PRAYER FOR THE
MINISTRY OF THE
1. by the will of God--Greek, "through," &c. (compare
Note, see on
Timothy--(Compare Notes, see on
He was with Paul at the time of writing in Rome. He had been companion
of Paul in his first tour through Phrygia, in which Colosse was. Hence
the Colossians seem to have associated him with Paul in their
affections, and the apostle joins him with himself in the address.
Neither, probably, had seen the Colossian Church (compare
but had seen, during their tour through Phrygia, individual Colossians,
as Epaphras, Philemon, Archippus, and Apphia
who when converted brought the Gospel to their native city.
2. Colosse--written in the oldest manuscripts, "Colasse." As "saints"
implies union with God, so "the faithful brethren" union with Christian
and the Lord Jesus Christ--supported by some oldest manuscripts
omitted by others of equal antiquity.
3. Thanksgiving for the "faith, hope, and love" of the Colossians. So
in the twin Epistle sent at the same time and by the same bearer,
(Eph 1:15, 16).
We--I and Timothy.
and the Father--So some of the oldest manuscripts read. But others
better omit the "and," which probably crept in from
praying always for you--with thanksgiving
4. Since we heard--literally, "Having heard." The language implies
that he had only heard of, and not seen, them
where like language is used of a Church which he had not at the time
love . . . to all--the absent, as well as those present
5. For--to be joined with the words immediately preceding: "The love
which ye have to all the saints because of (literally,
'on account of') the hope," &c. The hope of eternal life will never
be in us an inactive principle but will always produce "love." This
passage is abused by Romanists, as if the hope of salvation depended
upon works. A false argument. It does not follow that our hope is
founded on our works because we are strongly stimulated to live well;
since nothing is more effectual for this purpose than the sense of God's
free grace [CALVIN].
laid up--a treasure laid up so as to be out of danger of being
Faith, love, and hope
(Col 1:4, 5),
comprise the sum of Christianity. Compare
"the hope of the Gospel."
in heaven--Greek, "in the heavens."
whereof ye heard before--namely, at the time when it was preached to
in the word, &c.--That "hope" formed part of "the word of the truth
of the Gospel" (compare
that is, part of the Gospel truth preached unto you.
6. Which is come unto you--Greek, "Which is present among you,"
that is, which has come to, and remains with, you. He speaks of the word
as a living person present among them.
as it is in all the world--virtually, as it was by this time
preached in the leading parts of the then known world; potentially, as Christ's command was that the Gospel should be preached to all
nations, and not be limited, as the law was, to the Jews
(Mt 13:38; 24:14; 28:19).
However, the true reading, and that of the oldest manuscripts, is that
which omits the following "and," thus (the "it is" of English
Version is not in the original Greek): "As in all the world
it is bringing forth fruit and growing (so the oldest
manuscripts read; English Version omits 'and growing,' without
good authority), even as it doth in you also." Then what is asserted is
not that the Gospel has been preached in all the world, but that it is
bearing fruits of righteousness, and (like a tree growing
at the same time that it is bearing fruit) growing in
numbers of its converts in, or throughout, all the world.
heard of it--rather, "heard it."
and knew--rather, "came to know"; became fully experimentally
the grace of God in truth--that is, in its truth, and with true
7. As ye also learned--"Also" is omitted in the oldest manuscripts.
The insertion implied that those inserting it thought that Paul had
preached the Gospel to the Colossians as well as Epaphras, Whereas the
omission in the oldest manuscripts implies that Epaphras alone was
the founder of the Church at Colosse.
fellow servant--namely, of Christ. In
he calls him "my fellow prisoner." It is possible that Epaphras may
have been apprehended for his zealous labors in Asia Minor; but more
probable that Paul gave him the title; as his faithful companion in his
imprisonment (compare Note, see on
as to MEYER'S conjecture).
who is for you, &c.--Translate, "who is faithful in your behalf as
a minister of Christ"; hinting that he is one not to be set aside for
the new and erroneous teachers
Most of the oldest manuscripts read, "for (or 'in behalf of')
US." Vulgate, however, with one of the
oldest manuscripts, supports English Version.
8. your love--
"to all the saints."
in the Spirit--the sphere or element IN
which alone true love is found; as distinguished from the state of
those "in the flesh"
Yet even they needed to be stirred up to greater love
Love is the first and chief fruit of the Spirit
9. we also--on our part.
pray--Here he states what in particular he prays for; as in
he stated generally the fact of his praying for them.
to desire--"to make request."
might be filled--rather, "may be filled"; a verb, often
found in this Epistle
(Col 4:12, 17).
knowledge--Greek, "full and accurate knowledge."
