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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
Colossians 2

 

 

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Introduction

CHAP. 2. FIRST PART OF THE EPISTLE. His earnestness in entering into and forwarding the Christian life among them, so amply set forth in ch. 1, is now more pointedly directed to warning them against false teachers. This he does by 1) connecting his conflict just spoken of, with the confirmation in spiritual knowledge of themselves and others whom he had not seen (Colossians 2:1-3): 2) warning them against false wisdom which might lead them away from Christ (Colossians 2:4-23): and that a) generally and in hints (Colossians 2:4-15),—b) specifically and plain-spokenly (Colossians 2:16-23).


Verse 1

1.] For (follows on, and justifies, while it exemplifies, ἀγων ιζόμενος, ch. Colossians 1:29)—I would have you know how great (emphatic; not only that I have an ἀγών, but how great it is. The word is unusual, see reff.) a conflict (of anxiety and prayer, cf. ch. Colossians 4:12; his present imprisoned state necessitates this reference here: he could not be in conflict with the false teachers) I have on behalf of you and those in Laodicea (who probably were in the same danger of being led astray, see ch. Colossians 4:16; on Laodicea, see Prolegg. to Apocalypse, § iii. 13), and (it would not appear on merely grammatical grounds, whether this καί generalizes from the two specific instances, you and those in Laodicea, to the genus, including those two in the ὅσοι (see the two first reff., in the second of which however ἄλλα is added)—or adds another category to the two which have preceded, as in the third ref., ΄ακεδόνες καὶκαὶκαὶ ὅσοι τῆς θρηΐκης τὴν παραλίην νέμονται. This must be decided on other grounds, viz. those furnished by the context: see below) (for) as many as have not seen (“the form ἑώρακαν is decidedly Alexandrian.… The ‘sonstige Gebrauch Pauli’ urged against it by Mey. is imaginary, as the third person plural does not elsewhere occur in St. Paul’s Epistles.” Ellicott) my face in the flesh (my corporal presence: ἐν σαρκί must not be joined with the verb, as Chrys. seems to have done, who adds, δείκνυσιν ἐνταῦθα, ὅτι ἑώρων συνεχῶς ἐν πνεύματι; for in Colossians 2:5 the σαρκί is attached to the Apostle. But it is not necessary nor natural, with Estius, to see any ‘ ταπείνωσις, ut intelligant pluris faciendam esse præsentiam spiritus quam carnis.’ Rather is the tendency of this verse the other way—to exalt the importance of the Apostle’s bodily presence with a church, if its defect caused him such anxiety), that (object of the ἀγών) their hearts (these are the words on which the interpretation of the former καὶ ὅσοι must turn. If αὐτῶν apply to a separate class of persons, who had not seen him, whereas the Colossians and Laodiceans had, how are we to bring them into the ἀγών? In Colossians 2:4 the third person αὐτῶν becomes ὑμᾶς. Where is the link, on this hypothesis, that binds them together? The sentence will stand thus: “I am anxious for you who have seen me, and for others who have not: for these last, that &c. &c. This I say that no man may deceive you.” What logical deduction can there be, from the circumstances of others, to theirs, unless they are included in the fact predicated of those others? in a word, unless the ὅσοι above include the Colossians and Laodiceans? Thus the αὐτῶν extends to the whole category of those who had never seen him, and the ὑμας of Colossians 2:4 singles them specially out from among this category for special exhortation and warning. This seeming to be the only logical interpretation of the αὐτῶν and ὑμᾶς, the καί above must be ruled accordingly, to be not copulative but generalizing: see there) may be confirmed (see reff. It can hardly be doubted here, where he is treating, not of troubles and persecutions, but of being shaken from the faith, that the word, so manifold in its bearings, and so difficult to express in English, carries with it the meaning of strengthening, not of comforting merely. If we could preserve in ‘comfort’ the trace of its derivation from ‘confortari,’ it might answer here: but in our present usage, it does not convey any idea of strengthening. This I still hold against Ellicott), they being knit together (so E. V. well: not ‘instructi,’ as vulg. On the construction, see reff. and Ephesians 3:18; Ephesians 4:2) in love (the bond of perfectness as of union: disruption being necessarily consequent on false doctrine, their being knit together in love would be a safeguard against it. Love is thus the element of the συμβιβασθῆναι) and (besides the elementary unity) unto (as the object of the συμβ.) all (the) richness of the full assurance (reff. see also Luke 1:1) of the (Christian) understanding (the accumulated substantives shew us generally the Apostle’s anxious desire for a special reason to impress the importance of the matter on them. οἶδά, φησιν, ὅτι πιστεύετε, ἀλλὰ πληροφορηθῆναι ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, οὐκ εἰς τὸν πλοῦτον μόνον, ἀλλʼ εἰς πάντα τὸν πλοῦτον, ἵνα καὶ ἐν πᾶσι καὶ ἐπιτεταμένως πεπληροφορημένοι ἦτε, Chrys.), unto (parallel with the former, and explaining πᾶν τὸ πλ. τ. πληρ. τῆς συν. by ἐπίγν. τοῦ μ. τ. θεοῦ) the thorough-knowledge (on ἐπίγνωσις and γνῶσις, here clearly distinguished, see on ch. Colossians 1:9) of the mystery of God (the additions here found in the rec. and elsewhere seem to be owing to the common practice of annotating on the divine name to specify to which Person it belongs. Thus τοῦ θεοῦ having been original, πατρός was placed against it by some, χριστοῦ or τοῦ χριστοῦ by others: and then these found their way into the text in various combinations, some of which from their difficulty gave rise again to alterations, as may be seen in various readings. The reading in text, as accounting for all the rest, has been adopted by Griesb., Scholz, Tischdf. (edn. 2), Olsh., De Wette, al.: τοῦ θεοῦ χριστοῦ by Mey. and Steiger. This latter is also edited, in pursuance of his plan, by Lachm. The shorter reading was by that plan excluded from his present text, as not coming before his notice. In the present digest, the principal differing readings are printed in the same type as that in the text, because I have been utterly unable to fix the reading on any external authority, and am compelled to take refuge in that which appears to have been the origin of the rest. One thing is clear, that τοῦ θεοῦ χριστοῦ, which Ellicott adopts ‘with some confidence,’ is simply one among many glosses, of which it is impossible to say that any has overwhelming authority. Such expressions were not corrected ordinarily by omission of any words, but constantly by supplementing them in various ways): in which (mystery, as Grot., Beng., Mey., De W., al. (Bisping well remarks, that the two in fact run into one, as Christ is Himself the μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ. He might have referred to ch. Colossians 1:27 and 1 Timothy 3:16)—not ‘in whom,’ as E. V. (but ‘wherein’ in marg.), and so, understanding ‘whom’ of Christ, Chrys., Thdrt., al.: for it is unnatural to turn aside from the main subject of the sentence,—the μυστήριον, and make this relative clause epexegetic of the dependent genitive merely. To this view the term ἀπόκρυχφος also testifies: see below) are all the secret (the ordinary rendering is, to make ἀπόκρυφοι the predicate after εἰσίν: ‘in which are all, &c. hidden.’ The objection to this is, that it is contrary to fact: the treasures are not hidden, but revealed. The meaning given by Bähr, B.-Crus., and Robinson (Lex.), ‘laid up,’ lying concealed, ἀποκείμενα, does not belong to the word, nor is either of the places in the canonical LXX (reff.) an example of it. The rendering which I have adopted is that of Meyer, and I am persuaded on consideration that it is not only the only logical but the only grammatical one also. The ordinary one would require ἀποκεκρυμμένοι, or with ἀπόκρυφοι, a different arrangement of the words ἐν ᾧ ἀπόκρυφοί εἰσιν, or ἐν ᾧ εἰσὶν ἀπόκρυφοι. The objection, that for our rendering οἱ ἀπόκρυφοι would be required (Bähr), shews ignorance of the logic of such usage. Where the whole subject is covered by the extent of the predicate, the latter, even though separated by an intervening clause from the former, does not require the specification by the article. It may have it, but need not. Thus if all the men in a fortress were Athenians, I might say 1) οἱ ἄνδρες ἐν τούτῳ ἐν τῷ τείχει οἱ ἀθηναῖοι: but I might also say 2) of οἱ ἄνδρες ἐν τούτῳ ἐν τῷ τείχει ἀθηναῖοι. If however, part of the men were Platæans, I must use 1), and could not use 2). Here, it is not asserted that ‘all the treasures, &c. which are secret, are contained in the mystery,’ others being implied which are not secret,—but the implication is the other way: ‘the treasures, &c. are all secret, and all contained in the mystery.’ Ellicott’s rendering of ἀπόκρυφοι as an adverbial predicate, ‘hiddenly,’ is quite admissible, and tallies better with the classification and nomenclature of predicates, which he has adopted from Donaldson: but I question whether the rendering given above be not both more simple and more grammatical) treasures (see Plato, Phileb. p. 15 e, ὥς τινα σοφίας εὑρηκὼς θησαυρόν: Xen. Mem. iv. 2. 9, ἄγαμαί σου διότι οὐκ ἀργυρίου κ. χρυσίου προείλου θησαυροὺς κεκτῆσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ σοφίας: also ib. i. 7. 14) of wisdom and knowledge ( σοφ., the general, γνῶσις, the particular; see note on Ephesians 1:8).


