“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering:”

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God,”
Literally:  “Then put on as elect one of God”—The fact that you thus belong to one and the same church; that you have been redeemed by the same blood, and chosen by the same grace, and that you are all brethren.  There is no article “the” in the original Greek text, “God's elect” (compare Rom. 8:3; I Thess. 1:4). The order of the words “elect, holy, beloved,” answers to the order of the things.

As the principal design of Paul was to show that God had chosen the Gentiles, and called them to the same privileges as the Jews, and intended to make them as truly His people as the Jews ever were, he calls them the elect or chosen of God; and as the Jews, who were formerly the elect, were still beloved, and called to be holy, so he calls the Colossians beloved, and shows them that they are called with the same holy calling.

       PUT ON:  (Grk.–endusasthe)–This calls for a determination to practice what had already been done positionally (v. 10).  It displays the imagery of clothing:  the removal of an old garment and replacing it with a new.

As Paul had argued for the putting off of the members of the body, from their having put off the old man himself; he now argues from their having put on the new man.  Here the metaphor of “putting off” is taken from the putting off of clothes.”

Paul now begins to give three descriptions of the believer.

Description #1–Believers are the Elect of God

“as the elect of God,”
Literally:  “as elect ones of God.”–As becomes the elect of God.   The fact that you belong to one and the same church; that you have been redeemed by the same blood, and elect by the same grace, and that you are all brethren. 

“holy and beloved,”
Literally:  “holy and being loved”–Of their election there are here two signs. The elect are “holy,” consecrated to God in thought and life; and “beloved,” accepted and sustained in their consecration by His love.

Description #2–Believers Are Holy

      HOLY:  (Grk.–hagoi)–This same word was earlier used of them in 1:2  and there translated as “saints.”  Believers have been permanently set apart unto God for His unique possessions.

Description #3–Believers Are Beloved

        BELOVED:  (Grk.–hēgapēmenoi)–This Greek adjective indicates that God has fixed His love on them both at the cross and at their conversion, and that they would remain the eternal objects of His love

After giving this three-fold description of the believer, Paul then goes on to give a list of eight virtues.

         “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering:”
         Literally:  “bowels of compassions, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.”

        Virtue #1:  BOWELS OF MERCY:  (Grk.–splagchna oiktirmōn)–In Paul’s day they considered the “bowels”  (splagchna)  to be the center of passions.

         Today, we use the word “heart” to express the same thing.  Today we would say, “a merciful heart,” whereas then they used the term “bowels of compassions.” Therefore was can see that to Paul, “bowels” express the yearning compassion, which as we say today has its seat in the heart, and which we feel to act on our inward parts (Gen. 43:30; .Jer. 31:20; Luke 1:78).
         Be merciful, not only in your actions, but in your spirit and affection.  Paul would have them to feel the slightest touch of another's misery; and, as their clothes are put over their body, so their most tender feelings should be always within the reach of the miserable.  Let your feelings be at hand, and sympathetic as soon as touched.

“kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering:”
Literally“kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering”

Virtue #2
(Grk.–chrēstotēta)This is really grace in action; a sweetness of disposition; a desire for the good of other.  This Greek word is also translated as “gentleness,” and it part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

1.      Kindness is inward, tender, unfeigned, and abundant mercy put into act and exercise;
2.      Kindness is doing good to all men, especially to the household of faith,
3.      Kindness is distributing to the necessities of the saints, and a showing mercy with cheerfulness.

Virtue #3
        HUMILITY:  (Grk.–-tapeinophrosunén)– True lowliness of mind; not the mock “humility” of the false teachers. 

The true humility which lies in the saints; the entertaining of looking upon themselves as the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints; as inferior to others in knowledge; esteeming others better than themselves; in ascribing all they have, and are, to the grace of God.  Doing works of mercy and righteousness without ostentation, and boasting of them,

Virtue #4
        MEEKNESS: (Grk.–prautēta)Marked by courtesy and a spirit of quiet submission.  It is not psychological timidity and weakness; rather, it is power under control. 

Meekness shows itself in not envying the gifts and graces, the usefulness and happiness of others, but rejoicing therein; in quietly submitting to the will of God in all adverse dispensations of Providence, and patiently bearing what he is pleased to lay on them; and in enduring all the insults, reproaches, and indignities of men with calmness. This ornament of a meek and quiet, spirit is in the sight of God of great price,  I Pet. 3:4.  And what follows is natural to it, and explanative of it,

 Virtue #5: 
(Grk.–makrothumia)This Greek word literally means, “wrath that is put far away.”  Whereby a person patiently bears the evil words and actions of others, and is not easily provoked to wrath by them, but puts up with injuries, and sits down contented with the abuse he meets with.

Amidst the failings, weaknesses, and faults of your fellow-Christians; or when your trials, whether immediately from the hand of God or man, are either continued long, or are violent in their degree;.  This is the spirit which never loses its patience with others.  Their foolishness and insults and their ill-treatment never drives the long suffering one to bitterness or wrath.  Human patience is a reflection of the divine patience which tolerates all our sinning and never casts us out.

