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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - COLOSSIANS 1

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    1:1 {Of Christ Jesus} (cristou iesou). this order in the later epistles shows that cristos is now regarded as a proper name and not just a verbal adjective (Anointed One, Messiah). Paul describes himself because he is unknown to the Colossians, not because of attack as in #Ga 1:1. {Timothy} (timoqeos). Mentioned as in I and II Thess. when in Corinth, II Cor. when in Macedonia, Phil. and Philemon when in Rome as here.

    1:2 {At Colossae} (en kolossais). The spelling is uncertain, the MSS. differing in the title (kolassaeis) and here (kolossais). Colossae was a city of Phrygia on the Lycus, the tributaries of which brought a calcareous deposit of a peculiar kind that choked up the streams and made arches and fantastic grottoes. In spite of this there was much fertility in the valley with two other prosperous cities some ten or twelve miles away (Hierapolis and Laodicea). "The church at Colossae was the least important of any to which Paul's epistles were addressed" (Vincent). But he had no greater message for any church than he here gives concerning the Person of Christ. There is no more important message today for modern men.

    1:3 {God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ} (twi qewi patri tou kuriou hemwn iesou cristou). Correct text without kai (and) as in #3:17, though usually "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (#2Co 1:3; 11:31; Ro 15:6; 1Pe 1:3; Re 1:6). In verse #2 we have the only instance in the opening benediction of an epistle when the name of "Jesus Christ" is not joined with "God our Father." {Always} (pantote). Amphibolous position between eucaristoumen (we give thanks) and proseucomenoi (praying). Can go with either.

    1:4 {Having heard of} (akousantes). Literary plural unless Timothy is included. Aorist active participle of akouw of antecedent action to eucaristoumen. Epaphras (verse #8) had told Paul. {Your faith in Jesus Christ} (tˆn pistin humwn en iesou Christ"i). See #Eph 1:15 for similar phrase. No article is needed before en as it is a closely knit phrase and bears the same sense as the objective genitive in #Ga 2:16 (dia pistews cristou iesou, by faith in Christ Jesus). {Which ye have} (hen ecete). Probably genuine (Aleph A C D), though B omits it and others have the article (ten). There is a real distinction here between en (sphere or basis) and eis (direction towards), though they are often identical in idea.

    1:5 {Because of the hope} (dia ten elpida). See #Ro 8:24. It is not clear whether this phrase is to be linked with euca istoumen at the beginning of verse #3 or (more likely) with tˆn agapen just before. Note also here pistis (faith), agape (love), elpis (hope), though not grouped together so sharply as in #1Co 13:13. Here hope is objective, the goal ahead. {Laid up} (apokeimeinen). Literally, "laid away or by." Old word used in #Lu 19:20 of the pound laid away in a napkin. See also apoqesaurizw, to store away for future use (#1Ti 6:19). The same idea occurs in #Mt 6:20 (treasure in heaven) and #1Pe 1:4 and it is involved in #Phm 3:20. {Ye heard before} (proekousate). First aorist indicative active of this old compound proakouw, though only here in the N.T. Before what? Before Paul wrote? Before the realization? Before the error of the Gnostics crept in? Each view is possible and has advocates. Lightfoot argues for the last and it is probably correct as is indicated by the next clause. {In the word of the truth of the gospel} (en twi logwi tes aleqeias tou euaggeliou). "In the preaching of the truth of the gospel" (#Ga 2:5,14) which is come (parontos, present active participle agreeing with euaggeliou, being present, a classical use of pareimi as in #Ac 12:20). They heard the pure gospel from Epaphras before the Gnostics came.

    1:6 {In all the world} (en panti twi kosmwi). A legitimate hyperbole, for the gospel was spreading all over the Roman Empire. {Is bearing fruit} (estin karpoforoumenon). Periphrastic present middle indicative of the old compound karpoforew, from karpoforos (#Ac 14:17) and that from karpos and ferw. The periphrastic present emphasizes the continuity of the process. See the active participle karpoforountes in verse #10. {Increasing} (auxanomenon). Periphrastic present middle of auxanw. Repeated in verse #10. The growing and the fruit-bearing go on simultaneously as always with Christians (inward growth and outward expression). {Ye heard and knew} (ekousate kai epegnwte). Definite aorist indicative. They heard the gospel from Epaphras and at once recognized and accepted (ingressive second aorist active of epiginwskw, to know fully or in addition). They fully apprehended the grace of God and should be immune to the shallow vagaries of the Gnostics.

