3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;
5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;
7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,
8 who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.
thanks to … God (v.3) — Paul credits God for the Colossians’ faith, love and hope.
always (v.3) — should be connected with “give thanks” rather than with “praying”
for (v.3) = concerning
faith in Christ Jesus (v.4) — Christ is the sphere in which faith operates — faith rests in Christ.
love (v.4) = agape — caring love
hope (v.5) — objective — the thing hoped for
laid up (v.5) = stored up, like a treasure
truth (v.5) — found in the gospel, as contrasted with Gnosticism
has come (v.6) = is present
all the world (v.6) — It hadn’t yet spread to the whole world, but it was spreading, as it had to Colossae, and it was for the whole world.
bringing forth fruit (v.6) — people were hearing and believing
The participles “bearing fruit” and “increasing” are in the middle voice. The middle denotes the inherent energy. The gospel is essentially a reproductive organism, a plant whose “seed is in itself” … The gospel is not like those plants which exhaust themselves bearing fruit and wither away. The external growth keeps pace with the reproductive energy. While “bearing fruit” describes the inner working, “increasing” give the outward extension of the gospel. — Ephesians and Colossians in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 174.
knew (v.6) = fully apprehended
Epaphras (v.7) — He is mentioned elsewhere in Colossians 4:12-13 and Philemon 1:23. He was from Colossae and had ministered in Laodicea and Hierapolis. Paul calls him a fellow-prisoner and fellow-minister. His name is a derivative of Aphrodite. It means “lovely” or “handsome.”
love in the Spirit (v.8) — agape love — Some commentators think this just means spiritual love as contrasted with carnal love, but most think it means love inspired by the Holy Spirit. It’s the only mention of the Holy Spirit in Colossians.