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Colossians 3:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew - In which new creation no inquiry is made what nation the persons belonged to, or from what ancestry they had sprung, whether in Judea or Greece.

Circumcision nor uncircumcision - Nor is their peculiar form of religion of any consideration, whether circumcised like the Jews, or uncircumcised like the heathens.

Barbarian, Scythian - Nor whether of the more or less tractable of the nations of the world; for although knowledge, and the most refined and sublime knowledge, is the object to be attained, yet, under the teaching and influence of the blessed Spirit, the most dull and least informed are perfectly capable of comprehending this Divine science, and becoming wise unto salvation.

Bond nor free - Nor does the particular state or circumstances in which a man may be found, either help him to or exclude him from the benefit of this religion; the slave having as good a title to salvation by grace as the freeman.

But Christ is all, and in all - All mankind are his creatures, all conditions are disposed and regulated by his providence, and all human beings are equally purchased by his blood. He alone is the source whence all have proceeded, and to him alone all must return. He is the Maker, Preserver, Savior, and Judge of all men.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew - See this fully explained in the notes at Galatians 3:28. The meaning here is, that all are on a level; that there is no distinction of nation in the church; that all are to be regarded and treated as brethren, and that therefore no one should be false to another, or lie to another.

Circumcision nor uncircumcision - No one is admitted into that blessed society because he is circumcised; no one is excluded because he is uncircumcised. That distinction is unknown, and all are on a level.

Barbarian - No one is excluded because he is a barbarian, or because he lives among those who are uncivilized, and is unpolished in his manners; see the word “barbarian” explained in the notes at Romans 1:14.

Scythian - This word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The name Scythian is applied in ancient geography to the people who lived on the north and northeast of the Black and Caspian seas, a region stretchings indefinitely into the unknown countries of Asia. They occupied the lands now peopled by the Monguls and Tartars. The name was almost synonymous with barbarian, for they were regarded as a wild and savage race. The meaning here is, that even such a ferocious and uncivilized people were not excluded from the gospel, but they were as welcome as any other, and were entitled to the same privileges as others. No one was excluded because he belonged to the most rude and uncivilized portion of mankind.

Bond nor free - See the notes at Galatians 3:28.

But Christ is all, and in all - The great thing that constitutes the uniqueness of the church is, that Christ is its Saviour, and that all are his friends and followers. Its members lay aside all other distinctions, and are known only as his friends. They are not known as Jews and Gentiles; as of this nation or that; as slaves or freemen, but they are known as Christians; distinguished from all the rest of mankind as the united friends of the Redeemer; compare the notes at Galatians 3:28.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is our duty to mortify our members which incline to the things of the world. Mortify them, kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them. Continual opposition must be made to all corrupt workings, and no provision made for carnal indulgences. Occasions of sin must be avoided: the lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world; and covetousness, which is idolatry; love of present good, and of outward enjoyments. It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us. The gospel changes the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the rule of right reason and conscience, over appetite and passion. There is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life. It is the duty of every one to be holy, because Christ is a Christian's All, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 477-8

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth,” Paul wrote to the Colossians; “in the which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.... Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” AA 477.1

The letter to the Colossians is filled with lessons of highest value to all who are engaged in the service of Christ, lessons that show the singleness of purpose and the loftiness of aim which will be seen in the life of him who rightly represents the Saviour. Renouncing all that would hinder him from making progress in the upward way or that would turn the feet of another from the narrow path, the believer will reveal in his daily life mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, forbearance, and the love of Christ. AA 477.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 246

At the time of his conversion, Paul was inspired with a longing desire to help his fellow men to behold Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the living God, mighty to transform and to save. Henceforth his life was wholly devoted to an effort to portray the love and power of the Crucified One. His great heart of sympathy took in all classes. “I am debtor,” he declared, “both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” Romans 1:14. Love for the Lord of glory, whom he had so relentlessly persecuted in the person of His saints, was the actuating principle of his conduct, his motive power. If ever his ardor in the path of duty flagged, one glance at the cross and the amazing love there revealed, was enough to cause him to gird up the loins of his mind and press forward in the path of self-denial. AA 246.1

