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Colossians 3:22-24

3:22 Slaves, 1  obey your earthly 2  masters in every respect, not only when they are watching – like those who are strictly people-pleasers – but with a sincere heart, fearing the Lord. 3:23 Whatever you are doing, 3  work at it with enthusiasm, 4  as to the Lord and not for people, 5  3:24 because you know that you will receive your 6  inheritance 7  from the Lord as the reward. Serve 8  the Lord Christ.

1 tn On this word here and in 4:1, see the note on “fellow slave” in 1:7.

2 tn The prepositional phrase κατὰ σάρκα (kata sarka) does not necessarily qualify the masters as earthly or human (as opposed to the Master in heaven, the Lord), but could also refer to the sphere in which “the service-relation holds true.” See BDAG 577 s.v. κύριος 1.b.

3 tn The present progressive “are doing” was used in the translation of ποιῆτε (poihte) to bring out the idea that Paul is probably referring to what they already do for work.

4 tn Grk “from the soul.”

5 tn Grk “men”; here ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") is used in a generic sense and refers to people in general.

6 tn The article τῆς (ths) has been translated as a possessive pronoun, “your” (ExSyn 215). It may also be functioning to indicate a well-known concept (inheritance as eternal life). See BDAG 548 s.v. κληρονομία 3: “common in Christian usage (corresp. to the LXX) (the possession of) transcendent salvation (as the inheritance of God’s children).”

7 tn The genitive τῆς κληρονομίας (th" klhronomia") is a genitive of apposition: The reward consists of the inheritance.

8 tn The form of the term δουλεύετε (douleuete) is ambiguous; it can be read as either indicative or imperative. In favor of the indicative: (1) it seems to explain better the first part of v. 24, esp. “from the Lord” which would then read as: “because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as a reward for it is the Lord you are serving.” The “for” is supplied to make the relation explicit (it is actually added in many mss – D1 Ψ 075 Ï – but the best ms evidence is against its inclusion). (2) With the imperative, one might expect ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ (Jw" tw kuriw), as for example in Eph 6:7. In favor of the imperative: (1) an imperative resumes the ἐργάζεσθε (ergazesqe) in v. 23a and forms a chiasm with it; (2) an imperative makes more sense of the γάρ (gar) in v. 25a; (3) an imperative relates equally well to the preceding statement; (4) a parallel can be found in Rom 12:11 which uses an imperatival participle δουλεύοντες (douleuonte") with the dative τῷ κυρίῳ. For an elaboration of these points see M. J. Harris, Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT), 185-86.

TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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