Colossians 3:23
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3:18-25 The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel. Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation. And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal. How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.Servants, obey in all things ... - ; see the notes at Ephesians 6:5-8. 23. And—omitted in the oldest manuscripts (compare Eph 6:7, 8). Compare the same principle in the case of all men, Hezekiah (2Ch 31:21; Ro 12:11).

do, do it—two distinct Greek verbs, "Whatsoever ye do, work at it" (or "labor at" it).

heartily—not from servile constraint, but with hearty good will.

Yea, courageously and cheerfully, from the very soul, not constrainedly and murmuringly, though they be froward and their commands harsh; making account it is Jesus Christ, (who hath power over soul and body, Matthew 10:28), not mortal men only, or in and for themselves, whom you serve, {see Ephesians 6:7} have an eye unto this Sovereign Lord, in the servile office your masters on earth do employ you. And whatsoever ye do,.... Some have thought that these words, and the two following verses, regard the Colossians in general, and the performance of any, and all good works by them; but by their connection with the preceding verse, and with the beginning of the next chapter, they appear to concern servants only, and what they do under that character, and under the discharge of their duty:

do it heartily, not by mere force and necessity, grudgingly, and with murmurings, but from the heart, and with good will, having a true, real, and hearty affection for their masters, having their good and interest at heart, and a delight in their service; like the Hebrew servant, that loved his master, as also his wife and children, and therefore would not depart from him, see Exodus 21:5,

as to the Lord, and not unto men; See Gill on Ephesians 6:7.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 3:23 f. More precise explanation of the ἐν ἁπλότ. καρδ., φοβούμ. τ. κύρ. just required.

ποιῆτε] in your service.

ἐκ ψυχῆς] μετὰ εὐνοίας, μὴ μετὰ δουλικῆς ἀνάγκης, ἀλλὰ μετὰ ἐλευθερίας καὶ προαιρέσεως, Chrysostom. Comp. on Ephesians 6:6.

ἐργάζεσθε] execute, carry out, not equivalent to ποιεῖτε, but correlative with it, hence also not in the narrower sense: labour (as e.g. in Xen. Oec. iii. 4 with reference to slaves).

ὡς τῷ κυρ.] Point of view of the ἐργάζ.; this is to be regarded as taking place for Christ, rendered as a service to Him. Comp. Ephesians 6:6 f. And the relation to the human masters, to whom the slaves belong, is in this higher aspect of the service thrown so much into the background as not to be taken into account at all, in accordance with the principle that no man can serve two masters; hence οὐκ is not relatively, but absolutely negative. Respecting the contrast of ἀνθρ. and Χριστός, see on Galatians 1:1.

εἰδότες κ.τ.λ.] Ground of the obligation in one’s own consciousness for the ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ κ. οὐκ ἀνθρ.: since ye know that ye shall receive from the Lord, etc. On εἰδότες, comp. Colossians 4:1.

ἀπὸ κυρίου, excluding the human recompense, stands first with emphasis, and ἀπό (on the part of) denotes, not expressly the direct giving (παρά), through which the recompense is received, but generally the issuing, proceeding from the Lord, who is the possessor and bestower, although the receiving of the recompense at the judgment will be in reality direct (Ephesians 6:8; 2 Timothy 1:18). Comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:23; Winer, p. 347 [E.T. 463].

τῆς κληρον.] In the Messianic κληρονομία, i.e. in the future possession of eternal bliss (see on Galatians 3:18; Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 1:12; Romans 4:13), the reward consists. The motive for its purposely-chosen designation by this particular term lies in the fact, that in human relations slaves are not usually heirs, comp. Genesis 21:10. Hence also this closing word, next to the ἀπὸ κυρ., has special emphasis: from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance. Comp. as to substance, Ignat. ad Polyc. Colossians 4 : ἵνα κρείττονος ἐλευθερίας ἀπὸ Θεοῦ τὺχωσιν.

On ἀνταπόδοσις (only found here in the N. T.), comp. Thuc. iv. 81.1 (where, however, the sense is different); Plut. Mor. p. 72 F; Polyb. vi. 5. 3, xx. 7. 2, xxxii. 13. 6; passages from Diod. Sic. in Munthe’s Obss. p. 390; and from the LXX. in Schleusner, I. p. 296; also ἀνταπόδομα in Romans 11:9.

