Completing the Ensemble: The Word of Christ.

This is post #13 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3: 15-16 (NAS)

I remember one pastor friend telling me, “Marty, when it comes to the Bible, you only need to preach from the words in red!”

After thirty-plus years in pastoral ministry, I must admit that my friend was grossly overstating it, but I certainly get what he meant.

You see, the words of Christ, as recorded in the four Gospels, are certainly a great place to start our conversation when looking at Paul’s list of Five Practical Accessories to complement the Eight Holy Garments mentioned here in Colossians 3. But, we must also remember that when Paul wrote his letter to his good friends in Colossae, the New Testament, as we know it, didn’t exist. Nor had the four Gospels we now call the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John been assembled into one convenient volume!

So, what exactly did Paul mean, then, when he tells us to:

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…?

As I see it, the best place to start is to go back to the original Greek of the New Testament. The phrase Paul uses here, ho logos tou Christou, translates into most English versions of the Bible as the word of Christ, but the Greek word logos has a much broader meaning than just referring to one written or spoken word. Logos conveys the idea of a complete saying, or a statement, a whole message, or a specific report or theme.

So, back to my pastor friend’s suggestion, it would be a mistake to parcel out a sentence or two of Jesus’ words found in red and interpret that as the full logos (word) of Christ. Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message Bible, probably does the best service to this Greek phrase in Colossians by translating it…

Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house.

As we said earlier, for most of the first century, there was no written New Testament. While all of the individual books and letters found within it were written and widely circulated amongst the Church of Christ, it wasn’t until the years 393 A.D. (Hippo) and 397 A.D. (Carthage) when church councils in North Africa first recognized and formalized the twenty-seven books of our present-day New Testament.

So, when Paul was telling his friends to “let the Word of Christ” dwell richly within them, he was referring to the entirety of Jesus’ words and works. From the story of His humble yet miraculous birth in Bethlehem, through the three amazing years of public ministry, to His Passover week in Jerusalem which culminated with His suffering, His death on a cross, and His astounding resurrection, The Message or logos of Christ had become, to the early church, The Centerpiece of the Christian faith.


I wonder if we, here in the twenty-first century, need to pay more attention to that and return, once again, to that Centerpiece, The Word of Christ, The Message, The Story, The Statement, The Good News Report of Jesus of Nazareth?

It’s interesting to note that many church historians say that over the centuries, whenever the Church returns to this One Specific Message:

Jesus of Nazareth. His Words and Works…

Both the church and the world are renewed, refreshed, and revived.

I’d say it’s time, once more, to heed Paul’s words…

Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house.

My Prayer: It’s obvious, Jesus, that in the first century, there was little debate about what the primary message was for those who desired to live the Christian life. Today, Father God, in a society where we can access volumes of information with the tap of a finger, while being bombarded with countless messages that are geared to convince me of this or that, I need Your truth to stand above all others. Holy Spirit, restore to me the logos of Christ. For Your glory and for Your name’s sake. Amen.

A Few Thoughts to Ponder: So, what other assorted messages, themes, or subjects have I allowed to take center stage in my life? Am I guilty of taking the Message of Jesus and blending it with other stories, other messages, or other competing themes, and in the process, watered down the specific logos of Christ? What might it look like in my life to let the Word of Christ – the Message – have the run of my house?

So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?

We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.

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1 thought on “Completing the Ensemble: The Word of Christ.

  1. Pingback: Completing the Ensemble: Thankfulness. | The Contemplative Activist (TCA)

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