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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Colossians: Chapter 1)

1:1 {Of Christ Jesus} (Christou Iēsou). This order in the later epistles shows that Christos 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 Ga 1:1.
{Timothy} (Timotheos). Mentioned as in I and II Thess. when in Corinth, II Cor. when in Macedonia, Phil. and Philemon when in Rome as here.

1:2 {At Colossae} (en Kolossais). The spelling is uncertain, the MSS. differing in the title (Kolassaeis) and here (Kolossais). 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.

1:3 {God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ} (tōi theōi patri tou kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou). Correct text without kai (and) as in 3:17, though usually "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2Co 1:3; 11:31; Ro 15:6; 1Pe 1:3; Re 1:6). In verse 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} (pantote). Amphibolous position between eucharistoumen (we give thanks) and proseuchomenoi (praying). Can go with either.

1:4 {Having heard of} (akousantes). Literary plural unless Timothy is included. Aorist active participle of akouō of antecedent action to eucharistoumen. Epaphras (verse 8) had told Paul.
{Your faith in Jesus Christ} (tēn pistin humōn en Iēsou Christōi). See Eph 1:15 for similar phrase. No article is needed before en as it is a closely knit phrase and bears the same sense as the objective genitive in Ga 2:16 (dia pisteōs Christou Iēsou, by faith in Christ Jesus).
{Which ye have} (hēn echete). Probably genuine (Aleph A C D), though B omits it and others have the article (tēn). There is a real distinction here between en (sphere or basis) and eis (direction towards), though they are often identical in idea.

1:5 {Because of the hope} (dia tēn elpida). See Ro 8:24. It is not clear whether this phrase is to be linked with eucha istoumen at the beginning of verse 3 or (more likely) with tēn agapēn just before. Note also here pistis (faith), agapē (love), elpis (hope), though not grouped together so sharply as in 1Co 13:13. Here hope is objective, the goal ahead.
{Laid up} (apokeimeinēn). Literally, "laid away or by." Old word used in Lu 19:20 of the pound laid away in a napkin. See also apothēsaurizō, to store away for future use (1Ti 6:19). The same idea occurs in Mt 6:20 (treasure in heaven) and 1Pe 1:4 and it is involved in Phm 3:20.
{Ye heard before} (proēkousate). First aorist indicative active of this old compound proakouō, 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} (en tōi logōi tēs alētheias tou euaggeliou). "In the preaching of the truth of the gospel" (Ga 2:5,14) which is come (parontos, present active participle agreeing with euaggeliou, being present, a classical use of pareimi as in Ac 12:20). They heard the pure gospel from Epaphras before the Gnostics came.

1:6 {In all the world} (en panti tōi kosmōi). A legitimate hyperbole, for the gospel was spreading all over the Roman Empire.
{Is bearing fruit} (estin karpophoroumenon). Periphrastic present middle indicative of the old compound karpophoreō, from karpophoros (Ac 14:17) and that from karpos and pherō. The periphrastic present emphasizes the continuity of the process. See the active participle karpophorountes in verse 10.
{Increasing} (auxanomenon). Periphrastic present middle of auxanō. Repeated in verse 10. The growing and the fruit-bearing go on simultaneously as always with Christians (inward growth and outward expression).
{Ye heard and knew} (ēkousate kai epegnōte). Definite aorist indicative. They heard the gospel from Epaphras and at once recognized and accepted (ingressive second aorist active of epiginōskō, to know fully or in addition). They fully apprehended the grace of God and should be immune to the shallow vagaries of the Gnostics.

1:7 {Of Epaphras} (apo Epaphrā). "From Epaphras" who is the source of their knowledge of Christ.
{On our behalf} (huper hēmōn). Clearly correct (Aleph A B D) and not huper humōn (on your behalf). In a true sense Epaphras was Paul's messenger to Colossae.

1:8 {Who also declared} (ho kai dēlōsas). Articular first aorist active participle of dēloō, old verb, to make manifest. Epaphras told Paul about their "love in the Spirit," grounded in the Holy Spirit.

