Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
col 1:2The saints - This word expresses their union with God. And brethren - This, their union with their fellow - Christians.
col 1:3We give thanks - There is a near resemblance between this epistle, and those to the Ephesians and Philippians.
col 1:5Ye heard before - I wrote to you. In the word of truth, of the gospel - The true gospel preached to you.
col 1:6It bringeth forth fruit in all the world - That is, in every place where it is preached. Ye knew the grace of God in truth - Truly experienced the gracious power of God.
col 1:7The fellowservant - Of Paul and Timotheus.
col 1:8Your love in the Spirit - Your love wrought in you by the Spirit.
col 1:9We pray for you - This was mentioned in general, Col 1:3, but now more particularly. That ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will - Of his revealed will. In all wisdom - With all the wisdom from above. And spiritual understanding - To discern by that light whatever agrees with, or differs from, his will.
col 1:10That, knowing his whole will, ye may walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing - So as actually to please him in all things; daily increasing in the living, experimental knowledge of God, our Father, Saviour, Sanctifier.
col 1:11Strengthened unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness - This is the highest point: not only to know, to do, to suffer, the whole will of God; but to suffer it to the end, not barely with patience, but with thankful joy.
col 1:12Who, by justifying and sanctifying us, hath made us meet for glory.
col 1:13Power detains reluctant captives, a kingdom cherishes willing subjects. His beloved Son - This is treated of in Col 1:15 and following verses.
col 1:14In whom we have redemption - This is treated of from the middle of Col 1:18. The voluntary passion of our Lord appeased the Father's wrath, obtained pardon and acceptance for us, and, consequently, dissolved the dominion and power which Satan had over us through our sins. So that forgiveness is the beginning of redemption, as the resurrection is the completion of it.
col 1:15Who is - By describing the glory of Christ, and his pre - eminence over the highest angels, the apostle here lays a foundation for the reproof of all worshippers of angels. The image of the invisible God - Whom none can represent, but his only begotten Son; in his divine nature the invisible image, in his human the visible image, of the Father. The first begotten of every creature - That is, begotten before every creature; subsisting before all worlds, before all time, from all eternity.
col 1:16For - This explains the latter part of the preceding verse. Through implies something prior to the particles by and for; so denoting the beginning, the progress, and the end. Him - This word, frequently repeated, signifies his supreme majesty, and excludes every creature. Were created all things that are in heaven - And heaven itself. But the inhabitants are named, because more noble than the house. Invisible - The several species of which are subjoined. Thrones are superior to dominions; principalities, to powers. Perhaps the two latter may express their office with regard to other creatures: the two former may refer to God, who maketh them his chariots, and, as it were, rideth upon their wings.
col 1:17And he is before all things - It is not said, he was: he is from everlasting to everlasting. And by him all things consist - The original expression not only implies, that he sustains all things in being, but more directly, All things were and are compacted in him into one system. He is the cement, as well as support, of the universe. And is he less than the supreme God?
col 1:18And - From the whole he now descends to the most eminent part, the church. He is the head of the church - Universal; the supreme and only head both of influence and of government to the whole body of believers. Who is - The repetition of the expression Col 1:15 points out the entrance on a new paragraph. The beginning - Absolutely, the Eternal. The first begotten from the dead - From whose resurrection flows all the life, spiritual and eternal, of all his brethren. That in all things - Whether of nature or grace. He might have the pre - eminence - Who can sound this depth?
col 1:19For it pleased the Father that all fulness - All the fulness of God. Should dwell in him - Constantly, as in a temple; and always ready for our approach to him.
col 1:20Through the blood of the cross - The blood shed thereon. Whether things on earth - Here the enmity began: therefore this is mentioned first. Or things in heaven - Those who are now in paradise; the saints who died before Christ came.
col 1:21And you that were alienated, and enemies - Actual alienation of affection makes habitual enmity. In your mind - Both your understanding and your affections. By wicked works - Which continually feed and increase inward alienation from, and enmity to, God. He hath now reconciled - From the moment ye believed.
col 1:22By the body of his flesh - So distinguished from his body, the church. The body here denotes his entire manhood. Through death - Whereby he purchased the reconciliation which we receive by faith. To present you - The very end of that reconciliation. Holy - Toward God. Spotless - In yourselves. Unreprovable - As to your neighbour.
col 1:23If ye continue in the faith - Otherwise, ye will lose all the blessings which ye have already begun to enjoy. And be not removed from the hope of the gospel - The glorious hope of perfect love. Which is preached - Is already begun to be preached to every creature under heaven.
col 1:24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up - That is, whereby I fill up. That which is behind of the sufferings of Christ - That which remains to be suffered by his members. These are termed the sufferings of Christ, Because the suffering of any member is the suffering of the whole; and of the head especially, which supplies strength, spirits, sense, and motion to all. Because they are for his sake, for the testimony of his truth. And these also are necessary for the church; not to reconcile it to God, or satisfy for sin, (for that Christ did perfectly,) but for example to others, perfecting of the saints, and increasing their reward.
col 1:25According to the dispensation of God which is given me - Or, the stewardship with which I am intrusted.
col 1:26The mystery - Namely, Christ both justifying and sanctifying gentiles, as well as Jews. Which hath been comparatively hid from former ages and past generations of men.
col 1:27Christ dwelling and reigning in you, The hope of glory - The ground of your hope.
col 1:28We teach the ignorant, and admonish them that are already taught.