Bible Study: New Testament Books
The Epistle to the Colossians
The Christological EpistleA. The Church at Colossae.
B. The Peculiar Doctrines, especially concerning Angels, which prevailed there.
C. Analysis of the Epistle.
D. The Greek and Latin Text and Vocabulary.
E. The Relationship of the Epistle to the Colossians to that addressed to the Ephesians.
F. The Epistle from the Laodiceans.
G. The Theological Teaching of the Epistle.
A. The Church at Colossae.
Three Churches are mentioned in this Epistle, those at Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, 4:13-16. The three cities designated stood in the Lycus valley on the highroad leading from Ephesus to the Euphrates. The Lycus itself flows into the Meander which passes through the northern portion of Caria and enters the sea at Miletus. Thus these Churches belonged to the Province of Asia as distinct from the geographical, district of Asia which lay to the north of Caria. The three cities form a triangle, Colossae lying to the east, Laodicea some thirteen miles slightly north-west of it, and Hierapolis almost due north of Laodicea from which it is distant about ten miles. Owing to their position on the trade route these cities were important and wealthy; this was particularly the case with Laodicea, the wealth of which led to its lukewarmness; it was the capital of the district of the so-called Cibyratic Conventus.
From their position on the highroad between East and West we should naturally have expected St. Paul to have visited these cities on his frequent journeyings, but 1:9 and 2:1 show conclusively that he was a stranger to them, and Acts 19:1 shows how this came to pass, for St. Luke depicts the Apostle as passing "through the upper parts to Ephesus," i.e.along the direct route to Ephesus, not that through the Lycus valley. Our Epistle shows us, however, that these cities had been evangelized by Epaphras, 1:6-7, 4:12-13, and he had apparently paid them a recent visit in the course of which he had noted certain failings which he reported to the Apostle when he met him in Rome, 1:8. This report was one of the reasons which induced the Apostle to write to the Church at Colossae; but there was also the fact that he was in communication with another Colossian, Philemon, to whom he dispatched a Letter at the same time by the latter’s runaway slave Onesimus. He also seems to have been in communication at some time with Nymphas of the Laodicean Church, Co 4:15. The bearer of the Letter to Colossae, Tychicus, was at the same time commissioned to carry a Letter which we now know as the Epistle to the Ephesians, cf. Ep 6:21, Co 4:7.
B. The "Doctrine of Angels."
The Epistle itself shows what the troubles were which Epaphras discovered at Colossae. For, as St. Chrysostom compendiously puts it: "They went to God through the medium of Angels," and again, "They retained many Jewish and Greek observances." These two points are urged against them by the Apostle in words which imply that the one error was the concomitant of the other; thus he speaks of Jewish observances, 2:16-17, of a "religion of Angels," 2:18, and of Jewish observances again, 2:20-23.
But there is a third element interwoven, viz. a "vain philosophy," 2:8, 23. The two former, then, would seem to be rooted in the last named, which denotes a speculative system assigning an undue place to the Angels and to Jewish observances. One is tempted to discover here exceedingly early traces of that Gnosticism or peculiar γνωσις which the Apostle reprobates when writing to Timothy. But the intimate connection between the speculations rife amongst the Colossians and "Jewish observances" shows that the former was no mere heathen philosophy but something derived from Judaism. It is probable that Essenism was at the root of the evil; for the Essenes were conspicuous for an asceticism which seems to be referred to in 2:16-17; they in some sort regarded the Angels as especially holy; thus, their novices had to take "tremendous oaths" that, amongst other things, they would "preserve the books belonging to their sect, and equally the names of the Angels." Moreover, they had a peculiar reverence for the sun; they were strict Sabbatarians; and while careful about bodily purifications, they yet despised the body itself which they regarded merely as the soul's prison; the soul, indeed, was held to be immortal, but a future resurrection of the body seems to have been outside their purview, if not in contradiction with their fundamental tenets. The stricter Essenes repudiated marriage, but a certain section of them felt that such repudiation would, if carried into effect, put an end to their own corporate existence. Their views were the outcome of study; "they take great pains in studying the writings of the ancients," and "they preserve the books belonging to their sect."
