Colossians 1:23
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
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(23) If.—The word, as in Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 4:21 (where see Notes), conveys a supposition hardly hypothetical—“If, as I presume;” “If, as I trust.” St. Paul cannot refrain from needful warning, but he refuses to anticipate failure.

Grounded.Built on the foundation. Comp. Ephesians 2:20, “built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone.”

Settled.—The result of being so grounded. The word is used in the same sense, but without metaphorical association, in 1Corinthians 15:58, “stedfast, unmoveable,” as here “settled and not being moved.”

The hope.—See Note on Colossians 1:5. Here, as there, great emphasis is laid on “hope.” But here there may possibly be reference to some ideas (like those spoken of in 2Timothy 2:18) that “the resurrection was past already,” and that the hope of a true resurrection and a real heaven was either a delusion or a metaphor.

Every creature which is under heaven.—Comp. our Lord’s command, “Preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). In idea and capacity the gospel is literally universal; although in actual reality such universality can only be claimed by a natural hyperbole.

[3.The Mission of St. Paul.

As APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, a minister of the newly revealed mystery of their salvation, testifying to all alike by suffering and by preaching, in order “to present all perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:24-29).]

1:15-23 Christ in his human nature, is the visible discovery of the invisible God, and he that hath seen Him hath seen the Father. Let us adore these mysteries in humble faith, and behold the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus. He was born or begotten before all the creation, before any creature was made; which is the Scripture way of representing eternity, and by which the eternity of God is represented to us. All things being created by Him, were created for him; being made by his power, they were made according to his pleasure, and for his praise and glory. He not only created them all at first, but it is by the word of his power that they are upheld. Christ as Mediator is the Head of the body, the church; all grace and strength are from him; and the church is his body. All fulness dwells in him; a fulness of merit and righteousness, of strength and grace for us. God showed his justice in requiring full satisfaction. This mode of redeeming mankind by the death of Christ was most suitable. Here is presented to our view the method of being reconciled. And that, notwithstanding the hatred of sin on God's part, it pleased God to reconcile fallen man to himself. If convinced that we were enemies in our minds by wicked works, and that we are now reconciled to God by the sacrifice and death of Christ in our nature, we shall not attempt to explain away, nor yet think fully to comprehend these mysteries; but we shall see the glory of this plan of redemption, and rejoice in the hope set before us. If this be so, that God's love is so great to us, what shall we do now for God? Be frequent in prayer, and abound in holy duties; and live no more to yourselves, but to Christ. Christ died for us. But wherefore? That we should still live in sin? No; but that we should die to sin, and live henceforth not to ourselves, but to Him.If ye continue in the faith - In the belief of the gospel, and in holy living. If this were done, they would be presented unblameable be fore God; if not, they would not be. The meaning is, that it will be impossible to be saved unless we continue to lead lives becoming the gospel.

Grounded - On a firm foundation; see the notes at Ephesians 3:17, where the same word occurs.

And settled - Greek, "firm;" as a building is that is founded on a rock; compare Matthew 7:25.

And be not moved away from the hope of the gospel - By the arts of philosophy, and the allurements of sin.

Which was preached to every creature which is under heaven - It cannot be supposed that it was literally true that every creature under heaven had actually heard the gospel. But this may mean:

(1) That it was designed to be preached to every creature, or that the commission to make it known embraced everyone, and that, so far as the provisions of the gospel are concerned, it may be said that it was a system proclaimed to all mankind; see Mark 16:15. If a vast army, or the inhabitants of a distant province, were in rebellion against a government, and a proclamation of pardon were issued, it would not be improper to say that it was made to every one of them, though, as a matter of fact, it might not be true that everyone in the remote parts of the army or province had actually heard of it.

(2) the gospel in the time of Paul seems to have been so extensively preached, that it might be said that it was proclaimed to everybody. All known countries appear to have been visited; and so zealous and laborious had been the heralds of salvation, that it might be said that the message had been proclaimed to all the world; see Colossians 1:6; compare the notes at Matthew 24:14.

