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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Colossians 3

Verse 1

Be risen [συνηγερθητε] . Rev., correctly, were raised. See ch. Colossians 2:12. In their baptism in which they died (ch. 2 20). Compare Romans 6:2 sqq. Sitteth [εστιν καθημενος] . According to the A. V. the literal rendering would be is sitting. Is, however, must be taken separately; where Christ is, seated. Seated is a secondary predicate, as hidden in ch. 2 3. Compare Ephesians 2:4-6; Revelation 3:21.

Verse 2

Set your affection [φρονειτε] . Lit., be minded, think. As Rev., set your mind. Seek marks the practical striving; set your mind, the inward impulse and disposition. Both must be directed at things above. "You must not only seek heaven, you must think heaven" (Lightfoot). Compare Philippians 3:19, Philippians 3:20.

Verse 3

Ye are dead [απεθανετε] . Rev., correctly, ye died, as ch. 2 20. Is hid [κεκρυπται] . Your new spiritual life is no longer in the sphere of the earthly and sensual, but is with the life of the risen Christ, who is unseen with God. Compare Philippians 3:20.

Verse 4

Who is our life [ζωη] . See on John 1:4. The life is not only with Christ, it is Christ. Compare John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 2 Corinthians 4:11; 1 John 5:11, 1 John 5:12. For the change of person, our for your, see on ch. Colossians 2:13.

Shall appear [φανερωθη] . Rev., correctly, shall be manifested. Compare 1 John 3:2, note. See on Romans 3:21.

In glory. Compare Romans 8:17.

Verse 5

Mortify [νεκρωσατε] . Only here, Romans 4:19; Hebrews 11:12. Mortify is used in its literal sense of put to death.

So Erasmus : "Christ was mortified and killed." And Shakespeare :

"- his wildness mortified in him, Seemed to die too."

"I Henry v, 1, 26"

Members [μελη] . See on Romans 6:13. The physical members, so far as they are employed in the service of sin. The word falls in with the allusions to bodily austerities in ch. 2.

Which are upon the earth. Compare ver. 2. The organs of the earthly and sensuous life.

Fornication, etc. In apposition with members, denoting the modes in which the members sinfully exert themselves.

Inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [παθος, επιθυμιαν κακην] . See on Romans 1:26.

And covetousness [και πλεονεξιαν] . And has a climactic force; and especially; see on Romans 1:29.

Which is [ητις εστιν] . The compound relative, explanatory and classifying. Seeing it stands in the category of. Compare Ephesians 5:5. Idolatry. See on 1 Corinthians 5:10.

Verse 6

Wrath - cometh. Compare Romans 1:18. The present tense denotes the certainty of the future event, as Matthew 17:11; John 4:21. The best texts omit upon the children of disobedience.

Verse 7

In the which [εν οις] . The omission of upon the children, etc., necessitates the reference to which things (ver. 6) Otherwise we might render among whom.

Walked - lived. Walked, referring to their practice, lived, to their condition. Their conduct and their condition agreed. Compare Galatians 5:25.

Verse 8

Put off [αποθεσθε] . Compare Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22, Ephesians 4:25; Hebrews 12:1; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1.

Anger, wrath [οργην, θυμον] . See on John 3:36.

Malice [κακιαν] . See on naughtiness, James 1:21.

Blasphemy [βλασφημιαν] . See on Mark 7:22. Compare Romans 3:8; Romans 14:16; 1 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 4:31. Rev. railing.

Filthy communication [αισχρολογιαν] . Only here in the New Testament. Not merely filthy talking, as A. V., but foul - mouthed abuse. Rev., shameful speaking.

Out of your mouth. Construe with the preceding word. As ch. 2 20 - 22 suggests Christ 's words in Matthew 14:1-20, this phrase suggests Matthew 14:11, Matthew 14:18.

Verse 9

Seeing that ye have put off [απεκδυσαμενοι] . See on ch. Colossians 2:15. The old man. See on Romans 6:6.

Verse 10

New [νεον] . See on Matthew 26:29. Compare Ephesians 5:24. Is renewed [ανακαινουμενον] . Rev., better, giving the force of the present participle, is being renewed : in process of continuous renewal. The word kainov new, which enters into the composition of the verb, gives the idea of quality. Compare 2 Corinthians 4:16, and the contrast in Ephesians 4:22.

In knowledge [εις επιγνωσιν] . Rev., correctly, unto knowledge, the end to which the renewal tended. Compare Ephesians 4:13.

After the image. Construe with renewed. Compare Ephesians 4:24, and see Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:27.

Where there is [οπου ενι] . Where, in the renewed condition; there is, better, as Rev., can be : eni strengthened from ejn in signifies not merely the fact but the impossibility : there is no room for.

Greek, Jew, etc. Compare Galatians 3:28. National, ritual, intellectual, and social diversities are specified. The reference is probably shaped by the conditions of the Colossian church, where the form of error was partly Judaistic and ceremonial, insisting on circumcision; where the pretense of superior knowledge affected contempt for the rude barbarian, and where the distinction of master and slave had place as elsewhere.

