Thursday, March 23, 2017

Colossians 2:19

Continuing the thought in the previous verse, Paul is explaining why the false teachers were self-inflated and prideful in their religious ministrations. They were not krateo or keeping or faithfully maintaining a firm grasp on the head (kephale) – Jesus Christ. The Greeks word contains the understanding of either the physical head of a person or the metaphorical thought of that which is supreme or chief. We can understand that both images are possible in Paul’s description. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is often used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment. If the false teachers did not maintain a connection to the head of the church (body – soma),[1] they would find that they would not survive. They would lack the nourishment needed for survival (life and energy of the Spirit).

The Greek word translated as supplied is epichoregeo[2] is a strengthened form that means to be supplied fully. If one is connected with Jesus, they will not lack in any nourishment of spiritual life. Paul continues to use this anatomy concept to stress the need of unity – joints (Greek haphe) and ligaments (Greek sundesmos). The first word is a word used to speak of a fastening and the second is a word that means a band, bond, that which binds together.[3] This use of the double words stresses the importance of the thought. Paul is emphasizing that we must be connected to Jesus to maintain unity – both with Him and with each other.

He finishes the thought here with the consideration that increase comes by this association. The nourishment and the unity will bring about the true increase. His use of the verb and noun combination is a Polyptoton, or a figure of speech in the Greek where the reader understands the great emphasis placed upon this assertion. It is a kind of superlative degree in the verb to declare the magnitude and gravity of an action or the greatness and importance of its results.[4] The Greek words auxano and auxesis could be literally translated as increase the increase. This growth or increase comes directly from God. Thus, the false teachers were lacking in the nourishment, unity, and growth that can only come from being connected with Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Jesus, may I grasp You and maintain a tight hold on You. I know my salvation is secure because You are the One holding on to me, but to be fruitful, to grow in the knowledge and power that You provide, I need to hold on to You. I seek to be nourished by You, to be unified with You and Your followers, and to ever grow in You. It is my prayer to anchor myself in You. Amen.

[1] See Col.3:15; Eph. 1:22 – 23; 4:16 for more references to the fact that Christ is the Head and the Church the body. 
[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 611. 
[3] Perschbacher, W. J. (Ed.). (1990). The New Analytical Greek Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts, USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Pages 63 and 390. 
[4] Bullinger, E. W. (1968). Figures of Speech used in the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich., USA: Baker Book House. Page 275. 

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