Whereof I Paul am made a minister - See the notes at Ephesians 3:1-7. Paul here pursues the same train of thought which he does in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where, having shown the exalted nature of the Redeemer, and the design of the gospel, he adverts to his own labors and sufferings in making it known. The object seems to be to show that he regarded it as the highest honor to be thus intrusted with the message of mercy to mankind, and considered it as a privilege to suffer in that cause.

23. If—"Assuming that," &c.: not otherwise shall ye be so presented at His appearing (Col 1:22).

grounded—Greek, "founded," "fixed on the foundation" (compare Note, see on [2407]Eph 3:17; Lu 6:48, 49).

settled—"steadfast." "Grounded" respects the foundation on which believers rest; "settled," their own steadfastness (1Pe 5:10). 1Co 15:58 has the same Greek.

not moved away—by the false teachers.

the hope of the gospel—(Eph 1:18).

which ye have heard … which was preached to every creature … whereof I … am … a minister—Three arguments against their being "moved away from the Gospel": (1) Their having heard it; (2) The universality of the preaching of it; (3) Paul's ministry in it. For "to (Greek, 'in') every creature," the oldest manuscripts read, "in all creation." Compare "in all the world," Col 1:6; "all things … in earth," Col 1:20 (Mr 16:15): thus he implies that the Gospel from which he urges them not to be moved, has this mark of truth, namely, the universality of its announcement, which accords with the command and prophecy of Christ Himself (Mt 24:14). By "was preached," he means not merely "is being preached," but has been actually, as an accomplished fact, preached. Pliny, not many years subsequently, in his famous letter to the Emperor Trajan [Epistles, Book X., Epistle 97], writes, "Many of every age, rank, and sex, are being brought to trial. For the contagion of that superstition [Christianity] has spread over not only cities, but villages and the country."

whereof I Paul am—rather as Greek, "was made a minister." Respect for me, the minister of this world-wide Gospel, should lead you not to be moved from it. Moreover (he implies), the Gospel which ye heard from Epaphras, your "minister" (Col 1:7), is the same of which "I was made a minister" (Col 1:25; Eph 3:7): if you be moved from it, ye will desert the teaching of the recognized ministers of the Gospel for unauthorized false teachers.

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled: this if doth not import the believers’ continuance in faith to depend merely upon their own free-will, or a carnal doubting of being kept to salvation, 1 Peter 1:5, but infers that they are then reconciled to God when they do indeed persevere in the faith; implying that by reason of the seducers amongst them all and every one might not really have that sound faith they would be thought to have. Wherefore the apostle engageth them to prove their faith, whereby only they can have peace with God, Romans 5:1, to be real, by taking care it be well founded and firm, Matthew 13:23, as a house built on a sure foundation, a tree well rooted, Ephesians 3:17,18 Heb 13:9.

And be not moved away from the hope of the gospel; and be not as temporary believers which have no root, Luke 8:13, or as those who want anchorhold are tossed to and fro, Ephesians 4:14, and put off from that hope of eternal life, set before us in the gospel, which is sure and certain, Hebrews 6:18,19, built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Ephesians 2:20, the sweet promises of eternal life.

Which ye have heard; not the works of vain philosophy which leave the minds of men unsettled, but the plain and solid doctrines of Christ, wherein the believers at Colosse had been instructed, Colossians 1:7.

And which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; and which the faithful apostles, according to the commission of Christ, had promulgated to every creature beneath the heavens, i.e. every rational creature here below, i.e. to all men, collectively, or nations in the world, as Colossians 1:6 Matthew 28:19 Mark 16:15. Creature with the Hebrews doth eminently signify man, by an antonomasia, or a synecdeche, putting the general for a particular. In the original it is, in all the creature; and so it may be, in all the world, (creature being sometimes used for the system of the world, Romans 8:19-21), in opposition to Judea, i.e. in those other parts of the earth which the Greeks and Romans knew to be then inhabited: under heaven, which is a pleonasm, but of the greatest emphasis, as Acts 4:12.

Whereof I Paul am made a minister; and the more to confirm them in what he had said, he adds of this gospel of reconciliation so spread, he was immediately called, Galatians 1:1, and constituted to be a minister for the promulgation of it amongst the Gentiles, it being, with others, most notably committed to him, 2 Corinthians 5:19 1 Timothy 1:11.

