Colossians 1:21
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

New Living Translation
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.

English Standard Version
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

Berean Study Bible
Once you were alienated from God and were hostile in your minds because of your evil deeds.

Berean Literal Bible
And you, being once alienated and hostile in mind, in the evil deeds,

New American Standard Bible
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

King James Bible
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Christian Standard Bible
Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds expressed in your evil actions.

Contemporary English Version
You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.

Good News Translation
At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions.

International Standard Version
You who were once alienated with a hostile attitude, doing evil,

NET Bible
And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds,

New Heart English Bible
You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Even you from the first were aliens and enemies in your minds because of your evil works, and now he has given you peace,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Once you were separated from God. The evil things you did showed your hostile attitude.

New American Standard 1977
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

Jubilee Bible 2000
And you, that were in another time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled you

King James 2000 Bible
And you, that were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled

American King James Version
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled

American Standard Version
And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works,

Douay-Rheims Bible
And you, whereas you were some time alienated and enemies in mind in evil works:

Darby Bible Translation
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in mind by wicked works, yet now has it reconciled

English Revised Version
And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now hath he reconciled

Webster's Bible Translation
And you, that were formerly alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled,

Weymouth New Testament
And you, estranged as you once were and even hostile in your minds, amidst your evil deeds,

World English Bible
You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works,

Young's Literal Translation
And you -- once being alienated, and enemies in the mind, in the evil works, yet now did he reconcile,
Study Bible
The Supremacy of Christ
20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross. 21Once you were alienated from God and were hostile in your minds because of your evil deeds. 22But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy, unblemished, and blameless in His presence—…
Cross References
2 Samuel 22:24
And I have been blameless before Him and kept myself from iniquity.

Romans 5:10
For if, when we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!

Ephesians 2:3
We all lived among them at one time in the cravings of our flesh, indulging its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of wrath.

Ephesians 2:12
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

Ephesians 2:15
by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace

Treasury of Scripture

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled


Romans 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors …

Romans 5:9,10 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved …

Romans 8:7,8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject …

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of …

Ephesians 2:1,2,12,19 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…

Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life …

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, …

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship …

in your mind by. or, by your mind in.

Titus 1:15,16 To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and …

(21) Alienated.--Not naturally aliens, but estranged. (See Note on Ephesians 2:12.)

By wicked works.--Properly, in your wicked works. The enmity of heart is not properly caused by wicked works, but shown in them, and probably intensified by reflex action through them.

Verse 21. - And you, at one time being (men) alienated, and enemies in your thought, (engaged) in your wicked works, yet now did he reconcile; or, were ye reconciled [so Meyer, Lightfoot, Westcott and Hort, and R.V. margin, following Codex B] (Colossians 2:11; Colossians 3:7; Ephesians 2:1-3, 11, 12; Ephesians 4:18; Ephesians 5:5-8; 1 Corinthians 6:4; Romans 6:21; 1 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter 4:3). The combination of ὄντες ("being") with perfect passive participle ("having been alienated") implies a fixed condition, that has become as a part of one's nature (so in Ephesians 4:18, Revised Text). As the opposite of "reconciled," "alienated" is strictly passive, and denotes, not a subjective feeling on the part of the sinner, but an objective determination on the part of God, an exclusion from the Divine favour, from "the kingdom of the Son" and "the lot of the saints" (vers. 12, 13; Ephesians 5:9; Ephesians 2:3, 11-13; Ephesians 4:18; Romans 1:18: comp. usage of LXX in Psalm 68:9; 1 Esdr. 9:4; Sir. 11:34). "Enemies in your thought" sets forth the disposition of the sinner towards God (Romans 8:7; Philippians 3:18: so Alford,Ellicott, Lightfoot). Meyer maintains the passive sense of "enemies," as found in Romans 5:10; Romans 11:28; Galatians 4:16. On the latter view, σῇ διανοίᾳ is instrumental dative, "by," "in virtue of your state of mind;" on the former, it is dative of reference or definition. Διανοία (here only and Ephesians 2:3 and Ephesians 4:18 in St. Paul) has possibly a polemical reference. It denotes in Greek philosophy, the faculty of thought, as opposed to the bodily powers. In Philo's teaching it signifies the higher part of human nature, akin to God, and opposed to evil which belongs to the senses: "Thought (διανοία) is the best thing in us" ('On Fugitives,' § 26); "Every man in regard to his intellect (διανοία) is united to the Divine Word, being an impression or fragment or ray of that blessed nature; but in respect of his body he belongs to the entire world" ('On the Creation of the World,' § 51). But here sin is associated With the intellect in man, and redemption with "the body of Christ's flesh" (ver. 22): comp. notes on "reason," Colossians 2:18, and "body," Colossians 2:23; also Ephesians 4:18, where the reason is vain, the intellect darkened. "Wicked [emphasized by its position in the Greek, denoting active evil; see Trench's 'Synonyms,' on πονηρός] works" is a phrase common in St. John, only used here by St. Paul (comp. Colossians 3:7; Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 6:19, 20; Galatians 5:19; Hebrews 9:14). These works are the practices of life in which the sinner is abidingly excluded from "the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5), and manifests the radical antipathy of his mind toward God. "Yet [or, 'but'] now:" comp. ver. 26; Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 2:13; Romans 3:21, etc. - a lively form of transition characteristic of St. Paul, primarily temporal, then also logical in sense. "Were ye reconciled" breaks through the grammatical structure of the sentence, as in vers. 26, 27 (see Lightfoot, and Winer's 'N. T. Grammar,' p. 717). If "did he reconcile" (or, "hath he reconciled") be the correct reading, "Christ" is still subject of the verb, as in vers. 19-22, and consistently with Ephesians 2:15, 16. (On "reconcile," see ver. 20.) And you that were sometime alienated,.... The general blessing of grace and reconciliation, which belongs to the whole body of Christ, the church universal, all the elect of God, whether in heaven or in earth, is here particularly applied to the saints at Colosse, who were eminent instances of it; and that the free grace of God towards them in it might more illustriously appear, the apostle takes notice of what they were before the coming of Christ in the flesh, before the Gospel came among them, and while in a state of unregeneracy, as that they were "alienated": that is from God, not from his general presence, power, and providence, which reach to all his creatures, but from the life of God; see Ephesians 4:18; from living agreeably to the will of God, being estranged from him who is the fountain of moral and spiritual, as well as natural life; from the law, the rule of life, and from a principle of life in themselves; and altogether disapproving of such a life, as contrary to their carnal affections and lusts: and which alienation from God greatly lay in their forsaking him, the one only and true God, and following and serving strange gods, not attending to the dictates and light of nature; and being destitute of a divine revelation, they went further and further off from God, and from his people, worship, and ordinances; and were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise; the source of all which was sin, and was owing to themselves: God did not alienate himself from them first; they alienated themselves from him; their sins separated between God and them, set them at a distance from him, and at enmity to him, and which very early appeared, for they were estranged from the womb:

and enemies in your mind by wicked works. They were enemies to God, the true God, and were lovers and worshippers of idols; they were enemies to the being and perfections of God, as all men in a state of nature are; and more or less show it, by either denying there is a God, or wishing there was none, or fancying him to be such an one as themselves; or they dispute his sovereignty, deny his omniscience, arraign his justice and faithfulness, and despise the riches of his grace and goodness; they are enemies to his purposes, providences, and word; cannot bear that he should determine any thing concerning them or others; their eye is evil to him because he is good to others; they reply against him, they run upon him, and charge his decrees with unrighteousness and cruelty; murmur at and quarrel with the dispensations of his providence, as unequal and unjust; cast away the law of the Lord, will not be subject to it, and condemn the revelation of his will. They are enemies to Christ in one shape or another; either to his person, denying his proper deity, or real humanity; or to his offices, not hearkening to him as a prophet, trampling on his blood and sacrifice as a priest, and unwilling to have him to rule over them as a King; or to the way of salvation by him, of pardon by his blood, atonement by his sacrifice, justification by his righteousness, and acceptance with God through his person; or to his doctrines and ordinances, which are unsuitable to their vicious tastes, carnal affections, and appetites: they are enemies to the Spirit of Christ, by either denying his deity and personality, or by ridiculing the operations of his grace; or treating with contempt, and as foolish, everything of his, the Bible and all the truths contained in it, dictated by him. They are enemies to the people of God, exceeding mad against them, hate them and persecute them, reckon them the faith of the world, and the offscouring of all things, living in malice to them, and hateful and hating one another: and this enmity to everything divine and good is seated "in the mind"; the mind is not the object of this enmity, as some read the words, "to the mind": for the mind of a carnal man is enmity itself against God; but it is the subject of it, where it has its chief place, and from whence it proceeds, and shows itself in evil actions; and though the word "your" is not in the original text, it is rightly supplied; for the meaning is not that they were enemies "of his mind"; of the mind of the Lord, of his counsels and will, as some read and explain the words, though there is a truth in this, but in their own minds: so that not the body but the soul is the seat of this enmity; and not the inferior faculties of the soul only, the sensitive appetite and passions, but the understanding, the judgment and will, the more noble and rational powers of the soul; from hence spring all the malice and enmity expressed in word and actions: where then is man's free will to that which is good? and hence it is that the mind stands in need of being renewed, enlightened, cleansed and sanctified, and renovation begins here, which is the effect of almighty power; for nothing else can remove the rooted enmity in the heart of men; and which, as deep and as secret as it is, sooner or later, in one way or another, shows itself "by wicked works"; and that frequently, as by loving what God hates, and hating what he loves; by omitting what he commands, and committing what he forbids; by maintaining friendship with the world, and by harbouring his professed enemies, and persecuting his dear friends; and by their wicked words, and evil lives and conversations; and by the various works of the flesh, which are manifest, some being more directly against God, others by which they wrong themselves, and others by which they injure their neighbours:

yet now hath he reconciled; which may be understood either of the Father's reconciling them to himself by his Son; and so the words are a continuation of the account of the Father's grace, as to all the elect in general, so to the Colossians in particular, notwithstanding the black characters in which they stand described in their natural estate: or else of Christ's reconciling them to his Father, by the sacrifice of himself, which he voluntarily offered for them, though this was their case, and of enemies made them friends: and may be meant either of the impetration of reconciliation for them by his sufferings and death; or of the virtue and efficacy of it in the application of it; in the former sense the "now" refers to the coming of Christ into the world, and the time of his death, and the offering up of his body once for all, when peace and reconciliation were completely made at once for all God's elect; in the latter sense it refers to the time of the conversion of these Colossians, when Christ by his Spirit, in consequence of reconciliation made in the body of his flesh, through death reconciled them to God; to his mind and will, to the way of salvation by himself, to the saints the excellent in the earth, to the Gospel and the ordinances of it, and to all his ways and worship. 21. The Colossians are included in this general reconciliation (compare Eph 2:1, 12).


alienated—from God and salvation: objectively banished from God, through the barrier which God's justice interposed against your sin: subjectively estranged through the alienation of your own wills from God. The former is the prominent thought (compare Ro 5:10), as the second follows, "enemies in your mind." "Actual alienation makes habitual 'enemies'" [Bengel].

in your mind—Greek, "in your understanding" or "thought" (Eph 2:3; 4:18).

by wicked works—rather as Greek, "in your wicked works" (wicked works were the element in which your enmity subsisted).

yet now—Notwithstanding the former alienation, now that Christ has come, God hath completely reconciled, or restored to His friendship again (so the Greek, compare Note, see on [2406]Col 1:20).1:15-23 Christ in his human nature, is the visible discovery of the invisible God, and he that hath seen Him hath seen the Father. Let us adore these mysteries in humble faith, and behold the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus. He was born or begotten before all the creation, before any creature was made; which is the Scripture way of representing eternity, and by which the eternity of God is represented to us. All things being created by Him, were created for him; being made by his power, they were made according to his pleasure, and for his praise and glory. He not only created them all at first, but it is by the word of his power that they are upheld. Christ as Mediator is the Head of the body, the church; all grace and strength are from him; and the church is his body. All fulness dwells in him; a fulness of merit and righteousness, of strength and grace for us. God showed his justice in requiring full satisfaction. This mode of redeeming mankind by the death of Christ was most suitable. Here is presented to our view the method of being reconciled. And that, notwithstanding the hatred of sin on God's part, it pleased God to reconcile fallen man to himself. If convinced that we were enemies in our minds by wicked works, and that we are now reconciled to God by the sacrifice and death of Christ in our nature, we shall not attempt to explain away, nor yet think fully to comprehend these mysteries; but we shall see the glory of this plan of redemption, and rejoice in the hope set before us. If this be so, that God's love is so great to us, what shall we do now for God? Be frequent in prayer, and abound in holy duties; and live no more to yourselves, but to Christ. Christ died for us. But wherefore? That we should still live in sin? No; but that we should die to sin, and live henceforth not to ourselves, but to Him.
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