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also
{do} ye.”

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another”
Literally:  “bearing with one another, and forgiving yourselves”—Avoid all occasions of irritating or provoking each other.  Forgiving one another – If you receive offense, be instantly ready to forgive on the first acknowledgment of the fault.
  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another. How often and earnestly long-suffering and forbearance are enjoin

Virtue #6
  (Grk.–anechomenoi)— Literally:  “holding yourselves back from one another.” Tolerating others when they irritate him.   Forebearance seeks redemptive ends (cf. Rom. 2:4; 3:25)..  As to present offences. 

Not only bearing one another's burdens, and with one another's weaknesses, but forbearing to NOT render evil for evil, or railing for railing, or to seek revenge for affronts given, in whatsoever way, whether by words or deeds.

Virtue #7
       FORGIVING:  (Grk.–charizomenoi)—“Forgiving” is literally “to grant grace.” It is the climax of the other virtues.  It is the gracious removal of sin and the the gracious treatment of the sinner who is unworthy to receive it. 

The Greek word  (charizomenoi)  is based on the Greek term for “grace(charis)Forgiving one another; all trespasses and offences, so far as committed against themselves, and praying to God to forgive them, as committed against him.  You receive offence, be instantly ready to forgive on the first acknowledgment of the fault.  As to past offences. 

“if any man have a quarrel against any:”
Literally:  “If anyone has a complaint against any”–If anyone is blameworthy, or  a cause for  complaint.

        QUARREL:  (Grk.–momphēn)–Literally:  “cause of blame, cause of complaint.”  This Greek word occurs nowhere else in the N.T.  It means, “fault found, blame, censure.”  Here it denotes occasion of complaint. The idea is, that if another one has given us just occasion of complaint, we are to forgive him; that is, we are:

1.      To harbor no malice against him;
2.      To be ready to do him good as if he had not given us occasion of complaint;
3.      To be willing to declare that we forgive him when he asks it; and
4.      To afterwards treat him as kindly as if he had not injured us— as God treats us when He forgives us.
If any man have a quarrel against any; let him (high or low, rich or poor, of whatsoever age, state, or condition) be the one who will, put up with it and forgive it.

“even as Christ forgave you, so also {do} ye.”
Literally:  “even as Christ forgave you, so also  you (should forgive)”— So we should forgive an offending brotherCHRIST, as
Mediator, has procured the remission of sins by the shedding of His blood; and as God, He forgives sins freely, fully, forgetting the injuries done, not upbraiding with former offences, and that too without asking, and before there is any appearance of repentance; and so should the saints forgive one another, as they expect to have an application and manifestation of forgiveness to themselves.

“And above all these things
{put on} charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”

“And above all these things”
Literally:  “And above all these”–Over, or upon all these things already mentioned.  Upon all, over all; as the outer garment envelopes all the clothing, so let charity or love invest and encompass all the rest.  Even bowels of mercy are to be set in motion by love; from love they derive all their feeling, and all their power and promptitude to action.  Let this be as the upper garment, the surcoat that covers the whole man.

Not above all in point of importance or value, but overall, as a soldier holds his shield to defend himself. It constitutes a protection over every part of his body, as it can be turned in every direction. The idea is, that as the shield covered or protected the other parts of the armor, so faith had a similar importance in the Christian virtues.

“charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
Literally:  {add} love which is {the} bond of perfectness”–The bond of all perfection; the thing which will unite all other things, and make them complete. The idea seems to be, that love will bind all the other graces fast together, and render the whole system complete.

 Virtue #8:
         CHARITY:  (Grk.–agapēn)-Literally:  “love.”  This love holds all of the other virtues in place.  The imagery here is that of the oriental girdle (or sash) which is placed “above” or “upon” (Grk.–epi) all the other pieces of clothing which have been put on.  This gives us the imagery of a “girdle” that holds the other spiritual qualities, figuratively described as clothing for the new man, in place.  The phrase, “all these things,” refers to the other spiritual virtues.   

Without love, though there might be other graces and virtues, there would be a lack of harmony and compactness in our Christian graces–and this is necessary to unite and complete the whole Body. Put on charity, or brotherly love, for without this all is nothing; they will only be done in show and appearance, in mere guise and hypocrisy, if love is lacking. This is what activates and exercises all the rest.  It is only from this principle that true sympathy, real kindness, undisguised humility, and meekness, patient longsuffering, and forbearance, and hearty forgiveness proceeds.
1.      This  is greater, and more excellent, than all the other, and,
2.      This adds a glory, luster, and beauty to them;
3.      This is the outer garment that covers all the rest, for so the words may be rendered, “upon all these things put on charity.”

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness;  which bonds and knits together all the duties that take place between men.

        BOND OF PERFECTNESS:  (Grk.–sundesmos tēs teleiotētos)–The bond of all perfection; the thing which will unite all other things, and make them complete; compare the parallel place in Eph. 4:3. 

