Colossians 3:7
In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived (were living) in them.—The former condition of heathenism was that in which “they were living,” with contagion of evil on every side. But St. Paul is not content without noting their own active participation—“ye walked in them.” (Comp. Ephesians 4:17-20.)

3:5-11 It is our duty to mortify our members which incline to the things of the world. Mortify them, kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them. Continual opposition must be made to all corrupt workings, and no provision made for carnal indulgences. Occasions of sin must be avoided: the lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world; and covetousness, which is idolatry; love of present good, and of outward enjoyments. It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us. The gospel changes the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the rule of right reason and conscience, over appetite and passion. There is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life. It is the duty of every one to be holy, because Christ is a Christian's All, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.In the which - In all which evil passions.

Ye also walked sometime - You formerly lived. These were the common vices of the pagan; Ephesians 5:8, note; 1 Corinthians 6:10-11, notes; compare Romans 1:24-32, notes.

7. sometime—"once."

walked … when ye lived in them—These sins were the very element in which ye "lived" (before ye became once for all dead with Christ to them); no wonder, then, that ye "walked" in them. Compare on the opposite side, "living in the Spirit," having as its legitimate consequence, "walking in the Spirit" (Ga 5:25). The "living" comes first in both cases, the walking follows.

In the which; some render it, amongst whom; but, alas! They lived amongst such disobedient ones still; therefore we do better render it in which, i.e. sins or vices.

Ye, the now believing Colossians, also walked some time; had heretofore practised and exercised; and had not only been infected with the venom of them, in descending from polluted parents, but lived in them, were servants to them, Romans 6:17,19, while in a sensual course of life they were carried away with them, 1 Corinthians 12:2, before their conversion, when they did live and reign in their mortal bodies, Colossians 1:21 1 Corinthians 6:11 Ephesians 2:3,11,12 5:8.

In the which ye also walked some time,.... Either in or among the children of disobedience, Colossians 3:6, or rather in the afore mentioned sins, Colossians 3:5. Sin is a road or path, in which sinners walk a way of their own, or of their own choosing and approving, though a dark and crooked one, and which leads to destruction: walking herein denotes a continued series of sinning, a persisting in it, a progress therein, a proceeding from evil to evil, taking pleasure, and going on securely in it; and which is the case and state of God's elect before conversion, which is a turning of them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, and out of the ways of sin, into the paths of righteousness, when the course of their walk, of their lives and conversations, is altered; and which is suggested here, and made use of as another reason for the mortification of the deeds of the body of sin, taken from their former state, and their deliverance out of it; and therefore the time past of their lives, when they walked in these things, should suffice, and they should now cease from sin, from a series and course of sinning:

when ye lived in them; in sins, and were dead in them; for to be dead in sin, and to live in sin, is the same thing; living in sin is the death of sin. To live in sin is to live after the flesh, after the dictates of corrupt nature, to live a sinful course of life; it is for a man to give up himself to sin, be wholly bent upon it, take delight in it, and make it his work and business. This had been the case of these believers, but now they were dead to sin, and it became them to live no longer therein, but to mortify it by denying it, and abstaining from it, and living soberly, righteously, and godly.

In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 3:7. Transition to the following exhortation; and how touching through the effect of the contrast!

ἐν οἷς] is, with the reading διʼ ὅ in Colossians 3:6, necessarily to be referred to the υἱοὺς τ. ἀπειθ.: among whom ye also walked once, by which is meant, not external association (which in fact was not cancelled by conversion, 1 Corinthians 5:10), but the fellowship of moral conduct. But, even with the reading διʼ ἅ in Colossians 3:6, ἐν οἷς is to be taken (comp. Ephesians 2:2 f.) as inter quos (Vatablus, Rosenmüller, de Wette, Schenkel, Bleek), and not to be referred, as it commonly is (Chrysostom, however, seems to understand it as masculine) to the vices named in Colossians 3:5, because the relative most naturally attaches itself to what immediately precedes, in order to continue the discourse, and because, if ἐν οἷς refer to the sins, then ἐζῆτε ἐν τούτοις once more asserts substantially the same thing, so that the discourse gains nothing in thoughtfulness through the two verbs, as in Galatians 5:25, but is unduly amplified. The distinctions which in this case have been attempted between περιπατεῖν and ζῆν still make the one or the other appear as self-evident. See e.g. Calvin: vivere and ambulare are distinguished from each other like potentia (comp. Grotius: “moveri”) and actus, the former preceding and the latter following; Beza (and Estius): vivere denotes naturae habitum, ambulare, ἐνέργειαν ipsam; Bähr (comp. Olshausen and Reiche): the former refers more to the disposition, the latter to the outward conduct; Hofmann: the state of life (ἐζῆτε), with which the conduct in detail (περιεπατ.) harmonized.

ὅτε ἐζῆτε ἐν τούτοις] ἐζῆτε stands emphatically and pregnantly first: when ye lived in these, i.e. when ye were alive therein, inasmuch as the ἀπεθάνετε of Colossians 3:3 had not yet set in in your case, the requirement of the νεκροῦν in Colossians 3:5 was still strange to you, and these disgraceful things formed the element and sphere of activity of your life. On ζῆν, to be alive, in contrast to the being dead, comp. Romans 7:9; 2 Corinthians 13:4; also Colossians 2:20; ἐν τούτοις[145] is neuter, grouping together demonstratively, and setting forth contemptuously, the states of vice spoken of. According to Flatt, Böhmer, and Huther, it is masculine: “then, when ye belonged to the children of disobedience,” so that ζῆν ἐν κόσμῳ (Colossians 2:20) and ἀναστρέφειν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ (2 Corinthians 1:11) would have to be compared. In opposition to this view it may be urged that ὅτε ἐζῆτε ἐν τούτοις, in this sense, would be a very meaningless and superfluous more precise designation of the ποτέ, whereas, according to the view above adopted, it is thoughtful and characteristic.[146]

On the change from the merely historical aorist to the descriptive imperfect, lending a lively colour to the representation, and claiming the closer attention of the reader who had passed more rapidly over the περιεπατ., comp. Kühner, II. 1, p. 133, and Reisig, ad Soph. O. C. p. 254 f.

[145] With the Recepta αὐτοῖς any other reference than that, which οἷς has, is excluded; hence the origin of μὐτοῖς.

[146] Hence not to be attributed, with Holtzmann, to the tautological style of the author, in remembrance of 1 Corinthians 6:11.

Colossians 3:7. ἐν οἶς: in which vices. If τ. υἱοὺς τ. ἀπ. be retained, the probable translation is “in whom”. Lightfoot thinks in any case the reference to the vices is to be preferred, the chief reason being that Paul could not blame his readers for living among the Gentiles. But, as Meyer points out, περιεπ. implies participation in conduct.—καὶ ὑμεῖς: you as well as those who still practise these vices.—περιεπατήσατέ: a Hebraistic metaphor expressing moral conduct.—ἐζῆτε ἐν τούτοις: “ye were living in them,” i.e., in these vices. The reference is to their pre-Christian state, in which sin was the atmosphere of their lives. The change of tense should be noticed.

7. In the which] “things,” mentioned just above.—Otherwise we may render, “among whom” (R. V. margin); i.e. among “the children of disobedience.” If those words are not retained in the text, this latter rendering of course falls.

walked] The same verb is rendered (by A. V.) in the parallel, Ephesians 2:3, “had our conversation,” that is, our action and intercourse in life. The metaphor “walk” in such a sense is common in St Paul. See above on Colossians 1:10.—With this searching appeal to memory cp. 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 4:22; Ephesians 5:8; Titus 3:3; 1 Peter 4:3.

sometime] “Sumtyme,” Wyclif; antique English for “once on a time.” So “sometimes” in the A. V. of Ephesians 2:13.—In Ephesians 2:3 (parallel here) the A.V. renders the same Greek, “in times past.”

lived] Not merely “existed,” or “dwelt,” but found what seemed “life.” See on Colossians 2:20 above. From the “life” issues the “walk,” as Lightfoot points out.—“He argues from the withdrawal of the cause to the withdrawal of the effect” (Calvin).

in them] Far better, with mss. &c., in these things (R. V.).

Colossians 3:7. Ἐζῆτε, in which ye lived) as if in your essential first principle, origin, [i.e. these sins were the very air which you breathed from your birth, they were your] native element. Comp. Galatians 5:25, on the spiritual life.

Verse 7. - In which also ye walked once, when you were living in these (things) (Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 5:8; Romans 6:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 12:2; Titus 3:3; 1 Peter 4:3). Even retaining "sons of disobedience" in ver. 6, it seems better, with Alford, Lightfoot, and the English Version, to read οῖς as neuter, "in which," referring to the same antecedent (ver. 5)as "because of which" in ver. 6; not "amongst whom" (Ellicott, Meyer). The latter interpretation is against the general usage of "walk in" with St. Paul (Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 2:2, 10; Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:2; Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 4:2), and seems to condemn the mere fact of living "amongst the sons of disobedience" (see, on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 5:9, 10; Philippians 2:15; John 17:15; 1 Peter 2:12). The parallel "because of which" (ver. 6) gives also its force: these sins are visited with the Divine anger, and moreover are the very sins in which the Colossians aforetime had lived; observe the same connection in Ephesians 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 6:10, 11. "Were living" stands opposed to "make dead" of ver. 5, and to "ye died" (ver. 3: comp. Colossians 2:20; Galatians 2:20); it marks the time when "the old man" (ver. 9), with his "earthly members" (ver. 5) was alive and active (comp. Romans 7:5, 9, "sin came to life"). "In these things" (τούτοις, not αὐτοῖς: Revised Text) points to the things enumerated in ver. 6, with a mental gesture of contempt. Colossians 3:7In the which (ἐν οἷς)

The omission of upon the children, etc., necessitates the reference to which things (Colossians 3:6) Otherwise we might render among whom.

Walked - lived

Walked, referring to their practice, lived, to their condition. Their conduct and their condition agreed. Compare Galatians 5:25.

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