If ye continue in the faith,.... In the doctrine of faith which they had received and embraced; and in the grace of faith, and the exercise of it which was implanted in them; and in the profession of faith which they had made: not that the virtue and efficacy of Christ's blood, sufferings, and death, and reconciliation of their persons to God thereby, depended upon their faith, and abiding in it; but that faith and continuance in it were necessary means of their presentation in unblemished holiness and righteousness; for if they had not faith, or did not abide in it or if the good work of grace was not wrought upon their souls, and that performed until the day of Christ, they could not be presented holy and blameless: this shows the necessity of the saints' final perseverance in faith and holiness, and is mentioned with this view, to put them upon a concern about it, and to make use of all means, under divine grace, to enjoy it; and nothing could more strongly incline and move unto it, than the blessed effect of Christ's death, reconciliation and the end of it, to present the reconciled ones blameless; in order to which it is necessary they should hold on and out to the end: hence the Ethiopic version reads the words, not as a condition, but as an exhortation enforced by what goes before; "therefore be ye established in the faith": it follows,

grounded and settled; not on the sandy foundation of man's own righteousness, and peace made by his own performances; but upon the foundation and rock, Christ, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail; and so shall never finally and totally fall away, being rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith of him, in the doctrines of faith, respecting peace by his blood, justification by his righteousness, and life by his death; and so continue steadfast and immovable, always abounding in his work:

and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel; the hope of eternal life and happiness, which as set before us in the Gospel; which that gives a good and solid ground and foundation of, in the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; and is the instrumental means, in the hand of the Spirit, of begetting to it, and of encouraging and increasing it: the law gives no hopes of eternal life to a poor sinner; it works wrath, and ministers death; there is nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment by it; but the Gospel encourages to hope in the Lord, from the consideration of rich mercy and plenteous redemption in him; and this hope of the Gospel is an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and not to be let go; this confidence and rejoicing of the hope is to be kept firm unto the end:

which ye have heard; that is, which Gospel they had heard from Epaphras their faithful minister, and that not only externally, but internally; they had heard it and believed it, and it had brought forth fruit in them; for it came to them not in word only, but in power; which is said in commendation of it, and to engage them to continue in it, and abide by it; as is also what follows:

and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; and therefore since it was the same which was everywhere preached, they might depend upon the truth of it, should have the greater value for it, and by no means relinquish it. This must be understood not of every individual creature, even human and rational, that was then, or had been in, the world; but that it had been, and was preached far and near, in all places all over the world, to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews; who are sometimes styled "every creature", "the creature", "the whole creation", "all men", &c. see Mark 16:15 Titus 2:11; and of this, the first preaching of the Gospel by Peter after our Lord's resurrection, was an emblem and pledge, Acts 2:14; and some time after that, the sound of all the apostles went into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world:

whereof I Paul am made a minister; by Jesus Christ, who appeared unto him, and called, qualified, and sent him forth as such; and this is mentioned to encourage the Colossians to abide by the truths of the Gospel, since what they had heard and received were what were everywhere preached by the faithful ministers of the word; and particularly by the apostle, who was ordained to be a teacher and preacher of it to the Gentiles. The Alexandrian copy reads, "a preacher and an apostle, and a minister"; see 1 Timothy 2:7.

{11} If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to {q} every creature which is under heaven; {12} whereof I Paul am made a minister;

(11) The second treatise of this part of the epistle, in which he exhorts the Colossians not to allow themselves by any means to be moved from this doctrine, showing and declaring that there is nowhere else any other true Gospel.

(q) To all men: by which we learn that the Gospel was not confined to Judea alone.

(12) He gains authority for this doctrine by his apostleship, and takes a most sure proof of it, that is, his afflictions, which he suffers for Christ's name, to instruct the Churches with these examples of patience.

