Colossians 1:3
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
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(3-8) In this expression of St. Paul’s thanksgiving for them there is as usual a peculiar correspondence to their circumstances. They had been full of faith, love, and hope, the fruit of a true gospel preached by Epaphras; there was fear now lest they should be beguiled from it, although that fear was obviously not yet realised, as had been formerly the case with the Galatians. Hence St. Paul’s emphasis on their hearing, knowing, and learning the truth, and on the faithfulness of Epaphras as a minister of Christ.

(3, 4) Comp. Ephesians 1:15-16, where there is an almost exact verbal coincidence. Whatever may be the force there of the words “having heard of your faith,” clearly here they harmonise with many indications that the Colossian Church, though well known to St. Paul, was not known by personal knowledge.

Colossians 1:3-8. We give thanks, &c. — See on Romans 1:8; to God and the Father — Or, even the Father of our Lord, &c.; or, as the original expression is still more literally rendered, To the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: praying always for you — Making express mention of you in all our addresses to the throne of grace; since we heard Ακουσαντες, having heard; of your faith, &c. — See on Ephesians 1:15; for the hope which is laid up for you — Namely, the hope of eternal life. The apostle’s meaning seems to be, that he gave thanks for this their hope, the fourth verse coming in as a parenthesis; whereof — Of which blessedness in heaven; ye heard before I wrote to you, in the word of the truth of the gospel — The true gospel preached to you; which — Through the singular goodness of God to the Gentiles, whom he seemed so long to have neglected; is come to you — At Colosse; as it is in all the world — In all parts of the Roman empire. So the phrase often signifies; and bringeth forth fruit — Is instrumental in turning men from idolatry, and all vicious practices, and of producing in them faith and holiness. At the time this epistle was written, probably A.D. 64, the gospel had been preached and received in most of the countries within the Roman empire, and had produced a great change in the manners of those who received it. The apostle made this observation to confirm the Colossians in the faith of the gospel, which, by its rapid progress, and happy influence in reforming mankind, was plainly declared to be from God. As also in you — Among whom it hath produced a great reformation; since the day ye heard it, and knew, or acknowledged, the grace of God in truth — Truly experienced its efficacy in your hearts. As ye learned of Epaphras — From the epistle to Philemon, (Colossians 1:23,) which was sent at the same time with this to the Colossians, it appears that Epaphras was in prison at Rome when the apostle wrote. But it is probable he did not choose to mention that circumstance in a letter directed to the whole church of the Colossians, lest it might have grieved them too much. Our dear fellow-servant — Of Paul and Timotheus; who is for you a faithful minister of Christ — Appointed by him to labour among you and to watch over you: the apostle bore this honourable testimony to Epaphras, that the Colossians might not suffer themselves to be drawn away from the doctrine which they had received from him; who declared your love in the Spirit — That is, the love wrought in you by the Spirit of God.

1:1-8 All true Christians are brethren one to another. Faithfulness runs through every character and relation of the Christian life. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces in the Christian life, and proper matter for prayer and thanksgiving. The more we fix our hopes on the reward in the other world, the more free shall we be in doing good with our earthly treasure. It was treasured up for them, no enemy could deprive them of it. The gospel is the word of truth, and we may safely venture our souls upon it. And all who hear the word of the gospel, ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, obey it, and have their principles and lives formed according to it. Worldly love arises, either from views of interest or from likeness in manners; carnal love, from the appetite for pleasure. To these, something corrupt, selfish, and base always cleaves. But Christian love arises from the Holy Spirit, and is full of holiness.We give thanks to God - See the notes at the parallel place in Ephesians 1:15-16.

Praying always for you - See the Romans 1:9, note; Ephesians 1:16, note; compare 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

3. Thanksgiving for the "faith, hope, and love" of the Colossians. So in the twin Epistle sent at the same time and by the same bearer, Tychicus (Eph 1:15, 16).

We—I and Timothy.

and the Father—So some of the oldest manuscripts read. But others better omit the "and," which probably crept in from Eph 1:3.

praying always for you—with thanksgiving (Php 4:6). See Col 1:4.

We give thanks to God: See Poole on "Philippians 1:3". He doth here take in Timothy and others, in acknowledging of God’s grace to them, which might express his great good-will to them.

And the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; describing God, to whom they render thanks both absolutely and relatively, as the Father of Jesus Christ, according to both natures: See Poole on "2 Corinthians 1:3", and See Poole on "Ephesians 1:3".

Praying always for you; always when they did address themselves to God by prayer making mention of them, as he also wrote to the Philippians: See Poole on "Philippians 1:3,4".

We give thanks to God,.... Meaning himself and Timothy. This is the beginning of the epistle, which is introduced with a thanksgiving to God; to whom praise and thankfulness are always due as a Creator and preserver, as the author of all good things, as the Father of mercies, temporal and spiritual, and as the covenant God and Father of his people through Christ: wherefore it follows,

and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the sense of which either is, that God the Father, who is the object of praise and thanksgiving, is both the God of Christ, and the Father of Christ, the God of Christ, as Christ is man, and the Father of Christ, as Christ is God; or the latter is exegetical of the former, and may be rendered thus, "God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ": and very properly are thanks given to him under this character, because it is as he is the Father of Christ that he blesses his people with all spiritual blessings; and because he is their God, as well as his God; and their Father, as well as his Father, though in a different sense, his by nature, theirs by adoption. Moreover, as all their blessings come from God, as the Father of Christ, and through Christ, and for his sake, so it is very proper that thanks should be returned unto him under that character; and through Christ, by whom alone such sacrifices of praise are acceptable to God: it is added,

praying always for you; which, as it is expressive of the constant discharge of the duty of prayer, and the continual remembrance of these saints in it, and shows the affection the apostle had for them; so it points out the time when, and the way and manner in which Paul and Timothy gave thanks to God on account of them; it was when they were at the throne of grace, and in their frequent prayers to God; thankfulness for mercies received, both by ourselves and others, being a branch of the duty of prayer.

{1} We give thanks to God and the {c} Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

(1) He commends the doctrine that was delivered to them by Epaphras, and their readiness in receiving it.

(c) We cannot otherwise think of God to be our salvation, except that he is Christ's Father, in whom we are adopted.

Colossians 1:3 f. Thanksgiving for the Christian condition of the readers, down to Colossians 1:8.—εὐχαριστο͂υμεν] I and Timothy; plural and singular alternate in the Epistle (Colossians 1:23-24; Colossians 1:28-29 ff., Colossians 4:3); but not without significant occasion.

καὶ πατρὶ κ.τ.λ.] who is at the same time the Father, etc. See on Ephesians 1:3.

πάντοτε] belongs to εὐχαρ., as in 1 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Philemon 1:4, and not to περὶ ὑμ. προσευχ. (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, and many others, including Böhmer, Olshausen, Dalmer)—a connection opposed to the parallel Ephesians 1:16, as well as to the context, according to which the thanksgiving is the main point here, and the prayer merely a concomitant definition; and it is not till Colossians 1:9 that the latter is brought forward as the object of the discourse, and that as unceasing. This predicate belongs here to the thanking, and in Colossians 1:9 to the praying, and περὶ ὑμῶν προσευχ.—words which are not, with Bähr, to be separated from one another (whereby προσευχ. would unduly stand without relation)—is nothing but a more precise definition of πάντοτε: “always (each time, Php 1:4; Romans 1:10[11]), when we pray for you.”

ἀκούσαντες κ.τ.λ.] with reference to time; after having heard, etc. Comp. Colossians 1:9. In that, which Paul had heard of them, lies the ground of his thanksgiving. The πίστις is faith (Romans 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3) not faithfulness (Ewald), as at Philemon 1:5, where the position of the words is different. That Paul has heard their faith praised, is self-evident from the context. Comp. Ephesians 1:15; Philemon 1:5.

ἐν Χ. .] on Christ, in so far, namely, as the faith has its basis in Christ. See on Mark 1:15; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 1:15. As to the non-repetition of τήν, see on Galatians 3:26.

ἫΝ ἜΧΕΤΕ] Paul so writes,—not by joining on immediately (ΤῊΝ ἈΓΆΠΗΝ ΕἸς ΠΆΝΤΑς Κ.Τ.Λ.), nor yet by the mere repetition of the article, as in Ephesians 1:15 (so the Recepta, see the critical remarks),—because he has it in view to enter more fully upon this point of ἀγάπη, and indeed definitely upon the reason why they cherished it.

