The Meaning of Colossians 3:3 Explained

Colossians 3:3

KJV: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

YLT: for ye did die, and your life hath been hid with the Christ in God;

Darby: for ye have died, and your life is hid with the Christ in God.

ASV: For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

What does Colossians 3:3 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Our life is hidden away with Christ. This statement that the believer died with Christ in the past (aorist tense in Greek) and continues to live with Christ in the present (perfect tense) suggests three thoughts. Our life draws nourishment from secret springs (cf. John 14:19; Philippians 3:20). Our life is as safe as a deposit locked in a bank vault. Our life is one with Christ who is in the bosom of the Father. [1]
"The aorist is simply a powerful metaphor for the fact that when they believed in Christ in baptism they were putting their previous way of life to death and having it buried out of sight. Consequently, it should no longer be a factor in their new way of life." [2]
For the false teachers, the treasures of wisdom were hidden in their secret books (Gr. apokryphoi), but for believers Christ is the treasury of Wisdom of Solomon , and our life is hidden (Gr. kekryptai) in Him.

Context Summary

Colossians 3:1-11 - Seeking The "things That Are Above"
Let us repeat the glorious truth, which was doubtless the heart of Paul's teaching, that our old nature has been nailed in Christ to the Cross, and laid in the grave; and that our real self, the second Adam, has entered the new world of resurrection. We belong to the world on the threshold of which Jesus said, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended." We must guard against the defiling touch of the world, of sin, and of the old self-life. We stand between two worlds, each solicits us: let us yield to the influences that pull us upward, and not to those that anchor us to this sinful and vain world. Our eternal blessedness has begun, let us walk in it.
In Christ we profess to have put off the old man, i.e., the habits of our former life, Colossians 3:9; now let us actually do so, in the power of the Holy Spirit. We profess to have put on the risen Christ, Colossians 3:10; now let us don the attire and habits of the new man. Too many Christians resemble Lazarus, quickened from his death-sleep, but still arrayed in grave-clothes. Too few array themselves in the radiant beauty of the risen Lord, which is the common heritage of all who believe in Him, whatever their rank or nationality. [source]

Chapter Summary: Colossians 3

1  He shows where we should seek Christ
5  He exhorts to holiness;
10  to put off the old self, and put on Christ;
12  exhorting to charity, humility,
18  and other duties

Greek Commentary for Colossians 3:3

For ye died [απετανετε γαρ]
Definite event, aorist active indicative, died to sin (Romans 6:2). [source]
Is hid [κεκρυπται]
Perfect passive indicative of κρυπτω — kruptō old verb, to hide, remains concealed, locked “together with” (συν — sun) Christ, “in” (εν — en) God. No hellish burglar can break that combination. [source]
Ye are dead [ἀπεθάνετε]
Rev., correctly, ye died, as Colossians 2:20. [source]
Is hid [κέκρυπται]
Your new spiritual life is no longer in the sphere of the earthly and sensual, but is with the life of the risen Christ, who is unseen with God. Compare Philemon 3:20. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Colossians 3:3

