Set Your Mind On Things Above: What Does Colossians 3:2 Mean?

Colossians 3:2 reads, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationColossians 3:2
ESVSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
NASBSet your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
NIVSet your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
NLTThink about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

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Set Your Mind On Things Above: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

3:1-4 As Christians are freed from the ceremonial law, they must walk the more closely with God in gospel obedience. As heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, both cannot be followed together; and affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other.

Those that are born again are dead to sin, because its dominion is broken, its power gradually subdued by the operation of grace, and it shall at length be extinguished by the perfection of glory.

To be dead, then, means this, that those who have the Holy Spirit, mortifying within them the lusts of the flesh, are able to despise earthly things, and to desire those that are heavenly. Christ is, at present, one whom we have not seen; but our comfort is, that our life is safe with him.

The streams of this living water flow into the soul by the influences of the Holy Spirit, through faith. Christ lives in the believer by his Spirit, and the believer lives to him in all he does.

At the second coming of Christ, there will be a general assembling of all the redeemed; and those whose life is now hid with Christ, shall then appear with him in his glory. Do we look for such happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this?

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Colossians 3:2 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. Translate, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things,” &c. (Col 2:20). Contrast “who mind earthly things” (Php 3:19). Whatever we make an idol of, will either be a cross to us if we be believers, or a curse to us if unbelievers.

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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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