    1:7 {Of Epaphras} (apo epafra). "From Epaphras" who is the source of their knowledge of Christ. {On our behalf} (huper hemwn). Clearly correct (Aleph A B D) and not huper humwn (on your behalf). In a true sense Epaphras was Paul's messenger to Colossae.

    1:8 {Who also declared} (ho kai delwsas). Articular first aorist active participle of delow, old verb, to make manifest. Epaphras told Paul about their "love in the Spirit," grounded in the Holy Spirit.

    1:9 {That ye may be filled with} (hina plerwqete). First aorist (effective) passive subjunctive of plerow, to fill full. {The knowledge of his will} (tˆn epign"sin tou thelˆmatos autou). The accusative case is retained with this passive verb. epignwsis is a _Koin‚_ word (Polybius, Plutarch, etc.) for additional (epi) or full knowledge. The word is the keynote of Paul's reply to the conceit of Gnosticism. The cure for these intellectual upstarts is not ignorance, not obscurantism, but more knowledge of the will of God. {In all spiritual wisdom and understanding} (en pasei sofiai kai sunesei pneumatikei). Both pasei (all) and pneumatikei (spiritual) are to be taken with both sofiai and sunesei. In #Eph 1:8 Paul uses fronesei (from fren, intellect) rather than sunesei (grasp, from suniemi, to send together). sunesis is the faculty of deciding in particular cases while sofia gives the general principles (Abbott). Paul faces Gnosticism with full front and wishes the freest use of all one's intellectual powers in interpreting Christianity. The preacher ought to be the greatest man in the world for he has to deal with the greatest problems of life and death.

    1:10 {To walk worthily of the Lord} (peripatesai axiws tou kuriou). this aorist active infinitive may express purpose or result. Certainly this result is the aim of the right knowledge of God. "The end of all knowledge is conduct" (Lightfoot). See #1Th 2:12; Php 1:27; Eph 4:1 for a like use of axiws (adverb) with the genitive. {In the knowledge of God} (tei epignwsei tou qeou). Instrumental case, "by means of the full knowledge of God." this is the way for fruit-bearing and growth to come. Note both participles (karpoforountes kai auxanomenoi) together as in verse #6. {Unto all pleasing} (eis pasan areskian). In order to please God in all things (#1Th 4:1). areskia is late word from areskeuw, to be complaisant (Polybius, Plutarch) and usually in bad sense (obsequiousness). Only here in N.T., but in good sense. It occurs in the good sense in the papyri and inscriptions.

    1:11 {Strengthened} (dunamoumenoi). Present passive participle of late verb dunamow (from dunamis), to empower, "empowered with all power." In LXX and papyri and modern Greek. In N.T. only here and #Heb 11:34 and MSS. in #Eph 6:10 (W H in margin). {According to the might of his glory} (kata to kratos tes doxes autou). kratos is old word for perfect strength (cf. kratew, kratilos). In N.T. it is applied only to God. Here his might is accompanied by glory (_Shekinah_). {Unto all patience and longsuffering} (eis pasan hupomonen kai makroqumian). See both together also in #Jas 5:10f.; 2Co 6:4,6; 2Ti 3:10. hupomone is remaining under (hupomenw) difficulties without succumbing, while makroqumia is the long endurance that does not retaliate (Trench).

    1:12 {Who made us meet} (twi hikanwsanti hemas). Or "you" (humas). Dative case of the articular participle of hikanow, late verb from hikanos and in N.T. only here and #2Co 3:6 (which see), "who made us fit or adequate for." {To be partakers} (eis merida). "For a share in." Old word for share or portion (from meros) as in #Ac 8:21; 16:12; 2Co 6:15 (the only other N.T. examples). {Of the inheritance} (tou klerou). "Of the lot,"for a share of the lot." Old word. First a pebble or piece of wood used in casting lots (#Ac 1:26), qen the allotted portion or inheritance as here (#Ac 8:21). Cf. #Heb 3:7-4:11. {In light} (en twi fwti). Taken with merida (portion) "situated in the kingdom of light" (Lightfoot).