Circumcision. For the circumcised. So Romans 4:12; Ephesians 2:11; Philippians 3:3.

Barbarian, Scythian. See on 1 Corinthians 14:11. The distinction is from the Greek and Roman point of view, where the line is drawn by culture, as between the Jew and the Greek it was drawn by religious privilege. From the former stand - point the Jew ranked as a barbarian. Scythian. "More barbarous than the barbarians" (Bengel). Hippocrates describes them as widely different from the rest of mankind, and like to nothing but themselves, and gives an absurd description of their physical peculiarities. Herodotus describes them as living in wagons, offering human sacrifices, scalping and sometimes flaying slain enemies, drinking their blood, and using their skulls for drinking - cups. When a king dies, one of his concubines is strangled and buried with him, and, at the close of a year, fifty of his attendants are strangled, disemboweled, mounted on dead horses, and left in a circle round his tomb. 203 The Scythians passed through Palestine on their road to Egypt, B. C. 600, and a trace of their invasion is supposed to have existed in the name Scythopolis, by which Beth Shean 204 was known in Christ 's time. Ezekiel apparently refers to them (xxxviii., 39.) under the name Gog, which reappears in Revelation. See on Revelation 20:8. Revelation 20:2 Revelation 20:5 Bowels of mercies [σπλαγχνα οικτιρμου] . See on 1 Peter 3:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3. Rev., a heart of compassion.

Kindness [χρηστοτητα] . See on Romans 3:12.

Meekness [πραυτητα] . See on Matthew 5:5.

Long - suffering [μακροθυμιαν] . See on James 5:7.

Verse 13

One another - one another [αλληλων - εαυτοις] . Lit., one another - yourselves. For a similar variation of the pronoun see Ephesians 4:32; 1 Peter 4:8-10. The latter pronoun emphasizes the fact that they are all members of Christ 's body - everyone members one of another - so that, in forgiving each other they forgive themselves. Quarrel [μομφην] . Only here in the New Testament. Cause of blame. Rev., complaint. The A. V. uses quarrel in its earlier sense of cause of complaint. So Shakespeare :

"The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you." " Much Ado, " 2, 1.

"Against whom comest thou, and what's thy quarrel?" " Richard ii, " 1, 3, 33.

Holinshed : "He thought he had a good quarrel to attack him." It was used of a plaintiff's action at law, like the Latin querela.

Verse 14

Above all (ejpi pasin). According to the metaphor of the garment. Over all, like an upper garment, put on, etc.

Charity. See on 1 Corinthians 13:1.

Bond of perfectness [συνδεσμος της τελειοτητος] . Love embraces and knits together all the virtues. Teleiothv perfectness is a collective idea, a result of combination, to which bond is appropriate. Compare Plato : "But two things cannot be held together without a third; they must have some bond of union. And the fairest bond is that which most completely fuses and is fused into the things which are bound" (" Timaeus, " 31).

Verse 15

Peace of Christ. Which comes from Christ. See John 14:27; Ephesians 2:14.

Rule [βραβευετω] . Lit., be umpire. Only here in the New Testament. See on ch. Colossians 2:18. The previous references to occasions for meekness, long - suffering, forbearance, forgiveness, etc., indicate a conflict of passions and motives in the heart. Christ is the one who adjusts all these, so that the metaphorical sense is appropriate, as in ch. 2 18.

Called in one body. See Ephesians 4:4. So that ye are in one body according to your call.

Verse 16

The word of Christ. The only occurrence of the phrase. The word spoken by Christ.

Richly. See on Romans 2:4, and compare ch. 1 27.

In all wisdom. Some connect with the preceding words, others with the following - in all wisdom, teaching, etc. The latter seems preferable, especially in view of ch. 1 28, where the phrase occurs teaching and admonishing in all wisdom; because the adverb richly forms an emphatic qualification of dwell in, and so appropriately terminates the clause; and because the whole passage is thus more symmetrical. "Dwell in has its single adverb richly, and is supported and expanded by two coordinate participial clauses, each of which has its spiritual manner or element of action (in all wisdom, in grace) more exactly defined" (Ellicott).

Admonishing. See on ch. Colossians 1:28. The participles teaching and admonishing are used as imperatives, as Romans 12:9-13 Romans 12:16-19; Ephesians 4:2, Ephesians 4:3; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Peter 3:16.

One another [εαυτους] . Yourselves. See on ver. 13.

Psalms. See the parallel passage, Ephesians 5:19. A psalm was originally a song accompanied by a stringed instrument. See on 1 Corinthians 14:15. The idea of accompaniment passed away in usage, and the psalm, in New - Testament phraseology, is an Old - Testament psalm, or a composition having that character. A hymn is a song of praise, and a song [ωδη οδε] is the general term for a song of any kind. Hymns would probably be distinctively Christian. It is supposed by some that Paul embodies fragments of hymns in his epistles, as 1 Corinthians 13:0; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:11-14. James 1:17, and Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 14:3, are also supposed to be of this character. In both instances of his use of wjdh song, Paul adds the term spiritual. The term may, as Trench suggests, denote sacred poems which are neither psalms nor hymns, as Herbert's "Temple," or Keble's "Christian Year." 206 This is the more likely, as the use of these different compositions is not restricted to singing nor to public worship. They are to be used in mutual christian teaching and admonition.

