Knowledge is a key theme in Colossians (2:3), which indicates that the “deception” (2:8) in Colossae claimed to have special knowledge, but in the kingdom of His beloved Son we receive truth (1:5-6), knowledge, spiritual wisdom and understanding (1:9-10)
1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1:11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul believed in the power of prayer (1:3, 9). Through prayer he was in constant contact with God (1:9). “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
“His” refers to the Father (1:9, 11, 14)
Verse 9 refers to “knowledge of His will”, while verse 1 refers to “the will of God”, who is described as “God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:3). “His” in 1:9 therefore refers to the Father.
1:11 refers to “His glorious might”. This refers back to “God” in 1:10, who is defined as “the Father” (1:3).
1:13 refers to “His beloved Son”.
These verses therefore continue the focus of verses 2 and 3 on the Father. In the minds of some Christians today the Father does not loom large. They tend to think more of Christ, but these verses inform us, as already indicated by 1:2-3, that the Father is the Active Force that “has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints” (1:12). The kingdom belongs to “His beloved Son” (1:13), but it is the Father that “rescued us from the domain of darkness”. Let us therefore honour the Father.
Verses 13 and 14 describe the work of redemption using many different phrases:
“Rescued us from the domain of darkness” (1:13);
“Transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (1:13);
“Redemption” (1:14); and
“Forgiveness of sins” (1:14).
In whom we have redemption (1:14)
Although it is “the Father” that rescues us (1:13), it is Christ “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (1:14). It is the Father that “qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints” (1:12), and Christ is the Means by which he does that. The word “in” implies a mysterious unity between Christ and believers. This mysterious unity is also described by the metaphor of Christ as the “head of the body, the church” (1:18). We receive forgiveness of sins from the Father when we become united with His Son.
Knowledge of His will (1:9)
These verses continue to emphasise the importance of truth, in contrast to the error that threatened the church in Colossae. Paul prays for the Colossians for “knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (1:9) and “knowledge of God” (1:10). “Knowledge” is a key theme in the letter to the Colossians. According to 2:3 in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge“. It is important to note that Paul “say this so that no one will delude you” (2:4). The interpretation in this commentary is based on the assumption that the points that Paul emphasizes, compared to his other letters, are indications of the nature of the “deception” (2:8) in Colossae. It is therefore concluded that the deception in Colossae claimed that it has special knowledge.
Light … darkness
Note the contrast between the “kingdom of light” (NIV 1:12) and the “domain of darkness” (1:13). Light allows us to see; to understand. Particularly, as explained by the current verses, to understand “knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (1:9).