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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - COLOSSIANS 2
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    CHAPTER 2

    Col 2:1-23. HIS STRIVINGS IN PRAYER FOR THEIR STEADFASTNESS IN CHRIST; FROM WHOM HE WARNS THEM NOT TO BE LED AWAY BY FALSE WISDOM.

    1. For--He explains in what respect he "labored striving" (Col 1:29). Translate as Greek, "I wish you to know how great a conflict (the same Greek word as in Col 1:29, "agony of a conflict" of fervent, anxious prayer; not conflict with the false teachers, which would have been impossible for him now in prison) I have for you."
    - them at Laodicea--exposed to the same danger from false teachers as the Colossians (compare Col 4:16). This danger was probably the cause of his writing to Laodicea, as well as to Colosse.
    - not seen my face in the flesh--including those in Hierapolis (Col 4:13). Paul considered himself a "debtor" to all the Gentiles (Ro 1:14). "His face" and presence would have been a "comfort" (Col 2:2; Ac 20:38). Compare Col 1:4, 7, 8, in proof that he had not seen, but only heard of the Colossians. Hence he strives by earnest conflict with God in anxious prayer for them, to make up for the loss of his bodily presence among them. Though "absent in the flesh, I am with you in the Spirit" (Col 2:5).

    2. Translate, "That their hearts may be comforted." The "their," compared with "you" (Col 2:4), proves that in Col 2:1 the words, "have not seen my face in the flesh," is a general designation of those for whom Paul declares he has "conflict," including the particular species, "you (Colossians) and them at Laodicea." For it is plain, the prayer "that their hearts may be comforted," must include in it the Colossians for whom he expressly says, "I have conflict." Thus it is an abbreviated mode of expression for, "That your and their hearts may be comforted." ALFORD translates, "confirmed," or allows "comforted" in its original radical sense strengthened. But the Greek supports English Version: the sense, too, is clear: comforted with the consolation of those whom Paul had not seen, and for whom, in consequence, he strove in prayerful conflict the more fervently; inasmuch as we are more anxious in behalf of absent, than present, friends [DAVENANT]. Their hearts would be comforted by "knowing what conflict he had for" them, and how much he is interested for their welfare; and also by being released from doubts on learning from the apostle, that the doctrine which they had heard from Epaphras was true and certain. In writing to churches which he had instructed face to face, he enters into particular details concerning them, as a father directing his children. But to those among whom he had not been in person, he treats of the more general truths of salvation.
    - being--Translate as Greek in oldest manuscripts, "They being knit together."
    - in love--the bond and element of perfect knitting together; the antidote to the dividing schismatical effect of false doctrine. Love to God and to one another in Christ.
    - unto--the object and end of their being "knit together."
    - all riches--Greek, "all the riches of the full assurance (1Th 1:5; Heb 6:11; 10:22) of the (Christian) understanding." The accumulation of phrases, not only "understanding," but "the full assurance of understanding"; not only this, but "the riches of," &c., not only this, but "all the riches of," &c., implies how he desires to impress them with the momentous importance of the subject in hand.
    - to--Translate "unto."
    - acknowledgment--The Greek implies, "full and accurate knowledge." It is a distinct Greek word from "knowledge," Col 2:3. ALFORD translates, "thorough . . . knowledge." Acknowledgment hardly is strong enough; they did in a measure acknowledge the truth; what they wanted was the full and accurate knowledge of it (compare Notes, see on Col 1:9, 10; Php 1:9).
    - of God, and of the Father and of Christ--The oldest manuscripts omit "and of the Father, and of"; then translate, "Of God (namely), Christ." Two very old manuscripts and Vulgate read, "Of God the Father of Christ."

    3. Translate in the Greek order, "In whom (not as ALFORD, 'in which') mystery; Christ is Himself the 'mystery' (Col 2:2; 1Ti 3:16), and to Christ the relative refers) are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden." The "all" here, answers to "all" in Col 2:2; as "treasures" answer to the "riches"; it is from the treasures that the riches (Col 2:2) are derived. "Are" is the predicate of the sentence; all the treasures ARE in Him; hidden is predicated of the state or manner in which they are in Him. Like a mine of unknown and inexhaustible wealth, the treasures of wisdom are all in Him hidden, but not in order to remain so; they only need to be explored for you to attain "unto the riches" in them (Col 2:2); but until you, Colossians, press after attaining the full knowledge (see on Col 2:2) of them, they remain "hidden." Compare the parable, Mt 13:44, "treasure hid." This sense suits the scope of the apostle, and sets aside ALFORD'S objection that "the treasures are not hidden, but revealed." "Hidden" plainly answers to "mystery" (Col 2:2), which is designed by God, if we be faithful to our privileges, not to remain hidden, but to be revealed (compare 1Co 2:7, 8). Still as the mine is unfathomable, there will, through eternity, be always fresh treasures in Him to be drawn forth from their hidden state.
    - wisdom--general, and as to experimental and practical truth; whence comes "understanding" (Col 2:2).
    - knowledge--special and intellectual, in regard to doctrinal truth; whence comes "the full knowledge" (Col 2:2).

    4. And--"Now." Compare with "lest any man," &c. Col 2:8, 16, 18. He refers to the blending of Judaism with Oriental philosophy, and the combination of this mixture with Christianity.
    - enticing words--plausible as wearing the guise of wisdom and humility (Col 2:18, 23).