1:9 {That ye may be filled with} (hina plērōthēte). First aorist (effective) passive subjunctive of plēroō, to fill full. {The knowledge of his will} (tēn epignōsin tou thelēmatos autou). The accusative case is retained with this passive verb. Epignōsis is a "Koinē" word (Polybius, Plutarch, etc.) for additional (epi) 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} (en pasēi sophiāi kai sunesei pneumatikēi). Both pasei (all) and pneumatikēi (spiritual) are to be taken with both sophiāi and sunesei. In Eph 1:8 Paul uses phronēsei (from phrēn, intellect) rather than sunesei (grasp, from suniēmi, to send together). Sunesis is the faculty of deciding in particular cases while sophia 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.

1:10 {To walk worthily of the Lord} (peripatēsai axiōs tou Kuriou). 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 1Th 2:12; Php 1:27; Eph 4:1 for a like use of axiōs (adverb) with the genitive.
{In the knowledge of God} (tēi epignōsei tou theou). Instrumental case, "by means of the full knowledge of God." This is the way for fruit-bearing and growth to come. Note both participles (karpophorountes kai auxanomenoi) together as in verse 6.
{Unto all pleasing} (eis pāsan areskian). In order to please God in all things (1Th 4:1). Areskia is late word from areskeuō, 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.

1:11 {Strengthened} (dunamoumenoi). Present passive participle of late verb dunamoō (from dunamis), to empower, "empowered with all power." In LXX and papyri and modern Greek. In N.T. only here and Heb 11:34 and MSS. in Eph 6:10 (W H in margin). {According to the might of his glory} (kata to kratos tēs doxēs autou). Kratos is old word for perfect strength (cf. krateō, kratilos). In N.T. it is applied only to God. Here his might is accompanied by glory ("Shekinah").
{Unto all patience and longsuffering} (eis pāsan hupomonēn kai makrothumian). See both together also in Jas 5:10f.; 2Co 6:4,6; 2Ti 3:10. Hupomonē is remaining under (hupomenō) difficulties without succumbing, while makrothumia is the long endurance that does not retaliate (Trench).

1:12 {Who made us meet} (tōi hikanōsanti hēmās). Or "you" (humās). Dative case of the articular participle of hikanoō, late verb from hikanos and in N.T. only here and 2Co 3:6 (which see), "who made us fit or adequate for."
{To be partakers} (eis merida). "For a share in." Old word for share or portion (from meros) as in Ac 8:21; 16:12; 2Co 6:15 (the only other N.T. examples).
{Of the inheritance} (tou klērou). "Of the lot," "for a share of the lot." Old word. First a pebble or piece of wood used in casting lots (Ac 1:26), then the allotted portion or inheritance as here (Ac 8:21). Cf. Heb 3:7-4:11. {In light} (en tōi phōti). Taken with merida (portion) "situated in the kingdom of light" (Lightfoot).

1:13 {Delivered} (erusato). First aorist middle indicative of ruomai, 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 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 (ek) the power (exousias) of the kingdom of darkness (skotous) in which we were held as slaves.
{Translated} (metestēsen). First aorist active indicative of methistēmi and transitive (not intransitive like second aorist metestē). Old word. See 1Co 13:2. Changed us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
{Of the Son of his love} (tou huiou tēs agapēs autou). Probably objective genitive (agapēs), the Son who is the object of the Father's love like agapētos (beloved) in Mt 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.

1:14 {In whom} (en hōi). In Christ as in Eph 1:7. This great sentence about Christ carries on by means of three relatives (en hōi 14, hos 15, hos 18) and repeated personal pronoun (autos), twice with hoti (15,19), thrice with kai (17,18,20), twice alone (16,20).
{Our redemption} (tēn apolutrōsin). See on ¯Ro 3:24 for this great word ("Koinē"), a release on payment of a ransom for slave or debtor (Heb 9:15) as the inscriptions show (Deissmann, "Light, etc.", p. 327).
{The forgiveness of our sins} (tēn aphesin tōn hamartiōn). Accusative case in apposition with apolutrōsin as in Eph 1:7 ({remission}, sending away, aphesis, after the {redemption} apolutrōsis, buying back). Only here we have hamartiōn (sins, from hamartanō, to miss) while in Eph 1:7 we find paraptōmatōn (slips, fallings aside, from parapiptō).

