“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and {be} not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, {and} which was preached to every creature which is under heaven:  whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled,”
Literally:  “If indeed you continue in the faith having been founded and steadfast”–The word, “if” may seem to imply that a person can lose his salvation (reconciliation and presentation) if he fails to “continue in the faith.”

However, Paul taught just the opposite of such a thing taking place. He was really assuming that the Colossian believers were continuing in their faith.  A better rendering of this phrase might read, “if indeed you continue in the faith, and I believe that you are doing so.”  A reconciled sinner shows evidence of the working of Christ in his life by proper doctrinal belief. Any denial of the deity and redemptive work of Christ in the life demonstrates that the sinner did not genuinely accept Christ with essential understanding.  The fact that he remained in the faith is seen in three ways:

The phrase, “the faith”
(Grk.–tei pistei) refers to the body of Biblical truth which is essential to the Doctrine of Salvation, not to one’s personal faith (cf. Jude 3).  The issue is doctrinal accuracy.

         GROUNDED AND SETTLED:   On a firm foundation.

The “grounding” 
(Grk.–tethmeliōmenoi)–Literally: “firm.”  The Colossian believers had built a spiritual foundation on the Person and Work of Christ.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke of people who build on a firm foundation:  “Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matt. 7:24).

WAY #3:  STEADFAST:  “Steadfast” (Grk.–edraioi)–More correctly rendered as “settled.” This denotes a strong foundation or building;  one strengthened by the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit.      

“In Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord”
“In Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” 
(Eph. 2:21-22).

         Firm and steadfast in the belief and practice of  truth.  If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.  Not on the sandy foundation of man's own righteousness, and peace made by his own performances; but upon the Foundation and Rock, Christ, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail; and so shall never finally and totally fall away, being rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith of Him, in the doctrines of faith, respecting peace by His blood, justification by His righteousness, and life by His death; and so continue steadfast and immovable, always abounding in His work.
         The gnostic heretics attempted to weaken their doctrinal convictions regarding the Person of Christ and His work in creation and redemption; but the walls and footings of their faith did not develop any cracks.  Their firmness held!

“and {be} not moved away”
Literally:  “and not being moved away”– By the arts of philosophy, and the allurements of sin.  Not permitting yourselves to be seduced by false teachers.  To the Ephesians Paul warns about such attacks: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fros, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”  (Eph. 4:14). 

“from the hope of the gospel”
Literally:  “from the hope of the gospel”— The resurrection of the body, and the glorification of it and the soul together, in the realms of blessedness.  This is properly the Gospel
HOPE (see Eph. 1:18). 

The HOPE of eternal life and happiness, which as set before us in the Gospel; which that gives a good and solid ground and foundation of, in the Person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; and is the instrumental means, in the hand of the Spirit, of begetting to it, and of encouraging and increasing it: the law gives no hope of eternal life to a poor sinner; it works wrath, and ministers death; there is nothing but fearful looking for  judgment by it; but the Gospel encourages hope in the Lord, from the consideration of rich mercy and plenteous redemption in him; and this hope of the Gospel is an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and not to be let go; this confidence and rejoicing of the hope is to be kept firm unto the end:

“which was preached to every creature which is under heaven:”
Literally: “which you heard proclaimed in all the creation under the heaven.”–The phrase, in all the creation under the heaven.” is a Hebraism meaning the whole human race, and particularly referring to the two grand divisions of mankind, the Jews and Gentiles.

         To both of these the Gospel had been preached, and to each, salvation by Christ had been equally offered.  And as none had been excluded from the offers of mercy, and Jesus Christ had tasted death for every man, Jews and Gentiles alike, in their great corporate capacity, had all been invited to believe the Gospel.  Therefore, Paul can conclude that the Gospel was preached to every creature under heaven, as being offered without restrictions or limitations to these two grand divisions of mankind, including the whole human race.
         In these words Paul expresses the design of the gospel and its final destiny. Those who would be saved must not merely believe in Christ, profess Him before men, and begin to serve Him.  They must continue in the belief of the truth, in the practice of
holy living towards God, righteousness and benevolence towards men, and in the conscientious discharge of their various personal and relative duties to the end of life (Matt. 10:22; Heb. 10:38-39).


“of which I Paul am made a minister”
Literally:  “of which I Paul became a minister”

         The object here of Paul seems to be to show that he regarded it as the highest honor to be thus entrusted with the message of mercy to mankind, and considered it a privilege to suffer in that cause.
         Made a minister by Jesus Christ, who appeared unto him, and called, qualified, and sent him forth as such; and this is mentioned to encourage the Colossians to abide by the truths of the Gospel, since what they had heard and received were what was everywhere preached by the faithful ministers of the word; and particularly by the apostle, who was ordained to be a teacher and preacher of it to the Gentiles.

