| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 22 - Page 29 of 214 Index | Zoom | |
parfait, which in its turn comes from the Latin per = "thoroughly" and facere = "to
make". Now the word "fact" comes from the same verb facere, and if we can see in the
word "perfect" the idea of making that which is a "fact" in Christ, a "fact" also
experimentally, we shall be near the truth contained in the two presentings of Col. 1:
There is, however, only one true method of arriving at the meaning of a word, and that is
by a canvass of its usage together with its etymology.
The word translated "perfect" in Col. 1: 28 is teleios, and if we bring together the
various words that are derived from the same root or stem, we shall be in a position to
understand its essential meaning.
Telos . . . . . . An end . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Then cometh the end" (I Cor. 15: 24).
Teleo . . . . . . To end . . . . . . . . . . . . . "I have finished my course" (II Tim. 4: 7).
Teleios . . . . . What has reached its end . . . "Every man perfect" (Col. 1: 28).
Teleiotes . . . . Perfection . . . . . . . . . . "Let us go on unto perfection" (Heb. 6: 1).
Teleioo . . . . . To finish . . . . . . . . . . . "That I might finish my course" (Acts 20: 24).
Teleios . . . . . Perfectly . . . . . . . . . . . "Hope to the end" (I Pet. 1: 13).
Teleiotes . . . . Finisher . . . . . . . . . . . . "Author and Finisher" (Heb. 12: 2).
There are other words used in the N.T. derived from the same source, and also quite a
number of compounds, but we have sufficient for our purpose in the list above. The
etymology of the word suggests that "perfect" has something to do with the "end" with a
"finish". The usage of the word leaves us without any doubt. It is found as an antithesis
to "begin" and "beginning", and is employed in association with the running of a race
with a prize in view. It is used of Christ Himself in connection with the "finishing" of
His work, although the idea of His "being made perfect" as a result of his sufferings
cannot be tolerated, if by the word "perfect" we mean moral or spiritual improvement.
Let us take a few occurrences of the word "perfect" in order to establish its meaning by
"Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3: 3).
Here the word is used in its natural meaning. Over against "begun" the apostle places
"made perfect", where the mind thinks of the idea of "ending" or finishing"":--
"Therefore leaving the word of the beginning of Christ (A.V. margin), let us go on
unto perfection" (Heb. 6: 1).
Here once more a literal rendering throws "beginning" and "perfection" or "ending"
"That as he had begun, so he would also finish" (II Cor. 8: 6).
Here, the word translated "to make perfect" in Gal. 3: 3 is translated "to finish":--
"I have fought a good fight, I have finish my course, I have kept the faith" (II Tim. 4: 7).