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Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Epistle
Paul's Thanksgiving for the Colossians. A. D. 62.
3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, 5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: 7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; 8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. 

Here he proceeds to the body of the epistle, and begins with thanksgiving to God for what he had heard concerning them, though he had no personal acquaintance with them, and knew their state and character only by the reports of others.

I. He gave thanks to God for them, that they had embraced the gospel of Christ, and given proofs of their fidelity to him. Observe, In his prayers for them he gave thanks for them. Thanksgiving ought to be a part of every prayer; and whatever is the matter of our rejoicing ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. 
Observe, 1. Whom he gives thanks to: To God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our thanksgiving we must have an eye to God as God (he is the object of thanksgiving as well as prayer), and is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and through whom all good comes to us. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as well as our Father; and it is a matter of encouragement, in all our addresses to God, that we can look to him as Christ's Father and our Father, as his God and our God, John xx. 17. 
Observe, 2. What he gives thanks to God for--for the graces of God in them, which were evidences of the grace of God towards them: Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love you have to all the saints; for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, v. 4, 5. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces in the Christian life, and proper matter of our prayer and thanksgiving. 
(1.) He gives thanks for their faith in Christ Jesus, that they were brought to believe in him, and take upon them the profession of his religion, and venture their souls upon his undertaking. 
(2.) For their love. Besides the general love which is due to all men, there is a particular love owing to the saints, or those who are of the Christian brotherhood, 1 Pet. ii. 17. We must love all the saints, bear an extensive kindness and good-will to good men, notwithstanding smaller points of difference, and many real weaknesses. Some understand it of their charity to the saints in necessity, which is one branch and evidence of Christian love. 
(3.) For their hope: The hope which is laid up for you in heaven, v. 5. The happiness of heaven is called their hope, because it is the thing hoped for, looking for the blessed hope, Tit. ii. 13. What is laid out upon believers in this world is much; but what is laid up for them in heaven is much more. And we have reason to give thanks to God for the hope of heaven which good Christians have, or their well-grounded expectation of the future glory. Their faith in Christ, and love to the saints, had an eye to the hope laid up for them in heaven. The more we fix our hopes on the recompence of reward in the other world, the more free and liberal shall we be of our earthly treasure upon all occasions of doing good.

II. Having blessed God for these graces, he blesses God for the means of grace which they enjoyed: Wherein you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. They had heard in the word of the truth of the gospel concerning this hope laid up for them in heaven. Observe, 1. The gospel is the word of truth, and what we may safely venture our immortal souls upon: it proceeds from the God of truth and the Spirit of truth, and is a faithful saying. He calls it the grace of God in truth, v. 6. 2. It is a great mercy to hear this word of truth; for the great thing we learn from it is the happiness of heaven. Eternal life is brought to light by the gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. They heard of the hope laid up in heaven in the word of the truth of the gospel. "Which has come unto you, as it hath to all the world, and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, v. 6. This gospel is preached and brings forth fruit in other nations; it has come to you, as it hath to all the world, according to the commission, Go preach the gospel in all the nations, and to every creature." Observe, (1.) All who hear the word of the gospel ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, that is, be obedient to it, and have their principles and lives formed according to it. This was the doctrine first preached: Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance, Matt. iii. 8. And our Lord says, If you know these things, happy are you if you do them, John xiii. 17. Observe, (2.) Wherever the gospel comes, it will bring forth fruit to the honour and glory of God: It bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you. We mistake, if we think to monopolize the comforts and benefits of the gospel to ourselves. Does the gospel bring forth fruit in us? So it does in others.

III. He takes this occasion to mention the minister by whom they believed (v. 7, 8): As you also learned of Epaphras, our dear fellow-servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ. He mentions him with great respect, to engage their love to him. 1. He calls him his fellow-servant, to signify not only that they served the same Master, but that they were engaged in the same work. They were fellow-labourers in the work of the Lord, though one was an apostle and the other an ordinary minister. 2. He calls him his dear fellow-servant: all the servants of Christ ought to love one another, and it is an endearing consideration that they are engaged in the same service. 3. He represents him as one who was a faithful minister of Christ to them, who discharged his trust and fulfilled his ministry among them. Observe, Christ is our proper Master, and we are his ministers. He does not say who is your minister; but who is the minister of Christ for you. It is by his authority and appointment, though for the people's service. 4. He represents him as one who gave them a good word: Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit, v. 8. He recommends him to their affection, from the good report he made of their sincere love to Christ and all his members, which was wrought in them by the Spirit, and is agreeable to the spirit of the gospel. Faithful ministers are glad to be able to speak well of their people.

