Colossians 3:18-4:1 — Dueling Verses, Part 1
When it comes to this section of Scripture, I remember an event with my wife. Let’s call that event “Dueling Verses”.
We were discussing the parallel verses in Ephesians. I said to my soon-to-be bride, “Well, I think the Bible says you need to “submit”. To which she replied, “I do, and you need to love me the way Jesus loved the church, and even died for it.” Then she added, “Oh by the way, you also need to deliver me “wrinkle-free” (see Ephesians 5:27).
I don’t duel anymore with her—she always wins!
I wrote here about using the Bible and quoting verses. Let me go on record that I believe the Bible is God’s Word. I seek not only to understand its message and meaning, but also to order my life by following its Author as my Lord and Savior. Yet I do not understand all of it, I never live up to its standards, and at times I think about verses—and use them—incorrectly.
How, therefore, do I process these verses?
Step One—remove the any human-inserted sub-headings. Seriously. I love my ESV Bible, but I find the sub-heading “Rules for Christian Households” unhelpful. It is not in the Biblical Text—and the word “Rules” goes against the theme of the Bible.
The Bible tells the story of God, his power, majesty, love, and more. It tells of God who loves us so much that he came and rescued us, even when it meant his death. The Bible gives glory to God—and if we are to claim to follow God, then our lives should be lived in a way to give him glory.
To help write this post I went back, removed the sub-heading, and read from 3:1 all the way through 4:5. It begins, “If YOU have been raised with Christ…” Let’s make it personal, “If I have been raised with Christ…”
I wrote three separate articles on the battle that wages in me, about the need to actively put sin to death, and to actively put on life—every day. To disconnect that daily dynamic from these verses, disconnects me from their intent. I need to be reading the verses that apply to the husband, and then get on my knees, seek God’s forgiveness, and ask him to strengthen me to love my wife—so that He may be glorified.
Will my wife benefit? Absolutely, but this entire letter is written not only to a person, but to the body of believers in Colossae. They are to shine the radiance of Christ’s redeeming love. People are to look at them and say, “I want what they have—because they have love and life!” Look at verse 4:5-6.
When a non-believer observes a Christian husband being domineering over his wife, does that draw them to Christ? When a fellow believer observes the same, does that build up the body?