Colossians 1:6
Which is come to you, as it is in all the world; and brings forth fruit, as it does also in you, since the day you heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
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(6) Which is come unto you . . .—There is much variety of reading here, but the text followed by our version is certainly incorrect. The probable reading is, which is come unto you, just as in all the world it is now bringing forth fruit and growing, as also it does in you. In this sentence there are two lessons implied. First, the universality of the gospel, in which it stands contrasted, as with all local and national religions, whether of Judaism or of Paganism, so also with the secret doctrines of Gnostic speculation, intelligible only to the initiated few. Next, the test of its reality both by practical fruit of action, and by the spiritual growth connected therewith. In relation to the former, “faith without works” is “dead”; in relation to the other it is “imperfect,” needing to be developed into maturity (James 2:20; James 2:22). Both these lessons were evidently needed, in consequence of the appearance at Colossæ of the occult mysticism and the unpractical speculation noted in Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:18. But the Church itself was still faithful. Hence the last words, “as also it does in you,” turning back again to Colossæ in particular, are an insertion of kindly courtesy—one of the insertions of apparent afterthought not unfrequent in St. Paul’s Epistles—intended to show that the implied warning is by no means a condemnation.

1:1-8 All true Christians are brethren one to another. Faithfulness runs through every character and relation of the Christian life. Faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces in the Christian life, and proper matter for prayer and thanksgiving. The more we fix our hopes on the reward in the other world, the more free shall we be in doing good with our earthly treasure. It was treasured up for them, no enemy could deprive them of it. The gospel is the word of truth, and we may safely venture our souls upon it. And all who hear the word of the gospel, ought to bring forth the fruit of the gospel, obey it, and have their principles and lives formed according to it. Worldly love arises, either from views of interest or from likeness in manners; carnal love, from the appetite for pleasure. To these, something corrupt, selfish, and base always cleaves. But Christian love arises from the Holy Spirit, and is full of holiness.Which is come unto you - It has not been confined to the Jews, or limited to the narrow country where it was first preached, but has been sent abroad to the Gentile world. The object of the apostle here seems to be, to excite in them a sense of gratitude that the gospel had been sent to them. It was owing entirely to the goodness of God in sending them the gospel, that they had this hope of eternal life.

As it is in all the world - It is confined to no place or people, but is designed to be a universal religion. It offers the same blessedness in heaven to all; compare the notes at Colossians 1:23.

And bringing forth fruit - The fruits of righteousness or good living; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 9:10. The meaning is, that the gospel was not without effect wherever it was preached. The same results were observable everywhere else as in Colossae, that it produced most salutary influences on the hearts and lives of those who received it. On the nature of the "fruits" of religion, see the notes at Galatians 5:22-23.

Since the day ye heard of it - It has constantly been producing these fruits since you first heard it preached.

And knew the grace of God in truth - Since the time ye knew the true grace of God; since you became acquainted with the real benevolence which God has manifested in the gospel. The meaning is, that ever since they had heard the gospel it had been producing among them abundantly its appropriate fruit, and that the same thing had also characterized it wherever it had been dispensed.

6. Which is come unto you—Greek, "Which is present among you," that is, which has come to, and remains with, you. He speaks of the word as a living person present among them.

as it is in all the world—virtually, as it was by this time preached in the leading parts of the then known world; potentially, as Christ's command was that the Gospel should be preached to all nations, and not be limited, as the law was, to the Jews (Mt 13:38; 24:14; 28:19). However, the true reading, and that of the oldest manuscripts, is that which omits the following "and," thus (the "it is" of English Version is not in the original Greek): "As in all the world it is bringing forth fruit and growing (so the oldest manuscripts read; English Version omits 'and growing,' without good authority), even as it doth in you also." Then what is asserted is not that the Gospel has been preached in all the world, but that it is bearing fruits of righteousness, and (like a tree growing at the same time that it is bearing fruit) growing in numbers of its converts in, or throughout, all the world.

heard of it—rather, "heard it."

and knew—rather, "came to know"; became fully experimentally acquainted with.

the grace of God in truth—that is, in its truth, and with true knowledge [Alford].

Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and passing the narrow bounds of Judea, unto all or most of the regions of the world, Colossians 1:23 Matthew 24:14 Acts 2:5 Romans 1:8 10:18. So admirable was the progress of it east, west, north, and south, well nigh over the world as it was then known to the Greeks and Romans; whereupon the apostle might well write, Christ was

believed on in the world, 1 Timothy 3:16: as Christ had said he was the light of the world, and, by a figure of part for the whole, would upon his death draw all men to him, John 12:32,46. Yet let not the Rhemists, or any other Romanist, think that the promulgation of the mysteries of the gospel then is any proof of the verity of the Romish religion in these latter ages, when by tyranny they impose for doctrines the traditions of men: they do not bring forth that genuine fruit which the Colossians did.

And bringeth forth fruit; viz. becoming the gospel, (as the Philipplans did, Philippians 1:27), and true repentance, Matthew 3:8 13:23 John 15:16; and real holiness, abiding in the hearts and lives of men, and effectually working in them that believe it, Isaiah 55:10 Acts 5:14 Acts 6:7 12:24,16,17,20 1 Thessalonians 2:13; which the practical religion of the papists generally bears no proportion to, being contrary to that.

As it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it; which from the first receiving of the gospel, was found growing amongst the true converts at Colosse, though it should seem false teachers crept in to choke the good fruit with their tares.

And knew the grace of God in truth; however, they who had real experience of the grace of God and the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, Psalm 3:8, did hold, bringing forth fruit in old age, Psalm 92:14. Which is come unto you,.... That is, the Gospel, which came to them from God, from heaven, from Christ, out of Jerusalem, from whence the word of the Lord was to come, by the ministers of the Gospel, who being sent, came to Colosse, and there preached it; and so the Syriac version renders the words , "which is preached unto you". And a wonderful instance of the free grace of God this was; they did not seek, inquire for, and go after the Gospel, but it came to them; and so Christ was found of them by it, who sought him not, and made manifest in his person, grace, and righteousness to them that asked not after him: for this Gospel came not to them in, word only, but with the power of the Holy Spirit: it was come, , "into you", as the phrase may be rendered, into their very hearts, and wrought effectually there, enlightening, convincing, comforting, and instructing them; where it had a place, and remained; for the words may be read, as they are by the Arabic version, "which is present with you". The Gospel is always in one place or another, and will be to the end of the world; but it is not always in the same place; but as yet it was not removed from Colosse; it was still with them in the external ministry of it, and it remained in their hearts in the powerful and comfortable experience of it:

as it is in all the world; as it was come into, and preached to all the world, and was made useful, and continued in all the world at that time. Christ gave his disciples a commission to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; it was no more to be restrained to a particular nation, but was made general and common to all the nations of the world, and accordingly they preached it to all; and by this time had delivered the joyful message to the greater part of the world, which is sometimes meant by all the world, and the whole world; or it had been now preached in all the known and habitable parts of the world by one apostle and another, some being sent into one part, and some into another; so that the grace of God appeared to all men, and the doctrine of it had been preached to every creature under the heaven, according to Christ's commission; the Gospel of the kingdom was to be preached in all the world, for a witness to all nations, before the end of the Jewish state came, or before the destruction of Jerusalem, which was not many years after the writing of this epistle. Now this shows, that it was the same Gospel which had been preached at Colosse by their faithful minister there, as had been preached in other areas, and in all parts of the world by the apostles; which is said in the commendation of the Gospel, it being one, uniform, consistent, and all of a piece in every place, and as preached by every faithful minister, and might serve greatly to confirm the Colossians in their faith of it:

