Introduction: Christ the Preeminent One
- Salutation (1:1-2)
- Reasons for Thanksgiving (1:3-8)
- The Apostle’s Prayer in view of the Colossians (1:9-23a)
- The Double Character of Paul’s ministry (1:23b-29)
1 Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus, by God’s will, and Timotheus the brother, 2 to the holy and faithful brethren in Christ which are in Colosse. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.
Reasons for Thanksgiving (1:3-8)
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ continually when praying for you, 4 having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love which ye have towards all the saints, 5 on account of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens; of which ye heard before in the word of the truth of the glad tidings, 6 which are come to you, as they are in all the world, and are bearing fruit and growing, even as also among you, from the day ye heard them and knew indeed the grace of God, in truth: 7 even as ye learned from Epaphras our beloved fellow-bondman, who is a faithful minister of Christ for you, 8 who has also manifested to us your love in the Spirit.
The Apostle’s Prayer in view of the Colossians (1:9-23a)
Praying for the Colossians’ needs (vv.9-11)
9 For this reason “we” also, from the day we heard of your faith and love, do not cease praying and asking for you, to the end that ye may be filled with the full knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so as to walk worthily of the Lord unto all well-pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing by the true knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power according to the might of his glory unto all endurance and longsuffering with joy;
Thanksgiving for Our full Salvation (vv.12-14)
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has made us fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light, 13 who has delivered us from the authority of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love: 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins; v.14 “through his blood” is not here, because the subject is who accomplished redemption – the son of God – not how much it cost him. c.p. Eph. 1:7.
Expounding Christ’s Glory (vv.15-23a)
Two Preeminences of Christ (vv.15-19)
15 who is image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation; 16 because by him were created all things, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or principalities, or authorities: all things have been created by him and for him. 17 And “he” is before all, and all things subsist together by him. 18 And “he” is the head of the body, the assembly; who is the beginning, firstborn from among the dead, that “he” might have the first place in all things: 19 for in him all the fulness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell,
Two Reconciliations of Christ (vv.20-23a)
20 and by him to reconcile all things to itself, having made peace by the blood of his cross — by him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.
Reconciliation comes in two phases. First, the reconciliation of persons (Rom. 5:11, II Cor. 5:18)… an ongoing work through the gospel of God’s grace. Second, the reconciliation of all things (Col. 1:20)… which will occur when the new heavens and earth are formed, and all things in the Eternal State are according to God mind.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in mind by wicked works, yet now has it reconciled 22 in the body of his flesh through death; to present you holy and unblamable and irreproachable before it, 23a if indeed ye abide in the faith founded and firm, and not moved away from the hope of the glad tidings,
The Double Character of Paul’s ministry (1:23b-29)
A Minister of the Gospel (vv.23b-24)
23b which ye have heard, which have been proclaimed in the whole creation which is under heaven, of which “I” Paul became minister. 24 Now, I rejoice in sufferings for you, and I fill up that which is behind of the tribulations of Christ in my flesh, for his body, which is the assembly;
A Minister to the Assembly (vv.25-29)
25 of which “I” became minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given me towards you to complete the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but has now been made manifest to his saints; 27 to whom God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you the hope of glory: v.27 The expression “this Mystery, Christ in you” is the practical realization of the union of Christ and the Church, such that Christ is displayed in the Church collectively by the Spirit of God. So closely linked is the Church with Christ that when the world sees the Church they are seeing Christ. Just as a body carries out the thoughts of its head, so likewise Christ is to be seen in the Church. This is God’s intention, but sadly we have failed in this by “not holding the head” (Col. 2:19). Romans 8:10 presents a similar thought connected with the individual; Christ displayed in the believer’s life.
28 whom “we” announce, admonishing every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, to the end that we may present every man perfect in Christ. 29 Whereunto also I toil, combating according to his working, which works in me in power.