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23 Whatever you are doing,[a] work at it with enthusiasm,[b] as to the Lord and not for people,[c] 24 because you know that you will receive your[d] inheritance[e] from the Lord as the reward. Serve[f] the Lord Christ.

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  1. Colossians 3:23 tn The present progressive “are doing” was used in the translation of ποιῆτε (poiēte) to bring out the idea that Paul is probably referring to what they already do for work.
  2. Colossians 3:23 tn Grk “from the soul.”
  3. Colossians 3:23 tn Grk “men”; here ἀνθρώποις (anthrōpois) is used in a generic sense and refers to people in general.
  4. Colossians 3:24 tn The article τῆς (tēs) has been translated as a possessive pronoun, “your” (ExSyn 215). It may also be functioning to indicate a well-known concept (inheritance as eternal life). See BDAG 548 s.v. κληρονομία 3: “common in Christian usage (corresp. to the LXX) (the possession of) transcendent salvation (as the inheritance of God’s children).”
  5. Colossians 3:24 tn The genitive τῆς κληρονομίας (tēs klēronomias) is a genitive of apposition: The reward consists of the inheritance.
  6. Colossians 3:24 tn The form of the term δουλεύετε (douleuete) is ambiguous; it can be read as either indicative or imperative. In favor of the indicative: (1) it seems to explain better the first part of v. 24, esp. “from the Lord” which would then read as: “because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as a reward for it is the Lord you are serving.” The “for” is supplied to make the relation explicit (it is actually added in many mss—D1 Ψ 075 M—but the best ms evidence is against its inclusion). (2) With the imperative, one might expect ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ (hōs tō kuriō), as for example in Eph 6:7. In favor of the imperative: (1) an imperative resumes the ἐργάζεσθε (ergazesthe) in v. 23a and forms a chiasm with it; (2) an imperative makes more sense of the γάρ (gar) in v. 25a; (3) an imperative relates equally well to the preceding statement; (4) a parallel can be found in Rom 12:11 which uses an imperatival participle δουλεύοντες (douleuontes) with the dative τῷ κυρίῳ. For an elaboration of these points see M. J. Harris, Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT), 185-86.