Stable and Steadfast

October 15th, 2006

(Colossians 1:21-23)

“…if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast,
not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard…”

(Colossians 1:23, ESV)

When George Ricker Berry translated Colossians 1:23, in his literal rendering, directly from the Greek New Testament, he chose the wording: “founded and firm” (Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978), 522). The English Standard Version reads: “stable and steadfast;” while the King James Version has—“grounded and settled.”

Colossians 1:23 describes Christian development in several key ways:

1. Col. 1:21,22 speaks of what God has done, and is doing for the believer. Note the past and present references of benefit here.

2. Although set up as a condition, this conditional sentence, “if” (1:23) expresses Paul’s confidence that the condition will be met with stable and steadfast living.

3. The caution against shifting away from the original gospel and being carried away with another gospel is stressed. Likely, the falsification here meant unnecessary supplementing of the gospel (see 2:6-15).

According to Colossians 1:21-23, Christian development means: (1) Realizing what God has done and is doing for us (2) Accepting the conditional nature of the faith; while having apostolic confidence that one can well continue (3) That the original gospel will be preferred and kept.

– Robert M. Housby