Colossians 3:16 (NIV) instructs us saying, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish each other with all wisdom ... And whatever you do ... do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” If we are to let “the word of Christ” dwell in us, we need to know what that phrase means. Because the meaning is not obtained by a superficial reading, it is useful to consider one by one the meaning of the words in that phrase. The Word Logos We should note that the Holy Spirit chose the phrase, “the word of Christ” rather than “the word of “God” or “the word of Scripture.” This is significant! Colossians 3:16 is saying much more than the obvious, “study your Bible” – as important as that is! We can see why the Holy Spirit chose this phrase when we consider the meaning of the word logos – here translated as “word.” W. E. Vine, an expert in Greek, says that logos denotes the expression of thought – not merely the name of an object – as embodying a conception or idea.
The Word “Christ”
The English word “Christ” is Christos in Greek and Mashiach (Messiah) in Hebrew. The word is applied to other people in Scripture, but here, where it is “the Christ” it refers to our Lord Jesus. The word itself means “the anointed one.”
As the Anointed One, Jesus is King, and He has a kingdom into which God has “brought us” (Col. 1:13). However, our Lord said, “Now My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36). His present kingdom thus is now spiritual. Later, when He returns to earth, He will establish an earthly kingdom and “we will … reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:11).
We will serve Him then, but we need to know how to serve in His kingdom now. We are told, “In view of … His kingdom … preach the Word … correct, rebuke and encourage … discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5). Doing this was Christ’s thought while He was here, and His servants are left here to do likewise. And we will, if His thoughts dwell in us richly! Thus the “word of Christ” that is to dwell in us richly is the meaning of “Christ” – His thoughts when He was here, and His thoughts now.
His Thoughts Then
Even though He was King, He said, “I am among you as one who serves” and it is His thought that “the one who rules (should be) like the one who serves” (Lk. 22:26-27). We see that “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross”(Phil. 2:8). It was always His thought to do what pleased Him who sent Him (Jn. 5:30; 7:29), and to “do nothing on My own” (Jn. 8:28-29). Our Lord also said, “As the Father sent Me, I am sending you” (Jn. 20:21). If the thought of Christ dwells in us richly, we will, like Him (Jn. 6:38), not seek our own will but the will of Him who sent us.
His Thoughts Now
He loves us and cares for us, and desires that we love each other as He has loved us and shown it by laying down His life for us (Jn. 15:12-13). He wants us to have what we need, and He assures us that we “may ask anything in My name, and I will do it” (Jn. 14:14). Although He is with us spiritually today, His desire is to be with us physically as well. So He promises, “I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (Jn. 14:3). Meanwhile, He wants us to “bear fruit that will last” (Jn. 15:16), because “each will be rewarded according to His own labor” (1 Cor. 3:8). How wonderful are His thoughts! He enables us to produce fruit for Him with the purpose of being rewarded for it later!
When this “word” dwells in us richly, we will be able to impart truth in wisdom, to “admonish one another” (Col. 3:16) and to engage in fruitful service always “in the name of the Lord Jesus” while “giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).
By Alan Crosby
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org