I spent a lot of time, and several notebook pages, on verse six last week. Lots of little insights here:
which (the hope they have in the gospel, per v. 5) has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;
Paul uses the clause “as it has also” twice, and I think he does it to draw a parallel between two ideas.
In the first instance, he tells the believers in Colosse that the hope of the message of the gospel has come to them, “as it has also in all the world.” The truth of Jesus was spreading throughout the world, and the Colossians were not left out. The same message that was spreading across empires was the one they had heard.
The second time, Paul says that hope is producing good things in them, just like in the rest of the world. The evidence of their faith was the same as the evidence of faith all over the world.
Both seem unexciting to modern readers, but in a turbulent spiritual time — in a world without cell phones and social media — both statements may have been tremendous assurances. “The gospel that you put your faith in is the same one that is spreading all over the world. And the evidence of your faith is the same evidence that is being produced everywhere. You have not been led astray. You are on the right path.”
Because no matter how strong your convictions are about a matter, it’s always nice to know that you’re not alone in them. That it’s working.
Next, Paul singles out the start of their fruitful lives as, “the day (they) heard and knew …” Heard and knew. Continue Reading…