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Of Christ Jesus (Χριστου Ιησου). This order in the later epistles shows that Χριστος is now regarded as a proper name and not just a verbal adjective (Anointed One, Messiah). Paul describes himself because he is unknown to the Colossians, not because of attack as in Galatians 1:1.
Timothy (Τιμοθεος). Mentioned as in I and II Thess. when in Corinth, II Cor. when in Macedonia, Phil. and Philemon when in Rome as here.
At Colossae (εν Κολοσσαις). The spelling is uncertain, the MSS. differing in the title (Κολασσαεις) and here (Κολοσσαις). Colossae was a city of Phrygia on the Lycus, the tributaries of which brought a calcareous deposit of a peculiar kind that choked up the streams and made arches and fantastic grottoes. In spite of this there was much fertility in the valley with two other prosperous cities some ten or twelve miles away (Hierapolis and Laodicea). "The church at Colossae was the least important of any to which Paul's epistles were addressed" (Vincent). But he had no greater message for any church than he here gives concerning the Person of Christ. There is no more important message today for modern men.
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (τω θεω πατρ του κυριου ημων Ιησου Χριστου). Correct text without κα (and) as in Colossians 3:17, though usually "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Romans 15:6; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6). In verse Colossians 1:2 we have the only instance in the opening benediction of an epistle when the name of "Jesus Christ" is not joined with "God our Father."
Always (παντοτε). Amphibolous position between ευχαριστουμεν (we give thanks) and προσευχομενο (praying). Can go with either.
Having heard of (ακουσαντες). Literary plural unless Timothy is included. Aorist active participle of ακουω of antecedent action to ευχαριστουμεν. Epaphras (verse Colossians 1:8) had told Paul.
Your faith in Jesus Christ (την πιστιν υμων εν Ιησου Χριστω). See Ephesians 1:15 for similar phrase. No article is needed before εν as it is a closely knit phrase and bears the same sense as the objective genitive in Galatians 2:16 (δια πιστεως Χριστου Ιησου, by faith in Christ Jesus).
Which ye have (ην εχετε). Probably genuine (Aleph A C D), though B omits it and others have the article (την). There is a real distinction here between εν (sphere or basis) and εις (direction towards), though they are often identical in idea.
Because of the hope (δια την ελπιδα). See Romans 8:24. It is not clear whether this phrase is to be linked with ευχα ιστουμεν at the beginning of verse Colossians 1:3 or (more likely) with την αγαπην just before. Note also here πιστις (faith), αγαπη (love), ελπις (hope), though not grouped together so sharply as in 1 Corinthians 13:13. Here hope is objective, the goal ahead.
Laid up (αποκειμεινην). Literally, "laid away or by." Old word used in Luke 19:20 of the pound laid away in a napkin. See also αποθησαυριζω, to store away for future use (1 Timothy 6:19). The same idea occurs in Matthew 6:20 (treasure in heaven) and 1 Peter 1:4 and it is involved in Philemon 3:20.
Ye heard before (προηκουσατε). First aorist indicative active of this old compound προακουω, though only here in the N.T. Before what? Before Paul wrote? Before the realization? Before the error of the Gnostics crept in? Each view is possible and has advocates. Lightfoot argues for the last and it is probably correct as is indicated by the next clause.
In the word of the truth of the gospel (εν τω λογω της αληθειας του ευαγγελιου). "In the preaching of the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2:5; Galatians 2:14) which is come (παροντος, present active participle agreeing with ευαγγελιου, being present, a classical use of παρειμ as in Acts 12:20). They heard the pure gospel from Epaphras before the Gnostics came.
In all the world (εν παντ τω κοσμω). A legitimate hyperbole, for the gospel was spreading all over the Roman Empire.
Is bearing fruit (εστιν καρποφορουμενον). Periphrastic present middle indicative of the old compound καρποφορεω, from καρποφορος (Acts 14:17) and that from καρπος and φερω. The periphrastic present emphasizes the continuity of the process. See the active participle καρποφορουντες in verse Colossians 1:10.
Increasing (αυξανομενον). Periphrastic present middle of αυξανω. Repeated in verse Colossians 1:10. The growing and the fruit-bearing go on simultaneously as always with Christians (inward growth and outward expression).
Ye heard and knew (ηκουσατε κα επεγνωτε). Definite aorist indicative. They heard the gospel from Epaphras and at once recognized and accepted (ingressive second aorist active of επιγινωσκω, to know fully or in addition). They fully apprehended the grace of God and should be immune to the shallow vagaries of the Gnostics.
