COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 1

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and by the book of Colossians. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Note that similar or the same subject matter describing an historic event which matter is essentially the same as the subject matter in another passage in Scripture does not necessarily prove that the passages in view portray the same event.

On the other hand, passages in Scripture which not only have similar or the same subject matter describing an event but which also have different subject matter from one another, may or may not have the same event in view depending upon a full examination of the context of each of the passages. Given the brevity of the bible - the limited time, space and resources such as paper, ink, etc. - not everything was capable of being included in each of the writings or even in all of the writings together. There are going to be similarities and differences. But a careful examination of Scripture will reveal that there is nevertheless a miraculous harmony and complete absence of contradiction.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Note: references to Manuscript Evidence are largely quotations from New Testament Text and Translation Commentary, by Phillip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, IL, 2008.

I) [Col 1:1-14]:

(Col 1:1 NASB) "Paul, [an] apostle of Jesus Christ by [lit., through] the will of God, and Timothy our [lit., the] the brother,

(Col 1:2 NASB) To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

(Col 1:3 NASB) We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

(Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, 

(Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel]

(Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth

(Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,

(Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

(Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

(Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

(Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] 

(Col 1:12 NASB) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 

(Col 1:13 NASB) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

(Col 1:14 NASB) in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."

A) [VERSES]:

1) [Col 1:1]:

a) [(Col 1:1) Commentary On Col 1:1]:

(Col 1:1 NASB) "Paul, [an] apostle of Jesus Christ by [lit., through] the will of God, and Timothy our [lit., the] brother," =

PAUL OPENS HIS EPISTLE WITH THE DECLARATION THAT HE IS AN APOSTLE - A SPECIFICALLY APPOINTED MESSENGER OF JESUS CHRIST FOR A DESIGNATED / PARTICULAR MINISTRY / MISSION THROUGH THE WILL OF GOD, AS OPPOSED TO ALL BELIEVERS WHO ARE APOSTLES - MESSENGERS IN A GENERAL SENSE ESPECIALLY RELATIVE TO THE GOSPEL AND DOCTRINES OF THE FAITH, THUS AUTHENTICATING THE WRITING OF THIS EPISTLE AS A COMMISSIONED AMBASSADOR FOR JESUS CHRIST. WHEREUPON PAUL ADDS THAT THIS LETTER EVIDENTLY COMES FROM TIMOTHY - A BROTHER IN THE FAITH AS WELL INDICATING HIS VALUE TO PAUL'S MINISTRY

The first word of the epistle is "Paulos" rendered "Paul." Due to its first position in the first phrase of verse one, the name not only makes an emphatic point of declaring from whom the letter came, but the phrase goes on to declare that Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. The Greek word "apostolos" is not accompanied by the definite article, hence it may be translated in this context accompanied by the English indefinite article to indicate that Paul is "an" apostle, (as opposed to the only apostle); or just simply translated "Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ."

In verse 1, the phrase surrounding the word rendered "apostle" designates Paul as an appointed messenger of Christ Jesus by the will of God, giving him the authority for writing this epistle as a commissioned ambassador for Jesus Christ. Evidently the office of Apostle that Paul holds by the will of God has to do with his being a specifically appointed messenger for a designated, particular ministry / mission: Apostle for Jesus Christ, as opposed to all believers who are messengers of our Lord in a general sense relative to their personal salvation experience as it reflects teaching from Scripture. The absence of the article with the word rendered "Apostle" in Col 1:1 emphasizes having the office and characteristics of Apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God as God has specifically designed for Paul. The immediate appearance of the phrase "Paul, ... apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God" in the epistle makes its declaration especially significant: one which authenticates the supreme value of the letter to its readers as coming from God through His chosen and specifically designated Apostle / Messenger Paul .

In the second part of verse 1, which is the underlined  portion of that verse quoted below: "Paul, [an] apostle of Jesus Christ by [lit., through] the will of God, and Timothy our [lit., the brother," Paul writes of Timothy, who was evidently with Paul at the time of writing this letter. Timothy is identified as a "brother," i.e., a fellow Christian. He was named in Paul's letter to the Colossians because he was a faithful travel companion and co-worker of Paul's who was mentored by Paul. For Paul spent time discipling Timothy and wrote two of his last letters to him. Note that the first person plural pronoun is in view. This leads to the plausibility that Timothy provided some input / affirmation of what Paul was writing, (compare  1:3, 4, 9), but ordinarily the singular form is found (compare 1:24, 25, 29; 2:1-5; 4:7-18).

2) [Col 1:2]:

a) [(Col 1:2) Manuscript Evidence for Col 1:2a]:

(Col 1:2 NASB) "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father." =

The earliest manuscripts (P46vid, Sinaiticus, B) read "brethren in Christ," but this was expanded in later manuscripts to "brothers in Christ Jesus," evidently to conform to the beginning of other epistles, where Paul used the phrase "in Christ Jesus" to describe the believers, (ref. 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 1:1; Phil 1:1).

b) [(Col 1:2b) Manuscript Evidence for Col 1:2b]:

(Col 1:2 NASB) "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father." =

WH, NU, B, D, K, L, Psi, 33, 1739, it(a), syr(p), cop (sa) have "God our Father"

Variant, TR, Sinaiticus, A, C, F, G, I, Maj, it(syr(h)**), cop,(bo) have "God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Manuscript evidence is evenly divided. The longer form accords with Pauline style, for Paul almost always included "God the Father" and "the Lord Jesus" when he proclaimed his opening blessings: "grace and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ," (ref. Ro 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2, 2 Thes 1:2; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Phlm 3). Since in the next verse Paul extols God as "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," the inclusion of the phrase, "the Lord Jesus" in verse 2 is redundant; hence not part of the original text.

c) [(Col 1:2) Commentary on Col 1:2]:

(Col 1:2 NASB) "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father."

PAUL REFERS TO THE BELIEVERS AT COLOSSE AND ALL BELIEVERS AS SAINTS AND TO THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS AS FAITHFUL BRETHREN, CHOSEN TO SERVE GOD. HE PRAYS FOR GRACE AND PEACE FROM GOD OUR FATHER BE GRANTED TO THEM

Paul refers to the believers at Colosse, and all believers, as "saints" and faithful brethren in the sense of chosen and set apart for God to serve Him faithfully in whatever capacity He has appointed for each of them - a characteristic greeting, one which has a pointed purpose and a singular family in view to which they all belong, hence they are called, "brethren." Despite different ethnic, cultural, social and racial backgrounds, the believers are singularly united with Christ together - a common bond as part of one spiritual family: all joined to Christ in the sense that they are united with Christ, joined to Him as closely as limbs are joined to the body of which they are a part. And he addresses them characteristically as follows, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father" which is in the form of a prayer that God would provide His unmerited favor - blessings in all things and the experience of being at peace with Him and with one another.

3) [(Col 1:3)]:

a) [(Col 1:3) Manuscript Evidence for Col 1:3]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,"

WH, NU, P61(vid), B, C*, 1739 have "we give thanks to God, Father of our Lord.

D*, F, G have "we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord"

Maj, Sinaiticus, A, C2, D1, I, Psi, 33 have "we give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord"

The second variant is most likely scribal harmonizations with other Pauline writings

WH, NU are unusual in that they characterize God as being "father of our Lord Jesus Christ," rather than ascribing Him the title, "The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The first variant yields the title, "God the Father, of our Lord." TR has God being both the God and Father of Jesus.

The essential meaning is not radically affected by any of the variants. The suggestion in all of the readings is that the God to Whom we pray is the God Whom Jesus Christ made known to us in His character as Father.

b) [(Col 1:3) Commentary On Col 1:3]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,"

PAUL INCLUDES TIMOTHY AND WRITES "WE" GIVE THANKS TO GOD, THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS, STIPULATING THAT THEY ARE ALWAYS PRAYING FOR THEM

Paul writes "we [which includes Timothy] give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you," Colossian believers and all believers for that matter. Notice that God is identified as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Giving continual thanks to God was characteristic of Paul's prayers, (Ro 1:8; 1 Cor 1:14; Eph 1:6, etc.). Hence God is recognized as the cause of godliness exemplified in His people.

4) [(Col 1:4)]:

a) [(Col 1:4) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:4]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you),
(Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints," =

D-corr, K, L, byz, Weis, have "and of the love toward all the saints"

WH, Sinaiticus, A, C, D-org, P, bo, Lach, Treg, ACF, Word, Tisc, Sod, UBS, various have "which you have toward all the saints"

The better attestation is with "which you have toward all the saints;" but either rendering suffices to convey the same meaning.

b) [(Col 1:4) Commentary On Col 1:4]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you),
(Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints," =

PAUL GIVES REASONS FOR HIS THANKSGIVING STATED IN VERSE 3: THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS' FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS AND THE LOVE THAT THEY HAVE EXPRESSED TOWARD ALL THE SAINTS

Verses 4-8 express reasons for Paul's thanksgiving stated in verse 3: "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you." Col 1:4 states reasons one and two: "having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints," which most likely extended beyond Colosse to all believers everywhere, (cp 1 Thes 1:7-8). Paul evidently had heard of the remarkable faith of the believers in Colosse, and their agape - self-sacricial love which was being expressed toward all the saints. Although Paul had not visited Colosse, (cf. 1:9; 2:1), Epaphras had conveyed to Paul their faithfulness and agape love toward all the saints, (v. 8). And there is the possibility that others also reported their faithfulness to Paul, since it was so exemplary.

5) [Col 1:5]:

a) [(Col 1:5) Commentary On Col 1:5]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] =

PAUL STIPULATES A FUTHER REASON FOR GIVING THANKS TO GOD FOR THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS: BECAUSE OF THE SURE HOPE FOR THEM OF ETERNAL LIFE LAID UP IN HEAVEN AS A RESULT OF THEIR HAVING HEARD OF [AND BELIEVED IN] THE GOSPEL, THE WORD OF TRUTH

Whereupon, Col 1:5 stipulates a further reason for Paul's giving thanks to God for the Colossian believers: "because of the sure hope [of eternal life] laid up for [them] in heaven , [lit., the heavens] of which [they] previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] and have been believing in it as a sure hope - one that God assures the believer, once received is guaranteed by the indwelling Spirit Who permanently indwells the human spirit of the individual believer, (cf. Eph 1:13-14). It is this assurance of  salvation by dint of the permanent sealing and residence of the Holy Spirit in the believer, that provides Paul's thankfulness for the Colossians.

6) (Col 1:6]:

a) [(Col 1:6) Manuscript Evidence]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth." =

WH, NU, P46, P61vid, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D*, P, 33, 1739 have "it is bearing fruit and growing"

D2, F, G, Psi, Maj, syr(h) have "and it is bearing fruit and is growing"

D1, K have "it is bearing fruit"

The manuscript evidence, both early and diverse, overwhelmingly supports the wording in WH, NU. The first variant is a scribal adjustment of the syntax of the sentence, whereby the phrase "as also in the all the world" is joined to the clause of 1:5, thus: "of which [hope] you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as also in all the world." The second variant is probably the result of a scribal error - due to homoeoteleuton.

b) [(Col 1:6) Commentary On Col 1:6]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth." =

PAUL FURTHER COMMENTS THAT THE WORD OF TRUTH, THE GOSPEL IS PRESENT IN THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS, JUST AS IT IS IN ALL THE WORLD CONSTANTLY BEARING FRUIT AND INCREASING EVEN SINCE THE DAY THEY HEARD OF IT AND UNDERSTOOD THE GRACE OF GOD IN TRUTH

Paul goes on to say that he also thanks God that just as the gospel is present within the Colossian believers, so it is also present in all the world constantly bearing fruit and increasing even as it has been doing in the Colossian believers since the day that they heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth in the sense of believing in the sure hope of eternal life laid up for them in heaven. Paul is implying that throughout the account of God's Word, especially relative to the gospel that provides eternal life for an individual, there pervades God's grace - one of the unmistakable characteristics of the true gospel. Whenever an account is not characterized by the Grace of God, then it is not God's Word and no gospel at all. The true gospel is one of grace alone, (cf. Ro 11:6; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7); and it bears fruit where ever it is preached. Like a tree, which bears fruit and continues to grow at the same time, the gospel continues to bear fruit and grow as indicated by the phrase rendered "constantly bearing fruit" - a present participle construction. Furthermore, the gospel conveys the knowledge of "God's grace and all of its truth"

7) [Col 1:7]:

a) [(Col 1:7) Manuscript Evidence]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf," =

WH, p46, Sinaiticus*, A, B, D-org, Lach, Treg, Alf, Sod have "a servant on our behalf"

TR, NU, UBS, Sinaiticus2, C, D1, psi, 33, 1739, Maj, it, syr, cop have "a servant on your behalf"

The TR, NU editors selected the reading with inferior Greek manuscript support on the basis that the word rendered "your" appears in many versions and patristic witnesses and that the variant rendered "our" in their view was probably an assimilation to the preceding pronoun. But the Greek documentary evidence for the variant reading is far superior to that for TR, NU, and it is the more difficult reading because it was generally known that Epaphras was a servant to the Colossians. Most modern English versions favored the variant, while noting the other reading in the margin. Epaphras was probably the founder of the church in Colosse. But Paul was looking at his service from a different perspective; Paul saw Epaphras, who was then in Rome, as being one who ministered to him. Paul had the same view of Epaphroditus of Philippi; when Epaphroditus was in Rome, Paul appreciated him as one who ministered to his need (Phil 2:25; Col 4:18)

b) [(Col 1:7) Commentary On Col 1:7]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf," =

AND PAUL FURTHER STIPULATES THAT THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS LEARNED THE GOSPEL FROM EPAPHRAS, "OUR" BELOVED FELLOW BOND-SERVANT, WHO IS A FAITHFUL SERVANT OF CHRIST ON PAUL'S AND TIMOTHY'S BEHALF WHO THE LATTER WAS EVIDENTLY AN EMISSARY, MESSENGER AND PROBABLY A CONVERT OF PAUL'S WHO FOUNDED THE CHURCH IN COLOSSE

So Apostle Paul with Timothy give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you [Colossian believers], having heard of [their] faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which [they] have toward all the saints, because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for [them] in heaven, of which [they] previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which is [now] present [in them], just as [it is now] in all the world also [for] it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in [them] also since the day [they] heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bondservant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf."

So the Colossians learned the gospel from Epaphras who it is implied is an emissary of Paul's and founded the church at Colosse:

i) [Compare Col 1:7 with Col 4:12]:

(Col 4:12 NASB) "Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

(Col 4:13 NASB) For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis."

And Paul also mentions that Epaphras was one of your number [one of the people of the city of Colosse] was also being a faithful bond-servant - a servant of Christ - on our behalf [the believers in Colossae and all believers everywhere]

c) [(Col 1:7) Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On Col 1:7]:

"... Paul's expression of thankfulness concerns the work of Epaphras, through whom the Colossians had been instructed in the gospel. We know very little about this man. Outside of the references in this passage (vv. 4, 7, 9), his name, which is a shortened form of Epaphroditus, appears only in Colossians 4:12, 13 and Philemon 23. In [Col 4:12-13] we learn that he was a native of Colosse and that he had ministered not only in that city but also in Laodicea and Hierapolis. In Philemon he is described by Paul as his "fellow-prisoner in the cause of Christ Jesus" (Wms). [The Epaphroditus of Philippians 2:25 and 4:18 is not to be identified with the Epaphras of Colossians. The former [from Phillippi] was a resident of the province of Macedonia; the [latter Epaphras from Colosse] was a resident of the province of Asia])

Three things are told us in this passage about Epaphras. First, he was Paul's "dear fellow servant" (v. 7a). This means that he was, like Paul, a bondslave of Jesus Christ and that Paul looked upon him as a valued comrade in the work. Second, he was "a faithful minister of Christ on our [Paul's] behalf" (v. 7b). The thought seems to be that Epaphras had represented Paul, that is, had preached in his stead, in establishing the work at Colosse. There is perhaps the suggestion that Epaphras was himself a convert of Paul (perhaps during the Ephesian ministry) and that Paul had delegated him to take the gospel to the Colossians. Yet as a "minister of Christ," Epaphras had acted not so much under the authority of Paul but under that of Paul's Lord. The Greek word for "minister," rendered "deacon" in Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8, is used here simply in the sense of "one who serves." NEB translates it "a trusted worker." Third, as a messenger from Colosse, Epaphras had communicated to Paul the fact of the Colossians' love (v. 8). The reference may be to the love they had for all the people of God (cf. v. 4) or to the love they had for Paul. "In the Spirit" means that it was the Spirit of God who had awakened this love in Paul's readers. (This is the only reference to the Holy Spirit in Colossians.) There were other matters not so favorable that Epaphras must have told Paul about the Colossians, but for the moment the apostle is concerned only with "the bright features in the report" (Scott, p. 16)."

8) [(Col 1:8)]:

a) [(Col 1:8) Commentary On Col 1:8]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit" =

EPAPHRAS ALSO INFORMED PAUL OF THE COLOSSIAN'S AGAPE LOVE IN THE SPIRIT IN THE SENSE OF EXPRESSING AGAPE LOVE FOR ALL THE SAINTS

And Epaphras also informed Paul the good news about the Colossians' expressions of agape love in the Spirit in the sense that the Colossian believers were expressing agape love for all the saints which originated with the indwelling Holy Spirit within them - the Source for all godly action.

9) [Col 1:9-10]:

a) [(Col 1:9-10) Commentary On Col 1:9-10]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;" =

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

The phrase in Col 1:9 rendered "for this reason" (dia touto), refers back to the entire discussion of vv. 3-8, showing that the petitionary prayer on behalf of the Colossian believers is Paul's response to the news that had come to him of the Colossians' experience in Christ from Epaphras and others. Paul was grateful to God for what had already happened to them. He wrote of praying always for the Colossian believers for the further enrichment of their lives - both spiritual and temporal.

For Col 1:3-7 says that Paul had received such a good report on the Colossian believers, having heard of their faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which they have toward all the saints, because of the sure hope of eternal life laid up for them in heaven, of which they previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which is now present in them, just as it is now in all the world also for it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in them also since the day they heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as they learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bondservant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf.

Whereupon, Paul goes on to write in Col 1:8 that Epaphras also informed Paul that the believers in Colosse were expressing their agape, self-sacrificial love for fellow believers everywhere which is enabled within them by the indwelling Spirit.

