Colossians 2:2
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
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(2) Comfortedi.e., encouraged, or strengthened, both to stand fast and to advance in the faith.

Knit together.—The word here used has two senses; first, “to bring, or knit, together” (as in Colossians 2:19, and Ephesians 4:16); next,” to carry with us” in argument—i.e., to “instruct,” or “convince” (as in Acts 9:22; Acts 16:10; 1Corinthians 2:16). Either would give good sense here; but the usage in this and the Ephesian Epistle, and the addition of the words “in love,” are decisive for the former sense.

And unto . . . the full assurance of understanding (or, rather, intelligence, as in Colossians 1:9).—The idea of the passage is precisely that of Philippians 1:9, “I pray that your love may abound (or, overflow) more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment (or, perception).” St. Paul bids them seek the fulness of intelligence which they were taught to crave for, not through the rashness of speculation, but through the insight of love. So in Ephesians 3:17-19 he prays that “being rooted and grounded in love, they may know . . . that which passeth knowledge;” for Christian knowledge is the knowledge of a personal Saviour, and in all personal knowledge he knows best who loves best.

The acknowledgement . . .—This clause—which explains what the “fulness of intelligence” is—is altogether obscured in our version. It should be rendered, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God, which is Christ. Above we read (Colossians 1:27), “this mystery, which is Christ in you.” There Christ, as indwelling in man, is the mystery which alone solves the problem of humanity—what it is, and whither it tends. Here Christ is the “mystery of God”—i.e. (according to the Scriptural meaning of the word “mystery”), He in whom the inscrutable nature of God, rich in the “hidden treasure of wisdom and knowledge,” is revealed to us. The name again leads up to the doctrine of “the Word of God.”

2:1-7 The soul prospers when we have clear knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. When we not only believe with the heart, but are ready, when called, to make confession with the mouth. Knowledge and faith make a soul rich. The stronger our faith, and the warmer our love, the more will our comfort be. The treasures of wisdom are hid, not from us, but for us, in Christ. These were hid from proud unbelievers, but displayed in the person and redemption of Christ. See the danger of enticing words; how many are ruined by the false disguises and fair appearances of evil principles and wicked practices! Be aware and afraid of those who would entice to any evil; for they aim to spoil you. All Christians have, in profession at least, received Jesus Christ the Lord, consented to him, and taken him for theirs. We cannot be built up in Christ, or grow in him, unless we are first rooted in him, or founded upon him. Being established in the faith, we must abound therein, and improve in it more and more. God justly withdraws this benefit from those who do not receive it with thanksgiving; and gratitude for his mercies is justly required by God.That their hearts might be comforted - Like all other Christians in the times of the apostles, they were doubtless exposed to trials and persecutions.

Being knit together in love - The same word which is used here (συμβιβάζω sumbibazō) occurs in Ephesians 4:16, and is rendered compacted; see the notes at that place. In Acts 9:22, it is rendered proving; Acts 16:10, assuredly gathering; 1 Corinthians 2:16, instruct; and here, and in Colossians 2:19, knit together. It means, properly, to make to come together, and hence, refers to a firm union, as where the heart of Christians are one. Here it means that the way of comforting each other was by solid Christian friendship, and that the means of cementing that was love. It was not by a mere outward profession, or by mere speculative faith; it was by a union of affection.

And unto all riches - On the meaning of the word "riches," as used by the apostle Paul, see the notes at Romans 2:4. There is a great energy of expression here. The meaning is, that the thing referred to - "the full understanding" of the "mystery" of religion - was an invaluable possession, like abundant wealth. This passage also shows the object for which they should be united. It should be in order that they might obtain this inestimable wealth. If they were divided in affections, and split up into factions, they could not hope to secure it.

Of the full assurance of understanding - This word (πληροφορία plērophoria) means firm persuasion, settled conviction. It occurs only here and in 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22, and is rendered by assurance, or full assurance, in every instance. See the verb, however, in Luke 1:1; Romans 4:21; Romans 14:5; 2 Timothy 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:17. It was the desire of the apostle that they might have entire conviction of the truth of the Christian doctrines.

To the acknowledgment - So as fully and openly to acknowledge or confess this mystery.

The mystery - On the meaning of this word, see the Romans 11:25, note; Ephesians 1:9, note. The meaning is, the doctrine respecting God, which had before been concealed or hidden, but which was now revealed in the gospel. It does not mean that there was any thing unintelligible or incomprehensible respecting this doctrine when it; was made known. That might be as clear as any other truth.

Of God - Of God as he actually subsists. This does not mean that the mere fact of the existence of God was a "mystery," or a truth which had been concealed, for that was not true. But the sense plainly is, that there were truths now made known in the gospel to mankind, about the mode of the divine existence, which had not before been disclosed; and this "mystery" he wished them to retain, or fully acknowledge. The "mystery," or the hitherto unrevealed truth, related to the fact that God subsisted in more persons than one, as "Father," and as "Christ."