It would seem, then, that St. Paul had to deal with a peculiar form of "Judaizing" at Colossae. It was not simply that crude insistence on the Mosaic Law which had wrought such havoc among the Galatians; it was something far more subtle and speculative, something much akin to the later Gnosticism portrayed by St. Irenaeus in the first two books of his treatise Against Heresies. The Gnostics whom Irenaeus combats held to a complicated system of "Beings" intermediate between God and man, these had all to be approached if due access were to be had to the Creator. This is what St. Chrysostom meant when he said that the Colossians "approached God through the medium of Angels." Herein lies the key to the whole Epistle. Men must, in the truest sense, "go straight to Christ." Hence St. Paul's demand for "knowledge of God," hence his emphatic statements touching the Logos, hence he dwells on "the kingdom of His Son," and says that "through Him we are redeemed," that "He is the image of the invisible God," that "in Him were created all things visible and invisible," that "He is before all and in Him all things consist," that He is their hope of glory, that in Him they must be rooted, that He is body as opposed to shadow, that the doctrine held by the Colossians is not according to Christ, that the fullness, πλήρωμα, of God is in Him, and that "He is all and in all"; hence, too, his insistence that they must "do all things in His name," and must "serve Him," and finally that "His word must dwell in them." But neither does the Apostle neglect to point out that though Christ is indeed "all in all" and that there is no place for a doctrine of intermediate Angels, yet access to Christ is through His Church, "which is His Body"; it is in this sense that he praises their "order" and their "steadfastness in the faith," and speaks of the faith which they "have heard, and which is preached in all the creation under heaven."
This, then, is essentially the Christological Epistle. Christ is named some twenty-eight times; out of ninety-five verses some thirty-six treat explicitly of Him. Especially noteworthy is the identity of treatment here and in the Prologue to St. John's Gospel. Thus cp. 1:15-17, 19, 2:3, with John 1:1-3, cp., too, chapters 1-2 of Hebrews, especially in the use of the term "image" as used of the Second Person of the Trinity. It is true that Theodore of Mopsuestia combats strenuously the view held by practically all other exegetes that this term is here to be referred to the Eternal Son of God, and that he insists again and again that it is a question solely of the Incarnate Word; but see, for example, St. Thomas, Lectio iv. in cap. i. for a complete summary of the accepted doctrine. Indeed, roughly speaking, we might say that St. Paul treats in 1:1-23 of the Logos or Eternal Word, in 1:24-to-2:23 of the Incarnate Word, in chapter 3 of the glorified Christ?
C. Analysis of the Epistle.
I. 1:1-8. INTRODUCTORY.
A. 1:1-3. Introductory salutations.
B. 1:4-8. He has heard of their faith, charity, and progress owing to the teaching of Epaphroditus.
II. 1:9-to-2:23. THE DOGMATIC PORTION OF THE EPISTLE.
A. 1:9-29.(a) By reason of this good report he prays that they may increase in the knowledge of God . . . Who . . hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 1:9-13.B. 2:1-23.
(b) The Son is the image of God, and consequently the medium of redemption, of creation, and of reconciliation; in Him is all the fullness of the Father, hence He is the Head of the Church, 1:14-20.
(c) They, too, are themselves reconciled through Him; He will present them unspotted if they continue in the faith and in the Gospel, 1:20-23a.
(d) Of which Gospel Paul is a minister, a minister of that mystery which is Christ the hope of glory to the Gentiles, 1:23b-29.(a) Because of his care for them he is anxious that they should attain to the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ Jesus, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge, 2:1-3.
(b) Hence they must hold the sound teaching concerning Christ, 2:4-23.(i.) 2:5-15. They must not be led away by false philosophy according to the traditions of mm, for in Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporally; they therefore are filled in Him, they are circumcised in Him, they are buried with Him by Baptism, and they are risen again in Him by faith, for He hath blotted out the handwriting of the decree.
(ii.) 2:16-17. Hence there must be no adherence to Jewish observances, for such are but the shadow of things to come.
(iii.) 2:18-19. Neither must they give in to Gnostic ideas touching the service of Angels, for instance, but must hold fast to the Head.
(iv.) 2:20-23. For, being dead with Christ, they must not be under the dominion of the material things of this world.
III. 3:1-to-4:6. THE MORAL TEACHING OF THE EPISTLE.They are risen with Christ, hence they must lead the new life.
A. 3:1-17. Of this new life in general.(a) They must pm away all impurity, anger, and lying.B. 3:18-to-4:6. Particular precepts regarding this new life.
(b) They must put on mercy, patience, forgivingness, and, above all, charity, which is the bond of perfection; they must be grateful, and must teach one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles. All must be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.(a) 3:18-to-4:1. Wives must be subject—in the Lord, and husbands must love their wives. Children must obey—for this is pleasing to the Lord; servants must obey—not as pleasing men, but as to the Lord; masters must remember that they also have a Master in heaven.
(b) 4:2-4. They must lead a. life of prayer, and this for others as well as themselves.
(c) 4:5-6. They must make their market of the time and behave themselves wisely towards them that are without.
IV. 4:7-18. THE CONCLUSION OF THE EPISTLE.
A. 4:7-14. Those who are with him send divers salutations:(a) 4:7-9. Tychicus, the bearer of the Epistle, and Onesimus, who is one of you, will give them all news of himself.B. 4:15-18. Various messages they are to give: to the brethren at Laodicea, as well as to Nymphas, and the Church that is in his house; they are to send this letter to the Laodiceans, and the one from Laodicea they also are to read. Archippus is warned to fulfill the ministry he has received. The salutation of Paul with mine own hand.
(b) 4:10-11. Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justus—who are of the circumcision—salute them.
(c) 4:12-14. Epaphras—who is one of you—prays much for them, and he, as well as Luke, the most dear physician, and Demas, salute them.
D. The Vocabulary of the Epistle.
The vocabulary of the Epistle is thoroughly Pauline; we meet with such words as ἰσότης, 4:1, cp. 2 Cr 8:13-14; the characteristically Lukan ἱκανός reappears in the form ἱκανόω, 1:12, cp. 2 Cr 3:5-6; the compounds with σύν, so familiar from Ephesians, recur 2:12, 13, 19; the typically Pauline thought set forth in the use of ἀπεκδύομαι and ἐνδύω, 2:11, 15, 3:9, 10, 12, cp. 2 Cr 5:3 and passim; there are the same strange compound words, apparently coined on the spot as best expressing his thought, e.g. εἰρηνοποιέω, 1:20; ἀνταναπληρόω, 1:24; καπαβραβεύω, 2:18, cp. 1 Cr 9:24, Ρp 3:14; ἐθελοθρησκεία, 2:23; ὀφθαλμόδουλος, 3:22, Εp 6:6; ἀνθρωπάρεσκος, 3:22, Εp 6:6; ἀπολλοτριόω, 1:21, Εp 2:12, 4:18.
The Latin text suffers from the usual—if failing it is—in that it adheres to no consistent rendering of Greek terms. Thus in 1:9 and 3:10 ἐπίγνωσις is translated "agnitio," in 1:10 (11) "scientia"; in 1:12 ἱκανώσαντι ἥμας is given as "dignos dos fecit" instead of "idoneos fecit," as in 2 Cr 3:6; in 1:24 "passio" is used to render παθήμασιν and θλίψεων alike; so, too, μυστήριον is translated "mysterium" in 1:26 and 2:2, but "sacramentum" in 1:27; in 2:4 and 8 "decipiat" stands for παραλογίζηται and συλαγωγων; in 2:12 the full force of συνεργέρθητε is lost by not rendering it "consurrexistis," as in 3:1; the ordinary Latin reading "chirographum decreti," is not that of the best Latin ΜSS., which read "decretis"; similarly the ordinary Latin text has in 2:23 "non ad parcendum," which is unintelligible, the best ΜSS. have "ad non parcendum"; a very curious rendering is "exultet" for βραβευέτω in 3:15, whereas καταβραβευέτω, in 2:18, is rightly given as "seducat," which expresses the meaning, though "spoliet" or "defraudet" would be a more literal rendering. In 2:18 the Vulgate reads "quae non videt ambulans" as "intruding into what he has not seen"; this makes exceedingly good sense, but seems to be unsupported by ΜS. authority; see Lightfoot, Colossians, 2nd ed., p. 254.
