What does Colossians 3:3 mean?
ESV: For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
NIV: For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
NASB: For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
CSB: For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
NLT: For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
KJV: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
NKJV: For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has already noted that believers "died to the elemental spirits of the world" (Colossians 2:20). Here, he repeats the same metaphor. Since believers have "died" to sin, in the sense of being separated from it, the believer's life is "hidden," or "contained" within Christ. In the previous chapter, Paul discussed false teachers who used tricks and deceptive arguments. These men claimed special, hidden wisdom which only they had access to. In contrast, according to Paul, the believer's wisdom is found in knowing the Lord.

More specifically, this letter mentions how wisdom which was once hidden has now been revealed (Colossians 1:26). But this is not only revealed to a certain special few—it is open to the "saints." In the Bible, "saints" is always used as a general term for all who accept Christ as their Savior. Christ is described as the One "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). Christ died for us (Romans 5:6–8). When we put trusting faith in Jesus, we die to sin (Romans 6:2) and are set free from its power (Romans 6:7). Those who die—to the world and to sin—with Christ will also live with Christ for eternity (Romans 6:8).
Verse Context:
Colossians 3:1–11 encourages Christian believers to focus their attention on godly, spiritual things. Those who are spiritually free, thanks to their faith in Christ, should not live in the sins which used to be their habit. Paul specifically refers to certain sins such as sexual immorality, jealousy, slander, lying, and revenge. These are not simply to be avoided: Paul tells believers to ''put to death'' such behaviors in their own lives. All believers are united in Christ, so all believers should act as people committed to their Savior. The next passage will contrast these sins with the positive behaviors Christians are meant to undertake.
Chapter Summary:
In this chapter, Paul gives clear instructions to Christians about living out faith in Christ. Since believers have been saved by Christ, they should not participate in the sins which trap unbelievers. Sexual immorality, jealousy, slander, and revenge are not to be part of the Christian's life. Instead, believers ought to demonstrate compassion, humility, patience, and forgiveness. Above all, followers of Christ should show love. Paul also gives specific instructions for those living in Christian homes, including husbands, wives, children, and servants.
Chapter Context:
Prior chapters in Colossians emphasized the supremacy of Jesus, and the inferiority of worldly teachings. Paul's explanation of Christ as the ultimate authority, and the only source of truth, is key to understanding the difference between godly wisdom and worldly deceptions. In this chapter, Paul will apply those earlier ideas using practical instructions. This application runs through the beginning of chapter 4, which will end with various news about fellow Christian ministers.
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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