Colossians 1:8
Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Who also declared unto us.—This refers to news recently brought by Epaphras to St. Paul at Rome. He had been a minister in St. Paul’s stead; he now, like Timothy afterwards, visited him to give account of his deputed work.

Your love in the Spirit.—“In the Spirit” is “in the grace of the Holy Ghost”—the Spirit of love. The love here would seem to be especially love towards St. Paul, a part of the “love towards all the saints” ascribed to them above (Colossians 1:4).

1:1-8 All true Christians are brethren one to another. Faithfulness runs through every character and relation of the Christian life. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces in the Christian life, and proper matter for prayer and thanksgiving. The more we fix our hopes on the reward in the other world, the more free shall we be in doing good with our earthly treasure. It was treasured up for them, no enemy could deprive them of it. The gospel is the word of truth, and we may safely venture our souls upon it. And all who hear the word of the gospel, ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, obey it, and have their principles and lives formed according to it. Worldly love arises, either from views of interest or from likeness in manners; carnal love, from the appetite for pleasure. To these, something corrupt, selfish, and base always cleaves. But Christian love arises from the Holy Spirit, and is full of holiness.Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit - The love wrought in you by the Holy Spirit. It was not mere natural affection, but love worked in their hearts by the agency of the Holy Spirit. 8. your love—(Col 1:4); "to all the saints."

in the Spirit—the sphere or element IN which alone true love is found; as distinguished from the state of those "in the flesh" (Ro 8:9). Yet even they needed to be stirred up to greater love (Col 3:12-14). Love is the first and chief fruit of the Spirit (Ga 5:22).

Having with kindness and delight reported to Paul and Timothy, &c., what a spiritually fervent affection, not moved by carnal considerations, but inwrought by the Spirit, Galatians 5:6,22, arising from a renewed heart, 1 Timothy 1:5 2 Timothy 1:7, they had for Christ, for the gospel, the apostle, and all that did love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, Galatians 6:10 1 Peter 1:22,23.

Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. Not only their love to God, and Christ, and to all the saints, which is before mentioned, but their love to the apostle; though they had only heard of him, and of his great capacity for, and faithfulness and usefulness in preaching of the Gospel, which had greatly endeared him to them. This, he says, was in the Spirit; it was spiritual love, to distinguish it from a carnal and worldly one; they loved him for the spiritual grace that was in him, the spiritual gifts bestowed on him, the spiritual service he was engaged in, and the spiritual usefulness he was of: or they loved him in, and with their spirits, with all their hearts, sincerely, and without dissimulation; and though they had never seen him in the flesh, yet being, as it were, present with him in spirit, their affections were knit unto him: or this their love was "in the Holy Spirit", as the Ethiopic version reads it; it was a fruit of the Spirit of God, which he had implanted in their hearts in regeneration, as is also love to God, and likewise to Christ. {2} Who also declared unto us your love in the {e} Spirit.

(2) He declares his good will towards them, telling them that they must not still remain at one place, but go on further both in the knowledge of the Gospel, and also in the true use of it.

(e) Your spiritual love, or your love which comes from the Spirit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 1:8. τὴν ὑμῶν ἀγάπην may be taken in the general sense of Colossians 1:4, though many think it is their love to Paul that is meant; and this is favoured by δηλ. ἡμ., and perhaps by καὶ ἡμεῖς in Colossians 1:9. ἐν πνεύματι is added to show that this love is in the Holy Spirit.

8. also] “As he preached to you from us, so also he brought back from us to you the tidings, etc.” (Lightfoot.)

your love] See on Colossians 1:4 above.

in the Spirit] “In” Whom they were (Romans 8:9).—Cp. Romans 15:30, where probably “the love” spoken of is that quickened in the hearts of the saints by the Holy Ghost. (See our note there. Cp. also 2 Timothy 1:7).—“Love” is the first and ruling ingredient in the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22), by Whom “the love of God hath been poured out in our hearts” (Romans 5:5), sure prelude and secret of a regenerate love to others.

Verse 8. - Who also showed us your love in (the) Spirit (2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; Philippians 4:10); i.e. your love to us. Timothy and myself, especially if we read "in our behalf" in ver. 7: so, many interprefers, from Chrysostom to Klopper. Epaphras had conveyed the blessings of the gospel from St. Paul to the Colossians, and they now send back the grateful assurance of their love by the same channel (comp, note on "having heard," ver. 4, and parallel passages). This was a choice fruit of the gospel in them (comp. Philippians 4:10, 15-18), and such a reference to it gives a kindly conclusion to the thanksgiving. Ellicott and others understand here brotherly love in general - a somewhat pointless repetition of ver. 4. Meyer, reading "on your behalf" in ver. 7. more suitably suggests the Colossians' love to Epaphras in return for his services to them. The Spirit is the ruling element of the Colossians' love (Galatians 5:22) Love-in-the-Sprat forms a single compound phrase, like "faith-in-Christ-Jesus" (ver. 4). The one Spirit dwells alike in all the members of Christ's body, however sundered by place or circumstance (Ephesians 4:1-4), and makes them one in love to each other as to him (John 13:34, 35; 1 John 3:23, 24). "Spirit" occurs besides in this Epistle only in Colossians 2:5 (but see "spiritual," ver. 9), and some find in Colossians 2:1, 5 the explanation of this phrase (sc. "a love formed in absence, without personal intercourse:" but this is forced, and doubtful in point of grammar). Verses 9-14. - The opening prayer rises out of the foregoing thanksgiving, and leads up to the chief doctrinal statement of the Epistle (vers. 15-20: compare, for the connection, Ephesians 1:15-23; Romans 1:8-17). The burden of this prayer, as in other letters of this period, is the Church's need of knowledge (comp. Ephesians 1:17, 18; Philippians 1:9, 10). Here this desire has its fullest expression, as the necessity of the Colossians in this. respect was the more urgent and their situation, therefore, the more fully representative of the stage in the history of the Pauline Churches now commencing. He asks for his readers

(1) a fuller knowledge of the Divine will (ver. 9); to result in

(2) greater pleasingness to God (ver. 10 a), due

(3) to increased moral fruitfulness and spiritual growth (ver. 10 b), to

(4) patience under suffering (ver. 11), and to

(5) thankfulness for the blessings of redemption (vers. 12-14). Colossians 1:8Declared (δηλώσας)

Or made manifest. See on 1 Corinthians 1:11.

In the Spirit

Connect with your love. Compare Galatians 5:22.

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