saint, a holy person - he is set apart from the company of ordinary people, set apart for GOD. Only, unlike our illustrative objects mentioned above, he is a sentient being, a personality. They can only be holy in use, and can never be changed in themselves, but he can proceed from being merely holy in position to being holy in condition.

That is, of course, the Justification of the translators of the Authorized Version when, In Romans 1:7, and in 1Corinthians 1:2, they add two little words that are not in the Greek. but which they infer to be the intention of the apostle. They render the phrase, not "called saints" - which, as we have seen, is an accurate statement of the fact - but, "called to be saints."

In other words we are called to be what we are.

- A soldier must by his bearing and behaviour, live up to his possession.

- A rich man should not belie his resources by living the life of a pauper.

- Christians, too, must live up to their name and resources.

Some "blaspheme that worthy Name by the which ye are called", James 2:7, but we must not blaspheme it by any vestige of unworthy character or conduct. By the grace of GOD, are we "called saints"? Then, by that same grace, we are "called to be saints". (Colossians 1:1-2 His Tactful Approach)

Faithful (4103)(pistos from peitho = to persuade - induce one by words to believe, have confidence) is something or someone who is worthy of trust, one who keeps promises and clearly is supremely applicable to God (Jesus is called "the Amen, the faithful and true Witness" - Rev 3:14) and His Word, but in this context refers to believers who are trustworthy, stedfast, unswerving in their Christian walk. They are worthy of trust - they are reliable and dependable. They maintained a firm adherence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Would Paul describe you or me as
faithful brother or sister?

Vincent gives a nice summary of the meaning of pistos, faithful, writing that it is used  "(1), of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Mt 24:45). Hence, trustworthy (2Ti 2:2-note). Of things that can be relied upon (2Ti 2:11-note). (2), Confiding; trusting; a believer (Gal 3:9; Acts16:1; 2Cor 6:15; 1Ti 5:16) (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Webster's 1828 says that Faithful means "Firm in adherence to the truth and to the duties of religion. 1. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Rev. 2:10 ("Be faithful until death). 2. Firmly adhering to duty; of true fidelity; loyal; true to allegiance; as a faithful subject. 3. Constant in the performance of duties or services; exact in attending to commands; as a faithful servant."

Brethren (80) (adelphos from collative a = denoting unity + delphús = womb) is literally one born from same womb and so a male having the same father and mother as reference person. Figuratively, adelphos as in this verse refers to a close associate of a group of persons having well-defined membership, specifically here referring to fellow believers (including sisters!) in Christ who are united by the bond of affection which creates (or should create) an atmosphere of intimacy. Believers are closer to us in many ways than blood relatives who are not believers.

Each for all,
and all for each

Guy King explains faithful brethren writing that - These Christians are brothers and sisters because they "are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus", Galatians 3:26. That basic fact, whatever be our country, clime, or colour, whatever be our denomination, constitutes all Christians as "brethren" - whatever our outward differences we are all alike bound together by the tie of our individual family relationship to our Heavenly Father. But that raises an enquiry in our minds. Are we faithful brethren? In some human families there is little evidence of a spirit of fidelity - rancor in the home, selfish purpose of individual interests, no love, no loyalty. Can it be so among the members of the Family of GOD? Well, what about ourselves? How delightful is that opposite picture of the harmony that should prevail, wherein "whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it", 1Corinthians 12:26. As the late beloved, epigrammatic Bishop Taylor Smith used to say, "Each for all, and all for each." While we Christians are to be helpful, so far as we may, to those outside the family, we are to be particularly mindful of the welfare of each other, "as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, and especially unto them who are of the household of faith", Galatians 6:10-note. "Learn first to shew piety at home", says 1Timothy 5:4. Our apostle was glad to have evidence among the Colossian believers of family fidelity: loyalty to one another, and loyalty to the one Father. Timothy, whose name he joins with his own in addressing this letter, was just a "brother", who in spite of his delicate health, 1Ti 5:23, remained, through thick and thin, so loyal to his big brother, Paul. (Colossians 1:1-2 His Tactful Approach)

IN CHRIST: en Christo:


What are the 2 "locations" of the saints in Colossians 1:2?

Barclay comments on the fact that the Christians have two addresses "in Colossae Christ. A Christian always moves in two spheres. He is in a certain place in this world; but he is also in Christ. He lives in two dimensions. He lives in this world whose duties he does not treat lightly; but above and beyond that he lives in Christ. In this world he may move from place to place; but wherever he is, he is in Christ. (Ed: Note Barclay's application) That is why outward circumstances make little difference to the Christian; his peace and his joy are not dependent on them. That is why he will do any job with all his heart. It may be menial, unpleasant, painful, it may be far less distinguished than he might expect to have; its rewards may be small and its praise non-existent; nevertheless the Christian will do it diligently, uncomplainingly and cheerfully, for he is in Christ and does all things as to the Lord (Col 3:23-note). We are all in our own Colossae, but we are all in Christ, and it is Christ Who sets (Ed: Or at least "SHOULD SET") the tone of our living. (Colossians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

John Eadie - The concluding words, in Christ, belonging to the entire clause, describe the origin and circuit of the believing brotherhood. Their union to Him created this tender and reciprocal connection in Him. Out of Him there was neither faith nor fraternity, for He is the object of the one and the centre of the other. (Colossians 1 Commentary)

H C G Moule on in Christ - Compare  the Lord’s language, John 6:56; John 14:20; John 15:1-7, and the illustration given by e.g. Ephesians 5:30.—These “brethren” are regarded as one with their Lord in respect of inseparable interest, holy dearness, and union by the life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17); especially the latter. They are “brethren in Christ,” brothers because “in” the Firstborn Son (Romans 8:29). (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

In Christ - see additional discussion of the present and eternal "address" of all believers - in Christ

Click (and scroll down) for over 150 passages with the phrase in Christ (in Him, in the Lord, etc) If you need to be encouraged and renewed in your mind about who you are "in Christ" and Whose you are, consider making a list of the truths you glean from these NT passages and then walk out in trust and obedience to experience the fullness thereof!

William MacDonald makes an interesting observation that "In Christ speaks of their spiritual position. When they were saved, God placed them in Christ, “accepted in the beloved.” (Eph 1:6-note) Henceforth, they had His life and nature (2Pe 1:4-note). Henceforth, they would no longer be seen God as children of Adam (1Cor 15:22) or as unregenerate men, but He would now see them in all the acceptability of His own Son. The expression in Christ conveys more of intimacy, acceptance, and security than any human mind can understand. The geographical location of these believers is indicated by the expression who are in Colossae. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

In Christ expresses intimacy of a believers union with Christ. The preposition "in" is locative of sphere meaning that their sainthood was in the sphere of Christ, not because someone named them "saints" and not in the sphere of some worshipper of a pagan deity as the term was commonly used in the so-called "mystery" religions of Paul's day. Christ is the sphere in which the believer has his new life or as Paul phrases it in chapter 3, "Christ -- our life" (see note Colossians 3:4).

Wuest commenting on the phrase in Christ observes that "Here again we have separation, for that which surrounds the believer, namely, Christ in whom he is ensphered, separates him from all else." (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

 William Barclay adds "that when Paul spoke of the Christian being in Christ, he meant that the Christian lives in Christ as a bird in the air, a fish in the water, the roots of a tree in the soil. What makes the Christian different is that he is always and everywhere conscious of the encircling presence of Jesus Christ.  (Philippians - Daily Study Bible)

Barclay goes on to explain that "There is the life that is dominated by the Spirit of God. As a man lives in the air, he lives in Christ, never separated from him. As he breathes in the air and the air fills him, so Christ fills him. He has no mind of his own; Christ is his mind. He has no desires of his own; the will of Christ is his only law. He is Spirit-controlled, Christ-controlled, God-focused (Ed: O that such would be the case with you dear reader and with this writer!)."  (Colossians: The Daily Study Bible)

Paul's whole emphasis is the point to people back to the sufficiency of Christ. The church at Colossae's problem was that they might get their focus off the Lord Jesus. Jesus is enough. We are complete in Him! So many do not find that Jesus is enough and seek some experience, some method, some program. Rather than submitting and bowing to Jesus as a bondslave to his Master, they refuse to surrender their rights. Paul counteracts this "empty deception" by telling them that Jesus is enough and that they need to keep focused on Him.

Guy King in his exposition of Philippians (Joy Way,1952 - online version) comments on the phrase in Christ writing that...

Herein lay

(a) Their (referring to the saints at Philippi but applicable to saints of all places and ages!) protection from evil life. The moral condition of a heathen city would be a constant peril to any new converts, especially as they themselves had but just recently come out of that very heathenism. Philippi may not have been so utterly debased as Corinth, or Rome, but its atmosphere must have been a subversive influence threatening any who would live pure and true. Yet, they could be kept safe. Christians must, of course, remain in such hostile surroundings, for CHRIST must have there, as Mt 5:13
(note), Mt 5:14 (note) teaches, the salt, the light, and the testimony.

So He Himself prays "not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil", John 17:15.

That keeping, that protection, is ministered to us in the fact of our being, not only "in the world", but more closely, "in Christ."

A shipwrecked man writes a message, and throws it into the sea, in the hope that it may reach some shore. But will not the water damage and destroy it? No; for, while it is cast into the sea, it is first sealed in a bottle - and so it arrives. Yes; in Philippi, with all its destructive influences, but "in Christ" - so they are secure, and so, in spite of all antagonistic forces, they arrive at "the haven where they would be." Herein lay also

(b) Their possibility of holy life. We are called not only to a negative but to a positive life - "eschew (abstain from) evil, and do good", as 1Pe 3:11(note) says. But how can a holy life be lived in such unholy surroundings?

Mark that little water-spider going down to the bottom of that pond. It doesn't really belong there, even as we believers are: "in the world" ...but not of it, John 17:11, 16. The little creature has the queer, and amazing, ability of weaving a bubble of air around itself, and hidden in that it is able to pursue its way even amid such inimical conditions - in the water, but in the bubble!

So we come back to our glorious truth - in Philippi, but "in Christ"; then even in the midst of the most uncongenial surroundings, the Christ-life can be lived.  (King, Guy: Joy Way: An Exposition of the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, 1952, Christian Literature Crusade) (Bolding added)

Boice (in his commentary on Ephesians) also comments on in Christ noting that...

