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Colossians Chapter One                            


I. Content of the Chapter


The Introduction of the Book

A.  The writer (v.1);

B.  The receiver (v.2a);

C.  Greeting (v.2b);


Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayers for the Church

A.  Thanksgiving and Prayers (v.3);

B.  Reasons for the Thanksgiving and Prayers:

1.  For having heard of their faith, love and hope (v.4-5);

2.  For the bringing forth of the fruit of the gospel among them (v.6);

3.  For their learning from Epaphras (v.7);

4.  For the report of Epaphras (v.8);

C.  Items of the Thanksgiving and Prayers

1.  Pray for them to increase in the knowledge of God (v.9-10);

2.  Pray for them to be strengthened with all might and joy (v.11);

3.  Thank for being partakers of the inheritance (v.12);

4.  Thank for being conveyed into the kingdom (v.13);

5.  Thank for having redemption (v.14);


The Transcendence and Fulfillment of Christ

A.  He is the image of God and is the firstborn (v.15);

B.  All things are created by Him, and through Him and for Him (v.16);

C.  In Him all things consist (v.17);

D.  He is the head and the fullness of the church (v.18-19);

E.  He has made peace and presented us in the sight of God (v.20-22);


Paul, the Minister of the Gospel and the Church

A.  Preach the gospel to every creature under heaven (v.23);

B.  Suffer for the church to fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ (v.24);

C.  Fulfill the word of God (v.25-27);

D.  Present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (v.28-29);


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


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

YLT: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Timotheus the brother,”

Meaning of Words:apostle”: he that is sent, ambassador; “Paul”: little;

Literal Meaning:by the will of God”, it indicates that such identity is totally of God, not of himself.

  “An apostle of Jesus Christ”, it shows that: 1) he is of the Lord; 2) he is sent by the Lord; 3) he has received the authority of preaching the truth from the Lord; 4) he is not proud of it, but fulfills what the Lord has entrusted to him in faithfulness.

  “And Timothy our brother”, this epistle is written by Paul only (Col. 4:18), but here Paul also mentions Timothy, showing that the words in the epistle were by no means Paul’s personal views, but were also approved by Timothy.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The author of this epistle changed his name to “Paul” after he was saved, willing to be “little” (the original meaning of the word Paul).

2)    The position of the preacher is not out of his talent or biblical knowledge, but of God’s calling and sending.

3)    If we do not know the will of God, we are unworthy of God’s workers.

4)    Everyone who serves God should put down his own will, but focus on the will of God. Therefore, he shall serve for the purpose of pleasing God only, not for the likes or dislikes of him or others.

5)    He who is sent shall speak and walk according to the command of the one who sends him. What the Lord’s worker preaches should not be of him, but of what God has entrusted to him.

6)    What the preacher shall introduce is not his worldly status or title, but the proof that he is really the one who speaks by the will of God.

7)    The servant of Christ by the will of God should be convinced that God will be with him to help him to fulfill the great mission.

8)    The apostle of Christ should be firstly with Him and abide in Him and let the Lord’s words dwell in him (John 15:7). Then he is able to go to preach the Lord’s words for Him.

9)    Just like the relationship between Paul and Timothy, the fellow workers should honor one another first and then the church shall honor them. He who is haughty and despises others shall be in no wise worthy of the Lord’s servant.


Col. 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

YLT: “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!”

Meaning of Words: “saints”: those who are consecrated to God; “faithful”: trustworthy, firm in faith, faithful unto the end; “grace”: graciousness, favour, gift, gratitude, pleasure;

Literal Meaning:the saints and faithful brethren”, “saints” it relates to identity and character; “brethren”, it relates to life and blood relationship; both the words share the same definite article, so both of them refer to the same group of men.

“In Christ”, it means that we have the relationship and union with Christ in life; 2) Christ is the sphere of our fellowship and life (Col. 2:6 “walk in Him”).

“Faithful”: hold fast and stand firm in faith and truth. Paul firstly mentions the faithfulness of the saints in Colosse before mentioning the wrong heretical doctrines. This is a positive encouragement.

The saints in the church of Colosse have two kinds of identity: 1) according to the flesh, they abide in “Colosse” and own the citizenship of Rome; 2) according to the spirit, they are “in Christ” with the citizenship of the heavenly kingdom.

“Grace”, graciousness, which is the free gift bestowed by God; The greatest grace for men is that God is willing to let Him be possessed and enjoyed by men.

“Peace”, it does not refer to peaceful and smooth environment, but quite and restful mood in one’s heart. In other words, peace is a kind of mood of those who have already enjoyed God’s salvation, which brings peace between God and men, and among men themselves.

“From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”, God is the God of all, and is also our Father. God is the origin of grace and peace. And we believers are vessels that take part in grace and peace.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Sanctification (the saints), and the union with the Lord (in Christ) and the faithfulness to God (faithful) are three secrets of holding fast the truth and dealing with the heresy.

2)    Unless we have realized that we are “saints” and we have significantly honorable position and nature in the Lord, we cannot live a holy and triumphant life on the earth.

3)    This book is written to “the brethren who are faithful in Christ”. All those who are faithful to God should learn the will of God to the church from the words of this book.

4)    “Saints” and “brethren” show the position and responsibility of believers. We shall not only be saints before God ---- live a holy life, but also be brothers before men ---- fulfill the responsibilities of brothers.

5)    The true believers not only believe on the Lord Jesus but also live a life that is united with Him.