and bringeth forth fruit: by which is meant, either the conversion of sinners, the fruit of the Gospel ministry, when attended with a divine blessing and power; or the graces of the Spirit, as faith, hope, love, repentance, humility, self-denial, &c. with all the effects thereof, in new obedience, and a godly conversation, which come from Christ, the green fir tree, and are produced by the Spirit, through the preaching of the Gospel. The Vulgate Latin adds, "and increaseth"; the Syriac version has the same; and it is so read in some Greek copies, as in the Alexandrian copy, two of Stephens's, and in the Complutensian edition; and may intend the spread of the Gospel among others, besides those who first received it, and the growing fruitfulness of the professors of it under its influence:

as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it; as soon as ever it came among them they hearkened to it, they were inclined to hear it externally, and a divine power going along with it, giving them hearing ears, and understanding hearts, they heard it, so as to know it, love it, and believe it; and from that time it brought forth fruit, and increased in them, and they continued in the faith and profession of it; so that as the Gospel is commended both from the large spread and efficacy of it, as well as its uniformity in every place, these Colossians also are commended for their hearing of it, both externally and internally, and for their perseverance in it: and which is further illustrated in the following clause,

and knew the grace of God in truth: by "the grace of God" may be meant the love and favour of God, in the mission and gift of his Son, to be the Saviour and Redeemer of lost sinners, displayed in the Gospel, of which they had a comfortable experience, it being shed abroad in their hearts by the Spirit; or the blessings of grace revealed in the Gospel, as free justification by the righteousness of Christ, full pardon of sin, according to the riches of grace, and adoption of children, arising out of the love and free favour of God, of which they had had a real application made to them through the Gospel, by the Spirit of God; or rather the doctrine of grace itself, so called because it is a declaration of the free grace of God in the salvation of sinners and the means of implanting grace in the heart. This they knew not merely in a notional and speculative manner, but experimentally; for the Gospel was not only come to them, but into them; they had a spiritual knowledge of it, and affection for it; they felt the power of it in their hearts, and tasted and relished the sweetness of it; and owned and "acknowledged" it, as the word here used may be rendered; for as with the heart they believed it so with the mouth they made public profession of it: and this they did "in truth"; they came by the knowledge of the love of God, and the blessings of grace, and the doctrines of it, by the Gospel, the word of truth; in and through that they became acquainted with these things; and having known and embraced the doctrine of the Gospel of the grace of God, in the truth of it, without any mixture of error, as it had been purely, and without adulteration, truly and faithfully preached by their minister, they professed it truly heartily, and sincerely, and without hypocrisy; which is another part of their commendation, and involves in it the praise of their minister also, which is enlarged upon in the following verses.

Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Colossians 1:6. In what he had just said, ἣν προηκούσατεεὐαγγελίου, Paul now desires to make his readers sensible of the great and blessed fellowship in which, through the gospel, they are placed, in order that they may by this very consciousness feel themselves aroused to faithfulness towards the gospel, in presence of the heretical influences; ἐπειδὴ μάλιστα οἱ πολλοὶ ἐκ τοῦ κοινωνοὺς ἔχειν πολλοὺς τῶν δογμάτων στηρίζονται, Chrysostom. Comp. Oecumenius: προθυμοτέρους αὐτοὺς περὶ τὴν πίστιν ποιεῖ ἐκ τοῦ ἔχειν πάντας κοινωνούς.

εἰς ὑμᾶς] not ἐν ὑμῖν, because the conception of the previous arrival predominates; 1Ma 11:63. Often so with παρεῖναι in classical authors (Herod. i. 9, vi. 24, viii. 60; Polyb. xviii. 1.1; comp. Acts 12:20). See Bornemann and Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 2. 2; Bremi, ad Aeschin. p. 320; and generally, Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, p. 158 f., ed. 3. Observe, moreover, the emphasis of τοῦ παρόντος: it is there! it has not remained away; and to the presence is then added the bearing fruit.

