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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Colossians 2

Verse 1

Colossians 2:1 . Θέλω γὰρ , for I would ) He explains, why he used the word striving , ch. Colossians 1:29 , for, conflict , presently follows. ἀγῶνα , a conflict ) of anxiety, eager desire, prayers, with which I try to make amends for those things which I am unable in my absence to perform. καὶ ὅσοι , and as many ) Among these may be comprehended the Christians who were at Hierapolis, ch. Colossians 4:13 . Paul constituted himself a debtor to all the Gentiles. οὐχʼ ἑωράκασι , have not seen ) For this reason Paul does not use the familiar titles, brethren, beloved , in this whole epistle, and in it alone. [ Moreover, he writes to those churches which he had instructed face to face concerning their particular affairs, which were to be put to rights on his return to them; he suggests many things, and now and then uses a reproof, which savours of paternal authority. But to those places where he had not been personally present, he sent such letters as may be compared to persons preaching to strange hearers (Gastpredigten); presenting to them a compendious view of the whole doctrine of salvation. See that you have profited by both kinds of discussion . V. g.] τὸ πρόσωπόν μου , my face ) Even the aspect of Paul had a power of comforting ( παρακλῆσις ), Colossians 2:2 ; Acts 20:38 .

Verse 2

Colossians 2:2 . Συμβιβασθέντων ) The participle categorically affirming: they are united together (“knit together”), says Paul, in love; comp. Colossians 2:5 ; the other things should be added. If you would read [4] ΣΥΜΒΙΒΑΣΘΈΝΤΕς , this will be the solution: ἽΝΑ ΠΑΡΑΚΛΗΘῶΣΙ ΤΑῖς ΚΑΡΔΊΑΙς ΑὐΤῶΝ , ΣΥΜΒΙΒΑΣΘΈΝΤΕς , that they, being knit together, may be comforted in their hearts . Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:16 , note. ἐν ἀγάπῃ ) in the mutual love of God and believers. καὶ ) even . εἰς ΕἸς , to to ) An Anaphora [repetition of the same words in beginnings; Append.], of which the second part explains the first in two clauses. τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ , of God and the Father and of Christ ) The article is accurately put. He here lays down a proposition regarding God and Christ, and discusses it at Colossians 2:8-9 ; Colossians 2:12-13 : for all the fulness of the Godhead is in Christ, Colossians 2:9 .

[4] So indeed the margin of the 2d Ed., rather than the larger Ed., advises the adoption of this reading. E. B.

Συμβιβασθέντες is read by ABCD corrected, ( Δ ). f Vulg. have ‘instructi.’ Hilar. 1025, ‘instituti.’ Συμβιβασθέντων has none of the oldest MSS. in its favour. ED.

Verse 3

Colossians 2:3 . Ἐν ᾧ ) in Whom , rather in which , viz. the mystery of God and the Father and of Christ. He who possesses this ought to ask for nothing more, so far as wisdom and other good things are concerned. Regarding Christ Himself, the question is taken up at Colossians 2:9 . εἰσὶ , are ) Construe: all hidden treasures are in that mystery [But Engl. Vers. makes ἀπόκρυφοι prædicate, In whom are hid , etc.]: ἀπόκρυφοι , without the article. πάντες , all , cor responds to the all , Colossians 2:2 . οἱ θησαυροὶ , treasures ) Hence are derived πλοῦτος , the riches , ibid. τῆς σοφίας , of wisdom ) Hence comes the σύνεσις , understanding , ibid. τῆς γνώσεως , of knowledge ) Hence ἐπίγνωσις , the full knowledge , [5] ibid: comp. 1 Corinthians 13:12 , note. ἈΠΌΚΡΥΦΟΙ , hidden ) for it is a mystery , ibid: comp. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 .

[5] Engl. Vers. acknowledgment . Επίγνωσις is more than γνῶσις . ED.

Verse 4

Colossians 2:4 . Μή τις , lest any man ) So Colossians 2:8 ; Colossians 2:16 ; Colossians 2:18 . παραλογίζηται ἐν πιθανολογίᾳ , beguile you with enticing or plausible words ) Comp. Romans 16:19 , with what goes before. That is, an enticing plausible speech, which, for example, makes a show of humility , Colossians 2:18 ; Colossians 2:23 . Some mixed together Judaism and the Eastern philosophy. See Budd. eccl. apost., pp. 466, 467.

