Re: Colossians 1:23

From: Ronald Wong (
Date: Thu Feb 20 1997 - 23:30:49 EST

Mark Armstrong wrote:
> I am presently taking a Bible Study group through the Book of Colossians.
> Last week someone in the group raised the issue of what 1:23b means. The
> NIV says, "This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed
> to every creature under heaven....".
> Turning to the Greek text, we see TOU KHRUXQENTOS EN PASH KTISEI TN UPO TON
> The problem appears to be one of factuality, for I don't think it can mean
> that the Gospel has been preached to every individual on earth at the time
> Paul wrote this letter. Had Paul actually proclaimed the gospel to "every
> creature under heaven", what can this mean? How do we translate PASH KTISEI
> - as referring to humans alone, or does it include heavenly hosts and the
> like? Is PASH used in a restrictive sense?
> If anyone has any insights into the text that may shed some light on this
> issue I would be most grateful.
> For the interest of others, I pastor a church of about 40 people in Hay -
> which is 8 hours south-west of Sydney, Australia. We are an isolated rural
> community of 3,000 people presently sweltering in 40 degree C heat!!
> In Christ,
> Pastor Mark Armstrong
We must not forget the context of the passage. what does the
substantival participle (TOU KHRUXQENTOS) refer to? two possibilites...
        1. the gospel of Jesus Christ...this would make sense from Romans
1:18-21...but I don't believe the participle refers to this.
        2. I believe the subst. participle refers back to the beginning of the
conditional "EI YE. . ." (i.e....if you continue or remain...."). So
that "[the thing] was being preached" to every creature was the
condition...."if you continue, "having been founded" and "firm" and
"not be shifting" . . .

The advantage of the latter? well...that is part of covenant
theology...the conditional nature of the gospel...John 3:16

Some ramblings..
O'Brien, FL.

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