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Paul's Letter to the Colossians

Online Version: https://www.truthunity.net/web/colossians

© 2021. Fillmore Bible Society. All rights reserved.

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Introduction to Colossians


Colossians 1

(Online: ASV WEB)

Greeting

1:1 Paul,1 an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 1:2 to the saints and faithful brothers[1] in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Paul. Paul represents the word of the Spirit of truth. The converted Paul (formerly Saul, the will) becomes, by the power of the word, the most active thought in the establishment of good throughout our being. (MBD/Paul)

Paul Thanks God for the Colossians

1:3 We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 1:4 having heard of your faith1 in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you have toward all the saints, 1:5 because of the hope2 which is laid up for you in the heavens, of which you heard before in the word of the truth3 of the Good News, 1:6 which has come to you; even as it is in all the world4 and is bearing fruit and growing, as it does in you also, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; 1:7 even as you learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 1:8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

1:9 For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don't cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom5 and understanding,6 1:10 that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1:11 strengthened with all power,7 according to the might of his glory, for all endurance and perseverance with joy; 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; 1:13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love; 1:14 in whom we have our redemption,[2]8 the forgiveness of our sins;

  1. faith. Faith in God is the substance of existence. To have faith in God is to have the faith of God. We must have faith in God as our Father and source of all the good we desire. (RW/faith)
  2. hope. Hope is the expectation of good in the future. It is a quality (good as far as it goes) of sense mind because it is subject to time. (RW/hope)
  3. truth. The basic principle of Truth is that the mind of each individual may be consciously unified with Divine Mind through the indwelling Christ. By affirming at-one-ment with God-Mind, we eventually realize that perfect mind which was in Christ Jesus. (RW/truth)
  4. world. A state of consciousness formed through the belief in the reality of things external. It leads one to follow standards of living based on man's opinions rather than on Truth. The world is overcome by our denying that it has any power over us and affirming freedom in Christ. (RW/world)
  5. wisdom. Intuitive knowing; spiritual intuition; the voice of God within as the source of our understanding; mental action based on the Christ Truth within. (RW/wisdom)
  6. understanding. God is supreme knowing. That in humans which comprehends is understanding; it knows and comprehends in wisdom. (RW/understanding)
  7. power. In mind, power is increased through exalted ideas. These show us the relation between the world without and the mind within, and we find that they are parallel. (RW/power)
  8. redemption. The process by which the life and substance of our lesser self are brought to conform to the standards of our spiritual self. (RW/redemption)

Christ Consciousness is Ultimate Source

1:15 who is the image of the invisible1 God, the firstborn of all creation. 1:16 For by him all things2 were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. 1:18 He is the head of the body, the assembly3, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 1:19 For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him; 1:20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace4 through the blood5 of his cross.6

1:21 You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil7 works, 1:22 yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and blameless before him, 1:23 if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed in all creation under heaven; of which I, Paul, was made a servant.

  1. invisible. The invisible is reality that cannot be seen, touched, or comprehended by any of the outer senses. In this realm a great and mighty work is being accomplished. (RW/invisible)
  2. things. The things that appear are the formulations of our ideas of self and God. Back of everything is a thought. If we will still the senses then we will perceive the thought behind the things. (RW/things)
  3. assembly (ASV, church). To establish the church, or ecclesia, of God in humankind, a new state of consciousness must be formed. We must gain an understanding of God as Spirit, and also must understand our own relation to Spirit. (MBD/church)
  4. peace. Harmony and tranquility derived from awareness of the Christ consciousness. (RW/peace)
  5. blood (of Christ). Spiritual energy that purifies and redeems human beings by pouring into them life currents of a new and purer stream. This divine energy cleanses the consciousness of dead works to enable people to serve the living God. (RW/blood)
  6. cross. The cross is not a burden as commonly understood, but a symbol of the forces in humans adjusted in their right relation. (RW/cross)
  7. evil. That which is not of God; unreality; error thought; a product of the fallen human consciousness; negation. (RW/evil)

Christ in You

1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings1 for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the assembly; 1:25 of which I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God, 1:26 the mystery which has been hidden for ages2 and generations. But now it has been revealed to his saints, 1:27 to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory3 of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory;4 1:28 whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; 1:29 for which I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily.

  1. rejoice in my sufferings. Patience and long-suffering are connected with joy as the natural result of the realization that we have developed patience and long-suffering, and that we are no longer subject to the peevishness, irritability, and short-tempered moods of sense. The possession of self-control is in itself a joy.
  2. mystery which has been hidden for ages. See Colossians 2:2; Ephesians 3:9. [Unity never commented on this verse however the Fillmore spiritual path is based on development of the soul so that one becomes aware of the Christ presence within, our hope of glory. That we can rejoice in our sufferings for a noble cause is the mystery of Christ. See 4:2.]
  3. glory. Realization of divine unity; the blending and merging of our mind with God-Mind. (RW/glory)
  4. Christ in you, the hope of glory. How is our life transformed? By the renewing of our mind on the Christ pattern. Such renewal transforms our life completely, giving us a clear view of the work that we can do as our contribution to the uplift of humanity.


Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Dan Beckett.

World English Bible Footnotes:

[1] v1:2. The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."

[2] v1:14. TR adds "through his blood,"


Colossians 2

(Online: ASV WEB)

Paul’s Greeting

2:1 For I desire to have you know how greatly I struggle for you, and for those at Laodicea,1 and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2:2 that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God,2 both of the Father and of Christ, 2:3 in whom are all the treasures of wisdom3 and knowledge4 hidden. 2:4 Now this I say that no one may delude you with persuasiveness of speech. 2:5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, rejoicing and seeing your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

  1. Laodicea. Metaphysically, this town represents a phase of the judgment faculty in the individual, which bases its understanding, its decisions, on outer seemings and intellectual reasonings. (MBD/Laodicea)
  2. mystery of God. See annotation for Colossians 1:26 and Ephesians 3:9.
  3. wisdom. Intuitive knowing; spiritual intuition; the voice of God within as the source of our understanding; mental action based on the Christ Truth within. (RW/wisdom)
  4. knowledge/knowing. There is in humankind a knowing capacity transcending intellectual knowledge. Nearly everyone has at some time touched this hidden wisdom and has been more or less astonished at its revelations. The knowing that man receives from the direct fusion of the Mind of God with his mind is real spiritual knowing. (RW/knowing)

Remain Steadfast in Faith1

2:6 As therefore you received Christ Jesus, the Lord, walk in him, 2:7 rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, even as you were taught, abounding in it in thanksgiving. 2:8 Be careful that you don't let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world,2 and not after Christ. 2:9 For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, 2:10 and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power; 2:11 in whom you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 2:13 You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 2:14 wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; 2:15 having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day, 2:17 which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s.3 2:18 Let no one rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 2:19 and not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God's growth.

  1. [This passage is more historical than metaphysical. Paul is warning his listeners against the teachings of Peter and James, who believed that in order to be Christian, one must be Jewish first. Paul disagreed. Hence the pushback in the references to circumcision and dietary restrictions.]
  2. elements of the world (NRSV, elemental spirits of the universe). [Most likely a reference to the law of cause and effect.] Jesus taught a new understanding of divine law. He acknowledged mechanical cause and effect, but he knew it was possible to “fulfill the law” by transcending its strictly mechanical repetition. This can be done only by certain changes of consciousness. One of these changes is to let go of the insistence of “even-exchanges” in life all the time. Another change is to be willing to forgive sin instead of insisting on punishment for sin. Grace is the name given to the aspect of divine law which does not deal in “even-exchanging,” but in the increase of good through greater giving. Ed Rabel, Metaphysics 1/The Divine Paradox, Law/Grace. Compare Ephesians 2:5, “by grace you have been saved”.
  3. the body is Christ’s. Greek, sōma. The outer expression of consciousness; the precipitation of the thinking part of man. God created the idea of the body of man as a self-perpetuating, self-renewing organism, which man reconstructs into his personal body. God creates the body idea, or divine idea, and man, by his thinking, makes it manifest. As God created man in His image and likeness by the power of His word, so man, as God's image and likeness, projects his body by the same power. (RW/body)

Know Nothing of the Lesser Self

2:20 If you died with Christ from the elements of the world,1 why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances,2 2:21 "Don't handle, nor taste, nor touch" 2:22 (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? 2:23 Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility,3 and severity to the body; but aren't of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.

