Colossians 1:9
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9-12) From thanksgiving St. Paul passes, as always, to pray for them. The prayer is for their full and perfect knowledge of God’s will; but this is emphatically connected with practical “walking” in that will, first by fruitfulness in good work, next by showing themselves strong in Christ to endure sufferings, lastly by thankful acceptance of God’s call to inheritance among the saints in light. There is a hearty recognition of the blessing of knowledge (on which the incipient Gnosticism of the day was so eloquent); but it is to be tried by the three tests of practical goodness, patience, and thankful humility.

(9) Do not cease to pray for you.—Comp. Ephesians 1:16. “To pray” (see Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6) is the general word for “to worship”; “to desire” indicates prayer, properly so called, asking from God what is requisite and necessary for ourselves or for others.

The knowledge of his will.—The “knowledge” here spoken of is the “full knowledge,” to be attained in measure here, to be made perfect in heaven. See 1Corinthians 13:12, “Now I know in part; but then shall I know (perfectly) even as I am known.” On this word, especially frequent in the Epistles of the captivity, see Note on Ephesians 1:17. It should be noted that the knowledge here prayed for is “the knowledge of God’s will”—not speculation as to the nature of God, or as to emanations from Deity, or even as to the reasons of God’s mysterious counsels, but knowledge of what actually is His will, both in the dispensation which is to be accepted in faith, and in the commandments to be obeyed in love. So St. Paul (in 1Timothy 1:4-5) contrasts with the “fables and endless genealogies” of Gnostic speculation, “the end of the commandment,” “charity out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned.”

In all wisdom and spiritual understanding.—This “knowledge of God’s will” is man’s “wisdom.” For “wisdom” is the knowledge of the true end of life; which is (as the Book of Ecclesiastes so tragically shows) vainly sought, if contemplated apart from God’s will, but found (see Ecclesiastes 12:13; Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7) in the “fear of the Lord” and the “keeping of His commandments.” (On the relation of the supreme gift of wisdom to lesser cognate gifts, see Note on Ephesians 1:8.) “Understanding” here is properly the faculty of spiritual insight or judgment, the speculative exercise of wisdom, as the “prudence” of Ephesians 1:8 is the practical. Hence St. Paul subjoins the practical element at once in the next verse.