Then with the phrase in Col 1:9, rendered "for this reason,"  Paul stipulates that they have not ceased to pray for the Colossian believers in the sense of not forgetting to pray for them; and to emphatically pray that the Colossian believers may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This is Paul's primary petition to God for them: to be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding - for the two go hand in hand - a wisdom and understanding that is to be characterized as wholly focused upon God. Although it is up to each believer to endeavor to make an effort to learn the will of God through a study of His Word; this emphatically implies that the gracious work of God within the believer will imbue upon each individual believer's mind the knowledge of the will of God and the mindset to study the Bible.

Note that Col 1:12-13 indicates that God the Father qualified [aorist tense = completed action] each and every believer to share in the inheritance of the saints in [the kingdom of] Light because He rescued us [aorist] from the domain of darkness [sin] and transferred us [aorist] to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ each at the moment of saving faith. Positional fulfillment of this is immediately realized but actual full fulfillment will be realized at resurrection. For Scripture, especially the epistles, verifies that all believers need to be exhorted to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, (ref. Col 1:10). Provision is made when believers inevitably fail and constantly need to be restored to fellowship with God, (1 Jn chapter one ).

The Greek word "epignosin" rendered "knowledge" in Col 1:10 refers to the superior knowledge of the will of Almighty God of the Bible in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This is a far superior knowledge to that which the Gnostics espoused which the latter guaranteed no such "all spiritual wisdom and understanding [of Almighty God]." Notice that the wisdom and understanding of the will of God is given not to just a few enlightened souls as the Gnostics were wont to maintain; but the knowledge of the will of God is given to all believers as a free gift through enlightenment provided to them through Scripture through the grace of God via the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. This epignosis of the will of God cannot be attained solely through the inadequate belaboring of the human mind which is hampered by the intrinsic sin nature. Therefore, there is no evidence that the knowledge attained by the Gnostics is full knowledge or arguably wisdom or even true.

So it states in Col 1:10 that the knowledge of God's will will bring about in the believer the result that he will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and thereby be increasing in the knowledge of God. This speaks of having a clear understanding of Scripture especially according to the will of God, i.e., on matters of conducting oneself in the Christian life ... with godly wisdom. Hence the more emphatic "epignosis," as opposed to "gnosis," is in view in the text in order to emphasize the superiority of the knowledge of the will of God and of godly things over temporal things. For the knowledge of God's will is the foundation of Christian character and conduct. Note that although this is positionally true, there is nevertheless no guarantee that every believer - any believer - will exemplify the actualization of his position in his life except after the resurrection. Hence there is the need for the epistles to instruct believers in the Church Age to learn and obey, relearn and reobey the will of God; and when they sin which is all the time, to confess and stand corrected so that they may be continually restored to fellowship with God .

So Paul in his letter to the Colossians presents information which refutes beliefs which are evidently being presented by some to the Colossians which are similar to or the same as those of the Gnostics who came later. Paul states that he and Timothy have been praying for the Colossians, asking God to fill them with knowledge, that they may be fruitful in every good work. In verses 9 and 10, the word "knowledge" is rendered from the Greek word "epignosin" with the prefix "epi" serving to make the word gnosis more emphatic in the sense of complete, thorough, greater, etc.,  depending upon context. In Colossians 1:9-10 "epignosis" denotes a larger, and more thorough knowledge. It was a favorite word of the Gnostics who used it to designate their superior knowledge which they claimed as their exclusive possession that excelled beyond Christianity and obfuscated the need for a savior or a resurrected Jesus Christ. Paul prays that all the saints might become possessors of this knowledge - "the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual understanding," indicating that it was open for all to appropriate by the grace of God. It was not a secret mystery into which only a favored few could be initiated.

So Paul uses the Greek word "epignosin" to emphasize the true and full knowledge of God's will which he continually prayed for the Colossian believers to attain. The implication is that the knowledge of the Gnostics was neither true nor full.

The phrase in Col 1:10 rendered "may be filled with the knowledge - the Greek word "epignOsin" of His [God's] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" suggests that such great knowledge is to pervade all of ones being - thoughts, affections, purposes, plans, etc. Paul's repetition of this idea in such an emphatic manner suggests a counter attack against the Colossian errorists who claimed to offer a "fullness" of blessing and truth not found, they said, in the preaching of Epaphras, promoting a form akin to Gnosticism that diminished Christ's sacrifice for sins replacing it with a so called superior knowledge, thus obfuscating even cancelling the necessity to account for ones sins before a Holy God .

b) [(Col 1:10) Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On Col 1:10]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;" =

"10 Paul's second petition, that the Colossians might "live a life worthy of the Lord," is built on, and grows out of, the request for knowledge of the divine will; living a worthy life is thus represented as a result (or purpose) of knowing God's desire for one's life. This suggests that knowledge of God's will is not imparted as an end in itself; it is given with a practical intent. "The end of all knowledge, the Apostle would say, is conduct" (Lightfoot, p. 139).

"Live a life" translates a single word (peripatesai) that literally means "to walk." But it is often used in Scripture to depict life in its outward expression (cf. Col 2:6; 3:7; 4:4, et al.).

To live a life "worthy of the Lord" (axios tou kyriou) probably means to live a life that is commensurate with what the Lord has done for us and is to us. It may also suggest acting in conformity with our union with Christ and with his purpose for our lives.

The ultimate aim of knowing the will of God and living a worthy life is that the readers "may please him [God] in every way" (lit., "unto all pleasing"). The Greek word for "please" (aresko) suggests an attitude of mind that anticipates every wish. In classical Greek it had a bad connotation, denoting, as H.C.G. Moule observes, a cringing and subservient habit, ready to do anything to please a patron; not only to meet but to anticipate his most trivial wishes. But when transferred to... the believer's relations to his Lord, the word at once rises by its associations. To do anything to meet, to anticipate His wishes is not only the most absolutely right thing we could do. It is His eternal due; it is at the same time the surest path to our own highest development and gain (Cambridge Bible for Schools, p. 72).

Verses 10b-14 underline some of the elements in, or constituent parts of, the kind of life that is pleasing to the Lord. The leading ideas, expressed in Greek by four participles, are rendered in English by "bearing fruit" (v. 10b), "growing" (v. 10c), "being strengthened" (v. 11a), and "giving thanks" (v. 12). Grammatically, they all modify, and express attendant circumstances of, peripatesai—the word translated "live a life.'

"Bearing fruit" renders a present tense (karpophorountes), the meaning being that the Christian life is to exhibit continual fruitfulness. The fruit itself consists in "every good work"—or, as NEB puts it, "active goodness of every kind." (Paul lays great stress on good works in his letters [cf. Eph 2:10; Gal 5:5; Titus 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:8, 15, et al.]. But he represents them as the fruit, not the root, of a right relationship with God.)

The Christian should not only bear the fruit of good works in his life; he should at the same time experience personal spiritual enlargement. This idea is expressed in the words "growing in the knowledge of God." "Growing" (auxanomenoi), like "bearing fruit," represents a present tense and puts emphasis on habitual action. The preposition [rendered "in"] represents the knowledge of God as the sphere or realm in which spiritual growth takes place. It is possible, however, to translate the phrase as "growing by the knowledge of God." When rendered like this, the text affirms that the knowledge of God is the means by which the Christian grows. What rain and sunshine are to the nurture of plants, the knowledge of God is to the growth and maturing of the spiritual life."

10) [Col 1:11]:

a) [(Col 1:11) [Commentary On Col 1:11]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] =

AS IT INDICATES IN COL 1:1-11, WHEN PAUL HEARD FROM EPAPHRAS ABOUT THE FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS OF THE BELIEVERS IN COLOSSE, THEIR LOVE FOR ALL THE SAINTS, THE SURE HOPE OF THEIR SALVATION, THEIR HAVING PREVIOUSLY HEARD AND BELIEVED IN THE GOSPEL LEARNED FROM EPAPHRAS, FAITHFUL SERVANT OF CHRIST ON PAUL'S BEHALF, WITH PAUL HAVING CONTINUALLY PRAYED FOR THEM THAT THEY MAY BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WILL FOR THEM AND IN ALL SPIRITUAL WISDOM THAT THEY MAY WALK IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE LORD TO THE END RESULT IN VERSE 11 THAT THEY BE STRENGTHENED WITH ALL POWER TO GOD'S GLORIOUS MIGHT FOR THE ATTAINING OF ALL STEADFASTNESS AND PATIENCE UNTO THE JOY OF SERVING THE LORD

The timeframe in view in Col 1:1-11 began when Paul heard from Epaphras - fellow and beloved bond-servant of Christ when he reported to Paul about the progress of his efforts in Colosse. Epaphras' report was of the Colossians' faithfulness to their faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which they have toward all the saints, because of the sure hope of eternal life laid up for them in heaven, of which they previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which is now present in them, just as it is now in all the world also for it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in them also since the day they heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as they had learned it from Epaphras, our believed fellow bondservant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom. And Epaphras did act on Paul's behalf, so that a number of Colossians learned the gospel from him and then believed in it unto the sure hope of eternal life, they then were constantly and increasingly bearing the fruit of godly works and demonstrating agape love under the auspices of the indwelling Spirit toward all the saints. And it was since that time that Paul had not ceased praying to God for those Colossians that they might be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God with the view in Col 1:11 to the end result that they be strengthened with all power according to God's glorious might for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience with joy.

b) (Col 1:11) [Compare Bible Knowledge Commentary On Col 1:11]:

"Spiritual strength ... results from knowing God's will and pleasing Him. Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might includes three words for strength: "being strengthened" is dynamoumenoi; "power" is dynamei, spiritual vitality; and "might" is kratos ("power that overcomes resistance." This God-given strength produces great endurance and patience. This endurance (trans. "perseverance" in James 1:3) was exemplified by Job (James 5:11). To this endurance Paul added "patience," a word generally connected with gentleness and calm sweetness (as in 1 Cor. 13:4). Endurance and patience are often associated (cf. 2 Cor. 6:4, 6; 2 Tim. 3:10; James 5:10-11). Endurance (hypomonē, lit., a "remaining under") implies not easily succumbing under suffering; and patience (makrothymia, lit., "long temper"; cf. Col. 3:12) means self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate. A lack of endurance often results in despondency or losing heart, whereas a lack of patience often leads to wrath or revenge (cf. Prov. 15:18; 16:32).

All this is according to God's "glorious might" (lit., "might of His glory"). Glory means manifest excellence. It is an outward manifestation of God's inner character. In Ephesians 1:19-20 Paul wrote of God's "great power" (dynamis) and "the working (energeian) of His mighty (kratous) strength (ischyos)," which raised Christ from the dead."

c) [(Col 1:11) Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On Col 1:11]:

"11 "Being strengthened with all power" expresses a third element in the life pleasing to God. Christians are engaged in moral conflict with the cosmic powers of a darkened world (cf. Eph 6:12), and nothing short of divine empowerment can enable them to stand.

"Strengthened," which speaks of continuous empowerment, translates the same root word used in Philippians 4:13: "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

This empowerment is "according to his [God's] glorious might." That is to say, it is not proportioned simply to our need, but to God's abundant supply. The Greek behind the phrase "his glorious might" (to kratos tes doxes autou) is more literally rendered "the might of his glory." In this interpretation "glory" (doxes) stands for the revealed splendor or majesty of God - the sum total of his divine perfections.

The twofold issue of such empowerment is
"endurance and patience." The first term renders a Greek word (hypomonen) denoting the opposite of cowardice and despondency.

The second term (makrothymian), translated "longsuffering" in KJV, is the opposite of wrath or a spirit of revenge. It speaks of even-temperedness, the attitude that in spite of injury or insult does not retaliate.

It is debatable whether "joyfully" (meta charas; lit., "with joy") should be construed with "endurance and patience" (KJV, ASV, RSV, NEB) or with "giving thanks" (NIV.) In the former construction, joy is seen as the pervading element of endurance and patience. Goodspeed renders it "the cheerful exercise of endurance and forbearance." A distinctively Christian quality (cf. Gal 5:22; Philippians 1:18; 2:17; 3:1, et al.), joy is often associated in the NT with hardship and suffering."

11) [Col 1:12-13]:

a) [(Col 1:3-13) Commentary On Col 1:12-13]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] (Col 1:12 NASB) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light (Col 1:13 NASB) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" =

AS IT INDICATES IN COL 1:1-11, WHEN PAUL HEARD FROM EPAPHRAS ABOUT THE FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS OF THE BELIEVERS IN COLOSSE, THEIR LOVE FOR ALL THE SAINTS, THE SURE HOPE OF THEIR SALVATION, THEIR HAVING PREVIOUSLY HEARD AND BELIEVED IN THE GOSPEL LEARNED FROM EPAPHRAS, FAITHFUL SERVANT OF CHRIST ON PAUL'S BEHALF, WITH PAUL HAVING CONTINUALLY PRAYED FOR THEM THAT THEY MAY BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WILL FOR THEM AND IN ALL SPIRITUAL WISDOM THAT THEY MAY WALK IN A MANNER WORTHY OF THE LORD TO THE END RESULT IN VERSE 11 THAT THEY BE STRENGTHENED WITH ALL POWER TO GOD'S GLORIOUS MIGHT FOR THE ATTAINING OF ALL STEADFASTNESS AND PATIENCE UNTO THE JOY OF SERVING THE LORD. WHEREUPON IN VV. 12-13, PAUL EXPOUNDS ON HIS PRAYER GIVING THANKS TO THE FATHER, WHO HAS QUALIFIED BELIEVERS TO SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE OF THE SAINTS IN LIGHT - IN THE LIGHT OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. FOR ALL BELIEVERS WERE RESCUED FROM THE DOMAIN OF DARKNESS AND TRANSFERRED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD'S BELOVED SON - AN IMMEDIATE AND EVERLASTING POSITION IN THIS TEMPORAL LIFE IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE MOMENT OF FAITH IN CHRIST

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] (Col 1:12 NASB) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light (Col 1:13 NASB) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son"

It was since the time when Paul heard from Epaphras - fellow and beloved bond-servant of Christ - and on Paul's behalf, that a number of Colossians learned the gospel from him [Epaphras] and then believed in it unto the sure hope of eternal life then were constantly and increasingly bearing the fruit of godly works and demonstrating agape love under the auspices of the indwelling Spirit toward all the saints ... it was since that time ... that Paul had not ceased praying to God for those Colossians that they might be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God with the view to the end result that they be strengthened with all power according to God's glorious might for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience with joy.

Whereupon Paul continues to expound upon his prayer to God which added to the thought of vv 1-11 that Paul and all believers are to express thanksgiving to God for their being given the knowledge of His will, spiritual wisdom and understanding, their worthy walk, bearing fruit, increasing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His might with the accompanying steadfastness and patience with joy with what appears in Col 1:12-13: For it is God the Father Who has qualified them to share in the eternal inheritance of the saints in Light, i.e., in the sphere / kingdom of Light, i.e., of godliness; and rescued them from the domain of darkness and transferred into the Eternal Kingdom of God's beloved Son - an immediate and everlasting position in the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ from the moment of faith in this temporal life. Notice that the inheritance indicates one of inheriting eternal life. Not stipulated is the inheritance of rewards for faithful service such as corulership with Jesus Christ, etc.

i) [(Col 1:13) [Compare Col 1:13 with Eph 5:8-9]:

(Col 1:13 NASB) "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,"

(Eph 5:8 NASB) "for you [beloved children of God, saints, vv. 1-7] were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

(Eph 5:9 NASB) (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),"

i_1) [Col 1:13) [Expositor's Commentary On Eph 5:8-9]:

"Here Paul enlarges on the contrast between darkness and light. As in Ephesians 2:1-3 and 4:17-24, he reminds his readers of what they once were. One word suffices by way of summary—"darkness." Not only did they live in darkness: they were darkness (cf. 4:18). But now they' have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and inherit the kingdom of light (Col 1:12, 13). They not only live in the light: they are light. This is possible only in union with Christ who is Himself the Light. 

Note that although believers in their temporal lives are unfit relative to their temporal conduct in this life to receive a share of an eternal inheritance in Light in the Eternal Kingdom of God, God nevertheless graciously qualified them [aorist tense = completed action] to share in it simply as a result of their expression of a moment of faith alone in Christ alone and not predicated upon their faithfulness / conduct. Albeit the believers in Colosse were indeed commended by Paul to have been extraordinarily faithful. For the aorist tenses rendered "has qualified," "rescued," and "transformed," in Col 1:12-13 portray a completed action - a singular point in time in which God Himself made the believer fully qualified, rescued and transformed at the point in time in a positional but not an actual sense; which actualization in their experience is yet future awaiting being fully actualized at resurrection at the time of the rapture for church age believers such as those in Colosse .

All of this God has already accomplished, considering that God is outside of the restrictions of time and His creation. And all with a view to the positional truth that they as believers have already been rescued from the domain of darkness and have already been transferred to the living kingdom of light, the Kingdom of God's beloved Son while they live out their lives in their temporal bodies awaiting their final redemption .

b) [(Col 1:12-13) Bible Knowledge Commentary On Col 1:12-13]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] (Col 1:12 NASB) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light (Col 1:13 NASB) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" =

"Col 1:12-13. Such patient-producing power should be accompanied by "joyfully," not begrudgingly, giving thanks to the Father from Whom comes every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

Thankfulness, a fourth result of following God's will and pleasing Him, is a keynote in the spiritual life. Believers are urged elsewhere by Paul, "Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thes. 5:18) and to come before God "in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving" (Phil. 4:6). Four other times in Colossians (3:15-17; 4:2) Paul enjoined believers to be grateful. Joyfulness too is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), made possible by the gospel (cf. Isa. 29:19; John 16:20; Acts 13:52). Here Paul centered thanksgiving on the fact that God has qualified you (lit., "made you competent"; cf. 2 Cor. 3:6) to share in the inheritance of the saints (i.e., the kingdom treasures that belong to believers; cf. Eph. 1:7). In short, though believers are unfit in themselves, God has fitted them to share in the inheritance of His holy people. This "inheritance" (tēn merida tou klērou, lit., "the parcel of the lot") is reminiscent of the way the inheritance of the land of promise was given to the Israelites under Joshua (Josh. 14:2). This inheritance is in the... light (cf. 2 Cor. 4:6; 1 Peter 2:9). (The NIV supplying the words "kingdom of," which are not in the Gr., reads "in the kingdom of light.") This light is the spiritual sphere to which believers have been transferred from the dominion of darkness and sin (Luke 22:53; Acts 26:18; Eph. 6:12). From this dominion (exousias, "power, authority") of darkness (cf. John 3:19-20) believers have been rescued, delivered.