Behold the apostle preaching in the synagogue at Corinth, reasoning from the writings of Moses and the prophets, and bringing his hearers down to the advent of the promised Messiah. Listen as he makes plain the work of the Redeemer as the great high priest of mankind—the One who through the sacrifice of His own life was to make atonement for sin once for all, and was then to take up His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. Paul's hearers were made to understand that the Messiah for whose advent they had been longing, had already come; that His death was the antitype of all the sacrificial offerings, and that His ministry in the sanctuary in heaven was the great object that cast its shadow backward and made clear the ministry of the Jewish priesthood. AA 246.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 390

The success attending the preaching of the gospel aroused the anger of the Jews anew. From every quarter were coming accounts of the spread of the new doctrine by which Jews were released from the observance of the rites of the ceremonial law and Gentiles were admitted to equal privileges with the Jews as children of Abraham. Paul, in his preaching at Corinth, presented the same arguments which he urged so forcibly in his epistles. His emphatic statement, “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision” (Colossians 3:11), was regarded by his enemies as daring blasphemy, and they determined that his voice should be silenced. AA 390.1

Upon receiving warning of the plot, Paul decided to go around by way of Macedonia. His plan to reach Jerusalem in time for the Passover services had to be given up, but he hoped to be there at Pentecost. AA 390.2

Accompanying Paul and Luke were “Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.” Paul had with him a large sum of money from the Gentile churches, which he purposed to place in the hands of the brethren in charge of the work in Judea; and because of this he made arrangements for these representative brethren from various contributing churches, to accompany him to Jerusalem. AA 390.3

At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the Passover. Only Luke remained with him, the other members of the company passing on to Troas to await him there. The Philippians were the most loving and truehearted of the apostle's converts, and during the eight days of the feast he enjoyed peaceful and happy communion with them. AA 390.4

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 65

Christ, the precious Saviour, is to be the Christian's all in all. Every holy thought, every pure desire, every godlike purpose, is from Him who is the light, the truth, and the way. Christ is to live in His representatives by the Spirit of truth.... Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).... HP 65.2

Under the mighty impulse of His love He took our place in the universe and invited the Ruler of all things to treat Him as a representative of the human family. He identified Himself with our interests, bared His breast for the stroke of death, took man's guilt and its penalty, and offered in man's behalf a complete sacrifice to God. By virtue of this atonement He has power to offer to man perfect righteousness and full salvation. Whosoever shall believe on Him as a personal Saviour shall not perish but have everlasting life. HP 65.3

Jesus identifies His interest with His chosen and tried people. He represents Himself as personally affected with all that concerns them.... After presenting His relation to His people in various lights, He finally declares that in the great day He will judge of every action as if it had been done unto Himself. HP 65.4

His sympathy with His people is without a parallel. He will not simply remain a spectator, indifferent to what His people may suffer, but identifies Himself with their interests and sorrows. If His people are wronged, maligned, treated with contempt, their sufferings are registered in the books of heaven as done unto Him. HP 65.5

The privileges, the blessings, of the child of God are represented by the apostle in the following language: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). When we realize that our hope of glory is Christ, that we are complete in Him, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. HP 65.6

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 40.3

Paul beheld the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He heard the voice of Christ saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” He determined to avail himself of the benefits of saving grace, to become dead to trespasses and sins, to have his guilt washed away in the blood of Christ, to be clothed with Christ's righteousness, to become a branch of the Living Vine. He walked with Christ, and Jesus became to him—not a part of salvation, while his own good deeds were another part, but—his all in all, the first and last and best in everything. He had the faith that draws life from Christ, that enabled him to conform his life to that of the divine example. This faith claims nothing for its possessor because of his righteousness, but claims everything because of the righteousness of Christ. LHU 40.3

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 111.3

No knowledge is so firm, so consistent, so far-reaching, as that obtained from a study of the Word of God. If there were not another book in the wide world, the Word of God, lived out through the grace of Christ, would make man perfect in this world, with a character fitted for the future, immortal life. Those who study the Word, taking it in faith as the truth, and receiving it into the character, will be complete in Him who is all and in all. Thank God for the possibilities set before humanity.... LHU 111.3

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 128.4

Christ is our Redeemer, our owner, and He is intensely interested that we shall have peace in this world. He seeks to present before us the attractions of heaven; for where the treasure is, there will the heart be also. To lay up treasure in heaven is to use our God-given capabilities in acquiring means and influence that may be used for the glory of God. Every dollar we earn is the Lord's property, and should be used in reference to the time when we shall be called to give an account of our stewardship. No one of us will be able to evade the future reckoning. By choosing to lay up treasure in heaven, our characters will be molded after the likeness of Christ. The world will see that our hopes and plans are made in reference to the advancement of the truth and the salvation of perishing souls. They will see that Christ is all in all to those who love Him.... LHU 128.4

