Translation Project: Col 2:1-7
Here’s the latest from my translation of Colossians:
2:1 For I want you to know how great is the suffering I am experiencing on behalf of you and those in Laodicea and all who have not seen my face in [the] flesh, 2 so that their hearts might be comforted being held together by love and into all abundance of conviction of insight, into knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ, 3 in whom all treasures of wisdom and knowledge are stored away. 4 I am saying this so that no one will lead you astray by attractive argument. 5 For if indeed I am absent in the flesh, still in spirit I am with you, rejoicing and seeing in you the orderliness and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, actively live in him, 7 being firmly rooted and built up in him and being firm in the faith just as you were taught, abounding in thankfulness.
I hope you all are enjoying this letter as much as I am this summer. The first few verses of this chapter are so powerful. One question I have, though: how is it that the knowledge of Paul’s suffering is to produce comfort in the Colossians, Laodiceans, and those who had not yet seen him in the flesh? Knowledge of a mentor’s suffering is to produce comfort?
Perhaps the answer is in what that comfort is to produce. Paul’s steadfastness and faithfulness in suffering does indeed introduce me to a radically different kind of love. It does produce conviction in me, and it does continue to reveal Christ to me.
So my next question is: are we to emulate Paul in his suffering? Given that he was merely imitating Christ, I think the answer is yes.
So then, when we suffer, how can we suffer in such a way as to produce comfort by love and into conviction and the knowledge of Christ? The answer, I think, is that our suffering is to be permeated with selflessness and humility; remaining servants of all even when we’re walked on (or worse) by others or by life. I pray that I’ll remember (and observe) that next time I’m suffering, whether it’s as mild as feeling down or burned out or something worse.
With regards to the Greek, there’s no “the” before “flesh” in v. 1, but I inserted it for the sake of translating the idiom, not just the words.
Also, in v. 6, I translated περιπατεῖτε, “actively live.” I haven’t seen this gloss in a lexicon, so maybe I’m infusing too much meaning into the word. In Greek, it can mean either “to live” or “to walk.” That range of meaning would make more sense to me if the word means to live in an active rather than passive sense. A thorough word study is probably in order. If you’re translating with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
As always, and most importantly, what has God taught you through this passage?
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