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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - COLOSSIANS 2

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    2:1 {How greatly I strive} (helikon agwna ecw). Literally, "how great a contest I am having." The old adjectival relative helikos (like Latin _quantus_) is used for age or size in N.T. only here and #Jas 3:5 (twice, how great, how small). It is an inward contest of anxiety like the merimna for all the churches (#2Co 11:28). agwna carries on the metaphor of agwnizomenos in #1:29. {For them at Laodicea} (twn en laodikiai). {Supply} huper as with huper humwn. Paul's concern extended beyond Colossae to Laodicea (#4:16) and to Hierapolis (#4:13), the three great cities in the Lycus Valley where Gnosticism was beginning to do harm. Laodicea is the church described as lukewarm in #Re 3:14. {For as many as have not seen my face} (hosoi ouc heorakan to proswpon mou). The phrase undoubtedly includes Hierapolis (#4:13), and a few late MSS. actually insert it here. Lightfoot suggests that Hierapolis had not yet been harmed by the Gnostics as much as Colossae and Laodicea. Perhaps so, but the language includes all in that whole region who have not seen Paul's face in the flesh (that is, in person, and not in picture). How precious a real picture of Paul would be to us today. The antecedent to hosoi is not expressed and it would be toutwn after huper. The form heorakan (perfect active indicative of horaw instead of the usual hewrakasin has two peculiarities o in Paul's Epistles (#1Co 9:1) instead of w (see #Joh 1:18 for he"raken) and -an by analogy in place of -asin, which short form is common in the papyri. See #Lu 9:36 hewrakan.

    2:2 {May be comforted} (parakleqwsin). First aorist passive subjunctive of parakalew (for which see #2Co 1:3-7) in final clause with hina. {Being knit together} (sunbibasqentes). First aorist passive participle of sunbibazw, old verb, causal of bainw, to make go together, to coalesce in argument (#Ac 16:10), in spiritual growth (#Col 2:19), in love as here. Love is the sundesmos (#3:14) that binds all together. {Unto all riches} (eis pan ploutos). Probably some distinction intended between en (in love as the sphere) and eis (unto as the goal). {Of the full assurance of understanding} (tes pleroforias tes sunesews). On pleroforia, see #1Th 1:5. From pleroforew (see #Lu 1:1) and only in N.T. (#1Th 1:5; Col 2:2; Heb 6:11; 10:22), Clement of Rome (_Cor_. 42) and one papyrus example. Paul desires the full use of the intellect in grasping the great mystery of Christ and it calls for the full and balanced exercise of all one's mental powers. {That they may know} (eis epignwsin). "Unto full knowledge." this use of epignwsis (full, additional knowledge) is Paul's reply to the Gnostics with the limited and perverted gnwsis (knowledge). {The mystery of God, even Christ} (tou musteriou tou qeou, cristou). The MSS. differ widely here, but this is Westcott and Hort's reading. Genitive (objective) with epignwsin and cristou in apposition. Christ is "the mystery of God," but no longer hidden, but manifested (#1:26) and meant for us to know to the fulness of our capacity.

    2:3 {In whom} (en hwi). this locative form can refer to musteriou or to cristou. It really makes no difference in sense since Christ is the mystery of God. {All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge} (pantes hoi qesauroi tes sofias kai gnwsews). See on ¯Mt 2:11; 6:19-21 for this old word, our thesaurus, for coffer, storehouse, treasure. Paul confronts these pretentious intellectuals (Gnostics) with the bold claim that Christ sums up all wisdom and knowledge. These treasures are hidden (apokrufoi, old adjective from apokruptw, to hide away, #Mr 4:22) whether the Gnostics have discovered them or not. They are there (in Christ) as every believer knows by fresh and repeated discovery.

    2:4 { this I say} (touto legw). Paul explains why he has made this great claim for Christ at this point in his discussion. {May delude} (paralogizetai). Present middle subjunctive of paralogizomai, old verb, only here in N.T., from para and logizomai, to count aside and so wrong, to cheat by false reckoning, to deceive by false reasoning (Epictetus). {With persuasiveness of speech} (en piqanologiai). Rare word (Plato) from piqanos and logos, speech, adapted to persuade, qen speciously leading astray. Only here in N.T. One papyrus example. The art of persuasion is the height of oratory, but it easily degenerates into trickery and momentary and flashy deceit such as Paul disclaimed in #1Co 2:4 (ouk en piqois sofias logois) where he uses the very adjective piqos (persuasive) of which piqanos (both from peiqw) is another form. It is curious how winning champions of error, like the Gnostics and modern faddists, can be with plausibility that catches the gullible.

    2:5 {Though} (ei kai). Not kai ei (even if). {Yet} (alla). Common use of alla in the apodosis (conclusion) of a conditional or concessive sentence. {Your order} (ten taxin). The military line (from tassw), unbroken, intact. A few stragglers had gone over to the Gnostics, but there had been no panic, no breach in the line. {Steadfastness} (sterewma). From stereow (from stereos) to make steady, and probably the same military metaphor as in taxin just before. The solid part of the line which can and does stand the attack of the Gnostics. See #Ac 16:5 where the verb stereow is used with pistis and #1Pe 5:9 where the adjective stereos is so used. In #2Th 3:6,8,11 Paul speaks of his own taxis (orderly conduct).

    2:6 {As therefore ye received} (hws oun parelabete). Second aorist active indicative of paralambanw in same sense as in #1Th 4:1; Php 4:9 (both manqanw and paralambanw) that is like manqanw, to learn (#1:7), from Epaphras and others. {Christ Jesus the Lord} (ton criston iesoun ton kurion). this peculiar phrase occurs nowhere else by Paul. We have often ho cristos (the Christ or Messiah) as in #Php 1:15, iesous cristos (Jesus Christ), cristos iesous (Christ Jesus), ho kurios iesous (the Lord Jesus, very often), but nowhere else ho cristos iesous and iesous ho kurios. Hence it is plain that Paul here meets the two forms of Gnostic heresy about the Person of Christ (the recognition of the historical Jesus in his actual humanity against the Docetic Gnostics, the identity of the Christ or Messiah with this historical Jesus against the Cerinthian Gnostics, and the acknowledgment of him as Lord). "As therefore ye received the Christ (the Messiah), Jesus the Lord." Ye were taught right. {Walk in him} (en autwi peripateite). "Go on walking in him" (present active indicative of peripatew). Stick to your first lessons in Christ.

    2:7 {Rooted} (errizwmenoi). Perfect passive participle of old verb rizow from riza, root. In N.T. only here and #Eph 3:17. Paul changes the figure from walk to growing tree. {Builded up in him} (epoikodomoumenoi en autwi). Present passive participle (rooted to stay so) of epoikodomew, old verb, to build upon as in #1Co 3:10,12. The metaphor is changed again to a building as continually going up (present tense). {Stablished} (bebaioumenoi). Present passive participle of bebaiow, old verb from bebaios (from bainw, bai"), to make firm or stable. {In your faith} (tei pistei). Locative case, though the instrumental case, {by your faith}, makes good sense also. {Even as ye were taught} (kaqws edidacqete). First aorist passive indicative of didaskw, an allusion to parelabete in verse #6 and to emaqete in #1:7. {In thanksgiving} (en eucaristiai). Hence they had no occasion to yield to the blandishments of the Gnostic teachers.

    2:8 {Take heed} (blepete). Present active imperative second person plural of blepw, common verb for warning like our "look out,"beware,"see to it." {Lest there shall be any one} (me tis estai). Negative purpose with the future indicative, though the aorist subjunctive also occurs as in #2Co 12:6. {That maketh spoil of you} (ho sulagwgwn). Articular present active participle of sulagwgew, late and rare (found here first) verb (from sule, booty, and ag", to lead, to carry), to carry off as booty a captive, slave, maiden. Only here in N.T. Note the singular here. There was some one outstanding leader who was doing most of the damage in leading the people astray. {Through his philosophy} (dia tes filosofias). The only use of the word in the N.T. and employed by Paul because the Gnostics were fond of it. Old word from filosofos (filos, sofos, one devoted to the pursuit of wisdom) and in N.T. only in #Ac 17:18. Paul does not condemn knowledge and wisdom (see verse #2), but only this false philosophy, "knowledge falsely named" (yeudwnumos gnwsis, #1Ti 6:20), and explained here by the next words. {And vain deceit} (kai kenes apates). Old word for trick, guile, like riches (#Mt 13:22). Descriptive of the philosophy of the Gnostics. {Tradition} (paradosin). Old word from paradidwmi, a giving over, a passing on. The word is colorless in itself. The tradition may be good (#2Th 2:15; 3:6) or bad (#Mr 7:3). Here it is worthless and harmful, merely the foolish theories of the Gnostics. {Rudiments} (stoiceia). Old word for anything in a stoicos (row, series) like the letters of the alphabet, the materials of the universe (#2Pe 3:10,12), elementary teaching (#Heb 5:12), elements of Jewish ceremonial training (#Ac 15:10; Gal 4:3,9), the specious arguments of the Gnostic philosophers as here with all their aeons and rules of life. {And not after Christ} (kai ou kata criston). Christ is the yardstick by which to measure philosophy and all phases of human knowledge. The Gnostics were measuring Christ by their philosophy as many men are doing today. They have it backwards. Christ is the measure for all human knowledge since he is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe.

    2:9 {For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily} (hoti en autwi katoikei pan to plerwma tes qeotetos swmatikws). In this sentence, given as the reason (hoti, because) for the preceding claim for Christ as the measure of human knowledge Paul states the heart of his message about the Person of Christ. There dwells (at home) in Christ not one or more aspects of the Godhead (the very essence of God, from qeos, deitas) and not to be confused with qeiotes in #Ro 1:20 (from qeios, the {quality} of God, _divinitas_), here only in N.T. as qeiotes only in #Ro 1:20. The distinction is observed in Lucian and Plutarch. qeiotes occurs in the papyri and inscriptions. Paul here asserts that "all the plerwma of the Godhead," not just certain aspects, dwells in Christ and in bodily form (swmatikws, late and rare adverb, in Plutarch, inscription, here only in N.T.), dwells now in Christ in his glorified humanity (#Php 2:9-11), "the body of his glory" (twi swmati tes doxes). The fulness of the God-head was in Christ before the Incarnation (#Joh 1:1,18; Php 2:6), during the Incarnation (#Joh 1:14,18; 1Jo 1:1-3). It was the Son of God who came in the likeness of men (#Php 2:7). Paul here disposes of the Docetic theory that Jesus had no human body as well as the Cerinthian separation between the man Jesus and the aeon Christ. He asserts plainly the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ in corporeal form.

    2:10 {Ye are made full} (este peplerwmenoi). Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of plerow, but only one predicate, not two. Christ is our fulness of which we all partake (#Joh 1:16; Eph 1:23) and our goal is to be made full of God in Christ (#Eph 3:19). "In Christ they find the satisfaction of every spiritual want" (Peake). {The head} (he kafale). There is no other place for Christ. He is first (#1:18) in time and in rank. All rule and authority comes after Christ whether angels, aeons, kings, what not.

    2:11 {Ye were also circumcised} (kai perietmeqete). First aorist passive indicative of peritemnw, to circumcise. But used here as a metaphor in a spiritual sense as in #Ro 2:29 "the circumcision of the heart." {Not made with hands} (aceiropoietwi). this late and rare negative compound verbal occurs only in the N.T. (#Mr 14:58; 2Co 5:1; Col 2:11) by merely adding a privative to the old verbal ceiropoietos (#Ac 7:48; Eph 2:11), possibly first in #Mr 14:58 where both words occur concerning the temple. In #2Co 5:1 the reference is to the resurrection body. The feminine form of this compound adjective is the same as the masculine. {In the putting off} (en tei apekdusei). As if an old garment (the fleshly body). From apekduomai (#Col 2:15, possibly also coined by Paul) and occurring nowhere else so far as known. The word is made in a perfectly normal way by the perfective use of the two Greek prepositions (apo, ek), "a resource available for and generally used by any real thinker writing Greek" (Moulton and Milligan, _Vocabulary_). Paul had as much right to mint a Greek compound as any one and surely no one ever had more ideas to express and more power in doing it. {Of Christ} (tou cristou). Specifying genitive, the kind of circumcision that belongs to Christ, that of the heart.

    2:12 {Having been buried with him in baptism} (suntafentes autwi en twi baptismati). Second aorist passive participle of sunqaptw, old word, in N.T. only here and #Ro 6:4, followed by associative instrumental case (autwi). Thayer's Lexicon says: "For all who in the rite of baptism are plunged under the water, thereby declare that they put faith in the expiatory death of Christ for the pardon of their past sins." Yes, and for all future sins also. this word gives Paul's vivid picture of baptism as a symbolic burial with Christ and resurrection also to newness of life in him as Paul shows by the addition "wherein ye were also raised with him" (en hwi kai sunegerqete). "In which baptism" (baptismati, he means). First aorist passive indicative of sunegeirw, late and rare verb (Plutarch for waking up together), in LXX, in N.T. only in #Col 2:12; 3:1; Eph 2:6. In the symbol of baptism the resurrection to new life in Christ is pictured with an allusion to Christ's own resurrection and to our final resurrection. Paul does not mean to say that the new life in Christ is caused or created by the act of baptism. That is grossly to misunderstand him. The Gnostics and the Judaizers were sacramentalists, but not so Paul the champion of spiritual Christianity. He has just given the spiritual interpretation to circumcision which itself followed Abraham's faith (#Ro 4:10-12). Cf. #Ga 3:27. Baptism gives a picture of the change already wrought in the heart "through faith" (dia tes pistews). {In the working of God} (tes energeias tou qeou). Objective genitive after pistews. See #1:29 for energeia. God had power to raise Christ from the dead (tou egeirantos, first aorist active participle of egeirw, the fact here stated) and he has power (energy) to give us new life in Christ by faith.

    2:13 {And you} (kai humas). Emphatic position, object of the verb sunezwopoiesen (did he quicken) and repeated (second humas). You Gentiles as he explains. {Being dead through your trespasses} (nekrous ontas tois paraptwmasin). Moral death, of course, as in #Ro 6:11; Eph 2:1,5. Correct text does not have en, but even so paraptwmasin (from parapiptw, to fall beside or to lapse, #Heb 6:6), a lapse or misstep as in #Mt 6:14; Ro 5:15-18; Ga 6:1, can be still in the locative, though the instrumental makes good sense also. {And the uncircumcision of your flesh} (kai tei akroboustiai tes sarkos humwn). "Dead in your trespasses and your alienation from God, of which the uncircumcision of your flesh was a symbol" (Abbott). Clearly so, "the uncircumcision" used merely in a metaphorical sense. {Did he quicken together with him} (sunezwopoiesen sun autwi). First aorist active indicative of the double compound verb sunzwopoiew, to make alive (zwos, poiew) with (sun, repeated also with autwi, associative instrumental), found only here and in #Eph 2:5, apparently coined by Paul for this passage. Probably qeos (God) is the subject because expressly so stated in #Eph 2:4f. and because demanded by sun autwi here referring to Christ. this can be true even if Christ be the subject of erken in verse #14. {Having forgiven us} (carisamenos hemin). First aorist middle participle of carizomai, common verb from caris (favor, grace). Dative of the person common as in #3:13. The act of forgiving is simultaneous with the quickening, though logically antecedent.