Verse 5

Colossians 2:5 . Χαίρων καὶ Βλέπων , joying and beholding ) i.e. beholding with joy. τάξιν , order ) lest anything should be out of joint (‘lame’), Hebrews 12:13 . Both individuals and those who are joined together should maintain order . Paul looks to those joined together, that they be knit together , συμβιβασθέντες , Colossians 2:2 . στερέωμα , stedfastness ) that it may not easily lose order . Stedfast faith does not permit anything to be removed out of its order. This stedfastness is required in individuals, as the full assurance in Colossians 2:2 . Order is understood to belong to love Faith is stedfastness when it is itself stedfast.

Verse 6

Colossians 2:6 . Τὸν Κυρίον , the Lord ) The article shows that they had received Christ as the Lord. ἐν αὐτῷ περιπατεῖτε , walk ye in Him ) This is the scope of the epistle. We give the following summary:

I. The Inscription, Colossians 1:1-2 .

II. The Doctrine, by which the apostle pathetically explains the mystery of Christ, in the way of thanksgiving for the Colossians, ver. 3 seq., and prayer for the same, Colossians 1:9-10 ; Colossians 1:12-13 ; Colossians 1:15-16 ; Colossians 1:21-22 :

Along with a declaration of his affection for them, Colossians 1:24-25 ; Colossians 2:1-2 .

III. The Exhortation.

1) General, by which he stirs them up to perseverance in Christ, Colossians 2:6-7 :

And admonishes them not to be deceived, Colossians 2:8 .

Here again he describes the mystery of Christ, in order, Colossians 2:9-10 :

And in the same order derives his admonitions from Christ, the Head, Colossians 2:16 :

And from His death, Colossians 2:20 , et seqq.:

And from His exaltation, Colossians 3:1-4 .

2) Special.

1. That vices should be avoided, Colossians 3:5-9 :

And virtues practised, Colossians 3:10-11 :

Especially love, Colossians 3:12-13 :

And the study of the word of Christ, Colossians 3:16-17 .

2. That they should do their duty.

1. Wives and husbands,Colossians 3:18-19; Colossians 3:18-19 .

2. Children and parents, Colossians 3:20-21 .

3. Servants and masters, Colossians 3:22-23 ; Colossians 4:1 .

3) Final, To prayer, Colossians 4:2-3 .

To spiritual wisdom, Colossians 4:5-6 .

IV. Conclusion, Colossians 4:7-8 ; Colossians 4:10-11 ; Colossians 4:15-16 ; Colossians 4:18 .

Verse 7

Colossians 2:7 . Ἐῤῥιζωμένοι , rooted ) Ephesians 3:18 . Time past instead of the commencement. [6] ἘΠΟΙΚΟΔΟΜΟΎΜΕΝΟΙ ) The present, as being even still in progress, Acts 20:32 . ἘΝ ΑὐΤῷ , in Him ) in Jesus Christ, as Lord. In the faith is the parallel, which presently follows. ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ , with thanksgiving ) This constitutes and shows the lawful and joyful use of (external) things, which some burden with prohibitions, Colossians 2:21 ; 1Co 10:30 ; 1 Timothy 4:3-4 .

[6] i.e . Their faith was already long established, not merely beginning. ED.

Verse 8

Colossians 2:8 . Μὴ τις ἔσται ) So, ἵνα ἔσται , Revelation 22:14 . συλαγωγῶν ) who not only makes spoil out of you, but makes yourselves a spoil . Both to this word συλαγωγῶν , and to the word κενῆς , vain , are opposed fulness, riches, treasures [Colossians 2:2-3 ; Col 2:9 ]. διὰ , by ) This expresses the instrument. φιλοσοφίας καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης , philosophy and vain deceit ) a Hendiadys, as Colossians 2:18 . Philosophy is in itself a kind of thing indifferent (midway between good and bad); but its abuse, however, tending to deceit, is more easy [than its use for good], especially in that Jewish philosophy of which they at that time boasted, and which they endeavoured to accommodate to the purity of the faith; for Paul does not say, that we are brought to Christ by philosophy . Paul maintains that what his opponents boasted to be philosophy and ‘wisdom,’ Colossians 2:23 , was vain deceit . κατὰ , according to ) This definitely points out what philosophy is intended, and restricts the general appellation to the Jewish philosophy. This is indicated in the discussion, Colossians 2:11 ; Colossians 2:16 ; Colossians 2:20 ; wherefore the proposition in Col 2:8 ought not to be more widely extended, as if also applying to the Gentile philosophy, although the Jews had taken their philosophy from the Gentiles; and, by parity of reasoning, this remark applies to all philosophy. τῶν ἀνθρώπων , of men ) The antithesis is, of the Godhead , Colossians 2:9 . τὰ στοιχεῖα , the elements [rudiments]) The antithesis is, bodily , Colossians 2:9 ; Colossians 2:17 : comp. elements , Galatians 4:3 , note. καὶ οὐ κατὰ Χριστὸν , and not according to Christ ) He ought therefore peculiarly and solely to approve of the dectrine that is according to Christ .

