|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 29. - To which end also I toil hard, striving according to his working (Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11; Philippians 2:16; 1 Timothy 4:10; Acts 20:35). Κοπιῶ, to labour to weariness, often used of manual labour, is a favourite word of St. Paul's (1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:9: comp. Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; John 4:38). The figurative use of "striving" ("agonizing," i.e. "contending in the arena") is only Pauline in the New Testament: comp. Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:12; Philippians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7; also Luke 22:44; in 1 Timothy 4:10 (R.V.) it is again connected with "toil" (κοπιάω). We need not, with Meyer and Ellicott, distinguish inward from outward striving in this word. The apostle's bodily sufferings (ver. 21) and his mental anxiety (Colossians 2:1) alike enter into the mighty struggle which he is maintaining on the Church's behalf, and which strains every fibre of his nature to the utmost (comp. 2 Corinthians 11:28). "Striving" implies opponents against whom he contends (Ephesians 6:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 11:26); "toiling hard," the painful efforts he has to make. In this toll he is divinely sustained, for he "strives according to his [Christ's: comp. Philippians 4:13] working." Ανεργεία ("energy," "operative force," "power in action") - another word of St. Paul's vocabulary (frequent also in Aristotle) - is used by him only of supernatural power, "a working of God," "of Satan" (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 11). Which worketh in me with power (ver. 11; Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 2:13; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10). The "energy of Christ" is such that it "effectually works" in the apostle; the same idea is repeated in noun and verb (ver. 11, note). The verb is middle in voice, as this "working" is that in which the Divine "energy of Christ" puts itself forth and shows what it can do (comp. 2 Corinthians 13:3-6); see note on "bearing fruit," ver. 6, and Winer's 'N. T. Grammar,' p. 318 (dynamic middle). So it works unmistakably "in [or, 'with'] power." Never do we find this consciousness of the Divine power dwelling in himself expressed by St. Paul with such joyous confidence as at this period (see Philippians 1:20, 21; Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 3:9, 20; and comp. note on ver. 23 b).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Whereunto I also labour,.... In the word and doctrine, by preaching Christ, warning sinners of their danger, teaching them the way of salvation, and their duty; with this view, that, in thee great day of account, he might bring a large number of them, and set them before Christ as the seals of his ministry, as instances of the grace of Christ, and as perfect in him:
striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily; meaning either in his prayers, earnestly entreating of God that he would succeed his labours, and bless them to the conversion of many; which sense is favoured by the Syriac version, which renders it, "and make supplication"; that is, with that effectual fervent prayer, which was powerfully wrought in him: or in his ministry, combating with many enemies, fighting the good fight of faith; not in his own strength, but through the power of Christ; which enabled him to preach the Gospel far and near, in season and out of season; which supported his outward man, and strengthened his inward man for that service, and made it effectual to the good of the souls of many: some refer this to the signs, wonders, and miracles, which Christ wrought by him, for the confirmation of the Gospel; but the other sense, which takes in both the power by which he was assisted in preaching, both in body and soul, and that which went along with his ministry to make it useful to others, is to be preferred.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29. Whereunto—namely, "to present every man perfect in Christ."
I also labour—rather, "I labor also." I not only "proclaim" (English Version, "preach") Christ, but I labor also.
striving—in "conflict" (Col 2:1) of spirit (compare Ro 8:26). The same Greek word is used of Epaphras (Col 4:12), "laboring fervently for you in prayers": literally, "agonizing," "striving as in the agony of a contest." So Jesus in Gethsemane when praying (Lu 22:44): so "strive" (the same Greek word, "agonize"), Lu 13:24. So Jacob "wrestled" in prayer (Ge 32:24-29). Compare "contention," Greek, "agony," or "striving earnestness," 1Th 2:2.
according to his working—Paul avows that he has power to "strive" in spirit for his converts, so far only as Christ works in him and by him (Eph 3:20; Php 4:13).
mightily—literally, "in power."
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