And of the Father - Or, rather, "even of the Father;" for so the word καὶ kai (and) is often used. The apostle does not mean that he wished them to acknowledge the hitherto unrevealed truth respecting "God' and another being called "the Father;" but respecting "God" as the "Father," or of God as" Father' and as "Christ."

And of Christ - As a person of the Godhead. What the apostle wished them to acknowledge was, the full revelation now made known respecting the essential nature of God, as the "Father," and as "Christ." In relation to this, they were in special danger of being corrupted by the prevalent philosophy, as it is in relation to this that error of Christian doctrine usually commences. It should be said, however, that there is great variety of reading in the mss. on this whole clause, and that many critics (see Rosenmuller) regard it as spurious. I do not see evidence that it is not genuine; and the strain of exhortation of the apostle seems to me to demand it.

2. Translate, "That their hearts may be comforted." The "their," compared with "you" (Col 2:4), proves that in Col 2:1 the words, "have not seen my face in the flesh," is a general designation of those for whom Paul declares he has "conflict," including the particular species, "you (Colossians) and them at Laodicea." For it is plain, the prayer "that their hearts may be comforted," must include in it the Colossians for whom he expressly says, "I have conflict." Thus it is an abbreviated mode of expression for, "That your and their hearts may be comforted." Alford translates, "confirmed," or allows "comforted" in its original radical sense strengthened. But the Greek supports English Version: the sense, too, is clear: comforted with the consolation of those whom Paul had not seen, and for whom, in consequence, he strove in prayerful conflict the more fervently; inasmuch as we are more anxious in behalf of absent, than present, friends [Davenant]. Their hearts would be comforted by "knowing what conflict he had for" them, and how much he is interested for their welfare; and also by being released from doubts on learning from the apostle, that the doctrine which they had heard from Epaphras was true and certain. In writing to churches which he had instructed face to face, he enters into particular details concerning them, as a father directing his children. But to those among whom he had not been in person, he treats of the more general truths of salvation.

being—Translate as Greek in oldest manuscripts, "They being knit together."

in love—the bond and element of perfect knitting together; the antidote to the dividing schismatical effect of false doctrine. Love to God and to one another in Christ.

unto—the object and end of their being "knit together."

all riches—Greek, "all the riches of the full assurance (1Th 1:5; Heb 6:11; 10:22) of the (Christian) understanding." The accumulation of phrases, not only "understanding," but "the full assurance of understanding"; not only this, but "the riches of," &c., not only this, but "all the riches of," &c., implies how he desires to impress them with the momentous importance of the subject in hand.

to—Translate "unto."

acknowledgment—The Greek implies, "full and accurate knowledge." It is a distinct Greek word from "knowledge," Col 2:3. Alford translates, "thorough … knowledge." Acknowledgment hardly is strong enough; they did in a measure acknowledge the truth; what they wanted was the full and accurate knowledge of it (compare Notes, see on [2411]Col 1:9, 10; [2412]Php 1:9).

of God, and of the Father and of Christ—The oldest manuscripts omit "and of the Father, and of"; then translate, "Of God (namely), Christ." Two very old manuscripts and Vulgate read, "Of God the Father of Christ."

That their hearts might be comforted: whereas false teachers did endeavour to adulterate the Christian institution, the striving of the apostle’s holy soul here was, as in the former chapter, Colossians 1:28, to this end, that they might be complete and established Christians to the last.

Being knit together in love; and as a proper means conductible to this good purpose, he would have them be joined or compacted together, be all of a piece, in the affection and exercise of love.

And unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding; and to attain to a well-grounded, powerful, evangelical faith, which he sets forth livelily by an elegant increase of words, both in regard of the acts and the object of it, which is called a mystery to be believed, 1 Timothy 3:9, upon its being revealed. The sense of that which he heartily desires is that they might have:

1. All abundance of understanding with full satisfaction in these main principles of the gospel they are called to assent to. Signifying faith is no blind, but a certain intelligent persuasion; to distinguish it from uncertain opinion, John 6:69 Romans 4:21 1 Thessalonians 1:5 Hebrews 6:11 10:22.

To the acknowledgment:

2. An inward consent, and vital owning, a cordial embracing of the fundamental truths of the gospel, Ephesians 4:13,14 Heb 6:1, in opposition to those vain speculations and traditions which deluded many. He calls this the mystery of God, or a Divine mystery, (no human invention), as before, Colossians 1:26,27; and so vindicates the dignity of faith and the excellency of the gospel, asserting it to be a mystery of God, not only as the object, but revealer of it; for the Father reveals Christ, Colossians 1:27 Matthew 16:17 Ephesians 3:3, as Christ doth the Father, Matthew 11:27 John 1:18.

