“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus
(our) brother,”

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ”
Literally:  “Paul {an} apostle of Jesus Christ”–Since Paul had never actually been in Colosse, he has to begin by making it clear that he has the right to send such a letter to the Colossian believers.

        PAUL:  (Grk.–Paulos)Since persons born into bilingual countries were often given two names; some commentators have conjectured that he had received both the Jewish name of Saul the Roman name of (Paulos–Paul) when he was born.

         Although he came from a Jewish family, of the tribe of Benjamin, we know that he has also been born into a family with hereditary Roman citizenship.  This could account for his having both names; that, and the fact that he did grow up in Tarsus, a Roman Army colonia, i.e., a retirement town for Roman soldiers.
         Having been born into the Jewish tribe of Benjaim, Paul was given the Jewish name of Saul, and his parents may have named him after Saul, the first king of Israel, who also had been from the tribe of Benjamin.  During the time when he was persecuting the Church he had been known as Saul of Tarsus; and when Christ  revealed Himself to him, He addressed Paul as, “Saul” (Acts 9:40, and for the next nine years of his life, he kept the name of Saul. 
         Paul puts his name to this epistle, by which he was known in the Gentile world, as he usually does in all his epistles; and styles himself “an apostle,” as he was, having seen Christ in Person, and received his commission, doctrine, and qualifications immediately from Him, with a power of doing miracles to confirm the truth of his mission. This he chose to make mention of, partly because the false teachers everywhere insinuated that he was not an apostle; and partly to give the greater sanction and authority, and command the greater regard and credit to what he should say; as well as to excuse his freedom in writing to them whom he had never seen, since he was an apostle of the Gentiles, and so to them.
         Paul calls himself an apostle “of Jesus Christ;” not of men, meaning that he was not sent out by men, but by Christ, who appeared to him, made him a minister of His, gave him His Gospel by revelation, abundantly qualified him for the work, sent him forth unto the Gentiles, in Whose name he went as an ambassador and messenger of His, and Whom he preached, and by Whom he was greatly succeeded, to the conversion of any souls, who were seals of his apostleship in every place he came.

        APOSTLE:  (Grk.–apostolos)-The word, “apostle” means, “one who is sent out;”  an envoy or messenger, any person or persons may be the senders: but the word is particularly restrained to the messengers of the everlasting Gospel, sent immediately from God Himself; and this is what Paul particularly remarks here when he calls himself an apostle by the will of God; signifying that he had derived his commission from an express volition or purpose of the Almighty.

Paul designates himself by his office, as always, except in the Macedonian Epistles and the letter of private friendship to Philemon.  Note that in the original Greek, there is no article:  therefore, it would literally read, “Paul, apostle.”

“of Jesus Christ”– Paul’s right to preach the gospel is that he has been sent out by Christ Jesus to be His ambassador to the gentiles. 

Paul’s use of the name of Christ Jesus right off might possibly be an indicator of the problem of gnosticism in the church, and his deliberate effort to emphasize at the very outset the present exalted position of the risen Lord over against a system of thought which tended to rob him of His full majesty.  Paul does not use the name Jesus alone in this epistle.

“by the will of God”
Literally: “through the will of God”–Paul rested his apostleship upon the will of God, rather than any personal ambition or will of man or request of a church (see Gal. 1:15-16; I Tim. 1:12-13).

        WILL:  (Grk.–thelēma)–Not by human appointment, or authority, but in accordance with the will of God, and His command.  One commentator, H.C. Moule, in his Studies in Colossians and Philemon, p. 64, remarked that, “with God to will implies the provision of the means of fulfillment.”

         That will was made known to Paul by the special revelation granted to him at his conversion, and call to the apostleship (Acts 9).  Paul often refers to the fact that he had received a direct commission from God Himself, and that he did not act on his own authority; (compare I Cor. 9:16; II Cor. 11::22-33; Gal. 11:22-33). There was a special reason why he commenced this Epistle by referring to the fact that he was divinely called to the apostleship. It arose from the fact that his apostolic authority had been called in question by the false teachers at Corinth.
         Not by the will of men, for he derived no authority and power, nor received any doctrine from any man; nor by his own will, of his own head, by any usurpation of his; he did not take this office upon him of himself, but was invested with it, according to the secret will and purpose of God, from everlasting, who had ordained and appointed him to this service, and according to his will of command made known to him in time, when He told Paul what he should do, and openly separated, and sent him forth to do the work He had called him to; and which arose not from any merits or worthiness of the apostle, but from the sovereign good will and pleasure, free grace and favor, of God, to which the apostle continually ascribes it in all his epistles.     

“and Timotheus (Timotheos) {our} brother,”
Literally: “and Timotheus the brother-Who joined with the apostle in this epistle, and whom he calls a “brother;” partly because of the Christian relation he stood in to him, and them, they being all brethren,;

1.       Children of the same Heavenly Father,
2.       Partakers of the same grace of regeneration,
3.       Belonging to the same family.
Therefore, they should own and love one another as brethren; and partly and chiefly because of his being a brother, companion, fellow soldier, and a fellow laborer in the Gospel.

         Paul mentions Timothy either because he was known to them, or that he might be so; and to show the agreement there was between them in the doctrine of Christ, which might have the greater weight with them to abide in it. Though Timothy is here joined in the salutation, yet he has never been understood as having any part in composing this epistle.  He has been considered as the amanuensis or scribe of Paul’s.
        On the question as to why Paul associated others with him in his epistles, (e.g., I Cor. 1:1). There was a particular reason why Timothy should be associated with him in writing this epistle. He was a native of the region where the church was situated, Acts 16:1-3, and had been with Paul when he preached there, and was doubtless well known to the church there, Acts 16:6. It is evident, however, from the manner in which Paul mentions him here, that he did not regard him as “an apostle,” and did not wish the church at Colosse to consider him as such. It is not “Paul and Timothy, apostles of Jesus Christ,” but “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother.” Paul is careful never to apply the term apostle to Timothy. (1, II Thess. 1:1. If he had regarded Timothy as an apostle, or as having apostolic authority, it is not easy to conceive why he should not have referred to him as such in these letters to the churches. Could he have failed to see that the manner in which he referred to him was adapted to produce a very important difference in the estimate in which he and Timothy would be held by the Colossians?
         Timothy was with Paul at the time of writing in Rome. He had been companion of Paul in his first tour through Phrygia, in which Colosse was. Hence the Colossians seem to have associated him with Paul in their affections, and the apostle joins him with himself in the address. Neither, probably, had seen the Colossian Church (compare 2:1); but had seen, during their tour through Phrygia, individual Colossians, as Epaphras, Philemon, Archippus, and Apphia (Philemon. 1:2), who when converted brought the Gospel to their native city.      

“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse:  Grace
(be) unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

         “To the saints and faithful brethren”
         Literally:  “to the saints and faithful brethren”–Those who professed Christianity.

SAINTS:   (Grk.–hagois)-set apart ones; holy ones.  Those belonging to God.

        FAITHFUL: (Grk.–pistois)full of faith; believing ones.”  By pronouncing his readers as “faithful,” Paul may be expreessing his confidence that, when he has shown them the peril of being influenced by wrong teaching, they will turn away from it.

                 BRETHREN:  (Grk.–adelphois)–This implies a believing relationship to Christ.      

“in Christ”–This simple reminder that they who are “in Christ” should serve to spur their fidelity to the One Who has become the center of their lives and their hope for the age to come. 

Grace {be} unto you, and peace”–Paul here is using the common greeting to both Gentiles and Jews. 

        GRACE: (Grk.–charis)—literally meaning “favor” was the common greeting among Greeks and Romans.  What Paul is saying, is, “May you be partakers of the Divine favor, the source from whence every blessing comes.”       

        PEACE: (Grk.–eirēnē)–Literally:  (Hebew: shalom) was the common greeting to Jews, but here, because this is the Greek text, the Greek word, eirēnē is used.  This word is used in about every N.T. book except in I John.  The Lord Jesus several times greeted His disciples with the phrase, “peace be unto you; literally: “shalom aleichem” (shalom aleichem).  Grace and Peace is Paul’s formal introduction in all of his letters.

“from God our Father”– In the better manuscripts, “and the Lord Jesus Christ,” is not found.  That phrase seems to have been a later scribal addition. 

Keep in mind that Paul is writing to counteract Gnosticism, which was the first heresy that crept into the church.  This was probably the Essene branch of Gnosticism.  They relegated God to a place far removed from men and taught that one had to go through emanation to get to God.  All heathen religions and cults have some sort of “open sesame” system before one can get to God.  Paul makes it clear from the start that grace and peace come directly “from God our Father.”  We can come directly to Him.


“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.”

“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lore Jesus Christ”
Literally:  “We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”–Who is the Author of all good; and from Whom the grace, which has produced your conversion, has come about by His mission of Christ Jesus.  In is interesting that in the original Greek text, the conjunction “and” is not before the word, “Father.”  The KJV rendering gives the false impression that Paul is speaking of both Persons of the Tri-unity instead of only God the Father.

After giving his salutation, Paul gives his thanksgiving to God for the good news that he hears regarding the Colosse believers.  This shows that we can go directly to God.  We do not need to go through any form of middle-man at all.  This shows the priesthood of the individual believer.  Some of the better texts omit “and” before “the Father.”

