Colossians 3:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Colossians 3:5, NIV: Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:5, ESV: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:5, KJV: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Colossians 3:5, NASB: Therefore, treat the parts of your earthly body as dead to sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Colossians 3:5, NLT: So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Colossians 3:5, CSB: Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

What does Colossians 3:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Because of the new life believers are given in Christ, they are to end certain practices and focus on others. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8–9), yet believers are to also seek to live holy lives before Christ. Verses 5–11 in this chapter focus on those worldly, sinful practices which Christians should stop. Verses 12–17 emphasize those godly, positive practices believers ought to live by.

Verse 5 begins with an interesting combination of Greek phrases. Paul uses the term nekrōsate, which is a commanding word, meaning "put it to death!" This is followed by the phrase, ta epi tēs gēs, literally meaning "your members that are upon the earth." In no uncertain terms, Paul is instructing his readers not to let their body do whatever it wants. Rather, they are to live by Christ's desires for our lives. In particular, Paul calls out five specific sins which Christians are to "put to death" in their physical bodies.

First, believers are to abstain from sexual immorality. This is from the Greek term porneian, a general term for sexual sins. This can include premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, or deviant sexuality such as bestiality.

Second, Paul speaks against impurity, or spiritual uncleanness. Again, this general sin can refer to many things, such as evil thoughts or actions.

Third, Paul mentions "passion," also translated as "lust, or inordinate affection." These are inappropriate cravings which distract us from the things above, and lead us to commit the sins of immorality and impurity.

Fourth, "evil desire" likely includes wanting things which are wrong, whether sexual desires or material things.

Fifth, Paul refers to "covetousness, which is idolatry." Paul considered jealousy over what others have as a form of idol worship.