ESV Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
God Commissioned Paul to Be a Servant to the Church: Verse 25
NIV Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness–
Being a Servant Means Suffering According to the Pattern Christ Established in His Earthly Body
NIV Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
A. The church is the body of Christ–it is corporal (corporeal).
B. Paul suffers for the sake of Christ’s body, the church. That is, he suffers in a corporal way.
C. Christ also suffered for the church and would continue to do so if he were still on earth.
D. The attacks of the enemy against Christ have spilled over to attacks against Christ’s body, the church, of which Paul is a chief servant. Paul willingly takes on these attacks for the sake of the church of which the Colossian believers are a part.
ESV Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
2 Corinthians 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
Galatians 6:17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
1 Thessalonians 2:14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews,
2 Timothy 2:3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1 Peter 4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Revelation 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued (or, persecuted) the woman who had given birth to the male child.
The Mystery = Christ
ESV Colossians 1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The Message Bible 26-27 This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple.
NLT Colossians 1:26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
[GING] μυστήριον μυστήριον, ου, τό secret, secret teaching, mystery with reference to something previously unknown but now revealed Mk 4:11; Ro 11:25; 1 Cor 2:7; 13:2; 15:51; Eph 3:3f, 9; Col 1:26f; 4:3; Rv 10:7. Secret truths 1 Cor 14:2. Allegorical significance Rv 1:20; 17:7. τὸ τ. εὐσεβείας μ. the Christian religion 1 Ti 3:16. [mystery] [pg 130] (Shorter Lexicon, 130, Accessed in BibleWorks)
Other Verses with “mystery” in the first sense.
ESV Mark 4:11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,
[This is a sense of “mystery” (insiders, outsiders) that the gnostic false teachers might use. Paul’s intent is different: Colossians 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.]
Romans 11:25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
1 Corinthians 2:7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
Colossians 4:3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—[to make freely known what had been unknown—Christ]
Revelation 10:7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
The Mystery = Christ for Everyone
ESV Colossians 1:27a To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too…
Colossians 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Ephesians 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
The Glorious Mystery = Christ in You
Colossians 1:27b …the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Paul Joins God in Working for God’s Goal of Bringing Everyone to Maturity in Christ
NET Colossians 1:29 Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.
A. Paul, as the church’s servant (vs. 25)
B. commissioned by God (vs. 25),
C. suffers (vs. 24) for the church,
D. which is Christ’s body (vs. 24),
E. and labors in a great struggle, as though he were an athlete fighting for the prize (vs. 29),
F. yet not alone, but with God’s energy that effectively energizes him (vs. 29)
G. in the power (δύναμις, dunamis) that God provides (vs. 29).