Colossians 1:24
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

New Living Translation
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.

English Standard Version
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

Berean Study Bible
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, which is the church.

Berean Literal Bible
Now I rejoice in the sufferings for you, and I am filling up in my flesh that which is lacking of the tribulations of Christ for His body, which is the church,

New American Standard Bible
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

King James Bible
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for His body, that is, the church.

International Standard Version
Now I am rejoicing while suffering for you as I complete in my flesh whatever remains of the Messiah's sufferings on behalf of his body, which is the church.

NET Bible
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body--for the sake of his body, the church--what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

New Heart English Bible
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church;

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And I rejoice in the sufferings that are for your sake and I fill up the want of sufferings of The Messiah in my flesh for the sake of his body, which is the church,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I am happy to suffer for you now. In my body I am completing whatever remains of Christ's sufferings. I am doing this on behalf of his body, the church.

New American Standard 1977
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Jubilee Bible 2000
who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fulfill in my flesh that which is lacking of the tribulations of the Christ for his body's sake, which is the congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones},

King James 2000 Bible
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

American King James Version
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

American Standard Version
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church:

Darby Bible Translation
Now, I rejoice in sufferings for you, and I fill up that which is behind of the tribulations of Christ in my flesh, for his body, which is the assembly;

English Revised Version
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church;

Webster's Bible Translation
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

Weymouth New Testament
Now I can find joy amid my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my own person whatever is lacking in Christ's afflictions on behalf of His Body, the Church.

World English Bible
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the assembly;

Young's Literal Translation
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the assembly,
Study Bible
Paul's Suffering for the Church
23if indeed you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope of the gospel you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. 24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, which is the church. 25I became its servant by the commission God gave me to fully proclaim to you the word of God,…
Cross References
Romans 8:17
And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ--if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.

1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.

2 Corinthians 1:5
For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 6:10
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

2 Corinthians 12:15
And for the sake of your souls, I will most gladly spend my money and myself. If I love you more, will you love me less?

Ephesians 1:23
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Philippians 2:17
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

Colossians 1:18
And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things He may have preeminence.

2 Timothy 1:8
So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner. Instead, join me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.

2 Timothy 2:10
For this reason I endure all things for the sake of the elect, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Treasury of Scripture

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

rejoice.

Matthew 5:11,12 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and …

Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that …

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that …

2 Corinthians 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of …

Ephesians 3:1,13 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles…

Philippians 2:17,18 Yes, and if I be offered on the sacrifice and service of your faith, …

James 1:2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;

fill.

2 Corinthians 1:5-8 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation …

2 Corinthians 4:8-12 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, …

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors …

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship …

2 Timothy 1:8 Be not you therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of …

2 Timothy 2:9,10 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even to bonds; but the …

for. See on ver.

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, …

Ephesians 1:23 Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.

(24-29) Here (as in Ephesians 3, in the same connection) St. Paul dwells on his own mission to set forth the universal gospel to the Gentiles. In the Ephesian Epistle this declaration is made a direct introduction to practical exhortation (comp. Col. 4, 5, 6); here it leads up to the earnest remonstrance against speculative errors in Colossians 2, which precedes a similar practical exhortation. In both cases he dwells on the committal to him of a special dispensation; in both he rejoices in suffering as a means of spiritual influence; in both cases he declares the one object to be the presentation of each man perfect before Christ.

(24) Who now rejoice.--In the true reading of the original there is no relative pronoun. The sentence starts with emphatic abruptness, "Now (at this moment) I rejoice" (just as in 2Corinthians 7:9). In all the three Epistles of the Captivity this same rejoicing is declared in himself and urged on his brethren. In Ephesians 3:13, "I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory;" in Philippians 2:11, "Yea, if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause do ye also joy, and rejoice with me." There, as here, the rejoicing is in suffering, not in itself, not solely because it is borne with and for Christ, but also because it is for the sake of the Church. Here, however, this idea is expressed with far greater emphasis.

Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.--The sense of this passage is at first sight startling, but it could not have been thought difficult or doubtful, had not false inferences from it tempted men to shrink from the obvious meaning. Now, (1) the "afflictions of Christ" is a phrase not used elsewhere; for "affliction" (properly, hard and galling pressure) is the ordinary burden of life, and is generally spoken of only as coming on His servants. But, like the common phrase "the sufferings of Christ" (2Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10; 1Peter 4:15; 1Peter 5:1), it must moan the afflictions which He endured. It is true, as has been thoughtfully suggested (see Chrysostom and others on the passage) that we are to count as His the afflictions of His Church; but still, even if we are to include these indirect afflictions, we cannot possibly exclude the direct. Next, (2) St. Paul expressly says (in the full force of the original) that "he fills up instead" of his Master, what is still left unfinished of his Master's afflictions. (See the passages quoted by Dr. Lightfoot in his note on this verse.) He declares, i.e., that, succeeding to the suffering of Christ, he carries it out for the sake of His body the Church. This is, indeed, nothing but a clearer and more striking expression of the truth conveyed in 2Corinthians 1:5, "The sufferings of Christ overflow to us," so that we bear our part, in addition to the full measure which He bore; and even in the commoner expression, to be "partaker of Christ's sufferings" (Philippians 3:10; 1Peter 4:13), or "to drink of His cup and be baptised with His baptism" (Matthew 20:22-23). But, (3) looking to the meaning and use of the word "afflictions," we note that "the afflictions of Christ" must be His sufferings on earth considered simply as a part--though immeasurably the chief part--of the burden of humanity in a sinful world, They represent, not the Cross of Atonement, on which He alone could suffer--and in which any reader of St. Paul must find it absurd to suppose that he would claim the slightest share--but the Cross of struggle against sin even to death, which He expressly bade us "take up if we would follow Him." This He has still left "behind;" this in His strength every one of His servants bears, partly for himself, partly also for others. In the former light St. Paul says, "The world is crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14); in the latter he claims it as his highest privilege "to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for His Body which is the Church."

In my flesh for his body's sake.--There is obviously an antithesis here. St. Paul suffers in his natural body for the mystical Body of Christ.

Verses 24-29. - SECTION III. THE APOSTLE AND HIS MISSION. Analysis:

(1) The apostle's ministry is at present one of suffering (ver. 24)

(2) Christ, the Hope of the Gentiles, the Secret of the ages, is its theme (vers. 25-27);

(3) and its aim the individual perfection of all to whom it is addressed (ver. 28).

(4) In seeking which he is sustained by a supernatural power (ver. 29). Verse 24. - Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake (Colossians 4:3; Ephesians 3:1, 13; Ephesians 6:19, 20; Philippians 1:12, 16, 29; Philippians 2:17; Philemon 1:9, 13; 2 Timothy 1:11, 12; Acts 9:16; Acts 26:29). "Who" is wanting in the older manuscripts. The abruptness of expression indicates a sudden outburst of feeling (comp. 2 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Timothy 1:12). "Now - as these thoughts fill my mind" (Lightfoot); or, better, "In my present position (with the chain round my wrist:" Eadie). St. Paul's sufferings as apostle of the Gentiles and in defence of their rights in the gospel - so "for your sake" (comp. Acts 13:44-50; Acts 22:21, 22; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; Romans 15:16; Galatians 5:11; 1 Timothy 2:7) - were matter of joy to him as they were of benefit to them. And am filling up in my turn the things that are lacking of the afflictions of Christ (Mark 10:39; John 15:20; Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:12; Philippians 3:10). "Am filling up" (ἀναπληρόω) has the same object (ὑστέρημα) in 1 Corinthians 16:17; Philippians 2:30 (comp. 2 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 11:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10). Here it is further compounded with ἀντί ("over against"), which implies some sort of correspondence - between defect and supply, say Meyer, Alford, Ellicott; but this is surely contained in the idea of filling up, whereas ἀντὶ bears as a rule, and always in St. Paul, a distinct and pointed reference of its own. "He says not simply ἀναπληρῶ, but ἀνταναπληρῶ, that is, Instead of the Lord and Master, I the slave and disciple" (Photius). Christ, the Head, had borne his part, now the apostle in turn fills up his part, in the great sum of suffering to be undergone on behalf of the body of Christ (see parallels). The verb being so understood, then, with Lightfoot, we infer that "the afflictions of Christ" (a phrase peculiar. . to this passage). are:

(1) Christ's own ministerial sufferings, endured at the hands of men. Affliction is a common term for all that Christians suffer as being in "this present evil world" (2 Thessalonians 1:4-6; Romans 5:3; 2 Corinthians 4:17: comp. John 16:33). Such suffering is common to the Master and his servants (John 15:20), and he leaves behind to each his fitting and correspondent share therein. These afflictions are "the sufferings of the Christ" in their ministerial as distinguished from their mediatorial aspect.

