1:7 You learned the gospel 1 from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave 2 – a 3 faithful minister of Christ on our 4 behalf –
4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a slave 5 of Christ, 6 greets you. He is always struggling in prayer on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured 7 in all the will of God.
1 tn Or “learned it.” The Greek text simply has “you learned” without the reference to “the gospel,” but “the gospel” is supplied to clarify the sense of the clause. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
2 tn The Greek word translated “fellow slave” is σύνδουλος (sundoulo"); the σύν- prefix here denotes association. Though δοῦλος is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.
3 tn The Greek text has “who (ὅς, Jos) is a faithful minister.” The above translation conveys the antecedent of the relative pronoun quite well and avoids the redundancy with the following substantival participle of v. 8, namely, “who told” (ὁ δηλώσας, Jo dhlwsa").
4 tc ‡ Judging by the superior witnesses for the first person pronoun ἡμῶν (Jhmwn, “us”; Ì46 א* A B D* F G 326* 1505 al) vs. the second person pronoun ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “you”; found in א2 C D1 Ψ 075 33 1739 1881 Ï lat sy co), ἡμῶν should be regarded as original. Although it is possible that ἡμῶν was an early alteration of ὑμῶν (either unintentionally, as dittography, since it comes seventeen letters after the previous ἡμῶν; or intentionally, to conform to the surrounding first person pronouns), this supposition is difficult to maintain in light of the varied and valuable witnesses for this reading. Further, the second person is both embedded in the verb ἐμάθετε (emaqete) and is explicit in v. 8 (ὑμῶν). Hence, the motivation to change to the first person pronoun is counterbalanced by such evidence. The second person pronoun may have been introduced unintentionally via homoioarcton with the ὑπέρ (Juper) that immediately precedes it. As well, the second person reading is somewhat harder for it seems to address Epaphras’ role only in relation to Paul and his colleagues, rather than in relation to the Colossians. Nevertheless, the decision must be based ultimately on external evidence (because the internal evidence can be variously interpreted), and this strongly supports ἡμῶν.
6 tc ‡ Strong Alexandrian testimony, along with some other witnesses, suggests that ᾿Ιησοῦ (Ihsou, “Jesus”) follows Χριστοῦ (Cristou, “Christ”; so א A B C I L 0278 33 81 365 629 1175 2464 al lat), but the evidence for the shorter reading is diverse (Ì46 D F G Ψ 075 1739 1881 Ï it sy Hier), cutting across all major texttypes. There can be little motivation for omitting the name of Jesus; hence, the shorter reading is judged to be original. NA27 has ᾿Ιησοῦ in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.
7 tn Or “filled.”