Colossians 1:23. Requirement, with which is associated not, indeed, the being included in the work of reconciliation (Hofmann), but the attainment of its blessed final aim, which would otherwise be forfeited, namely the παραστῆσαι κ.τ.λ. above described: so far at any rate as ye, i. e. assuming, namely, that ye, etc. A confidence that the readers will fulfil this condition is not conveyed by the εἴγε in itself (see on 2 Corinthians 5:3; Galatians 3:4; Ephesians 3:2), and is not implied here by the context; but Paul sets forth the relation purely as a condition certainly taking place, which they have to fulfil, in order to attain the παραστῆσαι κ.τ.λ.—that “fructus in posterum laetissimus” of their reconciliation (Bengel).

τῇ πίστει] belonging to ἐπιμέν.: abide by the faith, do not cease from it.[59] See on Romans 6:1. The mode of this abiding is indicated by what follows positively (τεθεμ. κ. ἐδραῖοι), and negatively (Κ. ΜῊ ΜΕΤΑΚΙΝ. Κ.Τ.Λ.), under the figurative conception of a building, in which, and that with reference to the Parousia pointed at by παραστῆσαι κ.τ.λ., the hope of the gospel is conceived as the foundation, in so far as continuance in the faith is based on this, and is in fact not possible without it (Colossians 1:27). “Spe amissa perseverantia concidit,” Grotius. On τεθεμελ., which is not interjected (Holtzmann), comp. Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 5:10; and on ἙΔΡΑῖΟΙ, 1 Corinthians 15:58. The opposite of ΤΕΘΕΜΕΛ. is ΧΩΡῚς ΘΕΜΕΛΊΟΥ, Luke 6:49; but it would be a contrast to the ΤΕΘΕΜΕΛ. ΚΑῚ ἙΔΡΑῖΟΙ, if they were ΜΕΤΑΚΙΝΟΎΜΕΝΟΙ Κ.Τ.Λ.; concerning ΜΉ, see Winer, p. 443 [E. T. 596]; Baeumlein, Part. p. 295.

μετακινούμ.] passively, through the influence of false doctrines and other seductive forces.

ἀπό] away … from, so as to stand no longer on hope as the foundation of perseverance in the faith. Comp. Galatians 1:6.

The ἐλπὶς τοῦ εὐαγγ. (which is proclaimed through the gospel by means of its promises, comp. Colossians 1:5, and on Ephesians 1:18) is the hope of eternal life in the Messianic kingdom, which has been imparted to the believer in the gospel. Comp. Colossians 1:4-5; Colossians 1:27; Romans 5:2; Romans 8:24; Titus 1:2 f., Colossians 3:7.

ΟὟ ἨΚΟΎΣΑΤΕ Κ.Τ.Λ.] three definitions rendering the ΜῊ ΜΕΤΑΚΙΝΕῖΣΘΑΙ Κ.Τ.Λ. in its universal obligation palpably apparent to the readers; for such a μετακινεῖσθαι would, in the case of the Colossians, be inexcusable (ΟὟ ἨΚΟΎΣΑΤΕ, comp. Romans 10:18), would set at naught the universal proclamation of the gospel (ΤΟῦ ΚΗΡΥΧΘ. Κ.Τ.Λ.), and would stand in contrast to the personal weight of the apostle’s position as its servant (ΟὟ ἘΓΕΝ. Κ.Τ.Λ.). If, with Hofmann, we join ΤΟῦ ΚΗΡΥΧΘΈΝΤΟς as an adjective to ΤΟῦ ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊΟΥ, ΟὟ ἨΚΟΎΣΑΤΕ, we withdraw from the ΟὟ ἨΚΟΎΣΑΤΕ that element of practical significance, which it must have, if it is not to be superfluous. Nor is justice done to the third point, ΟὟ ἘΓΕΝΌΜΗΝ Κ.Τ.Λ., if the words (so Hofmann, comp. de Wette) are meant to help the apostle, by enforcing what he is thenceforth to write with the weight of his name, to come to his condition at that time. According to this, they would be merely destined as a transition. In accordance with the context, however, and without arbitrary tampering, they can only have the same aim with the two preceding attributives which are annexed to the gospel; and, with this aim, how appropriately and forcibly do they stand at the close![60] λοιπὸν γὰρ μέγα ἦν τὸ Παύλου ὄνομα, Oecumenius, comp. Chrysostom. Comp. on ἘΓῺ ΠΑῦΛΟς, with a view to urge his personal authority, 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:2; Ephesians 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Philemon 1:19. It is to be observed, moreover, that if Paul himself had been the teacher of the Colossians, this relation would certainly not have been passed over here in silence.

