The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 11 of 207
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Studies in Colossians.
#17.  Wherein the meaning of "comfort" (parakaleo)
and "knit together" (sumbibazo) is considered (2: 2).
pp. 13 - 17
The intense conflict that the apostle had for the saints is explained in two ways. First
he says he taught and warned every man that he might present every man perfect in
Christ Jesus. Secondly, he says that the great conflict he had was:--
"That their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and unto
all riches of full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God,
even Christ, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden"
(Col. 2: 2, 3, R.V.)
The R.V. marginal note here says: "The ancient authorities vary much in the text of
this passage." The reading they have adopted has the sanction of that most important
Manuscript, the Vatican, and that is the reading we believe to be the true one.
We advance, by a progressive series, to the heart of the great secret of God, which is
Christ. The first step in this progress toward "perfection" is a "comforted heart". The
word "comfort" has lost a great deal of its original meaning, for even in the English word
the idea of strengthening or fortifying can be seen "com-fort", which is derived from the
Latin cum = "together", and fort-is = "strong". The Greek word translated "comfort"
is parakaleo, from para = "beside" and kaleo = "to call". The idea of consolation or
of comfort is not resident in the word itself, but from being one of the many reasons
why we may "call someone beside" us, it has grown until it dominates all the rest.
Dr. E. W. Bullinger in his Greek Concordance says of this word:--
"To call to one, call near, call for; every kind of speaking to, which is meant to
produce a particular effect, e.g., exhortation, encouragement, comfort", etc.
In II Tim. 4: 2 we have the word "comfort" rendered "exhort":--
"Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, rebuke, exhort with all
longsuffering and doctrine."
We find the word used together and somewhat synonymous with "testify" in
Acts 2: 40:--
"Testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation."
There are eight occurrences of the word parakaleo in I Thessalonians, and one
occurrence of paraklesis. Coming together in such close proximity these should yield
come consistent rendering that will illumine the meaning of Col. 2: 2. Let us note the