Online Bible Commentary
God’s Will for Christians
Colossians 1: 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (NKJV)
The book of Colossians is part of what is known as the Prison Epistles. The writings, themselves, affirm that the epistles were written by the Apostle Paul from prison.
There are differing opinions as to during which of Paul’s prison confinements the epistles were written. There are many sources that discuss this subject fully. For our purposes, we will go along with the thought of most scholars that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his house arrest in Rome from AD 60-62.
It is believed that the epistle was written about AD 61 to the house churches in Colossae, Asia Minor. The idea was that this authoritative letter would be passed along to the other churches.
The book of Colossians can be divided into two halves. The first half, the first two chapters, is concerned with the positional; doctrine outlining our position in Christ.
The second half, the last two chapters, is concerned with the practical; how we work out our position in the practical living of our Christian life. This is similar to the breakdown of the books of Romans and Ephesians, Paul’s previous writings.
Colossae, in Paul’s time, was a small city in decline. Once a great mercantile city, it was now the least significant of the cities to whom Paul wrote his letters.
The city of Colossae was located in what is southwestern Turkey today. It was located in the province of Phrygia, ten miles east of Laodicea, thirteen miles southeast of Hierapolis, and about one hundred miles east of Ephesus. It was about a hundred miles north of the Mediterranean Sea.
Paul begins this passage with the phrase “For this reason”, which refers to the previous passage. Paul is saying because of Epaphras’ report. Epaphras had brought a report of the church in Colossae that he had started. He told Paul of their faith, love, and hope, He also told of the false teaching of Gnosticism which was spreading throughout the church.
Paul writes that he and the other churches have not stopped praying for the church at Colossae since its inception. Their prayers are that they will know God’s will through the wisdom and understanding that can only come from God (v.9).
He then writes (vv.10-12) that the prayers cover two specific requests. These two components not only represent God’s will for the Colossians but also God’s will for all believers.
The first component is that we would “walk worthy of the Lord” (v.10a). The word translated “walk” is the Greek word “peripateo”. It means “to walk around”. Our word “peripatetic” is a derivative of this word. The meaning is that our daily walk should reflect the values of God. We should live lives that honor God.
The second component of God’s will for us is that we would be “fully pleasing Him” (v. 10b). Paul then gives us four ways that we can please God.
First, he writes that we should bear fruit in every good work (v. 10c). Our work for God should be productive work. It should strengthen His kingdom in some way.
We all have at least one spiritual gift that we can use in His work, to glorify Him. Discover your spiritual gift and use it for His glory.
Some of the spiritual gifts are as evangelist, pastor, teacher, healer, helper or administrator (1 Cor. 12:28). Helpers of all kinds are especially needed in the church.
The second way we please God is by “increasing in the knowledge of God” (v.10d). This has to do with giving of our time and resources in knowing God.
We learn about God through investing in prayer, Bible reading, church, parachurch ministries such as this one, Christian resources, and fellowship with other believers. We grow in the knowledge of God partly so that we will not be deceived by false teaching, such as the Gnosticism that threatened the church at Colossae.
The third way we please God is by growing in the power of God (v.11a). When we allow the power of God, the Holy Spirit, to work in and through us, we are strengthened.
We allow this power by not quenching the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit is quenched by sin in our lives.
His power gives us “patience and longsuffering with joy” (v. 11b).The word translated “long suffering” is the Greek word “hypomone” which also means “perseverance.”
As Christians, we must persevere through doubt, discouragement, frustration, disfavor, and even persecution. We must persevere, remain faithful, through all of these difficulties. Faithfulness and patience are two of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we become a Christian.
Lastly, Paul writes that we please God by having a thankful spirit (v.12). We are to give thanks to our Father in Heaven because he has “qualified” us Christians, through His grace, to join Him in Heaven someday.
Paul concludes with how God has qualified us for Heaven. He delivered us from the power of Satan and moved us into His kingdom where we will receive bodily redemption in Heaven because of His blood sacrifice on the cross which delivered forgiveness of our sins (vv. 13-14).