Colossians 1:9-11. For this cause — The report of your faith and love; we do not cease to pray for you — We fail not to remember you in all our prayers. This was mentioned in general, Colossians 1:3, but now more particularly; that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will — That is, his revealed will concerning the salvation of mankind by faith, (Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11,) or the gospel of Christ, — the truths declared, the blessings offered, and the duties enjoined in it; in all wisdom — That ye may have just, clear, and full views of every part of it; and spiritual understanding — That understanding which proceeds from the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, spoken of Ephesians 1:17, (where see the notes,) and is a spiritual and experimental, and therefore a practical knowledge of divine things, very different from that mere speculative and notional knowledge of them with which many rest satisfied, though it neither changes their hearts nor governs their lives. That — Knowing his will, and complying with it; you may walk worthy of the Lord — May conduct yourselves in a manner suitable to his nature and attributes, the relation in which you stand to him, the benefits you have received from him, and the profession you make of believing in, loving, and serving him; unto all pleasing — So as actually to please him in all things. The apostle mentions next four particulars included in this walking worthy of the Lord. 1st, The being fruitful in every good work — Or embracing all opportunities of doing good to the bodies and souls of men, according to our ability, and thus showing our faith continually by our works, and our love by our obedience, James 2:14-18; 1 John 3:17. And, 2d, Increasing in the knowledge — The experimental practical knowledge; of God — That is, while we are diligent in performing good works outwardly, taking care that we increase in vital religion inwardly, even in a participation of the divine nature, and a conformity to the divine image. 3d, Receiving and bearing with patience, long-suffering, and joyfulness — All the sufferings which come upon us in the course of divine providence: in other words, that we sustain, with entire resignation to, and acquiescence in, the divine will, and with a calm and tranquil mind, all the chastisements of our heavenly Father, knowing they are for our profit; and all the trials by which it is his will our faith and other graces should be exercised, and all the purifying fires through which he is pleased to lead us; that we patiently bear with the infirmities, failings, and faults of our fellow-creatures, saints or sinners, and receive even their injuries and provocations without resentment; and that in the midst of all these apparent evils, we rejoice on account of the present blessings we possess, and especially in the knowledge we have that all these, and such like things, however afflictive to flesh and blood, shall infallibly work together for our good, while we love God. Well might the apostle signify, that, in order to all this, we need to be strengthened with all might, or very mightily strengthened, according to God’s glorious power, always ready to be exerted in behalf of his suffering people. The fourth particular mentioned by the apostle, as included in walking worthy of the Lord, is continual gratitude for the blessings enumerated in the three next verses; blessings which whosoever enjoys, has unspeakable reason for thankfulness, whatever his state or condition may be as to the present world.1:9-14 The apostle was constant in prayer, that the believers might be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all wisdom. Good words will not do without good works. He who undertakes to give strength to his people, is a God of power, and of glorious power. The blessed Spirit is the author of this. In praying for spiritual strength, we are not straitened, or confined in the promises, and should not be so in our hopes and desires. The grace of God in the hearts of believers is the power of God; and there is glory in this power. The special use of this strength was for sufferings. There is work to be done, even when we are suffering. Amidst all their trials they gave thanks to the Father of our Lord Jesus, whose special grace fitted them to partake of the inheritance provided for the saints. To bring about this change, those were made willing subjects of Christ, who were slaves of Satan. All who are designed for heaven hereafter, are prepared for heaven now. Those who have the inheritance of sons, have the education of sons, and the disposition of sons. By faith in Christ they enjoyed this redemption, as the purchase of his atoning blood, whereby forgiveness of sins, and all other spiritual blessings were bestowed. Surely then we shall deem it a favour to be delivered from Satan's kingdom and brought into that of Christ, knowing that all trials will soon end, and that every believer will be found among those who come out of great tribulation.Do not cease to pray for you - Colossians 1:3. The progress which they had already made, and the love which they had shown, constituted an encouragement for prayer, and a reason why higher blessings still should be sought. We always feel stimulated and encouraged to pray for those who are doing well.

That ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will - They had shown by their faith and love that they were disposed to do his will, and the apostle now prays that they might be fully acquainted with what he would have them do. He offered a similar prayer in behalf of the Ephesians; see the parallel place in Ephesians 1:17-19, and the notes at those verses.

In all wisdom - That you may be truly wise in all things; Ephesians 1:17.

And spiritual understanding - In understanding those things that pertain to the "Spirit;" that is, those things taught by the Holy Spirit, and those which he produces in the work of salvation; see the notes at 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; compare 1 John 2:20; 1 John 5:20.

9. we also—on our part.

heard it—(Col 1:4).

pray—Here he states what in particular he prays for; as in Col 1:3 he stated generally the fact of his praying for them.

to desire—"to make request."

might be filled—rather, "may be filled"; a verb, often found in this Epistle (Col 4:12, 17).

knowledge—Greek, "full and accurate knowledge." Akin to the Greek for "knew" (see on [2400]Col 1:6).

of his will—as to how ye ought to walk (Eph 5:17); as well as chiefly that "mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself; that in the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ" (Eph 1:9, 10); God's "will," whereby He eternally purposed to reconcile to Himself, and save men by Christ, not by angels, as the false teachers in some degree taught (Col 2:18) [Estius]. There seems to have been a want of knowledge among the Colossians; notwithstanding their general excellencies; hence he so often dwells on this subject (Col 1:28; Col 2:2, 3; 3:10, 13; 4:5, 6). On the contrary he less extols wisdom to the Corinthians, who were puffed up with the conceit of knowledge.

wisdom—often mentioned in this Epistle, as opposed to the (false) "philosophy" and "show of wisdom" (Col 2:8, 23; compare Eph 1:8).

understanding—sagacity to discern what on each occasion is suited to the place and the time; its seat is "the understanding" or intellect; wisdom is more general and has its seat in the whole compass of the faculties of the soul [Bengel]. "Wouldst thou know that the matters in the word of Christ are real things? Then never read them for mere knowledge sake" [Quoted by Gaussen.] Knowledge is desirable only when seasoned by "spiritual understanding."