Akin to the Greek for "knew" (see on
of his will--as to how ye ought to walk
as well as chiefly that "mystery of His will, according to His good
pleasure which He purposed in Himself; that in the fulness of times He
might gather together in one all things in Christ"
(Eph 1:9, 10);
God's "will," whereby He eternally purposed to reconcile to Himself,
and save men by Christ, not by angels, as the false teachers in some
[ESTIUS]. There seems to have been a want of
knowledge among the Colossians; notwithstanding their general
excellencies; hence he so often dwells on this subject
Col 2:2, 3; 3:10, 13; 4:5, 6).
On the contrary he less extols wisdom to the Corinthians, who
were puffed up with the conceit of knowledge.
wisdom--often mentioned in this Epistle, as opposed to the (false)
"philosophy" and "show of wisdom"
(Col 2:8, 23;
understanding--sagacity to discern what on each occasion is suited to
the place and the time; its seat is "the understanding" or intellect;
wisdom is more general and has its seat in the whole compass of the
faculties of the soul [BENGEL]. "Wouldst thou know that the matters in
the word of Christ are real things? Then never read them for mere
knowledge sake" [Quoted by GAUSSEN.] Knowledge is desirable only when
seasoned by "spiritual understanding."
10. Greek, "So as to walk"; so that ye may walk. True knowledge of
God's will is inseparable from walking conformably to it.
worthy of the Lord--
unto--so as in every way to be well-pleasing to God.
pleasing--literally, "desire of pleasing."
being fruitful--Greek, "bearing fruit." This is the first
manifestation of their "walking worthy of the Lord." The second is,
"increasing (growing) in the knowledge of God (or as the oldest
manuscripts read, 'growing BY the full knowledge
of God')"; thus, as the Gospel word
was said to "bring forth fruit," and to "grow" in all the world, even
as it did in the Colossians, ever since the day they knew the
grace of God, so here it is Paul's prayer that they might
continue to "bring forth fruit," and "grow" more and more by the
full knowledge of God, the more that "knowledge"
was imparted to them. The full knowledge of God is the real
instrument of enlargement in soul and life of the believer
[ALFORD]. The third manifestation of their walk is
"Being strengthened with all might," &c. The fourth is
"Giving thanks unto the Father," &c.
11. Greek, "Being made mighty with (literally, 'in') all
according to his glorious power--rather, "according to the power
(the characteristic of 'His glory,' here appropriate to Paul's argument,
Eph 1:19; 6:10;
as its exuberant 'riches,' in
of His glory." His power is inseparable from His glory
unto all patience--so as to attain to all patient endurance; persevering, enduring continuance in the faith, in spite of trials of
persecutors, and seductions of false teachers.
long-suffering--towards those whom one could repel. "Patience," or
"endurance," is exercised in respect to those whom one cannot repel
with joyfulness--joyful endurance
Ro 5:3, 11).
12. You "giving thanks unto the Father." See on
this clause is connected with "that ye may be filled"
and "that ye may walk"
The connection is not, "We do not cease to pray for you
unto the Father--of Jesus Christ, and so our Father by adoption
(Ga 3:26; 4:4-6).
which hath made us meet--Greek, "who made us
meet." Not "is making us meet" by progressive growth in
holiness; but once for all made us meet. It is not
primarily the Spirit's work that is meant here, as the
text is often used; but the Father's work in putting us by
adoption, once for all, in a new standing, namely, that of
children. The believers meant here were in different stages of
progressive sanctification; but in respect to the meetness specified
here, they all alike had it from the Father, in Christ His Son, being
"complete in Him"
"sanctified by God the Father";
Still, secondarily, this once-for-all meetness contains in it
the germ of sanctification, afterwards developed progressively in the
life by the Father's Spirit in the believer. The Christian life of
heavenliness is the first stage of heaven itself. There must, and will
be, a personal meetness for heaven, where there is a
to be partakers, &c.--Greek, "for the (or 'our') portion of
(Ac 20:32; 26:18;
of the saints in light." "Light" begins in the believer here,
descending from "the Father of lights" by Jesus, "the true light," and
is perfected in the kingdom of light, which includes knowledge, purity,
love, and joy. It is contrasted here with the "darkness" of the
13. from--Greek, "out of the power," out of the sphere in
which his power is exercised.
darkness--blindness, hatred, misery [BENGEL].
translated--Those thus translated as to state, are also transformed
as to character. Satan has an organized dominion with various orders of
powers of evil
(Eph 2:2; 6:12).
But the term "kingdom" is rarely applied to his usurped rule