6)    Every believer should have dual identities. According to the flesh, we are on the earth; but according to the spiritual reality, we are in the heaven (in Christ)!

7)    Believer should not despise the life responsibility that he has to take in the world. And besides, he should not be ruled by this world, but transcend this world and live in Christ.

8)    Whatever a man who lives in Christ does, it is done for the Lord. Therefore, every work should be done diligently.

9)    Since Christians are those who have enjoyed the grace of God, their life must have its pleasantness. Christianity that is of no attraction is not true Christianity.

10) Grace is a gift that men can not obtain by themselves, for men are unworthy of receiving grace through themselves

11) Grace is the source of peace, and peace is the fruit of grace. It is impossible for men to obtain peace before receiving grace

12) We shall not seek peace outside of God. The shortcut of true peace is keeping the will of God.

13) The “peace” of believers has nothing to do with objective environment or external things.


Col. 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

YLT: “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, always praying for you,”

Meaning of Words: “give thanks”: be grateful, express gratitude; “always”: often, all the time;

Literal Meaning:the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Father”, it indicates that He is the origin of life ---- He gives us the life and disposition of Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Praying always for you”, it shows that Paul’s intercession is responsible and sincere, not flippant, and is also out of love.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Paul gives thanks to God for the good spiritual condition of believers in Colosse (see v.4), which reveals that he confesses that it is not of his merit, but the grace of God.

2)    A common believer may pray first and give thanks afterwards. However, he who knows God gives thanks first and prays later.

3)    Paul gives thanks for the spiritual favor that believers have received, not for his own profit. A believer shall not always be a receiver of spiritual grace, but a giver.

4)    Thanks and prayers are the foundation of serving God. All works should be started from thanks and prayers.


Col. 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;

YLT: “having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that to all the saints,”

Literal Meaning:faith in Christ Jesus”, this verse emphasizes Christ as the sphere where the faith works, not as the object. In other words, faith has its value only when it is “in Christ”.

  Paul mentions faith, love and hope in verse four and five, which are great elements of Christian life ---- faith in “God”; love toward “men”; and hope toward “one’s own” future.

  Believers in Colosse should have faith in God and love to all the saints. Faith maintains our normal fellowship with God, and love keeps our normal communication with men.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Christ Jesus is the source of faith. Only when we live in Christ can we have true faith. At the same time, the more we know Christ, the more faith we will have.

2)    A true Christian should keep balance ---- have faith in God and have love to men. All those who have true faith in God will surely have love to all the saints.

3)    This verse mentions “faith” first and “love” afterwards, for true faith is the basis of true love. If we have no right faith in God, we will have no right love to men.

4)    Love brings forth through faith. And faith is manifested by love. Faith is internal and invisible. However, faith can be expressed through love.

5)    The love of believers should be started from the love to “all the saints” and then to “all” (2Pet. 1:7).

6)    If believers have only love but no faith, they are just swayed by their emotions.

7)    Paul do not call “all believers” but “all the saints”, which indicates that those who are of the Lord Jesus are separated by God and thus holy in the sight of God.

8)    The saints in Colosse have faith and love, and Paul still often prays for them to God (see v.3). Therefore, it is not enough to have faith and love only.


Col. 1:5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,

YLT: “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,”

Meaning of Words:because of”: on account of; “be laid up”: reserve, retain;

Literal Meaning:because of the hope”, “because of”, it shows that the “faith” and “love” in the previous verse are built upon the foundation of “hope”.

  “The hope which is laid up for you in heaven”, according to the objective facts, the hope refers to the heavenly possession that believers shall receive in the future (1Pet. 1:3-4). According to the subjective experience, the hope relates to the Christ who sits in the heaven and abides in believers (see v.27).

  “The word of the truth of the gospel”, it refers to the word that God reveals to men in the message of the gospel. The word of the truth of the gospel may bring hope to the hearers.  

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Both faith and love are produced by men’s teachings, but because of the hope in the gospel, namely, Christ. He is the accordance of our faith and source of love.

2)    The world may rise up to oppose our faith in Christ or despise our love to men. However, the hope laid up for us in heaven makes us transcendent and triumphant.

3)    Faith is based on the past, and love is substantiated at present and hope is in expectation of the future. In other words, faith looks backwards and inwards. Love looks outwards. Hope looks forwards and upwards.

4)    Since the hope of believers is “laid up in heaven”, we shall not expect earthly things. Disappointment and distress are unavoidable in the hope of earthly things. However, the hope of things in heaven will fail.

5)    The more we enjoy Christ and experience Christ, the more hope we will have (see v.27).

6)    Hope comes from the gospel. Only those who have received the word of the truth of the gospel have hope.

7)    The gospel that we believe can not only meet our present need but also bring us hope in the future. The preciousness of the gospel is just here.

8)    The word of the gospel is “the word of the truth”, not “vain words” (Col. 2:8). The gospel does not make men guess God, but helps men to know God, so it is true and reliable.

9)    “Hearing” the word of the truth will bring us hope. Therefore, we shall not “hear” the Lord’s words with a flippant attitude. “Hearing” is an extremely important step in spiritual experience.

10) If one is only a hearer of word and not a doer, he just hears in vain (James 1:23-24). Therefore, we shall shift the hope heard in the gospel into the motive power in our practical life.


