This is the page for all my resources and documents for the book of Colossians. The first section contains documents that survey the entire book. The next section is broken down by each passage. Click the label of any passage to expand for access to documents and information about each individual passage. Feel free to use and distribute any information you find helpful as long as you give credit where appropriate.
General Documents
Individual Passages
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1:1-14 Thanksgiving and Prayer
  • 1:1-2 Introduction
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    1 The Senders: Paul and Timothy
    1a Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
    1b And Timothy, the brother
    2a The Recipients: to the saints in Colossae and faithful brothers in Christ
    2b Blessing: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father
  • 1:3-8 Thanksgiving
  • 1:9-14 Prayer
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    9a Because of this, we also have not ceased praying and asking on your behalf, since which day we heard
    9b-14 Purpose: That you may know God's will and do it.
    9b That you may be filed with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding
    10-14 Purpose: In order to please the Lord with your lifestyle
    10a In order to walk worthy of the Lord, to please [Him] in every way, in every good work
    10b-14 The kind of walk that pleases the Lord:
    10b Bearing fruit
    10c And growing in the knowledge of God
    11 Being empowered with all power, according to the strength of His glory, for all patience and long-suffering
    12-14 Giving thanks for our inheritance
    12 Giving thanks with joy to the Father Who made us qualified for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light
    13-14 Reason: He rescued us from darkness and gave us inheritance in His Kingdom
    13a Who rescued us from the authority of darkness
    13b-14 He transfered us to His Son's Kingdom of redemption & forgiveness
    13b And He transferred us into the Kingdom of His Son
    14 In Whom we have the redemption - the forgiveness of sins
1:15-23 Christ is Preeminent
  • 1:15-23 Christ is Preeminent over ALL
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    15a Jesus is first in His Being
    He is the image of the invisible God
    image = duplicate from a prototype. Jesus is not just like God, but He is exactly like God.
    -cf. Jn. 14:7-9, 12:44-45, 2 Cor. 4:4-5, Heb. 1:3
    We could not know God, but God made Himself known, not just through words, not through pictures, but through a life. cf. Jn. 1:18
    Someone once said of Jesus - if God is not like this man, then He'd better be
    15b-17 Jesus is first over all creation
    15b-16a He is superior to all creation because He created all creation
    15b He is the firstborn over all creation
    firstborn has the connotation, not just of priority in time, but it means preeminence. The point is that Jesus is superior to all creation.
    firstborn also has NO implication that Jesus is a part of creation, i.e. that He is a created being (the next proposition rules this out). Jesus has preeminence over all creation by being the uncreated God, Who has come into His own creation
    16a Reason: because all things in the heavens and upon the earth were created by Him - the things that are seen and the unseen things, either thrones, either lordships, either rulers, either authorities
    Those things that the Colossians might have been tempted to rely on were created by Christ, and therefore inferior to Him. Anything we may be tempted to rely on were created by Christ, and therefore, are inferior to Him.
    16b All things were created by/through Him and for Him
    He is both the cause of all creation, and the reason for all creation, and the goal of all creation, cf. Rom. 11:36
    17a And He Himself is before all things
    He may mean that He existed before creation in time (which is true). But it probably has the primary meaning of precedence in importance or rank - He is more important than all creation
    17b And all things are holding together by Him
    Everything relies on Him
    Without Him, everything would fail. Those things we are tempted to rely on would cease without Him.
    Do we rely on the stock market? Without Him it would fail. Do we rely on our health? Without Him it would fail. Do we rely on gravity or chemistry or the fact that the earth will be there to support us, or that the air is there for us to breathe? Without Him, all these things would fail
    Everything finds its proper place in Him. If Christ is first, these other things fall into their proper place
    If we say Jesus and..., we neither truly have Jesus or anything else. If we say Jesus. Period., we then have all things in their proper priority and proportion.
    18-23 Jesus is first in the new creation
    18a He is the head of the body, which is the church
    -cf. Eph. 4:15
    Here Paul uses the metaphor of the church as a body, which he has used elsewhere (Rom. 12:4-5, 1 Cor. 12:12ff., Eph. 1:22-23)
    head is the one in authoritative control in relation to the body - Christ is the King of the church. The church is nothing without Christ, and only finds its meaning and significance in relationship with Christ. Therefore, it would be folly for the church to look to anyone or anything else than Christ for anything.
    18b-23 The Reason: He is first in all the church because He is first in all the universe
    18b-c Christ is superior over all the universe
    18b He is the beginning - the firstborn from the dead
    the term beginning could also be translated ruler. It has the connotation of one who begins a process, and therefore is in control of the process. Jesus started the universe, and the church, and He is Lord over all.
    This term was also used in ancient Greek philosophy to designate the most basic element behind all of nature - the most fundamental reality in the universe. If Paul had this use of the word in mind, it would reinforce the idea that Jesus is most fundamental and important.
    However, the emphasis is probably that Jesus is the first one resurrected to the new humanity that all His people will eventually share. This is demonstrated by elaborating on beginning by the phrase firstborn from the dead
    firstborn is the same work used above in v. 15. In this verse it is modified by the phrase from the dead thereby emphasizing that Jesus is the first participant in the new humanity - the resurrection humanity that all the church will someday experience. The church will experience resurrection because Jesus made a way by leading the way (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20) and by being the way (cf. Jn 14:1-7)
    18c Purpose: so that He Himself may be preeminent in everything
    preeminent means to have the highest place, the highest rank - be in first place, as most important
    Jesus is the most important, because He is God Himself. this proposition emphasizes that the purpose for the entire universe is that Jesus, not only will be most important, but will also be seen to be most important. Everything in the universe will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).
    19-23 Reason: This was God's predetermined plan for all the universe
    19a He [God] was pleased/determined
    This term has the connotation of choice and resolve toward some action because it was the best/most pleasing option in God's sight.
    19b-23 Specifically: God determined to reconcile everything through Christ
    God's choice of action plans was through Christ = there is no plan B
    19b For all the fullness to dwell in Him
    fullness means the sum total, not part of God - everything that God is. This has the same sense as the full measure of deity in Eph. 3:19.
    This means that Jesus is all that God is. That is why Jesus is preeminent.
    -cf. 2:9-10, Jn 14:10-11
    God's fullness is not spread among the cosmic powers. God's fullness is not spread among the fads or pastimes. God's fullness is not spread among all the world religions or worldviews, or human intellectual pursuits. God's fullness is not spread among pleasures or dreams or accomplishments.
    God's fullness is in Christ, and therefore, Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father, not Jesus and...
    This is also why Jesus is able to reconcile everything to God, as seen in the next proposition.
    dwell means to take residence, to be fully present, cf. 2:9
    20-23 And To reconcile all to Himself through Him
    20 He reconciled all to Himself
    20a-b He restored all thing to Himself by making peace through the cross
    20a And through Him, to reconcile everything to Himself
    all things is the same phrase used in v. 16b
    reconcile is a very important theological word in the NT. It occurs in Rom. 5:10-11, 11:15, 2 Cor. 5:18-20, Eph. 2:16 and here and v. 22.
    It means the restoration of interpersonal relations after they have been broken. It includes the following ideas: 1. Friendly relations have been broken. 2. Steps have been taken to remove and/or heal the problem/offense that caused the relationship to break, and 3. Restoration of the relationship.
    In the context of human relationship with God, reconciliation involves: 1. Our broken relationship with God because of sins, making us subject to God's righteous wrath. 2. Christ paid the penalty for our sin, thus removing the judicial penalty against us, and the cause of enmity, and 3. A restoration of the relationship between God and humans who are in Christ.
    20b By making peace through the blood of His cross
    With this proposition, Paul makes clear the means by which God removes the enmity between God and humanity, and thereby makes reconciliation.
    making peace is synonymous to reconciling - restoring broken relationship by removing the cause of enmity.
    And Paul emphasizes that it is through Christ's violent death on the cross. blood is figurative for the totality of violent sacrificial death as the judicial penalty for sin. Christ stands in as a substitute, paying the judicial penalty instead of the person deserving death, as prefigured in the Old Testament sacrificial system.
    20c Through Him He reconciled both the things on the earth and the things in the heavens.
    21-23 He reconciled us through His death
    21 Even though you were then estranged and enemies in your attitude by evil deeds
    22-23 He has now reconciled us to God
    22a He has now reconciled in His physical body through death
    22b-23 To present you to God as faithful and holy
    22b Purpose: in order to present/make you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable before Him
    -cf. Eph. 1:4, Col. 1:28
    23 Condition: If you remain secure in the faith
    23a If you remain in the faith
    23b-d Remaining firm and faithful
    23b being well founded
    23c being firm/steadfast
    23d and not shifted/shaken from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, of which I, Paul became a servant
1:24-2:19 Christ, Not deception
1:24-2:5 Paul's Mission
  • 1:24-27 Paul suffers for his commission
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    24-25 I am happily suffering to fulfill my commission on your behalf
    24a Now, I am rejoicing in the sufferings on your behalf
    24b-25 I am carrying out the fullness of my difficult commission on behalf of the church
    24b And I am filling up what is lacking in the affliction of Christ in my flesh on behalf of His body, which is the church
    25 I have become a servant of which [church] according to the commission/administration of God, which was given to me for you, to bring to completion/proclaim fully the Word of God
    26-27 The hidden mystery of Christ in you, has now been made known to the saints
    26 And the mystery, which was hidden from ages past and from the [past] generations, has now been made known to His saints
    27 To whom [the saints], God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations - which is Christ in you, the hope of glory
  • 1:28-2:5 The Mystery of Christ
2:6-15 Live in Christ, not by deceptive Philosophy
2:16-19 Don't follow the shadow, you have the Truth
2:20-4:1 Died and Raised with Christ
4:2-18 Prayer and Conclusion