John 6:53 Have no life in you [οὐκ ἔχετε ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς]
Not according to the Greek. Rightly, as Rev., ye have not life in yourselves. All true life must be in Christ. Compare Colossians 3:3. [source]
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life [καγω διδωμι αυτοις ζωην αιωνιον]
This is the gift of Jesus now to his sheep as stated in John 6:27, John 6:40 (cf. 1 John 2:25; 1 John 5:11). And they shall never perish Emphatic double negative with second aorist middle (intransitive) subjunctive of απολλυμι — apollumi to destroy. The sheep may feel secure (John 3:16; John 6:39; John 17:12; John 18:9). And no one shall snatch them out of my hand Jesus had promised this security in Galilee (John 6:37, John 6:39). No wolf, no thief, no bandit, no hireling, no demon, not even the devil can pluck the sheep out of my hand. Cf. Colossians 3:3 (Your life is hid together with Christ in God). [source]
Romans 6:4 We are buried with [συνετάφημεν]
Rev., more accurately, were buried. Therefore, as a natural consequence of death. There is probably an allusion to the immersion of baptism. Compare Colossians 3:3. [source]
Romans 6:3 Into His death []
As He died to sin, so we die to sin, just as if we were literally members of His body. Godet gives an anecdote related by a missionary who was questioning a converted Bechuana on Colossians 3:3. The convert said: “Soon I shall be dead, and they will bury me in my field. My flocks will come to pasture above me. But I shall no longer hear them, and I shall not come forth from my tomb to take them and carry them with me to the sepulchre. They will be strange to me, as I to them. Such is the image of my life in the midst of the world since I believed in Christ.” [source]
Colossians 2:13 Having forgiven us [χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν]
Freely ( χάρις gracefree gift ), as Luke 7:42; 2 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Corinthians 2:10; Colossians 3:13. Note the change of pronoun from you to us, believers generally, embracing himself. This change from the second to the first person, or, vice versa, is common in Paul's writings. See Colossians 1:10-13; Colossians 3:3, Colossians 3:4; Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 2:3, Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 4:31, Ephesians 4:32. [source]
Colossians 3:5 Mortify [νεκρωσατε]
First aorist active imperative of νεκροω — nekroō late verb, to put to death, to treat as dead. Latin Vulgate mortifico, but “mortify” is coming with us to mean putrify. Paul boldly applies the metaphor of death (Colossians 2:20; Colossians 3:3) pictured in baptism (Colossians 2:12) to the actual life of the Christian. He is not to go to the other Gnostic extreme of license on the plea that the soul is not affected by the deeds of the body. Paul‘s idea is that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). He mentions some of these “members upon the earth” like fornication See the longer list of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21, though covetousness is not there named, but it is in Ephesians 4:19; Ephesians 5:5. [source]
1 Timothy 5:25 Be hid [κρυβῆναι]
In Paul only Colossians 3:3. The good works, although not conspicuous ( πρόδηλα ), cannot be entirely concealed. Comp. Matthew 5:14-16. It has been suggested that these words may have been intended to comfort Timothy in his possible discouragement from his “often infirmities.” von Soden thinks they were meant to encourage him against the suspicion awakened by his use of wine. By persevering in his temperate habits ( οἴνῳ ὀλίγῳ ) it will become manifest that he is no wine-bibber. [source]
1 John 2:28 If he shall be manifested [εαν πανερωτηι]
Condition of third class with εαν — ean and first aorist passive subjunctive as in 1 John 2:19; Colossians 3:3. A clear reference to the second coming of Christ which may be at any time.That we have boldness (ινα σχωμεν παρρησιαν — hina schōmen parrēsian). Purpose clause with ινα — hina and the ingressive second aorist active subjunctive of εχω — echō “that we may get boldness.”And not be ashamed Likewise negative purpose (after John‘s fashion) with μη — mē and the first aorist passive subjunctive of αισχυνω — aischunō to put to shame.Before him (απ αυτου — ap' autou). “From him,” as if shrinking away from Christ in guilty surprise. See 2 Thessalonians 1:9 for this use of απο — apo (from the face of the Lord). [source]
Revelation 12:6 Where [οπουεκει]
