|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:18-25 The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel. Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation. And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal. How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.
Verse 23. - Whatever ye be doing, work (therein) from (the) soul, as to the Lord, and not to men (ver. 17; Ephesians 6:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 7:21-23). (On the first clause, see ver. 17.) In the Revised Text, however, the turn of expression differs from that of ver. 17, πᾶν being cancelled. The writer is thinking, not so much of the variety of service possible, as of the spirit which should pervade it. "Do" is replaced in the second clause by the more energetic "work," opposed to indolent or useless doing (comp. Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; John 5:17; John 9:4). "From [ἐκ, out of] the soul "indicates the spring of their exertions - inward principle, not outward compulsion; the servant must put his soul into his work. "Soul" implies, even more than "heart," the engagement of the man's best individual powers (comp. Philippians 1:27, as well as Ephesians 6:6). The slaves' daily taskwork is to be done, not only in sight and in fear of the Lord (ver. 22 b; Ephesians 5:21), but as actually "to the Lord." Him they are serving (ver. 24 b), who alone is "the Lord" (Colossians 2:6); every mean and hard task is dignified and sweetened by the thought of being done for him, and the commonest work must be done with the zeal and thoroughness that his service demands (comp. Ephesians 6:7, "with good will doing bond service"). The word "not" (οὐ instead of μὴ) implies that their service is actually rendered to One other and higher than "men" (1 Corinthians 7:22; Galatians 1:10).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And whatsoever ye do,.... Some have thought that these words, and the two following verses, regard the Colossians in general, and the performance of any, and all good works by them; but by their connection with the preceding verse, and with the beginning of the next chapter, they appear to concern servants only, and what they do under that character, and under the discharge of their duty:
do it heartily, not by mere force and necessity, grudgingly, and with murmurings, but from the heart, and with good will, having a true, real, and hearty affection for their masters, having their good and interest at heart, and a delight in their service; like the Hebrew servant, that loved his master, as also his wife and children, and therefore would not depart from him, see Exodus 21:5,
as to the Lord, and not unto men; See Gill on Ephesians 6:7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. And—omitted in the oldest manuscripts (compare Eph 6:7, 8). Compare the same principle in the case of all men, Hezekiah (2Ch 31:21; Ro 12:11).
do, do it—two distinct Greek verbs, "Whatsoever ye do, work at it" (or "labor at" it).
heartily—not from servile constraint, but with hearty good will.
Colossians 3:23 Parallel Commentaries
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