Whereas it is said, and of the Father, and of Christ; this first and here needs not be rendered as a copulative, but as exegetical, or as expletive, and may be read, even, or to wit, or both, its (a learned man observes) the Greeks and Latins usually do when the copulative is to be repeated, the name of God referring commonly to the Father and the Son; as elsewhere, God, even the Father, Colossians 1:3 1 Corinthians 15:24 2 Corinthians 11:31 Ephesians 1:3 Philippians 4:20. So the former and here may be read; q.d. The mystery not of God, abstractedly considered; but, I would have you be united and all one, in the acknowledgment of the whole mystery of God, i.e. both of the Father and of Christ.

That their hearts might be comforted,.... Here follow the reasons why the apostle had so great a conflict, on account of the above persons, and why he was so desirous they should know it; one is, the consolation of their hearts. The hearts of God's people often need comfort, by reason of indwelling sin, the temptations of Satan, the hidings of God's face, and afflictive providences; and by reason of false teachers, who greatly trouble them, unsettle their minds, weaken their faith, and fill them with doubts and perplexities, and which was the case with these churches: now the business of Gospel ministers is to comfort such; this is the commission they are sent with; the doctrines of the Gospel are calculated for this very purpose, such as full redemption, free justification, complete pardon of sin, peace and reconciliation; and the bent of their ministry is to comfort distressed minds, upon what account soever; and it must be a comfort to these churches, when they found that they were regarded by so great an apostle; and it might tend to confirm them in the doctrine they had received at first, and deliver them from the scruples the false apostles had injected into their minds, and so administer comfort to them, when they perceived that the apostle approved of the Gospel they had heard and embraced, and rejected the notions of the false teachers:

being knit together in love: as the members of an human body are, by joints and bands; as love is the bond of union between God and his people, Christ and his members, so between saints and saints; it is the cement that joins and keeps them together, and which edifies and builds them up, and whereby they increase with the increase of God; it makes them to be of one heart and one soul; it renders their communion with one another comfortable and delightful, and strengthens them against the common enemy, who is for dividing, and so destroying; and is what is the joy of Gospel ministers, and what they labour at and strive for, and which is another reason of the apostle's conflict:

and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding; that is, spiritual knowledge and understanding, or the understanding of spiritual things; for the understanding of things natural and civil is not designed; nor a mere notional knowledge of spiritual things, which persons may have, and yet not charity, or love, with which this is here joined; and such an one also, which is sure and certain: for as there is such a thing as the assurance of faith, and the assurance of hope, so likewise of understanding of the Gospel, and the truths of it; concerning which there ought to be no doubt, being to be received upon the credit of a divine testimony: moreover, such a knowledge and understanding of divine things is intended, as is large and abundant, signified by "all riches"; for though it is not complete and perfect in this life, yet it takes a vast compass, and reaches to all the deep things of God; to whatever relates to the person and grace of Christ; to all the things of the Spirit of God; to all the blessings and promises of the covenant of grace; to the riches both of grace and glory, to the things of time and eternity, and which is more clearly explained by the following clause:

to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; that is, to a greater and more perfect knowledge, approbation, and confession of the Gospel, which he had in the preceding chapter called the mystery; see Colossians 1:26, and here "the mystery of God", which he is both the author and subject of: it is by him as the efficient cause, ordained by him, and hid in him before the world was; and it is of him, as the subject matter of it; not as the God of nature and providence, which the works of both declare; but as the God of all grace, as God in Christ, which is the peculiar discovery of the Gospel: and "of" him as "the Father" of Christ, which is not discoverable by the light of nature, nor known by natural reason, but is a point of divine revelation; and "of" him as the Father of his people by adoption; and of all his grace, in election to grace and glory; in predestination to sonship, and in the council and covenant of grace; in the scheme of salvation and redemption; in the mission of his Son, and the gift of him as a Saviour and Redeemer. The copulative "and" before "the Father", is left out in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, which read "the mystery of God the Father"; and with it, it may be rendered, as it sometimes is, God, "even the Father": though the word "God" may be considered essentially, and as after distinguished into two of the persons of the Godhead; "the Father" the first person, so called, in relation to his Son, which is no small part of the mystery of the Gospel; and "Christ" the second person, who is equally God with the Father; and the Spirit, who, though not mentioned, is not excluded from this adorable mystery: and which is the mystery "of Christ", he being both the efficient cause and the subject matter of it; it treats of his deity and personality; of his offices, as Mediator, prophet, priest, and King; of his incarnation and redemption; of his grace, righteousness, sacrifice, and satisfaction; of justification by him, pardon through him, and acceptance in him.

