1tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

2tn Grk “and faithful.” The construction in Greek (as well as Paul’s style) suggests that the saints are identical to the faithful; hence, the καί (kai) is best left untranslated (cf. Eph 1:1). See ExSyn 281-82.

3tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).

4tn Or “Grace to you and peace.”

5tc Most witnesses, including some important ones (א A C F G I [P] 075 ¤ it bo), read “and the Lord Jesus Christ” at the end of this verse, no doubt to conform the wording to the typical Pauline salutation. However, excellent and early witnesses (B D K L Ψ 33 81 1175 1505 1739 1881 al sa) lack this phrase. Since the omission is inexplicable as arising from the longer reading (otherwise, these mss would surely have deleted the phrase in the rest of the corpus Paulinum), it is surely authentic.

6tn The adverb πάντοτε (pantote) is understood to modify the indicative εὐχαριστοῦμεν (eucaristoumen) because it precedes περὶ ὑμῶν (peri Jumwn) which probably modifies the indicative and not the participle προσευχόμενοι (proseucomenoi). But see 1:9 where the same expression occurs and περὶ ὑμῶν modifies the participle “praying” (προσευχόμενοι).

7tn The adverbial participle ἀκούσαντες (akousante") is understood to be temporal and translated with “since.” A causal idea may also be in the apostle’s mind, but the context emphasizes temporal ideas, e.g., “from the day” (v. 6).

8tn Col 1:3-8 form one long sentence in the Greek text and have been divided at the end of v. 4 and v. 6 and within v. 6 for clarity, in keeping with the tendency in contemporary English toward shorter sentences. Thus the phrase “Your faith and love have arisen from the hope” is literally “because of the hope.” The perfect tense “have arisen” was chosen in the English to reflect the fact that the recipients of the letter had acquired this hope at conversion in the past, but that it still remains and motivates them to trust in Christ and to love one another.

9tn BDAG 113 s.v. ἀπόκειμαι 2 renders ἀποκειμένην (apokeimenhn) with the expression “reserved” in this verse.

10tn The term “the gospel” (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, tou euangeliou) is in apposition to “the word of truth” (τῷ λόγῳ τῆς ἀληθείας, tw logw th" alhqeia") as indicated in the translation.

11tn Grk “just as in the entire world it is bearing fruit.” The antecedent (“the gospel”) of the implied subject (“it”) of ἐστιν (estin) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12tn Though the participles are periphrastic with the present tense verb ἐστίν (estin), the presence of the temporal indicator “from the day” in the next clause indicates that this is a present tense that reaches into the past and should be translated as “has been bearing fruit and growing.” For a discussion of this use of the present tense, see ExSyn 519-20.

13tn Or “learned it.” The Greek text simply has “you learned” without the reference to “the gospel,” but “the gospel” is supplied to clarify the sense of the clause. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

14tn The Greek word translated “fellow slave” is σύνδουλος (sundoulo"); the σύν- prefix here denotes association. Though δοῦλος is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

15tn The Greek text has “who (ὅς, Jos) is a faithful minister.” The above translation conveys the antecedent of the relative pronoun quite well and avoids the redundancy with the following substantival participle of v. 8, namely, “who told” (ὁ δηλώσας, Jo dhlwsa").

16tc ‡ Judging by the superior witnesses for the first person pronoun ἡμῶν (Jhmwn, “us”; 46 א* A B D* F G 326* 1505 al) vs. the second person pronoun ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “you”; found in א2 C D1 Ψ 075 33 1739 1881 ¤ lat sy co), ἡμῶν should be regarded as original. Although it is possible that ἡμῶν was an early alteration of ὑμῶν (either unintentionally, as dittography, since it comes seventeen letters after the previous ἡμῶν; or intentionally, to conform to the surrounding first person pronouns), this supposition is difficult to maintain in light of the varied and valuable witnesses for this reading. Further, the second person is both embedded in the verb ἐμάθετε (emaqete) and is explicit in v. 8 (ὑμῶν). Hence, the motivation to change to the first person pronoun is counterbalanced by such evidence. The second person pronoun may have been introduced unintentionally via homoioarcton with the ὑπέρ (Juper) that immediately precedes it. As well, the second person reading is somewhat harder for it seems to address Epaphras’ role only in relation to Paul and his colleagues, rather than in relation to the Colossians. Nevertheless, the decision must be based ultimately on external evidence (because the internal evidence can be variously interpreted), and this strongly supports ἡμῶν.

17tn Or “heard about it”; Grk “heard.” There is no direct object stated in the Greek (direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context). A direct object is expected by an English reader, however, so most translations supply one. Here, however, it is not entirely clear what the author “heard”: a number of translations supply “it” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV; NAB “this”), but this could refer back either to (1) “your love in the Spirit” at the end of v. 8, or (2) “your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints” (v. 4). In light of this uncertainty, other translations supply “about you” (TEV, NIV, CEV, NLT). This is preferred by the present translation since, while it does not resolve the ambiguity entirely, it does make it less easy for the English reader to limit the reference only to “your love in the Spirit” at the end of v. 8.