Verse 9

Colossians 2:9 . Ὃτι ) for, since . The reason is hereby given, why those alone should be attended to, who teach according to Christ. ἐν αὐτῷ , in Him ) John 14:10 . κατοικεῖ , dwells ) ch. Colossians 1:19 , note. πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος , all the fulness of the Godhead ) Believers are filled with [rather into , εἰς τὸ πλήρωμα , so as to enter into a living participation of ] all the fulness of God; Ephesians 3:19 . But all the fulness of the Godhead , i.e. the Godhead in its greatest fulness, dwells in Christ; not merely the Divine attributes, but the Divine nature itself; ch. Colossians 1:19 . The abstract word is most significant. [7] σωματικῶς , bodily ) God is the head of Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:3 , and Christ is the head of all, Colossians 2:10 ; and Christ is related to God, as His body , the Church, is to Christ; but Christ could not with propriety be called the body of God. Therefore the language is varied. The Godhead itself, as it were the very entire substance (essence) of the Godhead, dwells in Christ, in a manner most immediate (vividly present) and most real. The type was God’s glory dwelling in the temple of Solomon. Σῶμα , the body , does not always denote the body properly so called; Colossians 2:11 ; Col 2:17

[7] “Of the Godhead ,” in its essence not merely θειότητος , of the godlike character . ED.

Verse 10

Colossians 2:10 . Καὶ ) and therefore. ἐστὲ ) ye are . πεπληρωμένοι , filled up, made full [ complete ]) John 1:16 . The fulness of Christ redounds to the Church; Psalms 133:2 . Therefore His fulness is infinitely more abundant. He Himself is full; we are filled [by and from Him] with wisdom and power. ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης , the head of all ) Ephesians 1:10 . πάσης ἀρχῆς , of all principality ) Therefore we ought to present our petitions to Christ , not to angels .

Verse 11

Colossians 2:11 . Καὶ ) also . Paul now enumerates the steps in the progress of those, who have become partakers of the fulness of Christ. περιετμήθητε , ye are circumcised ) As circumcision, so baptism, refers to initiation. περιτομῇ , with the circumcision ) of the heart. ἀχειροποιήτῳ , not made with hands ) An epithet very suitable for the New Testament; comp. Ephesians 2:11 ; Hebrews 9:11 ; Hebrews 9:24 . ἀπεκδύσει ) a word most significant; Colossians 2:15 . τοῦ σώματος , of the body ) This, as a whole, is opposed to the part, uncircumcision: ἀπέκδυσις σώματος , the putting (stripping) off the body , a mild definition of death . It is different therefore from baptism: it is the circumcision of the heart; it is death spiritual, in a good sense, whereas baptism is compared to burial . [ Communion with (joint participation in) the death and burial and resurrection of Christ is described in this and the following verse . V.g.] τῆς σαρκὸς , of the flesh ) There is an apposition between the body of sins and the flesh [not the body of the sins of the flesh , as Engl. Vers., but the body of the sins , that is to say, the flesh ]. ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ) by the circumcision of Christ , which accords with the New Testament; a circumcision, to which that of Moses, in the flesh, gives place.

Verse 12

Colossians 2:12 . Βαπτίσματι , in baptism ) As death is before the resurrection, so in this third or middle term of the comparison, baptism naturally precedes matured (full-grown) faith. ἐν ᾧ , in which ) An Anaphora [the frequent repetition of the same words in the beginnings], comp. Colossians 2:11 . διὰ τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἐνεργείας τοῦ Θεοῦ ) A remarkable expression: faith is of Divine operation , and Divine working is in believers; Ephesians 1:19 ; Eph 2:8 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:13 .

