They would need to be tough to survive. The New Testament presents Jesus’ death on the cross as a redemptive act for humanity—as a “ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The kind of knowledge of God that Paul prizes involves a relationship with God—a relationship that grows and deepens as the person becomes better and better acquainted with God—a relationship in which love is both received and given (note the order—we first receive love from God, which enables us to give love back to God). Barclay, William, Daily Study Bible: Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1963, Bruce, F. F., The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon and to the Ephesians (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984), Donelson, Lewis R., Colossians, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus, (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996, Dunham, Maxie D., The Preacher’s Commentary: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982), Hay, David M., Abingdon New Testament Commentary: Colossians (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), Lincoln, Andrew T., The New Interpreter’s Bible: 2 Corinthians to Philemon, Vol. Date: April 14, 2010; Reference: Colossians 1:1-14; Series: Christ Above All: Commentary on Colossians; Teacher: Pastor Robert Furrow He more likely served as Paul’s amanuensis (secretary), writing as Paul dictated. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). It means that prayer for the Colossians is a regular part of Paul’s life. People place their hope in all sorts of things: Personal strength or appearance, academic degrees, 401k’s or pension plans, political figures, etc., etc., etc. Paul will get to those problems soon enough—but first he takes time to express some positives about the Colossian Christians. This is one of the most important chapters in the Holy Writ, because of the Christology which reaches a climax of surpassing importance in Colossians 1:28.. “from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 2d). This deliverance motif brings to mind the Exodus, in which Yahweh delivered Israel from the dark kingdom of Egypt, where they were slaves to Pharaoh, who despised and feared them. It would be appropriate to call that state of mind “peace”—eirene (Greek)—shalom (Hebrew). Paul wroteto the Christians who lived in the city called Colossae. Amos 7:7-17 describes two episodes in the prophetic career of Amos, set in the northern kingdom of Israel around 750 BCE. To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, … Seek to do the will of God, understanding that God will ask you to do hard things. Was Paul just undisciplined or did his writing get away from him? The traditional spiritual disciplines of worship, the study of scripture, prayer, and service come to mind. We can fulfill God’s purpose for us only as we seek to understand and to fill that space—as we seek to bring our wills into congruence with God’s will. (Read Colossians 1:9-14) The apostle was constant in prayer, that the believers might be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all wisdom. Evoking a covenantal shalom that permeates all of life, our reading from Deuteronomy refers to the fruitfulness of our bodies, our livestock, our soil. “that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects” (v. 10a). Christians today—at least those from certain denominations—will see the word Eucharist, which they use to mean the Lord’s Supper, in this Greek word eucharisteo. I once attended a Ken Blanchard workshop in which the well-known leadership guru emphasized giving people positive strokes—pats on the back. “Praying always” doesn’t mean that Paul spends every waking moments praying for the Colossian Christians. The blessed Spirit is the author of this. Paul defined the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). In a community where grace is freely received and given, eirene will almost certainly prevail. The vices mentioned in 3:5-7 were more likely to be a problem for Gentiles rather than for Jews). Torah obedience, the text assures, “will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil” (Deuteronomy 30:9). “even as you learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf” (v. 7). Paul often speaks of hagioi—a word that means “holy ones” but is usually translated “saints” in our English-language Bibles. It is through “the word of the truth of the Good News” that these Colossian Christians have received the blessing of “the hope which is laid up for (them) in the heavens. In the New Testament, euangelion is used for the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. But “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). 1Paul, an apostle (Greek: apostolos) of Christ Jesus through the will (Greek: thelematos—from thelema) of God, and Timothy our brother, 2to the saints (Greek: hagios) and faithful brothers (Greek: adelphoi— from adelphos) in Christ at Colossae: Grace (Greek: charis) to you and peace (Greek: eirene) from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Today this area is part of the country that is called Turkey. The Good News of Jesus Christ has not only come to these Colossian Christians, but is also in the process of coming into “all the world.” At that moment in time, the Good News had penetrated only particular cities in the Mediterranean region—hardly “all the world” as we know it today—but a beginning nevertheless. “who made us fit (ikanoo) to be partakers of the inheritance (kleros) of the saints (hagios) in light”(v. 12). Did he have a vacation home on a beautiful lake? • The ground on which Moses stood was holy, because God was present there (Exodus 3:5). The idea of “holy ones” or “saints” has its roots in the Old Testament understanding of holiness: • People and things become holy by association with God. “according to the might (kratos) of his glory” (doxa) (v. 11b). The agape person has little or