The motto for Trail Life USA, “Walk worthy,” is taken from the words of St. Paul to the Church in Colossae. The following commentary on these verses illuminate why this scripture passage serves as a guidepost for all Trailmen. A verse of scripture is quoted, paraphrased (in bold), and commented upon.
Col 1:9 Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding:
Therefore, as soon as we heard of your faith and charity, we ceased not praying to God for you, and supplicating him to fill you with a more perfect knowledge of his holy will, by bestowing upon you the gifts of all knowledge and spiritual understanding.
“With the knowledge of his will,” may mean, the general will of God, regarding them, the great rule to which they should conform their lives; or “the will of God,” in reference to the mode in which he has been pleased to save man, viz., by the death of his Son, and not by angels. And this extended knowledge they will acquire more perfectly by “spiritual wisdom,” i.e., by knowing the mysteries of faith on principles of faith, and “understanding,” knowing them by human illustrations; or “wisdom,” may mean the speculative knowledge of the truths of faith, and “understanding,” the knowledge of applying these truths and principles to the practical detail of their lives.
Col 1:10 That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God:
That you may live in a manner becoming sons of God and followers of Christ, so as to please God in all things, producing the fruit of every kind of good works, and advancing and progressing more and more in the knowledge of God.
“Worthy of God.” In Greek, worthy of the Lord. “In all things pleasing,” in Greek, unto all pleasing. He explains in the following words, how they will walk worthy of God and please him; it is by omitting no opportunity of performing good works, which he calls “fruitful,” because as the fruits of the earth preserve our temporal life, so do good works ensure our eternal life.
Col 1:11 Strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy,
That strengthened with perfect power, which came from the operation of his glorious omnipotence alone, you may endure all crosses with patience, with long-suffering, and with joy.
He also prays without ceasing, that fortified with perfect spiritual strength, through the glorious power of God, they would be patient and forbearing in adversity, and even receive it with joy, “according to the power of his glory,” i.e., his glorious power. God’s omnipotence is never so glorious as in rendering those omnipotent who hope in him, says St. Bernard. “Patience” is exercised in bearing those afflictions which we cannot revenge; “longanimity,” in bearing with those which we can punish. “With joy.” The patient endurance of crosses is more magnanimous than the performance of the most heroic actions. “Romanorum est fortia facere, Christianorum fortia pati,” out to bear severe trials, not only with patience but with joy, is peculiarly Christian. The basic meaning and intent of the Latin phrase seems to be: it is Roman to do brave deed, Christian to suffer bravely. The first part of the phrase probably originated in reference to Roman soldiers.
Col 1:12 Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light:
We give thanks to God the Father, who, of his pure mercy and grace, has vouchsafed to make us sharers by the light of faith in the inheritance of the saints, which consists in light, or the beatific vision of God.
“Giving thanks to God the Father.” The Greek omits, God. Some persons connects this verse with verse 9, thus: “we cease not praying God to grant you this grace also of thanking him for having called you,” &c. According to the connexion in the Paraphrase, a new sentence is commenced, and St. Paul having concluded his petitions in the preceding verse, now thanks God for the benefits here enumerated. “The lot of the saints,” τοῦ κληρου τῶν ἁγ ων. Eternal life is called a “lot,” to express its gratuitousness, and the absence of strict claim on our part signified by the absence of a claim on the part of those who gain a thing by casting lots. And though we merit eternal life; still, it is primarily founded on grace. In crowning our merits, he only crowns his own gifts.—St. Augustine (from his Treatise ON GRACE AND FREE WILL). “In light.” The light of faith here, or the light of glory hereafter, by which we shall see God, face to face. “It may, however, denote both, as in Paraphrase.”
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love,
Who has rescued us from the power of darkness, i.e., of demons and infidels, and translated us to the kingdom, i.e., the Church of his beloved Son here, which is the portal to the kingdom of heaven hereafter.
“Darkness,” taken in a moral sense in SS. Scripture, denotes evil; hence, it means here, the power of the devil, the prince of darkness. “The Son of his love,” a Hebraism, for his most beloved Son.
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins:
Through whom we have obtained redemption, which consists in the remission of our sins, and which he effected by giving his blood by way of ransom or price for us.
In the following verses the Apostle claims for Christ, the titles of Creator and Redeemer, the two grand prerogatives of which the Simonians attempted to deprive him, and which they wished to transfer to angels. In this verse, he claims for Him the title of Redeemer, upon which he dilates more fully at verse 20—after claiming for him the title of Creator in the intervening verses, 16, 17, 18, 19.