Vincent Word Studies - Colossians 1:5 - 1:5

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Vincent Word Studies - Colossians 1:5 - 1:5

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

For the hope (διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα)

The A.V. connects with we give thanks (Col 1:3). But the two are too far apart, and Paul's introductory thanksgiving is habitually grounded on the spiritual condition of his readers, not on something objective. See Rom 1:8; 1Co 1:4; Eph 1:15. Better connect with what immediately precedes, love which ye have, and render as Rev., because of the hope, etc. Faith works by love, and the ground of their love is found in the hope set before them. Compare Rom 8:24. The motive is subordinate, but legitimate. “The hope laid up in heaven is not the deepest reason or motive for faith and love, but both are made more vivid when it is strong. It is not the light at which their lamps are lit, but it is the odorous oil which feeds their flame” (Maclaren). Hope. See on 1Pe 1:3. In the New Testament the word signifies both the sentiment of hope and the thing hoped for. Here the latter. Compare Tit 2:13; Gal 5:5; Heb 6:18; also Rom 8:24, where both meanings appear. Lightfoot observes that the sense oscillates between the subjective feeling and the objective realization. The combination of faith, hope, and love is a favorite one with Paul. See 1Th 1:3; 1Co 13:13; Rom 5:1-5; Rom 12:6-12.

Laid up (ἀποκειμένην)

Lit., laid away, as the pound in the napkin, Luk 19:20. With the derivative sense of reserved or awaiting, as the crown, 2Ti 4:8. In Heb 9:27, it is rendered appointed (unto men to die), where, however, the sense is the same: death awaits men as something laid up. Rev., in margin, laid up for. Compare treasure in heaven, Mat 6:20; Mat 19:21; Luk 12:34. “Deposited, reserved, put by in store out of the reach of all enemies and sorrows” (Bishop Wilson).

Ye heard before (προηκούσατε)

Only here in the New Testament, not in Septuagint, and not frequent in classical Greek. It is variously explained as denoting either an undefined period in the past, or as contrasting the earlier Christian teaching with the later heresies, or as related to Paul's letter (before I wrote), or as related to the fulfillment of the hope (ye have had the hope pre-announced). It occurs several times in Herodotus in this last sense, as ii. 5, of one who has heard of Egypt without seeing it: v., 86, of the Aeginetans who had learned beforehand what the Athenians intended. Compare viii. 79; vi. 16. Xenophon uses it of a horse, which signifies by pricking up its ears what it hears beforehand. In the sense of mere priority of time without the idea of anticipation, Plato: “Hear me once more, though you have heard me say the same before” (“Laws,” vii., 797). I incline to the more general reference, ye heard in the past. The sense of hearing before the fulfillment of the hope would seem rather to require the perfect tense, since the hope still remained unfulfilled.

The word of the truth of the Gospel

The truth is the contents of the word, and the Gospel defines the character of the truth.