Colossians 3:14 MEANING

Colossians 3:14
(14) Above all.--Properly, over all--as a bond or cincture to keep all together. Love is the general principle, harmonising all the special graces named above.

The bond of perfectness.--The bond of that harmony of character which is perfection. The phrase is remarkable, apparently suggested by the claim to perfection, set up by the Gnostic teachers. They sought such perfection in knowledge peculiar to the few; St. Paul in the love which is possible to all. For as he elsewhere urges (1 Corinthians 8:1)," Knowledge puffs up, charity builds up;" knowledge gains a fancied perfection, charity a real perfection.

Verse 14. - And over all these things (put on) love, which (thing) is the bond of perfectness (Colossians 2:2; Ephesians 4:2, 3; Ephesians 5:1; Philippians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:13-15, 22; Romans 13:8-10; 2 Peter 1:7; 1 John 4:7-21; John 13:34, 35). In 1 Corinthians 13. "love" is the substance or substratum of the Christian virtues; in Galatians 5:22 it is their head and beginning; here it is that which embraces and completes them. They imply love, but it is more than them all together. They lie within its circumference; wanting it, they fall to pieces and are nothing. (For συνδεσμός ("bond" or "band"), comp. Colossians 2:19.) In Ephesians 4:3 we have the "bond of peace" (see next verse). Love is the bond in the active sense, as that wherewith the constituents of a Christian character or the members of a Church are bound together: peace, in a passive sense, as that wherein the union consists (comp. 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11). "Love" (compare "covetousness," ver. 5) is made conspicuous by the Greek definite article - being that eminent, essential grace of Christian love (Colossians 1:4, 8; Colossians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 4:16, etc.). "Perfectness" is genitive of object, not of quality: love unifies the elements of Christian goodness and gives them in itself their "perfectness" (Romans 13:10). (For "perfectness," see note on "perfect," Colossians 1:28; and comp. 4:12.) Against Galatian teachers of circumcision, and Corinthian exalters of knowledge, the apostle had magnified the supremacy of love (Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 8:1-3); and so against the Colossian mysticism and asceticism he sets it forth as the crown of spiritual perfection, the goal of human excellence (comp. Ephesians 4:15, 16).

3:12-17 We must not only do no hurt to any, but do what good we can to all. Those who are the elect of God, holy and beloved, ought to be lowly and compassionate towards all. While in this world, where there is so much corruption in our hearts, quarrels will sometimes arise. But it is our duty to forgive one another, imitating the forgiveness through which we are saved. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts; it is of his working in all who are his. Thanksgiving to God, helps to make us agreeable to all men. The gospel is the word of Christ. Many have the word, but it dwells in them poorly; it has no power over them. The soul prospers, when we are full of the Scriptures and of the grace of Christ. But when we sing psalms, we must be affected with what we sing. Whatever we are employed about, let us do every thing in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in believing dependence on him. Those who do all in Christ's name, will never want matter of thanksgiving to God, even the Father.And above all these things,.... Bowels of mercies, kindness, &c.

put on charity, or brotherly love, for without this all is nothing; they will only be done in show and appearance, in mere guise and hypocrisy, if love is wanting; this actuates and exercises all the rest; it is only from this principle that true sympathy, real kindness, undisguised humility, and meekness, patient longsuffering, and forbearance, and hearty forgiveness proceeds: this is greater, and more excellent, than all the other, and adds a glory, lustre, and beauty to them; this is the upper garment that covers all the rest, for so the words may be rendered, "upon all these things put on charity"; whereby a disciple of Christ is visible, and distinguished, and is known to be what he is; this is like a strait and upper garment, keeps close all that is under it, and within it: and it is called

the bond of perfectness; either of the law, and the duties of religion, which it is said to be the fulfilling of; or rather of the saints, for this is the bond of union between them, which knits and cements them together, so that they are perfectly joined together, and are of one mind and one heart: it is the bond of peace among them, of perfect unity and brotherly love; and a most beautiful and pleasant thing it is for brethren to live and dwell together in unity; such are beautiful as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem among themselves, and terrible to their enemies as an army with banners, being not to be divided or broken by them. The Claromontane exemplar reads, "the bond of unity".

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