ἘΝ ΠΆΣῌ ΚΤΊΣΕΙ (without Τῇ, see the critical remarks) is to be taken as: in presence of (coram, see Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 701; Winer, p. 360 [E. T. 481]) every creature, before everything that is created (κτίσις, as in Colossians 1:15). There is nothing created under the heaven, in whose sphere and environment (comp. Kühner, II. 1, p. 401) the gospel had not been proclaimed. The sense of the word must be left in this entire generality, and not limited to the heathen (Bähr). It is true that the popular expression of universality may just as little be pressed here as in Colossians 1:6. Comp. Herm. Past. sim. viii. 3; Ignatius, Romans 2. But as in Colossians 1:15, so also here πᾶσα κτίσις is not all creation, according to which the sense is assumed to be: “on a stage embracing the whole world” (Hofmann). This Paul would properly have expressed by ἐν πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει, or ἘΝ ΠΑΝΤῚ Τῷ ΚΌΣΜῼ, or ἘΝ ὍΛῼ Τῷ Κ.; comp. Colossians 1:6. The expression is more lofty and poetic than in Colossians 1:6, appropriate to the close of the section, not a fanciful reproduction betraying an imitator and a later age (Holtzmann). Omitting even ΟὟ ἨΚΟΎΣΑΤΕ (because it is not continued by ΟὟ ΚΑῚ ἘΓΏ), Holtzmann arrives merely at the connection between Colossians 1:23 and Colossians 1:25 : ΜΗ ̀ ΜΕΤΑΚΙΝ. ἈΠΟ ̀ ΤΟῦ ΕὐΑΓΓ. ΟὟ ἘΓΕΝ. ἘΓῺ Π. ΔΙΆΚ. ΚΑΤᾺ ΤῊΝ ΟἸΚΟΝ. Τ. ΘΕΟῦ ΤῊΝ ΔΟΘΕῖΣΆΝ ΜΟΙ ΕἸς ὙΜᾶς, just as he then would read further thus: ΠΛΗΡῶΣΑΙ Τ. ΛΌΓ. Τ. ΘΕΟῦ, ΕἸς Ὃ ΚΑῚ ΚΟΠΙῶ ἈΓΩΝΙΖΌΜ. ΚΑΤᾺ Τ. ἘΝΈΡΓ. ΑὐΤΟῦ ΤῊΝ ἘΝΕΡΓΟΥΜ. ἘΝ ἘΜΟΊ.

] See on Ephesians 3:7. Paul has become such through his calling, Galatians 1:15 f.; Ephesians 3:7. Observe the aorist.

[59] In our Epistle faith is by no means postponed to knowing and perceiving (comp. Colossians 2:5; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 2:12), as Baur asserts in his Neut. Theol. p. 272. The frequent emphasis laid upon knowledge, insight, comprehension, and the like, is not to be put to the account of an intellectualism, which forms a fundamental peculiarity betokening the author and age of this Epistle (and especially of that to the Ephesians), as Holtzmann conceives, p. 216 ff.; on the contrary, it was owing to the attitude of the apostle towards the antagonistic philosophical speculations. Comp. also Grau, Entwickelungsgesch. d. N. T. II. p. 153 ff. It was owing to the necessary relations, in which the apostle, with his peculiarity of being all things to all men, found himself placed towards the interests of the time and place.

[60] According to Baur, indeed, such passages as the present are among those which betray the double personality of the author.

