Thursday, January 11, 2018

Colossians Chapter 3 Commentary



1: If you then be risen with Christ This is a continuation of Colossians 2:20-23 seek those things which are above [1] where the Christ is sitting at the right hand of God [2] 2: Mind things above not things on the earth[3] 3: You died for, and your life has been hid with, the Christ in the God[head] 4: When Christ who is our life shall appear then shall you also appear with him in glory 1 Peter 1:7, 1 John 3:2 5: Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth porneia uncleanness pathos evil desires and covetousness which is idolatry [4] 6: For which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience 7: In the which you also walked some time when you lived in them 8: But now you also put off all these anger wrath[5] malice blasphemy filthy communication out of your mouth 9: Lie not one to another seeing that you have put off the old person with its deeds 10: And have put on the new which is renewed in knowledge after the image [of him that] created the same 11: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew circumcision nor uncircumcision Barbarian Scythian bond [6] free but Christ is all and in all 12: Put on therefore as the elect of God holy and beloved[7] bowels of mercies kindness humbleness of mind meekness longsuffering 13: Forbearing one another and forgiving one another If any have a quarrel against any even as Christ forgave you so also do you 14: And above all these things put on agapÄ“ which is the bond of perfection 15: And let the peace of God rule in your hearts to the which also you are called in one body and be thankful 16: Let the word of  the Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord 17: And whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of Lord Jesus giving thanks to God and Father through him 18: Wives hypotasso [support][8] your own husbands as it is becoming in the Lord 19: Husbands love wives and be not bitter against them 20: Children hypakouo [obey] parents in all things for this is well pleasing unto the Lord 21: Fathers provoke not your children to anger lest they be discouraged[9] 22: Slaves hypakouo [obey] in all things masters according to the flesh not with eye-service as men-pleasers but in singleness of heart fearing God 23: And whatsoever you do do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men 24: Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ [10] 25: But they that do wrong shall receive for the wrong which they have done and there is no respect of persons


[1] The context of Colossians 3:1 is Colossians 2:20-23, where believers are reminded that they are [or should be] dead to the principles of the kosmos (the systems and spirituality of the world) which identify with [and honor] things that have no eternal [or relationship] value when it comes to walking with Christ and growing as Christians. Believer’s should set their hearts on higher things as they symbolically bury the old and die with Christ through baptism and rise to new life in an awe-inspiring, entirely supernatural, eternal adventure.

[2] In this passage, Paul portrays as Jesus sitting at the Right Hand of God, because his work of Redemption is finished. In the Book of Acts, we see Jesus Standing at the Right Hand of his Father as Stephen is being stoned to death. This is because Jesus’ work of interceding for the saints, continues.

[3] There seems to be a lethargy in the Church today, concerning the Resurrection, Rapture, and the Second Coming of Christ. Much of this is due to the almost total neglect of teaching on the subjects. May I suggest that the underlying factor in this, on the part of leaders who neglect to teach the whole counsel of God (Whole Bible), is that they love this present world too much, and their minds are not “set on things above.”


[4] To be covetous is to have or show a great desire to possess something, typically something belonging to someone else, this is synonymous with idolatry.



[5] Anger and wrath are similar but not synonymous. Both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures use different words for the two. Wrath appears to be an intensified form of anger, often with worse consequences for the object[s] of the wrath. With humans, wrath could likely be understood as vengeful fury. 

[6] Verses 10-11 refer to the image of God in Christ where there are no distinctions of gender, race, or social status. 
   In his letter to the Galatians, Paul included women but not barbarians (largely unconquered or uncivilized peoples) in his list of equal persons (ex., the Germanic peoples were considered barbarians, along with some primitive tribes within the Roman Empire). In his letter to the Colossians, he included barbarians but not women. But his message is clear and inclusive in both passages, that, in Christ, all humans are functionally equal, not simply equal in essence or value. 
   During the days of slavery and Jim Crow, black people were considered functionally inferior. Today, truly God-fearing people understand how abhorrent such ideas are. 
   Paul understood the concept of human equality as soon as he was converted, but he also understood that the idea would be foreign and likely offensive to the early Church. He well knew that voicing the concept would potentially cause dissension within the churches, and could cause many new converts to stumble and walk away from Christianity altogether. 
   He obviously did not feel the threat of disunity or reduction of church membership good enough reasons for compromising on what was right. Yet those are the very reasons cited by some egalitarian writers as reasons to bar women from certain leadership positions in churches. 
   For Paul to elevate barbarians, slaves, and women to equal status with Jews, citizens, and men, was radical. In Paul’s culture, barbarians had no standing. Their legal status was barely above that of slaves. They had no real rights, and were accorded little to no respect. 
   Women in Athens Greece (the Greek culture of Rome) were compared to barbarians as good reasons for their inferior legal and social status. Both Jesus’ revolutionary example and Paul’s radical teaching exposed racism and sexism as illegitimate paradigms.

[7] Romans 9:24-26 (Romans 2:25 is a direct quote from Hosea 2:23 in the Septuagint), Eph 1:6 

[8] “In the context of biblical relationships between men and women, the best meaning of hypotasso is “to identify with or support” It has nothing to do with being subordinate to, secondary to, or subject to.” –Dr. Sue Hyatt. 

Hypotasso, does not always denote “under” in hierarchy. In 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, the word is translated as “over,” proving misogyny and even deliberate deception in commentaries and lexicons that define hypotasso as always portraying a hierarchal chain of command, where the husband is commanding officer and wife is subjected to (arranged “under”).