Through Christ they were brought from a rebel kingdom and placed under the sovereignty of their rightful King. The sovereign Christ is here called the Son He loves (lit., "the Son of His love"; cf. 1 John 4:8, 16). J. B. Lightfoot says this means the Son who embodies and manifests God's love (St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, p. 142). But H.C.G. Moule says it signifies the Son who is "the blessed Object of the Father's love... the supremely Beloved One" (The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians and to Philemon, p. 75). This seems preferable (cf. Eph. 1:6)."

c) [Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On Col 1:12-13]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] (Col 1:12 NASB) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light (Col 1:13 NASB) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" =

"12 The fourth ingredient, and the crowning virtue, of the worthy Christian life is gratitude. One reason for giving thanks to God is that he has "qualified" believers "to share in the inheritance of the saints." The Greek word for "qualified" (hikanosanti), which basically has in it the thought of making sufficient or competent, may shade into the sense of empowering or authorizing. From its use in this passage we may conclude that in themselves believers have no fitness for sharing in the heritage of God's people. They can experience this only as God qualifies them for such a privilege. The tense of the word is aorist, pointing to the time of the Colossians' conversion. The suggestion is that the qualifying is not a process but an instantaneous act.

To "share in" the inheritance of the saints is to have a portion of the heritage belonging to God's people. There is an obvious allusion to the inheritance of ancient Israel in the Land of Promise and the share of the inheritance each Israelite had. Christians, as the new people of God, also have an inheritance, and each believer has a share allotted to him.

[The word rendered "light"] appears at first to mark the inheritance as future and heavenly (cf. TCNT). But the following verse [v. 13] affirms that Christians have already been rescued from the dominion of darkness and are even now in the kingdom of God's Son. H.C.G. Moule therefore rightly argues that the reference is "properly to the believer's position and possession even now. This Canaan," he explains, "is not in the distance, beyond death; it is about us today, in our home, in our family, in our business,... in all that makes up mortal life" (pp. 65, 66).

13 The proof that God has qualified us for a share of the inheritance of the saints is that he has "rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves."

"Rescued" translates "errusato," a word that means to liberate, save, or deliver someone from something or someone; that from which Christians have been rescued is a "dominion of darkness." Luke (22:53) reports Jesus' use of the same phrase at the time of his arrest in Gethsemane. "Darkness" in Scripture is symbolic of ignorance, falsehood, and sin (cf. John 3:19; Rom 13:12). But Paul probably had the Colossian heresy in mind, because the principalities and powers to which the false teachers urged Christians to pay homage are designated by him "the powers of this dark world" (Eph 6:12).

God's action in behalf of his people does not stop with deliverance from the authority of darkness. He has also "brought" them "into the kingdom of the Son He loves." "Brought" translates "metestesen," a word that was used in secular literature in reference to removing persons from one country and settling them as colonists and citizens in another country. It might be rendered "reestablished." The aorist tense of the verb points to the time of conversion  a point in past time - a completed action. The "kingdom" (rule) is not to be interpreted eschatologically. It was for the Colossians a present reality (cf. John 3:3-5). Nor is the kingdom to be interpreted in a territorial sense. That is to say, it is not an area that may be designated on a map; it is the sovereign rule of the Lord Christ over human hearts.

"The Son he loves" translates a phrase (tou huiou tes agapes autou) that literally reads "the Son of his love." It is a Hebraic way of saying "God's dear Son." The expression is reminiscent of the words of the Father at the baptism and the transfiguration of Jesus."

So Paul continues his indirect discourse against Gnosticism in verses 13 and 14. The Gnostics denied that the Messiah had come in the flesh. They taught that one did not need the atoning sacrifice of his blood for salvation, because he had never really lived as a human being. Rather, the Gnostics emphasized that salvation could be attained only through the secret knowledge that Christ had given his disciples.

The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Eerdmans) states: "Increasingly, scholars recognize that Christianity's proclamation of a divine savior provided the catalyst for the Gnostic movement. Many Gnostics traced their teaching back to him and the secret teaching he purportedly revealed after the resurrection. Gnostic christologies offer a savior without the incarnation (a Christ-spirit) who gives knowledge instead of calling for faith . . ." (p. 422, "Gnosticism"). This is a theme we'll see Paul combat again later in his letter.

12) [Col 1:14]:

a) [(Col 1:14) Manuscript Evidence]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) (Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] (Col 1:12 NASB) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light" (Col 1:13 NASB) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (Col 1:14 NASB) in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." =

WH, NU, Maj, Sinaiticus, A, B, C, D, F, G, Psi, 075, 33, 1739 have "the redemption"

TR, 614, 630, syr(h) have "the redemption through His blood"

Though Ephesians and Colossians were written at about the same time, the wording in each, though similar in many instances, is rarely a verbatim replication of what is in the other epistle. The variant is an obvious scribal attempt to make Col 1:14 exactly the same as Eph 1:7, a parallel passage. It should be noted that this variant did not appear in a Greek manuscript until the ninth century. Nonetheless, TR has this reading followed by KJV, NKJV.

The statement “through his blood” in Colossians 1:14, is not found in most modern versions of the Bible. What would be the reason that such a Biblical truth could be removed?

(KJVR) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:“

(NIV) “…in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Let us first look at the manuscripts to our disposal. The oldest Greek manuscript we have containing the words “through his blood”, is Ms. 1912 dating 950 A.D. and then again in Ms. 35 of 1050. After that most minuscule manuscripts do have these words.

Of all the Antique translations available only one, the Harclean Syriac translation of 600 A.D. contains these words! The first time we again find these words in a translation of the Bible, is the Clementina edition of the Roman Vulgate, printed during 1592. That was 76 years after Erasmus printed these words in the first published printed edition of a New Testament, and could just as well have been adapted accordingly. Erasmus’s printed edition of the New Testament (1516) later became known as the Textus Receptus and due to its availability and ease of reading had been used as source text for many translations, including the King James Version.

The manuscript evidence leaves no doubt that these words had never been part of the original autograph.

But we all know this statement so well. Where then is it really found in the Bible?

It is written in Ephesians 1:7: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…” (NIV)

Nobody needs to correct Paul as though he didn’t listen to the Holy Spirit when he wrote this letter to the Colossians, just because the Holy Spirit let him elaborate in the letter to the Ephesians.

Redemption through the blood of Jesus is a sound Biblical truth, written for us in Ephesians one. Yet that does not necessitate it to be added to every verse talking about our salvation. As the Holy Spirit guided Paul to write to the Colossians is good enough. Nothing needs to be added.

Of course Paul spoke about the redemption through the blood of Jesus earlier in his epistles: 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:25,27 concerning the Holy Communion; Rom 3:24-25; 5:9. and also in Ephesians 2:13.

In Colossians 1:20 he pertinently mentions the blood on the cross.

b) [(Col 1:14) Commentary On Col 1:14]:

(Col 1:3 NASB) "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (Col 1:4 YLT) having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that which you have toward all the saints, (Col 1:5 NASB) because of the [sure] hope [of eternal life] laid up for you in heaven, [lit., the heavens] of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel [lit., of the gospel] (Col 1:6 NASB) which [is present] to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Col 1:7 NASB) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, (Col 1:8 NASB) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. (Col 1:9 NASB) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Col 1:10 NASB) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:11 NASB) [being] strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, [lit. the might of His glory unto all] for the attaining of all steadfastness and [lit., patience with joy] (Col 1:12 NASB) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light" (Col 1:13 NASB) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (Col 1:14 NASB) in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." =

IN WHOM - IN GOD'S BELOVED SON - WE BELIEVERS HAVE REDEMPTION, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS BEGINNING IMMEDIATELY AT THE POINT OF SAVING FAITH AWAITING THE FINAL STAGE OF REDEMPTION OF BEING TRANSFORMED INTO THE PERFECT ETERNAL STATE. SO IN VIEW IS THE REDEMPTION - THE PAYMENT FOR THE TRESPASSES / SINS PARTICULARLY THE SAINTS - THE BELIEVING ONES IN CHRIST JESUS WHO HAVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED BECAUSE CHRIST PAID FOR THE SINS OF ALL MANKIND. ALTHOUGH ALL MANKIND HAS HAD THEIR SINS PAID FOR, FORGIVENESS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS NOT RECEIVED UNTIL ONE BELIEVES IN JESUS CHRIST FOR IT.

The Greek words transliterated "en hO" rendered "in Whom" refer to "His [God's] beloved Son" in the previous verse which is followed by "we [the saints in Colosse, i.e., those who believed in Christ unto eternal life] have [present tense] redemption, the forgiveness of sins" beginning immediately at the point of saving faith. In view is the redemption, Greek "tEn apolutrOsin," accusative case - the payment for the trespasses / sins particularly of the saints, the believing ones in Christ Jesus Who the latter paid for the sins of all mankind with His sacrifice by the shedding of His blood upon the cross, (cf. Ro 3:21-24; 1 Jn 2:2). The Greek word "apolutrOsin" rendered "redemption" implies that sin had formerly held all mankind captive to a self-destructive lifestyle of sin. "ApolutrOsin" is further defined in Col 1:14 and Eph 1:7 as "the forgiveness of our trespasses," evidently through a moment of faith in Christ's redemption through His blood which brings every spiritual blessing to the saint, the one believing in Christ Jesus. So Col 1:14 and Eph 1:7 have in view the soteriological [salvation] meaning - the present redemption / salvation; while Eph 1:14 has the Holy Spirit having been given as a pledge or guarantee of a future inheritance: the eschatolotical redemption which is waiting for "us" "until the future redemption of the purchased possession.

So redemption and forgiveness of sins go hand in hand. For the Greek word "ten apolutrOsin" rendered redemption refers to being released or set free from sin via a sacrifice for sins: Christ paid the price, and the Holy Spirit makes deliverance actual in experience, (Ro 8:2) . And the Greek word, "aphesian" rendered "forgiveness" or "remission" [of sins] signifies the removal of our sins from us so that they are no longer barriers that separate us from God.

i) [(Col 1:14) Compare Col 1:14 with Eph 1:3-7]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

(Eph 1:3 NASB) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who [did bless] us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (Eph 1:4 HCSB) for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight [in love], (Eph 1:5 NKJV) having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Eph 1:6 NASB) to the praise of the glory of His grace, [of] which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [One], (Eph 1:7 NASB) In [Whom = Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" =

Author and Apostle Paul praises / blesses the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of all the saints for having bestowed every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places upon the saints - the ones believing in Christ Jesus, for He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight in love, having predestined [us] to eternal life and adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, [of] which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved One - [by means of Jesus Christ], in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.

The phrase in Eph 1:7 rendered "in Whom we have redemption through His blood" has in view the redemption, Greek "tEn apolutrOsin," accusative case - the payment for the trespasses / sins particularly of the saints, the believing ones in Christ Jesus Who paid for the sins of all mankind with His sacrifice by the shedding of His blood upon the cross, (cf. Ro 3:21-24 ; 1 Jn 2:2). The Greek word "apolutrOsin" rendered "redemption" implies that sin had formerly held all mankind captive to a self-destructive lifestyle of sin. "ApolutrOsin" is further defined in Eph 1:7 as "the forgiveness of our trespasses," evidently through a moment of faith in Christ's redemption through His blood which brings every spiritual blessing to the saint, the one believing in Christ Jesus. So Eph 1:7 has in view the soteriological [salvation] meaning - the present redemption / salvation; while Eph 1:14 has the Holy Spirit having been given as a pledge or guarantee of a future inheritance: the eschatolotical redemption which is waiting for "us" "until the future redemption of the purchased possession.

The apostle repeated this thought in Ephesians 4:30, using the same Greek word "apolutrOseOs," genetive case where he declared that we have received the Holy Spirit as a seal until the day of our redemption - looking to the future redemption, the eschatological meaning of the word relative to believers in Christ, the saints.

This is identical with what Paul termed “the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23), (Greek "tEn apolutrOsin," accusative case).

Note that "trespasses" (paraptOmatOn) are lapses, while "sins" (hamartiai) are shortcomings - both referring to the same thing. There is no distinction between thoughts and deeds when they fall short of the Righteousness of God. The shedding of blood indicates that Jesus Christ in His Humanity actually went to and died on the cross, refuting the myth that He did not actually pay for sins in this manner. And the redemption of Jesus Christ is further defined as "the forgiveness of our trespasses" - the forgiveness of the saint himself, his intrinsic sinful nature at the moment when he believes in Jesus Christ for forgiveness. And this forgiveness is "according to the riches of His [God's] grace," according to the measure of the wealth of God's unmerited favor to everyone who exercises a moment of faith alone in His Son alone for eternal life.

II) [Col 1:15-29]:

A) [INTRODUCTION]:

THIS SECTION CONTAINS A REFUTATION OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE COLOSSIAN ERRORISTS - EVIDENTLY SIMILAR TO GNOSTICISM, PERHAPS A FORM OF PRE-GNOSTICISM, POINTS OF WHICH FOLLOW:

In this next section author and apostle Paul refuted the doctrines promulgated by the Colossian errorists, in whose system angelic mediators usurped the place and function of Jesus Christ.

The following may be regarded as the chief points in the Gnostic systems:

(1) a claim on the part of the initiated to a special knowledge of the truth; a tendency to regard knowledge as superior to faith and as the special possession of the more enlightened, for ordinary Christians did not possess this secret and higher doctrine;

(2) the essential separation of matter and spirit, matter being intrinsically evil and the source from which all evil has arisen;

(3) an attempt to solve the problems of creation and the origin of evil by postulating a demiurge, i.e., a creator or artificer of the world distinct from the deity, and emanations extending between God and the visible universe (the demiurge for the Gnostics being the God of the OT, an inferior being infinitely remote from the Supreme Being who can have nothing to do with anything material);

(4) a denial of the true humanity of Christ; a docetic Christology which considered the earthly life of Christ and especially His sufferings on the cross to be unreal;

(5) the denial of the personality of the Supreme God, and also the denial of the free will of mankind;

(6) the teaching, on the one hand, of asceticism as the means of attaining spiritual communion with God, and, on the other hand, of an indifference that led directly to licentiousness;

(7) a syncretistic tendency that combined certain more or less misunderstood Christian doctrines and various elements from oriental, Jewish, Greek, and other sources;

(8) ascription of the OT to the demiurge or inferior creator of the world. .

B) [VERSES]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16 NASB) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 

(Col 1:18 NASB) He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

(Col 1:19 NASB) For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him.

(Col 1:20 NASB) and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself [God], having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

(Col 1:21 NASB) And although you were formerly alienated [being having been alienated] and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

(Col 1:22 NASB) yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach -

(Col 1:23 NASB) if indeed [= especially since] you [Colossion believers] continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

(Col 1:24 NASB) Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

(Col 1:26 NASB) that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

(Col 1:27 NASB) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

(Col 1:28 NASB) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

(Col 1:29 NASB) For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

1) [Col 1:14-15a]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." =

a) [(Col 1:15a) Commentary On Col 1:15a]:

JESUS CHRIST IS THE IMAGE OF THE INVISISIBLE GOD - AN EXACT / ACCURATE / CREDIBLE REPRESENTATION AND MANIFESTATION OF THE ABSOLUTE IMAGE OF GOD CORROBORATING THE DEITY OF THE SON OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST. FOR NO ONE ELSE BUT GOD CAN POSSESS SUCH AN IMAGE

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." =

The first phrase of Col 1:15 rendered "He [Jesus Christ, (Col 1:6, 13)] is the image of the invisible God" fully establishes His Deity because the Greek word "aoratou" rendered "invisible" in the Greek phrase, "hos estin eikiOn tou ThEou aoratou," rendered "He is the image of the invisible God" demands an exact / accurate, credible representation and manifestation of the absolute image of God, especially in view of the definite article accompanying "tou Theou aoratou" rendered "the invisible God," pointing to the one and only God besides Whom there is no other, (Isa 45:5; 43:6 ). Not even an accurate image of God exists except in that of Jesus Christ Who is God . Note that the fact that "EikOn" rendered "image" is anarthrous, i.e., without the definite article. This signifies having the characteristics of the one and only God, corroborating the Deity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Although the Greek word "eikOn" rendered "image" does not always denote the perfect, absolute image of God; for example, 1 Cor 11:7 stipulates that a man "is the image and glory of God," (cf. Ro 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18); nevertheless, the context of Col 1:15a demands an understanding of the absolute perfection of the image of God.

So in regard to deity, Christ is "the image of the invisible God" (cf. 2 Cor 4:4). In interpreting this statement, the text does not limit the understanding that Christ is the image of God only in a material or physical sense. Nor can Col 1:15a be interpreted to refer to a "likeness" which may be superficial and incidental, and definitely not absolute. Nor should we limit the passage as portraying the concept to one stage or a period of Christ's existence. Some interpreters think Paul's reference is limited to the preincarnate Christ, and the statements of vv. 15b, 16, which speak of Christ's relation to creation, do have this in view - but not to the exclusion of His absolute image of Who God is. Others prefer to think that the apostle had in mind that Col 1:15a has in view the incarnate Christ in his glorified state which asserts the preexistence of the Son, limiting the meaning of the phrase to the exalted Christ. But the text does not limit itself to this concept at all. Christ always has been, is, and always will be the image of God. His incarnation did not make Him the image of God, but it did bring to mankind an understanding of Who God is by that Image, which is more within our grasp of understanding of Who God is because of His incarnation.

The Greek word "eikon," rendered "image," expresses two ideas. One is likeness. For Christ is the image of God in the sense that he is absolutely the exact likeness of God, like the image on a coin or the reflection in a mirror (cf. Heb 1:3). The other idea in the word is manifestation. That is, Christ is the image of God in the sense that the nature and being of God are perfectly revealed in Him (cf. John 1:18). Therefore Paul can boldly say that we have "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor 4:6) and that believers, reflecting the Lord's glory, "are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory" (2 Cor 3:18). Paul's statement leaves no place for the vague emanations and shadowy abstractions so prominent in the gnostic system.

Note that the Greek word "aoratou" rendered "invisible" refers to the fact that the invisibility of God is being manifested by Jesus Christ - His appearance, thoughts, words and deeds making evident Who God is to mankind, albeit most of mankind are blinded to Who He is by the god of this world.

This is corroborated by 2 Cor 4:4, Heb 1:3, Jn 1:18, Jn 14:9, Phil 2:6-7, 1 Tim 1:15-17, Jn 17:5 and Ro 1:20 which are quoted below as follows:

i) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with 2 Cor 4:3-4]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(2 Cor 4:3 NASB) "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled those who are perishing.