{2} That {b} their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the {c} full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

(2) He concludes shortly the sum of the former doctrine, that is, that the whole sum of true wisdom, and most secret knowledge of God, consists in Christ alone, and that this is the use of it with regard to men, that they are knit together in love, and rest themselves happily in the knowledge of so great a goodness, until they come to fully enjoy it.

(b) Whom, he never says.

(c) Of that understanding, which brings forth a certain and undoubted persuasion in our minds.

Colossians 2:2. The end aimed at (ἵνα) in this conflict: in order that their hearts may be comforted, viz. practically by the fact, that they are united in love, etc. Accordingly, συμβιβασθ. κ.τ.λ. contains the mode of that comforting, which ensues, when through loving union the evil of heretical division, whether threatening or already rampant, is removed. Most thoughtfully and lovingly Paul designates the concern of his solicitude as παράκλησις τῶν καρδιῶν αὐτῶν, not impeaching them on account of the heretical seductions, but making those temptations to be felt as a misfortune, in the presence of which one requires comfort (Vulgate: “ut consolentur”). Chrysostom remarks aptly (comp. Theophylact): ἤδη λοιπὸν σπεύδει καὶ ὠδίνει ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὸ δόγμα, οὔτε κατηγορῶν οὔτε ἀπαλλάττων αὐτοὺς κατηγορίας. The explanation which makes παρακαλ. mean, like אמץ (LXX. Deuteronomy 3:28; Job 4:3), to strengthen, confirm (so Huther, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius), is quite opposed to the Pauline usage, according to which it means to exhort (so Luther here), to give consolation (so Hofmann; comp. Bleek), to entreat, to encourage, to comfort; the latter in particular when, as here, it is joined with καρδία. Comp. Colossians 4:8; Ephesians 6:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:17 (also Sir 30:23).

συμβιβασθέντες] referred to the logical subject of the foregoing, i. e. to the persons, of whom αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν was said. See on Ephesians 4:2. It means here not instructi (Vulgate; comp. 1 Corinthians 2:16, and the LXX.), nor yet introduced,[78] which linguistic usage does not permit, but brought together, united, compacti (Colossians 2:19; Ephesians 4:16; Thuc. ii. 29. 5; Herod. i. 74; and see Wetstein and Valckenaer, Schol. I. p. 453 f.). In connection therewith, ἐν ἀγάπῃ, which denotes Christian brotherly love, is the moral element, in which the union is to subsist; to which is then added the telic reference of συμβιβασθ. by καὶ εἰς κ.τ.λ.: united in love and for behoof of the full richness, etc., i.e. in order, by that union, to attain the possession of this full richness, which could not be attained, but only hindered, by division and variance, καὶ εἰς is not to be joined with παρακλ. (Storr, Flatt), since the καί rather adds to the ἐν-relation of the συμβιβ. its εἰς-relation, and is therefore merely the simple and, not etiam (Bengel, Hofmann); but not to be explained either as et quidem (Bähr, Böhmer), or by an ἔλθωσι to be supplied (Olshausen permits a choice between the two).

τῆς πληροφ. τῆς συνέσ.] The full certainty of Christian insight is the lofty blessing, the whole riches of which, i.e. its blissful possession as a whole, they are to attain, so that in no element of the σύνεσις and in no mode thereof does there remain any lack of completely undoubting conviction;[79] comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22; Romans 4:21; Romans 14:5. On the conception of πληροφορεῖν, see Bleek on Hebr. II. 2, p. 233 f. As to σύνεσις, intelligence, both theoretical and practical, comp. on Colossians 1:9; that here also what is specifically Christian is meant κατʼ ἐξοχήν, is plain from the context. See the sequel. The cumulative fulness of the description πᾶν τὸ πλ. τ. πληρ. τ. συνέσ. is naturally and earnestly called forth by the consideration of the dangers which threatened the πληροφ. τ. συνέσ. through the attempts of false teachers (Colossians 2:4). Οἶδα, ὃτι πιστεύετε, ἀλλὰ πληροφορηθῆναι ὑμᾶς βούλομαι· οὐκ εἰς τὸν πλοῦτον μόνον, ἀλλʼ εἰς πάντα τὸν πλοῦτον, ἵνα καὶ ἐν πᾶσι καὶ ἐπιτεταμένως πεπληροφορημένοι ἦτε, Chrysostom.

εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν κ.τ.λ.] parallel to the preceding εἰς πᾶν τὸ πλοῦτος κ.τ.λ., and destined to bring in with emphasis the great object of the σύνεσις (the divine counsel of redemption, τὸ μυστήριον, see on Colossians 1:26); so that what was previously set forth at length by εἰς πᾶν τὸ πλοῦτος τ. πληροφ. τ. συνέσ. is now succinctly summed up for the sake of annexing the object by εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν. Thus the distinction between ἐπίγνωσις and γνῶσις (Colossians 2:3) is brought out clearly.[80] Comp. on Colossians 1:9. But τοῦ μυστ. τ. Θ. is not to be attached also to τῆς συνέσεως (Hofmann), so that the τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν would occupy an interrupting position.

