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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

Colossians Chapter 3

Colossians 3:1

col 3:1

Be risen (συνηγέρθητε)

Rev., correctly, were raised. See Col 2:12. In their baptism in which they died (Col 2:20). Compare Rom 6:2 sqq.

Sitteth (ἐστιν καθήμενος)

According to the A.V. the literal rendering would be is sitting. Is, however, must be taken separately; where Christ is, seated. Seated is a secondary predicate, as hidden in Col 2:3. Compare Eph 2:4-6; Rev 3:21.

Colossians 3:2

col 3:2

Set your affection (φρονεῖτε)

Lit., be minded, think. As Rev., set your mind. Seek marks the practical striving; set your mind, the inward impulse and disposition. Both must be directed at things above. "You must not only seek heaven, you must think heaven" (Lightfoot). Compare Phi 3:19, Phi 3:20.

Colossians 3:3

col 3:3

Ye are dead (ἀπεθάνετε)

Rev., correctly, ye died, as Col 2:20.

Is hid (κέκρυπται)

Your new spiritual life is no longer in the sphere of the earthly and sensual, but is with the life of the risen Christ, who is unseen with God. Compare Phi 3:20.

Colossians 3:4

col 3:4

Who is our life (ζωὴ)

See on Joh 1:4. The life is not only with Christ, it is Christ. Compare Joh 14:6; Co2 4:10, Co2 4:11; Jo1 5:11, Jo1 5:12. For the change of person, our for your, see on Col 2:13.

Shall appear (φανερωθῇ)

Rev., correctly, shall be manifested. Compare Jo1 3:2, note. See on Rom 3:21.

In glory

Compare Rom 8:17.

Colossians 3:5

col 3:5

Mortify (νεκρώσατε)

Only here, Rom 4:19; Heb 11:12. Mortify is used in its literal sense of put to death. So Erasmus: "Christ was mortified and killed." And Shakespeare:

" - his wildness mortified in him,

Seemed to die too."

"1 Henry V., 1, 26"

Members (μέλη)

See on Rom 6:13. The physical members, so far as they are employed in the service of sin. The word falls in with the allusions to bodily austerities in ch. 2.

Which are upon the earth

Compare Col 3:2. The organs of the earthly and sensuous life.

Fornication, etc.

In apposition with members, denoting the modes in which the members sinfully exert themselves.

Inordinate affection, evil concupiscence (πάθος, ἐπιθυμίαν κακήν).

See on Rom 1:26.

And covetousness (καὶ πλεονεξίαν)

And has a climactic force; and especially; see on Rom 1:29.

Which is (ἥτις ἐστιν)

The compound relative, explanatory and classifying. Seeing it stands in the category of. Compare Eph 5:5.


See on Co1 5:10.

Colossians 3:6

col 3:6

Wrath - cometh

Compare Rom 1:18. The present tense denotes the certainty of the future event, as Mat 17:11; Joh 4:21. The best texts omit upon the children of disobedience.

Colossians 3:7

col 3:7

In the which (ἐν οἷς)

The omission of upon the children, etc., necessitates the reference to which things (Col 3:6) Otherwise we might render among whom.

Walked - lived

Walked, referring to their practice, lived, to their condition. Their conduct and their condition agreed. Compare Gal 5:25.

Colossians 3:8

col 3:8

Put off (ἀπόθεσθε)

Compare Rom 13:12; Eph 4:22, Eph 4:25; Heb 12:1; Jam 1:21; Pe1 2:1.

Anger, wrath (ὀργὴν, θυμὸν)

See on Joh 3:36.

Malice (κακίαν)

See on naughtiness, Jam 1:21.

Blasphemy (βλασφημίαν)

See on Mar 7:22. Compare Rom 3:8; Rom 14:16; Co1 4:13; Eph 4:31. Rev. railing.

Filthy communication (αἰσχρολογίαν)

Only here in the New Testament. Not merely filthy talking, as A.V., but foul-mouthed abuse. Rev., shameful speaking.

