The Apostolic Salutation
Colossians 1:1, 2
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,…

Pondering this salutation, we ask about it three questions.


1. His dignity. "An apostle... by the will of God." This was a title

(1) divinely derived;

(2) directly derived from God;

(3) abundantly justified,

(a) by supernatural visions and experiences,

(b) by seals of success.

This title was used here, though not in his salutation to all the Churches, because here

(1) he was dealing with error and erroneous teachers, and so needed a claim of authority;

(2) he was personally an entire stranger to the Colossians;

(3) he writes from prison, and it was well he should remind himself and them of his true dignity. He was a prisoner, yet none the less an apostle.

2. His condescension. "Timotheus our brother." He was no fellow apostle, yet his brother; he was his boyish, not to say childish, convert, yet his brother. Great souls never patronize; they elevate true men, of whatever station or age, into brotherhood with them. The Greatest said, "I have called you not servants, but friends." "He is not ashamed to call them brethren."


1. Its locality and its associations. One of the historic Churches in the valley of the Lycus; the town, too, had been famous, though its glory was waning. Xerxes and Cyrus had made it famous, but Paul's letter has made its name known where Xerxes and Cyrus have never been heard of.

2.. Its character. This indeed ought to be the character of every Church. For its members were:

(1) "Saints." The Old Testament description of Israel thus applied to Christians to indicate their union with God.

(2) "Faithful brethren." indicating their union with each other. All free masonries, guilds, etc., are but hints of what the Church is meant to be in this aspect of it.

III. WHAT IT SUGGESTS ABOUT TRUE BLESSEDNESS. "Grace and peace" is Paul's customary greeting; it is a blended Greek and Hebrew salutation. It expresses the Apostle's best wish for a Church. What is it?

1. "Grace." It is a Greek thought Christianized. It takes the conception of grace of form, of gesture, of tone, into the spiritual realm. It has on Paul's pen and lips two meanings.

(1) It is to be enjoyed as the attitude of God in Christ towards men. It is thus the Divine pity, gentleness, favour, the bearing of a forgiving, condescending, loving God. That is infinite grace.

(2) It is to be possessed as the spirit of a Christian. It is thus "the grace of life "moral beauty, spiritual loveliness. It is the indwelling in human character of more than all that the Greeks conceived in their "three Graces."

2. "Peace." It may include:

(1) Freedom from persecution, then a great desideratum.

(2) Absence of internal dissension. This was the one main purpose of his letter.

(3) inward calm of heart and quiet confidence in God. This is ideal peace. Christ's peace and the wish of Paul is the gift of Jesus; for he said, "My peace give I unto you." - U. R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,

WEB: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

The Apostolic Salutation
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