Paul's Prayer for the Colossians. A. D. 62.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 

The apostle proceeds in these verses to pray for them. He heard that they were good, and he prayed that they might be better. He was constant in this prayer: We do not cease to pray for you. It may be he could hear of them but seldom, but he constantly prayed for them.--And desire that you may be filled with the knowledge, &c. Observe what it is that he begs of God for them,

I. That they might be knowing intelligent Christians: filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Observe, 1. The knowledge of our duty is the best knowledge. A mere empty notion of the greatest truths is insignificant. Our knowledge of the will of God must be always practical: we must know it, in order to do it. 2. Our knowledge is then a blessing indeed when it is in wisdom, when we know how to apply our general knowledge to our particular occasions, and to suit it to all emergencies. 3. Christians should endeavour to be filled with knowledge; not only to know the will of God, but to know more of it, and to increase in the knowledge of God (as it is v. 10), and to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, 2 Pet. iii. 18.

II. That their conversation might be good. Good knowledge without a good life will not profit. Our understanding is then a spiritual understanding when we exemplify it in our way of living: That you may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing (v. 10), that is, as becomes the relation we stand in to him and the profession we make of him. The agreeableness of our conversation to our religion is pleasing to God as well as to good men. We walk unto all well-pleasing when we walk in all things according to the will of God. Being fruitful in every good work. This is what we should aim at. Good words will not do without good works. We must abound in good works, and in every good work: not in some only, which are more easy, and suitable, and safe, but in all, and every instance of them. There must be a regular uniform regard to all the will of God. And the more fruitful we are in good works the more we shall increase in the knowledge of God. He who doeth his will shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, John vii. 17.

III. That they might be strengthened: Strengthened with all might according to his glorious power (v. 11), fortified against the temptations of Satan and furnished for all their duty. It is a great comfort to us that he who undertakes to give strength to his people is a God of power and of glorious power. Where there is spiritual life there is still need of spiritual strength, strength for all the actions of the spiritual life. To be strengthened is to be furnished by the grace of God for every good work, and fortified by that grace against every evil one: it is to be enabled to do our duty, and still to hold fast our integrity. The blessed Spirit is the author of this strength; for we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inward man, Eph. iii. 16. The word of God is the means of it, by which he conveys it; and it must be fetched in by prayer. It was in answer to earnest prayer that the apostle obtained sufficient grace. In praying for spiritual strength we are not straitened in the promises, and therefore should not be straitened in our own hopes and desires. Observe, 
1. He prayed that they might be strengthened with might: this seems a tautology; but he means, that they might be mightily strengthened, or strengthened with might derived from another. 
2. It is with all might. It seems unreasonable that a creature should be strengthened with all might, for that is to make him almighty; but he means, with all that might which we have occasion for, to enable us to discharge our duty or preserve our innocence, that grace which is sufficient for us in all the trials of life and able to help us in time of need. 
3. It is according to his glorious power. He means, according to the grace of God: but the grace of God in the hearts of believers is the power of God; and there is a glory in this power; it is an excellent and sufficient power. And the communications of strength are not according to our weakness, to whom the strength is communicated, but according to his power, from whom it is received. When God gives he gives like himself, and when he strengthens he strengthens like himself. 
4. The special use of this strength was for suffering work: That you may be strengthened unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness. He prays not only that they may be supported under their troubles, but strengthened for them: the reason is there is work to be done even when we are suffering. And those who are strengthened according to his glorious power are strengthened, 
(1.) To all patience. When patience hath its perfect work (Jam. i. 4) then we are strengthened to all patience--when we not only bear our troubles patiently, but receive them as gifts from God, and are thankful for them. To you it is given to suffer, Phil. i. 29. When we bear our troubles well, though ever so many, and the circumstances of them ever so aggravating, then we bear them with all patience. And the same reason for bearing one trouble will hold for bearing another, if it be a good reason. All patience includes all the kinds of it; not only bearing patience, but waiting patience. 
(2.) This is even unto long-suffering, that is, drawn out to a great length: not only to bear trouble awhile, but to bear it as long as God pleases to continue it. 
(3.) It is with joyfulness, to rejoice in tribulation, to take joyfully the spoiling of our goods, and rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for his name, to have joy as well as patience in the troubles of life. This we could never do by any strength of our own, but as we are strengthened by the grace of God.

The Redeemer's Dignity; The Work of Redemption; Paul's Preaching. A. D. 62.
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 

Here (verses 12-29) is a summary of the doctrine of the gospel concerning the great work of our redemption by Christ. It comes in here not as the matter of a sermon, but as the matter of a thanksgiving; for our salvation by Christ furnishes us with abundant matter of thanksgiving in every view of it: Giving thanks unto the Father, v. 12. He does not discourse of the work of redemption in the natural order of it; for then he would speak of the purchase of it first, and afterwards of the application of it. But here he inverts the order, because, in our sense and feeling of it, the application goes before the purchase. We first find the benefits of redemption in our hearts, and then are led by those streams to the original and fountainhead. The order and connection of the apostle's discourse may be considered in the following manner:--

I. He speaks concerning the operations of the Spirit of grace upon us. We must give thanks for them, because by these we are qualified for an interest in the mediation of the Son: Giving thanks to the Father, &c., v. 12, 13. It is spoken of as the work of the Father, because the Spirit of grace is the Spirit of the Father, and the Father works in us by his Spirit. Those in whom the work of grace is wrought must give thanks unto the Father. If we have the comfort of it, he must have the glory of it...