Verse 4

4.] See summary at the beginning of the chapter. [But (the contrast is between the assertion above, and the reason of it, now to be introduced)] this (viz. Colossians 2:1-3, not Colossians 2:3 only, as Thl., Calv., al.: for Colossians 2:1 is alluded to in Colossians 2:5,—and Colossians 2:1-3 form a logically connected whole) I say, in order that (aim and design of it) no one may deceive you (the word is found in this sense in. Æsch. p. 16, 33, ἀπάτῃ τινὶ παραλογισάμενος ὑμᾶς,—ib. in Ctesiph. (Wetst.), ἢ τοὺς ἀκούοντας ἐπιλήσμονας ὑπολαμβάνεις ἢ σαυτὸν παραλογίζῃ—also in Diod. Sic., &c., in Wetst. See also Palm u. Rost sub voce) in (element in which the deceit works) persuasive discourse (add to the ref. Plato, Theæt. p. 162 e, σκοπεῖτε οὖνεἰ ἀποδέξεσθε πιθανολογίᾳ τε κ. εἰκόσι περὶ τηλικούτων λεγομένους λόγους, and see 1 Corinthians 2:4):


Verse 5

5.] personal ground, why they should not be deceived: for though I am also (in εἰ καί the force of the καί does not extend over the whole clause introduced by the εἰ, as it does in καὶ εἰ, but only belongs to the word immediately following it, which it couples, as a notable fact, to the circumstance brought out in the apodosis: so πόλιν μέν, εἰ καὶ μὴ βλέπεις, φρονεῖς δʼ ὅμως, οἵᾳ νόσῳ ξύνεστι, Soph. Œd. Tyr. 302. See Hartung, i. 139) absent (there is no ground whatever from this expression for inferring that he had been at Colossæ, as Wiggers supposed, Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 181: nor would the mere expression in 1 Corinthians 5:3 authorize any such inference were it not otherwise known to be so) in the flesh (Colossians 2:1 reff.), yet ( ἀλλά introduces the apodosis when it is a contrast to a hypothetically expressed protasis: so Hom. Il. α. 81 f., εἴπερ γάρ τε χόλον γε κ. αὐτῆμαρ κσταπέψῃ, ἀλλά τε καὶ μετόπισεν ἔχει κότον, ὄφρα τελέσσῃ. See Hartung, ii. 40) in my spirit (contrast to τῇ σαρκί: not meaning as Ambrst. and Grot., ‘Deus Paulo revelat quæ Colossis fierent’) I am with you (reff.) rejoicing (in my earlier editions, I referred χαίρων to the fact of rejoicing at being able thus to be with you in spirit: but I see, as pointed out by Ellic., that this introduces a somewhat alien thought. I would now therefore explain it, not exactly as he does, by continuing the σὺν ὑμῖν, but as referring to their general state: rejoicing as such presence would naturally suggest: the further explanation, καὶ βλέπων &c., following) and (strictly copulative: there is no logical transposition, as De W., al.: nor is καί explicative, ‘rejoicing, in that I see’—as Calv., Est., al.: nor, which is nearly allied, is there any hendiadys, ‘I rejoice, seeing,’ as Grot., Wolf, al.: nor need ἐφʼ ὑμῖν be supplied after χαίρως, as Winer and Fritzsche: but as above. The passage of Jos. in ref. is rather a coincidence of terms than an illustration of construction) seeing your order ( ἡ συμπᾶσα σχέσις κ. τάξις τῆς οἰκουμένης, Polyb. i. 4. 6: see also 36. 6; Plato Gorg. p. 504 a. It is often used of the organization of a state, e.g. Demosth. p. 200. 4, ταύτην τὴν τάξιν αἱρεῖσθαι τῆς πολιτείας. Here it imports the orderly arrangement of a harmonized and undivided church. Mey.) and (as τάξις was the outward manifestation, so this is the inward fact on which it rested) the solid basis ( ὅτε πολλὰ συναγαγὼν συγκολλήσεις πυκνῶς κ. ἀδιασπαστῶς, τότε στερἐωμα γίνεται. Chrys. It does not mean ‘firmness’ (Conyb.), nor ‘stedfastness’ (E. V.), nor indeed any abstract quality at all: but, as all nouns in - μα, the concrete product of the abstract quality) of your faith on Christ.


Verse 6

6.] As then (he has described his conflict and his joy on their behalf—he now exhorts them to justify such anxiety and approval by consistency with their first faith) ye received (from Epaphras and your first teachers) Jesus the Christ the Lord (it is necessary, in order to express the full sense of τὸν χρ. ἰησ. τὸν κύρ., to give something of a predicative force both to τὸν χρ. and to τὸν κύρ.: see 1 Corinthians 12:3 (but hardly so strong as “for your Lord,” as rendered in my earlier editions: see Ellicott here).

The expression ὁ χρ. ἰησ. ὁ κύρ. occurs only here: the nearest approach to it is in 2 Corinthians 4:5, … κηρύσσομενχριστὸν ἰησ. κύριον: where also κύρ. is a predicate: but this is even more emphatic and solemn. Cf. also Philippians 3:8, τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως χρ. ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρ. μου. On the sense, Bisping says well: “Notice that Paul here says, παρελάβετε τὸν χριστόν, and not παρελ. τὸν λόγον τοῦ χρ. True faith is a spiritual communion: for in faith we receive not only the doctrine of Christ, but Himself, into us: in faith He Himself dwells in us: we cannot separate Christ, as Eternal Truth, and His doctrine”), in Him walk (carry on your life of faith and practice), rooted (see Ephesians 3:18) and being continually built up in Him (as both the soil and the foundation—in both cases the conditional element. It is to be noticed 1) how the fervid style of St. Paul, disdaining the nice proprieties of rhetoric, sets forth the point in hand by inconsistent similitudes: the walking implying motion, the rooting and building, rest; 2) that the rooting, answering to the first elementary grounding in Him, is in the past: the being built up, answering to the continual increase in Him, is present. See Ephesians 2:20, where this latter is set forth as a fact in the past) and confirmed in the (or, your) faith (dat. of reference: it seems hardly natural with Mey. to take it instrumental, as there is no question of instrumental means in this passage), as ye were taught, abounding in it (reff.) in thanksgiving (the field of operation, or element, in which that abundance is manifested. “Non solum volo vos esse confirmatos in fide, verum etiam in ea proficere et proficiendo abundare per pleniorem mysteriorum Christi cognitionem: idque cum gratiarum actione erga Deum, ut auctorem hujus totius boni.” Est.).


Verse 8

8.] Take heed lest there shall be (the future indicative expresses strong fear lest that which is feared should really be the case; so Aristoph. Eccles. 487, περισκοπουμένη κἀκεῖσε καὶ τἀκ δεξιᾶς, μὴ ξυμφορὰ γενήσεται τὸ πρᾶγμα. Hartung, ii. 138: see reff. and Winer, § 56. 2. b a) any one Who (cf. τινὲς οἱ ταράσσοντες, ref. Gal. and note. It points at some known person) leads you away as his prey (Mey. connects the word in imagery with the foregoing περιπατεῖτε—but this perhaps is hardly necessary after the disregard to continuity of metaphor shewn in Colossians 2:6-7. The meaning ‘to rob’ (so with τὸν οἶκον, Aristæn. ii. 22), adopted here by Thdrt. ( τοὺς ἀποσυλᾷν τ. πίστιν ἐπιχειροῦντας), ‘to undermine,’ Chrys. ( ὥσπερ ἄν τις χῶμα κάτωθεν διορύττων μὴ παρέχῃ αἴσθησιν, τὸ δʼ ὑπονοστεῖ), hardly appears suitable on account of the κατὰκατά, which seem to imply motion. We have (see Rost and Palm’s Lex.) συλαγωγεῖν παρθένον in Heliod. and Nicet., which idea of abduction is very near that here) by means of his (or the article may signify, as Ellic., the current, popular, philosophy of the day: but I prefer the possessive meaning: see below) philosophy and empty deceit (the absence of the article before κενῆς shews the καί to be epexegetical, and the same thing to be meant by the two. This being so, it may be better to give the τῆς the possessive sense, the better to mark that it is not all philosophy which the Apostle is here blaming: for Thdrt. is certainly wrong in saying ἣν ἄνω πιθανολογίαν, ἐνταῦθα φιλοσοφίαν ἐκάλεσε,—the former being, as Mey. observes, the form of imparting,—this, the thing itself. The φιλοσοφ. is not necessarily Greek, as Tert. de præscr. 7, vol. ii. p. 20 (‘fuerat Athenis’)—Clem. Strom, i. 11, 50, vol. i. p. 346, P. ( οὐ πᾶσαν, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἐπικούρειον), Grot. al. As De W. observes, Josephus calls the doctrine of the Jewish sects philosophy: Antt. xviii. 2. 1,— ἰουδαίοις φιλοσοφίαι τρεῖς ἦσαν, ἥ τε τῶν ἐσσηνῶν κ. ἡ τῶν σαδδουκαίων, τρίτην δὲ ἐφιλοσόφουν οἱ φαρισαῖοι. The character of the philosophy here meant, as gathered from the descriptions which follow, was that mixture of Jewish and Oriental, which afterwards expanded into gnosticism), according to the tradition of men (this tradition, derived from men, human and not divine in its character, set the rule to this his philosophy, and according to this he ἐσυλαγώγει: such is the grammatical construction; but seeing that his philosophy was the instrument by which, the character given belongs in fact to his philosophy), according to the elements (see on Galatians 4:3; the rudimentary lessons: i.e. the ritualistic observances (‘nam continuo post exempli loco speciem unam adducit, circumcisionem scilicet,’ Calv.) in which they were becoming entangled) of the world (all these belonged to the earthly side—were the carnal and imperfect phase of knowledge—now the perfect was come, the imperfect was done away), and not (negative characteristic, as the former were the affirmative characteristics, of this philosophy) according to Christ (“who alone is,” as Bisp. observes, “the true rule of all genuine philosophy, the only measure as for all life acceptable to God, so for all truth in thought likewise: every true philosophy must therefore be κατὰ χριστόν, must begin and end with Him”):


Verses 8-15

8–15.] See summary, on Colossians 2:1general warning against being seduced by a wisdom which was after men’s tradition, and not after Christ,—of whose perfect work, and their perfection in Him, he reminds them.


