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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Colossians: Chapter 2)

2:1 {How greatly I strive} (\hēlikon agōna echō\). Literally,
"how great a contest I am having." The old adjectival relative
\hēlikos\ (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). \Agōna\ carries on the metaphor of \agōnizomenos\
in 1:29. {For them at Laodicea} (\tōn en Laodikiāi\). {Supply}
\huper\ as with \huper humōn\. 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 ouch heorakan to prosōpon 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
. How precious a real picture of Paul would be to us
today. The antecedent to \hosoi\ is not expressed and it would be
\toutōn\ after \huper\. The form \heorakan\ (perfect active
indicative of \horaō\ instead of the usual \heōrakasin\ has two
peculiarities \o\ in Paul's Epistles (1Co 9:1) instead of \ō\
(see Joh 1:18 for \heōraken\) and \-an\ by analogy in place of
\-asin\, which short form is common in the papyri. See Lu 9:36

2:2 {May be comforted} (\paraklēthōsin\). First aorist passive
subjunctive of \parakaleō\ (for which see 2Co 1:3-7) in final
clause with \hina\. {Being knit together} (\sunbibasthentes\).
First aorist passive participle of \sunbibazō\, old verb, causal
of \bainō\, to make go together, to coalesce in argument (Ac
, in spiritual growth (Col 2:19), in love as here. Love
is the \sundesmos\ (3:14) that binds all together. {Unto all
(\eis pan ploutos\). Probably some distinction intended
between \en\ (in love as the sphere) and \eis\ (unto as the
. {Of the full assurance of understanding} (\tēs
plērophorias tēs suneseōs\)
. On \plērophoria\, see 1Th 1:5.
From \plērophoreō\ (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
(\eis epignōsin\). "Unto full knowledge." This use of
\epignōsis\ (full, additional knowledge) is Paul's reply to the
Gnostics with the limited and perverted \gnōsis\ (knowledge).
{The mystery of God, even Christ} (\tou mustēriou tou theou,
. The MSS. differ widely here, but this is Westcott and
Hort's reading. Genitive (objective) with \epignōsin\ and
\Christou\ 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 hōi\). This locative form can refer to
\mustēriou\ or to \Christou\. It really makes no difference in
sense since Christ is the mystery of God. {All the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge}
(\pantes hoi thēsauroi tēs sophias kai
. 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 (\apokruphoi\, old adjective from \apokruptō\, 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 legō\). Paul explains why he has made
this great claim for Christ at this point in his discussion. {May
(\paralogizētai\). 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 pithanologiāi\). Rare word (Plato)
from \pithanos\ and \logos\, speech, adapted to persuade, then
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 pithois sophias logois\)
where he uses the very adjective \pithos\ (persuasive) of which
\pithanos\ (both from \peithō\) 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} (\tēn taxin\).
The military line (from \tassō\), unbroken, intact. A few
stragglers had gone over to the Gnostics, but there had been no
panic, no breach in the line. {Steadfastness} (\stereōma\). From
\stereoō\ (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 \stereoō\ 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} (\hōs oun parelabete\). Second
aorist active indicative of \paralambanō\ in same sense as in
1Th 4:1; Php 4:9 (both \manthanō\ and \paralambanō\) that is
like \manthanō\, to learn (1:7), from Epaphras and others.
{Christ Jesus the Lord} (\ton Christon Iēsoun ton Kurion\). This
peculiar phrase occurs nowhere else by Paul. We have often \ho
Christos\ (the Christ or Messiah) as in Php 1:15, \Iēsous
Christos\ (Jesus Christ), \Christos Iēsous\ (Christ Jesus), \ho
Kurios Iēsous\ (the Lord Jesus, very often), but nowhere else \ho
Christos Iēsous\ and \Iēsous 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 autōi peripateite\). "Go on
walking in him" (present active indicative of \peripateō\). Stick
to your first lessons in Christ.