καθὼς καὶ ἐν παντὶ τ. κόσμῳ] A popular hyperbole. Comp. Romans 1:8; Acts 17:6, and see Colossians 1:23. The expression is neither arbitrarily to be restricted, nor to be used against the genuineness of the Epistle (Hilgenfeld), nor yet to be rationalized by “as regards the idea” (Baumgarten-Crusius) and the like; although, certainly, the idea of the catholicity of Christianity is expressed in the passage (comp. Romans 10:18; Mark 14:9; Mark 16:15; Matthew 24:14).

καὶ ἔστι καρποφ. κ.τ.λ.] Instead of continuing: καὶ καρποφορουμένου κ.τ.λ., Paul carries onward the discourse with the finite verb, and thus causes this element to stand out more independently and forcibly:[14] “and it is fruit-bearing and growing” (see Maetzner, ad Lycurg. Leocr. p. 108; Heindorf, ad Plat. Soph. p. 222 B; Winer, p. 533 [E. T. 717]), by which is indicated the fact, that the gospel, wherever it is present, is also in course of living dynamical development, and this state of development is expressed by ἔστι with the participle. This general proposition based on experience: καὶ ἔστι καρποφ. κ. αὐξαν., is then by ΚΑΘῺς Κ. ἘΝ ὙΜῖΝ confirmed through the experience found also among the readers; so that Paul’s view passes, in the first clause (τοῦ παρόντοςκόσμῳ), from the special to the general aspect, and in the second, from the general to the special. With ΚΑΡΠΟΦΟΡ. (not occurring elsewhere in the middle) is depicted the blissful working in the inward and outward life (comp. Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9); and with αὐξανόμ. the continuous diffusion, whereby the gospel is obtaining more and more adherents and local extension. Comp. Theodoret: καρποφορίαν τοῦ εὐαγγ. κέκληκε τὴν ἐπαινουμένην πολιτείαν· αὔξησιν δὲ τῶν πιστευόντων τὸ πλῆθος. Huther and de Wette groundlessly refrain from deciding whether ΑὐΞ. is intended to refer to the outward growth or to the inward (so Steiger), or to both. See Acts 6:7; Acts 12:24; Acts 19:20. Comp. Luke 13:19; Matthew 13:32. The μᾶλλον στηρίζεσθαι, which Chrysostom finds included in αὐξ., is not denoted, but presupposed by the latter. Comp. Theophylact. The figure is taken from a tree, in which the καρποφορία does not exclude the continuance of growth (not so in the case of cereals).

ἈΦʼ Ἧς ἩΜΈΡ. Κ.Τ.Λ.] since the first beginning of your conversion which so happily took place (through true knowledge of the grace of God), that development of the gospel proceeds among you; how could ye now withdraw from it by joining yourselves to false teachers?

ΤῊΝ ΧΆΡΙΝ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ] contents of the gospel, which they have heard; the object of ἠκούσ. is the gospel, and Τ. ΧΆΡΙΝ Τ. ΘΕΟῦ belongs to ἘΠΈΓΝΩΤΕ; and by ἘΝ ἈΛΗΘΕΊᾼ (2 Corinthians 7:14), equivalent to ἈΛΗΘῶς (John 17:8), the qualitative character of this knowledge is affirmed: it was a true knowledge, corresponding to the nature of the χάρις, without Judaistic and other errors. Comp. on John 17:19. Holtzmann hears in ἠκούσατεἀληθῶς “the first tones of the foreign theme,” which is then in Colossians 1:9-10 more fully entered upon. But how conceivable and natural is it, that at the very outset the danger which threatens the right knowledge of the readers should be present to his mind!

