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Question Box








All Scripture texts are from the New International Version, UK edition


Question: According to Colossians 1: 23, the gospel had by the Apostle Paul’s day been ‘proclaimed’ to everyone. How was this possible?


[C]ontinue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.

This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.


Answer: It was not possible that every individual in the world had actually heard the gospel message by preaching from Paul himself, nor as a result of the combined efforts of the other Apostles and disciples. Paul could not have meant that it had. Indeed, it’s safe to say that even today, after over two thousand years of preaching through various methods and technologies, the gospel message still has not been heard in a meaningful way by every individual who has ever lived.


The verses preceding Colossians 1: 23 help to clarify the question. Verses 19, 20 read:


For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.


Similarly, when writing to Titus, the Apostle Paul declares (2: 11):


   For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men

Christ’s death the Ransom-sacrifice is the nub of the gospel. This ‘good news’ is that Jesus died for everyone every creature under heaven, and is made available to all. Anyone can, by faith, accept the salvation offered. Its ‘proclamation’ lies in the fact of the comprehensiveness of Christ’s sacrifice. This remains true regardless of how many people actually ‘hear’ about it.




Copyright September 2010 by

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