18tn The term “God” does not appear in the Greek text, but the following reference to “the knowledge of his will” makes it clear that “God” is in view as the object of the “praying and asking,” and should therefore be included in the English translation for clarity.

19tn The ἵνα (Jina) clause has been translated as substantival, indicating the content of the prayer and asking. The idea of purpose may also be present in this clause.

20tn The infinitive περιπατῆσαι (peripathsai, “to walk, to live, to live one’s life”) is best taken as an infinitive of purpose related to “praying” (προσευχόμενοι, proseucomenoi) and “asking” (αἰτούμενοι, aitoumenoi) in v. 9 and is thus translated as “that you may live.”

21tn BDAG 129 s.v. ἀρεσκεία states that ἀρεσκείαν (areskeian) refers to a “desire to please εἰς πᾶσαν ἀ. to please (the Lord) in all respects Col 1:10.”

22tn The expression “for the display of” is an attempt to convey in English the force of the Greek preposition εἰς (eis) in this context.

23tn BDAG 473 s.v. ἱκανόω states, “τινὰ εἴς τι someone for someth. Col 1:12.” The point of the text is that God has qualified the saints for a “share” or “portion” in the inheritance of the saints.

24tn Grk “the inheritance of the saints.” The genitive noun τῶν ἁγίων (twn Jagiwn) is a possessive genitive: “the saints’ inheritance.”

25tn Here αὐτοῦ (autou) has been translated as a subjective genitive (“he loves”).

26tc διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ (dia tou {aimato" autou, “through his blood”) is read at this juncture by several minuscule mss (614 630 1505 2464 al) as well as a few, mostly secondary, versional and patristic witnesses. But the reading was prompted by the parallel in Eph 1:7 where the wording is solid. If these words had been in the original of Colossians, why would scribes omit them here but not in Eph 1:7? Further, the testimony on behalf of the shorter reading is quite overwhelming: {א A B C D F G Ψ 075 0150 6 33 1739 1881 ¤ latt co as well as several other versions and fathers}. The conviction that “through his blood” is not authentic in Col 1:14 is as strong as the conviction that these words are authentic in Eph 1:7.

27sn This passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188-89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.

28tn The Greek term πρωτότοκος (prwtotokos) could refer either to first in order of time, such as a first born child, or it could refer to one who is preeminent in rank. M. J. Harris, Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT), 43, expresses the meaning of the word well: “The ‘firstborn’ was either the eldest child in a family or a person of preeminent rank. The use of this term to describe the Davidic king in Ps 88:28 LXX (=Ps 89:27 EVV), ‘I will also appoint him my firstborn (πρωτότοκον), the most exalted of the kings of the earth,’ indicates that it can denote supremacy in rank as well as priority in time. But whether the πρωτό- element in the word denotes time, rank, or both, the significance of the -τοκος element as indicating birth or origin (from τίκτω, give birth to) has been virtually lost except in ref. to lit. birth.” In Col 1:15 the emphasis is on the priority of Jesus’ rank as over and above creation (cf. 1:16 and the “for” clause referring to Jesus as Creator).

29tn The genitive construction πάσης κτίσεως (pash" ktisew") is a genitive of subordination and is therefore translated as “over all creation.” See ExSyn 103-4.

30tn BDAG 579 s.v. κυριότης 3 suggests “bearers of the ruling powers, dominions” here.

31tn BDAG 973 s.v. συνίστημι B.3 suggests “continue, endure, exist, hold together” here.

32tn See the note on the term “firstborn” in 1:15. Here the reference to Jesus as the “firstborn from among the dead” seems to be arguing for a chronological priority, i.e., Jesus was the first to rise from the dead.

33tn Grk “in order that he may become in all things, himself, first.”

34tn The noun “God” does not appear in the Greek text, but since God is the one who reconciles the world to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:19), he is clearly the subject of εὐδόκησεν (eudokhsen).

35tn The Greek article τό (to), insofar as it relates to God, may be translated as a possessive pronoun, i.e., “his.” BDAG 404 s.v. εὐδοκέω 1 translates the phrase as “all the fullness willed to dwell in him” thus leaving the referent as impersonal. Insofar as Paul is alluding to the so-called emanations from God this is acceptable. But the fact that “the fullness” dwells in a person (i.e., “in him”) seems to argue for the translation “his fullness” where “his” refers to God.

36tn The aorist verb κατοικῆσαι (katoikhsai) could be taken as an ingressive, in which case it refers to the incarnation and may be translated as “begin to dwell, to take up residence.” It is perhaps better, though, to take it as a constative aorist and simply a reference to the fact that the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ. This is a permanent dwelling, though, not a temporary one, as the present tense in 2:9 makes clear.