Colossians 1:23. εἴ γε with the indicative expresses the Apostle’s confidence that the condition will be fulfilled.—ἐπιμένετε. This abiding in faith is the only, as it is the sure way, to this presentation of themselves κατ. αὐτ. This is directed against the false teachers’ assurance that the gospel they had heard needed to be supplemented if they wished to attain salvation. It needs no supplementing, and it is at the peril of salvation that they lose hold of it.—τεθεμελιωμένοι refers to the firm foundation, ἑδραῖοι to the stability of the building.—μὴ μετακινούμενοι. The perfect participle here gives way to the present, expressing a continuous process. It may be passive or middle, probably the former.—ἀπὸ τ. ἐλπίδος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου: to be taken with μετακιν. alone, not, assuming a zeugma, with the three co-ordinate expressions (Sod.), for it is not at all clear that the last of these keeps up the metaphor of a building. The hope of the Gospel is the hope given by or proclaimed in the Gospel.—οὗ ἠκούσατε. Paul again sets his seal on the form of the Gospel which they had received, and again insists on the universality of its proclamation, its catholicity as guaranteeing its truth (see on Colossians 1:5-7).—ἐν πασῇ κτίσει: “in presence of every creature”; π. κτ., as in Colossians 1:15, with the limitation τ. . τ. οὐρ.—οὗ ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ Παῦλος διάκονος: cf. Ephesians 3:7. This phrase contains a certain stately self-assertion; the Apostle urges the fact that he is a minister of this Gospel as a reason why they should remain faithful to it. His apostolic authority, so far from being impugned by the false teachers, was more probably invoked; so Paul throws it in the balance against them. It is also true that the Gentile mission was so bound up in his own mind with his apostleship that a reference to the one naturally suggested a reference to the other. By this clause Paul effects the transition to Colossians 1:24.

23. if] With a certain emphasis in the Greek, pressing on the saints the need of watching and prayer; a need which leaves untouched in their proper sphere the sure promises of the “final perseverance” of the saints.

“If we look to stand in the faith of the sons of God, we must hourly, continually, be providing and setting ourselves to strive … To our own safety our own sedulity is required. And then blessed for ever and ever be that mother’s child whose faith hath made him the child of God.” (Hooker, Sermon of Faith, at the end; see the whole Sermon.) See our notes on Php 3:11; Php 4:3.—The emphatic caution here has manifest reference to special dangers at Colossæ.

continue in] Abide by, adhere to. So Lightfoot, having regard to the special construction of the Greek.

the faith] So A.V. and R.V. Lightfoot says “perhaps ‘your faith’ rather than ‘the faith’.” And the contrast-parallel Romans 11:23 (“if they abide not still in unbelief”) is distinctly in favour of this. The Colossians were to persist, for their very life, in the Divine simplicity of believing.

grounded] Lit., founded, built on a foundation; a perfect participle. Cp. Ephesians 3:17, where the basis is “love;” and Matthew 7:25, where it is “a rock,” the truth of Christ. Ephesians 3:17 offers an instructive parallel, connecting (as this passage does) “faith” with “foundation.” It is as believing that the Christian enjoys the fixity of the word, and of the love, of God.

settled] The Greek appears elsewhere only 1 Corinthians 7:37; 1 Corinthians 15:58. Usage suggests the special thought of settled purpose; resulting here from a settled rest on eternal truth. Cp. 1 Peter 2:6-9.

be not moved away] Omit ‘be.” The Greek (“moved away”) is a present participle, and suggests a state of chronic or frequent unsettlement, as new allurements away from the truth beset them. Cp. Ephesians 4:14.

the hope] “That blissful hope, even the appearing of the glory, &c.” (Titus 2:13); “the hope of glory” (below, Colossians 1:27).

of the gospel, which ye have heard] So connect. “The hope” revealed in the message of apostolic truth, brought them by Epaphras in the power of the Spirit,—this, and no rival to it, was to be their anchorage. Better, which ye heard, when you were evangelized and converted.

and which was preached] Omit “and.” Which was proclaimed; lit., “heralded.”—Cp., for this verb with “the gospel,” e.g. Matthew 4:23; Galatians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:9.—The time-reference of “was” is, so to speak, ideal; it “was” done when the Saviour, in His accomplished victory, bade it be done (Mark 16:15).