τῷ κυρίῳ Χ. δουλεύετε] without γάρ (see the critical remarks) embraces succinctly the whole summary of the Christian duty of slaves in accordance with the principle already laid down in the ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ κ. οὐκ ἀνθρώποις; Χριστῷ is not to be taken as appositionally equivalent to ὅς ἐστι Χριστός (Hofmann), but in accordance with the quite common usage; hence: to the Lord Christ be serviceable! It is properly rendered thus imperatively in the Vulgate; also by Ewald, Dalmer, Schenkel, and Bleek. The whole significant emphasis lies upon τῷ κυρ. Χριστῷ; His slaves they are to be in the relation of human service. Where the γάρ is regarded as not genuine,[165] the indicative interpretation (the usual one) makes the utterance—which, moreover, would be superfluous after Colossians 3:23—vapid, especially without the addition of an οὕτως.

[165] The decisive preponderance of the witnesses omitting this γάρ renders it quite impossible to uphold it by subjective criticism (in opposition to Hofmann), proceeding on the supposition that its omission may be traced to an artificial combination of ideas, which is imputed to the copyists. Just as little is the Recepta δέ (instead of γάρ) in ver. 25 to be defended.Colossians 3:23. Not only must the slave’s work be done in the fear of the Lord, but done as if it were actually for the Lord that he was doing it, and not for a mere human master. And this principle is to govern every detail of his varied service.—ἐκ ψυχῆς: heartily and with good will.—οὐκ ἀνθρώποις: their service, Paul would say, is not to be rendered at all (οὐκ not μὴ) to their earthly master, but exclusively to Christ.23. whatsoever ye do] even in the daily round of servile tasks. For the phrase and its significance, see above, Colossians 3:17 and note.

do it heartily] Lit., work from the soul. Cp. Ephesians 6:6.

as to the Lord] Whose will expressed itself for them in each act of common duty. What a transfiguration of the life for the man, or woman, whom law and custom regarded as merely a purchasable “living chattel”! See Introd. to the Ep. to Philemon, p. 155.

not unto men] as the ultimate reasons and constraints.Colossians 3:23. Ὄτι ἐὰν ποιῆτε, whatsoever ye do) in your service.—ὁ ἐάν τι, Ephesians 6:8.Verse 23. - Whatever ye be doing, work (therein) from (the) soul, as to the Lord, and not to men (ver. 17; Ephesians 6:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 7:21-23). (On the first clause, see ver. 17.) In the Revised Text, however, the turn of expression differs from that of ver. 17, πᾶν being cancelled. The writer is thinking, not so much of the variety of service possible, as of the spirit which should pervade it. "Do" is replaced in the second clause by the more energetic "work," opposed to indolent or useless doing (comp. Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; John 5:17; John 9:4). "From [ἐκ, out of] the soul "indicates the spring of their exertions - inward principle, not outward compulsion; the servant must put his soul into his work. "Soul" implies, even more than "heart," the engagement of the man's best individual powers (comp. Philippians 1:27, as well as Ephesians 6:6). The slaves' daily taskwork is to be done, not only in sight and in fear of the Lord (ver. 22 b; Ephesians 5:21), but as actually "to the Lord." Him they are serving (ver. 24 b), who alone is "the Lord" (Colossians 2:6); every mean and hard task is dignified and sweetened by the thought of being done for him, and the commonest work must be done with the zeal and thoroughness that his service demands (comp. Ephesians 6:7, "with good will doing bond service"). The word "not" (οὐ instead of μὴ) implies that their service is actually rendered to One other and higher than "men" (1 Corinthians 7:22; Galatians 1:10). Ye do - do it (ποιῆτε - ἐργάζεσθε)

Rev., correctly, ye do - work; the latter being the stronger term as opposed to idleness. See on James 2:9. An idle man may do. Compare ἐργασία diligence, Luke 12:58.

Heartily (ἐκ ψυχῆς)

Lit., from the soul. With a personal interest. Note that the apostle uses both heart (καρδίας, Colossians 3:22) and soul (ψυχῆς); and in Ephesians 6:7, adds μετ' εὐνοίας with good disposition (A.V., good will). See on Romans 11:3; see on Romans 7:23; see on Romans 1:21. Compare σύμψυχοι of one accord, Philippians 2:2; ἰσόψυχον like-minded, Philippians 2:20; μιᾷ ψυχῇ with one mind, Philippians 1:27.

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