VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Of Christ Jesus (tou Cristou Ihsou). Notice the article, the Christ, and see on ch. ii. 13.
Gentiles. To whom Paul was expressly sent, and in preaching to whom he had fallen into the hands of the civil law.
Dispensation (oikonomian). See on ch. i. 10; Col. i. 25. The divine arrangement or disposition.
Mystery of Christ. The mystery which is Christ. See on Col. i. 26; Rom. xi. 25.
By the effectual working of His power (kata thn energeian thv dunamewv autou). Rev., better, according to the working, etc. The gift was bestowed in accordance with that efficiency which could transform Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.
Which cannot be tracked out.
All things (ta panta). Collectively.
Now. In contrast with all ages.
Principalities and powers. Good angels. See on ch. i. 21.
By the Church (dia). Better, through, as Rev. By means of the Church. This agrees with what was said of the Church as the fullness of God, ch. i. 23.
Manifold wisdom (polupoikilov sofia). A very striking phrase. The adjective occurs only here, and means variegated. It is applied to pictures, flowers, garments. Poikilon is used in the Septuagint of Joseph's coat, Gen. xxxvii. 3. Through the Church God's wisdom in its infinite variety is to be displayed - the many-tinted wisdom of God - in different modes of power, different characters, methods of training, providences, forms of organization, etc.
He wrought (epoihsen). Carried into effect. See on fulfilling, ch. ii. 3.
Father. Omit of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The whole family (pasa patria) Rev., more correctly, every family. Patria is, more properly, a group of families - all who claim a common pathr. father. Family, according to our usage of the term, would be oikov house. The Israelites were divided into tribes (fulai), and then into patpiai, each deriving its descent from one of Jacob's grandsons; and these again into oikoi houses. So Joseph was both of the house (oikou) and family (patriav) of David. We find the phrase oikoi patriwn houses of the families, Exod. xii. 3; Num. i. 2. The word occurs only three times in the New Testament: here, Luke ii. 4; Acts iii. 25. In the last-named passage it is used in a wide, general sense, of nations. Family is perhaps the best translation, if taken in its wider meaning of a body belonging to a common stock - a clan. Fatherhood (Rev., in margin), following the Vulgate paternitas, means rather the fact and quality of paternity. Observe the play of the words, which can scarcely be reproduced in English, pater, patria.
In heaven and earth. To the angelic hosts and the tribes of men alike, God is Father. There may be a suggestion of the different ranks or grades of angels, as principalities, thrones, powers, etc. See ver. 10. "Wherever in heaven or in earth beings are grouped from their relation to a father, the name they bear in each case is derived from the Father" (Riddle).
By faith (dia thv pistewv). Through your (the article) faith, as the medium of appropriating Christ. Faith opens the door and receives Him who knocks. Apoc. iii. 20.
Compare Col. ii. 7, and see note. Grounded or founded, from qemelion foundation. The dwelling in ver. 17 would naturally suggest the foundation. Rooting and grounding are consequences of the strengthening of the Spirit and of Christ's indwelling.
In love. Standing first in the sentence and emphatic, as the fundamental principle of christian life and knowledge.
May be able (exiscushte). Rev., may be strong. This compound verb occurs only here. The preposition ejx has the force of fully or eminently. Iscuv is strength embodied; inhering in organized power. Hence it is an advance on dunamei might in ver. 16 (see note). Paul prays that the inward might or virtue may issue in ability to grasp. Compare Luke xiv. 30; xvi. 3; Acts xxvii. 16; Jas. v. 16, and see notes. 169 Comprehend (katalabesqai). To English readers this conveys the meaning understand. Rev., better, apprehend: grasp. See on John i. 5, and compare Philip. iii. 12, 13.
Breadth, etc. No special interpretations are to be given to these words. The general idea of vastness is expressed in these ordinary terms for dimension. Notice that the article is attached only to the first, breadth, all the rest being included under the one article; the intention being to exhibit the love of Christ in its entire dimension, and not to fix the mind on its constituent parts.
Love of Christ. Christ's love to us. Human love to Christ could not be described in these terms.
Which passeth knowledge (thn uperballousan thv gnwsewv).
Which surpasses mere knowledge without the experience of love. Note the play on the words know and knowledge.
That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God (ina plhrwqhte eiv pan to plhrwma tou qeou). Note the recurrence of that; that He would grant you; that ye may be strong; that ye may be filled. With is better rendered unto, to the measure or standard of. Fullness of God is the fullness which God imparts through the dwelling of Christ in the heart; Christ, in whom the Father was pleased that all the fullness should dwell (Col. i. 19), and in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (Col. ii. 9).
Above all (uper panta). These words should not be connected with that, as A.V. and Rev.: "above all that we ask," etc. They form with do an independent clause. The next clause begins with exceedingly above, and is construed with w=n that which we ask, etc. Read the whole, "Unto Him who is able to do beyond all, exceedingly above that which," etc.
In the Church. Through which His many-tinted wisdom is to be displayed, and which is His fullness. The variety of the divine wisdom is again hinted at in all that we ask or think.
By Christ Jesus (en). Rev., better, in. As the Church is the outward domain in which God is to be praised, so Christ is the spiritual sphere of this praise.
Throughout all ages, world without end (eiv pasav tav geneav tou aiwnov twn aiwnwn). Lit., unto all the generations of the age of the ages. Eternity is made up of ages, and ages of generations.