Verse 13

Colossians 2:13 . Καὶ ὑμᾶς , and you ) The discourse, Colossians 2:10-12 , was indefinite under the form of the second person, whereas now he speaks strictly in the second person; and, indeed, there is a remarkable Asyndeton [want of the copulative conjunction], by which Colossians 2:13-15 , are connected. νεκροὺς ὄντας , being dead ) Ephesians 2:1-2 . τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς , in the uncircumcision of the flesh ) An exquisite term for original sin. συνεζωοποίησε σὺν αὐτῷ ) God hath quickened you together with Christ; comp Ephesians 2:4-5 . The words, took away ( ἦρκεν , Col 2:14 ), and made a show ( ἐδειγμάτισεν , Col 2:15 ), which have no copulative conjunction connecting them, either with one another or with συνεζωοποίησεν , [8] depend on this expression, along with the annexed participles, all of which (viz. both the verbs and the participles) are to be referred to God the Father. χαρισάμενος ) The aorist is determined by the tense of the verb, to which it is added. Now, I adopt this reading, χαρισάμενος ὑμῖν , [9] and connect this clause with the preceding words. In this view, Colossians 2:13 , along with those that precede it, addresses the Gentiles; and Col 2:14 introduces the Jews speaking. παραπτώματα , offences ) from which death had arisen. Deliverance from the reproach of sin, Colossians 2:14 , and deliverance from the power of darkness, Colossians 2:15 , are united with this deliverance from sin.

[8] For the καὶ before αὐτὸ qualifies it, and is not a copulative of the verbs, as the Engl. Vers. makes it. ED.

[9] For the reading ὑμῖν , in the larger Ed., is considered not so certain: whereas by the margin of 2d Ed., with the concurrence of the Germ. Vers., it is reckoned among those that are more certain. E. B.

Ἡμῖν is read by ABCDG fg Hilar. 204, 773. Ὑμῖν is supported by Vulg. Hilar. 990, 1067, and according to Lachm. by B (but Tisch. claims B for ἡμῖν ). ED.

Verse 14

Colossians 2:14 . Ἐξαλείψας , having blotted out ) A word appropriate in regard to writing: join it with ἦρκεν , took away . καθʼ ἡμῶν , against us ) This verse brings in the Jews speaking. [ Not only was the law against us, καθʼ ἡμῶν , by its demands, but also an adversary to us, ὑπενάντιον ἡμῖν (Engl. Vers. contrary to us ), by its accusation . V. g.] χειρόγραφον , handwriting ) When a debt has been contracted, it generally follows, that the debtor by his handwriting acknowledges himself to be bound. The debt is forgiven: and then, and not till then, the handwriting is blotted out . Our sins were debts: our sins themselves were not the handwriting, but that which flowed from them as a consequence, the undeniable stain, the remembrance, the outcry (see Jer 17:1-2 ), not so much in our conscience, as in the presence of God, while the law in various ways accuses and condemns us. [All this constitutes the handwriting.] Hebrews 10:3 ; Hebrews 10:17 ; 1 Corinthians 15:56 . To be against ( καθʼ ἡμῶν ), and to be our adversary or inimical ( ὑπενάντιον ἡμῖν ), differ, as a state of war and an actual engagement. The handwriting was against us, but God blotted it out. The handwriting was an enemy to us, but God took it out of the way, Ephesians 2:15 , seq. τοῖς δόγμασιν , by the decrees ) the determinations of His good pleasure . These are the decrees of grace.[But Engl. Vers. the handwriting of ordinances , viz. the legal ordinances.] The mention of the writing is included in that which was against us, not in that by which we were relieved. [10] The letter killeth , 2 Corinthians 3:6 . See Ven. D. Hauberi tract. ad h. l. ὑπεναντίον , an adversary [Engl. Vers. contrary ]) ὑπὸ does not mean, secretly, underhand , in this compound, as is evident from the LXX. [11] καὶ αὐτὸ ) it also . [12] ἮΡΚΕΝ ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΜΈΣΟΥ ) So ΚΑΤΑΡΓΉΣΑς , Ephesians 2:15 . ΠΡΟΣΗΛΏΣΑς , having nailed it to ) The allusion is to the nails of the cross of Christ. The handwriting, being pierced through, is considered as abolished. It may be resolved into, after He had nailed it to His cross; for ἦρκεν , He took away , refers to the fruit of the resurrection. So also Colossians 2:15 , after He had triumphed over them . The full exercise of power over the vanquished is now the beginning of the triumph , when the vanquished are bound, and are made ready for becoming a show. The triumph takes for granted the victory, and follows it after an interval. It perhaps took place when Christ descended into hell.