Verse 9

9.] (supply, ‘as all true philosophy ought to be’) because in Him (emphatic: in Him alone) dwelleth (now, in His exaltation) all the fulness (cf. on ch. Colossians 1:19, and see below) of the Godhead (Deity: the essential being of God: ‘das Gott sein,’ as Meyer. θεότης, the abstract of θεός, must not be confounded with θειότης the abstract of θεῖος, divine, which occurs in Romans 1:20, where see Fritzsche’s note. θεότης does not occur in the classics, but is found in Lucian, Icaromenippus, c. 9: τὸν μέν τινα πρῶτον θεὸν ἐπεκάλουν, τοῖς δὲ τὰ δεὺτερα κ. τὰ τρίτα ἔνεμον τῆς θεότητος. ‘The fulness of the Godhead’ here spoken of must be taken, as indeed the context shews, metaphysically, and not as ‘all fulness’ in ch. Colossians 1:19, where the historical Christ, as manifested in redemption, was in question; see this well set forth in Mey.’s note. There, the lower side, so to speak, of that fulness, was set forth—the side which is presented to us here, is the higher side. Some strangely take πλήρωμα here to mean the Church—so Heinr. in Mey.: “Ab eo collecta est omnis ex omnibus sine discrimine gentibus ecclesia, eo tauquam οἴκῳ, tanquam σώματι, continetur gubernaturque.” Others again hold Christ here to mean the Church, in whom [or which] the πλήρωμα dwells: so τινές in Thdrt. and Chrys.) bodily (i.e. manifested corporeally, in His present glorified Body—cf. on οἰκεῖ above, and Philippians 3:21. Before His incarnation, it dwelt in Him, as the λόγος ἄσαρκος, but not σωματικῶς, as now that He is the λόγος ἔνσαρκος. This is the obvious, and I am persuaded only tenable interpretation. And so Calov., Est., De W., Mey., Eadie, al. Others have been 1) ‘really,’ as distinguished from τυπικῶς: so,—resting for the most part on Colossians 2:17, where the reference is quite different,—Aug., Corn.-a-lap., Grot., Schöttg., Wolf, Nösselt, al. 2) ‘essentially,’ οὐσιωδῶς, as contrasted with the energic dwelling of God in the prophets: the objection to which is that the word cannot have this meaning: so Cyr., Thl., Calv., Beza, Usteri, p. 324, Olsh., al.), and ye are (already—there is an emphasis in the prefixing of ἐστε) in Him (in your union with Him,—‘Christo cum sitis semel insiti,’ Erasm. in Mey.) filled up (with all divine gifts—so that you need not any supplementary sources of grace such as your teachers are directing you to,—reff.: τῆς γὰρ ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ χάριτος ἀπελαύσατε, as Thdrt.: cf. John 1:16, ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἑλάβομεν: not, as Chrys., Thl., De W., ‘with the fulness of the Godhead,’ which is not true, and would require ἧς ἐστε καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐν αὐτ. πεπλ.

Nor must ἐστε be taken as imperative, against the whole context, which is assertive, no less than usage—‘verbum ἐστέ nunquam in N. T. sensu imperandi adhibitum invenio, v. c. ἐστὲ οἰκτίρμονες, sed potius γίνεσθε, cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Corinthians 15:58; et Ephesians 4:32; Ephesians 5:1; Ephesians 5:7; Ephesians 5:17, &c. Itaque si Paulus imperare hoc loco quicquam voluisset, scripturus potius erat κ. γίνεσθε ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρ.’ Wolf. What follows, shews them that He their perfection, is not to be mixed up with other dignities, as objects of adoration, for He is the Head of all such)—who (or, which: but the neuter seems to have been written to agree with πλήρωμα) is the Head of every government and power:


Verse 11

11.] (nor do you need the rite of circumcision to make you complete, for you have already received in Him the spiritual substance, of which that rite is but the shadow) in whom ye also were circumcised (not as E. V. ‘are circumcised,’—the reference being to the historical fact of their baptism) with a circumcision not wrought by hands (see Ephesians 2:11, and Romans 2:29. The same reference to spiritual (ethical) circumcision is found in Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 44:7; Acts 7:51), in (consisting in—which found its realization in) your putting off (= when you threw off: ἀπεκδ., the putting off and laying aside, as a garment: an allusion to actual circumcision,—see below) of the body of the flesh (i.e. as ch. Colossians 1:22, the body of which the material was flesh: but more here: so also its designating attribute, its leading principle, was fleshliness—the domination of the flesh which is a σὰρξ ἁμαρτίας, Romans 8:3. This body is put off in baptism, the sign and seal of the new life. “When ethically circumcised, i.e. translated by μετάνοια out of the state of sin into that of the Christian life of faith, we have no more the σῶμα τῆς σαρκός: for the body, which we bear, is disarrayed of its sinful σάρξ as such, quoad its sinful quality: we are no more ἐν τῇ σαρκί as before, when lust ἐνηργεῖτο ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν (Romans 7:5, cf. ib. Romans 2:23): we are no more σάρκινοι, πεπραμένοι ὑπὸ τήν ἁμαρτίαν (Romans 7:14), and walk no more κατὰ σάρκα, but ἐν καινότητι πνεύματος (Romans 7:6), so that our members are ὅπλα δικαιοσύνης τῷ θεῷ (Romans 6:13). This Christian transformation is set forth in its ideal conception, irrespective of its imperfect realization in our experience.” Meyer. To understand τὸ σῶμα to signify ‘the mass,’ us Calv. (‘corpus appellat massam ex omnibus vitiis conflatam, eleganti metaphora’), Grot. (‘omne quod ex multis componitur solet hoc vocabulo appellari’), al.,—besides that it is bound up very much with the reading τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν, is out of keeping with N. T. usage, and with the context, which is full of images connected with the body),—in (parallel to ἐν before—then the circumcision without hands was explained, now it is again adduced with another epithet bringing it nearer home to them) the circumcision of Christ (belonging to, brought about by union with, Christ: nearly =, but expresses more than ‘Christian circumcision,’ inasmuch as it shews that the root and cause of this circumcision without hands is in Christ, the union with whom is immediately set forth. Two other interpretations are given: 1) that in which Christ is regarded as the circumciser: ὁ χρ. περιτέμνει ἐν τῷ βαπτίσματι, ἀπεκδύν ἡμᾶς τοῦ παλαιοῦ βίου, Thl., but not exactly so Chrys., who says, οὐκέτι φησὶν ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἡ περιτ., ἀλλʼ ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ χροὐ γὰρ χεῖρ ἐπάγει, καθὼς ἐκεῖ, τ. περιτομὴν ταύτην, ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα. Beza combines both—‘Christus ipse nos intus suo spiritu circumcidit.’ 2) that in which Christ is the circumcised—so Schöttg.: “per circumcisionem Christi nos omnes circumcisi sumus. Hoc est: circumeisio Christi qui se nostri causa sponte legi subjecit, tam efficax fuit in omnes homines, ut nulla amplius circumcisione carnis opus sit, præcipue quum in locum illius baptismus a Christo surrogatus sit” (i. p. 816). The objection to both is, that they introduce irrelevant elements into the context. The circumcision which Christ works, would not naturally be followed by συν ταφέντες αὐτῷ, union with Him: that which was wrought on Him might be thus followed, but would not come in naturally in a passage which describes, not the universal efficacy of the rite once for all performed on Him, but the actual undergoing of it in a spiritual sense, by each one of us),