    2:14 {Having blotted out} (exaleiyas). And so "cancelled." First aorist active participle of old verb exaleifw, to rub out, wipe off, erase. In N.T. only in #Ac 3:19 (LXX); #Re 3:5; Col 2:14. Here the word explains carisamenos and is simultaneous with it. Plato used it of blotting out a writing. Often MSS. were rubbed or scraped and written over again (palimpsests, like Codex C). {The bond written in ordinances that was against us} (to kaq' hemwn ceirografon tois dogmasin). The late compound ceirografon (ceir, hand, grafw) is very common in the papyri for a certificate of debt or bond, many of the original ceirografa (handwriting, "chirography"). See Deissmann, _Bible Studies_, p. 247. The signature made a legal debt or bond as Paul says in #Phm 1:18f.: "I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it." Many of the papyri examples have been "crossed out" thus X as we do today and so cancelled. One decree is described as "neither washed out nor written over" (Milligan, N. T. _Documents_, p. 16). Undoubtedly "the handwriting in decrees" (dogmasin, the Mosaic law, #Eph 2:15) was against the Jews (#Ex 24:3; De 27:14-26) for they accepted it, but the Gentiles also gave moral assent to God's law written in their hearts (#Ro 2:14f.). So Paul says "against us" (kaq' hemwn) and adds "which was contrary to us" (ho en hupenantion hemin) because we (neither Jew nor Gentile) could not keep it. hupenantios is an old double compound adjective (hupo, en, antios) set over against, only here in N.T. except #Heb 10:27 when it is used as a substantive. It is striking that Paul has connected the common word ceirografon for bond or debt with the Cross of Christ (Deissmann, _Light, etc._, p. 332). {And he hath taken it out of the way} (kai erken ek tou mesou). Perfect active indicative of air", old and common verb, to lift up, to bear, to take away. The word used by the Baptist of Jesus as "the Lamb of God that bears away (air"n) the Sin of the world" (#Joh 1:29). The perfect tense emphasizes the permanence of the removal of the bond which has been paid and cancelled and cannot be presented again. Lightfoot argues for Christ as the subject of erken, but that is not necessary, though Paul does use sudden anacolutha. God has taken the bond against us "out of the midst" (ek tou mesou). Nailing it to the cross (proselwsas auto twi staurwi). First aorist active participle of old and common verb proselow, to fasten with nails to a thing (with dative staurwi). Here alone in N.T., but in III Macc. 4:9 with the very word staurwi. The victim was nailed to the cross as was Christ. "When Christ was crucified, God nailed the Law to His cross" (Peake). Hence the "bond" is cancelled for us. Business men today sometimes file cancelled accounts. No evidence exists that Paul alluded to such a custom here.

    2:15 {Having put off from himself} (apekdusamenos). Only here and #3:9 and one MS. of Josephus (apekdus). Both apoduw and ekduw occur in ancient writers. Paul simply combines the two for expression of complete removal. But two serious problems arise here. Is God or Christ referred to by apekdusamenos? What is meant by "the principalities and the powers" (tas arcas kai tas exousias)? Modern scholars differ radically and no full discussion can be attempted here as one finds in Lightfoot, Haupt, Abbott, Peake. On the whole I am inclined to look on God as still the subject and the powers to be angels such as the Gnostics worshipped and the verb to mean "despoil" (American Standard Version) rather than "having put off from himself." In the Cross of Christ God showed his power openly without aid or help of angels. {He made a show of them} (edeigmatisen). First aorist active indicative of deigmatizw, late and rare verb from deigma (#Jude 1:7), an example, and so to make an example of. Frequent in the papyri though later than paradeigmatizw and in N.T. only here and #Mt 1:19 of Joseph's conduct toward Mary. No idea of disgrace is necessarily involved in the word. The publicity is made plain by "openly" (en parresiai). {Triumphing over them on it} (qriambeusas autous en autwi). On the Cross the triumph was won. this late, though common verb in _Koin‚_ writers (ekqriambeuw in the papyri) occurs only twice in the N.T., once "to lead in triumph" (#2Co 2:14), here to celebrate a triumph (the usual sense). It is derived from qriambos, a hymn sung in festal procession and is kin to the Latin _triumphus_ (our triumph), a triumphal procession of victorious Roman generals. God won a complete triumph over all the angelic agencies (autous, masculine regarded as personal agencies). Lightfoot adds, applying qriambeusas to Christ: "The convict's gibbet is the victor's car." It is possible, of course, to take autwi as referring to ceirografon (bond) or even to Christ.