Col. 1:6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;

YLT: “which is present to you, as also in all the world, and is bearing fruit, as also in you, from the day in which ye heard, and knew the grace of God in truth;”

Meaning of Words:bringing forth fruit”: be fertile (it is continuing); “know”: really know, fully know, understand;

Literal Meaning: the heretical doctrine at that time holds that only a few people who have the particular “root of wisdom” can receive the mysterious knowledge. Paul here especially mentions “all the world” in order to show the universality of the gospel, which is different from the heretical doctrine.

  “Is bringing forth fruit”, it means that the gospel is like a seed with the nature and power of life.

  “Know the grace of God in truth”, “know…in truth”, it is not knowledge only, but knowledge that is proved and confirmed. The whole verse means “knowing what the grace of God really is according to sure proof” (see 1Pet. 5:12).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The gospel is not a patent for some certain men “who specially have the root of wisdom”, but a good news shared by “all the world”. This verse reveals the universality and reliability of the gospel.

2)    There is “the word of life” in the gospel, so it is able to “bring forth fruit”.

3)    Only if the gospel is preached by the testimony of life, there will be the effect of “bringing forth fruit”.

4)    Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17).

5)    “In all the world” and “among you” reveals two features of the gospel ---- universality and individuality. Both of them should be kept in balance. If believer emphasizes the universality of the gospel, he may ignore the truth and the pursuit in life. If one emphasizes the individuality of the gospel, he may become lonely and discouraged and passive in works and life.


Col. 1:7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,

YLT: “as ye also learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant, who is for you a faithful ministrant of the Christ,”

Literal Meaning: “learn”, this word shares the same etymon with the word “disciple”. A disciple learns from hearing as well as practical life. Epaphras shows in his life that he is really a believer who lays the hope in the heaven.

  There are four features of Epaphras according to this verse: 1) he is the dear fellow servant of Paul and his fellow workers; 2) he is the fellow work of Paul “for the kingdom of God” (Col. 4:11); 3) he lives in the hope of the gospel; 4) he can discern the heresy and keep the faithfulness to what the Lord has entrusted to him unto the end.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Our hope comes from not only “hearing” and “knowing” (see v.6) but also “learning”. The knowledge in truth and with assurance must be obtained from learning.

2)    Every true Christian should be the bondservant of the Lord. It is not difficult to be the Lord’s bondservant, for the Lord’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matt. 11:30).

3)    The true “minister of Christ” is not only a servant who serves Christ but also a supplier who provides Christ to others and thus serves others.


Col. 1:8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

YLT: “who also did declare to us your love in the Spirit.”

Literal Meaning: love is the first fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    He who has no spiritual life can never have true love.

2)    The Spirit is the source of all the love of believers. The more we are filled with the Spirit, the more love we will have (Rom. 5:5).

3)    The “declaration” of Epaphras produces Paul’s prayer and burden of writing. Therefore, it is rather important to have fellowship and communication among the saints.


Col. 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

YLT: “Because of this, we also, from the day in which we heard, do not cease praying for you, and asking that ye may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,”

Meaning of Words:wisdom”: intelligence; “understanding”: consider, comprehensive power; “be filled with”: make replete, make full, perfect; “knowledge”: full discernment, recognition, acknowledgement;

Literal Meaning: it is one sentence from verse nine to fourteen, which starts from the phrase “for this reason”, showing that Paul prays for them and teaches them according to the fact recorded from verse three to eight of this chapter ---- they have already had the three Christian features in their inner life and daily life, namely, faith, hope and love.

  “Pray”: prayers in a general realm;

“Ask”: it refers to the prayers focused on particular items;

“All wisdom and spiritual understanding”, it is not a kind of transient inspiration. “Spiritual”, it can be interpreted as “in Spirit” or “gifted by the Spirit”. “Wisdom”: the power of discerning the facts; “Understanding”: the power of arranging and distinguishing the acquired facts;

“Be filled with the knowledge”, “knowledge”: the knowledge in experience, not some materials only; “Be filled with the knowledge”: the knowledge because of being filled with the knowledge of God, so it is the knowledge with assurance.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is “you heard” in verse six and “we heard” in this verse. The trouble of many workers of the Lord is ---- being able to “speak”, but not to “hear”.

2)    Once we have believed the gospel and have been saved, we shall seek to know the will of God. God does not want us to be fools, but delights in our knowing His will (Eph. 5:17).

3)    The primary purpose of prayers and supplications is not speaking to God but hearing God.

4)    We cannot always persist in prayers, but Paul “does not cease” to pray.

5)    “Pray” indicates we confess that spiritual growth is not out of man’s power, but of God’s works.

6)    Knowledge in truth cannot exist outside of the will of God. And the will of God is not too mysterious to understand, but can be sought and can be known.

7)    If we get rid of the earthly wisdom and seek with a humble heart (Matt. 11:25-26), we can obtain the wisdom from the above (James 3:17) and have deeper knowledge of God in truth.

8)    In the journey of life, what we Christians need is the knowledge full of the will of God in truth. If one is filled with the knowledge of God’s will in truth, his life must be controlled by the will of God.

9)    The “perfect knowledge” that believers should have is personal experience of God and complete acceptance of God’s word to him and obedience to the word.

10) The knowledge of God’s will for men is more important than anything. Keeping the will of God is the only valuable work for believers.