[10] i.e . No writing is mentioned in connection with the decrees of grace, as it is in the case of the law. ED.

[11] Tittmann, however, says, Ὑπενάντιος and ἐνάντιος certè sic differunt ut illud denotet adversarium, nullâ manifestœ vis notione, potius contrarium . somewhat contrary, having a latent opposition to us. N. T. Syn. ED.

[12] Not, as Engl. Vers., the καὶ joining συνεζωοποίησεν and ἧρκεν : there is Asyndeton. ED.

Verse 15

Colossians 2:15 . Ἀπεκδυσάμενος , having stripped off, having spoiled ) Matthew 12:29 . τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας , principalities and powers ) Those, who worshipped good angels, at the same time feared the bad; neither with good reason: comp. Colossians 2:10 . ἐδειγμάτισεν , made a show ) This was done at His ascension, Ephesians 4:8 . ἐν παῤῥησίᾳ , openly ) While both they themselves beheld it in their turn, and good angels, and then men, and God Himself. The nakedness of the vanquished enemy was manifest from the fact itself, and in the Gospel. αὐτοὺς , them ) The masculine refers to the angels. ἐν αὐτῷ , in Him ) in Christ. So Hilarius the deacon explains it. This ( ἐν αὐτῷ ) refers (belongs) to the whole paragraph, [ which treats of GOD down from Colossians 2:12 . V. g.] and which is here concluded. [ Evidently as Ephesians 1:20 ; Ephesians 2:5 . V. g.]

Verse 16

Colossians 2:16 . οὖν , therefore ) The therefore is deduced from Colossians 2:8-15 . See Colossians 2:16 (comp. note on Col 2:20 ), ch. Colossians 3:1 ; Colossians 3:5 ; Colossians 3:12 . κρινέτω , let no man judge ) A Metonymy of the antecedent for the consequent, i.e. attend to no one who attempts to judge you; so Colossians 2:18 . ἐν βρώσει , in meat ) He says less than he wishes to be understood ( Tapeinosis ). [13] ἘΝ ΜΈΡΕΙ ἙΟΡΤῆς , [ in part or partly ] in respect of a holiday ) The expression, [ in part or partly ] in respect , here seems to have the power of separating. One might disturb believers on the subject of meat and drink ( Col 2:21 ), another again about holidays. The holiday is yearly; the new moon , monthly; the sabbaths , weekly. Comp. Galatians 4:10 , note. ἢ σαββάτων , or of sabbaths ) The plural for the singular, Matthew 12:1 : but it is used here significantly [with express design]; for the several days of the week are called Sabbaths , Matthew 28:1 [ ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων . See Gnom. there]; therefore Paul intimates here that all distinction of days is taken away; for he never wrote more openly concerning the Sabbath. Christ, after that He Himself, the Lord of the Sabbath, had come, or else before His suffering, in no obscure language taught the liberty of the Sabbath; but He asserted it more openly by Paul after His resurrection. Nor has it yet been expressly defined what degree of obligation is to be assigned to the Sabbath, what to the Lord’s day; but this has been left to the measure of every one’s faith . The Sabbath is not cited as authoritative [laudatur], is not commanded; the Lord’s day is mentioned, not enjoined. An appointed [a definite and fixed] day is useful and necessary to those who are rather deeply immersed and engrossed in the concerns of the world. They who always sabbatize [they who keep a continual Sabbath], enjoy greater liberty. The Sabbath is a type even of eternal things, Hebrews 4:3-4 ; but yet its obligation does not on that account continue in the New Testament, otherwise the new moons should be retained, Isaiah 66:23 . [14]

[13] See App.

[14] For there we find in a future state an antitype to the new moons as well as to the Sabbath , which would prove too much. ED.

Verse 17

Colossians 2:17 . Σκιὰ , a shadow ) Hebrews 8:5 ; Hebrews 10:1 . A shadow , without life. σῶμα , the body ) the very truth shadowed forth by the old ceremonies. The body , as well as the shadow , to which it is opposed, is the predicate; and therefore it may be thus resolved: meat, drink , etc., are the shadow of things to come; but the body of Christ is the body [the substantial thing], or, in other words, that which belongs to Christ is the body . Allusion is made to the very body of Christ, but Christianity is understood; τὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐστὶ σῶμα . If you suppose that ‘ body ’ is to be supplied in the subject, it will be a Ploce. [15]

[15] See App. A word put twice, once in the meaning of the simple word, then to express an attribute of it. The body of Christ is the body, i.e. the substance, the essential thing . ED.