(2 Cor 4:4 NASB) in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God."

ii) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with Heb 1:3]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Heb 1:3 NASB) "And He [God's Son, Heb 1:1, Jesus, Heb 2:9] is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."

"And He [God's Son, Heb 1:1, Jesus, Heb 2:9] is declared in His Humanity, (with His Deity ever present), is the radiance of His [God's] glory and the exact representation of His [God's] nature - in the sense of in every respect. And furthermore, God's Son "upholds all things by the word of His power" - as God: So the God Who spoke things into existence as recorded in Genesis is the God Who continues to keep the universe in running order.

iii) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with Jn 1:18]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Jn 1:18 NASB) [ Jesus said] "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."

The phrase "one and only Son" follows the majority of Gr. MSS, which read ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός (ho monogenes huios). A number of MSS, including the two oldest papyri, read "only God" (μονογενὴς θεὸς, monogenes theos). This is supported by a large number of quotations from the Fathers and several other MSS that also include the article ὁ (ho). If the rule is accepted that the more difficult reading is preferred - the latter reading in this case - there can be no doubt that this text also asserts the deity of Christ.

Jesus explained to His disciples that "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him in the sense of made Him [God] known by virtue of Who He is - His thoughts, words and deeds.

iv) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with 1 Tim 1:15-17]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

And in 1 Tim 1:15-17, Paul declared as follows, referring to Jesus Christ:

(1 Ti 1:15 NASB) "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

(1 Tim 1:16 NASB) Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

(1 Tim 1:17 NASB) Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."

v) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with Jn 14:9]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Jn 14:9 NASB) "Jesus said to him, 'Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?"

vi) (Col 1:15a) [Compare Col 1:15a with Phil 2:5-8  ]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Phil 2:5 NKJV) "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (Phil 2:6 NKJV) Who, being in [the] form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (Phil 2:6 NASB) Who, although He existed [subsisted] in [the] form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (Phil 2:6 KJV) Who, being in [the] form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, (Phil 2:7 NKJV) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, [and] coming in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:7 NASB) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:8 NKJV) And being found in appearance as [a] man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to [the point of] death, even the death of the cross." =

(Phil 2:6 Greek) "hos ....en .........morphE ....Theou .huparchOn

............................"Who ..in ..........form ..........of God subsisted

ouch harpagmon hEgEsato ...to

not ...robbery ......esteemed it.the

einai isa ....TheO

to be equal with God

So the Greek word "morphE" rendered "form" in Phil 2:6 in the Greek phrase "hos en morphE Theou huparchOn" rendered "Who being / existed / subsisted in the form of God" has no definite article. Since the word does not have the definite article, it therefore is stressing the essence / the quality of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Note that His addition to Himself of Perfect Humanity which will continue forever from its inception is in view in the next two verses, ref. Phil 2:7-8. Although the word "form" in English can refer to the internal and/or the external - even convey a superficial shell of a form of something, it cannot be restricted in Phil 2:6 to a superficial outer shell that can be discarded or a form of a god, as some contend. For the Greek word "morphE" in Phil 2:6 & 7 has a greater sense than that because of the words "equal / equality with God" in verse 6. So the internal and external quality of the nature of Christ Jesus as wholly equal to God is in view - Almighty, Eternal, Immutable and Holy God, (Ps 102:25-27; Mal 3:6).

Since the Greek word, "morphE" in Phil 2:6 indicates the internal and external nature - the Essence of Almighty, Eternal, Immutable, Holy God subsisting in Christ Jesus from eternity, then nothing in this passage teaches that Christ Jesus emptied Himself of either His divine nature or His divine attributes. Therefore the phrase "emptied Himself" in Phil 2:6 indicates that He emptied Himself in the sense of voluntarily setting aside / deferring His expression as God through the Humanity He added to Himself in the form and expression of Perfect Humanity, (Phil 2:7; cf. Jn 1:14). So He exclusively expressed His Humanity during His Humanity's ministry on earth from the conception / birth of His Humanity, (Mt 1:18, Lk 1:30-35), until His Humanity's death on the cross, (Phil 2:8) - with the exception of His transfiguration, (Mt 17:2-9). The Perfect Humanity of Christ is referred to by the name "Jesus," (Jn 1:25-34). And when the Christ, the Son of God, took upon Himself the form and expression of Perfect Humanity, He did it in order to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world, (Phil 2:8; cf. 1 Jn 2:1-2). Only the form and expression of Christ Jesus' Humanity could have participated in His sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. For God's Holiness cannot be tainted with the guilt of humanity, (Refs. Ex 15:11; Lev 11:44; 19:2; Ps 18:30; 92:15; 22:3; Lk 18:19; 1 Jn 1:5); nor can Christ Jesus' Essence as God die or change in any way, because God is immutable, (Ps 102:25-27; Mal 3:6).

The Greek word "morphē" which is rendered "form" in Phil. 2:6-7 , and "eikōn" which is rendered "image" where both mean the very substance or essential embodiment of something or someone in Col 1:15.

vii) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with Heb 10:1]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Heb 10:1 NASB) "For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near."

In Hebrews 10:1 the same word "eikōn" is reckoned "shadow" and "the very image," which is Christ, are contrasted (cf. Col. 2:17). So Christ's supremacy as God is indicated in His relationship with God the Father. Christ is the perfect resemblance and representation of God because He is God .

viii) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with Jn 17:5]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Jn 17:5 NASB) "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."

Jesus is the very image of God in His Perfect Humanity. For before the world was, the Word, the Son of God was there, i.e., before the beginning of Creation the Word was there. In other words He existed, uncreated, eternal - God, the eternal Son of God . And in that beginning He was the One Who created all things: "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being'" (Jn 1:3). There was nothing that was created that was not created by the Word. And during the existence of Creation, Jesus Christ added to Himself Perfect Humanity, (ref Heb 1:3; Phil 2:5-8 ).

ix) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with Ro 1:20]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Ro 1:20 NASB) "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

God is invisible, nevertheless His Creation clearly presents to mankind Who He is. And so much the more, is His Son clearly visible - an exact image of God in all of His thoughts, words and deeds; and He is not invisible but discernible to mankind, (Jn 1:18, ).

x) [(Col 1:15a) Compare Col 1:15a with Jn 1:1c ]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Jn 1:1 YLT) "In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Notice the position of "Theos" = "God" at the beginning of the third phrase, (Jn 1:1c), which makes it an emphatic one. Furthermore it is without the definite article which serves as a predicate nominative with the verb "was" to describe the Word as having the essence of God:

Since there is no article in front of "Theos" = "God," the noun is said to be anarthrous, i.e., without an article. The verb "was" = "en," (to be), is a copulative and intransitive verb, i.e., it joins two subjects together in meaning in this context and takes no object. There can be no direct object following "was" because intransitive copulative verbs take no objects but take instead predicate nominatives which refer back in meaning to the subject of the clause. Hence, Jn 1:1c joins the two subjects = "Theos" and = "Logos" in meaning where the former being without an article and in view of the previous phrases describes the quality of the latter. Hence "Logos," the Word is described by everything that "Theos," God is.

So contrary to the objections of some, the anarthrous "Theos" rendered "God" in Jn 1:1c is in the predicate nominative case which refers back in meaning to the subject, "Ho Logos" rendered "The Word." The rule of grammar is that where there is an intransitive verb, such as "En" rendered "was," it is the noun which is anarthrous which is the predicate nominative; and the subject which is articular, i.e, which has a definite article. On the other hand, if both of the nouns in a phrase with an intransitive verb have the article, or if both lack the article, the two nouns become interchangeable. For example, if there had been an article in front of "Theos," then John would have been telling us that "(the) God was the Word" as well as "the Word was (the) God." But there is no article in front of "Theos" so author John is not teaching that the Word, (Jesus Christ, vv. 16-17), and God [the Father] were the same Person. Hence we avoid the heresy of modalism and a contradiction since the Word cannot be with God if both are one and the same.

Therefore, in view of the emphatic position of "Theos" (God) at the beginning of Jn 1:1c and the lack of a definite article in Jn 1:1c pointing to it as the predicate nominative which describes the subject,"Ho Logos," (the Word); we conclude that the qualities of God, i.e., His divine essence which only God can possess, are indicated as qualities which are inherent in "Logos" = "the Word." So "Theos" in this phrase means that the Word has the nature, qualities and essence of the One and only God, i.e., God is the Word. Hence the Word is a mode of expression of God, the Person of the Son of God.

xi) So Jesus Christ Is Both God And Man Whenever He Is Referred To In Colossians Chapter One And Everywhere In Scripture

Although Jesus Christ is the name referred to throughout Colossians chapter one through context and by the pronouns Him, He, Himself; and since the name of Jesus Christ in Scripture is the English rendering of Greek words from the first century to name the One Who appeared on the earth in His Humanity; this is not to say that His Eternal essence as God is excluded, segregated out, not in view as part of His Essence, or not to be considered because of the apparent main focus on the Son of God's Essence of Perfect Humanity. For the Diety of Jesus Christ is Eternal to which He added His Essence of Perfect Humanity in the first century, (ref. Phil 2:5-8 and many other passages such as those compared to Colossians chapter one quoted above).

2) [Col 1:15b]:

a) [(Col 1:15b) Commentary On Col 1:15b]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." =

JESUS CHRIST IS THE FIRST BORN OF ALL CREATION IN THE SENSE OF BEING PREEMINENT OVER ALL OF CREATION BECAUSE HE IS ITS CREATOR. HE HAS SUPREME POSITION AND AUTHORITY OVER ALL OF CREATION. HE IS NOT FIRST CREATED BECAUSE HE IS BEFORE ALL CREATION, WHO CREATED ALL THAT HAS BEEN CREATED, HENCE HE IS CREATOR, UNCREATED - GOD

The next phrase in Col 1:15 which defines Jesus Christ, "prOtotokos pases ktisEOs" is rendered "first born of all creation" in the NASB. If it were intended that this passage indicate that Jesus was the first to be created / born human, then the Greek word "prOtoktisis" should have been written to make the point absolutely clear. For the Greek word "prOtotokos" rendered "firstborn" does not necessarily mean "first created." "PrOtotokos"is found 7 times in the Greek Bible. It means first in rank, an heir, to have preeminence in position, NOT in origin. The other Greek word for created is "prOtoktisis" It is NOT used to describe Who Jesus Christ is in Scripture. Jesus is presented throughout Scripture as before all things / creation; hence uncreated. He is before all things - the Creator, Who is separate from His creation in this regard, albeit He is God hence He is omnipresent . A creature cannot be the Creator. The position of Creator is reserved for God alone as it is clearly indicated in Colossians 1:15b-20:

(Col 1:15b NASB) "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16 NASB) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

(Col 1:18 NASB) He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

(Col 1:19 NASB) For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him.

(Col 1:20 NASB) and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself [God], having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."

There are several passages in the Bible where someone is spoken of as being "firstborn" when they were not actually the first person born. An example that is used by many is the example of Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh was born first with Ephraim being the second child. (Gen 41:51, 52) However, later it is Ephraim that is spoken of as being first born. (Jer 31:9) This is because "first born" refers to position. The usual definition given is "pre-eminence."

This is also shown in Psalm 89:27 where God says that He would make David the Firstborn. Obviously David was not the first one born to his father, Jacob. But in regards to position, David would be king and thereby pre-eminent over everyone in Israel.

Although "prOtotokos" may in certain contexts be rendered "firstborn in the sense of being born as a human being first in chronological order of time; hence to be part of creation; in the context of Colossians chapter one, Jesus Christ is first born over all creation in the sense of being preeminent, i.e., being absolutely superior to mankind and all of creation, Who is uncreated and eternal - God. For the Word is Creator of all things that have been created, (Jn 1:3). i.e., God. He therefore could not be part of Creation if He created all things.

So the Greek word "prOtotokos" rendered "Firstborn" in Col 1:15b denotes two things of Christ: He preceded the whole of Creation, and He is Sovereign over all Creation. In the Hebrew Bible - the Old Testament - a firstborn child had not only priority of birth but also the dignity and superiority that went with it (cf. Ex. 13:2-15; Deut. 21:17). The description "firstborn" was not a fairly common Old Testament designation of the Messiah-God. "I will also appoint Him My Firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth" (Ps. 89:27). While this regal psalm refers to David, it also designates the Messiah, as seen in Revelation 1:5, where Christ is called "the Firstborn from the dead (cf. Col. 1:18) and the Ruler of the kings of the earth." So "Firstborn" implies both Christ's priority to all Creation (in time) and His sovereignty over all Creation (in rank).

Note that Jehovah's Witnesses wrongly add the word "other" five times in this passage in their New World Translation:

"15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. 17  Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist, 18  and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might become the one who is first in all things; 19  because God was pleased to have all fullness to dwell in him, 20  and through him to reconcile to himself all other things by making peace through the blood he shed on the torture stake, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens."

Thus they suggest that Christ created all other things after He was created! But the word "other" is not in the Greek.

So the comparative (superlative) force of "prOtotokos" is used (first-born of all creation) as in Col 1:18; Rom 8:29; Heb 1:6; 12:23; Rev 1:5. Paul is here refuting the errorists who might be Gnostics or pre-Gnostics who pictured Christ as one of the aeons by placing Him before "all creation" (angels and men), . So Paul uses both Greek words, "eikOn"  and "prOtotokos" to help express the deity of Jesus Christ in his relation to the Father as "eikOn" rendered "Image" and to the universe as "prOtotokos" rendered "First-born."

The whole point of this passage in Colossians chapter one and the whole book of Colossians is to prove out Christ's absolute superiority over all things.

And the rest of scripture corroborates His Absolute Sovereignty.

i) [(Col 1:15b) Compare Col 1:15b with the next two verses, (Col 1:16-17), to prove out Christ's absolute superiority over all things]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Col 1:16 NASB) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

ii) [(Col 1:15b) Compare Col 1:15b with Rev 1:5]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Rev 1:5 NASB) and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood  -"

The context of Col.1:15 and of Rev.1:5 each implies that the meaning of the Greek word "prOtotokos" rendered "firstborn" includes being risen from the dead to eternal life. Although in history, Jesus Christ was not the first person raised from the dead, He was the first raised to eternal life in the body, which gives him headship over the human race. So since Christ is to have preeminence he is the heir of all things.

iii) [(Col 1:15b) Compare Col 1:15b with Heb 1:5-6]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Heb 1:5 NASB) '''For to which of the angels did He ever say, "You are My Son, today I have begotten You?" And again, "I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me?"

(Heb 1:6 NASB) And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him." '''

Heb 1:5-6 is saying that when God again brings the firstborn into the world, He will bring Him into the world through resurrection which implies that He is the firstborn from the dead to eternal life. In the next phrase of Heb 1:6, God says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him." Since only God is to be worshipped, (Ex 20:4-5), and since the Son is God is worshipped by all the creatures, then He is the firstborn of all Creation but not a creature Himself. He is uncreated, God .

iv) [(Col 1:15b) Compare Col 1:15b with Rev 1:17-18]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Rev 1:17 NASB) "When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

(Rev 1:18 NASB) and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."

When Jesus declared Himself "the First" (ho prOtos; Rev. 1:17), He used a word that means "absolutely first." "Firstborn" also implies sovereignty. Only the One Who can never die, Who has and is life eternal can have the keys of death and of Hades, (cf. Jn 1:4 ).

v) [(Col 1:15b) Compare Col 1:15b with Rev 3:14]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Rev 3:14 NASB) "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God, says this:"

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Iglesia Ni Christo bring this passage to people’s attention to prove Christ is the first to be created by God. But it does not say first created. The Greek word "archE" is rendered "beginning" in the phrase "the beginning of the Creation of God." The context is not the first of creatures as the Arians held and Unitarians do now, but the originating Source of Creation, Who is God Himself (John 1:3; Heb 1:2, as is made clear by Rev 1:18; 2:8; 3:21; 5:13).

So the Greek word "arche" rendered "beginning" signifies that it is God Who is the Source and Architect of Creation, which actually proves the exact opposite of those who deny the preexistence of the Word - Jesus Christ - before Creation which is clearly stipulated and indicated in Jn 1:1-3 . If one takes this position then the Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end) also had a beginning, for the same word is used (Rev. 1:8, 21:6, 22:16). In fact, Rev 1:8 assigns to Him Who is called the beginning and the end as “the Almighty.” The Scripture says the Son (the Word, Jn 1:1-3), i.e., He was in the beginning with in the sense of face to face with God (John 1:1-3 ). If the Son had a beginning, then one must also say the Father did too. Then God is not preexistent to anything He created!

The first created things are in Genesis 1:1, it says the heavens and the earth. God had to make a habitat first for the creatures, angels and humanity.

vi) [(Col 1:15b) Compare Col 1:15b with Ro 8:28-29]:

(Col 1:14 NASB) "in Whom [Jesus Christ, (v. 6), the Son of His love, (v. 13)] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(Col 1:15 NASB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Ro 8:28 YLT) "And we have known that to those loving God all things do work together for [godly] good, to those who are called according to [His] purpose.

(Ro 8:29 NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren"

(Ro 8:29 Greek) "hoti ........hous ...proegnO .........kai .proOrisen
..........................."Because .whom .He foreknew,   also He predestined

summorphous tEs eikonos tou .....huiou autou eis to ...einai .auton
conformed to .the .image ...of the Son ...His, ...for the .to be Him

prOtotokon en pollois adelphois"
firstborn among many brothers."

God foreknew / determined beforehand who would choose to believe in and become conformed to the image of His Son because He predestined it.

[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co, Springfield, MA, 1980, p. 898]:

To predestine and to predestinate:
"to destine, decree, determine, appoint, or settle beforehand, to predestinate."
where decree means, [op. cit., p. 292]:
"1: An order usually having the force of law. 2. b. a foreordaining will" where foreordain means, [op. cit., p. 446]::

"To dispose or appoint in advance. Predestine"
So God decreed / predestined it to occur so that His Son might be the righteous firstborn among many righteous brothers. The Greek word "proegnO" in the phrase "hoti hous proegnO kai proOrisen summorphous tEs eikonos tou huiou" rendered in the NKJV "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" in verse 8:29 refers to God knowing beforehand who would become children of God, i.e., believers and be conformed to the image of His Son, i.e., with the promise of a perfectly righteous redeemed resurrection body. The phrase "He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son," in verse 8:29 contains the Greek word "proOrisen" in the phrase literally "Because whom He [God] foreknew He predestined" where proOrisen means "He [God] predestined." It signifies that the reason why God foreknew whom would become believers and become conformed to the image of His Son was that God predestined this result, i.e., He decreed it to come to pass. To decree something is to be sovereign in its outcome.