Col. 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

YLT: “to your walking worthily of the Lord to all pleasing, in every good work being fruitful, and increasing to the knowledge of God,”

Meaning of Words: “walk”: walk around, tread all around; “worthy of”: as becomes, after a godly sort, appropriately; “increase”: grow, enlarge; “knowledge”: recognition, full discernment, acknowledge;

Literal Meaning: “that”, it indicates that verse nine is the reason for this verse. If we have really been “filled with the knowledge of God’s will”, there will be four results: 1) walk worthily of the name of “Christian” ---- “walk worthy of the Lord”; 2) do anything in accordance with His will ---- “fully pleasing Him”; 3) bear fruit of works ---- “being fruitful in every good work” 4) have deeper knowledge of God ---- “increasing in the knowledge of God”;

  “Being fruitful in every good work”, it does not mean we believers shall practice in all the good works, but that as we have occasion, we shall catch the opportunity to do our best so as to bring good effects.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Once we believers have known the will of God, we have to put it in practice in life.

2)    He who is able to “know” may not be able to “do”. He who has really “done” is counted to have really “known”. If we really desire to know God, we shall not rely on reasoning or knowledge only, but shall obey God in our walking.

3)    Right daily life is built on the right knowledge of God. Only those who have really known God can discern the heresy and walk worthily of the Lord.

4)    If a believer wants to walk worthily of the Lord, he has to be in accordance with the will of God, not his own judgment or zeal.

5)    The standard of believers’ conversation is God’s “delight”, not His “permission” or “tolerance”.

6)    The more we believers bear fruit in good works, the more will we know God from “experience”.

7)    Bearing fruit is the manifestation of the maturity of life. The more one has grown in spiritual life, the more is he enabled to bear fruit in good works ---- not in “some” good works, but in “every” good work.

8)    “Increasing in the knowledge of God”, it can also be interpreted as “growing due to the knowledge of God”. Therefore, spiritual knowledge brings about spiritual growth.

9)    The most urgent need of the church at present is seeking the increasing and full knowledge of the holy Trinity.

10) “Increasing in the knowledge of God, it reveals that our knowledge of God is not accomplished in one action, but is accumulated gradually and step by step.


Col. 1:11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;

YLT: “in all might being made mighty according to the power of His glory, to all endurance and long-suffering with joy.”

Meaning of Words:power”: vigor, mighty power; “all”: every; “strengthened”: full of power; “with joy”: with a joyful heart; “patience”: endurance, constancy; “longsuffering”: forbearance, fortitude;

Literal Meaning:strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power”, here it indicates three features of God’s power: 1) “according to His glorious power”, no enemy cannot be conquered by this power; 2) “all”, it is in all things, not one thing or some things; 2) “strengthened…with all might”, it is unceasing.

  “According to”, it is different from the word “from”. It is not drawing some power “from” his power, but being strengthened “according to” His power. No matter how much we need, we can draw from Him.

  “Patience”: endure the external pressure in adverse situation;

“Longsuffering”: treat those who oppress us with a large heart;

Generally speaking, “patience” is toward things; “longsuffering” is toward men; or “patience” is not dealing with the things or men that we are unable to deal with; “longsuffering” is not dealing with the things or men that we are able to deal with;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The biggest trouble in practical life is that we often feel that our “strength” does not match our ambitions, no matter physically, or mentally or spiritually. Therefore, we need to be strengthened by God.

2)    The whole life of believers is experiencing the grace of God’s “giving” power and God’s “strengthening”.

3)    Patience needs the power of faith, and longsuffering needs the power of love. Both of the two sorts of power are not of believers themselves. Therefore, we need to be strengthened with all might according to God’s power.

4)    No matter how great and how difficult the work is, those who work according to the will of God must be strengthened by God. This is a precious promise to the servants of the Lord.

5)    “Patience and longsuffering” are rather difficult. “All” patience and longsuffering are more difficult. All patience and longsuffering “with joy” is the most difficult.

6)    “With joy” shows that the true patience and longsuffering are not done reluctantly with clenched teeth.

7)    Patience and longsuffering makes us conquerors. And patience and longsuffering with joy makes us more than conquerors.

8)    God bestows us the cross, and yet God also bestows us joy so that we can have all patience and longsuffering with joy. The joy of Christians is true in any circumstance (adverse situation or favorable situation)


Col. 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

YLT: “Giving thanks to the Father who did make us meet for the participation of the inheritance of the saints in the light,”

Meaning of Words:qualified”: enable, make able; “partakers”: share; “inheritance”: lot, portion;

Spiritual Meaning: “light” symbolize holiness (1John 1:5-6), truth (Ps. 119:105, 130), love (1John 2:9-10) and life (John 1:4).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Thanksgiving is the summit of prayer, and is the most powerful prayer.

2)    Christ is the portion of all the saints, and is given to us for possession and enjoyment.

3)    Only those who live in “light” (Eph. 5:8-14) can have part in this inheritance.

4)    The inheritance in the heaven is not given to any “individual” believer, but is commonly shared by all the saints. Therefore, we have to learn to be “fellow servants” with others together today (Col. 1:7; 4:7).


Col. 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

YLT: “who did rescue us out of the authority of the darkness, and did translate into the reign of the Son of His love,”

Meaning of Words: “deliver”: draw, rush, rescue; “power”: authority, privilege; “convey”: translate, turn away, remove;

The Background: “convey”: in the original, the word means the whole people in a certain nation or region translate into another nation or region. In the old times, if one nation defeated another one, the victorious nation would customarily make the people of the vanquished nation shackled and then drive them to the land of the victorious nation to inhabit there.

Literal Meaning:from the power of darkness”, it means that we have been totally delivered from the power of darkness and split from the king of this world Satan, and will be no longer dominated by it.

  “The king of the Son of His love”, it indicates that this kingdom is set by the beloved Son and is governed by the beloved Son.

