Do Everything As Unto the Lord: What Does Colossians 3:23 Mean?

Colossians 3:23 reads, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationColossians 3:23
ESVWhatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
NASBWhatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
NIVAnd whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
NLTWork willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Also see the meaning of I Have Finished the Race

Do Everything As Unto the Lord: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

3:18-25 The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel.

Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection.

Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters’ commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master.

They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master’s eye, because they know they are under the eye of God.

And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation.

And for servants’ encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done.

God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal.

How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life!

But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.

Also see the meaning of Every Knee Shall Bow

Colossians 3:23 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

23. And—omitted in the oldest manuscripts (compare Eph 6:7, 8). Compare the same principle in the case of all men, Hezekiah (2Ch 31:21; Ro 12:11).

do, do it—two distinct Greek verbs, “Whatsoever ye do, work at it” (or “labor at” it).

heartily—not from servile constraint, but with hearty good will.

Also see the meaning of Render Unto Caesar

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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