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How greatly I strive
(ηλικον αγωνα εχω). Literally, "how great a contest I am having." The old adjectival relative ηλικος (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 μεριμνα for all the churches (2Co 11:28
). Αγωνα carries on the metaphor of αγωνιζομενος in
May be comforted
(παρακληθωσιν). First aorist passive subjunctive of παρακαλεω (for which see 2Co 1:3-7
) in final clause with ινα.
(εν ω). This locative form can refer to μυστηριου or to Χριστου. It really makes no difference in sense since Christ is the
mystery of God.
This I say
(τουτο λεγω). Paul explains why he has made this great claim for Christ at this point in his discussion.
(ε κα). Not κα ε (even if).
As therefore ye received
(ως ουν παρελαβετε). Second aorist active indicative of παραλαμβανω in same sense as in 1Th 4:1; Php 4:9
(both μανθανω and παραλαμβανω) that is like μανθανω, to learn (1:7), from Epaphras and others.
(ερριζωμενο). Perfect passive participle of old verb ριζοω from ριζα, root. In N.T. only here and Eph 3:17
. Paul changes the figure from walk to growing tree.
(βλεπετε). Present active imperative second person plural of βλεπω, common verb for warning like our "look out," "beware,"
"see to it."
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily
(οτ εν αυτω κατοικε παν το πληρωμα της θεοτητος σωματικως). In this sentence, given as the reason (οτ, 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 εσσενχε of God, from θεοσ, δειτας) and not to
be confused with θειοτες in Ro 1:20
(from θειος, the
Ye are made full
(εστε πεπληρωμενο). Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of πληροω, 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).
Ye were also circumcised
(κα περιετμηθητε). First aorist passive indicative of περιτεμνω, to circumcise. But used here as a metaphor in a spiritual
sense as in Ro 2:29
"the circumcision of the heart."
Having been buried with him in baptism
(συνταφεντες αυτω εν τω βαπτισματ). Second aorist passive participle of συνθαπτω, old word, in N.T. only here and Ro 6:4
, followed by associative instrumental case (αυτω). 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" (εν ω κα συνηγερθητε).
"In which baptism" (βαπτισματ, he means). First aorist passive indicative of συνεγειρω, 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
). Cf. Ga 3:27
. Baptism gives a picture of the change already wrought in the heart "through faith" (δια της πιστεως).
(κα υμας). Emphatic position, object of the verb συνεζωοποιησεν (did he quicken) and repeated (second υμας). You Gentiles
as he explains.
Having blotted out
(εξαλειψας). And so "cancelled." First aorist active participle of old verb εξαλειφω, 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 χαρισαμενος 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).
Having put off from himself
(απεκδυσαμενος). Only here and
3:9 and one MS. of Josephus (απεκδυς). Both αποδυω and εκδυω 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 απεκδυσαμενος? What is meant by
"the principalities and the powers" (τας αρχας κα τας εξουσιας)? 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.
56425642 Let no one judge you (μη τις υμας κρινετω). Prohibition present active imperative third singular, forbidding the habit of passing judgment in such matters. For κρινω 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).
56435643 A shadow (σκια). Old word, opposed to substance (σωμα, body). In Heb 10:1 σκια is distinguished from εικων (picture), but here from σωμα (body, substance). The σωμα (body) casts the σκια (shadow) and so belongs to Christ (Χριστου, genitive case).
Rob you of your prize
(καταβραβευετω). Late and rare compound (κατα, βραβευω, 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 βραβευς and
the prize βραβειον (1Co 9:24; Php 3:14
). It is thus parallel to, but stronger than, κρινετω in verse
Not holding fast the Head
(ου κρατων την κεφαλην). Note negative ου, not μη, 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.
If ye died
(ε απεθανετε). Condition of the first class, assumed as true, ε and second aorist active indicative of αποθνησκω, to die.
He is alluding to the picture of burial in baptism (2:12).
56475647 Handle not, nor taste, nor touch (μη αψη μηδε γευση μηδε θιγηις). 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 μη, a prohibition against handling or touching these forbidden things. Two of them do not differ greatly in meaning. Hαψη is aorist middle subjunctive of απτω, to fasten to, middle, to cling to, to handle. Θιγηις is second aorist active subjunctive of θιγγανω, old verb, to touch, to handle. In N.T. only here and Heb 11:28; 12:20 . Γευση is second aorist middle subjunctive of γευω, to give taste of, only middle in N.T. to taste as here.
56485648 Are to perish with the using (εστιν εις φθοραν τη αποχρησε). Literally, "are for perishing in the using." Φθορα (from φθειρω) is old word for decay, decomposition. Αποχρησις (from αποχραομα, 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.
(ατινα). "Which very things," these ascetic regulations.
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