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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and 1 After salutation he thanketh God for their faith, spiritual understanding;
7 confirmeth the doctrine of Epaphras, 9 prayeth 10 That ye might walk worthy of the further for their increase in grace, 14 describeth Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in the true Christ, 21 encourageth them to receive Jesus Christ, and commendeth his own ministry.
every good work, and increasing in the
knowledge of God; AUL, an apostle 11 Strengthened with all might, accordof Jesus Christ by ing to his glorious power, unto all patience the will of God, and longsuffering with joyfulness;
and Timotheus 12 Giving tnanks unto the Father, which our brother, hath made us meet to be partakers of the
2 To the saints | inheritance of the saints in light: and faithful bre
13 Who hath delivered us from the power thren in Christ of darkness, and hath translated us into the which are at Co- kingdom of 'his dear Son: losse: Grace be 14 In whom we have redemption through unto you, and his blood, eren the forgiveness of sins : peace, from God
15 Who is "the image of the invisible our Father and God, the firstborn of every creature: the Lord Jesus 16 For 'by him were all things created, Christ.
that are in heaven, and that are in carth, 3 We give thanks to God and the Fa- visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, ther of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying or dominions, or principalities, or powers: always for you,
all things were created by him, and for him : 4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ 17 *And he is before all things, and by Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all him all things consist. the saints,
18 And he is the head of the body, the 5 For the hope which is laid up for you Church: who is the beginning, 'the firstin heaven, whereof ye heard before in the born from the dead; that in all things he word of the truth of the Gospel ;
might have the preeminence. 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all 19 For it pleased the Father that in him the world; and bringeth 'forth fruit, as it should all fusness dwell; doth also in you, since the day ye heard of 20 And, 'having made peace through the it, and knew the grace of God in truth: blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our things unto himself; by him, I say, whether dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful they be things in earth, or things in heaven. minister of Christ;
21 And you, that were sometime alienated 8 Who also declared unto us your love and enemies 'in your mind by wicked works, in the Spirit.
yet now hath he reconciled 9 For this cause we also, since the day 22 In the body of his flesh through death, we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, to present you holy and unblameable and and to desire that ye might be filled with unreproveable in his sight: I Gr the Son of his love,
51 Cor. 15. 20, Revel, 1.5. 6 Or, among all. 7 Or, making peace. 8. Or, by your mind in wicked works.
? Heb. 1.3.
3 John 1. 3.
• 1 Cor. 8. 6. John 1. 3.
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded 26 Eren ''the mystery which hath been and settled, and be not moved away from hid from ages and from generations, but the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, now is made manifest to his saints: and which was preached to every creature 27 To whom God would make known which is under heaven; whereof i Paul am what is the riches of the glory of this mysmade a minister;
tery among the Gentiles; which is Christ 24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for "in you, the hope of glory: you, and fill up that which is behind of the 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's and teaching every man in all wisdom; that sake, which is the Church :
we may present every man perfect in Christ 25 Whereof I am made a minister, ac- | Jesus: cording to the dispensation of God which is 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving acgiven to me for you, 'to fulfil the word of cording to his working, which worketh in God;
me mightily. Or, fuly to preuch the word of God, Rom. 15. 19. 10 Rom. 16. 25. Eph. 3.9. 11 Or, amongst you. COLOSSIANS. This town lay in the southern part of Phrygia, near to Laodicea and Hieropolis, which are mentioned together in ch. iv. 13. The Acts of the Apostles record two journeys of St. Paul into Phrygia; but it is not on either occasion mentioned that he visited any of these places. Indeed, from considering the route taken by him on those occasions, it appears that both times he travelled through the northern part of the extensive country of Phrygia; whereas Colossr, and the other cities name', lay in the south. This therefore shows the probability that the church to which St. Paul now writes was not founded by himself; and this probability seems rendered a certainty by ch. ii, 1, where-although the passage has been sometimes differently interpreted-he seems to say as clearly as possible that the churches of Colossæ and Laodicea had never seen his face in the flesh.” It therefore appears probable that the Colossians became acquainted with Christianity through persons who had been converted by St. Paul, and with him. self only from verbal accounts. It is not improbable that Epaphras, mentioned in ch. i. 7, and iv. 12, 13, was one of the earliest teachers of this church ; although there appears no satisfactory reason for supposing, with Rosenmüller, that he was its founder. It appears, from Acts xix. 10, that during Paul's residence at Ephesus, many, both Jews and Greeks, came from various parts of Asia to hear the Gospel ; and Michaelis supposes that several Colossians, and especially Philemon, may have been of this number. He adds in a note. “ As St. Paul subjoins the name of Timothy tu his own (ch. i. 1), it is not improbable that Timothy had taught Christianity at Colossæ. Throughout the whole of the first chapter St. Paul speaks in their joint námes, and uses the plural number 'we,' except where the subject relates to his own imprisonment, and where Timothy therefore could not be included. From ch. i. 1, he proceeds in the first person singular. Here again, therefore, he distinguishes what concerned only himself from that in which Timothy was concerned.”
