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Colossians 3:9-13

9. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

9. Ne mentiamini alii diversus alios, postquam exuistis veterem hominem cum actionibus suis:

10. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

10. Et induistis novum, qui renovatur in agnitionem, secundum imaginem eius, qui creavit eum:

11. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

11. Ubi non est Graecus nec Judaeus, circumcisio nec praeputium, barbarus, Scytha, servus, liber: sed omnia et in omnibus Christus.

12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

12. Induite igitur, tanquam electi Dei sancti et dilecti, viscera miserationum, comitatem, humilitatem, mansuetudinem, tolerantiam,

13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

13. Sufferentes vos mutuo, et condonantes si quis adversus alium litem habeat: quemadmodum Christus condonavit vobis, ita et vos.


9. Lie not. When he forbids lying, he condemns every sort of cunning, and all base artifices of deception. For I do not understand the term as referring merely to calumnies, but I view it as contrasted in a general way with sincerity. Hence it might be allowable to render it more briefly, and I am not sure but that it might also be a better rendering, thus: Lie not one to another. He follows out, however, his argument as to the fellowship, which believers have in the death and resurrection of Christ, but employs other forms of expression.

The old man denotes — whatever we bring from our mother’s womb, and whatever we are by nature. 438438     See Calvin on the Romans, p. 224; also Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 188. It is put off by all that are renewed by Christ. The new man, on the other hand, is that which is renewed by the Spirit of Christ to the obedience of righteousness, or it is nature restored to its true integrity by the same Spirit. The old man, however, comes first in order, because we are first born from Adam, and afterwards are born again through Christ. And as what we have from Adam becomes old, 439439     “Deuient vieil et caduque;” — “Becomes old and frail.” and tends towards ruin, so what we obtain through Christ remains for ever, and is not frail; but, on the contrary, tends towards immortality. This passage is worthy of notice, inasmuch as a definition of regeneration may be gathered from it. For it contains two parts — the putting off of the old man, and the putting on of the new, and of these Paul here makes mention. It is also to be noticed, that the old man is distinguished by his works, as a tree is by its fruits. Hence it follows, that the depravity that is innate in us is denoted by the term old man

10. Which is renewed in knowledge. He shews in the first place, that newness of life consists in knowledge — not as though a simple and bare knowledge were sufficient, but he speaks of the illumination of the Holy Spirit, which is lively and effectual, so as not merely to enlighten the mind by kindling it up with the light of truth, but transforming the whole man. And this is what he immediately adds, that we are renewed after the image of God. Now, the image of God resides in the whole of the soul, inasmuch as it is not the reason merely that is rectified, but also the will. Hence, too, we learn, on the one hand, what is the end of our regeneration, that is, that we may be made like God, and that his glory may shine forth in us; and, on the other hand, what is the image of God, of which mention is made by Moses in Genesis 9:6, 440440     “De laquelle Moyse fait mention au Genesis 1, chap. c. 26, et 9, b. 6;” — “Of which Moses makes mention in Genesis 1:26, and 9:6.” the rectitude and integrity of the whole soul, so that man reflects, like a mirror, the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness of God. He speaks somewhat differently in the Epistle to the Ephesians, but the meaning is the same. See the passage — Ephesians 4:24. Paul, at the same time, teaches, that there is nothing more excellent at which the Colossians can aspire, inasmuch as this is our highest perfection and blessedness to bear the image of God.

11. Where there is neither Jew. He has added this intentionally, that he may again draw away the Colossians from ceremonies. For the meaning of the statement is this, that Christian perfection does not stand in need of those outward observances, nay, that they are things that are altogether at variance with it. For under the distinction of circumcision and uncircumcision, of Jew and Greek, he includes, by synecdoche, 441441     Synecdoche, a figure of speech, by which a part is taken for the whole. — Ed. all outward things. The terms that follow, barbarian, Scythian, 442442     Howe supposes that Paul “may possibly refer here to a Scythian who, having an inclination to learning, betook himself to Athens, to study the principles of philosophy that were taught there. But meeting one day with a person that very insolently upbraided him on the account of his country, he gave him this smart repartee: ‘True indeed it is, my country is a reproach to me; but you, for your part, are a reproach to your country.’” — Howe’s Works, (Lond. 1822,) vol. 5, p. 497. — Ed. bond, free, are added by way of amplification.

Christ is all, and in all, that is, Christ alone holds, as they say, the prow and the stern — the beginning and the end. Farther, by Christ, he means the spiritual righteousness of Christ, which puts an end to ceremonies, as we have formerly seen. They are, therefore, superfluous in a state of true perfection, nay more, they ought to have no place, inasmuch as injustice would otherwise be done to Christ, as though it were necessary to call in those helps for making up his deficiencies.

13. Put on therefore. As he has enumerated some parts of the old man, so he now also enumerates some parts of the new. “Then,” says he, “will it appear that ye are renewed by Christ, when ye are merciful and kind. For these are the effects and evidences of renovation.” Hence the exhortation depends on the second clause, and, accordingly, he keeps up the metaphor in the word rendered put on

He mentions, first, bowels of mercy, by which expression he means an earnest affection, with yearnings, as it were, of the bowels: Secondly, he makes mention of kindness, (for in this manner I have chosen to render χρηστότητα,) by which we make ourselves amiable. To this he adds humility, because no one will be kind and gentle but the man who, laying aside haughtiness, and high mindedness, brings himself down to the exercise of modesty, claiming nothing for himself.

Gentleness — the term which follows — has a wider acceptation than kindness, for that is chiefly in look and speech, while this is also in inward disposition. As, however, it frequently happens, that we come in contact with wicked and ungrateful men, there is need of patience, that it may cherish mildness in us. He at length explains what he meant by long-suffering — that we embrace each other indulgently, and forgive also where any offense has been given. As, however, it is a thing that is hard and difficult, he confirms this doctrine by the example of Christ, and teaches, that the same thing is required from us, that as we, who have so frequently and so grievously offended, have nevertheless been received into favor, we should manifest the same kindness towards our neighbors, by forgiving whatever offenses they have committed against us. Hence he says, if any one have a quarrel against another. By this he means, that even just occasions of quarrel, according to the views of men, ought not to be followed out.

As the chosen of God. Elect I take here to mean, set apart. “God has chosen you to himself, has sanctified you, and received you into his love on this condition, that ye be merciful, etc. To no purpose does the man that has not these excellences boast that he is holy, and beloved of God; to no purpose does he reckon himself among the number of believers.”

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