  “The Son of His love”, it reveals that Christ is the center, object and manifestation of God’s love.

  “Has delivered” and “conveyed”, it is an accomplished fact.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is a great translation of our being saved in the spiritual realm. We need longer to be controlled by the power of darkness.

2)    Since believers have been translated into His kingdom, we shall let Christ reign in us.

3)    All those who are unwilling to abandon the works of darkness may have not really lived in light.


Col. 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

YLT: “in whom we have the redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of the sins,”

Meaning of Words:redemption”: ransom in full, riddance; “sin”: miss the mark; “forgiveness”: freedom, pardon, remission, liberty;

Literal Meaning: this verse points out the redemption of Christ: 1) price: “through His blood” ---- blood is a proof of being punished, which indicates that the beloved Son of God has borne the penalty of our sins; 2) meaning: “redemption” ---- it means that we have been redeemed by the price of the blood of the Lord Jesus from the position of being condemned by God and worthy of penalty; 3) result: “the forgiveness of sins” ---- the accordance of forgiveness is redemption ---- no redemption, no forgiveness.

  The word “delivered” in verse thirteen refers to the deliverance from the power of the sin. And the “redemption” in this verse relates to the remission of the results of “sins”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Christ that God bestows to us is not the son whom God does not love or desires to forsake, but the beloved Son in whom God has found His delight. And nevertheless God delivered His Son up for us.

2)    Since God has delivered His beloved Son to redeem us, such redemption will redeem us to be like His Son.

3)    “Redemption” is the accordance of “forgiveness”. No “redemption”, no “forgiveness”. And “forgiveness” is the result of the “redemption” upon sinners.

4)    Both “redemption” and “forgiveness” are obtained “in the beloved Son”. In other words, if we have abandoned Christ, we can be in no wise redeemed or forgiven (Heb. 6:4-6).

5)    Redemption and forgiveness are not due to our good works, but “through His blood”. Therefore, it is free grace (Rom. 3:24).

6)    After believers have been saved, they may also be stumbled. However, the effect of Christ’s redemption has never ceased. One should immediately confess his sins and repent so as to restore the fellowship with God (1John 1:6-10).


Col. 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

YLT: “who is the image of the invisible God, first-born of all creation,”

Meaning of Words:image”: likeness, statue, resemblance;

The Background: “the Song of the Beloved Son” (v.15-20) is an inserted paragraph here. Many Bible scholars think it was a hymn that Christians in early church time sang the praises of Christ. And Paul dealt with the wrong heretical teachings in Colosse through this hymn. However, this paragraph might also be composed by Paul himself.

Literal Meaning:the image of God”: resemble God, manifest God and represent God (Heb. 1:3);

“The firstborn”, it does not mean that Christ is the first created one, but that Christ is distinct from all creation. In the old days, the “firstborn” enjoyed the particular position and right among all the children (Ps. 89:27). Therefore, the word “firstborn” indicates that He is the particular and the first One.

“The firstborn over all creation”: He is “the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14).

  Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The more we believers are transformed into the image of the beloved Son (Christ) (Rom. 8:29), the more we will resemble God and thus manifest God.

2)    Since we believers have become the sons of God through faith, we have to set the firstborn as our example.

3)    Christ is “the firstborn of all creation” (the original). Among all creation, He is worthy of the highest position.


Col. 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

YLT: “because in him were the all things created, those in the heavens, and those upon the earth, those visible, and those invisible, whether thrones, whether lordships, whether principalities, whether authorities; all things through him, and for him, have been created,”

Meaning of Words: “all things”: the whole;

Literal Meaning:by Him were created”: “be created in Him”, which indicates that Christ is the foundation and the sphere of all creation.

  “Through Him”: all things are created through Christ. 

“For Him”: Christ is the purpose of all creation and He will inherit all things.

As regards the above-mentioned three different points, please refer to the Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (11:36).

“Thrones or dominions or principalities or powers”, the four words were used to refer to the ranks of the angels at that time. Angels occupy a high position in the heresy of Colosse (Col. 2:18).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Since Christ is the source of all creation, he is in no wise a creature.

2)    We are “created for Him”, and therefore He is the center and purpose of our life. We shall live and die for the Lord (Rom. 14:8).


Col. 1:17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

YLT: “and himself is before all, and the all things in him have consisted.”

Meaning of Words: “before”: in front of, prior to, ago; “consist”: form, constitute, set together, stand near, exhibit;

Literal Meaning:He is before all things, He is the Lord who exists before all is created.

“And in Him all things consist”: He is the sustainer of all things (Heb. 1:3), which means that “it is Christ that makes all things work in good order”.  


Col. 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

YLT: “And himself is the head of the body -- the assembly -- who is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead, that he might become in all -- himself -- first,”

Meaning of Words:have the preeminence”: be first;

Literal Meaning: from verse fifteen to seventeen, it indicates that Christ is the head and source of the old creation. Likewise, He is also the head of the new creation (the church) ---- “He is the head and source of the body, the church” ---- “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”.

  “Beginning”, in the original, it is not only the beginning in time but also the first in position and in authority.

  Here it mentions that Christ is the head of the church in order to show not only the head is the most important part that governs the whole body (Eph. 1:22) but also “the subsistence of the body relies on the head and the strength of the body lies in the head”.

  According to the original, Christ is not only the “firstborn” of the old creation (v.15) but also the “firstborn” of the new creation, so He is worthy of having the preeminence “in all things” (no matter the old creation or the new creation, the order in the natural world or the spiritual world). Christ is the excellent and transcendent one!