For this cause we also; he doth here suggest the motive mentioned in the precedent verses, viz. their faith and love, Colossians 1:4,5, and their special love to him, Colossians 1:8, why he and his brethren had them so much upon their hearts: See Poole on "Ephesians 1:15-17".

Since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you: it seems, from the time they were refreshed with these things they did (as he exhorts the Colossians here, Colossians 4:2) always upon all solemn occasions wait upon God for the Colossians’ spiritual prosperity, as Paul himself did for the Philippians: See Poole on "Luke 18:1". See Poole on "Romans 12:12". See Poole on "Philippians 1:4". See Poole on "Philippians 1:9". See Poole on "1 Thessalonians 5:17".

And to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will; and the subject matter of their instant prayer was, that they might attain to a more distinct, clear, and practical knowledge of the mind of God in Christ, and a greater measure of conformity to what he requires in the gospel, Colossians 1:6 Ephesians 5:15-17.

In all wisdom; in (rather than with) all necessary knowledge of the things of faith and manners, according to the prescript of the gospel: for sapience or wisdom doth properly respect the most excellent things, and such we learn most distinctly and satisfactorily from the revealed will of God, which we have in the Bible: this is that which Paul and other holy men spoke as taught of God amongst the perfect or grown Christians, in opposition both to the wisdom of man and of the world, 1 Corinthians 2:4,6, being agreeable to the will of God, Job 28:28 Proverbs 28:7 John 6:40 1 Thessalonians 4:3. And with this Christian wisdom some would render the following words, in

spiritual prudence, but if we render it understanding, or intelligence, it may be expounded to the same sense; for which there may be very good reason, for the philosopher doth sometimes by the Greek word mean that power or habit whereby men judge aright of things presented conducing to happiness, so as upon a due expense of circumstances to discern the good from the evil, the true from the false, and the real from the apparent: such a gift as Paul prays the Lord would give unto Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:7, compared with 1 Corinthians 1:5, that they might rightly distinguish between the simplicity and purity of the gospel, and those false glosses and colours that false teachers went about to sophisticate it with; not be without understanding his some who followed our Saviour, Matthew 15:16 what course they should take in the practice of piety, but be able to discern the times, 1 Chronicles 12:32, and other circumstances, Psalm 39:1 50:23 Ecclesiastes 5:1 Luke 8:18; for the ordering their actions aright, so as they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, as becomes the gospel, Ephesians 1:8, with Philippians 1:10,27 Col 4:5 Titus 2:10. Ignorance then can be no mother of true devotion, nor the inventions of men acceptable service to the living God, whose will alone is the rule of his worship. For this cause we also,.... Not merely for their love to the apostle, and the rest that were with him; which sense is too much contracted, and carries some appearance of meanness and selfishness; but because of their faith in Christ, their love to all the saints, and the good hope they had of eternal happiness; and because they had heard the Gospel, and truly knew it, and sincerely professed it: therefore,

since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire; which shows that the apostles prayed without ceasing; not that they were every moment praying, without intermission, but that they were frequent and constant every day at the throne of grace; and as often as they were there, they were mindful of these Colossians, even ever since they heard of their reception of the Gospel, of their profession of it, and of the fruit it brought forth in them; and in their petitions "prayed" and "desired", earnestly and importunately entreated God on their behalf:

