Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Colossians 1:9-12a

Colossians 1:9-12a
Because of this, since the day we heard, we have not stopped praying for you and requesting that you may be filled with the knowledge of YHWH’s will by means of the Spirit’s wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him,

a) bearing fruit in every good work and

b) growing in the knowledge of YHWH,

c) being empowered with all the strength that comes from His glorious power, so that you are prepared to endure everything with patience,

d) joyfully giving thanks to the Father...
This seems an apt way to understand the various parts of this complex sentence which forms a single sentence from vs. 3-14. SHA! Although, we should quickly admit that this structure is by no means certain.
I think Paul is highlighting four specific areas that the Colossians can focus on in seeking to live worthy of the Lord (Jesus), fully pleasing to Him. As Sumney notes:

While this is a comprehensive goal, it is also vague, so the writer proceeds to fill his idea with content. He specifies four elements of the life he is commending or four modes in which it is manifested: bearing fruit in good works, growing in knowledge of God, being empowered by God, and giving thanks.

Sumney, Colossians, pg. 48

Other than 3:16, this is arguably one of the more difficult passages to structurally understand. The exegesis is straightforward, but first breaking it up into its structural units is a difficult task... What's interesting to note here is that this all starts and finishes with the work of God. It is Paul praying for the Colossians that they would know God's will, via the Spirit's wisdom and understanding that compels them to live a life worthy of the Lord. And it is bearing the Lord's fruit, which I take to mean his tasks and vocation, growing in knowledge of Him, being empowered by Him (by the Spirit?), while Joyfully giving thanks to Him that this is accomplished. It is the work of God from start to consumation. Something those involved with the vineyard should always remember...

No comments: