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Colossians chapter 1

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12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: 25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

What does Colossians chapter 1 mean?

Chapter 1 includes a greeting (Colossians 1:1–2) followed by gratitude for the faith of the Colossian Christians (Colossians 1:3–8). Paul then includes a prayer intended to encourage the growth and maturity of believers in this city (Colossians 1:9–14). Paul then transitions to a focus on Christ's greatness, including His character (Colossians 1:15–23) and notes regarding Paul's own ministry (Colossians 1:24–29).

The greeting follows Paul's typical custom; he states his name and information about himself, his recipients and information about them, and follows this with a brief greeting (Colossians 1:1–2). Unlike other churches Paul wrote to, he had not personally met the believers in Colossae. The letter is co-authored by Timothy, who often collaborated with Paul on his missionary work.

In verses 3–8, Paul speaks of his prayers for the Colossian Christians (Colossians 1:3–4). Their faith is increasing and being spread to the whole world (Colossians 1:6). This faith was taught to them by Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), who shared with Paul what he had seen of the Colossian believers (Colossians 1:8). Epaphras is mentioned in the book of Philemon as a "fellow prisoner" with Paul (Philemon 1:23).

Verses 9–14 offer an important prayer by the apostle on behalf of the Colossians. Paul seeks for these believers to grow in wisdom and knowledge, as well as their spiritual strength. Paul makes a distinction between knowing God, in the theological sense, and knowing the will of God, in terms of a personal application to our lives.

Verses 15–23 shift to an expression of worship regarding who Jesus is: "The image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (Colossians 1:15). All things were made through Him (Colossians 1:16). This is a crucial passage as it sets the tone for the rest of the letter. Part of Paul's purpose in writing is to counter heresy. False teachers were telling the believers in Colossae that they should view the body as evil, worship angels, and put their trust in worldly philosophy. By describing Christ as absolutely supreme, Paul prepares to destroy those false claims.

Verses 24–29 speak of Paul's own ministry. He had suffered for the sake of other Christians, including those at Colossae (Colossians 1:24). He had shared God's Word (Colossians 1:25), and served as a missionary among the Gentiles (Colossians 1:27). He proclaimed Christ (Colossians 1:28) with all of his energy (Colossians 1:29). Paul sees this suffering as a service done for the sake of Christ.
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