By Charles H. Welch
Fulfil (Pleroo). This word is used very frequently in passages which speak of the fulfilling of prophecy and other Scripture, such as "that it might be fulfilled" (Matt. 1 :22), "that the Scripture might be fulfilled" (John 17:12), but this meaning is entirely foreign to the usage of pleroo in the Prison Epistles, the only apparent exception being Colossians 1 :25, which reads in the A.V. "to fulfil the Word of God", making the Apostle teach that the dispensation of the Mystery, instead of being a secret hid in God and never committed to writing in the earlier days, "fulfilled" the Word of God, in the same way that the birth of Christ "fulfilled" the prophecy of Isaiah. There are fourteen occurrences of pleroo in the Prison Epistles, thirteen of them being translated "fill", "complete", "supply" and "fulfil" in the sense of completing, and once "supply". Let us see these references together.
It is impossible to substitute "fulfil" in these passages without loss.
Here the one occurrence "fulfil" is translated by Cunnington "fill up".
The Scriptures may be likened to a pyramid, built up in a succession of layers, but not being complete until the top stone, itself a perfect pyramid, is added to the structure. All dispensations that have preceded the present dispensation of the Mystery have come to a temporary end, have gone into a kind of lo-ammi period, to be resumed at some future time, but there is no indication in Scripture that the dispensation of the Mystery will be cut off, be succeeded by yet another fresh intervention, and be picked up again after a long interval in the future. See the article entitled PLEROMA for an extended examination, with chart, of the term "fulness".