Verse 12

12.] (goes on to connect this still more closely with the person of Christ—q. d., in the circumcision of Christ, to whom you were united, &c.)—buried together (i.e. ‘when you were buried:’ the aorist participle, as so often, is contemporary with the preceding past verb) with Him in your baptism (the new life being begun at baptism,—an image familiar alike to Jews and Christians,—the process itself of baptism is regarded as the burial of the former life: originally, perhaps, owing to the practice of immersion, which would most naturally give rise to the idea: but to maintain from such a circumstance that immersion is necessary in baptism, is surely the merest trifling, and a resuscitation of the very ceremonial spirit which the Apostle here is arguing against. As reasonably might it be argued, from the ἀπέκδυσις here, that nakedness was an essential in that sacrament. The things represented by both figures belong to the essentials of the Christian life: the minor details of the sacrament which corresponded to them, may in different ages or climates be varied; but the spiritual figures remain. At the same time, if circumstances concurred,—e.g. a climate where the former practice was always safe, and a part of the world, or time of life, where the latter would be no shock to decency,—there can be no question that the external proprieties of baptism ought to be complied with. And on this principle the baptismal services of the Church of England are constructed); in which (i.e. baptism: not, as Mey. (and so most expositors), ‘in whom,’ i.e. Christ. For although it is tempting enough to r, ard the ἐν ᾧ καί as parallel with the ἐν ᾧ καί above, we should be thus introducing a second and separate leading idea into the argument, manifestly occupied with one leading idea, viz. the completeness of your Christian circumcision,—cf. ἀκροβυστίᾳ again below,—as realized in your baptism: whereas on this hypothesis we should be breaking off from baptism altogether,—for there would be no link to connect the present sentence with the former, but we must take up again from ἐξουσίας. This indeed is freely confessed by Mey., who holds that all allusion to baptism is at an end here, and that the following is a benefit conferred by faith as separate from baptism. But see below. His objection, that if ἐν ᾧ applied to baptism, it would not correspond to the rising again, which should be ἐξ οὗ, or at all events the unlocal διʼ οὗ, arises from the too precise materialization of the image. As ἐν before did not necessarily apply to the mere going under the water, but to the process of the sacrament, so ἐν now does not necessarily apply to the coming up out of the water, but also to the process of the sacrament. In it, we both die and rise again,—both unclothe and are clothed) ye were also raised again with Him (not your material, but your spiritual resurrection is in the foreground: it is bound on, it is true, to His material resurrection, and brings with it in the background, yours: but in the spiritual, the material is included and taken for granted, as usual in Scripture) by (means of: the mediate, not the efficient cause: the hand which held on, not the plank that saved. I am quite unable to see why this illustration is, as Ellic. states, “in more than one respect, not dogmatically satisfactory.” Surely it is dogmatically exact to say that Faith is the hand by which we lay hold on Christ the Ark of our refuge) your faith in (so Chrys., Thdrt., Œc., Thl., Erasm., Beza, Calv., Grot., Est., Corn.-a-lap., Mey., al., Beng. (‘fides est (opus) operationis divinæ’), al., and Luther. De W. understands faith wrought by God (‘durch den Glauben den Gott wirket,’ Luth.: ‘mittelst des Glaubens Kraft der Wirksamkeit Gottes,’ De W.). But both usage and the context are against this. The genitive after πίστις is ever (against Ellic. here) of the object of faith, see reff., and on Ephesians 1:19) the operation of God (in Christ—that mighty power by which the Father raised Him, cf. Romans 8:11; ἣν ἐνήργηκεν ἐν χριστῷ, Ephesians 1:20) who raised Him from the dead ( πιστεύοντες γὰρ τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμει προσμένομεν τὴν ἀνάστασιν, ἐνέχυρον ἔχοντες τοῦ δεσπότου χριστοῦ τὴν ἀνάστασιν. Thdrt. But there is very much more asserted than the more προσμένειν τὴν ἀνάστασιν—the power of God in raising the dead to life is one and the same in our Lord and in us—the physical power exerted in Him is not only a pledge of the same physical power to be exerted in us, but a condition and assurance of a spiritual power already exerted in us, whereby we are in spirit risen with Christ, the physical resurrection being included and taken for granted in that other and greater one):


Verses 13-15

13–15.] Application, first to the (Gentile) Colossians, then to all believers, of the whole blessedness of this participation in Christ’s resurrection, and assertion of the antiquation of the law, and subjection of all secondary powers to Christ. And you, who were (or perhaps more strictly, when you were) dead (allusion to ἐκ [ τῶν] νεκρῶν immediately preceding) in your trespasses (see Ephesians 2:1, notes) and (in) the uncircumcision of (i.e. which consisted in: this is better than, with Ellic., to regard the gen. as simply possessive) your flesh (i.e. having on you still your fleshly sinful nature, the carnal præputium which now, as spiritual, you have put away. So that, as Mey. very properly urges, it is not in ἀκροβυστία, but in τῆς σαρκός, that the ethical significance lies— ἀκροβυστία being their state still, but now indifferent), He (God—who, not Christ, is the subject of the whole sentence, Colossians 2:13-15. See the other side ingeniously, but to me not convincingly defended in Ellic.’s note here. He has to resort to the somewhat lame expedient of altering αὐτῷ into αὑτῷ: and even then the sentence would labour under the theological indecorum of making our Lord not the Resumer of His own Life merely, but the very Worker of acts which are by Himself and His Apostles always predicated of the Father. It will be seen by the whole translation and exegesis which follows, that I cannot for a moment accept the view which makes Christ the subject of these clauses) quickened you (this repetition of the personal pronoun is by no means unexampled, cf. Aristoph. Acharn. 391,— νῦν οὖν με πρῶτον πρὶν λέγειν ἐάσατε | ἐνσκευάσασθαί μʼ οἷον ἀθλιώτατον: see also Soph. Œd. Col. 1407: Demosth. p. 1225. 16–19. Bernhardy, p. 275 f.) together with Him (Christ: brought you up,—objectively at His Resurrection, and subjectively when you were received among His people,—out of this death. The question as to the reference, whether to spiritual or physical resurrection, is answered by remembering that the former includes the latter), having forgiven (the aorist participle (which aor. ‘having forgiven’ is in English, we having but one past active participle) is here not contemporaneous with συνεζωοπ. but antecedent: this forgiveness was an act of God wrought once for all in Christ, cf. ἡμῖν below, and 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 4:32) us (he here passes from the particular to the general—from the Colossian Gentiles to all believers) all our transgressions ( ἃ τὴν νεκρότητα ἐποίει, Chrys.: but this, though true, makes the χαρισάμ. apply to the συνεζ., which it does not), having wiped out (contemporary with χαρισάμενος—in fact the same act explained in its conditions and details. On the word, see reff., and Plato, Rep. vi. p. 501, τὸ μὲν ἄν, οἶμαι, ἐξαλείφοιεν, τὸ δὲ πάλιν ἐγγράφοιεν: Dem. 468. 1, εἶθʼ ὑμεῖς ἔτι σκοπεῖτε εἰ χρὴ τοῦτον ( τὸν νόμον) ἐξαλεῖψαι, καὶ οὐ πάλαι βεβούλευσθε;) the handwriting in decrees (cf. the similar expression τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν, Ephesians 2:15, and notes. Here, the force of - γραφον passes on to the dative, as if it were τὸ γεγραμμένον τοῖς δόγμασιν—cf. Plato, Ep. vii. p. 343 a, κ. ταῦτα εἰς ἀμετακίνητον, ὃ δὴ πάσχει τὰ γεγραμμένα τύποις. This explanation of the construction is negatived by Ellicott, on the ground of χειρόγραφος being “a synthetic compound, and apparently incapable of such a decomposition:” referring to Donaldson, Gram. § 369 (it is § 377). But there it is laid down that in synthetic compounds of this kind, the accent makes the difference between transitive and intransitive, without any assertion that the verbal element may not pass on in the construction. If χειρόγραφον means written by hands, then surely the element in which the writing consists may follow. Meyer would make the dative instrumental: but it can be so only in a very modified sense, the contents taken as the instrument whereby the sense is conveyed. The χειρόγρ. represents the whole law, the obligatory bond which was against us (see below), and is apparently used because the Decalogue, representing that law, was written on tables of stone with the finger of God. The most various interpretations of it have been given. Calv., Beza, al., understand it of the mere ritual law: Calov., of the moral, against πάντα τὰ παραπτ. above: Luther, Zwingl., al., of the law of conscience. Thdrt.’s view is very curious: he interprets τὸ χειρόγρ. to mean our human body,— ὁ τοίνυν θεὸς λόγος, τὴν ἡμετέραν φύσιν ἀναλαβών, πάσης αὐτὴν ἁμαρτίας ἐλευθέραν ἐφύλαξε, κ. ἐξήλειψε τὰ κακῶς ὑφʼ ἡμῶν ἐν αὐτῇ γενόμενα τῶν ὀφλημάτων γράμματα. He urges as an objection to the usual interpretation, that the law was for Jews, not Gentiles, whereas the Apostle says καθʼ ἡμῶν. But this is answered by remembering, that the law was just as much against the Gentiles as against the Jews: it stood in their way of approach to God, see Romans 3:19; through it they would be compelled to come to Him, and by it, whether written on stone or on fleshy tablets, they were condemned before Him. Chrys., Œc., Thl., al., would understand τὸ χειρόγραφον ὃ ἐποίησε πρὸς ἀδὰμ ὁ θεὸς εἰπὼν ᾗ ἂν ἡμέρα̣ φάγῃς ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου, ἀποθάνῃ—but this is against the whole anti-judaistic turn of the sentence) which was hostile to us (the repetition of the sentiment already contained in καθʼ ἡμῶν seems to be made by way of stronger emphasis, as against the false teachers, reasserting and invigorating the fact that the law was no help, but a hindrance to us. There does not appear to be any force of ‘subcontrarius’ in ὑπεναντίος; Mey. refers, besides reff., to Herod. iii. 80, τὸ δʼ ὑπεναντίον τούτου εἰς τοὺς πολιήτας πέφυκε—to ὑπεναντιότης, Diog. Laert. x. 77: ὑπεναντιότης, Aristot. poet. xxvi. 22 ὑπεναντίωσις, Demosth. 1405. 18), and (not only so, but) has taken it (the handwriting itself, thus obliterated) away (i.e. ‘from out of the way,’ cf. reff.: Dem. de corona, p. 323, τὸ καταψεύδεσθαι κ. διʼ ἔχθραν τι λέγειν ἀνελόντας ἐκ μέσου: other places in Kypke, ii. 323: and the contrary expression, Dem. 682. 1,— οὐδὲν ἂν ἦν ἐν μέσῳ πολεμεῖν ἡμὰς πρὸς καρδιανοὺς ἤδη), by nailing (contemporary with the beginning of ἦρκεν) it to the cross (“since by the death of Christ on the cross the condemnatory law lost its hold on us, inasmuch as Christ by this death bore the curse of the law for mankind (Galatians 3:13),—in the fact of Christ being nailed to the Cross the Law was nailed thereon, in so far as, by Christ’s crucifixion, it lost its obligatory power and ceased to be ἐν μέσῳ.” Meyer. Chrys. finely says, οὐδαμοῦ οὕτως μεγαλοφώνως ἐφθέγξατο. δρᾷς σπουδὴν τοῦ ἀφανισθῆναι τὸ χειρ. ὅσην ἐποιήσατο; οἷον πάντες ἦμεν ὑφʼ ἁμαρτίαν κ. κόλασιν, αὐτὸς κολασθεὶς ἔλυσε κ. τὴν ἁμαρτίν κ. τὴν κόλασιν· ἐκολάσθη δὲ ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ).


