Bryan Selby
MDiv Student at Westminster Theological Seminary
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Maturity in Christ
Colossians 1: 24- 2:5
Working for the maturity of others is our goal.
Published June 17th, 2020
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Main point summary
Colossians 1:24-2:5
Main point summary
I rejoices in my sufferings and I labor to announce Christ as the now disclosed mystery of past ages and generations, therefore I preach the mystery of Christ so that every man may obtain eschatological maturity.
Colossians 1:24-2:5
Νῦν χαίρω ἐν τοῖς παθήμασιν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν
Now I rejoice in my sufferings on behalf of you
καὶ ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου ὑπὲρ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ,
because I am filling up those things lacking of the affliction of Christ in my flesh on behalf of his body
ὅ ἐστιν ἡ ἐκκλησία,
which is the church
ἧς ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ διάκονος κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομίαν τοῦ θεοῦ
of this church I have become a servant in accordance with the administration/stewardship from God
τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι εἰς ὑμᾶς
which (God) has given to me for you
πληρῶσαι τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ,
to complete (or fulfill) the word of God
τὸ μυστήριον
[ that is] t he mystery
τὸ ἀποκεκρυμμένον ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν γενεῶν -
which has been hidden from eternity and from generation
νῦν δὲ ἐφανερώθη τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ,
but now has been manifested to his saints
οἷς ἠθέλησεν ὁ θεὸς γνωρίσαι τί τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τοῦ μυστηρίου τούτου ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν,
to whom God wanted to make known the riches of the glory of the this mystery among the Gentiles
ὅ ἐστιν Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς δόξης•
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory
ὃν ἡμεῖς καταγγέλλομεν
therefore ( this mystery ) we have announced to you
νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον
by admonishing every man
καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ,
and by teaching every man in all wisdom
ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειον ἐν Χριστῷ•
so that we may present every man mature/complete in Christ
εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ
for this purpose I also labor
ἀγωνιζόμενος κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐν δυνάμει.
by struggling according to his working that he has worked in me with power
Θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι
For you see I want you to know
ἡλίκον ἀγῶνα ἔχω ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ καὶ ὅσοι οὐχ ἑόρακαν τὸ πρόσωπόν μου ἐν σαρκί,
how much of struggle I have on behalf of you and those in Laodicea and the many whom I have not seen my face in flesh
ἵνα παρακληθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν συμβιβασθέντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ
so that their hearts may be comforted (or encouraged) by having (their hearts) knit together in love
καὶ εἰς πᾶν πλοῦτος τῆς πληροφορίας τῆς συνέσεως,
and to have all the riches of full assurance of understanding
εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ , ἐν ᾧ εἰσιν πάντες οἱ θησαυροὶ τῆς σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως ἀπόκρυφοι.
resulting in the knowledge of the mystery of God, that is Christ. in whom are all the hidden treasures consisting of wisdom and knowledge.
Τοῦτο λέγω,
I am saying this
ἵνα μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς παραλογίζηται ἐν πιθανολογίᾳ.
so that no one may deceive you with persuasive speech (or plausible words).
εἰ γὰρ καὶ τῇ σαρκὶ ἄπειμι,
For even if I absent in the flesh,
ἀλλὰ τῷ πνεύματι σὺν ὑμῖν εἰμι, χαίρων καὶ βλέπων ὑμῶν τὴν τάξιν καὶ τὸ στερέωμα τῆς εἰς Χριστὸν πίστεως ὑμῶν.
but I am with you (pl.) in spirit, rejoicing to see your (pl.) good (doctrinal) order and steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
The explanatory designation of the και that begins 24b doesn't seem to exhaust the full syntactical relationship between the two propositions. It seems reasonable to assign the relationship of grounds to this conjunction.
The divine passive plays an important role in this passage.
