3:11 ὅπου οὐκ ἔνι Ἕλλην καὶἸουδαῖος, περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία, βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος, ἀλλὰ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἐνπᾶσιν Χριστός.
in practical terms in the church, Christ makes irrelevant ethnic, cultural, and social distinctions
cf. 1Cor.12:13; Gal.3:28
formulationa are varied
Greek = the other nations (non-Jew)
the distinction of Jew&Greek, circumcision&uncircumcision are the same. Why?
1. the primary challenge to the Colossian believers was posed by local Jews
2.it presupposed a valuation of circumcision which called the Christians' standing as beneficiaries of Jewish heritage into questionthe distinction between Jew and Greek, as marked out by circumcision, has been removed by Christ; the privileges of the Jewish people which have kept them separate from the other nations have been opened up to the Gentiles by the Jewish Messiah (cf.Gal.5:6; 6:15)
βάρβαρος: carried a derogatory significance, primary meaning - a peaker of a strange, unintelligible language, later - non-Greeks
Σκύθης: "Scythian" had the metaphorical sense of "rude, rough person"
its verbal form σκυθιξω meant both "drink immoderately" and "shave the head (their dead enemies)"in Christ there is no place for any such racial, ethnic, or cultural contempt among peoples and individuals; even the wild, repulsive Scythians are not ruled out of court.
slavery: was completely antithetical to the Greek idealization of freedom.
here, Christ has relativized all such disctions, however fundamental to society, its structure, and its ongoing existence.
the final clause "but Christ is all and in all" is a further variation of Gal. 3:28 "for you are all one in Christ Jesus"
the variation....intended to correlate the assertion here with the cosmic emphasis of the earlier hymn (1:16-20). It is precisely because of the cosmic scope of Christ's work, including above all his act of reconciliation (1:20), that such internal divisions and ways of categorizing peoples...have ceased to have meaning as determinants of Christian self-perception, conduct, and relationships.
Anyone who recognizes God in Christ to that extent will find such human distinctions and boundaries relatively trivial and unimportant. If "Christ is everything and in everything", then nothing can diminish or disparage the staanding of any one human in relation to another or to God.