What does Colossians 3:8 mean?
ESV: But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
NIV: But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
NASB: But now you also, rid yourselves of all of them: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene speech from your mouth.
CSB: But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.
NLT: But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
KJV: But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
NKJV: But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Verse Commentary:
In prior verses, Paul gave a command for believers to "put to death" sins and ungodly behaviors in their own lives. He specifically listed sins such as sexual immorality, lust, and jealousy. In this verse, Paul's list of general sins from verse 5 is defined in greater detail. He starts by repeating his command to remove such things from one's habits. Believers are not to be known for living the same lifestyle as they did before believing in Christ. Salvation is by faith, yet the Christian life is a changed life.

Complementing his five-part list in verse 5, Paul now adds five more areas of spiritual failure.

First, Paul speaks against anger. Outbursts of uncontrolled anger are not meant to be found in the life of a Christian. Anger in and of itself is not always wrong, but it can lead to much sin (Ephesians 4:26). Human anger tends to pop up over issues which are not worth that emotion.

Second, Paul addresses wrath. In modern English we often mingle the words "anger" and "wrath." However, they are really two separate ideas. Anger is an emotion, wrath is an action. In this context, wrath suggests the idea of revenge, and is sometimes translated as "rage." In Romans 12:19, Paul taught that believers ought to leave wrath to God and not seek revenge on our own terms.

Third, Paul condemns malice. The Greek term used here is kakian, which includes the idea of desiring to harm another person. Paul has already condemned the emotion of unrighteous anger. He has done the same with wrath, which is the act of revenge. "Malice" is a broader term, referring to a general desire to see another person suffer or be harmed. We should not hope for harm to befall others.

Fourth, Paul speaks against slander. In the Biblical context, slander is putting down other people or speaking evil against others. This can include insults, lies, harsh speech, or even gossip.

Fifth, Paul prohibits obscene talk. Speech which is vulgar, or intended to be offensive, is not to be associated with the life of a believer.
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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