There is a very remarkable similarity between this Epistle and that to the Ephesians ; so much so, indeed, that, says Michaelis, Whoever would understand these Epistles must read them together; for the one is in most places a coinmentary on the other, the meaning of single passages in one Epistle, which alone might be variously interpreted, being determined by the parallel passages in the other Epistle."
This circumstance would alone suggest the probability that the two Epistles were written at nearly the same time. But this is further confirmed when we read that this, as well as the Epistle to the Ephesians, were sent from Rome to Asia Minor, by the hand of Tychicus: from the present Epistle we also learn that Onesimus was with him; and, consequently, that the Epistle to Philemon was despatched on the same occasion. We do not see any thing, against the strong evidence of these circumstances, which requires us to assent to the opinion of Michaelis, that the present Epistle was written towards the end of St. Paul's confinement; which makes it necessary to suppose that Tychicus was sent twice into Asia Minor, first with the Epistle to the Ephesians, and subsequently with that to the Colossians, accompanied by the one for Philemon, of which Onesimus was the bearer.
Verse 12. “ Partakers of the inheritance."— There seems here to be a figure derived from the distribution of the territory of the earthly Canaan, by lot, to the families of Israel ; for the full force of the terms employed the spis zixos, “ an allotted portion"), suggests the idea of a state in which each citizen has a portion or possession assigned to him
13. “ From the power of darkness."–One of the names which the Jews gave to Satan was TUN, “ Darkness.”
riches of the full assurance of understanding, 1 He still exhorteth them to be constant in Christ, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of
8 to beware of philosophy, and vain traditions, God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 18 worshipping of angels, 20 und legal ceremo- 3 'In whom are hid all the treasures of nies, uhich are ended in Christ.
wisdom and knowledge. For I would that ye knew what great 'con- 4 And this I say, lest any man should flict I have for you, and for them at Lao- beguile you with enticing words. dicea, and for as inany as have not seen my 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, face in the flesh;
yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and 2 That their hearts might be comforted, beholding your order, and the stedfastness being knit together in love, and unto all of your faith in Christ.
1 Or, fear, or, care, ? Or, Wherein. 424
i As ye have therefore received Christ 15 And having spoiled principalities and us the Lord, so walk ye in him:
powers, he made a shew of them openly, Rooted and built up in him, and sta- triumphing over them in it. Hihed in the faith, as ye have been taught, 16 Let no man therefore judge you 'in m'runding therein with thanksgiving. meat, or in drink, or 'in respect of an holyday,
Beware lest any man spoil you through or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days : g'osophy and vain deceit, after the tradi- 17 Which are a shadow of things to
of men, after the Šrudiments of the come; but the body is of Christ. d, and not after Christ.