that ye might he filled with the knowledge of his will; the will "of God", as the Syriac version reads it, by which is meant, not the secret will of God, according to the counsel of which he does all things in nature, providence, and grace, but his revealed will; and that either as it is signified in the law, which declares the good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God, relating to what he would have done, or avoided by his creatures; or rather, as it is exhibited in the Gospel, which contains the will of God respecting the salvation of his chosen ones; as that it is his will that Christ should obtain eternal redemption for them, to do which he voluntarily substituted himself in their room, came into this world, and has accomplished it; and that all those that are redeemed by Christ should be regenerated by the Spirit; and that whoever sees the Son, and believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life; as also, that all those whom he has chosen in Christ, and given to him, and he has redeemed by his blood, and who are sanctified by his Spirit, none of them should be lost, but that they should be all saved with an everlasting salvation. Now the apostle does, not pray that they might have a "knowledge" of this will of God, for some knowledge of it they had already; they had heard of the hope laid up in heaven, in the truth of the word of the Gospel; they had not only had the external, revelation, and had heard the Gospel outwardly preached, but they had known truly the grace of God; and therefore what he asks for is, that they might be "filled" with the knowledge of it; which supposes that they had knowledge, but it was not full and complete; it was imperfect, as is the knowledge of the best of saints in this life; and that they might have a larger measure of it, and such a fulness of it as they were capable of in the present state, and not such an one as the saints will have in heaven, when they shall know even as they are known. He adds,

in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; his meaning is, that they might be led into all the wisdom of God, which is so largely displayed in the revelation of his will concerning the salvation of his people, which is made in the Gospel; which is the manifold wisdom of God, wherein he has abounded in all wisdom and prudence; and contains such a scheme of things, so wisely contrived and formed, that angels desire to look into it; and that they might have a "spiritual understanding" of the mysteries of grace, without which they cannot be discerned to spiritual advantage, nor indeed without the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of them: and the Ethiopic version renders it, by "the prudence of the Holy Ghost": who searches the deep things of God, and reveals them to the saints, and improves and increases their spiritual and experimental knowledge of them, which is what is here intended.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of {f} his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

(f) God's will.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 1:9. Intercession, down to Colossians 1:12.

διὰ τοῦτο] on account of all that has been said from ἀκούσαντες in Colossians 1:4 onward: induced thereby, we also cease not, etc. This reference is required by ἀφʼ ἧς ἡμέρας ἠκούσαμεν, which cannot correspond to the δηλώσας ἡμῖν, belonging as that does merely to an accessory thought, but must take up again (in opposition to Bleek and Hofmann) the ἀκούσαντες which was said in Colossians 1:4. This resumption is emphatic, not tautological (Holtzmann).

καὶ ἡμεῖς] are to be taken together, and it is not allowable to join καί either with διὰ τοῦτο (de Wette), or even with προσευχ. (Baumgarten-Crusius). The words are to be rendered: We also (I and Timothy), like others, who make the same intercession for you, and among whom there is mentioned by name the founder of the church, who stood in closest relation to them.

προσευχ.] “Precum mentionem generatim fecit, Colossians 1:3; nunc exprimit, quid precetur” (Bengel).

καὶ αἰτούμενοι] adds the special (asking) to the general (praying). Comp. 1Ma 3:44; Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; Ephesians 6:18; Php 4:6. As to the popular form of hyperbole, οὐ παυόμ., comp. on Ephesians 1:16. On ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, so far as it is also to be taken with κ. αἰτούμ., comp. Lys. c. Alc. p. 141.

ἵνα πληρωθ.] Contents of the asking in the form of its purpose. Comp. on Php 1:9. The emphasis lies not on πληρωθ. (F. Nitzsch, Hofmann), but on the object (comp. Romans 15:14; Romans 1:29, al.), which gives to the further elucidation in Colossians 1:9-10 its specific definition of contents.

