Translation Project: Col 2:1-7

04Jul09

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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3 Responses to “Translation Project: Col 2:1-7”

  1. I love verse 3. Above the iron gates of a German Bible school where I once taught were these words: “In ihm sind alle Schätze der Weisheit und Erkenntnis verborgen.” What a great motto for a Bible college or seminary! Even better, what a great principle of life: ALL truth is in Jesus!

    Thanks for this labor of love.

    • 2 Adam

      (Brother) Dave, that verse stopped me in my tracks as I was translating it. I like the spirit of that school! The practical application of the fact that all truth is in Jesus is really endless and deserves to be explored more, perhaps in another post.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  2. 3 Andrew Bowden

    Here’s my translation for this week, Colossiansf 2:8-15.

    8 Watch out that none of you are deceitfully enslaved through the philosophy and empty trickery of man’s trandition. These, after all, belong to the world and not to Christ. 9 In Him all the fullness of God dwells in the flesh. 10 And in Him, who is the the head of all rulers and authorities, you have been made full. 11 Also in him you have been circumcised, not by human hands, but by the putting off of your fleshly nature, in the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and then raised through your faith in the work of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 As for you, while you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with him, graciously forgiving you all your transgressions. 14 He wiped out the written code, with its rules that were hostile to you. He took it away and nailed it to the cross. 15 And he exposed the rulers and authorities, showing them for what they were, and triumphing over them by the cross.

    What a marvleous passage.

    I’m particularly thankful how this passage reminds me of Christ’s forgiveness and of his triumph over sin. V 13 reminds me that he forgave of ALL my sin. The regulations that were hostile are nailed to the cross. What wonderful freedom now becuase of his victory!

    What do you all think of the conclusion to this paragraph, v 15. Why does Paul add the comment about rulers and authorities, and why is this such a recurring theme throughout this letter?

    I look forward to your thoughts and translations


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