τοῦ Θεοῦ] Genitive of the subject; it is God, whose decree the μυστ. is. The reading to be approved, τοῦ Θεοῦ Χριστοῦ (see the critical remarks), means: of the God of Christ, i.e. to whom Christ belongs in a special way, as to His Father, Sender, Head, etc.; see on Ephesians 1:17; comp. John 20:17; Matthew 27:46. The separation of Χριστοῦ, however, from τ. Θεοῦ, and the taking it as apposition to τοῦ μυστηρ. τοῦ Θεοῦ, so that Christ Himself appears as the personal secret of God, “because He is personally the truth contained in God and revealed from God” (Hofmann, comp. Holtzmann, p. 215), must be rejected, because Paul would thus have expressed himself in a way as much exposed to misapprehension as possible. He would either have inserted an ὅ ἐστι after τοῦ Θεοῦ (Colossians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 3:11), or have omitted τοῦ Θεοῦ, which would have made τὸ μυστήριον Χριστοῦ, as in Ephesians 3:4, the mystery contained personally in Christ. But as the apostle has actually written, the reader could only understand the mystery of the God of Christ. If Christ is God’s (see on 1 Corinthians 3:23; comp. Luke 2:26; Luke 9:20; Acts 4:26), then God is also the God of Christ. After Θεοῦ, therefore, no comma is to be inserted. Finally, the view of Hilary (“Deus Christus sacramentum est”), that ὁ Θεός is Christ Himself (so Steiger and Bisping, also Philippi, Glaubensl. IV. 1, p. 460, ed. 2), is wholly without Pauline analogy, and is not to be supported by such passages as Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Ephesians 5:5; in fact, even the lofty predicates employed in Colossians 1:15 ff., Colossians 2:9, draw the line of distinction between God and Christ. Moreover, the expression itself is not harsher (de Wette), or even more inconceivable (Olshausen), more unsuitable and obscure (Reiche), than the phrase ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. Ἰησοῦ Χ. in Ephesians 1:17; since in connection with the notion “the God of Christ,” the designation of the latter as our Lord is unessential. The addition Χριστοῦ finds its motive in the connection, because it was just in Christ that God formed the decree of redemption (the μυστήριον), and has carried it out (Ephesians 3:10 f., et al.). Whosoever has known God as the God of Christ, has the divine μυστήριον therewith unveiled to him.

[78] So Hofmann, who couples it in this sense with εἰς πᾶν τὸ πλοῦτος, taking ἐν ἀγάπῃ adverbially, and explaining the καί, which stands in the way, in the sense of “even,” to the effect that this introduction into all riches of the understanding has as its presupposition another introduction, viz. that into the faith. This is a sophistically forced mode of disposing of the καί, suggested by nothing in the context, especially since faith by no means, either of itself or in vv. 5–7, falls to be considered as a preliminary stage, as if the πληροφορία κ.τ.λ., like a new stadium, had to be entered upon through a second introduction; on the contrary, this πληροφορία is the full rich development of faith in the inner life. We may add that συμβιβάζειν=to introduce is nothing but a lexicographical fiction invented by Hofmann. Chrysostom already says rightly: ἵνα ἑνωθῶσι.

[79] Neither Greek authors, nor the LXX., nor the Apocrypha have πληροφορία. In Ptol. Tetr. p. 4. 9, πληροφόρησις is found.

[80] According to Holtzmann, p. 303, in the frequent mention of γνῶσις and ἐπίγνωσις, of σοφία and σύνεσις, of γνωρίζειν and φωτίζειν, of μυστήριον ἀποκεκρυμμ. and φανέρωσις τοῦ μυστ., we may detect already the terminology of the Grecian mysteries. As if these ideas and expressions were not sufficiently Pauline, and their intentional application were not sufficiently intelligible in the light of theosophic aberrations. Comp. also on Colossians 1:23; and Weiss, Bibl. Theol. p. 420, ed. 2.