  1. elements of the world. See 2:8 above.
  2. ordinances. Do forms, ceremonies, or special localities have power to make God known to us? These things are unknown in the realm of Spirit. Satisfaction is found by the Christ-minded in the formless life and substance. (MBI/Colossians 3, June 2, 1935)
  3. humility. True humility is needed very much in the Christ-centered individual. The true Christian is humble. He knows the nothingness of the lesser self in man and the allness of Christ. (RW/humility)


Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Dan Beckett.


Colossians 3

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Peace of the Christ

3:1 If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above,1 where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 3:2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ, our life,2 is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. 3:5 Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; 3:6 for which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 3:7 You also once walked in those, when you lived in them; 3:8 but now you also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and shameful speaking out of your mouth. 3:9 Don't lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings, 3:10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator, 3:11 where there can't be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondservant, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.

3:12 Put on therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.

3:14 Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. 3:15 And let the peace of God3 rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 3:16 Let the word of Christ4 dwell in you5 richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.

3:17 Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.

  1. things that are above. What are the things that are above? Whatever uplifts mind, body, or soul belongs to the things that are above.
  2. our life. Is it possible to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” regardless of external conditions? It is. By staying the mind on God and the things that are above and by expressing only what is in the mind, we can be at peace regardless of conditions or circumstances. Compare with Isaiah 26.3: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.”
  3. peace of God (ASV, peace of Christ.). Is it possible to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” regardless of external conditions? It is. By staying the mind on God and the things that are above and by expressing only what is in the mind, we can be at peace regardless of conditions or circumstances. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3)
  4. word of Christ. Does our word commit us as definitely as our deed? Our spoken word is as clear an expression of ourselves as our deeds. “Whatsoever ye do in word or in deed” puts both in the class of acts of will.
  5. dwell in you. Explain how we learn to recognize the Spirit of truth as indwelling. Through meditating on the Spirit of truth, believing in it as the fundamental reality of our being, expecting its guidance, directing toward it the desire of our heart, and focusing our thoughts upon it, we learn to recognize it as indwelling.

Rules for Christian Households1

3:18 Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

3:19 Husbands,2 love your wives, and don't be bitter against them.

3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this pleases the Lord.

3:21 Fathers,3 don't provoke your children, so that they won't be discouraged.

3:22 Servants, obey in all things those who are your masters according to the flesh, not just when they are looking, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. 3:23 And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord,4 and not for men, 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 3:25 But he who does wrong will receive again for the wrong that he has done, and there is no partiality.

  1. See Introduction to Galatians. [Truth transcends culture. We must look for the metaphysical Truth conveyed in Paul's writings and reject the cultural limitations in the epistle]
  2. Wives, Husbands. Spiritually, marriage represents the union of two dominant states of consciousness. When we open the door of the mind by consciously affirming the presence and power of the divine I AM in our midst, there is a marriage or union of the higher forces in being with the lower and we find that we are quickened in every part; the life of the I AM has been poured out for us. (RW/marriage) Love is not to be found. It’s not a matter of finding the right person, but being the right person. Unless we know this, we will tend to place all kinds of unreal expectations on a relationship even before it happens... It’s important to get back to basics, you are a wonderful, capable, beautiful person in your transcended self. This is the root of you, this is the heart of you. You may not know it, you may frustrate it, this is what you are... And your basic need is not to be loved but to love. (Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #67/On Forming Relationships.)
  3. Children, Fathers. In the creative flow of life, God is the true parent. Gibran says, “Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you...” Thus, the parent must honor the father-mother principle of life by keeping a true perspective in the role of parenthood. (Eric Butterworth Speaks #70/How To Break the 5th Commandment)
  4. Servants, masters; work heartily, as for the Lord. Eric Butterworth has said, "The chains that bind us in life are forged in our own thoughts of self-limitation. Freedom is our inheritance, but ours is the responsibility to “stir up the gift of God,” to get our faith lifted, and to work up a spontaneous enthusiasm for life. Emerson says, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Actually, we are born with enthusiasm. It is that “spark of celestial fire” at the core of our being. The apathetic life simply has the flame turned down—and it can be turned up whenever one cares to do so... You may say,”Enthusiasm is fine, but with my problems what do I have to be enthusiastic about?” This is the great fallacy. Enthusiasm is not a response, but a cause. The enthusiastic person does not act in that way because things are going well. Things go well because he is enthusiastic. Get the fire turned on and your consciousness tuned in by working with a realization such as this one: “I am alive, awake, alert, joyous, and enthusiastic about life.” (Eric Butterworth Speaks #70/The "High Way" to Freedom)


Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Dan Beckett.