    2:16 {Let no one judge you} (me tis humas krinetw). Prohibition present active imperative third singular, forbidding the habit of passing judgment in such matters. For krinw see on ¯Mt 7:1. Paul has here in mind the ascetic regulations and practices of one wing of the Gnostics (possibly Essenic or even Pharisaic influence). He makes a plea for freedom in such matters on a par with that in #1Co 8-9; Ro 14; 15. The Essenes went far beyond the Mosaic regulations. For the Jewish feasts see on ¯Ga 4:10. Josephus (_Ant_. III. 10, 1) expressly explains the "seventh day" as called "_sabbata_" (plural form as here, an effort to transliterate the Aramaic _sabbathah_).

    2:17 {A shadow} (skia). Old word, opposed to substance (swma, body). In #Heb 10:1 skia is distinguished from eikwn (picture), but here from swma (body, substance). The swma (body) casts the skia (shadow) and so belongs to Christ (cristou, genitive case).

    2:18 {Rob you of your prize} (katabrabeuetw). Late and rare compound (kata, brabeuw, #Col 3:15) to act as umpire against one, perhaps because of bribery in Demosthenes and Eustathius (two other examples in Preisigke's _Worterbuch_), here only in the N.T. So here it means to decide or give judgment against. The judge at the games is called brabeus and the prize brabeion (#1Co 9:24; Php 3:14). It is thus parallel to, but stronger than, krinetw in verse #16. {By a voluntary humility} (qelwn en tapeinofrosunei). Present active participle of qelw, to wish, to will, but a difficult idiom. Some take it as like an adverb for "wilfully" somewhat like qelontas in #2Pe 3:5. Others make it a Hebraism from the LXX usage, "finding pleasure in humility." The Revised Version margin has "of his own mere will, by humility." Hort suggested en eqelotapeinofrosunei (in gratuitous humility), a word that occurs in Basil and made like eqeloqreskia in verse #23. {And worshipping of the angels} (kai qreskeiai twn aggelwn). In #3:12 humility (tapeinofrosunen) is a virtue, but it is linked with worship of the angels which is idolatry and so is probably false humility as in verse #23. They may have argued for angel worship on the plea that God is high and far removed and so took angels as mediators as some men do today with angels and saints in place of Christ. {Dwelling in the things which he hath seen} (ha heoraken embateuwn). Some MSS. have "not," but not genuine. this verb embateuw (from embates, stepping in, going in) has given much trouble. Lightfoot has actually proposed kenembateuwn (a verb that does not exist, though kenembatew does occur) with aiwra, to tread on empty air, an ingenious suggestion, but now unnecessary. It is an old word for going in to take possession (papyri examples also). W. M. Ramsay (_Teaching of Paul_, pp. 287ff.) shows from inscriptions in Klaros that the word is used of an initiate in the mysteries who "set foot in" (enebateusen) and performed the rest of the rites. Paul is here quoting the very work used of these initiates who "take their stand on" these imagined revelations in the mysteries. {Vainly puffed up} (eikei fusioumenos). Present passive participle of fusiow, late and vivid verb from fusa, pair of bellows, in N.T. only here and #1Co 4:6,18f.; 8:1. Powerful picture of the self-conceit of these bombastic Gnostics.

    2:19 {Not holding fast the Head} (ou kratwn ten kefalen). Note negative ou, not me, actual case of deserting Christ as the Head. The Gnostics dethroned Christ from his primacy (#1:18) and placed him below a long line of aeons or angels. They did it with words of praise for Christ as those do now who teach Christ as only the noblest of men. The headship of Christ is the keynote of this epistle to the Colossians and the heart of Paul's Christology. {From whom} (ex hou). Masculine ablative rather than ex hes (kefales) because Christ is the Head. He develops the figure of the body of which Christ is Head (#1:18,24). {Being supplied} (epicoregoumenon). Present passive participle (continuous action) of epicoregew, for which interesting verb see already #2Co 9:10; Ga 3:5 and further #2Pe 1:5. {Knit together} (sunbibazomenon). Present passive participle also (continuous action) of sunbibazw, for which see #Col 2:2. {Through the joints} (dia twn hafwn). Late word hafe (from haptw, to fasten together), connections (_junctura_ and _nexus_ in the Vulgate). {And bonds} (kai sundesmwn). Old word from sundew, to bind together. Aristotle and Galen use it of the human body. Both words picture well the wonderful unity in the body by cells, muscles, arteries, veins, nerves, skin, glands, etc. It is a marvellous machine working together under the direction of the head. {Increaseth with the increase of God} (auxei ten auxesin tou qeou). Cognate accusative (auxesin) with the old verb auxei.

    2:20 {If ye died} (ei apeqanete). Condition of the first class, assumed as true, ei and second aorist active indicative of apoqneskw, to die. He is alluding to the picture of burial in baptism (#2:12). {From the rudiments of the world} (apo twn stoiceiwn tou kosmou). See #2:8. {As though living in the world} (hws zwntes en kosmwi). Concessive use of the participle with hws. The picture is that of baptism, having come out (F. B. Meyer) on the other side of the grave, we are not to act as though we had not done so. We are in the Land of Beulah. {Why do ye subject yourselves to ordinances?} (ti dogmatizesqe?). Late and rare verb (three examples in inscriptions and often in LXX) made from dogma, decree or ordinance. Here it makes good sense either as middle or passive. In either case they are to blame since the bond of decrees (#2:14) was removed on the Cross of Christ. Paul still has in mind the rules of the ascetic wing of the Gnostics (#2:16ff.).

    2:21 {Handle not, nor taste, nor touch} (me hayei mede geusei mede qigeis). Specimens of Gnostic rules. The Essenes took the Mosaic regulations and carried them much further and the Pharisees demanded ceremonially clean hands for all food. Later ascetics (the Latin commentators Ambrose, Hilary, Pelagius) regard these prohibitions as Paul's own instead of those of the Gnostics condemned by him. Even today men are finding that the noble prohibition law needs enlightened instruction to make it effective. That is true of all law. The Pharisees, Essenes, Gnostics made piety hinge on outward observances and rules instead of inward conviction and principle. These three verbs are all in the aorist subjunctive second person singular with me, a prohibition against handling or touching these forbidden things. Two of them do not differ greatly in meaning. hayei is aorist middle subjunctive of haptw, to fasten to, middle, to cling to, to handle. qigeis is second aorist active subjunctive of qigganw, old verb, to touch, to handle. In N.T. only here and #Heb 11:28; 12:20. geusei is second aorist middle subjunctive of geuw, to give taste of, only middle in N.T. to taste as here.

    2:22 {Are to perish with the using} (estin eis fqoran tei apocresei). Literally, "are for perishing in the using." fqora (from fqeirw) is old word for decay, decomposition. apocresis (from apocraomai, to use to the full, to use up), late and rare word (in Plutarch), here only in N.T. Either locative case here or instrumental. These material things all perish in the use of them.

    2:23 {Which things} (hatina). "Which very things," these ascetic regulations. {Have indeed a show of wisdom} (estin logon men econta sofias). Periphrastic present indicative with estin in the singular, but present indicative econta in the plural (hatina). logon sofias is probably "the repute of wisdom" (Abbott) like Plato and Herodotus. men (in deed) has no corresponding de. {In will-worship} (en eqeloqreskiai). this word occurs nowhere else and was probably coined by Paul after the pattern of eqelodouleia, to describe the voluntary worship of angels (see #2:18). {And humility} (kai tapeinofrosunei). Clearly here the bad sense, "in mock humility." {And severity to the body} (kai afeidiai swmatos). Old word (Plato) from afeides, unsparing (a privative, feidomai, to spare). Here alone in N.T. Ascetics often practice flagellations and other hardnesses to the body. {Not of any value} (ouk en timei tini). time usually means honor or price. {Against the indulgence of the flesh} (pros plesmonen tes sarkos). These words are sharply debated along with time just before. It is not unusual for pros to be found in the sense of "against" rather than "with" or "for." See pros in sense of {against} in #3:13; Eph 6:11f.; 2Co 5:12; 1Co 6:1. plesmone is an old word from pimplemi, to fill and means satiety. It occurs here only in the N.T. Peake is inclined to agree with Hort and Haupt that there is a primitive corruption here. But the translation in the Revised Version is possible and it is true that mere rules do not carry us very far in human conduct as every father or mother knows, though we must have some regulations in family and state and church. But they are not enough of themselves.

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