18 Let no man beguile you of your reFor in him dwelleth all the fulness of ward "in a voluntary humility and worshipde Godhead bodily.
ping of angels, intruding into those things 1) And ye are complete in him, which is which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by e head of all principality and power : his fleshly mind,
il In whom also ye are circumcised with 19 And not holding the Head, from which v. circumcision made without hands, in all the body by joints and bands having
ting off the body of the sins of the flesh nourishment ministered, and knit together, he circumcision of Christ:
increaseth with the increase of God. '' Buried with him in baptism, wherein | 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ a'ni ye are risen with him through the faith from the "rudiments of the world, why, as ti e operation of God, who hath raised though living in the world, are ye subject him from the dead.
to ordinances, “And you, being dead in your sins 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; *93. the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath 22 Which all are to perish with the 1.0 quickened together with him, having using ;) after the commandments and docven you all trespasses;
trines of men ? Blotting out the handwriting of ordi-23 Which things have indeed a shew of exlies that was against us, which was con- wisdom in will worship, and humility, and
to us, and took it out of the way, nail- "neglecting of the body; not in any honour t to his cross;
to the satisfying of the flesh. 5 Ephes. 2. 1. Or, in himself. 70r, for caling and drinking. 8 Or, in part. 9 Or, judge against you.
10 Gr. being a voluntary in humility. 11 Or, elements. 1% Or, punishing, or, not sparing. se 8. “Spoil you through philosophy and rain deceit."— It appears very plainly that in the church of Colossæ, as in thers to which Paul writes, the pure and simple truths of the Christian faith had already been corrupted by an in of erroneous and superstitious notions and practices. What these were, we can only collect from the apostle's dversions upon them, and from our knowledge of the kinds of error which were in those times prevalent. "It will ar that most of the mistakes and unseemly practices of the early Christian churches arose from an imperfect for'ness, on the part of the converts, of the old things in wbich they had been brought up; from which proceeded a ition to relinquish as little as possible of the old leaven ; which, however applied, could only serve, not to quicken, , adulterate the bread of life. This applies both to the Jews and the heathen, but is with peculiar emphasis able to the former. In some instances, the principle of amalgamation produced new and distinct forms and is of error, which are doubtless sometimes alluded to in the apostolical writings, although we are not ourselves by eans disposed to see references to them so frequently as Hammond and some other commentators.
he present Epistle, St. Paul, in mentioning the errors which endangered the Colossian church, has been thought wine to allude to the doctrines or practices of the Essenes; while others determine the references to the Gnostics.
• are many who suppose, however, that the apostle alludes to the tenets of the Jewish doctors who at this time 1, to some extent, the philosophy of the heathen with their own ceremonial worship, which they learned to rize: but others conclude that he means to censure the heathen philosophy in general, seeing that it was altogeostile to the Gospel, and could not be mixed with it without serious detriment to the latter. Lastly, some the matter between Jews and Gentiles; and in this we are inclined to concur; considering it most probable that aets condemned by the apostle are in part those of superstitious Judaizing teachers, who zealously inculcated not ae Law of Moses, but with it the stupid traditionary lore and the dogmas of the Rabbins ; and partly those were retained by partial converts from heathenism, who blended Platonic notions with the doctrines of the
4 Rom. 6. 4.
“ Nailing it to his cross.”—This is generally supposed to contain an allusion to an ancient method of cancelling decrees, and writings in general, by striking a nail through them. “ Made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them."—Here is another allusion to the custom of the Roman phs, in which the picked captives were paraded before the chariot of the conqueror-the kings and queens wearing :rowds, and all with their hands bound behind them. From this grand pageant the unhappy captives were, ally, led away to slaughter.