nothing to gain by helping these hungry, thirsty, strange, naked, imprisoned people. Salutation 1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 1:2 to the saints, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, at Colossae. Nor, being sinners, could they qualify based on their conduct or obedience to God. Three times I suffered shipwreck. An apostolos is someone who is sent with a message. If these Colossian Christians can better understand the nature and mission of Christ—who Christ was and is and what Christ has come to do for them—that understanding will give them a firm footing to deal with the problems that Epaphras has identified. While there is some question about the sharpness of that distinction, scholars tend to agree that “philos does contain an element of mutuality not found in agape” (Melick). People give thanks because they have experienced salvation at God’s hands (Isaiah 25:9)—or rejoice in God’s steadfast love (Psalm 90:14) or God’s presence (Psalm 16:9-11). 1. “It 3 will not leave even a root or branch. The author of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In his final greetings, Paul will mention other Christian friends and supporters—Tychicus, Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus who was called Justus, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas (4:7-14)—so Paul’s decision to include Timothy’s name as co-author in the first verse tells us that Timothy inhabits a special place in Paul’s universe. To Colossians; Colossians 1:15-29 Preeminence of Christ: Colossians 2:1-10 Don't Be Taken Captive By Philosophy, Colossians 2:11-23 We Have Received A Circumcision Made Without Hands; Colossians 3:1-13 Keep Seeking The Things Above Where Christ Is Unfortunately, it is a tradition that has fallen into disuse in most mainline denominations today. "First Thoughts on Year C Epistle Passages in the Lectionary," Pentecost 8, William Loader, Murdoch University, Uniting Church in Australia. Therefore, Paul prays that these Colossian Christians might gain, not sophia by itself, but sophia that is spiritual (pneumatikos) in nature—Godly wisdom. In verses 4-5, Paul mentions three virtues—faith, love, and hope—that he groups together elsewhere as well (1 Corinthians 13:13; Romans 5:1-5; Galatians 5:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3). The principle is that people can accept criticism more easily if they know that we have noticed the good things they have done. Colossians Commentary. Having heard from whom? It is a “hope which is laid up for (them) in the heavens” (v. 5a)—hope that gives them a vision of a blessed future, and thereby gives them strength for today. Both have to do with endurance. Paul – The Authority of Leadership – His Divine Calling a. The source of grace and peace is “God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”. We are the beneficiaries—the recipients of his grace. I believe that Paul uses both words to emphasize that Christians need strength—and that God is the source of that strength. (Colossians … Storge is familial love, such as the love one has for a child or parent. While Paul has not had the opportunity to visit the Colossian church, he does have many opportunities to pray for them. Before addressing their problems, Paul wants them to know that he is well aware that their positive traits are worthy of celebration. 10 (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1986), “It is more blessed to give than to receive”, “a rich man will enter the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty”, “it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God”, is impossible, but with God all things are possible”, “Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother”, “that whoever believes in (the Son of Man) should not perish, but have eternal life—that the world should be saved through him”, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”, “He who doesn’t take his cross and follow after me, isn’t worthy of me”, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. EXEGESIS: THE CONTEXT: The Apostle Paul wrote this letter (epistle) to the church at Colossae, a small city located on the Lycus River in Asia Minor (modern Turkey)—known for its production of wool and woolen goods. An analogy might be coming into contact with a live high-voltage electrical line. “in all spiritual wisdom” (sophia) (v. 9b). “and of the love (agape) which you have toward all the saints” (v. 4b). “of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the Good News” (euangelion) (v. 5b). Seeing a beautiful sunset can bring to mind the creator who made that sunset possible. Paul uses some form of that word nearly fifty times, using it to mean the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. False teachers abound today, teaching people that God wants them to be rich—to drive a Mercedes and to wear a Rolex. How can a person increase in the knowledge of God? Colossians 1:1-14 “One Giant Leap” 1. But Paul wants more for the Colossian Christians than gritting-your-teeth endurance. New Testament Christians thought of each other as brother and sister (Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 16:12; Ephesians 6:23; 1 Timothy 6:2; Revelation 1:9; 12:10)—and used those words to speak of each other. The Greek word euangelion combines the words eu (good) and angelos (angel or messenger) and means “good news.” In secular use, it was used for a victory in battle—or for the reward given to a messenger who brought word of such a victory. How could that be? A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 36-40). Joy is a common theme in both Old and New Testaments. Forgiveness is needed when one person does something to offend another person. • But most especially the people of God are holy, because they belong to God (Deuteronomy 28:9; Isaiah 62:12). Agape love is more a “doing” than a “feeling” word. “having heard of your faith (pistis) in Christ Jesus” (v. 4a). • Jesus re-emphasized the necessity of caring for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and those in prison as central to pleasing God (Matthew 25:31-46). The list goes on and on. He said: “Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. Financially secure? A major earthquake in 60-61 A.D. essentially destroyed Colossae, a blow from which it never recovered. He has heard of their faith in Christ and their love for the saints (v. 4). Might it be that when Paul, a Jew deeply embedded in the narrative and symbolism of the Hebrew scriptures, employs a metaphor like “fruit” there is a whole wealth of allusion to be unpacked? You can go there just under the verse. For by him all … There is no record of Paul ever visiting the Colossians church (2:1). There is more at work in the text, however, than one might gather from an initial, cursory reading. It could also reflect the kind of asceticism promulgated by Gnostics. “of his will” (thelema) (v. 9b). Good words will not do without good works. The word “glory” is used in the Bible to speak of various wonderful things—but it is used especially to speak of God’s glory—an aura associated with God’s appearance that reveals God’s majesty to humans. They cope less well, because their fate is unclear—because they have nothing definite for which to hope—no end-date by which to measure their progress. Consider how God’s call worked itself out in Paul’s life. The Greeks prize wisdom (sophia), but elsewhere Paul contrasts the wisdom of God with the foolishness of the world. XI (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002, Longman, Tremper III, and Garland, David E., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians-Philemon, Revised (Zondervan, 2005), MacArthur, John, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Colossians (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1992), MacDonald, Margaret Y., Sacra Pagina: Colossians & Ephesians (Liturgical Press, 2008), Martin, Earnest D., Believers Church Bible Commentary: Colossians, (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1993, Martin, Ralph P., Interpretation: Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1991), Melick, Richard R., Jr., New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Vol. • When asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And he clearly understands redemption in Jesus in terms of the exodus tradition when he concludes our passage with language of being “rescued from the power of darkness and transferred … into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (1:13-14). He was an apostle, and they were just ordinary Christians—but he knew that their prayers were efficacious—that they brought Godly power into play. Read the letter to the Colossians as it was intended … a letter from one dear friend to another. A very brief introduction may be helpful. “and understanding” (sunesis—from sunieme). in labor and travail, in watchings often, Paul had not visited the Colossian church personally. In some cases, impoverished people would sell themselves into slavery—or would sell the land that had come down through generations to them. Christ confronted Saul (Paul’s name prior to his becoming a Christian) as Saul was traveling on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians there (Acts 9:1ff)—a confrontation that ended with Saul becoming Paul, a Christian apostle—personally chosen and commissioned by Christ—a person whose witness to Christ is enhanced by the fact that he has personally seen the risen Christ. Let me suggest a hermeneutical principle: Always read the New Testament with Old Testament eyes. Gospel. “bearing fruit (karpophoreo) in every good work” (v. 10b). Peace (eirene) is a significant word, occurring nearly a hundred times in the New Testament. And then he prays that the community would “lead lives fully worthy of the Lord … as you bear fruit in every good work … ” (Colossians 1:10). Colosse was a considerable city of Phrygia. Commentary, Colossians 1:1-14 (Pentecost +7), Karl Jacobson, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2010. Biblical writers, attempting to describe God’s glory using human words, portrayed it as “a devouring fire” (Exodus 24:17). The fruit of a new humanity who themselves bear the fruit of good work in every dimension of life, every nook and cranny of our culture. In verse 1, Paul included Timothy in his greetings. The Colossians sat in darkness and the shadow of death, estranged "from the life of God through ignorance," till God caused the light to shine into their hearts. perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; And how might attending to those connections deepen our reading and our preaching? He also said, “He who doesn’t take his cross and follow after me, isn’t worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). Eros is romantic or sexual love. Now he says, “We give thanks,” which surely includes Timothy—and, perhaps, the other Christians that Paul will mention in chapter 4. Paul follows that form, expanding it to meet his purposes. Paul wrote two letters (First and Second Timothy) to Timothy—letters of encouragement and guidance from an older, experienced missionary to a younger, inexperienced man. None of the above! “The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10). It is his will that we occupy that particular space. But both eirene and shalom can also refer to an external kind of peace—the absence of rancor or violence among individuals or nations. 2. Go! The writings of the prophets addressed this problem—and are as helpful today in determining how to please God as they were when they were first written. It should be obvious from these citations that joy in the scriptures is rooted in the love and faithfulness of God. But then Christ chose to call him to be a Christian apostle. ), which the WEB has updated. What kind of things would constitute a walk worthy of the Lord? He understood the problem. 