    1:13 {Delivered} (erusato). First aorist middle indicative of ruomai, old verb, to rescue. this appositional relative clause further describes God the Father's redemptive work and marks the transition to the wonderful picture of the person and work of Christ in nature and grace in verses #14-20, a full and final answer to the Gnostic depreciation of Jesus Christ by speculative philosophy and to all modern efforts after a "reduced" picture of Christ. God rescued us out from (ek) the power (exousias) of the kingdom of darkness (skotous) in which we were held as slaves. {Translated} (metestesen). First aorist active indicative of meqistemi and transitive (not intransitive like second aorist metestˆ). Old word. See #1Co 13:2. Changed us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. {Of the Son of his love} (tou huiou tes agapes autou). Probably objective genitive (agapes), the Son who is the object of the Father's love like agapetos (beloved) in #Mt 3:17. Others would take it as describing love as the origin of the Son which is true, but hardly pertinent here. But Paul here rules out the whole system of aeons and angels that the Gnostics placed above Christ. It is Christ's Kingdom in which he is King. He has moral and spiritual sovereignty.

    1:14 {In whom} (en hwi). In Christ as in #Eph 1:7. this great sentence about Christ carries on by means of three relatives (en hwi #14, hos #15, hos #18) and repeated personal pronoun (autos), twice with hoti (#15,19), thrice with kai (#17,18,20), twice alone (#16,20). {Our redemption} (tˆn apolutr"sin). See on ¯Ro 3:24 for this great word (_Koin‚_), a release on payment of a ransom for slave or debtor (#Heb 9:15) as the inscriptions show (Deissmann, _Light, etc._, p. 327). {The forgiveness of our sins} (ten afesin twn hamartiwn). Accusative case in apposition with apolutr"sin as in #Eph 1:7 ({remission}, sending away, afesis, after the {redemption} apolutrwsis, buying back). Only here we have hamartiwn (sins, from hamartanw, to miss) while in #Eph 1:7 we find paraptwmatwn (slips, fallings aside, from parapiptw).

    1:15 {The image} (eikwn). In predicate and no article. On eikwn, see #2Co 4:4; 3:18; Ro 8:29; Col 3:10. Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father as he was before the Incarnation (#Joh 17:5) and is now (#Php 2:5-11; Heb 1:3). {Of the invisible God} (tou qeou tou aoratou). But the one who sees Jesus has seen God (#Joh 14:9). See this verbal adjective (a privative and horaw) in #Ro 1:20. {The first born} (prwtotokos). Predicate adjective again and anarthrous. this passage is parallel to the logos passage in #Joh 1:1-18 and to #Heb 1:1-4 as well as #Php 2:5-11 in which these three writers (John, author of Hebrews, Paul) give the high conception of the Person of Christ (both Son of God and Son of Man) found also in the Synoptic Gospels and even in Q (the Father, the Son). this word (LXX and N.T.) can no longer be considered purely "Biblical" (Thayer), since it is found In inscriptions (Deissmann, _Light, etc._, p. 91) and in the papyri (Moulton and Milligan, _Vocabulary, etc._). See it already in #Lu 2:7 and Aleph for #Mt 1:25; Ro 8:29. The use of this word does not show what Arius argued that Paul regarded Christ as a creature like "all creation" (pases ktisews, by metonomy the _act_ regarded as _result_). It is rather the comparative (superlative) force of prwtos that is used (first-born of all creation) as in #Col 1:18; Ro 8:29; Heb 1:6; 12:23; Re 1:5. Paul is here refuting the Gnostics who pictured Christ as one of the aeons by placing him before "all creation" (angels and men). Like eikwn we find prwtotokos in the Alexandrian vocabulary of the logos teaching (Philo) as well as in the LXX. Paul takes both words to help express the deity of Jesus Christ in his relation to the Father as eikwn (Image) and to the universe as prwtotokos (First-born).