The phrases in Christ, in Him, or the equivalent occur nine times just in Ephesians 1:3-23. They occur 164 times in all Paul’s writings. The phrases mean more than just believing on Christ or being saved by His atonement  (the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation). They mean being joined to Christ in one spiritual body so that what is true of Him is also true for us...This is a difficult concept, and the Bible uses numerous images to teach it to us: the union of a man and woman in marriage (Eph 5:22-33; notes), the union of the vine and the branches (John 15:1-17), the wholeness of a spiritual temple in which Christ is the foundation and we the individual stones (Eph 2:20, 21, 22 - notes  Ep 2:20; 21; 22), the union of the head and other members of the body in one organism (1Cor 12:12-27). But whether we understand it or not, union with Christ is in one sense the very essence of salvation. John Murray, an able expositor of this theme, wrote,

Union with Christ has its source in the election of God the Father before the foundation of the world and it has its fruition in the glorification of the sons of God. The perspective of God’s people is not narrow; it has the expanse of eternity. Its orbit has two foci, one the electing love of God the Father in the counsels of eternity, the other glorification with Christ in the manifestation of His glory. The former has no beginning, the latter has no end. (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955)

Apart from Christ our condition is absolutely hopeless. In Him our condition is glorious to the extreme. (Boice, J. M.: Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary) (Bolding added)

Guy King in his commentary on Colossians adds "Oh yes, I know they were at Colossae - breathing the fetid atmosphere of this typically pagan city. How could the fair flowers of fidelity and holiness flourish in such a place? Only because they enjoyed the nearer, purer air of being in Christ. The clever little water beetle is able to live in the muddy bed of the pond because it has the gift of weaving around itself a bubble of air. Thus it takes its own atmosphere down with it. I often invert a "let's pretend" story of a man shipwrecked on a desert island, who, happening to have his fountain pen still in his pocket, decides to write a message on a large island leaf to send to his people. Having thrown it into the sea, he could then only wait, and hope for the best. But, silly man, the leaf will soon be pulped and the message obliterated by the ocean. Oh, I forgot to mention that on his island he happened to find a bottle with a sealing top. So his SOS reached home, and led to his rescue, because though it was in the sea, it was in the bottle. Yes, although these Christians were in that Colossian sea of iniquity, they were kept safe and saintly because they were "in Christ". It is one of Paul's chief inspired conceptions, so often reiterated through all his correspondence, that we are "in Him", "in the Lord", "in Christ". What amazing privilege and prediction is here! "Christ in you, the hope of glory", he says in Colossians 1:27; and now it is the other side of the blessed truth: you in CHRIST, the hope of safety. (Colossians 1:1-2 His Tactful Approach)

WHO ARE AT COLOSSAE: tois en Kolossais: (Colossae - Images)

If one visits Colossae today, the only sign of Christianity is a little plaque buried under a Muslim mosque, which has a statement to the appreciation of Epaphras, the man who may have led the Colossians to the Lord. The tragedy is that there is no longer (at the time of this writing - 2014) a church at Honaz (see links), the modern site of Colossae! Apparently very little had been entrusted to faithful men (or there were few faithful men who could be entrusted) (2Ti 2:2-note) by the Colossians who themselves seemed to have been very committed Christians (cf. "we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints"). It is probable also that what was entrusted over the generations became so watered down that it became more and more difficult to discern truth from error. Ultimately the succeeding generations of Colossians were taken "captive through philosophy...rather that according to Christ." The very thing that Paul feared the most apparently happened to them!

GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD OUR FATHER: charis humin kai eirene apo theou patros hemon: See similar benedictions/greetings in Ro 1:7, 1Cor 1:3, 2Cor 1:2, Eph 1:2, Phil 1:2, 1Thes 1:1, 2Th 1:2, 1Ti 1:2, Philemon 1:3, 2Ti 1:2, Gal 1:3, Titus 1:4.

C H Spurgeon well says that "Blessed men scatter blessings. When the benediction of God rests upon us, we pour out benedictions upon others." (The Second Coming)

Moule - “Grace” is all the free and loving favour of God in its spiritual efficacy; “Peace” is specially the complacency of reconciliation with which He regards His people, but so as to imply also its results in them; repose, serenity of soul; happiness in its largest sense. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Grace (charis [word study]) is is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give (see Ro 8:32-note where "freely give" is charizomai [word study] from charis =  a grace gift!). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy addresses man's misery. The gift of grace makes men fit for salvation, miraculously making separated strangers into God's beloved sons (1Th 1:4-note, 1Jn 3:1-note, 1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note).

The word for grace (charis) is derived from chairo = to rejoice and gives us our English word charity. This is only fitting as beggars need "charity" even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ. As Augustine said "God gives where he finds empty hands" (cp Mt 5:3-note

Eadie writes that grace (charis) is "that goodwill on God's part which not only provides and applies salvation, but blesses, cheers, and assists believers." (Ephesians 1 - Commentary on Ephesians)

Charles Allen notes that "In the Bible there are three distinctive meanings of grace; it means the mercy and active love of God; it means the winsome attractiveness of God; it means the strength of God to overcome."

Grace is God’s favor toward man, free and unmerited, while peace is the harmony that exists between God and those who receive that favor in Christ. They are two key aspects of the gospel (see MacDonald's comment below) and represent in a sense cause and effect (compare Ro 3:24-note with Ro 5:1-note). This greeting is used by Paul in all his epistles with the exception of that to Timothy in which he adds mercy.

Barclay - Charis (5485) is a lovely word; the basic ideas in it are joy and pleasure, brightness and beauty; it is, in fact, connected with the English word charm. But with Jesus Christ there comes a new beauty to add to the beauty that was there. And that beauty is born of a new relationship to God. With Christ life becomes lovely because man is no longer the victim of God's law but the child of his love. (Philippians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Barclay on charis in Galatians 1 - He wishes them grace. There are two main ideas in this word. The first is that of sheer beauty. The Greek word charis (Greek #5485) means grace in the theological sense, but it always means beauty and charm; and even when theologically used the idea of charm is never far away from it. If the Christian life has grace in it, it must be a lovely thing. Far too often goodness exists without charm and charm without goodness. It is when goodness and charm unite that the work of grace is seen. The second idea is that of undeserved generosity of a gift, which a man never deserved and could never earn, given to him in the generous love of God. When Paul prays for grace on his friends, it is as if he were saying, "May the beauty of the undeserved love of God be on you, so that it will make your life lovely, too." (Galatians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Grace pictures God stooping down to sinful, lost humanity in loving and tender compassion. Peace summarizes all that results in the life of a person when he accepts God’s grace as a free gift. Note the word order first grace, then peace.

The grace which Paul prays will be theirs is grace for daily living as given by the indwelling Spirit. The peace is peace of one's heart, a state of Christian tranquility (see Guy King's note below for his practical amplification of the meaning of peace).

One of the most familiar short definitions of grace is God's unmerited favor. Unfortunately, the practical, everyday, working definition of grace in the lives of many believers goes little beyond this basic simple definition. Many believers fall woefully short of experiencing the riches of God's grace in their everyday life as C H Spurgeon wrote "There are many who are barely Christians and have scarcely enough grace to float them into heaven, the keel of their vessel grating on the gravel all the way." Too many of us (yours truly included far too often!) are like the story of the poor European family who saved for years to buy tickets to sail to America. Once at sea, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought for the journey. After 3 days, the boy complained to his father, “I hate cheese sandwiches. If I don’t eat anything else before we get to America, I’m going to die.” Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship’s galley and buy an ice-cream cone. When the boy returned a long time later with a wide smile, his worried dad asked, “Where were you?” “In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!” “All that for a nickel?” “Oh, no, the food is free,” the boy replied. “It comes with the ticket.” Indeed, Amazing Grace, not cheap, but free, sufficient to save a wretch like me, the first day, and then every day for the rest (pun intended) of my life!

Chuck Swindoll notes that "Understanding what grace means requires our going back to an old Hebrew term that meant “to bend, to stoop.” By and by, it came to include the idea of “condescending favor.” If you have traveled to London, you have perhaps seen royalty. If so, you may have noticed sophistication, aloofness, distance. On occasion, royalty in England will make the news because someone in the ranks of nobility will stop, kneel down, and touch or bless a commoner. That is grace. There is nothing in the commoner that deserves being noticed or touched or blessed by the royal family. But because of grace in the heart of the royal person, there is the desire at that moment to pause, to stoop, to touch, even to bless.....To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver....One more thing should be emphasized about grace: It is absolutely and totally free (Ed: But not cheap!). You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Most of us have trouble with that thought, because we work for everything we get. As the old saying goes, “There ain’t no free lunch.” But in this case, grace comes to us free and clear, no strings attached. We should not even try to repay it; to do so is insulting. (The Grace Awakening: Believing in Grace is One Thing. Living it is Another.)

C H Spurgeon - Kindness is the very breath of Christianity, so the apostle will not begin the subject matter of his letter until first of all he has breathed out a benediction upon those to whom he writes. Paul begins with a salutation in which he wishes the Colossian Christians the best of all blessings. It is the very spirit of our holy religion to wish well to others, and I am sure that we cannot have a better wish for our dearest friends than this, “Grace be unto you, and peace.” Grace will save you; peace will make you know that you are saved. Grace is the root of every blessing; peace is the sweet flower that makes life so sweet and so fragrant. May you have both of these blessings “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”! There is no peace for you apart from this blessed combination, God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore, may you know your adoption, and may you know your redemption! (Spurgeon on Colossians)

D L Moody - The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.

John Flavel offers a picturesque description of grace - "Grace is to corruption as water is to fire."

Guy King has the following comments on this greeting (in his commentary on Philippians)

Grace and peace - just the customary greeting: "grace", the Western (or Greek) "peace", the Eastern (or Hebrew) but when the HOLY SPIRIT led Paul to combine them here, we may be sure that He intended their use to be something so much more than formal and usual; both writer and readers would be led to see in them very deep and rich meaning.

Wilson Cash makes the interesting suggestion that "Paul combines both Jewish 'peace' and Gentile 'grace' in one salutation as a pledge of unity between East and West, between Jew and Gentile, in the one Saviour, who unites all in the one fellowship of His Body.

Dr. Hugh Michael, in the Moffatt Commentary, speaks of "the enrichment of the commonplace by the new faith of CHRIST, which elevates a salutation into a benediction.

How arrestingly that is seen in the transmutation of everything, however lowly, that He touched - a common Name, a despised City, a humble workshop, even a felon's Cross.

Dr. Johnson said of Oliver Goldsmith, "He touched nothing that he did not adorn: how infinitely truer of the Master. So here the common greeting is invested with uncommon beauty.

What are these things that the apostle desires for his friends, and which are no less desirable for ourselves?

(a) Grace - a quality which is, at once is an...

(i) Attitude, which He adopts towards us, as in Eph 2:8 (note);

(ii) Activity, which He exerts for our help, as in 1Corinthians 15:10  (note); and

(iii) Accomplishment, which He works in, and out from, us, as in Acts 4:33.

Paul ardently, and prayerfully, desires this for his converts everywhere - for he uses the word in all his church letters - that they may experience to the full this "grace", which the late Bishop Handley Moule describes as "love in action".

Then comes:
(b) Peace - the "God of all grace" is the "God of peace", 1Pe 5:10
(note); Ro 15:3-(note); and it is only by, and after, His grace that we can enjoy His peace.

- Peace of heart - no condemnation before God

- Peace of conscience - no controversy with God

- Peace of mind - no anxiety about life

- Peace of action - no grit in the machinery

This gift is an immensely precious boon; and it may be the possession, should be the possession, of every believer. Paul will have some deep things to say about this later.

