Colossians 3 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Colossians 3)

Verse 1

[1] If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

If ye are risen, seek the things above — As Christ being risen, immediately went to heaven.

Verse 3

[3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

For ye are dead — To the things on earth. And your real, spiritual life is hid from the world, and laid up in God, with Christ - Who hath merited, promised, prepared it for us, and gives us the earnest and foretaste of it in our hearts.

Verse 4

[4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

When Christ — The abruptness of the sentence surrounds us with sudden light.

Our life — The fountain of holiness and glory.

Shall appear — In the clouds of heaven.

Verse 5

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

Mortify therefore — Put to death, slay with a continued stroke.

Your members — Which together make up the body of sin.

Which are upon the earth — Where they find their nourishment.

Uncleanness — In act, word, or thought.

Inordinate affection — Every passion which does not flow from and lead to the love of God.

Evil desire — The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life.

Covetousness — According to the derivation of the word, means the desire of having more, or of any thing independent on God.

Which is idolatry — Properly and directly; for it is giving the heart to a creature.

Verse 6

[6] For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

For which — Though the heathens lightly regarded them.

Verse 7

[7] In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Living denotes the inward principle; walking, the outward acts.

Verse 8

[8] But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Wrath — Is lasting anger.

Filthy discourse — And was there need to warn even these saints of God against so gross and palpable a sin as this? O what is man, till perfect love casts out both fear and sin.

Verse 10

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

In knowledge — The knowledge of God, his will, his word.

Verse 11

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

Where — In which case, it matters not what a man is externally, whether Jew or gentile, circumcised, or uncircumcised, barbarian, void of all the advantages of education, yea, Scythian, of all barbarians most barbarous. But Christ is in all that are thus renewed, and is all things in them and to them.

Verse 12

[12] Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

All who are thus renewed are elected of God, holy, and therefore the more beloved of him. Holiness is the consequence of their election, and God's superior love, of their holiness.

Verse 13

[13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Forbearing one another — If anything is now wrong.

And forgiving one another — What is past.

Verse 14

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

The love of God contains the whole of Christian perfection, and connects all the parts of it together.

Verse 15

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

And then the peace of God shall rule in your hearts - Shall sway every temper, affection, thought, as the reward (so the Greek word implies) of your preceding love and obedience.

Verse 16

[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.

Let the word of Christ — So the apostle calls the whole scripture, and thereby asserts the divinity of his Master.

Dwell — Not make a short stay, or an occasional visit, but take up its stated residence.

Richly — In the largest measure, and with the greatest efficacy; so as to fill and govern the whole soul.

Verse 17

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

In the name — In the power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus. Giving thanks unto God - The Holy Ghost.

And the Father through him — Christ.

Verse 18

[18] Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Wives, submit — Or be subject to. It is properly a military term, alluding to that entire submission that soldiers pay to their general. Ephesians 5:22, etc.

Verse 19

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

Be not bitter — (Which may be without any appearance of anger) either in word or spirit.

Verse 21

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

Lest they be discouraged — Which may occasion their turning either desperate or stupid.

Verse 22

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

Eyeservice — Being more diligent under their eye than at other times.

Singleness of heart — A simple intention of doing right, without looking any farther.

Fearing God — That is, acting from this principle.

Verse 23

[23] And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Heartily — Cheerfully, diligently. Menpleasers are soon dejected and made angry: the single-hearted are never displeased or disappointed; because they have another aim, which the good or evil treatment of those they serve cannot disappoint.