τὴν ἐπίγν. τοὺ θελ. αὐτοῦ] with the knowledge of His will, accusative, as in Php 1:11; αὐτοῦ applies to God as the subject, to whom prayer and supplication are addressed. The context in Colossians 1:10 shows that by the θέλημα is meant, not the counsel of redemption (Ephesians 1:9; Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and many others, including Huther and Dalmer), but, doubtless (Matthew 6:10), that which God wills in a moral respect (so Theodoret, who makes out a contrast with the νομικαῖς παρατηρήσεσιν). Comp. Romans 2:18; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 5:17; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 4:12. The distinction between γνῶσις and ἐπίγνωσις, which both here and also in Colossians 1:10; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 3:10, is the knowledge which grasps and penetrates into the object, is incorrectly denied by Olshausen. See on Ephesians 1:17.

ἐν πάσῃ κ.τ.λ.] instrumental definition of manner, how, namely, this πληρωθῆναι τὴν ἐπίγν. τ. θελ. αὐτοῦ (a knowledge which is to be the product not of mere human mental activity, but of objectively divine endowment by the Holy Spirit) must be brought about: by every kind of spiritual wisdom and insight, by the communication of these from God; comp. on Ephesians 1:8. A combination with the following περιπατῆσαι (comp. Colossians 4:5 : ἐν σοφίᾳ περιπ.), such as Hofmann suggests, is inappropriate, because the two parts of the whole intercession stand to one another in the relation of the divine ethical foundation, (Colossians 1:9), and of the corresponding practical conduct of life (Colossians 1:10 f.); hence the latter portion is most naturally and emphatically headed by the expression of this Christian practice, the περιπατῆσαι, to which are then subjoined its modal definitions in detail. Accordingly, περιπατῆσαι is not, with Hofmann, to be made dependent on τοῦ θελήμ. αὐτοῦ and taken as its contents, but τ. θελ. τ. Θ. is to be left as an absolute idea, as in Colossians 4:12. On πνευματικός, proceeding from the Holy Spirit,[16] comp. Romans 1:11; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 12:1; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 5:19, et al. The σύνεσις is the insight, in a theoretical and (comp. on Mark 12:33) practical respect, depending upon judgment and inference, Ephesians 3:4; 2 Timothy 2:7. For the opposite of the pneumatic σύνεσις, see 1 Corinthians 1:19. It is related to the σοφία as the special to the general, since it is peculiarly the expression of the intelligence in the domain of truth,[17] while the ΣΟΦΊΑ concerns the collective faculties of the mind, the activities of knowledge, willing, and feeling, the tendency and working of which are harmoniously subservient to the recognised highest aim, if the wisdom is πνευματική; its opposite is the ΣΟΦΊΑ ΣΑΡΚΙΚΉ (2 Corinthians 1:12; Colossians 1:9-14. PAUL’S UNCEASING PRAYER FOR THAT MORAL DISCERNMENT WHICH WILL ENABLE THEM TO PLEASE GOD IN ALL THEIR CONDUCT, THAT STRENGTH WHICH WILL GIVE THEM ENDURANCE IN FACE OF ALL PROVOCATION AND TRIAL, AND THAT THANKFULNESS TO GOD, WHICH BEFITS THE GREAT DELIVERANCE HE HAS ACHIEVED FOR THEM THROUGH HIS SON.9–12. thanksgiving passes into prayer that they may will and walk with god

9. For this cause] In view of the whole happy report from Colossæ.

we also] The “also” means that the news of the loving life at Colossæ was met by the loving prayer of Paul and his friends.

since the day, &c.] The phrase used above of the Colossians, Colossians 1:6. This (as Lightfoot remarks) gives a point to the “also.”

do not cease to pray] So Ephesians 1:16; and see Acts 20:31. An “affectionate hyperbole” (Ellicott); and such hyperboles are absolutely truthful, between hearts in perfect sympathy. On St Paul’s prayers, see above on Colossians 1:3.

to desire] The word defines the more general idea conveyed by “pray” just above. “Prayer” (in the Greek, as with us) may include many directions of thought in worship; “desire” fixes the direction, that of petition.—On the verbs used for praying, asking, and the like, in the Greek Scriptures, see Grimm’s Greek-Eng. Lex. to N.T. (ed. Thayer), under αἰτεῖν.

