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12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


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12. the elect of God—There is no "the" in the Greek, "God's elect" (compare Ro 8:3; 1Th 1:4). The order of the words "elect, holy, beloved," answers to the order of the things. Election from eternity precedes sanctification in time; the sanctified, feeling God's love, imitate it [Bengel].

bowels of mercies—Some of the oldest manuscripts read singular, "mercy." Bowels express the yearning compassion, which has its seat in the heart, and which we feel to act on our inward parts (Ge 43:30; Jer 31:20; Lu 1:78, Margin).

humbleness of mind—True "lowliness of mind"; not the mock "humility" of the false teachers (Col 2:23; Eph 4:2, 32).

13. Forbearing—as to present offenses.

forgiving—as to past offenses.

quarrel—rather as Greek, "cause of blame," "cause of complaint."

Christ—who had so infinitely greater cause of complaint against us. The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate read "the Lord." English Version is supported by one very old manuscript and old versions. It seems to have crept in from Eph 4:32.

14. above—rather "over," as in Eph 6:16. Charity, which is the crowning grace, covering the multitude of others' sins (1Pe 4:8), must overlie all the other graces enumerated.

which is—that is, "for it is"; literally, "which thing is."

bond of perfectness—an upper garment which completes and keeps together the rest, which, without it, would be loose and disconnected. Seeming graces, where love is wanting, are mere hypocrisy. Justification by faith is assumed as already having taken place in those whom Paul addresses, Col 3:12, "elect of God, holy … beloved," and Col 2:12; so that there is no plea here for Rome's view of justification by works. Love and its works "perfect," that is, manifest the full maturity of faith developed (Mt 5:44, 48). Love … be ye perfect, &c. (Jas 2:21, 22; 1Jo 2:5). "If we love one another, God's love is perfected in us" (Ro 13:8; 1Co 13:1-13; 1Ti 1:5; 1Jo 4:12). As to "bond," compare Col 2:2, "knit together in love" (Eph 4:3), "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

15. peace of God—The oldest manuscripts and versions read, "The peace of Christ" (compare Php 4:7). "The peace of God." Therefore Christ is God. Peace was His legacy to His disciples before He left them (Joh 14:27), "My peace I give unto you." Peace is peculiarly His to give. Peace follows love (Col 3:14; Eph 4:2, 3).

rule—literally, "sit as umpire"; the same Greek verb simple, as appears compounded (Col 2:18). The false teacher, as a self-constituted umpire, defrauds you of your prize; but if the peace of Christ be your umpire ruling in your hearts, your reward is sure. "Let the peace of Christ act as umpire when anger, envy, and such passions arise; and restrain them." Let not those passions give the award, so that you should be swayed by them, but let Christ's peace be the decider of everything.

in your hearts—Many wear a peaceful countenance and speak peace with the mouth, while war is in their hearts (Ps 28:3; 55:21).

to the which—that is, with a view to which state of Christian peace (Isa 26:3); 1Co 7:15, "God hath called us to peace."

ye are calledGreek, "ye were also called." The "also" implies that besides Paul's exhortation, they have also as a motive to "peace," their having been once for all called.

in one body—(Eph 4:4). The unity of the body is a strong argument for "peace" among the members.

be ye thankful—for your "calling." Not to have "peace ruling in your hearts" would be inconsistent with the "calling in one body," and would be practical unthankfulness to God who called us (Eph 5:4, 19, 20).

16. The form which "thankfulness" (Col 3:15) ought to take.

Let the word of Christ—the Gospel word by which ye have been called.

richly—(Col 2:2; Ro 15:14).

in all wisdomAlford joins this clause with "teaching," &c., not with "dwell in you," as English Version, for so we find in Col 1:28, "teaching in all wisdom," and the two clauses will thus correspond, "In all wisdom teaching," and "in grace singing in your hears" (so the Greek order).

and … and—The oldest manuscripts read "psalms, hymns, spiritual songs" (see on Eph 5:19). At the Agapæ or love-feasts, and in their family circles, they were to be so full of the Word of Christ in the heart that the mouth should give it utterance in hymns of instruction, admonition, and praise (compare De 6:7). Tertullian [Apology, 39], records that at the love-feasts, after the water had been furnished for the hands and the lights had been literally, according as any had the power, whether by his remembrance of Scripture, or by his powers of composition, he used to be invited to sing praises to God for the common good. Paul contrasts (as in Eph 5:18, 19) the songs of Christians at their social meetings, with the bacchanalian and licentious songs of heathen feasts. Singing usually formed part of the entertainment at Greek banquets (compare Jas 5:13).

with graceGreek, "IN grace," the element in which your singing is to be: "the grace" of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This clause expresses the seat and source of true psalmody, whether in private or public, namely, the heart as well as the voice; singing (compare Col 3:15, "peace … rule in your hearts"), the psalm of love and praise being in the heart before it finds vent by the lips, and even when it is not actually expressed by the voice, as in closet-worship. The Greek order forbids English Version, "with grace in your hearts"; rather, "singing in your hearts."

to the Lord—The oldest manuscripts read, "to God."

17. Literally, "And everything whatsoever ye do … do all," &c.; this includes words as well as deeds.

in the name of the Lord Jesusas disciples called by His name as His, seeking His guidance and help, and desiring to act so as to gain His approval (Ro 14:8; 1Co 10:31; 2Co 5:15; 1Pe 4:11). Compare "in the Lord," Col 3:18, and "Christ is all," Col 3:11.

God and the Father—The oldest manuscripts omit "and," which seems to have crept in from Eph 5:20.

by himGreek, "through Him" as the channel of His grace to us, and of our thanksgiving to Him (Joh 14:6, end).




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