Colossians 3:1-11

Colossians 3:1-11
A Women’s Lectionary 15


So if you have been raised withA Christ,B seekC the things that are above, where Christ is,D seated at the right handE of God.F 

Notes on verse 1

A “raised with” = sunegeiro. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + egeiro (to awake, raise up or lift up; to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death; figuratively, rising from inactivity or from ruins). This is to raise together with literally or figuratively. It can also refer to spiritual renewal.
B “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
C “seek” = zeteo. This is to seek, search for, desire. It is searching for something by inquiring or investigation. It can be seek in a literal or figurative sense. There is a Hebrew figure of speech “to seek God’s face” so it can also mean to worship God. Alternately, you could seek someone’s life i.e. plot to kill them.
D “is” = eimi. This is to be or to exist.
E “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is right, right side, or the right hand.
F “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

Set your minds onG things that are above, not on things that are on earth,H for you have died,I

Notes on verses 2-3a

G “set…minds on” = phroneo. From phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action. It refers to one’s insight or inner perspective expressing itself through behavior.
H “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
I “died” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.

and your lifeJ is hiddenK with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed,L then you also will be revealed with him in glory.M

Notes on verses 3b-4

J “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
K “hidden” = krupto. 18x in NT. This is to hide by covering, secret, hidden things. This is the root of the word “cryptography.”
L “revealed” = phaneroo. From phaneros (visible, apparent, clear, shining); from phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is to make visible or clear, to make known. Properly, it is to illumine and so to make apparent or bring into open view.
M “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.

Put to death,N therefore, whateverO in you is earthly: fornication,P impurity,Q passion,R

Notes on verse 5a

N “put to death” = nekroo. 3x in NT.  From nekros (dead or lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective); perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is render weak, put to death, mortify. It is cut off or deaden in a literal or figurative sense – to subdue.
O “whatever” = melos. This is a limb or an organ of the body. So, it is a member of a greater whole. It is used figuratively for the body of Christ.
P “fornication” = porneia. From porneuo (to fornicate – used figuratively for practicing idolatry or doing immoral things); from porne (prostitute, whore); from pornos (fornicator or immoral person); perhaps from pernemi (to sell off or export); related to piprasko (to sell with travel involved; to sell into slavery; to be devoted to); from perao (to travel); from peran (over, beyond). This is sexual immorality or unchastity. It could include adultery or incest.
Q “impurity” = akatharsia. 10x in NT. From akathartos (unclean or impure, whether a thing or a person; something that is not mixed with something that would taint; unclean in a ritual or moral sense; also demonic or foul); {from a (not, without) + kathairo (to cleanse or purify by purging out unwanted elements); {from katharos (clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying)}. This is uncleanness or impurity. It can be physical, ritual, or moral.
R “passion” = pathos. 3x in NT. From pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering). This is passion, lust, suffering, something that happens to you, strong feelings.

evilS desire,T and greedU (which is idolatry).V 

Notes on verse 5b

S “evil” = kakos. This is bad, evil, harm, ill. It is evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm. It refers to deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character. Can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue.
T “desire” = epithumia. From epithmueo (long for, set one’s heart on, yearn, desire); {from epi (on, upon, at, what is fitting) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}}. This is desire, a longing built on passionate emotion or urges. This can be a positive or a negative passion (lust or eagerness).
U “greed” = pleonexia. 10x in NT. From pleonektes (one who covets more, covetousness, avariciousness, one who defrauds or harms others’ rights; one eager for gain); {from pleion (many, more, great, having a greater value, more excellent); from polus (much, many, abundant) + echo (to have, hold, possess)}. This is avarice, greed, advantage, desire for more. It can imply fraudulence or extortion.
V “idolatry” = eidololatria. 4x in NT. From eidolon (image, idol, worship or an idol); {from eidos (form, shape, sight, appearance); from eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate)} + latreia (service, divine worship, ministering to God); {from latreuo (giving good, technical service because qualified or equipped to do so; to serve, minister, worship, or give homage); from latris (a hired servant; someone who is qualified to perform a technical task)}. This is worship of an image or idol in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “idolatry” comes from.

On account of these the wrathW of God is comingX on those who are disobedient.Y 

Notes on verse 6

W “wrath” = orge. From orgao (something that teems or stews; anger rising from prolonged personal contact that is fixed rather than an angry outburst; anger that stems from an individual’s sense of right and wrong, justice, etc.) or from orego (to stretch out towards, yearn for, aspire to, desire). This is impulse, wrath, anger, passion, punishment. Properly, this is fixed anger from ongoing personal irritation caused by something the one getting angry sees as unjust or evil. Wrath implies punishment. Can refer to human or divine wrath.
X “coming” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
Y “disobedient” = huios + ho + apeitheia. Literally, “sons of disobedience.” Huios is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship. Apeitheia is 7x in NT. From apeithes (unbelieving, disobedient, spiritually rebellious); {from a (not, without) + peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust)}. This is willful unbelief, obstinancy.

7 These are the ways you also once followed,Z when you were livingAA that life.BB But now you must get rid ofCC all such thingsDD—anger,EE wrath,FF

Notes on verses 7-8a

Z “followed” = peripateo. From peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + pateo (to read, trample on; to trample literally or figuratively); {from patos (trodden) OR from paio (to strike, smite, sting; a hit like a single blow)}. This is to walk. Going from Hebrew figurative language, to walk referred to how you conducted your life, how you chose to live. This word is most literally walking around. Figuratively, it is living, behaving, following, how you occupy yourself. This is where “peripatetic” comes from.
AA “living” = zao. Related to “life” in v3. See note J above.
BB “that life” = en + houtos. Literally, “in them.”
CC “get rid of” = apotithemi. 9x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is to put aside, put away, renounce.
DD “all…things” = pas. This is all or every.
EE “anger” = orge. Same as “wrath” in v6. See note W above.
FF “wrath” = thumos. Related to “desire” in v5. 18x in NT. See note T above.

malice,GG slander,HH and abusive languageII from your mouth.JJ 

Notes on verse 8b

GG “malice” = kakia. Related to “evil” in v5. 11x in NT. From kakos (see note S above). This is wickedness, evil, trouble, misfortune, inner malice, badness. It is inherent evil, depravity, causing harm.
HH “slander” = blasphemia. 18x in NT. From perhaps blapto (to harm or to hinder) + pheme (saying, news, rumor, fame) {from phemi (to say, declare, speak comparatively through contrasts, bring to light); from phao (to shine)}. This is slander, blasphemy, or abusive language. It is calling something wrong that is right or calling something right that is wrong – mis-identifying what is good and bad. This is particularly used for vilifying God. This is where the word “blasphemy” comes from.
II “abusive language” = aischrologia. 1x in NT. From aischros (shameful, improper, filthy); {from the same as aischuno (to dishonor, put to shame, shrink, disfigure); {from aischos (shame, disgrace, disfigurement)} + lego (to speak, tell, mention) This is abusive or foul language.
JJ “mouth” = stoma. Perhaps from tomoteros (sharp, keener); from temno (to cut). This is mouth, speech, language, the tip of a sword, an opening in the ground.

Do not lieKK to one another, seeing that you have stripped offLL the oldMM selfNN with its practicesOO 

Notes on verse 9

KK “lie” = pseudomai. 12x in NT. From pseudo (to lie or falsify). This is to lie or falsify – whether outright or by misleading.
LL “stripped off” = apekduomai. 2x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + ekduo (to strip off or take off); {from ek (from, from out of) + duo (to sink)}. This is to strip off, disarm, lay aside.
MM “old” = palaios. 19x in NT. From palai (former, of old); probably from palin (back, again, further). This is old, ancient, or worn out.
NN “self” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
OO “practices” = praxis. 6x in NT. From prasso (to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit; to accomplish, attend, or commit). This is an action, deed, business, practice, or function. It implies ongoing activity or responsibility.

10 and have clothedPP yourselves with the newQQ self, which is being renewedRR

Notes on verse 10a

PP “clothed” = enduo. Related to “stripped off” in v9. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + duno (to sink into, set like the sun); {from duo (see note LL above)}. This is to put on as when one puts on clothes. It is the idea of sinking into one’s clothing.
QQ “new” = neos. This is young, new, fresh, or youthful. This is brand new as opposed to novel (which is kainos in Greek).
RR “being renewed” = anakainoo. 2x in NT. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + kainos (not new as in new versus old; new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh). This is to renew, renovate, to make new, develop.

in knowledgeSS according to the imageTT of its creator.UU 

Notes on verse 10b

SS “knowledge” = epignosis. From epiginosko (to perceive, discern, acknowledge, recognize, know exactly because of direct interaction) ; {from epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}. This is knowledge, intuition, or discernment. It is firsthand knowledge of someone or something gained through contact or experience. This is full discernment or true knowledge.
TT “image” = eikon. From eiko (resemble, be like) OR perhaps related to eiko (to submit, give way, be weak, yield). This is a likeness such as an image, statue, or other representation. It implies a prototype that is being mirrored – a replication rather than a shadow. It can be an image in a figurative sense as well. This is where the word “icon” comes from.
UU “creator” = ktizo. 15x in NT. Probably akin to ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is to build, create, form, shape. It refers to God’s acts of creation.

11 In that renewal there is no longer GreekVV and Jew,WW circumcisedXX and uncircumcised,YY

Notes on verse 11a

VV “Greek” = Hellen. From Hellas (Hellas, what Greeks called themselves); perhaps from helane (torch) OR from selene (moon). This is Greek, but was used for Gentiles, broader populations that spoke Greek and were a part of Greek culture regardless of their heritage. See
WW “Jew” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
XX “circumcised” = peritome. Related to “mouth” in v8. From peritemno (to circumcise; literally cut around); {from peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + same as tomos or tomoteros (sharp or keener); from temno (see note JJ above)}. This is properly, cut around, referring to the way that foreskin is removed and so this is to circumcise. It can be used or the rite or the people who are circumcised – in a literal or figurative sense.
YY “uncircumcised” = akrobustia. Perhaps from akron (end, tip, top, extreme); {related to akantha (thorn bush, thorn); from ake (point, edge)} + posthe (penis). This is foreskin – so, someone who is not circumcised or a Gentile.

barbarian,ZZ Scythian,AAA slaveBBB and free;CCC but Christ is all and in all!

Notes on verse 11b

ZZ “barbarian” = barbaros. 6x in NT. Perhaps onomatopoetic mocking of the sounds of non-Greek languages. Used to refer to uncivilized, again any non-Greek, people. This could refer to someone not adopting Greek language or culture or both.
AAA “Scythian” = Skuthes. 1x in NT. “Borrowed from Proto-Scythian *Skuδa, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewd- (“to propel, shoot”).” This is Scythian. See
BBB “slave” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
CCC “free” = eleutheros. Related to “coming” in v6. Probably from erchomai (see note X above). This is a free person, at liberty, not a slave. Properly, it is unshackled – figuratively, it is one who has the freedom to choose their destiny. Also, it is one who does not have obligation or liability.

Image credit: “Hands across the Divide” by Maurice Harron in Derry, Northern Ireland.

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