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B.--Well, the words are used in Acts 2: 5 to speak of the nations from which the Jews
had come to Jerusalem, and as the very passage goes on to enumerate those nations we
can easily test the meaning. With the exception of Rome every other country mentioned
in verse 9-11 can be included in a circle of 400 miles radius. This is an exceedingly
small portion of the earth's surface.
A.--Perhaps I must agree that in this case the expression cannot be taken universally, but
I still maintain that where we read in the epistle to the Colossians that the Lord reconciled
all things the context leaves us without doubt as to its universality.
The context of Col. 1: 20.
B.--I am prepared to leave Acts 2: if you so wish and consider the bearing of the
context upon Col. 1: 20.
A.--And abide by it?
B.--And abide by it, most certainly.
A.--The context of Col. 1: 20 speaks of Christ as the Creator of all things that are in
heaven and earth, visible and invisible, that He is before all things, and that by Him all
things consist. There is simply nothing more to say if you are willing to let the apostle
explain his own terms.
B.--Have you not presented but one side of the evidence? Does not the context extend
as much beyond verse 20, as before it?
A.--Yes, of course, but what difference will that make?
B.--Only this, that in immediate connection with the words that you take in a universal
sense comes an expression which you will be compelled to limit. In verse 23 the same
apostle says that this gospel "was preached to every creature which is under heaven".
We have no certain knowledge that Paul reached Spain, but, supposing we allow the
possibility that he preached in Spain and also in Britain, the wildest stretch of
imagination cannot bring these words to mean more than a small percentage of its literal
meaning. Am I not justified in allowing the complete context to explain Paul's meaning?
A.--You certainly have more for your view than I had believed.
B.--When Paul wrote to the Corinthians "all things are lawful for me" (I Cor. 10: 23), do I
understand that you believe that Paul meant he could break the whole moral law, thieve,
murder and slander with impunity?
A.--Most certainly not; any one can see that he means that he was free from the
obligations imposed upon his conscience by Pharisaism and the law of Moses.