Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
col 3:1If ye are risen, seek the things above - As Christ being risen, immediately went to heaven.
col 3:3For ye are dead - To the things on earth. And your real, spiritual life is hid from the world, and laid up in God, with Christ - Who hath merited, promised, prepared it for us, and gives us the earnest and foretaste of it in our hearts.
col 3:4When Christ - The abruptness of the sentence surrounds us with sudden light. Our life - The fountain of holiness and glory. Shall appear - In the clouds of heaven.
col 3:5Mortify therefore - Put to death, slay with a continued stroke. Your members - Which together make up the body of sin. Which are upon the earth - Where they find their nourishment. Uncleanness - In act, word, or thought. Inordinate affection - Every passion which does not flow from and lead to the love of God. Evil desire - The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life. Covetousness - According to the derivation of the word, means the desire of having more, or of any thing independent on God. Which is idolatry - Properly and directly; for it is giving the heart to a creature.
col 3:6For which - Though the heathens lightly regarded them.
col 3:7Living denotes the inward principle; walking, the outward acts.
col 3:8Wrath - Is lasting anger. Filthy discourse - And was there need to warn even these saints of God against so gross and palpable a sin as this? O what is man, till perfect love casts out both fear and sin.
col 3:10In knowledge - The knowledge of God, his will, his word.
col 3:11Where - In which case, it matters not what a man is externally, whether Jew or gentile, circumcised, or uncircumcised, barbarian, void of all the advantages of education, yea, Scythian, of all barbarians most barbarous. But Christ is in all that are thus renewed, and is all things in them and to them.
col 3:12All who are thus renewed are elected of God, holy, and therefore the more beloved of him. Holiness is the consequence of their election, and God's superior love, of their holiness.
col 3:13Forbearing one another - If anything is now wrong. And forgiving one another - What is past.
col 3:14The love of God contains the whole of Christian perfection, and connects all the parts of it together.
col 3:15And then the peace of God shall rule in your hearts - Shall sway every temper, affection, thought, as the reward (so the Greek word implies) of your preceding love and obedience.
col 3:16Let the word of Christ - So the apostle calls the whole scripture, and thereby asserts the divinity of his Master. Dwell - Not make a short stay, or an occasional visit, but take up its stated residence. Richly - In the largest measure, and with the greatest efficacy; so as to fill and govern the whole soul.
col 3:17In the name - In the power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus. Giving thanks unto God - The Holy Ghost. And the Father through him - Christ.
col 3:18Wives, submit - Or be subject to. It is properly a military term, alluding to that entire submission that soldiers pay to their general. Eph 5:22, &c.
col 3:19Be not bitter - (Which may be without any appearance of anger) either in word or spirit.
col 3:21Lest they be discouraged - Which may occasion their turning either desperate or stupid.
col 3:22Eyeservice - Being more diligent under their eye than at other times. Singleness of heart - A simple intention of doing right, without looking any farther. Fearing God - That is, acting from this principle.
col 3:23Heartily - Cheerfully, diligently. Menpleasers are soon dejected and made angry: the single - hearted are never displeased or disappointed; because they have another aim, which the good or evil treatment of those they serve cannot disappoint.