That is the significance of the word "proOrisen." So verse 8:29 indicates that God's foreknowledge was as a result of God's predestination - His predetermination of those who would choose of their own volition to become believers, hence become children of God with the predestinated result of becoming conformed to the image of His Son. This conforming includes not only being credited with but actually experiencing a righteousness from God as the Son is righteous so that the Son might be the firstborn Righteous One among many righteous brethren. So those who would choose to become, of their own volition, children of God born of God, even before they choose to believe in Jesus Christ unto eternal redemption and eternal life, were called / chosen / elected to that destiny for God's purpose, (v. 8:28).

This is then explained further in verse 8:29: God knew beforehand that the children of God would believe and be justified, (cf. 3:21-24; 6:3, 8:1, 14, 21), because God predestined, i.e., predetermined beforehand that these individuals would choose of their own free will to believe and become children of God unto eternal life and be conformed to the image of His Son .

3) [Col 1:15-17]:

a) [(Col 1:15-17 NASB) Commentary On Col 1:16-17]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16 NASB) For [because] by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

JESUS CHRIST IS THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, THE FIRSTBORN OF ALL CREATION: ALL THINGS WERE CREATED THROUGH HIM AND FOR HIM AND BY HIM IN THE HEAVENS AND ON EARTH, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, THRONES OR DOMINIONS OR RULERS OR AUTHORITIES. IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER. HE IS UNCREATED AND GOD. TO HIM THE UNIVERSE OWES ITS EXISTENCE

Author and apostle Paul now states the ground for the LORD Jesus Christ's absolute dominion over all of creation:

He is Firstborn, hence LORD over all of Creation because He is Creator. He created all things that have been created, (cf. Jn 1:1-3 ). Therefore, He is uncreated: God, (ref. Jn 1:3). To Him the universe owes its unity, its meaning, indeed its very existence.

Three prepositional phrases define the creative activity of Christ: "

(Col 1:16a & b NASB) "For by Him all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities."

And Creation was "in [en] Him" in the sense that it occurred within the sphere of His Person and power. He was its cause, its originating center, its locality. The act of creation rested, as it were, in Him. And Creation is "through" (dia) Christ in the sense that He is the Agent through Whom all of Creation came into being.

i) [(Col 1:16a & b) Compare Col 1:16a & b With Jn 1:3, 10]:

(Col 1:16a & b NASB) "For by Him [Gk "en"] all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities"

(Jn 1:3 NASB) "All things came into being through Him, [Gk "di'] and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

(Jn 1:10 NASB) He was in the world, and the world was made through [Gk "di'] Him, and the world did not know Him."

b) [(Col 1:16-17 NASB) Further Commentary On Col 1:16-17]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16 NASB) For [because] by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

So Creation was by Him, in Him and finally "for" (eis) Christ in the sense that He is the end for which all things exist, the goal toward whom all things were intended to move. They are meant "to serve His will, to contribute to His glory.... Their whole being, willingly or unwillingly, moves... to Him; whether, as His blissful servants, they shall be as it were His throne; or as His stricken enemies, 'His footstool,' " (cf Heb 10:13; Ps 110:1).

"All things," used twice in the verse, translates the Greek expression "ta panta" that was sometimes used in the sense of our word "universe." It denoted the totality of things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. The reference to "thrones," "powers," "rulers," and "authorities" to the angelic hierarchy that figured so prominently in the Colossian heresy. Paul's mention of these things does not, of course, mean that he recognized the existence of a hierarchy of spirit beings as the Colossian erroists contend. His words do suggest, however, that whatever supernatural powers there may be, Christ is the One who made them and He is their Sovereign Lord.

So Col 1:16 stated the essential reason for Christ's lordship over creation, namely, that He is its Creator; whereupon Col 1:17 sums up of the thought of vv. 15 and 16; and then rounds out and completes the statement of Christ's relation to creation. "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." That Christ is "before" all things means primarily that He is before all in time - before all Creation; hence He is uncreated and therefore God. He is above all in rank; hence He is preeminent, i.e., "Firstborn over all creation," (ref. Col 1:15b).

That all things "hold together" in Christ means that he is both the unifying principle and the personal Sustainer of all of creation. All Creation comes from Him and finds in Him its common bond and center. He is the One Who actually holds all things together even in the sense of the tiniest (atomic) particles that comprise all matter. Consider that He is the Creator, the One Who has created the principles of cohesion which hold the universe together - the One Who makes the universe a cosmos instead of a chaos.

i) [(Col 1:15-17) Compare Col 1:16-17 With Heb 1:1-3]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16 NASB) For [because] by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

(Heb 1:1 NASB) "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

(Heb 1:2 NASB) in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the world.

(Heb 1:3 NASB) And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,"

Note that in these last days, God has spoken to us [believers] in His Son - through the throughts, words, appearance and deeds of the Humanity of the Son of God Who came into the world, which Humanity was added to His Diety in history - in the first century. This is when the Son of God set aside His expression as God and became Man. Note that God's Son did not discard His Deity, if that were possible, for God is Eternal and cannot lose His being God. Nevertheless, He restrained from expressing Himself as God, .

Whereupon in Heb 1:2b, God appointed His Son - the Son of God in His Diety in view, for the timeframe is before the Humanity of the Son of God was added to Him in history - to be heir of all things, i.e.,. all of Creation; through Whom also He - with His Diety especially in view - "through Whom Also He made the world."

4) [Col 1:18]:

a) [(Col 1:18) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:18]:

(Col 1:18 NASB) "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."  =

TR, NU, Sinaiticus(1), A, C, D have "Who is beginning." WH, p46, B, 075, 0278, 1739 read "Who is the beginning." Nearly all manuscripts follow with "firstborn from the dead." But P46 and Sinaiticus read "firstborn of the dead." One group of witnesses, (P46, B, 1739, etc.) include the definite article before the word rendered "beginning" - and thereby specify that Christ is the beginning - i.e., the church's beginning, in that he was the first of many to rise from the dead (as is affirmed in the next statement). Another group (Sinaiticus, A, C, D) lacks the article, thereby suggesting that Christ is not just the church's beginning and source, but He is the principal cause of all life, the "arche" [beginning] of the universe. The manuscripts also vary as to whether the word "ek" appears in the text. The reading that excludes it emphasizes that Christ is the first - of many others later - to rise from the dead. The reading that includes it emphasizes that Christ is distinct from all dead people in that He came out from their realm - as it says in NJB, "the first to be born from the dead" and in NEB, "the first to return from the dead."

b) [(Col 1:18 NASB) Commentary On Col 1:18]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Col 1:16 NASB) For [because] by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

(Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

(Col 1:18 NASB) He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."

JESUS CHRIST IS ALSO THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH; HE IS THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH, THE FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD IN THAT HE WAS THE FIRST OF THE CHURCH TO RISE FROM THE DEAD SO THAT HE HIMSELF WILL COME TO HAVE FIRST PLACE IN EVERYTHING

Not only is Jesus Christ the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation and by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him; so that He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together, (Col 1:15-17); but He is also head of the body, the church. The Greek word ekklesia rendered "church" in Col 1:18 means "assembly" or "congregation." It signifies all the redeemed people of God. The concept of the church as "the body" of Christ indicates: (1) that the church is a living organism, composed of members joined vitally to one another, (2) that the church is the means by which Christ often and largely carries out His purposes and performs His work, and (3) that the union that exists between Christ and his people is most intimate and real. Together they constitute one living unit.

Jesus Christ is the beginning, the first born of the church in the sense that Christ is the first of many others of the Church, (cf. Eph 1:22-23; 5:23) - Who will also rise from the dead into immortal bodies; i.e., He is preeminent in the sense of first born from the dead in Christ. So He Himself will come to have first place in everything - besides being the Lord of the universe He is also the church's Head. The reference is to the invisible or universal church into which all believers are baptized into Christ and His church by the Holy Spirit the moment they believe in Christ  for salvation unto eternal life, (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph 1:13-14). This work of the Spirit began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1-2; 11:15-16). So the church, the body of Christ, is a special body in which there is "neither Jew nor Gentile" (Gal. 3:28) but it is a whole new creation of God (Eph. 2:15; 2 Cor 5:17 ). The church is a "mystery... which was not made known to men in other generations," (Eph. 3:4-5; cf. Rom. 16:25-26; Col. 1:26).

So Jesus Christ is the Beginning (archē) and the Firstborn from among the dead (cf. Rev. 1:5) - in the sense that He was the first to rise in an immortal body (1 Cor. 15:20) - a glorified one, (ref. Phil 3:20-22; 2 Cor 15:42-44; Lk 24:39; 1 Cor 15:1-58; Rev 1:1-20; Mt 17:2; Col 3:4, ). And as such He heads a whole new order as its Sovereign (cf. "Firstborn" in Col. 1:15). Also Christ's resurrection marked His triumph over death (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). He was the "Firstfruits" of those who die (1 Cor. 15:20) since, unlike others, He rose never to die again. He "was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead" in the sense that His Humanity is 100% of Who He is and His Deity is 100% of Who He is, (Rom. 1:4). So He continues to live "on the basis of the power of an indestructible life" (Heb. 7:16). All this is so that in everything He might have the supremacy. Christ is given first place over all Creation. He is preeminent. The same eternal Logos (John 1:1) Who "became flesh" all the while His essence is Diety, not adding Perfect Humanity so that He is 100% God and 100% Perfect Man, (John 1:14). For He "humbled Himself" ... "making Himself of no reputation" (Phil. 2:5-8 ), so that He is now "exalted" by God the Father "to the highest place" and has been given "the name that is above every name" (Phil. 2:9).

5) [Col 1:19]:

(Col 1:19 NASB) "For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him."

(Col 1:19 Interlinear) "hoti        en auto            eudokEsen             pan to   plerOma                katolkesai"

                                      "because in Him [God] was pleased  [that] all   the fullness [of God]   to dwell"

a) [(Col 1:19 NASB) Commentary On Col 1:19]:

(Col 1:19 NASB) "For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him."

FOR IT WAS GOD THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE FOR ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD - EVERYTHING THAT GOD IS - TO DWELL IN JESUS CHRIST IN HIS HUMANITY THUS HE IS GOD!

i) [Compare Col 1:19 NKJV]:

"For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness [of God] should dwell."

The Greek word "plerOma" rendered "fullness" signifies God in all His fullness" that is, "all that God is is what dwells in Jesus Christ, (cf Jn 1:1c ).

ii) [Compare Col 2:9]:

(Col 2:9 NASB) "For in Him all the fulln ess of Deity dwells in bodily form"

The Colossian errorists perhaps looked upon the many spirit beings they thought of as filling the space between God and the world as intermediaries and taught that any communication between God and the world had to pass through them. They probably included Christ among these supernatural powers, admitting that He was of heavenly origin and that God was in some sense present in Him. He was, however, only one aspect of the divine nature and in Himself was not sufficient for all the needs of men. Paul, in contrast, declares that Christ is not just one of many divine beings. He is the one Mediator between God and the world, and all, not part, of the attributes and activities of God are centered in Him, (1 Ti 2:5). "Dwell" translates "katoikei," a verb that suggests permanent residence as opposed to temporary sojourn, in which the aorist tense of the verb rendered "dwelt" conveying punctiliar action must be considered constative - a statement declaring to be the case - serving to sum up in a single point the whole action.

Note that some contend that all of the fullness of God dwelt in Jesus Christ only from the time of His resurrection and ascension when He was in His resurrection body citing Eph 1:20-23 and 4:8-10 as corroborative. But these passages actually do not address when He was indwelt with all the fullness of God. Furthermore, that would imply that all the fullness of God did not dwell in the Humanity of Jesus Christ prior to His resurrection: that He operated as less than the fullness of God from the time of His Humanity's conception, His birth, the timespan of His growing up and on into His three year ministry, through His death, burial unto His resurrection He did not operate as God and Man. But throughout Scripture Jesus Christ in His Humanity was addresed as God, directly and indirectly, (Mt 1:23; Isa 9:6; 43:10-11; Rev 1:17-18; 2:8; Isa 44:6; 2 Pet 1:1; Isa 44:24; Jn 1:3; Col 1:16; Jn 1:1-3; 5:17-18; 5:23; 8:24; 8:58; 10:30-33; 14:6-7; 9-11; 20:28, etc., etc. ). And since His Humanity being indwelt with the fullness of God has an eternal sense to it by virtue of the fact that God is eternal, i.e., He has no beginning or end;and since He added to His eternal self Perfect Humanity in the first century; then His indwelling can hardly have a beginning or an end since the Son of God is by nature eternal, (cf. Jn 1:1a ).

ii_a) [Compare 1 Ti 2:5]:

(1 Ti 2:5 NASB) "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

6) [Col 1:19-20]:

(Col 1:19 NASB) "For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him.

(Col 1:20 NASB) and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself [God], having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."

a) [(Col 1:20a) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:20a]:

(Col 1:20 NASB) "and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself [God], having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."

Consider the expression rendered in the NASB, "to reconcile all things to Himself [God]" to mean that God (through Christ) "[to have] reconciled [aorist infinitive] all things to Himself.

b) [(Col 1:20b) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:20b]:

(Col 1:20 NASB) "and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself [God], having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."

The three editions (TR, WH, NU) include the phrase rendered "through Him" in its second occurence, with the support of P46, Sinaiticus, A, C, D(1), 048, Maj, syr, cop(bo). But there is substantial support for excluding these words: B, D*, F, G, I, L, 1739, 1881, it, cop(sa). In context, the difference is as follows:

(1) "having made peace through the blood of His cross, through Him, whether the things on earth or the things in heaven:" (2) "having made peace through the blood of His cross, whether the things on earth or the things in heaven."

The TR, WH, NU reading does not seem to be the kind of addition scribes would have been prone to make, because it is awkward and obscures the meaning of the verse. Of course, it is possible that it was mistakenly added due to dittography (either from dia tou or di autou - previously in the verse). But it is odd that this "mistake" was perpetuated in such a wide variety of witnesses and was never corrected. Thus, it seems that "di autou" [through Him] originally stood in the text (as a kind of oral carryover from the beginning of the verse - the product of dictation), and was then deleted by scribes who could not tolerate this redundancy.

c) [(Col 1:19-20) Commentary On Col 1:19-20]:

(Col 1:19 NASB) "For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him,

(Col 1:20 NASB) and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself [God], having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."

FOR IT WAS GOD THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE FOR ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD - EVERYTHING THAT GOD IS - TO DWELL IN JESUS CHRIST IN HIS HUMANITY THUS HE IS GOD! AND THROUGH HIM IT WAS THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE TO RECONCILE ALL THINGS IN CREATION TO HIMSELF [GOD] HAVING MADE PEACE WITH ALL THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS [CHRIST'S] CROSS - HE PROPITIATION FOR SINS. AND PAUL REPEATS FOR EMPHASIS THAT SUCH RECONCILIATION OF ALL THINGS TO GOD WAS THROUGH CHRIST, WHETHER IT BE THINGS ON EARTH OR THINGS IN HEAVEN - ALL OF CREATION.

Not only is Jesus Christ the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation and by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him; so that He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together, (Col 1:15-17); but He is also head of the body, the church, (Col 1:18).

And God's reason for all of this is stipulated in Col 1:19: "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness of God to dwell in Him" - in His Perfect Humanity. For the Deity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is from eternity and will always be the fullness of God). This is an absolute necessity if Jesus Christ is to be pre-eminent over all things in the universe: He must have all the fullness of God dwelling in Himself in His Perfect Humanity. There can be no one less than God Who is pre-eminent in the Universe and all of Creation.

Whereupon, in Col 1:20, it reads "and through Him

[Jesus Christ in Whom all of the fullness of God dwells in His Perfect Humanity yet in His Deity eternally present from eternity but not evident in the passage at hand]

to reconcile all things to Himself [God], having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."

Note that all of mankind has by virtue of Christ's work on the cross been reconciled to God. Their sins have been paid for. All that remains for each individual of accountable age is to choose to accept being reconciled by a moment of faith alone in Christ alone .

So it was the Father's good pleasure for all of the fullness of God to dwell within the Perfect Humanity of which Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who is God, added to His Deity, (cf Phil 2:5-8 ). Paul goes on in Col 1:20 to write "and," i.e., so that through the Perfect Humanity of Jesus Christ in which the fullness of God dwelt the result was to reconcile all things - mankind and the whole of Creation - the  universe - to Himself, (God) - a capacity exclusive to the fullness of God alone. And this is, Paul goes on to write, because He had made, (literally, "having made") peace through the blood of the cross. The phrase rendered "through the blood of the cross" means that it was through Christ's sacrifice of Himself - His Perfect Humanity - (not His Deity, for God cannot die) on the cross to make payment for the sins of all mankind and for all things in the universe which suffered from the Fall of man into sin, (cf. Ro 8:20-21 ); that there would result peace and restoration, i.e., reconciliation between God and man and all of Creation. Paul completes Col 1:20 by writing [The words rendered, "I say" are inserted into the NASB in order to provide the sense of Paul making his point emphatic and clear]: "whether things on earth or things in heaven," in the sense that there is nothing in Creation which is not included in His reconciliation of all things to God - as Paul wrote, "things on earth and things in heaven." So all of Creation, not just mankind, needed reconciliation with God, and it was up to His [Christ's] Perfect Humanity to accomplish that! This implies that the Sin in the Garden of Eden and the subsequent sins of all of mankind effected all of Creation in some manner all of which required reconciliation with God, (cf. Ro 8:20-21 ).

The Greek word "apokatellaxen" rendered "to reconcile" in Col 1:20 and the Greek word "katoikesai" rendered "to dwell" in Col 1:19 are grammatically dependent upon the Greek verb "eudokesen: rendered [God] "was pleased." The Father was pleased to have willed that all the fullness of God would dwell in Jesus Christ - in His Perfect Humanity which He added to His essence as God. So the Son of God, named Jesus Christ in the First Century set set aside the expression of His Deity  and became man - adding Perfect Humanity to Himself to become a GodMan, not losing His essence as God, which cannot happen for God is immutable - just not expressing His Deity . This is an absolute necessity if Jesus Christ is to be pre-eminent over all things in the universe: He must have all the fullness of God dwelling in Himself in order to possess the capacity to be pre-eminent over Creation. He cannot just be a created God or emanate from God as the gnostics and the Colossian errorists and others maintain. For that would not qualify him to be pre-eminent over all Creation.

