Colossians 1:25 MEANING

Colossians 1:25
(25) Whereof I am made (or, became) a minister.--Above (in Colossians 1:23) St. Paul describes himself as a "minister of the gospel," here as a "minister (or, servant) of the Church." Elsewhere he is always the "minister of God" and "of Christ"; here of the Church, as the Body of Christ, and so indissolubly united with Christ.

The dispensation of God.--See Ephesians 3:2-9, and Notes there. The reference is to his peculiar "Apostleship of the Gentiles."

To fulfil.--The marginal reading and reference to Romans 15:19 give the explanation of the word, "fully to preach the Word of God"--to be a messenger of the perfect revelation, which had now unfolded what was previously a hidden "mystery."

Verse 25. - Of which I became a minister (2 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 2 Corinthians 11:28, 29; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4). His sufferings are, therefore, matter of duty, as well as of joy. As the Church's minister, he is bound to toil and to suffer in whatever way her welfare requires. Elsewhere he styles himself "minister of the gospel" (ver 23; Ephesians 3:7), "of God," "of Christ," "of a new covenant" (2 Corinthians 3:6). (On "minister," see note, ver. 7. According to the stewardship of God, that was given me to you-ward (Ephesians 3:1-13; 1 Corinthians 4:1-4; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 1 Timothy 1:4, R.V.; 1 Timothy 3:15; Luke 12:42; Luke 16:2-4; Hebrews 3:2-6; 1 Peter 4:10). Οἰκονομία ("economy") is first "house-management," then "administration" generally the οἰκόνομος ("house-steward") was a confidential upper servant, frequently a slave, who controlled the general arrangements of a large establishment, and was responsible immediately to the master. Such an office the apostle holds, along with others (1 Corinthians 4:1), in the Church, "the house of God" (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:20: this conception, like that of "the body of Christ" - comp. note on ver. 18 - is fully developed only in the later Epistles). In this office he "administers the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:17, 18), "the grace of God" (Ephesians 3:2; 1 Peter 4:10), and here more especially "the mystery" of vers. 26, 27 (comp. Ephesians 3:9, R.V.). In Ephesians 1:10 and Ephesians 3:2, the οἰκονομία is referred to God himself, the supreme Dispenser in his own house. This office "was given" him, and specifically as "toward the Gentiles" (for "you" points to the Colossians as Gentiles, vers. 24, 27, notes; Ephesians 3:1, 2; Romans 11:13), when he first became a servant of Christ (Acts 9:15; Acts 22:21; Acts 26:16-18; Galatians 1:15, 16; 1 Timothy 1:11-15; Romans 15:15, 16). Some interpreters connect "to you-ward" with the word "fulfil," but less suitably (comp. Ephesians 3:2; Romans 15:16). To fulfil the word of God (Romans 15:16-19; Romans 16:25, 26). "To fulfil" (see vers. 9, 24, and "fulness," ver. 19; also Colossians 2:9, 10; Colossians 4:12) is either "to complete," to give full development and extension to the gospel message (vers. 5, 6; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Romans 15:19; Acts 20:20, 21, 27); or "to accomplish" the prophetic word (Romans 9:24-26; Romans 15:8 - 12; Acts 15:15-17), as in Acts 13:27, and frequently in the Gospels. This verb πληρόω, however, is not used by St. Paul elsewhere in the latter sense, and the former precisely suits the context (compare parallels from Romans). Other interpretations - "to preach abundantly," "to continue Christ's preaching" (Ephesians 2:17; Hebrews 2:3), "to execute the Divine commission" - miss the sense of the verb. The word which it is the object of the apostle's ministry to fulfil, and in regard to which he had a special stewardship, is none other than -

1:24-29 Both the sufferings of the Head and of the members are called the sufferings of Christ, and make up, as it were, one body of sufferings. But He suffered for the redemption of the church; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightly taste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drank deeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains of the sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and after the pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions God allots to him. Let us be thankful that God has made known to us mysteries hidden from ages and generations, and has showed the riches of his glory among us. As Christ is preached among us, let us seriously inquire, whether he dwells and reigns in us; for this alone can warrant our assured hope of his glory. We must be faithful to death, through all trials, that we may receive the crown of life, and obtain the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls.Whereof I am made a minister,.... Not of Christ, or of the Gospel as before, though both were true; but of the churches for whose sake he endured afflictions; and which carries in it a reason of his suffering for them: he was not a saviour of the body, nor a redeemer of the church, nor Lord of it; but a minister, a servant of it, that ministered to it in holy things, in the word and ordinances; not a deacon, as the word, sometimes signifies, nor an ordinary minister, or a pastor of a particular church; but a minister of the church in general, being an apostle sent to preach the Gospel everywhere: he was made a minister of it, not by men, or anything he received from men; nor by himself, not by usurpation, he did not thrust himself into this office, or take it upon him of himself; but was put into it by Christ, who counted him faithful, he appeared to him, and made him a minister, qualified him for this office, called him to it, and sent him to perform it: and which he executed

according to the dispensation of God: or divine economy, which denotes such an authority and administration as is used in a family. The church is God's family, it is called the house and household of God, and the household of faith, part of which is in heaven and part on earth; God is the householder or master of the family; Christ is the Son over his own house; ministers are stewards in it, and their work is to give to everyone their portion of meat in due season; their authority from God to do so, and the exercise of it, are the economy or dispensation of the Gospel committed to them: this is of God and not man, for none but God can give them a power to dispense it, and which is purely of his grace, called therefore the dispensation of the grace of God, Ephesians 3:2; and here said to be given,

which is given to me for you; not according to any merits of his, who was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an injurious person to Christ and his Gospel; but according to the pure grace of God, and that not for himself, but for the good of others, for the Gentiles especially, and so for the Colossians:

to fulfil the word of God; either the promises and prophecies contained in the word of God, respecting the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles, and their conversion by it; which had in a great measure their accomplishment through the ministry of the apostle: or to fill all places with the word of God and Gospel of Christ, as the apostle did from Jerusalem, and round about to Illyricum, diffusing the savour of the knowledge of Christ in every place; and sinners being converted, churches were planted and daily filled with such as should be saved; or to preach fully and faithfully the Gospel, keeping back nothing that was profitable, but declaring the whole counsel of God, continuing faithful to it to the end, as he did: to fill up or fulfil words is an Hebraism, and signifies to confirm them, or act according to them; see 1 Kings 1:14 and the Septuagint there.

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