Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Colossians 2:7

Here we find three verbs that almost seem to clash in their imagery. The first word “rooted” (Greek rhizoo) is in the perfect tense and means it is a completed work. It has the imagery of a living tree that has its roots firmly set in the soil. It is anchored and alive because of this root system. The Colossian believers were “rooted” in Jesus Christ, their faith was what gave them life and vitality.[1]

Paul then continues with the word for “built up” in the Greek is epoikodomeo and it is the present tense, meaning it is an on-going process. It carries an imagery of a building or structure. It is the image of an ever-expanding structure. It speaks to the progressive increase of one’s union with Christ.[2]

This anchor and continued growth are what has established (Greek bebaioo), confirmed or firmed up their faith. Paul is reminding them of what they had learned that brought them first to Christ, and had been continuing to grow their faith and understanding of what they had. And, because of this progression, the believers in Colossae were providing an abundance (Greek perisseuo) of gratitude (Greek eucharistia) for what they had. This was the natural consequence of their living a life encompassed by Jesus Christ. 

Paul will now turn to the concern he had for the Colossian believers in their dealing with the area of human philosophy that was threatening their ranks.

Prayer: Anchor of our Souls, I humbly come to You today to seek You to speak into my life the truths that are needed to walk the walk and talk the talk. Spirit of the Living God, I thank You that I am firmly anchored in my Savior. I seek You to build upon this firm foundation a life that grows continually in my association with You. Draw me near, purge my life, and buils me up. I am Yours, and I am willing for You to do whatever it takes to make me like my Precious Savior. Amen.

[1] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (2008). A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments - Volume 3 (Vol. 3). Peabody, Massachusetts, USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Page 446. 
[2] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (2008). A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments - Volume 3 (Vol. 3). Peabody, Massachusetts, USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Page 446.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Colossians 2:6

Paul here is starting to establish the following argument of Christ being the answer to philosophy. He begins the short thought began in this verse with the phrase “therefore” and ties this to the previous thoughts that he has established. Because they have stood solid and unmovable, they need to be prepared to continue in this truth.

He reminds them that they had received (Greek paralambano)[1] their salvation, not by a tradition or a mental imagery, but a person – Jesus Christ the Lord. The word received is in the aorist tense meaning it was a once for all experience. The Greek word means to receive from another,[2] their salvation was given to them by Jesus. Paul will build on this concept in verse 8 as he speaks about the contrast to the traditions of men.

The Gnostic teaching seeking to infiltrate the church at Colossae had two variations, and Paul addresses both of them in this statement. There was the teaching of the Docetic Gnostics who rejected the historical Jesus in His actual humanity, and the Cerinthian Gnostics who would not identify the Christ (Messiah) with this historical Jesus.

Paul uses the full identification of Jesus to validate his point here and following. Christ (Greek Christos) identifies Him as the promised Messiah that the Old Testament speaks about. Jesus is the human name given to Him by the Father and given through Joseph and Mary. Lord (Greek kyrios) identifies Him as the One to whom everything belongs.

As a result, Paul challenges the Colossian believers to “walk” (Greek paripateo) this is a Hebrew ethical term[3] that encompasses the whole being of the person. It signifies the whole extent of activities a person is involved in.

Prayer: There are good traditions, Father, and there are wrong ones. Help me to learn to differentiate between the two. I want to live a life that is pleasing to You, You have given me so much. I want to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Cleanse me, purge me, develop me, and keep me on the right path. I will seek to hear Your still small voice each step that I take. I bow in wonder before You, I love You. Amen.

[1] This is a technical term in the Greek for the perpetuation of traditional teaching by formal instruction (cf. 4:17; 1 Cor. 11:23; 15:1 – 3; 2 Thess. 3:6; Rom. 6:17 for similar useage). Allen, Clifton J., ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary. Vol. 11. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1971. Page 235. 
[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 510. 
[3] Allen, Clifton J., ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary. Vol. 11. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1971. Page 235.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Colossians 2:5

This is a statement of Paul’s Pastoral care and concern for those he has had the opportunity to influence with his ministry.[1] This is more than a “thinking of you” statement. It is deeper that a “wish I was there” testimony. It was a look at the heart of the Apostle. I can’t fathom the length of Paul’s daily prayer list. 

