Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Rooted and built up in him.—There is a significant change of tense in the original, having been rooted—i.e. (as in Ephesians 3:17), “rooted and grounded” in Him once for all, and being built up continually on that Foundation. (Comp. 1Corinthians 3:9-15.) St. Paul bids them seek not only the first basis of their faith, but their continual growth, in Christ alone, by continual “strengthening in the faith” which rests in Him. We may remember that in the Gnostic teaching faith was held good for the beginner or the common herd, “knowledge” was the bright particular jewel of those who went on to perfection.
Abounding (or, overflowing) therein with thanksgiving.—The metaphor is changed. The cup of faith, filled to the full, runs over in that thanksgiving which is the expression both of faith and love.Ephesians 3:17.
And established in the faith, as ye have been taught - To wit, by the founders of the church, and by those faithful ministers who had succeeded them; Notes, Colossians 1:7.
Abounding therein with thanksgiving - Expressing overflowing thanks to God that you have been made acquainted with truths so precious and glorious. If there is any thing for which we ought to be thankful, it is for the knowledge of the great truths respecting our Lord and Saviour.
built up—Greek, "being builded up." As "rooted" implies their vitality; so "builded up," massive solidity. As in the Song of Solomon, when one image is not sufficient to express the varied aspects of divine truth, another is employed to supply the idea required. Thus "walking," a third image (Col 2:6), expresses the thought which "rooted" and "built," though each suggesting a thought peculiar to itself, could not express, namely, onward motion. "Rooted" is in the past tense, implying their first conversion and vital grafting "in Him." "Built up" is present (in the Greek), implying their progressive increase in religion by union with Him. Eph 2:20 refers to the Church; but the passage here to their individual progress in edification (Ac 20:32).
abounding therein with thanksgiving—advancing to fuller maturity (compare Col 2:2) in the faith, "with thanksgiving" to God as the gracious Author of this whole blessing.Rooted and built up in him; showing how they should abide and persevere in the faith, by continuing in him as branches do in the root, John 15:4, and resting upon him as a building upon the foundation, Isaiah 28:16 1 Corinthians 3:11 Ephesians 2:22.
And stablished in the faith; and being firm and settled in the faith, as 1 Peter 5:10: he adds this, not only to clear the metaphorical expressions before, but to show that they should be growing stronger as to the internal habit, Psalm 92:13,14. He repeats as it were in a parenthesis,
as ye have been taught; upon the matter, the same with as ye have received Christ in the former verse; for greater caution to them, who might be apt to have itching ears, that they should not be listening to any novel doctrines, but abide in the faith of Christ.
Abounding therein with thanksgiving; setting down with themselves, according to the superabounding grace they had, Romans 5:20, with 1 Corinthians 4:8, to abound and increase therein, 1 Corinthians 15:58 2 Peter 1:8; having herein all the saving knowledge desirable, without need of the addition of aught any other way; being thankful to God that he had revealed such a Christ, his Christ, to them, for they could not have a better or another.
and stablished in the faith: that of Christ, or in the doctrine of faith which respects Christ: the apostle here expresses the same thing without a figure, which he had signified by the two foregoing metaphors, and explains what he means by them; namely, that they were well settled and grounded in their faith in Christ, and thoroughly instructed and established in the doctrines of the Gospel; and a very good thing it is to have the heart established with grace, both as a principle and a doctrine; which is God's work, and was the happy case of these persons; wherefore it became them to act as such, and not be like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, or carried about with divers and strange doctrines, but abide by those which had been preached to them by the faithful ministers of Christ, and they had received: as
ye have been taught: by Epaphras their minister, and others; and therefore should not listen to false teachers, and to a contrary doctrine taught by them; considering of whom they had learnt the true doctrine, what evidence it carried with it, and what use it had been of to them, in convincing, converting, comforting, instructing, and establishing them: and therefore should be
abounding therein with thanksgiving; that is, in the faith; as in the grace, so in the doctrine of faith; for as saints are to abound in the work of the Lord, and in every good work, and in the exercise of every grace, so in the knowledge of truth; see 2 Corinthians 8:7; and to make use of all means for the increase of, and growth in Gospel grace and light, and the knowledge of a crucified Christ, which is meant by abounding: for all which there is great reason for thanksgiving; both for the unspeakable gift of Christ, who is received as such by faith, and in whom believers are rooted and built up; and for faith itself, which is the gift of God; and also for the Gospel, and the truths of it; and for every degree of spiritual light in it, and knowledge of it.Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Colossians 2:7. ἐρριζωμένοι καὶ ἐποικοδομούμενοι: “rooted and built up”. The metaphor changes from περιπατ., and again from ἐρριζ., though Lightfoot points out that the term “to root” is not infrequently applied to buildings. More important is the change in tense, the perfect participle expressing an abiding result, the present a continuous process. ἐν αὐτῷ probably belongs to both. We should not (with Schenkel, Hofm.) place a full stop at περιπ. and take the participles with βλέπετε, which would be intolerably awkward.—βεβαιούμενοι τῇ πίστει: “stablished in faith,” also the present of continuous process. Meyer and Lightfoot take the dative as instrumental, but it seems best with most recent commentators to take it as a dative of reference (cf. Colossians 2:5).—καθὼς ἐδιδάχθητε: cf. καθὼς ἐμάθετε, Colossians 1:7. The words define τῇ πίστει.—περισσεύοντες ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ. Oltramare notes that “thankfulness is a preservative against the new doctrines,” since they remove Christ from His true place. The emphasis on thankfulness is very marked in this Epistle.7. rooted] A perfect participle. It recurs Ephesians 3:17, the only other place in which St Paul uses precisely this metaphor, which combines the thought of fixity with that of derived and developing life from a genial source. There, as here, the metaphor of building (more frequent with St Paul) appears, in the Greek, beside this other.
built up] See the last remark. The Greek is a present participle, to be expressed in (not quite classical) English by, being built up. See for a close parallel Ephesians 2:22; and cp. Colossians 1:23 above.—The compound verb here gives the thought of building upon, and the reference might be taken to be to Christ as the Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). But the phrase “in Him” just below suggests here another of the many sides of His relation to the “building”; and leads us to explain this of the internal “building up” of the community as new members join it and cohere with it; and also of the individual, as layers (so to speak) of experience and spiritual character accrue in his life and walk. The present participle is thus clearly suitable.
in Him] as He is the “Stone of the angle” (Ephesians 2:20) “in” which the converging lines of structure hold together. Cp. Colossians 1:17.—But this imagery must not be pressed too far, for “in Him” relates here to “rooted” as well as “built up.”
stablished] Again a present participle.
in the faith] Omit “in,” and render, with Lightfoot, and R.V. margin, by your faith. Their faith, their submissive personal reliance on their Lord, would “strike their root downward” and compact their spiritual structure; and so it would make them continuously more stable. “Faith is, as it were, the cement of the building” (Lightfoot).
as ye have been taught] Better, as ye were taught, when Epaphras evangelized them. Then they learnt Whom to believe in, and how to believe in Him, for righteousness and life.
abounding] A favourite word with St Paul. It occurs five times in Philippians. Nothing short of spiritual wealth, and its full employment, ever satisfies him.
therein] In your faith, regarded as “the sphere” of the sense of “abundance.” Loyal reliance on the all-sufficient Christ was to be largely, fully, exercised.
with thanksgiving] Lit., “in thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving was to attend, to surround, this large exercise of faith. It would do so as a matter of reason; for the possession of such an Object of faith was indeed ground enough for holy gratitude. And it would do so also as a matter of experience; for there is no surer secret for a glad thankfulness than full habitual reliance on the Christ of God.
“The words [“thankful, give thanks, thanksgiving”] occur in St Paul’s writings alone of the apostolic Epistles. In this Epistle especially the duty of thanksgiving assumes a peculiar prominence by being made a refrain, as here and in Colossians 3:15; Colossians 3:17, Colossians 4:2; see also Colossians 1:12” (Lightfoot).Colossians 2:7. Ἐῤῥιζωμένοι, rooted) Ephesians 3:18. Time past instead of the commencement.—ἘΠΟΙΚΟΔΟΜΟΎΜΕΝΟΙ) The present, as being even still in progress, Acts 20:32.—ἘΝ ΑὐΤῷ, in Him) in Jesus Christ, as Lord. In the faith is the parallel, which presently follows.—ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ, with thanksgiving) This constitutes and shows the lawful and joyful use of (external) things, which some burden with prohibitions, Colossians 2:21; 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1 Timothy 4:3-4.
 i.e. Their faith was already long established, not merely beginning.—ED.Verse 7. - Rooted and builded up in him (Colossians 1:23; Colossians 2:5; Ephesians 2:20, 21; Ephesians 3:18; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 3:9-12; Jude 1:20; Luke 6:47, 48). "Rooted" is perfect participle, in, plying an abiding fact ("fast rooted"); while "builded up" (literally, upon or unto) is in the present tense of a continued process, the prefix ἐπὶ also implying growth and gain (Colossians 1:6, 10; Colossians 2:19). Meyer and Ellicott view ἐν αὐτῷ as a mere complement of the latter participle: "being builded in him." This weakens the force of both prepositions (ἐπὶ and ἐν), and the emphasis of the repeated "in him." The ideas of planting and building are similarly combined in 1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 3:18; and rooted is a figure applied to buildings in ether Greek writers (Lightfoot). "Christ is the ground for the roots below, and the foundation for the building above" (Meyer). And stablished in (or, by) your faith, according as ye were taught (Colossians 1:5-7, 23; 1 Corinthians 1:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; 1 Peter 5:9, 10). 'Αν before πίστει ("faith") is struck out in the Revised Text, and is probably a correct gloss. The instrumental dative, preferred by Meyer and Lightfoot, does not accord so well with ver. 5 and Colossians 1:23 (comp. Philippians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9). "Stablished" (βεβαιούμενοι, being kept firm) is present in tense, like "builded up" (ver. 6, see note): comp. Romans 4:16; Philippians 1:7; Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 6:19; Hebrews 13:9; and distinguish from στηρίζω, to make stable, fix firmly. In "as ye were taught" the apostle reminds his readers again of their first lessons in the gospel (Colossians 1:5-7, see notes; 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Abounding in it, with thanksgiving; or, abounding in thanksgiving (Colossians 1:3, 12; Colossians 3:15, 17; Colossians 4:2; Ephesians 5:4, 20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15). The Revisers relegate "in it (your faith)" to the margin, following the judgment of Tischendorf and Tregelles; while Westcott and Hort, Alford, Ellicott, Lightfoot, retain the words in the text. The reading "in him," found in the Vulgate and leading Western documents, throws doubt on these words; but it is difficult to see why they should have been inserted if not authentic, and they might easily be confused by a copyist with the foregoing "in him." The second ἐν, if ἐν αὐτῇ be retained, becomes ἐν οφ αξξομπανιμεντ, and may be rendered "with," as in Colossians 1:29; Ephesians 6:2. (On "thanksgiving," see note, Colossians 1:12.)
Note the change of metaphor from the solidity of military array to walking, rooting of a tree, and then to building. The metaphors of rooting and being founded occur together, Ephesians 3:17. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:9. In Jeremiah 1:10, ἐκριζοῦν to root out is applied to a kingdom, and the words to build and to plant follow. It must be said that ῥιζόω to cause to take root is often used in the sense of firmness or fixedness without regard to its primary meaning. Built up. The preposition ἐπί upon indicates the placing of one layer upon another. See on Acts 20:32, and see on 1 Corinthians 3:9. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:10-14; Ephesians 2:20. note also the change of tenses: having been rooted (perfect participle), being (in process of) built up and strengthened (present participle).
In Him (ἐν αὐτῶ)
Rather than upon Him, as might have been expected. In this and in the Ephesian epistle, Christ is represented as the sphere within which the building goes on. Compare Ephesians 2:20. The whole upbuilding of the Church proceeds within the compass of Christ's personality, life, and power.
For Paul's emphasis on thanksgiving, see Romans 1:21; Romans 14:6; 2 Corinthians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 9:11, 2 Corinthians 9:12; Ephesians 5:20; 1 Timothy 2:1, etc. Εὐχαριστός thankful, εὐχαριστεῖν to give thanks, εὐχαριστία thanksgiving, are found only in Paul's writings.
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