With grace [εν τη χαριτι] . Lit., the grace. The article limits the meaning to the grace of God. With grace begins the second participial clause.

Verse 17

In the name. See on Matthew 28:19.

Giving thanks. Notice the emphasis on the duty of thanksgiving placed at the close of the exhortations. See ch. Colossians 1:12; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:15; Colossians 4:2.

Verse 18

Wives, etc. Compare the parallel passages, Eph 5:22 - vi. 9. See also 1Pe 2:18 - iii. 7; Titus 2:1-5.

Is fit [ανηκεν] . See on Philippians 1:8. The imperfect tense, was fitting, or became fitting, points to the time of their entrance upon the christian life. Not necessarily presupposing that the duty remained unperformed.

Lightfoot illustrates by ought, the past tense of owed, and says, "the past tense perhaps implies an essential a priori obligation."

In the Lord. Connect with is fitting, and compare well - pleasing in the Lord, ver. 20.

Verse 19

Be not bitter [μη πικραινεσθε] . Lit., be not embittered. Used only here by Paul. Elsewhere only in Revelation. The compounds parapikrainw to exasperate, and parapikrasmov provocation, occur only in Hebrews 3:16; Hebrews 3:8, Hebrews 3:15. Compare Ephesians 4:31.

Verse 20

This is well pleasing. Expanded in Ephesians 6:2, Ephesians 6:3. Unto the Lord should be in the Lord.

Verse 21

Provoke to anger [ερεθιζετε] . Only here and 2 Corinthians 9:2, where it is used of stirring up to good works. To anger is added by A. V. Be discouraged (ajqumwsin). Only here in the New Testament. Lose heart, or become dispirited.

Verse 22

Masters [κυριοις] . See on Lord, 2 Peter 2:1, and Matthew 21:3. Kuriov Lord and despothv master came to be used interchangeably in the New Testament, though originally the latter involved such authority as is implied in our use of despot, or in the relation of a master to a slave. The Greeks applied despothv only to the gods.

With eye - service [εν οφθαλμοδουλειαις] . Only here and Ephesians 6:6. The word seems to have been coined by Paul.

Men pleasers [ανθρωπαρεσκοι] . Only here and Ephesians 6:6.

Compare Plato : "And this art he will not attain without a great deal of trouble, which a good man ought to undergo, not for the sake of speaking and acting before men, but in order that he may be able to say what is acceptable to God, and always to act acceptably to Him as far as in him lies. For there is a saying of wiser men than ourselves, that a man of sense should not try to please his fellow - servants (at least this should not be his first object), but his good and noble masters" " Phaedrus, " 273).

Singleness [απλοτητι] . See on Romans 12:8. Without duplicity or doubleness.

Fearing the Lord [τον κυριον] . The one Master contrasted with the masters [κυριοις] according to the flesh. The parallel in Ephesians 6:5, has as unto Christ.

Verse 23

Ye do - do it [ποιητε - εργαζεσθε] . Rev., correctly, ye do - work; the latter being the stronger term as opposed to idleness. See on James 2:9. An idle man may do. Compare ejrgasia diligence, Luke 12:58. Heartily [εκ ψυχης] . Lit., from the soul. With a personal interest. Note that the apostle uses both heart (kardiav, ver. 22) and soul [ψυχης] ; and in Ephesians 6:7, adds met' eujnoiav with good disposition (A. V., good will). See on Romans 11:3; Romans 7:23; Romans 1:21. Compare sumyucoi of one accord, Philippians 2:2; ijsoyucon like - minded, Philippians 2:20; mia yuch with one mind, Philippians 1:27.

Verse 24

Of the inheritance. Which consists or is in the inheritance. Compare the similar construction, ch Colossians 1:12. See Matthew 21:35-38, where the doulov bond - servant and the klhronomov heir are contrasted; and Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:1-7.

For ye serve [γαρ δουλευετε] . Omit for. Some take the verb as imperative, serve ye; but the indicative is better as explaining from the Lord.

Verse 25

He that doeth wrong [ο αδικων] . Compare Philippians 1:18. The reference is primarily to the slave; but the following clause extends it to the master. If the slave do wrong, he shall be punished; but the master who does wrong will not be excused, for there is no respect of persons. Tychicus, who carried this letter to Colossae, carried at the same time the letter to Philemon, and escorted Onesimns to his master.

Shall receive [κομισεται] . See on 1 Peter 1:8. Compare Ephesians 6:8. Respect of persons. See on James 2:1. In the Old Testament it has, more commonly, a good sense, of kindly reception, favorable regard. In the New Testament always a bad sense, which came to it through the meaning of mask which attached to proswpon face.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Colossians 3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.