         The idea seems to be that love will bind all the other graces fast together, and render the whole system complete.  This “love” is the “bond (Grk.–sundesmos) of perfectness.”  As the As the “bond” it is that which binds together practical righteousness.  Paul had earlier (2:2) stated that he wanted the Colossian believers to be knit together in love. 
        Without this bond of love, though there might be other graces and virtues, there would be a want of harmony and compactness in our Christian graces, and this was necessary to unite and complete the whole. There is great beauty in the expression, and it contains most important truth. If it were possible to conceive that the other graces could exist among a Christian people, yet there would be a sad incompleteness, a painful want of harmony and union, if love were not the reigning principle.

       PERFECTNESS:  (Grk.–teleiotētos)–This is the goal toward which Paul worked in his ministry (1:28).  No believer has achieved spiritual maturity until all his works of holiness are thoroughly encompassed by love.  Without this agape sort of love the good deeds are nothing (cf. I Cor. 13).


“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful.”

 “And let the peace of God”– The peace which God gives and which resembles His own. That peace which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our wants, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

By “the peace of God” is meant, either the peace believers have with God, which is his gift, and passes all understanding, and flows from a comfortable apprehension of interest in the blood, righteousness, and atonement of Christ; or rather that peace which does, or should subsist among the saints themselves, which God is the author of, calls for, and requires, and encourages in them.  This may be said to “reign” in their hearts, when it is the governing principle there; when it restrains the turbulent passions of anger, wrath, and revenge, allays undue heats, moderates the spirits, and composes differences.

Paul takes this metaphor from the judge in the Olympic games, who was the umpire, the moderator, and who determined who was the victor, and to whom the crown of victory (the stephanos) belonged.   Paul would have no other umpire among the saints than the peace of God: and the arguments he uses follow:

“rule in your hearts,”
Literally:  “rule in your hearts”-Preside in your hearts; sit as umpire there, govern and control you.  The peace of those who are made brethren in Christ and filled with His love must reign in the heart, then it will rule in the acts.

           RULE:  (Grk.–brabeuetō)–This word is used in reference to the Olympic and other games. It means, to be a director, or arbiter of the public games; to preside over them and preserve order, and to distribute the prizes to the victors. The meaning here is that the peace which God gives to the soul is to be to us what the brabeutes, or governor at the games, was to those who contended there. It is to preside over and govern the mind; to preserve everything in its place; and to save it from tumult, and disorder 

The soul is liable to the agitations of passion and excitement–like an assembled multitude of men. It needs something to preside over it, and keep its various faculties in place and order; and nothing is as well fitted to do this as the calm peace which the Christian faith gives;
1.      The deep sense of the presence of God,
2.      The desire and the evidence of his friendship,
3.      The hope of His layout, and,
4.      The belief that God has forgiven all our sins.

         The “peace of God” will thus calm down every agitated element of the soul; subdue the tumult of passion, and preserve the mind in healthful action and order; as a ruler sways and controls the passions of assembled multitudes of men.
          Let the peace of Christ judge, decide, and govern in your hearts, as the brabeus, or judge, does in the Olympic contests.  No heart is right with God where the peace of Christ does not rule; and the continual prevalence of the peace of Christ is the decisive proof that the heart is right with God.  When a man loses his peace, it is an awful proof that he has lost something else; that he has given way to evil, and grieved the Spirit of God.  While peace rules, all is safe.

“to which also ye are called in one body,”
Literally:  “to which you also were called in one body,”—To be one body; or to be united as one. 

You cannot have peace with God, in yourselves, nor among each other, unless you continue in unity; and, as one body, continue in connection and dependence on Him Who is your only Head: to this you are called. The unity of the body is a strong argument for “peace” among the members.

The meaning here is, that as there is really but one church on earth, there ought to be unity. The church is, at present, divided into many denominations.
1.      It has different forms of worship, and different rites and ceremonies.
2.      It embraces those of different complexions and ranks in life, and,
3.      It cannot be denied that there are often unhappy contentions and jealousies in different parts of that church.

         Still, there is but one and that church should feel that it is one. Christ did not come to redeem and save different churches, and to give them a different place in heaven.
        Christ did not come to save the Episcopal communion merely, or the Presbyterian or the Baptist communions only.   Nor did He leave the world to prepare for them different mansions in heaven. He did not come to save merely the black man, or the red, or the white man.  He came that He might collect into one community a multitude of every complexion, and from every land, and unite them in ONE great brotherhood on earth, and ultimately assemble them in the same heaven. The church is one. Every sincere Christian is a brother in that church, and has an equal right with all others to its privileges. Being one by the design of the Savior, they should be one in feeling; and every Christian, no matter what his rank, should be ready to salute every other Christian as a fellow of heaven.

“and be ye thankful.”
Literally:  “and be thankful”–For all mercies, and especially for your privileges and hopes as Christians.

A spirit of thankfulness, also, would tend much to promote harmony and peace. An ungrateful people is commonly in tumult: that is, agitated, restless, and dissatisfied people. Nothing better tends to promote peace and order than gratitude to God for His mercies.  A grateful spirit is another part of the ornament of a Christian.