Desire,” as very often in the English Bible, here means “make request” (A.V.). See e.g. 2 Kings 4:28; Psalm 27:4; Matthew 16:1; Acts 7:46; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 1 John 5:15. This meaning is still not uncommon.

filled] A word and thought often occurring in similar connexions in St Paul. Cp. Romans 15:13-14; Romans 15:29; 2 Corinthians 7:4; Ephesians 3:19; Ephesians 5:18; Php 1:11; Php 2:2; Php 4:19, below, Colossians 2:10; 2 Timothy 1:4.—Nothing short of the total of what God can and will give to the saints satisfies his inspired desire.

knowledge] Epignôsis; more than gnôsis. See above on Colossians 1:6.

of his will] Cp. Ephesians 5:17, and our note there.—“Thou sweet, beloved will of God,”[79] is meant by the Gospel to be the Christian’s always underlying and ruling thought and choice. And such an attitude of soul, if genuinely taken, will lead direct to an active enquiry “what the will of the Lord is.” Mme. Guyon, on this verse (La Sainte Bible) writes characteristically and truly: “All perfection consists in doing the will of God … the works which seem greatest are nothing if they are not in the will of God.… The more the soul does the will of God in all things, the more it knows God.”

[79] See the hymn beginning, Liebwerther, süsser Gottes-Wille, in Tersteegen’s Blumengârtlein; translated in Hymns of Consecration and Faith, No. 257.

spiritual] As due to the gift and teaching of the Spirit. The adjective should be placed before “wisdom” (as R.V.), qualifying both it and “understanding.”

