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Colossians Chapter Three                            


I. Content of the Chapter


The Principles of Christians’ Victorious Life

A.  Set your mind on things above ---- enjoy the excellent life of Christ (v.1-4);

B.  Put to death your members which are on the earth ---- die with Christ (v.5-9);

C.  Put on the new man ---- manifest the life of Christ (v.10-11);


The Details of Christians’ Victorious Life

A.  In the church life ---- let the peace of God rule in your hearts (v.12-15);

B.  In the spiritual life ---- let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (v.16-17);

C.  In the life of wife and husband ---- as is fitting in the Lord (v.18-19);

D.  In the life of father and son ---- all things are well pleasing to the Lord (v.20-21);

E.  In the life of the master and the bondservant ---- in sincerity of heart, fearing God (v.22-4:1);


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


Col. 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

YLT: “If, then, ye were raised with the Christ, the things above seek ye, where the Christ is, on the right hand of God seated,”

Literal Meaning: “then”, it shows that the encouragements in chapter three and four are based on the truth in chapter one and two. The teaching in life is always built on the foundation of the truth.

  “If then…seek”, it is not doubtful, but right.

  “Be raised with Christ”, it means that one who has really believed the Lord will experience the transformation of life ---- he has died to sin and the world and lives unto God and spiritual things.

  “Seek those things which are above”, “seek”: enquire, desire, pursue; it indicates that the pursuit of thins which are above is the manifestation of the one who has born again in life. “Those things which are above”: things that are heavenly and spiritual and of God;

  “Where Christ is, it unveils that “things which are above” are none other than things concerning Christ, who is the content and reality of all heavenly things.

“Sitting”, it shows that He has fulfilled the will of God and rested.

“The right hand of God”, it refers to the position that is honorable and glorious and powerful.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    As a true believer is a man of the heaven, he must seek things which are above.

2)    Since we believers are saved by Christ, we shall also set Christ as the goal of our pursuit henceforth.

3)    For where thy treasure is, there will be also thy heart (Matt. 6:21). If believers have truly cherished the Christ who is in the heaven, he will necessarily seek those things which are above.

4)    Christians shall in their life focus on the ascended Christ and take Him as the origin of all provisions. The primary secret for believers to walk on the earth is gazing at the risen Christ in the heaven.

5)    The Lord Jesus has ascended into the heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high and living to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25). We shall also approach the throne of grace with boldness (Heb. 4:14-16).


Col. 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

YLT: “the things above mind ye, not the things upon the earth,”

Meaning of Words: “set…mind on”: be disposed to; exercise the mind;

Literal Meaning: “set your mind on”, things on which man is always setting his mind must be important things in his sight. Moreover, mind may influence man’s action. If what man minds is right, what he does will also be right. Therefore, Paul here points out that if man desires to seek things which are above, he shall firstly “set his mind on things above”.

  “Not on things on the earth”, it does not mean that men should not think of things on the earth, but not often set their mind on things on the earth. “Things on the earth”: things that are of the world and of the material and of the flesh, as well as things that we need in life, which may not be sins;

  Here, it seems that Paul is suggesting that the heretical teachings and regulations in chapter two are things on the earth.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The biggest difference between believers and men in the world lies in the mind. We may be dismissive of things that are important in the sight of men the world.

2)    One shall firstly set his mind on things which are heavenly, and then he is enabled to lead a heavenly life, and vice versa. If any believer desires to lead a triumphant life, he has to always set his mind on things which are above. 


Col. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

YLT: “for ye did die, and your life hath been hid with the Christ in God;”

Meaning of Words: “life”: spiritual life (zoe); “hidden”: conceal, keep secret;

Literal Meaning: “for”, it points out the reason why believers ought to set their mind on things “which are above”.

  “You died, it means that the old man of the believer had been crucified with Christ on the cross.

“And your life is hidden with Christ in God”, the death of believers with Christ is not the end, for they will be raised with Christ (Eph. 2:6) and obtain the new life that is of God. “    Hidden”: for the new life is invisible and intangible and beyond apprehension before men in the world.

  “Hidden…in God”, this life is hidden in the divine realm and is an utter mystery of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men in the world are unable to discern the difference between the life of Christians and that of the world, for the life of Christians is hidden.

2)    Daily life is the manifestation of the inner life. Though the inner life is hidden, the nature and disposition of this life can be revealed by daily life.

3)    Believers ought to live out the life of God and testify the glory of the Lord. Since men in the world today are unable to see the secret of God’s life, it is no wonder that they often despise or sneer at us.

4)    Since we believers have entered into a higher level of life with Christ, our walking will also be improved into a higher level.

5)    Since our life is “hidden with Christ in God”, we shall live with Christ in God.

6)    God is in the heaven, and therefore all those who have been hidden in God should also live in the heaven rather than “set their mind on things on the earth” (v.2).

7)    Our inner life is the life hidden in God, so we shall also live before God in our daily life. All the works of those Christians who live in this divine life are known by God, not men.

8)    A true Christian neither declares nor recommend himself. Instead, he declares the gospel and recommends Christ.


Col. 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

YLT: “when the Christ -- our life -- may be manifested, then also we with him shall be manifested in glory.”

Meaning of Words: “life”: the spiritual life (zoe); “appear”: manifest;

Literal Meaning:Christ who is our life”, it indicates that Christ who lives in believers has become the nature, origin and provision of believers’ spiritual life.

“Appears, it refers to the second coming of the Lord (1Tim. 6:14; 2Tim. 4:8; Titus 2:13; 1Pet. 5:4).

“Then you also will appear with Him in glory”, it indicates the fact that Christ is the life of believers is hidden now before men in the world. However, when the Lord comes again, believers shall appear with Him in glory (Rom. 8:19; 1Thess. 4:16-17; 2Thess. 1:7-10; 1Pet. 1:13). Then, this life will be utterly manifested in believers. At that time, we will be like Him (1John 3:2). And men in the world will see the reality of the life.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    He that has the Son has life. He that does not has the Son of God does not have life (1John 5:12).

2)    Christ is not only honored in the heaven ---- who is the object of believers’ mind (v.1-2), but also lives in believers ---- who is the fullness of us.

3)    “Christ is our life”, which indicates: He is the origin of all the provision of us and the motive of our whole life.

4)    It is the best way to wait for the Lord of setting our mind on the Lord all the time.

5)    Though we are hidden and suffering today, we will appear with Christ in glory one day. Our hope is not here today, but in the future. 

6)    Christ is the inner life of us, who is a life that is able to “appear”. Therefore, though we do not manifest ourselves, the inner life of us will spontaneously reveal Christ (2Cor. 2:14).


Col. 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

YLT: “Put to death, then, your members that upon the earth -- whoredom, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and the covetousness, which is idolatry --”

Meaning of Words: “put to death”: deaden, mortify; “fornication”: harlotry; “uncleanness”: impurity; “passion”: inordinate affection; “evil desire”: concupiscence, longing for what is forbidden; “covetousness”: greediness, fraudulency, avarice;

Literal Meaning:put to death”, it is imperative, which shows that it is the responsibility of believers and they need to do it with their will. 

  “Members which are on the earth”, on one hand, the physiological need and the requirement of food ---- believers ought to “buffet their bodies, and lead them captive” (1Cor. 9:27) so as to restrict the physical need. On the other hand, the “members which are on the earth” also relate to the old men who were defeated by the lusts (Eph. 4:22). Therefore, believers should “reckon themselves dead to sin” and let not sin reign in our mortal body, neither yield your members instruments of unrighteousness to sin (Rom. 6:11-13; Gal. 5:24).

  1) “Fornication, it generally refers to the improper sexual relationship outside of marriage;

2) “Uncleanness, it relates to all the things that may defile man’s ears, thoughts, emotions, and faith etc., including all the evil and unclean lusts;

3) “Passion”: the inordinate affection or lust, especially the inclination of homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-28);

4) “Evil desire”: the evil lust that is out of control;

5) “Covetousness”: the insatiable possessive instinct, including the endless greed for money and sex etc.

“Covetousness, which is idolatry”, covetousness entices men to turn away from God and seek things outside of God, thus enslaving men unconsciously. Therefore, covetousness is idolatry.

The heretical doctrine demands men to control the lusts of the flesh, but it is of no value at all (Col. 2:23). However, why does Paul ask believers to “put the members on the earth to death”? The difference lies in that the former asks men to control the inner lusts by keeping the regulations from the outer conversations, and the latter suggests that believers shall firstly be changed in the mind (soul) through God’s life in our spirit and unto the members. The heresy teaches from exterior to inner. And Paul’s teachings are from inner to exterior. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We are unable to put the members on the earth to death through our own struggle, but through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13).

2)    The Spirit of life has set us free so that we need no longer walk according to the flesh (Rom. 8:2, 5).

3)    If we gaze on Christ and live in the life of Christ, we will touch Christ and the cross will surely put our natural and fleshly experience to death.

4)    If one who has not touched Christ desires to have the experience of the cross, it must be artificial. If one who has no experience of the cross declares to have touched Christ, it must be of the knowledge and letter in the head.

5)    The lusts of avarice in one’s inner heart is the root of all evil (1Tim. 6:10). He who is covetous will be enticed to leave the Lord sooner or later, for money may rob his heart, time and even life.


Col. 3:6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,

YLT: “because of which things cometh the anger of God upon the sons of the disobedience,”

Meaning of Words:wrath”: anger, indignation; “coming upon”: appear, come; “disobedience”: disbelief, unbelief, rebellion;

Literal Meaning:the wrath of God”, the righteous God must maintain His righteousness, so He cannot but do justice toward those who have violated His righteousness.

“Coming upon”, it must happen in the future;

“The sons of disobedience”, it shows that they are totally disobedient to God by nature, so they always lead the life that is against the will of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If believers do not obey God today, they will not escape from the chastening of God on that day.

2)    Everything that hinders us from obeying God should be dealt with today.


Col. 3:7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

YLT: “in which also ye -- ye did walk once, when ye lived in them;”

Literal Meaning:when you lived in them”: the living environment before we were saved;

  “In which you yourselves once walked”, it refers to believers’ conversations before they were saved that sinned against God;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is natural of drifting with the current. The environment of man’s life often affects their walking. But the problem is that once men have got used to the evil living environment, they will be unconscious of the fault therein.

2)    Though men need not to be responsible to their living environment, they have to be in charge of their walking.

3)    The church in the world is a clear stream among the muddy water. If she is unable to provide good environment and example to believers, believers will fall into many failures.

4)    The church shall in no wise compromise with the world (e.g. in view of the social tides, some churches dare not to condemn the homosexuality according to the truth in the Scriptures and even accept the homosexual persons. It is wrong).


Col. 3:8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 

YLT: “but now put off, even ye, the whole -- anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, filthy talking -- out of your mouth.”

Meaning of Words: “put off”: put away, cast off, pay apart; “anger”: violent passion, fury; “wrath”: indignation, fierceness; “malice”: malignity, naughtiness; “blasphemy”: evil speaking, vilification; “filthy language”: vile conversation, shameful words;

Literal Meaning: “but now”, it is opposite to “when you lived…” in verse seven, which indicates that you have believed the Lord Jesus now and have become men of the heaven.

  “You…put off all these”, the condition of man decides the condition of his life. Since we believers have become men of the heaven, we shall no longer live the earthly life. “All these”, they are the manifestations of “the members on the earth” in verse five.

  “Anger”: the violate passion or fury explodes suddenly;

“Wrath”: it is a kind of hurtful emotion accumulated and hidden in one’s inner heart;

“Malice”: the despicable nature out of the evil heart for the purpose of hurting others;

“Blasphemy”: vilify men with evil words in an insulting and derisive attitude;

“Filthy language out of your mouth”: the shameful words that may defile the heart of the hearers;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The nature of life decides the walking by this life. If we believers desire to forsake the evil and corrupt deeds, we have to live by the life of God, not that of the old men.

2)    Resentment and wrath are easily to destroy the human relationship.

3)    For of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). The anger and wrath and malice in one’s inner heart will lead to the external blasphemy and filthy language out of your mouth.


Col. 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,

YLT: “Lie not one to another, having put off the old man with his practices,”

Meaning of Words: “put off”: divest wholly oneself, despoil; “deeds”: practice, acts;

Literal Meaning: “do not lie to one another, trust is the primary element of the harmony of interpersonal relationship. Lie may cause doubt and distrust, and it remains the barrier to the oneness of the church.

“Since”, it reveals that the discredited virtues listed in verse five and eight and nine are just the “the old man with his deeds”. The old man is the corrupted nature of the believer before he was saved ---- he carries three big problems: the corruption of the mind, the fornication of the body and the evil speaking of the mouth; 

 “Have put off the old man with his deeds”, this is an objective fact accomplished when believers were crucified with Christ. However, it does not mean the old life is no longer in believers. The divine life of the new man and the corrupted life of the old man in each believer often strive and war against one another (Rom. 7:18-25; Gal. 5:16-24). Therefore, the accomplished objective fact shall become the subjective experience of each believer through his cooperation and obedience.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Believers shall forsake not only the obvious lies but also the ambiguous words which may leave a wrong expression to others.

2)    Lie is the deed of the old man. And honesty should be a sign of the life of Christians.


Col. 3:10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

YLT: “and having put on the new, which is renewed in regard to knowledge, after the image of Him who did create him;”

Meaning of Words: “put on”: invest with clothing, clothe with, array; “new”: regenerate, fresh; “knowledge”: acknowledge, full discernment, recognition; “renew”: renovate; “image”: form, likeness;

Literal Meaning: “have put on the new man”, both “have put off” (v.9) and “have put on” show that they are accomplished facts. “New” means fresh and youthful ---- it is newness as regards time; “have put on the new man”, when believers are raised with Christ, they are united with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection so as to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4-5).

“Who is renewed in knowledge”, “in knowledge”, it is not only knowledge in head but also the full knowledge of God in spirit. “Renewed”, it refers to the intrinsic newness.

“Be renewed in knowledge”, it relates to the metabolism of the new life is simultaneous with its growth with the increase of the knowledge of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “Have put on the new man”, it is an accomplished fact in our spirit. However, it has not reached unto our soul and body, so we have to be renewed.

2)    The renewal of the new man is mainly in the realm of the mind. Therefore, the mind of believers should be renewed and transformed (Rom. 12:2).

3)    The more believer knows of God, the more his inner new life will be increased and the more his daily life of the new man will be like the Lord.


Col. 3:11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

YLT: “where there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, servant, freeman -- but the all and in all -- Christ.”

Literal Meaning:where”: in the new man, or in the deeds of the new man;

  “There is neither Greek nor Jew, there is no difference in race;

“Circumcised nor uncircumcised, there is no difference in religion;

“Barbarian, Scythian, there is no difference in culture; “barbarian” refers to those who were ignorant of the Greek culture and unable to speak Greek; Scythian”, it relates to the violent and uncivilized tribes who dwelt in the Caucasian hill, namely, those who were mostly barbaric; besides, it also relates to the Zecothia in Greek classics, who were highly civilized and respected.

“Slave nor free, there is no difference in social status (class). “Slave”: those who are sold to others and have no longer freedom;

“But Christ is all and in all”, it contains rich meanings: 1) believers become totally different, for they are replaced by Christ; 2) Christ is the external manifestation of believers and the internal fullness in believers; 3) Christ is the sum of the gross needs of believers. Once one has obtained Christ, he has obtained all; 4) Christ works in the environment and heart of believers so as to enable them to experience by the external circumstance and internal guidance; 5) all is for Christ and unto Christ;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Anything or anyone outside of Christ is of no significance. What is most important is whether we have given the priority to Christ in everything of us.

2)    The differences of believers in the status, backgrounds, educational attainment or habits of life in the past are not allowed to bring into the church life, for all of them are unworthy of the new man.

3)    If the church gives much place to anyone or anything or knowledge or teaching or work or system outside of Christ, the church has fallen into corruption and lost the reality of the church.

4)    Christ is all and in all in the new man. The natural man has no status at all.


Col. 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

YLT: “Put on, therefore, as choice ones of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humble-mindedness, meekness, long-suffering,”

Meaning of Words: “elect”: chosen, favorite; “holy”: sanctified unto God; “put on”: clothe with; “tender mercy”: compassion, pity; “kindness”: moral excellence, goodness; “humility”: modesty, humiliation of mind; “meekness”: gentleness; “longsuffering”: patience, longanimity;

Literal Meaning: “therefore, it points that the conducts of believers should be according to the nature of the new man, not that of the old man.

“As the elect of God, the election of God is supposed to be the reason why believers shall have the life of the new man.

“Holy and beloved, it indicates that the elect of God are those who are beloved by God (Rom. 11:28) and are separated from the world unto God Himself.

“Put on”, it means that believers have to manifest the following characters in their walking:

1)    “Tender mercies, one shows his compassion for men in spite of their undeserved conditions.

2)    “Kindness, be kind and good to others;

3)    “Humility”, have right judgment on oneself, namely, “esteeming the other as more excellent than oneself” (Phil. 2:3);

4)    “Meekness”, be gentle without any harm to others;

5)    “Longsuffering”, be able to suffer the harm of others to oneself;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering”, all of them are just the rich manifestation of the nature of God as well as that of Christ Himself.

2)    The secret of the interpersonal relationship of believers after they are saved is to let the mind of Christ Jesus be in them (Phil. 2:5).


Col. 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

YLT: “forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any one with any one may have a quarrel, as also the Christ did forgive you -- so also ye;”

Meaning of Words:complaint”: blame, quarrel; “bear”: hold oneself up against, put up with; “forgive”: grant as a favor, pardon;

Literal Meaning:if anyone has a complaint against another”, it indicates that there may be unsatisfactory conditions or complaints caused by misunderstands or faults in the corporate church life. 

  “Bearing with one another”, one shall not bear a grudge against anyone because of his fault.

  “And forgiving one another, forget the complain instead of keeping it;

  “Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do”, we shall forgive men as the Lord Jesus did (Matt. 18:21-35; Eph. 4:32).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    What the church shall bear and forgive is the “complaint against another”, but sins or heretical doctrines. The church shall be in no wise generous to sins and heretical doctrines.

2)    Sometimes we say we forgive others, but we may not forget the debts of them. However, the forgiveness of the Lord is forgetting all and blotting out all and searching nothing in the past at all.


Col. 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

YLT: “and above all these things, love, which is a bond of the perfection,”

Meaning of Words: “love”: the divine love; “bond”: joint tie, ligament; “perfection”: completeness;

The Background: the garments that people in the ancient times wore were large and slack, so they had to gird themselves after they had dressed. Thus, they could walk and work freely. If one had not girt himself, such dress might cause troubles or inconvenience to his walking.

Literal Meaning: “love is the bond of perfection”, it means that love is like the belt that makes the whole dress next to the skin. Love connects and promotes other virtues and makes them meaningful, thus perfecting the amiable interpersonal relationship.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    All the virtues of believers are based on and connected by love.

2)    Love binds Christians and makes them unto perfection gradually.

3)    Love not only lets us not envy the good virtues of others, but also binds the virtues of others, thus making all the virtues become the powerful testimony of the church.


Col. 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

YLT: “and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye were called in one body, and become thankful.”

Meaning of Words: “rule”: arbitrate, govern; “thankful”: well favored, grateful;

Literal Meaning:let the peace of God rule in your hearts: let the peace of Christ preside and arbitrate in all our walking and deal with others according to this principle of peace. “The peace of Christ”, it is a mind of peace and rest in us since Christ abides in us.  

“To which also you were called in one body”, it means that Christians are called into the body of Christ for the purpose of manifesting Christ is the lord of the whole body. All the difficulties in the life of the body (the church life) are caused by the disobedience of the members to the guidance of the head, and thus disharmony appears among the members.

“And be thankful”, be grateful; man’s gratitude is the admission of God’s grace and that all the goodness is from God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If one is able to live in Christ, he will necessarily have peace in him.

2)    The true rest is to let the peace of Christ preside in one’s heart.

3)    Judgments in both individual and corporate life are not decided by whether it is right, but whether there is peace.

4)    Believers are able to walk forward in conversation when there is peace in them. Once we have not found peace, we should stop in any case.

5)    “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts”, the word “let” shows that we are responsible to “let” the peace of Christ rule and work in us. If we do not “let”, we will have no peace.

6)    Believers are called “in one body”. If all the members are isolated from one another and do not act in concert with each other, the body must suffer loss. Therefore, one shall not go his own way in the church, but obey the guidance of Christ in everything.

7)    Oneness is highly important for the church life. And the way of keeping oneness lies in the obedience of the members to the arbitration of the Head Christ ---- one does not seek his own will in everything, but seek peace and gratitude in his heart.

8)    Knowledge makes men divided. And Christ makes men united ---- the oneness of the church does not lie in knowledge or argument, but in the condition that Christ presides in everyone.

9)    In the church, we shall be at “peace” with one another and be filled with “gratitude” towards God.


Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

YLT: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing each other, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, in grace singing in your hearts to the Lord;”

Meaning of Words: “word”: utterance; “dwell”: abide, inhabit; “spiritual songs”: songs out of spirit, spiritual regeneration; “admonishing”: exhort, put in mind;

Literal Meaning: the word of Christ”, it refers to the word and teachings of Christ, namely, the Holy Bible;

“Psalms”, it refers to the psalms in the Old Testament, which were sung with the accompaniment of the musical instruments at that time.

“Hymns”: songs, by which the saints praised and worshiped God.

“Spiritual songs”: impromptu songs with rhythms composed by believers in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    “With grace in your hearts”, be grateful from the bottom of one’s heart;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The fullness of Christ is in His word. Therefore, the more the word of the Lord abides in the heart of believers, the more fullness of the Lord shall they obtain.

2)    The word of Christ is life (John 6:63). As long as man lets the word abide and produce in his field of heart, there will be necessarily full fruit (Matt. 13:8, 23).

3)    Only when the mind of believers is governed by “the word of Christ” (the word of God), can they have right conversations. Therefore, we shall let the word of God richly dwell in us.

4)    If the wisdom of believers is applied to remember the Lord’s word, it will be of the most value.

5)    Christians ought to teach and admonish one another, but it should be done is “wisdom”. Though the teachings and admonishments are out of good will, if there is lack of wisdom, they may produce opposite results.

6)    Believers shall teach and admonish one another by both words and songs.

7)    The praises in one’s mouth shall be worthy of the gratitude in one’s heart. If praise is not out of one’s heart, it will be of no value before God.

8)    The object of believers’ praise is God. Only God Himself is worthy of our praise. If believers praise any giant man or any great achievement, they have not given the glory worthy of God to Him.


Col. 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

YLT: “and all, whatever ye may do in word or in work, all things in the name of the Lord Jesus -- giving thanks to the God and Father, through him.”

Literal Meaning:whatever you do”, it refers to the whole life of Christians, including the favorable and unfavorable circumstances, joy and sorrow.

“In word or deed, all the performances of Christians in daily life are in words and deeds.

“Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, there are several aspects of meaning: 1) rely on the power of the Lord, for there is power in the name of the Lord; 2) rely on the authority of the Lord, for the name of the Lord is authority; 3) represent on the will of the Lord; 4) on behalf of the Lord Himself, for living in the Lord means being united with Him;

This verse exhorts believers to do everything as before God and with the mind of gratitude to God and do everything by the Lord through obedience and for the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Do not say any word that cannot be spoken in the name of the Lord. Do nothing that cannot be done in the name of the Lord.

2)    The principle of believers’ life is not based on reasons, but on whether it is done in the name of the Lord and whether it is enabled us to give thanks to God.

3)    No one shall be saved without knowing the name of the Lord. And no believer will be truly used by the Lord without knowing the power of Lord's name.

3) The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is a name given to man now (Act 4:12). The Lord has entrusted Himself to us in this name to us, so we should do everything in His name.

    4) Everyone may dislike those who are ungrateful, yet we ourselves often overlook to give thanks.


Col. 3:18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

YLT: “The wives! be subject to your own husbands, as is fit in the Lord;”

Meaning of Words:submit to”: obey, subordinate; “fitting”: attain to, proper;

Literal Meaning: “wives, submit to your own husbands, it does not mean the position of the wives is not equal to that of the husbands, because: 1) there is no difference between male and female in Christ (Gal. 3:28); 2) there is no partiality (v.25).

  Here, it means that the Lord’s appointment to the wife is different from that to the husband: 1) as far as the function is concerned, the husband typifies Christ, and the wife typifies the church (Eph. 5:23-24), so the church ought to submit to Christ. 2) As far as the natural gift is concerned, generally speaking, male is relatively decisive, and female is more irresolute; male tends to be rational and female tends to be emotional; male is strong ---- who likes to take the responsibility of protection and provision in a family, and female is careful ---- who is fond of being responsible to take care of and comfort the children; Therefore, it is proper that the wife submits to the husband.

“Submit”, the word in the original focuses on “submission” in the inner heart, not the external actions.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Submit” is a neutral verb, which means being willing to submit. The submission of the wife is not fiercely commanded by the powerful husband.

2)    Many wives can submit to other women’ husbands and say those husbands are good, but are able to submit to their own husbands.


Col. 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

YLT: “the husbands! love your wives, and be not bitter with them;”

Meaning of Words: “love”: the divine love; “bitter”: be make bitter;

Literal Meaning: “love your wives”, it is “love”, not “rule over” (Gen. 3:16). Love is the secret of making men submissive in hearts.

“And do not be bitter toward them”, love is unselfishness. Love is considering others. He who really has love will never make his wife bitter.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The love of the husband to the wife should not be an occupying love, but a sacrificial one.

2)    A sacrificial love never demands anything from others, but seeks to give to others.

3)    The unselfish love of the husband must encourage the wife to obey. The husband who really loves his wife will even sacrifice himself for the happiness of his wife.

4)    The obedience of the wife and the love of the husband are seemingly different, but their origin is the same ---- deny oneself. Only those who are able to deny themselves can have true submission and true love.


Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

YLT: “the children! obey the parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord;”

Meaning of Words: “obey”: be obedient to, hear under; “well pleasing”: acceptable, fully agreeable;

Literal Meaning: “all things”, all things that do not go against the principles of God (Acts 5:29).

  “Obey your parents”, “obey”, it means hearing under and paying attention to hearken to obey the commandments;

  “This is well pleasing to the Lord”, the parents symbolize the origin of our life. Therefore, the obedience to the parents indirectly shows respect for God and is in obedience to God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Whether it is pleasing to the Lord is the principle of believers’ walking and dealing with others. What is pleasing to the Lord, we do; and what is not pleasing to the Lord, we do not.

2)    Except for the requirements that are not pleasing to the Lord (e.g. the parents ask the children not to believe the Lord, and ask them to do evil things etc.), the children should always obey them “in all things”.

3)    All the Christians who do not obey their parents are Christians whom the Lord does not please.


Col. 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

YLT: “the fathers! vex not your children, lest they be discouraged.”

Meaning of Words:provoke”: stimulate; “become discouraged”: spiritless, disheartened, dismayed;

Literal Meaning:provoke your children, it means that the excessive use of the elder status may stimulate the children and even stir up their anger.

“Lest they become discouraged”: lack enterprise because of being disheartened;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    A gentle attitude may make the children honor their parents and disposed to obey them. However, a stern and harsh attitude may provoke their children and deprave them.

2)    If the elders often rebuke or beat the children, it will make the children lose confidence in their own judgment and dare not to choose and even become disheartened. After they have grown up, they may have deep sense of inferiority.


Col. 3:22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.

YLT: “The servants! obey in all things those who are masters according to the flesh, not in eye-service as men-pleasers, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God;”

Meaning of Words: “bondservants”: slaves; “obey”: hear under; “eyeservice”: sight-labor, that needs watching; “sincerity”: singleness, generosity, bountifulness; “fear”: frighten, reverence;

Literal Meaning:masters according to the flesh, it refers to the relationship because of the flesh. In the old times, the masters held the power of life and death of the slaves. Though there is no such kind of masters at present, the “masters” can be used to refer to the employers or bosses.

“With eyeservice, it means that the servants work only when they are visible to the eyes of the masters. Once they are out of the masters’ sight, they will stop working and be idle.

“As men-pleasers, the servants only please the masters according to the flesh, not the Lord in the heavens.

“But in sincerity of heart, fearing God”, the eyes of the Lord in the heavens are everywhere and even search the hearts and try the reins. Therefore, the servants do not work perfunctorily but work in sincerity of heart without any deceit or falsehood for fear of not pleasing the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Believers should stand in their own positions before the hirers or superiors. To whom honor, honor; to whom obey, obey;

2)    Believers should not work without any sense of responsibility, but do their best for the sake of fearing the Lord.


Col. 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

YLT: “and all, whatever ye may do -- out of soul work -- as to the Lord, and not to men,”

Literal Meaning:whatever you do, all things that are irrelevant to sins;

“Do it heartily, it is done in “sincerity of heart” (v.22) as well as with diligence.

“As to the Lord and not to men”, the works of believers shall be regarded as to be distributed by the Lord and done for the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The works of Christians have no difference between “secular” and “sacred” works. If believers do the works for the Lord, all their works are for the Lord.

2)    If Christians work irresponsibly perfunctorily, it may humiliate the Lord.


Col. 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

YLT: “having known that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance -- for the Lord Christ ye serve;”

Meaning of Words: “receive”: take, take aside; “inheritance”: heirship, possession; “reward”: requital; “serve”: be a slave to, be in bondage;

The Background: according to the Roman laws, the slaves had no right to inherit any inheritance. Paul had a mind to reveal the difference of the Christians bondservants from general bondservants.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Believers who work on the earth not only receive the wages today but also obtain the reward of inheritance in the future. How can we not work with diligence?

2)    All the works believers are doing are seemingly done for others, but actually “they are services to the Lord Christ”. Once we have known of this, everything in our hand will become rather meaningful.

3)    Believers who do the works in the world are able to receive the reward from the Lord, let along the service to God in the church!

4)    Since we serve the Lord Christ, we shall seek the will of the Lord in everything instead of serving according to our natural zeal, or fleshly judgment or respect of persons.


Col. 3:25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

YLT: “and he who is doing unrighteously shall receive what he did unrighteously, and there is no acceptance of persons.”

Meaning of Words:do wrong”: be unjust, hurt, be an offender; “be repaid”: receive, carry off; “partiality”: respect of persons, favoritism;

Literal Meaning: “but he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, all those who have gone against the righteousness of God must be punished by the righteousness of God.

“And there is no partiality”, it indicates that the Lord’s judgment is not according to the respect of persons, but according to the fact.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    He who “has done” something must “receive” something. However, will he “receive” punishment or reward? It will be decided by whether we have “done” right or wrong.

2)    The judgment of righteousness or unrighteousness does not lie in men, but in the “Lord”. However, the Lord’s judgment is not according to the respect of persons, but according to men’s works.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Life of Christians

A.   The characteristics of life ---- be raised with Christ (v.1);

B.   The purpose of life ---- seek those things which are above (v.1);

C.   The practice of life ---- set your mind on things above (v.2);


The Deeds of the Old Man

A.   Fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, and idolatry (v.5);

B.   Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth (v.8);

C.   Lies (v.9);


The Differences that is Impossible among Christians (v.11)

A.   The difference in race;

B.   The difference in citizenship;

C.   The difference in language;

D.   The difference in moral belief;

E.   The difference in culture and education;

F.    The difference in social status;


The Principles of the Life of Christians as Members in the Body

A.   Christ is all and in all ---- there is no difference among one another (v.11);

B.   Let the mind of Christ be in us ---- bear with one another, and forgive one another (v.13);

C.   let the peace of God rule in us---- be called in one body (v.15);

D.   Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly ---- be taught and admonished by the Lord’s word (v.16);

E.   Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, no matter in word or deed ---- be united with the Lord (v.17);


The Principles of Christians’ Life among People

A.   Whether it is fitting in the Lord (v.18-19);

B.   Whether it is well pleasing to the Lord (v.20-21);

C.   Regard the Lord as the Lord of all the people (v.22-23);

D.   Know that the Lord is a Lord who rewards or punishes according to justice (v.24-25);


Put on the New Man

A.   The Foundation of Putting on the New Man (v.1-4);

1.    Be raised with Christ;

2.    Seek those things which are above;

3.    Life is hidden with Christ in God;

4.    Partake of the glory with Christ in life;

B.   The Principles of Putting on the New Man (v.5-11);

1.    Put to death your members which are on the earth;

2.    Have put off the old man with his deeds;

3.    Be renewed in knowledge;

4.    Regard Christ as all;

C.   The Manifestations of Putting on the New Man ---- tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (v.12);

D.   The Attitudes of Putting on the New Man ---- bearing with one another, and forgiving one another (v.13);

E.   The Inner Conditions of Those who Have Put on the New Man (v.14-15);

1.    Love is the bond of perfection;

2.    Let the peace of God rule in your hearts;

3.    Be thankful;

F.    The Ways of Putting on the New Man (v.16-17);

1.    Receive the word of Christ with all wisdom;

2.    teaching and admonishing one another

3.    Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, no matter in word or deed;

4.    Give thanks to God the Father through Christ;

G.   The Details of Putting on the New Man (v.18-25);

1.    Be wives and husbands in the Lord;

2.    Be children and parents according to what is well pleasing to the Lord;

3.    Be bondservants and masters in the fear of the Lord;


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou