1:23 the gospel. The “gospel” which Paul preached evidently encompassed the whole scope of the person and work of Jesus Christ, from creation to consummation (Colossians 1:15-20; note also the reference to “the word of the truth of the gospel” in Colossians 1:5). Thus, this great Christological passage in Colossians 1:12-23 is both introduced and concluded by calling it all “the gospel.” See also notes on Matthew 4:23; I Corinthians 15:1-4; Revelation 14:6-7.
1:23 every creature. It seems to be impossible that the gospel could have been “preached to every creature which is under heaven” in just the thirty or so years since Christ had given the disciples the commission to do just that (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). However, the preposition “to” is the Greek “en,” more commonly translated simply by “in.” Also, the word “creature” is the same as “creation” and is commonly so translated. Thus the clause may read: “ which was preached in every creation which is under heaven,” a statement which is defensible and true. The Old Testament reminds us that “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handywork” (Psalm 19:1). The New Testament assures us that “the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). For those who have eyes and ears to see and hear with their hearts, there can be found in every part of God’s creation abundant testimony to His power and wisdom in creating and upholding all things. There is evidence of His curse upon the creation because of sin, evidence of His love in conserving and saving His creatures, and evidence of His purpose and future consummation. Truly the gospel is being preached in every creation under heaven!