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14 NASB
Epexegetical Genitive
Col 1:25, Eph. 3:2-3; 3:7-9
Colossians 1:24-2:5 NASB
Colossians 1:24-2:5
24 a Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh b I 1 do my share on behalf of c His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking 2 in Christ’s afflictions. 25 a Of this church I 1 was made a minister according to the b stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might 2 fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, a the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His 1 saints, 27 to whom a God willed to make known what is b the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is c Christ in you, the d hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, a admonishing every man and teaching every man 1 with all b wisdom, so that we may c present every man 2 d complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I a labor, b striving c according to His 1 power, which 2 mightily works within me. You Are Built Up in Christ 2 1 For I want you to know how great a a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at b Laodicea, and for all those who have not 1 personally seen my face, 2 that their a hearts may be encouraged, having been b knit together in love, and attaining to all c the wealth 1 that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a d true knowledge of e God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all a the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 a I say this so that no one will delude you with b persuasive argument. 5 For even though I am a absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing 1 to see 2 your b good discipline and the c stability of your faith in Christ.
Paul begins this section by rejoicing in the sufferings he has and is enduring on behalf of the church in Colossae (v.24a) that are “filling up those things lacking in the affliction of Christ” (24b). This passage has notoriously puzzled many interpreters throughout the history of biblical interpretation and the passage truly is puzzling. But I do think a redemptive-historical, biblical-theological understanding is helping in beginning see what Paul means here. Let me explain briefly. Paul is not here rendering the work of Christ as insufficient. This view would contradict what Paul and the Bible says elsewhere, but more immediately, it would support the false teachers in Colossae, the very thing this letter was written to denounce. [1] As I will argue, Paul understands “the ministry entrusted to him” (Col. 1:25, 26; Eph. 3:2, 1 Cor. 9:17; 1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:12; Ti. 1:3) as that which takes part and continues the great eschatological event and mission to the Gentiles inaugurated by Jesus the Messiah, the Isaianic suffering servant. Thus, Paul understands his sufferings not as atoning, but as the decreed redemptive-historical sufferings that he must endure “on behalf of the church” (v. 25) to complete the Isaianic servant’s ministry among the Gentiles (Acts. 13:47). [2] This suffering is associated with the fact that he has become a “servant” ( διάκονος) and has been given a stewardship ( οἰκονομία ) from God [3] to announce “the word of God” (v.25). This “word” is the “mystery” ( τὸ μυστήριον ) that was hidden for ages and generations but has now been revealed (v.27). Paul goes on to further define this “mystery” as Christ among the Gentiles, the hope of glory (v. 27). In response to this stewardship received from God, Paul “announces” this mystery for the purpose of “presenting every man mature in Christ (v.28). It is with reference to this end that Paul strenuously labors according to the power that God supplies (v.29). Colossians 2:1-5 supports or grounds the main point of this section which is “to present every man mature in Christ” (v. 28). Thus, Paul wants the believers in Colossae, Laodicea, and others in the region to know of this strenuous labor to present them mature in Christ. Paul expresses this to the believers in this region, whom have not seen him in the flesh, “so that their hearts may be encouraged” (v. 2a). And the dual purpose for which Paul encourages the believers in Colossae is that they may “attain to the all the riches of full assurance” and that they would have knowledge of the “mystery of God” (2b). Paul summaries this mystery with an appositional or epexegetical genitive, Χριστοῦ “in whom are hidden all the treasures consisting of wisdom and knowledge” (v. 3). And Paul emphasizes that Christ is the “knowledge of God’s mystery” so that the believers would not be beguiled nor deceived by the present false teaching which sought knowledge apart from Christ (v. 4). And the reason why the Colossians should not be deceived by this false teaching is that Paul and his teaching about Christ is present among them by way of this letter as well as his confident rejoicing in their steadfastness of faith (v. 5) [1] Beale, G. K. Colossians and Philemon . Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019. (pg. 137) [2] Beale, G. K. Colossians and Philemon . Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019. (pg. 145) [3] ... τὴν οἰκονομίαν τοῦ θεοῦ , genitive of source and not a subjective genitive
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