[14] If καί is not genuine, as Bleek, Hofmann, and others consider (see the critical remarks), the passage is to be translated: as it also in the whole world is fruit-hearing, by which Paul would say that the gospel is present among the readers in the same fruit-bearing quality which it developes on all sides. But in that case the following καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν would necessarily appear as very superfluous. No doubt we might, after the preceding παρόντος, take the ἐστί, with F. Nitzsch, as equivalent to πάρεστι (see Stallb. ad Plat. Phaed. p. 59 B); and to this comes also the punctuation in Tisch. 8, who puts a comma after ἐστίν. But how utterly superfluous would this ἐστί then be!Colossians 1:6. This word of the truth has been defined as the Gospel, but Paul now proceeds to indicate more precisely what he means by this term. It is that Gospel which they have already received, not the local perversion of it that has recently been urged on their notice, but that which is spreading in the whole world, its truth authenticated by its ever-widening area and deepening influence on its adherents, and which manifests the same inherent energy among the Colossians themselves, in the form in which they learnt it from their teacher Epaphras.—καθὼς καὶ ἐν παντὶἐν ὑμῖν. According to the TR. καὶ ἔστι, two statements are made—that the Gospel is present with the Colossians as it is present in all the world, and that it is bearing fruit and increasing as it is among the Colossians. The omission of καὶ before ἐστὶν καρ. creates a little awkwardness, since καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν seems then superfluous. Lightfoot takes ἐστ. καρ. together as a periphrasis for καρποφορεῖται, but this construction is very rare in Paul. The symmetry of clauses is much better preserved if, with Soden and Haupt, we write ἔστιν, καρ. We thus get the same double comparison as with the TR., Paul passing from the special to the general, and from the general back to the special. For the hyperbole ἐν π. τ. κόσμῳ, Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:8, Romans 1:8; Romans 10:18. As Gess points out (Christi Person und Werk, ii., 1, p. 228), Paul wishes here and in Colossians 1:23 to widen the outlook of the Colossians, since the more isolated the community the greater the danger from seducers. For the similar feeling that local idiosyncrasies are to be controlled by the general custom of the Church, Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:16; 1 Corinthians 14:36 (Cf. 33).—καρποφορούμενον καὶ αὐξανόμενον. The former of these participles expresses the inward energy of the Gospel (dynamic middle) in its adherents, the latter its extension in the world by gathering in new converts.—ἀφʼ ἧς ἡμέρας. This expresses the further fact that the progress of the Gospel has been continuous from the first in the Colossian Church.—ἠκούσατεΘεοῦ. It is uncertain whether χάριν is governed by both verbs (so Lightf., Kl[3], Ol., Sod., Abb.) or by the latter only (so Mey., Ell., Haupt). In the former case ἠκούς. will mean “were instructed in”. But it is simpler to translate “ye heard it [i.e., the Gospel] and knew the grace of God”, ἐπέγνωτε should strictly imply full knowledge, but as the reference is to the time of their conversion it seems doubtful whether this shade of meaning should be pressed. ἐπίγνωσις is in his mind. The word occurs twice in the context. The grace of God is probably mentioned in opposition to the false teachers doctrine of ordinances and rigorous asceticism.—ἐν ἀληθείᾳ: not to be taken as if an adjective with χάριν, “the true grace of God,” for there is no false grace of God, but with ἐπεγ. in the sense that they knew the Gospel as it truly is, in its genuine reality, in opposition to the travesty of it recently introduced.

[3] Klöpper.6. is come unto you] Lit., “is present to you;” but the A.V. and R.V. are idiomatically right.

as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth, &c.] The word “and” here is textually doubtful; the adverse evidence though not decisive is considerable. If it is omitted, the rendering will be, as also in all the world it is fruit-bearing; and the meaning will be, practically, “it has reached you, as it reaches others everywhere, as a secret of fruit-bearing power.”

In all the world:”—“in all the cosmos,” as Mark 16:15. Cp. Matthew 4:8; Matthew 26:13; and, for a similar hyperbole, Romans 1:8, and below, Colossians 1:23. Here the cosmos, which sometimes means the universe at large (Acts 17:24), sometimes human society (1 Corinthians 5:10), sometimes man as alienated with all his interests from God (Galatians 6:14; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:13, etc.), is used by a perfectly lawful liberty of speech for space indefinitely large, places indefinitely many. The readers would well understand that Paul meant not that the Gospel had reached every spot of Europe, Asia, and Africa, but that wherever, in the already vast extent of its range among men, it had come, it proved always its proper power.