1:15 {The image} (eikōn). In predicate and no article. On eikōn, see 2Co 4:4; 3:18; Ro 8:29; Col 3:10. Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father as he was before the Incarnation (Joh 17:5) and is now (Php 2:5-11; Heb 1:3).
{Of the invisible God} (tou theou tou aoratou). But the one who sees Jesus has seen God (Joh 14:9). See this verbal adjective (a privative and horaō) in Ro 1:20.
{The first born} (prōtotokos). Predicate adjective again and anarthrous. This passage is parallel to the Logos passage in Joh 1:1-18 and to Heb 1:1-4 as well as Php 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 Lu 2:7 and Aleph for Mt 1:25; Ro 8:29. The use of this word does not show what Arius argued that Paul regarded Christ as a creature like "all creation" (pāsēs ktiseōs, by metonomy the "act" regarded as "result"). It is rather the comparative (superlative) force of prōtos that is used (first-born of all creation) as in Col 1:18; Ro 8:29; Heb 1:6; 12:23; Re 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 eikōn we find prōtotokos in the Alexandrian vocabulary of the Logos 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 eikōn (Image) and to the universe as prōtotokos (First-born).

1:16 {All things} (ta panta). The universe as in Ro 11:35, a well-known philosophical phrase. It is repeated at the end of the verse.
{In him were created} (en autōi ektisthē). Paul now gives the reason (hoti, for) for the primacy of Christ in the work of creation (16f.). It is the constative aorist passive indicative ektisthē (from ktizō, old verb, to found, to create (Ro 1:25). This central activity of Christ in the work of creation is presented also in Joh 1:3; Heb 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} (ektistai). Perfect passive indicative of ktizō, "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} (di' autou). As the intermediate and sustaining agent. He had already used en autōi (in him) as the sphere of activity.
{And unto him} (kai eis auton). This is the only remaining step to take and Paul takes it (1Co 15:28) See Eph 1:10 for similar use of en autōi of Christ and in Col 1:19; 20 again we have en autōi, di' autou, eis auton used of Christ. See Heb 2:10 for di' hon (because of whom) and di' hou (by means of whom) applied to God concerning the universe (ta panta). In Ro 11:35 we find ex autou kai di' autou kai eis auton ta panta referring to God. But Paul does not use ex in this connection of Christ, but only en, dia, and eis. See the same distinction preserved in 1Co 8:6 (ex of God, dia, of Christ).

1:17 {Before all things} (pro pantōn). Pro 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 Joh 8:58; 17:5. See also Re 23:13 where Christ calls himself the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning (archē) and the End (telos). Paul states it also in 2Co 8:9; Php 2:6f.
{Consist} (sunestēken). Perfect active indicative (intransitive) of sunistēmi, old verb, to place together and here to cohere, to hold together. The word repeats the statements in verse 16, especially that in the form ektistai. 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.

1:18 {The head of the body} (hē kephalē tou sōmatos). Jesus is first also in the spiritual realm as he is in nature (verses 18-20). Paul is fond of the metaphor of the body (sōma) for believers of which body Christ is the head (kephalē) as seen already in 1Co 11:3; 12:12,27; Ro 12:5. See further Col 1:24: 2:19; Eph 1:22f.; 4:2,15; 5:30.
{The church} (tēs ekklēsias) Genitive case in explanatory apposition with tou sōmatos. This is the general sense of ekklēsia, not of a local body, assembly, or organization. Here the contrast is between the realm of nature (ta panta) in verses 15-17 and the realm of spirit or grace in verses 18-20. A like general sense of ekklēsia occurs in Eph 1:22f.; 5:24-32; Heb 12:23. In Eph 2:11-22 Paul uses various figures for the kingdom of Christ (commonwealth politeia, verse 12, one new man eis hena kainon anthrōpon, verse 15, one body en heni sōmati, verse 16, family of God oikeioi tou theou, verse 19, building or temple oikodomē and naos, verses 20-22).
{Who} (hos). Causal use of the relative, "in that he is."
{The beginning} (hē archē). It is uncertain if the article (hē) is genuine. It is absolute without it. Christ has priority in time and in power. See Re 3:14 for his relation as archē to creation and 1Co 15:20,23 for aparchē used of Christ and the resurrection and Ac 3:14 for archēgos used of him as the author of life and Heb 2:10 of Jesus and salvation and Heb 12-2 of Jesus as the pioneer of faith.
{That in all things he might have the preeminence} (hina genētai en pāsin autos prōteuōn). Purpose clause with hina and the second aorist middle subjunctive of ginomai, "that he himself in all things (material and spiritual) may come to (genētai, not ēi, be) hold the first place" (prōteuōn, present active participle of prōteuō, old verb, to hold the first place, here only in the N.T.). Christ is first with Paul in time and in rank. See Re 1:5 for this same use of prōtotokos with tōn nekrōn (the dead).

1:19 {For it was the good pleasure of the Father} (hoti eudokēsen). No word in the Greek for "the Father," though the verb calls for either ho theos or ho patēr as the subject. This verb eudokeō is common in the N.T. for God's will and pleasure (Mt 3:17; 1Co 10:5).
{All the fulness} (pān to plērōma). The same idea as in 2:9 pān to plērōma tēs theotētos (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 plēroō, to fill full, used in various senses as in Mr 8:20 of the baskets, Ga 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} (katoikēsai). First aorist active infinitive of katoikeō, to make abode or home. All the divine attributes are at home in Christ (en autōi).

1:20 {Through him} (di' autou). As the sufficient and chosen agent in the work of reconciliation (apokatallaxai, first aorist active infinitive of apokatallassō, further addition to eudokēsen, was pleased). This double compound (apo, kata with allassō) occurs only here, verse 22; Eph 2:16, and nowhere else so far as known. Paul's usual word for "reconcile" is katallassō (2Co 5:18-20; Ro 5:10), though diallassō (Mt 5:24) is more common in Attic. The addition of apo here is clearly for the idea of complete reconciliation. See on ¯2Co 5:18-20 for discussion of katallassō, Paul's great word. The use of ta panta (the all things, the universe) as if the universe were somehow out of harmony reminds us of the mystical passage in Ro 8:19-23 which see for discussion. Sin somehow has put the universe out of joint. Christ will set it right.
{Unto himself} (eis auton). Unto God, though auton is not reflexive unless written hauton.
{Having made peace} (eirēnopoiēsas). Late and rare compound (Pr 10:10 and here only in N.T.) from eirēnopoios, peacemaker (Mt 5:9; here only in N.T.). In Eph 2:15 we have poiōn eirēnēn (separate words) {making peace}. Not the masculine gender, though agreeing with the idea of Christ involved even if plērōma be taken as the subject of eudokēsen, a participial anacoluthon (construction according to sense as in 2:19). If theos be taken as the subject of eudokēsen the participle eirēnopoiēsas refers to Christ, not to theos (God).
{Through the blood of his cross} (dia tou haimatos tou staurou autou). 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} (eite ta en tois ouranois). 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 16 not put in categorical form (Abbott), "universitas rerum" (Ellicott).

1:21 {And you} (kai humās). Accusative case in a rather loose sentence, to be explained as the object of the infinitive parastēsai in verse 22 (note repeated humās there) or as the anticipated object of apokatēllaxen if that be the genuine form in verse 22. It can be the accusative of general reference followed by anacoluthon. See similar idiom in Eph 2:1,12. {Being in time past alienated} (pote ontas apēllotriōmenous). Periphrastic perfect passive participle (continuing state of alienation) of apallotrioō, old word from Plato on, to estrange, to render allotrios (belonging to another), alienated from God, a vivid picture of heathenism as in Ro 1:20-23. Only other N.T. examples in Eph 2:12; 4:18. Enemies (exthrous). Old word from echthos (hatred). Active sense here, {hostile} as in Mt 13:28; Ro 8:7, not passive {hateful} (Ro 11:28).
{In your mind} (tēi dianoiāi). Locative case. Dianoia (dia, nous), mind, intent, purpose. Old word. It is always a tragedy to see men use their minds actively against God.
{In your evil works} (en tois ergois tois ponērois). Hostile purpose finds natural expression in evil deeds.

1:22 {Yet now} (nuni de). Sharpened contrast with emphatic form of nun, "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} (apokatēllaxen). First aorist (effective, timeless) active indicative (a sort of parenthetical anacoluthon). Here B reads apokatallagēte, be ye reconciled like katallagēte in 2Co 5:20 while D has apokatallagentes. Lightfoot prefers to follow B here (the hard reading), though Westcott and Hort only put it in the margin. On the word see verse 20.
{In the body of his flesh} (en tōi sōmati tēs sarkos autou). See the same combination in 2:11 though in Eph 2:14 only sarki (flesh). Apparently Paul combines both sōma and sarx to make plain the actual humanity of Jesus against incipient Docetic Gnostics who denied it.
{Through death} (dia tou thanatou). The reconciliation was accomplished by means of Christ's death on the cross (verse 20) and not just by the Incarnation (the body of his flesh) in which the death took place.
{To present} (parastēsai). First aorist active (transitive) infinitive (of purpose) of paristēmi, old verb, to place beside in many connections. See it used of presenting Paul and the letter from Lysias to Felix (Ac 23:33). Repeated in Col 2:28. See also 2Co 11:2; 2Co 4:14. Paul has the same idea of his responsibility in rendering an account for those under his influence seen in Heb 13:17. See Ro 12:1 for use of living sacrifice.
{Holy} (hagious). 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} (amōmous). Without spot (Php 2:15). Old word a privative and mōmos (blemish). Common in the LXX for ceremonial purifications.
{Unreproveable} (anegklētous). Old verbal adjective from a privative and egkaleō, 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" (katenōpion autou), right down in the eye of Christ the Judge of all.

1:23 {If so be that ye continue in the faith} (ei ge epimenete tēi pistei). Condition of the first class (determined as fulfilled), with a touch of eagerness in the use of ge (at least). Epi 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} (tethemeliōmenoi). Perfect passive participle of themelioō, old verb from themelios (adjective, from thema from tithēmi, laid down as a foundation, substantive, 1Co 3:11f.). Picture of the saint as a building like Eph 2:20.
{Steadfast} (hedraioi). Old adjective from hedra (seat). In N.T. only here, 1Co 7:37; 15:58. Metaphor of seated in a chair.
{Not moved away} (mē metakinoumenoi). Present passive participle (with negative mē) of metakineō, 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} (apo tēs elpidos tou euaggeliou). Ablative case with apo. The hope given by or in the gospel and there alone.
{Which ye heard} (hou ēkousate). Genitive case of relative either by attraction or after ēkousate. The Colossians had in reality heard the gospel from Epaphras.
{Preached} (kēruchthentos). First aorist passive participle of kērussō, to herald, to proclaim.
{In all creation} (en pasēi ktisei). Ktisis is the act of founding (Ro 1:20) from ktizō (verse 16), then a created thing (Ro 1:25), then the sum of created things as here and Re 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} (diakonos). General term for service (dia, konis, raising a dust by speed)
and used often as here of preachers like our "minister" today, one who serves. Jesus used the verb diakonēsai of himself (Mr 10:45). Our "deacon" is this word transliterated and given a technical meaning as in Php 1:1.

1:24 {Now I rejoice} (nun chairomen). This is not a new note for Paul. See him in jail in Philippi (Ac 16:25) and in 2Co 11:16-33; Ro 5:3; Php 2:18.
{Fill up on my part} (antanaplērō). Very rare double compound verb (here only in N.T.) to fill (plēroō) up (ana), in turn (anti). 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 anti 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} (ta husterēmata). "The left-overs," so to speak. Late word from hustereō, to come behind, to be left, to fail. See Lu 21:4; 1Th 3:10; 2Co 8:14; 9:12.
{For his body's sake} (huper tou sōmatos autou). As Paul showed in his exultation in suffering in 2Co 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 18).

1:25 {According to the dispensation of God} (kata tēn oikonomian tou theou). "According to the economy of God." An old word from oikonomeō, to be a house steward (oikos, nemō) as in Lu 16:2-4; 1Co 9:17; Eph 1:9; 3:9. It was by God's stewardship that Paul was made a minister of Christ.
{To fulfil the word of God} (plērōsai ton logon tou theou). First aorist active infinitive of purpose (plēroō), 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 2Th 3:1.

1:26 {The mystery} (to mustērion). See on 1Co 2:7 for this interesting word from mustēs (initiate), from mueō, to wink, to blink. The Gnostics talked much of "mysteries." Paul takes their very word (already in common use, Mt 13:11) and uses it for the gospel.
{Which hath been hid} (to apokekrummenon). Perfect passive articular participle from apokruptō, old verb, to hide, to conceal from (1Co 2:7; Eph 3:9).
{But now it hath been manifested} (nun de ephanerōthē). First aorist passive indicative of phaneroō, to make manifest (phaneros). The construction is suddenly changed (anacoluthon) from the participle to the finite verb.

1:27 {God was pleased} (ēthelēsen ho theos). First aorist active indicative of thelō, to will, to wish. "God willed" this change from hidden mystery to manifestation.
{To make known} (gnōrisai). First aorist active infinitive of gnōrizō (from ginōskō). Among the Gentiles (en tois ethnesin). 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" (to ploutos tēs doxēs tou mustēriou toutou) and that Paul himself has been made the minister of this grace among the Gentiles (Eph 3:1-2). He feels the high honour keenly and meets the responsibility humbly.
{Which} (ho). Grammatical gender (neuter) agreeing with mustēriou (mystery), supported by A B P Vulg., though hos (who) agreeing with Christos 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" (Christos en humin hē elpis tēs doxēs). He is addressing Gentiles, but the idea of en 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 Eph 3:17. He constitutes also the hope of glory for he is the Shekinah of God. Christ is our hope now (1Ti 1:1) and the consummation will come (Ro 8:18).

1:28 {Whom} (hon). That is, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." {We proclaim} (kataggellomen). 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 (aggellō) throughout (kata), to proclaim far and wide (Ac 13:5).
{Admonishing} (nouthetountes). Old verb from nouthetēs, admonisher (from nous, tithēmi). See already Ac 20:31; 1Th 5:12,14; 2Th 3:15, etc. Warning about practice and teaching (didaskontes) about doctrine. Such teaching calls for "all wisdom" {Every man} (panta anthrōpon). Repeated three times. "In opposition to the doctrine of an intellectual exclusiveness taught by the false teachers" (Abbott).
{That we may present} (hina parastēsōmen). Final use of hina and first aorist active subjunctive of paristēmi, for which see 1:22, the final presentation to Christ.
{Perfect} (teleion). Spiritual adults in Christ, no longer babes in Christ (Heb 5:14), mature and ripened Christians (4:22), the full-grown man in Christ (Eph 4:13). The relatively perfect (Php 3:15) will on that day of the presentation be fully developed as here (Col 4:12; Eph 4:13). The Gnostics used teleios 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.

1:29 {Whereunto} (eis ho). That is "to present every man perfect in Christ."
{I labour also} (kai kopiō). Late verb kopiaō, from kopos (toil), to grow weary from toil (Mt 11:28), to toil on (Php 2:16), sometimes for athletic training. In papyri.
{Striving} (agōnizomenos). Present middle participle of common verb agōnizomai (from agōn, contest, as in 2:1), to contend in athletic games, to agonize, a favourite metaphor with Paul who is now a prisoner.
{Working} (energeian). Our word "energy." Late word from energēs (en, ergon), efficiency (at work). Play on the word here with the present passive participle of energeō, energoumenēn (energy energized) as in Eph 1:19f. Paul was conscious of God's "energy" at work in him "mightily" (en dunamei), "in power" like dynamite.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Colossians: Chapter 1)

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