Thankfulness for Spiritual Attainments
1 Paul, an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed) by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the (a)saints and faithful (b)believers in Christ [who are] at Colossae: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father.
3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we pray always for you, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [how you lean on Him with absolute confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness], and of the [unselfish] (c)love which you have for all the saints (God’s people); 5 because of the [confident] hope [of experiencing that] which is reserved and waiting for you in heaven. You previously heard of this hope in the message of truth, the gospel [regarding salvation] 6 which has come to you. Indeed, just as in the whole world the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and spreading [by God’s power], just as it has been doing among you ever since the day you first heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth [becoming thoroughly and deeply acquainted with it]. 7 You learned it from [our representative] Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf 8 and he also has told us of your love [well-grounded and nurtured] in the [Holy] Spirit.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things], 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [displaying admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity], to [fully] please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God [with deeper faith, clearer insight and fervent love for His precepts]; 11 [we pray that you may be] strengthened and invigorated with all power, according to His glorious might, to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints (God’s people) in the Light.
The Incomparable Christ
13 For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].
15 He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. 16 For (d)by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him. 17 And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.](A) 18 He is also the head [the life-source and leader] of the body, the (e)church; and He is the beginning, (f)the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will occupy the first place [He will stand supreme and be preeminent] in everything.(B) 19 For it pleased the Father for all the fullness [of deity—the sum total of His essence, all His perfection, powers, and attributes] to dwell [permanently] in Him (the Son), 20 and through [the intervention of] the Son to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace [with believers] through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say,] whether things on earth or things in heaven.
21 And although you were at one time estranged and alienated and hostile-minded [toward Him], participating in evil things, 22 yet Christ has now reconciled you [to God] in His (g)physical body through death, in order to present you before the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 [and He will do this] if you continue in the faith, well-grounded and steadfast, and not shifting away from the [confident] hope [that is a result] of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed (h)in all creation under heaven, and of which [gospel] I, Paul, was made a minister.
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf. And with my own body I (i)supplement whatever is lacking [on our part] of Christ’s afflictions, on behalf of His body, which is the church. 25 In this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship which God entrusted to me for your sake, so that I might make the word of God fully known [among you]— 26 that is, (j)the mystery which was hidden [from angels and mankind] for ages and generations, but has now been revealed to His saints (God’s people). 27 God [in His eternal plan] chose to make known to them how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in and among you, the hope and guarantee of [realizing the] glory. 28 We proclaim Him, warning and instructing everyone in all wisdom [that is, with comprehensive insight into the word and purposes of God], so that we may present every person complete in Christ [mature, fully trained, and perfect in Him—the Anointed]. 29 For this I labor [often to the point of exhaustion], striving with His power and energy, which so greatly works within me.
a. Colossians 1:2: Every born-again believer (saint) has been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, made holy and set apart for God’s purpose.
b. Colossians 1:2: Lit brethren.
c. Colossians 1:4: The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
d. Colossians 1:16: Or in.
e. Colossians 1:18: This refers to the entire body of born-again believers (whether past, present, or future), not a local congregation.
f. Colossians 1:18: Christ is the first to be resurrected with an incorruptible, immortal body. Others who were raised had to die again.
g. Colossians 1:22: Lit body of flesh.
h. Colossians 1:23: Paul may be referring to the fact that the created world displays proof of the existence of an omnipotent, benevolent God (cf Rom 1:20), without whom there would be no possibility of salvation. Such a God is the foundation of the “good news.”
i. Colossians 1:24: I.e. since the church is Christ’s body, figuratively speaking, whatever the church suffers can be considered additional sufferings by Christ Himself, and all such suffering was ordained and destined by God; what is left to suffer in God’s plan is what is “lacking of Christ’s afflictions.” Paul, as a member of the church, was destined to suffer through persecution etc., thereby taking his share of the church body’s divinely-ordained suffering.
j. Colossians 1:26: I.e. that believing Gentiles would be united with believing Jews into one body of believers.