Of Epaphras (απο Επαφρα). "From Epaphras" who is the source of their knowledge of Christ.
On our behalf (υπερ ημων). Clearly correct (Aleph A B D) and not υπερ υμων (on your behalf). In a true sense Epaphras was Paul's messenger to Colossae.
Who also declared (ο κα δηλωσας). Articular first aorist active participle of δηλοω, old verb, to make manifest. Epaphras told Paul about their "love in the Spirit," grounded in the Holy Spirit.
That ye may be filled with (ινα πληρωθητε). First aorist (effective) passive subjunctive of πληροω, to fill full.
The knowledge of his will (την επιγνωσιν του θεληματος αυτου). The accusative case is retained with this passive verb. Επιγνωσις is a Koine word (Polybius, Plutarch, etc.) for additional (επ) or full knowledge. The word is the keynote of Paul's reply to the conceit of Gnosticism. The cure for these intellectual upstarts is not ignorance, not obscurantism, but more knowledge of the will of God.
In all spiritual wisdom and understanding (εν παση σοφια κα συνεσε πνευματικη). Both πασε (all) and πνευματικη (spiritual) are to be taken with both σοφια and συνεσε. In Ephesians 1:8 Paul uses φρονησε (from φρην, intellect) rather than συνεσε (grasp, from συνιημ, to send together). Συνεσις is the faculty of deciding in particular cases while σοφια gives the general principles (Abbott). Paul faces Gnosticism with full front and wishes the freest use of all one's intellectual powers in interpreting Christianity. The preacher ought to be the greatest man in the world for he has to deal with the greatest problems of life and death.
To walk worthily of the Lord (περιπατησα αξιως του Κυριου). This aorist active infinitive may express purpose or result. Certainly this result is the aim of the right knowledge of God. "The end of all knowledge is conduct" (Lightfoot). See 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Philippians 1:27; Ephesians 4:1 for a like use of αξιως (adverb) with the genitive.
In the knowledge of God (τη επιγνωσε του θεου). Instrumental case, "by means of the full knowledge of God." This is the way for fruit-bearing and growth to come. Note both participles (καρποφορουντες κα αυξανομενο) together as in verse Colossians 1:6.
Unto all pleasing (εις πασαν αρεσκιαν). In order to please God in all things (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Αρεσκια is late word from αρεσκευω, to be complaisant (Polybius, Plutarch) and usually in bad sense (obsequiousness). Only here in N.T., but in good sense. It occurs in the good sense in the papyri and inscriptions.
Strengthened (δυναμουμενο). Present passive participle of late verb δυναμοω (from δυναμις), to empower, "empowered with all power." In LXX and papyri and modern Greek. In N.T. only here and Hebrews 11:34 and MSS. in Ephesians 6:10 (W H in margin).
According to the might of his glory (κατα το κρατος της δοξης αυτου). Κρατος is old word for perfect strength (cf. κρατεω, κρατιλος). In N.T. it is applied only to God. Here his might is accompanied by glory (Shekinah).
Unto all patience and longsuffering (εις πασαν υπομονην κα μακροθυμιαν). See both together also in James 5:10; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 2 Timothy 3:10. Hυπομονη is remaining under (υπομενω) difficulties without succumbing, while μακροθυμια is the long endurance that does not retaliate (Trench).
Who made us meet (τω ικανωσαντ ημας). Or "you" (υμας). Dative case of the articular participle of ικανοω, late verb from ικανος and in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 3:6 (which see), "who made us fit or adequate for."
To be partakers (εις μεριδα). "For a share in." Old word for share or portion (from μερος) as in Acts 8:21; Acts 16:12; 2 Corinthians 6:15 (the only other N.T. examples).
Of the inheritance (του κληρου). "Of the lot," "for a share of the lot." Old word. First a pebble or piece of wood used in casting lots (Acts 1:26), then the allotted portion or inheritance as here (Acts 8:21). Cf. Hebrews 3:7-4.
In light (εν τω φωτ). Taken with μεριδα (portion) "situated in the kingdom of light" (Lightfoot).
Delivered (ερυσατο). First aorist middle indicative of ρυομα, old verb, to rescue. This appositional relative clause further describes God the Father's redemptive work and marks the transition to the wonderful picture of the person and work of Christ in nature and grace in verses Colossians 1:14-20, a full and final answer to the Gnostic depreciation of Jesus Christ by speculative philosophy and to all modern efforts after a "reduced" picture of Christ. God rescued us out from (εκ) the power (εξουσιας) of the kingdom of darkness (σκοτους) in which we were held as slaves.
Translated (μετεστησεν). First aorist active indicative of μεθιστημ and transitive (not intransitive like second aorist μετεστη). Old word. See 1 Corinthians 13:2. Changed us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
Of the Son of his love (του υιου της αγαπης αυτου). Probably objective genitive (αγαπης), the Son who is the object of the Father's love like αγαπητος (beloved) in Matthew 3:17. Others would take it as describing love as the origin of the Son which is true, but hardly pertinent here. But Paul here rules out the whole system of aeons and angels that the Gnostics placed above Christ. It is Christ's Kingdom in which he is King. He has moral and spiritual sovereignty.
In whom (εν ω). In Christ as in Ephesians 1:7. This great sentence about Christ carries on by means of three relatives (εν ω Colossians 1:14, ος Colossians 1:15, ος Colossians 1:18) and repeated personal pronoun (αυτος), twice with οτ (Colossians 1:15; Colossians 1:19), thrice with κα (Colossians 1:17; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:20), twice alone (Colossians 1:16; Colossians 1:20).
Our redemption (την απολυτρωσιν). See on Romans 3:24 for this great word (Koine), a release on payment of a ransom for slave or debtor (Hebrews 9:15) as the inscriptions show (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 327).
The forgiveness of our sins (την αφεσιν των αμαρτιων). Accusative case in apposition with απολυτρωσιν as in Ephesians 1:7 ( remission , sending away, αφεσις, after the
redemption απολυτρωσις, buying back). Only here we have αμαρτιων (sins, from αμαρτανω, to miss) while in Ephesians 1:7 we find παραπτωματων (slips, fallings aside, from παραπιπτω).
The image (εικων). In predicate and no article. On εικων, see 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29; Colossians 3:10. Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father as he was before the Incarnation (John 17:5) and is now (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:3).
Of the invisible God (του θεου του αορατου). But the one who sees Jesus has seen God (John 14:9). See this verbal adjective (α privative and οραω) in Romans 1:20.
The first born (πρωτοτοκος). Predicate adjective again and anarthrous. This passage is parallel to the Λογος passage in John 1:1-18 and to Hebrews 1:1-4 as well as Philippians 2:5-11 in which these three writers (John, author of Hebrews, Paul) give the high conception of the Person of Christ (both Son of God and Son of Man) found also in the Synoptic Gospels and even in Q (the Father, the Son). This word (LXX and N.T.) can no longer be considered purely "Biblical" (Thayer), since it is found In inscriptions (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 91) and in the papyri (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, etc.). See it already in Luke 2:7 and Aleph for Matthew 1:25; Romans 8:29. The use of this word does not show what Arius argued that Paul regarded Christ as a creature like "all creation" (πασης κτισεως, by metonomy the act regarded as result). It is rather the comparative (superlative) force of πρωτος that is used (first-born of all creation) as in Colossians 1:18; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 1:5. Paul is here refuting the Gnostics who pictured Christ as one of the aeons by placing him before "all creation" (angels and men). Like εικων we find πρωτοτοκος in the Alexandrian vocabulary of the Λογος teaching (Philo) as well as in the LXX. Paul takes both words to help express the deity of Jesus Christ in his relation to the Father as εικων (Image) and to the universe as πρωτοτοκος (First-born).
All things (τα παντα). The universe as in Romans 11:35, a well-known philosophical phrase. It is repeated at the end of the verse.
In him were created (εν αυτω εκτισθη). Paul now gives the reason (οτ, for) for the primacy of Christ in the work of creation (Colossians 1:16). It is the constative aorist passive indicative εκτισθη (from κτιζω, old verb, to found, to create (Romans 1:25). This central activity of Christ in the work of creation is presented also in John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2 and is a complete denial of the Gnostic philosophy. The whole of creative activity is summed up in Christ including the angels in heaven and everything on earth. God wrought through "the Son of his love." All earthly dignities are included.
Have been created (εκτιστα). Perfect passive indicative of κτιζω, "stand created," "remain created." The permanence of the universe rests, then, on Christ far more than on gravity. It is a Christo-centric universe.