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If the body is not controlled by the “head”, it will be paralyzed. If the church does not governed by Christ, she will have nothing worthy of boast.

2)    Since Christ is the “beginning” of the church, all things in the church should be started and promoted by Him.

3)    Death is the most terrible enemy of all creation (no matter the old creation or the new creation). However, we have triumph in Christ because of the victory of Christ over death through resurrection (1Cor. 15:54-55).

4)    If believers uphold or adore anyone or anything, they have just depreciated their position supposed to be in Christ.


Col. 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,

YLT: “because in him it did please all the fulness to tabernacle,”

Meaning of Words: “fullness”: abundance, completion, what is filled; “live”: reside, dwell;

The Background: “fullness”, it is also a term used in the heretical doctrines, which refers to the sum of the supernatural power that controls man’s fate. They hold that the complete “fullness” of God runs between the heaven and the earth and is distributed by “the small gods”, like the angels or the spirits of stars, all the way down to human beings along successive layers. Therefore, the spirits like angels have the right of controlling man’s fate and life. And this is the origin of the teachings of “worshipping the angels” (Col. 2:18).

Literal Meaning: “for”, it indicates that this verse is the reason why God makes Christ the head of all things. Christ is superior to all and is more honorable than all, for in him dwells all the fullness of God.

  Paul quotes the heretical term “fullness” to refer to the sum of all the power and nature of God (Col. 2:9).

  This verse tells that Christ has the complete nature of God ---- life, power and divinity. Once we have received Christ, we will have all the fullness of God and need not any distribution of others spirits in the heaven.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Position is decided by quality. All the fullness of God is in Christ, so He is worthy of the highest position.

2)    However, the majority of believers in the church only pays attention to authority or position, but ignores whether believers have full measure of life. This is abnormal.


Col. 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

YLT: “and through him to reconcile the all things to himself -- having made peace through the blood of his cross -- through him, whether the things upon the earth, whether the things in the heavens.”

Meaning of Words:reconcile”: make peace; “make peace”: harmonize; 

Literal Meaning: this verse shows that the death of Christ on the cross has fulfilled the foundation of reconciling all things to God. But it does not mean that all things have already been saved. The world should receive the salvation through “faith”. All things shall be delivered from corruption (Rom. 8:19-23) until the Lord comes again.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The blood of Jesus is the accordance of our drawing near to God (Heb. 10:19). Every time we come to God, we shall rely on the effect of the Lord’s blood.

2)    The effect of Christ’s redemption on the cross covers all things. If any believer still has the narrow concept of denomination or religion or individualism, he has not sufficiently known the fullness of the salvation.


Col. 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

YLT: “And you -- once being alienated, and enemies in the mind, in the evil works, yet now did he reconcile,”

Meaning of Words:alienate”: estrange away, be non-participant; “works”: toil, act, labor;

Literal Meaning:He has reconciled”, it is not God has reconciled Himself to us, but He has reconciled us to Himself (2Cor. 5:18-21). The problem does not lie in God, but in us.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men’s sins are “the middle wall of partition” between God and men. If believers do not deal with sins, they cannot draw near to God.

2)    Man’s thoughts are closely relevant to works. Sometimes, works influence thoughts ---- the evil works make man hostile to God in his mind. And sometimes, thoughts influence works ---- “be alienated and enemies in one’s mind by wicked works”.

3)    In the world that is not of God, there is no thought that is less popular or less mentioned than “God”. The infidels can bear wicked things or men but cannot bear God.


Col. 1:22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight--

YLT: “in the body of his flesh through the death, to present you holy, and unblemished, and unblameable before himself,”

Meaning of Words: “holy”: separated, consecrated; “blameless”: unblemished, faultless; “above reproach”: irreproachable, without charge;

Literal Meaning:blameless”, it is a word used in offering in the Old Testament. According to the law of the Jews, the animal should be tried carefully before being sacrificed. Any tiny blemish will make it fail to be sacrificed to God.

  “Holy, and blameless, and above reproach”, it refers to the position of believers in Christ, not the perfection in morality.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The cross is not only redemption, but also power that can subdue our heart to be reconciled to Him.

2)    The will of God is to bring men to “His sight”. If our service brings men to the spiritual giants, or knowledge or group, our service has just run counter to God.

3)    Christ makes us reconciled to God so that we can be holy, not presumptuous.

4)    The salvation accomplished by Christ for us is rather beyond imagination ---- from filthiness to holiness, from utter corruption to total perfection, from condemnation to blamelessness.

5)    The works of God is not to attain an anticipant ideal, but to accomplish an accomplished goal.

6)    Though we are unclean and live in uncleanness, we are holy and blames in the sight of God in Christ.

7)    It is purely the grace of God, not our own effort that we can “be holy” and brought to the sight of God to draw near to Him and have fellowship with God.


Col. 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

YLT: “if also ye remain in the faith, being founded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the good news, which ye heard, which was preached in all the creation that under the heaven, of which I became -- I Paul -- a ministrant.”

Literal Meaning: “if”, it shows that the following words are the conditions of keeping the salvation: 1) “continue in the faith, it refers to the faith that is living, and goes forward and keeps unto the end; 2) grounded and steadfast, it is the faith that is calm and takes root downward; 3) are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard”, faith is closely related to hope. If the faith is not steadfast, the hope may be moved away and lost.

