Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 1

Paul thanks God for his work in the lives of Christians

Colossians 1:12

In the original language (Greek), Paul wrote the whole of verses 9 to 20 as a single sentence. Modern Bible translations separate the passage into shorter sentences – they are trying to make the passage easier to understand. However, to do that, they sometimes make decisions about the meaning of the passage that may not always be correct.

So, in most modern translations, Paul prays that Colosse’s Christians will give thanks. However, another meaning is possible. In verse 9, Paul says that he is ‘praying and asking’. In verse 12, Paul says that he is ‘thanking’ God. Paul himself then thanks God the Father for what he has done in their lives, and in the lives of all Christians. Formerly, they were far from God, and by their evil deeds they served the devil (Ephesians 2:1-7). However, God rescued them, and he gave them the right to belong to his holy people (John 1:12; 1 Peter 2:9). God has chosen them to be his children - in the future age, they will have the full rights of sons in his family (Romans 8:14-23).

God the Father has done all this by means of Christ. Paul will explain that in Colossians 1:13-15, as he continues his long sentence. Then, in verses 16 to 20, he turns from prayer to explain the reasons for these things. Paul cannot allow his readers to think of Christ just as a good man who lived some time ago. Christ is, and always has been, God. All things depend on Christ. He rules his people, the church. All power and authority in heaven and earth belong to him.

Next part: Escape from the devil's cruelty to become a citizen of heaven (Colossians 1:13)


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