by Tony Nester

Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly
Tony Nester

(Colossians 3:16-17 NRSV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. {17} And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Once again we are in Paul's Letter to the Colossians.

Be aware that the Christians in Colossae to whom Paul wrote these words did not have leather-bound Bibles, nor even slim New Testaments with the words of Jesus printed in red.

These Colossian Christians had less Scripture in their hands than we have in ours. Some had parts of Jesus' teachings. Some had one or two letters from Paul. Later, some obtained one or more copies of a Gospel -passages from Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or - very late, of John.

Look to the final words of this Letter to the Colossians and you'll find in Colossians 4:16 that Paul tells the Colossians believers to read aloud this letter to their own congregation, and then see to it that it is read as well in the church in Laodicea.

Whatever amount of Scripture these first Christians had in their possession, they treasured and then shared with other believers.

"We have a letter from Paul. We're eager to share it with you. What letters have you received? Do you have any of Jesus' teachings, any parables, any bits or pieces of a gospel - something from Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, even that mystic John? Do share what writings you have with us!"

Christians have always been sustained and guided by the Word.

Luke opens his Gospel by acknowledging his dependence on the testimony of eyewitnesses and those he called "servants of the word".

And when he speaks of the growth of the Church in his Gospel-sequel, which we call the "The Acts of the Apostles", he doesn't say the budget grew, or the attendance went up, or t ...

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