Through him (δι' αυτου). As the intermediate and sustaining agent. He had already used εν αυτω (in him) as the sphere of activity.
And unto him (κα εις αυτον). This is the only remaining step to take and Paul takes it (1 Corinthians 15:28) See Ephesians 1:10 for similar use of εν αυτω of Christ and in Colossians 1:19; Colossians 1:20 again we have εν αυτωι, δι' αυτου, εις αυτον used of Christ. See Hebrews 2:10 for δι' ον (because of whom) and δι' ου (by means of whom) applied to God concerning the universe (τα παντα). In Romans 11:35 we find εξ αυτου κα δι' αυτου κα εις αυτον τα παντα referring to God. But Paul does not use εξ in this connection of Christ, but only εν, δια, and εις. See the same distinction preserved in 1 Corinthians 8:6 (εξ of God, δια, of Christ).
Before all things (προ παντων). Προ with the ablative case. This phrase makes Paul's meaning plain. The precedence of Christ in time and the preeminence as Creator are both stated sharply. See the claim of Jesus to eternal timeless existence in John 8:58; John 17:5. See also Revelation 23:13 where Christ calls himself the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning (αρχη) and the End (τελος). Paul states it also in 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:6.
Consist (συνεστηκεν). Perfect active indicative (intransitive) of συνιστημ, old verb, to place together and here to cohere, to hold together. The word repeats the statements in verse Colossians 1:16, especially that in the form εκτιστα. Christ is the controlling and unifying force in nature. The Gnostic philosophy that matter is evil and was created by a remote aeon is thus swept away. The Son of God's love is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe which is not evil.
The head of the body (η κεφαλη του σωματος). Jesus is first also in the spiritual realm as he is in nature (verses Colossians 1:18-20). Paul is fond of the metaphor of the body (σωμα) for believers of which body Christ is the head (κεφαλη) as seen already in 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:5. See further Colossians 1:24; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 4:2; Ephesians 4:15; Ephesians 5:30.
The church (της εκκλησιας) Genitive case in explanatory apposition with του σωματος. This is the general sense of εκκλησια, not of a local body, assembly, or organization. Here the contrast is between the realm of nature (τα παντα) in verses Colossians 1:15-17 and the realm of spirit or grace in verses Colossians 1:18-20. A like general sense of εκκλησια occurs in Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 5:24-32; Hebrews 12:23. In Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul uses various figures for the kingdom of Christ (commonwealth πολιτεια, verse Colossians 1:12, one new man εις ενα καινον ανθρωπον, verse Colossians 1:15, one body εν εν σωματ, verse Colossians 1:16, family of God οικειο του θεου, verse Colossians 1:19, building or temple οικοδομη and ναος, verses Colossians 1:20-22).
Who (ος). Causal use of the relative, "in that he is."
The beginning (η αρχη). It is uncertain if the article (η) is genuine. It is absolute without it. Christ has priority in time and in power. See Revelation 3:14 for his relation as αρχη to creation and 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23 for απαρχη used of Christ and the resurrection and Acts 3:14 for αρχηγος used of him as the author of life and Hebrews 2:10 of Jesus and salvation and Colossians 1:12-2 of Jesus as the pioneer of faith.
That in all things he might have the preeminence (ινα γενητα εν πασιν αυτος πρωτευων). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομα, "that he himself in all things (material and spiritual) may come to (γενητα, not η, be) hold the first place" (πρωτευων, present active participle of πρωτευω, old verb, to hold the first place, here only in the N.T.). Christ is first with Paul in time and in rank. See Revelation 1:5 for this same use of πρωτοτοκος with των νεκρων (the dead).
For it was the good pleasure of the Father (οτ ευδοκησεν). No word in the Greek for "the Father," though the verb calls for either ο θεος or ο πατηρ as the subject. This verb ευδοκεω is common in the N.T. for God's will and pleasure (Matthew 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:5).
All the fulness (παν το πληρωμα). The same idea as in Colossians 2:9 παν το πληρωμα της θεοτητος (all the fulness of the Godhead). "A recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes" (Lightfoot). It is an old word from πληροω, to fill full, used in various senses as in Mark 8:20 of the baskets, Galatians 4:10 of time, etc. The Gnostics distributed the divine powers among various aeons. Paul gathers them all up in Christ, a full and flat statement of the deity of Christ.
Should dwell (κατοικησα). First aorist active infinitive of κατοικεω, to make abode or home. All the divine attributes are at home in Christ (εν αυτω).
