Colossians 2-4

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 15, 2000


The city of Colosse was located in Asia Minor (Modern Turkey) along the Lycus River, about 10 to 20 miles from the cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis.  These three cities were known as the region of Phrygia.

Paul writes to the Colossians while in prison in Rome, around the same time as the epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon.

In chapter 1, Paul has laid a foundation by reminding the Colossians of how awesome and powerful Jesus is.

Colossians 2

:1  For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

conflictagon (the root for the word “strive” in 1:29) – an assembly,; the assembly of the Greeks at their national games; hence the contest for a prize at their games; generally, any struggle or contest; a battle

Apparently Paul had never been to Colosse or to Laodicea, but he still cared about them and labored in prayer for them.

:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

comfortedparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

knit togethersumbibazo (“together” + “force”) – to cause to coalesce, to join together, put together; to unite or knit together: in affection; to put together in one’s mind; to cause a person to unite with one in a conclusion or come to the same opinion, to prove, demonstrate

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence

richesploutos – riches, wealth; fulness, abundance, plenitude

full assuranceplerophoria – full assurance, most certain confidence

understandingsunesis – a running together, a flowing together with; knowledge; understanding; the understanding, i.e the mind so far forth as it understands

acknowledgementepignosis – precise and correct knowledge; knowledge by experience

mystery – I think Paul may still be talking here about the mystery that God would be working in the Gentiles one day.

Paul wants them to have the great wealth that comes from knowing that God is in them, that God loves them, that God is on their side.

:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

treasuresthesauros – the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up; a treasury; storehouse, repository, magazine


Jesus has all the treasure

Some people are constantly looking for new “things”, going from one religion to the next trying to find the world’s treasures of wisdom.
All you need is Jesus.  Everything is in Him.
His knowledge and wisdom are incredible.

The hymn God Moves in a Mysterious Way has been a source of great comfort and blessing to many of God’s people since William Cowper wrote it in the 18th century.  Yet few people know of the unusual circumstances that led to its composition.

William Cowper was a Christian, but he had sunk to the depths of despair.  One foggy night he called for a horsedrawn carriage and asked to be taken to the London Bridge on the Thames River. He was so overcome by depression that he intended to commit suicide.  But after 2 hours of driving through the mist, Cowper’s coachman reluctantly confessed that he was lost.  Disgusted by the delay, Cowper left the carriage and decided to find the London Bridge on foot.  After walking only a short distance, though, he discovered that he was at his own doorstep!  The carriage had been going in circles.  Immediately he recognized the restraining hand of God in it all.  Convicted by the Spirit, he realized that the way out of his troubles was to look to God, not to jump into the river.  As he cast his burden on the Savior, his heart was comforted.  With gratitude he sat down and penned these reassuring words: “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm. O fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds you so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.”

:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

beguileparalogizomai – to reckon wrong, miscount; to cheat by false reckoning; to deceive by false reasoning; to deceive, delude, circumvent

enticing wordspithanologia (“persuade” + “word”) – speech adapted to persuade, discourse in which probable arguments are adduced; in a bad sense, persuasiveness of speech, specious discourse leading others into error

:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

ordertaxis – an arranging, arrangement; order; due or right order, orderly condition; character, fashion, quality, style; NAS – “good discipline”

stedfastnessstereoma (our word “steroids”) – that which has been made firm; on which a thing rests firmly, support; firmness, steadfastness

:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:


Keep walking.

Being a Christian isn’t just about making a one time decision to “accept” Jesus.  That’s only the first step of a long, long journey.
We need to continue with Jesus.
We need to keep climbing with Jesus.  We need to keep moving.

:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

rootedrhizoo – to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded

built upepoikodomeo – to build upon, build up; To finish the structure of which the foundation has already been laid, to give constant increase in Christian knowledge and in a life conformed thereto.

stablishedbebaioo – to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure


Stability from the Word.

Deep roots.
(Mat 13:20-21 KJV)  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; {21} Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

God doesn’t want you to be a shallow Christian.  He wants you to have deep roots.  David said that we would be like a tree planted by water, resistant to the heat, if we’d pay attention to God’s Word (Ps. 1:1-3)

Solid foundation
(Mat 7:24-27 KJV)  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

It’s not just hearing the Word, but learning to obey it.  That’s what puts our households on a solid foundation, able to stand any storm.

:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

spoil yousulagogeo – to carry off booty; to carry one off as a captive (and slave); to lead away from the truth and subject to one’s sway

philosophyphilosophia – love of wisdom; used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Used once in the NT of the theology, or rather theosophy, of certain Jewish Christian ascetics, which busied itself with refined and speculative enquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life

deceitapate – deceit, deceitfulness

traditionparadosis – giving up, giving over; a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept, etc.

rudimentsstoicheion – any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal; the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline


What’s your foundation?

I think we need to be careful about what we base some of our ideas on.
When we’ve grown up in the world’s educational system, we can pick up a lot of ideas that are simply based on false knowledge.
I don’t want to sound “anti-intellectual” to you, but there’s a lot of bad psychology and bad science (Darwinism) behind a lot of things going on in the world today.
Science and psychology should be good things, but much of what they base their ideas on are currently wrong.
For example:

Abortion and RU-486 – Vice President Al Gore was recently asked what his views were on the recent approval of this abortion producing pill.  He said that he supported the FDA’s approval, and that he was “for women” and that he had “faith in women to do the right thing”, and that he was in favor of a woman having control over her own body.

The problem?  I don’t have a problem in believing in women.  I don’t have a problem in women having authority over their own body.  But the baby that a pregnant woman carries is not her body, it’s another life.  It’s not some kind of step in evolutionary tissue development, it’s a baby.  Giving a woman the “choice” of an abortion is giving her the “choice” to kill an innocent life.  Bad idea.

:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Godheadtheotes – deity; the state of being God, Godhead

Jesus is God.

Why would you want to waste your time building your life on empty philosophies when everything you will ever need is found in Jesus?

:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

completepleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full; to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim

When you are “in Jesus”, you have it all.

principality and power – He is over all, including angels

:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

putting offapekdusis – a putting off, laying aside

The importance of circumcision is not in the cutting of human flesh by human hands, but the spiritual significance behind the ritual.

The spiritual significance is all about the laying aside of our sin nature, cutting it off.  The real work happens spiritually, but Jesus.

:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

buried withsunthapto – to bury together with; For all who in the rite of believer’s baptism are plunged into the water, thereby declare that they put faith in the expiatory death of Christ for the pardon of their past sins; therefore Paul likens baptism to a burial by which the former sinfulness is buried, i.e. utterly taken away.

risen withsunegeiro – to raise together, to cause to raise together

operationenergeia – working, efficiency

The real importance of baptism is not in the immersion in water, but the spiritual significance of being raised from the dead, identifying with Jesus’ death and resurrection.  I was somehow buried with Him.  I was somehow raised with Him.

:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

uncircumcisionakrobustia – having the foreskin, uncircumcised; a Gentile; a condition in which the corrupt desires rooted in the flesh were not yet extinct

quickened together withsuzoopoieo – to make one alive together

having forgivencharizomai – to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify; to show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent; to grant forgiveness, to pardon

:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

blotting outexaleipho – to anoint or wash in every part; to besmear: i.e. cover with lime (to whitewash or plaster); to wipe off, wipe away; to obliterate, erase, wipe out, blot out

handwritingcheirographon – a handwriting, what one has written by his own hand; a note of hand or writing in which one acknowledges that money has either been deposited with him or lent to him by another, to be returned at the appointed time

In Bible days, financial records could be recorded on parchment, and the writing could be washed off.

ordinancesdogma – doctrine, decree, ordinance; the rules and requirements of the law of Moses; carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment

It is the Law of Moses that is “against” us.  It shows us just how utterly sinful we are.

nailingproseloo – to fasten with nails to, nail to

:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

having spoiledapekduomai – wholly put off from one’s self; denoting separation from what is put off; wholly to strip off for one’s self (for one’s own advantage); despoil, disarm

made a show of them openlydeigmatizo – to make an example of, to show as an example

triumphingthriambeuo – to triumph, to celebrate a triumph; cause one to triumph; From the root word meaning a hymn sung in festal processions in honour of the god Bacchus.

:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

meatbrosis – act of eating; that which is eaten, food, ailment

holydayheorte – a feast day, festival

new moonnoumenia – new moon; of the Jewish festival of the new moon

sabbath dayssabbaton – the seventh day of each week which was a sacred festival on which the Israelites were required to abstain from all work; the institution of the sabbath, the law for keeping holy every seventh day of the week


Be careful about being condemned.

We need to be careful that we don’t allow people to put us under condemnation for things that we are no longer accountable for.
I think we could consider the Seventh Day Adventists here.  They would make you think that you need to be going to church on Saturday instead of Sunday.

:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

shadowskia – shadow; shade caused by the interception of light; an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object; a sketch, outline, adumbration

The shadow isn’t the real object, just an image cast by the real object.

The different things in the Jewish law are not the goal or the end themselves.  The end is found in Jesus.  These things were just pictures, shadows of Jesus.

:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

beguilekatabrabeuo – to decide as umpire against someone; to defraud or beguile of the prize of victory; metaph. to deprive of salvation.  It’s a present tense – the idea is that we shouldn’t keep letting people rip us off.  Get away from those who are ripping you off from your prize.

voluntarythelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to take delight in, have pleasure

humilitytapeinophrosune – the having a humble opinion of one’s self; a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind

(NAS) delighting in self-abasement

The idea would seem to be those who love to show you how humble they are.
Jesus said,
(Mat 6:16-18 NLT)  "And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I assure you, that is the only reward they will ever get. {17} But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. {18} Then no one will suspect you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret. And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

worshippingthreskeia – religious worship; esp. external, that which consists of ceremonies; religious discipline, religion

angelsaggelos – a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God

intruding intoembateuo – to enter, to frequent, haunt; to invade, make hostile incursion into

seenhorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know; to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience

puffed upphusioo – to make natural, to cause a thing to pass into nature; to inflate, blow up, to cause to swell up; to puff up, make proud; to be puffed up, to bear one’s self loftily, be proud

Be careful about people who talk about stuff they don’t know about.

Be careful about paying too much attention to people who don’t know God when they are talking about God.

I think about some of these “theologians” who come up with the craziest ideas about God, when they admit that they don’t believe in Him.  The “Jesus Seminar” scholars who are going through the Bible and deciding what must be the things Jesus actually said, and which things He couldn’t have said.

:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

holdingkrateo – to have power, be powerful; to get possession of; to take hold of, take, seize; to hold fast, i.e. not discard or let go; to keep carefully and faithfully; to continue to hold, to retain

the Head – Jesus.  These people aren’t connected to Jesus.

having nourishment ministeredepichoregeo – to supply, furnish, present; to be supplied, ministered to, assisted.  We saw a form of this word a few weeks ago, the idea of being the leader of a chorus and supplying the chorus with everything they need to perform.

knit togethersumbibazo – to cause to coalesce, to join together, put together; to unite or knit together: in affection

increasethauxano – to cause to grow, augment; to increase, become greater; to grow, increase; of plants

We want to have our growth come from God.

:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

rudimentsstoicheion – any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal; the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline

subject to ordinancesdogmatizo – to decree, command, enjoin, lay down an ordinance

If we have truly died with Christ, why are we still acting like people who are alive in the world by allowing the worldly principles to be the things that tell us what to do?

:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

touchhaptomai – to fasten one’s self to, adhere to, cling to; to touch; of Levitical practice of having no fellowship with heathen practices. Things not to be touched appear to be both women and certain kinds of food, so celibacy and abstinence of certain kinds of food and drink are recommended.

tastegeuomai – to taste, to try the flavour of; to taste; i.e. perceive the flavour of, partake of, enjoy; to feel, make trial of, experience; to take food, eat, to take nourishment, eat

handlethiggano – to touch, handle

:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

perishphthora – corruption, destruction, perishing; that which is subject to corruption, what is perishable

usingapochresis – abuse, misuse

:23 Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

show of wisdom – literally, “word of wisdom”.  These ideas of what to do and not do have the appearance of being pretty wise.

will worshipethelothreskeia – voluntary, arbitrary worship; worship which one prescribes and devises for himself, contrary to the contents and nature of faith which ought to be directed to Christ; said of the misdirected zeal and the practice of ascetics

These lists of “do’s and don’ts” make the human “will” the center of attention, the focus of worship.

humilitytapeinophrosune – the having a humble opinion of one’s self; a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind

We have a part of us that realizes that we need to be humble, and some of the things that people require of us will help us feel like we’re doing that, but it happens in the wrong way.

neglectingapheidia – unsparingly severity

Some of the regulations people cook up are pretty harsh.


The leader of the Iranian revolution, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is entombed in Tehran. Some visitors to the mosque, in traditional penance, chain themselves to the metal fence around the casket and beat themselves.
-- USA Today, 1-4-94, p. 6A.


It's Maundy Thursday, 1990 and thousands of Philippinos are re- enacting the last agony of Jesus.  Barefoot, over the hot stone streets in scorching sun, they are dragging heavy wooden crosses, flogging their bare backs bloody with glass-studded whips, grizzly Lenten rituals in which at least a dozen people will be nailed to crosses, seeking through pain and suffering, redemption.  It is tradition, so in a Moslem shrine in Bangledesh, a woman worshipper offering prayers extended her arms toward one of the crocodiles which live there; it bit off her hand and swallowed it.
-- Associated Press, 4-12-90

satisfyingplesmone – repletion, satiety, for the satisfying of the flesh, to satiate the desires of the flesh; indulgence of the flesh

(NAS) but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.


Beating yourself up won’t help.

Only Jesus can help us with the battle of our flesh.  More rules won’t help.
Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, one of the great Bible expositors of the previous generation, once illustrated the power that laws and written rules sometimes have to excite the very behavior they prohibit.  He noted that until the 1920s, most Americans were abstainers from alcohol.  Many who did drink exercised moderation.  But when our government prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol, the nation’s appetite for it grew dramatically.  Many abstainers became temperate drinkers, and many temperate drinkers became alcoholics. Barnhouse concluded that Prohibition “stimulated sinful passions, which, in turn, brought forth deadly fruit.”

If rules and beating yourself up doesn’t help with handling the flesh, what does?  Keep reading …

Colossians 3

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

If – a better translation is “since”.  There is not a question about whether we’ve been risen with Christ, it’s assumed that we have.

seekzeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into; to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after

The verb is a present imperative.  It’s a command to continually seek the things above.

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

set your affectionphroneo – to have understanding, be wise; to feel, to think; to be of the same mind i.e. agreed together, cherish the same views, be harmonious; to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, to strive for


Mind the right things

You cannot be “too heavenly minded” to be any earthly good.  We’re more often too earthly minded to be any heavenly good.
We need to keep the right things in our minds.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus.
(Heb 12:1-3 KJV)  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, {2} Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. {3} For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
They say that you will hit whatever target you aim at.  If you aim at nothing, you’ll surely hit it.  But we need to be aiming at Jesus.
This doesn’t mean that we only talk about “spiritual” things when we’re around each other.  There are people who know all kinds of Bible facts, but whose life is a complete ruin.  As you’ll see, being “heavenly minded” becomes VERY PRACTICAL.  It will affect every aspect of our life.

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

dead – When we decided to trust in Jesus, we became connected to His death on the cross.  Some we became part of His death, and it’s His death that frees us from the bondage of sin.  It’s His death that opens up the possibility of having victory over sin.  Dead people don’t sin.

(Rom 6:6 NLT)  Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

is hidkrupto – to hide, conceal, to be hid.  The verb is a perfect passive tense, the idea is that at a time in the past we were “hid” with Christ in God, and the effects continue on to the present.

A part of your life is in heaven.  Safe and secure.

Dr. A.T. Robertson, comments on this: “So here we are in Christ who is in God, and no burglar, not even Satan himself, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:31-39)” (Paul and the Intellectuals, Broadman, p. 98).

:4 When Christ, who is our life,

We have life because Jesus has given us life.

Warren Wiersbe writes,

Someone has said, “Life is what you are alive to.” A child may come alive when you talk about a baseball game or an ice-cream cone. A teenager may come alive when you mention cars or dates. Paul wrote, “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). Christ was Paul’s life and he was alive to anything that related to Christ. So should it be with every believer.

Years ago I heard a story about two sisters who enjoyed attending dances and wild parties. Then they were converted and found new life in Christ. They received an invitation to a party and sent their RSVP in these words: “We regret that we cannot attend because we recently died.”


Soon after Augustine’s conversion, he was walking down the street in Milan, Italy.  There he accosted a prostitute whom he had known most intimately.  She called but he would not answer. He kept right on walking.  “Augustine,” she called again.  “It is I!”  Without slowing down, but with assurance of Christ in his heart, he testified, “Yes, but it is no longer I.”

:4  shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

shall appearphaneroo – to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way; make actual and visible, realised; expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear; to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood

This is the opposite of “hid”.  We are not “hid” in Christ, but one day we shall be “exposed”.  That day comes when Jesus comes back.

(1 John 3:2 NLT)  Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
(Rev 19:11-14 KJV)  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. {12} His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. {13} And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. {14} And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

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

mortifynekroo – to make dead, to put to death, slay; to deprive of power, destroy the strength of .  The verb is an aorist imperative, a one-time death.

We are to put these things to death in ourselves.  If I have a ruptured appendix, I can read all the nice books on pleasant thoughts I want, but if I don’t have the appendix removed, I’ll still die.  These are things that NEED to be removed from our lives.

membermelos – a member, limb: a member of the human body

fornicationporneia – illicit sexual intercourse; adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

uncleannessakatharsia – uncleanness; in a moral sense: “lustful impurity that is connected with luxury and loose living.”

inordinate affectionpathos – an affliction of the mind, emotion, passion; a state of mind that excites sexual impurity.

evilkakos – of a bad nature; not such as it ought to be; base, wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

concupiscenceepithumia – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust

covetousnesspleonexia – greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice

idolatryeidololatreia – the worship of false gods, idolatry

In a sense, all these things are idolatry because they become the passions that drive and motivate us. When anything becomes your primary drive and motivation other than God, then that thing is an idol in your life.

Wiersbe:  “What we desire usually determines what we do. If I create in my children an appetite for candy, then I must satisfy that appetite. If they become overweight and unhealthy, then I must change their appetites, and I must teach them how to enjoy foods other than sweets.”

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

disobedienceapeitheia – obstinacy, obstinate opposition to the divine will

These are the very kinds of things that will bring God’s wrath.  I think we should be far, far from them.

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

We all used to be there.  Hopefully, we’ve moved away from these things.

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

put offapotithemi – to put off or aside or away

The things that follow are just as bad as those already listed.  Yet sometimes we tend to not be too worried about these things.  Not good.

angerorge – anger, the natural disposition, temper, character; movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any violent emotion, but esp. anger; anger, wrath, indignation; anger exhibited in punishment, hence used for punishment itself

wraththumos – passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again; glow, ardour, the wine of passion, inflaming wine (which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its strength)

malicekakia – malignity, malice, ill-will, desire to injure; wickedness, depravity; wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws; evil, trouble.  If we have malice toward a person, we are sad when he is successful, and we rejoice when he has trouble.

blasphemyblasphemia – slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name; impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty

filthy communicationaischrologia – foul speaking, low and obscene speech; any kind of disgraceful language, especially abuse of others. In classical Greek it sometimes means distinctively language which leads to lewdness.


Just stop it.

I don’t know how this would hit a modern psychologist, but Paul doesn’t give us any other ideas of how to deal with this stuff other than to just stop it.

I heard David Hocking the other day on the radio talk about how we are to deal with our sin.  He said we are to stop it.  He gave an example of a guy who came up to him after church and asked for prayer to stop smoking.  David said to him, “So you want to stop smoking?”  The guy said, “Yes”.  David could see a pack of cigarettes in the guy’s pocket, so he began to reach out and take them.  The guy hit David’s hand and said, “Is this a pastor kind of thing?  What are you doing?”  David said, “I’m going to take your cigarettes away.”  Finally the guy let him take them, and they flushed them down a toilet.  Then David said, “You have a van, don’t you?  Can you take me to your van so we can get rid of any cigarettes there?”  The guy said, “Oh, there’s no cigarettes there.”  But they went to the guy’s van, and found 12 packs of cigarettes.  The guy said, “But that’s a lot of money I’ve spent on those”.  David said, “Do you want to quit?”

I think that sometimes we have all kinds of excuses when we just need to do what we need to do.
Do you have a problem with anger?
Stop it.  I don’t mean stay angry and just not let anyone know.  I mean to stop being angry.  Paul seems to think we should be able to do it.
I think one problem is that we give ourselves permission to get angry.  We say stuff like, “When you think of what she does to me, I ought to get really angry!”  We give ourselves permission for all of these kinds of things, but the truth is we have no right to be doing these things.  We should stop.
When Paul says to “mortify” ourselves to these things, I think at least part of this means that we no longer have “the right” to be doing them.  We have no excuse.

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

liepseudomai – to lie, to speak deliberate falsehoods; to deceive one by a lie, to lie to

have put offapekduomai – wholly put off from one’s self; denoting separation from what is put off; wholly to strip off for one’s self (for one’s own advantage); despoil, disarm

oldpalaios – old, ancient; no longer new, worn by use, the worse for wear, old


Live in the truth.

Part of growing up is learning to speak the truth in love.
(Eph 4:15 KJV)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
When we are constantly wondering what “story” we should tell certain people, when we can’t even be honest with ourselves about certain things, we’re not growing up.

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

put onenduo – to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

new manneos – recently born, young, youthful; new

renewedanakainoo – to cause to grow up, new, to make new; new strength and vigour is given to one; to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state

knowledgeepignosis – precise and correct knowledge.  Knowledge by experience.

imageeikon – an image, figure, likeness

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

When you’re a Christian, it doesn’t matter what race, nationality, or color you are.  It doesn’t matter whether you are following certain rituals.  It doesn’t matter whether you are educated and refined or whether you’re a “barbarian”.  It doesn’t matter what your occupation is.  All that matters is that you have Jesus.

 I think it’s great to get to know each other better and learn more about each other.  But if you have Jesus, then what I learn about you is just a fun thing, not something that I have to decide whether or not I’m going to be your friend if you don’t answer my questions correctly.

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

put onenduo – to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self


The New Man

What follows are the “new man”.  This is what being a Christian is all about.  When you accepted Jesus into your life and He gave you and new life, this is what that new life is all about.
When we put our minds on the things above, these are the things we are to focus on.

bowelssplagchnon – bowels, intestines, (the heart, lungs, liver, etc.); the bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.)

merciesoiktirmos – compassion, pity, mercy; emotions, longings, manifestations of pity

I remember talking with one gal in our church who had been greatly involved in Children’s Ministry a few years ago.  To my surprise, she told me that when she had been away from the Lord, one of the things she hated most was being with children.  And yet to everyone, she was the most kind, compassionate person who has ever helped in our Children’s Ministry.  That’s the difference that Jesus makes.

kindnesschrestotes – moral goodness, integrity; benignity, kindness.  The basic idea is that of “doing good things” for other people.

humbleness of mindtapeinophrosune – the having a humble opinion of one’s self; a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind

meeknesspraotes – gentleness, mildness, meekness.  Strength under control.  Used of a strong race horse that has been trained.

longsufferingmakrothumia – patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance; patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs.  This is patience with people.

How do we do achieve these kinds of attitudes?

Paul says to just put them on.  Just do it.

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

forbearinganechomai – to hold up; to hold one’s self erect and firm; to sustain, to bear, to endure.  Not just keeping yourself from exploding (longsuffering), but simply putting up with another person day after day.

forgivingcharizomai (from charis, “grace”, “gracing”) – to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify; to show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent; to grant forgiveness, to pardon; to give graciously, give freely, bestow

quarrelmomphe – blame; to have a complaint against any one

forgavecharizomai (from charis, “grace”, “gracing”) – to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify; to show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent; to grant forgiveness, to pardon; to give graciously, give freely, bestow


He’s our example.

As we look to those things above (like Jesus), we find that if He forgives us, then we must forgive others.
If you have a hard time forgiving others, perhaps you need another taste of what the Lord’s forgiveness towards you is like.

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

charityagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence.  This is unconditional love, based not in emotions but in the will.  It is a choice to value another person.  It is a love that demonstrates itself by giving.

bondsundesmos – that which binds together, a band, bond; of ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together; that which is bound together, a bundle

perfectnessteleiotes – perfection; the state of the more intelligent; moral and spiritual perfection

(Col 3:14 NLT)  And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.

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

peaceeirene – peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord; peace that you feel in your heart, security, safety, prosperity

Jesus is the one that puts His peace in our heart.

Joh 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

rulebrabeuo – to be an umpire; to decide, determine; to direct, control, rule

A compound form of the word was used in:

Col 2:18  Let no man beguile you (cheat you as a bad umpire would) of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,


Let peace guide

Jamieson, Fausett, and Brown write,
“The false teacher, as a self-constituted umpire,  defrauds you of your prize; but if the peace of Christ be your umpire ruling in your hearts, your reward is sure. “Let the peace of Christ act as umpire when anger, envy, and such passions arise (the things of verses 8-9); and restrain them.” Let not those passions give the award, so that you should be swayed by them, but let Christ’s peace be the decider of everything.”
Sometimes this verse is applied by asking myself, “Am I doing the right things for God’s kind of peace between these people?”
I don’t think that means that we have to always give in to pushy people with the idea of “keeping the peace”.  That’s a false kind of security, not God’s peace.
Sometimes we can apply this verse by asking, “Am I making this decision out of God’s peace, or am I making it out of anger, envy, lust, or lying?”  Do I have God’s peace in making this decision? Don’t be quick to make decisions when you don’t have God’s peace.

:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;

dwell inenoikeo – to dwell in; metaph. to dwell in one and influence him (for good)

richlyplousios – abundantly, richly

wisdomsophia – wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters.  It’s not just knowing a lot, but knowing how to use what you know.  It’s not the number of Bible verses you can quote, but how many you’ve put into practice in your life.


Immersed in God’s Word

God wants His Word in your life.  He wants His Word to be cherished by you.  He wants His Word put into use in your life.

:16  teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

teachingdidasko – to teach; to impart instruction

admonishingnoutheteo – to admonish, warn, exhort

Does this part of the verse sound familiar?

(Eph 5:18-20 KJV)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; {19} Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; {20} Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

It’s just like Paul’s letter telling the Ephesians to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
In fact, the rest of the letter parallels Ephesians as Paul goes on to talk about relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees.


Word and Spirit

There’s a correlation here.  I think that one of the things that we can do to keep ourselves flowing with the filling of the Spirit is to immerse ourselves in God’s Word.  Not just reading a lot or studying a lot of Bible facts.  But letting it take a cherished place in our hearts, letting it affect the way we live.

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

To do something in the name of another means to do it as their representative, to do it just like they would do it.

We could sum up a lot of this chapter by asking ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”

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

your ownidios – pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self

I have to admit I had to laugh when I saw this word, it made me think, “Wives, submit to the idiot husbands …”

submithupotasso – to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection; to subject one’s self, obey; to yield to one’s admonition or advice; A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

is fitaneko – to have come up to, arrived at, to reach to; to pertain to what is due, duty, as was fitting

It is fitting for a Christian wife to submit to her husband.

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

loveagapao – of persons; to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.  This is God’s agape love, an unconditional love that is based on the will and not on feelings.  It is a choice to place value in the other person.  It is a love characterized by giving.

bitterpikraino –to make bitter; to produce a bitter taste in the stomach; to embitter. exasperate; render angry, indignant; to be embittered, irritated; to visit with bitterness, to grieve (deal bitterly with)

The verb is passive here.  These things are not to be done by the husband to himself.

:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

obeyhupakouo – to listen, to harken; to harken to a command; to obey, be obedient to, submit to

well pleasingeuarestos – well pleasing, acceptable

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

provoke … to angererethizo – to stir up, excite, stimulate, to provoke

discouragedathumeo – to be disheartened, dispirited, broken in spirit


Dads be kind

How can we “provoke” our children?
Bad teasing – going too far, hurting the feelings of a child
Overly high expectations – wanting more from your child than they can give or should give.
Conditional love – never letting them know that you love them or approve of them unless they do some difficult task
Broken promises – promising something to a child and breaking the promise, over and over and over again.
Abuse – every form of abuse creates anger in a child, whether it’s mental, verbal, physical, or sexual.
Gordon MacDonald writes, (The Effective Father)
“If a father is prone to lose his temper and to pour out uncontrolled spates of words which hit children in the line of fire, he may find himself living for a lifetime with a crushed son or daughter.  Words which explode at an impressionable moment can shape an entire personality.
“A forty-two-year-old man has allowed me to look into the inner recesses of his life and see what makes him what he is today:  a man who is frantically working himself into exhaustion; one who spends every dime he makes for impressive artifacts of luxury and success; a volatile human being whose temper explodes at the slightest hint of disagreement of criticism.  As we talk I ask Tom to tell me about his childhood.
“At one impressionable point in boyhood, when my friend was apparently displeasing his father with the way he was doing a chore, his father said to him, “Tom, you will always be a bum!” Tom goes on to tell me that whenever he and his father had angry moments, the same prediction would be repeated until it burned its way into the boy’s spirit so deeply that, like shrapnel embedded in flesh, the words could never be removed.  Thirty years later, Tom still suffers from his father’s verbal malpractice.  They drive him day and night from a subconscious source to attempt to prove that his father was wrong. Ironically, even though Tom’s father is dead, the habit patterns of Tom’s inner life still maintain fever pitch to convince a dead father and a slightly unsure Tom that he is not a bum.  Let anyone suggest to Tom that he is doing something wrong or that he is deficient in some aspect of his life, and hostility, defensiveness, and furious energy are unleashed to guard against what he senses is a resurrection of the old accusations from a thoughtless father who verbally set the wrong pace.”

Dads, spend time with your kids.

Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott first gained fame with his poems of medieval families living on the English-Scottish border.  Although Scott was well known, his son was ignorant of his father’s literary fame, loving and admiring him for reasons closer to a boy’s heart. Once, the younger Scott was in the company of some older people who were discussing his father’s genius.  “Yes,” put in the boy, “He is usually first to see the rabbit.”   Apparently Sir Walter spent a good deal of time hunting rabbits with his son.  That time together meant more to young Scott than all the novels his father would ever write.

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

servantsdoulos – a slave, bondman, man of servile condition.  Think of employees at work.  Fits, doesn’t it?

obeyhupakouo – to listen, to harken; to harken to a command; to obey, be obedient to, submit to

masterskurios – he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

eyeserviceophthalmodouleia – service performed [only] under the master’s eyes; for the master’s eye usually stimulates to greater diligence; his absence, on the other hand, renders sluggish

menpleasersanthropareskos – studying to please man, courting the favour of men

singlenesshaplotes – singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty; the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy; not self seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity

Not having ulterior motives.  Doing what’s right at work not just to get a raise or a bonus, but because God is watching.

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

do (1st)poieo – to make; to do

do (2nd)ergazomai – to work, labour, do work

heartilyek psuche (“out of the soul”) – breath; the soul; the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)

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

receiveapolambano – to receive; of what is due or promised

rewardantapodosis – recompence, to reward or repay someone

inheritancekleronomia – an inheritance, property received (or to be received) by inheritance; what is given to one as a possession

servedouleuo – to be a slave, serve, do service


The rewards come from the one you work for.

If you’re working for Jesus, then you’ll receive rewards from Him.
If you work for people, then the only place you can expect reward from is your boss.

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

doeth wrongadikeo – to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin,; to be a criminal, to have violated the laws in some way; to do wrong; to do hurt

receivekomizo – to care for, take care of, provide for; to carry, bear, bring to, to carry away for one’s self, to carry off what is one’s own, to bring back

respect of personsprosopolepsia (“the face” + “to receive”) – respect of persons; partiality; the fault of one who when called on to give judgment has respect of the outward circumstances of man and not to their intrinsic merits, and so prefers, as the more worthy, one who is rich, high born, or powerful, to another who does not have these qualities


God doesn’t care how important you think you are

He doesn’t make decisions because He’s somehow impressed by you.
We ought to do the same.

Colossians 4

:1  Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

justdikaios – righteous, observing divine laws

equalisotes – equality; equity, fairness, what is equitable

give untoparecho – to reach forth, offer; to show, afford, supply; to exhibit or offer on one’s own part; to render or afford from one’s own resources or by one’s own power

Be fair to your employees.

:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

prayerproseuche – prayer addressed to God

continueproskartereo – to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one; to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing; to continue all the time in a place; to persevere and not to faint; to show one’s self courageous for; to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly.  The verb is a present imperative, meaning that we are to be continually devoted to prayer.

watchgregoreuo – to watch; metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active

(NAS) Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;

Sometimes we can tend be more sleepy than “alert” when it comes to praying.

:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

withalhama – at the same time, at once, together

utterancelogos – word

:4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

make it manifestphaneroo – to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

Paul just wants to make the gospel clear, as he ought to.


Paul’s prayer request

I would be praying to get out of prison.  Paul is praying that he might share the gospel.
I might say that I’m praying to get out of prison so I could preach, but Paul simply prays that he could preach.
Whether he’s in prison or out of prison, Paul wants to preach.  His heart is to share the gospel, not to be comfortable.
John wrote,
(1 John 5:14-15 KJV)  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: {15} And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Which prayer requests would be God’s will, mine or Paul’s?  Mine might be God’s will, but Paul’s IS God’s will.

What are you asking for in prayer?  Are you asking for the right thing?

:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

walkperipateo – to walk; to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities; Hebrew for, to live; to regulate one’s life; to conduct one’s self; to pass one’s life

wisdomsophia – wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters.  It’s not just knowing a lot, but knowing how to use what you know.  It’s not the number of Bible verses you can quote, but how many you’ve put into practice in your life.

withoutexo – without, out of doors.  Probably referring to those who don’t know Jesus.

redeemingexagorazo – to redeem; to buy up, to buy up for one’s self, for one’s use; to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own

timekairos – a measure of time, a larger or smaller portion of time, hence:; a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for; opportune or seasonable time; the right time

Make the best use of your time.

:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

speechlogos – word

gracecharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favour

seasonedartuo – to prepare, arrange, with respect to food; to season, make savory

salthalas – salt with which food is seasoned and sacrifices are sprinkled; wisdom and grace exhibited in speech

answerapokrinomai – to give an answer to a question proposed, to answer

Talk that makes folks thirsty.  Fill your mouth with grace.

How should we answer each one? 

I think the idea here is that we ought to answer with grace.  It’s not just about knowing apologetics or Bible answers.  It’s about knowing grace.

:7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:

:8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;

comfortparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; to encourage, strengthen

Paul has sent Tychicus with the letter to the Colossians to not only deliver the letter, but to hear more about the Colossians and to encourage them.

:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.

Onesimus – Onesimus had been a slave of a man in Colosse named Philemon.  He had run away from his master and ended up meeting Paul in Rome, where he was introduced to Jesus.  Paul now sends Onesimus back to Colosse, back to his master.  He will write a letter to Philemon (the letter Philemon), encouraging him to receive Onesimus back as a brother, and Paul promised to pay for any damages that Onesimus might have caused Philemon.

faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust; that can be relied on

:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)

Aristarchus – a Macedonian from the town of Thessalonica (Acts 27:2).  He had been with Paul at least since Ephesus (Acts 19:29), when he had been dragged into the amphitheater as one of Paul’s companions.  He accompanied Paul on his trip to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4) and then on to Rome (Acts 27:2).

Marcus – This is Mark, the writer of the gospel of Mark.  He was Barnabas’ nephew.  Paul and Barnabas had their famous parting of ways because Barnabas wanted to take Mark on their next missionary journey, but Paul didn’t want to take Mark because he had deserted them on their last trip.  Now, a few years later, Paul says that Mark is okay.  In Paul’s last letter, he wrote to Timothy,

2Ti 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.


Get back in the saddle.

It may be that you feel like Mark, like you’ve failed.  But you can get back up and serve the Lord and once again be “profitable”.

:11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

of the circumcision – these were Paul’s Jewish helpers, the only Jewish helpers that had been helpful to Paul.

comfortparegoria – addressing, address; exhortation; comfort, solace, relief, alleviation, consolation

:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers,

Epaphras – a Gentile believer who had possibly been the first to preach the gospel to the Colossians (Col. 1:7-8)

labouring ferventlyagonizomai – to enter a contest: contend in the gymnastic games; to contend with adversaries, fight; metaph. to contend, struggle, with difficulties and dangers; to endeavour with strenuous zeal, strive: to obtain something


Prayer can be hard.

I think we get this idea that if we’re good Christian people, that our prayers should be beautiful, flowery things that just flow off the tip of our tongues.
And then we get discouraged because that’s not what it’s like when we pray.
I think that there is an aspect in which prayer if VERY difficult.
Do you ever find it hard to make time to pray?  I know VERY FEW people who feel that they pray as much as they should.
Do you ever find that it’s hard to take time and sit down and pray with your spouse or friend?  That’s because prayer isn’t easy.  It takes a struggle.

:12  that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

This was Epaphras’ prayer for the Colossians, very similar to Paul’s prayer for them (Col. 1:9-11).

:13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis.

Laodicea … Hierapolis – the other two cities that comprised Phygia with Colosse.  See map.

:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.

Luke – Paul’s companion and the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.

Demas – one of Paul’s companions, who would later desert Paul.

(2 Tim 4:10 NLT)  Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica.

Just as Mark had stumbled and was restored by the end of Paul’s life, Demas went the other way.  At this point he is with Paul, but in a couple of years he will desert Paul because he was too in love with the things of the world.
Jesus said,
(Mat 13:22 NLT)  The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.

:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

Nymphas – all we know of him is here.  He lived in Laodicea.  He had a church meeting in his house.

:16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

Paul apparently sent a letter to the Laodiceans, but we don’t have that letter.

:17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Archippus – “master of the horse”.  It has been suggested that he might have been the son of Philemon, and that the church in Colosse met in Philemon’s house (Philemon 1:1-2).  He is called  “fellow-soldier” by Paul (Phile. 1:2), and may have been the pastor of the church in Colosse.

say to Archippus – the church as a whole are encouraged to say these things to Archippus.  The church should be a part of encouraging and exhorting their pastor.

take heedblepo – to see, discern, of the bodily eye; metaph. to see with the mind’s eye; to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, understand; to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine

receivedparalambano – to take to, to take with one’s self, to join to one’s self; to receive something transmitted

fulfilpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full; to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally; to render full, i.e. to complete; to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim; to make complete in every particular, to render perfect; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking); of matters of duty: to perform, execute


Lessons about Ministry

1)  Ministry needs watching
If you have a ministry, you need to pay attention to it.

If you leave a garden unattended, it will become overgrown with weeds.\

2)  Ministry needs finishing.
Finish what you start.
For years, this has been a special verse for me.  Perhaps it was because I could take some of the letters in Archippus’ name and spell “Rich” out of it.  For a long time, I’ve felt as if God was saying this to me as well.  I need to watch over my ministry and see it to the end.  Even before I was ever paid by a church to be a pastor, I’ve felt God telling me to be faithful and stick it out.  God may be saying this to some of you as well.

:18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

Paul typically dictated his letters to a secretary, but would add a little line at the end in his own handwriting to show that the letter came from him.  The idea is that this last line was written in Paul’s handwriting.