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Studies in Colossians.
Continuance, an evidence of our calling (1: 23).
pp. 14 - 18
"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not removed away from the
hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature
which is under heaven" (Col. 1: 23).
The reader who has followed the exposition of the passage commencing at Col. 1: 12
may feel that this twenty-third verse is somewhat out of harmony with the sense of
perfect acceptance and eternal security that belongs to that salvation and inheritance that
goes back in origin to the beginning of creation--an inheritance that scales the heights of
heaven as its sphere, that is linked with Christ the Firstborn as Head, and with those who
are to be presented holy, solely upon the ground of Christ's finished work at Calvary.
While we must never allow our feelings to influence our faith, there is a realm in
which a sense of fitness is not to be despised. Both Job and Elihu testify that "the ear
trieth words as the palate tasteth meat" (Job 12: 11, 34: 3).
The words "If ye continue" seem to indicate an abrupt transition from the glorious
assurance of the verses immediately preceding; and one is therefore anxious to examine
the actual expression used. The word translated "if" here is not the usual ei bu eige, and
the added particle needs careful translation. Sometimes this little particle, ge, is left
untranslated, as in Rom. 8: 32, where our version reads: "He that spared not His Own
Son", instead of the true rendering: "Surely He Who spared not His Own Son."
I Cor. 4: 8 rendered in the A.V.: "I would to God ye did reign." This is an unnecessary
use of the name of God, for it is simply a very free translation of ge. The passage should
be rendered: "I wish indeed (or, I wish most sincerely) that ye did reign." In I Cor. 9: 2
ge is rendered "doubtless". Parkhurst's comment is: "It is postfixed to several other
particles, but seems always to preserve somewhat of its affirmative meaning." It will
now be of value to examine one or two instances of the use of eige. The first is in
II Cor. 5: 3: "If so be that, being clothed, we shall not be found naked." In this sentence
there is no possible room for doubt. No person can at the same time be "clothed" and
"naked"; so that the expression, "if so be", indicates rather an affirmation than a doubt.
The idea is expressed by the rendering: "And surely, having been clothed upon, we shall
not be found naked."
Again, in Eph. 4: 21, we have the rendering, "if so be": "If so be, that ye have heard
Him . . . . . as the truth is in Jesus." But we know from Eph. 1: 13 and 15 that the
Ephesians had both heard and believed. Again in Eph. 3:: "If ye have heard of the
dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward" (Eph. 3: 2). This
passage could also be rendered, "Since indeed", or "Since surely".