Colossians 2:2. παρακληθῶσιν. It is disputed what meaning should be attached to this. Meyer, Ellicott and others translate “may be comforted”. This seems to be the more usual sense in Paul, and is supported by the addition “knit together in love,” which favours an emotional reference. It is more probable, however, that we should translate “may be strengthened” (De W., Alf., Kl[10], Ol., Sod.), for this was more needed than consolation in face of heresy. Oltramare quotes Romans 1:12 (where, however, συμπαρ. is used), 1 Thessalonians 3:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:17, where this verb is joined to στηρίζειν to show that this sense is Pauline, and in the latter we have παρακαλέσαι ὑμῶν τ. καρδίας καὶ στηρίξαι. Haupt, following Luther, thinks it means “may be warned,” but this does not suit καρδίαι, especially in Colossians 4:8.—αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν. We might have expected ὑμῶν, but καὶ ὅσοι, while not excluding the Colossians, includes other Churches as well. καρδία implies more than our word “heart,” it embraces also the intellect and the will.—συνβιβασθέντες agrees with αὐτοί, understood as the equivalent of αἱ κ. αὐτῶν. In the LXX the word means “to instruct” (so in 1 Corinthians 2:16, which is a quotation from Isaiah 40:14). But joined to ἐν ἀγ. it must have its usual sense, “knit together,” as in Colossians 2:19 and Ephesians 4:16. There may be a reference to the divisive tendencies of the false teaching.—καὶ εἰς πᾶν πλοῦτος τῆς πληροφορίας τῆς συνέσεως: “and unto all riches of the fulness of understanding”. καὶ εἰς is to be taken with συνβιβ., “knit together in order to attain”. συνβιβ. is a verb implying motion, and therefore is followed here by εἰς. It is usual to take πληροφ. as “full assurance,” but the expression “all the riches of full assurance of understanding” has a strange redundance, which seems scarcely to be met, as Klöpper thinks, by De Wette’s remark that πλοῦτ. is a quantitative but πληρ. a qualitative expression. Accordingly it seems better, with Grimm and Haupt, to translate “fulness,” a sense which is possible everywhere in N.T. except 1 Thessalonians 1:5. For συν. see on Colossians 1:9. Insight into Christian truth is meant here.—εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ. Probably this is in apposition to the previous clause, εἰς πᾶν κ.τ.λ., and further explains it; all the rich fulness of insight, which he trusts may be the fruit of their union in love, is nothing else than full knowledge of the Divine mystery, even Christ. The false teachers bid them seek knowledge in other sources than Christ, Paul insists on the contrary that full knowledge of the mystery of God is all the wealth of fulness of understanding, and is to be found in the knowledge of Christ alone. This makes it probable that the correct interpretation of the true reading is to take Χριστοῦ as in apposition to μυστηρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ (so Ell., Lightf., Findl., Hofm., Holtzmann, Haupt). It is true that this is curt and harsh, and that we should have expected ὅ ἐστιν, but it suits the context better than the translation “the mystery of the God of Christ” (Mey., Gess, Kl[11], Sod., Weiss and apparently Abb.). It is true that Paul uses a similar expression in Ephesians 1:17. But here it would emphasise the subordination of Christ, which is precisely what is out of place in a passage setting forth His all-sufficiency, and against a doctrine the special peril of which lay in its tendency to under-estimate both the Person and the Work of Christ. The grammatically possible apposition of Χ. with Θεοῦ (Hilary) is out of the question. Christ is the mystery of God, since in Him God’s eternal purpose of salvation finds its embodiment. Hort’s conjecture that the original reading was τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ does not find sufficient support in the textual or exegetical difficulties of the clause.

[10] Klöpper.

[11] Klöpper.

2. comforted] Ut consolentur, Latin Versions. But the Greek verb means more than to console; it is rather to hearten, to encourage. Confortatio, the (late) Latin original of our “comfort,” is “to make fortis, strong;” and “comfort” long retained this meaning in English. Wyclif here has “counfortid;” and in his version of Isaiah 41:7 he actually writes “he coumfortide hym with nailes, that it shulde not be moued” (Bible Word-Book, p. 117).

being] Better, they being; the Greek participle agrees not with “hearts” but with the owners of the hearts.

knit together] Cp. below Colossians 2:19, and Ephesians 4:16 (a suggestive parallel). The Greek verb always in the LXX. means “to instruct”; and the Latin Versions here have instructi (hence Wyclif, “taughte”); which however may mean “drawn up,” “marshalled,” and so may be nearly the same as A. V. The parallels just quoted are decisive for A.V.

in love] “which is the bond of perfectness,” Colossians 3:14. Cp. Ephesians 4:2-3; Php 2:1-4.

and unto all riches] The saints, drawn together in love, would by the loving communication of experience and by other spiritual aid, all advance to a fuller knowledge of the Lord and His grace.—On “riches” see note on Colossians 1:27.

the full assurance] “Fulness” R.V. margin; Latin Versions, plenitudo, adimpletio. The Greek word recurs 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22; and nowhere else in Biblical or classical Greek. In all these passages the word “fulness” would give an adequate meaning. But the cognate verb, which is more frequent, appears by usage to convey the idea of, so to speak, an active fulness, a fulness having to do with consciousness. This is an argument for retaining (with Ellicott, Alford, Lightfoot, R.V. text) the A.V. rendering.—He prays that they may more and more enter into the “wealth” of a deep and conscious insight into “the mystery of God.”

understanding] See on Colossians 1:9 above.

to the acknowledgement] This clause is the echo and explanation of the last; “unto all the riches &c., unto the acknowledgement &c.”