Out of your mouth

Construe with the preceding word. As Col 2:20-22 suggests Christ's words in Matthew 15:1-20, this phrase suggests Mat 15:11, Mat 15:18.

Colossians 3:9

col 3:9

Seeing that ye have put off (ἀπεκδυσάμενοι)

See on Col 2:15.

The old man

See on Rom 6:6.

Colossians 3:10

col 3:10

New (νέον)

See on Mat 26:29. Compare Eph 5:24.

Is renewed (ἀνακαινούμενον)

Rev., better, giving the force of the present participle, is being renewed: in process of continuous renewal. The word καινός new, which enters into the composition of the verb, gives the idea of quality. Compare Co2 4:16, and the contrast in Eph 4:22.

In knowledge (εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν)

Rev., correctly, unto knowledge, the end to which the renewal tended. Compare Eph 4:13.

After the image

Construe with renewed. Compare Eph 4:24, and see Gen 1:26, Gen 1:27.

Colossians 3:11

col 3:11

Where there is (ὅπου ἔνι)

Where, in the renewed condition; there is, better, as Rev., can be: ἔνι strengthened from ἐν in signifies not merely the fact but the impossibility: there is no room for.

Greek, Jew, etc.

Compare Gal 3:28. National, ritual, intellectual, and social diversities are specified. The reference is probably shaped by the conditions of the Colossian church, where the form of error was partly Judaistic and ceremonial, insisting on circumcision; where the pretense of superior knowledge affected contempt for the rude barbarian, and where the distinction of master and slave had place as elsewhere.


For the circumcised. So Rom 4:12; Eph 2:11; Phi 3:3.

Barbarian, Scythian

See on Co1 14:11. The distinction is from the Greek and Roman point of view, where the line is drawn by culture, as between the Jew and the Greek it was drawn by religious privilege. From the former stand-point the Jew ranked as a barbarian. Scythian. "More barbarous than the barbarians" (Bengel). Hippocrates describes them as widely different from the rest of mankind, and like to nothing but themselves, and gives an absurd description of their physical peculiarities. Herodotus describes them as living in wagons, offering human sacrifices, scalping and sometimes flaying slain enemies, drinking their blood, and using their skulls for drinking-cups. When a king dies, one of his concubines is strangled and buried with him, and, at the close of a year, fifty of his attendants are strangled, disemboweled, mounted on dead horses, and left in a circle round his tomb. The Scythians passed through Palestine on their road to Egypt, b.c. 600, and a trace of their invasion is supposed to have existed in the name Scythopolis, by which Beth Shean was known in Christ's time. Ezekiel apparently refers to them (38, 39) under the name Gog, which reappears in Revelation. See on Rev 20:8.

Colossians 3:12

col 3:12

Bowels of mercies (σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ)

See on Pe1 3:8; see on Co2 1:3. Rev., a heart of compassion.

Kindness (χρηστότητα)

See on Rom 3:12.

Meekness (πραΰ́τητα)

See on Mat 5:5.

Long-suffering (μακροθυμίαν)

See on Jam 5:7.

Colossians 3:13

col 3:13

One another - one another (ἀλλήλων - ἑαυτοῖς)

Lit., one another - yourselves. For a similar variation of the pronoun see Eph 4:32; Pe1 4:8-10. The latter pronoun emphasizes the fact that they are all members of Christ's body - everyone members one of another - so that, in forgiving each other they forgive themselves.

Quarrel (μομφήν)

Only here in the New Testament. Cause of blame. Rev., complaint. The A.V. uses quarrel in its earlier sense of cause of complaint. So Shakespeare:

"The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you."

"Much Ado," ii., 1.

"Against whom comest thou, and what's thy quarrel?"

"Richard II.," i., 3, 33.

Holinshed: "He thought he had a good quarrel to attack him." It was used of a plaintiff's action at law, like the Latin querela.

Colossians 3:14

col 3:14

Above all (ἐπὶ πᾶσιν)

According to the metaphor of the garment. Over all, like an upper garment, put on, etc.


See on Co1 13:1.

Bond of perfectness (σύνδεσμος τῆς τελειότητος)

Love embraces and knits together all the virtues. Τελειότης perfectness is a collective idea, a result of combination, to which bond is appropriate. Compare Plato: "But two things cannot be held together without a third; they must have some bond of union. And the fairest bond is that which most completely fuses and is fused into the things which are bound" ("Timaeus," 31).

Colossians 3:15

col 3:15

Peace of Christ

Which comes from Christ. See Joh 14:27; Eph 2:14.

Rule (βραβεύετω)

Lit., be umpire. Only here in the New Testament. See on Col 2:18. The previous references to occasions for meekness, long-suffering, forbearance, forgiveness, etc., indicate a conflict of passions and motives in the heart. Christ is the one who adjusts all these, so that the metaphorical sense is appropriate, as in Col 2:18.

Called in one body

See Eph 4:4. So that ye are in one body according to your call.

Colossians 3:16

col 3:16

The word of Christ

The only occurrence of the phrase. The word spoken by Christ.


See on Rom 2:4, and compare Col 1:27.

In all wisdom

Some connect with the preceding words, others with the following - in all wisdom, teaching, etc. The latter seems preferable, especially in view of Col 1:28, where the phrase occurs teaching and admonishing in all wisdom; because the adverb richly forms an emphatic qualification of dwell in, and so appropriately terminates the clause; and because the whole passage is thus more symmetrical. "Dwell in has its single adverb richly, and is supported and expanded by two coordinate participial clauses, each of which has its spiritual manner or element of action (in all wisdom, in grace) more exactly defined" (Ellicott).


See on Col 1:28. The participles teaching and admonishing are used as imperatives, as Rom 12:9-13, Rom 12:16-19; Eph 4:2, Eph 4:3; Heb 13:5; Pe1 3:1, Pe1 3:7, Pe1 3:9, Pe1 3:16.

One another (ἑαυτούς)

Yourselves. See on Col 3:13.


See the parallel passage, Eph 5:19. A psalm was originally a song accompanied by a stringed instrument. See on Co1 14:15. The idea of accompaniment passed away in usage, and the psalm, in New-Testament phraseology, is an Old-Testament psalm, or a composition having that character. A hymn is a song of praise, and a song (ᾠδή ode) is the general term for a song of any kind. Hymns would probably be distinctively Christian. It is supposed by some that Paul embodies fragments of hymns in his epistles, as Co1 13:1-13; Eph 5:14; Ti1 3:16; Ti2 2:11-14. Jam 1:17, and Rev 1:5, Rev 1:6; Rev 15:3, are also supposed to be of this character. In both instances of his use of ᾠδή song, Paul adds the term spiritual. The term may, as Trench suggests, denote sacred poems which are neither psalms nor hymns, as Herbert's "Temple," or Keble's "Christian Year." This is the more likely, as the use of these different compositions is not restricted to singing nor to public worship. They are to be used in mutual christian teaching and admonition.

With grace (ἐν τῇ χάριτι)

Lit., the grace. The article limits the meaning to the grace of God. With grace begins the second participial clause.

Colossians 3:17

col 3:17

In the name

See on Mat 28:19.

Giving thanks

Notice the emphasis on the duty of thanksgiving placed at the close of the exhortations. See Col 1:12; Col 2:7; Col 3:15; Col 4:2.

Colossians 3:18

col 3:18

Wives, etc.

Compare the parallel passages, Ephesians 5:22-6:9. See also 1 Peter 2:18-3:7; Tit 2:1-5.

Is fit (ἀνῆκεν)

See on Plm 1:8. The imperfect tense, was fitting, or became fitting, points to the time of their entrance upon the christian life. Not necessarily presupposing that the duty remained unperformed. Lightfoot illustrates by ought, the past tense of owed, and says, "the past tense perhaps implies an essential a priori obligation."

In the Lord

Connect with is fitting, and compare well-pleasing in the Lord, Col 3:20.

