Mystical Death and Resurrection.* 1If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.a 2Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.b 4When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.
Renunciation of Vice.* 5Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:c immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.* 6Because of these the wrath of God* is coming [upon the disobedient].d 7By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. 8But now you must put them all away:* anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.e 9Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practicesf 10* and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.g 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian,* slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.h
12Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,i 13bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.j 14And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.k 15And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.l 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.m 17And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.n
The Christian Family. 18* Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.o 19Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.p 21Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.q
Slaves and Masters. 22Slaves,* obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord.r 23Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, 24knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. 25For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality.s
* [3:1–4] By retaining the message of the gospel that the risen, living Christ is the source of their salvation, the Colossians will be free from false religious evaluations of the things of the world (Col 3:1–2). They have died to these; but one day when Christ…appears, they will live with Christ in the presence of God (Col 3:3–4).
* [3:5–17] In lieu of false asceticism and superstitious festivals, the apostle reminds the Colossians of the moral life that is to characterize their response to God through Christ. He urges their participation in the liturgical hymns and prayers that center upon God’s plan of salvation in Christ (Col 3:16).
* [3:8–10] Put…away; have taken off; have put on: the terms may reflect baptismal practice, taking off garments and putting on new ones after being united with Christ, here translated into ethical terms.
* [3:11] Scythian: a barbarous people from north of the Black Sea.
* [3:18–4:6] After general recommendations that connect family life and the social condition of slavery with the service of Christ (Col 3:18–4:1), Paul requests prayers for himself, especially in view of his imprisonment (Col 3:2–3), and recommends friendly relations and meaningful discussions of Christian teaching with outsiders, i.e., non-Christians (Col 3:5–6). See note on Eph 5:21–6:9.
* [3:22–25] Slaves: within this table of duties in family and societal relations, involving wives and husbands, children and parents (Col 3:18–21), such as also appears in Eph 5:22–6:9, slaves here receive special attention because of the case of Onesimus the slave returning to his master (Col 4:9; Phlm 10–12).