(2) The latter sense is, however, put on the phrase by Romanist divines, who quote the text in support of the doctrine of the merit of the saints, in contradiction to the uniform teaching of St. Paul and the whole New Testament, that the sacrifice of Christ is the sole meritorious ground of salvation for all men, leaving nothing to fill up (vers. 20-22; Ephesians 2:16; Romans 3:25, 20; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:14; Acts 4:12; Acts 13:38, 39; John 1:29; 1 John 2:2; 1 Peter 2:24, etc.). It is worthy of note that, unless it be in the Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul never uses the words "suffer," "suffering" (much less "affliction") in connection with the atoning sacrifice. He dwells rather on the objective fact itself - "the death," "the cross," "the blood."

(3) The prevailing interpretation (Chrysostom, Augustine, down to Alford, Ellicott) finds here the afflictions of the Church (including Paul's) made Christ's by mystic sympathy (Ephesians 5:23, 29). But this view identifies Paul's sufferings with his Master's, while he expressly distinguishes them; and the idea, however beautiful in itself, is without Pauline analogy.

(4) Meyer holds the afflictions to be Paul's own afflictions which are Christ's by ethical identity, as belonging to the same class. This approaches (1), but is less simple grammatically, and again confuses the antithesis involved in the pointed ἀντί.

(5) Other modifications of this view - afflictions coming from Christ, on account of Christ, etc. - are less plausible. Dr. Gloag, in the Expositor, first series, vol. 7. pp. 224-236, fully discusses the passage and ably defends (3). In my flesh (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11; 2 Corinthians 7:5; Galatians 4:13, 14); for St. Paul's physical nature felt keenly the pangs of imprisonment, the chafing of "these bonds." And thus he puts honour on the despised flesh, as capable of such high service (see note, ver. 22). On behalf of his body, which is the Church (ver. 18; Colossians 2:19; Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 5:23; 2 Timothy 2:10). The interests of the Church demanded his sufferings. They are "for you" (Colossian Gentiles); but, in his view, the full possession of the gospel by the Gentiles and the existence of the Church itself were vitally bound up together (Ephesians 2:15, 21, 22; Ephesians 3:6). If "Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25), he might well in his turn suffer on the same account. The magnitude of the interests involved are measured by his greatness whose body the Church is (vers. 15-18). (On "body," see note, ver. 18 .) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you,.... The apostle, as soon as he had made mention of his being a minister of the Gospel, thinks and speaks of his "sufferings"; for those are what always more or less attend persons in such an office; they are appointed to them by God; Christ has foretold them of them; they are necessary for them; they must expect them, and patiently endure them: the apostle was under them now at this present time, for he wrote this epistle in his bonds when a prisoner at Rome, not for any immorality, any crime he had committed, but for Christ's sake, for his Gospel's sake, for the sake of the churches of Christ to whom he preached, for the confirmation of them, and so of these Colossians; and therefore he says, "for you"; and which he mentions to animate them to abide by the Gospel, for which he was suffering, that it might continue with them and others: nor was he distressed and discouraged at his afflictions, he "rejoiced" in them, because he had the presence of God in them, the Spirit of God and of glory rested on him, and God was glorified by them; he esteemed it an honour done him that grace was given, and he counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ; and as well knowing that he should live and reign with him, since he suffered with him and for him: and what greatly caused and increased his joy was what follows,

and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh; by which are meant not the afflictions or sufferings of Christ in his own person; for these were all over, he was now entered into his glory, was exalted at the Father's right hand, and was crowned with glory and honour: there was nothing left behind of his sufferings, to be undergone by any of his people; he had drank of the cup and all the dregs of it; he had sustained the whole of his Father's wrath, and all the curses of the law, being abated nothing, but was made perfect through sufferings; having perfectly suffered all, he suffered once and once for all, he will suffer no more; nor is there any need of his suffering more or again, for he has finished sin, wrought righteousness, made peace, and obtained eternal redemption; nor had he any partner in his sufferings, nor did he need any, or left any part of his sufferings to be filled up by others; for he endured all and the whole, which the law and justice of God could require in his own body, in the body of his flesh through death; of these sufferings the apostle does not speak, but of such which he filled up in "his" own "flesh"; and design the afflictions of Christ in his members, which are called "his", because of that near union there is between Christ and them; so that what befalls them may be predicated of him; when anyone of them suffers, he suffers with him, as the sufferings of a part of the body are ascribed to the whole person; and because of that sympathy there is between them, he has a fellow feeling with his people in all their infirmities; in all their afflictions he is afflicted: if Saul persecutes his saints, he persecutes him; whatever injury is done to them, he takes it as done to himself, who are to him as the apple of his eye. Moreover, hereby they are conformed unto him, and made like him; as he was, so are they in this world; there is a good deal of likeness between the afflictions of Christ and his people, though in some things there is a great disparity; add to this, that the afflictions of the saints are endured for Christ's sake, for the sake of his Gospel, and the profession of his name, and therefore called his, and the more cheerfully bore by them: now of these there were some remains to be filled up by the apostle; not that all the afflictions of the whole body of Christ were to be, or have been filled up by him; there was a great deal left behind by him to be filled up by others, and which has been filling up ever since, and still is, and yet all is not fulfilled to this day, nor will be till the end of time; but he speaks only of that part and measure of them, which was to be tilled up in his flesh; he had his measure of afflictions allotted to him, great part of which he had endured already, but some remained, the measure was not yet full, though pretty near being completed, which gave him pleasure; it was just filling up, and the time of his departure was at hand, when there would be no more sorrow; for it was only while he was in the flesh he was filling up this measure, and would be quickly up; and what added to his joy was, that as these were the afflictions of Christ, and the measure of them was appointed by his heavenly Father, to be filled up by him in this mortal state, so they were

for his body's sake, which is the church; not in the room and stead of the church, and people of Christ, as were the sufferings of Christ personal; or to exempt them from sufferings who all have their share in this life; nor for their sins to make reconciliation for them, and procure the remission of them; nor to redeem them, or obtain salvation for them, all which is completed by Christ; but for their good and profit, that the Gospel might continue and be blessed to the conversion of many, for the increase of the church and additions to it, and for the furtherance of the Gospel, and that such who professed it might be established and confirmed in it, by the sufferings of the apostle for it: and such good effects did follow upon his sufferings and afflictions; they were for the consolation of many souls, the strengthening of weak believers, and causing even preachers of the Gospel to wax more confident, and more boldly preach the Gospel without fear of man. 24. Who—The oldest manuscripts omit "who"; then translate, "Now I rejoice." Some very old manuscripts, and the best of the Latin versions, and Vulgate, read as English Version. To enhance the glory of Christ as paramount to all, he mentions his own sufferings for the Church of Christ. "Now" stands in contrast to "I was made," in the past time (Col 1:23).

for you—"on your behalf," that ye may be confirmed in resting solely on Christ (to the exclusion of angel-worship) by the glorification of Christ in my sufferings (Eph 3:1).

fill up that which is behind—literally, "the deficiencies"—all that are lacking of the afflictions of Christ (compare Note, see on [2408]2Co 1:5). Christ is "afflicted in all His people's afflictions" (Isa 63:9). "The Church is His body in which He is, dwells, lives, and therefore also suffers" [Vitringa]. Christ was destined to endure certain afflictions in this figurative body, as well as in His literal; these were "that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," which Paul "filled up." His own meritorious sufferings in expiation for sin were once for all completely filled up on the Cross. But His Church (His second Self) has her whole measure of afflictions fixed. The more Paul, a member, endured, the less remain for the rest of the Church to endure; the communion of saints thus giving them an interest in his sufferings. It is in reference to the Church's afflictions, which are "Christ's afflictions, that Paul here saith, "I fill up the deficiencies," or "what remain behind of the afflictions of Christ." She is afflicted to promote her growth in holiness, and her completeness in Christ. Not one suffering is lost (Ps 56:8). All her members have thus a mutual interest in one another's sufferings (1Co 12:26). But Rome's inference hence, is utterly false that the Church has a stock treasury of the merits and satisfactions of Christ and His apostles, out of which she may dispense indulgences; the context has no reference to sufferings in expiation of sin and productive of merit. Believers should regard their sufferings less in relation to themselves as individuals, and more as parts of a grand whole, carrying out God's perfect plan.1:24-29 Both the sufferings of the Head and of the members are called the sufferings of Christ, and make up, as it were, one body of sufferings. But He suffered for the redemption of the church; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightly taste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drank deeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains of the sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and after the pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions God allots to him. Let us be thankful that God has made known to us mysteries hidden from ages and generations, and has showed the riches of his glory among us. As Christ is preached among us, let us seriously inquire, whether he dwells and reigns in us; for this alone can warrant our assured hope of his glory. We must be faithful to death, through all trials, that we may receive the crown of life, and obtain the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
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Alphabetical: afflictions and behalf body Christ's church do fill filling flesh for his I in is lacking my Now of on regard rejoice sake share still suffered sufferings the to up was what which you your

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