Acknowledgement:epignôsis; see on Colossians 1:9 above.

the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ] “The ancient authorities vary much in the text of this passage” (margin, R.V.).—The chief variants are as follows: (a) “the mystery of God; adopted by Tischendorf in his 7th (last but one) edition of the N.T., and by Alford: (b) “the mystery of God, even Christ,” or, as the same Greek may be rendered, “the mystery of the (or, our) God Christ; adopted, with the first alternative translation, by Tischendorf in his 8th (last) edition, Tregelles, Wordsworth, Lightfoot, Westcott and Hort, and R.V.: (c) “the mystery of God, which is Christ: (d) “the mystery of God the Father of Christ: (e) the reading represented by A.V., which is that of most later mss. Lightfoot in a long and careful note (pp. 318, 319) reasons for the high probability of reading (b), and for regarding all others as formed from it either by explanatory addition or by cutting a knot of supposed difficulty by omission. Dr Scrivener (Introd. to N.T. Criticism, pp. 634–6) also discusses the case, with Lightfoot’s reasoning among other things before him, and inclines to the same reading, though apparently preferring the other rendering given above. His only difficulty lies in the small documentary support given to a reading in itself otherwise so likely. And he says, “The more we think over this reading, the more it grows upon us, as the source from which all the rest are derived. At present, perhaps, [‘of God the Father of Christ’] may be looked upon as the most strongly attested, … but a very small weight might suffice to turn the critical scale.”

Adopting the reading thus accepted by Lightfoot and favoured by Scrivener, how shall we render it? Shall we say, “the mystery of the God Christ”? The phrase would convey eternal truth; but as a phrase it has no precise parallel in St Paul. To him Christ is indeed absolutely Divine, Coequal in Nature with the Father; but this truth is always seen, so to speak, through His Sonship, so that He is designated rather “the Son of God” than simply “God.” (See however Acts 20:28; Titus 2:13.) Shall we say “the mystery of the God of Christ”? Here a near parallel appears Ephesians 1:17. But the preceding context here (esp. Colossians 1:27) distinctly inclines to our connecting “the mystery” with “Christ,” so that He shall be the Father’s “Secret” of “all spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3) for His people; their all-blessed Resource, hidden yet open, for “pardon, and holiness, and heaven.” Cp. 1 Corinthians 1:30, where “wisdom” is in a certain sense equivalent to “mystery” here.

So we render, the mystery of God, even Christ.

Colossians 2:2. Συμβιβασθέντων) The participle categorically affirming: they are united together (“knit together”), says Paul, in love; comp. Colossians 2:5; the other things should be added. If you would read[4] ΣΥΜΒΙΒΑΣΘΈΝΤΕς, this will be the solution: ἽΝΑ ΠΑΡΑΚΛΗΘῶΣΙ ΤΑῖς ΚΑΡΔΊΑΙς ΑὐΤῶΝ, ΣΥΜΒΙΒΑΣΘΈΝΤΕς, that they, being knit together, may be comforted in their hearts. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:16, note.—ἐν ἀγάπῃ) in the mutual love of God and believers.—καὶ) even.—εἰςΕἸς, to—to) An Anaphora [repetition of the same words in beginnings; Append.], of which the second part explains the first in two clauses.—τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, of God and the Father and of Christ) The article is accurately put. He here lays down a proposition regarding God and Christ, and discusses it at Colossians 2:8-9; Colossians 2:12-13 : for all the fulness of the Godhead is in Christ, Colossians 2:9.

[4] So indeed the margin of the 2d Ed., rather than the larger Ed., advises the adoption of this reading.—E. B.

Συμβιβασθέντες is read by ABCD corrected, (Δ). f Vulg. have ‘instructi.’ Hilar. 1025, ‘instituti.’ Συμβιβασθέντων has none of the oldest MSS. in its favour.—ED.

