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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - COLOSSIANS 3

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    3:1 {If qen ye were raised together with Christ} (ei oun sunegerqete t"i Christ"i). Condition of the first class, assumed as true, like that in #2:20 and the other half of the picture of baptism in #2:12 and using the same form sunegerqete as qen which see for the verb sunegeirw. Associative instrumental case of Christ"i. {The things that are above} (ta anw). "The upward things" (cf. #Php 3:14), the treasure in heaven (#Mt 6:20). Paul gives this ideal and goal in place of merely ascetic rules. {Seated on the right hand of God} (en dexiai tou qeou kaqemenos). Not periphrastic verb, but additional statement. Christ is up there and at God's right hand. Cf. #2:3.

    3:2 {Set your mind on} (froneite). "Keep on thinking about." It does matter what we think and we are responsible for our thoughts. {Not on the things that are upon the earth} (me ta epi tes ges). Paul does not mean that we should never think the things upon the earth, but that these should not be our aim, our goal, our master. The Christian has to keep his feet upon the earth, but his head in the heavens. He must be heavenly-minded here on earth and so help to make earth like heaven.

    3:3 {For ye died} (apeqanete gar). Definite event, aorist active indicative, died to Sin (#Ro 6:2). {Is hid} (kekruptai). Perfect passive indicative of kruptw, old verb, to hide, remains concealed, locked "together with" (sun) Christ, "in" (en) God. No hellish burglar can break that combination.

    3:4 {When Christ shall be manifested} (hotan ho cristos fanerwqei). Indefinite temporal clause with hotan and the first aorist passive subjunctive of fanerow, "whenever Christ is manifested," a reference to the second coming of Christ as looked for and longed for, but wholly uncertain as to time. See this same verb used of the second coming in #1Jo 3:2. {Ye also together with him} (kai humeis sun autwi). That is the joy of this blessed hope. He repeats the verb about us fanerwqesesqe (future passive indicative) and adds en doxei (in glory). Not to respond to this high appeal is to be like Bunyan's man with the muck-rake.

    3:5 {Mortify} (nekrwsate). First aorist active imperative of nekrow, late verb, to put to death, to treat as dead. Latin Vulgate _mortifico_, but "mortify" is coming with us to mean putrify. Paul boldly applies the metaphor of death (#2:20; 3:3) pictured in baptism (#2:12) to the actual life of the Christian. He is not to go to the other Gnostic extreme of license on the plea that the soul is not affected by the deeds of the body. Paul's idea is that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (#1Co 6:19). He mentions some of these "members upon the earth" like fornication (porneian), uncleanness (akaqarsian), passion (paqos), evil desire (epiqumian kaken), covetousness (pleonexian) "the which is idolatry" (hetis estin eidwlolatria). See the longer list of the works of the flesh in #Gal 5:19-21, though covetousness is not there named, but it is in #Eph 4:19; 5:5.

    3:6 {Cometh the wrath of God} (ercetai he orge tou qeou). Paul does not regard these sins of the flesh as matters of indifference, far otherwise. Many old MSS. do not have "upon the sons of disobedience," genuine words in #Eph 5:6.

    3:7 {Walked aforetime} (periepatesate pote). First aorist (constative) indicative referring to their previous pagan state. {When ye lived} (hote ezete). Imperfect active indicative of zaw, to live, "ye used to live" (customary action). Sharp distinction in the tenses.

    3:8 {But now} (nuni de). Emphatic form of nun in decided contrast (to pote in verse #7) in the resurrection life of #2:12; 3:1. {Put ye also away} (apoqesqe kai humeis). Second aorist middle imperative of old verb apotiqemi, to put away, lay aside like old clothes. this metaphor of clothing Paul now uses with several verbs (apoqesqe here, apekdusamenoi in verse #9, endusamenoi in verse #10, endusasqe in verse #12). {All these} (ta panta). The whole bunch of filthy rags (anger orgen, wrath qumon, malice kakian, railing blasfemian, shameful speaking aiscrologian). See somewhat similar lists of vices in #Col 3:5; Ga 5:20; Eph 4:29-31. These words have all been discussed except aiscrologian, an old word for low and obscene speech which occurs here only in the N.T. It is made from aiscrologos (aiscros as in #1Co 11:6 and that from aiscos, disgrace). Note also the addition of "out of your mouth" (ek tou stomatos humwn). The word was used for both abusive and filthy talk and Lightfoot combines both ideas as often happens. Such language should never come out of the mouth of a Christian living the new life in Christ.

