Colossians 1 - Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

INTRODUCTION: This study begins an examination of Paul's letter to the saints at Colosse, and unless I am carried off course by other events, I plan to use single chapters for successive studies until I conclude this short book. Colosse is not mentioned by name in Acts, but it was located in a general region visited by Paul. Info from wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosse: "Colossae or Colosse, a city of Phrygia, on the Lycus, which is a tributary of the Maeander. It was about 12 miles above Laodicea,and near the great road from Ephesus to the Euphrates, and was consequently of some mercantile importance." Paul uses the term saints quite frequently in this letter and Holy Saints - Old & New Testaments contains a more in-depth study of that word.

NOTE: All Bible text is taken from the Modern King James version (MKJV), unless otherwise designated.


Colossians 1:1

"1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,"

COMMENTS: When Paul opens his letters as an apostle, he makes it clear that his apostleship is not by the will of man, but by the will of God. As he says in 1 Corinthians 15:8-10 "And last of all He was seen by me also, as one born out of time. For I am the least of the apostles and am not sufficient to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am that I am, and His grace which was toward me has not been without fruit, but I labored more abundantly than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God with me." In other letters Paul refers to himself as a servant or prisoner to Christ, or just identifies himself with other brothers in the Lord.


Excerpts of openings in Paul's New Testament letters:

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God

1Corinthians 1:1 Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

2Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.

Galatians 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia.

Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.

1Thessalonians 1:1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians, in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2Thessalonians 1:1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the command of God our Savior, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, my own son in the faith. Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

2Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved child. Grace, mercy, peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:1-4 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ (according to the faith of God's elect, in the acknowledging of the truth which is according to godliness on hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the eternal times, but revealed in its own times in a proclamation of His word, with which I was entrusted by the command of God our Savior,) to Titus, a true child according to our common faith. Grace mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

Philemon 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon the beloved and fellow laborer,


Colossians 1:2

"2 to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

COMMENTS: Paul addresses his remarks to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse, extending a greeting of grace and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul has been called by God, so to are all saints called to be in Christ. The saints are those who are set apart by God's grace, through faith; and they are to remain faithful. The Online Bible lexicon excerpt below indicates that "holy"and "saints"are English words translated in the KJV from the same Greek term. A saint will characteristically possess the quality of faithfulness, and we would do well to seek to be holy as he is holy. It is an excellent practice among Christians to use conversation that remind us of the grace we received in salvation, and the peace Jesus left to us, that is unlike the peace the world gives.

40 agiov hagios hag'-ee-os
from hagos (an awful thing) [cf 53, 2282]; TDNT-1:88,14; adj
AV-holy 161, saints 61, Holy One 4, misc 3; 229
1) most holy thing, a saint


Colossians 1:3-5

"3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love you have to all the saints, 5 for the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven, of which you heard before in the Word of the truth of the gospel,"

COMMENTS: Paul gives thanks to God for the faith the saints have, and for the love they show to other saints. He says that his prayers for them always relate to the sure hope laid up for them in heaven since they heard and believed, the truth of the gospel. He does not praise them for things done in their own strength, but for the way God has worked in them. Their love to other saints demonstrates that they personally believe what they heard in the gospel, that their hope is stored up for them in heaven by God.


Colossians 1:6-8

"6 which has come to you as it has also in all the world, and it is bearing fruit, even also among you, since the day you heard and fully knew the grace of God in truth, 7 even as you learned from Epaphras our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ for you, 8 he also having shown your love in the Spirit to us."

COMMENTS: Hearing, in the sense of accepting and acquiring the truth of God's grace, so that it is known and held fast, is evidenced among the group of believers by their action of bearing fruit; and this is the same for all saints, whenever and wherever the truth of the gospel is received. Paul speaks personally of one named Epaphrus, who ministered truth among the saints at Colosse, and reported to Paul the love they shared in the spirit for Paul. Paul's letter is not just a theological treatise, it contains elements indicating his emotional connection with those mentioned in his letter.


Colossians 1:9-12

"9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God, 11 being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, to all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."

COMMENTS: This good report that Paul heard, spurred him to further pray for the saints at Colosse. He desired for them:
1) to be filled with the knowledge of God's will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
2) to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord, bearing fruit beneficial to others, in every work for the Lord,
3) to continue to grow in knowledge of the Lord,
4) to draw upon the Lord's unlimited power for patience and long-suffering with joyfulness, and
5) to give thanks to the Father who enabled them to partake in the inheritance of the saints in light, rather than remaining in darkness.

These are very practical ways to love God, and love your neighbor, with no limitation by era or culture.


Colossians 1:13-14

"13 For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins."

COMMENTS: God has indeed delivered (rescued, saved) us from the power of darkness (absence of his life-giving light), and has translated (converted, transformed, metamorphosed) us into the everlasting (eternal, unending) kingdom of his dear Son! Our redemption is through his (innocent, substitutionary) blood shed in our behalf for the remission of our sins!


