Exegetical Notes: Colossians 1:9-13

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

  • “asking” – specifically asking, no blanket requests.
  • “that you may be filled” – passive. ‘that you may receive the filling.
  • “filled” – completed, or controlled by
  • “knowledge” – here Paul argues that knowing Christ comes from a walking relationship with Him, not from a mystical sense the gnostics promoted.Knowledge is a priority to Paul because he knows it impacts our “walking” “Paul wants the Colossians to know God’s will and then let that knowledge control them.” -H.B.C.
  • “will” – God’s will is not an easter egg where we search for something hidden, but God wants us to know his will and he reveals it in His Word.
  • “spiritual wisdom and understanding” – speaks of the ability for one to understand the big picture of God’s will and apply it to daily living. This allows us not only to think spiritually about God, but rightly as well.
  • “wisdom” – the comprehension of truth
  • “understanding” – the application of truth

10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

  • “as to walk” – lit. “so that you may conduct your life”.  doctrine cannot be separated from Christian living. The knowing comes before the walking.
  • “worthy of the Lord” -“living in such a manner the their lifestyles honor Christ and reflect His character” cannot be separated from doctrine or lordship.
  • “fully pleasing to him” – has the concept that one would be willing to do anything to please.2 ways to please God. Bearing fruit. Increasing in knowledge. “Does it take deep knowledge, strict living, or a rapturous experience to please God? That’s what the false teachers were telling the Colossians. We, like the Colossians, need to know the truth about what pleases God so we won’t be enchanted by error.” H.B.C.
  • “bearing fruit” – continual emphasis. Active voice. Not as a means of salvation, but as a reflection of it. APP: We need to evaluate ourselves honestly here. Are we accurate reflections of the gospel of Christ?ILL: When I worked at a well know retail clothing store, ‘skinny mirrors’ were mounted on the wall just outside of the dressing room. We sold a lot of clothes that way, but the reflection wasn’t accurate. We get inaccurate reflections of the gospel when we compare ourselves to other instead of seeking to know God.
  • “increasing in the knowledge of God” –God should be the dew which nurtures the growth of our spiritual life. Passive voice. QUES: What grade level is my knowledge of God?

11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;

  • “according to his glorious might” – inherit strength of the church comes from the sovereign strength of God. God’s strength and glory is not limited to “His character revealed as redemptive love”, but from the fullness of and all attributes of his character.
  • “endurance and patience” – knowing and growing in Him produces these qualities

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

  • “giving thanks” – here for salvation
  • “who has qualified you” – How far do you take this? Lit. meaning to “render to fit, or make sufficient, to qualify, or authorize”; This is a qualification for inheritence due solely to the grace of God.

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

  • “delivered us from the domain of darkness” – notice that we are rescued from it as lost persons, not headed to it.  “domain” – refers to having power over, lit. “the freedom to do something without any hindrance”
  • “transferred” – deported us. moved from one kingdom to another.

14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

  • “redemption” – a term referring to buying a slaves costly freedom, complete release based on the payment of a price. redemption purchases and clears us from a sin debt owed to God.