God also willed to reconcile all things to Himself  through His One and only Son, Jesus Christ, the GodMan, through what His Perfect Humanity did on the cross, yet there existed within Him His eternal, ever present Deity.

The word rendered "reconcile" means to change from enmity to peace and friendship. It suggests the effecting in man of a condition of submission to, and harmony, i.e., peace with God, (cf. Ro 5:10, 11; 2 Cor 5:18-20; Eph 2:14, 15 ).

For the next phrase in Col 1:20, "having made peace through the blood of His [Christ's] cross" indicates that very thing. Whereupon author Paul concludes this point for emphasis, "through Him [Jesus Christ], I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. So His work of dying on the cross to pay for the sins of all mankind removes the problem of the barrier of sin between God and Man, (cf Ro 3:22-23 ; Eph 2:1-3 ), so that each individual may choose of his / her own volition to believe in that payment for him / her and will receive forgiveness of sins   and the free gift of eternal life, (cf. Jn 3:16 ).

7) [Col 1:20-22]:

(Col 1:20 NASB) "and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, [God] having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

(Col 1:21 NASB) And although you were formerly alienated [being having been alienated] and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

(Col 1:22 NASB) yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach -"

a) [(Col 1:22) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:22]:

TR, WH, NU, Sinaiticus, A, C, D2, Psi, 048, (0278), 1739, Maj and most versions have "He has reconciled you."

Variant #1 - "you were reconciled" P46, B

Variant #2 - "the one having reconciled" D*, F, G

Variant #3 - "to reconcile" 33

The first variant has early support and is the most difficult reading in that it creates an anacolthon - a departure from the context in this case a departure from God being the subject Who has reconciled man through His Son - and instead there is a change to the accustive case rendered "you were reconciled" with the following infinitive rendered "... to present you." The active voice verb, found in WH, NU, assumes this direct object: 'Yet now He [God] reconciled [you]." The other two variants appear to be reactions to the passive voice (in the first variant), for had the active voice verb been in the scribes' exemplars, there would be little need to create a variant. So the original text is evidently as provided by the best manuscript evidence via the TR, WH, NU, etc.; namely, "He [God] has reconciled you."

b) [(Col 1:21-22) Commentary On Col 1:21-22]:

(Col 1:21 NASB) And although you were formerly alienated [being having been alienated] and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

(Col 1:22 NASB) yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach -"

FOR IT WAS GOD THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE FOR ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD - EVERYTHING THAT GOD IS - TO DWELL IN JESUS CHRIST IN HIS HUMANITY THUS HE IS GOD! AND THROUGH HIM IT WAS THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE TO RECONCILE ALL THINGS IN CREATION TO HIMSELF HAVING MADE PEACE WITH ALL THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS [CHRIST'S] CROSS - HIS PROPITIATION FOR SINS. AND PAUL REPEATS FOR EMPHASIS THAT SUCH RECONCILIATION OF ALL THINGS TO GOD WAS THROUGH CHRIST, WHETHER IT BE THINGS ON EARTH OR THINGS IN HEAVEN - ALL OF CREATION.

In contradiction to the views of the Colossian errorists, the reality of Christ's physical body is in view relative to the reconciliation of the universe with God, alluding to and refuting the false spiritualism of the erroists and the Gnostics. For their assertion that reconciliation could be accomplished only by spiritual (angelic) beings, they attached little or no value to the work of Jesus Christ in His physical body. The Gnostic tendency of the Colossian heresy - the errorists - with its Platonic orientation, denied both Christ's true and Perfect Humanity and His true Deity. As John explained in his first epistle, it is necessary to confess "that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh," (1 Jn 4:2 ). Furthermore, according to Scripture, spirits cannot die, and the author of Hebrews stated, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness," (Heb 9:17-22 ). In order to redeem mankind, Jesus Christ Himself must be truly and perfectly Human, (cf. 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 2:17). Thus Christ's real physical body and death were necessary for man's salvation, (cf. Ro 7:4; Heb 10:10).

So in opposition to this, Paul stressed the importance of Christ's physical body. Only through the sacrifice of Christ's physical, human body representing and substituting for all of mankind throughout the ages - all of human kind in fleshly bodies - could the reconciliation of all men be accomplished so that those who believe in Christ's actual sacrifice for sins in His fleshly body through His actual physical death could believers be presented before a Holy God, holy and blameless and beyond reproach because they have been credited with Christ's Righteousness at the point of faith in Him as each individual expresses it, (cf. Ro 3:21-24 ).

Although the presentation before God of believers holy and blameless and beyond reproach is thought by many to point to a yet-future event such as at some Judgment Day, nevertheless the presentation must have actually occurred / begun as an essential part of the believer's standing before God in their mortal lives at the moment they have expressed faith alone in Christ alone unto eternal life. For at that moment they have been declared justified unto the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, (cf. Ro 3:21-24 ). At that time they have begun to be presented before God as holy and blameless and beyond reproach in the sense of having a new position / standing before God, but not in the sense of their actual temporal behavior as believers. For the believer's standing before God from the moment he believes in Christ is declared by God to be one of peace, no longer at enmity with God, (cf. Ro 5:1-2 and Eph 1:3 ) - one of being holy and blameless and beyond reproach as it stipulates in Col 1:22.

The word rendered "holy" suggests consecration and dedication. The words rendered "without blemish," translates a technical sacrificial term (Greek: "amOmous," which was used of animals that were without flaw and therefore worthy of being offered to God. The use of this word gives support to the view that in this statement Paul was not thinking about our personal conduct but about our position in Christ having received credit for His Righteousnes, not our own. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a Chrisian life that is without blemish in actual conduct. But Christians' identification with Christ is such that His Righteousness and His standing before God in His Humanity are theirs, (Cor 5:21; 1 Jn 4:17).

Note that this standing was effected for the believer at the time of and by the death of Jesus Christ. And it will become a temporal reality when that individual believes and is declared to be in Christ in position / standing. That standing with God will become an actual realtime reality at Christ's parousia / appearance in the clouds above the earth, (1 Thes 4:13-18 ), when all who are in Christ will be provided with Perfect resurrection bodies like His ).

This proclamation of the faithfulness that the Colossian believers were demonstrating is not to say that one must be faithful in order to be declared to be holy and blameless and beyond reproach. For this standing before God was made completely available by Jesus Christ alone and fulfilled in each individual at the moment when one simply believed in Him for salvation unto eternal life. For the first part of God's operation of reconciling the world to Himself was through Jesus Christ, (ref. 2 Cor 5:18-19; 1 Jn 2:2; Isa 53:4-6; 10-12; Heb 10:10-12 ).

In Col 1:21, author and apostle Paul turned to the time when the believers of Colossae and all believers by context before they became believers when they were alienated and hostile in mind, and engaged in evils deeds in the sense that they were constantly hostile toward God and estranged from a spiritual familial relationship with Him which must be through exercising a moment of faith alone in Christ alone to become a child of God, (ref. Jn 1:12-14 ). Their lives were characterized as constantly engaged in evil deeds, (cf. Ro 3:9 ). But now in Col 1:22, it is stipulated that God has reconciled the Colossian believers, (and all believers), in His fleshly body through His [Christ's] death, in order to present [them] before Him [God] holy and blameless and beyond reproach.

8) [Col 1:21-23]:

a) [(Col 1:23) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:23]:

According to most Greek manuscripts, Paul calls himself a "servant" (Gk: "diakonos") of the gospel. This title, however, was changed to "kErue kai apostolos" rendered "herald and apostle" in Sinaiticus, P. Elsewhere "kErue kai apostolos kai diakonos" rendered "herald and apostle and servant" in A, syr(hmg), and "diakonos kai apostolos" rendered "servant and apostle" in 81. These changes show the influence of 1 Tim 2:7 and 2 Tim 1:1 which someone attempted to harmonize instead of letting the original text speak for itself.

b) [(Col 1:21-23) Commentary On Col 1:21-23]:

(Col 1:21 NASB) "And although you were formerly alienated [being having been alienated] and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

(Col 1:22 NASB) yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach -

(Col 1:23 NASB) if indeed [= especially since] you [Colossion believers] continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

ALTHOUGH BEFORE THE COLOSSIANS BECAME BELIEVERS THEY WERE ALIENATED AND HOSTILE IN THEIR MINDS AND ENGAGED IN EVIL DEEDS, BUT THEN THEY TRUSTED IN CHRIST, SO JESUS CHRIST THEN RECONCILED THEM IN HIS FLESHLY BODY THROUGH HIS DEATH, IN ORDER TO PRESENT THEM BEFORE GOD HOLY AND BLAMELESS AND BEYOND REPROACH ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY CONTINUE IN THE FAITH FIRMLY ESTABLISHED AND STEADFAST, AND HAVE NOT MOVED AWAY FROM THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL THAT YOU HAVE HEARD, WHICH WAS PROCLAIMED IN ALL CREATION UNDER HEAVEN, AND OF WHICH PAUL WAS MADE MINISTER

As stipulated before, in Col 1:21-22, author and apostle Paul in Col 1:21, turned to the time when the believers of Colossae and all who become believers by context before they became believers when they were "alienated and hostile in mind, and engaged in evils deeds in the sense that they were constantly hostile toward God and estranged from a spiritual familial relationship with Him through faith in Christ as children of God, (ref. Jn 1:12-14 ). Their lives were characterized as constantly engaged in evil deeds. But now in Col 1:22, it is stipulated that God has reconciled the Colossian believers, (and by context all believers), in His fleshly body through His [Christ's] death, in order to present [them] before Him [God] holy and blameless and beyond reproach -"

So in contradiction to the views of the Colossian errorists, the reality of Christ's body is in view relative to the reconciliation of the universe with God, alluding to and answering the false spiritualism of the errorists and the Gnostics. For their assertion that reconciliation could be accomplished only by spiritual (angelic) beings, they attached little or no value to the work of Christ in a physical body.

Whereupon in Col 1:23, Paul continues this train of thought with a praise of the Colossian believers: "[Since] indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister."

In Col 1:23 the verb form "epimenete" in the Greek phrase "eige epimenete te pistei" rendered "if indeed you continue in the faith" is in the indicative mood with the Greek word, "eige" rendered "if indeed," conveying together the sense of "especially since." For "eige" + the indicative mood is a first class if-then expression  meaning "since" [it is indeed especially true]. This is a deliberately emphatic expression exclaiming / declaring how faithful the Colossian believers were in the sense of continuing to believe in Jesus Christ alone for salvation unto eternal life as expressed in the rest of this verse as follows: "and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven;" as well as expressing agape love for the fellow believers which is stipulated in Col 1:4-8. Paul was stating, 'surely you - the faithful Colossian believers - will all the more be presented holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight," (v. 22) - albeit their presentation as holy and blameless will be solely by the grace of God through a single moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else; because of what Christ did on the cross and not due in any way to what a believer might do.

Note that in Col 1:23 the word rendered "firm" depicts a steady and firm resolve. The phrase rendered, the "hope held out in the gospel" is in the fullest sense the sure hope / the sure expectation of ultimate, complete salvation that will belong to believers upon the return of their Lord . This is evidently an implicit contrast between the certainty of the gospel as promulgated through Jesus Christ's Perfect Humanity and the delusive promises offered by the Colossian errorists.

In the closing words of v. 23 three statements are made to stress the importance of remaining true to the apostolic gospel: (1) It is the message "that you heard." The reference is to the gospel that had been initially preached to them by Epaphras (cf. 1:7) and was the instrument of their conversion. (2) It has been "proclaimed to every creature under heaven," in the sense of a prophetic statement of the universality of the message of the gospel throughout the universe which the message in some way is for the benefit of all creatures under heaven especially relative to God's plan of reconciliation and restoration of the universe to Himself through His one and only Son. Its universality being a mark of its authenticity. (3) Paul closes with the affirmation that he himself had "become a servant" of the gospel. Paul does not designate himself in this fashion for the purpose of magnifying his office, but to impress on the Colossians that the gospel heard by them from Epaphras and proclaimed in all the world, was the same gospel he preached.

9) [COMMENTARIES ON COL 1:15-23]:

a) (Col 1:15-23) Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On The Supremacy Of Jesus Christ Relative To The Colossian Heresy]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Col 1:16 NASB) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col 1:18 NASB) He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Col 1:19 NASB) For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him. (Col 1:20 NASB) and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Col 1:21 NASB) And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, (Col 1:22 NASB) yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach - (Col 1:23 NASB) [since] indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister." =

"II. The Supremacy of Christ (1:15-23)

The most dangerous aspect of the Colossian heresy was its depreciation of the Person of Jesus Christ. To the errorists of Colosse, Christ was not the triumphant Redeemer to Whom all authority in heaven and on earth had been committed. At best He was only one of many spirit beings who bridged the space between God and men.

This passage is a part of Paul's answer to this heretical teaching. One of several great Christological declarations in Paul (cf. 2:9-15; Eph 1:20-23; Philippians 2:5-11), it proclaims the unqualified supremacy of our Redeemer..."

b) [(Col 1:15-20) Compare Bible Knowledge Commentary On The Supremacy Of Jesus Christ Relative To The Colossian Heresy]:

(Col 1:15 NASB) "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Col 1:16 NASB) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Col 1:17 NASB) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col 1:18 NASB) He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Col 1:19 NASB) For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him. (Col 1:20 NASB) and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Col 1:21 NASB) And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, (Col 1:22 NASB) yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach - (Col 1:23 NASB) [since] indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister." =

[The Preeminence of Jesus Christ]

In this paragraph (vv. 15-20) Paul mentioned seven unique characteristics of Christ, which fittingly qualify Him to have "the supremacy" (v. 18). Christ is: (1) the image of God, (2) the Firstborn over Creation, (3) Creator of the universe, (4) Head of the church, (5) Firstborn from the dead, (6) the fullness of God, and (7) the Reconciler of all things. No comparable listing of so many characteristics of Christ and His deity are found in any other Scripture passage. Christ is the supreme Sovereign of the universe!

1:15. First, Christ is the image of the invisible God. Besides the obvious meaning of likeness (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4), "image" implies representation and manifestation. Like the head of a sovereign imprinted on a coin, so Christ is "the exact representation of [the Father's] being" (Heb. 1:3). As Jesus said, "Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). Anyone who saw Christ, the visible manifestation of the invisible God, has thereby "seen" God indirectly. For "no one has ever seen God, but God the only Son [in His Perfect Humanity ... has made Him known" (John 1:18). Paul wrote of the "invisible"' God (1 Tim. 1:17), but Christ is the perfect visible representation and manifestation of that God. Though the word "image" (eikōn) does not always denote a perfect image (cf. 1 Cor. 11:7), the context here demands that understanding. Indeed, like the word "form" (morphē; trans. "nature" in Phil. 2:6-7), eikōn means the very substance or essential embodiment of something or someone. In Hebrews 10:1 "shadow" and "the very image" (eikōn), which is Christ, are contrasted (cf. Col. 2:17). So Christ's supremacy is first shown in His relationship with God the Father. Christ is the perfect resemblance and representation of God, because He is God, (Jn 1:1 ).

Second, Christ's supremacy is shown in His relationship to Creation. He is the Firstborn over all Creation. Though it is grammatically possible to translate this as "Firstborn in Creation," the context makes this impossible for five reasons: (1) The whole point of the passage (and the book) is to show Christ's superiority over all things. (2) Other statements about Christ in this passage (such as Creator of all [1:16], upholder of Creation [v. 17], etc.) clearly indicate His priority and superiority over Creation. (3) The "Firstborn" cannot be part of Creation if He created "all things." One cannot create himself. (Jehovah's Witnesses wrongly add the word "other" six times in this passage in their New World Translation. Thus they suggest that Christ created all other things after He was created! But the word "other" is not in the Gr.) (4) The "Firstborn" received worship of all the angels (Heb. 1:6), but creatures should not be worshiped (Ex. 20:4-5). (5) The Greek word for "Firstborn" is prōtotokos. If Christ were the "first-created," the Greek word would have been prōtoktisis. 

"Firstborn" denotes two things of Christ: He preceded the whole Creation, and He is Sovereign over all Creation. In the Old Testament a firstborn child had not only priority of birth but also the dignity and superiority that went with it (cf. Ex. 13:2-15; Deut. 21:17). When Jesus declared Himself "the First" (ho prōtos; Rev. 1:17), He used a word that means "absolutely first." "Firstborn" also implies sovereignty. The description "firstborn" was ... a designation of the Messiah-God. "I will also appoint Him My Firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth" (Ps. 89:27). While this regal psalm refers to David, it also designates the Messiah, as seen in Revelation 1:5, where Christ is called "the Firstborn from the dead (cf. Col. 1:18) and the Ruler of the kings of the earth." So "Firstborn" implies both Christ's priority to all Creation (in time) and His sovereignty over all Creation (in rank).

1:16-17. The third characteristic of Christ is that by Him all things were created. In fact all things were created by Him (di autou, instrumental Cause) and for Him (eis auton, final Cause), and in Him (en autō) they hold together (He is the constituting or conserving Cause). Christ is not only the One through Whom all things came to be, but also the One by Whom they continue to exist. Two other New Testament verses parallel this description of Christ: "Through Him all things were made" (John 1:3), and Christ the Son is the One "through Whom [the Father] made the universe" (Heb. 1:2). The Father, then, is the ultimate Source (efficient Cause), and the Son is the mediating Cause of the world. The Son was the "master Workman" of Creation, "the beginning (archē) of the Creation of God" (Rev. 3:14, nasb).

The Son's Creation includes "all" things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. These indicate the entire universe, both material and immaterial. The hierarchy of angelic beings—thrones (thronoi) or powers (kyriotētes) or rulers (archai) or authorities (exousiai)—indicate a highly organized dominion in the spirit world, a sphere in which the Colossians were engaged in the worship of angels (Col. 2:18) and over which Christ reigns supreme (cf. Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Phil. 2:9-10; Col. 2:10, 15).