Through him (δι' αυτου). As the sufficient and chosen agent in the work of reconciliation (αποκαταλλαξα, first aorist active infinitive of αποκαταλλασσω, further addition to ευδοκησεν, was pleased). This double compound (απο, κατα with αλλασσω) occurs only here, verse Colossians 1:22; Ephesians 2:16, and nowhere else so far as known. Paul's usual word for "reconcile" is καταλλασσω (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Romans 5:10), though διαλλασσω (Matthew 5:24) is more common in Attic. The addition of απο here is clearly for the idea of complete reconciliation. See on 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 for discussion of καταλλασσω, Paul's great word. The use of τα παντα (the all things, the universe) as if the universe were somehow out of harmony reminds us of the mystical passage in Romans 8:19-23 which see for discussion. Sin somehow has put the universe out of joint. Christ will set it right.
Unto himself (εις αυτον). Unto God, though αυτον is not reflexive unless written αυτον.
Having made peace (ειρηνοποιησας). Late and rare compound (Proverbs 10:10 and here only in N.T.) from ειρηνοποιος, peacemaker (Matthew 5:9; here only in N.T.). In Ephesians 2:15 we have ποιων ειρηνην (separate words)
making peace . Not the masculine gender, though agreeing with the idea of Christ involved even if πληρωμα be taken as the subject of ευδοκησεν, a participial anacoluthon (construction according to sense as in Colossians 2:19). If θεος be taken as the subject of ευδοκησεν the participle ειρηνοποιησας refers to Christ, not to θεος (God).
Through the blood of his cross (δια του αιματος του σταυρου αυτου). This for the benefit of the Docetic Gnostics who denied the real humanity of Jesus and as clearly stating the causa medians (Ellicott) of the work of reconciliation to be the Cross of Christ, a doctrine needed today.
Or things in the heavens (ειτε τα εν τοις ουρανοις). Much needless trouble has been made over this phrase as if things in heaven were not exactly right. It is rather a hypothetical statement like verse Colossians 1:16 not put in categorical form (Abbott), universitas rerum (Ellicott).
And you (κα υμας). Accusative case in a rather loose sentence, to be explained as the object of the infinitive παραστησα in verse Colossians 1:22 (note repeated υμας there) or as the anticipated object of αποκατηλλαξεν if that be the genuine form in verse Colossians 1:22. It can be the accusative of general reference followed by anacoluthon. See similar idiom in Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:12.
Being in time past alienated (ποτε οντας απηλλοτριωμενους). Periphrastic perfect passive participle (continuing state of alienation) of απαλλοτριοω, old word from Plato on, to estrange, to render αλλοτριος (belonging to another), alienated from God, a vivid picture of heathenism as in Romans 1:20-23. Only other N.T. examples in Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 4:18. Ενεμιες (εξθρους). Old word from εχθος (hatred). Active sense here,
hostile as in Matthew 13:28; Romans 8:7, not passive
hateful (Romans 11:28).
In your mind (τη διανοια). Locative case. Διανοια (δια, νους), mind, intent, purpose. Old word. It is always a tragedy to see men use their minds actively against God.
In your evil works (εν τοις εργοις τοις πονηροις). Hostile purpose finds natural expression in evil deeds.
Yet now (νυν δε). Sharpened contrast with emphatic form of νυν, "now" being not at the present moment, but in the present order of things in the new dispensation of grace in Christ.
Hath he reconciled (αποκατηλλαξεν). First aorist (effective, timeless) active indicative (a sort of parenthetical anacoluthon). Here B reads αποκαταλλαγητε, be ye reconciled like καταλλαγητε in 2 Corinthians 5:20 while D has αποκαταλλαγεντες. Lightfoot prefers to follow B here (the hard reading), though Westcott and Hort only put it in the margin. On the word see verse Colossians 1:20.
In the body of his flesh (εν τω σωματ της σαρκος αυτου). See the same combination in Colossians 2:11 though in Ephesians 2:14 only σαρκ (flesh). Apparently Paul combines both σωμα and σαρξ to make plain the actual humanity of Jesus against incipient Docetic Gnostics who denied it.
Through death (δια του θανατου). The reconciliation was accomplished by means of Christ's death on the cross (verse Colossians 1:20) and not just by the Incarnation (the body of his flesh) in which the death took place.