2:7 {Rooted} (\errizōmenoi\). Perfect passive participle of old
verb \rizoō\ from \riza\, root. In N.T. only here and Eph 3:17.
Paul changes the figure from walk to growing tree. {Builded up in
(\epoikodomoumenoi en autōi\). Present passive participle
(rooted to stay so) of \epoikodomeō\, 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 \bebaioō\, old
verb from \bebaios\ (from \bainō, baiō\), to make firm or stable.
{In your faith} (\tēi pistei\). Locative case, though the
instrumental case, {by your faith}, makes good sense also. {Even
as ye were taught}
(\kathōs edidachthēte\). First aorist passive
indicative of \didaskō\, an allusion to \parelabete\ in verse 6
and to \emathete\ in 1:7. {In thanksgiving} (\en
. 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 \blepō\, common verb for warning like our "look
out," "beware," "see to it." {Lest there shall be any one} (\mē
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 sulagōgōn\). Articular present active
participle of \sulagōgeō\, late and rare (found here first) verb
(from \sulē\, booty, and \agō\, 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 tēs philosophias\). The only use of the
word in the N.T. and employed by Paul because the Gnostics were
fond of it. Old word from \philosophos\ (\philos, sophos\, 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"
(\pseudōnumos gnōsis\, 1Ti 6:20), and explained here by the
next words. {And vain deceit} (\kai kenēs apatēs\). Old word for
trick, guile, like riches (Mt 13:22). Descriptive of the
philosophy of the Gnostics. {Tradition} (\paradosin\). Old word
from \paradidōmi\, a giving over, a passing on. The word is
colourless 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} (\stoicheia\). Old
word for anything in a \stoichos\ (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 Christon\). 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 autōi katoikei pān to plērōma tēs theotētos
. In this sentence, given as the reason (\hoti\,
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
\theos, deitas\)
and not to be confused with \theiotes\ in Ro
1:20 (from \theios\, the {quality} of God, _divinitas_), here
only in N.T. as \theiotēs\ only in Ro 1:20. The distinction is
observed in Lucian and Plutarch. \Theiotēs\ occurs in the papyri
and inscriptions. Paul here asserts that "all the \plērōma\ of
the Godhead," not just certain aspects, dwells in Christ and in
bodily form (\sōmatikōs\, 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" (\tōi
sōmati tēs doxēs\)
. 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 peplērōmenoi\). Periphrastic
perfect passive indicative of \plēroō\, 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} (\hē kaphalē\). 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 perietmēthēte\). First
aorist passive indicative of \peritemnō\, 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}
(\acheiropoiētōi\). 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 \cheiropoiētos\ (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 tēi
. 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,
. 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 Christou\). Specifying
genitive, the kind of circumcision that belongs to Christ, that
of the heart.

2:12 {Having been buried with him in baptism} (\suntaphentes
autōi en tōi baptismati\)
. Second aorist passive participle of
\sunthaptō\, old word, in N.T. only here and Ro 6:4, followed
by associative instrumental case (\autōi\). 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 hōi kai sunēgerthēte\). "In which
baptism" (\baptismati\, he means). First aorist passive
indicative of \sunegeirō\, 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 tēs
. {In the working of God} (\tēs energeias tou theou\).
Objective genitive after \pisteōs\. See 1:29 for \energeia\.
God had power to raise Christ from the dead (\tou egeirantos\,
first aorist active participle of \egeirō\, 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 \sunezōopoiēsen\ (did he quicken) and repeated (second
. You Gentiles as he explains. {Being dead through your
(\nekrous ontas tois paraptōmasin\). Moral death, of
course, as in Ro 6:11; Eph 2:1,5. Correct text does not have
\en\, but even so \paraptōmasin\ (from \parapiptō\, 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 tēi akroboustiāi tēs sarkos humōn\). "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}
(\sunezōopoiēsen sun autōi\). First
aorist active indicative of the double compound verb
\sunzōopoieō\, to make alive (\zōos, poieō\) with (\sun\,
repeated also with \autōi\, associative instrumental)
, found only
here and in Eph 2:5, apparently coined by Paul for this
passage. Probably \theos\ (God) is the subject because expressly
so stated in Eph 2:4f. and because demanded by \sun autōi\ here
referring to Christ. This can be true even if Christ be the
subject of \ērken\ in verse 14. {Having forgiven us}
(\charisamenos hēmin\). First aorist middle participle of
\charizomai\, common verb from \charis\ (favour, 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} (\exaleipsas\). And so "cancelled."
First aorist active participle of old verb \exaleiphō\, 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 \charisamenos\ 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 kath' hēmōn cheirographon tois dogmasin\).
The late compound \cheirographon\ (\cheir\, hand, \graphō\) is
very common in the papyri for a certificate of debt or bond, many
of the original \cheirographa\ (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
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"
(\kath' hēmōn\) and adds "which was contrary to us" (\ho ēn
hupenantion hēmin\)
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 \cheirographon\ for bond or
debt with the Cross of Christ (Deissmann, _Light, etc._, p. 332).
{And he hath taken it out of the way} (\kai ērken ek tou mesou\).
Perfect active indicative of \airō\, 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 (\airōn\) 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 \ērken\, 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 (\prosēlōsas
auto tōi staurōi\)
. First aorist active participle of old and
common verb \prosēloō\, to fasten with nails to a thing (with
dative \staurōi\)
. Here alone in N.T., but in III Macc. 4:9 with
the very word \staurōi\. 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 \apoduō\ and
\ekduō\ 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 archas 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 \deigmatizō\, 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 \paradeigmatizō\ 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 parrēsiāi\). {Triumphing
over them on it}
(\thriambeusas autous en autōi\). On the Cross
the triumph was won. This late, though common verb in _Koinē_
writers (\ekthriambeuō\ 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 \thriambos\, 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 \thriambeusas\ to Christ: "The convict's
gibbet is the victor's car." It is possible, of course, to take
\autōi\ as referring to \cheirographon\ (bond) or even to Christ.