Verse 18

Colossians 2:18 . Μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβραβευέτω , let no man assume the office of umpire to dictate to you [ let no man beguile you of your reward [16] ]) A word closely connected with judging ( κρινέτω ), and establishing ordinances or dogmas ( δογματίζεσθε ), Colossians 2:16 ; Colossians 2:20 ; for βραβεύω , I guide or regulate [‘moderor;’ Engl. Vers. rule ], see Colossians 3:15 , note; from which καταβραβεύω differs, as καταχράομαι [abuse] differs from χράομαι [use]; and the verb itself, which is compounded with κατὰ , governs the accusative, ὑμᾶς , you , for the preposition κατὰ would require the genitive: Hesychius has καταβράβεται (read καταβραβεύεται ) κατακρίνεται , καταγωνίζεται . Therefore Paul means to say, Let no one, usurping the authority of judge [arbitrator] of the prizes, and accordingly abusing it, guide and regulate you in the race which you are running, and mislead you by prescribing what you, about to receive the prize, should follow, what you should avoid. A French interpreter has skilfully used the word maitriser , “ to domineer; ” for the apostle is not speaking of a rival snatching the prize of the race before you, but of an odious, perverse, insolent judge (umpire). On this verb depend four participles, through as many sentences, of which the first and third, the second and fourth, have respect to each other. The manifold advantage of this Chiasmus, now noticed, will by and by appear. θέλων ἐν ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ) Often חפץ , with ב following it, is expressed by the word θέλω , ἐθέλω , εὐδοκῶ , βούλομαι ἐν τινί , for example, 1 Samuel 18:22 ; 1 Samuel 18:25 ; comp. the compound ἐθελοθρησκεία , Colossians 2:23 : θέλων , one who does something with his will [with inclination: a volunteer in doing]. Comp. Mark 12:38 , note. ΤΑΠΕΙΝΟΦΡΟΣΎΝῌ ΚΑῚ ΘΡΗΣΚΕΊᾼ ΤῶΝ ἈΓΓΈΛΩΝ , with humility of feeling (sentiment) and worshipping of angels ) A Hendiadys. They worship angels under pretext of humility and modesty, as if they dared not immediately and directly address themselves to God and Christ. “This error,” says Alexander Morus, “had driven its roots so deep into the earth, that not even after three centuries could it be pulled out; for the 35th canon of the Council of Laodicea was framed against it; and this city was the metropolis of Phrygia, where Colosse also was. That canon condemns the Angelici , for so they were called.” “The Angelici ,” says Augustine Haeres. 39, “are those inclined to the worship of angels.” By this authority, the invocation of saints and intercourse with spirits, how plausible soever they may be, are entirely taken away. ἃ μὴ ἑώρακεν , ἐμβατεύων ) Heinsius observes, This language is similar in principle to that of the Greek tragedians , ΚΕῖΝʼ ἘΜΒΑΤΕΎΩΝ , ὍΣΣΑ ΜῊ ΒΛΈΠΕΙΝ ΘΈΜΙς , intruding into those things at which it is unlawful to look . Ἑώρακεν , saw with the eyes, and ἘΜΒΑΤΕΎΩΝ , intruding with the feet, are spoken metaphorically of the mind. The foot should not get before the eyes: ἐμβατεύω , I go in, I enter in, I pass through ( penetrate ). It is used concerning a hostile invasion, 1Ma 12:25 . It is figuratively applied to the understanding, and signifies, I pry into or search , I handle , Chrys. de Sac. For how should Christ, ὁ τὰς ἁπάντων ἐμβατεύων καρδίας , who searches the hearts of all, ask for the sake of learning? On this passage we have made several observations, T. I. p. 376. Moreover, there is a compound, ΚΕΝΕΜΒΑΤΕῖΝ , said of the vain study of abstruse subjects , on which see Suicer’s Thesaurus; and the same Al. Morus proves by the examples taken from Damascius, that this word was used by Plato. And there is little doubt, that Paul himself had in his mind the word of Plato, when he was refuting those who held the same opinion as Plato concerning angels; comp. κενῆς , Colossians 2:8 . But yet, when he might have said, ἃ μὴ ἑώρα κενεμβατεύων , he yet does not say so (for the things into which the καταβραβεύων intrudes, are not in themselves utterly κενὰ , vain , but only not seen by him); but he lays down something even more weighty, since the ἐμβατεύειν rather expresses the haughtiness of the καταβραβεὑων . On the opposite side, the κρατεῖν , to hold the Head , corresponds, which is not done in vain , but tends to increase . ΦΥΣΙΟΎΜΕΝΟς , puffed up ) The antithesis is, humility of sentiment ( ΤΑΠΕΙΝΟΦΡΟΣὐΝῌ ); and yet these two are joined together.

[16] This is the Engl. Vers. Bengel translates it, let no one treat you according to his own whim (pro arbitrio). The verb καταβραβεύω signifies to decide against any one in adjudging the prizes at the public games. It appears, from a passage in Demosthenes, to imply fraud and injustice in the decision.

Wahl , Clavis N. T. , renders the verb, palma or prœmio fraudo . “Properly it means, to be umpire in a contest to the detriment of some one .” ED.

Verse 19

Colossians 2:19 . Οὐ κρατῶν , not holding ) He who does not hold Christ solely and above all others, does not hold Him at all. τὴν κεφαλὴγ , the Head ) Here faith has a foundation whereon it may be fixed. The opposite is, ἃ μὴ ἑώρακεν , ἐμβατεύων , he who flies beyond things placed in the middle ( within reach ), and tries to catch those that escape his grasp . ἐξ οὗ , from which ) [not from which Head , but from which hold ] from holding the head; or else, from whom , viz. Christ , the Head. διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν ) by the joints (ties), [17] viz. of faith , Ephesians 4:16 . It is to this word that ἐπιχορηγούμενον refers. καὶ συνδέσμων ) and bonds (bands) of ‘love’ and ‘peace,’ Ephesians 4:3 . It is to this that συμβιβαζόμενον refers; comp. Colossians 2:2 . ἐπιχορηγούμενον ) receiving ἐπιχορηγίαν , ministration to it (being ministered to); so 3Ma 6:38 , πανθʼ ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως χορηγούμενοι , supplied with all things by the king .

[17] Beng. here translates ἁφῶν , nexus; but see the somewhat different explanation in Gnom., Ephesians 4:16 . ED.

Verse 20

Colossians 2:20 . Εἰ , if ) The inference, begun at Colossians 2:16 , is continued; and at ch. Colossians 3:1 , a new inference follows. ἀπεθάνετε ἀπὸ , ye are dead from ) An abbreviated expression, i.e. dead , and so set free from the elements, etc. ἀπὸ τῶν στοιχείων , from the elements ) Colossians 2:8 . δογματίζεσθε ) in the Middle voice, you receive (take up) dogmas , ordinances.

Verse 21

Colossians 2:21 . Μὴ , not ) Thus the dogmatists commonly spoke. ἅψῃ , touch ) The genus; the species are, to taste ( γεύσῃ ) with the tongue, and to handle ( θίγῃς ) with the hand.

Verse 22

Colossians 2:22 . Ἅ ἐστι , which are ) Those things, namely, which are touched, tasted , etc. εἰς φθορὰν , [ are to end in destruction ] to perish ) and which therefore do not defile; 1 Corinthians 6:13 ; the middle of Matthew 15:17 . τῇ ἀποχρήσει ) in the using up (entire consumption), not strictly so called [not the abuse ], but so far as it denotes the use , which is natural, civil, external, truly indifferent, and removed from superstitious fear and severity (rigour). κατἁ , according to ) as the commandments of men are wont to be . τὰ ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας , the commandments and doctrines ) Matthew 15:9 , note.

Verse 23

Colossians 2:23 . Ἅτινα , which ) An Anaphora [repetition of the same word in beginnings]: comp. ἅ , which , Colossians 2:22 . ἔστι , are ) Construe, are for, to the satisfying ( ἐστιν πρὸς πλησμονὴν ), as Colossians 2:22 , are for perishing ( ἐστιν εἰς φθορὰν ); therefore resolve ἔχοντα into though (whereas) they have , that it may form a clause: ἔστι , are , and πρὸς , to , being disjoined, the sentence becomes appropriately (appositely) suspended. λόγον ) a name and a plausible appearance. μὲν , indeed ) The force of the particle δὲ , but , which makes an Apodosis, is concealed in the finite verb ἔστι , are. [18] ἘΘΕΛΟΘΡΗΣΚΕΊᾼ , will-worship ) ἐθελοθρησκεία , as well as humility of sentiment ( ταπεινοφροσύνη ), has a plausible appearance. For this word, as E. Schmidius well shows, denotes worship (whether right or wrong), performed willingly and with ready inclination: such ΕὐΠΕΊΘΕΙΑ , ready promptness or obsequiousness , has the appearance of wisdom: comp. James 3:17 ; for it seems to be removed from obstinacy, as humility of sentiment ( ταπεινοφροσύνη ) seems to be removed from pride. ΤΑΠΕΙΝΟΦΡΟΣΎΝῌ , humility of sentiment ) Colossians 2:18 , note. καὶ ἀφειδίᾳ σώματος , [Engl. Vers., neglecting of , etc.] and with severe treatment of [ not sparing ] the body ) which is the case when many things are withheld from the body, which might be afforded to it, Colossians 2:21 ; nay, the body itself is purposely worn down [mortified]. This also looks plausible, for it becomes saints, 1 Corinthians 9:27 ; although ἀφειδία expresses something more odious, than ΤῸ ὙΠΩΠΙΆΖΕΙΝ ΚΑῚ ΔΟΥΛΑΓΩΓΕῖΝ , in the passage quoted from first Corinthians. These three things, plausible in appearance, involve a threefold relation: to God, to angels, to one’s own self; and therefore they have, when joined together, a perfect appearance. ΟὐΚ ἘΝ ΤΙΜῇ ΤΙΝΙ , not in any price or estimation [ honour ]) This clause closely coheres with the preceding; and the latter, ἐν , in , is opposed to the preceding ἐν , in . The LXX. ἄνευ τιμῆς , i.e. without price, for nothing , Isaiah 55:1 ; Psalms 44:13 ; Job 31:39 . It becomes the man who is ennobled by faith, to have a just estimation of himself, not in himself, but in his Lord Jesus Christ alone, whereby he is not unworthily to degrade himself, inasmuch as having been redeemed at such a price, and striving for such a great reward, for example, through the appearance of ἐθελοθρησκείας , will-worship: Acts 13:46 ; Rom 2:7 ; 1 Corinthians 6:15 ; 1 Corinthians 3:21 ; 1Co 7:23 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:4 . This estimation produces holy φιλοτιμίαν , ambition ( φιλοτιμοῦμεν , we labour with ambition ), 2 Corinthians 5:9 ; but it is restrained by true self-denial, and again is tarnished by the commandments of men [ Col 2:20-21 ], which, because they bring to us nothing worth while, nothing worthy of estimation [nothing ἐν τιμῇ τινὶ ], comp. Hebrews 13:9 , have an entirely empty and vain appearance of wisdom and every good thing: comp. by all means, ΕἸΚῆ , vainly , Colossians 2:18 . This passage is in consonance with Philippians 3:19 , where see the note; and both accord with Habakkuk 2:16 , ΠΛΗΣΜΟΝΗΝ ΑΤΙΜΙΑΣ ἐκ δόξης , Κ . Τ . Λ ., Thou hast filled thyself with shame for glory; drink thou therefore also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered . But true τίμη , price or estimation [‘honour’], is theirs who see the glory of the Lord , lb., Colossians 2:14 . πρὀς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκὸς ) to the satisfying of the flesh: πλησμονὴ , satisfying to the full, satiety , generally denotes excess: σὰρξ , flesh , does not signify the body, but is put as at Colossians 2:18 . [19] Hilarius the deacon, whose commentary on the thirteen epistles of Paul is found among the works of Ambrose , on this passage, says: “Sagina carnalis sensus, traditio humana est,” human tradition is the overloading (surfeiting) of the carnal sense or appetite . A golden sentence. Tradition puffs up; it clogs the sense of heaven (the perception of heavenly things). Ἐθελοθρησκεία , κ . τ . λ ., and πλησμονὴ τῆς σαρκὸς , are therefore in antithesis, and yet joined together. They put away true τιμὴν , price, value , or estimation [‘ honour ’], that they may satisfy to the full the flesh; πρὸς denotes that which is regarded as the important concern, or the end, for the sake of which the other things (practices) are assumed (adopted).

[18] Which, though having indeed ( μὲν ) a name of wisdom, etc., yet ( δὲ understood and implied in ἔστι ) are to the mere satisfying of the flesh. ED.

[19] τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ , of his fleshly mind: i.e. flesh , not literally, but in the spiritual application carnality . ED.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Colossians 2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.