    1:16 {All things} (ta panta). The universe as in #Ro 11:35, a well-known philosophical phrase. It is repeated at the end of the verse. {In him were created} (en autwi ektisqe). Paul now gives the reason (hoti, for) for the primacy of Christ in the work of creation (#16f.). It is the constative aorist passive indicative ektisqe (from ktizw, old verb, to found, to create (#Ro 1:25). this central activity of Christ in the work of creation is presented also in #Joh 1:3; Heb 1:2 and is a complete denial of the Gnostic philosophy. The whole of creative activity is summed up in Christ including the angels in heaven and everything on earth. God wrought through "the Son of his love." All earthly dignities are included. {Have been created} (ektistai). Perfect passive indicative of ktizw, "stand created,"remain created." The permanence of the universe rests, qen, on Christ far more than on gravity. It is a Christo-centric universe. {Through him} (di' autou). As the intermediate and sustaining agent. He had already used en autwi (in him) as the sphere of activity. {And unto him} (kai eis auton). this is the only remaining step to take and Paul takes it (#1Co 15:28) See #Eph 1:10 for similar use of en autwi of Christ and in #Col 1:19; 20 again we have en autwi, di' autou, eis auton used of Christ. See #Heb 2:10 for di' hon (because of whom) and di' hou (by means of whom) applied to God concerning the universe (ta panta). In #Ro 11:35 we find ex autou kai di' autou kai eis auton ta panta referring to God. But Paul does not use ex in this connection of Christ, but only en, dia, and eis. See the same distinction preserved in #1Co 8:6 (ex of God, dia, of Christ).

    1:17 {Before all things} (pro pantwn). pro with the ablative case. this phrase makes Paul's meaning plain. The precedence of Christ in time and the preeminence as Creator are both stated sharply. See the claim of Jesus to eternal timeless existence in #Joh 8:58; 17:5. See also #Re 23:13 where Christ calls himself the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning (arce) and the End (telos). Paul states it also in #2Co 8:9; Php 2:6f. {Consist} (sunesteken). Perfect active indicative (intransitive) of sunistemi, old verb, to place together and here to cohere, to hold together. The word repeats the statements in verse #16, especially that in the form ektistai. Christ is the controlling and unifying force in nature. The Gnostic philosophy that matter is evil and was created by a remote aeon is thus swept away. The Son of God's love is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe which is not evil.

    1:18 {The head of the body} (he kefale tou swmatos). Jesus is first also in the spiritual realm as he is in nature (verses #18-20). Paul is fond of the metaphor of the body (swma) for believers of which body Christ is the head (kefale) as seen already in #1Co 11:3; 12:12,27; Ro 12:5. See further #Col 1:24: 2:19; Eph 1:22f.; 4:2,15; 5:30. {The church} (tes ekklesias) Genitive case in explanatory apposition with tou swmatos. this is the general sense of ekklesia, not of a local body, assembly, or organization. Here the contrast is between the realm of nature (ta panta) in verses #15-17 and the realm of spirit or grace in verses #18-20. A like general sense of ekklesia occurs in #Eph 1:22f.; 5:24-32; Heb 12:23. In #Eph 2:11-22 Paul uses various figures for the kingdom of Christ (commonwealth politeia, verse #12, one new man eis hena kainon anqrwpon, verse #15, one body en heni swmati, verse #16, family of God oikeioi tou qeou, verse #19, building or temple oikodome and naos, verses #20-22). {Who} (hos). Causal use of the relative, "in that he is." {The beginning} (he arce). It is uncertain if the article (he) is genuine. It is absolute without it. Christ has priority in time and in power. See #Re 3:14 for his relation as arce to creation and #1Co 15:20,23 for aparce used of Christ and the resurrection and #Ac 3:14 for arcegos used of him as the author of life and #Heb 2:10 of Jesus and salvation and #Heb 12-2 of Jesus as the pioneer of faith. {That in all things he might have the preeminence} (hina genetai en pasin autos prwteuwn). Purpose clause with hina and the second aorist middle subjunctive of ginomai, "that he himself in all things (material and spiritual) may come to (genetai, not ˆi, be) hold the first place" (prwteuwn, present active participle of prwteuw, old verb, to hold the first place, here only in the N.T.). Christ is first with Paul in time and in rank. See #Re 1:5 for this same use of prwtotokos with twn nekrwn (the dead).

    1:19 {For it was the good pleasure of the Father} (hoti eudokesen). No word in the Greek for "the Father," though the verb calls for either ho qeos or ho pater as the subject. this verb eudokew is common in the N.T. for God's will and pleasure (#Mt 3:17; 1Co 10:5). {All the fulness} (pan to plerwma). The same idea as in #2:9 pan to plerwma tes qeotetos (all the fulness of the Godhead). "A recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes" (Lightfoot). It is an old word from plerow, to fill full, used in various senses as in #Mr 8:20 of the baskets, #Ga 4:10 of time, etc. The Gnostics distributed the divine powers among various aeons. Paul gathers them all up in Christ, a full and flat statement of the deity of Christ. {Should dwell} (katoikesai). First aorist active infinitive of katoikew, to make abode or home. All the divine attributes are at home in Christ (en autwi).