Verse 15

15.] The utmost care must be taken to interpret this verse according to the requirements of grammar and of the context. The first seems to me to necessitate the rendering of ἀπεκδυσάμενος, not, as the great majority of Commentators, ‘having spoiled’ ( ἀπεκδύσας), a meaning unexampled for the middle, and precluded by the plain usage, by the Apostle himself, a few verses below, ch. Colossians 3:9, of the same word ἀπεκδυσάμενοι,—but ‘having put off,’ ‘divested himself of.’ Then the second must guide us to the meaning of τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας. Most Commentators have at once assumed these to be the infernal powers, or evil angels: relying on Ephesians 6:12, where undoubtedly such is the specific reference of these general terms. But the terms being general, such specific reference must be determined by the context of each passage,—or, indeed, there may be no such specific reference at all, but they may be used in their fullest general sense. Now the words have occurred before in this very passage, Colossians 2:10, where Christ is exalted as the κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς κ. ἐξουσίας: and it is hardly possible to avoid connecting our present expression with that, seeing that in τὰς ἀρχὰς κ. τὰς ἐξουσίας the articles seem to contain a manifest reference to it. Now, what is the context? Is it in any way relevant to the fact of the law being antiquated by God in the great Sacrifice of the atonement, to say that He, in that act (or, according to others, Christ in that act), spoiled and triumphed over the infernal potentates? Or would the following οὖν deduce any legitimate inference from such a fact? But, suppose the matter to stand in this way. The law was διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων (Galatians 3:19; cf. Acts 7:53), ὁ δι ἀγγέλων λαληθεὶς λόγος (Hebrews 2:2): cf. also Jos. Antt. xv. 5. 3, ἡμῶν τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν δογμάτων, κ. τὰ ὁσιώτατα τῶν ἐν τοῖς νόμοις διʼ ἀγγέλων παρὰ τ. θεοῦ μαθόντων;—they were the promulgators of the χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν. In that promulgation of theirs, God was pleased to reveal Himself of old. That writing, that investiture, so to speak, of God, was first wiped out, soiled and rendered worthiess, and then nailed to the Cross—abrogated and suspended there. Thus God ἀπεξεδύσατο τὰς ἀρχὰς κ. τὰς ἐξουσίας—divested Himself of, put off from Himself, that ἀγγέλων διαταγή, manifesting Himself henceforward without a veil in the exalted Person of Jesus. And the act of triumph, by which God has for ever subjected all principality and power to Christ, and made Him to be the only Head of His people, in whom they are complete, was that sacrifice, whereby all the law was accomplished. In that, the ἀρχαὶ κ. ἐξουσίαι were all subjected to Christ, all plainly declared to be powerless as regards His work and His people, and triumphed over by Him, see Philippians 2:8-9; Ephesians 1:20-21. No difficulty need be created, on this explanation, by the objection, that thus more prominence would be given to angelic agency in the law than was really the fact: the answer is, that the prominence which is given, is owing to the errors of the false teachers, who had evidently associated the Jewish observances in some way with the worship of angels: St. Paul’s argument will go only to this, that whatever part the angelic powers may have had, or be supposed to have had, in the previous dispensation, all such interposition was now entirely at an end, that dispensation itself being once for all antiquated and put away. Render then,—putting off (by the absence of a copula, the vigour of the sentence is increased. The participle is contemporary with ἦρκεν above, and thus must not be rendered ‘having put off’) the governments and powers (before spoken of, Colossians 2:10, and ch. Colossians 1:16; see above) He (GOD, who is the subject throughout: see also ch. Colossians 3:3 :—not Christ, which would awkwardly introduce two subjects into the sentence) exhibited them (as completely subjected to Christ;—not only put them away from Himself, but shewed them as placed under Christ. There seems no reason to attach the sense of putting to shame ( παραδειγματίσαι) to the simple verb. That this sense is involved in Matthew 1:19, is owing to the circumstances of the context) in (element of the δειγματίσαι) openness (of speech; declaring and revealing by the Cross that there is none other but Christ the Head πάσης ἀρχῆς κ. ἐξουσίας), triumphing over them (as in 2 Corinthians 2:14, we are said (see note there) to be led captive in Christ’s triumph, our real victory being our defeat by Him,—so here the principalities and powers, which are next above us in those ranks of being which are all subjected to and summed up in Him) in Him (Christ: not ‘in it,’ viz. the cross, which gives a very feeble meaning after the ἐγείραντος αὐτόν, and συνεζωοπ. σὺν αὐτῷ above). The ordinary interpretation of this verse has been attempted by some to be engrafted into the context, by understanding the χειρόγρ. of a guilty conscience, the ἀρχ. κ. ἐξ. as the infernal powers, the accusers of man, and the scope of the exhortation as being to dissuade the Colossians from fear or worship of them. So Neander, in a paraphrase (Denkwürdigkeiten, p. 12) quoted by Conyb. and Howson, edn. 2, vol. ii. p. 478 note. But manifestly this is against the whole spirit of the passage. It was θρησκεία τῷν ἀγγέλων to which they were tempted—and οἱ ἄγγελοι can bear no meaning but the angels of God.


Verse 16

16.] Let no one therefore (because this is so—that ye are complete in Christ, and that God in Him hath put away and dispensed with all that is secondary and intermediate) judge you (pronounce judgment of right or wrong over you, sit in judgment on you) in (reff.) eating (not, in St. Paul’s usage, meat ( βρῶμα), see reff.; in John 4:32; John 6:27; John 6:55, it seems to have this signification. Mey. quotes Il. τ. 210, Od. α. 191, Plato, Legg. vi. p. 783 c, to shew that in classical Greek the meanings are sometimes interchanged. The same is true of πόσις and πόμα) and (or or) in drinking (i.e. in the matter of the whole cycle of legal ordinances and prohibitions which regarded eating and drinking: these two words being perhaps taken not separately and literally,—for there does not appear to have been in the law any special prohibition against drinks,—but as forming together a category in ordinary parlance. If however it is desired to press each word, the reference of πόσις must be to the Nazarite vow, Numbers 6:3) or in respect (reff.: Chrys. and Thdrt. give it the extraordinary meaning of ‘in part,’— ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς· οὐ γὰρ δὴ πάντα κατεῖχον τὰ πρότερα: Mey. explains it, ‘in the category of—which is much the same as the explanation in the text) of a feast or new-moon or sabbaths (i.e. yearly, monthly, or weekly celebrations; see reff.),


Verses 16-23

16–23.] More specific warning against false teachers (see summary on Colossians 2:1), and that first (Colossians 2:16-17) with reference to legal observances and abstinence.


Verse 17

17.] which (if the sing. be read, the relative may refer either to the aggregate of the observances mentioned, or to the last mentioned, i.e. the Sabbath. Or it may be singular by attraction, and refer to all, just as if it were plural, see Matthew 12:4) is (or as in rec. are: not, ‘was,’ or were: he speaks of them in their nature, abstractedly) a shadow (not, a sketch, σκιαγραφία or - φημα, which meaning is precluded by the term opposed being σῶμα, not the finished picture,—but literally the shadow: see below) of things to come (the blessings of the Christian covenant: these are the substance, and the Jewish ordinances the mere type or resemblance, as the shadow is of the living man. But we must not, as Mey., press the figure so far as to imagine the shadow to be cast back by the τὰ μέλλοντα going before (cf. also Thdrt., somewhat differently, προλαμβάνει δὲ ἡ σκιὰ τὸ σῶμα ἀνίσχοντος τοῦ φωτός· ὡς εἶναι σκιὰν μὲν τὸν νόμον, σῶμα δὲ τὴν χάριν, φῶς δὲ τὸν δεσπότην χριστόν): nor with the same Commentator, interpret τῶν μελλ. of the yet future blessings of the state following the παρουσία,—for which ἐστιν (see above) gives no ground. Nor again must we imagine that the obscurity (Suicer, al.) of the Jewish dispensation is alluded to, there being no subjective comparison instituted between the two,—only their objective relation stated); but the body (the substance, of which the other is the shadow) belongs to Christ (i.e. the substantial blessings, which those legal observances typified, are attached to, brought in by, found in union with, Christ: see on the whole figure Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 10:1). We may observe, that if the ordinance of the Sabbath had been, in any form, of lasting obligation on the Christian Church, it would have been quite impossible for the Apostle to have spoken thus. The fact of an obligatory rest of one day, whether the seventh or the first, would have been directly in the teeth of his assertion here: the holding of such would have been still to retain the shadow, while we possess the substance. And no answer can be given to this by the transparent special-pleading, that he is speaking only of that which was Jewish in such observances; the whole argument being general, and the axiom of Colossians 2:17 universally applicable.