“Worshipping of angels.”—This may be explained under almost any of the alternatives suggested in the note on -- 8, since there was scarcely any system at this time which was not, more or less, infected with an undue reverence in gels. In this there was, as the apostle intimates, an unsound semblance of humility, since it proceeded on the
that God was too high and holy for man to appear worthily before Him; and, hence, that angels acted as mes and intercessors, to present the prayers of men before Him, and to procure them favourable acceptance with
Him. Nearly such as these were the opinions of the Platonists concerning demons, whom they represent as emplome! in carrying the prayers of men to God, and returning with the desired blessings. The opinions of the Jews difered little from this. After their return from the Babylonish captivity they talked and thought very much about anz's and held them in high veneration. They alleged that the Law was promulgated and delivered by angels; and trat in their history, the affairs between God and them had been, for the most part, transacted by the agency of angels. Hence they began to worship and invoke them as intercessors and mediators. They indeed 'named an angel, ea. Sandalphon, whom they regarded as more immediately set over the prayers of the righteous; and their ideas ia to: matter are sufficiently intimated in their still existing liturgies, as in this :-“ Oye angels of mercies, ministers of täie most High, entreat now the face of God for good.”
21. “ Tuuch not ; taste not ; handle not.”—In the time of Christ and his apostles there was a sect among the Jess! called Essenes, which is not mentioned by name in the New Testament, but the principles of which are considered by some commentators to be not very obscurely alluded to in this and the following verses. There seems some good for this conclusion ; nor is in itself by any means unlikely that some of the leading Jews in the church at Colossa should be members of this sect, and disposed to inculcate its tenets. Of these we have some account in Josephus and Philo; and they have not been altogether overlooked by Pliny. From these sources we learn that the Essenes were divided into two classes: 1. The practical, who lived in society, and some of whom were married. They lived in ta** and their neighbourhooʻls, and applied themselves to husbandry and other occupations which they deemed innecer Thus far they were distinguished from, 2. The contemplatwe Essenes, who led an ascetic life in caves and wildernesses, and abstained from the society of women, in the hope of acquiring a high degree of purity, and of rendering themselves more meet for the kingdom of God. These are supposed to be those whom our Lord describes as eunuchs who had made themselves such for the kingdom of heaven's sake. (Matt. xix. 12.) They pretended that their contemplatin life brought them into such a state of elevation and abstraction, as made them peculiarly acquainted with the things of the invisible world, and particularly with the nature and qualities of angels, and enabled them to unveil futurty sa predict coming events. Hence what the apostle says in the preceding verses has been thought to apply to them, a certainly might do so. Further, the Essenes were more strict in the observance of the Sabbath than even the Jews is general. They wore no clothes but of undyed wool. They abstained from animal fuod, confining themselves to it getables, and, indeed, living chiefly on coarse bread, and drinking nothing but water. They were so striet that they considered themselves polluted by the touch of any person not of their own sect, and were careful to cleanse themse in by ablutions from the impurity they had contracted. Now, certainly, some of the expressions of the apostle cuizon remarkably enough with these particulars, to afford ample justification to those who have concluded that there migat be a sodality of Essenes at Colossæ, as there were in many other places out of Judæa ; and that some of the Christian being too much inclined to Judaism, might also affect the peculiarities of this sect, which may be the reason of the apostle's so particularly cautioning the Colossians against them.” See Jennings Jewish Antiquities,' b. i. eb 1?; Prideaux's Connection,' sub anno 107 B.C. To ourselves it appears that whether the apostle alludes to the Esseness not, he does allude to some such notions as the Essenes entertained, and to such practices as they observed.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that те i He sheweth where we should seek Christ. 5 He have put off the old man with his deeds ;
exhorteth to mortification, 10 to put off the old 10 And have put on the new man, which man, and to put on Christ, 12 exhorting to cha- is renewed in knowledge after the image of rity, humility, and other several duties.
him that created him : IF ye
then be risen with Christ, seek those 11 Where there is neither Greek nor things which are above, where Christ sitteth Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Baron the right hand of God.
barian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ 2 Set your 'affection on things above, not is all, and in all. on things on the earth.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindwith Christ in God.
ness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long4 When Christ, who is our life, shall ap- suffering; pear, then shall ye also appear with him in 13 Forbearing one another, and forgirglory:
ing one another, if any man have a 'quarrel 5 Mortify therefore your members which against any: even as Christ forgave you, so are upon the earth ; 'fornication, unclean- also do ye. ness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, 14 And above all these things put on and covetousness, which is idolatry: charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
6 For which things' sake the wrath of 15 And let the peace of God rule in your God cometh on the children of disobe-hearts, to the which also ye are called in dience:
one body; and be ye thankful. 7 In the which ye also walked some time, 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you when ye lived in them.
richly in all wisdom; teaching and admo8 But now ye also put off all these; nishing one another in psalms and hymns anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy com- and spiritual songs, singing with grace in munication out of
hearts to the Lord.
