The Berean Expositor
Volume 16 - Page 6 of 151
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Do not hesitate to send further enquiries. You but voice the difficulties of others, and
the answers meet a general need. If at any time we do not know the answer to any
question we shall not mind admitting the fact.
pp. 126, 127
B.F.C.A. (Cambridge) writes:--
"Paul, in Col. 1: 5 writes `the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,
whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel'. This is
parallel to I Pet. 1: 4, 5, `An inheritance . . . . . reserved in heaven for you'.
The word in Col. 1: 5 is not epouraniois. It looks very much as if Paul
here takes the old hope and definitely brings it over the Acts 28:
boundary into the mystery dispensation."
Two features in the passage quoted from Col. 1: 5 cause the difficulty expressed by
our correspondent, the one, the use of ouranos and not epouraniois, the other, the
words "ye heard before", which in another part of the letter our correspondent links with
Col. 1: 23. Our first concern must be to ascertain the way in which Paul uses ouranos =
"heaven" in the prison epistles:--
"All things . . . . . in heaven . . . . . in earth" (Eph. 1: 10).
"Every family in heaven and earth" (Eph. 3: 15).
"Far above all heavens" (Eph. 4: 10).
"Your Master also is in heaven" (Eph. 6: 9; Col. 4: 1).
"Our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3: 20).
"The hope laid up in heaven" (Col. 1: 5).
"All things . . . . . in heaven" (Col. 1: 16-20).
"Every creature under heaven" (Col. 1: 23).
By comparing the passages together that use the words "in heaven . . . . . in earth" we
may settle the question as to whether ouranos = "heaven" includes epouraniois = "super
heavens". Eph. 3: 10 definitely says that the principalities and powers are "in the
super-heavens", while Col. 1: 16 simply says that they are "in heaven". Like the term
"the kingdom of God", the word "heaven" is all-embracive, and therefore we are under
no necessity to think that Col. 1: 5 refers to anything other than that previously set forth
with such exactness in Ephesians. To introduce the hope entertained before Acts 28:
is to introduce "the hope of Israel" (see Acts 28: 20). There is no possibility of
holding more than "one hope", for that is stated without reserve in Eph. 4: 4. Moreover,
the hope of Ephesians needed "the spirit of wisdom and revelation" for its unfolding
(Eph. 1: 17, 18), which is hardly necessary if it be something already known and revealed.
The second feature, "ye heard before", may now be considered. How had they heard
before? "in the word of the truth of the gospel". This is so parallel to Eph. 1: 13 that the