    1:20 {Through him} (di' autou). As the sufficient and chosen agent in the work of reconciliation (apokatallaxai, first aorist active infinitive of apokatallassw, further addition to eudokesen, was pleased). this double compound (apo, kata with allassw) occurs only here, verse #22; Eph 2:16, and nowhere else so far as known. Paul's usual word for "reconcile" is katallassw (#2Co 5:18-20; Ro 5:10), though diallassw (#Mt 5:24) is more common in Attic. The addition of apo here is clearly for the idea of complete reconciliation. See on ¯2Co 5:18-20 for discussion of katallassw, Paul's great word. The use of ta panta (the all things, the universe) as if the universe were somehow out of harmony reminds us of the mystical passage in #Ro 8:19-23 which see for discussion. Sin somehow has put the universe out of joint. Christ will set it right. {Unto himself} (eis auton). Unto God, though auton is not reflexive unless written hauton. {Having made peace} (eirenopoiesas). Late and rare compound (#Pr 10:10 and here only in N.T.) from eirenopoios, peacemaker (#Mt 5:9; here only in N.T.). In #Eph 2:15 we have poiwn eirenen (separate words) {making peace}. Not the masculine gender, though agreeing with the idea of Christ involved even if plerwma be taken as the subject of eudokesen, a participial anacoluthon (construction according to sense as in #2:19). If qeos be taken as the subject of eudokesen the participle eirenopoiesas refers to Christ, not to qeos (God). {Through the blood of his cross} (dia tou haimatos tou staurou autou). this for the benefit of the Docetic Gnostics who denied the real humanity of Jesus and as clearly stating the _causa medians_ (Ellicott) of the work of reconciliation to be the Cross of Christ, a doctrine needed today. {Or things in the heavens} (eite ta en tois ouranois). Much needless trouble has been made over this phrase as if things in heaven were not exactly right. It is rather a hypothetical statement like verse #16 not put in categorical form (Abbott), _universitas rerum_ (Ellicott).

    1:21 {And you} (kai humas). Accusative case in a rather loose sentence, to be explained as the object of the infinitive parastesai in verse #22 (note repeated humas there) or as the anticipated object of apokatellaxen if that be the genuine form in verse #22. It can be the accusative of general reference followed by anacoluthon. See similar idiom in #Eph 2:1,12. {Being in time past alienated} (pote ontas apellotriwmenous). Periphrastic perfect passive participle (continuing state of alienation) of apallotriow, old word from Plato on, to estrange, to render allotrios (belonging to another), alienated from God, a vivid picture of heathenism as in #Ro 1:20-23. Only other N.T. examples in #Eph 2:12; 4:18. enemies (exqrous). Old word from ecqos (hatred). Active sense here, {hostile} as in #Mt 13:28; Ro 8:7, not passive {hateful} (#Ro 11:28). {In your mind} (tei dianoiai). Locative case. dianoia (dia, nous), mind, intent, purpose. Old word. It is always a tragedy to see men use their minds actively against God. {In your evil works} (en tois ergois tois ponerois). Hostile purpose finds natural expression in evil deeds.

    1:22 {Yet now} (nuni de). Sharpened contrast with emphatic form of nun, "now" being not at the present moment, but in the present order of things in the new dispensation of grace in Christ. {Hath he reconciled} (apokatellaxen). First aorist (effective, timeless) active indicative (a sort of parenthetical anacoluthon). Here B reads apokatallagete, be ye reconciled like katallagete in #2Co 5:20 while D has apokatallagentes. Lightfoot prefers to follow B here (the hard reading), though Westcott and Hort only put it in the margin. On the word see verse #20. {In the body of his flesh} (en twi swmati tes sarkos autou). See the same combination in #2:11 though in #Eph 2:14 only sarki (flesh). Apparently Paul combines both swma and sarx to make plain the actual humanity of Jesus against incipient Docetic Gnostics who denied it. {Through death} (dia tou qanatou). The reconciliation was accomplished by means of Christ's death on the cross (verse #20) and not just by the Incarnation (the body of his flesh) in which the death took place. {To present} (parastesai). First aorist active (transitive) infinitive (of purpose) of paristemi, old verb, to place beside in many connections. See it used of presenting Paul and the letter from Lysias to Felix (#Ac 23:33). Repeated in #Col 2:28. See also #2Co 11:2; 2Co 4:14. Paul has the same idea of his responsibility in rendering an account for those under his influence seen in #Heb 13:17. See #Ro 12:1 for use of living sacrifice. {Holy} (hagious). Positively consecrated, separated unto God. Common in N.T. for believers. Haupt holds that all these terms have a religious and forensic sense here. {Without blemish} (amwmous). Without spot (#Php 2:15). Old word a privative and mwmos (blemish). Common in the LXX for ceremonial purifications. {Unreproveable} (anegkletous). Old verbal adjective from a privative and egkalew, to call to account, to pick flaws in. These three adjectives give a marvellous picture of complete purity (positive and negative, internal and external). this is Paul's ideal when he presents the Colossians "before him" (katenwpion autou), right down in the eye of Christ the Judge of all.