Before he goes into the warning, he pauses to commend where they are at this point. He must have received word that the Church at Colossae was standing, in spite of the onslaught of the Gnostic heresy attempting to destroy their testimony and witness.

The two terms Paul uses here for “good order” (Greek taxis) and “steadfastness” (Greek stereoma) are basically military terms. The first term carries the image of standing shoulder to shoulder[2] and portrays a solid phalanx or unbroken ranks. As believers, we need to maintain the order of standing together in the faith, not fighting one another, but being together against our common enemy.

The second term carries the image of solid, unmovable front. The first word deals with the outward aspect, while the second term is the inner basis of this image. The solid foundation found in the second concept is what provides for the strong attitude. Paul wrote the same thought pattern when he wrote to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ASV), “ Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.”

Prayer: Father, may I be like the Church at Colossae as Paul commends them in this verse. May I seek to be solid in my faith, and in turn be a part of a united front against the heresy in the world and religions of today. Strengthen me, enable me, protect me in this battle for the mind today. In Your Son's name I pray, Amen.

[1] Look at Paul’s declaration to the church at Corinth in 1 Cor. 5:3 – 5 for another expression of his pastoral heart. 
[2] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Pages 349.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Colossians 2:4

Paul wants to make sure that what he is about to instruct them about is clearly understood. There was a problem in the church at Colossae of the people combining Judaism with Oriental philosophy and then mixing this into Christianity.[1] Dr. J. Vernon McGee says this error was in both Colossae and Laodicea, and he believes that is what eventually destroyed the church at Colossae and made Laodicea the weakest of the seven churches written to in Revelation.[2]

Paul warns against their being deluded (Greek paralogizomai) with persuasive arguments (Greek pithanologia). The concept of being deluded in this passage carries the idea of “to deceive by false reasoning.”[3] This is accomplished by the use of plausible arguments in contrast to demonstration of the truth. As one commentary says, it is attractive arguments, persuasive rhetoric, plausible speech, fast talk, and a smooth line.[4]

This is too often the issue in churches and among the believers; we spend too much time seeking out the philosophy and psychology of the world instead of relying on the Word of God. I hold a degree in Biblical Counseling (DBC – Doctor of Biblical Counseling) and I can see where too often the believers (and Christian Counselors) are placing emphasis upon the philosophical worldviews over the teaching in the Bible. People flock to Pastors who use enticing words to soothe their consciences instead of applying the healing balm of God’s Word to remove the basis of their guilt. 

Prayer: I must be so careful, Father. There are so many philosophical worldviews calling out to my mind, my thoughts, my belief system. Grant me wisdom that only You can give to discern right from wrong beliefs. May I speak only that which is true to Your Word. May I teach only what is true to Your Word. Most of all, may I live only what is true according to Your Word. Amen.

[1] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (2008). A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments - Volume 3 (Vol. 3). Peabody, Massachusetts, USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Page 446.
[2] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Pages 348.
[3] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 58. 

[4] Falwell, Jerry, ed. Liberty Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 2460.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Colossians 2:3

Paul finishes this section and begins to segue into the following development of thought as a response to the Gnostic teaching that was so prevalent in the First Century.

He is saying, basically, Jesus is all we need. The word translated as hidden apokruphos can carry the meaning of something being stored up,[1] thus the idea that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge can be found in Jesus the Christ. This understanding is in connection with the Greek word thesaurus translated as treasures in this verse. We get our word English word “thesaurus” from this. The main purpose of such a reference work is to help the user to find the word, or words, by which an idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed. It combines words that are similar rather than just defining them as a dictionary does. You might say that it is a storehouse of words. The literal meaning of the Greek word is a place of safekeeping. So, Paul is saying that if we seek wisdom and knowledge, the place where we can find it stored is in Jesus Christ.

This wisdom (Greek sophia) and knowledge (Greek gnosis) is in direct contrast to what the Gnostic teachers were espousing to the people of the First Century. In Christ we have an infinite treasury of this wisdom and knowledge (see Eph. 3:8; 1 Cor. 2:6ff.).[2] It is fruitless to seek these things anywhere other than in Christ. J. Vernon McGee states that “Next to knowing is knowing where to find out.”[3]

Prayer: Storehouse of all wisdom and knowledge, I come to You today to seek what I need for today. Jesus, provide me with what I need to walk the Christian life before the world today. As I seek the correct word in my writing from the thesaurus, I seek the correct thoughts and actions from You, my thesaurus of wisdom. Fill me with Your Spirit of knowledge and understanding. Jesus, don't let me just have head knowledge, give me heart wisdom. Thank You. Amen.

[1] Perschbacher, W. J. (Ed.). (1990). The New Analytical Greek Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts, USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Page 44. 
[2] Allen, Clifton J., ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary. Vol. 11. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1971. Page 234. 
[3] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Pages 348.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Colossians 2:1 - 2

Verse 1 - Paul is concluding the thoughts about his pastoral heart for those at Colossae. He again connects with the statement about his struggle (Greek helikos agon) that some translations call a great conflict carries the image of an athletic contest. Paul is speaking here of the contest against spiritual foes as well as the physical ones. He is saying that he cares about the outcome of the battle they are facing that he is about to address, the struggle between true Christianity and philosophy or ritual.

Verse 2 - Paul is praying for the believers to be encouraged in the struggle in which they face. The word parakaleo can carry a variety of meanings[1] and in the form used here means to find comfort in the midst of the struggle. This comfort comes from their bond that has developed because of love. As Dr. J. Vernon McGee calls it, “the Elmer’s glue of the church.”[2]

It is through the assurance (Greek plerophoria) that they can have the confidence of the wealth they have attained[3] in sunesis, or knowledgeable understanding of the mystery. This word is the same that we get our word synthesis from, thus giving the flavor of something that has been brought together, such as the collection of the teachings from the Old Testament and the revealing of Jesus Christ. Paul makes reference again to the fact that the comfort comes from the mystery of God, or Jesus Christ (see 1:27). 

In this understanding, there is a unity within the body of Christ, His Church. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks about this unity.[4] We are incapable of making the unity. The Holy Spirit has made the unity of the body, but we need to keep the unity. 

Prayer: As I ponder my life, Spirit, show me where I have kept the unity of the Your Spirit, and where I have failed You. Forgive me, cleanse me, and empower me to walk and live within the unity of the Church. You are the provider, the comforter, and the encourager to live this way. I praise You. Amen.

[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 111. 
[2] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Pages 347. 
[3] See Colossians 1:27 
[4] 1 Corinthians 12:13ff

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Colossians chpater 2 intro

As we continue in the study of this letter to the Church at Colossae, we conclude with Paul’s discussion on the Subjective work of Christ in verses 1 – 3. Paul has established that Christ is pre-eminent in Creation, and pre-eminent in His objective work dealing with redemption. The final section of chapter 1 dealt with His subjective work in the Church. We will conclude this study here.

Now in this chapter in verses 5 – 15 we will consider Paul’s thoughts on Christ being the true freedom by being the answer to philosophy and in verses 16 – 23 His being the true freedom in being the answer to Ritual. The answer to philosophy is for the head, and the answer to ritual is for the heart.

Christianity has always teetered on the edge of being a philosophy or a ritual. One step away from being just a mist that constantly swirls around or one step away from being a frozen form. Jesus called Himself the Water of Life (John 4:14). Mist or ice neither one is able to support life. We must be careful not to make Christianity a philosophy or a ritual. Christianity is Christ.

Paul deals with five errors that the early church was facing. In verses 4 – 7, he discusses the issue of enticing words. In verses 8 – 13 he deliberates about philosophy. He continues his discourse in verses 14 – 17 dealing with legality, and in verses 18 – 19 on the topic of mysticism. He concludes this section with the area of asceticism.

Even today, the church is in danger of sliding into one or more of these errors. It is through diligence and decision to remain close to Christ that believers can navigate the river of errors around.

Prayer: Jesus, may I seek to stay close to You at all times. Guide my mind and heart away from making You just a philosophical concept or just a tradition or ritual in my life. May I seek true Christianity, which is You and You alone. You died for me, help me to live for You today. I love You because You loved me. Thank You for Your great love. Amen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Are there contradictions in Colossians 1?

Colossians 1:24 Does this verse teach that Christ’s death was lacking in being sufficient for salvation?


The Bible declares that Christ’s death on the Cross was sufficient and final for our Salvation.[1] Yet Paul has made the statement in this verse that we are to be “filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.” The issue appears to be how can Christ’s sacrifice be all-sufficient and still be lacking in suffering?


The point we need to clarify at the start, is that the sufferings of Paul were not redemptive. He cannot suffer for himself, or for others, to provide redemption. Paul is careful in his wording, when he speaks of redemption he does not use terms such as suffering, but he speaks of a cross, a death, or His blood.

J. Vernon McGee speaks of two types of suffering.[2] He calls these ministerial and mediatorial. The sufferings of Christ were mediatorial. Some of His sufferings we cannot share in, His suffering as a man, His suffering as the Son of God, and His sacrifice for the sin of the world. On the other hand, we can share in His suffering for righteousness (see 1 Peter 3:14), and His suffering as we identify ourselves with Christ in the proclamation of the Gospel (consider 1 John 4:17; John 15:18 – 19; Acts 9:4; and 1 Peter 4:12 – 13).

So, there is a difference between the mediatorial work of Christ (our redemption) and the ministerial work that we can share in, when we are active in proclaiming and standing for the righteousness given by our redemption.

Prayer: I will sing Your Praises! I will offer my worship with my mouth! Glorious and ever present Savior, I shout and sing that there is nothing lacking in Your provision of salvation. No one will ever be able to say that Your provision just wasn't enough to save them. If I accept You, I have everything that I need to be reconciled with the Father. Never, never, never, never let me forget what great thing You have done for me. In all my wildest dreams and imaginations, I can never see all the majestic provision! Amen!!

[1] John 19:30; Hebrews 1:3 
[2] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Pages 343 - 345.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Are there contradictions in Colossians 1?

Colossians 1:20 Does this verse support universal salvation?


Paul writes in this verse that Jesus would “reconcile all things unto himself.” If Paul is saying that all things were reconciled to Jesus by His death and resurrection, does this imply that all people will be saved? Other Scriptures clearly state that many will be lost.[1]


Paul does not speak about universal salvation at any point. In this passage, Paul is speaking about the universal sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ. Another way of saying this is that all authority has been given to Jesus, both in Heaven and on the Earth.[2]

However Paul speaks of being “in Christ” (or, being saved) he does not include those under the earth (or, the lost). All will one day bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:10) to admit to His universal Lordship. But this does not mean that all will be saved. A number of verses speak to the truth of those who will be eternally separated from God. Consider and study the following sections of Scripture: Matt. 25:41; Luke 16:19 – 31; John 17:12; 2 Thess. 1:7 – 9; and, Rev. 20:10 – 15. A thorough study of these passages will show that not everyone will be saved. 

Prayer: May I see the importance of sharing the only ultimate solution for mankind every chance I get. Father, there is no second chance. There is no universal salvation. Your Word gives the solution, yet many reject. Strengthen my desire to reach as many as I can with Your message of salvation and restoration. Amen.

[1] Consider (Matt. 7:13 – 14; 25:41; Rev. 20:11 – 15). 
[2] Matthew 28:18

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are there contradictions in Colossians 1?

Colossians 1:18 Does this verse teach that Jesus was created? If so, how can He be God?


The Apostle John wrote in his Gospel account (1:1; 8:58; 20:28) that Jesus was eternal and was equal with God. However, in this verse, it appears that Paul is saying that He was only a created being, albeit the first one created (born) in the Universe.


As one closely examines this letter by the Apostle Paul they can see that he openly states that Jesus is God. He makes the claims in 1:16 that “For by him all things were created….” And as we continue in this letter Paul declares “in him is dwelling all the fullness of the deity.” (2:9)

That He is called “firstborn” is not that He is the firstborn in Creation, but firstborn over Creation, since He is “before all things” (v. 17). The term then does not mean the first one to be born, but the heir of the inheritance of all that is. He is the Creator and Owner of all. Thus, since He is the Creator of all things, he could not be a created being.

Prayer: Spirit of Wisdom, give me the wisdom and insight to see that Your Word does not contradict itself. Help me to be prepared to stand for Your Truth at all times. May I always be ready with an answer to those who ask of my hope and confidence in You and Your Word of Life. Amen.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Colossians 1:29

It is for the seeing everyone that he can challenge and instruct in becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ that Paul calls “this purpose.” It is the reason that he understood his call to encompass. His work that God called him to did not rest with seeing a person receive Christ. He understood that leading someone to the Savior was only the beginning. The conclusion of his work would not be achieved until the day of Christ. It would be at this time that the quality and maturation of his work would be presented to Jesus.

He said that he labored (Greek kopio), which is a strong word. The word carries the connotation of toiling to the point of weariness.[1] He emphasized this by adding the word agonizomai translated here as striving to strengthen the importance of what he is saying. We get our English word “agonize” from this Greek word. It denotes the contending to the point of exhaustion. If the believers that Paul presented to Jesus were genuine and worthy, it would be a great joy to Paul. But, Paul knew the great shame he would have if they were not mature and complete. This is why he spent himself in the ministry of the gospel as he did.

He worked to the point of exhaustion, but, he confessed that God Himself provided the power and strength to continue. He worked in the supernatural power of Jesus’ power and might.[2]

Prayer: May I be so consumed with the call You have placed before me that I will be like the Apostle Paul and labor and agonize over every person that You place in my path and in Your plan seek their best in You. Father, I often have felt that once I brought a person to the Savior that my work was over. Help me to learn from Paul, it is not over until they stand before You complete and perfect. I will seek to obey You as You work through me. Give me that supernatural energy and power that comes only through Your Son. Amen.

[1] [1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 349. And see further the footnote in Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdman's Publishing Co, 1984. Page 88. 
[2] This brings to mind the verse in Isaiah that says that if we wait upon God, He will exchange our strength for His and provide the needed ability to soar, run, and walk. (Isaiah 40:31).

Friday, February 17, 2017

Colossians 1:28

Paul is emphasizing that the gospel message is not a what we proclaim (Greek katangello), but a Who. The full message of the gospel is Jesus Christ. He is central to all else said. He is eternal life. He is the mystery of God. He is the riches of God. He is the beginning, the middle, and the end. As believers, we must understand, accept, and live out this truth.

Paul says that his proclamations admonished (Greek noutheteo) and taught (Greek didasko) everyone he spoke to. The word to admonish here means to warn someone, so Paul said that he proclaimed Christ to warn and instruct everyone about the central and vital message of Jesus Christ. The three-fold use of the phrase “every man[1]” is used to create an emphasis on the inclusion of all that we speak to.

The message here is that it is vital to present the central warning and instruction of the gospel message to everyone – no matter the race, creed, or gender. This is important to understand so that we might be able to help others come to being complete, or mature, in both their knowledge and the life they live.

Prayer: I come in contact every day with so many people. Father, give me eyes, ears, mind, and a heart to warn and instruct everyone about their need for the Savior. Life is short, and we sometimes only have one chance. Give me the words. Give me the thoughts. Give me the instight to reach them for You. Amen.

[1] We have an example of a synecdoche used here. It is where a universal is used to represent the individual. Bullinger, E. W. (1968). Figures of Speech used in the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich., USA: Baker Book House. Page 614.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Colossians 1:27

In the continuation of the thought in the last verse, Paul reminds us that it was always the will of God to reveal in total this teaching on the combination of the Jews and Gentiles into one body of believers. He will speak more to the understanding in Colossians 2:2 (UASV) where he refers to Christ as “the mystery of God, namely Christ.”

Paul’s supreme joy is to extend his divinely imposed obligation of sharing this truth. He says that he is sharing with the Gentiles the truth of what they have. He wants them (and us) to understand the splendor and majesty of the abundance (Greek ploutos) that we have received. That is the blessing and opulence of having Christ in us. This phrase can carry a double meaning. It is an idiom[1] that Paul is using that can be understood to mean that Christ is in the individual or that He is in the midst of the collective. In the setting of the letter, it appears that Paul is foremost meaning that the Gentiles have Christ living in them individually. 

The importance of this knowledge gives the Gentile believer a hope (Greek elpis) which means a joyful and confident expectation.[2] This confident expectation is that they now have “his risen life within them… [affording] them a stable basis for confidence that they will share in the fullness of glory yet to be displayed on the day of ‘the revealing of the sons of God’ (Rom. 8:19)”[3]

[1] Bullinger, E. W. (1968). Figures of Speech used in the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich., USA: Baker Book House. Page 831. 
[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 311. 
[3] Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdman's Publishing Co, 1984. Page 86.

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