These two joys come, says Php 1:2-
note, "from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ" - the Father is the Source, from Whom they come; the Saviour is the Medium, through Whom they come (Ed: And the Spirit is the "Administrator", the "Chief Operating Officer," so to speak, making grace and peace effective in our lives). Not from the world arise such blessings, nor from our circumstances, however affluent and pleasant, nor from our own inner being, however much we strive, but only from Him, through Him, and "all the fulness of the Godhead . . . and ye are complete in Him" (Col 2:9, 10-note) (King, Guy, Joy Way,1952)

From God our Father - The Source (as noted above Php 1:2-note adds "the Lord Jesus Christ")

H C G Moule - "To St Paul, God is the Pater Noster (Latin for "Our Father") of Christians, in the inner sense of their union by faith with His Son."

Peace (eirene [word study]) (or here) is derived from the verb "eiro" which means to "join together". Peace is not just the absence of strife. It describes the situation where two things come together and there is nothing in between to cause friction. There is no longer a barrier between the two. Peace means to set at one again or join together that which is separated. Our Lord made peace through the blood of the Cross in the sense that through His atonement  (the work Christ did in His life and death to earn our salvation) He binds together again, those who by reason of their standing in the First Adam had been separated from God and who now through faith in Christ are bound again to God in their new standing in the Last Adam (justification) (1Cor 15:22). In Col 1:20-note Paul says by grace through faith sinners and enemies of God now permanently possess "peace with God" where the Greek word for “with” is pros which means “facing.” In other words, the justified sinner has peace facing or face to face (Coram Deo) with God and because of Jesus' precious, perfect shed blood (1Pe 1:18-note), he is able to stand in God's presence (Ro 5:2-note, 1Pet 5:12-note), guiltless and with no condemnation and righteous in a righteousness which God accepts, that is the righteousness of Christ (1Cor 1:30).

Thus the picture inherent in the Paul's greeting is that of binding or joining together what is broken or divided setting the divided parts at one again. Webster defines peace as a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations, a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity and who are now in a state of repose not a state of strife or turmoil.

Peace is defined by Cremer as "a state of untroubled, undisturbed well being.”

Alexander Maclaren - Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God.

has said that the combination of "grace and peace" is in one sense "in miniature, the Gospel for the whole world." The essence of the Gospel is "grace, therefore peace". Through the Gospel we are all brought under His grace and therefore have peace with Him and peace within. The Gospel is not so much about “not fighting” but about wholeness of life (shalom) as God intended it. The peace flows out of the grace, and both together flow from God our Father and were made effective in human history through the Lord Jesus Christ.

John Eadie - Peace, is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Shalom—a term of familiar and beautiful significance. It includes every blessing—being and well-being. It was the formula of ordinary courtesy at meeting and parting. “Peace I leave with you,” said our Lord; but the term was no symbol of cold and formal politeness—“not as the world gives, give I unto you.” (John 14:27). The word in this connection denotes that form of spiritual blessing which keeps the heart in a state of happy repose. It is therefore but another phase, or rather it is the result, of the previous charis...A conscious possession of the divine favor (grace) can alone create and sustain mental tranquility. To use an impressive figure of Scripture, the unsanctified heart resembles “the troubled sea,” (Is 57:20 KJV) in constant uproar and agitation—dark, muddy, and tempestuous; but the storm subsides, for a voice of power has cried, “Peace, be still,” and there is “a great calm” (Mk 4:39 KJV, cp Mt 8:26 KJV) -- the lowering clouds are dispelled, and the azure sky smiles on its own reflection in the bosom of the quiet and glassy deep. The favor of God and the felt enjoyment of it, the apostle wishes to the (recipients of this letter). (Ephesians 1 - Commentary on Ephesians)

Below is a compilation of William Barclay's notes on peace (eirene) from his Daily Study Bible commentaries (there is some duplication) --
(1) Note on Galatians 5:22 - "Peace in contemporary colloquial Greek...had two interesting usages. It was used of the serenity which a county enjoyed under the just and beneficent government of a good emperor; and it was used of the good order of a town or village. Villages had an official who was called the superintendent of the village’s eirene, the keeper of the public peace. Usually in the New Testament eirene stands for the Hebrew Shalom and means not just freedom from trouble but everything that makes for a man’s highest good. It is interesting to note that Chara (Grace) and Eirene (Peace ~ "Irene") both became very common Christian names in the Church." (Galatians 5 )
(2) Note on Galatians 1  - Peace is "everything which will make his mind pure, his will resolute and his heart glad. It is that sense of the love and care of God, which, even if his body is tortured, can keep a man's heart serene." (Galatians 1)
(3) Note on Ephesians 1 - "In the Bible peace is never a purely negative word; it never describes simply the absence of trouble. Shalom means everything which makes for a man's highest good. Christian peace is something quite independent of outward circumstances. A man might live in ease and luxury and on the fat of the land, he might have the finest of houses and the biggest of bank accounts, and yet not have peace; on the other hand, a man might be starving in prison, or dying at the stake, or living a life from which all comfort had fled, and be at perfect peace. The explanation is that there is only one source of peace in all the world, and that is doing the will of God. When we are doing something which we know we ought not to do or are evading something that we know we ought to do, there is always a haunting dispeace at the back of our minds; but if we are doing something very difficult, even something we do not want to do, so long as we know that it is the right thing there is a certain contentment in our hearts. "In his will is our peace." (Ephesians 1)
(4) Note in Matthew 5 - "In Hebrew peace is never only a negative state; it never means only the absence of trouble; in Hebrew peace always means everything which makes for a man's highest good. In the east when one man says to another, Salaam--which is the same word--he does not mean that he wishes for the other man only the absence of evil things; he wishes for him tile presence of all good things. In the Bible peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it means enjoyment of all good." (Matthew 5)
(5) Note on grace and peace in Philippians 1:2 - "When Paul put together these two great words, grace and peace, (charis and eirene), he was doing something very wonderful. He was taking the normal greeting phrases of two great nations and molding them into one. Charis is the greeting with which Greek letters always began and eirene  the greeting with which Jews met each other. Each of these words had its own flavor and each was deepened by the new meaning which Christianity poured into it. Charis is a lovely word; the basic ideas in it are joy and pleasure, brightness and beauty; it is, in fact, connected with the English word charm. But with Jesus Christ there comes a new beauty to add to the beauty that was there. And that beauty is born of a new relationship to God. With Christ life becomes lovely because man is no longer the victim of God's law but the child of his love. Eirene is a comprehensive word. We translate it peace; but it never means a negative peace, never simply the absence of trouble. It means total well-being, everything that makes for a man's highest good. It may well be connected with the Greek word eirein, which means to join, to weave together. And this peace has always got to do with personal relationships, a man's relationship to himself, to his fellow-men, and to God. It is always the peace that is born of reconciliation. So, when Paul prays for grace and peace on his people he is praying that they should have the joy of knowing God as Father and the peace of being reconciled to God, to men, and to themselves--and that grace and peace can come only through Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1)
(6) Note on "wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable" in James 3:17 - "The true wisdom is eirenikos (1516). We have translated this peaceable but it has a very special meaning. Eirene means peace, and when it is used of men its basic meaning is right relationships between man and man, and between man and God The true wisdom produces right relationships. There is a kind of clever and arrogant wisdom which separates man from man, and which makes a man look with superior contempt on his fellows. There is a kind of cruel wisdom which takes a delight in hurting others with clever, but cutting, words. There is a kind of depraved wisdom which seduces men away from their loyalty to God. But the true wisdom at all times brings men closer to one another and to God. (James 3)

Kenneth Wuest adds that "when things are disjointed, there is lack of harmony and well being (no peace). When they are joined together (the essence of peace), there is both. Hamlet cried, “The times are out of joint. O, cursed spite that I was ever born to set them right.” Peace is defined by Cremer as follows: “a state of untroubled, undisturbed wellbeing.” It is used in contrast to strife, and to denote the absence or end of strife. Our Lord “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20-note) in that He by His death, satisfied the just demands of the law which we broke, thus making it possible for a righteous and holy God to bestow mercy upon a believing sinner and do so without violating His justice. Our Lord thus bound together again the believing sinner and God, thus making peace. There is therefore a state of untroubled, undisturbed wellbeing for the sinner who places his faith in the Saviour. The law of God has nothing against him, and he can look up into the Father’s face unafraid and unashamed. This is justifying peace. But Paul, in writing to the Ephesian saints, was writing to those who were enjoying this kind of peace already. Therefore, the peace he is speaking about is sanctifying peace, that state of untroubled, undisturbed tranquility and wellbeing produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). We have this peace to the extent that we are yielded to the Spirit and are intelligently conscious of and dependent upon His ministry for us.


Illustration of the meaning of "PEACE" -  Jim Walton was translating the NT for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase, "I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace with God means that there is nothing--no sin, no guilt, no condemnation--that separates us. And that peace with God is possible only through Christ (Ro 5:1-note). Do you have "one heart" with God?


THREE POINTS ON THE "ROCK" - AMONG the safety rules mountain climbers must remember as they scale rocky cliffs is this: Keep three points on the rock (Ed: Meditate on your "Rock" Christ Jesus - Ps 31:2, Ps 62:7, Ps 71:3, Ps 89:26, Ps 94:22, Ps 95:1-see also Christ Our Rock). In other words, before you move a foot, make sure the other foot and both hands are firmly positioned on solid rock (Ed: When you walk spiritually speaking, make sure you feet are firmly planted on the Solid Rock! Play this great hymn). And if you are going to move a hand, make sure your other hand and both feet are securely placed..

That's a good safety tip for our spiritual lives as well. To keep from falling, we need to keep a grip on three rock-solid truths: grace, mercy, and peace, the words the apostle Paul often used to begin or conclude his letters.

The first message I heard Dr. M. R. DeHaan preach was part of a series of lessons called "Three Sisters of Salvation," which were about these three words. I made up my mind then that I would make these three qualities part of my life.

We are given our salvation as a gift of God's grace. His wrath is withheld from us because of His abundant mercy. And His peace enables us to stand in quiet confidence when the howling gales of adversity swirl around us. They will give us security dur­ing our spiritual mountain climbing experience.

We can appropriate these gifts through prayer and obedience. In the storms of temptation we will not fall if we always keep three points on the Rock. —D C Egner



The peace of God is that eternal calm which lies far too deep in the praying, trusting soul to be reached by any external disturbances. (A. T. Pierson)

The Peace of God “is not a pretense of peace but a divine reality that the world can neither create nor destroy.” “If we lose inward peace, we lose more than a fortune can buy.” (C H Spurgeon)

Other Illustrations of the Peace of God...

(1) In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was martyred by burning at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the PEACE OF GOD, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we!

