Colossians, Rightly Divided, verse-by-verse
Session 2 | Colossians 1:9-14
Colossians 1:9-11 | Paul's Unceasing Prayer For the Colossians
Verse 9 -- Blue
Because of the report of Epaphras, Paul and Timothy claim that we...do not cease to pray for you. Both their prayer and desire are for the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. This is the first of three major items in Paul and Timothy's prayer for the Colossians.
It is impossible to be filled with the knowledge of his will without being filled with the knowledge of His Word. And if you use the knowledge of His Word without right division, it is impossible to have all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Note on the Rightly Divided color-coding. Unless noted otherwise, the first-person plural (we/us) will be taken as a reference to Paul and Timothy, and the second person plural (you/ye) as the Colossian church. Since the Colossian church includes both Jew and Gentile, we will take care to note if there is material which is only directed to the Jewish portion of the congregation. When no reason comes to separate the information between Jew and Gentile, we will assume that the material can be applied to the body of Christ, and thus is in blue print.
Verse 10 -- Blue
Paul and Timothy desire that those in the Body of Christ might walk worthy of the Lord. This is the second of three items in the prayer for the Colossians.
The two signs of a worthy walk are being fruitful and increasing in the knowledge of God.
On being fruitful, Titus 3:14 says that good works are essential. Therefore, this must not be internal and spiritual fruit, but the results of good works. If a person doesn't have a knowledge of his will (v. 9), then their work, regardless of the effort put forth, will not be fruitful, because it will be against the purposes of God for this age.
On increasing in the knowledge of God, this is not a priority of the church today. The only way to know God is to know His Word, in which He is revealed. Many modern Christians would rather feel good about God than have knowledge of God. This is why books like "The Shack" are so popular.
Verse 11 -- Blue
The third of three items in Paul and Timothy's prayer is that the Colossians would be Strengthened with all might. The word might comes from δύναμις [dynamis] which is often taken to be physical power (as in the English dynamite), but it should rather be considered as inherently powerful in the way that electricity or truth itself would be powerful (as in the English dynamic). This understanding fits in our day, which is an age of silence. Thus, God does not give us physical strength but gives us that which is inherently powerful: His Word and His will.
The strength comes from his glorious power, in which the authors use the word κράτος [kratos]. It is the word that is power that is displayed. Therefore, our power is a dynamic that comes from His display of force, which is recorded in God's Word. This dynamic should lead to all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.
Colossians 1:12-14 | Paul and Timothy Rejoice In God's Work In Their Own Lives
Verse 12 -- Black
Verse 12 presents a huge interpretive demand. First, who is Giving thanks? Are the Colossians to be strengthened (v. 11) and giving thanks? Or are Paul and Timothy praying (v. 9) and giving thanks? Though grammar allows either, I favor Paul and Timothy as those who are giving thanks.
With that interpretation, it is Paul and Timothy who are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance. Thus this phrase should not be taken as pertaining to the Colossians. This would be consistent with the first-person plural us as relating to Paul and Timothy. Those who would like to insist that the us is the Colossian church (and thus the Body of Christ) would have to explain why Paul used the second-person plural consistently in verses 9-11, then switches to the first-person plural in verses 12-14, then (after a parenthetical statement in verses 15-20) back to the second-person plural in verse 21.
The inheritance of the saints in light is defined in Matthew 25:34 as the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. The saints at Colossae would also have this inheritance because they are saints in light. If the faithful brethren (v. 2) and other Gentiles are also partakers of this inheritance, they would have to use another passage of Scripture as proof.
Why would Paul and Timothy need to be made...meet to be partakers when they were both Jews? Because there is evidence that both walked in darkness and disobedience. Paul persecuted the church and Timothy knew the Scriptures and yet still had not been circumcised. Such blatant rejection of God's Messiah and God's covenant instruction caused them to have neither part nor lot in this matter (borrowing the words of Simon Peter to Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:21, nothing that the word lot is of the same root as inheritance.)
Verse 13 -- Black
This verse continues with the pronoun us, referring to Paul and Timothy. They had been delivered...from the power of darkness“name it and claim it" fashion to claim deliverance from darkness for every believer today. Even Paul wasn't claiming that for himself, and certainly wasn't claiming it for the Colossians.
The word translated comes from the Greek μεθίστημι [metahistami] is meta (a change) and histami (to stand), thus a change of standing. This does not say that they are in the Kingdom, but rather are headed that way. The word into comes from eis“denotes motion to or unto an object, with the purpose of reaching or touching it" (The Companion Bible, Appendix 104. vi.). Paul and Timothy have been given a change of standing, now aimed toward the kingdom.
Verse 14 -- Black
It is God's dear Son (v. 13) that Paul and Timothy claim to have redemption. Note that they still use the second-person plural pronoun, we, thus it is a celebration of benefits that can be stated to be theirs alone, except with the use of other Scriptures which would broaden the application. Ephesians 1:7 (along with Zech. 9:11 and others) would broaden this to faithful Israel. Romans 3:24 would apply the same concept to Gentiles.
Paul and Timothy celebrate their redemption in Christ, which is equated as the forgiveness of sins.