1 These commentaries on Colossians will assume Pauline authorship of this epistle. It is needed to restore a harmonious relationship. “because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens” (v. 5a). 2 But for you who respect my name, the sun of vindication 4 will rise with healing wings, 5 and you will skip about 6 like calves released from the stall. These Greek words both suggest things coming together in one’s mind—coming into focus. “in whom we have our redemption” (apolutrosis) (v. 14a). This suggests that Colossian Christians were under pressure to adopt Jewish dietary laws in addition to their Christian faith—a common problem at this time in the church’s history—a problem that Paul addressed particularly in his letter to the Galatians. This is a familial, procreative, agricultural, and ecological fruitfulness. Jesus says that we must forgive each other if we want God to forgive us (Matthew 6:12, 14-15). Good words will not do without good works. If they can get a “fix” on the North Star, that will help them to orient themselves so that they will know where they are and in what direction they are headed. It is not something that you need to go looking for. It doesn’t require that we approve of the actions of the person whom we love—or even that we enjoy their company. It was in the valley of the riverLycus. Christian charis is the gift of salvation by God to all who accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The compound word epi–gnosis “refers to knowledge of moral and ethical values as well as of sin. Paul writes “To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints” (Romans 1:7; see also 1 Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1). Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. “For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don’t cease praying and making requests for you” (v. 9a). Armstrong did not take that step without anxiety. 9For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don’t cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge (Greek: epignosis) of his will (Greek: thelema) in all spiritual wisdom (Greek: sophia) and understanding, (Greek: sunesis) 10that you may walk worthily (Greek: axios) of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit (Greek: karpophoreo) in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11strengthened with all power, (Greek: dunamoo) according to the might of his glory, (Greek: doxa) for all endurance (Greek: hypermone) and perseverance (Greek: makrothumia) with joy; (Greek: charas) 12giving thanks (Greek: eucharisteo) to the Father, who made us fit (Greek: ikanoo) to be partakers of the inheritance (Greek: kleros) of the saints in light; 13who delivered us out of the power of darkness, (Greek: skotos) and translated (Greek: methistemi) us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love; 14in whom we have our redemption, (Greek: apolutrosis) the forgiveness (Greek: aphesis) of our sins. As a result, some modern scholars have questioned Paul’s authorship. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). We don’t use that word, sanctified, very often, but it is related to the word hagios. The letter begins by ascribing authorship to the apostle Paul “and Timothy our brother” (v. 1; see also 4:18). A resource for the whole church from Luther Seminary. The LXX (the Septuagint—the Greek translation of the Old Testament) uses the Greek word eirene to translate the Hebrew word shalom nearly two hundred times. We can fulfill God’s purpose for us only as we seek to fill that space—as we seek to bring our wills into congruence with God’s will. I suspect that Paul included both words (hypermone and makrothumia) to emphasize the need for fortitude in the midst of adversity. Timothy is Paul’s faithful coworker. Admittedly, he did become famous—much more so than most Christians. The coming day will burn them up,” says the Lord who rules over all. Without growing in such knowledge, without being more deeply shaped by this story, the community will be barren, devoid of good fruit. • A number of practices involving regular worship, stewardship, proclamation, charity, hospitality, etc. He gives thanks for them (v. 3). Hope is life-giving. Colossians 1:14, KJV: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" Colossians 1:14, NASB: "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." “Grace (charis) to you” (v. 2b). COL. 1. Colossians 1: 1-14 FROM Isaiah we come back to the New Testament, and to the letter of Paul to the Colossians. And perhaps, just perhaps, this language of fruitfulness goes all the way back to the beginning of the story. • Burnt sacrifices were holy, because they were sacrificed to God (Exodus 29:34). Colossians 1:2 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 4:15.; Colossians 1:2 Some manuscripts Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; Colossians 1:7 Or slave; Colossians 1:7 Some manuscripts your; Colossians 1:9 Or all spiritual wisdom and understanding; Colossians 1:12 Some manuscripts us Paul also sought the prayers of others in his behalf (Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:19-20; Colossians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:1). The classic distinction between agape and philos is that agape has to do with a concern for the well-being of the other person while philos has to do with brotherly love—friendship love—companionate love—the kind of love where a person receives as well as gives. So as we begin to read this passage from Colossians what Old Testament allusions or echoes might we immediately begin to notice? 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Is that God wants them to be capable of experiencing it received and,... Rich—To drive a Mercedes and to make people feel Good, but redemptive! Also expected to extend grace to others … John, first, I would read the Introduction to Colossians Ephesus.