Bringeth forth fruit:”—the Greek verb is (here only in Greek literature, apparently) in the middle voice, and this indicates specially the innate, congenital, fruit-bearing power of the Gospel. It is “essentially a reproductive organism, a plant whose seed is in itself” (Lightfoot). Hence the Christian is, if we may put it so, nothing if not a fruit-bearer (Matthew 7:17-20; Luke 13:6; John 15:2-8; John 15:16; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22; Php 1:11; James 3:17).

Here add, with full MS. and other evidence, and increaseth, or, in view of the reading advocated above, and increasing. The noble and beautiful fact is thus given us that the Gospel’s fruit-bearing does not exhaust its source but rather developes the outcome. Transferring the imagery from the Gospel to its believing recipients, we gather that the more freely the Christian yields, as it were, his soul and his life to the fruitful energy of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) the stronger will he become for always ampler production. And so it is with the believing Church as a whole.

as it doth also in you] “The comparison is thus doubled back, as it were, on itself” (Lightfoot). He returns, careless of literary symmetry, to the thought closest to his heart, the fruitful and growing life of faith at Colossœ, which is now his bright example and illustration of the blessing experienced “in all the world.”

since the day] From the very first hour of intelligent faith the Divine secret of fruit and growth had worked; as it was, and is, always meant to do.

ye heard of it, and knew] Better, ye heard and knew.

Knew:”—the Greek verb is a strong one, epiginôscein. It, or its kindred noun epignôsis, occurs e.g. Matthew 11:27; Romans 3:20; 1 Corinthians 13:12; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 4:13; below, Colossians 1:9-10, Colossians 2:2, Colossians 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Timothy 3:7; Hebrews 10:26; 2 Peter 1:8; 2 Peter 2:20. The structure of the word suggests developed knowledge; the N.T. usage tends to connect it with spiritual knowledge. The Colossians had not only heard and, in a natural sense, understood the Gospel; they had seen into it with the intuition of grace (cp. 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 2:14).

the grace of God] His free and loving gift of Christ to the believing soul, and Church, to be “all in all;” “righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). This they had “heard” as Gospel, and “known” as life and peace.

For the phrase, cp. Acts 11:23; Acts 13:43; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:40; Acts 20:24; Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 6:1; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:14; Galatians 1:15; Galatians 2:21; Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 12:15; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Peter 4:12, and cp. Colossians 1:10.