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 114.5

God's faithful, humble, believing people will cut the idolatry of self out of their hearts, and Christ will become all and in all. OHC 114.5

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 187

The living water may be drawn from the fountain and yet there is no diminution of the supply. Ministers of the gospel would be powerful men if they set the Lord always before them and devoted their time to the study of His adorable character. If they did this, there would be no apostasies, there would be none separated from the conference because they have, by their licentious practices, disgraced the cause of God and put Jesus to an open shame. The powers of every minister of the gospel should be employed to educate the believing churches to receive Christ by faith as their personal Saviour, to take Him into their very lives and make Him their Pattern to learn of Jesus, believe in Jesus, and exalt Jesus. The minister should himself dwell on the character of Christ. He should ponder the truth, and meditate upon the mysteries of redemption, especially the mediatorial work of Christ for this time. 3SM 187.1

Dwell More on the Incarnation and Atonement—If Christ is all and in all to every one of us, why are not His incarnation and His atoning sacrifice dwelt upon more in the churches? Why are not hearts and tongues employed in the Redeemer's praise? This will be the employment of the powers of the redeemed through the ceaseless ages of eternity. 3SM 187.2

We need to have a living connection with God ourselves in order to teach Jesus. Then we can give the living personal experience of what Christ is to us by experience and faith. We have received Christ and with divine earnestness we can tell that which is an abiding power with us. The people must be drawn to Christ. Prominence must be given to His saving efficacy. 3SM 187.3

The true learners, sitting at Christ's feet, discover the precious gems of truth uttered by our Saviour, and will discern their significance and appreciate their value. And more and more, as they become humble and teachable, will their understanding be opened to discover wondrous things out of His law, for Christ has presented them in clear, sharp lines. 3SM 187.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 401

The commission which Christ gave to the disciples just prior to His ascension to heaven was: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” The commission reaches those who shall believe on His word through His disciples. And all who are called of God to stand as ambassadors for Him should take the lessons upon practical godliness given them by Christ in His word and teach them to the people. 4T 401.1

Christ opened the Scriptures to His disciples, beginning at Moses and the prophets, and instructed them in all things concerning Himself, and also explained to them the prophecies. The apostles in their preaching went back to Adam's day and brought their hearers down through prophetic history and ended with Christ and Him crucified, calling upon sinners to repent and turn from their sins to God. The representatives of Christ in our day should follow their example and in every discourse magnify Christ as the Exalted One, as all and in all. 4T 401.2

Not only is formality taking possession of the nominal churches, but it is increasing to an alarming extent among those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and looking for the soon appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven. We should not be narrow in our views and limit our facilities for doing good; yet while we extend our influence and enlarge our plans as Providence opens the way, we should be more earnest to avoid the idolatry of the world. While we make greater efforts to increase our usefulness, we must make corresponding efforts to obtain wisdom from God to carry on all the branches of the work after His own order, and not from a worldly standpoint. We should not pattern after the customs of the world, but make the most of the facilities which God has placed within our reach to get the truth before the people. 4T 401.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 225

As these words were spoken, deep feeling was manifested. Some offered themselves as missionaries, while others sat in silence, apparently taking no interest in the subject. 7T 225.1

Then the words were spoken: “The South is a most unpromising field; but how changed would it be from what it is now if, after the colored people had been released from slavery, men and women had worked for them as Christians ought to work, teaching them how to care for themselves!” 7T 225.2

The condition of the colored people in the South is no more disheartening than was the condition of the world when Christ left heaven to come to its aid. He saw humanity sunken in wretchedness and sinfulness. He knew that men and women were depraved and degraded, and that they cherished the most loathsome vices. Angels marveled that Christ should undertake what seemed to them a hopeless task. They marveled that God could tolerate a race so sinful. They could see no room for love. But “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. 7T 225.3

Christ came to this earth with a message of mercy and forgiveness. He laid the foundation for a religion by which Jew and Gentile, black and white, free and bond, are linked together in one common brotherhood, recognized as equal in the sight of God. The Saviour has a boundless love for every human being. In each one He sees capacity for improvement. With divine energy and hope He greets those for whom He has given His life. In His strength they can live a life rich in good works, filled with the power of the Spirit. 7T 225.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 433

There is a day just about to burst upon us when God's mysteries will be seen, and all His ways vindicated; when justice, mercy, and love will be the attributes of His throne. When the earthly warfare is accomplished, and the saints are all gathered home, our first theme will be the song of Moses, the servant of God. The second theme will be the song of the Lamb, the song of grace and redemption. This song will be louder, loftier, and in sublimer strains, echoing and re-echoing through the heavenly courts. Thus the song of God's providence is sung, connecting the varying dispensations; for all is now seen without a veil between the legal, the prophetical, and the gospel. The church history upon the earth and the church redeemed in heaven all center around the cross of Calvary. This is the theme, this is the song,—Christ all and in all,—in anthems of praise resounding through heaven from thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand and an innumerable company of the redeemed host. All unite in this song of Moses and of the Lamb. It is a new song, for it was never before sung in heaven. TM 433.1

Again I ask, In view of the revelation made to John on the Isle of Patmos, which from the opening of the first chapter to the close of the last chapter is light, great light, revealed to us by Jesus Christ, who chose John to be the channel through whom this light was to shine forth to the world—with such wonderful, solemn truths revealed, with such grand truths unfolded before us in the events to transpire just prior to the second appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, how can those who claim to see wondrous things out of the law of God, be found in the list of the impure, of the fornicators and adulterers, constantly evading the truth, and secretly working out iniquity? Do you think that they can hide their ways from the Lord? that God seeth not? that God taketh no knowledge? TM 433.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 134.4

As our example we have One who is all and in all, the Chiefest among ten thousand, One whose excellency is beyond comparison. He graciously adapted His life for universal imitation. United in Christ were wealth and poverty; majesty and abasement; unlimited power, and meekness and lowliness, which in every soul who receives Him will be reflected.... TMK 134.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 16.4

Christian humility is a wonderful grace—the very antidote to the apostasy of Satan, which has unholy ambition and every delusion that he can frame. The grace of humility through Christ Jesus will make an imperfect man discern his imperfections and make him meet for the inheritance of the saints, where God is all and in all.... TDG 16.4

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Ellen G. White
The Voice in Speech and Song, 291

Temporary Nature of Impulsive Decisions—There are in the ministry men who gain apparent success by swaying minds through human influence. They play upon the feelings at will, making their hearers weep, and in a few minutes laugh. Under labor of this kind, many are moved by impulse to profess Christ, and there is thought to be a wonderful revival; but when the test comes, the work does not endure. Feelings are stirred, and many are borne along by the tide that seems to be setting heavenward; but in the strong current of temptation they quickly float back as driftwood. The laborer is self-deceived, and he misleads his hearers.—Gospel Workers, 382. VSS 291.1

Real Intelligence in Preaching—A man may preach in a spirited manner and please the ear, but convey no new idea or real intelligence to the mind. The impressions received through such preaching last no longer than while the speaker's voice is heard. When search is made for the fruit of such labor, there is little to be found.—Testimonies for the Church 1:447. VSS 291.2

Unnatural Use of the Voice—Some raise their voices to an unnatural key when they speak in the desk; others talk very rapidly, and the people cannot hear what is said. This works disaster to themselves, as well as to others, for their unnatural use of the voice results in injury to the vocal organs. They needlessly exhaust their strength, and make their efforts painful to their congregation. They should exercise self-control, that quality so essential for them as ambassadors of Christ, and overcome their pernicious habits. If they would but do this, they would be able to leave a pleasant impression on the minds of their hearers, and the preaching of the truth would become attractive.—The Review and Herald, October 28, 1890. VSS 291.3

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Ellen G. White
The Voice in Speech and Song, 303

Failure to Practice the Word—Actions speak louder than words. The sermon that is preached in the pulpit is counteracted by the sermon that is preached in the lives of those who claim to be advocates of truth. It is because of a lack of the practicing of the words of Christ that a curse is coming upon our churches. If Christ is not living in His human agent, then when circumstances are favorable to their development the attributes of Satan will appear. A noble life is the most powerful sermon in favor of Christianity. If we would live such a life, our consciences must be quickened by continual contact with the Word of God. Our souls must be familiar with the heavenly standard, and we must avoid every course that diverges from the right.—Letter 71, 1895. VSS 303.1

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