Verse 2. - That their hearts may be encouraged (Colossians 4:8; Ephesians 6:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 13:11). For the mischief at work at Colossae was at once unsettling (vers. 6, 7; Colossians 1:23) and discouraging (Colossians 1:23; Colossians 2:18; Colossians 3:15) in its effects, Παρακαλῶ, a favourite word of St. Paul's, means "to address," "exhort," then more specially "to encourage," "comfort," (2 Corinthians 1:4), "to beseech" (Ephesians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 6:1),or "to instruct" (Titus 1:9). The heart, in Biblical language, is not the seat of feeling only, but stands for the whole inner man, as the "vital centre" of his personality (see Back's 'Biblical Psychology:' comp. Mark 7:19, 21; 1 Peter 3:4; Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16, 17). While they are (literally, they having been) drawn together in love, and into all (the) riches of the full assurance of the understanding, unto (or, into) (full) knowledge of the mystery of God, (even) Christ (ver. 19; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 3:10, 14; Colossians 4:12; Ephesians 1:17, 18; Ephesians 3:17-19; Ephesians 4:2, 3, 15, 16; Philippians 1:9; Philippians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11). In the best Greek copies "drawn together" is nominative masculine, agreeing with "they," the logical subject implied in "their hearts" (feminine). Συμβιβάζω has the same sense in ver. 19 and Ephesians 4:16; in 1 Corinthians 2:16 it is quoted from the LXX in another sense; and it has a variety of meanings in the Acts. "Drawn together" expresses the double sense which accrues to the verb in combination with the two prepositions "in" and "into:" "united in love," Christians are prepared to be "led into all the wealth of Divine knowledge." This combination of "love and knowledge" appears in all St. Paul's letters of this period (comp. Ephesians 4:12-16; Philippians 1:9; and contrast 1 Corinthians 8:1-3; 1 Corinthians 13:1, 2, 8-13). "The riches of the full assurance," etc., and "the knowledge of the mystery" are the counterpart of "the riches of the glory of the mystery," of Colossians 1:27; the fulness of conviction and completeness of knowledge attainable by the Christian correspond to the full and satisfying character of the revelation he receives in Christ (comp. Ephesians 1:17-19). (On "understanding," see note, Colossians 1:9.) "Full assurance," or "conviction" (πληροφορία), is a word belonging to St. Luke and St. Paul (with the Epistle to the Hebrews) in the New Testament (not found in classical Greek), and denotes radically "a bringing to fall measure or maturity." Combined with "understanding," it denotes the ripe, intelligent persuasion of one who enters into the whole wealth of the "truth as it is in Jesus" (comp. Colossians 4:12, R.V.; also Romans 4:21 and Romans 14:5, for corresponding verb). In this inward "assurance," as in a fortress, the Colossians were to entrench themselves against the attacks of error (Colossians 1:9; Colossians 3:15, and notes). Αἰς ἐπίγνωσιν is either in explanatory apposition to the previous clause, or rather donors the further purpose for which this wealth of conviction is to be sought: "knowledge of the Divine mystery, knowledge of Christ" - this is the supreme end, ever leading on and upward, for the pursuit of which all strengthening of heart and understanding are given (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 3:16-19; Philippians 3:10). The Revisers have corrected the erroneous "acknowledgment" by their paraphrastic rendering, "that they may know." (On ἐπίγνωσις (comp. γνῶσις, ver. 3), see note, Colossians 1:6.) The object of this knowledge is the great manifested mystery of God, namely Christ (Colossians 1:27). We confidently accept here the Revised reading, that of nearly all recent textual critics, which omits the words found in the Received Text between "God" and "Christ." There are extant eleven distinct variations of this reading, and that of the Textus Receptus is, to all appearance, the latest and worst; "the passage is altogether an instructive lesson on textual criticism" (Lightfoot, pp. 252, 253; also Westcott and Hort, 'Introduction: Notes on Selected Readings,' pp. 125, 126). The words thus read have been interpreted mystery of the God Christ" (the Latin Hilary, and a few moderns); of the God of Christ" (Meyer, quoting Ephesians 1:17; John 20:17; Matthew 27:46); - both interpretations grammatically correct, but unsuitable here, even if in harmony with Pauline usage elsewhere. Alford omits "of Christ" altogether, distrusting the textual evidence. Meyer objects to the rendering we have followed (that of Ellicott, Lightfoot, Revisers), that the apostle, if this be his meaning, has expressed himself ambiguously; but comp. Colossians 1:27 (see note); also 1 Timothy 3:16, "The mystery, who was manifested in flesh." Colossians 2:2Comforted (παρακληθῶσιν)

Not so much tranquilized as braced. See on John 14:16.

Knit together (συμβιβασθέντες)

See on proving, Acts 9:22. In the Septuagint it means to instruct, as Exodus 18:16; Deuteronomy 4:9; Isaiah 40:13 (compare 1 Corinthians 2:16); Psalm 31:8. Used of putting together in one's mind, and so to conclude by comparison. Thus Acts 16:10, assuredly gathering, Rev., concluding.

Full assurance (πληροφορίας)

Or fullness. See Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22.

Of understanding (συνέσεως)

See on Mark 12:33; see on Luke 2:47.

To the acknowledgment (εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν)

Wrong. Ἑπίγνωσις is the full knowledge, as Colossians 1:9 (note). Rev., that they may know.

Of God

The best textual authorities add Χριστοῦ of Christ. So Rev., of God, even Christ. Christ is in apposition with mystery. Compare Colossians 1:27.

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