Colossians 3:19

col 3:19

Be not bitter (μὴ πικραίνεσθε)

Lit., be not embittered. Used only here by Paul. Elsewhere only in Revelation. The compounds παραπικραίνω to exasperate, and παραπικρασμός provocation, occur only in Heb 3:16; Heb 3:8, Heb 3:15. Compare Eph 4:31.

Colossians 3:20

col 3:20

This is well pleasing

Expanded in Eph 6:2, Eph 6:3. Unto the Lord should be in the Lord.

Colossians 3:21

col 3:21

Provoke to anger (ἐρεθίζετε)

Only here and Co2 9:2, where it is used of stirring up to good works. To anger is added by A.V.

Be discouraged (ἀθυμῶσιν)

Only here in the New Testament. Lose heart, or become dispirited.

Colossians 3:22

col 3:22

Masters (κυρίοις)

See on Lord, Pe2 2:1, and see on Mat 21:3. Κύριος Lord and δεσπότης master came to be used interchangeably in the New Testament, though originally the latter involved such authority as is implied in our use of despot, or in the relation of a master to a slave. The Greeks applied δεσπότης only to the gods.

With eye-service (ἐν ὀφθαλμοδουλείαις)

Only here and Eph 6:6. The word seems to have been coined by Paul.

Men pleasers (ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι)

Only here and Eph 6:6. Compare Plato: "And this art he will not attain without a great deal of trouble, which a good man ought to undergo, not for the sake of speaking and acting before men, but in order that he may be able to say what is acceptable to God, and always to act acceptably to Him as far as in him lies. For there is a saying of wiser men than ourselves, that a man of sense should not try to please his fellow-servants (at least this should not be his first object), but his good and noble masters" ("Phaedrus," 273).

Singleness (ἁπλότητι)

See on Rom 12:8. Without duplicity or doubleness.

Fearing the Lord (τὸν Κύριον)

The one Master contrasted with the masters (κυρίοις) according to the flesh. The parallel in Eph 6:5, has as unto Christ.

Colossians 3:23

col 3:23

Ye do - do it (ποιῆτε - ἐργάζεσθε)

Rev., correctly, ye do - work; the latter being the stronger term as opposed to idleness. See on Jam 2:9. An idle man may do. Compare ἐργασία diligence, Luk 12:58.

Heartily (ἐκ ψυχῆς)

Lit., from the soul. With a personal interest. Note that the apostle uses both heart (καρδίας, Col 3:22) and soul (ψυχῆς); and in Eph 6:7, adds μετ' εὐνοίας with good disposition (A.V., good will). See on Rom 11:3; see on Rom 7:23; see on Rom 1:21. Compare σύμψυχοι of one accord, Phi 2:2; ἰσόψυχον like-minded, Phi 2:20; μιᾷ ψυχῇ with one mind, Phi 1:27.

Colossians 3:24

col 3:24

Of the inheritance

Which consists or is in the inheritance. Compare the similar construction, Col 1:12. See Mat 21:35-38, where the δοῦλος bond-servant and the κληρονόμος heir are contrasted; and Rom 8:15-17; Gal 4:1-7.

For ye serve (γὰρ δουλεύετε)

Omit for. Some take the verb as imperative, serve ye; but the indicative is better as explaining from the Lord.

Colossians 3:25

col 3:25

He that doeth wrong (ὁ ἀδικῶν)

Compare Plm 1:18. The reference is primarily to the slave; but the following clause extends it to the master. If the slave do wrong, he shall be punished; but the master who does wrong will not be excused, for there is no respect of persons. Tychicus, who carried this letter to Colossae, carried at the same time the letter to Philemon, and escorted Onesimns to his master.

Shall receive (κομίσεται)

See on Pe1 1:8. Compare Eph 6:8.

Respect of persons

See on Jam 2:1. In the Old Testament it has, more commonly, a good sense, of kindly reception, favorable regard. In the New Testament always a bad sense, which came to it through the meaning of mask which attached to πρόσωπον face.

Next: Colossians Chapter 4