2:16 {Let no one judge you} (\mē tis humas krinetō\). Prohibition
present active imperative third singular, forbidding the habit of
passing judgment in such matters. For \krinō\ 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
. 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 (\sōma\,
. In Heb 10:1 \skia\ is distinguished from \eikōn\
(picture), but here from \sōma\ (body, substance). The \sōma\
(body) casts the \skia\ (shadow) and so belongs to Christ
(\Christou\, genitive case).

2:18 {Rob you of your prize} (\katabrabeuetō\). Late and rare
compound (\kata, brabeuō\, 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, \krinetō\ in verse 16. {By a voluntary humility} (\thelōn
en tapeinophrosunēi\)
. Present active participle of \thelō\, to
wish, to will, but a difficult idiom. Some take it as like an
adverb for "wilfully" somewhat like \thelontas\ 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 ethelotapeinophrosunēi\
(in gratuitous humility), a word that occurs in Basil and made
like \ethelothrēskia\ in verse 23. {And worshipping of the
(\kai thrēskeiāi tōn aggelōn\). In 3:12 humility
(\tapeinophrosunēn\) 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
. Some MSS. have "not," but not genuine. This verb
\embateuō\ (from \embatēs\, stepping in, going in) has given much
trouble. Lightfoot has actually proposed \kenembateuōn\ (a verb
that does not exist, though \kenembateō\ does occur)
\aiōra\, 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.
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} (\eikēi
. Present passive participle of \phusioō\, late and
vivid verb from \phusa\, 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 kratōn tēn kephalēn\). Note
negative \ou\, not \mē\, 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 hēs\ (\kephalēs\) because Christ is the Head. He
develops the figure of the body of which Christ is Head
(1:18,24). {Being supplied} (\epichorēgoumenon\). Present
passive participle (continuous action) of \epichorēgeō\, 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 \sunbibazō\, for which see
Col 2:2. {Through the joints} (\dia tōn haphōn\). Late word
\haphē\ (from \haptō\, to fasten together), connections
(_junctura_ and _nexus_ in the Vulgate). {And bonds} (\kai
. Old word from \sundeō\, 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 tēn auxēsin tou theou\). Cognate
accusative (\auxēsin\) with the old verb \auxei\.

2:20 {If ye died} (\ei apethanete\). Condition of the first
class, assumed as true, \ei\ and second aorist active indicative
of \apothnēskō\, to die. He is alluding to the picture of burial
in baptism (2:12). {From the rudiments of the world} (\apo tōn
stoicheiōn tou kosmou\)
. See 2:8. {As though living in the
(\hōs zōntes en kosmōi\). Concessive use of the participle
with \hōs\. 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 dogmatizesthe?\). 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} (\mē hapsēi mēde geusēi
mēde thigēis\)
. 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 \mē\, a
prohibition against handling or touching these forbidden things.
Two of them do not differ greatly in meaning. \Hapsēi\ is aorist
middle subjunctive of \haptō\, to fasten to, middle, to cling to,
to handle. \Thigēis\ is second aorist active subjunctive of
\thigganō\, old verb, to touch, to handle. In N.T. only here and
Heb 11:28; 12:20. \Geusēi\ is second aorist middle subjunctive
of \geuō\, to give taste of, only middle in N.T. to taste as

2:22 {Are to perish with the using} (\estin eis phthoran tēi
. Literally, "are for perishing in the using."
\Phthora\ (from \phtheirō\) is old word for decay, decomposition.
\Apochrēsis\ (from \apochraomai\, 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 echonta sophias\)
. Periphrastic present indicative with
\estin\ in the singular, but present indicative \echonta\ in the
plural (\hatina\). \Logon sophias\ is probably "the repute of
wisdom" (Abbott) like Plato and Herodotus. \Men\ (in deed) has no
corresponding \de\. {In will-worship} (\en ethelothrēskiāi\).
This word occurs nowhere else and was probably coined by Paul
after the pattern of \ethelodouleia\, to describe the voluntary
worship of angels (see 2:18). {And humility} (\kai
. Clearly here the bad sense, "in mock
humility." {And severity to the body} (\kai apheidiāi sōmatos\).
Old word (Plato) from \apheidēs\, unsparing (\a\ privative,
\pheidomai\, to spare)
. Here alone in N.T. Ascetics often
practice flagellations and other hardnesses to the body. {Not of
any value}
(\ouk en timēi tini\). \Timē\ usually means honour or
price. {Against the indulgence of the flesh} (\pros plēsmonēn tēs
. These words are sharply debated along with \timē\ 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. \Plēsmonē\ is
an old word from \pimplēmi\, 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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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Colossians: Chapter 2)