[9] Because of the curse, the desire to dominate is greater in men than in women (men especially seek to rule over their women –Genesis 3:16). As soon as sin entered the world through the last sinless human, God predicted the general oppression of women [by men] would follow. And history reveals this prophecy has consistently [and with devastating effects on family and society] been fulfilled. 
   Its fulfillment continues up to the present day, with history confirmed by modern statistics.  
   The consequence of the Fall on woman, is the extreme opposite. Sin inclines her to follow the path of least resistance, especially when it comes to turning after her man. History and statistics confirm this as well. 
   There are individual exceptions of course, both dominating and passive following, are sinful behaviors that can manifest in both women and men, but should be repented of and resisted by all Christians. 
   Role assignments in the family, culture, and religion are direct results of the curse, and therefore should be rejected by all Christians. 
   Through scriptures, such as this passage in Colossians chapter three, women are admonished to be supportive—not of all males—but of their own husbands, and only “in a becoming manner.” Blind, passive, subjection, is neither fitting nor becoming, but is rather, the sinful, cursed, behavior described on Genesis 3:16. 
   Fathers are instructed to give up harsh treatment of their families through the despotic behavior God predicted, and also to refrain from bitterness against what they perceive as “unsubmissive” behavior in their wives. 
   The complementarian “servant leader” model for husbands, is fanciful, false, and dangerous. Teachers who encourage men to walk in what Elohiym Himself describes as cursed behavior are in grave error, as the servant leader model teaches men that they can rule over their wives, as long as they go about it in a polite and gentle manner. 
   Teaching husbands, who the Bible warns will likely battle a life-long urge to dominate wives, that there is an acceptable way to”manage” this sin, is like giving methadone to a heroin addict. It may temporarily mitigate the worst part of the problem, but does not cure the addiction. Sinning against wives “nicely,” is still sin. God’s way is better. Turn from sin. Repent of sin. Follow Christ. Love the Brethren. 
   In women, courage is praised and prized—In the Bible—though not generally by men. The Proverbs Thirty-One woman, was a woman of valor (“virtuous” sounds nice, but is a deliberately inaccurate translation). Teaching women to be submissive to male leadership, is nothing less than a reinforcement of behavior that God has defined as a destructive consequence of sin. 
   But women are not merely taught this. Historically, for thousands upon thousands of years, through oppressive laws, they were given no choice in the matter. Modern women, who live in democratic societies, are currently pressured into accepting what would otherwise be an unacceptable paradigm, by extravagant promises of bliss and happiness, and if that does not work, by dire predictions of familial, or even eternal, doom. 
   Both women and men are subject to sin in every possible way it can manifest through human behavior, but the Bible declares that there are also different sins that more easily beset one sex than the other. In men it is dominance towards women. In women, it is passivity towards men. In any case, all Christians are commanded to be strong and unafraid, full of faith, and to prefer one another before themselves. 

[10] When the apostle admonished slaves to obey earthly masters, from their hearts, serving them as to the Lord, he was not supporting slavery. He was simply being practical and giving the best advice possible, in light of the fact that slaves who disobeyed masters, did so at their own peril. It was also the best counsel possible for peace of mind and spiritual health, given that slaves had no legal recourse in changing their situations or in obtaining legal protection or justice should they have cruel masters. 
   Lives spent with hearts full of resentment and bitterness of heart, would interfere with relationship with God, be detrimental to spiritual growth, and only add to a slave’s misery. Paul’s concern and advice was for the safety and well-being of the slave. His words gave them hope that they too, had a glorious future in eternity and would receive rewards for their willing service in the only capacity they might ever have to serve God on earth.   
   Though institutionalized slavery was later preached from many pulpits to be a divinely ordained institution, the Bible never declares it to be so, and Paul certainly never did. It is wrong to interpret verses such as Colossians 3:23 as such. 
   It is interesting to note that the same argument [used in Colossians 3:23], to protect and comfort slaves, was wrongly used to shore up pre-civil-war-slavery-theology. It is, currently, still being used to under-gird male-headship-theology, which amounts to nothing less than wife-slavery. 
   Complementarian leaders and writers give wives the same advice about serving husbands, as Paul advised slaves about serving masters. They teach that, for wives, serving God, finds expression, primarily, in serving husbands. 
   For authority to make such statements, they cite scriptures written to slaves. Author Elizabeth George, did this when she wrote in an article published on crosswalk.com: “Your relationship with your husband, your submission to his desires for your marriage and his leadership of the two of you as a couple, and your service to him is to be "as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22) and to be done "heartily, as to the Lord and not to men" (Colossians 3:23).” 

Colossians 3:23 was written to slaves—not wives. With God, there is neither male nor female slave nor free...we are all one in Christ Jesus and commanded to support and yield to one another, preferring one another before ourselves. May God deliver us from slave-holding Christianity. 


Woman this is WAR! Gender Slavery and the Evangelical Caste System examines Bible commentary and translation practices which have historically been androcentric (male centered) and even misogynistic (anti-woman). These have adversely effected understanding of the scriptures, relations between women and men, the happiness of men and women, and, in general, has hindered the work of the gospel. The book chronicles the early history of the women's rights movements, as well as the role of church leadership in aggressively suppressing both women's rights and the historical record of Christian initiatives within the movements. Through the complementarian movement, many of the same arguments used to support the institution of slavery, are still used today in suppressing the rights of Christian women. This book documents identical arguments used by Christian leaders against both movements, and is an unparalleled resource for all who desire an in-depth study of gender equality from a Christian perspective. The history of women’s rights is traced back [much further than usual] to the very first feminists…who were Christians—godly women, who brought the issue of women's rights to the forefront as they struggled to alleviate the suffering of others, and found they were hindered in doing so for no other reason than the fact of their sex. This work, provides valuable historical insight into Christian initiatives in the movements for women’s rights, that are rarely included in Christian literature. Visit this link for more information or to buy the book:  Woman this is WAR! Gender Slavery and the Evangelical Caste System
 

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