1:18. Fourth, Christ is the Head of the body, the church. Besides being the Lord of the universe He is also the church's Head (cf. Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23). The reference here is to the invisible or universal church into which all believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ Jesus, into one body the church, the moment they believe in Christ for salvation unto eternal life, (Ro 6:3; Gal 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13). This work of the Spirit began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1-2; 11:15-16). It is a special body in which there is "neither Jew nor Gentile" (Gal. 3:28) but a whole new creation of God (Eph. 2:15). The church is a "mystery... which was not made known to men in other generations" (Eph. 3:4-5; cf. Rom. 16:25-26; Col. 1:26).

So Christ is the Beginning (archē) and the Firstborn from among the dead (cf. Rev. 1:5). Christ was the first to rise in an immortal body (1 Cor. 15:20), and as such He heads a whole new order as its Sovereign (cf. "Firstborn" in Col. 1:15). Also Christ's resurrection marked His triumph over death (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). He was the "Firstfruits" of those who die (1 Cor. 15:20) since, unlike others, He rose never to die again. He "was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:4). So He continues to live "on the basis of the power of an indestructible life" (Heb. 7:16). All this is so that in everything He might have the supremacy. Christ is given first place over all Creation. He is preeminent. The same eternal Logos (John 1:1) who "became flesh" (John 1:14) and "humbled Himself" (Phil. 2:8) is now "exalted" by God the Father "to the highest place" and has been given "the name that is above every name" (Phil. 2:9).

1:19. The sixth description of the exalted Christ is that all God's fullness dwell[s] in Him. Later Paul wrote, "In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (2:9). Colossians 1:19 is one of the most powerful descriptions of Christ's deity in the New Testament (cf. Heb. 1:8). "Fullness" (plērōma), a key word in Colossians, is used in 1:19 and 2:9. (The verb plēroō is used in 1:9, 25; 2:10; and 4:17.) The noun means "completeness" and is used of a wide range of things including God's being (Eph. 3:19), time (Gal. 4:4), and grace in Christ (John 1:16). This full and complete Deity is said to "dwell" (katoikēsai, "abide lastingly or permanently") in Christ.

1:20. The seventh feature of Christ is that He is the Reconciler. Through Christ God will reconcile to Himself all things. The phrase "all things" is limited to good angels and redeemed people since only things on earth and things in heaven are mentioned. Things "under the earth" (Phil. 2:10) are not reconciled. On God's restoring of nature, see comments on Romans 8:19-21; and on the reconciling of sinners, see comments on Romans 5:10-11 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. It is important to note that people are reconciled to God ("to Himself") not that God is reconciled to people. For mankind has left God and needs to be brought back to Him. In 2 Corinthians 5:19 "reconciliation" was used by Paul in a judicial (vs. an actual) sense in which the whole "world" is made savable through Christ's death. Paul spoke of "the many" (i.e., "those who receive God's abundant provision of grace") being "made righteous" through the Cross (Rom. 5:19). To make peace through His blood means to cause God's enemies (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21) to become, by faith, His friends and His children (cf. Eph. 2:11-19).

10) [Col 1:24-29]:

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

(Col 1:26 NASB) "that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

(Col 1:27 NASB) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

(Col 1:28 NASB) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

(Col 1:29 NASB) For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

a) [(Col 1:24-28) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:24-28]:

i) [(Col 1:27a) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:27a]:

The Greek words "ploutos tEs doxEs tou mustEriou toutou" rendered "the wealth of the glory of this mystery" have been shortened in P46 to "To ploutos tou musteriou toutou" rendered "the wealth of this mystery" - probably due to an arbitrary decision to simplify a complex expression.

ii) [(Col 1:27b) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:27b]:

WH, NU, P46, a, b, f, g, p, 33, 1739, 1881 have "which is Christ in you."

TR, sinaiticus, C, D, H, I, Psi, 0278, Maj have "Who is Christ in you"

The manuscript evidence favors the WH, NU reading, which is followed by all versions. The change in the variant is due to respect for Christ's Person - namely, that He should not be designated with a neuter pronoun. Hence, the neuter pronoun was replaced with a masculine pronoun. But the neuter is necessary to show that Christ is the wealth ("Greek "To ploutos" - neuter) of this glorious mystery. He Himself, as the fullness of God, provides all spiritual riches to His people.

iii) [(Col 1:28a) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:28a]:

The second occurrence of Greek: panta anthrOpon" rendered "every man" is omitted in D*, F, G, 33, it, syr(p) due to homoeoteleuton.

iv) [(Col 1:28b) Manuscript Evidence For Col 1:28b]:

WH, NU, P46, sinaiticus*, A, B, C, D*, F, G, 33, 1739, COP(bo) have "complete in Christ"

TR, sinaiticus(2), D(2), H, Psi, 075, 0278, Maj, cop(sa) have "complete in Christ Jesus" The variant is a typical scribal expansion of Jesus' name. Early and diverse witneesses support the shorter form.

b) [(Col 1:24-29) Commentary On Col 1:24-29]:

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

(Col 1:26 NASB) "that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

(Col 1:27 NASB) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

(Col 1:28 NASB) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

(Col 1:29 NASB) For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

i) [Commentary On Col 1:24]:

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions."

PAUL NOW STATES THAT HE REJOICES IN HIS SUFFERINGS FOR THE SAKE OF THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS AND FOR ALL BELIEVERS. FOR IN HIS [PAUL'S] FLESH HE DOES HIS SHARE ON BEHALF OF HIS [CHRIST'S] BODY, WHICH IS THE CHURCH, IN FILLING UP WHAT IS LACKING IN CHRIST'S AFFLICATIONS IN THE SENSE OF PAUL'S PERSONAL SUFFERINGS ON BEHALF OF FELLOW BELIEVERS BY PARTICIPATING IN CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS AS THE WORLD PERSECUTES THE CHURCH CHRIST'S BODY THROUGHOUT THIS AGE

Paul now in Col 1:24 in the phrase "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflications," addresses his particular ministry - of which he became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to him for the Colossian believers (an d all believers), to fulfill the word of God - His Plan of the ages - which has in view Paul's personal sufferings on behalf of Christ's body which is the Church, in filling up what is "lacking in Christ's afflictions" for the sake of fellow believers - in the sense of participating with the resurrected Christ, i.e., in  His sufferings when the world is persecuting His body, the Church; which frequently happened to Paul.

As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ does indeed continue to suffer when Christians suffer for Him. For example, He asked Saul (later called Paul) on the Damascus Road, "Why do you persecute Me?" (Acts 9:4). Since the church is Christ's body, He is affected when it is affected. For the sake of Christ's body, Paul willingly suffered.

[Expositor's Commentary On Col 1:24]:

"The sufferings His [Christ's] people endure are a continuation of what He endured, and in that sense they complete his afflictions. "It is a simple matter of fact," writes Lightfoot, "that the afflictions of every saint and martyr do supplement the afflictions of Christ. The Church is built up by repeated acts of self-denial in successive individuals and successive generations. They continue the work which Christ began."

The underlying principle is the believer's union with Christ. That union is so intimate—Christ the Head, his people the body—that he suffers when they suffer (cf. Isa 63:9). His personal sufferings are over, but his sufferings in his people continue (cf. 2Cor 1:5; Philippians 3:10)....

"What is still lacking" is not an intimation of deficiency in Christ's own sufferings but a reference to what is yet lacking in Christ's suffering in Paul. In his experience as a prisoner the apostle was filling up the sum or quota of suffering yet remaining for him to endure.

Third, they are the sphere of Paul's joy. The sufferings Paul endured for the gospel seem never to have been to him a source of perplexity or of sadness. ... He saw them as a necessary part of his ministry and knew that they were incurred in the line of duty."

This statement is an example for all believers to follow. The key is for the believer as he grows in the faith to have a viewpoint of his eternal destination and how much more glorious eternity will be for him if he stays in the faith via a careful study and obedience to God's Word regardless of the suffering. Although his faithfulness will cause himself suffering for the sake of Christ in a number of ways, not the least of which is the persecution that the apostle Paul wrote about - even the isolation from society, including religious organizations that call themselves Christian but distance themselves from the fellowship of believers who are not acceptable / not part of their 'social' group, the eternal outcome will be all the more glorious. This as opposed to the believer who is totally focused upon the temporal life, to the exclusion of his paying any attention to his eternal destiny because of his lack of spiritual growth because he has not been studying and endeavoring to obey the Scriptures. Nevertheless the suffering in this temporal life, if for the sake of Jesus Christ, albeit is going to be difficult, but persevering in the faith will result in much greater rewards in eternity, even sharing in the glory of God. What is remarkable through all of his suffering is Paul's statement at the beginning of verse 24, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflications."

This is not to say that Christ's suffering was not sufficient to pay for the sins of all mankind. This has in view the service of individuals once they become believers for the cause of Christ - the gospel and the spiritual growth of fellow believers. But it is a believer's privilege to suffer for Christ:

i 1) [Compare 2 Tim 3:10-12]:

(2 Tim 3:10 NASB) "Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,

(2 Tim 3:11 NASB) persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!

(2 Tim 3:12 NASB) Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

i 2) [Compare Heb 10:32-33]:

(Heb 10:32 NASB) "But remember [Brethren in Christ, (ref. Heb 10:19)] the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings,

(Heb 10:33 NASB) partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated."

Note that the Greek word, "thlisesin" rendered "tribulations" in Heb 10:33 is never used of Christ's death. The word means "tribulations," "distress," "pressure," or "trouble," i.e., trials in life, not the pains of death.

i 3) [Compare Ro 8:16-18]:

(Ro 8:16 NASB) "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

(Ro 8:17 NASB)  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

(Ro 8:18 NASB) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

The Spirit of God testifies with our human, redeemed, (Ro 3:24), made alive spirits, (Ro 8:10), that believers are God's children. Note that Paul's readers are called sons (Ro 8:15) and children (Ro 8:16), without any appreciable distinction.

Note that the child of God, i.e., every believer, is stipulated as an heir of God. This means that God has made a provision for all believers of an inheritance - an eternal one considering the glory and eternality of God Himself, beginning with eternal redemption unto eternal life, (cf. Ro 3:21-24) and the reception of the glory of God, (Ro 5:1-2). The rest of verse 8:17 indicates that the believer will be a joint heir with Christ and be glorified together with Him if indeed he suffers together with Him. This additional inheritance and glorification is further described as a joint inheritance literally, "of Christ," or better rendered "with Christ" since the word "sugklEronomoi" rendered "joint heirs" requires someone to be a joint heir with Someone, namely Christ. And that joint inheritance will be received "if we [believers and Christ] suffer together for what Christ suffered: for righteousness sake, (cf. 3:21-26) - implying walking according to the Spirit. Note that previous contexts have established that not all believers / children of God will live faithful lives. Some will suffer together with Christ - as He did for the sake of righteousness but others will not. Hence the First Class "if-then" conditional statement in 8:17b, "and heirs together of Christ - if, indeed, we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together" is not a statement of fact but a conditional one - "If - for the sake of argument" statement. It is used in order to establish which children of God will be joint heirs with Christ that they may also be glorified together with Him and which will not. The stipulation that the faithful believer and Christ will be glorified together with Him alludes to the future and eternal glorification of Jesus Christ which will be when He comes again and which faithful believers will share in His glory with with Him.

Verse 8:18 compares the sufferings that believers suffer in the present time, some even with Christ for the sake of His Righteousness and concludes that these sufferings cannot be compared with the future glory of God which will be revealed in all believers and especially the glory of Christ in believers who suffer with Him. This is an exhortation to stay focused on the grand purpose for which believers are to remain faithful to our Lord. The future of the believer is so grand that present day sufferings pale in comparison.

i 4) [Compare 2 Cor 1:5-7]:

(2 Cor 1:5 NASB) "For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

(2 Cor 1:6 NASB) But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 

(2 Cor 1:7 NASB) and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort."

1:5-7. The sufferings Paul experienced were a consequence of his relationship to Christ (cf. Matt. 5:11; Col. 1:24). As Paul continued to preach the gospel, he suffered at the hands of men (e.g., 2 Cor. 11:23-26) and from privations which were a part of his task (11:27). But Paul's sufferings for Christ were accompanied by a comfort that overflowed.

In referring to the sufferings of Christ (1:5), sufferings we suffer (v. 6), and our sufferings (v. 7), the apostle probably had in mind either the suffering he experienced in Asia which he referred to next (v. 8) or the pain brought to him by the problems of the Corinthian church (cf. 11:28-29). Both kinds may be in mind, but if it was primarily the latter to which he referred (cf. 7:5) then the Corinthians' own suffering was similar. Paul's severe letter (7:8) produced in them a profound sorrow as they understood how their reprehensible behavior had grieved Paul (7:9). It had certainly distressed him to write it (2:4) but he did it out of love for them, for their comfort and salvation (cf. 7:10). The aspect of salvation suggested here is their advance in sanctification, which in fact this letter produced (cf. 7:11). The Corinthians' response brought comfort to both themselves and Paul (7:13) and reaffirmed Paul's hope (1:7) that God indeed had His hand on their lives (cf. Heb. 12:7-8). In addition, the Corinthians' comfort produced in them patient endurance ("hypomonē"; steadfastness in the face of unpleasant circumstances; cf. 2 Cor. 6:4; Rom. 5:3; Col. 1:11; James 1:3).

i 5) [Compare Phil 1:29; 2:17]:

(Phil 1:29 NASB) "For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,"

(Phil 2:17 NASB) "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all."

Note that to believers it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

And in Phil 2:17, Paul expounds upon his sufferings for the sake of the Philippean believers, and he actually rejoices and shares his joy in his sufferings with them all, knowing the eternal rewards to which he is destined to as well as the Philippean believers as a result in his eternal relationship with Almighty God.

[Bible Knowledge Commentary on Phil 2:17]:

"Paul viewed himself as being poured out like a drink offering on behalf of the Philippians (v. 17). But instead of sorrowing he rejoiced. "Poured out" is from the Greek word "spendomai," used of a drink offering given as a sacrifice to God. The possibility of release from prison was not uppermost in Paul's mind as it had been before (cf. 1:24-26). He now viewed his death as imminent. Later, near the actual time of his death, he used this same language (2 Tim. 4:6).
The sacrifice and service (perhaps this could be understood as "sacrificial service") stemmed from their faith. Paul used the same word for sacrifice ("thysia") in Romans 12:1. There the sacrifice the believer-priest offers is his body. "Service" ("leitourgia") is the same word translated "ceremonies" in Hebrews 9:21 (cf. Phil. 2:25, 30). This means that the work the Philippians did for God was considered an act of worship. All of this brought rejoicing to the apostle's heart even though it resulted in his facing imminent death.

Paul wanted his friends at Philippi to experience the same joy he had (2:18) and to be glad and rejoice with him.

[Expositor's Bible Commentary on Phil 2:17]:

"The prospect of standing before Christ reminded Paul that it might be soon. By the vivid metaphor of a drink offering, he explained that even though he was presently in a dangerous situation that could lead to a martyr's death, it was the climax of his ministry and a cause for rejoicing. Both Jewish and Greek religious practice included the use of wine poured out ceremonially in connection with certain sacrifices (Num 15:1-10; Homer, Illiad, 11:775), and it is fruitless and unnecessary to determine which was most influential in Paul's figure. What is important is to see that Paul regarded his own life as a sacrifice in the interests of the spiritual advancement of such persons as the Philippian believers. He used the same metaphor in 2 Timothy 4:6. "The sacrifice and service" employs only one article with the two nouns, and probably is a hendiadys meaning "sacrificial service." The apostle is thinking of their various Christian ministries performed as a spiritual sacrifice to God (4:18; Heb 13:15) and springing from their faith. Paul was not embittered but was rejoicing in his present labors and sufferings. He was willing not only to endure his present sufferings but also to lay down his life, and the prospect of being with Christ and of having his ministry among the Philippians seen as successful filled him with joy. Enduring his present danger would be a demonstration that he had learned something of the "mind of Christ" (2:5). (As it turned out, he was probably not executed until some years later during a second Roman imprisonment.) Furthermore, he rejoiced not only for his own sake, but jointly with the Philippians as he contemplated his relation to their faith. He was its planter and nourisher, and thus their victories were his also. He conveys this idea not only by the words "rejoice with all of you," but also by the figure depicting his life as being poured out as a sacrifice along with the Philippians' own sacrifice. They were priests together, making spiritual sacrifices to God as a result of their faith in Christ. Their sacrifices consisted of themselves, presented by faithful service during life, and if need be, by a martyr's death."

i 6) [Compare 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2:8-10]:

(2 Tim 1:8 NASB) "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,

(2 Tim 1:9 NASB) Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity."

(2 Tim 2:8 NASB) "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,

(2 Tim 2:9 NASB) for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.

(2 Tim 2:10 NASB)  For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory."

[Bible Knowledge Commentary on 2 Tim 2:8-10]:

Paul exhorted Timothy to join courageously with him in suffering for the gospel (cf. 2 Tim. 2:3), for it is just in such circumstances that the power of God is made manifest (cf. 2 Cor. 12:9-10). It is only "by the power of God" that Timothy will be able to suffer for the gospel.

[Expositor's Bible Commentary on 2 Tim 2:8-9]:

"In 2 Tim 2:8, Paul urges Timothy to keep on remembering (present tense) Jesus Christ. "Raised from the dead" emphasizes his deity; "descended from David," his humanity (cf. Rom 1:3, 4). It is not the dead Christ that Timothy is to contemplate, but the risen living Lord. This is Paul's gospel ("good news").

