What does Colossians 1:12 mean?
ESV: giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
NIV: and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
NASB: giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
CSB: giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
NLT: always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.
KJV: Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
NKJV: giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Verse Commentary:
In addition to praying for God's strength for the Christians in Colossae, Paul prayed for them to give thanks. Just as Paul prayed, giving thanks continually (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18), they were to give thanks as well.

Paul makes it clear that God alone is the one who provides salvation. It is by His grace through faith in Christ (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8–9). The inheritance of the saints is eternity with the Lord in heaven, something Paul often refers to in his writings (Galatians 3:18; Ephesians 1:11, 14; 5:5; Colossians 3:24). Ephesians 1:18 illustrates this concept clearly, speaking of "the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints."

Paul also makes mention of light, which is an important part of Hebrew thinking. According to the Jewish people, all knowledge and goodness was symbolized by "light," while sin and ignorance were characterized by "darkness." This is a theme of the apostle John, as well, frequently used in both his letters and the Gospel of John.
Verse Context:
Colossians 1:9–14 is a prayer on behalf of the Colossian Christians. Paul prays for their continued spiritual growth, including knowledge of God, knowledge of His will, and wisdom. Paul also prays for their strength and endurance. In so praying, Paul reminds the believers of Colossae that salvation is entirely the work of God, who drastically changed their fate by rescuing them from sin.
Chapter Summary:
In chapter 1, Paul introduces himself, along with his co-author Timothy. As he often does, Paul gives thanks for what he hears about the faith of the believers in Colossae. Paul includes a prayer for their growth and spiritual strength. The letter then transitions to praise of Jesus, describing Him as absolutely supreme. All created things were made through, by, and for Him. And, since it was His sacrifice which saved us from sin, we can have confidence in our eternal destiny.
Chapter Context:
Colossians chapter 1 is mostly focused on describing Christ as supreme. Jesus is not only the God of creation, He is the ultimate authority over all created things. The penalty for sin has been completely removed because of His perfect sacrifice. These are foundational ideas which Paul will use to set up his later points. In chapters 2, 3, and 4, Paul will explain why contrary claims are untrue, and show the right way for Christians to live out what we believe about Jesus.
Book Summary:
The book of Colossians describes Christ as superior to all other teachers, faiths, and philosophies. In this letter, written from prison, Paul once again tackles false teachings. Among these errors are claims that Christians need to give up all physical enjoyments, that they should worship angels, and that they need to rely on the wisdom of an elite few. These problems are consistent with an ancient heresy known as Gnosticism. In response, Paul explains that Christ is supreme, and sufficient for our salvation.
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