1-2 – “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – bsn – If ye then resumes the implications of belivers’ identification with Christ behun in 2:20. It signals a shift in the epistle from doctrinal instructions (ch 1 and 2) to practical application. The objects of believers’ efforts and thoughts are heavenly places where Christ dwells. These commands contrast true spiritual living with the false spirituality promoted by earthly “philosophy.”
5 – “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” – bsn – The command “mortify” (put to death) refers to the practical outworking of seeking and thinking about heavenly things. Paul offered a fivefold catalog of earthly vices. These vices are listed moving from specific outward behavior to general inward inclinations and thoughts. Concupiscence is sexual lust.
8-10 – “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” – bsn – All these vices relate to behaviors that disrupt interpersonal relationships. Put off evokes the familiar Pauline metaphor of changing clothes, which pertains to an actual observable change of behavior. The new self replaces the old but is also continuously being renewed to reflect the image of God. The reference to the new man applies to individuals but also carries corporate connotations relating to the body of Christ.
12-14 – “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” – bsn – After commanding believers to “put off” worldly behaviors, Paul offered a series of positive commands to put on or to clothe yourselves with behavior fitted for god’s people. The adjectives elect, holy, and beloved were all applied to israel, Jesus, and the church. The 5 virtues are just the opposite of the vices listed in verses 5 and 8. The words forbearing and forgiving express the habitual manner in which believers exhibit the stated virtues. Both verbs pertain to interpersonal relationships in the body of Christ. Even as Christ forgave echoes Jesus’ injunction to forgive because believers are forgiven. The final and most important new article of clothing for God’s people is charity (love), which binds believers together in oneness.
17 – “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” – bsn – (3:17-4:1) Paul in this section showed how doing everything in the name of the Lord applies to every member of a household. Early Christians adopted and modified this format for describing appropriate behavior of members in a Christian household.
18 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” – bsn – Paul always used the verb submit in the context of authority relationships. This submission is NOT subservience but voluntary submission. This disposition is based on the wife’s relationship with Christ and her role within the family rather than on any false notion of inferiority.
19 – “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” – bsn – Love refers to selfless sacrificial concern and care for the welfare of another person. To be bitter pertains to ahrsh treatment and could be translated as “cause bitter feelings.” Husbands must always care for their wives and never deal harshly with them.
20 – “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” – bsn – The word obey lacks the voluntary sense found in the command to be submissive. Children must be obedient to their parents. this is how they please the Lord. This obedience does not include immoral behavior or idolatrous demands from a parent, because this is not behavior pleasing unto the Lord.
21 – “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” – bsn – Although the greek plural pateres could include both parents, fathers in particular are warned not to provoke their children. “Provoke” means to cause someone to harbor feelings of resentment.
22-25 – “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” – bsn – Some interpreters believe slaves in the ancient world might have been habitually lazy since they did not profit personally from their labor. Paul offered an extensive rationale for obedience: 1. servants are ultimately serving the Lord rather than a human master; 2. their service will be gloriously rewarded in eternity; and 3. God does not discriminate when it comes to punishing bad behavior.
eph 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
***I use the Holman KJV study bible, some notes after verses are from the study notes in this bible alone or preceding my comments**