understanding] A narrower and more precise word than “wisdom.” The man spiritually “wise” brings that characteristic habit of thought to bear on special questions, and spiritually “understands” them. Cp. for a partial parallel Ephesians 1:17. And for the Apostle’s desire that his converts should (under the Holy Spirit’s guidance) “think for themselves,” see 1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:14.Colossians 1:9. Ἠκούσαμεν, we have heard) Colossians 1:4.—προσευχόμενοι, praying) He made mention of prayers for them generally, Colossians 1:3 : he now states what he prays for.—πληρωθῆτε, ye may be filled) This verb, with its derivatives (conjugates), often occurs in this epistle, as far as ch. Colossians 4:12; Colossians 4:17.—τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ, with the knowledge of His will) There is a gradation in the following verse, in the knowledge of GOD.—τοῦ θελήματος, will) Ephesians 5:17; Ephesians 1:9.—σοφίᾳ, in wisdom) a word often used in this epistle; that they may be led the more from false wisdom and philosophy, Ephesians 1:8. [There seems to have been a want of knowledge among the Colossians, who were otherwise of an excellent spirit; wherefore the apostle urges that point with so great earnestness throughout the whole epistle, Colossians 1:11; Colossians 1:28; Colossians 2:2-3; Colossians 3:10; Colossians 3:16; Colossians 4:5-6.—V. g.] Knowledge is less recommended to the Corinthians, who were more apt to be puffed up. Wisdom denotes taste: comp. Matthew 23:34, note.—συνέσει, understanding) that you may discern what is consistent with, or opposed to the truth, and may not pass by what requires consideration. Wisdom (σοφία) is something more general; ΣΎΝΕΣΙς is a kind of sagacity. So that on every occasion, there may suggest itself something which is suited to the place and time. ΣΎΝΕΣΙς is in the understanding; wisdom is in the whole compass (complexu) of the faculties of the soul.—πνευματικῇ, spiritual) not natural.Verse 9. - For this cause we also (Ephesians 1:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13). Timothy and I, in return for your love to us (ver. 8) and in response to this good news about you (vers. 4-6). From the day that we heard (it); an echo of "from the day that ye heard it" (ver. 6). Do not cease praying for you, and making request. The former is a general expression (ver. 3), the latter points to some special matter of petition to follow. This second verb St. Paul only uses elsewhere of prayer to God in Ephesians 3:13, 20 (see Trench's 'Synonyms' on αἱτέω, αἵτημα). That ye may be filled with (or, made complete in) the knowledge of his will (Colossians 2:10; Colossians 4:12; Ephesians 3:18, 19; Romans 12:2; Hebrews 13:21). On "knowledge" (ἐπίγνωσις), see note. to ver. 6, and Lightfoot's note here. "With the knowledge" represents the Greek accusative of specification (as in Philippians 1:11, where see Ellicott); and the verb πληρωθῆτε (comp. note on pleroma, ver. 19), as in Colossians 2:10 and Colossians 1:25, denotes "fulfilled" or "made complete," rather than "made full" - "made complete as to the full knowledge," etc. "His will" ("God's will," ver. 1; Colossians 4:12) need not be limited to the original purpose of salvation (Ephesians 1:9), or to his moral requirements respecting Christian believers (ver. 10; so Meyer), but includes "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) made known to us in Christ (vers. 26, 27). In all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 2:2; Ephesians 5:17; Philippians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 14:20). Wisdom, in its highest sense, is the sum of personal excellence as belonging to the mind; it implies a vital knowledge of Divine truth, forming the sentiments and determining the will as it possesses the reason, Hence the word occurs in a great variety of connections: Wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), "and prudence" (Ephesians 1:8), etc. For this Church the apostle asks specially the gift of understanding or comprehension, (comp. Colossians 2:2; only in Ephesians 3:4 and 2 Timothy 2:7 besides, in St. Paul; 1 Corinthians 1:19 from LXX), the power of putting things together (σύν(εσις), of discerning the relations of different truths, the logical bearing and consequences of one's principles. For the errors invading Colossae were of a Gnostic type, mystic at once and rationalistic; against which a clear and well-informed understanding was the best protection (comp. notes on "truth," in vers. 5, 6; also Colossians 2:4, 8, 18, 23; Ephesians 4:13, 14). This "wisdom and understanding" are "spiritual," as inspired by the Divine Spirit (comp. the use of "spirit," "spiritual," in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Galatians 6:1 and Gal 5:16, 25; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 3:16-19), and opposed to all "wisdom of the flesh," the unrenewed nature of man (Colossians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 2:4-6, 13-15; James 3:15). We also

Marking the reciprocal feeling of Paul and Timothy with that of the Colossians.

Pray - desire (προσευχόμενοι - αἰτούμενοι)

The words occur together in Mark 11:24. The former is general, the latter special. Rev. make request is better than desire. The A.V. renders indiscriminately ask and desire. Rev. alters desire to ask. Desire in the sense of ask occurs in Shakespeare and Spenser.

Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσιν)

See on Romans 3:20; see on Plm 1:6. Full knowledge. See Romans 1:21, Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 13:12, where Paul contrasts γινώσκειν to know γνῶσις knowledge, with ἐπιγινώσκειν to know fully, ἐπίγνωσις full knowledge. Here appropriate to the knowledge of God in Christ as the perfection of knowledge.

Wisdom and spiritual understanding (σοφίᾳ καὶ συνέσει πνευματικῇ)

Rev., better, applies spiritual to both - spiritual wisdom and understanding. The kindred adjectives σοφός wise and συνετός prudent, occur together, Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21. For σοφία wisdom, see on Romans 11:33, and on wise, James 3:13. For σύνεσις understanding, see on Mark 12:33, and see on prudent, Matthew 11:25. The distinction is between general and special. Understanding is the critical apprehension of particulars growing out of wisdom, which apprehension is practically applied by φρόνησις prudence, see on Luke 1:17; see on Ephesians 1:8. Spiritual is emphatic, as contrasted with the vain philosophy of false teachers.

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