Colossians 4

(Online: ASV WEB)

Live in Harmony

4:1 Masters,1 give to your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving;2 4:3 praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ,3 for which I am also in bonds; 4:4 that I may reveal it as I ought to speak. 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside,4 redeeming the time. 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace,5 seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

  1. Masters. [Here, and in 3:22-25 above, the same Greek word, kurios, is used for both masters and the Lord, reinforcing the conclusion in v24 that, regardless of who we serve “according to the flesh”, we are always “serving, [spiritually], the Lord Christ.”]
  2. Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving. Charles Fillmore says that thanksgiving means rendering our grateful thoughts to God for His manifold blessings. Not to say "thank you" is uncouth. (Life of Prayer II/Lesson 1/Understanding)
  3. the mystery of Christ. See annotation for 1:26 and 2:2 above.
  4. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside. [Unity, as a movement, is a sacred canopy. Charles Fillmore wrote,] "there is need of a church organization that can interpret and demonstrate the spiritual realities back of the church symbols. All Christians could join such a church with out breaking their present religious affiliations. Unity in Spirit and practice is the ideal Christian Church Universal, and it offers to people everywhere a spiritual church membership in which Christ will demonstrate his power to save his people here and now from the ills of mind, body, and affairs." (Unity, May 1924, Unity Church Universal)
  5. Let your speech always be with grace. Does our word commit us as definitely as our deed? Our spoken word is as clear as expression of ourselves as our deeds. “Whatsoever ye do in word or in deed” puts both in the class of acts of will. See 3:16 above.(MBI/Colossians 3, June 2, 1935)

Paul’s Beloved Community

4:7 All my affairs will be made known to you by Tychicus, the beloved brother, faithful servant, and fellow bondservant in the Lord. 4:8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 4:9 together with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you everything that is going on here. 4:10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you received commandments, "if he comes to you, receive him"), 4:11 and Jesus who is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These are my only fellow workers for the Kingdom of God, men who have been a comfort to me.

4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always striving for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 4:13 For I testify about him, that he has great zeal for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis. 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician,1 and Demas greet you. 4:15 Greet the brothers who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the assembly that is in his house. 4:16 When this letter has been read among you, cause it to be read also in the assembly of the Laodiceans; and that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 4:17 Tell Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it."

4:18 The salutation of me, Paul, with my own hand: remember my bonds.2 Grace be with you. Amen.3

  1. Luke, the beloved physician. Paul refers to Luke as “the beloved physician.” Metaphysically this would indicate that Luke belongs especially to that phase of the intelligence which has to do with keeping the body well; as a missionary, Luke carries the healing message to all parts of the body. Paul and Luke working together symbolize the converted will and spiritual illumination united in presenting the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to the entire being. (MBI/Colossians 4, September 16, 1923)
  2. remember my bonds. See annotation for 1:26 and 2:2 above.
  3. Amen. Anyone can prove the therapeutic power of a spiritual thought by mentally affirming day after day, say for thirty days, that he is filled with divine life and divine energy. At the end of that time he will have the evidence of the truth of the idea in a stronger life-flow in his organism. Thus the observance of true religion and an extension of its truths into the conscious, everyday thought, will eventually be recognized by man as the one and only source of his health. All healing methods that do not take the spiritual man into consideration are temporal and transitory. There is but one way to attain wholeness, and that is the way of the spiritual man, mystically called Jesus Christ. (MBI/Colossians 4)


Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Dan Beckett.


© 2021. Fillmore Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Creative Commons License image The Fillmore Study Bible is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, except where otherwise noted. You are free to download the work and share it with others as long as you follow the license terms: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode

Contact Fillmore Bible Society for permission to adapt and/or republish.