(2) Horatio Spafford had just been ruined financially by the great Chicago Fire of October, 1871. Shortly thereafter, while crossing the Atlantic, all four of Spafford’s daughters died in a collision with another ship. Spafford’s wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.” Several weeks later, as Spafford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, the Holy Spirit suddenly overwhelmed him with what can only be described as an inrush of SUPERNATURAL PEACE (the peace of God). With tears streaming down his face, he picked up a pen to record his feelings & from his heart filled with the peace of God flowed the timeless words that speak of that peace God provides even though our world is falling apart.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Play Hymn)

(3) The Compass on a Steamboat - The compass on board an iron steamboat is placed aloft (at great height in the air), so that it may not be influenced by the metal of the ship. Though the compass is surrounded by that which would put it out of place, the needle faithfully adheres to the pole, because it is set above misleading influence. So it is with the child of God when the Lord has given him/her peace: he/she is lifted beyond the supremacy of his sorrowful surroundings, and his heart is delivered from its sad surroundings. (Spurgeon)

(4) When Australian pastor H. B. Macartney visited Hudson Taylor in China, he was amazed at the missionary's serenity in spite of his many burdens and busy schedule. Macartney finally mustered up the courage to say, "You are occupied with millions, I with tens. Your letters are pressingly important, mine of comparatively little value. Yet I am worried and distressed while you are always calm. Tell me, what makes the difference?" Taylor replied, "I could not possibly get through the work I have to do without the PEACE OF GOD which passes all understanding keeping my heart and mind." Macartney later wrote, "He was (abiding) in God all the time, and God was in him. It was the true abiding spoken of in John 15:5." Peace floods the soul when Christ rules the heart (Our Daily Bread)

(5) A contest was held in which artists were invited to paint a picture of PERFECT PEACE. The judges eventually narrowed the number of competitors to two. The first had created a scene of a quiet mountain lake. The second depicted a thundering waterfall with the branch of a birch tree bending over the foam. On the fork of that limb, wet with spray, a robin sat undisturbed on her nest. The first picture spoke of tranquility, but the second won the prize because it showed in dramatic detail that absolute calmness can be found in the midst of turbulent surroundings. Yes, it is easy to remain unruffled when everything is quiet and serene. But to rest while the storm is raging—that is "perfect peace." (Our Daily Bread)

(6) During World War II in London there was a blitz bombing at night. The people stayed each night in underground protection. But one Christian lady just stayed at home and slept through all the bombing. When asked about it, she said, “Well, my God neither slumbers nor sleeps, and there’s no need for both of us to stay awake!”

(7) One night an unexpected storm swept over a passenger ship sailing from England to New York, tossing the ship violently and awakening everyone on board, including the captain's eight-year-old daughter. "What's the matter?" the frightened child cried. After her mother explained about the storm, she asked, "Is Father on deck?" Assured that he was, the little girl snuggled back into her bed and in a few moments was sound asleep. Although the winds still blew and the waves still rolled, she had peace because her father was at the helm. Although the squalls of life strike us, we are assured of our Father's presence. He controls our lives and upholds us with His right hand. We may not dodge the storm, and the winds may still blow, but the Master of wind and wave is on board. And if we trust Him, He will either calm the waves or quiet our hearts. We need not nervously pace the deck if the Captain of our salvation is at the helm. Christ calls the restless ones to find their rest in Him. (Our Daily Bread)

(8) PEACE WITH GOD is “JUDICIAL” which means that for the believer the “war with God” is over forever. PEACE OF GOD is “EXPERIENTIAL” for it describes the believer’s day by day experience of peace which can be forfeited. This truth was tragically illustrated by the story of the post-WWII Japanese soldier who failed to experience peace, because he had not received news of the end of the war & as a result had hidden in the jungle, more than 20 years after peace had been declared between the United States and Japan.

(9) There is what is called "the cushion of the sea." Down beneath the surface that is agitated with storms, and driven about with winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life, we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed in the least for hundreds and thousands of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance, and he who enters into the peace of God, and has the peace of God enter into him, becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm. (James Hastings, Editor - The Christian Doctrine of Peace)

(10) There is a story about a submarine that was being tested and as part of its test, it had to remain submerged beneath the surface for a long time. While the submarine was submerged, a powerful storm passed through the area, causing a great deal of damage. When the submarine returned to the harbor, the head of the team that was evaluating the submarine asked the captain, “How did that terrible storm affect you?” The captain looked at the man in surprise and exclaimed, “Storm? We didn’t even know there was one!” The reason for the captain’s surprise was that his submarine had been so far beneath the ocean’s surface that it reached this area known to sailors as “the cushion of the sea.” Although a storm’s high winds may whip the surface into huge waves, the waters in the “cushion” are not even stirred. So while vessels up above were being subjected to turmoil and damage, the submarine down below was not affected. It remained "at peace" so to speak safely set on the “cushion.” This illustration pictures the supernatural peace of God which guards the believer's heart, in response to thankful prayer (Php 4:6-


Colossians 1:3 We give thanks (1PPAI) to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying PMPMPN)) always  for you, (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Eucharistoumen (1PPAI) to Theo patri tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou pantote peri humon proseuchomenoi, (PMPMPN
Amplified: We continually give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), as we are praying for you,
Barclay We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for you in our prayers  (Westminster Press)
 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
: We never cease to pour forth our thanksgiving to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, on your account whenever we pray to him.
Phillips:  I want you to know by this letter that we here are constantly praying for you, and whenever we do we thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: I am giving thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning you, constantly offering petitions (
Young's Literal: We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, always praying for you,

WE GIVE THANKS TO GOD THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: Eucharistoumen (1PPAI) to theopatri tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou:

Moule - Thanksgiving is the instinct of the life of grace.—These thanksgivings recognize God as the whole Cause of all goodness in His saints. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Give thanks (2168) (eucharisteo [word study] from = well, good + charizomai [word study] = to grant, give) means to show oneself grateful, to be thankful, to give thanks. Note present tense (continuous action) for thanksgiving and for praying. Paul "sets the bar high"!

This whole section is one sentence in Greek, with a minor break at the end of verse 6

MacArthur adds that "Paul was not always praying for the Colossians. Rather, whenever he was praying for them, he always expressed his thanks to God. (Vincent, Barclay, Lightfoot, et al agree)

It seems that the apostle always began his prayer with praise to the Lord, and this is a good example for us to follow. Prayer is the unspeakable privilege of having audience with the Sovereign of the universe. Have you availed yourself of this privilege yet today?

Spurgeon - For the church that was at Colossae Paul gave hearty thanks to God for many most important blessings, especially for their faith, their love, and their hope. It would he a very useful exercise to our hearts if we would often give thanks to God for the gifts and graces, which we discover in our Christian brethren. I am afraid we are more inclined to spy out their faults, and to suppose that we deplore them, than we are to discern the work of the Holy Spirit in them, and from the bottom of our hearts to give thanks to God for them. (ED: "Amen!" or "Oh my!") (From Spiritual Knowledge: It's Practical Results)

PRAYING ALWAYS FOR YOU: pantote peri humon proseuchomenoi (PMPMPN): (Col 1:9, Eph 1:16, 17, 18, 19, 3:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 Php 1:9, 10, 11 1Th 3:10, 11, 12, 13 2Th 2:16,17 2Ti 1:3) (Click note on prayer)


Praying always - More literally "always for you continually (present tense) praying". He could have just said praying and his use of the present tense would have quite clearly conveyed to his readers that it was his habitual practice to pray for them. Paul goes a step further, adding the Greek adverb always which is also placed first in the (original Greek) clause to "doubly" emphasize that his prayers were at all times (without exception, on every occasion, every time, without end, repeatedly, unceasingly). The antonym (opposite) would have been hardly or hardly ever or once in a while or on rare occasions or "once in a blue moon."

How would you characterize your prayers
for other saints - at all times or scarcely ever?

Remember that Paul commanded us to

"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ."
(1Cor 11:1)

Praying (4336) (proseuchomai [word study] from pros = toward, facing, before [emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face] + euchomai = originally to speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See study of noun proseuche [word study]).

Notice that the prefix preposition pros adds the idea of  a conscious direction of one’s prayer toward God and a consciousness on the part of the one praying that he is seeking God's face, is speaking face to face with God and has His listening ear (cf Ps 66:18).

Proseuchomai encompasses all the aspects of prayer -- submission, confession, petition, supplication (may concern one's own need), intercession (concerned with the needs of others), praise, and thanksgiving.

Vine says that proseuchomai carries with it a notion of worship (but see the Greek word for worship = proskuneo [word study]) which is not present in the other words for prayer (eg, aiteo, deomai, both of which involve spoken supplication)

Wuest adds that the prefixed preposition pros proseuchomai) speaks also of the consciousness on the part of the one who prays, of the fact of God’s presence and His listening ear. ((Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans )

Detzler proseuchomai is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence. (Detzler, Wayne E: New Testament Words in Today's Language. Victor. 1986)

Richards notes that "In classical Greek proseuchomai was the technical term for calling on a deity. The NT transforms the classical stiffness into the warmth of genuine conversation. Such entreaty in the NT is addressed to God or Jesus and typically is both personal and specific.  ((Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)

Always (3842) (pantote from pás = all + tóte = then) means at all times. Paul used this word to encourage the Thessalonians that he, Silvanus and Timothy "give thanks to God alwayss (pantote) for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers. (1Th 1:2-note)

Writing to the saints at Philippi Paul says he is "always (pantote)  offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all. (Php 1:4-note)

In the closing of this letter Paul reminds the saints at Colossae that "Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always (pantote)  laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. (Col 4:12-note)

Paul writes to Philemon that "I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers (Philemon 1:4)

Alexander Whyte writes "I am as certain as I am standing here, that the secret of much mischief to our own souls, and to the souls of others, lies in the way that we stint, and starve, and scamp our prayers, by hurrying over them. (Col 4:12-note) Prayer worth calling prayer: prayer that God will call true prayer and will treat as true prayer, takes far more time, by the clock, than one man in a thousand thinks. After all that the Holy Ghost has done to make true prayer independent of times, and of places, and of all kinds of instruments and assistances,--as long as we remain in this unspiritual and undevotional world, we shall not succeed, to be called success, in prayer, without time, and times, and places, and other assistances in prayer. Take good care that you are not spiritual overmuch in the matter of prayer. Take good care lest you take your salvation far too softly, and far too cheaply. If you find your life of prayer to be always so short, and so easy, and so spiritual, as to be without cost and strain and sweat to you, you may depend upon it, you are not yet begun to pray. As sure as you sit there, and I stand here, it is just in this matter of time in prayer that so many of us are making shipwreck of our own souls, and of the souls of others. (Starving Prayer - Alexander Whyte)


MY COMPLIMENTS - We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints. —Colossians 1:3, 4

When I receive a compliment, it gives me a warm, inner glow. At times I have felt guilty for enjoying a commendation. After all, isn't that a form of pride? But I have concluded that it is not wrong to feel good when we receive a sincere compliment because of something we have done. By finding pleasure in being commended, we allow others to exercise their gift of encouragement. Their words can lift our spirits. We also show that pride hasn't gained the upper hand in our lives when we praise others. A proud person is so preoccupied with himself that he doesn't notice what others do and has no desire to compliment them.