[11] For a like use of ἀεί, see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 360 A.

Colossians 1:3-8. PAUL’S THANKSGIVING FOR THE TIDINGS HE HAS RECEIVED OF THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE OF THE COLOSSIANS. According to his usual custom (so in Thess., 1 Cor., Rom., Phil., Philm.), Paul begins his letter with an expression of his thankfulness to God for the Christian graces of his readers. There is, however, a certain conventional element in these greetings, as may be seen from a comparison of similar formulæ in letters found among recently discovered papyri (see articles by Prof. Rendel Harris in The Expositor for Sept. and Dec., 1898). Ephesians 1:15-17 is parallel to Colossians 1:3-4; Colossians 1:9.

3–8. thanksgiving for the colossian saints

3. We give thanks] So Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Philemon 1:4.—Thanksgiving is the instinct of the life of grace.—These thanksgivings recognize God as the whole Cause of all goodness in His saints.

God and the Father] Better, with the more probable reading, God, the Father. Here, as often, the Father is called simply, and as it were distinctively, God. Not that He is more truly God than the Son, but that He is the Fountain of Godhead in the Son. Cp. Pearson, Exposition. Art. i., pp. 34, 35, 40.

praying always for you] Better perhaps, always, when at prayer for you.—The “prayer” here meant is prayer in its most inclusive sense, worship, of which thanksgiving is a part.—For St Paul’s prayers for his converts cp. Colossians 1:9; Ephesians 1:16-17; Ephesians 3:14; Php 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:3; and see below, Colossians 4:12.

Colossians 1:3. Εὐχαριστοῦμενἀκούσαντες, we give thanks—since we heard) Comp. Ephesians 1:15-16. For the Epistle to the Colossians bears considerable resemblance to the two epistles to which it is subjoined: to the Epistle to the Ephesians, in its general subject (thesis) and mode of exhortation (paraclesis); to the Epistle to the Philippians, in its opposition to the false teachers, and in their refutation. More of these coincidences will be noticed in their proper places. The Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians were sent at the same time by Tychicus, Colossians 4:7; Ephesians 6:21.—πάντοτε, always) Construed with praying: Romans 1:10; Php 1:4.

Verses 3-8. - The opening thanksgiving is full and appropriate. Its content is determined by the state of this Church, and by the apostle's relation to it through Epaphras, and his own present position. Verse 3. - We give thanks to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We; Timothy and I (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4, etc.). The Revised Text omits "and" between" God" and "Father," following Lachmann, Westcott and Heft, and Lightfoot (who hesitates), on evidence numerically slight, but sufficient; especially as in every other instance of this combination the conjunction is present. "Father" is also without definite article in the better attested (Revised) reading. The words, "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," bear, therefore, an explanatory, quasi-predicative force. St. Paul wishes his readers to understand that he gives thanks to God on their account distinctly under this aspect, regarded as "Father of Christ." He has just spoken of "our Father," and now adds, "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," suggesting that it is in this relation that we know God as "our Father," the Author of grace and peace, the Object of Christian thanksgiving. So the sovereign and exclusive mediation of Christ, the ruling idea of the whole Epistle, is thrown into bold relief at the outset; and, in this light, the unique omissions of vers. 2 and 3 explain and justify each other. This fatherhood embraces the entire Person and offices of the Son as "our Lord Jesus Christ." Praying always for you (ver. 9; Colossians 2:1-3; Philippians 1:4; Romans 1:9). The apostle had known from the first of the existence of this Church; and had already been in communication with it (see Introduction, § 2). He had, therefore, a general prayerful interest in the Colossians (2 Corinthians 11:28), that has been quickened to joyful thanksgiving (Colossians 2:5; comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10) by the arrival of Epaphras. "Always" and "for you" - either or both of the phrases - may be joined grammatically to "we give thanks" or to "praying:" the latter connection is preferable (see Alford or Ellicott); similarly in Philemon 1:4; in Ephesians 1:16 the turn of expression is different. Colossians 1:3And the Father

Some of the best texts omit and. So Rev. The form with and is the more common. Compare Colossians 3:17.

Praying always for you

Rather connect always with we give thanks, and render we give thanks for you always, praying, or in our prayers. According to the Greek order, praying for you (as Rev. and A.V.), would make for you unduly emphatic.

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