in truth] The words, grammatically, may refer to the reality of either the reception or the thing received. Order and connexion, and the drift of the whole Epistle, with its warning against a visionary and illusory “other Gospel,” favour the latter. So we render, or explain, in (its) reality; in its character as the revelation of eternal fact and pure spiritual truth. Cp. Ephesians 4:21, and our note.Colossians 1:6. Εἰς) εἰς and ἐν here are parallel.—καὶ ἔστι, and is) After the participle, the form of expression here takes again the indicative mood; see Colossians 1:26, ch. Colossians 2:13-14; [of the Gospel] present, i.e. which is come to you,—and (repeat which from the preceding clause) is producing fruit.—καρποφορούμενον, producing fruit) viz. [supply] in all the world.—καθὼς, even as) when travelling abroad they recognise with great joy the same fruits of the Gospel in every clime; and its fruits prove that it is the word of truth. Comp. presently after, even as, Colossians 1:7. For there is an interchange, and at length a movement or tendency [of Gospel fructification] towards the Colossians for the propagation of the word. [An inclination arises on the part of the Colossians in their turn to propagate the truth].—ἈΦʼ Ἧς, from what) construed with in you.—ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, in truth) i.e. in the truth of the Gospel testimony, and of faith flowing from the testimony and directed toward the testimony.Verse 6. - That is come unto you, even as also (it is) in all the world, bearing fruit and increasing, as in you also (Romans 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Acts if. 47; 5:14; 6:7; 9:31; 11:21; 12:24; 19:20). The words, "and increasing," are added to the text on the testimony, all but unanimous, of the older witnesses. Their propriety is manifest; for the success of the gospel at Colossae was a gratifying evidence, both of its inherent fruitfulness, and of its rapid progress in the Gentile world. Stationary at Rome (see Introduction, § 3), and with his messengers coming and going, and news reaching him from time to time of the advance of the Christian cause, the strong expression, "in all the world," is natural to St. Paul. From Rome "all the world" is surveyed, just as what takes place at Rome seems to resound "in all the world" (Romans 1:8). Bearing fruit (verb in middle voice, implying inherent energy) precedes growing - the first "describing the inner working," the second" the outward extension of the gospel" (Lightfoot). For "bearing fruit," comp. Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:22; Philippians 1:11; John 15:8, 16: and for "growing," 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Matthew 13:31-33; and parallel passages; see also ver. 11. In the last clause the expression "doubles back upon itself" in a fashion characteristic of St. Paul, whose sentences grow and change their form like living things while he indites them (comp. Colossians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:1, R.V.): the coming of the gospel to Colossae suggests the thought of its advent in the world, and this gives place to the fuller idea of its fruitfulness and expansion, which in turn is evidenced by its effect at Colossae. Since the day that ye heard (it), and knew well the grace of God in truth (ver. 5; Colossians 2:6, 7; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:1, 2, 13; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 1:6, 11; Galatians 3:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:14). For their progress had been continuous (comp. Philippians 1:5). Meyer and Ellicott, with the A.V., better maintain the connection of thought in understanding "the gospel" as object of "heard." The verb ἐπέγνωτε, knew well, with ἐπίγνωσις (ver. 9, etc.), belongs specially to the vocabulary of this group of Epistles. Knowledge, in 1 Corinthians, is denoted by the simple gnosis. But this word became at an early time the watchword of the heretical Gnostics (" men of knowledge:" comp. 1 Timothy 6:20); and the false teachers of Colossae pretended to an intellectual superiority, asserted, we may imagine, in much the same way (comp. Colossians 2:2-4, 8, 23). The apostle now prefers the more precise and distinctive epignosis (επίγινώσκω), meaning" accurate" or" advanced knowledge" (see Lightfoot here, and on ver. 9). "To hear the gospel" is "to know well the grace of God" (Acts 20:24; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:1; John 1:17); the full knowledge of which "in truth" (ver. 5; Ephesians 4:14, 15, 20-24) would preserve the Colossians from knowledge falsely so called. Which is come unto you (τοῦ παρόντος εἰς ὑμᾶς)

Lit., which is present unto you. Has come and is present. Compare Luke 11:7, "are with me into bed."

In all the world

Hyperbolical. Compare Romans 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; Acts 17:6. Possibly with a suggestion of the universal character of the Gospel as contrasted with the local and special character of false Gospels. Compare Colossians 1:23.

And bringeth forth fruit (καὶ ἔστι καρποφορούμενον)

Lit., and is bearing fruit. The text varies. The best texts omit and. Some join ἔστι is with the previous clause, as it is in all the world, and take bearing fruit as a parallel participle. So Rev. Others, better, join is with the participle, "even as it is bearing fruit." This would emphasize the continuous fruitfulness of the Gospel. The middle voice of the verb, of which this is the sole instance, marks the fruitfulness of the Gospel by its own inherent power. Compare the active voice in Colossians 1:10, and see Mark 4:28, "the earth bringeth forth fruit αὐτομάτη of herself, self-acting. For a similar use of the middle, see show, Ephesians 2:7; worketh, Galatians 5:6.

Increasing (αὐξανόμενην)

Not found in Tex. Rec., nor in A.V., but added in later and better texts, and in Rev. "Not like those plants which exhaust themselves in bearing fruit. The external growth keeps pace with the reproductive energy" (Lightfoot). "It makes wood as well" (Maclaren).

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