* Ephes. 5. 3. 3 Or, complaint. 426
1 Or, mind.
17 And 'whatsoever ye do in word or 22 °Servants, obey in all things your masdeed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, ters according to the flesh; not with eyegiving thanks to God and the Father by him. service, as menpleasers; but in singleness
18 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your of heart, fearing God: own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, 19 ‘Husbands, love your wives, and be as to the Lord, and not unto men; not bitter against them.
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall re20 "Children, obey your parents in all ceive the reward of the inheritance: for ye things: for this is wellpleasing unto the serve the Lord Christ. Lord.
25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive 21 °Fathers, provoke not your children to for the wrong which he hath done: and anger, lest they be discouraged.
10there is no respect of persons. 5 Ephes. 5. 22. Tit. 2. 5. 1 Pet. 3. 1. 6 Ephes. 5. 25. 7 Ephes. 6.1. 8 Ephes. 6. 4. Ephes. 6. 5. Tit. 2. 9.
10 Rom. 2. 11. Ephes. 6. 9. Verse 3. “ Your life is hid with Christ in God.”—This is very possibly a figure, derived from the custom of hiding valuable property in times of danger and alarm.
19. “ And be not bitter against them.”—“ Hence, they who sacrificed to Juno Nuptialis, saith Plutarch ( Præcepta Conjugalia,' p. 141), did separate the gall from the sacrifice, and throw it away; signifying, that there should be no bitterness or wrath betwixt those that were married.”—Whitby.
41 Cor. 10.31.
10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth CHAPTER IV.
you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, 1 He exhorteth them to be fervent in prayer, 5 to (touching whom ye received commandwalk wisely toward them that are not yet come to
ments : if he come unto you, receive him ;) the true knowledge of Christ. 10 He saluteth
11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, them, and wisheth them all prosperity.
who are of the circumcision. These only MASTERS, give unto your servants that which are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of is just and equal ; knowing that ye also have God, which have been a comfort unto me. a Master in heaven.
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a ser2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the vant of Christ
, saluteth you, always ‘laboursame with thanksgiving;
ing fervently for
ye may 3 Withal praying also for us, that God stand perfect and complete in all the wiil would open unto us a door of utterance, to of God. speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a also in bonds:
great zeal for you, and them that are in 4 That I may make it manifest, as I Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. ought to speak.
14 Luke, the beloved physician, and De5 3Walk in wisdom toward them that are mas, greet you. without, redeeming the time.
15 Salute the brethren which are in Lao6 Let your speech be alway with grace, dicea, and Nymphas, and the church which seasoned with salt, that ye may know how is in his house. ye ought to answer every man.
16 And when this epistle is read among 7 All my state shall Tychicus declare you, cause that it be read also in the church unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read faithful minister and fellowservant in the the epistle from Laodicea. Lord :
17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the the ministry which thou hast received in the same purpose, that he might know your Lord, that thou fulfil it. estate, and comfort your hearts;
18 The salutation by the hand of me 9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with brother, who is one of you. They shall make you. Amen. known unto you all things which are done Written from Rome to the Colossians here.
by Tychicus and Onesimus. * Ephes. 6. 19. 2 Thess, 3. 1. 8 Ephes. 5. 15.
* Or, striving. * Or, filled. Verse 7. “ Tychicus.”—This verse, as compared with Eph. vi. 21, 22, in connection with the remarkable similarity between this epistle and that to the Ephesians, suggests that, as intimated in the introductory note, the two epistles were written nearly at the same time, and sent together by the hand of Tychicus.
I Luke 18. 1. 1 Thess. 5. 17.