to every creature which] More lit., in all the creation which, &c. “The expression … must not be limited to man,” says Lightfoot. But it is difficult to accept this. “All creation,” in the largest sense, shall indeed in its way share the blessings of our salvation (see e.g. Romans 8:19-22; and cp. Revelation 5:13). But the thought here, and Mark 16:15, is of proclamation, and reception by faith; in view of which we cannot, in any intelligible sense, bring in “rocks and stones and trees.” Context surely limits the word to “our fellow-creatures,” in the human sense.

under heaven] An hyperbole, in the technical sense; a verbal but not therefore real exaggeration, the excess of the phrase being meant only to leave a just impression of the surprise of the fact. See above on Colossians 1:6 (“in all the world”).—After all, if our remark on “was preached,” just above, is right, this phrase like that is ideal, and in that respect not hyperbolical.

For the exact phrase cp. e.g. Genesis 1:9; Genesis 6:17; Genesis 7:19; Deuteronomy 2:25; Acts 2:5; Acts 4:12.

whereof I Paul am made, &c.] Became, when the Lord called me to it. The same phrase occurs Ephesians 3:7. He emphasizes his own part and lot in the ministry of the Gospel, as he has just emphasized that Gospel itself as the veritable message of God, alone authentic amidst all false Gospels. So he asserts his own commission, authentic amidst all false evangelists. Cp. for instances of a similar emphatic Ego, 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:2; Ephesians 3:1 (with note in this Series); Philemon 1:19.

a minister] Diâconos. See above on Colossians 1:7.

Colossians 1:23. Εἴ γε, if indeed) This word depends on the finite verb, He hath reconciled, Colossians 1:21, rather than on the infinitive παραστῆσαι [Colossians 1:22]; and this παραστῆσαι, being the ultimate [final] object, is itself the most delightful fruit of reconciliation; whence it is not the truth of the reconciliation which has been accomplished, that is suspended [is made to depend] on the perseverance of the Colossians, but the most delightful fruit for the time to come, which is not to be obtained, unless the Colossians shall have persevered; comp. εἴ γε, Ephesians 4:21; ἐάνπερ, Hebrews 3:6.—τῇ πίστει) in faith, viz. in confidence; to which hope is usually joined.—τεθεμελιωμένοι) secured to the foundation [grounded]: ἑδραῖοι, stable [settled], firm within. The former is metaphorical, the latter less figurative; the one implies greater respect to the foundation, by which believers are supported; but ἑδραῖοι, stable (settled), suggests the idea of internal strength, which believers themselves possess; just as a building ought to lean (rest) uprightly and solidly on the foundation first of all, but afterwards to cohere securely, and firmly to stand together, even by its own mass [compact solidity of structure].—καὶ ἑδραῖοι καὶ, and stable and) 1 Corinthians 15:58, note; Ephesians 3:18.—τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, of the Gospel) by which reconciliation is declared.—πάσῃ, to every) Colossians 1:20; Mark 16:15, note.—διάκονος, minister) Colossians 1:25; Ephesians 3:7.