  The features of “faith” are seen in this verse: 1) faith is not sudden impulsion; 2) faith can not lose its “foundation”, lest it should be moved away; 3) once faith is not “grounded”, the “hope” will be moved away.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though salvation is accomplished by God, man should fulfill his duty so that he can enjoy the salvation. We shall not only have faith but also continue in the faith.

2)    Believers should be on the principle of faith to faith (Rom. 1:17). The faith of persistence is real faith.

3)    If a believer has lost the hope, he has lost all ---- this is the constant teaching in the Bible.


Col. 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,

YLT: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the assembly,”

Meaning of Words: “suffering”: hardship, pain; “rejoice”: joy; “affliction”: pressure, persecution, burdened; “lacking”: that which is behind, deficit;

Literal Meaning:my sufferings for you, it means that “I labor and strive and even have been put into prison for the purpose of preaching to all including you”.

“And fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ”, it does not mean that the life of Christ on the earth and His suffering on the cross are insufficient that His redemption is incomplete. On one hand, the salvation fulfilled by Jesus Christ who came to the world and suffered and died is complete, and no one can add any thing. On the other hand, the salvation accomplished by Christ should be preached out by us so that there will be more people who will be favored and become the body of Christ, namely, the church. And the preachment of the gospel needs men to pay the price: humiliation, suffering and be martyred for faith. Therefore, we are fellow-partakers “in the tribulation of Jesus” (Rev. 1:9). Therefore, from this perspective, all the tribulations we suffer for the sake of the church “have filled up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The way of being fellow-partakers in the tribulation of Christ for believers is preaching the gospel diligently.

2)    Today, we can enjoy the good of the gospel on account of the price of tribulations paid by the people of former times.

3)    He who suffers for the sake of preaching the gospel is filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings (1Pet. 4:13).

4)    If believers suffer for their sins, faults or failure, there is no joy. However, if one suffers for preaching the gospel and the truth, it is worthy of joy (1Pet. 2:19-20).

5)    Tribulation seems to be indispensable to the service of the Lord’s workers. The more one suffers, the more true love can he bestow.  

6)    The church is produced because of the tribulation of Christ’s cross. He who persecutes the church persecutes Christ (Acts 9:4-5). Therefore, the suffering of the church because of being persecuted has partaken in the tribulations of Christ.

7)    The tribulation suffered for the sake of the birth and building of the church is excellent service to the Lord.


Col. 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

YLT: “of which I -- I did become a ministrant according to the dispensation of God, that was given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God,”

Meaning of Words:stewardship”: administration, stewardship, dispensation; “minister”: deacon, servant; “fulfill”: make replete, complete;

Literal Meaning: ““of which I became a minister”: the “steward” of the house of God (1Cor. 4:1).

  “Fulfill the word of God”, preach the word of God completely;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The stewardship of a preacher is not for his own status and future, but for the benefit of others and the reward of God.

2)    The first mission of the Lord’s workers is not dealing with the administration of the church or social solitude, but preaching the word of God.

3)    The Lord’s servant should “not shrink from announcing” (Acts 20:27) the word of God or scruple about the opposition of others.

4)    The preachers are “the ministers of Christ” (v.7), and “the ministers of the gospel” (v.23) as well as “the ministers of the church”. The preachers preach the gospel to serve Christ for the purpose of building the church.


Col. 1:26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.

YLT: “the secret that hath been hid from the ages and from the generations, but now was manifested to his saints,”

Meaning of Words: “hidden”: conceal away, keep secret; “mystery”: secret; “reveal”: manifest, show, appear;

Literal Meaning:ages”: since time begins; generations”: since human beings have been exist; the mystery hidden in God has been revealed until the times of the New Testament (Eph. 3:3-9).

  “Mystery”, it is a popular term in the heretical teachings, referring to some mysterious things that only a small group of men with particular “wisdom” can understand. Paul uses this word to refer to the things hidden in the heart of God in the past. However, it is “manifested” through “revelation”. Therefore, all the “saints” who believe Christ can know. Therefore, the “mystery” in this verse refers to the content and nature of the gospel, namely, Christ (see v.27; Col. 2:2).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Christ is no longer a hidden mystery to believers.

2)    God pleases to let His saints know His mystery. If we are unwilling to share our spiritual insight with others, we have gone against the will of God.


Col. 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

YLT: “to whom God did will to make known what the riches of the glory of this secret among the nations -- which is Christ in you, the hope of the glory,”

Literal Meaning:what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles”, “this mystery”, it indicates that Christ becomes the life of all the Gentile believers in them. How “rich” the life of Christ is to those who have received. And when this mystery is manifested, there is unspeakable “glory”.

  “Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”, Christ is living in believers and will grow and be formed and manifested (Eph. 4:13; Gal. 4:18; Phil. 1:20). When He comes again, the manifestation of Christ in believers shall reach perfection, that is, be transformed into His image and be glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). Therefore, Christ is our hope of glory.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though we can not possess many things in the world, we can possess the full and glorious Christ. The possession of Him is better than all.

2)    Christ is our life in us ---- it is mysterious and glorious!


Col. 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

YLT: “whom we proclaim, warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,”

Meaning of Words:perfect”: full, complete, mature;

Literal Meaning:preach”: it includes “exhortation” and “teaching”; “exhortation”: correct someone so as not to go astray; “teaching”: open the truth;

  “Perfect”, it is also a heretical term, which relates to “those who know all the mysteries” with a meaning of boasting. Paul here uses the word to refer to believers in Christ ---- every man can be perfect in the sight of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Christ is the topic and content of the preachment. Any sermon without Christ is merely a common speech, or sweet words or vain words.

2)    He who preaches Christ shall be in “all wisdom”. Any sermon devoid of good preparation is not a responsible sermon.

3)    Charles Jefferson said, “no one can be interested in the sermon without any consideration long; and those who do not labor can seldom think wisely”.

4)    The preachers cannot be like spiders that spin silk unceasingly and yet are unable to keep it, not be like ants that accumulate materials only and yet are unable to know how to apply them, but shall be like bees that collect flower juice laboriously and make honey ---- translate the word of God into spiritual bread of provision in wisdom.

5)    The preachers shall pay attention to the preachment in public not only and the personal exhortation and teaching in private.

6)    The preachers are not presenting men to their own, but “to God”. It is not presenting them “just about”, but “perfect”.

7)    It is not the end of our being saved, but a beginning of coming to God.

8)    The previous verse mentions that Christ is in us, and this verse tells that we are in Christ. The more believers live in Christ, the more Christ will be manifested in us. The more He manifests in us, the more we will live in Him.


Col. 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

YLT: “for which also I labour, striving according to his working that is working in me in power.”

Literal Meaning:striving”, it is used to describe the striving of the athletes in the arena who will never be sluggish before arriving at the destination.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The workers of the Lord shall not only be “in all wisdom” (v.28) but also “labor” and “strive. How much intellect and labor have we devoted to the Lord on earth?

2)    Our talent may be less than others, but our striving should not be less to others.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Object and Origin of the Faith, Hope and Love

A.   Objects:

1.    Faith is toward God;

2.    Love is toward men (v.4);

3.    Hope is toward oneself;

B.   Origin:

1.    Faith is of Christ (v.4);

2.    Love is of the Spirit (v.8);

3.    Hope is of God (v.6);


The Characteristics of the Gospel

A.   The gospel is the “good news” of God (v.5).

B.   The gospel helps men to know the “truth” of God (v.5).

C.   The gospel is preached to all the world (v.6).

D.   The gospel can bring forth fruit (v.6).

E.   The gospel declares “the grace of God” (v.7).

F.    The gospel can bring “hope” to men (v.23).

G.   The gospel is preached by men ---- “the ministry” (v.23).


The Effect of Being Filled with the Knowledge of the Will of God (v.9-11)

A.   Walk worthy of the Lord;

B.   Fully pleasing Him;

C.   Being fruitful in every good work;

D.   Increasing in the knowledge of God;

E.   Strengthened with all might;


The Four Great Aspects of the Salvation (v.13-14)

A.   From darkness to light;

B.   From bondage to liberty;

C.   From condemnation to forgiveness;

D.   From the power of Satan to the power of God;


The Relation of Christ with All Things

A.   Christ is above all creation ---- firstborn (v.15);

B.   Christ is before all creation ---- (v.15, 17);

C.   Christ is the foundation of all creation ---- by Him (v.16);

D.   Christ is the medium of all creation ---- through Him (v.16);

E.   Christ is the goal of all creation ---- for Him (v.17);

F.    Christ keeps all creation ---- in Him all things consist (v.17);


The Great Redemption Fulfilled by Christ

A.   The peace is accomplished by the Lord alone through the blood of His cross (v.20);

B.   The effect of the redemption reaches unto the whole universe, and things on earth and things in heaven are reconciled to God (v.20);

C.   The redemption makes the enemies of God turn back and be reconciled to God (v.21-22).

D.   The redemption makes men holy, and blameless, and above reproach (v.23).

E.   The above-mentioned four points are the content of the gospel, which can be obtained by faith only (v.23).

F.    The gospel gives men hope, and the condition is to continue in faith (v.23).

G.   The object of the gospel is all the people in the world, not a small group of men (v.23).


Things that the Lord’s Servants Have Done for the Church

A.   Suffering in the flesh (v.24);

B.   Fulfill the word of God (v.25-28);

C.   Striving (v.29)


Be Strengthened With all Might

A.   The Elements of Being Strengthened with all Might ---- Faith, Love and Hope (v.1-8):

1.    To God ---- faith;

2.    To men ---- love;

3.    To things ---- hope;

B.   The Elements of Being Strengthened with all Might ---- the Knowledge of God (v.9-12);

1.    The aspect of the inner life ---- be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

2.    The aspect of the daily life ---- walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him;

3.    The aspect of service ---- being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

C.   The Foundation of Being Strengthened with all might ---- the Beloved Son Christ (v.13-22):

1.    The kingdom of the beloved Son ---- deliver men from darkness;

2.    The image of the beloved Son ---- the image of the invisible God;

3.    The power of the beloved Son ---- create all things;

4.    The person of the beloved Son ---- the head of the old creation and the new creation;

5.    The connotation of the beloved Son ---- all fullness dwells in Him;

6.    The achievements of the beloved Son ---- make peace;

D.   The Way of Being Strengthened with all Might ---- Persevere to the End (v.23):

1.    Continue in the faith ---- the inner life grows all the time;

2.    Grounded and steadfast---- the daily life is not moved;

3.    Be not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard ---- the service focuses on the gospel;

E.   The Effect of Being Strengthened with all Might ---- Glory (v.24-29):

1.    Fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ;

2.    Fulfill the word of God;

3.    Reveal the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations;

4.    Christ has become men’ hope of glory;

5.    Present every man perfect in Christ Jesus;


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou