Colossians 1 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Colossians 1)
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the a will of God, and Timotheus [our] brother,

(a) By the free bountifulness of God.

1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at b Colosse: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(b) Colosse is situated in Phrygia, not far from Hierapolis and Laodicea, on that side that faces toward Lycia and Pamphylia.

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

(1) He commends the doctrine that was delivered to them by Epaphras, and their readiness in receiving it.
(c) We cannot otherwise think of God to be our salvation, except that he is Christ's Father, in whom we are adopted.

1:5 For the d hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

(d) For the glory that is hoped for.

1:8 2 Who also declared unto us your love in the e Spirit.

(2) He declares his good will towards them, telling them that they must not still remain at one place, but go on further both in the knowledge of the Gospel, and also in the true use of it.
(e) Your spiritual love, or your love which comes from the Spirit.

1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of f his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

(f) God's will.

1:11 3 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with g joyfulness;

(3) The gift of continuance is not from us, but it proceeds from the power of God, which he freely gives us.
(g) It must not be unwilling, and as it were drawn out of us by force, but proceed from a merry and joyful mind.

1:12 4 Giving thanks unto the 5 Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in h light:

(4) Having ended the preface, he goes to the matter itself, that is to say, to an excellent description (although it is but short) of complete Christianity, which is fitly divided into three treatises: for first of all he expounds the true doctrine according to the order of the causes, beginning from this verse to (Colossians 1:12-21). And from there he begins to apply the same to the Colossians with various exhortations to (Colossians 1:22-2:6). And last of all in the third place, even to (Colossians 2:6-23), he refutes the corruptions of true doctrine. (5) The efficient cause of our salvation is only the mercy of God the Father, who makes us fit to be partakers of eternal life, delivering us from the darkness in which we were born, and bringing us to the light of the knowledge of the glory of his Son.
(h) In that glorious and heavenly kingdom.

1:14 6 In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:

(6) The matter itself of our salvation is Christ the Son of God, who has obtained remission of sins for us by the offering up of himself.

1:15 7 Who is the image of the invisible God, i the firstborn of every creature:

(7) A graphic description of the person of Christ, by which we understand, that in him alone God shows himself to be seen: who was begotten of the Father before anything was made, that is, from everlasting. And by him also all things that are made, were made without any exception, by whom also they continue to exist, and whose glory they serve.
(i) Begotten before anything was made: and therefore the everlasting Son of the everlasting Father.

1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] k thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

(k) He sets forth the angels with glorious names, so that by the comparison of most excellent spirits, we may understand how far surpassing the excellency of Christ is, in whom alone we have to content ourselves with, and let go of all angels.

1:18 8 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the l firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

(8) Having gloriously declared the excellent dignity of the person of Christ, he describes his office and function, that is, that he is the same to the Church as the head is to the body, that is to say, the prince and governor of it, and the very beginning of true life. And as he rose first from death, he is the author of eternal life, so that he is above all, in whom alone there is most plentiful abundance of all good things, which is poured out upon the Church.
(l) Who so rose again that he should die no more, and who raises others from death to life by his power.

1:19 For it pleased [the Father] that in him should m all fulness dwell;

(m) Most plentiful abundance of all things pertaining to God.

1:20 9 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile n all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.

(9) Now he teaches how Christ executed that office which his Father gave and commanded to him, that is, by suffering the death of the cross (which was joined with the curse of God) according to his decree, that by this sacrifice he might reconcile to his Father all men, both those who believed in the Christ to come, and were already under this hope gathered into heaven, as well as those who should upon the earth believe in him afterwards. And in this way justification is described by the apostle, which is one and the chiefest part of the benefit of Christ.
(n) The whole Church.

1:21 10 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath o he reconciled

(10) Sanctification is another work of God in us by Christ, in that that he restored us (who hated God extremely and were wholly and willingly given to sin) to his gracious favour in such a way that he in addition purifies us with his Holy Spirit, and consecrates us to righteousness.
(o) The Son.

1:22 In the body of his p flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

(p) In that fleshly body, to show us that his body was not an unreal body, but a real one.

1:23 11 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to q every creature which is under heaven; 12 whereof I Paul am made a minister;

(11) The second treatise of this part of the epistle, in which he exhorts the Colossians not to allow themselves by any means to be moved from this doctrine, showing and declaring that there is nowhere else any other true Gospel.
(q) To all men: by which we learn that the Gospel was not confined to Judea alone.
(12) He gains authority for this doctrine by his apostleship, and takes a most sure proof of it, that is, his afflictions, which he suffers for Christ's name, to instruct the Churches with these examples of patience.

1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for r you, and fill up s that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

(r) For our profit and benefit.
(s) The afflictions of the Church are said to be Christ's afflictions, by reason of that fellowship and knitting together that the body and the head have with one another. And this is not because there is any more need to have the Church redeemed, but because Christ shows his power in the daily weakness of his own, and that for the comfort of the whole body.

1:25 13 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

(13) He brings another proof of his apostleship, that is, that God is the author of it, by whom also he was appointed especially as apostle for the Gentiles, to the end that by this means, that same might be fulfilled by him, which the Prophets foretold concerning the calling of the Gentiles.

1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his t saints:

(t) Whom he chose to sanctify to himself in Christ. Moreover, he says that the mystery of our redemption was hidden since the world began, except that it was revealed to a few, who also were taught it extraordinarily.

1:27 To whom God u would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

(u) In this way Paul restrains the curiosity of men.

1:28 14 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in x all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

(14) He protests that he faithfully executes his apostleship in every place, bringing men to Christ only through the Lord's plentiful blessing of his labours.
(x) Perfect and sound wisdom, which is perfect in itself, and will in the end make those perfect who follow it.