        MINISTER:  (Grk.–diakonos)–This is the same Greek word from which we get our English word, “deacon.”  Paul makes this claim twice in this epistle:  here in v. 23 and in v. 25. 

Minister of the Gospel
As a minister of the gospel Paul was concerned about what he preached.  This concern was over doctrinal facts and truths.


“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church.”

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings”
Literally:  “Who now rejoice in the sufferings of me”–Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you.  As soon as he had made mention of his being a minister of the Gospel, Paul thinks and speaks of his “sufferings.”  For those more or less attend persons in such an office.

Paul always considers his persecutions, as far as the Jews were concerned in them, as arising from his asserting that God had chosen the Gentiles, and called them to enjoy the very same privileges with the Jews, and to constitute one Church with them.      It was on this account that the Jews attempted his life at Jerusalem, when, in order to save it, he was obliged to appeal to Caesar; the consequences of which persecution he was now suffering in his imprisonment in Rome. 

        FOR YOU:  (Grk.–huper)–“on your behalf;”–That you may be confirmed in resting solely on Christ (to the exclusion of angel-worship) by the glorification of Christ in my sufferings (Eph. 3:1).

         “and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ”
Literally:  “and fill up in my flesh the things lacking of the afflictions of Christ”–That which I lack of coming up to the sufferings which Christ endured in the cause of the church. Paul here seems to mean,

1.      That he suffered in the same cause as that for which Christ suffered;
2.      That he endured the same kind of sufferings that Christ endured;

         At least to some extent, in reproaches,   persecutions, and opposition from the world;
3.      That he had not yet suffered as much as Christ did in this cause, and, though he had suffered greatly, yet there was much that was lacking to make him equal in this respect to the Savior; and,
4.      That he felt that it was an object to be earnestly desired to be made in all respects just like Christ, and that in his present circumstances he was fast filling up that which was lacking, so that he would have a more complete resemblance to Him.

        What he says here is based on the leading desire of his  soul: TO BE JUST LIKE CHRIST; alike in moral character, in suffering, and in destiny. Having this strong wish, he had been led to pursue a course of life which conducted him through trials strongly resembling those which Christ Himself endured. That is:  I have still some afflictions to pass through before my race of glory be finished; afflictions which fall on me on account of the Gospel; such as Christ bore from the same persecuting people.
        Notice that Paul does not say the passion
(Grk.–pathemata) of Christ, but instead he refers to the affliction Grk.–thlipsis) of Christ. In these Paul had his share, in the passion of Christ he could have none.  He trod the wine press alone, of the people there were none with Him. It is a sad fact that afflictions are common to all good men who bear a testimony against the ways and fashions of a wicked world.  Afflictions to be undergone by Christ in His body the church; that is, in the persons of his disciples. Of these every believer has his share to fill up, and ought to rejoice in it, because God with these means works out his salvation and that of his brethren.

“for His body’s sake, which is the church”
Literally:  “On behalf of the body of Him, which is the church”–This being believers, both Jews and Gentiles, who form that one Body, of which Christ is the Head.  Paul attaches no atoning value whatever to his own sufferings for the church.

The afflictions of the Church are said to be Christ's afflictions, by reason of that fellowship and knitting together that the body and the head have with one another. And this is not because there is any more need to have the Church redeemed, but because Christ shows His power in the daily weakness of His own, and that for the comfort of the whole body.

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God.”–
Paul had three relationships to the church.

#1–He Was the Minister of the Church

        “Whereof I am made a minister”-
        Literally:  “I became a minister”– Having received especial commission from God to preach salvation to the Gentiles.

         “Where of”       
          Literally:  “of which.”–Of which church.

         “I am a minister”
         Literally:  “I became a minister”–He was made a minister of it, not by men, or anything he received from men; nor by himself. 

He did not thrust himself into this office, or take it upon himself; but was put into it by Christ, Who counted him faithful.  Christ appeared to him, and made him a minister, qualified him for this office, called him to it, and sent him to perform it. Paul received  a special commission from Christ to preach salvation to the Gentiles.

 “according to the dispensation of God which was given to me to fulfill the Word of God”

Literally:  “according to the administration of God given to me for you”–Or a special divine mandate, which denotes such an authority and administration as is used in a family. According to the Gospel economy or institution; the scheme or plan of salvation by Christ crucified.

#2–He Was the Steward of the Church

        DISPENSATION:  (Grk.–oikonomian)—Literally:  “stewardship.”  From (oikos), meaning “house,” and (nemo), meaning “to dispense; to manage.”  Hence, (oikonomos) means, “house-steward.” 

