Colossians 3 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Colossians 3)
3:1 If 1 ye then 2 be a risen with Christ, 3 seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

(1) Another part of this epistle, in which he takes occasion by reason of those vain exercises, to show the duty of a Christian life: which is an ordinary thing with him, after he has once set down the doctrine itself. (2) Our renewing or new birth, which is accomplished in us by being partakers of the resurrection of Christ, is the source of all holiness, out of which various streams or rivers afterwards flow.
(a) For if we are partakers of Christ, we are carried as it were into another life, where we will need neither meat nor drink, for we will be similar to the angels. (3) The end and mark which all the duties of Christian life aim at is to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and to give ourselves to those things which lead us there, that is, to true godliness, and not to those outward and physical things.

3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the b earth.

(b) So he calls that show of religion which he spoke of in the former chapter.

3:3 4 For ye are dead, 5 and your life is hid with Christ in God.

(4) A reason taken of the efficient causes and others: you are dead with regard to the flesh, that is, with regard to the old nature which seeks after all transitory things. And on the other hand, you have begun to live according to the Spirit; therefore give yourselves to spiritual and heavenly, and not to carnal and earthly things. (5) The taking away of an objection: while we are yet in this world, we are subject to many miseries of this life, so that the life that is in us, is as it were hidden. Yet nonetheless we have the beginnings of life and glory, the accomplishment of which lies now in Christ's and in God's hand, and will assuredly and manifestly be performed in the glorious coming of the Lord.

3:5 6 Mortify therefore your c members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

(6) Let not your dead nature be effectual in you any more, but let your living nature be effectual. Now the strength of nature is known by the desires. Therefore let the affections of the world die in you, and let the contrary desires which are spiritual, live. And he reckons up a great long list of vices, and their contrary virtues.
(c) The desires and lusts that are in us, are in this passage very properly called members, because the reason and will of man is corrupted, and uses them as the body uses its members.

3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God d cometh on the children of disobedience:

(d) Used to come.

3:9 Lie not one to another, 7 seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

(7) A definition of our new birth taken from the parts of it, which are the putting off of the old man, that is to say, of the wickedness which is in us by nature, and the restoring and repairing of the new man, that is to say, of the pureness which is given us by grace. However, both the putting off and the putting on are only begun in us in this present life, and by certain degrees finished, the one dying in us by little and little, and the other coming to the perfection of another life, by little and little.

3:10 And have put on the new [man], 8 which is renewed in e knowledge after the image of him that created him:

(8) Newness of life consists in knowledge which transforms man to the image of God his maker, that is to say to the sincerity and pureness of the whole soul.
(e) He speaks of an effectual knowledge.

3:11 9 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.

(9) He tells them again that the Gospel does not refer to those external things, but true justification and sanctification in Christ alone, which have many fruits, as he reckons them up here: but he commends two things especially, that is, godly harmony, and continual study of God's word.

3:12 f Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, g bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

(f) Put on in such a way, that you never put off.
(g) Those most tender affections of exceeding compassion.

3:14 And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the h bond of perfectness.

(h) Which bonds and knits together all the duties that take place between men.

3:15 And let the peace of God i rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in k one body; and be ye thankful.

(i) Rule and govern all things.
(k) You are joined together into one body through God's goodness, so that you might help one another, as fellow members.

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

(l) By "psalms" he means all godly songs which were written upon various occasions, and by "hymns", all such as contain the praise of God, and by "spiritual songs", other more special and artful songs which were also in praise of God, but they were made fuller of music.

3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the m name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

(m) Call upon the name of Christ when you do it, or do it to Christ's praise and glory.

3:18 10 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is n fit in the Lord.

(10) He goes from precepts which concern the whole civil life of man, to precepts pertaining to every man's family, and requires of wives subjection in the Lord.
(n) For those wives do poorly, that do not set God in Christ before them in their love; but this philosophy does not know.

3:19 11 Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

(11) He requires of husbands that they love their wives, and treat them gently.

3:20 12 Children, obey [your] parents in o all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

(12) He requires of children, that according to God's commandment they are obedient to their parents.
(o) In the Lord; and so it is expounded in (Ephesians 6:1).

3:21 13 Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged.

(13) Of parents, that they are gentle towards their children.

3:22 14 Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

(14) Of servants, that fearing God himself to whom their obedience is acceptable, they reverently, faithfully, and from the heart, obey their masters.

3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the p reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

(p) Because you will have duly obeyed your masters, the time will come, that you will be changed from servants to sons, and you will know this for certain, which will be when you are made partakers of the heavenly inheritance.

3:25 15 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

(15) He requires of masters, that being mindful how they themselves also will render an account before that heavenly Lord and Master, who will avenge wrongful deeds without any respect of masters or servants, they show themselves just and upright with fairness to their servants.