Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 1

Paul’s work for God during his years as a prisoner

Colossians 1:29

In verse 28, Paul described the work that all Christian leaders, together, do (compare Ephesians 4:11-13). For that reason, he uses the word ‘we’ in that verse. Now, in verse 29, Paul explains his own personal part in that work.

That interests us because of Paul’s extremely difficult personal circumstances when he wrote the Book of Colossians. For several years, Paul had been unable to do the normal public work of a church leader. Acts 24:27 records how he spent two years as a prisoner in Caesarea. Then, after a difficult journey to Rome, Paul remained there for another two years as a prisoner in his own home (Acts 28:16-31).

During those years, Paul saw that his work for God had not ended. Rather, it is genuine work for God if we must suffer because of our relationship with him. In such a situation, we must stand firmly for God. However, our strength to do that comes not from ourselves, but from Christ (2 Corinthians 12:10). Paul was very aware of how powerfully Christ was working in his (Paul’s) life through all his troubles.

Paul knew that he was suffering because of his work to declare Christ to the nations (Acts 22:21-22). Therefore, during his troubles Paul was still carrying out the proper work of a church leader, which he described in Colossians 1:28. Paul could see that the purpose of his struggles was to bring people into a mature relationship with Christ (1:24).

However, Paul did not merely sit and suffer. His struggles as a prisoner were active. In prayer, he fought battles against the devil on behalf of the Christians (Ephesians 6:10-18; Colossians 2:1-3). Paul was constantly praying for them (1:9).

Next part: Paul's struggle in prayer (Colossians 2:1)


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