Paul freely commended his friends in Colossae because he knew it would encourage them. And we should do likewise. Give people a pat on the back when they deserve it. Compliment the child who does something well. Commend the single mother who regularly brings her children to church. Encourage the man who keeps helping others even though he receives little appreciation from them. Keep trying to please God and the people around you. No need to feel guilty about feeling good when someone compliments you. —Herbert Vander Lugt

For Further Thought
How do I respond when someone commends me?
Why is it sometimes hard to accept a compliment?
Do I freely praise others for their accomplishments?

Praise loudly, blame softly


International Friendship - We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. —Colossians 1:3

In 1947, Nadia from Bulgaria and Millicent from the United States became pen pals. For years they swapped photos, school experiences, and dreams. Then their letters stopped when government policy banned personal contact with the West.

After many years of political upheaval and change, Millicent, on a whim, sent a letter to the last address she had for Nadia. To their delight, the letter got through. Before long, they discovered that both had married doctors and both collected seashells. Forty-eight years after their first letter, the two friends finally met at Miami International Airport, where Millicent exclaimed, “Nadia! I would know you anywhere!’’

The letters of the apostle Paul overflow with affection and gratitude for his friends. In his letter to the Colossians, he wrote: “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Col 1:3). His letters also encouraged their walk with Christ (v.10).

Any friendship can be a gift from God. But nothing runs deeper than the relationships of those who share a bond in Christ. In fact, Jesus commanded His disciples: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). In Him, friendships are treasures that will last forever. -- By Mart De Haan

Of all the many blessings
That our gracious Father sends,
I thank Him most of all today
For loyal-hearted friends.

A true friend is a gift from God.


PRAYING LIKE PAUL - It's dark. It's cold. You've been thrown into prison, and you don't know when you'll get out or when you'll eat your next meal. You bow your head to pray. What will you pray for? Safety? Deliverance? A decent meal?

If you are the apostle Paul, you pray for something far different. You talk to God about a group of people you have never seen.

Colossians 1 gives us a brief record of Paul's prison prayer for the people at the church in Colosse. His words help us see how important intercessory prayer should be--even when we have our own troubles.

In Paul's case, he prayed for what he thought this young church needed. He asked God to give them several things, including spiritual understanding (Col 1:9-note), fruitful lives (Col 1:10-note), and strength, patience, and joy (Col 1:11-

Paul gave thanks and prayed for his fellow believers "always" (Col 1:3). Not just when he felt good. Not just when he was warm and well-fed. Always.

How often is our prayer-life interrupted by circumstances that we turn into excuses? Our friends, our family members--even people we don't know--need our intercession. No matter what our difficulty, let's pray for others. --J D Branon

We give to others what they need;
We show no greater care
Than when we give them to the Lord,
Surrounding them with prayer.
--D J De Haan

The best way to influence people for God
 is to intercede with God for people


Colossians 1:4 since we heard (AAPMPN) of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have (2PPAI) for all the saints (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: akousantes (AAPMPN) ten pistin humon en Christo Iesou kai ten agapen hen echete (2PPAI) eis pantas tous hagious
Amplified: For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones),
Barclay for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love you have to all God’s dedicated people,  (
Westminster Press)
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
: We are full of thankfulness for the tidings of the faith which you have in Christ Jesus and the love which you show towards all God’s people
Phillips: because you believe in Christ Jesus and because you are showing true Christian love towards other Christians (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the divine, self-sacrificial love which you constantly have for all the saints (
Young's Literal:  having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that is to all the saints

SINCE WE HEARD OF YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS: akousantes (AAPMPN) ten pistin humon en Christo Iesou:


Eadie - The apostle now expresses the reason why he gave thanks (Col 1:3), the participle (more literally the text reads "having heard") having a causal sense.  Similar phraseology occurs in Ephesians 1:15. Paul's heart had been gladdened by the news of their consistency and spiritual advancement, and in the fulness of his joy he offered thanks to God (Col 1:3).

Peake agrees - Paul now introduces the grounds of his thankfulness, the good report he has heard as to the faith and love of the Colossians. He refers to it again (Colossians 1:9). (Colossians 1 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)

How did he hear? Where was Paul? What did he hear? Who brought Paul the news? How did Paul respond?

Moule - He refers to the information given by Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), probably quite recently. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Faith (4102)(pistis) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. Notice that Paul is not thankful for their faith in faith but their faith in Jesus. True (saving) faith always has an object (Jesus). Remember that the demons believe that God is one but they are not saved (James 2:19-note) but they lack Spirit inspired and enabled works that prove their faith is saving faith!

Faith is like an anchor on boat, See it’s not the anchor itself that holds the boat, it’s what the anchor is hooked up to that holds the boat. As John Eadie observes the Colossian saint's "faith rested in Christ Jesus, fixed and immoveable, fully satisfied in Him as a Divine Saviour. [Ephesians 1:1.]  (Colossians 1 Commentary)

Paul wrote that ";Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." (Ro 10:17-note).

Our Christian lives begin with saving faith; but then in the process of sanctification we must learn to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2Cor 5:7) and work by faith  (1Th 1:3-note).

It is faith that gives power to prayer (Lk 17:5,6).

Faith is a shield each believer needs to take up for with it alone we are made "able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16-note; see sermon   Eph 6:16).

APPLICATION: Do the Scriptures above describe the quality of your faith? Have others heard about your faith in Christ Jesus that leads to an unconditional, sacrificial love even for the saints that aren't particularly easy to be around?

Vine says that faith (pistis) "primarily denotes firm persuasion, and so signifies trust. It is always used in the New Testament of faith in God or in Christ, or in things spiritual. There are three


Faith in Christ (Eph 1:15-note is a closely related passage) - Lightfoot feels that the "in" "probably indicates “the sphere in which their faith moves rather than the object to which it is directed." This faith rests upon Christ. (Colossians 1 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)


Keathley - A depositor’s money is not safe in proportion to the depositor’s faith in the bank in which the money is deposited. It is safe in proportion to the bank’s solvency. So, the Christian is not a Christian because he possesses faith, but because he possesses faith in Christ. It is not simply faith that matters; it is faith and its object. But it is important to also note that their faith is defined as “in Christ.” “In” is the Greek preposition en, which may point to the object of their faith,51 but it most likely points to the sphere in which their faith lived or resided and acted since it is not at all certain that en with pistis (faith) refers to the object.52 This may be a matter of splitting hairs since one’s faith cannot reside in Christ if He is not also the object of that faith. But a faith that resides in Christ would stress not only the past initial act of trust in Christ, but also the present focus of the faith of one who seeks to live by virtue of who and what Christ means to believers. Regardless, the issue is not just the presence of faith, but of a faith that resides in Christ. “It gives the thought of reliance going forth to Christ, and reposing on Christ, so as to sink as it were into Him, and find fixture in Him; as the anchor sinks to the floor of the sea, and then into it, that it may be held in it.” (Moule) The apostle will deal with this concept in more detail in Col 2:6-10. (Paul’s Gratitude for the Colossians Col. 1:3-8)


Gregg Allen - I read a story the other day that seems very much worth sharing at this point. Many years ago, the great New Testament scholar and defender of the evangelical faith, Dr. J. Gresham Machen, was much in the public eye. In the early part of the last century, as a professor in Princeton Seminary, he stood almost alone within the Presbyterian Church in defending the full authority of the Bible, and the truthfulness of the gospel message it proclaimed. He was a great man of God, and had become quite controversial because of his bold stand. As it happened, during the height of the controversy, he was speaking one day at the Chicago Divinity School chapel -- which was crowded to the doors with listeners and reporters. An eyewitness said that he had held the crowd spellbound throughout his message, as he shared the Bible's teaching of the sinfulness of man, the grace of God, and the need for men and woman to be saved through faith in Christ. Near the end of his message, a female reporter spoke up. She asked, "Dr. Machen, you don't seem to think very much of man. What reason do you have for so belittling him?". And Machen simply replied that he was simply repeating what the Bible said. The woman then shot back with a question that, in one form or another, you and I hear all the time in our own day; "But really Dr. Machen; It doesn't make any difference what anyone believes, does it? Just so long as he believes something?" Dr. Machen could have passed that question off; but he didn't. It was too important to not be answered. It was said that he leaned over the lectern, looked the reporter directly in the eye -- with news people all around him, and yet as if speaking directly to her -- and boldly quoted the words of John 3:36; "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." Dr. Machen was asserting that it makes all the difference in the world what someone believes about Christ; and apparently, he was asked no further questions. (God's Grace in a Greeting)




Faith, love and hope are also mentioned here in Colossians 1:4-5 and in the following verses -- 1Co 13:13; 1Th 1:3; 5:8; Ro 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Gal 5:5, 6; Eph 4:2, 3, 4, 5; Heb 6:10, 11, 12; 10:22, 23, 24; 1Pe 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,21, 22.


Spurgeon writes (The Hope Laid Up in Heaven) - Three Divine Graces should be always conspicuous in Christians - faith, love, and hope. They are each mentioned by Paul in the opening verses of the epistle from which our text is taken. These lovely graces should be so conspicuous in every believer as to be spoken of and consequently heard of even by those who have never seen us. These flowers should yield so sweet a perfume that their fragrance may be perceived by those who have never gazed upon them. So was it with the saints at Colossae...May our characters be such as can be reported of without causing us to blush, but that can never be the case if these essential virtues are absent. If these things are in us and abound, we shall not be barren or unfruitful, but if they are lacking, we are as withered branches. We should therefore be rich in faith which is the root of every grace; to this end we should daily pray, "Lord, increase our faith." We should strive to be full even to overflowing with love which is of God and makes us like to God; we should also abound in hope, even that heavenly hope which causes a man to purify himself in readiness for the inheritance above. See to it that neither of these three divine sisters are strangers to your souls, but let faith, hope, and love take up their abode in your hearts. Note, however, the special character of each of these graces as it exists in the Christian. It is not every faith and love and hope that will serve our turn, for of all precious things there are counterfeits. There is a kind of faith in all men, but ours is faith in Christ Jesus, faith in Him whom the world rejects, whose cross is a stumbling block and whose doctrine is an offense. We have faith in the man of Nazareth who is also the Son of God, faith in Him who having made atonement (the work Christ did in His life and death to earn our salvation) by His own blood once for all is now exalted to His Father's right hand. Our confidence is not placed in ourselves nor in any human priest nor in the traditions of our fathers nor in the teachings of human wisdom but alone in Christ Jesus. This is the faith of God's elect.  (Read the full sermon The Hope Laid Up in Heaven)

When missionary John G. Paton was translating the Bible in the Outer Hebrides, he searched for the exact word to translate believe. Finally, he discovered it: the word meant “lean your whole weight upon.” That is what saving faith is—leaning your whole weight upon Jesus Christ. (Lessons from the Life of John G. Paton) That's faith, for true faith is trust that firmly rests upon sure evidence, and leads to Spirit energized action.