I cannot see that Ellicott in loc. has at all invalidated this. To hold, as he does, that the sabbath was a σκιά of the Lord’s day, is surely to fall into the same error as we find in the title of 1 Corinthians 10 in our authorized bibles,—‘The Jewish Sacraments were types of ours.’ The antitype is not to be found in another and a higher type, but in the eternal verity which both shadow forth. An extraordinary punctuation of this verse was proposed by some mentioned by Chrys.: οἱ μὲν οὖν τοῦτο στίζουσι, τὸ δὲ σῶμα, χριστοῦ. ἡ δὲ ἀλήθεια ἐπὶ χριστοῦ γέγονεν· οἱ δὲ, τὸ δὲ σῶμα χριστοῦ μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβραβευέτω· and Aug. ep. 149 (59). 27, vol. ii. p. 841 f., has ‘corpus autem Christi nemo vos convincat. Turpe est, inquit … ut cum sitis corpus Christi, seducamini umbris.’ No wonder that the same father should confess of the passage, ‘nec ego sine caligine intelligo.’


Verse 18

18.] Let no one of purpose (such is by far the best rendering of θέλων,—to take it with καταβραβ. and understand it precisely as in ref. 2 Pet. And thus apparently Thl.: θέλουσιν ὑμᾶς καταβραβεύειν διὰ ταπεινοφροσ. Mey. pronounces this meaning ‘ganz unpassend, and controverts the passages brought to defend it; omitting however ref. 2 Pet. So also does Ellicott, believing it to “impute to the false teachers a frightful and indeed suicidal malice, which is neither justified by the context, nor in any way credible.” But his own “desiring to do it” is hardly distinguishable from that other: nor does it at all escape the imputation of motive which he finds so improbable. But surely it is altogether relevant, imputing to the false teachers not only error, but insidious designs also. Others take θέλων with ἐν ταπ., keeping however its reference as above, and understanding, as Phot. in Œc., τοῦτο ποιεῖν after it. So Thdrt., τοῦτο τοίνυν συνεβούλευον ἐκεῖνοι γίνεσθαι ταπεινοφροσύνῃ δῆθεν κεχρημένοι,—Calv., ‘volens id facere,’—Mey., Eadie, al. This latter, after Bengel, assigns as his reason for adopting this view, that the participles θέλων, ἐμβατεύων, φνσιούμενος, κρατῶν, form a series. This however is not strictly true—for θέλων would stand in a position of emphasis which does not belong to the next two: rather should we thus expect ἐν ταπ. θέλων κ. θρ. τῶν ἀγγ. I cannot help thinking this rendering flat and spiritless.

Others again suppose a harsh Hebraism, common in the LXX (reff., especially Psalms 146:10), but not found in the N. T., by which θέλειν ἐν is put for חָפֵץ בְּ, ‘to have pleasure in.’ So Aug., Est., Olsh., al. The principal objection to this rendering here is, that it would be irrelevant. Not the delight which the false teacher takes in his ταπ. &c., but the fact of it as operative on the Colossians, and its fleshly sources, are adduced) defraud you of your prize (see reff. Demosth. Mey. points out the difference between κατα βρ., a fraudulent adjudication with hostile intent against the person wronged, and παρα βραβεύειν, which is merely, as Thdrt. explains this, ἀδίκως βραβεύειν. So Polyb. xxiv. 1. 12, τινὲς δʼ ἐγκαλοῦντες τοῖς κρίμασιν, ὡς παραβεβραβευμένοις, διαφθείραντος τοῦ φιλίππου τοὺς δικαστάς. Supplying this, which Chrys. has not marked, we may take his explanation: καταβραβευθῆναι γάρ ἐστιν ὅταν παρʼ ἑτέρων μὲν ἡ νίκη, παρʼ ἑτέρων δὲ τὸ βραβεῖον. Zonaras gives it better, in Suicer ii. 49: καταβρ. ἐστι, τὸ μὴ τὸν νικήσαντα ἀξιοῦν τοῦ βραβείου, ἀλλʼ ἑτέρῳ διδόναι αὐτό, ἀδικουμένου τοῦ νικήσαντος. This deprivation of their prize, and this wrong, they would suffer at the hands of those who would draw them away from Christ the giver of the prize (2 Timothy 4:8. James 1:12. 1 Peter 5:4), and lower them to the worship of intermediate spiritual beings. The various meanings,—‘ne quis brabeutæ potestatem usurpans atque adeo abutens, vos currentes moderetur, perperamque præscribat quid sequi quid fugere debeatis præmium accepturi’ (Beng.),—‘nemo adversum vos rectoris partes sibi ultro sumat’ (Beza and similarly Corn.-a-lap.),—‘præmium, id est libertatem a Christo indultam, exigere’ (Grot.),—are all more or less departures from the meaning of the word) in (as the element and sphere of his καταβραβ.) humility ( αἵρεσις ἦν παλαιὰ λεγόντων τινῶν ὅτι οὐ δεῖ τὸν χριστὸν ἐπικαλεῖσθαι εἰς βοήθειαν, ἢ εἰς προσαγωγὴν τὴν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ἀλλὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους ὡς τάχα τοῦ τὸν χριστὸν ἐπικαλεῖσθαι πρὸς τὰ εἰρημένα μείζονος ὄντος τῆς ἡμετέρας ἀξίας. τοῦτο δὲ τάχα ταπεινούμενοι ἕλεγον. Zonaras in canon 35 of the Council of Laodicea, in Suicer i. p. 45. Similarly Thdrt., λέγοντες ὡς ἀόρατος ὁ τῶν ὅλων θεός, ἀνεφικτός τε κ. ἀκατάληπτος, κ. προσήκει διὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων τὴν θείαν εὐμένειαν πραγματεύεσθαι. Aug. Conf. x. 42, vol. i. p. 807, says: “Quem invenirem, qui me reconciliaret tibi? abeundum mihi fuit ad angelos?… multi conantes ad te redire, neque per se ipsos valentes, sicut audio, tentaverunt hæc, et inciderunt in desiderium curiosarum visionum, et digni habiti sunt illusionibus.” So that no ironical sense need be supposed) and (explicative, or appending a specific form of the general ταπεινοφρ.) worship of the angels (genitive objective, ‘worship paid to the holy angels:’ not subjective, as Schöttg., Luther, Rosenm., al.: cf. Jos. Antt. viii. 8. 4, τοῦ ναοῦ κ. τῆς θρησκείας τῆς ἐν αὐτῷ τοῦ θεοῦ; Justin M. cohort. ad Græc. § 38, p. 35,— ἐπὶ τὴν τῶν μὴ θεῶν ἐτράπησαν θρησκείαν.

With reference to the fact of the existence of such teaching at Colossæ, Thdrt. gives an interesting notice: οἱ τῷ νόμῳ συνηγοροῦντες καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους σέβειν αὐτοῖς εἰσηγοῦντο, διὰ τούτων λέγοντες δεδόσθαι τὸν νόμον. ἔμεινε δὲ τοῦτο τὸ πάθος ἐν τῇ φρυγίᾳ κ. πισιδίᾳ μέχρι πολλοῦ. οὗ δὴ χάριν κ. συνελθοῦσα σύνοδος ἐν λαοδικείᾳ τῆς φρυγίας νόμῳ κεκώλυκε τὸ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις προσεύχεσθαι· κ. μέχρι δὲ τοῦ νῦν εὐκτηρία τοῦ ἁγίου ΄ιχαὴλ παρʼ ἐκείνοις κ. τοῖς ὁμόροις ἐκείνων ἐστὶν ἰδεῖν. The canon of the council of Laodicea (A.D. 360) runs thus: οὐ δεῖ χριστιανοὺς ἐγκαταλείπειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, κ. ἀπιέναι, κ. ἀγγέλους ὀνομάζειν, κ. συνάξεις ποιεῖν, ἅπερ ἀπηγόρευται. εἴ τις οὖν εὑρεθῇ ταύτῃ τῇ κεκρυμμἐνῃ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ σχολάζων, ἔστω ἀνάθεμα, ὅτι ἐγκατέλιπε τὸν κύρ. ἡμ. . χρ. τ. υἱ. τοῦ θεοῦ, κ. εἰδωλολατρείᾳ προσῆλθε. See, for an account of subsequent legends and visions of the neighbourhood, Conyb. and Hows., ii. p. 480, note, edn. 2),—standing on the things which he hath seen (an inhabitant of, insistens on, the realm of sight, not of faith: as Aug. above, ‘incidens in desiderium curiosarum visionum.’ First a word respecting the reading. The μή of the rec. and οὐκ of others, seem to me to have been unfortunate insertions from misunderstanding the sense of ἐμβατεύων. That it may mean ‘prying into,’ would be evident from the simplest metaphorical application of its primary meaning of treading or entering on: but whether it does so mean here, must be determined by the context. And it surely would be a strange and incongruous expression for one who was advocating a religion of faith,—whose very charter is μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες κ. πεπιστευκότες,—to blame a man or a teacher for μὴ ἑόρακεν ἐμβατεύειν, placing the defect of sight in the very emphatic forefront of the charge against him. Far rather should we expect that one who διὰ πίστεως περιεπάτει, οὐ διὰ εἴδους, would state of such teacher as one of his especial faults, that he ἃ ἑόρακεν ἐνεβάτευεν, found his status, his standing-point, in the realm of sight. And to this what follows corresponds. This insisting on his own visual experience is the result of fleshly pride as contrasted with the spiritual mind. Of the other meanings of ἐμβατεύειν, that of ‘coming into possession of property,’ ‘inheriting,’ might be suitable, but in this sense it is usually constructed with εἰς, cf. Demosth. 1085. 24, 1086. 19. The ordinary meaning is far the best here: see reff., and cf. Æsch. Pers. 448— νῆσοςἣν ὁ φιλόχορος πἀν ἐμβατεύει, Eur. Electr. 595— κασίγνητον ἐμβατεῦσαι πόλιν (this view I still maintain as against Ellicott)), vainly (groundlessly. εἰκῆ must not be joined with ἐμβατ., as De W., Conyb., al.,—for thus the emphasis of that clause is destroyed: see above) puffed up (no inconsistency with the ταπεινοφρ. above: for as Thdrt. says, τὴν μὲν ἐσκήπτοντο, τοῦ δὲ τύφου τὸ πάθος ἀκριβῶς περιέκειντο) by (as the working principle in him) the mind (intent, bent of thought and apprehension) of his own flesh ( ὑπὸ σαρκικῆς διανοίας, οὐ πνευματικῆς, Chrys. But as usual, this adjectival rendering misses the point of the expression,—the διάνοια is not only σαρκική, but is τῆς σαρκός—the σάρξ, the ordinary sensuous principle, is the fons of the νοῦς—which therefore dwells in the region of visions of the man’s own seeing, and does not in true humility hold the Head and in faith receive grace as one of His members. I have marked αὐτοῦ rather more strongly than by ‘his’ only: its expression conveys certainly some idea of self-will. On the psychological propriety of the expression, see Ellicott’s note),


Verses 18-23

18–23.] See above—warning, 2ndly, with reference to angel-worship and asceticism.


Verse 19

19.] and not (objective negative source of his error) holding fast (see ref. Cant. The want of firm holding of Christ has set him loose to ἐμβατεύειν ἃ ἑόρακεν) the Head (Christ: see on Ephesians 1:22. Each must hold fast the Head for himself, not merely be attached to the other members, however high or eminent in the Body), from whom (better than with Mey., ‘from which,’ viz. the Head,—Christ, according to him, being referred to ‘nicht personlich, sondern sächlich:’ but if so, why not ἐξ ἧς—what reason would there be for any change of gender? The only cause for such change must be sought in personal reference to Christ, as in ref. 1 Tim.; and this view is confirmed by the τ. αὕξησιν τ. θεοῦ below, shewing that the figure and reality are mingled in the sentence. Beng. gives as his first alternative, ‘ex quo, sc. tenendo caput:’ but this would be διʼ οὗ, not ἐξ οὗ. The Head itself is the Source of increase: the holding it, the means) all the body (in its every part: not exactly = ‘the whole body,’ in its entirety, which would, if accurately expressed, be τὸ πᾶν σῶμα, cf. τὸν πάντα χρόνον, Acts 20:18,— ὁ πᾶς νόμος, Galatians 5:14. On the whole passage see Ephesians 4:16, an almost exact parallel) by means of the joints (see against Meyer’s meaning, ‘nerves,’ on Eph. l. c.) and bands (sinews and nerves which bind together, and communicate between, limb and limb) being supplied (the passive of the simple verb is found in 3 Maccabees 6:40, Polyb. iv. 77. 2, πολλαῖς ἀφορμαῖς ἐκ φύσεως κεχορηγημένος πρὸς πραγμάτων κατάκτησιν: ib. iii. 75. 3; vi. 15. 4, al. The ἐπι, denoting continual accession, suits the αὔξει below) and compounded (see on Eph. Notice, as there, the present participles, denoting that the process is now going on. Wherewith the body is supplied and compounded, is here left to be inferred, and need not be, as by some Commentators, minutely pursued into detail. It is, as Thl., τὸ ζῆν κ. αὔξειν πνευματικῶς,—as Chrys.,—understanding it however after πᾶν τὸ σῶμα,— ἔχει τὸ εἷναι, κ. τὸ καλῶς εἶναι. The supply is as the sap to the vine—as the πᾶσα αἴσθησις κ. πᾶσα κίνησις (Thl.) to the body) increaseth with (accusative of the cognate substantive, see Ellic. and Winer, § 32. 2) the increase of God (i.e. ‘the increase wrought by God,’—God being the first cause of life to the whole, and carrying on this growth in subordination to and union with the Head, Jesus Christ: not as Chrys., merely = κατὰ θεόν, τὴν ἀπὸ τῆς πολιτείας τῆς ἀρίστης,—nor to be tamed down with Calv., al., to “significat, non probari Deo quodvis augmentum, sed quod ad caput dirigitur.” Still less must we adopt the adjectival rendering, ‘godly growth,’ Conyb., making that an attribute of the growth, which is in reality its condition of existence).

The Roman Catholic Commentators, Corn, -a-lap., Estius, Bisping, endeavour by all kinds of evasions to escape the strong bearing of this passage on their following (and outdoing) of the heretical practices of the Judaizing teachers in this matter of the θρησκεία τῶν ἀγγέλων. The latter (Bisp.) remarks,—“It is plain from this passage, as indeed from the nature of things, that the Apostle is not blaming every honouring of the angels, but only such honouring as put them in the place of Christ. The true honouring of the angels and saints is after all in every case an honouring of Christ their Head.” On this I may remark 1) that the word ‘honouring’ (Verehrung) is simply disingenuous, there being no question of honouring, but of worship in the strict sense ( θρησκεία). 2) That whatever a Commentator may say in his study, and Romanists may assert when convenient to them, the honour and worship actually and practically paid by them to angels and saints does by very far exceed that paid to Christ their Head. Throughout Papal Europe, the worship of Christ among the body of the middle and lower orders is fast becoming obliterated, and supplanted by that of His Mother.


Verse 20

20.] Warning against asceticism. If ye died (in your baptism, as detailed above, Colossians 2:11 if.) with Christ from (a pregnant construction: ‘died, and so were set free from:’ not found elsewhere in N. T.: cf. Romans 6:2; Galatians 2:19, where we have the dative) the elements (cf. Colossians 2:8; the rudimentary lessons, i.e. ritualistic observances) of the world (see on Colossians 2:8; Christ Himself was set free from these, when, being made under the law, He at His Death bore the curse of the law, and thus it was antiquated in Him), why, as living (emphatic, as though you had not died, see Galatians 6:14) in the world, are ye being prescribed to (the active use of the verb, ‘to decree,’ is common in the later classics, and occurs in the LXX, and Apocrypha. The person to whom the thing is decreed or prescribed is put in the dative (2 Maccabees 10:8), so that, according to usage, such person may become the subject of the passive verb: cf. Thuc. i. 82, ἡμεῖς ὑπʼ ἀθηναίων ἐπιβουλευόμεθα ( ἐπιβουλεύειν τινί),—Herod. vii. 144, αἱ δὲ νῆεςοὐκ ἐχρήσθησαν ( χρῆσθαί τινι), and see Kühner, Gram. ii. p. 35. Some, as Bernhardy, p. 346, and Ellicott, prefer considering this form as middle, and give it the sense of “doceri vos sinitis.” It seems to be of very little consequence which we call it; the meaning in either case is almost identical: “why is the fact so?” or, “why do you allow it?” To my mind, the passive here carries more keen, because more hidden, rebuke. The ἀδικεῖσθε and ἀποστέρεσθε of 1 Corinthians 6:7 rest on somewhat different ground. There, the voluntary element comes into emphasis, and the middle sense is preferable. See note there. I cannot see, with Meyer, why we should be so anxious to divest the sentence of all appearance of blaming the Colossians, and cast all its blame on the false teachers. The passive (see above) would demand a reason for the fact being so—‘Cur ita siti estis, ut …,’ which is just as much a reproach as the middle ‘Cur, sinitis, ut …’ The active renderings, ‘decreta facitis,’ Melancth. (in Eadie), ‘decernitis,’ Ambrst. (ib.), are wrong both in grammar and in fact. The reference to δόγμασιν, Colossians 2:14 is plain. They were being again put under that χειρόγρ. which was wiped out and taken away) “Handle not, neither taste, nor even touch” (it will be understood that these words follow immediately upon δογματίζεσθε without a stop, as τὰ δογματιζόμενα;—just as the inf. in 2 Maccabees 10:8. Then as to the meaning,—I agree with Calv., Beza, Beng., and Meyer in referring all the three to meats,—on account mainly of Colossians 2:22-23 (see below), but also of γεύσῃ coming as a defining term between the two less precise ones ἅψῃ and θίγῃς. Others have referred the three to different objects ἅψῃ and θίγῃς variously to meats, or unclean objects, or women: γεύσῃ universally to meats. Mey. remarks of the negatives, the relation of the three prohibitions is, that the first μηδέ is ‘nec,’ the second ‘ne … quidem.’ This would not be necessary from the form of the sentence, but seems supported by the word θίγῃς introducing a climax. Wetst. and the Commentators illustrate ἅψῃ and θίγῃς as applied to meats, by Xen. Cyr. i. 3. 5, ὅταν μὲν τοῦ ἄρτου ἅψῃ, ( ὁρῶ) εἰς οὐδὲν τὴν χεῖρα ἀποψώμενον, ὅταν δὲ τούτων τινὸς θίγῃς, εὐθὺς ἀποκαθαίρῃ τὴν χεῖρα εἰς τὰ χειρόμακτρα)—which things (viz. the things forbidden) are set ( ἐστιν emphatic, ‘whose very nature is …’) all of them for destruction (by corruption, see reff.) in their consumption (i.e. are appointed by the Creator to be decomposed and obliterated with their consumption by us. So Thdrt.— πῶςνομίζετέ τινα μὲν τῶν ἐδεσμάτων ἔννομα, τινὰ δὲ παράνομα, κ. οὐ σκοπεῖτε ὡς μόνιμον τούτων οὐδέν; εἰς κόπρον γὰρ ἅπαντα μεταβάλλεται: and similarly Œc.— φθορᾷ γάρ, φησιν, ὑπόκειται ἐν τῷ ἀφεδρῶνι—Thl., Erasm., Luth., Beza, Calv., Grot., Wolf, Olsh., Mey., al. The argument in fact is similar to that in Matthew 15:17, and 1 Corinthians 6:13.

Two other lines of interpretation have been followed: 1) that which carries the sense on from the three verbs, “Handle not, &c. things which tend to (moral) corruption in their use.” De W., Baum.-Crus., al. But this suits neither the collocation of the words, nor ἀποχρήσει, the ‘using up,’ ‘consumption,’ which should thus rather be χρήσει. 2) that which makes refer to δόγματα, and renders ‘which δόγματα all tend to (everlasting) destruction in their observance;’ but this is just as much against the sense of ἀπόχρησις, and would rather require τήρησις, if indeed τῇ ἀποχρήσει be not superfluous altogether. See these same objections urged at greater length in Meyer’s note)—according to (connects with δογματίζεσθε ΄ὴθίγῃς: the subsequent clause being a parenthetical remark; thus defining the general term δόγματα to consist in human, not divine commands) the commands and systems ( διδασκαλία is the wider term comprising many ἐντάλματα. In reff., the wider term is prefixed: here, where examples of separate ἐντάλματα have been given, we rise from them to the system of doctrine of which they are a part) of men (not merely ἀνθρώπων, bringing out the individual authors of them, but τῶν ἀν. describing them generically as human, not divine. This I would press as against Ellic., who views the τῶν as the art. of correlation, rendered necessary by τὰ ἐντάλματα. But even if this usage were to be strictly pressed with such a word as ἀνθρώπων, the substantive nearest to it, διδασκαλίας, has no article), such as ( ἅτινα brings us from the general objective, human doctrines and systems, to the specific subjective, the particular sort of doctrines and systems which they were following: q. d., ‘and that, such sort of ἐντ. κ. διδασκ. as …’) are possessed of ( ἐστὶν ἔχοντα does not exactly = ἔχει, but betokens more the abiding attribute of these δόγματα—‘enjoy,’ as we say) a reputation ( λόγον ἔχειν occurs in various meanings. Absolutely, it may signify ‘avoir raison,’ as Demosth. adv. Lept. p. 461, ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο οὕτωσι μὲν ἀκοῦσαι λόγον τινὰ ἔχον, which meaning is obviously out of place here:—as is also ‘to take account of,’ Herod. i. 62, ἀθηναῖοι δὲ οἱ ἐκ τοῦ ἄστεος, ἕωςλόγον οὐδένα εἶχον. But the meaning ‘to have the repute of,’—found Herod. v. 66, κλεισθένηςὅσπερ δὴ λόγον ἔχει τὴν πυθίην ἀναπεῖσαι (‘is said to have influenced the Pythia’),—and Plato, Epinomis, p. 987 b, ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἑωσφόρος ἕσπερός τε ὢν αὑτὸς ἀφροδίτης εἶναι σχεδὸν ἔχει λόγον (‘Veneris esse dicitur,’ as Ficinus),—manifestly fits the context here, and is adopted by most Commentators) indeed (the μέν solitarium leaves the δέ to be supplied by the reader, or gathered from what follows. It is implied by it, not by the mere phrase λόγον ἔχειν (see the examples above), that they had the repute only without the reality) of wisdom in (element of its repute) voluntary worship (words of this form are not uncommon: so we have ἐθελοπρόξενος, a volunteer or self-constituted proxenus, in Thuc. iii. 70— ἐθελοκωφἑω, to pretend to be deaf, Strabo i. p. 36,— ἐθελοδουλεία, voluntary slavery, Plato Symp., p. 184 c, &c. &c.; see Lexx., and Aug., Ep. 149 (59, cited above on Colossians 2:17), says ‘sic et vulgo dicitur qui divitem affectat thelodives, et qui sapientem thelosapiens, et cætera hujusmodi.’ Mey. cites Epiphan. Hær.xvi. p.34, explaining the name Pharisees, διὰ τὸ ἀφωρισμένους εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν ἄλλων διὰ τὴν ἐθελοπερισσοθρησκείαν παρʼ αὐτῶν νενομισμένην. See many more examples in Wetst. The θρ. was mainly that of angels, see above, Colossians 2:18; but the generality of the expression here may take in other voluntary extravagancies of worship also) and humility (see Colossians 2:18) and unsparingness of the body (Plato defines ἐλευθερία, ἀφειδία ἐν χρήσει κ. ἐν κτήσει οὐσίας, Def. p. 412 D: Thuc. ii. 43 has ἀφειδεῖν βίου: Diod. Sic. xiii. 60, ἀφειδῶς ἐχρῶντο τοῖς ἰδίοις σώμασιν εἰς τὴν κοινὴν σωτηρίαν, &c. &c., see Wetst.), not in any honour of it (on the interpretations, see below. τιμή is used by St. Paul of honour or respect bestowed on the body, in 1 Corinthians 12:23-24; of honourable conduct in matters relating to the body, 1 Thessalonians 4:4 (see note there: cf. also Romans 1:24): and such is the meaning I would assign to it here—these δόγματα have the repute of wisdom for (in) &c., and for (in) unsparingness of the body, not in any real honour done to it—its true honour being dedication to the Lord, 1 Corinthians 6:13),—to the satiating of the flesh? I connect these words not with the preceding clause, but with δογματίζεσθε above—‘why are ye suffering yourselves (see on the passive above) to be thus dogmatized (in the strain μὴ ἅψῃ &c. according to &c., which are &c.), and all for the satisfaction of the flesh’—for the following out of a διδασκαλία, the ground of which is the φυσιοῦσθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκός, Colossians 2:18? then after this follow most naturally the exhortations of the next chapter; they are not to seek the πλησμονὴ τῆς σαρκός—not τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς φρονεῖν, but νεκρῶσαι τὰ μέλη τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. The ordinary interpretation of this difficult passage has been, as E. V. ‘not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh,’ meaning thereby, that such commands do not provide for the honour which we owe to the body in the supply of the proper refreshment to the flesh. But two great objections lie against this, and are in my judgment fatal to the interpretation in every shape: 1) that ἡ σάρξ cannot be used in this indifferent sense as equivalent to τὸ σῶμα, in a sentence where it occurs together with τὸ σῶμα, and where it has before occurred in an ethical sense: 2) that πλησμονή will not bear this meaning of mere ordinary supplying, ‘satisfying the wants of:’ but must imply satiety, ‘satisfying to repletion.’ The children of Israel were to eat the quails εἰς πλησμονήν, Exodus 16:8; cf. also Deuteronomy 33:23; Lamentations 5:6; Habakkuk 2:16; also διὰ τὰς ἀλόγους οἰνοφλυγίας κ. πλησμονάς, Polyb. ii. 19. 4.

Meyer renders—‘these commands have a repute for wisdom, &c.,—not for any thing which is really honourable (i.e. which may prove that repute to be grounded in truth), but in order thereby to the satiation of men’s sensual nature:’ and so, nearly, Ellicott. The objections to this are, 1) the strained meaning of τιμή τις,—2) the insertion of ‘but’ before πρός, or as in Ellic. ‘only’ after it, both which are wholly gratuitous. This same latter objection applies to the rendering of Beza, al., ‘nec tamen ullius sunt pretii, quum ad ea spectant quibus farcitur caro,’—besides that this latter paraphrase is unwarranted. See other renderings still further off the point in Mey. and De W. Among these I fear must be reckoned that of Conyb., ‘are of no value to check (?) the indulgence of fleshly passions,’ and that of Bähr and Eadie, regarding λόγοντινι as participial, and joining ἐστιν with πρός—a harshness of construction wholly unexampled and improbable. The interpretation above given seems to me, after long consideration, the simplest, and most in accord with the context. It is no objection to it that the antithesis presented by οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι is thus not to ἐν ἐθελοθρ. κ. τ. λ., but merely to ἀφειδίᾳ σώματος: for if the Apostle wished to bring out a negative antithesis to these last words only, he hardly could do so without repeating the preposition, the sense of which is carried on to ἀφειδίᾳ.

 


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Colossians 2:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/colossians-2.html. 1863-1878.

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