Colossians 1:3-5

secondary_series2013Colossians

3. We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4. having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have toward all the saints.

Translation and Paraphrase

3. We give thanks (continually) to God (the) father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), always praying for you,
4. because we have heard of your faith (and faithfulness) in Christ Jesus, and (of) the love which you (always) have toward all the saints.

Notes

1. Most of Colossians chapter one is a prayer. Some of it (like Col. 1:12-23) consists of thoughts that grow out of Paul’s remarks about his prayers; but it still relates to prayer.
2. In Col. 1:3-8 Paul expresses his constant thanks for the Colossians. Compare Eph. 1:16. He was primarily thankful for their faith and love.
3. In Col. 1:3-8 Paul expresses his constant thanks for the Colossians. In all cases his thanks were sincere. He did not say he was thankful just because that was a psychologically good approach.
4. Paul expressed his thanks in prayer. Prayer was the constant habit of Paul’s life. Compare 1Th. 1:2.
5. The Colossian church had faith, love, and hope, the three great virtues. Col. 1:4-5. Compare 1Co. 13:13 and 1Th. 1:4-5.
6. Col. 1:4 indicates that the Christian life is primarily directed toward two people: (1) toward Christ Jesus; and (2) toward the saints.
7. Paul was particularly thankful for the faith and love of the Colossians. We in our generation with its organized and militant unbelief should also feel very thankful to God for our brethren who have faith, wherever they are and however imperfect their faith may be.
8. Faith comes first, and then love. Love without faith is only sentimentality and perishable humanitarianism. However, faith without love is cruel; yea worse than that it is utterly nothing. 1Co. 13:2.
9. Paul had heard of the faith and love of the Colossians from their minister Epaphras, who visited him in Rome. Col. 1:4; Cf. Eph. 1:15.
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5. because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.
Translation and Paraphrase
5. (You have cultivated this faith and love) because of the hope (that is) laid up (and reserved) for you in the heavens. (This hope is the hope) which you heard about previously in the message of the truth, (that is, in) the gospel.

Notes

1. The message of the gospel tells us about the hope laid up for us in the heavens. This hope produces faith and love within us, as it did in the Colossians.
If we expect people to have faith and love as the Colossians did, we must tell them of the hope laid up for us. How long has it been since you preached a sermon or taught a lesson about heaven?
2. Our hope is laid up in the heavens. Compare 1Pe. 1:4; 1Pe. 1:13; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 6:18-19. This is the “one hope” of Eph. 4:1.
Our generation has largely repudiated every religion based on a hope in the world to come, on “pie in the sky.” Even many theologians and clergymen (and surely God despises both of these titles) openly scorn the hope of a heavenly home.
But the fact remains that those who believe most earnestly in the world to come live the present life in the best way. Heaven-loving Christians are not lawless anarchists and revolutionaries.
If heaven has lost its appeal to you, go and study Rev. 21:1-27; Rev. 22:1-21 and Joh. 14:1-31. Study these chapters on your knees; meditate; pray over them until the light of heaven’s glory crowds out the last bit of love for the world’s gaudy glare.
3. The gospel is the word of truth. Eph. 1:13; 2Pe. 1:12; 1Th. 2:13. We have the gospel in written form, but it is still truth. This is indicated by the honesty and sacrifice of its authors; by the endorsement of Christ; by the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Scriptures; by the consistent close agreement in the wording in ancient Bible manuscripts; and by the power of the gospel in our lives.
4. The Colossians had heard of their heavenly hope sometime previously, when the gospel had first been preached to them.

Study and Review

9. When did Paul give thanks for the Colossians? (Col. 1:3)
10. How did he express his thanks?
11. What two things about the Colossians had Paul heard? (Col. 1:4)
12. What caused the faith and love of the Colossians? (Col. 1:4-5)
13 Where was their hope laid up?
14. Where had the Colossians heard about their hope?
15. What is referred to as “the word of the truth”?

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