    1:23 {If so be that ye continue in the faith} (ei ge epimenete tei pistei). Condition of the first class (determined as fulfilled), with a touch of eagerness in the use of ge (at least). epi adds to the force of the linear action of the present tense (continue and qen some). {pistei} is in the locative case (in faith). {Grounded} (teqemeliwmenoi). Perfect passive participle of qemeliow, old verb from qemelios (adjective, from qema from tiqemi, laid down as a foundation, substantive, #1Co 3:11f.). Picture of the saint as a building like #Eph 2:20. {Steadfast} (hedraioi). Old adjective from hedra (seat). In N.T. only here, #1Co 7:37; 15:58. Metaphor of seated in a chair. {Not moved away} (me metakinoumenoi). Present passive participle (with negative mˆ) of metakinew, old verb, to move away, to change location, only here in N.T. Negative statement covering the same ground. {From the hope of the gospel} (apo tes elpidos tou euaggeliou). Ablative case with apo. The hope given by or in the gospel and there alone. {Which ye heard} (hou ekousate). Genitive case of relative either by attraction or after ekousate. The Colossians had in reality heard the gospel from Epaphras. {Preached} (kerucqentos). First aorist passive participle of kerussw, to herald, to proclaim. {In all creation} (en pasei ktisei). ktisis is the act of founding (#Ro 1:20) from ktizw (verse #16), qen a created thing (#Ro 1:25), qen the sum of created things as here and #Re 3:14. It is hyperbole, to be sure, but Paul does not say that all men are converted, but only that the message has been heralded abroad over the Roman Empire in a wider fashion than most people imagine. {A minister} (diakonos). General term for service (dia, konis, raising a dust by speed) and used often as here of preachers like our "minister" today, one who serves. Jesus used the verb diakonesai of himself (#Mr 10:45). Our "deacon" is this word transliterated and given a technical meaning as in #Php 1:1.

    1:24 {Now I rejoice} (nun cairomen). this is not a new note for Paul. See him in jail in Philippi (#Ac 16:25) and in #2Co 11:16-33; Ro 5:3; Php 2:18. {Fill up on my part} (antanaplerw). Very rare double compound verb (here only in N.T.) to fill (plerow) up (ana), in turn (anti). It is now Paul's "turn" at the bat, to use a baseball figure. Christ had his "turn," the grandest of all and suffered for us all in a sense not true of any one else. It is the idea of balance or correspondence in anti as seen in Demosthenes's use of this verb (_De Symm_., p. 282), "the poor balancing the rich." And yet Christ did not cause suffering to cease. There is plenty left for Paul and for each of us in his time. {That which is lacking} (ta husteremata). "The left-overs," so to speak. Late word from husterew, to come behind, to be left, to fail. See #Lu 21:4; 1Th 3:10; 2Co 8:14; 9:12. {For his body's sake} (huper tou swmatos autou). As Paul showed in his exultation in suffering in #2Co 11:16-33, though not in the same sense in which Christ suffered and died for us as Redeemer. Paul attaches no atoning value whatever to his own sufferings for the church (see also verse #18).

    1:25 {According to the dispensation of God} (kata ten oikonomian tou qeou). "According to the economy of God." An old word from oikonomew, to be a house steward (oikos, nemw) as in #Lu 16:2-4; 1Co 9:17; Eph 1:9; 3:9. It was by God's stewardship that Paul was made a minister of Christ. {To fulfil the word of God} (plerwsai ton logon tou qeou). First aorist active infinitive of purpose (plerow), a fine phrase for a God-called preacher, to fill full or to give full scope to the Word of God. The preacher is an expert on the word of God by profession. See Paul's ideal about preaching in #2Th 3:1.

