Saturday, 8 April 2017
Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28
“Him” is speaking of “Christ” as referred to throughout the passage, and also in the preceding verse. In the words “Him we preach,” the “we” is in the emphatic position. Thus, he is including Epaphras of verse 7, and Timothy who was included in verse 1. He is probably also referring to true apostles who would come and preach Jesus Christ in the manner of himself and these others. In other words, anyone who does not preach Him in the same manner is to be rejected.
Next he says “warning every man.” The word is nouthetéō, and it means “admonish through instruction.” This is particularly in appeals to the mind in order to supply substance in doctrine and spiritual matters. It gives the sense of exerting positive pressure on another person’s logic or reason. Therefore, the word “warning” which is repeated from the archaic KJV is better translated as “admonish.” What “warning” once meant has taken on a different force in modern English which is not found in Paul’s thoughts.
In addition to admonishment, he says, “and teaching.” Whereas the admonishment is directed to those who have already been taught, and which looks to correctly walking in accord with doctrine, or repenting and turning back to correct doctrine, the teaching looks to those who are uneducated in matters, and who need to learn instruction. This then is directed to their intellect in order for them to obtain the necessary information that they lack.
Paul uses the word “every” in both admonishing and in teaching, and then again in the next clause as well, in order to “emphasize the universality of the Gospel against the intellectual exclusiveness encouraged by the false teachers” (Vincent’s Word Studies). Whereas false teachers claim exclusive knowledge that they alone posses, the Gospel is open to all and can be understood by all. The only thing exclusive about the words of Scripture are that they are revealed as God determines, and also by study and contemplation by those who would desire deeper knowledge. However, what is revealed is open to all.
His next words, “in all wisdom,” are given to oppose “the esoteric and exoteric wisdom represented by the false teacher; higher knowledge for the few philosophic minds, and blind faith for the masses. In Christian teaching the highest wisdom is freely open to all” (Vincent’s Word Studies). As you can see, Paul’s letter is not only one of instruction on what is correct concerning Christ, it is also a letter warning against what is incorrect. It is a cult-buster if one properly uses it in that manner. Hence education in the book of Colossians, as well as in all Scripture, is vital for sound doctrine.
Finally Paul says that this admonishment and teaching is done so “that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” This corresponds to his words of verse 22 which said that Christ’s work was intended “to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” It is a perfection which finds its source in Christ, not in wisdom of the mind, or a perfection of the body through asceticism. Rather, it is through instruction in the work of Christ, and in the application of that instruction to our lives that we will be perfected until the day He comes to finally and fully perfect us.
Life application: The Bible is given for life’s doctrine and practice. We cannot grow in Christ without it and we err when we think that mere life-application sermons which tickle our ears will satisfactorily help us to grow spiritually. If you or a loved one isn’t actively reading the Bible and following through with Bible studies, you are not living in accord with the instructions found in the Bible itself. Turn off the TV and open the Bible. Get to it there, friend.
What a wonderful word You have given to us, O God. Help us not to neglect reading and studying it. Yes, there are things which take up our time, but how many of them are really that important? How can it be that we have time for 3 or 4 hours of TV a day, but we don’t have time for 30 minutes of reading Your word? Help us to get our priorities right, and help us to fill our time with that which is pleasing to You. Amen.