Verse 23. - If at least ye are continuing in the faith, grounded and settled (ver. 4; Colossians 2:6, 7; Ephesians 3:18; Ephesians 6:10-17; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:2, 58; Galatians 1:6; Galatians 5:1). All that Christ has done and will do for the Colossians, yet depends on their continued faith. Αἴγε (only Pauline in New Testament; containing "the volatile particle γε) suggests, actually (Galatians 3:4) or rhetorically (Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 4:21), a conceivable alternative; if as appears, as one hopes, or fears, or may assume. "Are continuing in" (ἐπιμένετε) is both "abiding by" and "adhering to" (Romans 6:1; Philippians 1:24, R.V.; 1 Timothy 4:16). As present indicative, it implies a (supposed) actual state. "The faith," as regularly in the New Testament, is the act and exercise of faith (subjective), not the content or matter of faith (objective). "Grounded" or "founded," perfect passive, implies a fixed condition (comp. Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 3:18, coupled with "rooted;" 1 Corinthians 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Timothy 2:19; also Luke 6:48). "Settled" (ἑδραῖος, from ἕδρα, a seat) is opposed to "moved away," just as in 1 Corinthians 15:58. The words, and not being moved away (or, letting yourselves be moved away), put the same assumption negatively, and more specifically as he adds, from the hope of the gospel; good tidings (vers. 5, 27; Colossians 3:15, 24; Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 10; 2 Timothy 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:8; Romans 8:17-25; Hebrews 3:6, 14; Hebrews 6:11, 18, 19; Hebrews 10:35, 36) - that which is its peculiar property and glory, the crown of Christ's redeeming work (ver. 22), the end of his servant's labours (ver. 28), for which, by anticipation, he already gives thanks (ver. 5). but which was directly threatened and brought in question by Colossian error (see notes on Colossians 2:18; 3:15). (The gospel) which you heard (vers. 5, 7: notes), which was preached in all creation that is under the heaven (ver. 6; Romans 16:26; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19, 20; Matthew 24:14). The transition from "you" to "all creation" resembles that of vers. 5, 6 (comp. vers. 20, 21). "Preached" is literally" heralded," "loudly and officially announced;" so, frequently in St. Paul (see 2 Timothy 1:11), also in Mark 16:15. Greek usage does not support the interpretation which makes κτίσις ("creation ") equivalent to "humanity." This sense of the word, which, even in Mark, such interpreters as Bengel, Lange, Alford, reject, is quite Hebraistic and exceptional. The phrase, "all creation," the writer has already used in ver. 15; here, as there (see here), without the article (Revised Text). The universal meaning it carries there is now limited by "under the heaven." The earthly creation subject as it is to Christ, is the sphere of this proclamation, the preaching room which is to resound everywhere with the glad tidings (comp. Psalm 1:1; Psalm 98:7; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 55:12; Revelation 10:2; Revelation 14:6). And with this range it was proclaimed, for from the first it claimed universal audience. Whereof I became, I Paul, a minister (vers. 24-29; Ephesians 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 1:11-14; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11; Romans 1:5; Romans 11:13; Romans 15:15-19; 1 Corinthians 3:5, 10; 1 Corinthians 9:1, 2, 16, 17; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Galatians 1:1, 15, 16; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Acts 9:15; Acts 26:16-18). (For "minister," see ver. 7.) The later Epistles betray a markedly heightened sense in the apostle of the unique dignity and importance of his own position, and those who question their authenticity press this fact against them. But the difference of tone is what one would expect in "such a one as Paul the aged, and now a prisoner also of Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:9). As the Gentile Churches grew, reverence for his person deepened; and the success of his life mission became more assured, especially now that the struggle with reactionary Judaism, signalized by the Epistles of the third missionary journey, was to a large extent decided in his favour. The false teachers he is now opposing did not, we should gather, attack the apostle personally; but may rather have claimed to be on his side. The movement of thought we have followed in vers. 15-23 proceeds from Christ's redeeming work to the experience of the Colossians in receiving it, and the labours of the apostle in publishing it; and is parallel to that of Ephesians 1:20-3:13. Here, however, the second of these topics has been made quite subordinate (vers. 21-23: comp. Ephesians it.). The third is the subject of our next section. Colossians 1:23Continue in the faith (ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει)

The verb means to stay at or with (ἐπί). So Philippians 1:24, to abide by the flesh. See on Romans 6:1. The faith is not the gospel system (see on Acts 6:7), but the Colossians' faith in Christ. Your faith would be better.

Grounded and settled (τεθελεωμένοι καὶ ἑδραῖοι)

For grounded, see on settle, 1 Peter 5:10; compare Luke 6:48, Luke 6:49; Ephesians 3:17. Settled, from ἕδρα a seat. Rev., steadfast. See 1 Corinthians 7:37; 1 Corinthians 15:58, the only other passages where it occurs. Compare ἑδραίωμα ground, 1 Timothy 3:15. Bengel says: "The former is metaphorical, the latter more literal. The one implies greater respect to the foundation by which believers are supported; but settled suggests inward strength which believers themselves possess."

Moved away (μετακινούμενοι)

The present participle signifying continual shifting. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:58.

To every creature (ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει)

Rev, correctly, in all creation. See on 2 Corinthians 5:17, and compare Colossians 1:15.

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