Colossians 1:23-24

@Bible_Memorization_Group

Dear Team
Do you realize that, after this week, I will just have 3 more posts and we’ll have Colossians 1 down? Way to go. It reminds me of a story that I need to tell you.

As many of you know, I am an American who is in the Philippines for 6 weeks. Wherever I go, I am asked to share the Word. I am given little, if any prep time, and so I use a chapter or a portion of a chapter that I’ve memorized.

Yesterday, I was in the mountains with the tribal people and I was asked to speak. I have my Bible on my Kindle, that I travel with. I turned to Philippians 3 to speak on that and the glare was so bad that I could not read the screen. Fortunately, I had memorized it and so I spoke on a portion at a time, going from memory. I was so glad that I had memorized it or I would have been up a crick.

I emphasized to them that His Word in my heart has done an unspeakable transformation. I praise God for a tool that I did not think was possible because it was not a priority.

No guilt trip is ever intended but give it a try. We do 2 verses/week and if you get your system down, you can do it without adding anything to your schedule. You just incorporate it into what you are already doing. Many in this group will tell you that you won’t regret it. Here are this week’s verses:

Colossians 1:23 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;
Colossians 1:24 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: (KJV)

Colossians 1: 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, (ESV)

Just like you have skin all over your body, may these words become an organ that covers you and uses you to touch this dying world!

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Dear Tim,
I am new comer on this board.
Thank you for sharing and encouraging with bible verses.
Thats great, to learn and memorizes verses, that really amzing that Lord helped you.

thanks
in Him
San

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Nice one Tim, it’s so encouraging to hear how God is using on your ministry trip. Praying he keeps you safe and that you stay healthy.

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@Bible_Memorization_Group

San and David, your kind remarks are greatly appreciated. Truly. Thanks a lot!

I’ve got a question about verse 24. It says that Paul is filling up what was lacking in Christ’s affliction. I’m not too happy about the explanation by the commentators I’ve referred to for it as it seems that they turn it around to act as if Paul is lacking what Jesus suffered. Of course Paul is but that doesn’t sound like the wording to me. I’ve not heard anyone give this explanation yet but here goes:

Romans 8 says this: “Rom 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
Rom 8:4 in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” I don’t feel that Jesus’ work on the cross was incomplete but is this saying that what Jesus did paves the way for us to complete what He died for. Put another way, if Jesus died for sinners and no one repented, His death would be “incomplete.” His death was really complete but the final action was our responding to His grace.

So could Colossians be referring to something like that as well where Jesus’s work was truly complete but Paul’s response to the gospel and taking it to the Gentiles makes the work on Calvary “complete?” Does anyone know what I’m trying to say? If you do, please explain it even if you don’t agree with me.

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@Tim_Ramey,

I wondered about that as well, what is lacking in Christ’s affliction? We know Christ died for our sins once for all and so nothing is lacking in Christ’s afflictions as there is nothing more He could give. I think what Paul may be saying is that he is filling up what is missing in his afflictions for Christ. I think he is referring to standing for Christ steadfastly amidst the opposition to the gospel not counting the losses he has experienced, similar to what he expresses in Rom 8:17. I find the KJV of Col 1:24 gives a similar understanding of us following in the sufferings of Christ. So in a sense we are effectually/visibly completing what Christ already completed on the cross.

Col 1: 24 KJV 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

Rom 8:17 NKJV and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

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@Lakshmismehta

You know, I apologize for never telling you that I appreciated your response to my questions a few weeks back about Jesus’ reconciling things on earth and heaven. It was good and I think your distinction about what is meant by heaven gave me much to think about. I believe that it was when I was in the process of my trip when you wrote so I never responded. Thanks.

Regarding your remarks here, it is along the lines of what most commentators were saying. Unless I’m twisting things, the ESV says “I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”. If I told you that I was filling up what is lacking in Lakshmi’s affliction, doesn’t that sound that the lack is in Lakshmi? I know that there is no lack in what Jesus did, but rather than assuming it’s gotta be the other way around, shouldn’t we treat it as it is written? That’s why I thought maybe Paul was completing something - not because Jesus dropped the ball, but because Jesus sett it up that way.

Another example is prayer. Our prayers don’t accomplish anything. It is the Lord that moves and acts. We can’t do a thing. Yet, He tells us if we don’t pray, He won’t act. Our prayers are worthless and even incorrect at times, yet Jesus is the One who set the mark that unless my people pray, I won’t act. So Paul’s not completing Calvary but following through with possibly what Jesus said that much more you will do than I?

I like to grab what it is actually saying and seeking as to what we are to be shown by this. I probably don’t make sense but I do wrestle with the commentators explanation because it seems that they are answering what isn’t being said. I’m probably blind and the thing is staring at me and I can’t see it…

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Brother Tim, I am glad you found the explanation of reconciling things in the previous post helpful. About Col 1:24, I have a feeling we may be saying the same thing in different words. I hope I am able to communicate better this time. In Christ, we are always in a battle that has already been won, but we will actually experience the victory in the battle of our life only by conforming to His will/ spiritual laws set by Him. This brings about the suffering as it did for Christ. So yes Paul is completing something that Jesus set up as you say. John Piper’s words below may explain better what I was trying to say-

Christ has prepared a love offering for the world by suffering and dying for sinners. It is full and lacking in nothing—except one thing, a personal presentation by Christ himself to the nations of the world and the people of your workplace. God’s answer to this lack is to call the people of Christ (people like Paul) to present the afflictions of Christ to the world—to carry them from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.

As we are the members of the spiritual body of Christ, the visible manifestation of the body of Christ, a lack in affliction of the members of His body can be viewed as a lack in affliction of Christ. I am wondering if some of the meaning got lost in translation to English. I hope this makes things clearer.

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Dear Lakshmi
Yes, we do speak the same language. It’s just that you can translate into my language but I flounder when trying to speak your language. Yes, that is what I was saying. I felt the commentators that I checked with were saying that it was something lacking in Paul himself, which I thought was unjust to pit his life in comparison with Jesus’.

You are very adept at concisely and clearly communicating!

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Thank you! Glad it helped!

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I may not say this right but we know the work Jesus did while on
earth was complete because God said it is complete, God said He is
well pleased with His Son. Before dying Jesus said, ‘it is
finished.’ I believe what you say Tim - ‘that what Jesus did paves
the way for us to complete what He died for’. He paved the way for
us and left us with the Great Commission. Isn’t that what you’re
doing Tim? In your body you are taking the gospel to those that may
be lacking what the Lord wants them to have, the Great Commission.
It seems to me its the church that is lacking in being held together
or growing from Christ’s afflictions that He suffered for us as His
body. And Paul is more than willing to take up suffering in his
flesh for the church, the Body of Christ. I’m probably not saying
this right and believe there’s something deeper here.

Donna
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Actually Donna, I think it is well said!

Hi Tim, I’ve took a photo from my commentary.

Not sure if this helps.

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Thanks David. I think your commentary sounds similar to what Lakshmi wrote above. But I do have a new questions. I have my own thoughts on this one but what do you think? I like to explore it in light of it’s context before I turn to a commentary. Then a I like to compare. But here is the question:

In verse 23 it says: Colossians 1: 23 “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven,…”

My question is what does Paul mean that the gospel has been proclaimed in all of creation under heaven? Isn’t that why we have the great commission?

I have thoughts but I’d like to hear what you think.

Hello! I read and consider your posts, often wanting to comment but don’t yet have a concise way of saying what I’m realizing when meditating on these types of promptings to go deeper. The Word of God is so amazing to me…I have been considering your question regarding Colossians 1:20 for some time and really appreciate the insight and inspiration for new revelation.

As for this verse, Colossians 1:23, your question sparked something in me too. If this Gospel has already been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, then it would seem that the Great Commission is futile, so it must not mean what it seems to mean on the surface since we know God hasn’t called us to do anything in vain.

So I considered the word “under”.
English definition: beneath and covered by; in the position or state of bearing, supporting, sustaining, enduring
The word “under” here is originally the Greek word ὑπὸ or hypo which is used 188 times throughout the New Testament and more commonly it’s translated as “of” or “by”

I share in Lakshmi’s wonder about original intended meaning sometimes being lost in translation. Initially I’m thinking that “every creature under heaven” means ‘all of creation’ since heaven is above all the earth and everything on the earth, but, upon looking deeper, Holy Spirit is revealing that “every creature under heaven” is actually referring to that which is “of heaven” or, that which is “beneath and covered by heaven”. This comes by receiving and believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like Paul, we are ministers to bring this Gospel to those who are not yet possessed by heaven .

I pray that our understanding of who our Father is and who we are in Christ is strengthened and clarified through these discussions, in the name of Jesus, Amen!!

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@Catherine
Catherine, you don’t know what it means to me when someone gives me such feedback. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one wondering what this means and does that mean that it’s interpretation is so obvious to all.

Thank you for your observation about hupo as I didn’t think of looking at that word I have a program that shows me every where a Greek word (or Hebrew in OT) and the variety of ways that the English translated it. I like what you said and I would agree.

I also have another thought that I had about it and would like your opinion. I wondered if Romans 1 speaks of it when it mentions that His eternal power and deity is clearly perceived in all of nature that He created. Do you think that it is a stretch or could there be something to it?

@Tim_Ramey
This is all so encouraging to me as I often find myself wondering who will ponder the Word with me. Not to be right, or to have all the answers, but to further recognise God’s infinite qualities and the many ministries of the Holy Spirit; Just to know the heart of Our Father more intimately so that we may walk more confidently as the righteousness of God. I absolutely Love the Word, I thank God that He has anointed my heart to desire the Word like this and that He has opened me to understand more and more. Our Faithful Healer and Encourager.

God is so amazing…I do not think it’s a stretch to link these 2 verses (Colossians 1:23 and Romans 1:20). While considering Colossians 1:23 I’ve had some similar thoughts, and by God’s orchestration I’ve been reading Romans 1 as it applies to situations in my life/community right now.

Please bear with me in this process of connecting a few verses that I believe the Holy Spirit is highlighting to exemplify God’s sovereignty and omnipotence over all of creation as seen through the existence/manifestation of His creation and therefore establishing the Gospel for all eternity simply because we are. (Surely there is a simpler way to say that, Lord help my brain…lol)

  1. The promise of a new covenant in OT and NT (Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8) tells us that His Way, His Word, His Laws, His Spirit will be established in our hearts and minds, by pure, loving, grace and mercy forever.

  2. Romans 2:14-16 (ESV)
    “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

This bears witness that even what we think we cannot do, God will do, in and through the very people that seem not to know God, by His Grace and Mercy. I believe these are the sheep of a different fold referred to in John 10:16

  1. Job 12:7-10 illustrates so beautifully how all of creation reverences Our Lord.
    “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

To me, this speaks volumes of how the Love of Christ is exemplified in all of creation. As humans we tend toward religious, ritualistic, works-based faith, even knowing not to, if we’re honest, we can admit that our inclination is to depend on measurable experiences, rather than just being in the Presence of God. Our Father points us to the behavior/lifestyle of the animals and the bushes to see the power of God! Why? Because they do exactly what they are created to do, nothing more and nothing less, completely connected and flowing, while we want to work at it rather than just flowing in His Presence and getting to know His heart by seeing creation through His eyes.

  1. In John 1:2-4, God describes Himself and reminds us that He is the spark that makes everything alive.

“He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Really want to see what you have to say. The Word is alive and active! I Love Jesus!!!

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@Catherine
Thank you for pointing out Scriptures that I never thought of. Great exegesis!

I am putting your quote that echoes my exact sentiments about the creation.

This is taking a rabbit trail while on the subject but.I think that it is so intriguing that creation not only does what it’s created for but two other things come to mind, that I realize, are also taking place.

First, all of the creation is all uniquely made - no duplicates. Our Creator is so creative that He does not make any two alike - even the smallest insect is unique to any other of the same species and then think of all of the variety of bugs!

Also, God’s creation speaks to us. Who doesn’t love a sunrise or a bird in flight or chirping. So not only does creation do what it was created to do but it is also uniquely created and the creation amazes us.

As you do Catherine, I love God’s Word. That is how He got hold of me and I have a more than the normal love for it since that moment it opened up to me. It’s His love letter to me. He tells me about Himself and guides me and it is as if it is a new letter each time as there are always things that I never saw before.

I just loved your connection of these verses. “Bear with me” you say. Hey, I can bear with you as long as you want to write. Your connection of these verses was amazing and I.m not saying that to flatter you. I learned much. So keep writing as I have so much to learn! The Word is living and active. And Catherine, it blew my mind when I posted the verses for this week and it says that Paul was to “make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.” Oh I love Jesus too. Sincerely, I am daily most thankful that I know Jesus. Can you imagine a life without Jesus in it?

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Sorry for my ‘‘interruption’’ though it’s done glady (with joy) After reading these post, I’m being reminded to be still and know that He’s God. His ways are not our ways! That in His temple all cry Glory. And that God is aware of all we feel, think and experience. He’s personally involved with us and His creation at every point/step of the way Hallallujah! Praying that I would be in awe of HIM. AND HIS COMPLETENESS/Presence!

Filled with Joy inexpressable!

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