Vincent Word Studies - Colossians 2:15 - 2:15

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Vincent Word Studies - Colossians 2:15 - 2:15

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Having spoiled principalities and powers (ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας)

For the verb spoiled, see on putting off, Col 2:11. The principalities and powers are the angelic hosts through whose ministry the law was given. See Deu 33:2; Act 7:53; Heb 2:2; Gal 3:19. Great importance was attached, in the later rabbinical schools, to the angels who assisted in giving the law; and that fact was not without influence in shaping the doctrine of angelic mediators, one of the elements of the Colossian heresy, which was partly Judaic. This doctrine Paul strikes at in Col 1:16; Col 2:10; here, and Col 2:18. God put off from himself, when the bond of the law was rendered void in Christ's crucifixion, that ministry of angels which waited on the giving of the law, revealing Christ as the sole mediator, the head of every principality and power (Col 2:10). The directness of the gospel ministration, as contrasted with the indirectness of the legal ministration, is touched upon by Paul in Gal 3:19 sqq.; 2Co 3:12 sqq.; Heb 2:2.

He made a show of them (ἐδειγμάτισεν)

Only here and Mat 1:19, see note. The compound παραδειγματίζω to expose to public infamy, is found Heb 6:6; and δεῖγμα example, in Jud 1:7. The word is unknown to classical Greek. The meaning here is to make a display of, exhibit. He showed them as subordinate and subject to Christ. Compare especially Heb 1:1-14 throughout, where many points of contact with the first two chapters of this epistle will be found.

Openly (ἐν παῤῥησίᾳ)

Or boldly. See on Phm 1:8. Not publicly, but as by a bold stroke putting His own ministers, chosen and employed for such a glorious and dignified office, in subjection before the eyes of the world.

Triumphing over them (θραιμβεύσας αὐτοὺς)

See on 2Co 2:14. If we take this phrase in the sense which it bears in that passage, leading in triumph, there seems something incongruous in picturing the angelic ministers of the law as captives of war, subjugated and led in procession. The angels “do His commandments and hearken unto the voice of His word.” But while I hold to that explanation in 2 Corinthians, I see no reason why the word may not be used here less specifically in the sense of leading a festal procession in which all share the triumph; the heavenly ministers, though set aside as mediators, yet exulting in the triumph of the one and only Mediator. Even in the figure in 2 Corinthians, the captives rejoice in the triumph. Compare Rev 19:11. Our knowledge of the word θριαμβεύω is not so extensive or accurate as to warrant too strict limitations in our definition.

In it (ἐν αὐτῷ)

The cross. Many expositors, however, render in Him, Christ. This I adopt as harmonizing with the emphatic references to Christ which occur in every verse from Col 2:5 to Col 2:14; Christ, four times; in Him, four; in whom, two; with Him, three. In it is necessary only if the subject of the sentence is Christ; but the very awkward change of subject from God (quickened us together, Col 2:13) is quite unnecessary. God is the subject throughout.