E. The Epistle to the Colossians and that to the Ephesians.
The Epistle to the Colossians and the one to the Ephesians are "sister Epistles." They were dispatched at the same time, and they treat of the same subjects, though from slightly different standpoints. Generally speaking, in Colossians we learn of Christ the Head of the Church, in Ephesians of the Church the body of Christ. It is not surprising, then, to find the same expressions recurring in both Epistles; the same current of ideas was in the Apostle's mind as he wrote, and he expresses them sometimes in almost identical words. A comparison, in the Greek text, of the passages given below will show how akin in sentiment are these two Epistles. Students of the Synoptic Problem will note how the same facts are here presented with a concurrent similarity and dissimilarity which is perfectly natural, and which may help to throw light on certain features of that problem.
F. The Epistle from the Laodiceans.
The puzzling statement in 4:16 that this Epistle is to be read in their Church and then to be sent to the Laodicean Church for them to read it, and that conversely the Colossians are to read that which is of the Laodiceans, has been variously explained. Theodore of Mopsuestia understood it to mean a letter written by the Laodiceans to St. Paul, and he is followed by Theodoret. St. Chrysostom mentions this view as held by some, and it is endorsed by Baronius. But the whole context, as well as the construction of the sentence, seems to demand an Epistle written by the Apostle to the Laodiceans precisely as that to the Colossians had been written; they were simply to interchange Epistles. If this be granted, it becomes question of the identity of this Pauline Epistle to the Laodiceans. First Timothy has been suggested, viz. by St. John Damascene and by Theophylact; the Philoxenian Syriac version, too, has a marginal note to this effect. But apart from the unsuitableness of that Epistle—for it is peculiarly individual in character,—the chronological difficulty seems insuperable. A colophon to the Philoxenian Syriac suggests 1 Thessalonians. This is chronologically possible but intrinsically absurd. The same must be said of the proposed identification with the Epistle to the Galatians. The present tendency is to identify this Laodicean Epistle with our present Ephesians. The encyclical character of Ephesians seems fairly well established, and it might be plausibly argued that the very expression St. Paul makes use of, "that which is of (or from, ἐκ) the Laodiceans," implies that this Epistle was not like the one sent to Colossae, but a general Epistle which was to go the rounds. Still, over against this we have the fact that the same treatment is apparently to be applied to the Colossian Epistle as to that which was to be sent on by the Laodiceans; it, too, was to go the rounds—at least it was to go to the Laodicean Church. But then our Epistle to the Colossians is in no sense a circular letter. Moreover, the Laodiceans might well feel slighted at finding that, whereas they had received a purely impersonal letter such as Ephesians, the Colossians, on the other hand, who had no greater claim than they on the Apostle, had yet received a very personal letter indeed. Hence it is not surprising that this letter "from the Laodiceans" has been regarded as lost, and that consequently from the very earliest times Epistles purporting to be the missing one have been put in circulation. Even such famous MSS. of the Vulgate Latin as Fuldensis, Cavensis, and Toletanus, have this Epistle in a Latin dress. John of Salisbury even went so far as to term it "the fifteenth Epistle of St. Paul," though while upholding its authenticity he denied its canonicity. As a matter of fact, the Epistle which is still printed nowadays from time to time as St. Paul to the Laodiceans is quite unworthy of the interest it has aroused. It is no more than a cento of passages from the other Epistles, and only too patently a forgery. Those who feel that the difficulties in the way of accepting Ephesians as a circular letter and of regarding it as the letter to be sent on by the Laodicean Church must take refuge in the view that the original Epistle to the Laodiceans is lost.
G. Theology of the Epistle.
God and the Father: Christ is made in His image, Co 1:15; it pleased the Father that in Christ all fullness should dwell, 1:19; and through Him to reconcile all to Himself, 1:20; He has made known to the Saints the mystery of the call of the Gentiles through Christ, 1:26-27; He has raised up Christ from the dead, 2:2, 12; and hath quickened us in Him, 2:14; He is the source of grace, 1:3; He hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the Saints, 1:12; and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 1:13; to Him we owe thanks, 1:3, 12, 4:17.
The Christology: Christ is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, 1:15, 3:10; in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, 2:3; He is the Head of all principality and power, 2:10, 15; in Him and by Him all things visible and invisible were created, 1:16; He is before all, and by Him all things consist, 1:17; all fullness dwells in Him, 1:19. 2:9; the Old Testament ritual was but a shadow of things to some, the body is Christ, 2:17; the mystery to be revealed is Christ, the hope of glory for the Gentiles, 1:27, 4:3; we are redeemed through His blood, and have thereby remission of our sins, 1:14, 20, 2:13; His Cross is the medium of reconciliation with the Father, 1:20, 22; by it He has blotted out the decree that was against us, 2:14; He was raised from the dead by the Father, 2:12; He is now at the right hand of the Father, 3:1; He is the Head of His body which is the Church, He is the (cp. John 8:25), the first-born of the dead, 1:18, 24, 2:12, 19; in Him we must have faith, 1:4, 2:5, 12; in Him we must be rooted and built up, 2:7; with Him we must be filled, 2:10; He is our life, 3:4; He is all in all, 3:11; we are buried with Him in Baptism, 2:12, 20, 3:3, 20; with Him we are risen, 2:17; every man must be perfect in Him, 1:28; His peace must rejoice our hearts, 3:15; His word must dwell in us, 3:16; all must be done in His name, 3:17; in Him St. Paul labors, 1:29; and he fills up what is wanting of the sufferings of Christ, 1:24. Note the expression "in Christ," 1:2, 4, 16, 28, 2:3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 4:7, etc.
Faith: is in Christ, 1:4, 2:5; they must continue in the faith, 1:23; must be steadfast in it, 2:5; confirmed in it, 2:7; faith in the Resurrection of Christ, 2:12; Tychicus, Onesimus, and the rest, are spoken of as "faithful" brethren, 1:2, 4:7, 9.
Hope: its goal, 1:12, 22, 28, 3:1-2, 4; it is laid up in heaven, 1:5; it is the reward of inheritance, 3:24; the hope of the Gospel, 1:23; the hope of glory, 1:27.
Charity: must be mutual, 1:4; in the Spirit, 1:8; they are instructed in charity, 2:2; it is the "bond of perfection," 3:14.
Peace: is from God, 1:3; from Christ, 1:3; the "peace of Christ," 3:15.
Joy: is combined with long-suffering, 1:11; they must learn to joy in sufferings, 1:24; the Apostle rejoices in their "order," 2:5; and in the peace of Christ, 3:15-16.
Sin: they were dead in sin, 2:13; and in evil works, 1:21; details touching sin, 3:5, 8, 9; the remission of sin, 1:14, 2:13.
The Church: is the body of Christ, 1:18, 24, 2:19; perhaps "the kingdom of God," 4:11; is one body, 3:15; the "order” of the Church at Colossae, 2:5; "of the Saints at Colossae," 1:2; at Laodicea, 2:1, 4:13, 15, 16; at Hierapolis, 4:13; in the "house of Nymphas," 4:15.
The Moral Teaching of the Epistle: (a) Christians must grow in knowledge of God, 1:9, 1O, 2:2; (b) they must be men of prayer, 4:2-4.; (a) they must walk wisely, redeeming the time, 4:5; (d) they must put on the new man, 3:10; (e) and must put on Christ, 3:12; (f) they must have a mutual charity, 3:13-14; (g) and should occupy themselves with spiritual canticles, 3:16; (b) all impurity must be banished from their midst, 3:5-6; (i) also all anger, 3:8; (j) and lying, 3:9; (k) the duties of husbands and wives, 3:18-19; (l) of children and parents, 3:20-21; (m) of servants and masters, 3:22-to-4:1.