    3:9 {Lie not to another} (me yeudesqe eis allelous). Lying (yeudos) could have been included in the preceding list where it belongs in reality. But it is put more pointedly thus in the prohibition (me and the present middle imperative). It means either "stop lying" or "do not have the habit of lying." {Seeing that ye have put off} (apekdusamenoi). First aorist middle participle (causal sense of the circumstantial participle) of the double compound verb apekduomai, for which see #2:15. The apo has the perfective sense (wholly), "having stripped clean off." The same metaphor as apoqesqe in verse #8. {The old man} (ton palaion anqrwpon). Here Paul brings in another metaphor (mixes his metaphors as he often does), that of the old life of Sin regarded as "the ancient man" of Sin already crucified (#Ro 6:6) and dropped now once and for all as a mode of life (aorist tense). See same figure in #Eph 4:22. palaios is ancient in contrast with neos (young, new) as in #Mt 9:17 or kainos (fresh, unused) as in #Mt 13:52. {With his doings} (sun tais praxesin autou). Practice must square with profession.

    3:10 {And have put on} (kai endusamenoi). First aorist middle participle (in causal sense as before) of endunw, old and common verb (Latin _induo_, English endue) for putting on a garment. Used of putting on Christ (#Ga 3:27; Ro 13:14). {The new man} (ton neon). "The new (young as opposed to old palaion) man" (though anqrwpon is not here expressed, but understood from the preceding phrase). In #Eph 4:24 Paul has endusasqai ton kainon (fresh as opposed to worn out) anqrwpon. {Which is being renewed} (ton anakainoumenon). Present passive articular participle of anakainow. Paul apparently coined this word on the analogy of ananeomai. anakainizw already existed (#Heb 6:6). Paul also uses anakainwsis (#Ro 12:2; Tit 3:5) found nowhere before him. By this word Paul adds the meaning of kainos to that of neos just before. It is a continual refreshment (kainos) of the new (neos, young) man in Christ Jesus. {Unto knowledge} (eis epignwsin). "Unto full (additional) knowledge," one of the keywords in this epistle. {After the image} (kat' eikona). An allusion to #Ge 1:26,28. The restoration of the image of God in us is gradual and progressive (#2Co 3:18), but will be complete in the final result (#Ro 8:29; 1Jo 3:2).

    3:11 {Where} (hopou). In this "new man" in Christ. Cf. #Ga 3:28. {There cannot be} (ouk eni). Eni is the long (original) form of en and estin is to be understood. "There does not exist." this is the ideal which is still a long way ahead of modern Christians as the Great War proved. Race distinctions (Greek hellen and Jew ioudaios) disappear in Christ and in the new man in Christ. The Jews looked on all others as Greeks (Gentiles). Circumcision (peritome) and uncircumcision (akrobustia) put the Jewish picture with the cleavage made plainer (cf. #Eph 2). The Greeks and Romans regarded all others as barbarians (barbaroi, #Ro 1:14), users of outlandish jargon or gibberish, onomatopoetic repetition (bar-bar). {A Scythian} (skuqes) was simply the climax of barbarity, _bar-baris barbariores_ (Bengel), used for any rough person like our "Goths and Vandals." {Bondman} (doulos, from dew, to bind), {freeman} (eleuqeros, from ercomai, to go). Class distinctions vanish in Christ. In the Christian churches were found slaves, freedmen, freemen, masters. Perhaps Paul has Philemon and Onesimus in mind. But labor and capital still furnish a problem for modern Christianity. {But Christ is all} (alla panta cristos). Demosthenes and Lucian use the neuter plural to describe persons as Paul does here of Christ. The plural panta is more inclusive than the singular pan would be. {And in all} (kai en pasin). Locative plural and neuter also. "Christ occupies the whole sphere of human life and permeates all its developments" (Lightfoot). Christ has obliterated the words barbarian, master, slave, all of them and has substituted the word adelfos (brother).

    3:12 {Put on therefore} (endusasqe oun). First aorist middle imperative of endunw (verse #10). He explains and applies (oun therefore) the figure of "the new man" as "the new garment." {As God's elect} (hws eklektoi tou qeou). Same phrase in #Ro 8:33; Tit 1:1. In the Gospels a distinction exists between kletos and eklektos (#Mt 24:22,24,31), but no distinction appears in Paul's writings. Here further described as "holy and beloved" (hagioi kai egapemenoi). The items in the new clothing for the new man in Christ Paul now gives in contrast with what was put off (#3:8). The garments include a heart of compassion (splagcna oiktirmou, the nobler _viscera_ as the seat of emotion as in #Lu 1:78; Php 1:8), kindness (crestoteta, as in #Ga 5:22), humility (tapeinofrosunen, in the good sense as in #Php 2:3), meekness (prauteta, in #Ga 5:23 and in #Eph 4:2 also with tapeinophrosunˆ), long-suffering (makroqumian, in #Ga 5:22; Col 1:11; Jas 5:10).

    3:13 {Forbearing one another} (anecomenoi allelwn). Present middle (direct) participle of anecw with the ablative case (allelwn), "holding yourselves back from one another." {Forgiving each other} (carizomenoi heautois). Present middle participle also of carizomai with the dative case of the reflexive pronoun (heautois) instead of the reciprocal just before (allelwn). {If any man have} (ean tis ecei). Third class condition (ean and present active subjunctive of ecw). {Complaint} (momfen). Old word from memfomai, to blame. Only here in N.T. Note pros here with tina in the sense of against for comparison with pros in #2:31. {Even as the Lord} (kaqws kai ho kurios). Some MSS. read cristos for kurios. But Christ's forgiveness of us is here made the reason for our forgiveness of others. See #Mt 6:12,14f. where our forgiveness of others is made by Jesus a prerequisite to our obtaining forgiveness from God.

    3:14 {And above all these things} (epi pasin de toutois). "And upon all these things." {Put on love} (ten agapen). See #Lu 3:20. The verb has to be supplied (endusasqe) from verse #12 as the accusative case agapen shows. {Which is} (ho estin). Neuter singular of the relative and not feminine like agape (the antecedent) nor masculine like sundesmos in the predicate. However, there are similar examples of ho estin in the sense of _quod est_ (_id est_), "that is," in #Mr 14:42; 15:42, without agreement in gender and number. So also #Eph 5:5 where ho estin = "which thing." {The bond of perfectness} (sundesmos tes teleiotetos). See #2:19 for sundesmos. Here it is apparently the girdle that holds the various garments together. The genitive (teleiotetos) is probably that of apposition with the girdle of love. In a succinct way Paul has here put the idea about love set forth so wonderfully in #1Co 13.

    3:15 {The peace of Christ} (he eirene tou cristou). The peace that Christ gives (#Joh 14:27). {Rule} (brabeuetw). Imperative active third singular of brabeuw, to act as umpire (brabeus), old verb, here alone in N.T. See #1Co 7:15 for called in peace. {In one body} (en heni swmati). With one Head (Christ) as in #1:18,24. {Be ye thankful} (eucaristoi ginesqe). "Keep on becoming thankful." Continuous obligation.

    3:16 {The word of Christ} (ho logos tou cristou). this precise phrase only here, though "the word of the Lord" in #1Th 1:8; 4:15; 2Th 3:1. Elsewhere "the word of God." Paul is exalting Christ in this epistle. cristou can be either the subjective genitive (the word delivered by Christ) or the objective genitive (the word about Christ). See #1Jo 2:14. {Dwell} (enoikeitw). Present active imperative of enoikew, to make one's home, to be at home. {In you} (en humin). Not "among you." {Richly} (plousiws). Old adverb from plousios (rich). See #1Ti 6:17. The following words explain plousiws. {In all wisdom} (en pasei sofiai). It is not clear whether this phrase goes with plousiws (richly) or with the participles following (didaskontes kai nouqetountes, see #1:28). Either punctuation makes good sense. The older Greek MSS. had no punctuation. There is an anacoluthon here. The participles may be used as imperatives as in #Ro 12:11f.,16. {With psalms} (yalmois, the Psalms in the Old Testament originally with musical accompaniment), {hymns} (humnois, praises to God composed by the Christians like #1Ti 3:16), {spiritual songs} (widais pneumatikais, general description of all whether with or without instrumental accompaniment). The same song can have all three words applied to it. {Singing with grace} (en cariti aidontes). In God's grace (#2Co 1:12). The phrase can be taken with the preceding words. The verb aidw is an old one (#Eph 5:19) for lyrical emotion in a devout soul. {In your hearts} (en tais kardiais humwn). Without this there is no real worship "to God" (twi qewi). How can a Jew or Unitarian in the choir lead in the worship of Christ as Savior? Whether with instrument or with voice or with both it is all for naught if the adoration is not in the heart.

    3:17 {Whatever ye do} (pan hoti ean poiete). Indefinite relative (everything whatever) with ean and the present active subjunctive, a common idiom in such clauses. {Do all} (panta). The imperative poieite has to be supplied from poiete in the relative clause. panta is repeated from pan (singular), but in the plural (all things). pan is left as a nominative absolute as in #Mt 10:32; Lu 12:10. this is a sort of Golden Rule for Christians "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (en onomati kuriou iesou), in the spirit of the Lord Jesus (#Eph 5:20). What follows (directions to the various groups) is in this same vein. Sociological problems have always existed. Paul puts his finger on the sore spot in each group with unerring skill like a true diagnostician.

    3:18 {Wives} (kai gunaikes). The article here distinguishes class from class and with the vocative case can be best rendered "Ye wives." So with each group. {Be in subjection to your husbands} (hupotassesqe tois andrasin). "Own" (idiois) is genuine in #Eph 5:22, but not here. The verb hupotassomai has a military air, common in the _Koin‚_ for such obedience. Obedience in government is essential as the same word shows in #Ro 13:1,5. {As is fitting in the Lord} (hws aneken en kuriwi). this is an idiomatic use of the imperfect indicative with verbs of propriety in present time (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 919). Wives have rights and privileges, but recognition of the husband's leadership is essential to a well-ordered home, only the assumption is that the husband has a head and a wise one.

    3:19 {Love your wives} (agapate tas gunaikas). Present active imperative, "keep on loving." That is precisely the point. {Be not bitter} (me pikrainesqe). Present middle imperative in prohibition: "Stop being bitter" or "do not have the habit of being bitter." this is the Sin of husbands. pikrainw is an old verb from pikros (bitter). In N.T. only here and #Re 8:11; 10:9f. The bitter word rankles in the soul.

    3:20 {Obey your parents} (hupakouete tois goneusin). Old verb to listen under (as looking up), to hearken, to heed, to obey. {In all things} (kata panta). this is the hard part for the child, not occasional obedience, but continual. Surely a Christian father or mother will not make unreasonable or unjust demands of the child. Nowhere does modern civilization show more weakness than just here. Waves of lawlessness sweep over the world because the child was not taught to obey. Again Paul argues that this is "in the Lord" (en kuriwi).

    3:21 {Provoke not} (me ereqizete). Present imperative of old verb from ereqw, to excite. Only twice in N.T., here in bad sense, in good sense in #2Co 9:2 (to stimulate). Here it means to nag and as a habit (present tense). {That they be not discouraged} (hina me aqumwsin). Negative purpose (hina me) with the present subjunctive (continued discouragement) of aqumew, old verb, but only here in N.T., from aqumos (dispirited, a privative, qumos, spirit or courage). One does not have to read _Jane Eyre_ or _Oliver Twist_ to know something of the sorrows of childhood as is witnessed by runaway children and even child suicides.

    3:22 {Your masters according to the flesh} (tois kata sarka kuriois). "Lords" really, but these Christian slaves (douloi) had Christ as lord, but even so they were to obey their lords in the flesh. {Not with eye-service} (me en ofqalmodouliais). Another Pauline word (here only and #Eph 6:6), elsewhere only in Christian writers after Paul, an easy and expressive compound, service while the master's eye was on the slave and no longer. {Men-pleasers} (anqrwpareskoi). Late compound only in LXX and Paul (here and #Eph 6:6). {In singleness of heart} (en haploteti kardias). So in #Eph 6:5. Old and expressive word from haplous (simple, without folds). See #2Co 11:3. {Fearing the Lord} (foboumenoi ton kurion). Rather than the lords according to the flesh.

    3:23 {Whatever ye do} (ho ean poiete). See same idiom in #3:17 except ho instead of pan hoti. {Heartily} (ek yuces). From the soul and not with mere eye service. In #Eph 6:7 Paul adds met' eunoias (with good will) in explanation of ek yuces. {As unto the Lord} (hws twi kuriwi). Even when unto men. this is the highest test of worthwhile service. If it were only always true!

    3:24 {Ye shall receive} (apolemyesqe). Future middle indicative of apolambanw, old verb, to get back (apo), to recover. {The recompense} (antapodosin). "The full recompense," old word, in LXX, but only here in N.T., but antapodoma twice (#Lu 14:12; Ro 11:9). Given back (apo) in return (anti). {Ye serve the Lord Christ} (to kuriwi Christ"i douleuete). As his slaves and gladly so. Perhaps better as imperatives, keep on serving.

    3:25 {Shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done} (komisetai ho edikesen). It is not clear whether ho adikwn (he that doeth wrong) is the master or the slave. It is true of either and Lightfoot interprets it of both, "shall receive back the wrong which he did." this is a general law of life and of God and it is fair and square. {There is no respect of persons} (ouk estin proswpolemyia). There is with men, but not with God. For this word patterned after the Hebrew see #Ro 2:11; Eph 6:9; Jas 2:1 The next verse should be in this chapter also.

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