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Colossians 1:9-13

Context
Paul’s Prayer for the Growth of the Church

1:9 For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, 1  have not ceased praying for you and asking God 2  to fill 3  you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 1:10 so that you may live 4  worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects 5  – bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of 6  all patience and steadfastness, joyfully 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share 7  in the saints’ 8  inheritance in the light. 1:13 He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, 9 

1 tn Or “heard about it”; Grk “heard.” There is no direct object stated in the Greek (direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context). A direct object is expected by an English reader, however, so most translations supply one. Here, however, it is not entirely clear what the author “heard”: a number of translations supply “it” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV; NAB “this”), but this could refer back either to (1) “your love in the Spirit” at the end of v. 8, or (2) “your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints” (v. 4). In light of this uncertainty, other translations supply “about you” (TEV, NIV, CEV, NLT). This is preferred by the present translation since, while it does not resolve the ambiguity entirely, it does make it less easy for the English reader to limit the reference only to “your love in the Spirit” at the end of v. 8.

2 tn The term “God” does not appear in the Greek text, but the following reference to “the knowledge of his will” makes it clear that “God” is in view as the object of the “praying and asking,” and should therefore be included in the English translation for clarity.

3 tn The ἵνα (Jina) clause has been translated as substantival, indicating the content of the prayer and asking. The idea of purpose may also be present in this clause.

4 tn The infinitive περιπατῆσαι (peripathsai, “to walk, to live, to live one’s life”) is best taken as an infinitive of purpose related to “praying” (προσευχόμενοι, proseucomenoi) and “asking” (αἰτούμενοι, aitoumenoi) in v. 9 and is thus translated as “that you may live.”

5 tn BDAG 129 s.v. ἀρεσκεία states that ἀρεσκείαν (areskeian) refers to a “desire to please εἰς πᾶσαν ἀ. to please (the Lord) in all respects Col 1:10.”

6 tn The expression “for the display of” is an attempt to convey in English the force of the Greek preposition εἰς (eis) in this context.

7 tn BDAG 473 s.v. ἱκανόω states, “τινὰ εἴς τι someone for someth. Col 1:12.” The point of the text is that God has qualified the saints for a “share” or “portion” in the inheritance of the saints.

8 tn Grk “the inheritance of the saints.” The genitive noun τῶν ἁγίων (twn Jagiwn) is a possessive genitive: “the saints’ inheritance.”

9 tn Here αὐτοῦ (autou) has been translated as a subjective genitive (“he loves”).



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