The Mystery of Faith: 1 Tm 3:9 expresses in briefest form what may be termed the key-note to St. Paul's theological teaching, viz. the call of the Gentiles to salvation through Christ by faith, apart from the works of the Mosaic Law. Thus, Rm 11:25, he dwells on this mystery, that blindness in part hath happened in Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in, and so all Israel (i.e., the Israel of God, Ga 6:16) should be saved. And more explicitly, Rm 16:25-26, the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret from eternity, but now is made manifest by the Scriptures of the Prophets according to the precept of the Eternal God, made known among all nations for obedience to the faith, according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ.
This mystery was (a) kept hidden, 1 Cr 2:7, 8, Ep 3:10, Co 1:26; and (b) this was according to the determining will of God, 1 Cr 2:7, Ep 1:9; (c) it is revealed by the Spirit, 1 Cr 2:10; (d) to the Saints and Apostles, Ep 3:3, 1 Cr 2:6, 8, 10, Co 1:26; (e) the Apostles are the dispensers of this mystery, 1 Cr 4:1, Ep 3:7, Co 2:2; (f) for it Paul is a bondsman, Ep 6:20, Co 4:3; (g) it is revealed in the fullness of time, Ep 1:10, cp. Ga 4:4; (h) especially has it been revealed to St. Paul, Rm 16:25, "my Gospel" (cp. Ep 6:19), Ep 3:3-4; and (i) this mystery is the re-establishment of all things in Christ, Ep 1:10, 3:4, 8, Co 2:2, 4:3, Rm 16:26.
This same "mystery" is referred to in 1 Tm 3:16; possibly, too, in Rv 10:7.
H. Bibliography.In addition to the Biblical Encyclopedias see especially Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, 8th ed., 1886; Macpherson, Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, 1892; Abbott, Commentary on Ephesians and Colossians, 1897. Of Patristic Commentaries we have those of Theodore of Mopsuestia edited by Swete, vol. i., 1880; of St. Chrysostom, P.G. LXII.; and of Primasius, P.L. LXVIII.
1. See the excellent maps in Ramsay's Church in the Roman Empire.
2. Famous as the place where Philip the Evangelist lived, H.E. III. xxxix. 9, V. xxiv. 2; it was also the See of Papias.
3. Rv 3:17.
4. Lightfoot, Colossians and Philemon, p. 7 with references.
5. See Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller, p. 265.
6. See St. Jerome on Philemon 1:23-24, P.L. XXVI. 617.
7. Hom. I. i, V. ii, VI. i, VII. i, P.G. LXII. 301, 333, 339, 344.
8. 1 Tm 6:20. Thus note St. Jerome: "We must now try and discover where the Apostle found these four names—'principalities,' 'powers,' 'virtues,' and 'dominations'—written; whence did he bring them to light? For it is certainly not legitimate for one who was instructed in reading Holy Scripture to think of saying anything which is not found in the sacred text. Consequently I fancy that either he brought to light things hidden in the traditions of the Hebrews, or at least that, since he realized that the Law was spiritual, he interpreted in spiritual fashion (sublimius) things that are written in historical fashion (juxta historiam), and knew that what is narrated in Numbers and Kingdoms of kings, princes, leaders, tribunes, and centurions, was but a type of other princes and kingdoms." On Eph, i. 21, P.L. XXVI. 461; cp. Ep. cxxi. 10, P.L. XXII.
9. Josephus, B.J. II. viii. 2, 5.
10. Ibid. 7.
11. Ibid. 5, 9.
12. Ibid. 9.
13. Ibid. 11.
14. Ibid. 2, 13.
15. Ibid. 6, 7. For the whole question cf. Lightfoot, Colossians and Philemon, pp. 87-92; Expositor, June, 1918.
23. 2:7, 10-15
33. 1:23. That a false "Angelology" long persisted at Laodicea is witnessed to by the Canons of the Council of Laodicea held about A.D. 363, where Canon 35 runs: "It is not lawful for Christians to abandon the Church of God and to turn away and invoke Angels. . . . If, therefore, anyone is found giving himself to this secret idolatry, let him be anathema, since he has abandoned Jesus Christ our Lord and followed after idolatry." Similarly Canons 29 and 36-38, show that Judaizing tendencies still lingered there; see Mansi, Concilia, II. 598, and for a similar Decree by the Council of Hierapolis, Canon 184, see ib. VI. 482. For the whole subject see Prat, Théologie de St. Paul, I. 390-414, J.T.S., April, 1909; see, too, Proc. of Soc. of Bibl. Archaeol., XII. 298, 337, for an interesting magical inscription from Miletus which illustrates the superstitious devotion of the Colossians to the Angels. See, too, St. Epiphanius, Haer. XL. 4-5, on the "Sethites," and Haer. LX. 1-2 on the "Angelicans,” P.G. XLI. 682-683 and 1038.
This extrinsic confirmation of a "religion of Angels" as existing in the district is of interest since it dissipates another view held by Theodore of Mopsuestia, and seemingly endorsed by St. Thomas, Lectio iv. in cap. ii. in Ep. ad Colossenses, that in this Epistle it is solely a question of a reverential fear of the Angels through whom the Law had been given, and "who would not tolerate contempt of that Law," Swete’s edition of Theodore, I. 294. That Laodicea was for long a center of disaffection and that the Christians there were undisciplined seems clear from the above references to the Counci1s, as also from the fact that Eusebius mentions a strife which took place there on the notorious Paschal question apropos of which Melito of Sardis wrote to them, H.E. IV. xxvi. 2. Eusebius also tells us that Origen addressed them via a letter, though we have no information as to its subject-matter, H.E. VI. xlvi. 2. See, too, St. Augustine, Ep. cxlix. 27, P.L. XXXIII. 642. For discussions on this "doctrine of Angels," see J.T.S., April, 1909, January, 1910; also Expository Times, May, 1917, and Expositor, May, 1918. For an examination of Haupt's views on Phrygian religion, see R.B., 1898, pp. 131-134.
34. In Swete’s edition, 1., pp. 262, 274, etc. 2 For the Christology see Expository Times, January and February, 19:4.
35. See St. Chrysostom, Hom. X. 1 in Ep. as Coloss., P.G. LXII. 365.
37. See Expository Times, June, 1916, and R.B. 1912, p. 368.
38. In loco, Swete's ed., I. 311.
39. In loco, P.G.
40. Hom. xii. 1, P.G. LXII. 381.
41. See A.D. 60, cap. xiii.
42. But he mentions the view that it was written by the Laodiceans themselves.
43. In loco, P.G. CXXV, he also mentions the view that it was written by the Laodiceans.
44. See Introduction to Ephesians, supra, pp. 167-171.
45. John of Salisbury died A.D. 1182. His actual words are worth noting. He had been asked by Count Henry of Champagne which were the books of the Bible and who were their authors. For the New Testament he answers: "The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, comprised in one volume with the fifteen Epistles of Paul. At the same time it is the general and practically unanimous opinion that there are really only fourteen Epistles of Paul, viz. ten to Churches and four to persons, if, that is, the Epistle to the Hebrews is to be accounted as his, as the Doctor of Doctors, St. Jerome, seems to insist in his Preface wherein he demolishes the arguments of those who say it is not St. Paul's. Yet there is a fifteenth Epistle-that to the Laodiceans, and though, as Jerome says, it is rejected by everybody, still it was written by the Apostle." This point John considers decided by Co 4:16. "There follow the seven Catholic Epistles in one volume, then the Acts of the Apostles in another, and finally the Apocalypse," Ep. CXLIII, P.L. CXCIX. 125. This passage is interesting apart from its views regarding the contents of the N.T. Canon, for the information it affords regarding the way the books of N.T. were bound up and in what order.
46. The Latin text will be found in Lightfoot, Colossians, p. 287 ff.; the Greek text is given by Nestle in his edition of the Greek Testament.
Very Rev. Hugh Pope, O.P., S.T.M.
Doctor in Sacred Scripture,
Member of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and
late Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the Collegio Angelico, Rome.
Luke Walker, O.P., S.T.L.;
Austin Barker, O.P., S.T.L.
Bede Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., M.A.