To present (παραστησα). First aorist active (transitive) infinitive (of purpose) of παριστημ, old verb, to place beside in many connections. See it used of presenting Paul and the letter from Lysias to Felix (Acts 23:33). Repeated in Colossians 2:28. See also 2 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Corinthians 4:14. Paul has the same idea of his responsibility in rendering an account for those under his influence seen in Hebrews 13:17. See Romans 12:1 for use of living sacrifice.
Holy (αγιους). Positively consecrated, separated unto God. Common in N.T. for believers. Haupt holds that all these terms have a religious and forensic sense here.
Without blemish (αμωμους). Without spot (Philippians 2:15). Old word α privative and μωμος (blemish). Common in the LXX for ceremonial purifications.
Unreproveable (ανεγκλητους). Old verbal adjective from α privative and εγκαλεω, to call to account, to pick flaws in. These three adjectives give a marvellous picture of complete purity (positive and negative, internal and external). This is Paul's ideal when he presents the Colossians "before him" (κατενωπιον αυτου), right down in the eye of Christ the Judge of all.
If so be that ye continue in the faith (ε γε επιμενετε τη πιστε). Condition of the first class (determined as fulfilled), with a touch of eagerness in the use of γε (at least). Επ adds to the force of the linear action of the present tense (continue and then some).
Pistei is in the locative case (in faith).
Grounded (τεθεμελιωμενο). Perfect passive participle of θεμελιοω, old verb from θεμελιος (adjective, from θεμα from τιθημ, laid down as a foundation, substantive, 1 Corinthians 3:11). Picture of the saint as a building like Ephesians 2:20.
Steadfast (εδραιο). Old adjective from εδρα (seat). In N.T. only here, 1 Corinthians 7:37; 1 Corinthians 15:58. Metaphor of seated in a chair.
Not moved away (μη μετακινουμενο). Present passive participle (with negative μη) of μετακινεω, old verb, to move away, to change location, only here in N.T. Negative statement covering the same ground.
From the hope of the gospel (απο της ελπιδος του ευαγγελιου). Ablative case with απο. The hope given by or in the gospel and there alone.
Which ye heard (ου ηκουσατε). Genitive case of relative either by attraction or after ηκουσατε. The Colossians had in reality heard the gospel from Epaphras.
Preached (κηρυχθεντος). First aorist passive participle of κηρυσσω, to herald, to proclaim.
In all creation (εν παση κτισε). Κτισις is the act of founding (Romans 1:20) from κτιζω (verse Colossians 1:16), then a created thing (Romans 1:25), then the sum of created things as here and Revelation 3:14. It is hyperbole, to be sure, but Paul does not say that all men are converted, but only that the message has been heralded abroad over the Roman Empire in a wider fashion than most people imagine.
A minister (διακονος). General term for service (δια, κονις, raising a dust by speed) and used often as here of preachers like our "minister" today, one who serves. Jesus used the verb διακονησα of himself (Mark 10:45). Our "deacon" is this word transliterated and given a technical meaning as in Philippians 1:1.
Now I rejoice (νυν χαιρομεν). This is not a new note for Paul. See him in jail in Philippi (Acts 16:25) and in 2 Corinthians 11:16-33; Romans 5:3; Philippians 2:18.
Fill up on my part (ανταναπληρω). Very rare double compound verb (here only in N.T.) to fill (πληροω) up (ανα), in turn (αντ). It is now Paul's "turn" at the bat, to use a baseball figure. Christ had his "turn," the grandest of all and suffered for us all in a sense not true of any one else. It is the idea of balance or correspondence in αντ as seen in Demosthenes's use of this verb (De Symm., p. 282), "the poor balancing the rich." And yet Christ did not cause suffering to cease. There is plenty left for Paul and for each of us in his time.
That which is lacking (τα υστερηματα). "The left-overs," so to speak. Late word from υστερεω, to come behind, to be left, to fail. See Luke 21:4; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 8:14; 2 Corinthians 9:12.
For his body's sake (υπερ του σωματος αυτου). As Paul showed in his exultation in suffering in 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, though not in the same sense in which Christ suffered and died for us as Redeemer. Paul attaches no atoning value whatever to his own sufferings for the church (see also verse Colossians 1:18).
According to the dispensation of God (κατα την οικονομιαν του θεου). "According to the economy of God." An old word from οικονομεω, to be a house steward (οικοσ, νεμω) as in Luke 16:2-4; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:9. It was by God's stewardship that Paul was made a minister of Christ.