Hebrew redundancy (where - there) as in Revelation 3:8; Revelation 8:9, Revelation 8:9; Revelation 13:8, Revelation 13:12; Revelation 17:9; Revelation 20:8.Prepared (ετοιμαζω — hētoimasmenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of τοπος — hetoimazō for which verb see Matthew 20:23; Revelation 8:6; Revelation 9:7, Revelation 9:15; Revelation 16:12; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2, and for its use with απο του τεου — topos John 14:2. and for the kind of fellowship meant by it (Psalm 31:21; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Colossians 3:3; 1 John 1:3).Of God “From (by) God,” marking the source as God (Revelation 9:18; James 1:13). This anticipatory symbolism is repeated in Revelation 12:13.That there they may nourish her (ινα — hina ekei trephōsin autēn). Purpose clause with τρεπουσιν — hina and the present for continued action: active subjunctive according to A P though C reads τρεπεται — trephousin present active indicative, as is possible also in Revelation 13:17 and certainly so in 1 John 5:20 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 984), a solecism in late vernacular Greek. The plural is indefinite “they” as in Revelation 10:11; Revelation 11:9. One MSS. has trephetai (is nourished). The stereotyped phrase occurs here, as in Revelation 11:2., for the length of the dragon‘s power, repeated in Revelation 12:14 in more general terms and again in Revelation 13:5. [source]
Revelation 12:6 Prepared [ετοιμαζω]
Perfect passive predicate participle of τοπος — hetoimazō for which verb see Matthew 20:23; Revelation 8:6; Revelation 9:7, Revelation 9:15; Revelation 16:12; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2, and for its use with απο του τεου — topos John 14:2. and for the kind of fellowship meant by it (Psalm 31:21; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Colossians 3:3; 1 John 1:3). [source]
Revelation 2:17 Of the hidden manna [τοῦ μάννα τοῦ κεκρυμμένου]
The allusion may be partly to the pot of manna which was laid up in the ark in the sanctuary. See Exodus 16:32-34; compare Hebrews 9:4. That the imagery of the ark was familiar to John appears from Revelation 11:19. This allusion however is indirect, for the manna laid up in the ark was not for food, but was a memorial of food once enjoyed. Two ideas seem to be combined in the figure: 1. Christ as the bread from heaven, the nourishment of the life of believers, the true manna, of which those who eat shall never die (John 6:31-43, John 6:48-51); hidden, in that He is withdrawn from sight, and the Christian's life is hid with Him in God (Colossians 3:3). 2. The satisfaction of the believer's desire when Christ shall be revealed. The hidden manna shall not remain for ever hidden. We shall see Christ as He is, and be like Him (1 John 3:2). Christ gives the manna in giving Himself “The seeing of Christ as He is, and, through this beatific vision, being made like to Him, is identical with the eating of the hidden manna, which shall, as it were, be then brought forth from the sanctuary, the holy of holies of God's immediate presence where it was withdrawn from sight so long, that all may partake of it; the glory of Christ, now shrouded and concealed, being then revealed to His people” (Trench). -DIVIDER-
This is one of numerous illustrations of the dependence of Revelation upon Old Testament history and prophecy. “To such an extent is this the case,” says Professor Milligan, “that it may be doubted whether it contains a single figure not drawn from the Old Testament, or a single complete sentence not more or less built up of materials brought from the same source.” See, for instance, Balaam (Revelation 2:14); Jezebel (Revelation 2:20); Michael (Revelation 12:7, compare Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12:1); Abaddon (Revelation 9:11); Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, Babylon, the Euphrates, Sodom, Egypt (Revelation 21:2; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 9:14; Revelation 11:8); Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8, compare Revelation href="/desk/?q=re+2:7&sr=1">Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:27, Revelation 2:28). Heaven is described under the figure of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Revelation 11:1, Revelation 11:19; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 4:6). The song of the redeemed is the song of Moses (Revelation 15:3). The plagues of Egypt appear in the blood, fire, thunder, darkness and locusts (Revelation 8:1-13). “The great earthquake of chapter 6 is taken from Haggai; the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair and the moon becoming blood (Revelation 8:1-13) from Joel: the stars of heaven falling, the fig-tree casting her untimely figs, the heavens departing as a scroll (Revelation 8:1-13) from Isaiah: the scorpions of chapter 9 from Ezekiel: the gathering of the vine of the earth (chapter 14) from Joel, and the treading of the wine-press in the same chapter from Isaiah.” So too the details of a single vision are gathered out of different prophets or different parts of the same prophet. For instance, the vision of the glorified Redeemer (Revelation 1:12-20). The golden candlesticks are from Exodus and Zechariah; the garment down to the foot from Exodus and Daniel; the golden girdle and the hairs like wool from Isaiah and Daniel; the feet like burnished brass, and the voice like the sound of many waters, from Ezekiel; the two-edged sword from Isaiah and Psalms; the countenance like the sun from Exodus; the falling of the seer as dead from Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; the laying of Jesus' right hand on the seer from Daniel. -DIVIDER-
“Not indeed that the writer binds himself to the Old Testament in a slavish spirit. He rather uses it with great freedom and independence, extending, intensifying, or transfiguring its descriptions at his pleasure. Yet the main source of his emblems cannot be mistaken. The sacred books of his people had been more than familiar to him. They had penetrated his whole being. They had lived within him as a germinating seed, capable of shooting up not only in the old forms, but in new forms of life and beauty. In the whole extent of sacred and religious literature there is to be found nowhere else such a perfect fusion of the revelation given to Israel with the mind of one who would either express Israel's ideas, or give utterance, by means of the symbols supplied by Israel's history, to the present and most elevated thoughts of the Christian faith “(this note is condensed from Professor Milligan's “Baird Lectures on the Revelation of St. John”).A white stone ( ψῆφον λευκὴν )See on counteth, Luke 14:28; and see on white, Luke 9:29. The foundation of the figure is not to be sought in Gentile but in Jewish customs. “White is everywhere the color and livery of heaven” (Trench). See Revelation 1:14; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:14; Revelation 20:11. It is the bright, glistering white. Compare Matthew 28:3; Luke 24:4; John 20:12; Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:9. It is impossible to fix the meaning of the symbol with any certainty. The following are some of the principal views: The Urim and Thummim concealed within the High-Priest's breastplate of judgment. This is advocated by Trench, who supposes that the Urim was a peculiarly rare stone, possibly the diamond, and engraven with the ineffable name of God. The new name he regards as the new name of God or of Christ (Revelation 3:12); some revelation of the glory of God which can be communicated to His people only in the higher state of being, and which they only can understand who have actually received. -DIVIDER-
Professor Milligan supposes an allusion to the plate of gold worn on the High-Priest's forehead, and inscribed with the words “Holiness to the Lord,” but, somewhat strangely, runs the figure into the stone or pebble used in voting, and regards the white stone as carrying the idea of the believer's acquittal at the hands of God. -DIVIDER-
Dean Plumptre sees in the stone the signet by which, in virtue of its form or of the characters inscribed on it, he who possessed it could claim from the friend who gave it, at any distance of time, a frank and hearty welcome; and adds to this an allusion to the custom of presenting such a token, with the guest's name upon it, of admission to the feast given to those who were invited to partake within the temple precincts - a feast which consisted wholly or in part of sacrificial meats. -DIVIDER-
Others, regarding the connection of the stone with the manna, refer to the use of the lot cast among the priests in order to determine which one should offer the sacrifice. -DIVIDER-
Others, to the writing of a candidate's name at an election by ballot upon a stone or bean. -DIVIDER-
In short, the commentators are utterly divided, and the true interpretation remains a matter of conjecture.A new nameSome explain the new name of God or of Christ (compare Revelation 3:12); others, of the recipient's own name. “A new name however, a revelation of his everlasting title as a son of God to glory in Christ, but consisting of and revealed in those personal marks and signs of God's peculiar adoption of himself, which he and none other is acquainted with” (Alford). Bengel says: “Wouldst thou know what kind of a new name thou wilt obtain? Overcome. Before that thou wilt ask in vain, and after that thou wilt soon read it inscribed on the white stone.” [source]

What do the individual words in Colossians 3:3 mean?

You have died for and the life of you has been hidden with - Christ in God
ἀπεθάνετε γάρ καὶ ζωὴ ὑμῶν κέκρυπται σὺν τῷ Χριστῷ ἐν Θεῷ

ἀπεθάνετε  You  have  died 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ἀποθνῄσκω  
Sense: to die.
ζωὴ  life 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ζωή  
Sense: life.
ὑμῶν  of  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
κέκρυπται  has  been  hidden 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: κρύπτω  
Sense: to hide, conceal, to be hid.
τῷ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Χριστῷ  Christ 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: Χριστός  
Sense: Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God.
Θεῷ  God 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.