(Continued from heah.)
Last time we saw who primarily wrote Colossians: "Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God" (Colossians 1:1). We saw that the letter to the Colossians is not like this post. This is being written by a student of revelation; Colossians was written by a conduit of revelation. As an apostle, Paul spoke for Christ. For he is, as he says, an "apostle of Christ Jesus."
CHRIST is yet another non-translation. It is instead a transliteration of the Greek word Χριστός (Christos), which simply means "anointed" (note: only two "n's"). It is from the verb χρίω (chriō), meaning to pour oil on something, to anoint it. A christos, then, is someone who has had oil poured on him.
So you see right off that it isn't a last name; in fact, it isn't a name at all. It's an adjective, used as a noun, a title.
Now here, perhaps some New Ager has stumbled by from a Religious Science or Christian Science site, and his eyes light up. "That's right!" he says. "It's the Christ, the principle of Sonship that is in us all!" You may recall that the Lord saved me out of the cult of Religious Science, founded by Ernest Holmes. The cult's textbook is called The Science of Mind, and it includes a glossary, which defines "Christ" thus:
The total manifestation of God, from the plant to an angel; from a peanut to the entire Universe of expression. Christ in Man means the idea of Sonship, the Perfect Man as He must be held in the Mind of God.Uh, yeah; except no.
Words, like people, have histories and genealogies. You don't meet someone and instantly pop off with, "Okay, I'm going to say you're a circus clown, from an ancient family of circus clowns who entertained the crown princes of Europe, and...." The person is what he is, and you need to learn who he is and what he is and where he's been and what he's done.
So it is with words such as "Christ." They already have histories, when we meet them. We don't get to make them up. This word's history reaches back into the Old Testament, where the Hebrew equivalent is mâšîach — which means exactly the same thing ("anointed"), and is transliterated "Messiah." So "Christ" and "Messiah" mean exactly the same thing; and both transliterate Greek and Hebrew words (respectively) meaning anointed one.
In the OT, anointing was a sort of inauguration ceremony that identified special individuals. Which sorts? Three:
- Prophets (1 Kings 19:16; Psalm 105:15)
- Priests (Exodus 30:30; Leviticus 4:5)
- Kings (1 Samuel 9:16; 24:6 [Hebrew 7])
- Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)
- Priest (Psalm 110:4)
- King (Psalm 2:6, 9; Isaiah 9:6-7)
Here again, Holmes just makes it up in how he defines "Jesus":
The name of a man. Distinguished from the Christ. The man Jesus became the embodiment of the Christ as the human gave way to the Divine Idea of Sonship.In contrast, the apostle John (who actually knew Jesus Christ) said
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22)So you see, New Agers can't just come along and pump any meaning they care to into words like "Christ." Paul did not make up the word. He took a word with a long, rich, distinct history, and he plopped it right down on...
...not a conceptNow, briefly: where was Paul? He was in prison (4:3, 18); to be exact, he was in prison in Rome (Acts 28:17-31). To be even more precise, he was in prison for preaching the Gospel to people just like the Colossians; for preaching to them that they could be accepted as righteous by God for Christ's sake, without having to become Jews in any sense. So he had a personal investment, and some very convinced cred, in opposing the false teacher.
...not an ideal
...but a particular historical Person.
Next: who was the secondary writer? "Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy the brother...."
Timothy was a child of mixed parentage (Acts 16:1). I often envied Timothy, raised in a home where his parents spoke Greek and Hebrew! No need for Machen and Weingreen!
Timothy was also a Christian believer who was nurtured up on Scripture (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). He became Paul's beloved and trusted apprentice (Acts 16:1-3; Philippians 2:19-23).
What role Timothy had in the composition of the letter, we don't know. Perhaps he was Paul's secretary. But Paul presents his apprentice as joining with him in the letter's composition.
Next, I plan to go on to look at the recipients, and see the significance in how Paul greets them.