To fulfil the word of God (πληρωσα τον λογον του θεου). First aorist active infinitive of purpose (πληροω), a fine phrase for a God-called preacher, to fill full or to give full scope to the Word of God. The preacher is an expert on the word of God by profession. See Paul's ideal about preaching in 2 Thessalonians 3:1.
The mystery (το μυστηριον). See on 1 Corinthians 2:7 for this interesting word from μυστης (initiate), from μυεω, to wink, to blink. The Gnostics talked much of "mysteries." Paul takes their very word (already in common use, Matthew 13:11) and uses it for the gospel.
Which hath been hid (το αποκεκρυμμενον). Perfect passive articular participle from αποκρυπτω, old verb, to hide, to conceal from (1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:9).
But now it hath been manifested (νυν δε εφανερωθη). First aorist passive indicative of φανεροω, to make manifest (φανερος). The construction is suddenly changed (anacoluthon) from the participle to the finite verb.
God was pleased (ηθελησεν ο θεος). First aorist active indicative of θελω, to will, to wish. "God willed" this change from hidden mystery to manifestation.
To make known (γνωρισα). First aorist active infinitive of γνωριζω (from γινωσκω). Among the Gentiles (εν τοις εθνεσιν). This is the crowning wonder to Paul that God had included the Gentiles in his redemptive grace, "the riches of the glory of this mystery" (το πλουτος της δοξης του μυστηριου τουτου) and that Paul himself has been made the minister of this grace among the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1-2). He feels the high honour keenly and meets the responsibility humbly.
Which (ο). Grammatical gender (neuter) agreeing with μυστηριου (mystery), supported by A B P Vulg., though ος (who) agreeing with Χριστος in the predicate is read by Aleph C D L. At any rate the idea is simply that the personal aspect of "this mystery" is "Christ in you the hope of glory" (Χριστος εν υμιν η ελπις της δοξης). He is addressing Gentiles, but the idea of εν here is in, not among. It is the personal experience and presence of Christ in the individual life of all believers that Paul has in mind, the indwelling Christ in the heart as in Ephesians 3:17. He constitutes also the hope of glory for he is the Σεκινα of God. Christ is our hope now (1 Timothy 1:1) and the consummation will come (Romans 8:18).
Whom (ον). That is, "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
We proclaim (καταγγελλομεν). Paul, Timothy and all like-minded preachers against the Gnostic depreciation of Christ. This verb originally (Xenophon) meant to denounce, but in N.T. it means to announce (αγγελλω) throughout (κατα), to proclaim far and wide (Acts 13:5).
Admonishing (νουθετουντες). Old verb from νουθετης, admonisher (from νουσ, τιθημ). See already Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:15, etc. Warning about practice and teaching (διδασκοντες) about doctrine. Such teaching calls for "all wisdom"
Every man (παντα ανθρωπον). Repeated three times. "In opposition to the doctrine of an intellectual exclusiveness taught by the false teachers" (Abbott).
That we may present (ινα παραστησωμεν). Final use of ινα and first aorist active subjunctive of παριστημ, for which see Colossians 1:22, the final presentation to Christ.
Perfect (τελειον). Spiritual adults in Christ, no longer babes in Christ (Hebrews 5:14), mature and ripened Christians (Colossians 4:22), the full-grown man in Christ (Ephesians 4:13). The relatively perfect (Philippians 3:15) will on that day of the presentation be fully developed as here (Colossians 4:12; Ephesians 4:13). The Gnostics used τελειος of the one fully initiated into their mysteries and it is quite possible that Paul here has also a sidewise reference to their use of the term.
Whereunto (εις ο). That is "to present every man perfect in Christ."
I labour also (κα κοπιω). Late verb κοπιαω, from κοπος (toil), to grow weary from toil (Matthew 11:28), to toil on (Philippians 2:16), sometimes for athletic training. In papyri.
Striving (αγωνιζομενος). Present middle participle of common verb αγωνιζομα (from αγων, contest, as in Colossians 2:1), to contend in athletic games, to agonize, a favourite metaphor with Paul who is now a prisoner.
Working (ενεργειαν). Our word "energy." Late word from ενεργης (εν, εργον), efficiency (at work). Play on the word here with the present passive participle of ενεργεω, ενεργουμενην (energy energized) as in Ephesians 1:19. Paul was conscious of God's "energy" at work in him "mightily" (εν δυναμε), "in power" like dynamite.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Colossians 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany