Colossians 1:1-5

 

 

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Colossians 1:1-5 Commentary

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 
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 (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Timotheus the brother

REFERENCES

Henry Alford
Paul Apple
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Johann Bengel
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Bible.org
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Brian Bill
Karl Braune
John Calvin
B H Carroll
B H Carroll
Rich Cathers
George Clark
Adam Clarke
Ron Daniel
J N Darby
J N Darby
George Davison
Thomas Constable
W A Criswell
W A Criswell
J Ligon Duncan
J Ligon Duncan
John Eadie
Charles Ellicott
Easy English
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Bruce Goettsche
Bruce Goettsche
Thomas Guthrie
Dave Guzik
Matthew Henry
F B Hole
David Holwick
IVP Commentary
Jamieson, F, B
S Lewis Johnson
Hampton Keathley
Hampton Keathley
Hampton Keathley
William Kelly
Guy King
Guy King
Guy King
J B Lightfoot
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
S R MacPhail
J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee
H A W Meyer
H C G Moule
H C G Moule
H C G Moule
H C G Moule
H C G Moule
Robert Morgan
Robert Morgan
Phil Newton
Joseph Parker
A S Peake
John Piper
John Piper
John Piper
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Pulpit Commentary
Grant Richison
Grant Richison
Grant Richison
A. T.  Robertson
A. T.  Robertson
A. T.  Robertson
A. T.  Robertson
A. T.  Robertson
A. T.  Robertson
A. T.  Robertson
Gil Rugh
Gil Rugh
Rob Salvato
Rob Salvato
Johnny Sanders
Tim Schoap
Tim Schoap
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
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Charles Simeon
Chuck Smith
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C H Spurgeon
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Ray Stedman
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Marvin Vincent
Our Daily Bread
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Colossians 1 Commentary - NT For English Reader
Colossians Commentary - Pdf

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 1:11 Streams in the Desert
Colossians 1:12 Fit for Heaven - H A Ironside
Colossians 1:14 Distinguished Blessings - H A Ironside
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians:1:1-14 Faith, Love, Hope
Colossians 1 Commentary - The Critical English Testament
Colossians 1:1,2, 1:3-8, 1:9-14, 1:15-17, 1:18-20, 1:21-23, 1:24-29
Colossians 1 Resources
Colossians 1 Over 100 pages of resources
Colossians 1:24-2:5 Discovering Your Purpose, Colossians 2:6-7
Colossians 1:1`-23 Commentary - Lange's Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-17 Commentary

Colossians 1:23-2:7 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-8 Notes, Colossians 1 Survey, Colossians 1:9-11 In Depth
Colossians 1 Commentary, Colossians 1 Practical Remarks
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-8, Col 1:9-14, Col 1:15-20, Col 1:21-23, Col 1:24-29
Colossians, Notes on the Epistle
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians Commentary
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Colossians 1 To The Church At Colosse

Colossians 1:5 The Hope Laid Up In Heaven
Colossians 1:1-2
Colossians 1:3-8

Colossians 1 Commentary, 1:1, 1:4, 1:6, 1:9, 13, 15, 16, 20, 23, 27

Colossians 1:1-8 Commentary, Col 1:9-12, Col 1:13-20, Col 1:21-29
Colossians: Christ has Everything that you Need
Colossians 1:1-14 Transformation, 15-23 Reconciliation; 1:24-2:5
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 Multiple Discourse
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary

Colossians Commentary
Colossians 1:1- 8, 1: 9-14-Live Worthily, 1:15-20, 1:24-29-Lack Attack

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 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 - Pdf
Colossians 1:3-11 His Courteous Address - Pdf
Colossians 1:12-29 His Main Emphasis
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1:1-2 Introduction to Colossians

Colossians 1:3-8 The Gospel Truth
Colossians 1:1-2 Saints, Believers, Brethren  
Colossians 1:5 The Gospel Hope  

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
Colossians 1:15-18 The Glory of the Son in His Relation to the Father
Colossians 1:19-22 The Reconciling Son
Colossians 1 Commentary

Colossians Notes & Outlines - 16 page Pdf
Colossians Intro; Colossians 1:1-2 ; Col 1:3-5 - Mp3's
Colossians 1 Commentary
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 1:1-8 Evidence of Life
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1 Commentary (Expositor's Greek Testament)
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 Exposition
Colossians 1 Homiletics
Colossians 1 Homilies By Various Authors

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

Colossians Commentary - verse by verse
The Spiritual Life - 46 page treatise - excellent
Complete in Christ - 48 page study on Colossians - excellent

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 1:21 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 1:5:  Devotional

Colossians 1:5 The Hope Laid Up In Heaven
Colossians 1 Exposition
Colossians 1:1-8: Where Hope Begins
Colossians 1 Commentary
Colossians 1: Greek Word Studies
Colossians Illustrations
Colossians download first of 12 lessons

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

Apostle - (Click here or here for Verse by Verse note on apostle)  (See Torrey's Topic Apostle,  Multiple Dictionary Descriptions)

Paul...apostle (click here for all uses of this phrase and note what key phrase is repeated 5x - why was Paul an apostle? Was it because he chose to be? Look at the link for the answer and then apply this truth to your life) is a favorite self designation. Paul was a man with a mission having been commissioned by Christ Himself, Whose will was made known in (Acts 9:15 22:14, 15, 21 26:16, 17,18).

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)

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).

In (Ro1:5) 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

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. 

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.

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; 2 Cor 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; 1 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 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)

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.

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN
EPHESIANS AND COLOSSIANS

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

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.

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.

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)

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 "Are we where we are 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).

AND TIMOTHY OUR BROTHER: kai Timotheos o adelphos: (Acts 16:1, 17:14,15, 18:5, 19:22, 20:4, 1Cor 4:17, 2Ti 1:5, 3:14, 3:15, 1Ti 5:23, Php 2:19, 20, 21, 22)

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.

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)."

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.

BACKGROUND ON
COLOSSAE and GNOSTICISM

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 HolyLandPhotos.org).

 

Click this map for the geographic relationships of Laodicea ("justice of the people" - description), Hierapolis ("holy city" - see description) and Colossae ("punishment" - see description).

 

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 Colosse, this system (gnosis) appears to have consisted of ascetic disciplines (see notes Colossians 2:20-23),  mysticism, and legalism, all complex and proudly intellectual.

 

Kenneth Wuest adds that

 

"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.”

 

(Click for a more on Gnosticism in the International Standard Bible 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. 
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)
KJV:
 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.
Lightfoot
: 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 [word study]) are literally holy ones, those set apart (sanctified).

Saints are those set apart from the world

"delivered (rescued)...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 to be "in the world" but not "of the world" like a boat in the water. In the water the boat fulfills its function but it's usefulness deteriorates when water gets in the boat! And the same is true for saints. Do you need to "bail" some of the water out of your "boat"?

Wuest adds that...

"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."

Vine adds that

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)."

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 - Pdf)

Faithful (4103)(pistos [word study] from peitho [word study] = to persuade - induce one by words to believe, have confidence) is something or someone who is worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc. In this verse these believers are worthy of trust - they are faithful, reliable, dependable.

Would Paul describe you or me as a 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 says that Faithful means firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance and implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted.

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.

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", 1 Corinthians 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. "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 - Pdf)

IN CHRIST: en Christo:

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

In Christ - see additional discussion of the glorious phrase 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. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

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, K. S. 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.  (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press)

Barclay goes on to explain that

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. 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. We are all in our own Colossae, but we are all in Christ, and it is Christ who sets the tone of our living." Barclay describes an ideal state writing 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."  (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press)

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 - Pdf)

WHO ARE AT COLOSSAE: ...tois en Kolossais:

The only sign of Christianity was 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 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)

Grace (charis [word study]) 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.

This greeting is generally viewed as a blending of both Greek and Hebrew greetings. The normal Greek greeting was chairein (present infinitive of chairo ) and conveyed the ideas of “welcome, good day, greetings”. The parallel Hebrew greeting was shalom, conveying the idea  “peace, good health” 

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 in the form of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The peace is peace of heart, a state of Christian tranquility.

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)

Guy King (in his expositional commentary on Philippians, Joy Way,1952 - online version) writes that...

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

(i) an Attitude, which He adopts towards us, as in Eph (note);

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

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

Paul ardently, and prayerfully, desires for his converts everywhere - for he uses the words 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 1:1-
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. 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 - online version)

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.

MacDonald
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.

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?

PEACE OF GOD

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.

Refrain
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
Barclay We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for you in our prayers  (Westminster Press)
KJV:
 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Lightfoot
: 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 (
Eerdmans
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:

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 observed that...

For the church that was at Colosse 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?

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...

gives it the idea of definiteness and directness in prayer, with the consciousness on the part of the one praying that he is talking face to face with God...(thus 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 or Logos)

Detzler writes that...

The basic idea of 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 always (pantote) for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers. (see note 1Thess 1:2)

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)

 

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
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)
KJV:
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Lightfoot
: 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 (
Eerdmans
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:

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

Faith, love and hope are also mentioned 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).

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 main elements in faith: (1) a firm conviction producing full acknowledgment of God’s revelation or truth (e.g., 2Th 1:10, 2:13); (2) a personal surrender to Him (Jn 1:12); (3) conduct inspired by such surrender (2Co 5:7). Prominence is given to one or other of these three according to the context."

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)

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)

Faith rests on the past work of Christ; love works in the present; and hope anticipates the future.

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

John MacArthur adds that
 

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.

In his devotional entitle What Do You Believe In? Theodore Epp 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)

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).

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) - This preposition describes motion toward. It pictures their love as an active, in motion toward others, dynamic process.

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.

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.

 

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 
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;
Lightfoot
: 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)

See related study on the Blessed Hope

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.

Moule says that hope is the certainty that, in spite of the world’s ways, God’s way of love has the last word.

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, 19, 20-see notes on hope as an anchor He 6:18; 19; 20).

Hope is a saint’s anchor which is the end of a long chain of God's words of truth coupling 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.

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.

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.

Apokeimai is used twice in the Septuagint (LXX) (Genesis 49:10) and in

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).

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).

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 or Logos)

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)

In Morning and Evening Spurgeon comments that...

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.

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)

 

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."

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)

The Word of truth - The word (logos) of (the = definite article = specific body of) Truth Click for all uses of this phrase. In this context it is a great definition for the gospel. The full phrase the truth of the gospel is used instead of simply the word of the gospel, as a hint against the false teachings being promulgated in their midst.

Gospel (2098)(euaggelion [word study] from = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) is literally good news or glad tidings.

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 adds that

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.

For a rewarding study, study the preceding references in context making notation of the truth you observe about the gospel (Download InstaVerse. to enable you to read the verse in your favorite version and in context... anywhere on the Web!)  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"!

DOWNLOAD InstaVerse for free. It is an easy to install and simple to use Bible Verse pop up tool that allows you to read cross references in context and in the Version you prefer. Only the  KJV is free with this download but you can also download a free copy of Bible Explorer which in turn offers free Bibles that work with InstaVerse, including  the excellent, literal translation, the English Standard Version (ESV). Other popular versions are available for purchase. When you hold the mouse pointer over a Scripture reference anywhere on the Web (as well as offline in Word for Windows, email, etc) the passage pops up immediately. InstaVerse can be disabled if the popups become distractive. This utility really does work and makes it easy to read the actual passage in context and not just the chapter and verse reference.


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Last Updated July, 2013

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