Faith must never be severed from good works. Martin Luther summed up the biblical view of the link between saving faith and good works in these words: “Good works do not make a man good, but a good man does good works”

W. H. G. Thomas gives us an excellent description of the interrelation of faith, hope and love "Faith rests on the past, love works in the present, and hope presses toward the future; or, faith looks backward and upward, love looks outward, and hope looks forward. These three constitute the true, complete Christian life and not one of them should be omitted or slighted. We are only too apt to emphasize faith and love and forget hope but, inasmuch as hope is invariably connected with the coming of the Lord, "that blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), it is a vital part of our Christian life. Faith accepts, hope expects; faith appropriates, hope anticipates; faith receives, hope realizes; faith is always and only concerned with the past and present, hope is always and only concerned with the future. We know that faith comes by hearing; we shall find that hope comes by experience. Faith is concerned with a person who promises, hope with the thing promised; and faith is the root of which hope is a fruit. (Hope Laid Up for You in Heaven - W. H. G. Thomas)

William Barclay describing the interrelationship of faith, love and hope - "Faith without love is cold (Read Gal 5:6), and hope without love is grim. Love is the fire which kindles faith and it is the light which turns hope into certainty.”

In Christ Jesus describes genuine faith's object, Christ Jesus.

Harrison comments on this specific name of Jesus - His designation of the Saviour as “Christ Jesus” (the reading of the leading manuscripts) may be understood as a deliberate effort to emphasize at the very outset the present exalted position of the risen Lord over against a system of thought which tended to rob Him of His full majesty. Paul does not use the name Jesus alone in this letter. (Colossians: Christ All-sufficient)

John MacArthur - The relationship of faith to Jesus Christ is expressed in the New Testament by various Greek prepositions. Acts 16:31 uses the preposition epi, which suggests resting on a foundation. In Acts 20:21, eis is used, with the meaning of “to find a dwelling place in,” “to go into,” “to abide in,” or “to find a home.” Here in translates en and has the connotation of coming to a place of security and anchor. With Christ as its object, our faith is as secure as a house on a solid foundation, or a boat safely at anchor. Charles Spurgeon illustrated the importance of faith’s object by telling of two men in a boat. Caught in severe rapids, they were being swept toward a waterfall. Some men on shore tried to save them by throwing them a rope. One man caught hold of it and was pulled to safety on the shore. The other, in the panic of the moment, grabbed hold of a seemingly more substantial log that was floating by. That man was carried downstream, over the rapids, and was never seen again. Faith, represented by the rope linked to the shore, connects us to Jesus Christ and safety. Good works apart from true faith, represented in the story by the log, leads only to ruin.

What Do You Believe In? Theodore Eppp writes...


Almost everyone talks about faith because almost everyone has faith in something.

But faith is only as good as its object. It is important to recognize that we are not saved from condemnation by having faith in faith. Paul commended the Colossians for their "faith in Christ Jesus" (Col 1:4).

So it is not sufficient to tell a person, "Just believe." The question is, Believe what? The message of the Gospel is not to believe in yourself, in church or in doctrine but in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This implies believing in all that Christ did for us when He died on the cross in our place. It recognizes that we are sinful human beings who deserve condemnation, or else it would never have been necessary for Christ to die.

It means we recognize that Christ is our only hope because if we could have been saved by some other means, Christ would not have had to die (see Gal. 2:21).

Having faith in Jesus Christ implies we have placed our confidence entirely in His finished work on the cross, recognizing that He forgives our sins and gives us eternal life.

One can summarize saving faith as a commitment to Jesus Christ, who is our life and Lord. Faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord is also necessary for growth in our Christian walk.

"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). (
What Do You Believe In?)

AND THE LOVE WHICH YOU HAVE FOR ALL THE SAINTS: kai ten agapen en echete (2PPAI) eis pantas tous hagious: (Jn 13:34, 35 1Jn 2:9, 10, 11, 3:10, 3:14,15, 4:20, Gal 5:13)


John associates faith and love - "And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us." (1John 3:23)

The saints at Colossae demonstrated that their faith was genuine by their deeds of love.

They'll Know We are Christians by Our Love
by Jars of Clay (haunting version)

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

2. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.

3. We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride.

4. All praise to the Father, from whom all things come,
And all praise to Christ Jesus, his only Son,
And all praise to the Spirit, who makes us one.

Moule - Divine faith, in true and full exercise, issues by its nature in a life and work of love towards men, regarded as either actual (as here) or potential brethren of Him who is faith’s goal and rest. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

And remember that Loving God is seen in how we love our neighbor!

Brian Bell - What Is Love? It is silence when your words would hurt. It is patience when your neighbors curt. It is deafness when a scandal flows. It is thoughtfulness for other’s woes.  It is promptness when stern duty calls. It is courage when misfortune falls. (Colossians 1)

Keathley - Paul also thanks God for the love of the Colossians, a love that was being expressed toward all the saints, to believers in Christ. Here the focus is certainly on the present outworking of an active faith that resides in Christ and all that He means to believers. It is the fruit and evidence of fellowship with the Lord Jesus through an active faith in His blessed life (John 15:1-9; 1 John 3:14, 23). A faith that resides in Christ and a love for others are twins that should walk together in life. It is also important to note that “…such love was directed toward all the saints, not to those of the same social class or intellectual stratum. It is to all the saints without exception that true Christian love is shown. The communion of saints means, not a series of loosely related cliques, but an all-embracing and self-abnegating fellowship.” (Paul’s Gratitude for the Colossians Col. 1:3-8)

The love (26) (agape [word study]) of one for another is evidence of a person’s genuine faith in Christ Jesus. Genuine vertical relationship will be manifest in our loving horizontal relationships of saints, some of whom are not very lovable! This love is not a mere impulse from the feelings, does not always run with one's natural inclinations, does not manifest itself only to those in whom a certain affinity is realized, is the considered denial of self in the interests of others and seeks opportunity to do good to "all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith." (Gal 6:10-note).

Wuest - The particular love which the Colossian saints had for all the saints was that agape love which is produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22, Ro 5:5), a love which impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the object or person loved. (Ibid)

There are two sides to the Christian life, both of which are crucial: faith and love. Genuine belief in the truth and experiential love for other believers characterizes every true believer. We are saved by faith; we are saved to love. True saving faith is more than a conviction of the mind. It transforms the heart to love.

You have - Notice this possession of love for all saints is their lifestyle (have = present tense). How this convicts so many of us (myself included) whose love is more like a stoplight, sometimes on green (like the Colossians), sometimes on "yellow" (a bit cautiously given or given "with strings" attached) or other times "red" (completely brought to a standstill so to speak!).

For (eis) pictures their love as an active, in motion toward others, dynamic process. Wuest adds that "The preposition “to” is not pros “to, towards,” but eis , “into,” showing that the Colossian’s love reached into the very hearts of the other saints. (Ibid)

All the saints - Christianity is not exclusive but inclusive because we are all now made one in Christ. The foot of the Cross is the great "leveler" in time and eternity.

Moule comments on All the saints - Doubtless not at Colossae only, but everywhere. It was one of the earliest glories of the Gospel, illustrated everywhere in the NT, to bind together in love a world-wide family. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Spurgeon describes this love for all the saints - "The true believer loves the persecuted, the misrepresented, and despised people of God for Christ's sake. He loves them all even though he may think some of them to be mistaken in minor matters. He has love to the babes in grace as well as to the grown saints and love even to those saints whose infirmities are more manifest than their virtues. He loves them not for their station or for their natural amiability but because Jesus loves them and because they love Jesus.

Barclay comments on faith and love of the saints at Colossae - "These are the two sides of the Christian life. The Christian must have faith; he must know what he believes. But he must also have love for men; he must turn that belief into action. (Ed: Cp 1Cor 13:1-3) It is not enough simply to have faith, for there can be an orthodoxy which knows no love. (Ed: Sound orthodoxy calls for sincere orthopraxy) It is not enough only to have love for men, for without real belief that love can become mere sentimentality. The Christian has a double commitment--he is committed to Jesus Christ and he is committed to his fellow-men. Faith in Christ and love to men are the twin pillars of the Christian life. (Colossians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Vincent - Faith works by love, and the ground of their love is found in the hope set before them. Compare Rom. 8:24. The motive is subordinate, but legitimate. “The hope laid up in heaven is not the deepest reason or motive for faith and love, but both are made more vivid when it is strong. It is not the light at which their lamps are lit., but it is the odorous oil which feeds their flame” (Maclaren).


Colossians 1:5 because of the hope laid up (PMPFSA) for you in heaven of which you previously heard (2PAAI) in the word of truth, the gospel (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: dia ten elpida ten apokeimenen (PMPFSA) humin en tois ouranois, hen proekousate (2PAAI) en to logo tes aletheias tou euaggeliou 
Amplified: Because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up (reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel,
KJV: For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
: while you look forward to the hope which is stored up for you in heaven as a treasure for the life to come. This hope was communicated to you in those earlier lessons, when the Gospel was preached to you in its purity and integrity—
Phillips: We know that you are showing these qualities because you have grasped the hope reserved for you in Heaven - that hope which first became yours when the truth was brought to you. (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Young's Literal: because of the hope that is laid up for you in the heavens, which ye heard of before in the word of the truth of the good news,

BECAUSE OF THE HOPE LAID UP FOR YOU IN HEAVEN: dia ten elpida ten apokeimenen (PMPFSA) humin en tois ouranois: (1Pet 1:3,4 Ro 8:18 Ps 31:19 Mt 6:19,20 Col 1:23,27; Acts 23:6; 24:15; 26:6,7; 1Cor 13:13; 15:19; Gal 5:5; Eph 1:18; 2Thes 2:16; Heb 7:19; 1Pet 3:15; 1Jn 3:3)


Because of the hope - This states the cause or reason of their love. NIV adds "the faith and love that spring from the hope…" What does this imply? HOPE is the root of FAITH (the plant) and of LOVE (the fruit). In other words a believer's hope or confidence in what God will do in the future leads to a greater faith or trust in God and a deepening of love for others.