        WE: Note that Paul is using the plural “we” in give thanks.  He may be doing this to indicate that He is including Timothy in the thanksgiving.  

This is the beginning of the epistle, which is introduced with a thanksgiving to God; to whom praise and thankfulness are always due as a Creator and Preserver, as the Author of all good things, as the Father of mercies, temporal and spiritual, and as the covenant God and Father of His people through Christ.

“praying always for you.”
Literally: “Praying continually concerning you”–With thanksgiving.  Paul must have had a long list of the people for whom he was praying.  Here he tells these Colossian believers that he always prayed for them; that they were on his prayer list.  Oh, how comforting it is to know that someone is really holding you up in prayer before the throne of God!

“Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which
(ye have) for all the saints.”

“Since we heard of your faith”
Literally:  “Having heard of your faith”– Probably from Epaphras, who had informed Paul of the steadfastness of their faith and love; (vv. 7-8).  The language implies that he had only heard of, and not seen, them (Col 2:1). Compare Ro 1:8, where like language is used of a Church which he had not at the time visited.

         This is very similar to Eph. 1:15. And it is certain that Paul seems to have considered the Church at Ephesus, and that at Colosse to have been nearly in the same condition, as the two epistles are very similar in their doctrine and phraseology. The language implies that he had only heard of, and not seen, them (2:1). Compare Rom. 1:8, where like language is used of a Church which he had not at the time visited.  Someone has concluded that about 60% of this Epistle to the Colossians is also covered in his Epistle to the Ephesians.


Paul seems to be stressing the aspects of the Colossian’s faith.
1.      He makes it specific and personal.  The phrase literally reads, “the faith of you”
(Grk.–tēs pistin humōn). 

         By using the definite article “the” (Grk.–tēs) Paul is making it personal and showing that he is not referring to some abstract principle of general faith.
2.      He acknowledges that their faith rested “in Christ Jesus”
(Grk.–en Christ  Iēsou).  Faith to them in the sphere of Christ Jesus.  It focused on Him at the inception of their spiritual experience and now permeates their entire relationship to God. 

“faith in Christ Jesus”–This expresses the matter of the thankfulness, or what it was they gave thanks to God for, their faith in Christ; by which is not only meant their hearty assent to the whole doctrine of faith, concerning the person, offices, and grace of Christ, their soundness and steadfastness in it, and their sincere and constant profession of it.

This Paul and Timothy had heard of by their minister Epaphras; and it shows that they made no secret of it, did not keep it to themselves, but declared, confessed, and published it to others, as is the duty of all believers to do; and thanks being given for it to God, makes it a clear point that it was not of themselves, but was the gift of God, otherwise there would have been no need of thankfulness for it; as also, that it is a very eminent grace, and of great use and service to such who are possessed of it,

“and of the love which (ye have) for all the saints.”
Literally: “And the love to-ward all the saints.”– Faith is the root of the Christian life, and love is the fruit. 

         Paul is telling them that he is thankful that their love is not ingrown, that it is not concentrated in a few, but reaches out to include, “all the saints;” which at the very least must mean all the believers in Colosse, and possibly could mean Christians elsewhere.  In many of Paul’s writings,  faith and love occur in coordination (I Thess. 3:6; II Thess. 1:3; Philemon 5; cf. Eph. 6:23).
         Here we are given the essence of the Christian life–the fact which delights Paul’s heart and for which he gives God thanks is that he has been told that the Colossian believers are showing two great qualities in their lives:  faith in Christ and love for their neighbors.  These are the two sides of the Christian life.  Christians must have faith:  they must know what they believe.  But Christians must also have love for others:  they must turn that belief into action.  It is not enough simply to have faith, for there can be an orthodoxy which knows no love.  It is not enough only to have love for others, for without real belief that love can become mere sentimentality.  Christians have a double commitment:  they are committed to Jesus Christ, and they are committed to other people.  Faith in Christ and love shows to others are the twin pillars of the Christian life.

         This is another thing for which thanks are given to God. The object of this grace are “saints;” all men indeed are to be loved, and even our very enemies; and good is to be done to all, but especially to holy and good men, to the household of faith; and these are “all” to be loved and respected; nor is any respect or difference of persons to be made on account of country, or natural relation, as Jews or Gentiles, or of outward state and condition, as rich or poor, bond or free, or of greater or lesser gifts and grace, weak or strong believers, or of different sentiments in the lesser matters of religion. It denotes both the grace of love itself, which is a fruit of the Spirit implanted in regeneration, and is an evidence of the new birth, and always is where true faith in Christ is, for faith works by it; and also the effects of it, which lies not in bare words, in expressions of spiritual affection and friendship, but in deeds, by serving one another in love, by relieving in necessity, sympathizing in distress, praying with and for one another, and the like; all which these saints were famous for.