And in 2 Tim 2:9 For preaching this gospel, Paul is suffering. The Greek literally says, "I am suffering evil... as an evil-doer" (kakopatho... hos kakourgos). He was "chained like a criminal." But he rejoices that "God's word is not chained." The preacher is in prison, but the Word of God is still moving on and transforming lives.
10 Because of this, the apostle patiently endures (hypomeno) everything for the sake of the 'elect.' "

ii) [Commentary On Col 1:24-25]:

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions 

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,"

PAUL STATED IN COL 1:24 THAT HE REJOICES IN HIS SUFFERINGS FOR THE SAKE OF THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS AND FOR ALL BELIEVERS. FOR IN HIS [PAUL'S] FLESH HE DOES HIS SHARE ON BEHALF OF HIS [CHRIST'S] BODY, WHICH IS THE CHURCH, IN FILLING UP WHAT IS LACKING IN CHRIST'S AFFLICATIONS IN THE SENSE OF PAUL'S PERSONAL SUFFERINGS ON BEHALF OF FELLOW BELIEVERS BY PARTICIPATING IN CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS AS THE WORLD PERSECUTES THE CHURCH - THE BODY OF CHRIST THROUGHOUT THIS AGE. FOR IT IS EXPLAINED IN COL 1:25, IT IS THE CHURCH OF WHICH HE BECAME A MINISTER ACCORDING TO THE STEWARDSHIP / THE RESPONSIBILITY / THE COMMISSION ASSIGNED TO HIM FROM AND BY GOD WHICH WAS GIVEN TO HIM FOR THE SAKE OF THE BELIEVERS IN ORDER TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD

The Colossian heresy boasted of a "fullness" of knowledge possible only through their particular mystical experience which they demand of their followers. But Paul declared in Col 1:19 NASB: "For it was the Father's [ref. Col 1:12] good pleasure for all the fullness [of God, of Deity] to dwell in Him [Jesus Christ in His Perfect Humanity]. And in Col 1:25, Paul continued the context of Col 1:24 into verse 25 as follows:

Paul stated in Col 1:24 that he rejoices in his sufferings for the sake of the Colossian believers and for all believers. For in his [Paul's] flesh he does his share on behalf of Christ's body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions in the sense of Paul's personal sufferings on behalf of fellow believers by participating in Christ's sufferings as the world persecutes the church - the body of Christ throughout this age. For it is explained in Col 1:25, it is the church of which Paul became a minister according to the stewardship / the responsibility / the commission assigned to him from and by God which was given to him for the sake of the believers / the church in order to fulfill the Word of God.

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,"

[Expositor's Bible Commentary on Col 1:25]:

"25 Elsewhere Paul speaks of himself as a minister of the gospel (v. 23; Eph 3:7), of God (2 Cor 6:4), of Christ (2 Cor 11:23), of a new covenant (2 Cor 3:6). Here he is the church's minister, and as such is bound to toil and suffer in whatever way the church's welfare requires. Suffering is not, then, simply a matter of joy (v. 24) but of duty as well. "I" (ego), expressed in Greek for emphasis, suggests that Paul was thinking of a ministry peculiar to himself. The word for "minister" (diakonos), the same as that used earlier of Epaphras (1:7) and of Paul (1:23), simply means "one who serves."

Paul's appointment to his office was "by the commission God gave" him - literally, "according to the dispensation [arrangement] of God." "Commission" is a free rendering of the word oikonomian, which has a rather wide range of meanings. "Plan," "arrangement," "stewardship," "management," "administration,"—these are all possible meanings. The KJV and ASV here translate it "dispensation"; Am. Trans. has "divine appointment"; RSV, "divine office." "Dispensation" ("arrangement") suggests that Paul looked upon his call to the ministry as part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world; oikonomia is in fact sometimes used in Scripture for the plan by which God has ordered the course of history (cf. Eph 1:10, RSV). But oikonomia, related to our words "economy" and "economics," is perhaps best rendered here by "stewardship" (cf. Luke 16:2-4). This rendering suggests that Paul conceived of the work to which God appointed him as both a high privilege and a sacred trust (cf. Williams, TCNT, JB). He was a servant of the church, but in the deepest sense he was a steward of God.

The purpose of the apostle's stewardship was "to present the word of God in all its fullness." Some understand this to refer to the geographical extension of the gospel (cf. Rom 15:19). But Paul probably means that his special ministry was to make clear the true nature of the gospel as a divine provision intended for all people"- in the sense of providing a detailed exposition of the doctrines of the faith as he so adequately did in his epistles for all of mankind to study to show themselves approved before God.

iii) [Commentary On Col 1:24-29]:

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

(Col 1:26 NASB) "that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

(Col 1:27 NASB) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

(Col 1:28 NASB) "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

(Col 1:29 NASB) For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

iii 1) [Commentary On Col 1:26]:

(Col 1:26 NASB) "that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints."

PAUL STATED IN COL 1:24 THAT HE REJOICES IN HIS SUFFERINGS FOR THE SAKE OF THE COLOSSIAN BELIEVERS AND FOR ALL BELIEVERS. FOR IN HIS [PAUL'S] FLESH HE DOES HIS SHARE ON BEHALF OF HIS [CHRIST'S] BODY, WHICH IS THE CHURCH, IN FILLING UP WHAT IS LACKING IN CHRIST'S AFFLICTIONS IN THE SENSE OF PAUL'S PERSONAL SUFFERINGS ON BEHALF OF FELLOW BELIEVERS BY PARTICIPATING IN CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS AS THE WORLD PERSECUTES THE CHURCH - THE BODY OF CHRIST THROUGHOUT THIS AGE. FOR IT IS EXPLAINED IN COL 1:25, IT IS THE CHURCH OF WHICH HE BECAME A MINISTER ACCORDING TO THE STEWARDSHIP / THE RESPONSIBILITY / THE COMMISSION ASSIGNED TO HIM FROM AND BY GOD WHICH WAS GIVEN TO HIM FOR THE SAKE OF THE BELIEVERS IN ORDER TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD

THEN IN COL 1:26, PAUL DECLARED THAT THE FULFILLMENT OF THE WORD OF GOD WAS THE MYSTERY THAT HAS BEEN HIDDEN FROM THE PAST AGES AND GENERATIONS, BUT HAS NOW BEEN MANIFESTED TO HIS [GOD'S] SAINTS IN THIS AGE - THE CHURCH

So the church was heretofore a mystery until the First Century when Jews and Gentiles were joined together when they became believers in Christ as one body in Christ.

[Expositor's Commentary On Col 1:26]:

"The Colossian heresy boasted of a "fullness" of knowledge possible only through their mystical experience. But Paul declared that the fullness of the mystery is found only in Christ. By "mystery" he meant something once concealed but then revealed. This contrasted with the Colossian heretics' notion that a mystery was a secret teaching known only to an exclusive group and unknown to the masses. The church was unknown in the Old Testament [times] because it had been kept hidden for ages and generations. In fact, said Paul, it is only now [since the first century] disclosed to the saints. Since the church is Christ's body, resulting from His death on the cross, it could not possibly have been in existence in the Old Testament. Indeed, Jesus, when on earth, said it was yet future (Matt. 16:16-18). Since the church is Christ's body, welded together by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), the church's birthday occurred when this baptism took place (Acts 1:5; 2). Soon Saul recognized that this mysterious body of Christ, the church, was in existence and that he was persecuting it (Acts 9:4; cf. Gal. 1:13).

The "mystery" of the church, however, does not mean that Gentile salvation and blessing was unforeseen before Christ (cf. Luke 2:29-32; Amos 9:11-12). The mystery was not that Gentiles would be saved but how they could be "fellow-heirs" (Eph. 3:6, KJV), on the same level with Jews, with no middle wall of partition between them (Eph. 2:12-14). In the Old Testament Gentiles who believed and became a part of Judaism were still considered lower than Jews. This special union in which there "is neither Jew nor Greek" (i.e., Gentile, Gal. 3:28) was nonexistent before Christ died and the Spirit descended to baptize all believers into this new body. (For a list of other NT "mysteries" see the chart near Matt. 13:10-16)."

iii_2) [Compare Excerpts From Ephesians Chapter 3 on the mystery of the Church ]:

Eph 3:1: Since Paul had previously discussed the union of Jewish and Gentile believers in the church in Eph 2:11-22 ; then after writing the first phrase of Eph 3:1 with the intention of offering a prayer to the Father on behalf of the believers, he stopped right in the middle of the sentence. Hence the "-" rendered at the end of 3:1 in the NASB.

Whereupon in Eph 3:2-3 Paul wrote "since indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, [Gentiles] that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief." Paul here was beginning to review what he had just previously written about in Eph 2:11-22: He began to review the subject of the mystery of Christ and his responsibility to administrate it. Twelve verses later, at verse 14, Paul would finish this review and then recommence his prayer before the Father on the Gentiles' behalf.

So in Eph 3:2 Paul reminded the Gentile believers that they had heard of the dispensation / economy / administration of a new order of things involving them: the means by which God will convey the gospel of salvation to humanity; albeit it has always been and will always be by His grace through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. And it is by God's special commission to Paul to focus on that conveyance directly to the Gentiles. The next 12 verses, Eph 3:2-13 will then serve to provide a review of the mystery of Christ which Paul had already expounded upon in Eph 2:11-22 .

In Eph 3:4, the words rendered "by referring to this," refer to what Paul just previously wrote about in Eph 2:11-22 about God's revealing to him the dispensation of the grace of God relative to Gentile believers no longer being strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and beings of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in Whom the whole building is being joined together and growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. This is the insight into the mystery of Christ which has to do with the inclusion of the Gentiles as those who now inherit the eternal promises as heirs of the same body and partakers of His eternal promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus through faith in the gospel - alongside fellow Jewish believers. Albeit Gentiles and all peoples from the time of Adam & Eve after the Fall may receive eternal life through a moment of faith alone in God's promise alone of the Seed of the woman / the Seed of Abraham / the Son of God, Jesus Christ .

Then in Eph 3:5 it is established that this mystery of Christ of the dispensation of the grace of God for the sake of Gentile believers being joined together with Jewish believers ("sons of men" cf. multiple passages in the Hebrew Bible) was not made known to previous generations neither in heaven nor on earth as it has now been revealed to God's holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit in and for this age - in the sense of communicated to them via revelation by the Spirit of God to them.

Note that this is not a joining of Jew and Gentile to be joint heirs of the Kingdom of God on earth - the Eternal Kingdom God promised to Israel alone - the new covenant between God and the houses of Judah and Israel alone . But this heirship of the mystery of Christ not revealed will be of a number of generations of Jews and Gentiles in this age of the Body of Christ who are believers in Jesus Christ brought together into one new body in Christ Jesus to corule with Christ over the Eternal Kingdom of God which the latter is promised to Israel to be the ruling nation .

Then in Eph 3:6 the content of the mystery in view is summarized namely that the Gentiles are ["einai" Greek infinitive = to be, not "should be" as in KJV, NKJV] fellow heirs [together with Israel - who are believers], of the same body, and partakers of His eternal promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus through faith in the gospel. The mystery is not that the Gentiles would be saved, For the Old Testament gives evidence of that . The mystery was summarized in the previous chapter in more detail .

Finally, in Eph 3:7, Paul declares that he was made a minister of the dispensation of the grace of God relative to Gentile believers no longer being strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and beings of God's household according to the gift of God's grace which was given to him according to the working of His power.

And Eph 3:9 further stipulates that Paul was to [enlighten everyone - Jew and Gentile - about] what is the administration / dispensation / economy of the mystery which for ages has been unrevealed to the universe / hidden in God Who created all things; "to be specific" as it is written in Eph 3:6, "that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."
Note that this is not a joining of Jew and Gentile to be joint heirs of the Kingdom of God on earth - the Eternal Kingdom which God promised to Israel alone: God's yet future promise of the making and fulfilling of the New Covenant with Israel - the house of Judah and the house of Israel alone to be the ruling nation when Christ returns to earth in His Second Coming, when all of that generation of Israel believes in Him as their Messiah .

On the other hand, the heirship in view in Ephesians chapter 3 is one comprised of a number of generations of Jews and Gentiles over the period of the current Church Age which began with Christ's ascension - those who become believers in Jesus Christ to be brought together into one new body in Christ Jesus to corule with Him over the Eternal Kingdom of God.

In Eph 3:8-10, Paul wrote, "To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ and to [enlighten everyone about] what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God Who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

Above all else, it is Who God is that matters - that His manifold wisdom in all things might be made known in according to His plan in His time. In the case of Eph 3:10, the wisdom in view is the administration / dispensation / economy of the church - the body of Christ. This wisdom has to do with the unfathomable riches of Christ, which was hidden by God Who created all things for ages from in heaven and on earth until it was His time to reveal it at first revealed to God's Holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit. And it was Paul who received from God the commission to proclaim this mystery to the Gentiles. Furthermore, it was also the church who was to reveal this manifold wisdom of God even to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. What had been screened from the angelic hierarchy and the world for ages is now to be declared through the body of Christ on earth (cf Eph 2:6, 7), .

iii 3) [Commentary On Col 1:27]:

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

(Col 1:26 NASB) "that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

(Col 1:27 NASB) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

AND THEN IN COL 1:27, THIS HERETOFORE UNKNOWN BODY OF BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST - GENTILE BELIEVERS, GOD NOW WILLED TO BE KNOWN WHAT IS THE GLORY OF THIS MYSTERY AMONG THE GENTILE BELIEVERS, IN THE SENSE THAT THE GENTILES WILL SHARE IN THE GLORY OF GOD WITH THE JEWS WHO ARE FELLOW BELIEVERS IN CHRIST. AND THAT GLORY IS CHRIST IN THEM. SO THE MYSTERY - LONG HIDDEN THROUGHOUT THE AGES BUT NOW REVEALED IS NOT THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL TO THE GENTILES AND ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD; FOR THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL HAS BEEN PROCLAIMED TO ALL MANKIND SINCE THE BEGINNING; BUT THE MYSTERY IS THE INDWELLING OF JESUS CHRIST IN HIS PEOPLE: THOSE WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO BELIEVE IN HIM, WHETHER JEW OR GENTILE. FOR IT IS THE CHRIST IN YOU [THE BELIEVER] WHO IS THE HOPE OF GLORY!

And then in Col 1:27, this heretofore unknown body of believers in Jesus Christ - Gentile believers, God now willed to be known what is the glory of this mystery among the Gentile believers in the sense that the Gentiles will share in the glory of God with the Jews who are fellow believers in Christ. And that glory is Christ in them. It is Jesus Christ Who is their sure hope of experiencing the eternal glory of God. So the mystery - long hidden throughout the ages but now revealed is not the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles and all the peoples of the world; for the message of the gospel has been proclaimed to all mankind since the beginning of creation, (ref. Lk 2:29-32; Amos 9:11-12); but the mystery is the indwelling of Jesus Christ in His people: those who have chosen to believe in Him, whether Jew or Gentile. For it is the Christ in you [the believer] Who is the hope of glory!

Paul stated in Col 1:24 that he rejoices in his sufferings for the sake of the Colossian believers and for all believers. For in his [Paul's] flesh he does his share on behalf of Christ's body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions in the sense of Paul's personal sufferings on behalf of fellow believers by participating in Christ's sufferings as the world persecutes the church - the body of Christ throughout this age. For it is explained in Col 1:25, it is the church of which Paul became a minister according to the stewardship / the responsibility / the commission assigned to him from and by God which was given to him for the sake of the believers / the church in order to fulfill the Word of God. Then in Col 1:26, Paul declared that the fulfillment of the Word of God was the mystery that has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His [God's] saints in this age - the Church.Whereupon Paul continued to write about this mystery in Col 1:27 to whom [the saints of the church - the body of Christ] to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

So Paul has established in Col 1:24-26 that there exists a body comprised of believers in Christ for salvation unto eternal life which he named "the church" which consisted of both Jews and Gentiles together. Paul further characterizes this body as the Body of Christ and stipulates that he became a minister according to the stewardship he received from God, (Col 1:25), writing in Col 1:26, "that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints," i.e., those Jews and Gentiles who have believed in His Son for eternal life. And then in Col 1:27, this heretofore unknown body of believers in Jesus Christ - Gentile believers, God now willed to be known what is the glory of this mystery among the Gentile believers in the sense that the Gentiles will share in the glory of God with the Jews who are believers in Christ. And that glory is Christ in them. It is Jesus Christ Who is their sure hope of experiencing the eternal glory of God. So the mystery - long hidden throughout the ages but now revealed is not the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles and all the peoples of the world; for the message of the gospel has been proclaimed to all mankind since the beginning of creation, (ref. Lk 2:29-32; Amos 9:11-12); but the mystery is the indwelling of Jesus Christ in His people: those who have chosen to believe in Him, whether Jew or Gentile. For it is the Christ in you [the believer] Who is the hope of glory!

iii 4) [Commentary On Col 1:28-29]:

(Col 1:24 NASB) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

(Col 1:26 NASB) that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

(Col 1:27 NASB) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among  hrist in you, the hope of glory.

 (Col 1:28 NASB) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

(Col 1:29 NASB) For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

IN COL 1:28-29, PAUL WROTE, "WE PROCLAIM CHRIST, ADMONISHING EVERY MAN AND TEACHING EVERY MAN WITH ALL WISDOM, SO THAT WE MAY PRESENT EVERY MAN COMPLETE IN CHRIST. FOR THIS PURPOSE ALSO [PAUL LABORS], STRIVING ACCORDING TO HIS [CHRIST'S] POWER, WHICH MIGHTLY WORKS WITHIN [HIM].

So throughout all of his sufferings, Paul maintained his focus on His mission according to the stewardship he received from God which was given to him for the benefit of the church, to fulfill the word of God relative to his mission to reveal the mystery of the church to Gentiles and Jews alike throughout the world which had been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has not been manifested to His saints, (Col 1:26). And His mission from God was to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in them - those that have trusted alone in Christ alone for eternal life Who indwells in them and is their sure Hope of eternal glory. For since Christ is indwelling every believer of this age, Jew and Gentile, He is their sure Hope of eternal glory, (Compare Eph 1:13-14 ).

Hence in Col 1:28-29, Paul wrote, "We proclaim Christ, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His [God's] power, which mightily works with me." So completion in Christ begins with the proclamation of the gospel to an individual - to present him before God evidently at the return of Christ bringing him into God's presence at the return of Christ, (cf. 1 Thess 2:19-20; 5:23) at which time will God's word in the believer be made complete. This begins with the information that through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone one receives eternal life, and Jesus Christ will indwell him unto the sure hope of everlasting life, the believer's eternal hope of glory, (cf. Eph 2:13-14). The Greek words rendered "admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom" has to do with careful instruction of the doctrines of the faith in the Word of God which includes exhorting every man to follow through on what the words of God's Word say. Note that Paul's gospel was not contaminated with the exclusiveness that characterized the false teachers, the errorists who considered themselves a sort of spiritual aristocracy who were selective with their message. They believed the way of salvation to be so involved that it could be understood by only by a select few who made up a sort of spiritual aristocracy. On the other hand, Paul slighted no one. Every person was the object of Paul's direct concern. The aim of Paul's proclaiming, admonishing and teaching was to "present everyone complete in Christ."

And "For this purpose," Paul writes at the end of the chapter, "also I labor, striving according to His [God's] power, which mightily works with me." Notice that it is the power of God which works mightily through Paul - though his apostleship and writings inspired by the Holy Spirit to produce the end results of the will of God for the saints being presented complete in Christ above and beyond the capacity of Paul.