1. For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
1. Volo autem vos scire, quantum certamen habeam pro vobis et iis qui sunt Laodiceae, et quicunque non viderunt faciem meam in carne;
2. That their hearts might be com-forted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
2. Ut consolationem accipiant corda ipsorum, ubi compacti fuerint in caritate, et in omnes divitias certitudinis intelligentiae, in agnitionem mysterii Dei, et Patris, et Christi;
3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
3. In quo sunt omnes thesauri sa-pientiae et intelligentiae absconditi.
4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
4. Hoc autem dico, ne quis vos decipiat persuasorio sermone.
5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
5. Nam etsi corpore sum absens, spiritu tamen sum vobiscum, gaudens et videns ordinem vestrum, et stabilitatem vestrae in Christum fidei.
1. I would have you know. He declares his affection towards them, that he may have more credit and authority; for we readily believe those whom we know to be desirous of our welfare. It is also an evidence of no ordinary affection, that he was concerned about them in the midst of death, that is, when he was in danger of his life; and that he may express the more emphatically the intensity of his affection and concern, he calls it a conflict. I do not find fault with the rendering of Erasmus -- anxiety; but, at the same time, the force of the Greek word is to be noticed, for
Riches of the assurance of understanding. As many, contenting themselves with a slight taste, have nothing but a confused and evanescent knowledge, he makes mention expressly of the
In the term assurance, he distinguishes between faith and mere opinion; for that man truly knows the Lord who does not vacillate or waver in doubt, but stands fast in a firm and constant persuasion. This constancy and stability Paul frequently calls (
Is an acknowledgment of the mystery. This clause must be read as added by way of apposition, for he explains what that knowledge is, of which he has made mention -- that it is nothing else than the knowledge of the gospel. For the false apostles themselves endeavor to set off their impostures under the title of wisdom, but Paul retains the sons of God within the limits of the gospel exclusively, that they may desire to know nothing else. (1 Corinthians 2:2.) Why he uses the term mystery to denote the gospel, has been already explained. Let us, however, learn from this, that the gospel can be understood by faith alone -- not by reason, nor by the perspicacity of the human understanding, because otherwise it is a thing that is hid from us.
The mystery of God I understand in a passive signification, as meaning -- that in which God is revealed, for he immediately adds --
He that hath the Son, hath the Father also: he that hath not the Son, hath also not the Father. (1 John 2:23.)
Hence all that think that they know anything of God apart from Christ, contrive to themselves an idol in the place of God; as also, on the other hand, that man is ignorant of Christ, who is not led by him to the Father, and who does not in him embrace God wholly. In the mean time, it is a memorable passage for proving Christ's divinity, and the unity of his essence with the Father. For having spoken previously as to the knowledge of God, he immediately applies it to the Son, as well as to the Father, whence it follows, that the Son is God equally with the Father.
3. In whom are all the treasures. The expression in quo (in whom, or in which) may either have a reference collectively to everything he has said as to the acknowledgment of the mystery, or it may relate simply to what came immediately before, namely, Christ. While there is not much difference between the one or the other, I rather prefer the latter view, and it is the one that is more generally received. The meaning, therefore, is, that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ -- by which he means, that we are perfect in wisdom if we truly know Christ, so that it is madness to wish to know anything besides Him. For since the Father has manifested himself wholly in Him, that man wishes to be wise apart from God, who is not contented with Christ alone. Should any one choose to interpret it as referring to the mystery, the meaning will be, that all the wisdom of the pious is included in the gospel, by means of which God is revealed to us in his Son.
He says, however, that the
With propriety, therefore, does the Apostle act in writing to the Hebrews, inasmuch as, when wishing to exhort believers not to allow themselves to be led astray 5 by strange or new doctrines, he first of all makes use of this foundation --
Christ yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8.)
By this he means, that those are out of danger who remain in Christ, but that those who are not satisfied with Christ are exposed to all fallacies and deceptions. So Paul here would have every one, that would not be
5. For though I am absent in body. Lest any one should object that the admonition was unseasonable, as coming from a place so remote, he says, that his affection towards them made him be
Order and steadfastness. He mentions two things, in which the perfection of the Church consists -- order among themselves, and faith in Christ. By the term order, he means -- agreement, no less than duly regulated morals, and entire discipline. He commends their faith, in respect of its constancy and steadfastness, meaning that it is an empty shadow of faith, when the mind wavers and vacillates between different opinions. 8
1 After the time of Constantine the Great, "Phrygia was divided into Phrygia Pacatiana and Phrygia Salutaris. . . . Colosse was the sixth city of the first division." -- Dr. A. Clarke. -- Ed.
2 "En toutes richesses de certitude d'intelligence;" -- "In all riches of assurance of understanding."
3 See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1:p. 112, and vol. 2:p. 397.
4 "Tous erreurs et faussetez;" -- "All errors and impostures."
5 "Qu'ils ne se laissent point distraire ça et la;" -- "That they do not allow themselves to be distracted hither and thither."
6 Pithanologia -- our author having here in view the Greek term made use of by Paul,
7 "Toutes fausses et meschantes doctrines;" -- "All false and wicked doctrines."
8 "Quand l'esprit est en branle, maintenant d'vne opinion, maintenant d'autre;" -- "When the mind is in suspense, now of one opinion, then of another."