Heard before - Only here in the New Testament, not in Septuagint, and not frequent in classical Greek. It is variously explained as denoting either an undefined period in the past, or as contrasting the earlier Christian teaching with the later heresies, or as related to Paul’s letter (before I wrote), or as related to the fulfilment of the hope (ye have had the hope pre-announced). It occurs several times in Herodotus in this last sense, as 2:5, of one who has heard of Egypt without seeing it: 5:86, of the Aeginetans who had learned beforehand what the Athenians intended. Compare 8:79; 6:16. Xenophon uses it of a horse, which signifies by pricking up its ears what it hears beforehand. In the sense of mere priority of time without the idea of anticipation, Plato: “Hear me once more, though you have heard me say the same before” (“Laws,” vii., 797). I incline to the more general reference, ye heard in the past. The sense of hearing before the fulfilment of the hope would seem rather to require the perfect tense, since the hope still remained unfulfilled. (Vincent)

Brian Bell - Paul places hope last, because he saw faith and love springing from it. How does the hope of heaven cause faith & love to come forth? a) As pagans, the colossians had been “w/o hope and w/o God in the world” (Eph 2:12) Then came the Gospel from Epaphras! Hope is “laid up” (stored away, put away for one’s use) which referred to a Royal Persian custom. Hellenistic rulers would lay up in store goods for faithful servants. As Spurgeon reminds us, “we can labor w/o ever a present reward for we look for a reward in the world to come.” Faith rests on the past; love works in the present; and hope looks towards the future." (Colossians 1)

Moule emphasizes the dynamic force of hope in a believer's life - “That blessed hope,” full of Christ, and the object of an intensely united expectation, gave special occasion, by its nature, for the exercise alike of the faith and the love just mentioned....The interaction of the three great graces has many different aspects. Faith, which alone accepts Christ, and so unites us to Him, is indeed the antecedent in the deepest sense to both the others, and their abiding basis. But in the experience of the life and walk of grace, faith itself may be stimulated by either or both of the sister-graces; and so on. Meanwhile “hope” here, strictly speaking, is not the subjective grace but its glorious object, the Return of the exalted Lord to receive His people to Himself. See e.g. Php 3:20 (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Hope (1680)(elpis from elpo = to anticipate or welcome) in Scripture is not the world's definition of "I hope so" (albeit there are a few rare exceptions, e.g., Acts 27:20) Instead, hope is defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is always an expectation of something good as well as descriptive of something for which we must wait. Hope is the opposite of despair. Hope is the absolute assurance that God will do good to us in the
future! Hope as the world typically defines it is a desire for some future occurrence of which one is not assured of attaining. The ancient world did not generally regard hope as a virtue, but merely as a temporary illusion. Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Philosophies were empty; traditions were disappearing; religions were powerless to help men face either life or death. People longed to pierce the veil and get some message of hope from the other side, but there is none outside of Christ.

The hope that is laid up - Paul uses the present tense to emphasize that our hope is continually laid up, which signifies that our hope is being kept safe, secure, sure (He 6:18-note, Heb 6:19-20-see note on hope as an anchor - Are you experiencing "rough waters," being "storm tossed" in your Christian life? Then take some time and do a study on your Blessed Hope). As F F Bruce once said "We are refugees from the sinking ship of this present world order, so soon to disappear; our hope is fixed in the eternal order, where the promises of God are made good to His people in perpetuity."

Hope is a saint’s anchor which is the end of a long chain of God's precious and magnificent promises ("the word of truth" [Col 1:5, 2Ti 2:15, James 1:18] from the non-lying God [Titus 1:2]) which holds us steadfastly and securely to God’s throne and our eternal home.  No man need ever fear about his future when his hope is laid up in heaven.

Vincent - Peter is fond of this word also (see 1Pet 1:13, 21; 3:5, 15), which, in classical Greek, has the general signification of expectancy, relating to evil as well as to good. Thus Plato speaks of living in evil hope (“Republic,” i., 330); i.e., in the apprehension of evil; and Thucydides, of the hope of evils to come; i.e., the expectation or apprehension. In the New Testament the word always relates to a future good. In the New Testament the word signifies both the sentiment of hope and the thing hoped for. Here the latter. Compare Tit. 2:13; Gal. 5:5; Heb. 6:18: also Rom. 8:24, where both meanings appear. Lightfoot observes that the sense oscillates between the subjective feeling and the objective realization.

Keathley - “Laid up” is the present continuous tense of apokeimai, “to put away, store” (cf. 2 Tim. 4:8). Though centered in the person of Christ Himself (1:27), the place of storage is heaven, a place of security and protection where the corruption and sin of this present world cannot touch it. Peter gave a three-fold description of this. It is (1) a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (2) a hope that is an imperishable, undefiled, and an unfading inheritance, and (3) that is kept by the power of God (see 1Pet. 1:3-5 and Matt. 6:19-20). This includes the whole of our salvation—being in God’s presence at home with the Lord immediately after death, eternal glory, a future resurrected body at the resurrection of the just, and eternal rewards (2 Tim. 4:8). In other words, the “hope laid up” includes all that goes with the gift of eternal life and the blessings of the eternal state according to the many promises of Scripture. Here is a hope that cannot be compared to any earthly hope no matter how exquisite. The point we must not miss is that when Christians live by a faith that resides in Christ, that faith will produce love for others that may result in losses and crosses, but the Christian’s expectation (hope) goes far beyond this life into the eternal future.  (Read about our "eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" in 2Cor 4:14-18-note) (Paul’s Gratitude for the Colossians Col. 1:3-8)


Barclay - That faith and love (Col 1:4) depend on the hope that is laid up in heaven. What exactly does Paul mean? Is he asking the Colossians to show faith in Christ and love for men only for the hope of some reward that is going to come to them some day? Is this "pie in the sky"? There is something much deeper than that here. Think of it this way. Loyalty to Christ may involve a man in all kinds of loss and pain and suffering. There may be many things to which he has to say goodbye. The way of love may seem to many to be the way of a fool. Why spend life in selfless service? Why not use it "to get on" as the world counts getting on? Why not push the weaker brother out of the way? The answer is--because of the hope that is set before us. (Ed: Biblical hope is a truth that motivates holy living and loving - cp 1Jn 3:2-3). As Moule puts it, that "hope is the certainty that, in spite of the world's ways, God's way of love has the last word."...The Christian hope is that God's way is the best way and that the only real peace, the only real joy, the only true and lasting reward are to be found in it. Loyalty to Christ may bring trouble here--but that is not the last word. The world may laugh contemptuously at the folly of the way of love--but the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man. The Christian hope is the confidence that it is better to stake one's life on God than to believe the world. (Colossians 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

See Related Posts...

Christ Jesus Our Hope
Are You Looking for the Blessed Hope?
The Blessed Hope: Part 1
The Blessed Hope: Part 2


A Maranatha Mindset

Thoughts on a "Maranatha Mindset"

Laid up (606) (apokeimai from apó = from, away + keímai = to lie, to be laid up, to set away) means to put something away for safekeeping, to store away in a place for preservation (secular usage referred to money laid up or hidden). In the present verse laid up speaks of the the totality of glorious, eternal, blessing that awaits each believer in the life to come.

Wuest - Paul speaks of this hope “which is laid up for you in heaven.” “Laid up” is the perfect participle of apokeimai, made up of keimai, “to lie,” as in the sentence, “The book lies on the table,” speaking of its position, and apo “off, away from.” Thus, the compound verb means “to be laid away, to be reserved, put to one side,” metaphorically, “to be reserved for one, awaiting him,” used with the dative of the person involved. The perfect participle gives, “the hope which has been laid away in times past with the present result that it is reserved for and awaiting you.” Lightfoot translates, “which is stored up.” Vincent quotes Bishop Wilson, “Deposited, reserved, put by in store out of reach of all enemies and sorrows.” This hope is laid up in heaven, all of which means that the saints will enjoy it in the future life. There are treasures in heaven earned by the saints while on earth (Matt. 6:20), our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20), and we have an inheritance reserved for us in heaven (1Pet. 1:4).

Vincentapokeimai is laid away, as the pound in the napkin, Luke 19:20. With the derivative sense of reserved or awaiting, as the crown, 2 Tim. 4:8. In Heb. 9:27, it is rendered appointed (unto men to die), where, however, the sense is the same: death awaits men as something laid up. Rev., in margin, laid up for. Compare treasure in heaven, Matt, 6:20; 19:21; Luke 12:34. “Deposited, reserved, put by in store out of the reach of all enemies and sorrows” (Bishop Wilson).

There are only 4 uses of apokeimai in the NT...

Luke 19:20 And another came, saying, 'Master, behold your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief

2 Timothy 4:8 (note) in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Comment: Here apokeimai means to  reserve as award or recompense and in secular Greek apokeimai was in fact a common term in honorary documents expressing appreciation for a sense of civic or other communal responsibility.

Hebrews 9:27 (note) And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.

Comment: Here apokeimai is used figuratively to express the certainty of the Divinely ordained future of every living being. It is "securely laid up"! And the lie of reincarnation cannot change this certain outcome.

W. H. Griffith Thomas writes that "This hope is said by St. Paul to be laid up for believers "in the heavens," and the verb is particularly worthy of notice because of its use elsewhere. Thus, a crown of righteousness is said to be "laid up" for those who love Christ's appearing (2Ti 4:8-note, ASV), while it is also recorded that it was "laid up" for men once to die (He 9:27-note). Another solemn contrast is drawn in our Lord's parable of the pounds, where the unfaithful servant "laid up" his master's gift instead of using it (Luke 19:20). In two Old Testament passages, moreover, it is declared that the Lord has "laid up" His goodness for those who fear Him (Ps 31:19-note) and "sound wisdom for the righteous" (Pr 2:7).No Christian life, then, is complete which does not include in it this forward look of joyous certitude toward a bright future, for hope as a grace is not a mere spirit of what we call hopefulness, or a natural buoyancy of temperament. It is a distinctly Christian virtue, the result of union with God in Christ; and it has for its immediate object the Lord Jesus at His glorious appearing, and for its ultimate, eternal and exhaustless substance the glories of heaven and God as our all in all." (Back to the Bible)

Apokeimai is used twice in the Septuagint (LXX) - Genesis 49:10 and Job 38:23 (Which I have reserved [Hebrew = chasak = keep back, deep fro oneself; Lxx = apokeimai] for the time of distress, for the day of war and battle?)

In the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus commands his listeners "Lay up (present imperative  = command to do this throughout your entire life! What a "treasure chest" awaits the person who obeys Jesus' command) (thesaurizo - our English Thesaurus = a collection of words) for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Mt 6:20, 21-note)

Peter reminds his readers going through various trials that they have "an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved (tereo) in heaven for you (1Pe 1:4-note).

Passages in Hebrews allude to that hope laid up in the future...

Heb 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better [country], that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Heb 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking [the city] which is to come.

In heaven (literally in the heavens) - Heaven is where Christ is, thus heaven is where our hope is and ultimately our HOPE is not a PLACE but a PERSON, "Christ Jesus our hope", "the hope of glory" (1Ti 1:1; Col 1:27-note).

Moule adds that "The hope is “laid up” there, because He who is its Essence (1 Timothy 1:1; cp. below Colossians 1:27) is there, “sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1); and our final enjoyment of it, whatever the details of locality may prove to be, whatever e.g. be the destiny of this earth with regard to the abode of the Blessed, will take place under the full manifestation of His presence in heavenly glory. See our Lord’s own words, Matthew 6:20-21; Luke 12:34; Luke 18:22; John 14:3; John 17:24. (Colossians 1 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

C H Spurgeon in a sermon on hope says that "Our hope ... is special, because it is a hope which is laid up for us in heaven, a hope therefore which the worldlings cares not one whit about. He hopes that tomorrow may be as this day and yet more abundant, but he cares nothing for the land where time has ceased to flow. He hopes for riches or he hopes for fame; he hopes for long life and prosperity; he hopes for pleasure and domestic peace; the whole range of his hope is within the compass of his eye. But our hope has passed beyond the sphere of sight, according to the word of the apostle, "What a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." Ours is a hope which demands nothing of time or earth but seeks its all in the world to come...Cultivate, then, your hope, dearly beloved. Make it to shine so plainly in you that your minister may hear of your hopefulness and joy; cause observers to take note of it because you speak of heaven and act as though you really expected to go there. Make the world know that you have a hope of heaven. Make worldlings feel that you are a believer in eternal glory and that you hope to be where Jesus is. Often surprise them as they see what they call your simplicity, but what is in truth only your sincerity, while you treat as matter of fact the hope laid up for you in heaven. The Lord grant it for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."

MacArthur says that "One result of our hope is a willingness to sacrifice the present on the altar of the future. That runs contrary to human nature....The Christian has a different perspective. He is willing to forsake the present glory, comfort, and satisfaction of this present world for the future glory that is his in Christ. (MacArthur, J. Colossians. Chicago: Moody Press )

The Colossian Christians were a heavenly minded people and this future focus gave them a sense of security because anything or anyone deposited in heaven is safe.

Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the Auca Indians of South America said before his death that “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. That is 20-20 "eternal vision"!

The Christian hope reaches into the future, for it is tied up with Christ’s second advent. This is why Christians are to love Christ’s appearing. Every Christian who lives daily in the anticipation and expectancy of Christ’s return becomes a steady, firmly anchored, unwavering soul.

Hope that is anchored in the glories of heaven and in the heavenly One, inspires faith and love for meantime living. In context the basis of future, heavenly hope is the good news of the Word of truth (Ro 15:4-note)

Spurgeon - "Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here. It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. Here we are weary and toilworn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labour shall no more bedew the worker's brow, and fatigue shall be for ever banished. To those who are weary and spent, the word "rest" is full of heaven. We are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without, that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves are unknown things. Here sin is a constant grief to us, but there we shall be perfectly holy, for there shall by no means enter into that kingdom anything which defileth. Hemlock springs not up in the furrows of celestial fields. Oh! is it not joy, that you are not to be in banishment for ever, that you are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit Canaan? Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future and forgetting the present, let the future sanctify the present to highest uses. Through the Spirit of God the hope of heaven is the most potent force for the product of virtue; it is a fountain of joyous effort, it is the corner stone of cheerful holiness. The man who has this hope in him goes about his work with vigour, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardour, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labour without present reward, for he looks for a reward in the world to come. - Morning and Evening

Lehman Strauss has the following article entitled  "Our Only Hope"

 "Now if I sound a bit dogmatic it is because the foundation of my hope is the greatest event in world history, namely, the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil” (Heb. 6:19-note).

The Apostle Peter wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Pe 1:3-note).

The “us” in this verse refers to believers only. They are possessed of a hope that is stedfast and sure. But the man who has not been born again dare not look far into the future, because he is “without Christ” and is therefore as one “having no hope” (Ep 2:12-note). The new man in Christ is assured of a bright future because of the abundant mercy which God has bestowed upon him, and which is guaranteed to him by Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The hope is described by Peter as a “lively” (or living) hope. It is actively alive and is therefore that energizing principle in the Christian that produces hopefulness and optimism. All of the past hopes of man for a better world have been dashed to pieces, simply because Jesus Christ and His Word have not been taken into account. But the Christian hope is operative and vital.

The Apostle Paul based the authority and dignity of his apostleship on the past and future offices of Christ. He wrote: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope” (1Ti 1:1).

Here our Lord is presented as our Savior and our Hope. The Apostle shares with Timothy, and us, this common possession of hope, a blessing no other religion than Christianity can claim. Christ is the very embodiment of our hope, thus He is the secret of the Christian’s strength and victory.

When Paul commended the saints in Colosse, he said: “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you…for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col 1:3-note, Col 1:5-note).

One wonderful thing about our hope is that it is associated with heaven. Possibly this is one reason why the worldling is without hope. Living for the world he cares nothing about heaven. He lives for that which he can see and taste in this world. He hopes for prosperity, pleasure and prominence in this life, thus heaven to him is not real because Christ is not real to him.

Now heaven is not the Christian’s hope. The hope is not a place, but a person “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27-note). This is “the hope of the gospel” (Col 1:23-note). To the saints Paul says, it is “laid up for you.” Heaven is where Christ is, thus heaven is where our hope is. The fact that it is “laid up” means that it is safe, secure, sure. No man need ever fear about his future when his hope is laid up in heaven. Our Lord had this in mind when He said: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt 6:18, 19, 20, 21-see notes Mt 6:18; 19; 20; 21).

Tell me where your heart is and you have told me where your treasure is. Does Christ have your heart? If so, then your hope is not misplaced. The Colossian Christians were a heavenly minded people and this gave to them a sense of security. And why not? Anything, or anyone, deposited in heaven is safe. The Christian hope reaches into the future, for it is tied up with Christ’s second advent. This is why many Christians love Christ’s appearing, for when He comes again He will bring with Him a reward for those who have maintained hope in Him. That reward is also “laid up” for us in heaven. Paul testifies to it in the following words: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2Ti 4:7, 8-notes).

Notice the use again of the words “laid up.” These words mean the same as “safely deposited.” They are used here by Paul autobiographically. This is his final and farewell message. One day back yonder he gave to Christ his heart, he deposited all his treasure in heaven. From that moment on, Paul was a specialist. He said: “This one thing I do…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Php 3:13, 14-see notes Php 3:13; 14). Until the end, Paul the aged ran the race well. The Lord had had all of him. He kept his eye on the goal. And what was that goal? It was “His appearing.” He longed for and loved Christ’s return. You see, his hope was “laid up” where his heart was. To him, Christ was everything. His was a sure hope. How sure is yours? (Bolding Added) (Excerpted from "Our Only Hope" in Bibliotheca Sacra, volume 120, #478, page 135, 1963) (Bolding added)

OF WHICH YOU PREVIOUSLY HEARD IN THE WORD OF TRUTH THE GOSPEL: en proekousate (2PAAI) en to logo tes aletheias tou euaggeliou: (Colossians 3:16; Acts 10:36; 13:26; Ro 10:8; 2Cor 5:19; 6:7; Eph 1:13; 1Thes 2:13; 1Ti 1:15; 1Pet 2:2)


Paul describes the divine nature and power of the Gospel in his letter to the Thessalonians writing that "we also constantly thank God that when you received (paralambano) from us the word of God’s message (Gospel), you accepted (dechomai) it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God (Gospel), which also performs (energeo) its work in you who believe. (1Th 2:13-note)

The Word of truth (Same phrase in Ps 119:43, 2Cor 6:7, Col 1:5, 2Ti 2:15, James 1:18) - The word (logos - word study) of (the = definite article = specific body of) Truth.  In this context word of truth is a great definition for the Gospel. The phrase the truth is used instead of simply the word of the gospel as a hint against the false teachings being promulgated in their midst. There is a true Gospel and there is "different" Gospel, which is really not another (Gal 1:6-9-note). Have you heard the true Gospel? Do you tell others the true Gospel? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate, eternal reality!

Vincent - The truth is the contents of the word, and the Gospel defines the character of the truth.

Everett Harrison - The word of the truth of the Gospel is closely parallel to a similar statement in Ephesians 1:13 ("message of truth"). If the Gospel were not true, it would not be good news but only cruel deception. It is just possible that here the apostle is glancing by way of contrast at the error which is current at Colossae, which he is soon to attack openly in his letter. In his other controversial epistle he twice refers to the truth of the gospel (Gal 2:5, 14). The best way to deal with error is to hold it up to the light of truth which God has revealed. (Colossians: Christ All-sufficient)

Truth (225) (aletheia  from a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice, cp our English "latent" from Latin = to lie hidden) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden. Aletheia is that which is not concealed. Aletheia is that which that is seen or expressed as it really is

Gospel (2098)(euaggelion [word study] from = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) is literally good news or glad tidings. In secular Greek it originally referred to a reward for good news and later became the good news itself. The word euaggelion was commonly used in the first century as our words "good news" today. The idea then and now is something like this - “Have you any good news (euaggelion) for me today?” This was a common question in the ancient world.

Read the modern confessional statement regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ - The Gospel of Jesus Christ - Christianity Today

William Tyndale (ca. 1494-1536) - "Euaggelion (which we call the 'gospel') is a Greek word, and signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tydings, that makes a man's heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy."

William Gladstone (1809-1898) - "Talk about the question of the day! There is but one question and that is the gospel. It can and will correct everything needing correction. All men at the head of great movements are Christian men. During the many years I was in the cabinet I was brought into association with sixty master minds, and all but five of them were Christians. My only hope for the world is in bringing the human mind into contact with divine revelation."]

Karl Barth (1886-1968) - "No one is excluded from the Gospel, but many are excluded by the Gospel."

Euaggelion - 76x in 73v - Mt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; 26:13; Mark 1:1, 14f; 8:35; 10:29; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15; Acts 15:7; 20:24; Ro 1:1, 9, 16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25; 1 Cor 4:15; 9:12, 14, 18, 23; 15:1; 2 Cor 2:12; 4:3f; 8:18; 9:13; 10:14; 11:4, 7; Gal 1:6f, 11; 2:2, 5, 7, 14; Eph 1:13; 3:6; 6:15, 19; Phil 1:5, 7, 12, 16, 27; 2:22; 4:3, 15; Col 1:5, 23; 1 Thess 1:5; 2:2, 4, 8f; 3:2; 2 Thess 1:8; 2:14; 1Ti 1:11; 2Ti 1:8, 10; 2:8; Philemon 1:13; 1Pe 4:17; Rev 14:6. NAS = good news(1), gospel(73), gospel's(2).

Barclay - All previous religions could be entitled “guesses about God.” The Christian gospel gives a man not guesses but certainties about God.

These first few verses provide an excellent source of "truths" about the gospel. Take some time and make a list of what you learn.

The writers of the New Testament adapted the term as God's message of salvation for lost sinners. Euaggelion is found in several combination phrases, each describing the gospel like a multifaceted jewel in various terms from a different viewpoint (from the NASB, 1977):

the gospel of the kingdom (Mt 4:23)

the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mk 1:1) because it centers in Christ

the gospel of God (Mk 1:14) because it originates with God and was not invented by man

the gospel of the kingdom of God (Lk 16:16)

the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24),

the gospel of His Son (Ro 1:9-note)

the gospel of Christ (Ro 15:19-note)

the gospel of the glory of Christ (2Co 4:4)

the gospel of your salvation (Ep 1:13-note)

the gospel of peace (Ep 6:15-note)

the gospel of our Lord Jesus (2Th 1:8)

the glorious gospel of the blessed God (1Ti 1:11)

In Ro 16:25, 26 (see note) Paul called it “my Gospel” indicating that  the special emphasis he gave the gospel in his ministry.

If you would like a special blessing, take an afternoon to go through all 76 uses of euaggelion in context making a list of what you learn about the gospel. The Spirit of God will enlighten your heart and encourage your spirit in a very special way...and you'll want to share the "good news" with someone because of your "discoveries"!

Related Resources on the Gospel:

Gospel - Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Gospel - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Gospel - Holman Bible Dictionary

Gospel - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Gospel - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Gospel (2) - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Gospel - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Gospel - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Gospel - Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Gospel - Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Gospel - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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Last Updated February 21, 2015