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Give thanks to God in word and deed

Columbia Biblical Studies: Friday, July 18
Columbia Biblical Studies: Friday, July 18
Paul Brennan

Today’s bible study is Colossians 3:17: Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This scripture verse actually seems quite simple. It is one we have been taught since childhood and one that many of us try to live by on a daily basis. We try very hard to do everything in the name of the Lord, and we try to remember to give thanks to his throughout out spiritual journey of growth.

Yet, when it was written to the Colossians, it was a very different time and circumstance. Let us see if the intention of this verse was also very different and if the ancient people of Colossus were very different from us.

Directly preceding today’s verse, Colossians addresses the fact that love must come before all else and that love surpasses al other virtues. This is repeated in Romans and 1 Corinthians. It is this surpassing love which is the bond that ties them in completeness, or perfection. The one body of Christ is complete. It almost has the quality of a prayer for the role of Christ’s peace within and among them; to such a life they have been called.

The words, “Be the grateful ones,” are meant to be taken literally, Thanksgiving recalls the liturgical character of much of this letter and, at this point, both introduces and concludes a brief description of the worship of the community,

The first element of the worship is the word of Christ, as written in the gospels, which is at work in the community through teaching and admonition in all wisdom.

The second element is singing with gratitude in your hearts, not with lips only. It is neither necessary nor possible to distinguish among psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, All are offered in praise and gratitude to God for what God has done in Christ.

Today’s verse summarizes: Everything said or done is to acknowledge the lordship of Jesus, thanking God in Christ’s name.

We find that we are not terrible different from the biblical historians nor the people of Colossus. We understand this verse today much as it was meant to be understood so long ago. May we, by the grace of God, continue to do everything in the name of the Lord and give thanks to God, our father in heaven.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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