Colossians 1:15-16

"15 who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation. 16 For all things were created by Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him."

COMMENTS: And how incomprehensible is our redemption to us in our finite state. Our redeemer is the infinite Lord of Glory, who is the image of the invisible God, and is the ever-existing preeminent one over all creation. He is the creator of all things in heaven and earth whether visible or invisible, and through all time and eternity, whether dominions or ruling powers. All things were created through him, and for him.


Colossians 1:17-19

"17 And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. 18 And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that He may be pre-eminent in all things. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell."

COMMENTS: He is before (over, superior to) all things, and he holds all things together, with nothing continuing to exist without him. And he is the head of the body, that is to say, the church; for he is the "first-born"of the resurrection from the dead, because it is impossible that he be other than preeminent in all things. For it pleased the Father that in the Son shall all fullness dwell continually.


Colossians 1:20-22

"20 And through Him having made peace through the blood of His cross, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself through Him, whether the things on earth or the things in Heaven. 21 And you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blame, and without charge in His sight,"

COMMENTS: And through the Son (with all that he is, as previously described), it pleased the Father to reconcile things in heaven and earth having made peace through the blood of the cross; and that not the blood of the guilty, but of the only righteous one dying in our stead. Now we, all having been alienated as enemies by wicked deeds in our minds, may now be reconciled through death in his body, to be presented to the Father holy and blameless, with not even a single charge to be made against us: what glorious grace and mercy.


Colossians 1:23-26

"23 if indeed you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard and which was proclaimed in all the creation under Heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister, 24 who now rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf, and I fill up the things lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, on behalf of His body, which is the church; 25 of which I became a minister, according to the administration of God given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints."

COMMENTS: Paul warns that empty and unfruitful faith does not save, but the holy saints must be faithful to tightly grasp the hope that is in Christ alone. Paul is a minister to the truth of the gospel, even though he has seen much suffering, and even considers in part that he continues the suffering of Christ for the church, which is Christ's body. God has established Paul's role, as a minister to fulfill the word of God; and the mystery which was hidden for ages and generations, is now revealed to the saints of God, by God's own counsel in grace.


Colossians 1:27-29

"27 For to them God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, 28 whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 For which I also labor, striving according to the working of Him who works in me in power."

COMMENTS: Then through the saints, God displays the riches of this glory to all nations, that is, Christ in each saint, the hope of glory. And this continues to be the purpose of Paul's life, to teach and warn in all wisdom, that those who are converted may be presented perfect in Christ Jesus, as Paul strives to that end, using the power of God working within him.


--- Reflections in prayer ---

Lord, may I be constantly reminded that I have peace as one of your holy children, a saint in the body which is your church, because of the grace you extended to me in my salvation. Guide me to be encouraged, and to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ, with the sure hope we have stored up in heaven through Christ Jesus by the truth of the gospel. This is the same truth that joins Christians into the body of Christ everywhere around the world when evidenced by the bearing of spiritual fruit. Prompt me Lord to pray without ceasing for the Christians I know, that they may be filled with the knowledge of your will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to please you in their walk and to bear fruit to the benefit of others as they have been equipped by you. May I, and those for whom I pray, continue to grow in knowledge of you Lord, and draw upon your unlimited power for patience and long-suffering with joyfulness

I praise you Father for enabling me to partake in the inheritance of the saints in light, by delivering me from the power of darkness and translating me into the kingdom of your dear Son; in whom I have redemption through His blood, the remission of my sins. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and preeminent before all created things. For my Jesus (self-existing, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent one) you have created all things whether visible or invisible to your finite creatures, and everything exists through and for you. And I praise you Lord for the overwhelming thought that as the one who is forever preeminent, you became flesh, yet still displayed to us the fullness of God. Then you became the head of the church by resurrection from the dead, placing me and all other saints within your body!

I thank you Father, that through your Son, you were pleased to reconcile things in both heaven and earth, by the blood of the cross. The Righteous One took the penalty for my sin, and now I am completely blameless, though I had been your enemy and alienated from your unapproachable holiness. I pray Lord that you will sustain me and my brothers and sisters in Christ, that we may continue in the faith, grounded and settled in the hope of the gospel. This mystery was hidden for ages and generations, but now is revealed in me and other saints! All praise to you O Lord, for the glory of the mystery that is, Christ in me, my hope of Glory! This is not for my personal benefit Lord, so may I use your power working within me to share this with any receptive person you bring across my path. Amen.

Bible Studies for the other 3 chapters of Colossians
Colossians 2 - Established in Christ
Colossians 3 - Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly
Colossians 4 - Continue in Prayer

Published 25 August 2006, first issued 20 June 2004