37tn Grk “him”; the referent (the Son; see v. 13) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

38tc The presence or absence of the second occurrence of the phrase δι᾿ αὐτοῦ (di autou, “through him”) is a difficult textual problem to solve. External evidence is fairly evenly divided. Many ancient and excellent witnesses lack the phrase (B D* F G I 0278 81 1175 1739 1881 2464 al latt sa), but equally important witnesses have it (46 א A C D1 Ψ 048vid 33 ¤). Both readings have strong Alexandrian support, which makes the problem difficult to decide on external evidence alone. Internal evidence points to the inclusion of the phrase as original. The word immediately preceding the phrase is the masculine pronoun αὐτοῦ (autou); thus the possibility of omission through homoioteleuton in various witnesses is likely. Scribes might have deleted the phrase because of perceived redundancy or awkwardness in the sense: The shorter reading is smoother and more elegant, so scribes would be prone to correct the text in that direction. As far as style is concerned, repetition of key words and phrases for emphasis is not foreign to the corpus Paulinum (see, e.g., Rom 8:23, Eph 1:13, 2 Cor 12:7). In short, it is easier to account for the shorter reading arising from the longer reading than vice versa, so the longer reading is more likely original.

39tn The article τῇ (th) has been translated as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).

40tn Although διανοία (dianoia) is singular in Greek, the previous plural noun ἐχθρούς (ecqrous) indicates that all those from Colossae are in view here.

41tn The dative ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς πονηροῖς (en toi" ergoi" toi" ponhroi") is taken as means, indicating the avenue through which hostility in the mind is revealed and made known.

42tc Some of the better representatives of the Alexandrian and Western texts have a passive verb here instead of the active ἀποκατήλλαξεν (apokathllaxen, “he has reconciled”): ἀποκατηλλάγητε (apokathllaghte) in (46) B, ἀποκατήλλακται [sic] (apokathllaktai) in 33, and ἀποκαταλλαγέντες (apokatallagente") in D* F G. Yet the active verb is strongly supported by א A C D2 Ψ 048 075 [0278] 1739 1881 ¤ lat sy. Internally, the passive creates an anacoluthon in that it looks back to the accusative ὑμᾶς (Juma", “you”) of v. 21 and leaves the following παραστῆσαι (parasthsai) dangling (“you were reconciled…to present you”). The passive reading is certainly the harder reading. As such, it may well explain the rise of the other readings. At the same time, it is possible that the passive was produced by scribes who wanted some symmetry between the ποτε (pote, “at one time”) of v. 21 and the νυνὶ δέ (nuni de, “but now”) of v. 22: Since a passive periphrastic participle is used in v. 21, there may have a temptation to produce a corresponding passive form in v. 22, handling the ὑμᾶς of v. 21 by way of constructio ad sensum. Since παραστῆσαι occurs ten words later, it may not have been considered in this scribal modification. Further, the Western reading (ἀποκαταλλαγέντες) hardly seems to have arisen from ἀποκατηλλάγητε (contra TCGNT 555). As difficult as this decision is, the preferred reading is the active form because it is superior externally and seems to explain the rise of all forms of the passive readings.

tn The direct object is omitted in the Greek text, but it is clear from context that “you” (ὑμᾶς, Jumas) is implied.

43tn BDAG 276 s.v. ἑδραῖος suggests “firm, steadfast.”

44tn BDAG 639 s.v. μετακινέω suggests “without shifting from the hope” here.

45tn BDAG 697 s.v. οἰκονομία 1.b renders the term here as “divine office.”

46tn See BDAG 828 s.v. πληρόω 3. The idea here seems to be that the apostle wants to “complete the word of God” in that he wants to preach it to every person in the known world (cf. Rom 15:19). See P. T. O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon (WBC), 82.

47tn The genitive noun τῆς δόξης (ths doxhs) is an attributive genitive and has therefore been translated as “glorious riches.”

48tn Or “admonishing,” or “warning.” BDAG 679 s.v. νουθετέω states, “to counsel about avoidance or cessation of an improper course of conduct,, admonish, warn, instruct.” After the participle νουθετοῦντες (nouqetounte", “instructing”) the words πάντα ἄνθρωπον (panta anqrwpon, “all men”) occur in the Greek text, but since the same phrase appears again after διδάσκοντες (didaskontes) it was omitted in translation to avoid redundancy in English.

49tn The two participles “instructing” (νουθετοῦντες, nouqetounte") and “teaching” (διδάσκοντες, didaskonte") are translated as participles of means (“by”) related to the finite verb “we proclaim” (καταγγέλλομεν, katangellomen).

50tn Here ἄνθρωπον (anqrwpon) is twice translated as a generic (“people” and “person”) since both men and women are clearly intended in this context.

51tn Since Paul’s focus is on the present experience of the Colossians, “mature” is a better translation of τέλειον (teleion) than “perfect,” since the latter implies a future, eschatological focus.

52tn The Greek phrase εἴς ὅ (eis Jo, “toward which”) implies “movement toward a goal” and has been rendered by the English phrase “Toward this goal.”

53tn The prepositional phrase ἐν δυνάμει (en dunamei) seems to be functioning adverbially, related to the participle, and has therefore been translated “powerfully.”