         The office of a steward or administrator in God’s house.  See on I Cor. 9:17 and compare Luke 16:2-4; Titus 1:7; I Pet. 4:10.  In Eph. 3:2 the word is used of the divine arrangement or commission committed to Paul. –Vincent’s Word Studies in the N.T.
        The church is God’s 's family. It is called the house and household of God, and the household of faith, part of which is in heaven and part on earth; God is the householder or Master of the family; Christ is the Son over His own house; ministers are stewards in it, and their work is to give to everyone their portion of meat in due season; their authority from God to do so, and the exercise of it, are the economy or dispensation of the Gospel committed to them.
        Paul is saying that God has called me to be a minister.  Paul brings another proof of his apostleship, that is, that God is the Author of it, by Whom also he was appointed especially as apostle for the Gentiles, to the end that by this means, that same might be fulfilled by him, which the prophets foretold concerning the calling of the Gentiles.

#3–He Was the Minister to Fullfil the Word of God to the Church

“to fulfill the Word of God”Not only to do what the word required, but to preach the Word everywhere.  The Greek text says, “to fill up (plērōsai) the Word of God.”   

The meaning is, “fully to teach and publicize the gospel.; to fully discharge my office, so that the divine intent shall be fully carried out in the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles no less than to the Jews.”  Were we to take the word in its common meaning, it might signify to accomplish the purpose of God, as predicted by the prophets.  Compare “fully preached” (Rom. 15:19).

{Even} the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints:”


         “{Even} the mystery which hath been hid”

Literally: “The mystery having been hidden”–The word “mystery” itself means “a hidden thing; something that here-to-fore has been hidden.”  Something that God had not previously revealed, but now He has, through His apostles, revealed to the world. 

         This mystery is this: that God had planned to grant the Gentiles the same privileges with the Jews, and make His people of those who were not His people.  That this is what Paul means by the mystery, see Eph.3:3, etc.
         To make that mystery fully known. The great doctrine, that salvation was to be proclaimed to all mankind, Paul says, had been concealed for many generations. Hence it was called a mystery, or a hidden truth.  The Gnostics talked much of “mysteries.” Paul takes their very word (already in common use, Matt. 13:11) and uses it for the gospel.


“which hath been hid”
Literally:  “having been hidden”–The mystery, once hidden, now revealed, is redemption for the whole Gentile world, as well as for the Jews, “Christ in you (Gentiles) the hope of glory.”  In reality, the N.T. records XI Mysteries.


1.      Mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 13:3-50)
2.      Mystery of Israel’s Blindness During this Age (Rom. 11:25 with Context)
3.      Mystery of The Translation (Rapture) of Living Saints at the End of this Age  (I    Cor. 15:51-51; I Thess. 4:14-17).
4.      Mystery of the New Testament Church as One Body Made Up of Both Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 3:1-12;  6:19; Rom. 16:25; Col. 4:3).
5.      Mystery of The In-Living Christ (Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:26-27).
6.      Mystery of The Church as the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23-32).
7.      Mystery of Christ as the Physical Embodiment of God (I Cor. 2:7; Col. 2:2, 9).
8.      Mystery of The Process by which Godliness Is Restored to Man (I Tim. 3:16).
9.      Mystery of Iniquity (II Thess. 2:7; ref. Matt. 13:33).
10.    Mystery of The Seven Stars (Rev. 1:20).
11..    Mystery of Babylon (Rev. 17:5-7).

 “from ages and from generations,”
 Literally:  “from the ages and from the generations”

And though perhaps great and special regard may be here had to the calling of the Gentiles, which, though revealed in the prophecies of the Old Testament, was in a great measure hid in them, and not so clearly known in ages and generations past as now, yet the whole may be applied to the Gospel mystery in general; which was first hid in the heart of God, in His thoughts and purposes, in His counsel and covenant, and in His Son, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and then in the ceremonies and shadows of the law, which but few had any insight into, and discerning of; and, during that dispensation, was wholly hid from the Gentiles; and but in part known by the Jews, and but by a few, and comparatively by them very darkly; and not so clearly by the angels themselves, who pry into these mysteries, and now, under the Gospel dispensation, learn from the church the manifold wisdom of God; and indeed it was hidden from all men, Jews and Gentiles, in a state of nature, and even from the wise and prudent of this world.


“but now is made manifest to His saints:”
Literally:  “but now was revealed in His saints”—It was communicated especially to the apostles who were appointed to proclaim it, and through them to all the saints. Paul says that he regarded himself as specially called to make this truth known, as far as possible, to mankind.  It is fully known to all who have embraced the doctrine of Christ crucified; to all Christians.

REVEALED:  (Grk.–ephanerōthē)–Literally:  “was revealed.” 

1.      It was communicated especially to the apostles who were appointed to proclaim it, and through them to all the saints.
         Paul says that he regarded himself as specially called to make this truth known, as far as possible, to mankind.
2.      It is fully known to all who have embraced the doctrine of Christ crucified; to all Christians