TODAY’S READING: COLOSSIANS
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” (Colossians 1.28)
This letter was written “to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae.” (Colossians 1.2) Therefore, when Paul says he warns and teaches everyone to present everyone mature in Christ, everyone means all the saints and faithful brothers in the church of Colossae.
Except that is not what Paul said.
Throughout the New Testament, behind the English word everyone is the Greek word pas. Pas simply means all or every. In the New Testament, pas is a very common word, being used 1,238 times.
Paul uses it 25 times in the book of Colossians.
In Colossians 1.4, Paul says, “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all [pas] the saints.”
In Colossians 3.11, Paul says, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all [pas], and in all [pas].”
But, in Colossians 1.28, Paul does not use the word pas alone. He does not use the general word for everyone. Instead, behind each English everyone, Paul very specifically says “pas anthropos.”
What is “pas anthropos?”
All man. Or, all mankind.
“Him we proclaim, warning all mankind and teaching all mankind with all wisdom that we may present all mankind mature in Christ.”
Who is Paul presenting mature in Christ?
The Greek word for mature is telos, which means mature, perfect, complete. Perfect as when Jesus says, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5.48)
Paul proclaims Christ so that all mankind may be presented perfect in Christ before God just as God is perfect. “For this I toil, struggling with all his [Christ’s] energy that he [Christ] powerfully works within me.
As best I can tell in my brief study this morning, pas anthropos is used just five other times in the New Testament. In the following verses, I have changed the translation of everyone to all mankind.
“The true light, which gives light to all mankind, was coming into the world.” (John 1.9)
“The master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘All mankind serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.'” (John 2.9-10)
Perhaps that seems an odd place for John to use pas anthropos, but “this, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2.11)
Ananias told Paul, “The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to all mankind of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22.14-15)
“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to all mankind’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4.2)
“Let your reasonableness [gentleness or kindness] be known to all mankind. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4.5)
Jesus is the true light that came into the world to give light to all mankind.
The first of Jesus’ miracles that caused the disciples to believe was saving the best wine, abundant life, for last, which is contrary to what all mankind does.
Paul was to be a witness of what he had seen and heard, the one thing he was occupied with, to all mankind.
By manifesting, making visible, this truth, what he had seen and hear, Paul would commend himself in the conscience of all mankind.
Therefore, Paul instructed the Philippians to let their gentleness or kindness be known to all mankind just as he had done.
In this way, “Him we proclaim, warning all mankind and teaching all mankind with all wisdom, that we may present all mankind mature in Christ.”
When you realize just who Paul’s everyone is, all mankind, and that Paul desires to present all mankind mature in Christ, it is pretty difficult to imagine him preaching, “Believe in Jesus or you are going to burn in hell forever.”