    5. For--argument against their suffering themselves to be beguiled, drawn from a regard to his personal authority as though he were present.
    - joying and beholding--beholding with joy.
    - order--your good order; answering to "knit together" (Col 2:2) as a well-organized body; the same Greek as that for knit together, is used of the body" of the Church compacted," in Eph 4:16. Compare 1Co 14:33, 40.
    - steadfastness--Greek, "the firm (or 'solid') foundation." As "order" expresses the outward aspect of the Church; so "steadfastness" expresses the inner basis on which their Church rested. The Greek literally implies not an abstract quality, but the thing in the concrete; thus their "faith" here is the solid thing which constituted the basis of their Church.

    6. "As therefore ye received (once for all; the aorist tense; from Epaphras) Jesus the Christ as your Lord (compare 1Co 12:3; 2Co 4:5; Php 3:8), so walk in Him." He says not merely, "Ye received" the doctrine of Christ, but "Jesus" Himself; this is the essence of faith (Joh 14:21, 23; Ga 1:16). Ye have received once for all the Spirit of life in Christ; carry into practice that life in your walk (Ga 5:25). This is the main scope of the Epistle.

    7. Rooted-- (Eph 3:17).
    - built up--Greek, "being builded up." As "rooted" implies their vitality; so "builded up," massive solidity. As in the Song of Solomon, when one image is not sufficient to express the varied aspects of divine truth, another is employed to supply the idea required. Thus "walking," a third image (Col 2:6), expresses the thought which "rooted" and "built," though each suggesting a thought peculiar to itself, could not express, namely, onward motion. "Rooted" is in the past tense, implying their first conversion and vital grafting "in Him." "Built up" is present (in the Greek), implying their progressive increase in religion by union with Him. Eph 2:20 refers to the Church; but the passage here to their individual progress in edification (Ac 20:32).
    - stablished--confirmed.
    - as--"even as."
    - abounding therein with thanksgiving--advancing to fuller maturity (compare Col 2:2) in the faith, "with thanksgiving" to God as the gracious Author of this whole blessing.

    8. Translate, "Beware (literally, 'Look' well) lest there shall be (as I fear there is: the Greek indicative expresses this) any man (pointing to some known emissary of evil, Ga 1:7) leading you away as his spoil (not merely gaining spoil out of you, but making yourselves his spoil) through (by means of) his philosophy," &c. The apostle does not condemn all philosophy, but "the philosophy" (so Greek) of the Judaic-oriental heretics at Colosse, which afterwards was developed into Gnosticism. You, who may have "the riches of full assurance" and "the treasures of wisdom," should not suffer yourselves to be led away as a spoil by empty, deceitful philosophy: "riches" are contrasted with spoil; "full" with "vain," or empty (Col 2:2, 3, 9).
    - after--"according to."
    - tradition of men--opposed to, "the fulness of the Godhead." Applied to Rabbinical traditions, Mr 7:8. When men could not make revelation even seem to tell about deep mysteries which they were curious to pry into, they brought in human philosophy and pretended traditions to help it, as if one should bring a lamp to the sundial to find the hour [Cauations for Times, p. 85]. The false teachers boasted of a higher wisdom in theory, transmitted by tradition among the initiated; in practice they enjoined asceticism, as though matter and the body were the sources of evil. Phrygia (in which was Colosse) had a propensity for the mystical and magical, which appeared in their worship of Cybele and subsequent Montanism [NEANDER].
    - rudiments of the world--(See on Ga 4:3). "The rudiments" or elementary lessons "of the (outward) world," such as legal ordinances; our Judaic childhood's lessons (Col 2:11, 16, 20; Ga 4:1-3). But NEANDER, "the elements of the world," in the sense, what is earthly, carnal and outward, not "the rudiments of religion," in Judaism and heathenism.
    - not after Christ--"Their" boasted higher "philosophy" is but human tradition, and a cleaving to the carnal and worldly, and not to Christ. Though acknowledging Christ nominally, in spirit they by their doctrine deny Him.

    9. For--"Because." Their "philosophy" (Col 2:8) is not "after Christ," as all true philosophy is, everything which comes not from, and tends not to, Him, being a delusion; "For in Him (alone) dwelleth" as in a temple, &c.
    - the fulness-- (Col 1:19; Joh 14:10).
    - of the Godhead--The Greek (theotes) means the ESSENCE and NATURE of the Godhead, not merely the divine perfections and attributes of Divinity (Greek, "theiotes"). He, as man, was not merely God-like, but in the fullest sense, God.
    - bodily--not merely as before His incarnation, but now "bodily in Him" as the incarnate word (Joh 1:14, 18). Believers, by union with Him, partake of His fulness of the divine nature (Joh 1:16; 2Pe 1:4; see on Eph 3:19).

    10. And--And therefore; and so. Translate in the Greek order, "Ye are in Him (by virtue of union with Him) filled full" of all that you need (Joh 1:16). Believers receive of the divine unction which flows down from their Divine Head and High Priest (Ps 133:2). He is full of the "fulness" itself; we, filled from Him. Paul implies, Therefore ye Colossians need no supplementary sources of grace, such as the false teachers dream of. Christ is "the Head of all rule and authority" (so the Greek), Eph 1:10; He, therefore, alone, not these subject "GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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