What is the correct interpretation of Colossians 2:6.

6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. - Colossians 2:6,7 ESV

Many believe this is referencing asking Jesus into your heart. Since the Bible does not teach us to say a sinners prayer, what is Paul saying in this passage? Receiving the doctrine that was being taught?

3 Answers 3


“As you received Christ Jesus the Lord”: This refers to the act of accepting and believing in Jesus Christ as Lord. Receiving Christ is not merely an intellectual agreement with His teachings or an assent to some metaphysical premises; it's a wholehearted acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior. This is done by faith.

“So walk in him”: This is meant to encourage believers to continue living their lives in Christ. The term “walk” is often used in the Bible to refer to one’s lifestyle or manner of conduct. So, to “walk in him” means to live a life that is centered on Jesus, rooted in His teachings, and guided by His Spirit. [1]

The false teachings confronting Colossae placed an emphasis on deeds and personal sacrifice as pathways to gain favor with God. I think that we can acknowledge that actions play a significant role in the life of a Christian, as noted in 1 John 3:17-18. However, these actions are considered to be the outcomes of a saving faith, rather than its origin. [2]

I will note, some people may interpret “receiving Christ Jesus the Lord” as asking Jesus into your heart, however, this itself is a metaphorical expression. So, it’s not about saying a specific prayer, but about sincerely turning to Jesus in faith and committing to follow Him.

Now, the word “received” in Colossians 2:6 often refers to the reception of truth through teaching. [3] [4] This suggests that the Colossians had been taught the truth about Christ and had accepted it. The phrase “as you were instructed” in Colossians 2:7 further emphasizes this point. This indicates that the Colossians had been taught certain truths and were being encouraged to continue living according to those teachings.

So, in the context of Colossians 2:4-5 and Colossians 2:8, Paul was warning the Colossians against being deceived by persuasive arguments and human traditions. He was encouraging them to remain steadfast in the truth they had received and been instructed in.

While faith in Christ is certainly a crucial aspect of the Christian life, Paul’s emphasis in this passage seems to be on the importance of holding fast to the sound teaching that the Colossians had received and been instructed in

Conclusion: Colossians 2:6-7 is encouraging believers to continue living their lives in the same faith which they had been taught, through which they accepted Christ.


This verse is not instructing us to quote, "Ask Jesus into your heart," as the language of becoming a Christian. Of course, the most common language for an appropriate, saving response to the Gospel in Scripture is "repent and believe." However, when you repent and believe, you are indeed "receiving" Christ as Lord of your life, and the Spirit of Christ then lives in you. Consider Ephesians 3:17, in which Christ "dwells in your hearts through faith [ESV]."

All that to say, I don't normally recommend the "sinner's prayer," as it can be superstitious and transactional, and the more Biblically common message is to instruct people to "repent and believe" in order to be saved. However, too many people go to the other extreme, rejecting the language of "asking Jesus into your heart" or "receiving Christ" altogether, as if it is heresy or anti-Biblical, while in reality, all these concepts have some roots in the Bible.


There are three matters here in Col 2:5-7 (these verses should not be separated) which reads:

... I delight to see your orderly condition and firm faith in Christ. Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

  1. Christ Jesus as Lord

Many Christians in the early centuries lost their lives for a single reason - they refused to call Caesar "Lord": Christians consistently said that there is only one Lord, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. This is taught repeatedly in the NT:

  • Eph 4:5 - one Lord [ie, Jesus Christ], one faith, one baptism;
  • 1 Cor 8:6 - ... And there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we exist.
  • Rom 10:9-12 - that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved. It is just as the Scripture says: “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Greek: The same Lord is Lord of all, and gives richly to all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  • Jude 4 - For certain men have crept in among you unnoticed—ungodly ones who were designated long ago for condemnation. They turn the grace of our God into a license for immorality, and they deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
  • etc.

Now, to have Jesus as "Lord" is allow Jesus to be the master and director of everything and fashion one's life in service for the One Lord. It is precisely for this reason that Jesus is also addressed as "master"

  • ἐπιστάτης in Luke 5:5, 8:24, 45, 9:33, 49, 17:13.
  • δεσπότης in Luke 2:29, 2 Peter 2:1.
  1. Walk in Him

Paul's instruction to "walk in Him [Jesus] is Hebrew expression meaning to conduct one's life as Jesus would. we see this often in the NT

  • Walk as Jesus walked. 1 John 2:6
  • Be imitators of God. Eph 5:1
  • Love as Jesus loved. John 13:34, 35, 15:12, 1 John 4:8, 11, 19, Eph 5:1, 2.
  • Lay down life for friends. John 15:13, Eph 5:2.
  • Jesus’ suffering leaves us an example. John 16:33, 1 Cor 7:28, 2 Tim 1:4, Heb 13:12, 13, 1 Peter 2:21, 4:14, 5:8, 9.
  • Because Jesus was persecuted, so are His followers. John 15:20, 21.
  • Conformed to the likeness of the Son. Rom 8:29.
  • Forgive as Jesus forgave. Matt 6:12, 14, 15, 18:35, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13.
  • Be holy as Jesus is holy. Lev 11:44, 45, 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
  • Be pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3.
  • Partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4.
  • We are being changed into Christ’s glory (= reputation). 2 Cor 3:18
  • Pray as Jesus prayed. Luke 11:1. See also the many instances where Jesus prayed earnestly such as Heb 5:7, Matt 14:23, 26:36, 39, 42, 44, Mark 1:35, Luke 3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 11:1, 22:32, 41-46, John 17, etc.
  • We are to have the mind of Christ. Phil 2:5, 1 Cor 2:16.
  • Be kind because God is kind. Luke 6:34, 35
  • etc
  1. Rooted and built up in Him

This is further confirmation of the above, that is, as the Christian life progresses, so should the strength of our commitment to service and the imitation of the life of Christ (see above). The NT expresses this in many ways:

  • But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Tim 6:11, 12.
  • We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Rom 6:4.
  • Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom 12:1, 2.
  • Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Cor 7:1.
  • Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Eph 4:15, 16.
  • But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13, 14.
  • So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6, 7.
  • Epaphras…is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. Col 2:12
  • His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3, 4.
  • Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:17, 18

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