For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order…
The apostle looked forth from Rome with that spiritual second sight to which distance is as nothing. He surveyed churches remote in space, the Colossian among the rest. In praising its condition, he uses an image derived from the order and solidity of the soldiers of the Praetorian guard, whom he saw so constantly during his captivity (Philippians 1:13; Ephesians 6:11; Philippians 4:7). "Order" properly consists in the due disposition of parts in reference to the whole; steadfastness" lit. "what is made firm;" hence sometimes the solidified body, the solid strength of an army (1 Maccabees 9:14 1 Maccabees 10:50). The first is the orderly organization, without which strength evaporates; the second solid strength, without which order is a hollow parade. The Church's proper organic form and solid definite conviction of the unalterable elements of the Christian creed are closely connected in the apostle's mind as they have been in the history of the Church. The Colossian Church presents itself to him as an army — as to the Church's form, in serried order; as to the Church's creed, solid at the core.
Parallel VersesKJV: For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.