    1:26 {The mystery} (to musterion). See on #1Co 2:7 for this interesting word from mustes (initiate), from muew, to wink, to blink. The Gnostics talked much of "mysteries." Paul takes their very word (already in common use, #Mt 13:11) and uses it for the gospel. {Which hath been hid} (to apokekrummenon). Perfect passive articular participle from apokruptw, old verb, to hide, to conceal from (#1Co 2:7; Eph 3:9). {But now it hath been manifested} (nun de efanerwqe). First aorist passive indicative of fanerow, to make manifest (faneros). The construction is suddenly changed (anacoluthon) from the participle to the finite verb.

    1:27 {God was pleased} (eqelesen ho qeos). First aorist active indicative of qelw, to will, to wish. "God willed" this change from hidden mystery to manifestation. {To make known} (gnwrisai). First aorist active infinitive of gnwrizw (from ginwskw). Among the Gentiles (en tois eqnesin). this is the crowning wonder to Paul that God had included the Gentiles in his redemptive grace, "the riches of the glory of this mystery" (to ploutos tes doxes tou musteriou toutou) and that Paul himself has been made the minister of this grace among the Gentiles (#Eph 3:1-2). He feels the high honor keenly and meets the responsibility humbly. {Which} (ho). Grammatical gender (neuter) agreeing with musteriou (mystery), supported by A B P Vulg., though hos (who) agreeing with cristos in the predicate is read by Aleph C D L. At any rate the idea is simply that the personal aspect of " this mystery" is "Christ in you the hope of glory" (cristos en humin he elpis tes doxes). He is addressing Gentiles, but the idea of en here is in, not among. It is the personal experience and presence of Christ in the individual life of all believers that Paul has in mind, the indwelling Christ in the heart as in #Eph 3:17. He constitutes also the hope of glory for he is the shekinah of God. Christ is our hope now (#1Ti 1:1) and the consummation will come (#Ro 8:18).

    1:28 {Whom} (hon). That is, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." {We proclaim} (kataggellomen). Paul, Timothy and all like-minded preachers against the Gnostic depreciation of Christ. this verb originally (Xenophon) meant to denounce, but in N.T. it means to announce (aggellw) throughout (kata), to proclaim far and wide (#Ac 13:5). {Admonishing} (nouqetountes). Old verb from nouqetes, admonisher (from nous, tiqemi). See already #Ac 20:31; 1Th 5:12,14; 2Th 3:15, etc. Warning about practice and teaching (didaskontes) about doctrine. Such teaching calls for "all wisdom" {Every man} (panta anqrwpon). Repeated three times. "In opposition to the doctrine of an intellectual exclusiveness taught by the false teachers" (Abbott). {That we may present} (hina parasteswmen). Final use of hina and first aorist active subjunctive of paristemi, for which see #1:22, the final presentation to Christ. {Perfect} (teleion). Spiritual adults in Christ, no longer babes in Christ (#Heb 5:14), mature and ripened Christians (#4:22), the full-grown man in Christ (#Eph 4:13). The relatively perfect (#Php 3:15) will on that day of the presentation be fully developed as here (#Col 4:12; Eph 4:13). The Gnostics used teleios of the one fully initiated into their mysteries and it is quite possible that Paul here has also a sidewise reference to their use of the term.

    1:29 {Whereunto} (eis ho). That is "to present every man perfect in Christ." {I labor also} (kai kopiw). Late verb kopiaw, from kopos (toil), to grow weary from toil (#Mt 11:28), to toil on (#Php 2:16), sometimes for athletic training. In papyri. {Striving} (agwnizomenos). Present middle participle of common verb agwnizomai (from agwn, contest, as in #2:1), to contend in athletic games, to agonize, a favorite metaphor with Paul who is now a prisoner. {Working} (energeian). Our word "energy." Late word from energes (en, ergon), efficiency (at work). Play on the word here with the present passive participle of energew, energoumenˆn (energy energized) as in #Eph 1:19f. Paul was conscious of God's "energy" at work in him "mightily" (en dunamei), "in power" like dynamite.

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